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Back when I was in college and had a lot more free time in life, I wrote a bunch of "essays" (using that term extremely loosely here) regarding the Harry Potter series. After some brief discussions in the Film Rankdown thread about the HP movies, I was reminded of all my rants and ravings. I thought it might be fun to share them as an excuse to spark discussion about the series. I'll start with HP1 and HP2 back to back, mostly because the HP1 rant is super brief, completely disorganized, and is probably more of an introduction lol

 

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Going to take the time to properly read in the morning when I am not dead tired and can respond properly. Very excited.

This was a fun read. I think you had a lot of fair points.     - I agree that the first book reads more like a children’s book than the others, but I don’t mind. It gives it an innocent charm t

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Derek’s Rants/Reviews on the Harry Potter Series: HP1


          This book reads a lot more like a children’s book than the others do. That is amplified in some places by JKR’s inability to describe some things how she really wanted. “And from that day forward, Hermione is their bestest friend because trolls equal love” or whatever. As the series goes on, JK gets better in some areas and gets worse in others. She always has trouble with passage of time. She never seems to figure out whether she should summarize or write out a scene. I think her logic is that if it happened, she needs to include it. Bitch, just because Christmas happens every year does not mean we have to experience Christmas in every book! The HP series should not be a collection of seven years of holidays at Hogwarts and some adventure in between. 
 
          In addition to time passage problems, which we’ll expand upon later, I’d like to officially crown JKR as the queen of adverbs. She can never let people just say things. They have to say things happily, spectacularly, angrily, preposterously, flatly, horribly, surprisingly, sheepishly, orangutanishly, Connecticutly, supercalifragilisticexpialidociously. She also likes to go overboard when using adjectives. She’s like “he was a tall, thin, freckled, red-haired, dirty-nosed, slightly awkward, shabby clothed…” I’m like “F*CKING PICK TWO AND INCLUDE THE REST LATER.” I wonder what random phrases are used the most in this series. Maybe “beamed at Harry” or “shabby robes” or “[elf] brand of magic.” 
 
          All-in-all, this is probably the most concise of the series, which is why it translated easily to the movie. This one doesn’t feel nearly as weighed down with extra info and details as the other ones. The details in here serve more as a way to paint a picture and a world rather than trivial insertions. So yay for that! Every big detail served a purpose. Maybe the whole “get rid of Norbert” was a little drawn out. In the movie they cut it and it was fine. 
 
          Before I get into the strange parts of the plot, I’d like to just make one more note about JKR’s writing. She has a problem, particularly in the early books, with what us genius writers (i.e. geniuses like me who took writing 101 in undergrad and suddenly think we are experts) call “show vs. tell.” Instead of showing us something through description, she states it with opinions/qualifications. For example, she does this:
 
The room was very dark. The walls had blood on them. The air was cold. The room was creepy! 
 
          We don’t need that last sentence. Why is she deciding things for the reader? She already described it! It drives me crazy and she does it all the time. Sometimes she even flips the order.
 
The room was creepy! The room was very dark. The walls had blood on them. The air was cold. A bat flew by and then f*cking spontaneously combusted in mid-air and dropped to the floor dead. It was very surprising!
 
          Or does both, as I just did with my genius writing skills. I don’t need a thesis statement and a conclusion to every paragraph in a novel. That doesn’t mean the books aren’t great or enthralling or amazing or historic or whatever. But when people start talking about how she’s a literary goddess… just because she’s better than Stephanie Meyers doesn’t mean everything she does is brilliant.
 
          There are a few strange plot things that don’t make sense to me, such as Harry leaping on a 12 foot tall troll (although the troll may have been bent over, but she didn’t really say). I think that her trope of Harry being in severe pain every time Voldemort is near - rendering him useless - is bad. The whole idea of Harry being in pain when in the presence of evil is not bad; it’s that the pain is always completely debilitating. He can never seem to do diddly-sh*t when actually around Voldy. The only purpose it seemed to serve in this particular book was to make Harry pass out for three days after the climax so that JKR didn’t have to write out an end to the Quirrel/Harry confrontation scene. Eh.
 
          Also, I’d like to mention the beginning where Dumbledore and McGonagall are talking about baby Harry. It’s clumsy. It’s basically just JKR trying to give us expository and not doing a realistic job of it. “I heard that Lily and James are dead! I heard that he couldn’t kill Harry no matter what he did! Zomg no wai! No, don’t leave him with the EXACT MUGGLES I’VE BEEN RANDOMLY FOLLOWING ALL DAY FOR NO APPARENT REASON?!!1! MEOWTH.” BUT considering that it’s the first book and her first chapter and she really wanted to get us in the story as quickly as she could, I’m not too offended by it.
 
          The biggest wtf for me is in the end where they’re like… “I think Dumbledore must have given me the cloak because he wanted to give me a chance to face Voldemort myself! That’s why he let me see the mirror! Dumbledore, OH YOU! ::winky smiley face high five::” How about Dumbledore just gave you the cloak because it was yours and he facepalmed afterwards when he saw you trying to get involved and find the mirror and suspect Snape. If Dumbledore actually wanted to give Harry a chance to face Voldemort on his own, that’s stupid. I don’t agree that Dumbledore would have let it play out like that. JKR should not have drawn attention to that possibility because I think it’s a dumb one.
 
