Well things are heating up in the Harry Potter universe, and I am finding myself getting more drawn in, in spite of myself. I liked this book more than the other two! The conflict felt a little manufactured at the beginning, but all came to a satisfying end.
1. Oh man, this storytelling structure is getting old. NEWSFLASH: if everyone is afraid of someone/something on Pg. 1 of a HP book–THAT IS NOT THE ACTUAL THREAT! It’s like on Law and Order when they arrest someone ten minutes in. THAT’S NOT THE PERP! GET MORE CLUES!!! Suffice to say, I was never, ever concerned that Sirius Black was a bad guy. So a lot of the “tension” was more tiring to me than anything else. I wanted to shake the Weasleys. “Harry will be fine! The bad guy at the beginning is never the real bad guy! Look out for some unassuming minor character instead!!” Sheesh.
2. Professor Lupin is pretty cool. He knows an age-old Muggle secret–everything can be cured with chocolate. I liked him immediately. I did know he was a werewolf because my sister told me, but he is still cool. He’s like Dumbledore, except he ACTUALLY TALKS to Harry and tries to equip him for the shit that is constantly thrown at him. So, snaps for Lupin!
3. Trelawney. I don’t get all the shade everyone throws at her. This is a school for WITCHES and WIZARDS. But fortune-telling is a little too out there? So turning shit into other shit and potions: totally legit, but divination is only for weirdos. Check. I wonder if JK had a bad experience with a palm reader or something. There seems to be a lot of unjustified hate for Trelawney.
4. Side note–how does Hogwarts, the BEST school, have so many subpar teachers? Shouldn’t they be drowning in applications? D-dore is all “oh well, Trelawney means well but she’s batshit cray” and I’m all “why did you hire her, then?” What must it be like at the other, second-best wizard schools? I shudder to think.
5. Hermione spent this book being distant and frustrated. This annoyed me. I thought they all got somewhere with their friendship! I thought Useless Ron decided they were friends! And now they all ignore her and fight with her. I know she took away your fancy broom, Harry, but grow up. She’s trying to save your life. Boys and their broomsticks, amirite? Hermione is supposed to be this feminist icon…I’m just not seeing it yet.
6. I hate to harp on Trelawney, but every other major female character hates her. Hermione and McGonnagal both think she’s stupid. Why all this girl on girl rivalry? I mean, everyone hates Snape but the other teachers treat him with respect for the most part. Why can we not have an array of powerful, talented ladies? Why must they always fight? This was my problem with “Bridesmaids” and it’s bugging me here, too. Can we only have one interesting lady at a time? I demand better.
7. GRYFFINDOR WINS THE QUIDDITCH CUP! FINALLY! This is probably why I like this book so much. Because I ❤ quidditch.
8. The Marauder’s Map thing was cool. I was so glad Harry finally got to go to Hogsmeade, really. I just feel bad for the kid. He’s like “I’m the KING OF WIZARDS somebody sign my permission slip, please?” I just want there to be a book “Harry Potter and the Totally Normal Day”. He deserves it. At least he won quidditch cup. Maybe that’s why I like it so much…it makes Harry happy. He can just be a kid, not this symbol for other people with the weight of the world on this shoulders.
9. The confrontation with Snape/Pettigrew/Lupin/Sirius was a little boring to me. i was like, somebody do some magic! Quit whining at the Shouting House (or whatever it’s called). But then there was the whole Patronus thing and Harry thinks he sees his dad, but it’s himself, and that’s deep…or something. It’s just a little disappointing to me because it seems like James Potter was sort of a dick. So Harry misses this dad he never knew, but it doesn’t seem like he was all that great. I wish Harry and Snape could have bonded and talked about his mom and Snape could have been a protector for Harry instead of a *secret* protector that makes Harry feel bad all the time. Isn’t that sad? I feel bad for Snape. And Harry.
10. HERMIONE SAVES THE DAY! Of course she does. With useless Ron out of commission, Harry and Hermoine get shit done. I liked that part. And I want a time turner. Even though it could have Back to the Future-like ramifications, and I know better than to mess with time travel. But welcome back to this book, Hermione. We’ve all missed you.
This is probably a good time to mention The Ronbuldore conspiracy. If you haven’t heard about it, there is an actual person on the internet who thinks Ron is a time-traveling Dumbledore. Mallory Ortberg, bless her sainted heart, is dutifully covering the conspiracy. This groundbreaking scholarship can be found here: http://the-toast.net/tag/ronbledore/ Don’t say I never did nothing fer ya.
See you next time! Stay safe out there.