The Harry Potter series is one of the most popular fiction series, with fan fiction set in it coming in at 736K as of the 1st of March 2016, on fan fiction.net alone.
The multitude of fan fiction written about it can be contributed to the dynamic characters, rich setting and sheer vastness of J.K Rowling’s creation but taking into account the fan fictions written and you might come to consider another unexpectedly significant feature.
The plot holes.
To be more precise, the many many plot holes that inspire conspiracy theories, alternate timelines and spark the imagination of readers as they contemplate the mysteries of the Harry Potter universe.
What Plot Holes?
Why exactly did Harry Potter survive the Killing Curse?
Despite all the allusions to it in the book, the reason was rather flimsy (Dumbledore insisting that it was ‘Your mother’s love for you, Harry.’) as surely Lily Potter was not the only mother who dies defending her child from the Killing Curse… yet apparently her sacrifice deflected the ‘unstoppable curse of death’ and provided Harry with a form of magical protection that lasted till he hit 17.
S0 what would be the fan theories on that?
My favourite of all is the one by Athey in Again and Again, where it all started with Severus Snape.
His request for Voldemort to spare Lily Potter (which was what made the mass-murdering psychopath that had killed ruthlessly in the war ask a muggleborn to step aside instead of just killing her) became a unconscious magical oath which was then manipulated (by Voldemort agreeing to take Lily Potter’s life in exchange for her son’s) and the backlash of him breaking the oath killing him and saving Harry.
I liked it as it pointed out why exactly Harry in particular out of the many was saved along with the setting in which it was revealed (Ha! no more spoilers from me, go read the fanfic). It also fits in perfectly with canon events.
Why do house elves remain enslaved?
They have magic of their own which has proved to be quite powerful (Dobby blasts Lucius in defence of Harry and they seem to be able to ignore wards at least in terms of apparition), they are capable of circumventing orders (Dobby’s hilarious attempts to ‘save the Great Harry Potter sir’s life) and they are freed once they receive clothes (Seriously, if you can free an elf just by them catching an item of clothing that you dropped…).
Surely the indoctrination would not hold forever and it doesn’t seem like a new development… on the other hand if they are a different form of creature they might not feel the same about freedom… Windy seems to protest it, in addition to the reaction of the house elves at Hogwarts with SPEW.
The most convincing fan theory I have read?
It is true that the House elves love work, but the true reason they remain bound is that it prevents them from becoming absolutely insane monsters.
Dumbledore and his plans.
Mostly stemming from how could Dumbledore have possibly missed that Harry was being abused? Seriously the boy was kept in a cupboard, then locked up in a room with food served through cat-flap. That. Is. Abuse. Despite the varying views on the extent of the abuse, most readers would concur that it is not ok to keep a child in a cupboard regardless of what abilities they might have, hence Dumbledore should have noticed and done something for it seems Harry was put there because of him Cough Hagrid Cough
Of course this in addition to how he encourages Harry’s reckless behaviour along with some actions that could be interpreted as isolating the boy. For example, the points gained the end of their first year, keeping him under watch at the House of Abusive Dursleys but somehow not noticing how he was treated.
Along with some downright disturbing moments:
“So the boy… the boy must die?” asked Snape quite calmly.
“And Voldemort himself must do it, Severus. That is essential.”
Another long silence. Then Snape said, “I thought… all these years… that we were protecting him for her. For Lily.”
“We have protected him because it has been essential to teach him, to raise him, to let him try his strength,” said Dumbledore, his eyes still tight shut. “Meanwhile, the connection between them grows ever stronger, a parasitic growth: Sometimes I have thought he suspects it himself. If I know him, he will have arranged matters so that when he sets out to meet his death, it will truly mean the end of Voldemort.”
Dumbledore opened his eyes. Snape looked horrified.
“You have kept him alive so that he can die at the right moment?… You have used me… I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to keep Lily Potter’s son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter…” (33.182-185)
Harry never received any counselling at all after risking his life against a troll to save another student (who was the responsibility of the professors – you know the adults actually trained to fight large magical trolls), burning a professor (an authority figure that he was supposed to be able to trust.) to death – ashes actually – with his hands, fighting for his life against a Basilisk and was bullied continuously throughout his school career by yet another professor (Snape.)
Even Snape – the quintessential villain – is horrified but Dumbledore is calmly explaining what must be done…
Dumbledore had no qualms about using Snape, to spy (risking his life and enduring excruciating pain as he did so) and emotionally manipulating him with ease (Lily’s son…, Would it really tear at your soul…) but discarding him easily in the end – he must have known that Voldemort would kill Snape to gain ownership over the wand.
Harry also didn’t receive any support when the school turned against him in his second year, an action mirrored by the wizarding society as a whole in later years.
Honestly theres a lot of different views on Dumbledore’s true character, with most of it being rather negative and I can see why but my favourites are those where Dumbledore truly does mean the best for everyone – this includes sacrificing Harry for The Greater Good but only if he thinks absolutely has to and not if it’s only for his own good. – so this definitely includes A Cadmean Victory along with Harry Potter and the Power of Paranoia as even he is only human, despite the portrayal of him in the books I prefer characters that are not two-faced smiling villains.
To be continued…