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Dumb Things In Harry Potter Everyone Just Ignored

There's no doubt that J.K. Rowling created actual magic when she wrote the Harry Potter books—and that the resulting movies, merchandising, theme parks, and spinoffs are part of a cultural phenomenon that will continue to mesmerize readers and film fans for generations to come. But that doesn't mean the series was perfect—upon closer inspection, you'll find that there are definitely some flaws, plot holes, and open ends left dangling in each installment.

Since when can snakes read?

In the first scene of the first film adaptation, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry is begrudgingly invited to join his gross guardians the Dursleys on a trip to the zoo, which is where he realizes he can talk to snakes. The python he inadvertently communicates with nods and shakes his head in answer to Harry's questions about his past—which is strange enough, but could be dismissed as picking up cues from the humans observed over the years of his residency in the tank. But when Harry asks if he's from Burma, the snake nods in the direction of a sign that says "bred in captivity."

Even if you're willing to suspend disbelief that the snake would be able to answer in the affirmative and negative while Harry was unknowingly using his parseltongue gift, the idea that the slithering creature can tell what's on that sign is ridiculous.

Why didn't Dumbledore check on Harry over the years?

When we first met Harry, he was a teensy little baby being delivered by Minerva Mcgonagall and Albus Dumbledore to the doorstep of Harry's Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon for safe keeping. Minerva and Albus knew his relatives were horrible, sure. But they were still his blood, and the child had just survived an attack from You Know Who, so the good Headmaster's logic in placing Harry away from the inevitable circus of fame and into the muggle realm was sound enough. What doesn't make sense, however, is the fact that the Boy Who Lived pretty much escaped their attention or interest for the entire decade that followed.

When Hagrid arrived to cart Harry away and start his education at Hogwarts on his 11th birthday, despite his aunt and uncle's best efforts to shield him (and, by extension themselves) from the weird wizarding world, he didn't have a clue as to what Harry had been through under their watch. He didn't know they'd lied to him all his life about his parents' deaths and the fact that he was, himself, a born wizard.

We have to assume that the reason he didn't know of Harry's circumstances is that Minerva and Albus turned a blind eye to his upbringing, which makes absolutely zero sense, given the fact that we later learn, in Deathly Hallows, that Dumbledore had known of Harry's importance all the while. You'd think he'd keep an eye on his prized student-to-be and step in when there was actual abuse and neglect. On the other hand, the fact that the owl-delivered letters Harry received were addressed to "Mr. H. Potter, The Cupboard Under the Stairs" indicated that maybe they did know of his harsh reality ... and didn't care or do anything about it. Which is worse?

Why did Aunt Petunia care if Harry went to Hogwarts anyway?

Another thing that doesn't quite compute is the fact that Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia would go to such great lengths to keep Harry away from Hogwarts in the first place. Sure, Petunia might have had a lifelong vendetta against magic, considering her sister's "freak" behavior throughout their youth and the fact that she, you know, died a terrible death by the wand. But given the way Harry was raised—er, not raised—by these two, they should have welcomed the idea of him being taken from their custody throughout the school year. They weren't really trying to shelter him from harm, and they certainly weren't feeling territorial over his guardianship, so what gives? Are we to believe that they really just wanted to shelter themselves from wizardry so badly that they'd miss the opportunity to basically give him up?

How was Hermione such a supreme witch from the start?

There's no question that Hermione Granger's status as the cleverest witch was fist-pumpworthy for a lot of readers and moviegoers, but there's still a giant question mark that looms over her bushy-haired head as to how she acclimated to the wizarding world so quickly. She was raised as a muggle, so chances are, she wasn't groomed in the art of flying brooms during her youth.

Her intellect can only carry her so far in these matters, and the fact that she knew so much about the Hogwarts life before she'd even arrived seems a bit too convenient. Where did she learn the occulus reparo spell she did on Harry's glasses on the Hogwarts Express? Even if she'd had her own Hagrid to escort her through Diagon Alley to pick up a wizarding textbook and wand, isn't practicing magic outside the school considered a big no-no anyway?

How did Ollivander recognize Harry so quickly?

When Hagrid dropped Harry off at Ollivander's shop to pick up his first wand, Mr. Ollivander recognized Harry at first glance and said, "I wondered when I would see you Mr. Potter." Even assuming he might've been expecting Harry to stop by, based on his age and whispers around town, it's pretty inexplicable that he'd be able to identify the boy within a millisecond. After all, Harry's identifying scar was well concealed by his thick bangs in the scene, and he didn't exactly announce himself. Nobody had seen the kid since he was a baby.