          Then, of course, there’s the general “everything important happens at the end of the year” thing. When she tries to pass time by saying “But I guess Quirrel was stronger than they thought! He did not give into Snape as far as they could tell. Let’s talk about exams lololol.” I’m just like… are you f*cking serious? Dumbledore HAPPENS to be out of town for the first time ever at the EXACT moment that Harry has a random ass epiphany about Norbert/Hagrid? Oh noez! Harry just figured it out and it happens to be going down at the EXACT RANDOM MOMENT that he did. And it’s AFTER EXAMS! Please.
 
          Another thing is how she portrays the Slytherins to be all bad and sh*t. “Please don’t put me in Slytherin because they are all f*cking evil and I don’t want to go to the dark side.” And then have them look uglier and be meaner than the rest of the school? It’s just a house. One out of four. One fourth of the Hogwarts Student Body and Hogwarts alumni cannot be that crazy. And the whole book they’re painted as huge villains instead of just school rivals. It’s something that doesn’t even go away by HP7 when McGonagall is like “TAKE THE SLYTHERINS TO THE DUNGEONS MUAHAHAHAHA.” Maybe I’m just offended because I would clearly be in Slytherin.
 
          There is definitely a lack of depth within the members of other houses. I don’t mind that most of the focus went to Gryff vs. Slyth since they’re rivals (even though apparently EVERYONE hates Slytherin, and Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff don’t have their own rivalry with each other like they should) but the fact that Slytherin and the other houses are so one-dimensional is lame. We have the brave heroes, the ugly villains, the fat idiots, and the pretentious geniuses. Oh well. Maybe one day she’ll write a novel about a Ravenclaw dude and go into rivalries and detail with them and Hufflepuff.
 
          Something random I was wondering: Gryffindor has classes with Slytherin for Potions, Hufflepuff for Herbology, but why? What other double classes are there? Why do the Gryffindors get Transfiguration all to themselves? When they’re with their own House teacher they don’t have to share the classroom, but everyone else does?
 
          I’m pretty sure that JKR says there are about 1000 students at Hogwarts (later on Twitter or whatever). This seems really wrong compared to what she’s given us. She always wants to include a huge audience for things, but as far as I can tell the student body barely hits 300. There are 8 people in Gryffindor in Harry’s year. After reading the entire series, I counted only 31 different names of people in the same year as Harry. Round that to forty for fun, multiply by 7 grades and you get 280 students. I’m not complaining: having much fewer students/classmates/friends makes for a better focused book. Just don’t try to tell me that there are actually eight billion students that you never mentioned.
 
          Are there really only 6 games of Quidditch the entire year? Really? That seems dumb. Also: the Snitch should not be 150 points. That is so broken. 100 at the MOST. How about 55 points? 150 is too many. Unless the Snitch is released later in the game, after someone hits 100 points. OMG what a brilliant idea. I’m a f*cking [pretentious] genius. Maybe I should be in Ravenclaw now.
 
          When Charlie replied to their letter regarding Norbert with “don’t’ worry, I’ll just send a couple of my random friends to fly into Hogwarts and get the dragon…” UMMMM no. With all the sh*t protecting Hogwarts, I’m not buying that. They should have just had it play out like the movie and have Draco find them seeing it hatch and the Hagrid mentioning later in dialogue that he couldn’t keep it.
 
          Something a friend of mine mentioned is “why would Hagrid want to hang out with the trio when they are such douches.” I’m paraphrasing. But I agree, all the trio does is take advantage of him and make fun of him for being stupid. I’m surprised Hagrid did hang out with them so much, and more than any other students. He should’ve been like “F*CK YOU GUYS” when they were all like “hahahaha Hagrid said Flamel, what a dipsh*t.”
 
          Also, all the magic in the world apparently cannot match the power of Google. I think there should be a spell for the library called Controlle Eff that helps you find sh*t in books. We’ll touch more on the aggravating library and its uselessness in every important situation when we reach HP4. 
 

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Derek’s Rants/Reviews on the Harry Potter Series: HP2


          OMG I love this book! It’s so fun to have people being attacked one-by-one and a mystery killer on the loose! But it is so wack if you think about some things too much. Let’s begin!!!1!


1.       Ghosts
          I’m a little confused as to what they can actually do. How can Myrtle sit in the U-Bend and get a book thrown through the top of her head? Let’s back up. I always assumed that ghosts cannot touch things or be touched (as opposed to Peeves, who is a poltergeist, who can grab things such as bombs or your nose). [Side-note: Peeves is hilarious. I’m not sad he wasn’t in the films, but that moment when he whispers to Myrtle “you forgot pimply” and then screams “PIMPLYPIMPLY” while throwing peanuts through her is amazing.] Back to ghosts: how can Myrtle turn on all the faucets? I guess ghosts are supposed to be able to haunt things and affect reality and sh*t, but JKR never described that. Maybe it would have been too much crap to write out, but when someone is moving a ghost up the stairs with a giant fan, I’m kind of like… wtf.
 
          Speaking of that, I call bullsh*t on Nick being petrified. How did this happen? How did the basilisk affect him? How the f*ck did Pomfrey give him Mandrake potion? I don’t understand.
 
2.       The Caretaker  
          Why the f*ck would anyone employ a Squib to be the caretaker or a school? That doesn’t make any sense. Every argument that Filch has about having to spend more time cleaning up after things makes me want to scream “MAYBE IF YOU WERE F*CKING MAGICAL YOU COULD WAVE YOUR D*CK TO MAKE THE MESS GO AWAY.” I mean, what a waste of time and energy. Why not let Filch keep his demeanor and character but make him be a figurative and literal WIZARD at cleaning up sh*t? Or make the castle have dirt repellent floors or something? Let’s try being creative. When you have this magical world with endless possibilities and all you think up is a non-magic old grumpy janitor man who mops the castle all day… I’m confused.  
 
