The Wildest Harry Potter Plot Coincidences You Might Not Have Noticed
J.K. Rowling's attentiveness to detail is one of the many reasons the Harry Potter series comes to life so vividly for each reader. Whether it was how she described the grand halls of Hogwarts or left each reader almost tasting Butterbeer themselves as Harry and his friends sipped from their cups, her elaborate descriptions make it hard to deny the magic.
But, the magic goes beyond the main story. There are quite a few plot points that line up almost too perfectly throughout the series, leaving Potterheads to wonder if they could simply be coincidences or if J.K. Rowling was setting them up for something bigger. A question similar to this appeared on Quora when a user asked: What are some amazing plot aspects/coincidences in the Harry Potter Series? Read on for the best answers from Quora users, and prepare to have your mind blown by just how magical the beloved series really is.
— Additional reporting by Lauren Harano
Snape's Hidden Meaning
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the first thing Snape asks Harry in Potions class is:
"Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"
According to the Victorian Language of Flowers, asphodel is a type of lily meaning 'my regrets follow you to the grave' while wormwood means 'absence' and symbolizes bitter sorrow. The entire question has a hidden meaning of "I bitterly regret Lily's death."
— Quora user Yilise Lin
A Deadly Prophecy
In Prisoner of Azkaban Professor Trelawny refuses to sit at a table with 12 other characters because she would be the 13th and the first one to get up after that would die. In Order of the Phoenix, 13 members of the order are sitting and Sirius is the first to stand.
— Quora user Joseph Chastain
In [The Sorcerer's Stone], Dumbledore gives 10 points to Neville at end of the book to stand up against his friends, which is a very difficult task, at that point it only appears as if this is done to allow Gryffindor win House Trophy, but in the last book [Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows] we come to know that even for a great wizard like Dumbledore himself, how difficult it was to confront his friend Grindelwald, and stand up against him. So he knows what great strength Neville has shown, although the reader doesn't at that point.
— Quora user Arpit Gupta
The Dark Mark Coincidence
The [Dark Mark] symbol is a skull, with a serpent coming out of the mouth, like a tongue. This obviously symbolizes Parselmouths and their ability to talk to snakes, in other words, them being "serpent-tongued." Voldemort was the man who gave rise to the Death Eaters and formed the symbol . . . he chose that as the symbol because he considered himself the heir of Slytherin. Yet, the meaning actually goes back even further than that.
Inside the Chamber of Secrets, the basilisk's lair is Salazar Slytherin's statue. When Tom Riddle releases the basilisk from it's lair, [the snake comes of out the statue's mouth]. A snake coming out of the mouth of a skull. The Dark Mark. Coincidence? Hell no.
— Quora user Sathya Iyer
At the end of the first book, Harry, Ron, and Hermione try to retrieve the Sorcerer's Stone. On the way, they encounter seven obstacles. Each obstacle foreshadows/symbolizes something about the corresponding book in the series.
As a refresher, the seven traps in order are:
- The trapdoor guarded by Fluffy
- The Devil's Snare
- The flying key room
- The chess game
- The troll
- The potion logic puzzle
- The Mirror of Erised
1. The trapdoor: This one is set up by Hagrid. The first book is focused quite a lot on Hagrid. He introduces Harry to the wizarding world, and is one of the first friends that Harry makes at Hogwarts. There's the subplot involving Hagrid and the baby dragon. Additionally, the trapdoor represents the gateway into seven years of magical adventures.
2. The Devil's Snare: Herbology plays a bigger role than usual because of the suspense of growing Mandrakes to cure petrification. However, the best way to describe the foreshadowing is the way I first heard it:
"Something green is trying to kill people. A Weasley who is in danger of being killed is saved by a burst of fire."
3. The flying key room: The subplots of the third book focus much more on flying, especially on how Harry loses his Nimbus 2000 and gets a replacement Firebolt. There's the events surrounding Buckbeak that culminate in Harry and Hermione riding him. This is the only book that describe each Quidditch match in detail: in all the other books, at least one match is only mentioned in passing. Finally, this is the only room that could not kill people. The third book is the only book that Voldemort does not appear in.
4. The chess game: Really, the Triwizard Tournament is all a big game, just with a high chance of death. You know, like if you were playing wizard chess with yourself as one of the pieces. Three pieces get replaced, and there are supposed to be three competitors. Additionally, this is the room that Ron gets knocked unconscious, which foreshadows the death of Cedric.
5. The troll: This is Quirrell's trap but not much happens here. Because Voldemort is busy possessing Quirrell's body, this could be considered as Voldemort's trap. At the end of the fifth book, Voldemort sets up a trap to get Harry to go to the Department of Mysteries.
