Warner Bros.
Marissa Higgins
September 20, 2016 2:36 pm

If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter franchise, you already know that if there is one thing fans love to do, it’s come up with theories that explain plots, characters, and alternate realities within the books and movies. And this Harry Potter fan theory might just be the saddest one yet. According to Emma Lord over at Bustle, this theory actually isn’t brand new, and goes back to an interview author J.K. Rowling did herself back in 2012.

It’s worth making clear that while Rowling hasn’t said that the theory is true, she also hasn’t said that it isn’t. Given that Rowling has made many add-on comments and clarifications about her books, including that Dumbledore is gay and how to pronounce “Voldermort,” it’s super interesting that this is one fan theory she is not giving a definite “yes” or “no” about.

The fan theory in question goes back to a conversation between Rowling and Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves, where they reexamine the circumstances we meet young Harry in back when the story begins. Remember how the books (and movies) open with Harry basically living in a closet under the stairs because his aunt and uncle hate him? Yeah, about that.

This fan theory suggests that Harry never actually leaves the closet under the stairs, and in fact, makes up the rest of the plot in his head. That’s right: He summons Hagrid with his imagination and creates Hogwarts and the entire Wizarding world out of thin air. After all, what else does he have to give him joy and hope while he sleeps in a closet?

This sort of elaborate imagination makes sense, too, given that Harry was about 11-years-old when the series started, so he’d have enough creativity and sense about him to come up with a huge, intricate storyline.

So, what did Rowling herself have to say when Kloves brought up this idea to her?

“I think that’s a fabulous point, and that speaks so perfectly to the truth to the books, because I had it suggested that to me more than once that Harry actually did go mad in the cupboard, and that everything that happened subsequently was some sort of fantasy life he developed to save himself,” said J.K. Rowling in the interview.

Yeah… No definite reassurances here. Is our favorite childhood series actually all a fantasy about a boy character perpetually trapped in a closet beneath the stairs? Maybe.

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