Friday, February 22, 2013

Harry Potter and the Readalong of Fire 1: Sorry about your nose, big guy

I have no Neville/Harry subtext to comment on YET for Goblet of Fire, but Peter Pettigrew and Voldemort are fulfilling that need nicely for now.
"I can always tell, Wormtail! You are regretting that you ever returned to me. I revolt you. I see you flinch when you look at me, feel you shudder when you touch me. . . ." (p. 9)
There, there, Voldemort Fetus.

And he's calling Pettigrew by his school nickname, so . . . yeah.

The whole World Cup chapter is clearly fantastic, with the underage gambling and Mr. Weasley's sincere fondness of Muggles (bless them) and Percy sitting on a proverbial hedgehog and the Bulgarian mascots almost causing Ron and Harry to leap to their untimely deaths (all in good fun, really) and Viktor Krum being all broody and bird-of-prey-like (and waaay too old for Hermione, so let's just not).

But then the Death Eaters have to get tipsy and start exploding things and floating Muggles.

And poop on all your parties, too.

The obvious similarities between the Death Eaters and the Ku Klux Klan got me thinking, is there an equivalent society in the UK? I always kind of identify the KKK as distinctly American, but I suppose they've come to be a universal symbol for intolerance. Teach me things, Laura, for you are British and I'm too lazy to use the Internet.

And when Harry, Ron, and Hermione are running away from the Death Eaters, they stumble on Ludo Bagman just kind of hanging out behind a tree in the dark woods. No reason to be suspicious of him at all. (I AM SUSPICIOUS OF HIM.)

Yaaaaay for The Triwizard Tournament, but doesn't it kind of suck for the seventh-year Quidditch players that there will be no Quidditch Cup in this, their last year at Hogwarts?

Wood wouldn't STAND for it, I tell you.
Bits and pieces:

  • How did Molly Weasely get gold out of Harry's vault FOR him? That . . . is not how banks work.
  • Hermione SEES a house-elf and is immediately a crusader for equal rights for all house-elves. A house-elf risks his life for Harry, and he remains unimpressed. Well OK then.
  • Hedwig and Pigwidgeon. That is all.
  • Mad-Eye is obviously wonderful, but I remember I'm supposed to be wary of him. So I'm giving Mad-Eye the side-eye until further notice.
  • "Arthur's the only one who can get Mad-Eye off . . ."

Saturday, February 16, 2013

HP and the Readalong of Azkaban: Let's hear it for the boys

So Prisoner of Azkaban. This has been perhaps the most eventful book so far. The evil-wizard-who-isn’t turns out to be Harry’s dogfather godfather. There’s a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who has some dark arts I don't WANT to be defended against, if you catch my drift. Harry almost dies some more on the Quidditch field. A hippogriff is wrongfully executed (OR IS HE?). Hermione bends the laws of time and space so she can be an even bigger nerd. Ron shows character for just a minute right at the end of Chapter 19. The scaly, putrid Hand of the Law tries to Cuckoo’s Nest an innocent child.

This is getting out of hand, guys.

But I don’t want to talk about any of that. Instead, I’m gonna use this post to talk about Harry’s latent romantic feelings for Neville Longbottom.
“Woss your name?” Stan persisted.
“Neville Longbottom,” said Harry, saying the first name that came into his head. (p. 34)
He watched, as though somebody was playing him a piece of film, Sirius Black blasting Peter Pettigrew (who resembled Neville Longbottom) into a thousand pieces. (p. 213)
Harry slept badly. First he dreamed that he had overslept, and that Wood was yelling, “Where were you? We had to use Neville instead!” (p. 302)
The Valentine Harry REALLY wanted in Book 2.

And Lupin sums up Snape in one sentence:
“What about Professor Snape?” said Hermione in a small voice, looking down at Snape’s prone figure.
“There’s nothing seriously wrong with him,” said Lupin. (p. 377)

Friday, February 1, 2013

HP and the Readalong of Secrets 2: Sure, had a girl in your room that whole time

Midway through Chamber of Secrets, everyone is convinced that Harry is the Heir of Slytherin because he talked Super-Secret Snake Language (it has a proper name, you say? Well I refuse to acknowledge it, because it's dumb) in front of basically the whole school and kind of seemed maybe to be telling the snake to eat someone. A MINOR misunderstanding, really.

But when he goes to apologize to the almost-victim, he stumbles upon a GOSSIP FEST.
“A group of the Hufflepuffs who should have been in Herbology were indeed sitting at the back of the library, but they didn’t seem to be working. . . . Their heads were close together and they were having what looked like an absorbing conversation.” (p. 198)
. . . about how Harry is a murderous snake charmer.

I especially like that the two most vocal of the bunch are described as “a stout boy” and “a girl with blonde pigtails.” Heh, Hufflepuffs . . . what a bunch of losers.

Dammit, Hufflepuffs!

On a more adorable note, there are no fewer than four instances in which Ron demonstrates that he’s completely in love with Hermione already. For example:
“Ron read the message, swallowed hard, and looked sideways at the empty seat usually filled by Hermione. The sight seemed to stiffen his resolve, and he nodded.” (p. 270)
Just so we’re clear on why Ron is resolve-stiffening, he has to go into the Forbidden Forest in the middle of the night to follow a bunch of little spiders that will lead to a bunch of GIANT SPIDERS.

That's love, dudes.

While we're on the topic of Petrified Hermione, even though it’s the only way to revive everyone, I find it more than slightly morbid that paragraphs are devoted to explaining Mandrake development in the context of human maturation—hormonal acne and all—only to be followed by Madame Pomfrey saying, “It won’t be long before we’re cutting them up and stewing them” (p. 234). She could at least try not to sound so cheerful about it.

I know pretty much everyone loves Lockhart. In general, I can take him or leave him, but I have an intense fondness for innocuous, post-memory-loss Lockhart. He reminds me of the Witch of the Waste from Howl’s Moving Castle, after her magic and meanness are stripped away by that chair-spinny contraptionator.

They would make a lovely couple.