50 most shocking moments in the Harry Potter books and movies

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Harry Potter is full of memorable, exciting, and intense moments. Whether it comes to deaths, magical spells, or unbelievable twists, what were the 50 most shocking moments?

Harry Potter may be 20 years old, but it never gets old. The movies and books are believed by fans old and new. Parents are now reading the books they grew up with to their children, while dressing up for conventions and enjoying butterbeer.

The books and movies alike are made up of various twists and turns. There are exciting, death-defying moments and twists that made you gasp in horror and awe the first time. Whether it was learning that Tom Riddle was Voldemort or watching Dumbledore’s death happen for the very first time, there are many shocking moments throughout the seven book and eight movie series.

It’s time to look at the 50 most shocking moments throughout the franchise. And this is only going to look at Harry Potter. The Fantastic Beasts prequels have given us many twists and turns, but we’re nowhere near the end of that storyline. The twists and surprises may not be everything they seem and not everyone has had the chance to see the most recent movie.

This article is going to breakdown the Harry Potter moments. Which would makes it into your top 50? Which moments had you gasping as you read or staring wide-eyed in wonder as they played out on the screen? Which moments can you just not forget?

Here are the top 50 shocking moments from Harry Potter.

50. When Lockhart was exposed

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The basic storyline: Gilderoy Lockhart became the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor during Harry’s second year. A world-famous author, he had plenty of stories of all the things he’d seen and done.

However, when it came to going down to the Chamber of Secrets to save Ginny, Lockhart revealed himself as the fraud that he was hinted to be. Terrified and unskilled, he threatened Harry and Ron with a memory charm – the way he’d been able to pretend all those stories were his own.

Why it was so shocking: Poor bumbling Lockhart. He had all these stories and was considered to be this great wizard and then it was all revealed to be a lie. This wasn’t all that shocking in itself. The ending to his story was the bit that had us gobsmacked.

As Harry and Ron learned the truth, we saw that there was a chance they would be in danger. Lockhart wanted their story to be his next and we found out everything he was willing to do to make it possible. His abilities with memory charms were outstanding and it was clear that Ron and Harry were in some serious trouble.

Fortunately, Lockhart had Ron’s broken wand and the curse backfired. While shocking, it was all hilarious as we realized this author and fraud was about to get his just desserts.

The book did this reveal much better. There were clues in the writing that led to this and give us the opportunity to guess it, but nothing too obvious. The movie didn’t quite pull the big reveal off as well because of the way the clues were shown throughout.

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49. When Barty Crouch Jr. was exposed

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The basic storyline: After the final trial and Cedric’s death, Barty’s true nature was finally revealed. At first, it looked like Mad-Eye Moody had been the one doing everything, but there was far more to it.

Just as he was about to attack Harry to kill him, Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape walked into the room. Dumbledore was able to stun “Moody” and feed him Veritaserum. Once Barty’s Polyjuice Potion (which was used to become Moody) wore off, Barty confessed to everything.

Why it was so shocking: When Alastor Moody appeared in Harry Potter, we got this gruff man who had clearly lost everything but just wanted to keep the world safe. And then there were small teases that something wasn’t quite right.

It all came to a head when it was revealed at the end of the book that Moody wasn’t Moody at all. He was Barty Crouch Jr. Everything suddenly came together in a shocking climax that filled in all the gaps we needed. Barty’s mother had taken his place in Azkaban. She’d died there still disguised as her son, making an ultimate sacrifice for him so he could bring the Dark Lord back.

Thanks to Barty Jr.’s actions, Voldemort was brought back from his half-life. He was fully restored and we couldn’t believe that we’d trusted this Moody all the way through the book; that we’d viewed Moody the same way as Harry, only to learn that he was a fake the whole time.

Once Barty was revealed, he got a fate worse than death thanks to the dementor’s kiss. Honestly, this was a character underutilized so much, but the reveal did give us a shocking twist.

48. World Cup terror

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The basic storyline: At the very start of the book, Harry and Hermione headed to the Quidditch World Cup in Ireland. It was supposed to be a fun event, but on the night, the place was attacked by Death Eaters.

While most ran away, Harry remained and watched as one Death Eater sent the Dark Mark into the sky. The other Death Eaters stopped their attack and torturing of the muggles and left.

Why it was so shocking: Watching the Quidditch World Cup play out was one of the best starts to a whole novel. We got to see Harry connect with his friends during the summer. There was a chance to see him enjoy some off-school time with a family that really should have taken him in – and probably would have had it not been for Dumbledore’s orders.

Yet, it was all ruined with a Death Eater attack. This wasn’t just because it was a terror attack, but because the Death Eaters attacked muggles directly. They tortured people who had no way of fighting back.

And then, we got the moment Barty Crouch Jr. put the Dark Mark up in the sky. This was the first time we’d seen this along with Harry. We had no idea what it meant, just that it was something evil and something connected to Voldemort. Suddenly, we were left with dread that there was something major that would happen by the end of this book.

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47. Barty Crouch Sr. found dead

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The basic storyline: There was little that we saw of this. It was mostly told to us afterward, but we know that Barty Crouch Jr. disguised as Moody, stunned Viktor Krum and then killed Barty Crouch Sr.

The movie did this differently. While in the books Barty was turned into a bone and buried so he went missing, the movies had people find his body.

Why it was so shocking: There’s a sad element to this part of the story. After all, we still don’t know if Barty Crouch Sr.’s body was ever recovered. So much was left open because it was just more of a minor plot point.

However, it was at this moment that we knew something was wrong. Alastor Moody had stunned Krum and killed Barty Crouch Sr. What was interesting was that Moody (who was actually Barty Couch Jr.) didn’t actually kill Krum. It was clear that he was only after his dad at the time.

Poor Barty was never found. His body was transfigured into a bone and then hidden in Hagrid’s garden. What’s even more shocking is that nobody really mourned Barty Sr. The only one to feel something was his house-elf, Winky, an elf who Barty had once cast aside and only felt disdain for in the last years of his life.

The movie did give us the finding of the body and added to some of the shock factor. But it’s the knowledge of what happened and why that really makes this stand out from so many other deaths throughout Harry Potter.

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46. Dumbledore in the cave

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The basic storyline: Dumbledore needed to retrieve something extremely important, in one of the most dangerous caves around. He took Harry and found a bowl with a locket inside. Realizing the water was cursed, he knew he would need to drink it to be able to retrieve the locket. But he also knew the locket was poisoned.

Harry was forced to make Dumbledore drink the water, as Dumbledore begged him to not have to do it. In the end, Harry had to physically force Dumbledore to drink and they did retrieve the locket, which was supposed to be one of Voldemort’s horcruxes. Later, Harry would find out the locket was a fake.

Why it was so shocking: Finding the horcruxes became a major part of the story. It had to so Voldemort’s soul could be completely destroyed to prevent him coming back again. One of those horcruxes was in a cave and placed in cursed water.

The whole scene had us on the edges of our seats while reading. The movie also did a good job of recreating the horror, the wonder, and the heartbreak. We got a beautiful sense of the cave around them and the horrors of the water, but it was the actions of Dumbledore that were the most shocking of all.

Dumbledore knew what he had to do. He would have to drink the cursed water and it would be hell on Earth for him. We were taken through this whole process, as Dumbledore begged to stop and Harry was forced to push him to drink more. No drop could be left.

Harry has to physically force the water down his mentor’s throat. Then we get the undead reanimated from the water below. It’s a moment that we didn’t know if both would survive from. Of course, this wasn’t the most shocking moment from the whole book, but it took us down one of the darkest paths.

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45. When Lupin was revealed as a werewolf

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The basic storyline: As the third book started to come to an end, Remus and Sirius were taking Peter to the authorities, finding out that he was actually alive and the one who had been the Death Eater all along. However, Remus had failed to take his needed potion to prevent his werewolf transformation.

When the full moon rose, Remus became a werewolf. With Harry, Ron, and Hermione around, Sirius turned into his dog form to protect them from Remus, who had no control now in werewolf form.

Why it was so shocking: For the whole of the book, we just knew that there was something about Remus Lupin that Rowling was hinting towards. There were various moments that teased that he was something that nobody except a few people knew.

