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Chatterbox: Blab About Books

Harry Potter Ranting
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This thread is for everything you dislike about Harry Potter. I saw some of this discussion on the “Terrible Books” thread, but I thought why not make a new, dedicated thread for it? Actually, I think there have been threads like this before... but those are old and this is new!

There is one rule: always, always be respectful of other peoples’ opinions.

I’ll start. Personally, I love a lot about HP, but there are a few gaping holes. For example, has anyone thought about what wizarding children do before going off to Hogwarts? Or whether/how they learn math and essay-writing and such? Or why Hogwarts is so big when there are only *counts* 10 classes? Or how the schedules of the teachers work, when each teacher teaches every year if students? Or how the Portkey spell works? Or how people keep from accidentally Apparating everywhere? Or why in book one, Harry runs at the divider between platforms 9 and 10, but in later books, he leans through to avoid suspicion? Or what ghosts do all day?

I guess that’s more than a few holes...

Anyway, enjoy ranting! 

submitted by Kitten, Pondering
(July 31, 2019 - 4:17 pm)

I also agree about how it never mentions where the children learn math and other regular subjects! It makes no sense. They can't just live off of magic in a Muggle world.

And Cho. Is. So. Annoying. What does she even do for the story beside make me cringe?

AlsoI think the characters are all really shallow except for Snape. And Harry is dumb. And Ron isn't even remotely likeable.

AAAAAAAAAAAH.

Thank you for making this thread. 

submitted by spiffycat, age 12
(July 31, 2019 - 7:14 pm)

YES! Harry is so stupid, especially in the fifth book. Like, he hates Snape so much that he refuses to do Occlumensy (even though DUMBLEDORE trusts Snape) and he doesn’t consider that there might be some point to the Occlumensy.

And then he refuses to listen to Hermione’s point about his saving-people-thing and Sirius dies because Harry’s trying to save him! 

Also, why do people not listen to Hermione? She was also the one who pointed out that they should be nicer to Kreacher.

Oh, and also, did no one else think about the mirror that Sirius gave Harry that he could have used instead of Umbridge’s fire?

I honestly just hate book five. :) 

submitted by Kitten, Pondering
(August 1, 2019 - 11:59 am)

I can answer most of your holes, actually!

What pure-blooded wizarding children do before Hogwarts varies from family to family, but they always get an education of some sort. Richer families may hire a tutor or do some other form of homeschooling so their child is educated in the wizarding world as well as the Muggle one. Other families may just send their kids to Muggle school. Depends on their status and ideals!

The largeness of Hogwarts I've always found odd. There are only around five male Gryffindors in Harry's year, so we can assume there's about 10 students per House, 40 students per year, and 280 students in total. That's far less than my four-year school, which is considered small! The movies also depict a LOT of students, which seems odd because per Rowling's description, there don't seem to be many at all. Not only do the numbers add up that way, but their behaviors are very small-school-esque, where the characters know many side characters by name, even if they're not in their House or year. The size of the castle I'm not bothered by, though. It IS a castle, and there seems to be an abundance of unused classrooms in it, too. Not to mention that it has magical properties that could change the size it really is, and for a school of its unique nature, it may need extra space!

Apparating has to be purposeful. It's magic - it's a spell - just a nonverbal one. You have to consciously want to Apparate in order to be able to.

Harry runs at the divider in book 1 because Molly suggested it, as it's more comfortable for first-timers to do. In later books, when he's more used to the magical barrier, he's comfortable with simply leaning through. Both ways work!

I'm sure there are answers to some of your other questions, too; these are off the top of my head. Google is your friend!

I have my own issues with Harry Potter, but they'll have to wait. 

submitted by Griffin
(August 1, 2019 - 3:03 pm)

Hm.

Well, I can picture the Malfoys hiring a tutor, sure, but a family like the Weasleys wouldn’t have enough money to do that, so they’d send their kids to Muggle school. HOWEVER, don’t you think that if they’d done that, Ron would have known how to use a telephone properly?

I agree with your confusion about the largeness of Hogwarts. I’m pretty sure that there's a spot in the book that distinctly says there were “hundreds” of Slytherins, but there should only be 70. Now, what if there were actually 20 kids per House per year (twice as many as they mention explicitly)? That would give us numbers more reasonable compared to those depicted in the movies.

The dividers: don’t you think someone would notice a bunch of Hogwarts kids running through a barrier at a crowded train station?

My next problem: Quidditch. I would find it a perfectly good game if not for the Seeker. Basically, whoever finds the Snitch first wins. That’s incredibly unbalanced and makes Quidditch basically a 2 person game.

Also, the Houses don’t really make sense. As Milo from Harry Potter and the Natural 20 put it, there’s a house of PCs, a house of villains, and two houses of NPCs. The divisions would make more sense if they were by, say, personality type. 

submitted by Kitten, Pondering
(August 1, 2019 - 3:31 pm)

I really like Harry Potter, but... do wizards know about atoms? Chemistry? Physics? Geometry?

I just really don't buy Snape's redemption? Neville was tossed out of a window by his own uncle, and even then his worst fear is a teacher! Snape belittles a ton of students for no reason. Yes, he was bullied, but he also makes a ton of awful decisions, and is willing to let James and Harry die as long as Lily doesn't... which is pretty bad. And the whole using racial slurs thing.

I also have thoughts on JKR announcing that Dumbledore was gay, which I think is super cool, but the amount of representation vs. praise that has gotten is pretty unequal? It's nothing more than subtext at best in the books and also not very there in the movies about Dumbledore's relationship with Grindelwald. I'm also just kind of... done with some of the things she's tweeted. And I don't think JKR realizes how big America is, either, if there's only one school for all of it. I guess this is more of an author/wizarding universe criticism, but oh well.

submitted by icarus
(August 1, 2019 - 3:41 pm)

I forgot one more thing- they literally can make potions that will force somebody to tell the truth, and the potions never seem to be used in court? Why?!

submitted by icarus
(August 1, 2019 - 3:56 pm)

YES. On all counts.

