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Biggest Unanswered Questions From The Harry Potter Franchise

When a franchise has lore as intricate as "Harry Potter," there are bound to be a few loose ends. Seven books, eight movies, and three prequel films span the "Harry Potter" series, yet there are more than a few questions that remain unanswered. Sometimes, answers are found, but their validity depends on what you count as canon. For starters, there are essentially two versions of the story — the books and the movies. While the films stick to the novels for the most part, there are still a few discrepancies.

Another consideration is "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," the officially-sanctioned stage play that takes place 19 years after the events of the original series. Furthermore, J.K. Rowling has casually mentioned important details about the outcomes of characters in random interviews. This has led to some fascinating revelations over the years, though the author hasn't cleared up everything. These are the biggest unanswered questions in the "Harry Potter" franchise.

Spoiler warning for all things "Harry Potter" and "Fantastic Beasts."

How does Nagini meet Voldemort?

When we first meet Nagini, she's just Voldemort's beloved snake. We eventually learn that she is also one of the Dark Lord's Horcruxes — objects and beings that house pieces of his splintered soul. Neville Longbottom ultimately kills Nagini in both the book and the movie versions of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," but the backstory of Voldemort's serpent sidekick wasn't touched upon in the original series.

In "The Crimes of Grindelwald," the second entry in the "Fantastic Beasts" series, we discover Nagini was once human. In that film, which takes place decades prior to "Harry Potter," Nagini is revealed to be under a curse. She can switch back and forth from snake to human, but she knows one day the curse will consume her and she'll be a snake forever. With Nagini absent from the third "Fantastic Beasts" film, "The Secrets of Dumbledore," there's still a gaping hole in her story.

When does she become a snake permanently? What leads her to meeting Voldemort? In "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," Dumbledore states that Voldemort "used Nagini to kill an old Muggle man, and it might then have occurred to him to turn her into his last Horcrux." J.K. Rowling clarified in an interview that this Muggle was actually someone named Bertha Jorkins.

Even with these breadcrumbs, the surface has barely been scratched on the relationship between Voldemort and Nagini. Voldemort is notoriously untrusting. We would love to know why he trusted Nagini enough to keep a piece of his soul safe, but we're never told how the two began their connection.

What happens to Aurelius?

Viewers were introduced to Credence Barebone in the film "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." Credence suffers frequent mental and physical attacks from an Obscurus, which the Wizarding World website defines as "an intense and awful energy that bursts from a repressed wizard who is trying to hold back their magic." Think of it kind of like a Hulk situation (at least mentally), except the torment eventually leads to death.

In later "Fantastic Beasts" installments, we learn that Credence is actually Aurelius Dumbledore — Aberforth's son and a nephew of Albus. The last we see of Aurelius, he's in a very weak state, but has just made amends with his estranged father. It remains to be seen if this restored relationship can vanquish the Obscurus, or if the ailment will still consume him. With the fate of the "Fantastic Beasts" films up in the air at the time of this writing, we may never know which side of Aurelius prevails.

When will Newt and Tina get together?

Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and Porpentina "Tina" Goldstein (Katherine Waterson) clearly like each other, but things keep getting in the way for them. Sometimes they're tangled up in too thick of an adventure to have time to discuss their romantic intentions. Other times they're mistaken about each other's love lives and think the other is with someone else.

Having not seen each other for a while, Newt and Tina reconnect at a wedding at the end of the third "Fantastic Beasts" film, "The Secrets of Dumbledore," happy to see one another. A bashful conversation is the only update the audience gets on the budding romance, but if we do some digging, we can discover the conclusion of their relationship.

In the canon of "Harry Potter," Scamander is the author of a textbook entitled "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," hence the name of the film series. In the real world, J.K. Rowling actually published this in-universe textbook in 2001. In the "about the author" section, Rowling listed biographical information about Scamander, years before he became the hero of his own spin-off series.

In this bio, Porpentina Goldstein is referenced as Newt's wife! So we already know that they're destined to be together, but how and when is anyone's guess. Judging by their last appearance, marriage is definitely a long way off.

How is Professor Quirrell able to do... anything?

In "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," Voldemort is little more than a malevolent spirit without a body. Naturally, his solution is to exist on the back of someone else's head. That someone is Professor Quirrell, who teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts. Quirrell wears a turban at all times to disguise the fact that Voldemort's face is just sitting there, all contorted and creepy. Sure, we can suspend our disbelief a little when it comes to the Wizarding World. But if you really think about the nitty gritty of Quirrell's everyday life, you have to admit, there are some strange gaps to fill.

How does Quirrell sleep, exactly? If he rolls over on his back in the night, does Voldemort suffocate? Does Voldemort need to sleep? If so, does he snore? And does he need his own food? How would that work? It's a tricky balancing act that they somehow managed to pull off in front of Dumbledore, his staff, and hundreds of students. How they managed to go on for so long without someone noticing that something weird was going on is a question that will probably never be answered.

Is Gilderoy Lockhart ever cured?

