JK Rowling Tried to Smooth Over a Harry Potter Plothole, Broke Our Hearts in the Process

JK Rowling Tried to Smooth Over a Harry Potter Plothole, Broke Our Hearts in the Process
Image credit: Legion-Media

One of the most intriguing details in the Harry Potter series is why Harry could not see thestrals until he witnessed Cedric Diggory's death.

Harry had witnessed multiple deaths throughout his life but had never glimpsed these sinister-looking winged horses until much later in his years at Hogwarts.

However, J.K. Rowling's explanation not only fixes this rather odd plot hole but provides a devastating insight into how much Cedric's death really affected Harry.

Why Harry couldn't see thestrals at first

In the series, thestrals are magical creatures only seen by those who have witnessed death. Hogwarts notably uses thestrals to pull the carts full of students or luggage to and from the castle. Yet it isn't until his fifth year at school that Harry can see them at all.

Emma Watson Took Just 3 Items From Harry Potter Set, But They Were The Coolest

This confused many fans, as it was well established at the beginning of the books that Harry had witnessed Voldermort kill his parents, Lily and James Potter, in front of him as a baby.

J.K Rowling, therefore, gave an expanded description (published initially on Pottermore) of these mysterious creatures and why only wizards and witches can see them.

Rowling explained that Harry could not see the thestrals after the death of his parents because of how young he was.

Harry was barely out of babyhood when the murder happened, so he could not truly comprehend the loss following the tragic event.

What Exactly Alan Rickman Had Stolen From the Harry Potter Set?

It was, therefore, Cedric's death, which occurred when he was much older, that witnessing death more personally affected him. Consequently, allowing him to see the thestrals.

Cedric's death significantly affected Harry

The ability to see thestrals only after death is perceived in a certain way, suggests that it is as much the trauma of seeing it happen as it is witnessing the event first hand. Unlike the death of his parents, Harry witnessed Cedric's death up close and personal.

He saw his friend fall to the ground, lifeless, with his eyes open and unseeing. The trauma of Cedric's death triggered something in Harry's mind. It was not just the fact that he had witnessed death but also how he had experienced it.

The memory of Cedric's death was vivid and real, leaving a lasting impression on Harry's psyche. It was not something that he could simply forget or ignore.

Harry being more emotionally mature by this time meant he experienced more profound grief and emotions. When he saw his parents die, he was too young to understand the gravity of the situation.

Yet Cedric's murder by Voldermort had a severe impact on him. Which is demonstrated by his sudden ability to see thestrals.

This puzzle of the thestrals is a testament to the complexity and depth of J.K. Rowling's storytelling. It shows how even minor details can indicate the impact of the story and its characters. And in this case, show the devastating emotions Harry must have been feeling at the time.