Monthly Archives: July 2015
We last left Harry and the Dursleys on an island during a fierce storm. Uncle Vernon had previously been window shopping places to dump a body and, upon finding the island, purchased a rifle. Aunt Petunia worries that the power of love might protect Harry from lead, but realizes that his only source of love died years ago and that nobody loves him currently. It is the perfect time to strike! Meanwhile, the wizards have lost track of their hilarious sitcom star of “The Boy Who Lived Under the Stairs” and have sent their nastiest thug to track down his kidnappers (who evidently were chosen by the wizards to be his legal guardians so it really isn’t kidnapping, now is it?) Will Harry survive this encounter with the Hog’s Mob? Will Dudley become the spokesman of “Biggest Loser”? When will the story have any of that promised magic from the back cover? Tune in right now to discover the answer to one of these questions and less!
YOU WILL BELIEVE A CHILD DOESN’T NEED PARENTAL PERMISSION!
So Hagrid busts down the door, breaking it off its hinges! I know he’s supposed to be strong, but…how do you generate the force necessary to bend the steel hinges without first shattering the wooden door frame? Also, ten points to Hagrid for both an epic entrance and teaching kids that breaking and entering is OK. Then Hagrid fits the door back into its frame. So…the hinges weren’t broken or even bent in the slightest? Do doors in Britain have steel hinges? Anyone who has ever fit a door into its frame knows that it isn’t as easy as picking the door up. The hinges have a pattern for maximum strength and ease of door-swinging.
Vernon shouts “I demand that you leave at once, sir! You are breaking and entering!” Personally, if I had a rifle in my hands and a freaking giant bust down my door and stomped into my place, terrifying my wife and kid, I’d have shot the giant several times. Lucky for Hagrid, Uncle Vernon has none of that desire to protect the family. What a great dad.
Hagrid, not pleased that Vernon is aiming his gun at the hulking intruder, bends the gun into a knot. (That’s why I buy American. You can’t beat a blue steel beauty with a compass in the stock and a thing that tells time!) Vernon’s response is to make “a sound like a mouse being trodden upon”. Wow, that is dark. Our narrator has firsthand experience stomping on mice. Harry is going to be outlawed by PETA now. First elephant skin, now mice. What is this book coming to???!!!
Hagrid’s title is Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts. Why does Hogwarts need a Keeper of Keys and Grounds? None of the doors need keys, magic can open them just fine. Also, the doors have attitude so they’ll open when they want to open. And I thought Professor Sprout would take care of the grounds! And is Hagrid really saying he takes care of an entire castle and its accompanying grounds, without magic, without modern tools/machines to get the chores done faster? What a terrible job! Most humans can’t manage their own lawn or bedroom. Hagrid’s job will soon be replaced by a single wizard that will “sectumsempra” the lawns to a nice height.
Hagrid starts a fire and pulls squishy sausages out of his pocket…..ewwww!! I hope those sausages are the kind that are cured and preserved and whatnot and don’t require refrigeration or those squishy sausages will end up in this book’s sequel: “Hairy Potty and the Revenge of the Squishy Sausages!” Or should it be Hairy WC?
Harry asks Hagrid who he is and why he’s there, and Hagrid nonchalantly says, “I’m from Hogwarts, bro! You know all about Hogwarts, right?” To which Harry says, “No.” And Hagrid gets mad at the Dursleys for not telling Harry about Hogwarts. Honestly, I’m with the Dursleys on this bit. As Harry’s legal guardians they don’t have to tell Harry about a place that to their world doesn’t even exist! Why should they tell an impressionable young mind those things? “Hey, you’re a wizard! Hey, you’re gonna go to Hogwarts! You’re gonna learn magic”……..and then it turns out Harry is a squib and never gets his letter and the Dursleys are stuck with a pre-teen whose world has caved in and died before the hormones could make him think that the world was conspiring against him!
Hagrid rants and raves (“this boy knows nothin’ about anything?”) but I’m still not seeing why he’s surprised. The wizarding world has kept a very, very, VERY close eye on Harry. They knew he lived in the cupboard under the stairs, they knew he moved to Dudley’s old room, they knew to send the letters to every location the Dursleys stopped at, but somehow they didn’t know the Dursleys didn’t tell him anything about wizards? Did the wizards run a background check on the Dursleys’ view on wizards or does wizarding adoption services just suck? “Let’s hand Harry over to the people that want nothing to do with wizards, you know, Lily’s sister that has disowned her and never speaks of her EVER. I’m sure they’ll tell him everything about his parents and magic!”
Dumbledore. One of the greatest minds of the wizarding world, if he had one.
Then Hagrid just blurts out, “Harry you’re parents are famous! You’re famous!” As though Harry read Wizarding US Weekly. The only famous baby Harry has ever heard of is the royal baby!
I love Harry’s reaction when Hagrid just says, “Yer a wizard.” Seriously, did Hagrid think that through? Just walk in on some strangers in their home and tell one of the kids that he is a wizard. I think I’ll go try that right now.