Little did we know that we would have a werewolf on our hands. When it was revealed that he was a werewolf, there was a shock, but it was reading him physically transform that brought us this overwhelming awe and wonder. Rowling went into detail about how his mouth jumped from his face and he became just a skeletal form with a pronounced spine and gangly arms. This wasn’t the type of werewolf we were used to picturing, making it all the more grotesque.

Finally, it was easy to understand why people were so scared of werewolves. It wasn’t just that they had no control, but that they looked like a giant, feral rat-human hybrids.

While the movie tried to do it justice, it was the book that brought more of the shocking moment out on the page. The movies made him more of a wild dog than the grotesque rat-man hybrid that a werewolf was described as.

Plus, the book gives us more of Sirius’ feelings. He knows what this transformation is going to be like for his friend. It’s a fate worse than anything else imaginable and he wouldn’t wish it on his greatest enemies.

44. When the Ford Anglia really did fly

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The basic storyline: When Harry was imprisoned into the Dursely home, the Weasleys came to rescue him to make sure he could get to Hogwarts. What better way than with the flying Anglia?

The surprises continued when Harry and Ron were late to get through to Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters. The barrier had closed and they ran straight into the wall. This meant they would miss the Hogwarts Express and be expelled from Hogwarts.

To avoid this, they decided to take Arthur Weasley’s Ford Anglia, which was a magical car. It managed to fly them to the school, although ran into some bother when it came to the landing!

Why it was so shocking: A car can’t fly, right? Well, that’s definitely the case for most people. It’s not the case for a certain Weasley car.

The book cover showed us that there would be a flying car. What we didn’t realize was why and how it would happen. The details bring the shocking moments, and they’re extremely exciting. The level of description from Rowling is on point, giving us the view of the flying car without being able to see it from the outside.

For a child reading the book for the first time, a flying car was amazing. This was one thing we’d dreamed of having and here it was in front of our very eyes. There was no limit to what Rowling was willing to bring us and that added to the shock factor.

Plus, we got two boys flying the car to Hogwarts. It was hilarious to read how it got stuck in the Whomping Willow and flew off without its owner battered and bruised. You just knew that the two boys were going to get in trouble for this, adding a shocking twist when it was only Ron who Molly Weasley was upset it.

43. Bellatrix tortures Hermione

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: While looking for Voldemort’s horcruxes, Harry said the Dark Lord’s name. Little did he know, there was now a Taboo Curse on the name and the three friends were surrounded by Death Eaters. The trio was taken to Malfoy Manner, where Bellatrix Lestrange happened to be.

However, the three refused to say who they really were. Hermione had cast a spell on Harry to disfigure him and help protect him. However, they all knew who he was. Because of an article in the Daily Prophet, the Death Eaters know who Hermione is. When Bellatrix realized that the three had the Sword of Gryffindor, which she believed was in her vault at Gringotts, she tortured Hermione to find out how they got it.

Why it was so shocking: This was far more shocking in the books than it was in the movies. J.K. Rowling gave us the opportunity to run away with our thoughts. Everything was witnessed through the eyes of Harry and Ron, rather than seeing the torture play out on screen.

It wasn’t the actual act that was shocking. By this point, we knew the type of person Bellatrix was. Sent completely crazy from her time in Azkaban, we knew that she was willing to do whatever it took to get information. She was overwhelmingly loyal to the Dark Lord and would stop at nothing, not even torture.

The shocking part was how it all played out. Rowling wrote the scene in such a way that you could fill the gaps with all sorts of horrors.

In the end, it was the aftermath. We didn’t need to know what Hermione faced or how she was coping inside her head. It was clear Hermione was angry, in pain, but also suffering from the memories of it all. The only physical point we got was “Mudblood” carved into her arm and it sent shivers up our spines.

42. Harry sees the Thestrals and the Veil

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The basic storyline: Harry returned to Hogwarts the September after Cedric’s death. For the first time, he saw the black winged horses that had been pulling the carriages from the train station to the school. Nobody else sees them, except for Luna.

Later, when in the Ministry, Harry sees the archway that is the Veil. Again, Harry can see it and hear voices. Only Luna can too, indicating that those who have seen death are the only ones to see the true form of the Veil.

Why it was so shocking: There’s something shocking but special about the moments Harry sees something that others don’t. After Cedric’s death, he starts seeing things he’s never seen before, such as the Thestrals pulling the carriage that looked like it was pulling itself for a long time.

Then we find out that Luna can see the Thestrals too. This is our introduction to this quirky but kind-hearted girl. She’s completely in her own world but will always put her friends first. She also knows that those who have seen death (and I assume understand it because Harry saw his mom die) can see things that nobody else can.

After that, Harry can see the Veil and hear the voices through it. Luna can, too. However, Hermione makes a point that the archway is empty. It’s clear at this moment that it’s another element that only those who have seen death can see it.

41. “Yer a wizard, Harry”

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

The basic storyline: Mr. Dursely refused to let Harry have any of his letters inviting him to Hogwarts. Knowing that he was needed, Dumbledore finally sent Hagrid to bring the boy to the school. This was when the Dursleys and Harry headed off to an extremely remote and desolate location to escape the influx of letters from owls.

As Harry blows out his fake candles he’s made on his drawn-in-dirt cake, Hagrid bounds into the building. He doesn’t realize that Harry’s true nature has been kept from him all this time and comes out with “Yer a wizard, Harry.”

Why it was so shocking: The first time reading Harry Potter is magical. There are so many storylines that you don’t know about; moments that are beautifully done throughout. One of those moments that will always stand out is when Hagrid stomps his way into the house in the middle of nowhere. “Yer a wizard, Harry,” he tells the young 11-year-old and it’s perfect.

There’s a shock element to it. This isn’t that Harry is a wizard because we all knew that it was going to happen. The shock element is all about how Harry finds out.

It’s an accumulation of moments to this point. Harry getting his first letter; the owls consistently dropping letters off; the Dursleys getting as far away from their home as possible; Hagrid looming over everyone as he stomps his way through.

Who didn’t get giddy as it all came together? It was that moment Harry knew he was destined for greatness and we watched it all play out through his pre-teen wide-eyed wonder.

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40. When Bellatrix killed Sirius

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The basic storyline: During the battle at the Ministry, Bellatrix manages to cast a curse on Sirius Black. He stumbles backward into the Veil, where he is instantly killed.

During the books, the exact curse isn’t named. It’s the stumbling into the Veil that kills him. In the movie, Bellatrix kills Sirius with the Killing Curse and then he stumbles back into the Veil as he dies.

Why it was so shocking: Harry Potter just can’t catch a break. As much as you wanted to see him get a happy life with Sirius Black, it was never destined to happen. During a battle between the Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters, Sirius was hit with a curse from Bellatrix.

In the movie, it’s the Killing Curse. The book doesn’t label the curse, but many have believed it to he Stupify. Both times, Sirius ends up stumbling into the Veil and he dies. It’s heartbreaking for Harry and there’s some excellent acting from Helena Bonham Carter. Who doesn’t remember her singing “I killed Sirius Black” as the Death Eaters escaped?

But this was a shocking moment. Yes, we expected it at some point, but not in this moment. There was hope that Sirius would last for a little longer. That he would be able to help raise Harry and teach him more about magic. There was so much that Sirius had missed out on and we wanted some sort of happy ending for him and Harry together.

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39. When Hermione revealed the time-turner

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkaban

The basic storyline: It looks like the book/movie will end with an unhappy ending. Sirius has been captured and nobody will believe the truth. Buckbeak has been killed by the Ministry’s executioner.

With Ron injured, Dumbledore tells Hermione that there may be a way to save everyone. Hermione reveals that she has a time-turner and there is a chance that they can fix everything with a few small changes. Buckbeak being saved means that Buckbeak can take Sirius away before he’s given the Dementor’s Kiss.

Why it was so shocking: One of the rules of time travel is not to go down the time travel rabbit hole. There are so many questions brought up and so many consequences that it always seems writers and creators have never thought of during the creation of their stories. But I just can’t help it.

Time turners were introduced in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Given to Hermione so she can b- in multiple classes at the same time, it’s clear that this is magic that isn’t gifted to everyone. In fact, not everyone even knows a time turner exists and that makes sense. In the wrong hands, this could be an extremely dangerous piece of magic.

With all the complications of time travel and how it could affect things in the future, it’s shocking that Dumbledore would just have one lying around and gift it to one of his students to allow her to go to multiple classes. Granted, this was Hermione who had proven herself to be a loyal, gifted, and good-souled student.

The most shocking part of the whole thing was the way Dumbledore just suggested that she use her time-turner to save Sirius and Buckbeak. He knew the dangers of time travel and he just thought it would be a good idea? Harry did far more than just save Sirius from being taken back to Azkaban and Buckbeak from execution. He used it to save himself. Literally!

38. When Dumbledore charged at Harry

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The basic storyline: Bringing back the Triwizard Tournament, all those who wanted to take part could put their name into the Goblet of Fire. However, it was only for those in their sixth and seventh years at the school.

Only three names should have been pulled from the hat, one name from each of the three schools. However, a fourth was pulled out and somehow it was Harry’s name. In the book, Dumbledore asked calmly whether Harry had put his name in there. That wasn’t quite the case for the movie.

Why it was so shocking: “Did you put your name into the Goblet of Fire, Harry?” he asked calmly.

This shocking moment comes more with the adaptation from book to movie than the scene at all. In the novel, Dumbledore spoke to Harry calmly. This was a man who always knew there was something bigger at play. He had an insight for everything, so would have known if Harry was telling the truth or not.

In the movie, Dumbledore charged at Harry with his hand out as if he wanted to strangle him. It was completely out of character for Dumbledore to do this, both in the book and the movie. He wouldn’t have charged at a student like this, keeping all sense of decorum and calm.

Whether it was an actor or a director decision isn’t known, but it was one major shocking moment that fans just cannot get over. It felt over the top and was a major continuity problem. We never saw that Dumbledore again. Even when against his enemies, he kept his cool.

37. Harry can talk to snakes

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone/Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The basic storyline: We’d already seen Harry interact with a snake in the first book. It was the second book where we learned more about this skill. When Draco makes a snake appear during the duel practise, the snake threatens other students. Harry tells the snake not to attack the students and talks to it.

In the books, we only get Harry’s view, which is him speaking in English. The others tell him he was speaking another language. In the movie, we get to see parseltongue being spoken.

Why it was so shocking: We knew from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that Harry could talk to snakes. This wasn’t all that shocking considering the magical world. It was easy to put it down to that it was one of his unknown powers.

The shocking moment was when we learned why he could talk to snakes – and that he had no idea he was speaking in another language. Voldemort had this ability and so did Salazar Slytherin. It was clear that Harry’s ability linked to Voldemort being a part of him, although we had no idea at the time.

This shocking revelation was a clue of the things to come. Rowling had this full seven-book series planned out and we started to worry about what all these teases meant for Harry.

The movie also added to the shock factor. We finally got the chance to hear parseltongue and it was just as creepy as the books made it seem.

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36. Finding out the rat was a different type of rat

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The basic storyline: For years, everyone believed that Sirius was the Death Eater and had killed his friend Peter Pettigrew. Peter had turned into his Animagus form and lived as the rat Scabbers for 12 years. In this book/movie, he went missing.

After being found, Ron and Scabbers were taken to the Shrieking Shack by Sirius. Remus and Snape turned up with Harry and Hermione and Scabbers finally turned back into his human form. At first, Peter tried to put the blame on Sirius but it was soon clear his betrayal was out.

Why it was so shocking: From the very start of Harry Potter, Scabbers was an important part of the story. He was Ron’s pet. And not just any pet, but a hand-me-down pet. This was a rat who had been with the Weasleys for as long as Ron could remember.

Once again, it was clear that J.K. Rowling had thought about things way in advance. She had a story in mind for Scabbers, otherwise, why make a point of him being a hand-me-down pet. This was more than the Weasleys being poor.

There were multiple times that we got a sense something was off. After all, Peter Pettigrew showed up on the Marauders’ map and the rat kept going missing. Finally, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we learned the full truth. The rat was a different type of rat.

It was a shocking but exciting twist. We finally had proof that Sirius wasn’t the guy who killed his friends. He hadn’t turned against the Potters and sided with Voldemort. It was Peter who had done it all.

35. When Voldemort returned permanently

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The basic storyline: At the end of the Triwizard Tournament, Harry Potter and Cedric Digory touch the trophy, only to find themselves in a graveyard. The trophy was a port key and Harry was now right where Voldemort needed him. Peter Pettigrew could put the final ingredient into the mixture to bring Voldemort back.

Why it was so shocking: While Cedric’s death was definitely a shocking moment (keep going to see where that exact moment comes out), it was the way Voldemort returned that was the extremely shocking. We knew it had to happen at some point, but not the way it did.

This moment was an accumulation of multiple others. We saw that this was a long game on Voldemort’s part. He’d waited to build his strength. He had his cronies do their research to find a way to bring him back. It required Harry Potter’s blood to manage it.

Learning that there were months of planning to bring this even about was definitely a shocking moment. We realized that everything Harry had been through was planned. It was all part of the course and everyone, even Dumbledore, had been manipulated.

Seeing it all play out on the screen was definitely an intriguing and magnificent thing. The graphic of going from baby creature-like to the Voldemort we’d come to recognize was intense and horrifying at the same time. It was something almost beyond many of our imaginations, especially those who were about the same age as Harry when reading the books the first time!

34. No parents have ever complained at the deaths in the school

Book/movie it happened in: Throughout the books

The basic storyline: There isn’t really one particular point in the whole books. It’s more of a fact across the whole books and the movies. How could any of the parents have been happy at the danger put towards the students in Hogwarts?

Sure, they were there to learn magic, but there were parts of the castle off limits due to a risk to their health. Bullies could literally put student’s lives at risk right away. Sometimes evil teachers were hired. Did anyone think this school was a good idea? It’s shocking that not one parent really questioned it more than it all actually happening.

Why it was so shocking: While Hogwarts is a place to learn about magic, it’s not the safest place on Earth. This is clear from the very first speech from Dumbledore, where he mentions the parts of the school that are forbidden to go to.

It should have been clear from that moment that there wasn’t much in the way of safety. Yet, parents were shockingly happy to send their children there. I guess part of it was the parents thinking they’d been through it all so it must be safe for their own children.

Let’s just remember all the deaths or close deaths that happened. Throughout every book, the trio is at least put in direct danger. There have been deaths, like Moaning Myrtle, in the school and there were threats to the lives long before Voldemort came back from the dead.

When Voldemort did come back, nobody believed Harry Potter. And then there was the fact that a woman as evil as Dolores Umbridge was allowed to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts and become acting headmistress at one point. Seriously, parents were okay with this?

33. Love potions allowed

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The basic storyline: There isn’t a storyline to really mention as this is just an overall look at a particular type of potion. However, it’s in the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, that the love potion is introduced. It turns out Tom Riddle’s mother had used one on his father and Romilda Vane puts some in chocolate that Ron eats.

Hermione realizes that the love potions don’t actually create love but infatuation. This could be why they were never banned completely.

Why it was so shocking: I can’t help but think if the book was written today, the love potion storyline would be completely different. The fact that it was a girl using a love potion on a guy seems to be acceptable. But it’s creepy and wrong.

Regardless of the issue, there’s something else to bring up. Just why were love potions even allowed at all? There’s a huge consent issue for adults and children. Used in the wrong hands, they could end up being deadly. After all, it was because of a love potion that Voldemort was even born!

So many other curses were banned. There were other types of magic that weren’t available to everyone. Yet love potions were perfectly okay to make! They weren’t used much and never became a major plot point, except for the story of why Tom Riddle was born, but that doesn’t make the potions okay.

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32. Neville kills Nagini

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: In the books, just after Neville stands up to Voldemort and pulls the Sword of Gryffindor literally from the hat, he chops off Nagini’s head and the battle starts up again.

This is different in the movie. Ron and Hermione are running away from Nagini, who is sure to kill them as they stumble in rubble. Outside, Harry and Voldemort face each other in their final showdown. As Voldemort and Harry cast their spells together, Nagini goes in for the kill but is stopped, as Neville swings the sword and chops off her head.

