Tag Archives: Hermione Granger

Things That Confuse and Anger Me About the Harry Potter Series: The Epilogue

By Ashley

And so I’ve reached the end. I’ve been so fully immersed in this project that Harry Potter has literally been all I think, talk, or write about. Even when I’m thinking about other things—classes, friends, my relationship, anything—the books and this project were sitting in wait, taking up a large portion of my brain, distracting the hell out of me. It’s very lucky that so many of my classes so far have been pretty low-stress and I haven’t been totally bombarded with homework. I started rereading in late August and it was like tumbling into the rabbit hole all over again: despite the fact that I’ve read these books countless times before and I was very consciously looking for flaws and plot holes and was concentrating so hard on the things that make me angry in this series (which is a lot), I still felt like I was 12 years old again. At that age, Harry Potter was my world, it was my main creative outlet, it saved me from a fucked-up family and distracted me when I wanted to hurt myself. Harry Potter, for all of the many, many, many problems I have with the series and its creator, is and always will be something I love entirely. Some people are afraid to think critically about the things that are dear to them, afraid that they’ll have to disown it or start disliking it. This is not true; never stop thinking critically about the media you take in, ever. I am a Potterhead. The fact that I can question JKR and say “Hey, this is fucked up or wrong or infuriating” does not take away from how much I love the series. With that said, I’m (obscenely) excited to rip this goddamn epilogue to shreds.

1. I think one of the reasons so many people hate this epilogue is because it’s so far removed from everything we know. I don’t fucking know 36-year-old Harry, Ron, and Hermione. We know the characters we’ve seen grow up from ages 11-17. It’s a lot to ask of the readers, just jumping 19 years into the future and expecting us to be all cool with it. You don’t stay the same from when you’re 17 to the time you’re in your mid-thirties. We, the readers, went through trauma in this goddamn book: we lost characters who meant something to us, characters who felt like friends and family, characters that we had known and loved for upwards of 10 years. Voldemort dies and then we just cut to this happy ending. It just doesn’t jibe with me, man. I feel like it would’ve been so much better to have a “1 year later” epilogue (if there had to be an epilogue at all); that way we wouldn’t have been so completely displaced from everything we just went through. We still could’ve seen them moving on with their lives and in their stupid little predictable relationships, but also seen them healing and grieving. This epilogue…it’s like none of what we went through matters anymore! Because the characters have had nearly 20 fucking years to cope and heal and move on. I had 2 fucking pages to cope and heal. And then BAM, we’re hit with these adult versions of the characters we know and they all have little carbon copy children heading off to Hogwarts.

2. The last few chapters of Book 7 are some of the best writing JKR does in the whole series. Mostly because it’s full of the action stuff she’s so good at writing, but she even outdoes herself with the emotional stuff with “The Forest Again.” The epilogue is just…weak. It’s so sophomoric. It feels like I’m reading Book 1 all over again, and not just because she has all these parallels to the first time Harry was on Platform 9 ¾.

3. Speaking of those parallels, OMG IS THIS REALLY NECESSARY. Do we really need to see Harry and Ginny’s little redhead daughter crying about how she wants to go to Hogwarts like her brothers, just like Ginny did in the first book? It’s bad enough that Harry and Ginny are practically copies of Lily and James but then they have children who are carbon copies of them! And their fucking names are Lily and James! And Albus Severus.

4. These names, man. These fucking names. JKR is trolling us hard. You do realize that, right? Like…did Ginny not get any fucking say over her kids’ names? Like, every single time she was like “Harry, darling, I have an idea for our daughter’s name!” Harry was just like “UH STFU NO 1 CURR”. And it’s not just them—fucking Rose and Hugo? HUGO?! WHAT IS THIS WHAT IS LIFE I DON’T UNDERSTAND. SCORPIUS? SCORPIUS HYPERION MALFOY?! WHAT IS THIS!? FUCK YOU. OH MY GOD I WANNA BREAK SHIT.