Globetrotting adventurer and best-selling author Gilderoy Lockhart becomes Hogwarts' new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." He talks about defeating villains and doing heroic deeds in his memoirs, but Harry and Ron discover that Lockhart is a fraud. All this time, he's been taking credit for other wizards' achievements, casting a memory charm on those he steals acclaim from so they forget everything. He tries to do just that to Harry and Ron in the Chamber of Secrets, but the charm backfires. Lockhart has severe memory problems going forward, not even remembering his own name.

In the movie series, the last we see of him is when he's being rescued from the depths of the Chamber of Secrets by Fawkes the phoenix (in a post-credits scene, we do see that he writes at least one more book, titled "Who Am I?"). Lockhart doesn't appear at any other point in the movies, but he does in the books. In "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," Harry and the Weasley family visit St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. While there, they happen upon former Professor Lockhart, still being treated for his memory loss over two years after his incident. This is his final appearance in the books. We unfortunately never discover if he overcomes his ailment or continues to struggle with memory loss for the remainder of his life.

Does Neville ever discover the truth about the prophecy?

Harry discovers an important connection between himself and Voldemort in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." A prophecy foretold years prior predicted, "Neither can live while the other survives," meaning that ultimately either Harry will kill Voldemort, or Voldemort will kill Harry. These details are all included in the movie version of the story, but in the "Order of the Phoenix" book, Dumbledore shares even more. It turns out that the night Voldemort killed Harry's parents and tried to kill Harry, Voldemort wasn't sure if the prophecy referred to Harry or if it actually meant Neville Longbottom, who also met the prophecy's requirements based on his birthday and heritage.

The prophecy could have applied to either Harry or Neville. The only reason it applied to Harry is because Voldemort assumed it did, and thus made it so. He could have just as easily chosen Neville, unleashing an alternate timeline in which Neville Longbottom was the boy who lived, the child with the lightning bolt scar on his forehead. To the reader's knowledge, Dumbledore only ever shares this information with Harry. He never tells Neville about the prophecy. Not that Neville doesn't become a hero in his own right. He's vital to Voldemort's defeat, particularly for killing Nagini and weakening the Dark Lord ahead of his showdown with Harry. But we never find out if Neville learns the truth about what his life almost became.

How did Fleur and Bill's romance bloom?

If the "Harry Potter" franchise were to explore every gap in its story in the form of spin-offs, we might suggest a romantic comedy starring Fleur Delacour and Bill Weasley. She's a graduate of the French wizarding school Beauxbatons, and he's an employee at Gringotts Bank. In the books, much of the exposition about their relationship is left to quick snippets of dialogue recapping events that happened out of view of the reader. In the movies, their relationship seems to simply appear out of thin air.

Wizarding World tracks Fleur and Bill's relationship, noting that Fleur first started crushing on Bill when he helped facilitate the dragon challenge at the Triwizard Tournament in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." It's mentioned offhandedly in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" that she got a job at Gringotts, and is taking private English lessons from Bill. By "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the couple is engaged, and their wedding commences in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

There's a lot of room within those bullet points to explore this relationship. Was their office romance akin to Pam and Jim? Did they have any madcap adventures together at Gringotts? While we may see different stages of Fleur and Bill's relationship throughout the "Harry Potter" series, we really don't get to know them as characters very thoroughly.

What's going on with Percy Weasley?

Percy Weasley, one of Ron's older brothers, has quite the character arc. Fiercely loyal to his employers at the Ministry of Magic, Percy dumps his family when Voldemort returns. The Weasleys believe Voldemort is back, as Harry and Dumbledore say. The Ministry staunchly denies that this is the case. This puts Percy in a tricky spot, and he opts to cut ties with his whole family. Later, when the Ministry falls and Voldemort is very clearly at large again, Percy reconciles with the Weasleys and fights alongside his family in the Battle of Hogwarts. This is all explained in great detail in the books. The reader gets a full understanding of Percy's motivations and his whereabouts. In the movies, though, the audience is left to fill in some rather large blanks.

After having last been seen as a happy member of the Weasley clan, Percy appears in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" alongside Ministry officials when they interrogate Dumbledore. The audience might even wonder if it's Percy at all, as he's not even acknowledged, he's just... there. The next time we see him, he's mourning the loss of his brother Fred in the aftermath of the Battle of Hogwarts. If you've never read the books, it's unlikely that you'll be able to piece together Percy's backstory just by those two quick glimpses. Perhaps it's unimportant in light of the bigger picture, but it's confusing nonetheless.

Does Hermione reverse the memory charm on her parents?

At the beginning of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Hermione casts a memory charm on her parents that makes them forget she exists. She does this to protect them. As Hermione embarks on a quest with Harry and Ron to defeat Voldemort, she's afraid that her parents, who are Muggles, might be in danger if they know what she's up to, or even that she's their daughter.