3.       The Gamekeeper
          What does he do? Yeah, I guess he keeps the grounds all pretty, but that begs the question again: why not have someone much more qualified do the job? Anyway, let’s talk about his expulsion. If he was expelled for allegedly opening the Chamber of Secrets (to get to a unique monster), accidentally setting it free and killing Myrtle… how in the world would this not be common knowledge to everyone, and how in the world would he still be allowed to stay on campus at the school?
 
          Newsflash: Myrtle died when the Chamber was opened. Extra! Extra! Myrtle is a f*cking ghost now. WHY NOT ASK HER WHAT HAPPENED? Okay, so she didn’t see anything, but Harry cannot have been the first one to ask her about her death. Dippet or Dumbledore should have also done that. Dumbledore should have figured out that someone was speaking snake language, that the monster was a giant snake, that the chamber was in the bathroom, that Tom knew how to speak snake, that Tom was the heir of Slytherin. He’s too smart to not have. And you know? Maybe he did. Maybe he knew it all along and that’s part of why he trusted Hagrid so much and that’s why at the end he was like “Well I thought it must have been Voldemort opening it again but I was confused because my sources tell me he’s in Albania” or whatever he said.
 
          And again, why didn’t he figure out it was a Basilisk? He should have known it was one the first time, especially if he went to talk to Myrtle about the eyes and knew it was the “Monster of SLYTHERIN.” I mean, if you just read through the fifty page “Magical Beasts” book you could figure it out. Did the whole petrifying thing this time throw him off? Did he think that the chamber wasn’t actually opened this time and that someone was doing something else by petrifying everyone? I dunno. 
  
4.       Polyjuice Potion
          It appears so often in this series that it’s just hard for me to buy in this book that it is this ultra-rare potion that can only be found in that one restricted book. Eh, maybe. But the whole “it takes a month to brew” thing was a little dragged out. I mean, REALLY that’s the only thing you can think of to talk to Malfoy and you’re REALLY going to put all your effort into that for a whole month and not try anything else? And in HP4, I’ll talk more about the improbability of Moody drinking Polyjuice potion every f*cking hour for a whole year.
 
5.       Basilisk
          Oops, I already mentioned some of my arguments about this thing. How could no one figure out it was a Basilisk? Also, why was it such a pansy? How did no one die this entire school year? I guess because it’s book 2 and still a kid’s book. And maybe Tom was concerned with not killing pure-bloods. If I was Tom, I’d just set the thing loose in the Great Hall during breakfast and giggle about it. What do I care? I’m a f*cking diary. I’m also not sure about the whole “pipes” thing. Granted, it’s not supposed to be as enormous as the movie depicted, but I’m sure it would still have trouble fitting in the average plumbing. 
 
          Speaking of the movies, maybe I’ve already mentioned this to you, but the art direction in the second movie made it my least favorite of the whole series. Dobby did not look the way I pictured him, but even worse was Fawkes, the Basilisk, and the sword of Gryffindor. They made Fawkes an ugly turkey vulture instead of a beautiful swan with peacock tail. They made the sword of Gryffindor a little tiny kid’s toy instead of an epic ruby hilt blade. And the BASILISK? WTF is that sh*t. It should have been bright green, much smaller, and with TWO fangs. Instead we got this hideous brown turd the size of Connecticut with four thousand tiny teeth. JKR then even retcons the snake to have a ton of fangs in the final novel when Ron/Hermione get some for the Horcrux. There is no possible way for those little things to all have venom in them, ESPECIALLY in the last book after all those years. The image of Harry/the basilisk/Fawkes/the sword was one of my favorite aspects of the book and the movie took a sh*t on it.
 
8.       Underage Magic
          The entire series is so inconsistent with its rule on Underage Magic. Every book has a new asterisk or exception or non-exception. This leads me to believe that JKR has no idea why she invented this rule in the first place and that her solution is to do whatever the f*ck she needs to for the plot and explain later. I think that both the “trace” and the rule against underage magic should both have never existed, but for now let’s just talk underage crap.
 
          Harry gets reprimanded by the Ministry for a house-elf using magic NEXT to him. WTF is that sh*t. If the Ministry knows so much about it, why are they f*cking stupid? So if someone’s mother uses magic next to their underage child then the Ministry gets an alert? Because that’s pretty much the same thing. Also, why even ban underage magic? What if you can’t help it? They’re always talking about how kids/people use magic when they’re overexcited or whatever. Why aren’t they banishing children from Hogwarts for using magic when they’re three years old? If you involuntarily do something, why is it a big deal? Harry does this in HP3 and Fudge is like “lolz we don’t care today but we’ll care in HP5 shhh.” Plus, how the f*ck is a kid supposed to practice being a wizard if he can’t use magic outside of school? It makes no sense. 
 
          And what the hell is the point of yelling at someone for using magic near a Muggle when that Muggle KNOWS you’re a wizard? What if that Muggle is your f*cking mom or guardian or cousin and they already know about magic? Why would that be a big deal? That’s not messing up the code of Secrecy or whatever the hell it is.


7.       Misc.
          Okay, I can’t think of a new category. Here’s the rest of my ponderings. When there is an attack on a student, why is the first instinct to send everyone back to their dormitories? It’s like… “I know everyone is safely out in the Quidditch field, but someone was just attacked so we have to bring everyone inside where the monster is right away.” Administration can be dumb sometimes. Also, I have to question why Harry and the gang only managed to figure everything out and decide to do something HOURS BEFORE the Mandrake potion was about to be administered and everyone was going to basically find out anyway. Sounds like HP1 when he magically figured everything out RIGHT as it was all happening.
 
