Potter cons

And here are five things I didn’t love about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (Again, seriously, if you haven’t read it and are planning to, DON’T PROCEED TO THE JUMP. There are big honking SPOILERS. I MEAN it.):

1. Forgetfulness: This one’s probably caused by two factors. One is that Rowling’s books are generally so fluid and tightly plotted that I’ve never really noted any continuity errors. The second is a lifetime of nitpicking through Marvel and DC comics and developing highly defined but ultimately useless continuity muscles. Anyway, in an early chapter, Hermione explains what she’s done to her parents to get them to safety, which included significantly modifying their memories. Later, she says she’s never performed a forgetfulness charm before, even though she’s made her parents forget they had a 17-year-old daughter. I finally wrote it off as a difference between memory modification and simple forgetfulness, but I did spend a fair amount of time assuming that Hermione was under the Imperius curse or something.

2. One locket to irk them all: I know the books are packed with homage and that they’re basically a patchwork of children’s fantasy literature, but this Lord of the Rings stuff was such a direct lift that I half expected one of the characters to reference it. Hermione reads everything; surely she’s gone through some muggle literature? She seems like the type to have read the complete works of Austen by the time she was nine.

3. Career women are bad: This might be an overreaction, but all of the women characters who favor work over marriage and family are really, really evil (unless they’re nurses or teachers, who are basically acting in loco parentis). Rita Skeeter, Umbridge, Bellatrix – all of them suck without mitigating factor, and it strikes me as too coincidental that they’re all focused on their work. (Yes, being a Death Eater is a job.)

4. Moms are great: This is essentially just the flip side of that, but fortune favors the fertile in Rowling’s novels. I strongly suspect that Mrs. Weasley (the best mom ever) got to take down Bellatrix (the worst of the career gals) just as an object lesson that, even the most enthusiastically sadistic of Death Eaters is no match for a mama lion in a rage.

5. That epilogue: I really wanted to learn what the kids were doing with their lives, beyond being married and having kids. Aside from Neville, there was no suggestion that any of them had jobs or interests or things to occupy their time other than being married and having kids. I suppose it’s unlikely that we’d have found out Hermione was running the Department of Mysteries and Ginny was an internationally famous quidditch player while Ron and Harry were happy, stay-at-home dads, but come on. Throw me a bone.

11 Responses to Potter cons

  1. Kent says:

    At least Tonks (a mom, though) had a career as an Auror (until she was killed, of course).

  2. davidpwelsh says:

    True, and she was killed after she got married and had a baby.

  3. mark thorpe says:

    I was right about Harry being one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes!!!! Anyway, your right about the necklace, that was a lame device to make Ron a blithering asshole….again. The whole camping saga, for me, was a waste of print; nearly fifty pages of setting up a tent, chanting protective spells, and grumbling to one another. It felt like, through the whole book, Rowling wanted to throw as many dead bodies at us in order to knock a few tears loose, but instead I felt that she tried too hard. There were a few emotional deaths but, come on, Lupin and Tonks? Give them a baby, then kill them? Come on now, that’s cheap. Hedwig!?!?!?!Cheap, cheap, cheap. I had envisioned that it would be Neville who took out Bellatrix, not Molly in her Aliens moment, that I thought was a silly attempt at getting a movie theatre crowd cheer.

  4. davidpwelsh says:

    “a silly attempt at getting a movie theatre crowd cheer.”

    That sums it up perfectly, Mark.

  5. Dom says:

    If you want some more epilogue details, here’s an interview with the author about an earlier version of it:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19959323/

  6. davidpwelsh says:

    Thanks for the link, Dom. I particularly loved the bit about Luna.

  7. RobinB says:

    As soon as I finished the book, I said, “But what are they all doing? Aurors? Professors? What!?”

    Also, Narcissa Malfoy was ultimately made less evil by her actions as a mother, I’d say, which I think adds to your point. I hadn’t thought of that.

    I will say my major bone to pick, not just with the final book but with the whole series, is that aside from Snape, all the Slyherins are evil. There’s nothing redeeming about them, and they never do anything that actually shows why their house is a necessary one. Except for Voldemort himself, they’re not shown to be all that smart or Machiavellian, and when it comes down to it, why did we spend so much time with Draco in book 6 when he was a) not important at all except in weird wand logic world and b) didn’t develop one iota as a character in the end.

  8. davidpwelsh says:

    That’s a really good point about the Slytherins, Robin. It’s like they’re just around to be asses. It would have been kind of awesome of Sirius had been a Slytherin, and he and James had been best friends anyways.

  9. Robin B says:

    As one of my friends said, if you’ve conveniently got a hat that sorts all the evil people into one group, then why bother sending them to school where they can learn dangerous spells that will, in all likelihood, come back to haunt you later?

    I really kind of wished that Hermione was an actual Ravenclaw, rather than a Ravenclaw in Gryffindor’s clothing, and that Ron was, say, a Hufflepuff, as that would have made the whole inclusive message a lot cleared and more interesting. Or, as you say, if Sirius had been in Slytherin, that would’ve been enough of a nod.

    Of course, more than likely, fanfiction will answer all these questions over time, but I want it in canon, not fanon. Sigh.

  10. davidpwelsh says:

    Robin, I was so disappointed to see in the epilogue that they were still sorting for… well… evil at the school, and that Slytherin’s reputation hadn’t changed in the slightest. I mean, couldn’t someone embody cunning and ambition in a good way?

  11. Robin B says:

    I know! I mean, there are pluses to being politic, clever, and suspicious.

    Also, just to say, I really really wanted some of the Slytherins, in the final battle scene, when they had what we in my house call the Oh Captain, My Captain moment (referencing, of course, Dead Poets Society and the standing on desks), that some of the Slytherins had stood up and joined everyone else in the side of right (or the Allies, really.) Some of them had to be smart enough to, if nothing else, pick the winning side.

    On another note, how cool was the way you had to enter Ravenclaw? I would totally have been a Ravenclaw. And now I’ll stop rambling about HP in your comments.

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