21 Fan Theories About The Magical Objects In 'Harry Potter' That Actually Make A Lot Of Sense

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Vote up your favorite theories.

How do magical objects work? What are their rules and guidelines? How did they come to be? Such questions about the magical objects in Harry Potter have inspired fans to create their own answers based on evidence in the text and films.

Below, fans have shared their fan theories about the magical objects in Harry Potter. Vote up the most plausible theories!


  • 1
    62 VOTES

    Arthur Weasley Made Molly's Magical Clock

    Arthur Weasley Made Molly's Magical Clock
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets / Warner Bros. Pictures

    From Redditor u/80nz1:

    The books mention that it looks like an ordinary clock except it has the Weasley faces on the hands, and it points to locations instead of times. We know that Arthur has a history of (very successfully) tinkering with muggle "artifacts" in order to give them magical properties, and even creating loopholes in the laws to allow himself to do this.

    We also find out that Molly "doesn't know anyone else who has a clock like that", and when Dumbledore comments on it in the Order of the Phoenix he says something like "...although I'm sure she already knows thanks to that wonderful little clock of hers", which seems to infer a bit that it's not completely commonplace.

    I think that Molly was freaking out when Bill was leaving to become a curse-breaker in Egypt, and so Arthur made the clock for her to help her find some piece of mind. I think that he had created a loophole in the law that infers that if you alter the appearance enough of a muggle artefact then it can no longer be considered illegal. Not wanting Molly to know he'd been tinkering, he infers that he got it off someone else/purchased it, hence why she considers that she's never seen anyone else with one, she doesn't know that it's one of a kind.

    62 votes
  • 2
    72 VOTES

    Dumbledore Used A Time Turner To Arrive At Harry's Trial On Time

    Dumbledore Used A Time Turner To Arrive At Harry's Trial On Time
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix / Warner Bros. Pictures

    From a former Redditor u/[deleted]:

    In Book 5, Harry is on trial at the Ministry of Magic for discharging his Patronus at Dementors while he is with Dudley (which we later learned was a planned attack by Dolores Umbridge)

    When the trial begins, Dumbledore shows up unannounced to defend Harry to the surprise of Cornelius Fudge (and Harry alike)

    Fudge makes a remark that they had changed the time and moved the location of the trial, to which Dumbledore says (not verbatim, mind you) that he had "by some luck arrived at the Ministry three hours early"

    My theory is that Dumbledore actually was on time to where he thought Harry's trial was, but missed the hearing completely (seeing as it can be assumed that Fudge had the trial moved to some court room that was almost never used or was very far away from where trials are usually held) and used a time turner to jump back in time and arrive in the correct place in his typical right-on-time grandiose fashion to help Harry.

    72 votes
  • 3
    44 VOTES

    The Ministry Of Magic Mandated Wands For Magic Use Because It Would Allow Them Easier Control Over Their Subjects

    The Ministry Of Magic Mandated Wands For Magic Use Because It Would Allow Them Easier Control Over Their Subjects
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince / Warner Bros. Pictures

    From Redditor u/EquivalentInflation:

    From some of Rowling's assorted lore (I know, I know, but this was an actual thought out, written lore books, so it's not quite as awful), many wizarding societies (like pre-colonial Native Americans or Africans) never used wands. In fact, Uagadou (African Hogwarts) taught students primarily without wands. Since Uagadou was known for having some of the best Transfigurers in the world, we can assume that this had no effect on their power of their magic. We can also see wandless magic in a number of cases where underage witches and wizards pull off impressive magical feats with no wands at all.

    However, in the few rare cases when Hogwarts students try wandless magic, it always fails miserably. The school doesn't teach it, not even as an optional course. Why?

    Forcing reliance on wands makes it easier for Wizarding governments to keep the peace. Most of their serious (or even minor) crimes are punished by having your wand broken. This provides an easy way for the Ministry and others to prevent repeat offenders, as well as stop prison escapes.

    Imagine how easy it would be to get out of Azkaban if anyone could just cast the Patronus charm with their bare hands. Imagine how absolutely useless "Expelliarmus" would be if your opponent had no weapon to disarm. Imagine how dangerous it would be to have that expelled Hogwarts student go rogue and start blasting up muggles with their bare hands. Hell, even Prior Incantato, the spell that the ministry used to get most of its evidence in magic cases is based on the suspect having a wand. Obviously, the Ministry can't allow any of that to happen, as it would undermine their entire government.

    The Ministry of Magic does have the power to impact the curriculum at Hogwarts. We see them do this more obviously with Umbridge, but it's shown repeatedly that they set examination standards, skill requirements, etc., and likely have a great deal of influence over textbooks. Wands are required for every Hogwarts student, likely at the Ministry's command.

    From what we can tell, there are very few quality wandmakers. Ollivander was the best, and it's mentioned that there are a few others, but it requires a high degree of skill, time, and materials. That means that the Ministry can very easily keep an eye on who gets one, and block any criminals or the "undesirables" of their choice.

    We see mentions of wizards and witches using wands from a long, long time ago, so this likely wasn't some ministry scheme that came out of nowhere. However, once the tradition was in place, the Ministry would have enthusiastically supported it, and made sure that it stayed as the norm.

