Dear Dragon Lady and others,
Anything Harry Potter related you'd like to share? Fan theories? Discoveries you've made rereading them lately? Anything at all?
-Corsica S, who once attempted while under the invisibility cloak to sort the 100 Hour Board into its Hogwarts house on pottermore, but whose computer eventually rebooted itself after staying turned on for several months to keep the page open, and had to abandon the attempt
Dear Corsica ~
Honestly, Harry Potter hasn't been a huge part of my life for several years now. I don't read fanfic. I haven't reread them in years. I have listened to parts as Dragon Baby and Yellow 2.0 have listened to them, but I haven't delved in myself.
I have had some conversations about plot holes in the relatively recent past. Can't think of them off-hand.
I am sewing a Harry Potter quilt for Brother/Humphrey Belcher. I gave it to him about 5 years ago. Someday I'll finish it. Maybe I'll post a picture of the progress.
I'm currently regularly playing Wizards Unite. Yellow 2.0 also loves it and convinced Yellow to set him up with his own account on the kids' iPad. Which actually works out alright in a pandemic, when they made it possible to play 100% at home. (Thanks, friends! #pandemicsilverlining)
~ Dragon Lady, who is a Hufflepuff, if you're curious.
Dear Dragon Lady,
My friend has some great and controversial thoughts about the Hogwarts houses. Taken liberally from our messages:
Gryffindor is the worst house, while Hufflepuff is the best house. Why? Hufflepuff is the only house not involved in the systematic racism/classism that happened during the Founding Era. It is the only house without a blood or knowledge level required for acceptance, and thus is the only house not based on systemic oppression.
Gryffiindor is designed to be appealing to readers, particularly male readers. It's meant to be definitively non-evil and based around positive (though not virtuous) traits like bravery/courage/chivalry. But because of this you get a group of men who think they have something to prove. Godric Gryffindor didn't believe in the blood requirements and famously opposed Salazar over it, but his favoritism of students who exhibited traditionally masculine (and often toxic masculine) traits meant that for long periods of time Gryffindor was overly reckless and generally unavailable to women. The first known Gryffindor woman was in the 1690s (remember that Hogwarts was founded in 990 AD).
Minerva McGonagall was the one who really made Gryffindor accessible for women. She is a half-blood badass who was almost in Ravenclaw but was likely put in Gryffindor for gender equality purposes. She was the best student (athlete/all around person) in her class and she valued education more than almost anything else, so obviously she's Ravenclaw, but she's also uniquely qualified to be in Gryffindor with all the men who have something to prove because she knows how to handle them having grown up predominantly in the muggle world.
Now I know what you're thinking - what about Slytherin, the house founded on racism and notoriously evil? Well that's such an interesting observation based on the perspectives of the books where literally the main characters all hate a specific set of Slytherins. While Slytherin is not perfect, it is certainly a better house than Gryffindor, because the main trait/slogan of Slytherin is essentially to do what it takes to achieve what you want. Obviously this has problems when we're talking about evil people, but let's be clear - this is also the only house that values outcome identification and goal-based ambition, which is very very good when people aren't evil. If we're being honest, Slytherins have excellent traits that overlap with good and important traits from all of the other houses, but it's tied up in potentially dangerous bloodline drama. So good people in Slytherin have the capacity to be very very good people because they value education and loyalty and believe that justice is more important than the rules in place. Obviously, the unfortunate ties to blood and class mean that a number of people were politicized by their parents to use these things in a bad way, but the ones who aren't are the greatest.
But Slytherin is better than Ravenclaw. Because Ravenclaw is so flippin' competitive and full of backstabbers. One of their things is acceptance - but for a bunch of acceptance types they sure know how to be the worst (looking directly at Gilderoy Lockhart and the Patil twins and also probably Cho Chang). They have the capacity to be so much better than they are, but they fail at it.
-guppy of doom, starting to wish she wasn't in Ravenclaw
I have lots of assorted thoughts.
First, I started playing Wizards Unite when it first came out and then stopped shortly after, but Dragon Lady convinced me to come back recently, and it's so much better than it was a year ago. It's possible to play at home, which wasn't possible at all when I originally started. That's actually one of the biggest reasons I left WU--I didn't get out of the house much, so I felt like I couldn't ever participate. It incorporates stuff from Fantastic Beasts (more on that later), but as far as I know, there's nothing specifically from Cursed Child. Now that they've adjusted the fragment system, it's significantly more fun to catch multiples of things than it is in Pokemon GO (which I'm also still playing.)
I also restarted playing Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, which is essentially a Harry Potter Sims. It's in a weird "not really canon" zone, since it takes places while Bill and Charlie Weasley, and Tonks are at school, but none of the events are mentioned in the books, so the events of the games must not have happened? I don't have a strong feeling about the game. It's mildly interesting and I play it because it gives me something to do.
