Top 10 Shocking Harry Potter Plot Twists
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Top 10 Shocking Harry Potter Plot Twists

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Not even Professor Trelawney could've seen these Harry Potter plot twists coming. We're looking at the most shocking turns of events that take place in both the Harry Potter books and films. We'll be considering the effectiveness of the twist in both media - and obviously, there will be spoilers! MsMojo ranks the most shocking Harry Potter plot twists. Which Harry Potter plot took you by surprise? Let us know in the comments!
Not even Professor Trelawney could have seen that coming! Welcome to MsMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Harry Potter Plot Twists.

For this list, we’re looking at the most shocking turns of events that take place in both the Harry Potter books and films. We’ll be considering the effectiveness of the twist in both media - and obviously, there will be spoilers!

#10: Voldemort Possessing Quirinus Quirrell
“Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone” (2001)

The first major twist of the series is still one of the most satisfying. After Harry is introduced to the magic of the wizarding world, he realizes that there are dark forces at work there. After banding together with Ron and Hermione to help solve the mystery as to who is after the philosopher’s stone, he discovers that the true villain is not Snape as he suspected. It is in fact none other than the diminutive and fidgety Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Quirrell, who has Voldemort's face on the back of his head. With this masterful twist, J.K. Rowling hooked us for life, guaranteeing that we’d stick with the series until the very end.

#9: Harry Coming to His Own Rescue
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004)

The third installment of the “Harry Potter” series features some incredible twists and turns. One of the major reveals is that Hermione has been using a time turner throughout the school year to attend more classes, and she and Harry subsequently use the device to save the day at the end of the story. In one memorable moment, Harry is about to be overtaken by Dementors, but a mysterious figure uses the patronus charm to scare them away. Harry believes that it’s his father who saved him, but in the end it’s actually a time-travelling Harry saving himself. Like Harry, we were disappointed that it wasn’t James, but ultimately, the truth made for a far more satisfying reveal.

#8: Snape Being the Half-Blood Prince
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (2009)

For much of the sixth book, Harry, Ron and Hermione wonder who Harry’s mysterious potions book originally belonged to. It features not only extensive notes that improve Harry’s potions abilities, but also dangerous spells that prove shockingly violent. Of course, in the end, the Half-Blood Prince was the potions master himself, Professor Snape. This was one notable example of a twist that was pulled off much more effectively in the book than in the movie. The end of the sixth film has a lot of material to get through, and so this reveal, which feels so monumental in the books, doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves.

#7: Harry Becoming Master of the Elder Wand
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2” (2011)

There is a lot of fan debate about the conclusion of the “Harry Potter” series, with some being more fond of the plot of “Deathly Hallows” than others. One of the central conflicts in the book and films is whether the trio should focus on destroying Voldemort’s horcruxes, or learning more about the mythical Deathly Hallows. While they ultimately decided on horcruxes, the Deathly Hallows inevitably come into play, and in the end, Harry unwittingly comes to be in possession of all three. We were so overwhelmed by the climax of the story that we barely had the energy to follow the logic of Harry winning power over the Elder Wand, but it was a shocking reveal nonetheless.

#6: Snape Killing Dumbledore
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (2009)

This plot point is one of the most jaw-dropping moments in the books and the movies, and has become iconic as basically the biggest spoiler that you can give someone. Things didn’t look good for Dumbledore throughout the sixth book after his hand was seriously injured. It felt like a premonition of something worse to come. Sure enough, in the end, during an attack on Hogwarts castle, Snape delivers the deadly curse that takes down the only wizard that Voldemort was ever afraid of. Though many eagle-eyed fans knew what was going on behind the scenes before the next book was released, this moment still left many us stunned and in disbelief.

#5: Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody Is Barty Crouch Jr.
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (2005)

Throughout “Goblet of Fire”, we knew that someone was out to get Harry after his name was submitted for the Triwizard Tournament. But considering the nature of the tasks involved, readers and viewers focused on the more imminent danger Harry faced, often forgetting about or overlooking this sinister plot. When the plan finally came to fruition however, it made for one of the most frightening moments of the series; Harry and Cedric are transported to a graveyard where Voldemort is essentially resurrected. When Harry makes it safely back to Hogwarts, he finds out that Professor Moody was actually Barty Crouch Jr., who had been holding the real Mad-Eye captive, consuming polyjuice potion to impersonate the auror. Seriously, who could have seen that coming?

#4: Tom Riddle Is Lord Voldemort
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (2002)

Perhaps more than any of the other books, “Chamber of Secrets” functions like a classic mystery novel. Something in Hogwarts is attacking students and Harry and his friends have to figure out who is behind it. Simultaneously, Harry comes across a magical diary through which he is able to communicate with a former student, Tom Riddle. By the climax of the story, we find out that it was none other than Ginny Weasley who opened the Chamber of Secrets - but only because she was being controlled by the Dark Lord. The moment where Riddle rearranges the letters in his name to form the phrase “I am Lord Voldemort” absolutely blew our minds.

#3: Sirius Black Is Actually Good
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004)

One part of the story from which Voldemort is conspicuously absent is “Prisoner of Azkaban”; we’re instead given a new villian to fear: Sirius Black. Harry spends most of the book living in fear of this escaped madman who he finds out is not only his godfather, but also the one who betrayed his parents, leading to their murder. Like Harry, we learn to hate Sirius, only to be bowled over when it’s revealed that Sirius has actually been good all along, and was actually framed by another one of James’ school friends: Peter Pettigrew. Oh and speaking of Pettigrew, he had been living secretly as Ron’s rat Scabbers all this time. Yeah… that one only gets creepier the more you think about it.

#2: Harry Is a Horcrux
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2” (2011)

Something that the sharpest fans may have foreseen but that didn’t get confirmed until the final installment of the series was the idea that Harry was actually one of Voldemort’s horcruxes. We learn throughout the series of Voldemort’s plan to become immortal by splitting his soul using dark magic. What even the Dark Lord himself doesn’t know though is that when he tried to kill Harry and the curse backfired, a piece of his soul travelled to the closest living thing: Harry himself. This explains the deep connection between the two wizards, and becomes a big part of the way that Voldemort is finally defeated.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Dumbledore & Grindelwald’s Relationship
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2” (2011)

The Identity of R.A.B.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” (2010)

Rita Skeeter Being an Animagus
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (2005)

James Potter Being a Bully
“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2007)

#1: Snape's True Allegiance
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2” (2011)

After Snape kills Dumbledore, a surface reading would clearly indicate that he had finally shown his true loyalty to the Dark Lord. But Harry Potter sleuths spent the time between the release of books six and seven discussing all the reasons why Snape could actually be good. In the end, they were right of course, but only after his death do we find out what Snape’s motivations really were. While you may have guessed that he was actually not a bad guy, it may have been tough to foresee the fact that he and Lily were friends and that he had fallen in love with her. While this doesn’t exactly redeem him for all the times he straight up bullied Harry, at least we finally understood the full complexity of his character.

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