          Something else I was thinking about… I know that Harry being blamed/outcast/under suspicion from people is a common theme in the book. Adversity blah blah. But in this particular book, I’m like… WOW I would definitely be suspecting Harry and more people should have, too. I was completely on Ernie’s side when he was like “DUH it’s Harry!” But then Hermione gets attacked and Ernie’s like “oh man I guess it can’t be you now I’m so sorry” I call BULLSH*T! That is a horrible argument, Ernie. Harry’s obviously been friends with Hermione the entire time. If you thought that Harry liking Hermione was enough evidence for him to not be the attacker then you should never have been suspecting him in the first place. Personally, I would have been like “OH SH*T I KNEW HE WAS GONNA TURN ON HERMIONE AT SOME POINT WE’RE ALL TOASTED.”
 
          I mean, let’s say I was someone really stupid like Lockhart: Harry can talk to snakes. Slytherin can talk to snakes. Harry defeated Voldemort when he was a baby. Harry might hate Muggles. Harry is there every time someone is attacked. All of the simple logic points to Harry, and yet he suspects Hagrid? 

Now let’s say I was someone really smart like Dumbledore: Voldemort marked Harry at birth, definitely transferred some of his power over to the boy. May or may not have accidentally placed part of his soul inside Harry. Voldemort was the last heir to Slytherin and he opened the chamber while at school. The chamber is apparently opened again. Harry can speak to snakes, which is a power from Voldemort, heir to Slytherin. Hmmm… There is a connection between Harry and Voldemort. He may or may not have access to Harry’s mind or be able to control him. Voldemort is in Albania but is working at Hogwarts somehow through a remote. Hmmm… Nope, I’m not going to take any action to stop this. I suspect no one. 
 
          Now if I was RON, I’d be even MORE scared of Harry. The heir to Slytherin can talk to snakes and so can my best friend? It’s not like we’re brothers, I just met the kid last year. I’d be like... whoa. But he immediately assumes that someone ELSE at the school can ALSO talk to snakes? That seems… unlikely, Ron. And then after Hermione is attacked I’d be like… shiiiiiiit. And then someone kidnaps my sister? And then Harry is like “I know everything but let’s not tell anyone I think we should go to the bathroom. Whoa, the sink opens? Whoa I just opened it with my snake language! Jump down in, Ron! Let’s go save Ginny!” I’d be like F*CK NO YOU SLYTHERIN BASTARD RUN LOCKHART RUNNNN HE WANTS TO MOLEST ME AHHHH. But that’s just me. 
 
          And while we’re at it, why didn’t they tell anyone what they figured out? Why only tell Lockhart of all the dumb*ss people. Makes no sense.
 

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Voldemort may want to kill Harry, but at least he wants him to get his full year of education in first.

 

Also I'm not sure if you feel the same way, but Andrew and I largely think most of the Horcrux/storylines that became major plot points for the second half of the series weren't actually thought of until Goblet of Fire, which is why she suddenly was adding so much exposition in in that book. :dead:

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The whole Dobby using a Hover Charm and Harry getting blamed for it never made sense to me either, because elf magic is different than wizard magic, as is made apparent in the latter books. 

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1 hour ago, Elliott said:

Voldemort may want to kill Harry, but at least he wants him to get his full year of education in first.

 

:dead: he's such a considerate guy!!!

 

1 hour ago, Elliott said:

Also I'm not sure if you feel the same way, but Andrew and I largely think most of the Horcrux/storylines that became major plot points for the second half of the series weren't actually thought of until Goblet of Fire, which is why she suddenly was adding so much exposition in in that book. 

JKR says she thought of Horcruxes back when she wrote HP2, but I feel like that is a fat lie. 

 

1 hour ago, ~Tom~ said:

The whole Dobby using a Hover Charm and Harry getting blamed for it never made sense to me either, because elf magic is different than wizard magic, as is made apparent in the latter books. 

Right?? JKR constantly is telling us how different and special "elf brand" of magic is as the books go on

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This was a fun read. I think you had a lot of fair points. :yes: 
 

- I agree that the first book reads more like a children’s book than the others, but I don’t mind. It gives it an innocent charm that differentiates it from the others.

- Christmas break means no classes, so I can’t blame Rowling for wanting to include Christmas in each book since it’s a change of pace. :giggle: She also has major plot points happen around Christmastime too.

- I like Rowling’s writing style, and the adverbs don’t bother me. :haha: Have you read the Cormoran Strike novels? Her writing style is similar, but it’s more sophisticated for an older audience.

- Yeah, the idea that Dumbledore wanted 11-year-old Harry to face Voldemort alone isn’t one that makes a lot of sense. 
- The portrayal of Slytherins is a valid complaint. It’s fine if there are rivalries between the Houses, but not once has any Slytherin student been a friend to any of the non-Slytherin students. Some other Houses have unlikable people (Zacharias Smith from Hufflepuff and Cormac McLaggen from Gryffindor), but a friendly Slytherin was never introduced. They’re all described as mean, which isn’t really fair.

- I agree that 1000 Hogwarts students doesn’t make sense either. The number you suggested seems more plausible.

