Ranked: The best Harry Potter mysteries
Harry’s time at Hogwarts was not just about lessons and Quidditch matches – because being Harry Potter meant strange conundrums were always waiting around the corner. Here, we’ve ranked some of our favourite mysterious moments and catalogued the most shocking parts.
Oh, and we should probably mention we’re in spoiler territory for the seven books here.
Who opened the Chamber of Secrets?
In only Harry’s second year, his life at Hogwarts turned much darker when the castle was suddenly plagued with random attacks. A blood-strewn wall bearing the words “enemies of the heir beware” added to the mystery, as did the whereabouts of the elusive Chamber of Secrets. Not to mention the identity of the terrifying creature that was Petrifying Muggle-born students. It came down to one word from Hermione (who herself had been Petrified) for Harry to finally understand: pipes. Only Hermione could solve such a mystery while not even conscious.
The most shocking part: When Tom Riddle held Ginny Weasley captive.
Who put Harry’s name in the Goblet of Fire?
On Hallowe’en night, Harry was faced with something far scarier than ghosts and ghouls: he found himself the fourth champion of the legendary Triwizard Tournament. But with an Aging Line around the Goblet of Fire in place, forbidding students under 17 to take part, how on earth did Harry get wrapped up in this one? Alas, this mystery had one of the darkest endings yet, with Harry’s placement in the treacherous competition all part of an elaborate plot by He Who Must Not Be Named and his followers, with poor Cedric Diggory caught up in the crossfire.
The most shocking part: Realising that Mad-Eye Moody was not who he seemed to be.
The Deathly Hallows
That odd, triangular symbol (that we know all too well now) would be a pivotal image in the seventh book, symbolising a great legend from an old childrens' story found in The Tales of Beedle the Bard. As it turned out, this fairy tale was actually true.
Yes, that mysterious icon adorned by Luna’s father, Xenophillius, actually represented the three most powerful objects in the wizarding world: the Cloak of Invisibility, the Resurrection Stone and the Elder Wand. Harry would come into possession of all three of them at certain points – and we soon realised that he already one (the Invisibility Cloak) from the very beginning. This is one mystery that paved the path for another – after discovering the Deathly Hallows were real, how could Harry use them in the fight against Voldemort?
The most shocking part: When Harry used the Resurrection Stone to summon some very important people...
The Philosopher’s Stone
Right from the first book, a young Harry already had a mystery to solve, and we’re not talking about what happens if you add powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood.
What was that mysterious package Hagrid got out of Gringotts? Why is it being kept at Hogwarts? Oh, and okay, what is the Philosopher’s Stone? And who is trying to get it? Thankfully, Harry wasn’t alone in trying to suss everything out, with Ron and Hermione on hand to wade through all these questions together. This mystery had everything: red herrings, (when they thought Snape wanted the Philosopher’s Stone) obstacles (a three-headed one, in particular) and a face-off (two faces, actually) between Harry and Lord Voldemort. For an eleven-year-old in his first Hogwarts year, Harry was already off to a flying start.
The most shocking part: Finding out what was inside Professor Quirrell’s turban...
Harry spent a lot of Order of the Phoenix angry. Angry about the events of Goblet of Fire, angry he was being kept away from news about Voldemort, angry that Dementors attacking Privet Drive somehow meant he ended up facing expulsion at Hogwarts. To make matters worse, he started experiencing frustrating dreams, often going down a dark corridor to a closed door. Little did Harry know that these were not just dreams, but visions of Lord Voldemort’s mind connected to his – and that door would only open up more questions.
The most shocking part: Nagini’s attack on Arthur Weasley from Harry’s point of view.
Who is the Half-Blood Prince?
Harry’s sixth adventure was all about delving into the history of Lord Voldemort, although he also ended up learning about the past of another key character.
In between Pensieve sessions with Albus Dumbledore, Harry suddenly found himself excelling in Potions thanks to the helpful scribbles inside an old, battered textbook, owned by one ‘Half-Blood Prince’. Despite Ginny’s (correct) advice not to trust a strange book – or Hermione’s (correct) suspicions of the Prince’s intentions – Harry came to find a kinship with the Half-Blood Prince, making it all the more of a shock when it turned out to be his despised teacher, Severus Snape.
The most shocking part: When Harry used one of the Half-Blood Prince’s curses on Malfoy with disastrous results.
We learnt about Horcruxes in the sixth book, but the real hunt to find them started in Deathly Hallows. After learning that Voldemort had mastered the deeply twisted art of splitting his soul into various objects and beings, Harry, Ron and Hermione went on a desperate to mission to locate and destroy them. But how on earth do you even begin? We can barely find our keys on most days of the week.
Suffice to say, this hunt took the trio into some very dark places, both literally and emotionally. We were a long way away from playing chess matches and evading three-headed dogs now.
The most shocking part: finding out what that final Horcrux was...
What was your favourite Harry Potter mystery?