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Harry Potter Theory: The Love Room Mystery

Filipe is a Msc in Management graduate living in Lisbon, Portugal. Despite that, he usually prefers to write about his more geeky interests.


The Battle of the Department of Mysteries is definitely, for me, the best fight of the Harry Potter book series. Harry and his friends, as well as the readers, are confronted with the twisted effects of some of the greatest mysteries of the magical world, hence the name of the Department inside the Ministry of Magic, all while running from and fighting against the Death Eaters, until they are saved by the Order the Phoenix. This turns the chapter into a fantastic struggle between the two groups, culminating in the catastrophic death of Sirius Black, and of course, the epic showdown between Dumbledore and Voldemort.

But, that's not what I'm going to talk about. While traversing through the Department of Mysteries, Harry and his friends come across several rooms, all dedicated to the study of a particular area, of relative mystery. We can actually name the several elements studied in the various rooms the group goes through. These include: Prophecy, Time, Thought, Space, Death and implicitly Love.


What Happens in the Department of Mysteries

Upon arriving at the Entrance of the Department of Mysteries, the group faces 12 doors. They go through four of the twelve doors, trying to find the supposed location of Sirius. The first one they go in is revealed later to be the Brain Room, and they go back to the entrance. The second one is the Death Chamber, where they linger for a while before going back to the entrance again. The third one is locked, and neither Hermione's Alohomora, nor Harry's penknife are able to open it. Harry's penknife actually dissolves when he tries to put it in the lock. They move on and enter the fourth door, that Harry recognizes from his visions, which turns out to be the Time Room. They go through the Time Room, and on the other side is the door which leads to the Hall of Prophecies. Upon being ambushed by the Death Eaters the gang manages to run away but gets separated. Harry, Hermione and Neville go back to the Time Room, but Ron, Ginny and Luna go to the Space Chamber. They are reunited in the Brain Room, and then the battle moves to the Death Chamber, where the Order of the Phoenix appears to render assistance. Finally upon all of the Death Eaters being defeated, only Bellatrix remains who runs off to the Ministry Atrium. Harry pursues, is blindsided by Voldemort, who then battles Dumbledore in the Atrium.

Once the battle between the two ends, and Voldemort tries to possess Harry but fails, and escapes, Harry and Dumbledore have a great discussion inside Dumbledore's office regarding Sirius' death, and the true meaning of the prophecy. Near the end of the discussion Harry asks what great power does he have that the prophecy alluded to. Dumbledore explains what that power is with the following quote:

“There is a room in the Department of Mysteries, that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all. That power took you to save Sirius tonight. That power also saved you from possession by Voldemort, because he could not bear to reside in a body so full of the force he detests. In the end, it mattered not that you could not close your mind. It was your heart that saved you.”


What the Love Room Holds

This room, as it turns out, is actually the room that Harry tried to open inside the Ministry, but couldn't. And as Dumbledore so cryptically implies, the power that it holds is Love. But how is that possible? How can a room hold an emotion, the emotion of Love in particular? And how come it's locked at all times? Who goes in there, if anyone?

Well, actually the names of the rooms and the powers inside them are often not to be taken literally. The Time Room does not hold Time itself, it holds several time-turners, as well as the crystal bell jar which makes any being grow younger and older in an endless cycle. The Space Chamber does not hold Space, but instead models of the planets and also enchantments that make visitors feel as they're floating. And the Death Chamber contains merely a barrier between the world of the living and the realm of the dead.

So, the Love Room may hold something that somehow materializes the emotion of Love, and not the emotion itself, but still, what is it? Well, as it happens, J.K. Rowling has actually answered this question in an interview, and here is what she had to say:

"I think what’s in the Love room, it’s the place where they study what love means. So that room, I believe, would have at its center a kind of fountain or well containing a love potion, a very powerful love potion. You know that the first time they ever enter Slughorn’s Potions class, and he starts talking about Amortentia, the love potion, and he says it’s the most dangerous one in the room, well, that’s what they would have found in the Love room.

So you would see wizards and witches taking it, they would study the effects. The room of course has to be locked. And, you know, again, there’s this thread running through the books, what love does, and it raises people to the heights of absolute heroism, as in Lily, Harry, Neville, and it also leads them into acts of foolishness and even evil, which is Bellatrix and also Dumbledore. He became foolish, he lost his center, his moral center, when he became infatuated. So that’s what it does, that’s what makes it dangerous. In Bellatrix it was- as I think is clear, but I doubt that people will be particularly shocked to hear- because I’m sure they’ve deduced that Bellatrix is madly romantically in love with Voldemort. This is, that’s the obsession of her life."


The Giant Fountain of Amortentia

So, presumably, inside the Love Room we would find a giant fountain of Amortentia. This fountain would be used by the Unspeakables (the workers of the Department of Mysteries) to study the effects of Love, and how it causes certain behaviours and actions on those who feel it and on others, as well as the magical properties of Love, which seem to be of a massive scale in the Harry Potter universe. The reason the room is locked is to prevent the effects of the fountain from spreading throughout the entire Ministry.

And, as crazy as it may seem to argue with J.K. Rowling, who holds top authority regarding her universe, don't get me wrong, this possibility confuses me. And this is why: we've already been introduced to Amortentia in Slughorn's classroom. Both Harry and Hermione are so close to the potion that they feel it's effects just by smelling it. For something that is kept under lock and key at the Ministry, and that is supposably the most powerful and dangerous magical mystery of all to be showcased in classrooms, comes off as strange, not to mention anti-climactic. And also, Slughorn states that Amortentia does not recreate actual love. This makes Dumbledore's speech to Harry seem a little false. The Love Room does not hold Love, nor does it hold something that so much as imitates Love. It just has within it a dangerously large supply of Amortentia.