- Yup, 150 points for capturing the Golden Snitch seems too much. Rowling explained that players have to decide to try to go for a quick victory with the Snitch or work hard to score enough goals so the Snitch won’t matter. I think she tries to show the Snitch doesn’t really matter every game when Ireland won the World Cup even though Krum caught the Snitch. But 150 is too much.

- It was explained in the later books that people couldn’t fly into Hogwarts on brooms, so Charlie’s friends flying to Hogwarts makes no sense. Rowling must’ve thought of this rule after the first book was published. Also, Hagrid claims he flew to pick up Harry, but that seems unlikely since he has a broken wand hidden in his umbrella. So, Rowling must’ve thought up of the strict magic rules after Book 1.

- I never thought of the trio as taking advantage of Hagrid. They seem to genuinely like him. Plus, I feel like Hagrid was the one who took advantage of them when it suddenly became their responsibility to get rid of Norbert. 
- True that Google and e-mail would be a lot more convenient than how wizards look up information and message each other. But apparently technology like that doesn’t function around so much magic. But it is interesting how the Muggle-born students don’t even mention technology like the Internet or TV.

 

- I never thought about how Myrtle was able to turn on all the faucets, but that’s a good point.

- Yes, forcing Filch to clean up the castle when he can’t even use magic seems cruel and pointless. 
- It is implausible how no one thought to talk to Myrtle about her death and the Chamber of Secrets beforehand. However, it’s all part of the story so Harry (although mostly Hermione) solves the mystery.

- Well, it is still only the second book in a series aimed towards children, so it’s not surprising the basilisk was going to fail killing anyone. :haha: 
- Yes, the underage magic rule is confusing. Harry gets in trouble since he’s the only wizard in Privet Drive, so he’ll get the blame whereas the Weasleys wouldn’t get in trouble since it could be the parents or older siblings using magic instead. Plus, elf magic is supposed to be different than wizard magic too, but that wasn’t properly explained in the book. Elves just don’t seem to have all the same restrictions wizards do. Oh, and Fudge didn’t care Harry used magic in PoA because of Black and he still liked Harry. He suddenly had a problem in OotP when Fudge no longer liked Harry (after the Rita Skeeter article) and he wanted to shut Harry up about Voldemort’s return.

- A lot of people did suspect Harry, but his friends knew him well enough to know he wouldn’t go around attacking people. And although it would make more sense for Harry and Ron to tell the teachers what they knew, it wouldn’t allow Harry to be the hero of the story. Of course Rowling was going to have Harry be the one to confront Riddle and save Ginny in the end.

 

I look forward to your thoughts of the next books! :thumbs: 

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On 9/9/2020 at 12:56 AM, Deeee said:

Going to take the time to properly read in the morning when I am not dead tired and can respond properly. Very excited.

Careful before too many pile up and I force you to read them ALL

 

HP3 incoming today

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Derek’s Rants/Reviews on the Harry Potter Series: HP3

 

          I feel like there’s less to say about this book than the last one. That doesn’t mean I won’t FIND something to say. I remember when I first read this book. I enjoyed it, but when I read the ending I was like… “wtf? Are you serious? What?” This feeling of extreme randomness and confusion was only out-done by the ending of HP4, which we’ll obviously address when the time comes. 
 
          Things I liked: It really started to feel like a series at this point. The way the Whomping Willow comes back from the second book and how Cho/Cedric are introduced to prepare for their importance in the next books was really cool. It also seemed to include details (such as magical creatures, other students’ names, and Hogsmeade fun) in a way that seemed mostly like “world-building and ambiance” rather than “feeding you useless crap that I made up but doesn’t really matter.”
 
          Let’s start with the little details that were weird before I get to my two main objections to HP3.

 

  • I thought that the magic knot of the Whomping Willow that makes it immobile was a little strange. I felt like there could have been better solutions to that. Maybe a spell that makes it still? Something random and exclusive like the spell that opens the witch statue passageway? Eh. When they’re like: “Peter turned into a rat to stop the tree! So did Crookshanks! But zomg Lupin can just poke it with a stick to the same effect!” I’m like: “No. Suck it.”

 

  • Dementors: I love dementors. Dumbledore and Fudge constantly refer to talking to dementors, but we never see it happen. I don’t mind that so much, but like… do they really talk? Do they understand? Are they more humanoid or more monsteriffic? I wish that JKR had made an additional book to the “Magical Creatures” one so that we can know about the humanoid creatures like dementors, elves, centaurs, banshees, goblins, trolls, hags, mummies, vampires, veela, leprechauns, or whatever she would include. I remember trying to find some of those creatures in that book and being like “YOU F*CKING RIPPED ME OFF, B-WORD.”

 

  • James/Sirius/Remus/Peter must have been the most epic students to ever go to Hogwarts. They made themselves Animagi secretly and also created the map? It almost seems like too much. Because it is. That is too much, JKR. 

 

  • The argument that Lupin made about not telling Dumbledore that Sirius was an Animagus because he was afraid to disappoint him? Not buying that. ZOMG! Black escaped prison! He entered the castle! How did he do this?! Lupin f*cking knew the entire time and didn’t say anything at all? That is just craziness. He could at LEAST block the secret passages to the school that Filch didn’t know about. You don’t even need to tell anyone you’re doing it! And UM EVERYONE AND THEIR GRANDMA KNOWS ABOUT THE SHRIEKING SHACK PASSAGEWAY. Both Snape AND Dumbledore should have set up security or blocked it off. Who else knows? Madame Pomfrey? Obviously Lupin? Snape is all like “I thought it’d be too bold for you to use your old hide-out.” WHY? WHY DID YOU THINK THAT? It’s just craziness.

 

  • I’m also wondering why Sirius, upon escaping from prison (or even before he was sent there) didn’t bother writing a letter or Lupin or even Dumbledore, the king of believing people, explaining what happened with him and Peter. I guess he just really wanted revenge.

 

 

  • Also, in the end scenes there is too much ALL CAPS YELLING DIALOGUE! HARRY IS MAD! SNAPE IS MAD! SIRIUS IS MAD! LUPIN IS MAD! MY MOM IS MAD! Speaking of the end scene, the part where Lupin is like “Wait! We need to tell them everything before we kill Peter! They need to know!” is so maddening. Why do they need to know? You’re really gonna be like a Bond villain and explain everything before executing your plan? Wouldn’t a better argument be “Wait! If you kill Peter then you’ll never be exonerated!” But no one even thinks of that. And the best they can do is tie Peter to themselves and walk him out? In a MAGICAL WORLD that’s the best you got? Why not make him a rat and then seal him in a bubble like Voldemort did with Nagini in HP7 and carry him out that way? They did not use common sense.

 
Anyway, let’s get into the big issues. There are two of them.
 
(1) The Time Turner:
 
          JKR opened a huge can of worms with this sh*t. My first argument questions why Hermione would ever even be allowed to have such a powerful object. She’s a THIRD-YEAR THIRTEEN YEAR OLD STUDENT. It makes no sense. Who else is using these things, and for what purpose? They seem too dangerous to let ANYONE use them. Even if you somehow prove that Hermione is the most trustworthy and genius kid you’ve ever seen, what if someone steals it from her? It’s just craziness.

          Secondly, why would she even NEED to take more classes? At the end of the book she says that she’s dropping Muggle Studies and Divination and that she’d have a normal schedule after that. Wait - she would still have one more class than all the other third years (she’s taking Magical Creatures, Ancient Runes, and Arithmancy, right?). Plus, if it was just a matter of two extra classes, why bother with the Time Turner at all? She knew she wanted to drop Divination after ONE CLASS, and she should not be allowed to take Muggle Studies as a Muggle-born (even though I agree with her – taking that class would still be super interesting).
 
          Also, if NOT BEING SEEN is such a big deal, why was it okay for Hermione to BE SEEN by two entire classes of students at the same time for the entire f*cking year? It makes no sense. I guess she couldn’t be seen using it away from classes? But how would anyone even f*cking know if her actual self was also in a shack in Hogsmeade? And the argument about seeing yourself and suspecting dark magic is really strange. If Hermione appeared to herself, she would know that it was a Time Turner version of herself. You’d have to travel back to before you even knew about Time Turners to trick yourself. Unless you were a big stupid idiot. Or in Hufflepuff. WAIT same thing.
 
          There are also just so many opportunities for them to keep Peter from escaping that I’m so confused. Hermione could have gone back in time, captured “Scabbers” in Hagrid’s hut, turned him in, and been done with the entire thing. What JKR needed to do was make the Time Turner less powerful. Give it limits, rules. Instead of saying “Dumbledore says the rule is you shouldn’t be seen” it should be like “If you are seen clearly by your other self the Time Turner explodes and ten kittens die.” Something that is actually tangible. “If you are not exactly where you started after the time runs out your d*ck gets splinched off.” Anything. Instead we get “Bad things happen to wizards who mess with time, Harry!” Really, b*tch? 
 
          There should also be a clear limit to the time you can go back, and the number of times you can use it total. Three hours might be pushing it. She should have included something to make the Time Turner less super-powered and deus ex machina. Something to raise the stakes beyond “We’re not supposed to!!1!” Or even do the usual thing that writers do with time and be like “no matter how many times you go back, you can’t change things. In every possible scenario, Peter escapes.” I just think it’s hilarious that JKR felt the need to have all the Time Turners destroyed in the fifth book, because (like Dobby) they were too powerful to exist anymore.
 
(2) Crookshanks:
 
          If I had my way, Crookshanks would be removed from this and all other books. I think that the ending to this book was a little too random, and that things didn’t lead up to it the way they should/could have. One thing that would make the ending easier to grasp and to read is to remove one of the many characters in the scene in the Shack at the end. Crookshanks is the easiest to remove. What a waste of space to have him hissing at every f*cking thing that happens, or to have him sit on Black’s chest to block Harry. I was like… this is so dumb. But that’s not the only reason why Crookshanks makes things needlessly complicated.
 
          Crookshanks was built up throughout HP3 to be something very significant. He’s attacking Scabbers, can possibly understand English, is lurking around all the time, being very suspicious, seen with the Grim/Padfoot, leads them into the Willow… and at the end of it all, it’s revealed: He’s just a very smart cat! ZOMG REALLY?! A smart cat who knew about Sirius. That’s the biggest build-up to something that doesn’t even f*cking matter. Even JKR in an interview was all like “the cats in HP are very significant,” but it leads to nothing. I remember people trying to guess what Crookshanks’ significance was up until the end of the entire series. “He’s an Animagus! He’s Mundungus in disguise! He’s my mom!” People were so built up about this cat after reading HP3 that they could never let it go. Then JKR reveals it all: He’s part Kneazle. Part WHAT and WHO GIVES A F*CK? She never mentions Kneazles in the main series, so why should we care? She spent all this time with this fantasy cat because she liked the idea of him and how he was part Kneazle, when in reality the story would have been better off without it existing. A Mary-Sue red-herring cat. Included because there was a cat who lived near the place where she wrote the books.
 
