The Harry Potter series of books and movies is one of our all time favorites. The adventures of the boy wizard and his courageous battles against the forces of evil in a magical world have filled millions of us with both childlike wonder and tweenlike depression. Despite her undeniable talent, J.K. Rowling does have a slight tendency to pull things out of her butt, which is why we’d like to present a list of 5 examples of the worst Deus Ex Machina in the world of Harry Potter.
Deus Ex Machina, for those who might be wondering, means God From the Machine, a reference to a technique of Greek thespians who would get themselves out of a storytelling jam by having an actor (The God) lowered from a pulley system (The Machine) to sort out the mess. Basically it refers to anytime an story ends up with a seemingly unsolvable problem that is then fixed by something completely new to the narrative.
Harry and Quirrell Hug it Out – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
At the end of his first year at Hogwarts, Harry finds the Sorcerer’s Stone in the Mirror of Erised and is trapped by his Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who, as these things so often turn out, has a Dark Lord growing out of the back of his head. His friends, victim to an ornery board game, are unable to help him and it looks like this is the end for our dear boy wizard, but wait … when Professor Quirrell reaches out to him, he is burned at the slightest contact with Harry’s skin. Yes, young Master Potter is a magical induction burner, cool to the touch for most, but burning hot when in contact with the right substance (which in this case turns out to be unmitigated evil). They proceed to play the world’s most morbid game of tag where Harry is It and the winner melts his teacher. Apparently, when Harry was an infant, Lord Voldemort attempted to kill him, but his mother, in sacrificing herself to save him, bestowed upon him in her last combustive moments some kind of ectoplasmic shield of motherly love, which will not abide the touch of evil. Thus we learn that if you die in the Harry Potter universe, it’s probably because you were an accident and your Mamma didn’t love you.