Sci-Fan Review


Kian Pfannenstiel, Writer

On the list of fantasy, ordered from most well-known to least well-known, the top is by an immense margin the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. It, by no measure, deserves quite the praise it receives.

Don’t misunderstand, they’re very entertaining and enjoyable books, but they deserve little praise as great literary works, as there are many questions is creates and never answers and just as many plot holes. While, by no measure, should you stop enjoying Harry Potter over this, you may want to consider ceasing and desisting in your singing of the praises of the quality of this series. I will be telling more writing errors than plot holes in this because I, admittedly, did exaggerate on the quantity of plot holes present. There are many, but they aren’t so common as the plethora of continuity errors and moments of weak writing.

We’ll begin with plot holes. Some of these I noticed myself, the rest are sourced at the bottom.

  1. Harry was bitten by a basilisk in the second book, and basilisk fangs can destroy a horcrux, but it takes until the seventh book for the horcrux in Harry to die. It is later revealed that it was imperative for a mental connection between Harry and Voldemort be present for the plot to continue, but that was based on the horcrux in Harry.
  2. The entire plot could have been avoided if James or Lily had been their own secret keepers. There was no stated rule against it, so if they had been their own secret keepers Peter Pettigrew would never have been able to tell Voldemort where the Potters live. If that had never occurred, then eventually the First Wizard War against Voldemort would have been won by the not-Voldemort side.
  3. Trials are trivial and pointless in this series. There is a literal truth serum called veritaserum. Just take your suspects and give them some of this then ask them whether they did the thing or not. This could have shortened the plot of the fourth book, which had an important section taking place in a pensieve vision of the trials that led to the events in that book.

And now we move on to the continuity errors or weak moments of writing.

  1. Every wand Ollivander sells loses him three galleons in an already confusing economic system. I recommend you just look this one up yourselves.
  2. Wizard children learn no reading, math, science, or any other basic skills. Here muggle-born or -raised wizards have the upper hand in wizarding society, as they are the only ones who know the principles of addition and subtraction. Not good for an accountant, but better than not knowing any math at all.
  3. Fred and George definitely knew for two years that Ron had a “Peter Pettigrew” with him at almost all times. Ron’s rat, Scabbers, was actually Peter Pettigrew in disguise. He was discovered in the third book by one of the creators of the Marauder’s Map when he appeared as Peter Pettigrew and not Scabbers. Here’s the catch, Fred and George owned that map for years before Harry ever got it, and in the two years prior to them giving it up to Harry they would have definitely known that Peter was sleeping in Ron’s bed every night for his first two years at Hogwarts.
  4. The Triwizard tournament is only entertaining if you are watching from a book or movie. It is deadly and terrifying to those participating and only one of the three challenges had good viewing capabilities. The first one could be watched, but the second was under a lake and the third was in a maze that had hedges far too tall to watch anyone over.
  5. Portkeys are kind of inconsistent, but I don’t want to talk about it, so look it up yourself.
  6. The Trace is a jank system for tracking underage magic. It doesn’t track who cast a spell, so parents are required to keep their kids on the honor system. Muggle-raised kids are the only ones who can really have underage magic laws enforced by the Trace, but there are several times when magic was used around Harry and it wasn’t acted upon. For instance, in the sixth book, Dumbledore summons a chair and mead in the Dursley’s residence, but no action is taken by the Ministry.
  7. Ron, Hermione, and Harry had no excuse to be hungry in the seventh book. They couldn’t create food with magic, but they could summon food if they knew about it or duplicate it, so they should summon random food (who cares that they’re stealing, they’re saving the world) and then continually duplicate it. If they get tired of it, start over with different food.
  8. Just how big are Hogwarts’ pipes? They fit a big snake that is several feet in diameter at its thickest, so how does it fit in normal plumbing? Most plumbing isn’t several feet thick in diameter anywhere, so how does such a big snake travel in pipes.
  9. Did no one before Hermione ever question the rights of house elves? General slavery was illegal in England for centuries before Harry potter came out, and while elves aren’t human, they display humanity in every way. They experience emotions and express them, they show complex thought and strong reasoning abilities. Besides, most of their jobs are made unnecessary to be done manually by the presence of magic. The Weasleys, for example, do most of their chores with magic, relying only on manual labor for things such as cooking. It makes no sense, therefore, to have house elves as slaves.

In  short, what we can learn from this is that JK Rowling is a writer whose attention to detail needs some serious work.

There are countless more, but this article is already almost one thousand words long, and I hate to put an article so long in front of one of our editors. Well, I don’t hate it that much, obviously.


Sources for plot holes:

Sources for poor-writing and continuity errors: