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Movies & TV

17th May 2019

I just realised something about Harry Potter that turns the whole series on its head

Carl Kinsella

Harry Potter

Harry Potter killed Cedric Diggory.

Bear with me here.

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the titular character and a handsome Hufflepuff boy named Cedric Diggory compete in the Triwizard Tournament. Long story short, they end up walking headfirst into Lord Voldemort’s evil plan and spoiler alert, one of them ends up dead. (That’s Cedric.)

It has long been accepted that Peter Pettigrew aka Wormtail kills Cedric on the orders of Voldemort, and the movie adaptation of JK Rowling’s fourth book runs with this without question. But I’m pretty sure we’ve all had it wrong since 2000. I’m pretty sure there’s one suspect we all over looked: Harry Potter. Let’s examine the evidence.

Harry had both the motivation and the opportunity to kill Cedric.

  • Harry meets Cedric and his loving father Amos at the outset of the book. He’s jealous of Diggory’s relationship with his parents.
  • He was bullied by Cedric’s friends throughout fourth year, who wore “Potter Stinks!” badges and tormented him. He was humiliated.
  • Cedric was known to be dating Cho Chang, the girl of Harry’s dreams. He asked her to the Yule Ball but she was already going with Cedric, further compounding his humiliation. Harry watches them throughout the entire ball.
  • They were competing against each other in the Triwizard Tournament, a chance for Harry to redeem his pride.
  • Harry learns how to perform Avada Kedavra from Barty Crouch Jnr (posing as Mad-Eye Moody) just weeks before the incident. This is the spell used to kill Cedric.
  • In the final challenge of the TriWizard tournament, the pair disappear together.
  • Cedric comes back dead.
  • Harry blames “Voldemort,” a wizard that the world believes to have been dead for 15 years.

Harry Potter

Now, if this were a true crime podcast, you’d be expecting that the cops would have arrested Harry right on the spot. But they didn’t do that. Even though all the evidence points in Harry’s direction, they’re prepared to let this one go without any proper investigation.

This is doubtlessly in no small part to Harry’s status as a protectee of Albus Dumbledore who, on multiple occasions, has allowed Harry to break the rules of Hogwarts, and even allowed him to go back in time the year previous. Dumbledore is not impartial when it comes to any matter concern Harry, and once again he uses his influence to shield Harry.

But I know what you’re thinking. JK Rowling tells us that Wormtail kills Cedric on Voldemort’s orders. But here’s the thing.

She doesn’t.

On page 412 of Goblet of Fire, in Chapter 32, Voldemort gives the order to kill Cedric. A “second voice” yells Avada Kedavra as Harry sees green and shuts his eyes. When he opens his eyes Cedric is dead. Wormtail is there but we’re never told who the second voice belongs to.

Here’s how it goes down, in JK’s own words.

“From far away, above his head, Harry heard a high, cold voice say, ‘Kill the spare.’ A swishing noise and a second voice, which screeched the words to the night: ‘Avada Kedavra!’

“A blast of green light blazed through Harry’s eyelids, and he heard something heavy fall to the ground beside him; the pain in his scar reached such a pitch that he retched, and then it diminished; terrified of what he was about to see, he opened his stinging eyes. Cedric was lying spread-eagled on the ground beside him. He was dead.”

Harry “sees green.” Not just the flash of Avada Kedavra, but envy. Cedric has the popularity, the girlfriend Harry wants, a loving father. He sees green. That universally accepted metaphor for envy. And in a flash of jealous rage he follows Voldemort’s command and kills Cedric.

It’s also worth noting that Harry doesn’t seem to be able to identify the voice that screeches the spell… Even though he has heard Wormtail’s voice several times before, and is well aware what he sounds like.

The opening chapter of Order of the Phoenix tells us that Harry has nightmares about Cedric every night. An obvious sign of a guilty conscience, and attempts to suppress the memory.

Harry’s relationship with Cho Chang also tells us a lot about the kind of man we’re dealing with.

In the fifth book, Harry thinks: “Though if he’d only asked her to the Ball before Cedric had, things might have turned out differently.” What does that even mean? Differently how? That he wouldn’t have had to kill Cedric? 

