5 Slightly Ridiculous Unsolved Mysteries of the Harry Potter Series

I have started rereading the Harry Potter books to help me get to sleep at night, since I know them well enough that I don’t feel like I’m missing anything when I fall asleep halfway through a chapter and need to find my place again. As a result, I have come across a number of tiny mysteries that were (gasp!) never addressed by Pottermore and I thought they were just, well, nice and comforting in light of the various larger inconsistencies in The Crimes of Grindelwald. I anticipate that I will find more of these as I move forward through the series. For the record, I will be leaving out anything about the mechanics of time travel via Time Turner because that just hurts my brain, and any thoughts about the mechanics of Hagrid’s conception because there are some things that really ought to stay mysteries.

1. The wand chooses the wizard (with some exceptions)

Some people who are better at math than me figured out that, given the price of the materials (unicorn hair, phoenix tail feather, etc.) that go into each wand, Ollivander probably sells them at a loss. Even so, wands are among the most pricey of school supplies. However, since wizards get worse results when using someone else’s wand, it does not seem to me to be the best area to economize when buying school supplies for your eleven-year-old. I understand why Ron ended up with Charlie’s old wand given how many Weasley children there are, but Neville, who presumably had at least some money left to him by his parents, also used his father’s old wand for the first five books and that didn’t always go well for him. The poor kid already had the cards stacked against him, why not get him his own wand?

2. Dumbledore’s scar

In the very first book, Dumbledore tells Hagrid and McGonagall that he has a scar on his left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground and that scars can be useful—how so, Albus? Do you think he’s just going to strip in the middle of a chase scene in the Underground in the next Fantastic Beasts movie? Maybe that’s when he decides to switch to velvet robes instead of those smart suits.

3. Quirrell’s turban

I asked a while back on Twitter why Quirrell’s students thought the turban smelled like it was stuffed with garlic when it was actually stuffed with Voldemort’s face. One suggestion was that it was just the stench of evil. It’s hard to brush teeth on the back of your head, someone else said.

4. Where do the animals for Transfiguration come from?

Does Professor McGonagall just order, say, a bunch of umbrella birds to be turned into umbrellas? What happens to them after class? Do they just hang out as umbrellas until the next time they’re needed? You don’t have to feed or clean up after umbrellas. (I know, let it go. It’s magic.)

5. How did Nearly Headless Nick get un-Petrified if he can’t eat or drink?

We know that Nick and his fellow ghosts miss being able to taste food, even though they no longer have to eat. Nick obviously couldn’t have taken the potion that was used on the Petrified students. Was the Mandrake Draught just sprayed in his general direction?

I hope I’ve given you a few things to wonder about today.

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