5. The name I find most mind-numbingly horrible and extremely offensive to the readers is Harry and Ginny’s youngest child, Albus Severus. Not just because that kid is totally gonna get picked on for having the dumbest name I’ve ever heard in my LIFE but because why the fuck would you fucking name your kid after Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape?! Who are you, Harry? I don’t even know you anymore. Why? What logic is this? Oh, yeah, Dumbledore, who asked you to risk your life over and over and over and who raised you like a pig to be sacrificed at the altar.  And Severus Snape, a man who bullied and tormented you for 6 years, hated your father completely and was obsessed—frighteningly, all-consumingly obsessed—with your mother for his entire adolescent and adult life. Yeah, TOTES NAME YOUR SON AFTER THOSE TWO GUYS.

6. For someone like me, the epilogue is especially unsatisfying because my idea of fulfilling, lifelong happiness does not involve marriage and children. It bothers me that we’re served this lackluster, uber-conventional, Babies Ever After ending and then we learn (in bits and pieces) the really interesting stuff—like careers and what happened to other, more interesting characters—after the goddamn book is out. Why couldn’t some of that shit have been the epilogue? It’s just so annoying that she’s presenting this—being happily married to people you met when you were fucking 11—as the way ALL her characters find lifelong happiness. That is not how life typically works out. Often times you don’t marry someone you met when you were 11. And if you do, you probably aren’t going to stay happy or married. Because like I said before, you change a lot from the time you’re 17 to the time you’re nearly fucking 40. And I know some people are all like “OMG, it’s a fantasy book!” Yeah, a fantasy book that is all about death and war and grief and fucking Nazism and totalitarianism. This fucking epilogue is such mood dissonance. It’s jarring and unpleasant because it’s so overwhelmingly—almost cartoonishly—happy and cutesy.

7. The main characters’ relationships feel a little…incestuous, don’t they? Like, okay here go their little carbon copies—who look just like them and are basically hollow extensions of their parents—off to Hogwarts to have their own adventures! But the core group—Harry (Al or James), Ron (Hugo, maybe), Hermione (Rose) and Ginny (Lily)—are all fucking related. They’ve known each other all their lives. Since we’re basically forced to think of these kids as extensions of their parents it gets creepy because an important dynamic of all the relationships involved the will-they-won’t-they aspect and even unresolved sexual tension. But all these kids are related. And that’s icky, yo.

8. This is a huge problem I have with the whole series: IT’S SO GODDAMN HETERONORMATIVE. There are SO many characters in this series; it is statistically implausible that they are all straight. And what makes it worse is this is a series that is supposed to be all about tolerance. But the only LGBT canon sort-of couple (Dumbledore and Grindewald) nearly fucking leads to another Holocaust. Uhm. Wow. Unfortunate Implications. Her revealing Dumbledore’s sexual orientation after the fact has always seemed tacked on to me; yeah, there are extremely vague hints about their relationship in the book but nothing explicitly stating “They were a couple”. This is something that I have a serious problem with. This is the reason most of my OTPs are queer. I want to see my own sexuality reflected in these characters that I grew up with and love.  I don’t want to feel condescended to after the fact when you say that one of your most important characters is gay. That’s a bullshit move, in my opinion. Taking the coward’s route and waiting until it was safe enough to come out with it does nothing—fucking nothing—for the LGBT community.

So there we have it! This was such a fun if time-consuming project. As always, please leave any comments you may have. Thanks for sticking with me through this! I’m def not going to be reading anymore Harry Potter for a while.

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Things That Confuse and Anger Me About the Harry Potter Series: Deathly Hallows

By Ashley

So, we’ve finally made it. There’s really nothing else to say! Here is my critique of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:

1. The beginning of this book really reinforces my idea that J.K.R should really just stick to writing the action/war stuff. The first few chapters of this book (much like the previous book) are tight and tense, thrilling and really exciting. I have no real problems with the beginning of this book. But then once we get to The Burrow where Harry, Ron, and Hermione are together (and J.K.R. has to write about, like, people’s actions and feelings and interactions with one another rather than things happening) things start to get a little shaky. Most annoyingly, the frustrating, more-than-a-little sexist ideas about gender and relationships spill over to this book to. Ron gives Harry a book called Twelve Fail-Safe Ways to Charm Witches. Uhm, ew. Now, I hate real life equivalents to this kind of thing (Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, shit like that). Ron is acting suspiciously nice towards Hermione but not because he’s finally realized that he’s a shit person and that he’s been treating her in particular like garbage for years but because a goddam book is telling him that that’s the way to get into her pants or some shit. It’s just so icky and insincere.