Harry Potter

Read this section on Harry and Cho’s Valentine’s Day date:

“‘I came in here with Cedric last year,’ said Cho. In the second or so it took for him to take in what she had said, Harry’s insides had become glacial. He could not believe she wanted to talk about Cedric now, while kissing couples surrounded them and a cherub floated over their heads. 

Cho’s voice was rather higher when she spoke again. ‘I’ve been meaning to ask you for ages… did Cedric–did he–m–m–mention me at all before he died?’ This was the very last subject on earth Harry wanted to discuss, and least of all with Cho. 

‘Well–no–‘ he said quietly. ‘There–there wasn’t time for him to say anything. Erm… so… d’you… d’you get to see a lot of Quidditch in the holidays? You support the Tornados, right?’… ‘Look,’ he said desperately, leaning in so that nobody else could overhear, ‘let’s not talk about Cedric right now. Let’s talk about something else…'”

What the hell kind of changing the subject-ass answer is that? “How ’bout them Red Sox?” Gonna have to do better than that to fool me, Radcliffe. He could not believe she wanted to talk about Cedric. How self-centred is this guy? Self-centred enough… to kill?

Later, when he seeks Hermione’s advice on the issue, Harry makes himself look like even more of a total nut-job.

“‘Girls don’t often ask questions like that,’ said Hermione.”

“‘Well, they should!’ said Harry forcefully. ‘Then I could’ve just told her I fancy her, and she wouldn’t have had to get herself all worked up again about Cedric dying!'”

Harry is speaking forcefully. He’s yelling. He’s blaming Cho for being “worked up” about the death of the boy she loved.

It’s a microcosm of how unstable he is throughout the entire fifth book. Harry’s guilt and denial over killing Cedric is eating away at him, causing him to fall further into Voldemort’s trap, culminating in him being tricked that Sirius is being held hostage. This leads to the face off in the Ministry that actually does end up killing Sirius.

The strongest rebuttal against this theory is the state of priori incantatem that Voldemort and Harry’s wands find themselves in as they duel, minutes after Cedric’s death. Harry and Voldemort’s wands match up thanks to their shared phoenix feather, and “priori incantatem” happens — a weird situation where the wands essentially share their browser history and reveal their most recently cast spells.

Supposedly, Cedric’s ghost appears from Voldemort’s wand, suggesting that Voldemort’s wand was the one used to kill him. Of course, the other wand involved in the priori incantatem is… Harry’s. And conveniently, nothing comes out of Harry’s wand. I guess he’s never cast any spells before?

An easier explanation is this: the priori incantatem is a hallucination. All part of the messed up world fantasy has had to create since he murdered Cedric in a flash of rage. During priori incantatem, Cedric’s ghost asks Harry to bring his body back to his parents, another sure sign of guilt. Harry also sees both of his own parents emerge from Voldemort’s wand.

Given that Wormtail has been using Voldemort’s wand for an entire year, it seems unlikely that the spell to kill Harry’s parents all those years ago would be one of the wand’s most recent. It’s also telling that when the “ghosts” of Harry’s parents emerge, that they’ve somehow been communicating with each other – his father says “Your mother’s coming” and they advise him to get back to the portkey – which they would have no way of knowing about.

While it’s possible that some kind of priori incantatem did happen, many of the details surrounding it are very implausible. Furthermore, the only one who suggests this theory is Dumbledore, well known to be Harry’s sworn protector against all consequences. Even Severus Snape (who is present as Dumbledore explains) has never heard of this effect before, casting serious doubt upon its legitimacy.

What we do know is that Harry had every reason to want Cedric dead, he knew how to kill him and he had the clearest opportunity that he would ever had. We know that he was exonerated solely by the testimony of Albus Dumbledore. We know that as soon as Cedric died that Harry set his sights on Cedric’s ex-girlfriend. We know that as soon as he learned she still loved Cedric, he became aggressive and forceful.

I’m just saying. Investigations have been reopened for less.


Harry Potter