Harry Potter captured an entire generation of young people. It was a series that grew up with these kids as they aged, getting richer and more complex as they went. That's what made J.K. Rowling's story so perfect for all the people who read it. Now, the generation who loved Harry Potter is full of adults, and some of them may be reevaluating the series, especially in light of some of the controversies around it. After all, being an adult can shift your perspective.
There are many things you might never have thought about reading the books as a kid. Now, as an adult filled with a wealth of knowledge, you can look at the story and wonder how much sex everyone had. Some of these observations are very simple ones we usually don't think about as kids. Others are deeply philosophical. These are 40 thoughts about Harry Potter you first have as an adult.
Harry's story is set during the '90s, but you wouldn't know that from looking at the technology. The wizarding world appears to have stopped developing around the time that plumbing was invented. Is there even electricity at Hogwarts. You could argue that, because of all the magic, they don't have a lot of need for more modern technologies.
Even so, you would think that computers could definitely help wizards communicate more effectively. Email would save you using quite a few owls, and it would be much faster, too. The fact that the wizarding world just doesn't have electricity is more than a little confusing.
You could argue that most people try to ignore or forget about the strange things that they see every day. If wizards lived among us, though, you would think some non-magic folk would notice. After all, this a school where the entire student body walks through a wall to get to their train station in the middle of the day.
For much of the series, it seems like wizards aren't really all that concerned about getting caught. You can rely on people to be stupid of course, but you can't expect them not to notice when hundreds of crazy things happen. If wizards behaved this recklessly, muggles would definitely know about them.
Houses aren't supposed to determine your fate, and they don't generally. You can be multi-faceted, and fit well in a number of places. That's all true, except when it comes to Slytherins. Pretty much every evil witch and wizard on the show was in Slytherin, and you can see how that would start to give the house a bad rap.
You wouldn't think that you'd want to put a bunch of kids together and then tell them they're the bad guys over and over again for seven years. It might become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe that isn't what J.K. Rowling meant to do, but it does come off that way.
As a child, you may have come to Harry Potter for the magic of the world and the exciting possibilities of becoming a wizard. As an adult, it becomes very clear that the series is really about prejudice in all its forms. Although the books aren't exactly diverse, they are about the difference between muggles and purebloods, and how that difference leads to overt discrimination.
What's more, they aren't particularly subtle about driving that message home. It's a series about how ruling out of prejudice is evil, and tolerance is the only path forward. Those themes may feel obvious, but that doesn't make them any less important.
In the books, Tonks and Lupin make a little bit of sense. Not much, but more than none. We don't get to see them fall in love, but we get a sense that they care deeply for each other through their interactions. In the movies, all of that is gone. We know they're together, and we know virtually nothing else about either of them.
That relationship is as thin as it could be, and that's because a lot of their material was cut in the transition to the screen. While it's understandable that some material had to be stripped out, it's a shame that it came at the expense of two pretty likable characters.
When you're young, you may think of Dobby and the house elves as adorable. You understand that they're not treated fairly, but you don't understand the extent to which their slaves. Hermione, to her enormous credit, is the only one who seems to notice this or really care.
The rest of the wizarding world, including Harry, seems resigned to the fact that they're enslaved, but it's okay because most of them like it. Think about that for just a minute: This is a series about rebellion and freedom. In the background, this whole time, there have been slaves, and everyone's just been okay with that.
Is there religion in the wizarding world? It's never a subject that gets addressed, but it's one that would be fascinating to explore. For example, witches and wizards clearly seem to celebrate Christmas, at least in the UK. Does that mean they're Christians? If they are, how does their ability to do actual magic fit into their religious views?
It's possible that they celebrate the holiday even though they don't believe in God, but either way, it's fascinating to consider the implications magic has on religion. Was Jesus just a gifted wizard? We can't know for sure, and J.K. Rowling didn't seem particularly eager to answer that question.
Schools aren't exactly safe in the real world either, but they're at least supposed to be. In Harry Potter, the school at the story's center is the cause of so many of the problems that Harry faces. There's a secret chamber that contains a murderous snake. What's more, Dumbledore seems to constantly invite danger into the school.
He agrees to guard the Sorcerer's Stone from Voldemort and allows the Triwizard Tournament to be hosted at the school. There are also dementors roaming around for a while. On the whole, it doesn't seem like the safest campus in the world to get an education.
Time turners play an essential role in Prisoner of Azkaban. They save Sirius and facilitate his escape from Hogwarts. Functionally, Harry and Hermione change the present by returning to the past. Naturally, this may lead you to wonder why time travel is not something that is taken advantage of more regularly in the story.
After all, if the present can be changed, why wouldn't you use that knowledge to keep Voldemort from rising to power. It seems insane that wizards have the ability to use time travel and just don't use it. That could be a real trump card for whoever decides it's needed.