Why it was so shocking: The Battle of Hogwarts gave us some excellent moments, but it also threw us some shocking twists. One of those involved Neville Longbottom. After standing up to Voldemort and fighting off the Death Eaters, we were never expecting him to be the one to kill Nagini.

And it was shocking in a good way. It felt like it always should have been him. While part of me wanted him to be the one to kill Bellatrix Lestrange, seeing him get Voldemort’s last horcrux was definitely something to cheer about.

Like a small number of events, I prefer the movie version of this to the book version. In the book, it loses some of the shock factor, as Neville does it shortly after brandishing the Sword of Gryffindor. In the movie, he does it as he saves Ron and Hermione from certain death. It’s a moment that makes him a true savior and we can see why he could have been the one to go up against Voldemort had things been different.

This moment also happens as Harry and Voldemort duel. Harry is able to kill Voldemort with his one and only spell: Expelliarmus.

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31. Finding out the locket isn’t the real one

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The basic storyline: Dumbledore took Harry on a mission to get the Salazar Slytherin’s locket. It was a Horcrux for Voldemort and needed to be destroyed.

After Dumbledore’s death and at his funeral, Harry decided to destroy the Horcrux. However, opening the locket, he realized that it was a fake; and a very good one at that. All that was inside was a note with the letters “R.A.B.”

Why it was so shocking: There was this huge moment to get the locket. It involved Dumbledore weakening himself as he drank the cursed water, the only way to get the locket. We watched in horror as Dumbledore begged not to have to do it but Harry had to make him.

And then we find out that it was all in vain. The locket wasn’t the real one with Voldemort’s Horcrux. The real one had been taken years earlier with nobody knowing. All that Harry had was this note that said “R.A.B.”

Later, we’d find out the whole story. It all came together in the final book and we saw how J.K. Rowling had foreshadowed and pre-planned everything. Yet, at the time, it was one of the most shocking events.

This had just come after Dumbledore’s death. Everything we thought we knew was no longer the truth. It looked like Snape had switched sides (or was playing Dumbledore all along) and there was no hope for anyone. This was that moment it felt like it was all in vain.

(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

30. Neville stands up to Voldemort

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: When Voldemort returns after “killing” Harry Potter, he tells them all that Harry had tried to run away to save himself. It was propaganda to make the enemy think that Harry had deserted them and that Voldemort was the right side.

Neville stepped forward, making it look like he was going to join the Death Eaters. Of course, that was never something he’d do, but it was good enough to give Harry the chance to jump back alive and surprise everyone with the fact he’d sort of faked his death.

Why it was so shocking: Neville Longbottom came a long way from the first book. Initially, a gullible and forgetful student, the Boy Who Could Have Been ended up becoming one of the best fighters. In fact, when Harry left, it was Neville and Luna who took over the training for Dumbledore’s Army.

What we never expected was for him to have the courage to stand up to Voldemort. I doubt anyone in the school even considered it would happen.

The story plays out in two ways between book and movie. In the books, Neville ends up with the Sorting Hat on his head and it’s put on fire by Voldemort because he has the audacity to stand up to the Dark Lord. It’s then that the sword falls out and Neville is able to brandish it.

In the movies, the fire doesn’t happen. Neville stands with the hat in his hands looking around at the devastation. It looks like he’s going to join Voldemort and then he realizes the sword is in the hat.

I prefer the movie moment better, seeing this strong Neville stand up with the Sword of Gryffindor in his hands. That’s especially with the speech Neville gave about how Harry (believing him to have died), Fred, Remus, and Tonks all still with them.

(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

29. Colin Creevey’s death

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: Harry had just learned that he needed to die. While he didn’t want to, he knew that it was necessary to save his friends. Brave and with his family beside him with the resurrection stone, he went off to meet Voldemort.

Along the way, he saw Neville Longbottom and Oliver Wood carrying in a body. It was during the reprieve during the Battle of Hogwarts, as the students and teachers brought the dead inside to lay them comfortably while the next stage of the battle would continue. In this moment, Harry realized that the young Gryffindor student was the student being carried inside.

Why it was so shocking: While we didn’t know Colin for long, he was a sweet boy who was just completely star struck that Harry Potter was in the school. He longed to be just like the Boy Wizard and, really, he was a little like how all of us would have reacted at his age.

Learning that he’d died was heartbreaking and not something we expected to see happen. It was the knowledge that he shouldn’t have been there that made this all the more shocking. Colin was underage. He should have been kept safe like the rest of his year. It’s not like he had the knowledge or abilities to take on the Death Eaters.

Yet, he stepped out and put his life on the line. He was a true Gryffindor but it cost him his short life. This was a boy who wanted to be just like Harry to protect his school and everything that he believed in, and he made the ultimate sacrifice.

28. Luna, Seamus, and Ernie save Harry, Ron, and Hermione from dementors

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: While trying to save Hagrid, Harry, Ron, and Hermione end up with a bunch of dementors after them. Harry tries and fails to create a Patronus and it looks like the dementors will start to suck their souls away.

Seemingly, out of nowhere, Luna, Ernie, and Seamus step in to cast their own Patronuses. They were even on their way to another part of the battle but knew they were needed to protect their friends and fight off the soul-sucking creatures.

Why it was so shocking: During the Battle of Hogwarts, it looked like we were going to lose one of our main trio. The Dementors had attacked and Harry couldn’t produce a Patronus. Luna, Ernie, and Seamus stepped in and produced their ownPatronuses to take out the dementors.

While it was a shocking moment, it was also a perfect one. At this moment, we got to see the training Dumbledore’s Army had accomplished. Harry had been the one to teach them these spells and help them practice, meaning they could be there when Harry needed them the most.

To top this off, Luna was the one to help encourage Harry to think of something happy. She was the one that helped him cast another Patronus.

The movie completely changed this. Aberforth was the one to cast the Patronus. The moment was nothing like the book in terms of the threat, either. We didn’t feel like our trio would die at the hands of the dementors as we did in the book, although seeing the dementors fly towards the school.

27. Hermione Obliviates her parents’ memories of her

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: Harry, Ron, and Hermione were enjoying the events of Bill and Fleur’s wedding when Death Eaters attacked. Hermione was ready for absolutely anything that could happen and in the middle of the attack, she managed to get the three of them away to safety.

Now it was time to protect people who could be tortured for information. Hermione had already proven her abilities with the Obliviate spell and she used it on her parents’ memories to make them forget she ever existed.

This was different in the book. Hermione didn’t use the Obliviate charm, but a different memory spell, making her parents forget about her and decide to move to Australia to keep them safe.

Why it was so shocking: After the attack and Bill and Fleur’s wedding, the trio of friends had to go undercover. They needed to protect the people they loved and get as far away from danger as possible.

With Harry’s parents dead and Ron’s parents pureblood wizards, there was only Hermione who had parents to consider. They were both muggles and couldn’t have protected themselves should the Death Eaters come for them. In a shocking sacrificial twist, Hermione had to remove their memories.

For Hermione, it would have been like being orphaned. Her parents had nothing to indicate that she still existed. They didn’t have any sort of memory that she was ever born. Yet, she remembered everything. It’s not often that I agree with these sorts of spells, but in this case, it made complete sense and to see an 18-year-old make this sacrifice was just heartbreaking.

In the book, the spell was different, but it was still just as shocking. She was willing to do something potentially permanent (it’s never clear if she reverses the charm) to keep her parents safe.

26. That Expelliarmus could beat Avada Kedavra

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: It came to the end of the Second Wizarding War. As the Battle of Hogwarts took place, we knew we would see Harry against Voldemort. Only one would survive and since this was Harry’s tale, it had to be the Boy Wizard.

So, there was the expectation of some sort of big, impressive spell. Instead, Harry shouted “Expelliarmus” against Voldemort’s “Avada Kedavra.” There was really only one that should have won had it not been for one tiny detail.

Why it was so shocking: We knew the ending would come down to a duel between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. One of those was willing to use the Killing Curse and the other wasn’t, but it seemed like Voldemort should have been the one to win.

