Things That Confuse and Anger Me About the Harry Potter Series: Goblet of Fire Part 2

By Ashley

GOF PART DEUX. ACTION:

1. How did Hagrid’s dad and mom get it in? She was like, a 40-foot tall giantess and he was a little dude. My roommate and I were trying to come up with the ways that he could have done this. I maintain that he just walked into her vag and jerked off while she thinks he walked right up to an egg and fucked it. (Seriously, this really lends itself to some bizarre thinking patterns; it’s unsettling.)

2. At one point, Hermione asks Harry and Ron whether or not they’ve been paying attention to their history lessons on goblin rebellions and they state flat-out, “No.” Stellar students, those two. I know I gripe a lot about what apathetic students they are but it just really, really bothers me. Like, they’re basically going to a high-end private boarding school and being given access to a top-notch education. School is what introduced Harry to the Wizarding world in the first place! And it’s especially annoying because their grades never really seem to suffer for the indifference they show in their studies, unless it’s a teacher who actively dislikes them, like Snape. It annoys me a lot that the characters who are really into their studies are presented as either super annoying (Percy, Hermione at times) or are used by Harry and Ron for notes and homework help (Hermione, big time).

After the jump, read about Snape, athlete privilege, Molly Weasley being a bitch, and more…

3. In this book we see (for the first and only time, sadly) one of my favorite rooms in all of Hogwarts: the prefect’s bathroom. Ever since I first read about this room I’ve been obsessed with the rules surrounding it, which we never learn. Is a tub that large and opulent really only meant to be used by one person at a time? Are the prefects allowed to use this massive, pool-sized tub all at once? The way the bathroom is described and set up it makes it seem like it’s a place that is meant to be used by multiple people at one time. Is Hogwarts encouraging orgies amongst its best and brightest? If so, I wanna go there even more than I did before.

4. Harry. Please. When will you learn? After taking the bath that helps him discover the secret of the golden egg, Harry is making his way back, hidden under the invisibility cloak, Marauder’s Map in hand.  He sees something strange: Barty Crouch sneaking around Snape’s office. (Yeah, remember that thing about seeing people who are disguised that I wondered about in the last book? Happens here!) Instead of, like, going and trying to tell Dumbledore or just leaving it the hell alone because it’s none of his fucking business he decides to go see what Crouch is up to. Along the way he gets stuck in a trick step on a staircase, dropping his egg, which bursts open and starts wailing, and the Marauder’s Map, which lands in full view of anyone who would happen upon it. Why do you do this to yourself, Harry? Why? This all could have been avoided if you could just mind your own business for once. So, Filch and Snape come along and he’s dangerously close to being caught. But of course someone comes to his rescue, Moody this time. It’s REALLY lucky that Harry has so many people who are determined to keep him out of trouble; even if Moody’s reasons for helping Harry all year are ultimately nefarious, still, Harry would have been expelled 5 times over if it weren’t for all the outside help he gets from teachers. This is the second year running that a teacher has helped him out of a sticky situation with Snape that he’s gotten into because of the Marauder’s Map. You ask me, that damn thing is more trouble than it’s worth.

5. Harry has such a knack for coming up with ideas that are wrong. Like, his powers of deduction when it comes to deducing the wrong things are amazing. After chatting with Moody, he comes to the conclusion that Snape must be up to something since Crouch and Moody, notorious Dark Wizard catchers, searched his office. You would think at this point in the series, they would have learned that it’s never Snape. This is something that gets even worse as the series progresses: despite Dumbledore telling them over and over and over that he trusts Snape, even though it’s never been him in the past, they always assume that it’s him. “It’s not Snape” is the “It’s not lupus” of the HP series. They always think it’s him, but it never is.  If Harry were actually good at putting things together, he might be a little wary of Moody: he saw Crouch on the map and then a few moments later Moody shows up and asks to borrow the map. Harry has never seen Moody on the map but he just gives it up to him; yeah, give up one of your most useful tools, the one that could really easily unravel the entire plot against you. But Harry has a blinding trust of Moody because Moody’s been spending all this time helping him and stroking his ego: cursing Malfoy, offering help with the tournament, being extremely critical of Snape and the Dark Arts, doing alllll these things to gain Harry’s trust.

6. Expanding on the “It’s not Snape” thing: Harry and Ron are always determined to find out ways that Snape could be up to no good. When Hermione points out, quite smartly, that they thought Snape was trying to kill Harry once before and he was actually trying to save his life, they disregard it. See, Hermione learns from her mistakes and tries to evolve her thinking patterns beyond that. Harry and Ron though, they just want Snape to be evil so badly because he’s such a douche teacher. Like, they just can’t wrap their heads around the idea of a douche teacher just being a douche teacher and nothing more evil than that. When Hermione makes her point Harry thinks, Well, yeah, but he hates me and he’s always taking points off me and trying to punish me and get me expelled. So…logically that means he’s trying to kill you? No, Harry. It just means he doesn’t like you.