While Hermione's parents didn't get as much character development as, for example, Ron's parents, the Grangers are still an important part of the "Potter" saga and the audience empathizes with their loss, even if the characters themselves don't know to mourn. Certainly we might assume that, once everything is all said and done, Hermione would undo the memory charm and choose to be part of her parents' lives again. But that information is never disclosed in the book or in the film.

The only way we know for certain that Hermione restores her parents' memories is simply because J.K. Rowling said so in a 2007 chat with Bloomsbury.com. In the series proper, the question is left unanswered, and even with Rowling's reveal, the reunion leaves much to the imagination. Do the Grangers have difficulty re-adjusting to their former lives, or does that come naturally? Did they feel any sense of void without Hermione, or were they peachy in her absence? The spell reversal would have been fun to see unfold.

What was Hermione's final year of school like?

Within the story, the year that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" takes place would have been Harry, Ron, and Hermione's seventh and final year as students at Hogwarts. The trio didn't return to class because they were busy defeating the most powerful dark wizard of all time. Speaking to PotterCast in 2007, J.K. Rowling revealed that after the events of the series, Hermione returned to Hogwarts. "Harry and Ron didn't go back, Hermione did," she said. "Of course she'd go back. She has to get her N.E.W.T.s." So, in the canon of "Harry Potter," there's an entire year of school Hermione completed that we know nothing about!

Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood are one year younger than Hermione. This means they would have been in the same classes during their final year of studies. How fun would it be to see that unfold? Sure, there might not be any life-threatening danger on par with Lord Voldemort, but even aside from run-ins with villains, when has life ever been boring for Hermione Granger? Surely there was an adventure to be had or a mystery to be solved? Maybe one day Warner Brothers will pull a "Solo" and make a stand-alone Hermione movie.

Is the Defense Against the Dark Arts post still cursed?

Every school year within the "Harry Potter" series, Defense Against the Dark Arts is taught by a different professor at Hogwarts. In order, they are Quirinus Quirrell, Gilderoy Lockhart, Remus Lupin, Barty Crouch Jr. (disguised as Alastor Moody), Dolores Umbridge, and Severus Snape. Though Harry no longer attends Hogwarts during the events of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," he learns from Neville that Defense Against the Dark Arts has become known simply as "Dark Arts" and is taught by a Death Eater named Amycus Carrow.

It's no coincidence that the post can't be kept by anyone longer than a single school year. During a flashback in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," we learn Tom Riddle, Lord Voldemort himself, applied for the job twice. Both times Dumbledore rejected the idea, and the role was thereby cursed, jinxed, or altogether unlucky in whatever vocabulary wizards might call it, thanks to a grudge held by He Who Must Not Be Named.

Since Voldemort dies at the end of the series, is the post still subject to his bitterness? Do professors stand a chance at teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts now? While Hermione appears as the professor of the subject in the stage play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," it's in an alternate timeline created by a time-turning incident. We never get a definite answer about who now teaches the class or for how long within the main timeline of the story.

How long did Umbridge remain at large?

Dolores Umbridge does her best to make Harry miserable during her time at Hogwarts in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." Later Umbridge returns to her job at the Ministry of Magic, where she takes pride in putting Muggle-born witches and wizards on trial, punishing them for crimes they did not commit. It's there that Harry encounters her again in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." This memorable incident in the courtroom early on in "Deathly Hallows" is the last we see of Umbridge in the main series. Once Harry restores peace to the wizarding world, we can imagine Umbridge has some explaining to do and might finally get her comeuppance. However, this is never shown or mentioned in the series.

Once Harry has retrieved the Horcrux that Umbridge unknowingly possessed, the story never gets back around to her. In an article she penned for Pottermore in 2015, J.K. Rowling wrote, "With the fall of Lord Voldemort, Dolores Umbridge was put on trial for her enthusiastic cooperation with his regime, and convicted of the torture, imprisonment, and deaths of several people." In a separate web chat, the author confirmed that Umbridge was "imprisoned for crimes against Muggleborns." There's still a big gap between when we last see her and this conviction, however, and we'd love to see what happens when she realizes she's on the wrong team.

Does Harry ever reconnect with the Dursleys?

Despite Harry's aunt Petunia, his uncle Vernon, and his cousin Dudley being absolutely horrible to him for his entire childhood, you have to wonder if there was ever some sort of reconciliation in the years that followed. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" sees the Dursleys packing up their things and moving from their longtime home in Privet Drive, to be given protection by the Ministry of Magic. Even though they want nothing to do with Harry, just being related to him puts them in danger at this point. There's a handshake that acts as a kind of unspoken apology from Dudley, but that's it. They nonchalantly depart in an unemotional goodbye, and the series leaves it at that.

We don't get any update on how this journey goes for the Dursleys, which had to have been quite the episode given their aversion to all things magic. "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" mentions that Dudley sent Harry his baby blanket in adulthood, meaning the cousins maintain some semblance of a relationship. During a Q&A with J.K. Rowling in 2007, the author elaborated on Harry and Dudley's future. She said they'd "still see each other enough to be on Christmas-card terms, but they would visit more out of a sense of duty and sit in silence so that their children could see their cousins."