Wow those cops are nice! Letting me out of the cell after only two days and three years of mandatory counseling! And that family! They didn’t even press charges! Where was I? Oh yes…
Hagrid explains that Harry is a wizard; “an’ a thumpin’ good’un, I’d say, once yeh’ve been trained up a bit. With a mum an’ dad like yours, what else would yeh be?” Well, he could be a squib, you know, non-magic child born to magical parents?! Also, what does lineage have to do with anything? Hagrid just said that with magical heritage comes great magical power meaning: pure-blood wizarding families SHOULD be powerful magic-users, right? And how does this account for Muggle-borns like Hermione? Non-magic parents have a magic prodigy baby?! And let’s not forget half-breed Tom Riddle, the most powerful dark wizard of all time! Explain, Hagrid! EXPLAIN!
Let’s read Harry’s letter finally:
Albus Dumbledore, Order of Merlin First Class (So he can see everyone’s future but his own, leading to him being seduced by a hot young sorceress and imprisoned forever in a stone coffin hidden from anyone who seeks it), Grand Sorcerer (aren’t sorcerers evil?), Chief Warlock (aren’t warlocks evil?), Supreme Mugwump (isn’t that a Ku Klux Klan leadership position?)
All joking aside, we see that the term begins September 1st and he must send an acceptance owl no later than July 31st. Well, that’s just stupid. Did Dumbledore just assume the Dursleys would have an owl to send? Maybe they weren’t getting any acceptance letters from Harry because the Dursleys didn’t have an owl!! I could just see Harry asking the postman “Are you an owl? Can you send this letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? No I’m not drunk. Why think you would that?” (If you never read the book, Harry does ask Hagrid what they mean by “we await your owl”.)
Here’s a bit for you PETA people: Hagrid pulls an owl out of his coat to send a letter. He might’ve sat on it a bit.
Oh, and he throws the owl out into the storm.
Hagrid calls it “bad luck” that Harry grew up in a family of the biggest Muggles he ever laid eyes on. I call it: Dumb-ledore’s Horrible Awful No-Good Very Bad Moronic Stupid Hair-Brained *&($%#%#@&!!$%^ Plan. And if “family of the biggest Muggles” refers to Dudley’s girth then I’m ok with that. But Petunia is skinny and that’s rude to call a woman fat!
And I absolutely loooove how Petunia tells Harry that his mother would come back from Hogwarts with her pockets full of frog spawn and turning teacups into rats. You know, because the Wizarding world has no rules against using magic in front of Muggles. Lily Evans: law-breaker. Why wasn’t she expelled? In the third and fifth books Harry nearly gets expelled for doing magic (once because he couldn’t control his emotions, and the second because he was attacked by nazgûl), but Lily doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist when she turns teacups into plague-infested rats! FOR FUN!!! (Also, if you ate the rats would that be considered food and against the magic rule of not being able to make food??)
Harry was taught as a child that his parents died in a car crash. Hagrid yells, “How could a car crash kill Lily an’ James Potter?” Sorry, Hagrid. I didn’t know wizards were above the laws of physics and human physiology. Unless the cars involved were barely moving, then I think a car crash could just as easily kill Lily and James Potter as easily as they kill millions of other people.
Hagrid informs Harry about Voldemort and his minions, saying they wanted a bit of his power because he was getting power. Wait. How does one go about “getting power”. I thought power was something you had or you didn’t and it was based on the power your parents had? Did Voldemort transfigure himself into a fetus to be born and reborn by all the most powerful witches? Auugghh gross! I need to clean out my brain!!
Hagrid also explains that Harry’s scar is the result of being touched by a powerful, evil curse. What scar shapes do you get if you’re touched by a powerful, good curse? Rainbow-shape?
Remember how Hagrid said it was bad luck that Harry was raised by the Dursleys? In case you forgot from the first chapter of the book, Hagrid recounts how HE was the one who got Harry from the ruined house and took him to the Dursleys. This guy will put the blame on anyone but himself. He’d make a good politician. And WHY was Harry picked up from the ruined house by Hagrid? I doubt Hagrid was the first person on the scene, so everyone else just saw the crying baby in the wreckage and left him there to die??! You British people of Potter-world are SICK!!! [Disclaimer: I have nothing against the British, Greak Britain, the United Kingdom, or any of her colonies and territories, past or present. I do have a thing against these people who I assume to be JK Rowling’s sinister view of the people of Great Britain.)
Then Harry wonders why his magical abilities, which are now linked to his emotions, have never kicked in when he was being kicked by Dudley. The answer? Is it: A) Continuity error, B) Just because, C) Plot hole, or D) Author doesn’t care so why should you?
By the way, if magic only happens when Harry is scared or angry, what is the teaching environment like at Hogwarts?! Food for thought.
Vernon attempts to intervene, but Hagrid responds, “If he wants term go, a great Muggle like you won’t stop him.” Legal guardianship? What’s that? Wizards don’t care what your parents or guardians think! If you want to do it, you do it…unless it’s going to Hogshead, then you will need their permission. Thanks narrator for flipping us the bird.