However, in a shocking twist, Harry used (jokingly the only spell he knew) Expelliarmus and won. This was at the exact same time as the Avada Kedavra spell, making many fans shocked that it was possible. Even now, there are fans trying to figure out how such a small spell could beat the Killing Curse.

There’s only one answer: the wand. The Elder Wand at that point rightfully belonged to Harry because he’d disarmed Draco at one point. The details there aren’t important. What is important is that the Elder Wand’s allegiance was to Harry at this moment. Once the shock wore off, we could figure out that the wand refused to kill its master and Voldemort was toast – or more like ash in terms of the movie.

Speaking of the movie, this was a point missed out and meant the shocking duel lost some of its meaning.

Image courtesy of Warner Brothers

25. When Draco and Harry see Quirrell/Voldemort drink the unicorn blood

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

The basic storyline: While serving detention in the Forbidden Forest, Harry and Draco come across something drinking from a unicorn. This person is drinking the blood but is covered in a cloak. It’s not clear who the person is and Harry and Draco decide not to stick around to find out.

Why it was so shocking: There were some dark moments in the very first book/movie. It’s these dark moments that make you wonder whether it’s suitable for children, but it also makes for a good, shocking element that offers a clue for the things to come.

When Harry and Draco are serving detention in the Forbidden Forest (I’d love to know what all these dangerous detentions were all about), they see someone or something drinking the blood of a unicorn. Now we know it was Voldemort through Professor Quirrell, but it was hard to make anything out at the time.

It would all later be explained. Voldemort, in the end, explained that the unicorn blood was the Elixir of Life.

However, we did learn that it was a terrible act. Harry would learn that drinking unicorn blood brought a terrible price to the drinker. The moment the blood would touch their lips, they would be a shadow of the person they were before.

There’s another moment later that links back to this. Voldemort mentions that he possesses animals but they all die shortly after. Could it be possible that the unicorn blood wasn’t just to strengthen Voldemort but to keep Quirrell alive? Chance are that this wasn’t the case, but keeping Quirrell alive at the time would have been in Voldemort’s best interest.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

24. When Harry learned he had to die

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: When Snape died, he had one last tear for Harry to take. Now, Harry could use the pensieve to experience Snape’s memory of Dumbledore telling him that Harry Potter would have to die.

Who didn’t get emotional as Snape grew shocked and angry to hear that Harry would die? This was Lily’s son. Snape had done everything he could to keep Lily’s son alive for her and now he felt betrayed. What was it all for?

Why it was so shocking: One will have to kill the other. That’s something we’d learned for a while when it came to Harry and Voldemort. What we didn’t expect to learn was that Harry would have to die.

Of course, now we know that Dumbledore didn’t mean Harry. When he told Snape (which we saw through Snape’s tear memory), Dumbledore only told part of the story. There was more to it, which included that the part of Voldemort that resided in Harry as the accidental Horcrux would need to die.

However, we were all on Snape’s side when originally taking everything in. He was aghast that for all these years, Dumbledore had been raising Harry Potter as a pig for the slaughter. Snape was angry that he’d spied and risked his life only to find out that Harry would have to be the one to die. What was it all for?

This did lead to one of the best moments in the whole last book, as Harry went to his death willingly. He learned there was no way out and didn’t question Dumbledore’s words, believing there was something more to this.

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23. When the Order of the Phoenix safe house appeared

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The basic storyline: Harry Potter needed somewhere safe to hide and the best place was at the Black house, which happened to be the Order of the Phoenix safe house. 12 Grimmauld Place wasn’t visible to the Muggle eye. In fact, it wasn’t even visible to witches and wizards unless the secret word was said to reveal it.

This is where the shocking moment came in. We got to see the reveal of this ordinary-looking home, as the two houses either side separated.

Why it was so shocking: We didn’t know what the Order of the Phoenix would be at first. Nor did we realize that it existed. Everything we learned about the wizarding world was through Harry’s eyes, so it was through him that we saw where the Order of the Phoenix safe house was.

And yes, it was literally a safe house. While the books gave us this impressive and shocking moment of the house appearing in the middle of two normal houses, the movie stood out with the graphics. It was everything you could imagine from the written word and more.

It wasn’t just the physical reveal of the house, either. We got the history of the house. The way it was connected to Sirius Black’s family and how it looked completely normal on the inside despite the secret.

Oh, and we also learned that Snape was part of the Order of the Phoenix. That was always going to be a good, shocking twist.

22. Harry talking to Dumbledore after death

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: Harry knew that he would have to die. At the time, he didn’t quite understand why, but he left the fight against Voldemort in the hands of his friends and faced his death.

After being hit by Voldemort’s Killing Curse, he went to a sort of limbo inside his head. Who was there? No one other than Dumbledore, who had some wise final words for our Boy Wizard.

Why it was so shocking: There were some beautiful, bittersweet, and memorable moments throughout this section of the Harry Potter books. As Harry went to face his death at the hands of Voldemort, he resurrected the ghosts of his parents, Sirius, and Remus. This was a chance to share his condolences for their deaths and his wishes of a different future.

However, it was after it looked like he’d died that we got the most shocking moment of all. Harry ended up in limbo that was very much like King’s Cross Station, perfectly bringing the beginning and end together. But that wasn’t the shocking part of the whole thing. We got Dumbledore back.

At this moment, we learned that Harry wasn’t completely dead. After all this time, Dumbledore shared that Harry was a Horcrux. Everything finally came together. The reason Harry shared so many of Voldemort’s qualities and why they were connected. We got the reason he and Nagini were connected. Harry was the Horcrux Voldemort never meant to make.

Of course, this was all topped off with Draco’s mother realizing Harry was alive and not saying a word to Voldemort. We’d seen her waver in support before but now it was clear she was only on Voldemort’s side out of fear. She wanted Harry to win.

21. Harry revealing the Elder Wand wasn’t Voldemort’s

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: As Harry and Voldemort were left alone to face each other, it was clear only one could survive. And at that moment, Harry made it extremely clear that he would be the one to live. Confidently, Harry told Voldemort that he wasn’t the true owner of the Elder Wand. Voldemort hadn’t gained the wand from the right person.

It was at this moment that we took a deep sigh of relief. We just knew that Harry would win and that the reason why had been staring at us since that shocking moment of Dumbledore dying.

Why it was so shocking: While this was one of the best moments of the final battle, it was also a shocking revelation for Voldemort. To be honest, not every reader picked up on the idea that the Elder Wand didn’t belong to Severus Snape.

The battle takes place in different places in book and movie. Many will remember the epic battle on the bridge to Hogwarts, as the magic from the two wands collide, even though the moment was a little earlier just outside the Great Hall. However, in the books, this whole scene took place in front of everyone inside the Great Hall.

Harry had the news that Draco Malfoy was the true owner of the wand after winning it from Dumbledore. It didn’t matter that Severus had killed Dumbledore in the end, as it was all about who won it through a duel, which was who Voldemort believed was the rightful master.

20. When we learn Harry saved himself and Sirius with a Patronus

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The basic storyline: As the dementors swirl around Harry and Sirius, stealing their souls, there’s a Patronus that appears to save them.

Harry doesn’t see who it is, but makes an assumption that it’s his dad. He wants to believe that somehow his dad is alive and has saved him. In the end, it turns out that Hermione and Harry turned back time to save a few people and creatures.

It was Harry who had cast the patronus after seeing the scene and looking out for his father. In that moment, he knew that it was actually him.

Why it was so shocking: While the use of time turners is questionable, we do get this shocking but beautiful moment in The Prisoner of Azkaban. This moment is actually seen from two sides: Harry when he is initially with Sirius and then later when Harry’s future self is the one doing the saving.

Seeing Harry attempt to fight off the dementors at first and protect his godfather is beautiful. We get this moment where he’s desperate for something from his past. He needs Sirius to live but he can’t manage it.

Then the patronus appears and he’s sure that it’s James Potter that’s somehow come back from the dead to save him. At this moment, did anyone else think that it was Dumbledore, Snape, or even Remus somehow who had managed to help save them?

Little did we know that it was Harry on the other side. With Hermione’s time turner, they were able to go back in time to stop Sirius from being taken back to prison and from Buckbeak being executed. They went a tiny bit too far, but just to the right spot for Harry. It was then that everything came together for him. He was the one who had managed to cast the patronus.