We've already established that Hogwarts is a pretty unsafe place to teach students, and that might never be truer than it was in Harry's third year when there were dementors surrounding the campus. Dementors are not cool, and they're a pretty terrible thing to do to anyone who's around them. Usually, they only exist around prisons, but even there, they feel unnecessary.
Prison is meant to punish criminals, of course, but dementors make those around them feel so depressed that they're essentially catatonic. There can be no worse existence, and it seems lie wizards should be trying to reform their criminal population instead of inflicting cruel punishment on them.
Dumbledore wasn't always as wise as he seemed. The Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers he hired throughout Harry's years at Hogwarts were all disastrous for one reason or another. One had Voldemort on the back of his head. Another was totally incompetent in Defense Against the Dark Arts. A third was one of Voldemort's minions in an elaborate disguise.
You would think after all these mishaps that Dumbledore would be a little more careful in his selection process. Instead, he keeps making the same mistakes with that position, and it always ends disastrously for his students, and Harry in particular.
Speaking of Dumbledore, the guy doesn't seem to have a great deal of understanding when it comes to keeping his students safe. He hid an object he knew the most evil wizard in the world wanted in a castle filled with young students who might get in that evil wizard's way.
He also withholds a lot of information from his students, and from Harry in particular, that might have been useful if they'd had it. He may seem like a wise old man, but in plenty of ways, he's a terrible headmaster. Wisdom isn't everything when it comes to protecting a castle filled with young wizards who can't defend themselves.
Magical creatures seem at least as intelligent as those in our world, if not more so. In spite of this intelligence, though, most of the creatures we meet in Harry Potter are woefully misunderstood or mistreated by everyone in the series.
Ironically, Hagrid appears to be the only character who feels compassion for these creatures, and he's often ridiculed for it. That's what makes Hagrid so loveable, though. He's open-minded and open-hearted, and he never judges anyone, whether they're a person or some kind of creature, before he gets to know who they really are. He's hugely compassionate, and it's his biggest strength.
Another thing you may not notice as a kid is how much questionable fat-shaming the series contains, especially in its early installments. Dudley Dursley is especially ridiculed, as J.K. seems to conflate the fact that he's overweight with the fact that he's a cruel, terrible child.
Dudley sucks in those early books, that's undoubtedly true. It's also true, though, that the fact that he sucks has nothing to do with his size. Even if he was skinny, he could still be a terrible cousin who does terrible things to Harry on a regular basis. Being fat has nothing to do with it.
It's unclear exactly when Ron and Hermione develop romantic feelings for each other, but it's clearly long before either one of them is willing to act on them. That will they/won't they dynamic is a core part of the story, but it's also evidence of how terrible Ron is at wooing Hermione or telling her how he feels.
If he had just laid all his cards on the table sooner, they might have gotten together quicker and saved everyone some frustration. That's not to say Ron should have been pushy. He just needed to be a little more honest about how he was actually feeling.
Ron may have taken too long with Hermione, but Harry was no better. Over the course of his relationship with Cho, he basically keeps her from properly grieving Cedric, and leaves her a weeping mess on multiple occasions. That relationship was never meant to last, but Harry doesn't handle it particularly well while it's happening.
His relationship with Ginny is a little better, but it's also slightly tortured by Harry's desire to leave her behind to save the world. Everything works out for the two of them in the end, but it definitely takes some time for Harry to figure out how to be in relationships.
The second task in the Triwizard Tournament is to save someone you care about deeply from the bottom of the Hogwarts lake. For Harry, it's Ron. For Krum, though, it's Hermione, a girl he has basically just met. It's a convenient way to isolate Harry from both of his friends in the hours before the task, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense that Krum would have to save her.
Didn't he have any friends or relatives who could have been saved? Fleur, for instance, had to save her sister. That makes way more sense than Krum having to save Hermione.
From the moment Dumbledore first met Harry, he knew more about the boy than he ever said. His suspicions around Voldemort's Horcruxes started in the second novel, and it couldn't have been long before he deduced that Harry would have to die for Voldemort to be defeated.
All that time, he knew he was talking to a marked man, and he didn't say anything. Dumbledore probably knew that Harry would have to come to that decision on his own, but that doesn't mean it was easy for him to sit and talk with Harry with that secret hanging over his head.
It's understandable that Hogwarts spends a lot of its time familiarizing students with all of the various aspects of magic. There's clearly a lot to learn there. Having said that, Hogwarts should spend a little more time on the basic stuff that muggles learn.
Magical folk have no idea how to do any sort of complex math. Also, their writing skills don't improve at all after they've turned 11, and neither does their reading comprehension. Reading their essays must be terrible. Hogwarts may be filled with magic, but there are some fundamental skills that they should focus more of their time on.