    44 votes
  • 4
    34 VOTES

    Pensive Memories Can't Be Used In Trials Because They're Biased Due To Selective Recall

    Pensive Memories Can't Be Used In Trials Because They're Biased Due To Selective Recall
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    From Redditor u/EquivalentInflation:

    One of the big questions in Harry Potter is why pensieves didn't get used way more as evidence, especially in trials. Dumbledore's isn't the only one in existence, and since Slughorn and Snape could both pull out memories on their own, it seems like it's at least a somewhat well known magic item. They bring up issues like Imperio making it impossible to catch past death eaters, Sirius having no proof that Pettigrew was guilty, or having no way to tell if Harry is lying about using magic outside of school. Obviously veritaserum doesn't work for a lot of that -- it takes months of work for just a small amount, and the person can give misleading answers. But why not have trained witches and wizards apparate out, grab some memories, and bring them back as proof? While memories can be willingly altered, it's usually extremely hard to do so, and even a skilled wizard like Slughorn leaves marks.

    The memories we see are biased by the viewer's own perception of reality, making them next to useless in court.

    Our memories are much less accurate than we believe. Even if a person believes that they're giving up a truthful memory, they may very well be tainting it. Using the example with Harry and the dementors: if Harry legitimately had been mistaken, and had just cast the patronus charm on a random shadow, in his memory, that shadow would look like an actual dementor. It's the same thing for any case of assault: both people's memories will have the other person being far more aggressive and antagonist, and favor themselves.

    This can also be seen in Snape's own memories, especially of the time when he called Lily a mudblood. James, Sirius, Lupin, and Peter were all well out of earshot of Snape, yet his memory contained their exact conversation. How? Because his mind filled in the blanks for it, based on what he knew. All they really talk about is things Snape would know about them: Lupin being a werewolf, Quidditch, hating Snape, etc. How convenient is it that Snape's exact description of James (arrogant, cruel, a bully) is exactly accurate, despite his own clear bias? What's more likely: that everyone except Snape completely lied about James's nature, or that Snape's decades long hatred influenced how his memories looked? If the opposite were true, and memories were always exactly accurate, then it would completely disrupt all privacy in the wizarding world. Snape wouldn't have to listen at the door to hear Trelawney's prophecy to Dumbledore, he could just sit downstairs, then review his memory and move upstairs to listen.

    34 votes
  • 5
    49 VOTES

    Lupin's Magical Candles Do More Than Produce Light

    Lupin's Magical Candles Do More Than Produce Light
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / Warner Bros. Pictures

    From Redditor u/d33pwint3r:

    In Prisoner of Azkaban we see the inside of Lupin's office when Harry was learning the patronus. During the first battle against the bogart/dementor we get a close up on one of the candles. The top vertebra is marked with 'VIII' and the numbers continue down the candle. This is a very specific detail to incorporate into a film and required more investigation. I counted the remaining vertebrae, beginning with 8 and determined that in the full candle there were 21 vertebrae. I checked the other candles in the shots and they were also 21 vertebrae candles.

    After the bogart is returned to the trunk, we see Lupin immediately re-ignite the candles even though it is perfectly lit in the office without need of further light. This gives two possibilities:

    First, Lupin really likes those candles. They are kinda creepy and cool looking but that isn't really worth the screen time to show him relighting them.

    Second, they are burning constantly and marking time passage. This, I believe is more likely. Lupin is marking the passage of time through the cycle of the moon.

    After the full moon is complete, Lupin lights a new candle which burns through days 1-21 of the cycle. On day 22, he begins taking his Wolfsbane potion to allow it to be in effect when the full moon begins. Assuming that there is a period of time that the moon has an effect (supported by Tonks in one of the later movies "The first night is always the worst") days 23-28 he sleeps from the effects of the potion and after the full moon is complete, begins a new set of candles.

    49 votes
  • 6
    53 VOTES

    Books Can Be Enchanted To Alter People's Perceptions

    Books Can Be Enchanted To Alter People's Perceptions
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets / Warner Bros. Pictures

    From Redditor u/DoctorDoom55:

    It has always been strange to me how the interest in Lockhart is presented in the books. It always seems that the extreme infatuation with him is almost instantaneous.

    Take two examples. Firstly we have Hermione. As her character would suggest, if there was a phoney wizard who had no magical ability she would be one of the first to figure it out. Despite this, she clearly feels she is in love with him and even defends his lack of ability in cases such as his handling of the pixies.

    Additionally, you have the example of Justin’s mum. Here we see Justin say “Of course my mother was slightly disappointed, but since I made her read Lockhart’s books I think she’s begun to see how useful it’ll be to have a fully trained wizard in the family”. This never truly made sense to me. All Lockhart does in his books is fight monsters, however why would Justin’s mum need a book to tell her that some self defense would come in handy? To me, someone who isn’t happy with the idea of their son having the ability to do nearly anything he can think of as not being useful wouldn’t be turned around so easily.

    Now we know Lockhart is familiar with entrancing enchantments as he suggests he has met many wizards who can perform them in the line “Professor Flitwick knows more about Entrancing Enchantments than any wizard I've met, the sly old dog!”. This would confirm the possibility that he can perform this magic, and there is no reason not to suspect he could be enchanting his books with them.

    This idea would further link into Hermione’s example. Of all the girls at Hogwarts it would seem Hermione is interested in Lockhart the most. Why is this? Well another thing we know about Hermione is that she is a huge bookworm, so if she is reading these books more than the other students, the effects may be more powerful on her.

    53 votes