6. The potion logic puzzle: The sixth book is heavily focused on potions. The introduction of a new Potions teacher is a big shocker, and Slughorn is intimately tied to many major plot points. Slughorn's memory, Ron's poisoning, and the Slug Club comes to mind. There is the Half Blood Prince, which Snape is revealed as. However, the clincher is that this is the book when we learn that Voldemort split his soul into seven pieces. Harry must find all of them if he is to beat Voldemort. The trap has Harry and Hermione attempt to find the identities of seven different potions. Also, something I've just realized now is that of the seven potions, three were poison. Three people die actively trying to destroy the parts of Voldemort's soul: Regulus, Dumbledore, and Harry. (I don't count Goyle because his death was unintentional).
7. The mirror: This is Dumbledore's trap and this is the book that goes the deepest into exploring Dumbledore's past and motivations. Harry could only get the Stone if his desire was to stop Voldemort and nothing more; Harry could only be the master of all three Hallows if he learned to not be afraid of death. In both cases, he is alone in the final confrontation. Oh, and Voldemort loses.
— Quora user Alexander Irpan
Snape's Unknown Talent
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, while Harry is dreading the upcoming Quidditch match against Hufflepuff because Snape is going to be the referee:
"Harry didn't know whether he was imagining it or not, but he seemed to keep running into Snape wherever he went . . . Could Snape possibly know they'd found out about the Philosopher's Stone? Harry didn't see how he could — yet he sometimes had the horrible feeling that Snape could read minds."
Later in the series we find out that Snape is a skilled Legilimens while he's teaching Harry Occlumency.
— Quora user Nate Kim
During Divination class with Professor Trelawney, she takes a guess towards Harry's birth month.
"I think I am right in saying, my dear, that you were born in midwinter?"
Harry replies, "No, I was born in July."
Now that may seem like another one of Trelawney's failed predictions, but in the last book, we learn that Harry was one of Voldemort horcruxes. When was Voldemort born? December 31st, or Midwinter. So it is entirely possible that Trelawney sensed Voldemort's presence in Harry, and that's why she mixed up the dates.
— Quora user Yedu Krishnan
An interesting touch in [Deathly Hallows] is the story of the three brothers. The one who desired the elder wand died for power; the one who desired the resurrection stone died for lost love; and the one who desired the invisibility cloak greeted Death like an old friend.
A parallel is drawn to three central characters of the story: Voldemort sought the elder wand and died for power. Dumbledore desired to use the resurrection stone and died for lost love. Harry obtained the invisibility cloak and greeted Death like an old friend.
— Quora user Adam Chan
In Half Blood Prince, Dumbledore arrives at the Dursley's house to pick up Harry. Greeting Petunia, Dumbledore says "We have corresponded, of course."
Harry at that point thinks that Dumbledore is referring to the Howler sent by him to Petunia in Order of The Phoenix. But later in Deathly Hallows we come to know that Petunia had written to Dumbledore to accept her in Hogwarts. He of course was referring to that correspondence.
— Quora user Rishi Agarwal
This is when Harry sees Dumbledore's memories in Half Blood Prince, Voldemort comes to Hogwarts to ask for a job. Dumbledore tells Voldemort he knows all about the Death Eaters in the Hog's Head. Voldemort is furious that Dumbledore knows so much and he says:
"You are as omniscient as ever, Dumbledore."
"No, no. Merely friendly with the local barmen." replies Dumbledore.
This did not mean much then, but later on, we learn that the barman is actually Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus' brother.
— Quora user Yedu Krishnan
In Goblet of Fire, Rita Skeeter reveals that Hagrid's mother was the violent giantess named Fridwulfa. While he's ashamed and hiding in his hut, Dumbledore tells Hagrid not to worry over embarrassing family relations:
"My own brother, Aberforth, was prosecuted for practicing inappropriate charms on a goat."
Later, in Order of the Phoenix, when Hermione sets up a sign-up for Dumbledore's Army, they hold their first meeting at The Hog's Head in Hogsmeade since they want to avoid being overheard. When they first enter, Harry observes that the bar was dingy and "smelled faintly of goats."
— Quora user Sandra D. Wu
Snape's Last Words
In the [Deathly Hallows] book, Snape's dying words to Harry were "Look at me".
Right then we did not realize the significance of his words but in the very next chapter when Harry goes through Snape's memories in the Pensieve, he comes to know how much Snape loved Lily. Even in his last moments, he wanted to look at Harry's green almond-shaped eyes, and remember the one woman he loved more than himself.
— Quora user Anangsha Alammyan
Throughout the book Goblet of Fire Harry uses the word "Er" whenever he doesn't know the answer to a question posed by his professors or friends. He says "Er" to Snape, Professor Mcgonagall, Dumbledore, Hermione, Ron and others. While reading through for the second time, I found this extremely odd . . . but in the final task when the sphinx has a riddle for Harry he says:
First think of the person who lives in disguise,
Who deals in secrets and tells naught but lies.
Next, tell me what's always the last thing to mend,
The middle of middle and end of the end?
And finally give me the sound often heard,
During the search for a hard-to-find word.
Now string them together and answer me this,
Which creature would you be unwilling to kiss?
