Features

Questions we still have about Harry Potter characters’ ambiguous fates

There was no way to find out what each and every character got up to by the end of the seventh book, but that doesn’t mean we’re not curious about them…

Aunt Marge floating away
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Unless J.K. Rowling wrote a series of books roughly the size and weight of a baby Hippogriff, it’s hardly surprising that we don’t find out the fate of every character we’d come to care for (and some we would like to see sent to Azkaban, never to return). As such, we’re taking a look back at some of the characters whose fates were never fully revealed in the books…

Did Marietta Edgecombe’s pimples ever go away?

Illustration of Marietta Edgecombe from the Dumbledore's Army infographic
Marietta Edgecombe. © JKR/Pottermore Ltd.™ Warner Bros.

Marietta was the Ravenclaw student who betrayed Dumbledore’s Army by telling Umbridge of their existence. Unfortunately for Marietta, she had signed a cursed sign-up sheet and as payment for being a tell-tale, Hermione cursed her with pimples that spelt out ‘SNEAK’. We only saw Marietta once more after the curse first hit, and she was wearing a huge layer of make-up to hide her unfortunate skin problem. But we never found out if the pimples ever disappeared in the books.

However, in an interview with Bloomsbury back in 2007, J.K. Rowling confirmed that although they faded, they never quite went away. She explained that the spots went away ‘eventually’, adding: ‘But it left a few scars. I loathe a traitor!’

As Harry passed the window he saw her deep in determined conversation with her friend Marietta, who was wearing a very thick layer of makeup that did not entirely obscure the odd formation of pimples still etched across her face. Smirking slightly, Harry pushed on. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

What happened to Aunt Marge after she was deflated?

Aunt Marge bouncing on the cieling
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

Aunt Marge’s behaviour certainly warranted being blown up and left to float around England. And after all, we know she suffered no long-term harm from her ordeal, having been deflated and her memory wiped. In the books, Marge was never mentioned again. Now, we’re not saying we would have liked J.K. Rowling to bring her character back, but we are curious as to whether she took anything away from her experience. Did she develop a fear of balloons but was never quite sure why? Did Ripper the dog spend the rest of his days checking his owner hadn’t suddenly floated away?

Did Winky the house-elf ever adjust to life at Hogwarts?

Poor, sweet, unappreciated Winky. Dobby’s little friend found work in the Hogwarts kitchens when she was given clothes and freed by her master, Barty Crouch Sr, to whom she was deeply devoted. Desperately upset and humiliated, Winky turned to Butterbeer, which was ‘strong stuff’ for house-elves.

We always wondered what Winky did next, especially after Dobby wasn’t around to take care of her when she had one too many. However, during a web chat in 2007, J.K. Rowling did confirm that Winky was among the house-elves to fight at the Battle of Hogwarts.

Did Lavender Brown die?

A question that has plagued us for years, and still goes unanswered, was whether Lavender Brown – Gryffindor, Divination fanatic and Ron’s ex-girlfriend – was actually killed at the Battle of Hogwarts or not. While in the film she appeared to be dead, in the books she was still alive and stirring after being attacked by the werewolf, Fenrir Greyback. With so many tragedies at the Battle of Hogwarts, we hope this wasn’t one of them.

‘NO!’ shrieked Hermione, and with a deafening blast from her wand Fenrir Greyback was thrown backwards from the feebly stirring body of Lavender Brown.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

How was Dolores Umbridge punished by the Ministry?

Umbridge at her desk
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The books never confirm exactly what happened to Dolores Umbridge and other people who knowingly and willingly joined the Dark Lord’s side and persecuted Muggle-borns. However, J.K. Rowling cleared her fate up during a web chat with The Leaky Cauldron. Answering a fan’s question about Umbridge’s fate, she said: ‘She was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned for crimes against Muggle-borns.’

This leads us to other questions though, like who on earth would be in charge of Azkaban after the Dementors joined Voldemort’s side? And as we know, after Voldemort’s first rise to power many of his followers claimed to be under the Imperius Curse and escaped justice, so could the same be said for the new gang of supporters?

What happened to Mary and Reg Cattermole?

Harry, Ron and Hermione inadvertently became involved in this couple’s lives when they made Reg so ill he couldn’t attend his wife’s hearing, leaving Ron to take on his appearance. As such, we got to know Mary and Reg very well in a very short space of time. Although we were quickly invested in their relationship (and their three children, Maisie, Ellie and Alfred), since Mary was being tried as a Muggle-born, we never knew whether the pair took Harry’s advice to flee the country with their children, or if they were caught while escaping the Ministry of Magic. We’re sad to say that it looks like the latter, as Ron hinted that he didn’t think Reg was smart enough to get out while he could.

‘Blimey, I hope they escaped,’ said Ron, leaning back on his pillows. The tea seemed to be doing him good; a little of his colour had returned. ‘I didn’t get the feeling Reg Cattermole was all that quick-witted, though, the way everyone was talking to me when I was him. God, I hope they made it… if they both end up in Azkaban because of us…’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

While we’d love to know the fates of these characters (along with lots of lovely details of Umbridge spending years in Azkaban with not a pink piece of clothing or kitten plate in sight), we know that it would have been impossible to find out the fate of each and every one of our characters.

That being said, we’ll be keeping an eye on J.K. Rowling’s Twitter all the same. Just in case.