Nitty Picker and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Ch. 6

Ahh, chapter 6, the first chapter that is interesting. It’s titled: “The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters”. It could also be called, “The Five Chapter Bore is Over and Now on to the Reason why You Bought This Book–Magic School Time!” or it could be titled: “Wizards Possess an Extreme Lack of Foresight or Care for the Safe Travel of their Young Pupils to School.”

I mean…What exactly was Dumbledore thinking? “Hey Hagrid, go bust into the Muggle household and force the Dursleys to relinquish Harry for the day to buy his school supplies.” “Ok.” “Oh and, make sure you take Harry back to live with the Dursleys afterward as well. They’ve done a wonderful job raising our ward-of-the-state- and doing everything I’ve told them to do in that letter I left for them long ago- I’m sure they will take him to our magic school too! Cheers!”

Then Harry has the good knowledge to procrastinate getting a ride to King’s Cross Station. He asks the day before! Alternate take on this bit: “Hey, Uncle Vernon, can I get a ride to King’s Cross tomorrow?” “Can’t. Car’s broken.” (Or he simply says: NO!) And that’s the end of that rubbish.

Also, Harry asks Vernon to give him a “lift”. And in an odd bit of language failure, Vernon buys him an elevator. Good job, Harry. Even a stuck-up American such as myself knows what a “lift” is in England.

Now I said at the beginning that Wizards lack foresight. Case in point: Harry Potter! He gets to King’s Cross and…wouldn’t you know it there is no Platform 9 3/4! So Harry sits staring at the wall until the train just leaves, never knowing one of its passengers didn’t know how to get to the platform. One would think that there would be a Wizard-employee of King’s Cross that would direct the students to the platform or put up a sign that says “Wizards run at this wall!” Which leads to the second question: How do the other Muggle-borns know what to do??!

But at last we are introduced to the Wizarding family we have all been waiting for! Enter the Weasleys! A family of 9: 2 graduate parents from Hogwarts, 2 graduate sons of Hogwarts, 3 currently attending students of Hogwarts, 1 noob going to Hogwarts, and that one girl. You would think that YEARS of going to Hogwarts would have made this muscle-memory, but nooooooo. Mrs. Weasley just has to ask (loud enough for any Muggles to hear) “What’s the platform number?” This moment is both extremely convenient for Harry, and sets up the dim-wittedness that runs deep in red-haired magical families.

Here’s the sage advice of Mrs. Weasley to Harry on how to get onto the platform: “Don’t stop and don’t be scared you’ll crash into it, that’s very important.” Uum…..What happens if you stop? Do you get sucked into a vortex where nothing moves at all? Does the magic require kinetic energy to function?? And, don’t be scared??! Does the wall smell fear just by looking at you and screams: “Halt! We don’t accept pansies on this platform! Only the courageous may pass! That’s right, Gryffindors only!” (In case you’re wondering, the wall doesn’t sense fear, so Mrs. Weasley was just being a real w*tch to Harry’s psyche.

Now, this book has established how ignorant wizards are of the real world (yeah, I said it), so why do the chocolate frog trading cards mention that Dumbledore likes tenpin bowling? The majority of collectors are scratching their heads wondering what kind of bowl Muggles use and why Muggles put pins in it. I mean, this is hardly newsworthy. Shouldn’t they put “Dumbledore’s gay!” on the back of the chocolate frog? That’s what any other paparazzi group would do.

Don’t get me started on Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans. What numskull thought that was a bright idea? I’ll answer: the same kind of numskull that buys the beans on a regular basis to keep Bertie in business. When I buy some candy, I’d rather not play roulette with it (and yeah I hate boxes of chocolate. Such a waste of good chocolate.) Think about it people! They mean every flavor! You get chocolate, marmalade, and peppermint….but then you can get spinach, liver, menstrual fluid, and sweaty jock strap! wwwwhhhhhyyyyyyy??????????!!!