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND THE CURSED CHILD ARE NOT CANON. In all honesty, I haven't read/seen any of them. But I've read synopses and articles and tweets, and I've decided Rowling should just leave well enough alone. She didn't treat the Native cultures and traditions with respect in regards to Fantastic Beasts, nor did she have a good grasp on how witches and wizards would deal with things in the U.S. Not mention that "no-maj" is the stupidest word in the world. "The Cursed Child" is essentially horrible fanfiction. I just don't want to even touch it with a ten foot pole. I ignore almost everything Rowling says in regards to the Wizarding World, although I do allow for some things that she fills out for Pottermore.
The illustrated versions are gorgeous and worth it. We have them in addition to the regular hardcover copies. They haven't finished the last three books yet, but I'm looking forward to them.
Other assorted thoughts:
Harry wouldn't have joined the aurors at all, let alone so soon. I honestly think he'd just want some time where he wasn't responsible for saving people or fighting Dark things. He basically only ever used Expelliarmus when in battle, and most of the time it was other people who did the fighting. He was a significant figurehead for the war against Voldemort, but that doesn't make him a great auror.
I'm rather anti-Hermione/Ron. Not necessarily just because they argued a lot growing up, but also because they don't have a lot in common and Ron in particular doesn't show any interest in the things Hermione is interested in. She needs someone to intellectually challenge her, and that just isn't Ron. I kind of like the idea of Hermione/Draco pairings, since Draco was in fact just behind her in terms of academic excellence.
Dumbledore...was problematic. His treatment of Snape basically flung Snape to Voldemort's side. Dumbledore should have been on Snape's side when Snape was almost accidentally killed by Lupin as a teenager, but Dumbledore took the side of Gryffindor because of his bias that Slytherin was full of bad people. By reinforcing that with Snape, I'm sure he felt that following Voldemort was the natural path. Dumbledore wouldn't have accepted him on the good side anyways. Not to mention that Dumbledore consistently over-awarded Gryffindor points right at the end of the school year, just so they'd win the house cup. Plus, there's the fact that he sent everyone to their common rooms when the troll showed up. In the dungeon. Where the Slytherin common room is. He clearly doesn't care about anyone that isn't in Gryffindor. Even then, holding all of his cards so close to his chest caused a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering.
Houses are pretty simplistic. But, most personality theories break people down into four-ish categories. This one just happens to put ambition, cleverness, courage, and determination as the four dominant categories. I would have liked to see more of the other houses and interactions with them beyond what we got in the book. (So, yay for fanfiction.) Ambition isn't inherently evil. Cleverness isn't inherently intelligence. Courage can often lead to brashness. Determination can often lead to stubbornness. I think houses are both reductive, and more complex than most people think about.
A final battle was a horrible use of resources. The Good could have found a much better way to defeat Voldemort. That being said, the events leading up to the Battle of Hogwarts were incredibly rushed: Harry, Ron, Hermione, & Griphook break into Gringotts, steal Hufflepuff’s Cup, lose Gryffindor’s sword, and escape on a dragon; the trio returns to Hogsmeade, Hog’s Head, and Hogwarts; Hogwarts gears up for battle as Voldemort seeks out the Horcruxes and takes flight for the school; Ron and Hermione destroy Hufflepuff’s Cup as Harry seeks the diadem of Ravenclaw; the Battle of Hogwarts starts at midnight. So, to be fair, there wasn't a lot of time to plan an alternative. But I wish the trio would have opened up a little bit to get people to help and avoid a lot of unnecessary deaths.
WHY WAS THE THIRD FLOOR CORRIDOR ABLE TO BE UNLOCKED BY FIRST YEARS? Like, I'm sure Dumbledore could have warded it well enough that a simple unlocking spell wouldn't have worked. The fact that it was supposed to be some sort of test for Harry? Yeah, another one of the reasons Dumbledore was problematic.
Snape and fake Mad-eye Moody were the best DADA teachers the kids ever had. Lupin was a nice person, but mostly just talked about magical creatures. And there's a whole other class for that.
I should probably stop now.
I've often heard about how Ron and Hermione are a terrible pairing, and their marriage is certain to end in disaster. I disagree with this as a foregone conclusion because, aside from the epilogue at the very end, the books only cover through when Ron, Harry and Hermione are 17. Yeah, if Ron and Hermione were fated to stay trapped developmentally in the same state as their teen-selves, I agree their marriage would be highly dysfunctional. But they do get the chance to change and mature over time.
From the books, I don't think we really get guarantees Ron and Hermione would work together well, but in my opinion, bickering and clashes while in the equivalent of high school (with normal teenage angst amplified by being placed in life-threatening conditions) is not sufficient proof for incompatibility.
Nothing good to say about the author. Everything good to say about the series. Especially over these past few years. Her saying in an interview that wizards canonically went to the bathroom in their pants and then "magic" it away is only the tip of the iceberg on why I'm grateful we can separate authors from their books.