Harry Potter Re-read Part 5

You know the drill by now, folks. Click on the following for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 if you want to catch up.

Part 5 covers Book 7, which is obvious and makes perfect sense. Let’s get going, on the last book in the series! Does everyone have tissues ready?

Excuse me while I cry. I don’t think this was given enough emphasis in the films. Dudley has been spoiled and pandered to all his life, he’s been encouraged to be the strong, masculine, assertive son his parents expected. Because he stands next to Harry’s childhood deprivation and abuse, we’re encouraged to lump him in with his parents as awful, and not look any further. But this kid is going to have to get a job, move out, have relationships… No-one’s going to tolerate the tantrums that his parents rewarded him for. I do think he’s going to struggle in the real world. And I hope that he and Harry are able to connect down the line – and that Dudley’s eldest daughter turns out to be a witch.

Ron’s casual misogyny is super-super going to bug me in this one. There should not be such a hang up about putting your hands on someone’s waist in order to hold on while they literally fly you into the air.

And again. Ron is at this point the typical Nice Guy who thinks that girls are like a computer game, and that getting along with them is any more complicated than listening, and effective communication. There’s a lot to unpick right here, but I don’t want to do it, because it’ll just make me sad.

In conclusion, Snitches are disposable, and you can only use them for one match. This kinda seems overly convenient – I can’t see any reason that Snitches would be one-use only, other than than this one needs the flesh memory of Harry’s mouth.

This is what happens when your magical world has religious ceremonies, but no religion. The same one dude flies around and does everyone. He’s probably employed by the Ministry, right?

Which MEANS that Hermione did not Obliviate her parents – she must have used a different charm which altered, rather than wiped, their memories. Which, thankfully for my tearful heart, means that she’s much more likely to be able to reconnect with them once Harry’s killed Voldemort. Aww.

Even if he hasn’t read Hogwarts: A History, Harry should have picked this up. GODRIC Gryffindor. GODRIC’S Hollow. Gee, I wonder if they were connected? We’ve only heard both names a thousand times.

This is why you’re not in Ravenclaw, Harry.

Now this is interesting. Because a witch/wizard’s power is kind of assumed to be innate – Hagrid assuming that Harry will be a great wizard because of his parents – but here we’re clearly shown that that’s not the case. You don’t get to pick a powerful wand. It picks you. Which means that your magic is dependent on your wand, which is dependent on your other characteristics. It’s partly because the wand hasn’t accepted Harry as its owner, but this section makes an interesting connection between magical power and wands that I don’t think we get to see anywhere else.

I love everyone’s reactions to a fairy tale.

Hermione: it’s in a book, so at the very least its allegorical, and I’m going to go with it.

Ron: I hecking love this story but I think it could do with some better pathetic fallacy. (Because he’s grown up with these stories and he knows how the tropes are supposed to go.)

Harry: I’m sorry, what is this nonsense, please? (Because no-one ever read him a story and he’s probably never had reason to pick up a novel in his life. Excuse me. I need a moment.)

Ron has thought about this. This is my favourite Ron moment, no question.

I love Luna more than any other HP character ad I will defend her to the death. Precious cinnamon roll, too good for this world. We’d better move on, before I just dissolve.

Aberforth is the greatest, where has he been for six books?? Just up the road, that’s where. Completely straight-faced telling a bunch of Death Eaters that a goat is a stag, and getting away with it because he smuggles their shit. Hero moment.

FINALLY. Neville’s gran has recognised his worth, I can die happy. Also, can we acknowledge for the eleventh time how flipping heroic the Longbottoms are?? Just shrugging off death threats like it’s no big deal.

Fuck you, the Slytherin banner was absent. Maybe if the whole school hadn’t been complicit on type-casting and encouraging their evil, we wouldn’t even have got to this point. No.

Mainly, I’m disappointed with Rowling for this. Step 1: write a series of books in which kids are sorted into four groups – brave, clever, evil and miscellaneous. Step 2: Villify one of those groups both on and off the page. Step 3: set up a website encouraging people to be sorted into those four groups themselves. She’s just written off a quarter of humanity as unequivocally evil without blinking. Not cool.

With everything that’s going on, McGonagall still takes a moment to go: “the heck my boy’s in another House’s common room!”

…GAY. I’m serious, if half of the teachers are spinsters then definitely some of them are lesbians. McGonagall and Sprout forever, you can’t stop me.

PERCY RETURNS. And rightly so, ya little shit. Also, it turns out he is a true Weasley after all.

Let’s not linger here, we all know what happened next…

I will die with this sentence carved on my chest: Professor McGonagall should have been Harry’s legal guardian – she as good as adopted him anyway.

This is super nice and narrative-circle-y, but I can see why they cut it for the film. All the major Death Eaters are dead or fleeing, and Harry’s just revealed that Voldemort can’t hurt a single person in that room. It’s a very lovely device but also tension: burst. Just like that, we know Harry’s won.

You can never have too much Luna appreciation. She’s just so observant, and supportive, and she never asks for anything for herself. Has Harry ever actually done anything for Luna? Besides rescuing her from a dungeon, which doesn’t count because she kind of just tagged along for Harry’s jailbreak there.

Listen. I KNOW Phineas is a moderate-level slimey git. And I KNOW that he’s talking about Snape which… urgh. You’ll have noticed I’ve gone nowhere near Snape’s redemption arc, and it is for one simple reason. No matter how fucking secretly heroic you are, if you’re going to torment kids so badly that a boy whose parents were tortured to insanity thinks you are his worst fear, I will not celebrate you. No. The end.

SO instead of letting Phineas’ remark be about Snape, I’m going to make it about the Slytherin students. The ones who snuck back in, just as the Creeveys did, and fought against their parents. Even though Harry Potter hated them, even though it meant shooting curses at people who’d babysat them when they were kids, defending a school which had never welcomed them or celebrated their triumphs. Because they were cunning and smart enough to know it was the right thing to do. Because they were ambitious enough to dream of a different world, a revolution which could start here. Because they longed for power to free themselves from tyranny. You know there were Slytherins at the Battle of Hogwarts, and you know they fought for Harry Potter, and for hope.

And that’s it, folks! We’ve reached the end! It’s been a long journey, full of feels and yelling, but I’m glad to have made it. I’ve really enjoyed reading this with fresh, more critical eyes, and seeing things that I absolutely missed as a kid. I’ve enjoyed bonding with the fandom again, and having the opportunity to reconnect to a series which has been, and continues to be, so important to me.

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