We’ve lost count of the huge amount of Harry Potter fan theories circling the web. Despite the book series ending in 2007 and the final film installment in 2011, Harry Potter’s gigantic fan base lives on through endless fan fiction. Most of the fan fiction related to the popular franchise is pretty silly, like that Harry Potter is a metaphor for 9/11 or that J.K Rowling isn’t a real person.
But this Harry Potter fan theory by reddit user Magnus is pretty plausible. After recently rewatching the series, he came to the conclusion that Harry Potter is actually all about mental illness, and that Hogwarts is an institution for emotionally disturbed children. Read on to find out more about this theory, but we’re warning you, it will ruin your childhood.
Hogwarts is a lot like a dangerous mental institution…
At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry there seem to be dangerous circumstances around every corner – three headed dogs, trolls and the acromantula. Plus there are plenty of ‘everyday’ occurrences that could easily be interpreted as delusions, such as moving staircases and talking paintings. Not only that, but the school is permanently locked, so none of the ‘students’ can get out.
The Goblet of Fire backs this idea up
The tournament pits students against each other in seriously life-threatening circumstances. This could be a metaphor for the frustrated and disturbed youngsters regularly being violent against each other.
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry becomes obsessed with the Mirror of Erised
Magnus suggests that Lily and James Potter never existed, and the Dursley’s are his actual parents. They favour his brother Dudley and neglect Harry, locking him under the stairs. When Harry eventually gets taken to Hogwarts, he becomes obsessed with the idea of perfect parents who love him, but can’t be there for him because they are dead.
Magnus thinks the mirror is a way of explaining Harry’s mental state, especially as Dumbledore tells Harry:
“It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. You, who have never known your family, see them standing around you. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible.”
Harry is friends with Remis Lupin, the werewolf
Werewolfs are said to be controlled by the cycle of the moon, and the moon has long been associated with lunacy.
His other friends are also a bit odd…
Luna Lovegood’s name means lunacy, and she is often called strange, which is saying something in the Harry Potter universe. Hermione says Luna will “only believe in things as long as there’s no proof at all.” Plus she is the only other person who can see the Thestrals, and she herself admits she’s a bit unusual: “I think they think I’m a bit odd, you know. Some people call me ‘Loony’ Lovegood, actually.
Neville Longbottom’s family has a long history of mental illness, with his parent’s both being driven insane by Bellatrix Lestrange. This incident could have potentially left him psychologically scarred. Plus Sirius Black is also clearly insane, given he spent time at Azkaban, the Demontor-guarded prison.
Voldemort is perhaps Harry’s dark alter ego…
First of all, there are many parallels between Harry as a child and a young Tom Riddle, AKA Voldemort before he was “he who cannot be named”.
- They were both orphaned.
- They have the same wand.
- They both speak parseltongue (can understand snakes).
- They own the same diary.
- They both descend from great Wizards.
Harry also shares thoughts with Voldemort, who plagues his mind. It begins as whisper, but soon he can’t control Voldemort’s intrusions. Magnus believes Harry has split personality disorder, and that Voldemort/Tom Riddle are his dark side.
Magnus also suggests that Snape’s attempts to block Voldemort from Harry’s mind using Occlumency is actually a doctor trying to cure Harry of the voices in his head.
Harry leaves Hogwarts temporarily, only for bad things to happen and for him to get returned
At the beginning of ‘The Order of The Phoenix’, Harry’s cousin Dudley is attacked and badly injured by a Dementor, who only Harry can see. Magnus has suggested that Harry actually harmed Dudley, which is why he was brought in front of a panel to decide whether he should go back to Hogwarts (a low security institution) or Askaban (a high security establishment).
In this theory, Harry really killed Cedric Diggory
As well as almost killing Dudley, Magnus believes that Harry also murdered Cedric Diggory while in his Voldemort/Tom Riddle/Evil Harry mindset.
Cedric is the ultimate popular boy in the Harry Potter universe, the man who Harry could have been if not for his issues and tragic upbringing. This theory would mean that Harry did the deed, and this is easy to imagine since he was the only one who saw it happen in the story. When numerous people question him on the subject, it is a suggestion that they knew he did it, and that Voldemort is all in Harry’s head.
An alternative is that Cedric represents the best part of Harry, and by allowing Voldemort to murder him, he is killing off his last chance of a normal life.
Now, prepare for the clincher…
Dumbledore tells Harry it’s all in his head
At the very end of the series, Harry meets the deceased Dumbledore in an imaginary version of Kings Cross station. This is their conversation:
“Tell me one last thing,” said Harry. “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?” Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry’s ears even though the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his figure. “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
So what do you think? Is the Harry Potter series a tale of magic and whimsy in a special school, or was Harry insane?