Dark 'Harry Potter' Fan Theories That We Can't Stop Thinking About

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Vote up the theories that have you a little disturbed.

The Harry Potter franchise will always be cherished by many. With so much magic, fantasical creatures, interesting characters, and compelling storylines, it's really no wonder as to why. Friendship and love prevail in the series, but an abundance of dark moments and characters will forever be fascinating. From unanswered questions to character quirks, more than a few passionate fans managed to come up with some truly dark theories surrounding the Wizarding World.

Check out these dark Harry Potter fan theories below, and don't forget to vote!


  • 1
    187 VOTES

    The Similarity Between "Avada Kedavra" And "Abra Kadabra" Hint At A Violent History Between Muggles And Wizards

    The Similarity Between "Avada Kedavra" And "Abra Kadabra" Hint At A Violent History Between Muggles And Wizards
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt.1 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    From Redditor u/jodatoufin:

    I think the name of the killing curse, Avada Kedavra, is purposefully similar to the famous muggle 'magic words' "Abra Kadabra", and hints at a violent history between muggles and wizards.

    There is a lot of thought behind the naming of the spells in Harry Potter. Forms of "high magic" for example have fancier, latin names (Wingardium Levioso being an example), while simpler "household" spells have very common names (Reparo and scourgify for example).

    So I don't think the naming of Avadra Kedavra is by mistake. While I'm not sure on the entomology of the words itself (though Kedavra seems very similar to the word cadaver, which is fitting) I'm pretty sure it's intentionally similar to the famous magic words "Abra Kadabra".

    What I think we're supposed to take away from that is that, in the times before the statute of secrecy, the interactions between muggles and wizards were often violent and deadly. So much so that, even after the idea of wizards faded into mythology, among muggles the killing curse became a thing of folklore. It was the one spell that came away as the "magic words". Granted, over time the pronunciation became bastardized from Avada Kedavra to Abra Kadabra, but I think it's one of the few things that stuck among muggle culture since the statute of secrecy.

    And if this is the one thing that has remained after hundreds of years, I feel like that shows a very violent past between muggles and wizards. The killing curse was used on them so much that this was all the muggles took away from them. They alone remained the "magic words".

    187 votes
  • 2
    176 VOTES

    Harry Potter Wasn't Saved From The Killing Curse

    Harry Potter Wasn't Saved From The Killing Curse
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt.2 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    From Redditor u/WippitGuud:

    Dumbledore lied: Harry Potter was not saved from the killing curse at the end of Deathly Hallows. He was resurrected by the Hallows.

    Everyone goes by the explanation in Deathly Hallows given by Dumbledore as to why Harry didn't die at the end of the book. He says: because Voldemort took Harry's blood to recreate his body, Lily's protection kept Harry from dying. This statement does not work with the evidence of the event.

    When Harry was hit by the killing curse as a baby, it rebounded and killed Voldemort, necessitating that he create a new body. This did not happen the second time.

    When Harry was hit by the killing curse as a baby, it left a visible mark. This did not happen the second time.

    To destroy a Horcrux, the container must be destroyed.

    Three is the important one here. Harry needed to be destroyed for the part of Voldemort's soul to be killed. Had Lily's protection been responsible for the survival, he would not have died. Hence that portion of soul would also not have died. So, Harry must have been killed.

    When Harry was in Kings Cross in his head, he could have chosen to move on. Which means he was dead. There was some other force at work which gave him the choice to return to life, without needing the methods Voldemort had to use to create a new body. And Harry had something of that level of power with him - master of the united Hallows: he had the stone and the cloak, and the curse was cast from the Elder Wand, which he was currently master of.

    Because Harry chose to not defend himself, the Wand was not defeating Harry, so its allegiance did not change. Dumbledore even comments on it, "And that, I think, will have made all the difference." Had he tried to duel, he would've lost allegiance to the wand when he lost, and simply died.

    Dumbledore lied to Harry. Probably to protect him - knowing you're the master of the Hallows could make anyone power hungry.

    Because Harry sacrificed himself to protect others, the people in Hogwarts had the same protection that Harry had when Lily sacrificed herself to protect Harry. From the book:

    "I've done what my mother did. Haven't you noticed how none of the spells you put on them are binding? You can't torture them. You can't touch them."

