There is nothing Harry Potter fans love more than rehashing the books to the minutiae, building, unearthing and piecing together the sort of mind-blowing fan theories that can completely change how we as readers look at the series and its characters and plots. And while some of these theories are so well-researched and supported by so many undeniable facts that J.K. Rowling herself has backed them (just take a look at the Dumbledore is Death theory that Rowling has called "beautiful" to see what I'm talking about), there are the many theories that just don't work out.
Below are nine of those theories that, while at first convincing and backed up with some very interesting call-backs to references laid throughout each of the seven books, have been debunked by either Pottermore, Rowling, or aspects of the canon that have been forgotten (or else ignored) within the original theory. Of course, all of these are in good fun and only serve to prove just how much love readers still have for this series and all of the intricate plot devices Rowling used to shape the stories. Keep reading below for some of the most fascinatingly out-there Harry Potter theories around, debunked.
Voldemort Was Planning To Use Polyjuice Potion To Disguise Himself As Harry In 'Goblet Of Fire'
The Theory: Tumblr user Miraniel posted a theory claiming that Voldemort did not plan to simply kill Harry in that graveyard. Instead, he got one of his followers to bewitch the cup into a portkey that would return him to the beginning of the maze...only after stealing the hair off of Harry's head and transforming himself into the boy wizard. Thus allowing him to infiltrate Hogwarts, assassinate Dumbledore and take over the wizarding world.
Why It Doesn't Work: It's a theory that definitely puts a scary spin on Book 4, but it doesn't quite come together. For one, Polyjuice Potion cannot be used to bewitch you into a dead person...which is why Barty Crouch, Jr. had to keep Mad-Eye Moody alive all year. Secondly, the cup was probably already bewitched to return to the opening of the maze, where the victor could hoist it up in celebration.
Ron Weasley Is A Time-Traveling Dumbledore
The Theory: This theory is based mostly on physical similarities between the two characters and small plot points in the books. Both Dumbledore and Ron have long fingers, share a left-leg injury, like chocolate frog cards and have red hair. Dumbledore seeing himself holding socks in the Mirror of Erised is tied to Ron never appreciating his mom’s Christmas socks in the books. It’s also argued that Dumbledore has to be Ron, because he makes a comment about eating Bertie Bott Every Flavor Beans in his youth, even though the candy did not exist when Dumbledore was a kid.
Why It Doesn't Work: There are many simple reasons why the theory falls apart, including the fact that both Dumbledore and Ron have siblings of their own; Ron ends up marrying Hermione and having children after Dumbledore's death; and Harry sees a photo of a young Dumbledore that looks nothing like Ron. Also, J.K. Rowling debunked this myth on Twitter.
Draco Malfoy Is Actually A Werewolf
The Theory: This theory basically says Draco’s horribleness is at least a little bit explained by his transformation into a werewolf at some point between the fifth and sixth books. Some readers think that, at some point, Voldemort got so mad at Lucius Malfoy that he sent Fenrir Grayback, to find Lucius’ son and infect him as a punishment to his father. This helps to explain why Draco struggles so much with his Death Eater identity throughout the books.
Why It Doesn't Work: Well, the biggest strike against this one is that it is another theory that J.K. Rowling just could not get with. But I also have to argue that Harry "Draco Is Definitely Up To Something" Potter would definitely have discovered something this big about Draco through all of his constant eavesdropping and finger-pointing.
Harry And Sirius Are Blood Relatives
The Theory: This theory on the HP wiki says that the Black family tree includes Dorea Black who married Charlus Potter and had an unnamed son. Since the names of James’ parents are never revealed in the series, some thought that these might be Harry’s grandparents. Another possibility is that they are James’ grandparents, with their unnamed son as his father.
Why It Doesn't Work: It was later revealed on Pottermore that James’ parents names are actually Fleamont and Euphemia Potter, putting a damper at least on the main theory. Though some fans are still gunning for the grandparents connection, and have also pointed out the possibility that James could be a cousin of Charlus and Dorea, or their son. No word yet from J.K. Rowling on this one.