Why This Makes Sense

In a way, this makes sense. For Love to be an extremely powerful force, it would be weird if men were able to just recreate it. The fact that the room contains something that alludes to the idea of Love but can never actually imitate it is somewhat logical.

But I imagine, or at least I like to imagine, that if the Love Room actually has within it a fountain of Amortentia, then that Amortentia would not be regular Amortentia. I reckon the Unspeakables would try to tweak the potion as they study it's effects, and as such, that version of Amortentia would be the truest and most powerful of them all. It just would make the effect of Dumbledore's speech stronger, if what that room holds turned out to be the actual emotion of Love materialized in some manner, and as such, more powerful than what we saw in Slughorn's classroom.

My Thoughts on the Love Room

So those are my thoughts on the Love Room. What do you think about this mystery? Leave your opinion below on the comments if you think I should just shut up and accept Rowling's word, which is probably true, or if you just want to put forward another alternative. Thank you for reading.


Another on December 27, 2016:

@Op You're welcome, I always like to speculate about HP and your speculations raised interesting points, so count on me for any of your future articles !

Filipe Baião (author) from Lisbon on December 26, 2016:

That is a very interesting hypothesis, maybe the best I've ever seen. It would go along with the author's notion perfectly (established in the Tale of the Warlock's Hairy Heart) that the heart is the catalyst for the emotion of love, that what is inside the Love Room is literally a heart, ripped away. That would mean that Dumbledore's words were to be taken literally, making it a very funny concept. Thank you for the comment.

Another on December 23, 2016:

I totally agree with the OP that a love potion wouldn't make sense at all since the Armortensia is already in open for everyone including childs to discover, love potions of all sort are sell and distributed everywhere (from W&W potions of all sorts to the Amortensia. And judging by the power of the potion, I can't imagine one more powerful, except maybe a version that can't be cured no matters what, inducing infatuation for the rest of life to the one ingesting it....But even such a potion wouldn't necessite to be locked away if the effects are know. And locking away the ones who drunk it sounds very creepy and disturbing even at HPverse level....)

So, potions inducing true love aren't possible since true love isn't induced and striking in the moment through physical interest, that is the definition of infatuation... it's something you construct with time, effort, and exchange with a partner, either love for family, love for a friend, etc.... love don't necessarily include sexual/physical interest. Also, we learned about the Veela's ability to physically charm people (at least men ? Heteronormative idea) so the idea to lock away a potion when such potions&creatures already exist outside (and plus limiting the idea of love to the carnal interest) sounds more and more silly (but possible from the author point of view).

So what is inside the Love room ?

Well if in the Thought room, there is brains to study, why not in the Love room, hearts to study ? It wouldn't be too far fetched from the serie symbolism, and even supported by the Tale of the Warlock's Hairy Heart that touch upon the very definition of love (as for family, friend, child, nature, music, everything that can be loved with a 'heart' that the Warlock casted away and thus couldn't appreciate and love). Since Dumbledore don't believe that is possible, no wonder he don't think about such a possibility. Even thought in his words he somehow acknowledge such possibility : " "There is a room in the Department of Mysteries that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than forces of nature. It is also perhaps the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all. [...]It was your heart that saved you."

Filipe Baião (author) from Lisbon on October 23, 2016:

Well, I assumed that it was always closed, only while not being used, not literally, 'at all times'. But that's a valid possibility, and in my opinion, a far more intriguing one. I just presented the 'stronger Amortentia' theory because it would be somewhat consistent with what J.K. said, but the immaterialization of love is more in line with what the whole series is about. The unknown, mysterious, powerful, and undeniable power of love. So yeah, absolutely agreed.

Daniel Allen on September 23, 2016:

I have to say that I find myself taking the controversial decision not to accept the answer JKR gave about what is in the room in the department of mysteries that is locked at all times. I grew up reading Harry Potter and this part was one that left a lasting impact on me. Surely if the room is never opened the unspeakables can't actually use it to study love by experimenting with Amortentia these two things are inconsistent so as the text is not the property of the author we must accept the cannon and dismiss the JKR amortentia fountain theory even though it is JKR.

I always read it quite literally that the room physically contained Love as a disembodied force. This is supported in the cannon by the knife dissolving when Harry tries to open the door. This would explain why it is always shut and no one can get in. I always thought that the love room was crucial to the story both in terms of its main message that it makes about how powerful love is and that it explains the protection Lily gives to Harry and why Voldemort can't kill him as a baby and why (as Voldemort took HP's blood and the love protection remained alive in TR) Harry is able to return to defeat Voldemort once he is destroyed as a horcrux. I think the love room is a materialisation of one of the book's most integral themes. A fountain of amortentia sounds a bit like a cop out to me especially when slughorn says it does not create real love. I would argue that the difference between desire and real love is the very centre of the entire series.

Filipe Baião (author) from Lisbon on June 11, 2016:

Yeah, she is, everyone probably had their own take on this when they read the book, but when I read her interview, I felt like that wasn't compatible with my interpretation, so I made my own, plus, It's always fun to theorize :) Thank you for the comment.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on June 10, 2016:

Well, Rowling is the boss, but sometimes writers don't understand their own universe as well as their fans do. I think you are right that there must be another kind of very powerful Amortentia in the Love Room. Great hub.