Hogwarts is the finest school of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the world. Given its record for student deaths and dedicating 1/4 of its students to the house of murderers and dark lord recruits, I worry about what the other schools are like. Hogwarts was voted fewest student deaths (at only 18) last year! Compare that with Sheepacne’s close followup of 35 deaths! A school record, mind you. Don’t even get me started on those terrible American wizarding schools! Ugh! Crystal Lake, Sleepy Hollow… I don’t know why the government still funds those schools!
The tension continues to build in the exciting world of Harry Potter. We’ve had kids talking to snakes at the zoo and cosplayers galore; what more does this tale have in store?!
Inconsistency, that’s what. Yeah I said it. In the blink of a chapter, our main man Piers Polkiss puts on a few. See for yourself: In chapter 2, “Piers was a scrawny boy with a face like a rat.” And in chapter 3, “Piers, Dennis, Malcolm, and Gordon were all big and stupid…” Either Piers is as scrawny as a sumo wrestler or the narrator forgot what Piers looks like.
Also, may I mention that Britain has the worst educational system? Dudley is the biggest and stupidest of his friends, but he still got accepted into secondary school. Shouldn’t he have been held back a grade or seven? He couldn’t count to 39 on his birthday! Tsk tsk.
Then Dudley gets his new uniform, complete with “knobby sticks, used for hitting each other while the teachers weren’t looking.” Wow. Smelting just screams of educational value in a safe environment. The educational board turned down swords and maces for a more primitive and barbaric way of killing the kid across from you during class. Way to go, British education of the Harry Potter universe!
And next we get Harry’s new uniform. “he sat down at the table and tried not to think about how he was going to look on his first day at Stonewall High – like he was wearing bits of old elephant skin…” Our hero ladies and gentlemen! Harry is in cahoots with poachers since he clearly knows what bits of old elephant skin looks like. He probably has a few rhino horns stashed under the stairs as well.
Now things get exciting in this book (finally) when Harry receives…..a letter! [For young readers: a letter is what we used to call mail before it became email. You had to write on paper and give it to the mailman to deliver it. It was a slow process.] Actually, it’s the address on the letter that creeps me out.
” Mr. H. Potter
The Cupboard under the Stairs “
Two problems with this: The wizarding world is stalking Harry Potter. They know exactly where he sleeps. They likely know where the spare key is kept as well. Sweet dreams, Harry! Second, the wizarding world knows that Harry is living in a cupboard and have they done anything about it? Any complaint to Child Protection Service? No visit from Dumbledore or Hagrid to set things straight? And yet the wizarding world will be shocked when they discover he’s being mistreated? Bull!!! These wizards suck! They’re worse than the Dursleys. Sure the Dursleys are inflicting the pain, but the wizards are probably watching Harry’s life of torture like it’s a lame sitcom. Also, they might be paying the Dursleys to keep the show going.
When Mr. Dursley sees the letter, his face “went from red to green faster than a set of traffic lights.” Well, that doesn’t tell me much. Traffic lights change verrrrry slllooooooooooowllllllllyyyyyyyy from red to green. So his face changed colors in roughly one hour of seeing the letter.
Another letter arrived “‘Mr. H. Potter. The Smallest Bedroom'”. See what I mean?! Freaking. Creepy. Stalkers. It’s time to call Scotland Yard and Sherlock Holmes.
But the letters keep coming, being pushed under the door and wedged in the cracks of the windows, rolled up and hidden inside the eggs. That means our stalkers have sufficiently staked out the entire house and know every point of entry. TIME TO CALL THE POLICE!!!! Oh, wait. We later learn that owls deliver all the wizard mail so that means the owls pushed the letters through the cracks under the door and mapped the houses weak points. Never have birds been more terrifying since Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.
And wait a minute! The letters were rolled up in the eggs? Like inside the shells?!! The wizards are now thieves as well. They stole 2 dozen eggs from the Dursleys! I think I’m on their side. Wizards are strange creepers!!!
Then we get this lovely scene: “Exactly what he [Mr. Dursley] was looking for, none of them knew. He drove into the middle of the forest, got out, looked around, shook his head, got back in the car, and off they went again. The same thing happened in the middle of a plowed field, halfway across a suspension bridge, and at the top of a multilevel parking garage.” How cute. All the best places to kill Harry and dump his body. That will solve the problem of the letters. Maybe mystery stalkers aren’t the only people Harry should worry about!
The chapter ends in a most terrifying manner: “One minute to go and he’d be eleven. Thirty seconds…twenty…ten…nine – maybe he’d wake Dudley up just to annoy him – three…two…one… BOOM. Vernon placed a bullet through Harry’s head, laughing maniacally as he did so.” Sorry, that didn’t happen! No, the wizards are so much like stalkers that they watched Dudley’s watch to perfectly time the entrance of their hitman… Hagrid!!