JK Rowling has forever guaranteed a name for herself in the annals of history with her record-breaking series of books about Harry Potter and the world of Hogwarts. But as awesome as the novels are, they are not exempt from retro-active tampering by Rowling herself.
With her decision to expand on the original mythology detailed in the Harry Potter novels, there are several plot points from earlier in the series that have been directly contradicted by the author in later stories. Here are 10 such significant retcons Rowling carried out:
10 McGonagall Comes Before Her Time
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald takes place somewhere around 1927. That’s a long time in the past, so there is no chance of Harry or his friends suddenly popping up onscreen for a cameo. However, that has not stopped the film from trawling for other familiar faces from Harry’s saga. His transfiguration teacher, Professor McGonagall, appears briefly in a scene and is hinted to have a bigger role moving forward.
But the thing is, Rowling has stated in the past that McGonagall was born in 1935. So who is the McGonagall who appears to be in her twenties teaching alongside Dumbledore at Hogwarts? A time traveler or an ancestor?
9 The Unbreakable Scar
An unbreakable vow is a form of magic where two wizards make a pact and seal the deal with an enchantment that ordains whoever breaks the agreement will die. In Fantastic Beasts, we see Dumbledore and Grindelwald make that pact, resulting in a scar that signals the existence of such a pact.
But in Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, we see Snape make such a dangerous pact without suffering a scar of any kind. This little detail seems to have been added in later for plot convenience for the new films.
8 Dumbledore Is More Bond, Less Headmaster
There are some things that have been established about Dumbledore ever since the first Harry Potter novel came out. His sense of humor, his immense power, his great age, and his flamboyant sense of fashion. But in Fantastic Beasts, a lot of what we know about Dumbledore is changed to make him a more attractive main character.
Instead of being 70+ years old, as he should be according to the Harry Potter timeline, Dumbledore is played by a youthful Jude Law, who has traded in his older self’s eccentric clothing style for a more bond-like appearance.
7 The Mirror Of Performance Issues
The Mirror of Erised is said to reveal your heart’s greatest desire, which is why Harry sees his parents alive and well standing next to him in the mirror. Rowling has stated that Dumbledore saw his sister Ariana, alive and well standing with him.
In Fantastic Beasts, we see Dumbledore reliving a painful memory involving Grindlewald instead. The mirror acts like a Pensieve instead of the magical object we know it to be from past films.
6 Dumbledore’s Reason For Avoiding Grindelwald
One of the most tragic revelations about Dumbledore in Harry Potter was why he avoided fighting Grindlewald for so long. It was during a past duel with his former best friend that Dumbledore’s sister had died. The memory of that incident, along with the fear of Grindlewald, revealing that he had been personally responsible for her death, made Dumbledore avoid directly confronting him.
Now it has been revealed that Dumbledore and Grindlewald had made an unbreakable vow never to fight each other, which was why Dumbledore could not fight the dark wizard directly.
5 Everything About Nagini
Nagini was a giant snake that was Voldemort’s special pet. She was fiercely and blindly loyal to him and was one of the carriers of a part of his soul. According to Fantastic Beasts, Nagini’s story began decades before Voldemort was even born. In this new storyline, Nagini was a Maledictus, a human with the ability to transform into a snake at will.
Somewhere down the line, Nagini will presumably be trapped permanently in her snake form. That does not explain why we never hear Voldemort mention her former human nature or why Harry, who briefly inhabited her mind, did not detect the presence of a human being there. It’s also never revealed why she turned into a full-fledged villain when she is shown to be a heroic character as a human.
4 The Third Dumbledore
In a shocking twist that left fans scratching their heads, Credence is revealed to be Dumbledore’s youngest brother, an immensely powerful Obscurius with uncontrolled magical ability. This description better suits Dumbledore’s youngest sister Ariana, who perished as a result of being unable to control her powers in the middle of a duel between Albus, Aberforth, and Grindlewald.
It is still not clear whether Credence is definitely a Dumbledore, or if this is a plot cooked up by Grindlewald, but as of now, a third Dumbledore brother directly contradicts Harry Potter canon.
3 Accio Works Differently
One of the limits that were placed on magical spells in Harry Potter was they work differently when applied to living or non-living things. For instance, the spell Accio is used to summon objects, but it cannot be used to summon living things.
In Fantastic Beasts, we see Newt using the spell to summon a Niffler to himself. Once again, the makers decided to use an existing spell that audiences would feel excited to recognize instead of creating a new one, even if it contradicts older storylines.
2 Harry Speaking Parseltongue
Harry was famous for being able to speak Parseltongue, the language of snakes; however, it was later revealed that this was merely a side effect of having a piece of Voldemort’s soul within him.
Rowling had explicitly stated that once the soul shard was removed, Harry also lost his ability to talk to snakes. However, in the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Harry is seen speaking Parseltongue with ease.
1 Diversifying The Cast
A few years after the final Harry Potter novel came out, Rowling revealed a bunch of things about the series that no one knew. Like the fact that Dumbledore was a homosexual, Hermione was African American in the new play, and that there were Jewish students at Hogwarts.
While all of these are perfectly acceptable plot points, it was a strange thing that none of these facts ever found mention in any of the films or novels. Many readers accused Rowling of trying to make her stories more diverse retroactively and ‘woke’ than they actually were.