More importantly for us, we saw him come into his powers more. And while it was a shocking moment, it was one of those awesome shocking moments that we wanted to relive.

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 05: Actress Julie Walters attends the ‘Paddington 2’ premiere at BFI Southbank on November 5, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

19. Mrs. Wealsey takes on Bellatrix

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: This happens slightly differently in the book and movie, but the basic storyline is the same. After the initial stage of the Battle of Hogwarts is over and the dead are collected, Molly realizes her son is one of them.

The second stage happens and she steps up to protect the others students, refusing to let them die too. In the books, she’s protecting Ginny, Hermione, and Luna. In the movie, she’s protecting her own family, which certainly adds another layer.

Why it was so shocking: After the loss of Fred, we worried about Molly. The worst thing to do is face the death of a child. However, Molly jumped straight back into the Battle of Hogwarts. She could grieve when it was done and the world saved.

And that’s what brought us this shocking but awesome moment. We got to witness Molly take on the amazing Bellatrix. I’ll admit that the movie does this better than the book for me, but that’s because I love seeing Julie Walters and Helena Bonham Carter battling against each other on the screen.

Both versions were powerful though. Molly is the one that steps forward to protect the younger members fighting against this crazed Death Eater. As we see the wand battle play out and Bellatrix taunt Molly, the Mother Hen finds the inner strength to take the Death Eater down once and for all.

Who didn’t cheer when Bellatrix died, even if you loved Bonham Carter’s portrayal of her?

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

18. Bathilda Bagshot is Nagini

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: While looking for answers and a clue to the next horcrux, Harry finds himself at his parents’ grave at Godric’s Hollow. That’s when Bathilda Bagshot turns and coaxes Harry into her home.

She lures him in completely silent and odd the whole way. It’s only once Harry is inside and alone that Nagini snakes her way out of Bathilda’s body and goes in for the kill.

Why it was so shocking: Throughout the scene with Bathilda Bagshot, you knew there was something not quite right. She was far too eerily quiet that it felt like she was leading Harry into a trap.

But when you initially think trap, you think that He Who Must Not Be Named is going jump out of a closet or something. Instead, we get the moment that creeped many a people out. After just speaking in parseltongue, the snake appears from inside the corpse of the woman. The trap was literally inside a dead body.

The book and the movie handle the whole scene differently. While Nagini just appears from Bathilda’s corpse in the book, there’s a lot of smoke and special effects in the movie. Either way, the scene sends shivers as you realize the type of trap that Voldemort has left his prey.

Fortunately, Hermione figures that something isn’t right. She’s there to save Harry when he needs it the most.

To be honest, though, the most shocking thing was that Harry just followed her. He knew that Death Eaters were after him and he willingly went with her!

Image Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

17. Nagini attacks Arthur Weasley

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The basic storyline: Arthur Weasley was standing guard over the door to the Department of Ministries. He was there to protect the prophecy, knowing that Voldemort would go after it.

While Harry slept, he dreamt of himself attacking Arthur. He knew he wasn’t a person, though. He attacked as a snake. Upon waking, Harry made sure that someone went to check on Arthur knowing that it wasn’t just a dream and it certainly wasn’t a vision. It had happened there and then.
Sure enough, Arthur had been attacked by a snake. Never doubt Harry Potter! Ever!

Why it was so shocking: Wasn’t this a moment you just thought Arthur Weasley was going to die? Nagini could poison her victims and kill them. When you realized that Harry hadn’t prophesized the attack but had seen it happening, you instantly feared the worst.

Fortunately, Arthur survived. I’m not sure what Molly Weasley would have done without her bumbling but adorably sweet husband. However, it made it clear that absolutely nobody was safe.

Because Harry saw the attack, Arthur could be saved. People managed to get to him in time, which is where the second reason comes for this moment being as shocking as it was. It’s a moment that we find out Harry is far more connected to Voldemort than we ever knew; than Harry ever knew. This is the moment we know that there’s grave danger ahead.

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 03: (L-R) Helen McCrory, David Thewlis, Natalia Tena and Bonnie Wright visit the Apple Store Soho on April 3, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

16. Tonks and Remus died

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: “Remus and Tonks, pale and still and peaceful-looking, apparently asleep beneath the dark, enchanted ceiling.” This is a beautiful line from the book that describes everything. It was clear that the two had died.

Something happened during the Battle of Hogwarts. Nobody could say what. It wasn’t even clear who had killed them. All we knew was that two of the greatest characters in Harry Potter had died in a fight against darkness.

Why it was so shocking: Not only was this a shocking moment, but it was a heartbreaking moment. Arguably, the most shocking thing about it was that we didn’t get to see it happen. Even in the movie, their deaths were never shown. All we got was the aftermath.

Remus was, in my opinion, one of the greatest characters of the whole series of books. He wasn’t a bully like the others, simply trying to survive with the curse he had. He had a tortured, dark, depressing life, but had finally found love and happiness with Tonks.

For him to die was one thing, but then we also learned that Tonks had died too. Both of them were together at the very end, arms reaching out to one another.

What made this even harder to take is was the knowledge that their son had been left behind, orphaned just like young Harry in a war against the Dark Lord that had taken his own parents. If anyone knew how little Teddy would feel.

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15. When Professor Trelawney prophesized Cedric’s death

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The basic storyline: Professor Trelawney was regarded with different opinions, but some of her predictions and prophecies did come true. One of those was before the Goblet of Fire. While speaking privately with Harry Potter, she revealed to him “innocent blood shall be spilt… and servant and master shall be reunited once more.”

During the final trial, Cedric was killed on the night that Voldemort rose. Coincidence or prophesized?

Why it was so shocking: This is an easy one to overlook. In fact, many have theorized that Professor Trelawney was actually predicting Harry’s blood being taken. However, there is the chance that she was actually predicting the death of Cedric Digory.

He was an innocent, after all. Voldemort did rise and he was reunited with his servant. Granted, Cedric’s blood wasn’t spilled because he was killed with the Killing Curse, but the spilled blood could have been metaphorical.

Plus, she predicts a student’s death every year. Okay, so these deaths don’t happen but there’s a chance that one year she predicted Cedric’s death through those prophecies.

If you’re not buying that one, her predictions have come true over the year. One of those was in the book only, when she said a dinner party with 13 people would lead to death. The first person to rise would die. While only 12 people were at the table, Ron had Scabbers, who was Peter Pettigrew, making him the 13th person without anyone knowing.

When Albus rose, he was the next one to die.

Image courtesy of Warner Brothers

14. Everything about the horcruxes

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and onward

The basic storyline: Horcruxes were mentioned or included (even without realizing) from the very beginning. After all, Harry Potter was revealed as one.

Over the course of the books, we learned that Tom Riddle wanted to live forever. The best way to do that was to split his soul into objects. He chose important items to him and the only way that they could be destroyed was with the Sword of Gryffindor or a basilisk fang.

It was later revealed that Harry was a horcrux.

Why it was so shocking: While we knew that horcruxes were powerful things made of dark magic, we weren’t quite expecting everything that came out about them. It was obvious that Voldemort would use one of them, but did anyone really expect to find out that he split his soul into seven parts?

Then there was the fact that the horcrux locket nearly broke the trio of friends up. The locket started turning the wearer evil and jealous, bringing out insecurities and questions they’d never faced head-on before.

But the most shocking of all was the fact that Harry was a horcrux. Finally, everything about Harry and his connection to Voldemort made sense. It was easy to see why he had all of Voldemort’s powers and could follow Nagini as she killed people. Learning that Harry was a horcrux meant one thing, though. He would need to die so he could kill Voldemort for good. Just how was that going to happen?

ORLANDO, FL – JUNE 18: Matthew Lewis attends The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley Grand Opening at Universal Orlando on June 18, 2014 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)

13. When it could have been Neville

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The basic storyline: After Sirius’ death, Dumbledore took Harry away and explained the whole of the lost prophecy. He made it clear that Harry wasn’t solely destined to become the one to go up against Lord Voldemort.

The prophecy was vague enough that two wizards could have been the intended people. It’s Dumbledore that explains everything, sharing that Neville could have been the other. Who didn’t gasp.