As they continue on the train, Hermione shows up (a big round of applause for the best person in these books ever!!) Her first appearance endears her to us as she says “it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter!” Such understatement! A letter saying you’re a witch?! What a surprise. Yay. How exciting. I didn’t see this coming. I got a letter saying I’m a witch. I don’t think the English language has a word that can describe the feelings I would feel if I got such a letter.

(I might feel something like this:)

I imagine that’s how any Pottered would be like when they receive their letters to Hogwarts.

Yeah, that’s all for this chapter. Most of it was lacking in nitpick-ability and is the wonderful beginning to a great book series!

BONUS FACT: I bet you don’t know how JK Rowling came up with the names of Malfoy, Goyle, and Crabbe! Malfoy comes from the latin prefix: mal- meaning “bad”. Goyle sounds similar to both “gargoyle” and “skin boil”. Crabbe was originally going to be named Scabbies, but it sounded too similar to Scabbers, so she went with Crabbes instead.

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Nitty Picker and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Ch. 5

After a month, I’ve renewed my interest in Harry Potter. Seriously, I thought there was supposed to be magic in this story? It’s chapter 5 and Harry’s still alive (despite the previous chapter’s breaking and entering and assault by Hagrid. Three Muggles were exposed to the magical world, a heinous crime indeed! Read more on page A6).

 

Hagrid gets the mail delivered to him via owl, which I assume is the mail method for all magical folk now. Where do they keep these owls? If the news were to be delivered to all magical folk in Great Britain, that means there would have to be an owlery capable of sustaining thousands of owls! That is a scent that not even magic can mask!

 

Gringotts may be the most muggle idea the wizarding world has. You put five thousand gold coins in and every year they give you one penny in interest! Just like magic!!!!!

 

Ok, nitpick: Hagrid flew to the cottage in the sea, but now that he has told Harry about magic and shown Harry magic, he’s not supposed to use magic now that he’s abducted Harry?! Why not?? Wizards are so inconsistent.

 

Oh, but don’t worry, Hagrid still speeds things up with magic anyway and Harry swears to not tell anyone he used magic…because in this world, wizards have no way of tracking who uses magic! Remember that when Harry goes to court for using magic.

 

I may be the only one that thinks this, but wizarding folk are utter MORONS! Hagrid doesn’t know how to use “Muggle money” as though the concept of “pay me six pounds” is so foreign when compared to “pay me six galleons”. The money has its name and value stamped right on it! It isn’t hard to figure out. Also, this is a good reason why Hagrid should use magic with Harry around. Hagrid doesn’t understand Muggle money so they should just fly to Gringotts! (Also, 12-foot hairy Hagrid stands out in a crowd right? SO much for not drawing attention to the Wizarding world!)

 

Oh, I do love the list of required items for school. Let’s have a laugh at this:

“Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling”. This theory stipulates that magic is directly proportional to wand-waving divided by faux-Latin words. (But there are counter theories and arguments…magic isn’t an exact science!)

 

And what kinds of names are these? Emeric Switch, Phyllida Spore, Arsenius Jigger, Newt Scamander? You’ll never guess what books they write…. especially Arsenic Jogger…err Arsenius Jigger.

 

First years aren’t allowed broomsticks, but that doesn’t stop them from bringing mops… assuming Wizards like cleanliness.

 

Hagrid complains about the lack of magic when they have to walk up a broken escalator. Yes, you read that right. The guy who lives in a castle filled with stairs complains about having to walk up stairs. I suppose if the escalator worked, he’d complain about how the entire staircase didn’t get up and move somewhere else…or have vanishing steps…or lead to deadly 3-headed dogs, but I digress.

 

Harry wonders to himself: “Could there really be piles of wizard gold buried beneath them?” Harry, you’re in London! Centuries of kings’ wealth and pirating Spanish galleons and colonizing and stripping the world of its wealth is in London. What isn’t buried there?