    For that to have actually affected everyone, Harry would've needed to truly die

    176 votes
  • 3
    127 VOTES

    Wizards Are Rapidly Going Extinct

    Wizards Are Rapidly Going Extinct
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone / Warner Bros. Pictures

    From Redditor u/EquivalentInflation:

    TL;DR: Hogwarts was clearly designed for a much larger number of students, showing that wizards are slowly dying out.

    When Harry first sees Hogwarts, he describes it as a large, expansive castle. There are 142 staircases, long hallways, and multiple towers. At one point, Nearly Headless Nick mentions his deathday party will be in "dungeon five", implying there are at least four others. Every time the characters need a place to talk, there's always an empty classroom just around the corner. Not to mention, the characters run all over the castle to get to their classes, but only have about five or six subjects (more like seven in later years). That likely means that the large majority of the classrooms they're passing are empty. Hogwarts seems to have the total area of a decently sized college, with space for about 5-10 thousand students (the House common rooms are also able to magically add dorms for more students as needed). However, Hogwarts has nowhere near that number of students. Remember, there were maybe 15 teachers and staff at the entire school, responsible for teaching everyone. Rowling has been inconsistent on the numbers: Harry only has five Gryffindor boys in his year, which, averaged out, would mean 280 students in total. However, Rowling also said that during Harry's first year, there were around 600 or 700 students at Hogwarts, and during his third year, mentioned that about 200 of the crowd at a Quidditch match were Slytherins, which would average out to about 800-900 students total. It's possible that there was a decrease in population and childbirth during Voldemort's rule, and there was a baby boom in the years afterwards, but even so, the student population of Hogwarts is roughly 10% max capacity. Voldemort killed a massive number of wizards, but he never could have wiped out that much of the population, nor would he have wanted to, it would have ended his dreams of a pureblood empire. A generation is about 25 years, and, judging from the numbers at Hogwarts, a wizarding generation would be maybe 2,500 people. Even with wizards' elongated lifespans (let's say 4 generations can be around at once), that's only about 10,000 people in all of the UK, a nation of 66.65 million.

    Which begs the question: Why? The founders built Hogwarts from the ground up, why would they specifically choose to add a massive amount of unused space? The most logical conclusion is, they didn't add unnecessary space, they created a castle that would fit the needs of the students at the time (with maybe a little extra space just in case). The Wizarding population during their time was such that having a school with a few hundred classrooms was necessary. Again, doing the math, there would be roughly 100,000 wizards alive at the time.

    So, we can see that over the course of about a millenia, (990 AD - 1990 AD), 90% of the wizarding population of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales disappeared. Ron Weasley even says that "If we hadn't intermarried with muggles, we would have died out" in the Chamber of Secrets. When the Wizarding World decided to go underground, it was after an intense series of witch hunts. For a change of that magnitude, there'd have to be a massive threat, that likely had killed many wizards and witches already. Then, living in secrecy likely presented many challenges, and made it harder for wizards and witches to meet and form families, or for wizards and witches to marry muggles without giving away the magical world (BIT OF A NASTY SHOCK FOR HIM WHEN HE FOUND OUT!). By the time that marrying muggles was normalized and accepted, the wizarding community had likely diminished greatly. More likely died during WW2, especially during the Blitz-- wizards can put up charms against apparition, but they'd have no clue what a bombing raid is. Then, during the reign of Grindelwald and Voldemort, a large number likely died. In addition, wizarding life is dangerous. A slightly mispoken spell could end up killing or horrifically deforming you, a magical beast could tear you limb from limb, and you could be hexed, cursed, and jinxed into oblivion. We see all the students at Hogwarts end up OK, but after they graduate, without Madam Pomfrey on standby, how many of them will survive ten seconds? In addition, with an increasing number of muggleborns and halfbloods, and the improvement of muggle technology, wizards are losing their edge. Why use a broomstick to fly when you can use a plane? Most wizards and witches can end up living comfortable, normal lives, mostly disconnected from magic, only using it for minor inconveniences. Since they have so little need, they likely won't focus nearly as much on a full wizarding education like Hogwarts, leading to an overall decrease in interest in magical exceptionalism. With all the deaths from Voldemort part 2: Pureblood Boogaloo, along with the anti-muggleborn sentiment, the wizarding community is headed for annihilation in a matter of decades. They'll cease to exist as a separate entity, and merge somewhat with the muggles, using magic less and less.