2. Why didn’t any of them, at any fucking point, stop and think “Hmm…you know maybe the fact that Dumbledore had stuff in his fucking will to aid us in this mission of ours means that he was, oh, I don’t know, expecting—perhaps planning—to die?” And on a related note, Dumbledore what the fuck is your problem? Why the hell did you make things so complicated? You couldn’t tell Harry that the death was planned? You couldn’t have let SOMEBODY know that the death was prearranged? My dick, Dumbledore, for all the stress you put on how “authentic” things had to be…just no. There was no reason for things to be this goddamn complicated.

Hit the jump to see my lengthy lament over Tonks and Lupin, the ultimate Ron douchebaggery, and more….

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Things That Confuse and Anger Me About The Harry Potter Series: Half-Blood Prince Part 1

So, we are slowly but surely reaching the end point of this project of mine. Rereading this book was a much more pleasant experience than rereading Order of the Phoenix, obvs, but I still had quite a few problems with it! So without further rambling, here’s the first part of my critique of HBP.

1. I am four chapters in and I have found nothing to say yet. This is pretty astounding. Especially considering that in Order of the Phoenix it took me about 3 pages to start bitching. What an improvement. (Oh, my God, I’m into the sixth book and I’m still talking about book five. I think this reread has made me hate that book. Okay, maybe not hate—I don’t hate any of them—but it’s made me realize that it’s my least favorite and probably the worst in the series.)

2. This is something that is a bit of a joke between Andreas and I: the way J.K. R. just cannot stop herself from describing how fat Slughorn is every single time he’s on the page. Like…seriously, there is always like five different mentions of his huge stomach or fat hands or how he resembles a walrus or…something! We get it! He’s fat! We got it the first fifty times you mentioned it. She might as well write “Slughorn fatly moved his fatness across the room and he was fat while he did it. FAT.” This kind of connects to something else that I have an issue with: almost every single fat or larger-than-average character is mean or unpleasant. Dudley, Vernon, Aunt Marge, Millicent Bullstrode, Crabbe and Goyle, Peter Pettigrew, Myrtle. Even Neville doesn’t get “cool” and more confident until he’s older—and thinner. I’m surprised she didn’t go all the way with the “fat=bad” shit and make Voldemort a 400 pound snake-man who swoops in on a flying bed covered in ice cream and Cauldron Cakes.

Hit the jump to see who gets unfairly hit by the “implausible love” train, Harry being a dick (shocking, I know), Ron’s ugly jealousy and more…

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Things That Confuse and Anger Me About the Harry Potter Series: Order of the Phoenix Part 2

By Ashley

OOTP PART DEUX! ACTION:

1. Fond as I am of the Sorting Hat, I have a bit of a hang up with its new song. It just makes all the founders except for Hufflepuff sound not so nice. They’re all into teaching certain students, but Hufflepuff is just standing there like, Uhm, okay, I’ll just take the magical children you douches don’t want. Hufflepuff is the only house that seems to be interested in equality among students, and yet J.K. Rowling never does anything interesting with it. All the cool characters from that house (all two of them) end up dead and we never see Hufflepuff house at all. J.K. Rowling really undermines her tolerance message with the lack of development for Hufflepuff (and to a lesser extent Ravenclaw).

2. Why are Harry and Ron still taking Divination? They hate it and I’m pretty sure it’s not necessary. Like you have your sort of general education classes, which I would assume are potions, transfiguration, history of magic and charms. And then other shit that you take that suits the career you want. Divination is not required to become an Auror. WHY ARE THEY STILL TAKING THIS CLASS?