7. How come during their thorough research Harry, Ron and Hermione never once came upon Bubble-Head charm? It’s stuff like this that makes me question the nature of the Hogwarts library; the Bubble-Head charm seems like a relatively well-known, school-level charm that would be in any book of standard charms. It was used by Fleur and Cedric, who goes to Hogwarts so he presumably learned it there.  Why didn’t they find anything about it? Or better yet, why didn’t Hermione already know about it? Hermione is always an exhaustive source of high-level knowledge until it’s convenient to the plot for her not to be.

8. Can I just talk about how much help Harry gets with the second task? Not only do Ron and Hermione help him research endlessly in the library, when he can’t find anything to help him breath underwater, instead of having to own up to it and admit defeat like anyone else Dobby comes to help at literally the last minute. Ten minutes before the second task, he shows up and just gives Harry some gillyweed. Like…that’s it, Harry didn’t have to do shit. At least in the last task he had to learn how to do something new. And then! Even when he’s in the damn lake he gets help! When he’s swimming around trying to find the merpeople, fucking Myrtle comes right the fuck outta nowhere and points him in the right direction. So of course he gets there first, he had someone direct him there.

9. Harry’s thing he’ll “sorely miss” is Ron. So cute. Like, everyone else’s are significant others or siblings. Harry’s is Ron. How exactly did this series not turn into an epic romance between Harry and Ron?

10. Harry quite foolishly takes the merpeople’s song a little too seriously; even though he knows the rules of the Triwizard Tournament have been changed to avoid any fatalities he still believes that any hostages not saved within the hour will be drowned or eaten by merpeople. While I do find his desire to want everyone safe honorable and one of his best qualities it’s still super telling of his ridiculous hero complex. And when it’s pointed out to him and he starts to realize, wow, I made a mistake, I should have thought more clearly about the song and the rules—guess what happens. Dumbledore comes along, once again, to mend his wounded ego. It can’t just be, hey, you made a mistake, though well-intentioned, so you lose points. It’s, well, you made a mistake but you’re just so brave that we’re going to act like you didn’t. It’s so annoying to me that whenever Harry starts to think critically about the mistakes he makes (even if they’re well-intentioned mistakes) someone comes along to basically say, no, no, you don’t have to think, we’ll reward you anyway!

11. How come no one outside of Snape seems to be concerned how Harry obtained the gillyweed? Like, it’s obviously not something that is available in the student stores. Are they assuming that he grew it or…like, what’s the deal with that? The magic you use to complete the task is part of your score; Bagman merely says that he used it effectively and that’s it. Seriously, everyone who isn’t Snape? How did this 14-year-old get access to that kind of magical plant? WHO CARES, HARRY’S SO BRAVE OMG HARRY IS WIZARD JESUS.

12. Ron’s attitude towards Hermione continues to be shit. He’s constantly on her about everything: he doesn’t want her to talk to the house elves because he’s afraid Gryffindor will be served substandard food. Like…this is the most privileged, douchey thing ever. Yeah, fuck the oppression and disenfranchisement of this underrepresented group—I NEED DELICIOUS FOODS! And when she gets a ton of hate mail for the slanderous article Rita Skeeter wrote, he immediately starts victim-blaming: “I told her…I told her not to annoy Rita Skeeter!” Like, okay, yeah, Hermione should never stand up for what she believes is right because it might ruffle someone’s feathers or affect him negatively. And beyond that, when Hermione is trying to figure out how Rita Skeeter is listening in on people’s private conversations, Ron tells her to drop it. What the fuck, dude? Why would you tell her to drop it when it led to her receiving Howlers and hate mail that burned her hands? Rita Skeeter’s eavesdropping has negatively affected Harry, Hagrid, and Hermione but I guess because it never affected Ron, he just doesn’t give a shit. Ronald Weasley, you are spineless, selfish, privileged douchebag.

13. I guess Ron gets his rudeness from his mother. Molly Weasley, who I usually love, sends Hermione a pathetically small Easter egg while Harry and Ron receive eggs “the size of dragon eggs…full of homemade toffee.” Wow, Molly. Are you also 14 years old? Why would you do something that cruel? Why wouldn’t you write your son or Harry and ask about what was really going on? You see that the article is written by Rita Skeeter, who you know is a goddamn liar, and yet you still act like a child and send Hermione a teeny egg while Harry and Ron enjoy huge eggs full of toffee. It really reminds me of Harry’s descriptions of Aunt Marge buying expensive toys for Dudley while looking meanly at Harry. And the thing that is really upsetting to me is that when Hermione is quietly asking Ron whether Molly reads Witch Weekly and looking sadly at her little egg, Ron is just stuffing his face. Harry and Ron really come off as bad friends: they don’t give a shit about anything she says, they never do anything to comfort her when she’s upset or when bad things happen to her. It makes me sad because my childhood recollection of the Golden Trio is that of really strong, supportive friendship. But rereading it as an adult is making me see it otherwise. It’s really depressing.