    127 votes
  • 4
    139 VOTES

    Sexual Assault Is A Big Problem In The Wizarding World

    Sexual Assault Is A Big Problem In The Wizarding World
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    From Redditor:

    There is a huge number of unknown/unreported assaults in the Harry Potter universe. There are countless clues in the books and movies that show how a terrible wizard can get away with forcing sexual gratification. The simplest one is the love potion sold at the Weasley shop. It caused the infatuation that Ron had with Romilda Vane and could easily be slipped to anyone that you want to have sex with. It’s probably not the best idea for a wizard as the potion wears off and the recipient could be like “what the heck?” In fact this is what Tom Riddle’s mom used to dupe his dad. Giving him a daily dose to keep him “in love.”

    Another spell used by would-be assailants would be the memory spell Gilderoy Lockhart used in Chamber of Secrets. This would indicate that a full on assault took place and the wizard then just wiped their memory and told them they “fell down stairs” or something.

    Then, another tool to dupe someone into bed is Polyjuice potion. You take on someone’s full DNA makeup. All you have to do is get a hair or something and bam, you can bang their wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend. Even pretend to be their crush, smash and then leave them to hate the real wizard for not remembering the sexy times.

    And finally, you have the Imperius curse. Basically you just wave your wand at someone and all the sudden they’re consenting.

    With all of these tools at their disposal you can’t assume that all wizards are on the up and up. Assault is probably a huge problem in the Wizarding World and no one knows about it.

    139 votes
  • 5
    59 VOTES

    The Unforgivable Curses Aren't The Only Illegal Forms Of Magic

    The Unforgivable Curses Aren't The Only Illegal Forms Of Magic
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt.2 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    From Redditor u/theotherghostgirl:

    TLDR: The unforgivable curses are easy to cast and widely known, which is the real reason they are considered to be so dangerous in comparison to other curses. There are other curses that are illegal, but that aren't mentioned or talked about in the books because the spellwork required to cast them is so complex, that eliminating their use is as simple as keeping instructional material on them under lock and key, and killing/silencing those who have preformed them successfully.

    The unforgivable curses aren't the only illegal forms of magic (or even the worst) they're just the easiest ones to learn.

    It's not a huge stretch to think that (based on what we've seen in the series so far) that the longer the incantation for a spell is, the more complex the effect it has is.

    Case in point are the healing spells we see in the series. The two healing spells in the series that seem to be the easiest to cast (outside of the video games, which aren't technically canon) are Episkey and Ferula.

    We can probably assume that both are fairly easy spells to master, considering Harry was able to learn Episkey on his own, and (despite it only being used once in the books) Ferula seems to be a spell specifically created to deal with injuries that can't be healed by a non-professional. Anapneo seems to be a little more complex, but also fairly simple, with the result basically being the magical version of the Heimlich maneuver.

    While the only instance of a healing spell capable of successfully fixing major injuries is Vulnera Sanentur (a spell that requires a comparatively long casting time and incantation), We DO get an example of what happens when you try to create simplified versions of complicated spells when Lockhart tries to fix Harry's arm.

    I'm 99% sure that Lockhart specifically mentions (either in the movie or the book) that Brackium Emendo is a spell of his own design, and the fact that we don't see it used ever again (despite ample opportunities) makes me think that it's quite likely that he was simplifying a more complex healing spell.

    Considering how the series also treats skelegrow as something everyone takes at least once in a lifetime, I'm going to guess that either the actual spell isn't used very often, or that it's incantation is complex and long enough that mess ups (even with professionals) are common.

    Anyway, that example aside, we have other instances of complex magic requiring longer incantations and wand work, as most of the big spells dumbledore and voldemort use against each other require almost constant concentration and wandwork to succesfully cast, and fiendfyre seems to require a similarly extreme amount of wandwork and incantation to avoid the caster being killed by it themselves.

    In comparison, Crucio, Avada Kedavra, and Imperio are extremely simple, point and shoot spells, which require minimal wandwork or incantation to successfully use. This is likely because (while devastating) the desired effect resulting from this spell are fairly simple.

