One of the best things about being a Harry Potter fan is that you are almost 100 percent likely to find someone wherever you go with whom you can discuss the series ad nauseam. Nothing says ice breaker like pulling out your tried and true HP knowledge and getting down to the nitty gritty of someone's thoughts, preferences and controversial opinions on everything Potter related.
After all, true fans can talk for hours about being sorted into Houses, wizarding careers, character deaths, J.K Rowling's post series revelations, and, well anything you can think of. And hearing everyone's opinions, often super passionate, and watching the sometimes heated debates that occur whenever certain characters (*ahem* Severus Snape *ahem*) or plot points (*cough* Harry Is A Horcrux *cough*) can be just as entertaining as the books and movies themselves.
I've come up with 13 questions below, all of which I know from experience can dredge up the most powerful of HP feels and lead to conversations both illuminating, hilarious and just plain ol' fun. Want to know your fellow Potterhead's thoughts on highly debated ships, secret crushes and highly covetable Quidditch positions? Then let these questions guide you to your next great HP conversation.
Which House Do You Belong To?
The tried and true question every Harry Potter fan has asked their friends: which House do you belong to? Naturally there will be mentions of personal preferences versus Pottermore's official sorting system; where you would sort your mutual friends and co-workers; why you feel or don't feel like you belong to your House; what other House you would choose if you had to be from a different one...seriously this conversation can go on for ages. But it's a super quick way to get some insight into someone's personality and figure out just how much stock they take in the fandom.
Which Deathly Hallow Would You Choose?
Another question that will really get in to the mind of the person you're asking, and one that HP fans have been debating ever since the introduction of The Deathly Hallows in the final book. Which one would you choose? The Elder Wand, which will make you invincible? The Resurrection Stone, which can return a lost loved one? Or The Invisibility Cloak, which can protect you from death? Of course we know how the parable plays out; we know the dangers of the Hallows and how they can ruin one's life... but it's somehow still impossible not to debate their merits.
Which Character Do You Have A (Not So) Secret Crush On?
This is a fun one, and everyone's answer will be different. Are you a sucker for the super-handsome and brilliant Cedric Diggory? Is the brawny and sporty Oliver Wood more your speed? And what about the good-looking, long-haired banker Bill Weasley... because you know a lot of us have had some very intense feelings about Bill. And then there are the really out there ones, like those oh-so-confusing crushes on Lucius Malfoy, Severus Snape, and even Lord Voldemort himself (thanks in large part to Christian Coulson's portrayal of Tom Riddle in the second film no doubt.) Sit back and enjoy, friends.
What Are Your In-Depth And Controversial Thoughts On Severus Snape?
This is a doozy of a conversation starter because, if you're talking to a serious Potterhead, you are going to be there a while...even if you agree with each other. Because Snape is probably the most controversial of all the characters in the series, thanks to his problematic actions both prior to and throughout the series (his obsession with Lily Potter, his horrendous treatment of Neville and Harry) and, after his death, Harry's (read: J.K. Rowlings's) insistence on turning Snape into a saint life figure because he sacrificed his life to stand up to Voldemort. Buckle up for this one.
Who, In Your Opinion, Is More Evil: Voldemort Or Dolores Umbridge?
When Dolores Umbridge was introduced in the fifth book of the series she quickly became one of the most hated characters of all time, and soon the debate began: who was worse? The by-the-book evil of Lord Voldemort, a neglected little boy who wanted power and status and took it so far as to become the most evil sorcerer of all time? Or Umbridge, who was just a normal woman with prejudices and biases that turned her into the sort of monster who would make laws against the most vulnerable in society and torture children during detention? Debate away, friends.
Which Death In The Series Is The Most Heartbreaking?
Oof. This is always a sad discussion but it's another one that will offer you a long and entertaining (and probably emotional) conversation. While you'll hear a lot of the same names over and over...Sirius, Lupin, Fred...you might also be surprised to learn that your friends are most devasted by the loss of Hedwig (it was so unexpected!) or Dobby the House Elf. I have even seen poor Colin Creevy's loss mourned more than Dumbledore's by certain readers (it was just so uneccesary to the plot in every way so WHY?!) You might want to bring tissues to this one.
What Quidditch Position Would You Play?
If you are the sporting type (unlike me, who will gladly be sitting in the bleachers cheering for the Gryffindor team, thank you very much) you've probably given some thought to what position you'd love to play on your House Quidditch team, and it's so much fun to find out other people's. Do they want all of the glory of the Seeker? Are they more about being the steadfast Keeper? Or do they just want to kick ass and take names like the Beaters? It sounds like a simple question, but who knows what you could learn about a person.
What Wizarding Career Would You Pursue?
When J.K. Rowling first introduced the idea of wizarding careers in Book 5, we were all right there along with Harry trying to figure out what might be the best job for us. A Hogwarts professor? A banker for Gringotts? A ministry official...an Auror? And why not Minister Of Magic? It's likely your House mates might have similar ideas to you on what constitues a worthwhile career in magic, or you might even find that their IRL careers are in stark contrast to what they would want to do as a wizard. Don't worry, you're not on the interview yet.
Which Book In The Series Is Your Favorite?
Seems like such an inocuous question to ask a Potter fan, but I have learned from experience that people have REASONS and THOUGHTS about their favorites and least favorites in the series, and they are going to tell you about them in no uncertain terms. Most people I have spoken to have talked at length about why they are obsessed with Book 3... and will ostensibly rip me to shreds for claiming Book 5 as my favorite when it is clearly the worst in the series. No matter what side you stand on, the fight is half the fun isn't it?
Who Should Have Ended Up Together: Hermione/Ron or Hermione/Harry?
Although fans had been shipping characters together of their own volition from the start, it was J.K. Rowling's post-series claim that she thinks Harry and Hermione should have ended up together and not Ron and Hermione that had fans shook. The relationship between Ron and Hermione had been entrenched in the story since Book 1, and grew so slow and steady throughout the seven books that it felt to many readers as if it should never have been any other way. Others wanted Hermione to end up with neither boy. There are still lots of passionate thoughts on this one.
Have You Read Harry Potter And The Cursed Child?
All you need to do is ask the question and you will probably get at least a half an hour of voices raised, intense discussion with a big ol' side of "my opinion is right and yours is definitely wrong." The addition of this "eighth story" to the Potter canon is still so controversial that Potterheads can't help but get extremely emotional on the subject. Do you think the play would be better than the script? Have you seen and read both and loved them...or hated them? Are you ignoring its existence altogether? So much to say, so little time.
Was Dumbledore A Hero Or a Villain?
The true nature of Dumbledore has been debated a lot post-series. Was he just a poweful old man with too many secrets who continually put Harry, a young boy, in danger to seek the ends he wanted? Or was he a powerful wizard with a warm heart and soft spot for Harry, who made mistakes, but did what he had to do to insure the safety of the entire wizarding world...even at his own expense? It's one of the most complex and interesting questions to be asked about one of the series' characters and it will make for lively debate.
Who Is The Real Hero Of The Story: Harry Potter Or Neville Longbottom?
Neville Longbottom, the almost Chosen One, is often compared to Peter Pettigrew. Both were timid and shy, called talentless, and both were given all the same choices...but Neville made the right ones. Instead of worshipping Harry the way Peter did James, he stood up to him. Instead of turning to the Dark Arts and making the cowardly choice that Peter did, Neville stood up and destroyed the final horcrux, helping defeat the Dark Lord that Peter helped bring to power. He stood up even after he was spared Harry's chosen fate. Without Neville, does Harry ever defeat Voldemort? Discuss away!