          Okay, I’ll slow down. JKR had been doing fine in the first two books about including things only if they matter, and building on it to reach a climax and an ending. She was actually doing well in this book too regarding Hermione and the Time Turner, so that when it was revealed it wasn’t a big WTF RANDOM moment. It was like… “oooooh, that makes sense! That’s what all that was about this whole book! [Wow that’s interesting--! but wait, time turners are so f*cking bogus etc.etc.]” I think JKR makes a misstep in regards to the Scabbers reveal. It is just TOO RANDOM. There are vague clues if you look back at it, but in general it comes out of nowhere with no foreshadowing and blindsides the reader. The problem lies in the fact that she spends too much time with Crookshanks, maybe because that was the only thing she could think of to bring attention to Scabbers. I think that was a mistake because Crookshanks - instead of drawing attention to Scabbers - actually takes attention away from Scabbers. There is too much going on in this book for you to waste my time with a stupid cat. 
 
          I think that the whole Grim/Animagus dog/Werewolf juxtaposition is brilliant. She should have played that way up. She only mentions Animagi in a f*cking parentheses in McGonagall’s class at the beginning of the book. At least there was evidence to figure out about Lupin (thanks, Snape!). See, there’s ways to hint something without making it obvious. I think JKR was afraid of making Scabbers obvious so she just tried to play him down and distract us with a cat. Either that or she enjoys trying to trick the reader and come up with an ending that is impossible to see coming, e.g. HP4.
 
          Let’s look at the main functions Crookshanks serves in this book, aside from causing Ron Hermione drama: (1) Scare/suspect Scabbers, (2) steal note for Sirius, (3) be seen with the “Grim” so Harry knows it’s not a spectre. Sirius can steal Neville’s note some other way. I mean, it’s Neville. The “Grim” can do something else so that Harry knows it’s an actual animal and not a figment. How about an owl flies next to it and it reacts? How about it eats a baby? How about it howls to bring more focus to the Grim/dog/Werewolf triangle we have going? Anything except for happy animal parade out Harry’s window. And Scabbers needs to do something on his own, without the cat causing it. When we needed to see Scabbers acting suspicious, instead we got Crookshanks BEING suspicious for no reason ABOUT Scabbers, which, in turn, makes CROOKSHANKS look suspicious. Does that make sense? 
That’s my Crookshanks argument and I’m sticking to it.

 

The Movie:
 
          Let’s talk about the movie! I think this movie is the best of the series. They didn’t change much, but the stuff they did change was for the better. They solved a lot of the problems I just mentioned: They left out the dumb Whomping Willow freeze knot and they deleted Crookshanks for the most part. They even spent a little bit of time with Peter Pettigrew foreshadowing! Harry seeing Peter in the hallway and then telling Lupin about it is. just. f*cking. brilliant. Now we have a suspicion about Peter Pettigrew, we don’t have to watch Lupin in real time try to figure out everything during the climax in the Shack scene, and the ending comes as less RANDOMNATION and more OH SNAP.
 
          Still, the art direction in this movie has some issues (just like HP2). Granted, Buckbeak is designed perfectly (and it helps that we don’t have lots of other hippogriffs in that scene so we don’t get distracted and we care more about Buckbeak after it). But the dementors?! Wtf is that. Flying crazy black crows attacking you in mid-air? Derek does not approve. And the WEREWOLF?! Who thought that was a good idea?! Nope. It is terrible. Just. f*cking. terrible. And I wouldn’t if mind Padfoot looked beefier.
 
          Aside from art direction, the one misstep I can think of about the movie is the exclusion of the whole Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs backstory. I just think that enriches the story and could have enriched the movie, too. I do see why they decided to cut it, though. The explanation of how the four guys would hang out on campus and turn into animals was all told in dialogue at the CLIMAX of the book and would have stopped the movie dead if done identically. Still, I think they could have at least put together some sort of flashback sequence to show at the end in Lupin’s office. (“Why was my patronus a big silly deer, Lupin?” “I’ll tell you, Harry ::flashback::” I’m a f*cking genius.)

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On 9/9/2020 at 5:17 PM, Steven_ said:

This was a fun read. I think you had a lot of fair points. :yes: 
 

- I agree that the first book reads more like a children’s book than the others, but I don’t mind. It gives it an innocent charm that differentiates it from the others.

I agree with this! When I first read it I was reminded of a Roald Dahl book. 

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I agree that the film handles the foreshadowing and the situations with the map better than in the book. I honestly wish Alfonso had stuck around to direct the rest of the series because I think his visual flair was perfect for the adaptations. Re: the backstory, they even could've just had it be a line when Lupin hands Harry the map back. He could've just gone, "When the four of us made this map, we didn't expect it to yadayadayada." :haha:

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24 minutes ago, FrogLenzen said:

Anyway, let’s get into the big issues. There are two of them.
 
(1) The Time Turner:
 
          JKR opened a huge can of worms with this sh*t. My first argument questions why Hermione would ever even be allowed to have such a powerful object. She’s a THIRD-YEAR THIRTEEN YEAR OLD STUDENT. It makes no sense. Who else is using these things, and for what purpose? They seem too dangerous to let ANYONE use them. Even if you somehow prove that Hermione is the most trustworthy and genius kid you’ve ever seen, what if someone steals it from her? It’s just craziness.

