Posts tagged "Harry Potter"

The sad part is that this cartoon refers to shit going down at my school. Absent that uncomfortable fact, it’s magnificent.

The sad part is that this cartoon refers to shit going down at my school. Absent that uncomfortable fact, it’s magnificent.


If you want an indication of how much Hollywood fears female characters that step (even slightly) outside of gender norms, look at the dearth of female nerds on the big screen. The only major female nerd of note is Hermione of the Harry Potter series, and she only exists because of the books. We can hope that Hollywood will get over this skittishness. Female audiences fill seats and spend money, and they’re hungry to see more female characters who display ambition and humor and who don’t just stand around looking pretty.

Amanda Marcotte, “Rise of the Female Nerds,” The American Prospect

This article gets a fail because it doesn’t mention Rory Gilmore1 (also some of its examples are dorks, smh), but nonetheless, I feel like making a half-assed argument about how the Harry Potter movies toned-down Hermione’s nerdiness because Hollywood Hates Unconventional Women2. So, OK, there are the obvious examples like the way Emma Watson is totally hotter than Hermione is meant to be, and wears, like, pretty dresses and stuff when she goes to Wizard-Prom.3 But it’s also in the way that, for the movie, they subtly made her a bit more popular with the other girls. In the books, however, even toward the end of the series, when Hermione is like BFFs Forever with Ginny and knows all the gossip going on round the Gryffindor girls’ dorm, I still get the sense she’s a bit of an outsider who feels most comfortable with Harry and Ron. Harry and Ron, in contrast, are totally popular guys, except when Harry’s pissing people off by talking about Voldemort.

And there was that role-switching thing. See, in the books, Hermione gets flustered under pressure,4 and Ron remains sober and sensible, whereas the movies have Ron play the buffoon and Hermione the responsible, shrewish scold.5 Movie-Hermione is significantly more socially adept than the awkward, know-it-all, bossy book-Hermione, who genuinely is a nerd. And much more awesomer for it.

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1. I’m a hard marker.

2. I mean it totally doesn’t. Didn’t you see how crazy Zooey Deschanel was in (500) Days of Summer?

3. Which was actually the Yule Ball in the books, and technically in the movie too, but we can forget that because the movie and the audience did pretty quickly.

4. Just like a girl.

5. Just like a girl.


And another thing about Harry Potter…

What’s the deal with robes? F’real! 

In Philosopher’s Stone, we get told that wizards go around wearing robes, which made sense because we all have images of Merlin and Gandalf and the Wizard of Id wearing big curtainy things, so it seemed very Wizardy for part of Harry’s induction into the wizarding world to involve getting some Hogwarts robes. And then the movies came along, and someone must have realised that the kids might not be down with a flick where the hero wears a dress all the time, so they turned Hogwarts uniforms into a private school, pressed trousers, plaid-skirts, and striped ties affair. Which was certainly less silly, but made no sense.

And that’s because J.K. Rowling gives her readers regular jokes about how wizards don’t know how to dress in muggle clothes, and so come up with preposterous outfits for when they have to venture into public. There’s even this bit with a wizard who had never worn pants before, and was complaining about how they cramped his privates or something.

But that was OK; we could accept that there was one rule for the books (wizards wear robes) and one for the movies (wizards usually wear muggle clothes). Except in the movies, all the older and more magicky characters like Dumbledore and Voldemort wear robes all the time. And then in the books, Rowling started describing her characters wearing jumpers (sweaters) and t-shirts and ties at school, though robes were still mentioned, albeit less frequently. Had she been influenced by the movies and forgotten about the robes, or did she just decide it was a silly idea, or what?

We could suppose, I guess, that Harry and Hermione wear muggle clothes because they were raised by muggles and probably don’t want to make a wholesale wardrobe change just because they can now open doors by shouting Accio! Alohamora!1 But the Weasleys, an all-wizard family, also wear muggle clothes. Except for maybe Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, because I’m pretty sure we had a few of those ha-ha-Mr.-Weasley’s-wearing-galoshes-with-a-bowling-hat-and-a-dressing-gown scenes somewhere in the series.

In that case, perhaps the shift in clothing preferences is a sign of a major generation gap? So while all the adults are going around in regular wizarding robes, the kids have adopted strange new muggle styles, which they somehow know how to wear exactly like muggles, even though the social strata is structured so that the people who know the least about muggles are on top? I guess the First Voldemort War or whatever it was called when Tom Riddle went and avada kedavrad Harry’s mum is a juncture big enough to make Harry’s generation a pretty wild and out-there bunch,2 but we don’t really see any inter-generational fissures resulting from it, if that’s the case.

Actually, we don’t get to see much at all in the way of what must be a major culture shock for the muggle-borns who do go to Hogwarts. I mean, that’s so we know that there’s no difference between muggle-borns and folks who have grown up in wizarding families, but surely there must be quite a shock in so rapidly acclimatising to a radically different dominant culture? Hogwarts effectively creates a class of immigrant orphans every year and expects them to assimilate into a mainstream they weren’t aware of until a couple of weeks earlier.

Of course, the fact that this is the stuff I really want to know about Harry Potter is part of the reason they don’t let me write these kind of books.

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1. Really, isn’t alohomora the stupidest spell ever? They teach it to first years, so everyone knows how to do it, and we know doors can be alohomora-proofed. So what use is alohomora when alohomora-proofing your door is just going to become the new locking your door? This ain’t a wizarding school, it’s a goddamn arms race.