“Were there really shops that sold spell books and broomsticks?” Yes. Most bookstores (even before your book series) sold something along the lines of spell books. Also, do Muggles not have brooms? Is dust not found in England? I tip my hat to the man that invented “no-dust”.

 

They get to the entrance of the Leaky Cauldron, a “grubby little pub” that the Muggles pass by without glancing at. Strange indeed. I thought all Londoners spent their days wandering the streets staring at grubby pubs. It’s almost as though the Muggles prefer the ol’ Prancing Pony to grubby pubs named “Leaky”.

 

Also, the pub is next to a book store and record store. There you go: spell books in one and potions ingredients in the other! Wasn’t Beatles’ juice an ingredient? In the pub, one old woman is smoking a long pipe (insert Wizards’ lung cancer joke here). And the bartender? Why, he looks like a “toothless walnut”. Yes, a toothless walnut. I can’t imagine what a walnut without teeth looks like… [Face palm for lame descriptive imagery].

 

Then Diagon Alley appears behind the Leaky Cauldron. London’s city planners are the worst ever. After centuries of building and rebuilding, did not a single Muggle think to occupy that windy cobblestone alleyway (I assume it appears as a large gap between buildings on the city lay-out) or build something useful there? “Just record store here, bookstore there, a grubby pub and… By Jove, it’s teatime! Toodle-pip, no time to think about this space here, what what!”

 

But, now…finally, after nearly 5 1/2 chapters, we get to see some magic!! Cauldrons of all sizes – copper, brass, silver… because when you make potions in them, there won’t ever be a reaction between the metal cauldron and its contents…Self-Stirring…not recommended for those potions that require special attention to how many stirs clockwise, then how many stirs counterclockwise…and Collapsible for all your Neville Longbottomy needs!

 

“Dragon liver, sixteen sickles and ounce.” Sounds pretty cheap considering the rarity of dragons and the difficulty of harvesting their livers. Or do dragons grow on trees?

 

And this is what ticks me off. What makes one broomstick better than another? Sure you could make it aerodynamic and polished to reduce drag, reduce the weight like a car, but you can’t add a bigger engine or better fuel to a broomstick…can you?

 

I lied about Gringotts being like Muggle banks. They don’t do interest, stocks/bonds, or loans. They have a poem: “For those who take, but do not earn, Must pay most dearly in their turn.” So how does Gringotts make money to pay for all the taxes, insurances, and employees? You;re not going to tell me book? Fine. I’ll assume there is no currency in the Wizarding world.

 

“Griphook unlocked the door. A lot of green smoke came billowing out, and as it cleared, Harry gasped.” ‘Shouldn’ter eating’ that XXL Burrito.’ Mumbled Hagrid apologetically.

 

Ok, I am wrong again. There is currency in the Wizarding world (how could I have assumed otherwise?) The system is 29 Knuts to 1 Sickle and 17 sickles to 1 Galleon. That’s why Hagrid had so much trouble with the British system of 100 pence is equal to 1 pound.  493 Knuts to the Galleon is so much easier to remember.

 

Gringotts logic: Only goblins may open vault 713 by stroking the door with his finger. If anyone else tried this, they’d be sucked into a room that is checked once every 10 years. Sounds like a devious trap until you realize that once you get sucked into the vault, you drink the Elixir of Life and wait ten years for the goblins to open the door. Smart… [Claps enthusiastically]

 

Did you know that only “some” of the Muggle-born students haven’t heard of Hogwarts. According to Draco Malfoy, not me. (PS: I’m sure he’ll be an upstanding citizen and philanthropist like Dr. Doom).

 

Hagrid compares Quidditch to…soccer!! Ha! This proves that American football is the only football…. also, Hagrid knows what “soccer” is, but doesn’t know anything else about the Muggle world.

 

 

Hagrid says, “Everyone says Hufflepuff are a lot o’ duffers…” It’s as though Hagrid saw into the Harry Potter fanbase before the fanbase existed! And JK Rowling didn’t give us anything outstanding about them, so they are duffers in her eyes too.

