Since first published in 1988, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has been the delight of millions, young and old. The series has launched a merchandise bonanza which includes theme parks, toys, video games, and to date, seven movies. While Harry represents so many things, loner, dreamer, protector and champion, his magical world is strange and intriguing. Banks are run by Goblins. Wands are made out of a mix of wood and elements of magical creatures. There is old magic and dark magic. And, love is a force that requires study in the Department of Mysteries. Still with all the details J. K. Rowling lays out in her books, there are still many questions that remain unanswered in the series. Some of those questions are:
Why Are Elves Servants to Wizards?
From the earlier introduction of Dobbie in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, readers are introduced to a class of magical beings called elves. These are not like the elves that guide Middle Earth as in the Lord of the Rings or the eleven folk from our classic fairy tales. In Harry Potter, elves are tee towel wearing servants of wizards. While they are powerfully magical, they are bound to often cruel masters to lifetimes of bondage.
In Harry Potter, an elves life is not less than slavery, an institution which most children only read about in history books. Goblins run banks, giants live in the mountains, and even centaurs roam the range (or Forbidden Forest.) While the books explain how elves feel about their station and how they can be made free, none of the seven books explain how elves came to be the tools of wizards and witches.
What are Dementors?
Harry asks this very question in the Prisoner of Azkaban. Lupine explains that they are some of the foulest creatures on the Earth and can suck the happiness from a place. While Lupine may have explained their subjective meaning, he did not really answer the question. Are demeanors, like Inferi dead bodies reanimated? While they look like rotted corpses with hoods are they? Humans can see them and their very presence force people to relive the worst moments of their lives. And, guarding the wizard prison, they drive inmates insane.
They breed. They feed off emotion. And, they can suck souls from human beings. Were they once human? Were they some other magical creature? Still the origin of Dementors, unlike ghosts and poltergeists, are not clearly explained.
What Happened to the Rest of the Potters?
When Hagrid, McGonagull and Dumbledore left Harry on the steps of his aunt Petunia Dursley, Potterheads understood that Petunia was his mother’s sister and the last relative of Lily Evans. After Harry views the mirror of Erised, we learn that there were other Potters. By, the Order of the Phoenix, we understand that Sirius Black lived with the Potters since he was 16. But, Harry’s entire miserable first 11 years were spent with the unsympathetic and often cruel Dursleys.
While there are hints that there should be other family, there are none. The Potters are all dead. There are no Potter cousins, aunts, or uncles mentioned. The family apparently has been wiped in less than two decades.
Was Harry a Descendant from Gryffindor?
While the Sorting Hat has considered putting Harry in Slytherin, he is probably the most celebrated Gryffindorean, second to Dumbledore. The Potters, like many others, are an old wizarding family and seem to have roots in Godric’s Hollow, the Hogwarts’ founders birth place. The same place which also claims the Peverell brothers, the original holders of the Deathly Hallows.
With all these coincidences, any avid HP reader would consider that there is some link between Harry and brave Godric Gryffindor. More is known about Ron’s genealogy than Harry’s. We know that Ron’s family is one of the old wizarding families. Pure bloods, the Weasleys are known blood traitors, who are related linked to the Blacks and Malfoys. The fact that Harry’s family has held one of the Deathly Hallows for generations leaves you curious about any familial relationship to Gryffindor.
Why is there poverty in the wizarding world?
When you can whip your wand out for everything, the world is full of possibilities. Patroness can protect you against soul sucking dementors. Hedgehogs can be converted to pin cushions. Werewolves can be made tame. With a few ingredients, stones can be made that extend life. However, with all the repair and cleaning spells, there are still members of the beloved wizarding world that are poor and hungry. The Weasleys struggle to make ends meet. Scroungers amble through the streets of Diagon Alley. The Slytherin heirs lived uneducated and in a hovel.
As we learn that certain things, like food, cannot be created by magic, it seems odd that when magic can repair broken eyeglasses, regrow bones, and make someone fall madly in love with you that such a world is still plagued by a societal ill such as poverty. It may be that is so inherent in our culture that it permeates both the magical and muggle world. Still, in the thousands of pages of the Harry Potter novels, this is not explained.
When one thinks about memorable characters J. K. Rowlings has created, questions about motives, origins and even likes come to mind. Why Voldemort became evil? What is death the next great adventure? What are nargols? The queries can be endless.
The Harry Potter series is considered a classic in the vein of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. J. K. Rowling weaves such a wonderful tale of triumph over evil and redefining one’s destiny. It is clear that for many more generations the stories will continued to bring enjoyment to readers. While the tales leave many asking questions, it answers so many more about friendship, perseverance and courage.