Questions Yet Unanswered: The Unsolved Mysteries of “Harry Potter”

We’ve all got our burning questions to ask J.K. Rowling if given the opportunity. There are countless Tumblr threads and YouTube videos devoted to the subject, from the deepest, most confusing (how do you make a Horcrux?) to the light and trivial (is there wizarding primary school?). J.K. Rowling just revealed her least favorite of these questions on Twitter:

Die-hard fans pointed out that in the 1994 Quidditch World Cup, Ireland won despite Bulgaria catching the Snitch, as Fred and George Weasley would be quick to remind you.

However, the floodgates were already opened. Fans let loose their own questions on Twitter, asking Rowling about all aspects of the wizarding world:

There is a fan theory regarding that last one, by the way: a Tumblr user pointed out that since all the kids in Harry’s year were born during the war with Voldemort, it’s possible that fewer were born or conceived due to the numerous deaths throughout the wizarding world:

Between the dozens of adults who joined the Order, the dozens of civilians who were killed in Death Eater raids, and the dozens of adults that didn’t want to bring a child into the world, just then…It’s actually entirely possible that there was a baby drought for a few years in the wizarding world, leading to a smaller class size a decade later.

A curious (albeit devastatingly sad) theory! We’ve got several of our own questions to ask Rowling, so let the pondering begin!


What powers does Mad-Eye Moody’s eye have?

Mad-Eye’s magical eye brings up so many questions because it can seemingly see anything. Mad-Eye is able to see a boggart in number twelve, Grimmauld Place in Order of the Phoenix, so does that mean he’s seen the boggart before it transforms? What does that look like? Also, Mad-Eye somehow manages to see Harry under the Invisibility Cloak – the same cloak not even Death can see?! If this is the case, Mad-Eye had some serious power in that eye. No wonder Umbridge stole it!


What was Helga Hufflepuff’s contribution to Hogwarts?

We know that each of the four founders of Hogwarts created a specific aspect of the school: Gryffindor enchanted the Sorting Hat, Slytherin built the Chamber of Secrets, and Ravenclaw designed the moving staircases. But what did Hufflepuff add? Some speculate that the Room of Requirement was her creation, but we’re not sure.


How does owl post work?

Since J.K. Rowling never really elaborated on the wizarding postal system, all we know is that owls are treated as pets and are used to carry letters. But how do they reach the intended recipient? How are the letters screened for Dark magic and curses? How did Dobby intercept Harry’s letters in Chamber of Secrets? We know that other birds can be used to deliver post because Sirius uses large tropical birds when he’s in hiding, so what other animals can deliver post? Are they trained differently than the owls? We might be overthinking it, but we also wouldn’t mind a novel-length explanation of wizarding mail!


How did Dumbledore acquire Fawkes?

It’s never explained how Dumbledore came to keep Fawkes – could it have something to do with the fact that Fawkes’s feather is in Voldemort’s wand? A popular theory is that the two were introduced by everyone’s favorite Magizoologist, Newt Scamander. Maybe we’ll see this happen in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.


How does the Durmstrang ship work?

All we know about the magical ship used by the Durmstrang students in Goblet of Fire is that it rises out of the depths of the lake with all its students on board. But how did it get in the lake? Does the ship have the power to Apparate or magically move itself between bodies of water? Yet another magical object that seems simple but provokes deeper thought once you consider the established forms of transportation in the wizarding world.


Who are the Godmothers of Swing?

This is the sort of question that requires a close examination of every minute detail in the books. J.K. Rowling dedicated Prisoner of Azkaban to Jill Prewett and Aine Kiely, whom she calls “the godmothers of swing.” Is this a clue that Rowling is secretly a talented swing dancer? It’s a pretty personal detail, but we just have to know!


Those are just some of our many, many questions forJ.K. Rowling. Have any questions or theories of your own? Feel free to let us know! In the meantime, we’ll be trying to teach owls to send our mail – and maybe figure out where they left our Hogwarts acceptance letters!

Gayané Kaligian

Gayane has been writing about Harry Potter since the fourth grade, when she wrote her first five-paragraph essay on why Percy Weasley’s buffoonery could have led to Voldemort winning. These days, she’s still talking about the Weasley brothers, but it’s mostly about how overlooked Charlie is. In her free time, you can find her researching stunt choreography and geeking out over theater.