          Secondly, why would she even NEED to take more classes? At the end of the book she says that she’s dropping Muggle Studies and Divination and that she’d have a normal schedule after that. Wait - she would still have one more class than all the other third years (she’s taking Magical Creatures, Ancient Runes, and Arithmancy, right?). Plus, if it was just a matter of two extra classes, why bother with the Time Turner at all? She knew she wanted to drop Divination after ONE CLASS, and she should not be allowed to take Muggle Studies as a Muggle-born (even though I agree with her – taking that class would still be super interesting).
 
(2) Crookshanks:
 
          If I had my way, Crookshanks would be removed from this and all other books. I think that the ending to this book was a little too random, and that things didn’t lead up to it the way they should/could have. One thing that would make the ending easier to grasp and to read is to remove one of the many characters in the scene in the Shack at the end. Crookshanks is the easiest to remove. What a waste of space to have him hissing at every f*cking thing that happens, or to have him sit on Black’s chest to block Harry. I was like… this is so dumb. But that’s not the only reason why Crookshanks makes things needlessly complicated.
 
          Crookshanks was built up throughout HP3 to be something very significant. He’s attacking Scabbers, can possibly understand English, is lurking around all the time, being very suspicious, seen with the Grim/Padfoot, leads them into the Willow… and at the end of it all, it’s revealed: He’s just a very smart cat! ZOMG REALLY?! A smart cat who knew about Sirius. That’s the biggest build-up to something that doesn’t even f*cking matter. Even JKR in an interview was all like “the cats in HP are very significant,” but it leads to nothing. I remember people trying to guess what Crookshanks’ significance was up until the end of the entire series. “He’s an Animagus! He’s Mundungus in disguise! He’s my mom!” People were so built up about this cat after reading HP3 that they could never let it go. Then JKR reveals it all: He’s part Kneazle. Part WHAT and WHO GIVES A F*CK? She never mentions Kneazles in the main series, so why should we care? She spent all this time with this fantasy cat because she liked the idea of him and how he was part Kneazle, when in reality the story would have been better off without it existing. A Mary-Sue red-herring cat. Included because there was a cat who lived near the place where she wrote the books.
 
          Okay, I’ll slow down. JKR had been doing fine in the first two books about including things only if they matter, and building on it to reach a climax and an ending. She was actually doing well in this book too regarding Hermione and the Time Turner, so that when it was revealed it wasn’t a big WTF RANDOM moment. It was like… “oooooh, that makes sense! That’s what all that was about this whole book! [Wow that’s interesting--! but wait, time turners are so f*cking bogus etc.etc.]” I think JKR makes a misstep in regards to the Scabbers reveal. It is just TOO RANDOM. There are vague clues if you look back at it, but in general it comes out of nowhere with no foreshadowing and blindsides the reader. The problem lies in the fact that she spends too much time with Crookshanks, maybe because that was the only thing she could think of to bring attention to Scabbers. I think that was a mistake because Crookshanks - instead of drawing attention to Scabbers - actually takes attention away from Scabbers. There is too much going on in this book for you to waste my time with a stupid cat. 
 
          I think that the whole Grim/Animagus dog/Werewolf juxtaposition is brilliant. She should have played that way up. She only mentions Animagi in a f*cking parentheses in McGonagall’s class at the beginning of the book. At least there was evidence to figure out about Lupin (thanks, Snape!). See, there’s ways to hint something without making it obvious. I think JKR was afraid of making Scabbers obvious so she just tried to play him down and distract us with a cat. Either that or she enjoys trying to trick the reader and come up with an ending that is impossible to see coming, e.g. HP4.
 
          Let’s look at the main functions Crookshanks serves in this book, aside from causing Ron Hermione drama: (1) Scare/suspect Scabbers, (2) steal note for Sirius, (3) be seen with the “Grim” so Harry knows it’s not a spectre. Sirius can steal Neville’s note some other way. I mean, it’s Neville. The “Grim” can do something else so that Harry knows it’s an actual animal and not a figment. How about an owl flies next to it and it reacts? How about it eats a baby? How about it howls to bring more focus to the Grim/dog/Werewolf triangle we have going? Anything except for happy animal parade out Harry’s window. And Scabbers needs to do something on his own, without the cat causing it. When we needed to see Scabbers acting suspicious, instead we got Crookshanks BEING suspicious for no reason ABOUT Scabbers, which, in turn, makes CROOKSHANKS look suspicious. Does that make sense? 
That’s my Crookshanks argument and I’m sticking to it.

 

Yeah Hermione's schedule doesn't make sense. I explain it away by thinking she'd taken more classes such as music for example, and dropped those as well. :haha: 

 

As for Crookshanks, I wouldn't have been surprised if JK originally intended Crookshanks to be something more significant and then changed her mind. I remember there was speculation that Crookshanks was Regulus in disguise before Hallows came out.

 

Plus, planning sports schedules is not Rowling's thing either, Gryffindor played Hufflepuff and then Ravenclaw plays Hufflepuff shortly after and flattens them. But then in January Ravenclaw plays Slytherin and Slytherin wins, but then Gryiffindor plays Ravenclaw. If Ravenclaw had won that match would they have won the Quidditch Cup? 

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4 minutes ago, Elliott said:

I agree that the film handles the foreshadowing and the situations with the map better than in the book. I honestly wish Alfonso had stuck around to direct the rest of the series because I think his visual flair was perfect for the adaptations. Re: the backstory, they even could've just had it be a line when Lupin hands Harry the map back. He could've just gone, "When the four of us made this map, we didn't expect it to yadayadayada." :haha:

It did! This was something very lacking with the fourth movie, when there was map foreshadowing involved in the book. 

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