The Dursleys Hate Harry So Much Because He's A Horcrux
The Theory: Tumblr user graphicnerdity is credited with this theory, which says that the Horcrux within Harry is such a powerful negative influence that exposure to it over an extended period of time—like the decade of Harry’s upbringing at Privet Drive—could naturally drive a good person to unkindness, and turn them into evil, heartless monsters.
Why It Doesn't Work: In a story published on Pottermore Rowling revealed that when Petunia introduced her fiance Vernon to her sister Lily and her sister’s boyfriend James, it all went terribly wrong. Vernon’s attempt to patronize James by asking what car he drove and assuming that all wizards had to live off unemployment benefits led to James’s flippant description of his expensive racing broom and family inheritance, causing Vernon and Petunia leaving in a rage. James and Lily's untimely deaths prevented any sort of reconciliation, and in so doomed Harry to a truly terrible childhood.
Ginny Drugged Harry With A Love Potion
The Theory: This reddit theory posits that Harry did not actually fall in love with Ginny (pointing to their very sudden relationship and Harry's complete disregard for his years long crush on Cho Chang). Instead, Ginny slipped him a love potion during the timeline of The Half-Blood Prince, finally bagging The Boy Who Lived after years of nursing a serious crush.
Why It Doesn't Work: Though love potions do certainly become a theme in the later books, we know through the story of Voldemort's parents, Merope Gaunt and Tom Riddle, Sr., that love potions must be regularly administered for them to continue working. But Harry does not fall out of love with Ginny over the entire year they spend apart during Deathly Hallows, nor do the effects of any love potion wear off when Harry goes through the Thief's Downfall in Gringotts. Not to mention that Ginny was strongly affected by her experience with Tom Riddle's diary taking over her mind; surely she would not be OK with doing the same thing to Harry herself.
Dumbledore Only Hired Lockhart Because He Thought It Would Be Funny
The Theory: It's no secret throughout the books that Dumbledore unquestionably possessed a fine sense of humor. And fans who wondered why Dumbledore would hire an insufferable, untalented celebrity like Lockhart to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, concluded that he must have done it just for a laugh.
Why It Doesn't Work: A character profile of Lockhart on Pottermore, though, tells the true story, and it gives Duumbledore's undeniable brain a bit more credit. Apparently Dumbledore knew two of the wizards for whose life’s work Gilderoy Lockhart had taken credit. Dumbledore was convinced that Lockhart needed only to be put back into an ordinary school setting to be revealed as a charlatan and a fraud. Professor McGonagall, who had never liked Lockhart, asked Dumbledore what he thought students would learn from him. Dumbledore replied that ‘there is plenty to be learned even from a bad teacher: what not to do, how not to be’.
Fawkes Is Dumbledore's Horcrux
The Theory: This theory made the rounds on YouTube and claimed that Dumbledore created a horcrux, not in search of immortality, but out of grief, after accidentally killing his sister, Ariana.
Why It Doesn't Work: J.K Rowling was adamant that this theory holds no weight on Twitter. There is also the small point that Dumbledore does, in fact, die in the books even though Fawkes is never destroyed (and perhaps can never be destroyed, as a phoenix that continues to rise from the ashes...a point that has been used to argue that Fawkes is Harry's horcrux.)
J.K Rowling's Books Are Her Own Horcruxes
The Theory: Based off of a quote from author Stephen King that says, "[Rowling put] a part of her soul in every book and now her books will live forever,” fans have charted the deaths of major characters throughout the books to find 7 that might be counted as horcruxes.
Why It Doesn't Work: Though of course this one is really all in good fun, it still doesn't quite pan out. Rowling did not in fact kill a character in every single one of her 7 books and, among the character deaths most often noted (Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape, Fred Weasley, Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Hedwig and Dobby) all of them took place within the final two books of the series.