Oh, and about Dumbledore: I don’t have a problem with him being gay, but I feel like the books are the books, and JKR’s writings don’t really apply to that universe. 

submitted by Kitten@icarus, Pondering
(August 1, 2019 - 5:25 pm)

Dumbledore? Gay?

Oh also the whole House thing. Not every Slytherin is bad! Being bad is not part of their definition! JK Rowling shouldn't have made every single person in that house seem evil. It's very unrealistic. 

submitted by spiffycat, age 12
(August 2, 2019 - 6:00 pm)

I think it's great that Dumbledore is gay, diversity rocks! The only problem is reading the books, the books don't really tell you that. The first time I read the series, I had absolutely no idea that Dumbledore was gay because the books never tell you that. I feel like it more publicity rather the actual story. It's great that Dumbledore's gay but I really wish that JK Rowling had introduced it in the books! 

And yes, spiffycat, I totally agree! I hate how Slytherin is like the evil house. Not every Slytherin is evil and not every evil person should come from that house. JK Rowling is so bias about the houses and I hate it so much!

Ok that's the end of my rant, I'll probably be coming back with more, though!  

submitted by Leo
(August 4, 2019 - 9:57 pm)

I really like Harry Potter (I just finally read and watched them) but there are a couple of things—okay, a lot of things, really—that I have problems with. First off, the magic system. It’s not logical or rational at all. There’s never any explanation about how magic works, about why it works the way it does. Why are some people born with magic and others aren’t? What determines whether or not you have magic? And why can’t Muggles use magic anyway? (I have a problem with Muggles vs. Wizards too, but that’s a rant for another time.) Why does saying a combination of Latin words and waving the wand a certain way make things happen? How are spells discovered/made? Also, the fact that there are no consequences or weaknesses of magic make it virtually limitless and therefore somewhat OP. For instance, in The Inheritance Cycle, when one uses magic, it takes the same amount of energy that doing the task manually would take. This creates a lot of boundaries for the magic system, along with other rules and explanations. The Inheritance magic system is just really well written all around, in my opinion. In HP, there seem to be hardly any laws or boundaries, no side effects/consequences, and no good reason for why things are the way they are. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s something that bugs me. Does this get to anyone else?

submitted by Leeli
(August 4, 2019 - 7:50 pm)

I like the idea behind the Harry Potter books, but it's really hard for me to read them because they're just so badly written! I mean, didn't JK Rowling have an editor? And I agree that Quidditch is a super-unorganized game, it should have been better thought out. And can I just say the Harry Potter series would have been perfectly fine without Dumbledore being gay. 

End of rant.  

submitted by Fleet, The Tower
(August 5, 2019 - 7:59 am)

I kind of agree. There could be more of an explanation as to how magic works and that was one of the main reasons I liked the Inheritance Cycle so much. It made sense and created a set of limitations that added to the story.

submitted by Spell Caster
(August 5, 2019 - 7:59 am)

Yes, absolutely! I generally try not to think about how magic works in books, since the whole point of magic is that it isn’t science or generally possible, but the magic in HP just makes zero sense. Like, I heard that Hermione invented spells. Great! Good for her! How did she do it? No idea!

Also, people can cast spells non-verbally if they’re powerful enough, which totally screws up the word/wand/intention balance.

Oh and as for Muggles/Wizards, that makes no sense! Evidently magic is genetic, right? So let’s outline what we know about magic and determine whether it’s dominant or recessive, shall we?

If magic is a recessive gene: A witch/wizard has to have two copies of the has-magic allele in order to have magic. This means that the parents of Muggleborns must both be homozygous: one dominant and one recessive allele; this resembles how two brown-eyed parents can have a blue-eyed baby. Now, if two witches/wizards have a baby together, this baby must receive two has-magic alleles, so their baby must have magic. But this isn’t true, because there can still be Squibs. In other words, this is contradictory.

On the other hand, if magic is a dominant gene: Anyone with even one copy of the has-magic allele has magic. They must have gotten this allele from one of their parents, so one of their parents had to have magic as well, making Muggleborns impossible. Squibs, however, are possible, if their parents were homozygous (one dominant and one recessive allele) and they happened to receive both recessive alleles.

Oh, and about Squibs: they’re basically Muggles born to a wizard family, except not, since they can see dementors. So they’re sort of in between Muggles and wizards, which doesn’t really work.

I could go on for a long time about this. :) 

submitted by Kitten, Pondering
(August 5, 2019 - 10:46 am)

Yes, I agree with the size of Hogwarts thing- and you're right, Kitten, it says during one of the Quidditch matches that there were 200 Slytherins.

And the whole evil Slytherins thing too! It's so dumb.

So many of the characters are stereotypes! Ron. Neville. Hermione. Dumbledore. Even Draco as the misunderstood bully. Blech.

Does anyone else wonder what happens to Pigwidgeon and Crookshanks in the seventh book? Ron and Hermione obviously didn't take their pets Horcrux hunting, but it's never mentioned what happens to them. 

I think I'll find more to say later. 

submitted by Luna-Starr, age 27 eons, Existential Ponderment
(August 6, 2019 - 9:06 am)

I don’t think it says anywhere, but I’ve always assumed the pets stayed with their families. Though that does make you wonder what happens to Hedwig...

submitted by Kitten, Pondering
(August 6, 2019 - 4:27 pm)