3. “Cedric had been Cho’s boyfriend and the memory of his death must have affected her holiday almost as badly as it had affected Harry’s…”

Almost. 

How self-centered is this little shit? Like, okay, yeah, you saw Cedric die and you’re traumatized from your fight with Voldy, I get that. But you weren’t close friends with Cedric; he was a guy you sort of knew and often times didn’t like very much because you had a boner for his girlfriend. Cho was in a fucking relationship with him. She probably spent the entire summer in a deep depression, you insensitive fuck.

Hit the jump for Sirius being even more of a dick, racially charged insults, even more angsty Harry, and more…

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Things That Confuse and Anger Me About the Harry Potter Series: Order of the Phoenix Part 1

By Ashley

Woohoo, made it to Order of the Phoenix! So…wow. Just wow. I had no idea the amount of FUCKERY in this book. Other than being, probably the most annoying book in the whole series, it’s not as well written as the fourth, which is fucking bizarre! But let me not start the bitching prematurely! This will be spread out over THREE WHOLE GODDAMN POSTS.

Things That Confuse and Anger Me About the Harry Potter Series: Order of the Phoenix

1. We start this book out right away with big a dollop of angst from Harry: why isn’t anyone telling me anything, I’m the one who fought Voldemort, wahh, wahhhh, wahhhhh. It’s not so much the fact that he’s angsty that gets me (that’s what 15-year-olds do, I was 15 once, I remember it well) it’s that he’s taking typical self-centered teenage angst and applying it to something that is way bigger than him. He’s assuming that he’s been totally forgotten by Dumbledore (totes likely, amirite?) and being purposefully left out of the loop even though he (according to himself) should be notified more than anyone else because he’s Harry Potter.

2. See? See where all this ridiculous coddling has gotten Harry? He’s so fucking used to being given special privileges and special information that when Dumbledore withholds information from him and treats him like he does any other student, he gets really, really angry and thinks things like: “Hadn’t he proved himself capable of handling much more than [Hermione and Ron]?” and “Wasn’t anybody going to say ‘well done’ for fighting off two Dementors single-handedly?” When Harry isn’t being treated like a special snowflake, he just can’t handle it.

Hit the jump to read about Harry’s ridiculous temper tantrums, Sirius being an irresponsible douche, one truly horrifying sentence, and more…

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Things That Confuse and Anger Me About the Harry Potter Series: Goblet of Fire Part 1

By Ashley

Well, folks, at the halfway mark! And this one is a doozy. It’s so large, in fact, that I’ve decided to split it up over two posts. The first part today, second next Wednesday! Please enjoy!

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

1. In this book we learn about the Weasley’s nifty little clock: it tells whether each member of the family is “home,” “work,” “traveling,” “prison,” etc. One of the options is “mortal peril.” This got me wondering: wouldn’t Mr. and Mrs. Weasley know immediately all the times any of their children went on dangerous excursions with Harry? Ron going after the Philospher’s Stone; Ron and Ginny being in the Chamber of Secrets; Ron being attacked by Sirius?

2. This is something that has always bothered me since I first read the book, but even more so now as an adult who is a feminist and activist: Hermione’s activism for House Elf rights and how it’s treated in the book. Hermione becomes a well-meaning, though misled and self-righteous, activist for the welfare of House Elves after she discovers how badly they’re treated and how the law disregards them. She has some truly feminist-licious lines like: “It’s people like you, Ron, who prop up rotten and unjust systems…” With Hermione’s activism we have two sides of the feminist coin. It’s so cool to see a main character in a popular book being unapologetically an activist, lobbying for the rights, welfare and enfranchisement of a non-privileged class. However, Hermione’s activism is at times very reminiscent of the typical Western, white, middle-class feminism, in that it’s so self-righteous and she is completely unwilling to recognize the voice of the very people she’s trying to end oppression against. It’s basically like every white feminist who speaks about how horribly oppressed women of other cultures are while ignoring the stories and experiences of those women.