Speaking of muggles, why were the wizards so bad at acting human?

Hermione was able to ascend from the muggle realm into the wizarding world based on her raw talents and smarts, and she definitely wasn't the first. Lily Potter was also a muggle-born witch, and "mudblood" was a common enough insult by the time Draco Malfoy started calling Hermione the horrible name.

So if there were muggles who'd already infiltrated the world of magic, why hadn't they helped their fellow wizards behave more normally? When we first met the Weasley family, they were happily babbling about muggles and such at King's Cross Station before hopping through the brick wall to Platform 9¾. Wouldn't their obvious behaviors alert the muggles lurking about the station (of which there were plenty)? If the station employee was so miffed about Harry merely asking about his concocted destination, wouldn't someone be alarmed at seeing children disappear into brick walls?

Did people not hear the Sorting Hat talk to Harry?

When everyone else was put under the Sorting Hat to determine their houses, the Hat's voice was crystal clear to the crowd. But once Harry stepped up to the proverbial plate, he was able to carry on a whole conversation with the Hat without everyone hearing him argue with the device over his potential fit for House Slytherin. All anyone seemed to hear and react to was the final decree that he was being placed in Gryffindor, but the conversation's volume level never changed. Shouldn't somebody have been skeptical about Harry basically being able to choose his own house after first being selected for Slytherin? That didn't raise any eyebrows?

Why were they so scared of a cat?

When Harry, Hermione, and Ron were transported by the changing stairs to the forbidden third floor, they were about to cut and run because they knew it to be off limits. But as soon as they saw Filch's cat, they ran further into the danger zone out of fear of the red-eyed cat. Presumably, they were afraid Filch himself wasn't far behind, which was accurate, but they didn't land there on purpose, right? They couldn't have really believed they'd be held responsible for the staircase's random motions. This was just a convenient plot point to introduce Fluffy, the three-headed dog, and nothing more.

How did Harry get to stroll into the Quidditch match with his Nimbus 2000?

Conveniently, Harry was gifted the niftiest broom this side of Hogsmeade just in time for him to suit up for his first game of Quidditch, making him the best-equipped seeker on the field. And while everyone else had their standard issue brooms in tow, no one said anything about Harry having this extraordinary piece of equipment in his clutches during the bout. With everything else being uniform, how was he able to waltz (and fly) in with such an advantage?

How did Hermione get across the entire field in two minutes?

When Harry's broom was spelled into a spiral by Quirrell (although they thought it was Snape), Hermione caught Professor Snape chanting by using her binoculars from across the massive arena. Within the matter of a minute or two, she was able to dash all the way across the entire field to set Snape's robe on fire and distract them all from interfering with Harry's progress so he could catch the Snitch and win the match. She didn't have the Time Turner by then and didn't arrive with a broom of her own at the time, so how in the world did she make it that far so quickly?

Why do wizards celebrate Christmas?

We never got into the backstory of why the wizards celebrated a religious holiday like Christmas. They even used magic to decorate their big hall tree. Maybe, just maybe, there was a chance they believed Jesus was one of them, since he turned water into wine and healed the sick and the like. But we never did quite get to know, so it seems a little unusual that they'd throw up lights and play Santa when they're otherwise so segregated from muggle traditions.

Why did Dumbledore give Harry the cloak his first year?

Later in the Harry Potter series, it's revealed that the Invisibility Cloak is one of the three Deathly Hallows, a fabled trio of powerful objects created by Death for the Peverell brothers. It's the only one of the three that actually helped its original owner escape Death's clutches in the legend, so why would Dumbledore bestow such a powerful artifact to a first-year student? Wouldn't he save it for a time when Harry was more mature and respectful of its importance, rather than throwing it on for kicks when he was caught sneaking around the Restricted Section?

Why didn't Voldemort just take over Harry's body?

The entire series could've been ended in one fell swoop if Voldemort had just taken over Harry's body. Voldemort had done so with Quirrell, and the moment Harry burned his professor to the ground (with the love that lived in his skin, which is also really, really dumb rationale) Voldemort's horrible soul coasted through the room and through Harry before disappearing. We later discover Harry was himself a horcrux, so his body would seem like a perfect fit for Voldemort's next takeover...but that would've preempted the need for the next six books and seven films. This plot point was basically the equivalent of a "why wouldn't Frodo just ride the Eagles to Mordor in Lord of the Rings" level of silliness.