Harry correctly guess the word "Spy" and "Er", to get the answer "Spider."
— Quora user Prabhu Rascal
The many ties within wand lore:
- Rowling revealed she connected the wands of Harry, Ron, and Hermione in a subtle way: they are all Celtic rooted.
- Harry's wand is made of Holly, religiously and scientifically proven to be instrumental in guarding against lightning strikes. Holly is also the "tree of sacrifice" within folklore. We know the wand chooses the wizard and Harry had a lightning-bolt scar from the twin wand, made of Yew. Yew properties contrast Holly. The common cores of a Phoenix feather came from Fawkes. This seems to connect Dumbledore, creating a trio.
- Ron Weasley had two wands. The first was handed down from his brother Charlie Weasley and was made of Ash with a unicorn hair core.
Ron's second wand is made of Willow, retaining a unicorn hair core. Willow maintains Rowling's theme of Celtic traditional woods amongst the series trio.
- Hermione's wand is made from vine wood, with a dragon heartstring core. As with the wands of her friends, Rowling picked these based on Celtic correlation with their birthdays. Vine wood properties are a commanding authority, joy, and sacred knowledge.
— Quora user Shannon Poe
Triwizard Tournament Tips
In [Goblet of Fire] Harry and Ron predicts exactly what will happen to Harry in the Triwizard Tournament when they make up predictions for their Divination homework.
- First he will be "in danger of burns" = First task of dragons.
- Next he will "lose a treasured possession" = Ron and Hermione, his best friends whom he will have to recover from the Merpeople.
- Then he will get "stabbed in the back by someone you thought was a friend" = Prof. Moody.
- Finally he will "come off worse in a fight" = duel with Voldemort at the graveyard.
Also worth noting is that they "foresee" that Harry will drown, which nearly happens in the 2nd task.
— Quora user Silje Johansen
From Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince —
Professor? He said finally. 'Do you think the Horcrux is here?'
'Oh yes,' said Dumbledore. 'Yes, I'm sure it is. The question is, how do we get to it?'
'We couldn't . . . we couldn't just try a Summoning Charm?' Harry said, sure that is was a stupid suggestion, but much keener than he was prepared to admit on getting out of this place as soon as possible.
'Certainly we could,' said Dumbledore, stopping so suddenly that Harry almost walked into him. 'Why don't you do it?'
'Me? Oh . . . OK . . .'
Harry had not expected this, but cleared his throat and said loudly, wand aloft, 'Accio Horcrux!'
With a noise like and explosion, something very large and pale erupted out of the dark water some twenty feet away . . .
'Did you think that would happen, sir?'
'I thought something would happen if we made an obvious attempt to get our hands on the Horcrux. That was a very good idea, Harry; much the simplest way of finding out what we are facing.'
The first time I read this section, I thought Dumbledore was just being nice to Harry. However, I think it's connected to the following section.
From Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows —
'And once we get hold of it, how do you destroy a Horcrux?' asked Ron.
'Well,' said Hermione, 'I've been researching that.'
'How?' asked Harry. 'I didn't think there were any books on Horcruxes in the library?'
'There weren't,' said Hermione, who had turned pink, 'Dumbledore removed them all, but he — he didn't destroy them.'
Ron sat up straight, wide-eyed.
'How in the name of Merlin's pants have you managed to get your hands on those Horcrux books?'
'It — it wasn't stealing!' said Hermione, looking from Harry to Ron with a kind of desperation. 'They were still library book, even if Dumbledore had taken them off the shelves. Anyway, if really didn't want anyone to get at them, I'm sure he would have made it much harder to —'
'Get to the point!' said Ron.
'Well . . . it was easy,' said Hermione in a small voice. 'I just did a Summoning Charm. You know — accio. And — they zoomed out of Dumbledore's study window right into the girls' dormitory.'
I believe that Dumbledore, with his mind full of intricate plans and ideas, forgot to think of the simple Summoning Charm, when he (most likely) put his protection on the books on Horcuxes.
— Quora user Pontus Colliander
The "Riddle" of Moaning Myrtle
In [Chamber of Secrets], when Harry, Ron and Hermione are trying to figure out what Tom Riddle did to get a trophy with his name on it:
"Could've been anything" said Ron. "Maybe he got thirty O.W.L.s or saved a teacher from the giant squid. Maybe he murdered Myrtle; that would've done everyone a favor . . ."
Of course, Tom Riddle/Voldemort did kill Moaning Myrtle.
— Quora user Anoochan Pandey
In [Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows] it is revealed that three brothers Antioch, Cadmus, and Ignotus were the original holder of the deathly hallows. As the cloak of invisibility was passed on in the family, [we know] Harry is a descendant of the Peverell family. Also, there is a good chance that the resurrection stone was also passed on as a family heirloom because Tom Riddle's grandfather had it on his ring.
So it seems that both Harry and Voldemort were very distant relatives.
— Quora user Aman Ved Kalia