2. Which means that denim jeans are the wizarding world’s version of the zoot suit, I guess.

POST CORRECTED: See here.


Screw Rock 'n' Roll: And another thing about Harry Potter...

The common room was packed and noisy. Everyone was eating the food that had been sent up. Hermione, however, stood alone by the door, waiting for them. There was a very embarrassed pause. Then, none of them looking at each other, they all said “Thanks,” and hurried off to get plates.

But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997), Ch. 10

I like this part a lot. But then again, Hermione’s my favorite, so of course I do.


Guys. Guys. I have really important news.
There is a Christian comic book parodying Harry Potter. Look at it!
And it’s way meta. See, it’s about Ari and Minnie, who sort of look like Harry and Hermione, but mostly do not, who enjoy a series of books about the witchcraft called Hairy Polarity. Which if you’re American probably doesn’t sound quite so lame because “Hairy” and “Harry” aren’t homonyms for me. In my head it’s about as clever “lamestream media,” while in yours it’s probably about as clever as “Dumbocrats.” (Question: Was “Dumbocrats” coined by Rush Limbaugh or Birch Barlow? I know Barlow came up with “Smellfare,” which is like, hey why haven’t you stolen that GOP?)
Anyway, Ari and Minnie get trapped into liking sorcery by the evil Dr. Verbosi who is I suppose a Rowling parody except she’s not a Doctor or a man like Verbosi is. 
Now, let’s all be silently appreciative of Ari’s vivid teen angst in the last panel: “I’m just reading a silly book — I’m not a wizard wannabe! And I love Minnie! You’re being ridiculous — and cruel!!”

Guys. Guys. I have really important news.

There is a Christian comic book parodying Harry Potter. Look at it!

And it’s way meta. See, it’s about Ari and Minnie, who sort of look like Harry and Hermione, but mostly do not, who enjoy a series of books about the witchcraft called Hairy Polarity. Which if you’re American probably doesn’t sound quite so lame because “Hairy” and “Harry” aren’t homonyms for me. In my head it’s about as clever “lamestream media,” while in yours it’s probably about as clever as “Dumbocrats.” (Question: Was “Dumbocrats” coined by Rush Limbaugh or Birch Barlow? I know Barlow came up with “Smellfare,” which is like, hey why haven’t you stolen that GOP?)

Anyway, Ari and Minnie get trapped into liking sorcery by the evil Dr. Verbosi who is I suppose a Rowling parody except she’s not a Doctor or a man like Verbosi is. 

Now, let’s all be silently appreciative of Ari’s vivid teen angst in the last panel: “I’m just reading a silly book — I’m not a wizard wannabe! And I love Minnie! You’re being ridiculous — and cruel!!


The thing that makes this comic some next level shit — that makes it surely worthy of inclusion among Jonathan Bogart's Comics Everyone Should Know and Love series — is the Hermione character’s sassiness and hip lingo. This page demonstrates it most densely: “No diggity! It’s some kind of a library about magic!” she enthuses. “Ari! Quit buggin’!” she scolds later. And on other pages she spouts “Freaky!,” “Don’t get all ‘weenie’ on me,” “Wicked cool!,” and “That is off the chain!”
What’s not off the chain, however, is that to read the whole thing you have to send TheTruthforYouth.com $2.50. Clearly, my soul cannot be saved by mere jpegs. According to Wikipedia (SPOILER), Ari ends up being saved by prayer. Well that’s all very good for people being attacked by evil wizard authors, but what can Jesus do for me?

The thing that makes this comic some next level shit — that makes it surely worthy of inclusion among Jonathan Bogart's Comics Everyone Should Know and Love series — is the Hermione character’s sassiness and hip lingo. This page demonstrates it most densely: “No diggity! It’s some kind of a library about magic!” she enthuses. “Ari! Quit buggin’!” she scolds later. And on other pages she spouts “Freaky!,” “Don’t get all ‘weenie’ on me,” “Wicked cool!,” and “That is off the chain!”

What’s not off the chain, however, is that to read the whole thing you have to send TheTruthforYouth.com $2.50. Clearly, my soul cannot be saved by mere jpegs. According to Wikipedia (SPOILER), Ari ends up being saved by prayer. Well that’s all very good for people being attacked by evil wizard authors, but what can Jesus do for me?


So remember when I found that Christian parody of Harry Potter? Great news. I found the rest of the story!
Uhhh, it’s kinda lame. Here, if you want to read it in full. 
Anyways, I post this mostly as an FYI, but also because, according to the parody, the J.K. Rowling character was sick of Harry Potter and actually wanted to move on to writing more awesome stuff like “pornography, slasher films and reality TV series.” 
OMG. Does social satire get any more cutting?

So remember when I found that Christian parody of Harry Potter? Great news. I found the rest of the story!

Uhhh, it’s kinda lame. Here, if you want to read it in full

Anyways, I post this mostly as an FYI, but also because, according to the parody, the J.K. Rowling character was sick of Harry Potter and actually wanted to move on to writing more awesome stuff like “pornography, slasher films and reality TV series.” 

OMG. Does social satire get any more cutting?


naysayersspeak:

Since I watched this, every time I get grouchy, I say “I feel cranky and pubescent today, and I don’t know why. I’m going to take it out on people I like.”

It’s funny ‘cause it’s true.


Percy’s been acting very oddly this summer," said George, frowning. "And he has been sending a lot of letters and spending a load of time shut up in his room… I mean there’s only so many times you can polish a prefect badge.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998)

"Polishing the prefect badge" should be in common use as a euphemism.



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