Why it was so shocking: Prophecies aren’t set in stone. One of the most shocking moments in the whole of Harry Potter had to be when we learned Harry wasn’t necessarily destined to become the Boy Wizard. There was a path Voldemort could have taken that would have led to someone else becoming the one to face him.

While that was shocking enough, it was learning who the other person could have been that gave this whole prophecy storyline a major twist. Who would have thought Neville Longbottom would have been the one who could have been the one to kill Harry? Certainly not any of us and certainly not Neville.

During the moment, we learn that it was Voldemort’s actions that led to it being Harry. He made the decision that out of the two babies born on the same day, it would be Harry that would kill him.

What could have happened had Voldemort chosen Neville? Would he have been the one to kill Voldemort in the end? There was potential during the Battle of Hogwarts, but at the time the prophecy details were revealed, it wasn’t clear Neville could ever be a great wizard.

12. When the dementors attack Harry and Dudley

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The basic storyline: When getting home one night with his cousin Dudley, Harry and Dudley are attacked by two Dementors. Harry does the only thing he can to keep the soul-stealing creatures away and cast a patronus.

Harry certainly showed his skill, but the actions soon led to trouble. This was during the school holiday and he wasn’t supposed to be using magic.

Surprisingly (or maybe unsurprisingly once you found out what she was really like) Dolores Umbridge was the one to order an attack.

Why it was so shocking: We knew the dementors were dangerous. The description of them throughout the books was always one that would leave the hairs raised on the body. Honestly, it felt like they were around when reading about them.

Nothing was quite as shocking as when the dementors turned up in Little Whinging and attacked. Both Harry and Dudley found themselves as potential victims of two creatures that shouldn’t have been out. Fortunately, Harry had learned how to conjure a patronus and managed to banish them.

That did lead to some trouble with the ministry. Harry couldn’t possibly have been defending himself.

Learning why the dementors certainly added to the shock factor. After all, we knew that the creatures were supposed to be at Azkaban Prison. Why were they now out and attacking Harry? Dolores Umbridge was the one who ordered it to discredit Harry after revealing that Voldemort had killed Cedric Diggory. That woman was pure evil.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

11. When Voldemort is revealed at the back of Quirrell’s head

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

The basic storyline: After a torturing first year learning wand casting, potions, and just basically being a wizard, Harry and his friends are put to the test. They need to get the philosopher’s stone and that leads to a mission of giant-sized chess and facing the most dangerous teacher in the school.

Quirrell turns out to be the villain of the story. But he’s not alone. He soon reveals that he’s been a host for the Dark Lord, who is looking for a way to return.

Why it was so shocking: For this, the movie was certainly more shocking than the books. Mind you, it didn’t help I read the books as a young pre-teen and the imagination wasn’t quite there. If I’d read that book now, the imagery described would likely be much more shocking. The movie captured it perfectly.

Who really expected to find out that Professor Quirrell was the one who had been attacking Harry Potter this whole time in the first book/movie? There were certainly clues along the way, of course, but Snape was used as such a perfect red herring.

The second, third, fourth, and more times of reading/watching, it’s possible to see the clues more. It shows J.K. Rowling’s excellent writing and forward planning.

The most shocking part of the whole scene in the dungeons had to be Quirrell removing the turban. He shows that Voldemort is a creature at the back of his head, sending messages and controlling the previously-believed nervous teacher.

Although, to be honest, the most shocking thing about this looking back is the fact that it’s The Last Kingdom’s Beocca in the role. But that’s for another day!

Image Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

10. When Dolores punished Harry with her quill

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix

The basic storyline: Dolores Umbridge was immediately one of those characters you knew you would hate. This wasn’t even love-to-hate like with Severus Snape or Lucius Malfoy. She was just an awful, evil woman.

When Harry answers her back in class, she decides to give him detention. Writing lines shouldn’t be that hard. Annoying but not hard. That is until you get a special quill to write lines with!

Why it was so shocking: You would not want a detention with Dolores Umbridge around. This is a woman who is not ashamed of using corporal punishment to teach a lesson. It just wasn’t something we quite expected the first time it happened.

When Harry was sent to detention, he was given a special quill to use. You just knew that it was going to lead to something bad, but who expected it to start etching the words into Harry’s hand? How was this even allowed to happen in a school of minors?

Of course, no parents were ever going to believe that a teacher was capable of this. Nobody that didn’t know Umbridge, anyway. Those that would believe would likely be all for this type of punishment anyway.

The whole situation added another layer to the evil inside Umbridge. This wasn’t a woman who was even a Death Eater; at least, not that we knew. This was a woman who was evil for the sake of it and wanted to make sure everyone would be punished.

Granted, later we find that she’s willing to use the cruciatus curse on Harry, which is one of the three forbidden curses, but that’s not as shocking by this point in the book.

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

9. When Ron returned to help his friends

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: While on watch, Harry realizes that there’s something glistening in the lake. He finds Godric Gryffindor’s sword and decides to go into the icy waters to retrieve it. Unfortunately, because he’s wearing the horcrux locket, it repels against the sword and starts to choke and drown Harry.

Suddenly, Harry is pulled out of the water by none other than Ron Weasley. After leaving out of anger due to the horcrux, Ron returns just in time to save the day.

Why it was so shocking: Ron leaving his friends was shocking enough. The horcruxes had started to take over and it looked like Ron had gone. With the story being told from Harry’s point of view, we didn’t know what had happened to Ron after that.

And then suddenly, Ron turned up. There were a few reasons this was so shocking. The first is that he turned up just in time to save Harry’s life. Despite everything, there was no way that Ron would let his best friend die.

Then there was the reaction from Hermione. She said everything that we thought. After weeks, he just turned up and his first thing to say to her was “hey.” The whole situation was so ludicrous that it was shockingly brilliant. Only Ron Weasley could do something like that.

Following all that, we got the story of what Ron had been up to, why he never came back right away. He gave his story of the snatchers, of knowing Harry and Hermione definitely weren’t dead, and of what the Ministry was up to. In a way, Ron’s decision to leave helped them gain more information but it was heartbreaking. His return made up for it.

(Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Studio Tour London)

8. When Fred died

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: Voldemort and his Death Eaters attacked the school. It was time for the good witches and wizards to join together to protect the world. They would stop at nothing.

While fighting along side his brothers George and Percy (in the books, this is), Fred was laughing and joking. Augustus Rookwood cast some sort of blasting curse and it hit the group. In the book, it was written that the blast was so sudden and Fred’s death so immediate that he died still laughing.

Why it was so shocking: The Battle of Hogwarts was one of the most intense moments in the whole Harry Potter series. For the most part, we were expected for characters to die. We knew that not everyone would make it out alive because it wouldn’t have been realistic. But did we really expect Fred to die?

This moment was absolutely heartbreaking. Fortunately, he was with one of his brothers at the time and, in the book at least, he died with laughter on his face. However, this didn’t take away from the shock. I think it added to it.

The death was unexpected and shocking. In fact, in the books, we never really got to see it because the books are mostly from Harry’s view. At the end of the initial battle, we just learned that Fred Weasley was gone and it was heartbreaking.

Over the course of seven books and eight movies, we’d gotten to know the Weasley family. They all meant the world to us. I’m not sure who I felt sad for the most. George? Ron? Mrs. Weasley? It took a long time to accept that Fred had really been killed.

7. When George lost his ear

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: Knowing that Harry was in danger and Death Eaters were heading to him, the Order of the Phoenix arrived at the Dursley house. What would become known as the Battle of the Seven Potters saw multiple members of the Order becoming Harry, making it impossible to tell who the real one was.

Death Eaters attacked them all. Severus Snape would fire off a Sectumsempra curse, which caused the loss of George’s ear. There was nothing that could be done since it was removed by dark magic.

Why it was so shocking: While Fred’s death was definitely shocking, it was George losing his ear that was the most shocking of the two. Let’s be honest, did you really think something was going to happen to the Weasley twins at this point. They were both constantly joking but they also knew their magic and they were brave, good wizards.