The introduction of dementors into the story is a symbol that things are going to start to get a little darker for Harry. Most directly, dementors are a symbolic representation of depression and the empty absence of feeling that comes with it. It's a brilliant way to externalize that idea and to uncover how little time Harry has spent dealing with his own trauma.
As the story continues, the number of terrible things that happen to Harry will only rise. At this early point, though, we get our first look at how dark things could get, and also some hope that things may not be that bad.
Over the course of the Harry Potter novels and movies, Harry goes through a lot. The inciting incident of his story is the murder of both of this parents, but he goes through a lot during his time at Hogwarts too. He watches Cedric die and then watches his godfather die. He loses almost every mentor in his life and is forced to face down the greatest dark wizard of all time while he's still a teenager.
It'd be understandable, then, if Harry was a little emotionally unstable for the rest of his life. After the things he's seen, it would honestly be a little weird if he wasn't permanently messed up.
In part because of the terrible way that he was raised, Harry is an inclusive friend, and he chooses friends who are like-minded. He befriends a muggle-born girl immediately, as well as Hagrid. He doesn't care who these people are like many in the wizarding community. Instead, he cares how they act.
It's a distinction that underlines why Harry is such an interesting protagonist. He's driven by a core goodness that most people just don't innately have. He's willing to do anything for the people he loves, and it's that love that distinguishes him from Voldemort, and ultimately allows him to beat the dark wizard.
Anyone who's thrown a wedding knows that planning them is not fun. There's logistics and guest lists to consider, and then there's all the food that must be prepared. Although Molly Weasley stresses about her eldest songs wedding, it doesn't seem like she has any real reason to be concerned.
After all, magic makes most of the concerns that muggles have around planning weddings disappear. It probably also means they can be much cheaper. Instead of renting a tent that needs to be put up, they can simply put the tent up themselves. Food prep also seems to be much easier.
People are incredibly complicated, which is why sorting students as soon as they come to Hogwarts is insanely dumb. Children should be allowed to explore different aspects of who they are. They shouldn't be pigeon-holed into a certain funnel and expected to act a certain way as a result.
Society is at its best when people are allowed to be complicated, and Hogwarts tries too hard to boil every kid down to their core qualities. Slytherins and Gryffindors aren't friends for a reason, but if they didn't have those labels, maybe they'd be a little more friendly, or at least a little nicer.
Although Harry is a proud Gryffindor, one of the most important lessons he learns over his time at Hogwarts is that it's not a bad thing to ask for help when you need it. That's especially true in Order of the Phoenix when Harry is convinced that he has to do everything on his own.
By the end of that particular books, he realizes that the fact that he needs help only makes him stronger. He has friends who support him and work with him. Those people make him who he is, and asking them to help him is not a sign of weakness.
This is a minor thing, but the Sorting Hat is a public health crisis waiting to happen. It's old, and it's been on the heads of virtually every kid who's ever passed through Hogwarts. That thing would be infested with lice, and it would have passed those lice on to every kid who wore the hat afterward.
Maybe it has some sort of enchantment to keep that from being an issue, but wizards don't seem to be all that concerned about preventing terrible things from happening. Wash the hat every once in a while! I know it talks, but so do humans, and we still bathe.
Harry had an incredibly hard life in a lot of ways, but he was also the product of an incredibly rich family. That means that he never really had to work for anything, and he never had to worry about money. We get a slight sense of this by comparing Ron's money problems with Harry's lack thereof, but it only becomes clear just how lucky Harry is as you get older.
What all of us wouldn't give to have an enormous inheritance. Harry has so much money that he could choose not to work if he didn't want to. Most people, even in the wizarding world, don't have that luxury.
If there's a spell that unlocks doors, and it's so simple that first-year students can do it, why do locks exist at all? Of course, there are some doors that are magically enchanted so that spell doesn't work, but presumably, those doors don't also need physical locks. In the wizarding world, it seems like they function more like a child lock because a mechanical lock is not going to keep any wizard out.
Basically, locks are useless, and they shouldn't be a part of door designs in the wizarding world. It's not like they're pretty to look at either!
If you got a letter in the mail, and that letter told you that your son and daughter was a witch or wizard and that they had to go to school for seven years to learn how to be a better one, would you trust that mail? You would likely think it was a scam, and throw it away. If you got that as an email, Gmail would filter it right out of your inbox and into the spam folder.
Granted, there are ways around this for muggle-born witches and wizards. If someone who does magic comes by the house, you're certainly going to be more likely to believe them than a letter that's probably a scam.
