Harry Potter is without a doubt one of the greatest fiction series of all time, and its impact on popular culture cannot be undermined. Both the books and the films are some of the greatest of their respective art forms, and they both mean so much to so many young and older readers alike. Harry Potter is filled with wonder and obviously magic, but the series is not without its fair share of darkness.
The books and the films took a very strategic turn away from the lighter original entries in the adventure of Harry and his friends, and focused more on the gothic and dark themes brought about by the eventual resurrection of Lord Voldemort. There are so many theories that have come to light over the years from the ravenous fans of both the novels and films, but we were able to narrow down some of the darkest and most dour ones. Without further ado, here are the 15 Darkest Harry Potter Secrets And Theories.
15 Draco Malfoy Is A Werewolf
This would be an eyebrow-raising theory for pretty much any other series besides Harry Potter. But as we all know, animagi and werewolf exist within the Potter universe, so Malfoy being a werewolf isn’t quite as far-fetched as it could be. There are many Harry Potter theories that are without significant evidence, but this theory actually has quite a bit of support backing it up.
Most of the evidence supporting this theory happens between the 6th and 7th books of the series, when Draco drops his usual pranking ways and instead is plunged full force into a starring role in the assassination of our favorite headmaster, Dumbledore. The crux of the theory is that Fenrir Greyback bites Draco when Lucius is not able to retrieve the prophecy for Lord Voldemort. It’s interesting to note that Greyback also bit Remus Lupin, and subjected him to a life of secrecy.
Another really dark supporting bit of evidence is that Voldemort says to Draco, “maybe you can babysit the cubs” when referencing the fact that Remus and Tonks are having a child. There’s also the little fact that J.K. Rowling happened to mention that in a scene in the third movie, there was a moment in which Draco was supposed to impersonate a werewolf as a type of foreshadowing device. So it sounds like not only is Draco a giant jerk, but could also potentially be a future cold blooded killer, so that’s good!
14 Dementors Represent Rowling’s Battle With Depression
This is a particularly sad and dark entry, but it’s something worth nothing. J.K. Rowling is an incredible woman who made a gigantic name for herself when she created the world’s favorite coming-of-age wizarding adventure, and she did it all to escape an unhealthy marital situation. J.K. Rowling has said time and time again that she had implanted a lot of her personal feelings, stories, and wisdom into the Potter books over the years, and with that, she injected a lot of wonder and majesty into the series.
However, on the flip side, Rowling was constantly battling with depression while writing the books, and she didn’t leave out any of the darkness that she experienced in life either. The dementors are creepy for a variety of reasons, but the greatest of which being that they are pure cold entities that feed off of happy thoughts and memories that a person has.
When asked if depression was the inspiration for the dementors, Rowling stated, “Yes. That is exactly what they are. It was entirely conscious. And entirely from my own experience. Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced. It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope.”
13 Dumbledore Saw His Family In The Mirror Of Erised
The Mirror of Erised has provided us with some of the most epic and legendary quotes in the entire Harry Potter series, and those quotes all belong to one man, Albus Dumbledore. It was Dumbledore who stated, "Men have wasted away before it, not knowing if what they have seen is real, or even possible."
Dumbledore speaks from experience here when he talks about the mirror's power, as he is also guilty of staring into it from time to time. Harry ends up asking Dumbledore what it was he saw when he looked in the mirror, and Dumbledore (seemingly) deflects by saying that he sees himself wearing a pair of thick woolen socks. However, on a morning show, J.K. Rowling herself stated, “He saw his family alive, whole and happy - Ariana, Percival and Kendra all returned to him, and Aberforth reconciled to him.”
So it seems Dumbledore was lying to Harry in an attempt to drive him away from the allure of the mirror, which clearly has devoured some of Dumbledore’s attention as well.
12 Snape’s Hatred For Neville Explained
Snape hates a lot of children throughout the Harry Potter series. Snape's true intentions are the ultimate twist throughout the Potter novels and films, as he goes from suspect number one to being a self-sacrificing hero in the end. It’s no secret that Snape had a great attachment and affection for Lily, Harry’s mother.
This theory states that Snape has it out, particularly for Neville Longbotton, due to the fact that Voldemort himself went after the Potters on the faithful night of Lily and James’ murder, instead of the Longbottoms. He sent his follower, Bellatrix Lestrange to kill the Longbottoms. Snape is under the suspicion that if Bellatrix were sent after the Potters, they would have had a better chance of surviving (and he’s probably right).
It’s totally unfair for Snape to blame Neville for something that wasn’t directly his fault, and wasn’t even the fault of his parents. This paints Snape as much more malicious than Potter fans would care to view him, and seems pretty illogical for a meticulous thinker like Snape to point blame at Neville. But perhaps with Neville being another possible “boy-who-lived”, Snape needed to vent his frustration somewhere, and chose Neville.
