Seven Times J.K. Rowling Left Us Completely Stupefy-ed
J.K. Rowling has proven – time and time again – just how much thought she put into the Potter series. Her genius shines through with her use of Latin, sets of seven, and inspiration based on her own life. Moreover, she was capable of tricking us into believing one thing, only to later pull the rug out from underneath us. Or there were instances where she left us clues all along that we never picked up on until the right moment. Either way, Rowling has stumped us several times, eventually forcing us to accept how foolish we were to have never figured it out ourselves. Here are seven times where J.K. left us stupefy-ed, in no particular order:
1. Professor Trelawney Was a Talented Seer
While everyone is well aware that Professor Trelawney was not quite sane, she turned out to be more talented than we thought. For one thing, in Goblet of Fire, she asks if Harry was born in the winter months, and he replies the opposite, in summer. What she was really detecting was the Horcrux inside of Harry – a piece of Voldemort – who celebrates his birthday in December. Rowling slipped a sliver of genius toward the largest plot point three books into the series! In the same novel, we first experienced her “the first to rise is the first to die” theory pertaining to a table of 13. While it initially seemed incorrect, it proved true. At the Christmas meal, Professor Trelawney joining the table made it a party of 14 because we need to include Scabbers (a.k.a. Peter Pettigrew) – who was there in Ron’s pocket – in the body count. From the original party of 13, Professor Dumbledore was the first to leave the table, foreshadowing his death in Half-Blood Prince. The same theory applies to the meeting following Mad-Eye Moody’s death in Deathly Hallows as Lupin rose first, later to be the first to perish among that group. And finally, Trelawney foresaw disaster when she pulled the “lightning struck tower” tarot card, which we know to be Dumbledore’s death. If we had paid more attention to Sybill, we may have been able to prepare ourselves for the future heartaches.
2. The Half-Blood Prince Identity Storyline
I did not see Severus Snape being the Half-Blood Prince coming at all. One of the greatest mysteries of Book 6 was the identity of Harry’s heroic Potions tutor in textbook form. The last person expected was the first person we should have thought of! Of course the Potions professor was the genius behind a know-it-all Potions book. Even more shocking was discovering that a Slytherin such as Snape was of half-blood status. The backstory of where our favorite greasy-haired professor originated was one that surprised many. All of the tricks seen in his copy of Advanced Potions Making proved Snape’s incredible talent, and the Dark power he possessed revealed his Slytherin ways.
3. Whose (Elder) Wand Is It Anyway?
This entire sequence in Deathly Hallows continues to amaze me, even eight years later. Rowling is incredibly clever by tricking the world using the tiniest of details. Voldemort’s downfall was his utter belief that he was the master of the Elder Wand and could not fail, when in reality it was Harry whom the wand belonged to. A quick recap on how it worked: To control the wand you must disarm its current owner. Dumbledore controlled the wand until Draco disarmed him in the Astronomy Tower. Harry later disarmed Draco at Malfoy Manor, taking the wand’s abilities from him. Even if you do not physically have the wand in your possession, it still belongs to you. Voldemort, however, believed the wand transferred ownership by killing the prior owner. Snape killed Dumbledore, and Voldemort killed Snape, therefore making Voldemort the wand’s master. Thankfully, that was not how it worked out.
4. Severus Snape & a Doe
Again, did anyone call that Snape’s Patronus would be the very doe that brought Harry to the sword of Gryffindor in the lake? Not me. The heartbreaking, unrequited love story of Snape and Lily Evans may not have come as a shock, but the level of commitment Snape felt sure did. Harry felt tortured by not knowing where that Patronus came from in Deathly Hallows, and the revelation that it was Snape was jaw-dropping for many. This solidified which side he had been on the entire time. Considering Harry and Snape’s history, many would not expect for this type of alliance to exist, even if it were one-sided and behind the scenes. Rowling fooled us once again with this spectacular character and demonstrated what some people will do for love.
5. Surprise: Draco Malfoy Wasn’t the Heir of Slytherin
The most logical thought throughout Chamber of Secrets was that Draco Malfoy would be revealed as the heir of Slytherin. He came from a Dark family, his father was at school the last time the Chamber was opened, and he knew plenty of information on its history. Naturally, it would have been too simple for Draco to actually have been the bad guy. While our favorite heroes attempted to discover the identity of the person creating havoc around the castle, we skipped over the possibility that the heir could have been the most evil and Dark wizard of all time. If Sorcerer’s Stone taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen, as seen by a “dead man” living on the back of a professor’s head. The shock Harry experienced meeting a young, ghostlike Tom Riddle was similar to what readers felt as Rowling once again reminded us to explore every option.
6. That Time Harry Potter Was a Horcrux
While many predicted that Harry would be a Horcrux, there was still a lot of debate over how it would work (and if it were true). I recall fans debating over the prophecy and whether it was possible for Harry to live through the final battle or if both he and Voldemort were doomed to meet their end. Even if this wasn’t a shock for some readers, it was one for Harry himself. Harry being the final Horcrux became the answer to several unresolved questions, including his Parseltongue abilities, the Sorting Hat’s temptation to sort him into Slytherin, and his connection to Voldemort’s mind. It was a lightbulb going off in all of our heads screaming, “Of course! That makes sense now!”
7. No, She’s Not in Love With Her Cousin But Her Cousin’s Best Friend
Tonks was a character who tripped into our hearts over that umbrella stand and never left. Her introduction in Order of the Phoenix came alongside the relationship building between Harry and Sirius. The discovery of Tonks being Sirius’s cousin made readers appreciate her even further. It wasn’t surprising for Harry and others to believe that the change in Tonks’s emotions and behavior in Half-Blood Prince was a result of Sirius’s passing. What we did miss, though, was the background story of Tonks and Remus Lupin. The two met through the Order of the Phoenix and thankfully had Sirius as a middle ground to keep them around each other without drawing suspicion. Or at least, Lupin didn’t want Tonks to know that he was falling for her. Many believed Tonks’s Patronus change and depression were the result of immense grief, but we later found out it was due to her love for Lupin. At the time, he wasn’t prepared to commit to a lifestyle he never imagined he could have, and Tonks’s Patronus changed to reflect a four-legged dog. Fans later found out that a Patronus only changes under conditions of eternal love, reflecting the bond the two shared. After how long it took for the pair to come together, it was only right for them to pass onto their next life side by side as well.
Honorable Mention: This Photo Hurts My Soul
How else has Rowling stumped us? Well, if we lived close by I’m sure we could ask…
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