14. After a dream about Voldemort and intense pain in his scar, Harry visits Professor Dumbledore, intending to tell him. Dumbledore tells him to wait a little bit while he inspects the grounds with Moody and Cornelius Fudge. Harry, in a desperate attempt to prove everything Snape has ever said about him believing himself to be above rules true, finds and examines Dumbledore’s Pensieve. Gawwwwwd, Harry. What the fuck? Like, I get that you have a natural curiosity for shit but come ON. This is obviously Dumbledore’s private item, something that you shouldn’t even be looking at, as it was inside a cabinet. And gee, how convenient that Dumbledore had left those particular memories in the Pensieve; good thing the memories were completely relevant to the things Harry’s been wondering and not, like, completely random memories of Dumbledore buying socks or something. Unless of course this all part of Dumbledore, the ultimate Chess Master’s huge Batman Gambit. Am I supposed to believe that Dumbledore left those particular memories in the Pensieve, which he then left somewhat exposed on purpose on the off-chance that Harry would come to his office, be left alone, and (literally) stick his nose into it? Dubious.

15. Ludo Bagman’s trial is very interesting for me as an adult. He’s at the peak of his Quidditch career and every other person other than Crouch (and Moody, who doesn’t like anyone who fraternizes with Dark shit) is in awe of Bagman and actually expresses outrage when Crouch suggests he go to Azkaban for passing information to Voldemort. It reminds me a lot of the very real athlete privilege that exists in our society: how many football players have been accused of/committed rape? And no one really seems to give a shit because OMG SPORTS!

16. And of course as usual when Harry gets caught, do you think Dumbledore punishes him or even fucking reprimands him? Of course not! I know I sound like I want Harry to constantly get into trouble, but that’s not it at all. I get that kids break rules, I did it all the time (I still do). But when I got caught breaking rules, I got punished; I didn’t have teachers and other authority figures come to my aid or give me ridiculous breaks that I didn’t deserve. But I guess I’m not wizard Jesus so I can’t expect that.

17. “Harry shook his head, wondering…how he could have failed to ask Neville [why he lives with his Grandmother], in almost four years of knowing him.” YOU NEVER ASKED HIM BECAUSE YOU DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE’S PROBLEMS. Harry never seems to care about some people unless they’re in mortal danger, which is great, but there are more ways to save people than just saving them from death. Harry isn’t a very good listener or very good emotional support so it doesn’t surprise me at all that Harry never asked Neville why he lives with his grandmother; he’s so busy dealing the big, important shit that everything else becomes irrelevant. Also, at this point in the series Harry isn’t really too fond of Neville. They don’t become closer until after being in the DA together.

18. Voldemort is so fucking long-winded. So much explanation and back-story. Voldemort makes classic Evil Overlord mistakes: talks too much, gloats, toys with his foes, GIVES THEM THEIR FUCKING WEAPONS, underestimates them despite the fact that he’s failed to kill them time and time again. You know, you coulda just left him tied to the damn headstone and killed him but noooo, you had to prove that you were stronger than him and look what happened? Bet you feel real salty now, dontcha?

19. Sometimes I really question Dumbledore’s all-knowing Chess Master status. We’re supposed to believe that he would foresee and predict all these little coincidences that happen over the course of seven years (even after he’s dead, which I’ll get to when I talk about the seventh book), knows all these random things that are really helpful, and yet he doesn’t have any inkling that Moody isn’t who he says he is (or that, like, Voldemort was living on some guy’s head for an entire school year)? I just find it hard to believe. Dumbledore says the thing that tipped him off was Moody leading Harry away after Dumbledore had said to stay, the real Moody would have never done that. Huh. Seems like a relatively small slip-up. Crouch Jr. never once made another little mistake like that all year long? Dubious.

20. At the end of the year, Harry, Ron and Hermione are taken to the Hogwarts Express station in Hogsmeade by the “horseless” carriages. Why can’t Harry see the thestrals; he’s already seen Cedric die! Ahhh, J.K., I love you to death for making this series but it requires so many plot holes for the story to work the ways you want it to.

And so ends my scathing critique of Goblet of Fire! I hope you’re all ready for Order of the Phoenix because it is truly epic; it will take place over the course of three separate goddamn posts (but don’t worry, you won’t have to wait three weeks to read it all)! As usual, please leave any comments, concerns, or anything at all!

3 Comments

Filed under Literature

3 responses to “Things That Confuse and Anger Me About the Harry Potter Series: Goblet of Fire Part 2

  1. The first one was my favorite…too funny!

    I’ll be slow in posting my last two because I’ve been sick lately and don’t intend to get back to my regular routine until I have everything straightened out.

  2. Oh my gosh I’m getting neck cramps from just nodding furiously in agreement with all of these HP posts. I really did come to dislike Harry more and more as the series progressed, and you’re totally right- he’s constantly getting positive feedback for his stupid and thoughtless behavior. It stunts his growth in a way. Also Hermione is just always the best, jeez. Star of the show. It’s disappointing to look back on the “Golden Trio” friendship and realize it’s pretty stunted.

  3. I must admit that this is very enlightening… very.

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