11 Hagrid is Sterile
This is yet another entry that is equal parts dark and sad. Hagrid is a fan-favorite character within the world of Harry Potter, and this theory suggests that he was never able to have any children. Hagrid is the groundskeeper at Hogwarts, and he fills his day with the caretaking of not only the students at the school, but the numerous creatures that he supervises.
This theory is based on the fact that Hagrid is a half giant, and therefore is not able to reproduce. There’s no hard evidence on this one, but it does make a lot of sense. Hagrid seems like the perfect individual to have a family of his own, and he proves throughout the entire series that he would be a great dad, while taking care of Harry, Hermione, and Ron (even though he might get them further into trouble sometimes). This is yet another theory that Potter fans will have to wait to either be confirmed or debunked by Rowling herself.
10 Voldemort’s Boggart Would Be His Corpse
This is an extremely dark entry, even for someone as malicious as Voldemort. Voldemort apparently fears nothing, he murders without hesitation, he betrays without caution, and he refuses to get close to anyone. But according to J.K. Rowling, there is one thing that Voldemort fears, and it’s the thing we all fear, death.
When asked about his boggart, J.K. stated, “Voldemort’s fear is death, ignominious death. I mean, he regards death itself as ignominious. He thinks that it’s a shameful human weakness, as you know. His worst fear is death, but how would a boggart show that? I’m not too sure. I did think about that because I knew you were going to ask me that.”
After this, the interviewer mentioned the idea of a corpse. Rowling responded, “That was my conclusion, that he would see himself dead.”
This does make sense, what with Voldemort’s extreme steps to break apart his soul into several pieces.
9 Voldemort Is Unable To Love
This is reveal de-humanizes an already detached and inhuman villain. Rowling stated in an interview that since Voldemort was conceived by the influence of Amortentia, which is a love potion, he was born of fake love, and therefore is unable to love like the rest of the people in the wizarding world.
This means that Voldemort was almost driven to madness, for without love, it would have been tough for him to get close to anyone. In turn, this makes Voldemort a less interesting villain, and that instead of a thirst for power driving him to commit such heinous acts, it was his very birth that started him on the path to darkness. He was born into a loveless union, so he wasn’t raised in a loving environment either, which could help to explain his behavior.
This theory is a bit hard to swallow for most Potter fans, as Voldemort’s turn against the wizarding world is the most heavily debated topic for those that study the books and films. To have a single answer, and one as simplistic as this, almost hurts the mythos.
8 Harry’s Love For Ginny Was Potion Induced
Harry and Ginny are a great match in the world of Harry Potter. They’re both extremely talented wizards, intelligent, and caring. However, this theory states that their romance was a little less spontaneous, and a bit more planned out.
A theory states that since Harry never really showed much affection towards Ginny, besides general friendship, and even a brotherly protectiveness, that perhaps Ginny used a love potion on Harry. When he finally does start to have feelings for her, in Half-Blood Prince, the novel is rife with examples of plenty of people using love potions. Merope used a love potion to charm Tom Sr., Romilda uses a potion on Ron, and Fred and George are even selling love potions in their shop.
Amortentia is explained as a potion that creates a powerful infatuation and obsession with another person, which is exactly how Harry feels about Ginny throughout the book. This theory is particularly interesting when paired with the Voldemort theory of how he can’t love. This would mean that the dark wizard and Harry were both involved, either directly or through lineage, with love potions. Would this mean Harry and Ginny’s children are unable to love as well? We can only hope not.
7 Arthur Weasley And The Imperius Curse
There is a lot of background to this theory that Arthur Weasley was a victim of the Imperius curse, starting with the evidence that Ron knows a lot about Lucius’ claims of being bewitched by Voldemort via the curse. Ron is unaware of the Dark Mark, and he’s unfamiliar with the Longbottoms, which means that Arthur is not just spilling Ministry secrets to his family. So why would he focus on this particular one?
There’s also the fact that Hagrid mentions that many members of the righteous wizarding side joined Voldemort's ranks and were controlled by him. There’s also the chapter in Goblet of Fire in which Moody selects Ron to talk about the curse itself. Moody even says, when Ron states his father had mentioned the curse to him, “Ah yes, your father would know that one. Gave the ministry a lot of trouble at one time, the Imperius Curse.”
The fact that Moody in this scene is actually Crouch speaks volumes, as Crouch would love to make a sly comment about Rob’s father’s involvement with Voldemort. This is a particularly interesting entry that is hard to disprove.
6 King George And George Weasley
This is a secret of sorts, as well as a very interesting piece of trivia, which seems to be too direct to be merely coincidental. This was a theory that originated on Tumblr. The original post reads as follows, “All the Weasley names except for Ron are either the names of a British king or queen or an Arthurian name (and Ron brings Harry into the family, and there have been 8 Harry’s [sic] on the throne; nine if you are a die-hard Jacobite). King George III was deaf in one ear – and he became king because of the untimely death of Prince Frederick.”