Although Harry Potter takes place before most people had cell phones, it turns out that they have a lot of similarities with wands. Most people feel a personal connection to their phone, just like a wand, and our phones also respond to our touch now in the same way wands do.
Many of the capabilities phones have are also at least a little bit magical. You can connect with people all over the world, and have food brought to you with the click of a button. It's technology, but it's also a little magical if you think about it the right way.
Look, Hogwarts is filled to the brim with horny teenagers. The way bedrooms are set up at Hogwarts, there's very little private space. They don't even have doors! That means that many, many kids were likely in need of a secluded place to get a little freaky.
Thankfully, Hogwarts has a room that will be whatever you need it to be. For these horny teens, the room would likely feature a comfy bed, some appropriate protection, and maybe some smooth jazz as well. The room of requirement is definitely mostly used for sex, even if none of the characters in Harry Potter use it that way.
The first task of the Triwizard Tournament seems highly entertaining, even if it is a little dangerous. You get to watch these kids go up against dragons, after all, and what could be cooler than that? The second and third tasks were probably a little more boring.
The second involved sitting over a lake, waiting for the champions to emerge and having no idea what happened in between. Similarly, after you watched the contestants enter an enchanted maze for the third task, you had no idea what they were up to. Not the most entertaining viewing experience in the world.
Owls are an interesting way to deliver messages. These owls seem to intuitively know where everyone in the world is, and can fly great distances to pass messages. Unfortunately, they also represent an enormous security flaw if you're trying to hide your location.
Take Sirius, for example. If you wanted to know where he was while he was in hiding, why wouldn't you simply follow an owl that was carrying a message for him? Because owls appear to know exactly where everyone is, it becomes fairly easy for anyone interested in your location to find out where you are using nothing more than a flying broomstick.
In a world where magic exists, it seems like things should be much better than they are in Harry Potter. There shouldn't be any issues with poverty when you can duplicate food at will. It should also be much easier to build a nice house if you can use magic to move all of the supplies around.
Humanity is inherently flawed, but a magical world should be a lot closer to utopia than it is in this series. In that way, the story of Harry Potter feels a little depressing. Wouldn't you think a magical world would be just a little better than this?
Even in a world where magic exists, people who read tea leaves and look at the stars to predict the future are considered insane. That's not to suggest that it's not possible for witches and wizards to see the future. It's just that it doesn't really work the way people who read tea leaves think it does. That's what makes Professor Trelawney such a hilarious addition to the story.
She's as crazy as ever fortune teller you've ever met, but she can also actually see the future. It's a tricky balance between treating it as a joke and taking it seriously, but J.K. does it perfectly.
We all know someone who broke their TV when they accidentally flung a Wii remote into it. Thankfully, the folks at Nintendo thought of that, and included wrist straps so that the remote doesn't fly away. If witches and wizards were smart, they'd apply the same logic to their wands. That way, they couldn't be disarmed with a simple spell.
It may seem like too simple a solution, but it would probably work. It might have made the story of Harry Potter a little less interesting, but it's also something that someone definitely should have thought of and tried by now.
Harry had a pretty remarkable high school career. He saved the school like five separate times, and ended his run in high school by defeating the greatest dark wizard who ever lived. Needless to say, he probably peaked in high school. There's no shame in that, especially since his high school career was pretty exceptional.
Even so, it's got to be a little depressing for Harry to think about all the adventures he used to have now that he's settled into a much quieter, steadier existence. Some days, I bet he misses the constant danger he put himself in during his youth.
Harry Potter lives in a world with crazy magic. They build a tent that is ten times bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. And yet, no one can find a way to get Harry a fix for his eyesight. People are inventing new healing spells all the time, but there is no spell to fix eyesight.
In the muggle world, we at least have contacts, so we're not always forced to wear glasses. In Harry's world, though, it's glasses or bust. That seems like a weirdly mechanical solution in a world that's filled with magically enchanted people and objects.
The opinion on the epilogue that closes out the Harry Potter series is mixed, but it is weird to consider Harry's choice in naming his children. Did they all have to be named after people he'd known in his life? There were no names he wanted just because he liked the sound of them?
Instead of naming his kids like a normal person, he named them like someone who's in love with the story of Harry Potter. It's not the most egregious thing in the world, but looking back on it, it may be a little silly. It's just more heavy-handed than it needs to be.
As someone on the internet, you're probably well aware of all the memes around the fact that schools teach us calculus instead of something useful, like how to do our taxes. At Hogwarts, the exact opposite is true. Almost every skill that Harry and his friends learn in school is applicable to what they actually have to do in their real lives.
Of course, even Hogwarts has courses that most people will never need. There's History of Magic, which Hermione likes but the boys do not, and Divination, which absolutely no one seems to like. Still, Hogwarts prepares kids for the real world better than most schools.