The journey to save Harry was one of those that we knew would come with risks. Hedwig was killed during the journey and I was devastated. Sure, Hedwig may have been just an owl, but she meant the world to Harry and to the fans.

Yet, it was George’s ear that was the most shocking. It really shouldn’t have been that shocking. After all, it looks like George’s ear loss was foreshadowed and hinted at due to his name. This Bustle article explains that perfectly.

Up to this point, Harry’s close friends had been saved from death and injury. Hermione had been petrified and Ginny had been trapped in the Chamber of Secrets but both happened in Book 2. By this point, we’d seen our group, including the Weasley twins, make it through battles and troubles. Seeing George lose an ear was not on the list of expectations.

6. When Snape was revealed as the Half-Blood Prince

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The basic storyline: When Harry Potter turned up to Potions class in the Sixth Year, he picked up what looked like a normal textbook. Soon he would realize that this was anything but normal. There were various scribbles throughout correcting the potions, corrections that helped him succeed in the class.

All he knew was that the scribbles were from someone called the Half-Blood Prince. It wouldn’t be until the end that we’d learn just who that was.

Why it was so shocking: For the whole of the book, we wondered who the Half-Blood Prince was. Who presumed that it would be Voldemort? It would certainly explain Harry’s connection to the book and all the notes.

It was later revealed that Severus Snape was the Half-Blood Prince. Suddenly, everything from the book came together. He knew that Harry had picked up his old text book.

However, that wasn’t the most shocking part of this storyline. With learning that Snape was the Half-Blood Prince, we learned why he was the Potions master after all. And we learned just how powerful he was. Dumbledore putting Severus in charge of Harry’s safety made all the more sense.

Within this minute, it was clear that Snape would play a bigger part in Harry Potter’s journey. Not that he hadn’t already, but there was so much more to come and Snape was not a force to be reckoned with.

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 02: Robert Pattinson attends the 56th New York Film Festival screening of “High Life” at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on October 2, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

5. When Cedric Diggory died

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The basic storyline: At the end of the last test, Harry and Cedric made it to the cup together. They were transported to a graveyard, where Peter Pettigrew was raising Lord Voldemort. One of Voldemort’s first acts was to kill those who knew he had risen, and Cedric was the first victim we saw at the hands of the killing curse.

Why it was so shocking: While there were other deaths that shocked, Cedric’s was the most shocking purely looking at the death itself. Albus Dumbledore’s is more shocking for other reasons, and I’ll get to that, but Cedric’s death was one that I just didn’t see coming. And it’s ridiculous considering Professor Trelawney had prophesized it.

In fact, there were various moments throughout that we were warned about the chances of death. The Triwizard Tournament had been banned in an era or torture, death, and disease. Dumbledore had made sure everyone knew of the dangers and there was even a rule for certain aged students only being able to compete.

Yet, we didn’t want to believe anyone could die. And then Harry and Cedric made it to the cup together. That transported them to another place and we just knew there was no way both were making it back alive.

One thing that made Cedric’s death the most shocking purely on the death front was that it was the first. Well, it was the first of a focus character. We’d got to know him before his death. All the others had died before the books started or off the screen. Four books in and we got our first known character death, and you just knew it was the first of many.

(Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

4. When we realized James Potter and his friends were bullies

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The basic storyline: During Harry’s Occulumency lessons, he finally breaks through Snape’s walls. It’s a chance to see Snape’s worst memories and this gives us an insight into all the disdain Snape has for the young Potter.

Sure enough, James Potter bullied him. This wasn’t minor either. J.K. Rowling has said that it was relentless bullying. Just from this memory alone, the fact that it still haunts him to this day, shows everything he felt at the time.

Why it was so shocking: With Harry Potter being such the sweet boy that he is, we wanted to believe that both his parents were too. After all, we saw an honorable but lonely and tortured Remus and a crazed but sweet Sirius. We just hoped that James Potter was just the same.

Then we got Severus’ backstory. Harry saw his memories and learned the full truth. James and his friends weren’t the honorable, kind people that we’d hoped they would be. They were nothing more than bullies in the past, especially James. Despite James and Sirius being kind to Remus Lupin, all three were mean to Severus for nothing more than him being different.

Fortunately, we saw that Lily was different. She would spend time with Severus and he certainly liked her because of that. Going off with James didn’t give her much credibility, though. At least it seemed she rubbed off on James and his friends and they improved over the years, but that memory still gave us Severus’ legitimate reasons for hating James and the rest of the gang.

3. Tom Riddle revealed as Voldemort

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The basic storyline: Ginny Weasley had gone missing. Opening the Chamber of Secrets, everyone knew there was a high chance she would die. Harry and Ron refused to let that happen and managed to find the way to open the Chamber of Secrets thanks to Harry’s ability to speak parseltongue.

With Ron trapped, Harry had to face Tom Riddle’s diary apparition himself. That was where he learned that Tom Riddle’s name created an anagram for Voldemort.

Why it was so shocking: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets brought a number of twists and turns. We learned Hagrid’s backstory and saw him go to Azkaban, and it was clear this place was bad long before we saw it properly in the third book. However, nothing was more shocking in this book than learning who Tom Riddle was.

Not only was he a young boy who Dumbledore had brought into the school, but he was evil from the start. It’s amazing how Dumbledore didn’t realize that at first. Who didn’t get the heebie jeebies?

At the very end, we learned just why Riddle was such a bad egg. He would become the wizard everyone would come to fear: Lord Voldemort.

Honestly, though, I’m not sure what was more shocking. Was it learning that Voldemort used to be a normal looking young boy or that Riddle had managed to fool Dumbledore? Maybe it was just the fact that J.K. Rowling had clearly put plenty of effort into creating the stories and there was plenty of foreshadowing for the next books.

2. Dumbledore’s death at Snape’s hand

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The basic storyline: Dumbledore is at the top of the Astronomy Tower when Severus Snape and other Death Eaters appear. Harry, who had previously been with Dumbledore, is now underneath, watching helplessly.

This is Draco’s chance to prove he’s a Death Eater, to take a step that he just can’t come back from. He disarms Dumbledore, but can’t go through with killing Dumbledore in the end. It’s Severus who steps forward to kill his friend and mentor in the end and the whole scene is just shockingly heartbreaking.

Why it was so shocking: Severus Snape had made an unbreakable vow with Draco Malfoy. You knew that it would play a part in some sort of dastardly way. After all, Draco’s mother was terrified of what would happen to her son with the task that he had been given.

When it came to Albus at the top of the tower, we weren’t sure what would happen at first. We just hoped that Harry would jump out and stop them all. Or that Dumbledore would be able to stop everyone and save himself. Hey, there was a moment we hoped that Draco would decide to allow Dumbledore to live.

In the end, it was Severus Snape who stood up. He protected Draco from an act that he could never come back from. It looked like Snape was evil and in the books, that was the way it was meant to look. With the movies, there was another layer to this story but it didn’t stop the moment from being even more shocking.

The great Albus Dumbledore was dead and it was because of Severus Snape, who gained from that death.

1. Snape’s love for Lily

Book/movie it happened in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The basic storyline: Just as we got to the end, Voldemort learned that Severus had been playing him the whole time. We finally got the confirmation we needed: Severus was on the side of good after all, doing what was necessary to make sure Harry Potter could win.

As he died, he shed a final tear. Harry was there to see his death. All Severus wanted was for Harry to have the tear to use the pensieve and see memories that had been locked away behind walls.

Why it was so shocking: Is there really a moment that could be the number one spot? For years, we knew that there was something Snape was hiding. His disdain for Harry Potter was far too much as a Death Eater. Albus Dumbledore trusted him too much for him for him to hate Harry for the sake of it.

The hatred came from his hatred of James Potter. Over the years, we constantly got the reminders that Harry was a good mixture of both his mother and father. That was the clue all along what was coming.

The shocking moment came in the pensieve. With Snape’s dying tears, Harry was finally able to learn it all. He saw the heartbreak and the love Snape had for Lily. Finally, it all came together. And yes, it was shocking to see how it all pieced together the first time reading it. Seeing it on the screen was beautiful, but reading it that very first time was amazing.

Do you agree with this list? What was the most shocking Harry Potter moment for you throughout all seven books or eight movies? Share in the comments below.