In Depth

Harry Potter plot holes that have never been solved

Six unexplained questions that will change the way you look at the wizarding world

As Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone turns 20, many fans will be inspired to return to the series and catch up with Harry and friends all over again.

Re-reading the books as an adult, however, you might find certains aspects of the story don't quite stand up to scrutiny.

In fact, you'll need more than a magic wand to explain away these six glaring plot holes. Careful, you may never look at Hogwarts the same way...

1. How did no-one notice Peter Pettigrew on the Marauder's Map?

This particular plot hole has had fans of the series scratching their heads for years. In book three, it is revealed that Voldemort's lackey, Peter Pettigrew, has been hidden in plain sight for years, disguised as Ron's pet rat Scabbers. But what about the Marauder's Map, which reveals the location of everyone at Hogwarts? Fred and George Weasley apparently used it for years without ever questioning why a man named Peter Pettigrew was sharing their brother's bed.

2. What's the deal with time-travel?

A subplot in the Prisoner of Azkaban which later becomes a vital part of the story sees Hermione being allowed to use a time-turner in order to take extra classes - and opens up a huge philosophical can of worms in the process. For instance, why didn't someone go back in time and kill Voldemort before he became so powerful? Why couldn't Harry go back in time and prevent his parent's death?

JK Rowling has previously admitted that she "went far too light-heartedly into the subject of time travel" and soon realised her predicament: "If wizards could go back and undo problems, where were my future plots?" To resolve the issue, in Order of the Phoenix, Rowling made sure that all time-turners were destroyed in the climactic battle in the Department of Mysteries.

3. How does the wizard economy work?

Gringotts bank is one of the institutions of the wizarding world, but in a society with magic the value of coins, wages and even the concept of money is questionable. Some economically-minded readers have even tried to puzzle out whether wizards have a stock exchange and whether their currency relies on a fixed exchange rate.

The apparently glaring wealth inequality in the magical world has also raised eyebrows. Many fans have questioned why the Weasleys are so down at heel when simple spells can be used to mend their possessions, carry out DIY and perform household chores.

4. Why doesn't Harry see the thestrals after Cedric Diggory dies?

In the wizarding world, thestrals are invisible winged animals which can only be seen by those who have witnessed death. Yet, after watching Cedric Diggory die at the end of Goblet of Fire, Harry is still taken away in what he sees as a "horseless carriage".

Put on the spot by an interviewer in 2004, Rowling said "you can see [the thestrals] only when you really understand death in a broader sense", and that she chose to wait until the reality of Cedric's death had sunk in for her hero to gain the new ability, which he demonstrates in the next book.

5. How hard is it to get Harry to touch something?

At the end of Goblet of Fire, it is revealed that the villainous Barty Crouch Jr - disguised as gruff Auror Mad-Eye Moody - entered Harry's name into the Triwizard Tournament so that he would touch the trophy, which had been transformed into a portkey to teleport Harry to a waiting Voldemort. But why?

Given that Harry had no time to prepare and almost died several times during the contest, there was no guarantee that he would actually win the tournament. And why couldn't Crouch have transformed literally anything else into the portkey? Why set up such an incredibly convoluted scheme when the portkey could just as easily have been Harry's toothbrush?

6. Why does Voldemort always attack at the end of the school year?

Screenrant questions why the Dark Lord's plans always seem to come to fruition just at the end of the summer term. Surely after Voldemort's identically timed appearancs at Hogwarts at the end of books 1,2,3,4 and 5, the school should really have been more prepared for his next attack. However, the site concedes that "a more straightforward evil plot that happened mid-way through the summer holidays just wouldn't be the same".

For the full range of Harry Potter collectables visit the Wizarding World Store on Amazon

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