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The Objectively Worst Decisions In The 'Harry Potter' Series

Updated October 25, 2019 73.7k votes 7.8k voters 197.1k views15 items

List RulesVote up the worst decisions that even a first-year wouldn't make.

Wands, spells, and potions can't always save the day in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter stories - brainpower is needed to defeat Voldemort, too. But the characters in Harry Potter make some pretty dumb moves that thwart their efforts. As with any major film or book franchise, the Harry Potter series has plot holes that don’t make a lot of sense, and lots of fan theories attempt to explain the inconsistencies. But even the most ardent fan can't explain away multiple occasions when the characters make decisions that defy logic. 

Whether it’s Harry himself, his two best friends, Ron and Hermione ("the brightest witch of her age"), or even the revered Albus Dumbledore, nearly everyone is guilty of a questionable choice. With so much bad judgment, it’s almost shocking Voldemort didn’t win in the end. 

  • 5

    Harry Uses The Sectumsempra Spell Against Draco Without Knowing What It Does

    In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry has an angry confrontation with Draco Malfoy in a bathroom and decides to use the Sectumsempra spell he learned from the mysterious scrawlings in his Potions textbook. In a horrific moment, the spell appears to sever Draco's skin and causes nearly mortal blood loss.

    That result alone qualifies this as an irresponsible decision, but the consequences could have been worse. Harry had no idea what the spell would do, yet he used it anyway. What if it offed Draco or gave him a serious illness? What if Sectumsempra was an enhancement spell that gave Draco a significant power boost?

    Is this a terrible decision?
  • 6

    Harry Doesn’t Trust Authority Figures, But Does Trust A Talking Diary 

    Throughout the series, one of Harry's defining traits is his mistrust of authority figures. Harry has suspicions about nearly all his professors at Hogwarts - with good reason in many cases - which is why it’s strange he immediately places so much trust in a magical diary he finds in a bathroom.

    Tom Riddle's diary does appear to offer Harry some valuable knowledge in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but he never stops to wonder about its motivations or whether it’s secretly working against him. His choice has some serious consequences, including the petrification of several characters.

    Is this a terrible decision?
  • 7

    Harry Won't Stop Saying 'Voldemort' - And His Friends Perish Because Of It

    One of the biggest twists in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows comes when Harry, Ron, and Hermione learn Voldemort's name has been hexed so that speaking it alerts the Death Eaters to one’s location. 

    While not saying his name seems like an easy rule to remember, given that Voldemort is referred to throughout the series as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, Harry breaks the taboo during a crucial moment. His decision leads to the group's capture and confinement at Malfoy Manor - and Dobby expires freeing them from their predicament. 

    Is this a terrible decision?
  • 8

    Dumbledore Hides Important Information From Harry And His Friends

    Throughout the Harry Potter series, Albus Dumbledore is more than a little cagey with important details. During Harry's early years at Hogwarts, it makes sense that he doesn't want to overburden young children with too much responsibility. But circumstances drastically change when the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows occur. Dumbledore is dead, and the fate of the wizarding world rests in the hands of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. 

    Despite the significantly higher stakes, Dumbledore still plays mysterious from beyond the grave. He leaves the trio a collection of difficult-to-decipher clues they must figure out to stop Voldemort, instead of just using one of the many magical methods at his disposal to leave them a direct message only they can access.

    Is this a terrible decision?