    As a result it is much, MUCH harder to restrict the knowledge of how to cast these spells than it would be for something more complex, that could have the same desired result.

    While we don't have many examples of spells similar to Crucio and Imperio both in use and scale, there are several examples in the books of curses extremely similar to Avada Kedavra; at least in that their intended use is explicitly to kill the target rather than inconveniencing or wounding them. I'm of course talking about the curses cast on the Opal Necklace, the Gaunt Ring, and the Blood Bourne Curse. The thing these curses have in common (aside from the Opal and Ring curses possibly being the same spell) is that they do more than simply killing their targets, and that their effects last long after their initial casting.

    These spells are apparently rare enough that out of the three, the Blood Bourne curse is the only one that can easily be Identified, which is likely due to that it's effects can be seen in the family of the first victim generations after it was cast. The fact that the Blood Bourne Curse isn't identified by it's spell name, like most other, older spells are in the books is also interesting. This is likely due to the fact that the details of casting these curses are so tightly guarded that the incantations for the spell have been lost, and no one who is willing to inflict pain on someone like this is willing to half *ss a dangerous spell and have it explode in their faces or be completely useless.

    In fact, the only person who has been shown to cast one of these curses in living memory is Voldemort, who only uses said curse once, is also notable, given his desired to flaunt both his skill and superiority; and what better way to do that than use a spell so forbidden it hasn't been used in living memory (even if you never use it again because of it's difficulty) .

    While you could argue that one of the death eaters (possibly even Malfoy) also used the spell on the Opal, the fact that it makes an appearance in an earlier book in the same shop where it was purchased with a warning label featuring a death count, that is highly unlikely.

    59 votes
  • 6
    98 VOTES

    Aunt Petunia Was Tortured By Death Eaters

    Aunt Petunia Was Tortured By Death Eaters
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / Warner Bros. Pictures

    From Reddior u/gijabs2992:

    The theory is that the reason Aunt Petunia is afraid when Harry tells her and Uncle Vernon that Voldemort is back is because she experienced emotional and physical torture at the hands of the Death Eaters, I believe emotional torture from learning that they had tortured and killed her parents and physical torture to give up James and Lily's whereabouts. I also am inclined to believe that the reason Petunia wasn't killed is because the Order of the Phoenix (original) saved her from death on Dumbledore's orders after a tip off from Snape (he was Dumbledore's spy at this time) Which could explain how Dumbledore knew where Petunia and Vernon Dursley lived when he brought Harry to live with them. The final part to this theory is that Dumbledore's protection charm not only protected Harry but all residents of 4 Privet Drive.

    Here is the evidence I have that supports this theory:

    • Snape grew up in the same town as Lily and Petunia so he knew who she was, we know that he loved Lily and was willing to do anything to save her (i.e. telling Voldemort, to protect his cover, about Petunia and Lily's parents)
    • Lily and Petunia were still in contact even after Lily left Hogwarts and married James, the last piece of correspondence between them being the letter Lily sent Petunia announcing Harry's birth (which I believe would have had a return address since the letter would have been sent by Muggle post)
    • When Harry reveals to his aunt and uncle that Voldemort is back Uncle Vernon seems to vaguely recollect the name, yet Petunia looks at Harry "with eyes not narrowed in dislike, but wide and fearful"
    • As for Mr. and Mrs. Evans, there is no mention of them other than they "were proud of having a witch in the family" and that they were there at Platform 9 3/4 seeing Lily onto the train and "looking around in wonder" We know Voldemort will target friends and family of his targets and we also know Wormtail was passing information to Voldemort for a year before giving up the Potters. So I think it's likely that Mr and Mrs Evans are dead when Harry is living at 4 Privet Drive l and that they were tortured/killed on Voldemort's orders.
    • As for the protection charm Dumbledore cast when he brought Harry to the Dursleys we know that it was cast from the protection Lily left in Harry's blood with her sacrifice and that by using this blood magic he kept the protection alive by tying it to where Harry's "mother's blood resides" this tells me the charm is on the residence. We also know that in the letter Dumbledore leaves for the Dursleys explaining everything to them, they know about the protection for Harry. I think that when Dumbledore cast the charm it protected the Dursleys because while he is at school they don't get attacked and it also could explain why not just Harry, but the Dursleys as well, leave 4 Privet Drive.
    98 votes