Read more about SPEW, the Yule Ball, and J.K. Rowling’s hilarious problems with spatial perception after the jump…

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Things That Confuse and Anger Me About the Harry Potter Series: Chamber of Secrets

By Ashley

I hope everyone enjoyed my nitpicking and caterwauling about the first book and that you’re good and ready for the second entry in my series:

Things That Confuse and Anger Me About the Harry Potter Series: Chamber of Secrets

1. Why did Ron and Harry take the Ford Anglia when they couldn’t get onto Platform 9 ¾? This is a complete lack of foresight and logical thinking on their part. I know they’re twelve and that the whole “taking the car and crashing into the Whomping Willow and getting into trouble for it” thing sets a lot of things in motion but it’s still really ridiculous. If they had just waited 10 more seconds, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley would have come off the platform and, as responsible adults, figured out a better way to get them to school. Do they think that if you miss the train you’re just not allowed to get to Hogwarts any other way?

 2. Let’s play “What’s Going to Try to Knock Harry Off His Broom During the First Quidditch Match of the Season”! Rogue bludger, trying to pound the shit outta him. Hmm. This seems awfully familiar…heyyy, didn’t something similar happen in the previous book during the first match of the season? Quirrell cursing his broomstick, if I recall. And now, something else is trying to knock him off his broom. Can’t this kid just have a normal first match of the season?

3. In this book, we learn that Filch, the caretaker, is a Squib (someone born into a magical family who has no magical abilities). Filch spends a great deal of time complaining about all the messes the students make and how long it takes him to clean them. And then it hit me. Why the hell would they employ someone who cannot perform magic to clean an entire castle full of students, staff and ghosts? Throughout the series we see countless characters clean huge messes with a simple wave of a hand or wand. And yet the person who is employed to clean the entire school cannot perform such magic. What kind of sick, cruel joke is that, J.K. Rowling? I don’t blame Filch for being in such a shitty mood all the time.

4. Why in God’s name is an award that was given to Lord fucking Voldemort still hanging up in the trophy room at Hogwarts? Isn’t that a bit…fucked up? That’d be like going to a school in Germany and seeing a plaque there that said “Awarded to Adolf Hitler for Services Rendered.” I feel like for most people (who aren’t really young like Ron and Harry) it must be common knowledge that in his younger days Voldemort was Tom Riddle. Come to think of it, I feel like that’s the exact kind of knowledge that would be written down in wizard history books. Hermione devours wizard history books like it’s her job; why has she never come across this tidbit of information? I find it hard to believe that 1. No one at this time had ever made the connection between Tom Riddle and Voldemort (Dumbledore says that “hardly anyone” made the connection but…come on, SOMEONE ELSE MUST HAVE) and 2. That it would never have been recorded in a history book.

5. Furthermore, shouldn’t someone (i.e. Dumbledore) have revoked that goddamn award? Seeing as it’s the kid who grew up to be Voldemort and he fucking framed Hagrid and got him expelled? I mean, I know Dumbledore probably found out about this stuff way after the fact but still. It’s the principle of the matter.

6. Last year, Harry’s scar was bothering him for weeks because half of Voldemort’s face was under a turban on some guy’s head in the same building as him. In this book, he carries a piece of Voldemort’s soul around for a part of the book and doesn’t feel anything. The most he feels is an inexplicable need to not throw it away. What the fuck is up with that?

7. More irksome behavior from Dumbledore: at the end he awards Harry and Ron 200 points each for infiltrating the Chamber of Secrets and defeating the basilisk and Tom Riddle. But what about Hermione? She figured out what was in the chamber and how it was getting around the school, which enabled Harry and Ron to go down there without being completely unaware. You were all about the point-dishing-out at the end of last year, old man, what happened? What, just because it doesn’t humiliate an entire house of students, Hermione’s cleverness doesn’t need to be rewarded? YOUR METHODS ARE INCONSISTENT, DUMBLEDORE.

As always, please, feel free to leave any comments, disagreements, defenses, and arguments!

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