This is a very eerie theory, as both Georges suffered from ear problems, and that both Freds met an untimely death, and that George was then left to carry on the legacy of their respective families. This theory falls a little flat when applying other evidence, as the brothers don’t really share many personality traits. So this is either a crazy coincidence or J.K. Rowling was trying to provide a little history lesson for her young readers.
5 Harry, Tom Riddle, And Snape Are The Three Brothers
The theory that Harry, Snape, and Voldemort are the modern representation of the siblings from The Tales of the Three Brothers is intriguing, and seems to be pretty well accepted by the Harry Potter fandom. It is known that Harry is a descendant of Ignotus Peverell, and Voldemort is descended from Cadmus Peverell. So it’s not too far-fetched to think that Snape could also be a descendant of one of the brothers.
Taking into consideration the fact that Voldemort died for power, Snape died for lost love, and Harry greeted death like an old friend gives the theory the extra weight it needs to gain legitimacy. There are many fans who argue the theory's claims, and others who are convinced that perhaps Dumbledore is a part of the modern three brothers (but there will be more on that later).
Like the three brothers of old, Harry, Snape, and Voldemort each chose vastly different paths in life, but were all eventually either taken, or welcomed by death.
4 Hogwarts As An Insane Asylum
This theory that gained a lot of traction when it was first introduced on Reddit, and it might just be too crazy to ever gain any sense of justification. The theory speculates that while sitting in front of the mirror of Erised, Harry went completely mad. Hogwarts can be seen, from a mentally unstable point of view, as a misconfigured asylum. The moving stairs, talking paintings, and blood-drenched walls are all either actual or imaginary, and Harry had been placed there to deal with the death of his parents.
The Redditor also states that perhaps Harry murdered Cedric, as he was the only one to witness the murder, and no one else believes him when he says it was Voldemort. There is also the King’s Cross scene, and the interaction between Harry and Dumbledore while there. Harry says, “Tell me one thing. Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”
This has always been read as dialogue pertaining to Harry’s out of body experience, but what if it has to do with everything? Especially since Dumbledore famously responds with, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on Earth should that mean that is not real?”
3 George’s Missing Patronus
Here's a theory that will make even the most stoic Potter lover lose their mind and bawl openly. This theory begins by stating that Patronuses are linked together, generally between soul mates. This is talked about numerous times throughout the series, and explains why Ron’s patronus is a terrier and Hermione’s is an otter, as terriers chase otters. The theory goes on to say that since George is no longer able to conjure the patronus charm after Fred’s death, that George and Fred were soul mates.
Talk about devastating. It does make sense, since Fred and George were inseparable, and chose to spend their time with each other rather than chasing significant others. Fred and George are some of the greatest characters throughout Rowling’s novels simply based on the fact that their talents lay in their humor. They were able to create magic by just being with one another, and they were able to amuse and entertain a school with dragons, evil wizards, and crazy professors.
2 Harry’s Small Class Size
This is more of a secret than a theory, in the sense that if you think about this particular entry enough, it makes total sense, and doesn’t seem ill-conceived. This particular speculation states that since many children’s parents in Harry’s class at Hogwarts were directly involved in the Wizarding War, that Harry’s class size is so dismal because too many adults died during the time when they would have conceived children the same age as Harry.
Yet another depressing secret, however, this particular one seems to be backed up pretty well. The Wizarding War saw great losses on both sides, and it’s a near certainty that people were not rushing to have children during this dark and depressing time. This actually makes sense because not only would it allow Rowling to write about far fewer children in Harry’s graduating class, but it makes sense from a true narrative perspective as well. This means that many wizarding family legacies were cut short by Voldemort, and that his dark power could be felt through various generations.
1 Dumbledore Is Death
Dumbledore being the personification of Death was foreshadowed earlier when talking about the modern-day Tale of the Three Brothers, using Harry, Voldemort, and Snape. This theory also originated on Tumblr, and it took the Potter community by storm when it was first thought up.
Here’s all the evidence supporting this theory. First of all, Dumbledore, like Death, is the one to give the Invisibility Cloak to Harry in the first book. Dumbledore is also the one to give the Resurrection Stone to Harry by hiding it in the Golden Snitch. Dumbledore also indirectly delivers the Elder Wand to Harry when Harry defeats Draco Malfoy in a duel. The final evidence that Dumbledore is Death is that he is either behind/involved in both the death of Snape and Voldemort.
The only ancillary evidence that would give this theory more credence would be if Snape and Voldemort greeted Dumbledore at the end of their lives. This seems to make the most sense in the context of the Three Brothers theory.
So there you have it, the darkest theories and secrets of the Harry Potter universe all rounded up. Do you find any of these particularly interesting? Have you found any others in your research? Sound off in the comments below to start a conversation.