 

Hagrid says, ‘There’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin.” I’ll repeat what everyone says: If your school has a house for Hitler Youth types, KKK types, and al-Queda types expect a few rotten eggs to come out of that house. Also, why would you train friggin’ sociopaths how to use magic??!

 

Now Hagrid explains to Harry that he needs to study before he can use advanced spells like “Jelly-Legs and Hair Loss”. I think Harry knows enough. If he gets angry, he can make glass disappear, talk to snakes, and leap tall buildings. Hair loss is basic arithmetic at this point. And screw studying! Harry doesn’t need to study to do magic, he’s already done plenty! Just slap him on the behind and point him at Voldemort!

 

But no. He needs a magic wand to perform magic. You can’t do magic without a wand (see previous rant for further details on this BS). Also, Olivander remembers when Harry’s mum bought her first wand. Emphasis on first. Even Harry’s mummy broke her wand (don’t ask how). And (wand) size does matter. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 11 inches is more powerful than 10 1/4 and 13 1/2 is a “powerful wand, very powerful”. Olivander said so, not me. All those Harry Potter fanfics (you know the ones) make sense, and make me sick. Pervs.

 

And the wand chooses the wizard, so when Harry’s wand chooses him, was it trollololling? “I choose the kid that my twin almost killed! ROFL!”

 

And why does Olivander need to measure Harry? It’s a wand! And the wand chooses, not Harry! Or does wand size compensate for something else? (Long wand = short nostril spacing, get your mind out of the gutter).

 

 

Tune in next time to FINALLY see Harry go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!

Nitty Picker and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Ch. 4

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!

Harry_potter_and_the_sorcerer's_stone_poster

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!

Nitty Picker and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Ch. 3

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!!

 

Nitty Picker and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Ch. 2

Let’s continue with the exceptionally long line-by-line nitpick of the cult classic “Harry Potter and the Sorcerphilosopher’s Stone”!

So chapter 2 begins with everyone grown up about 10 years. In this time, Dudley has managed to progress through school while being unable to count to 39 presents. I thought the American educational system was problematic, but at least our high school graduates can count to forty! Take that Brits!

Nitpick 2: Dudley gets a VCR for his birthday. This isn’t a nitpick, but I feel the need to teach a history lesson to the kids. VCRs are what we used to have before Blu-Ray players and digital downloads. The video cassette tape (which is the equivalent of a standard issue DVD without the menu or scene selection) was roughly the size of of an iPhone with a protective cover.

Petunia is revolted by Harry’s hair and cuts it all off except for the bangs. There’s our ordinary family doing something wacky. And, did half-bald Harry really look better than mess-haired Harry? Also, Harry’s hair grows back to the exact length it was before. Can Harry style his hair? What if he wanted a mohawk…only with his bangs and not the usual way? Eh, moving on.

Also, Harry’s magic begins to shrink sweaters he doesn’t want to wear and allowing him to leap tall buildings without getting a wedgie! It’s a pity Harry can’t use any of these spells later in life. Imagine fighting Voldemort with those powers??!! Just leap to the moon to evade curses and shrink Voldemort’s robes until they choke him to death. Ding dong the wizard is dead!

We come at last to the infamous zoo scene, where >GASP< a snake winks at Harry!!!! Harry, finding this odd, winks back at the snake. Um, why? I thought only 4-year olds imitated animals at the zoo. Then the snake gives Harry a look that means something. The snake doesn’t talk, just a bit of facial body language that I don’t think snakes have the muscles for. Oh, then Harry starts a conversation with it. Wow. Our main character is talking to a snake. A creature that doesn’t speak English. Harry is a nut.

Oh, and Harry doesn’t react when the snake shows that it clearly understands him. “Oh look, the snake just nodded his head. A very human thing to do. And it’s pointing at the sign of its cage, which it probably hasn’t read because the letters face away from him. Wait, does this mean that the snake reads English, too? Or does it understand the people reading the sign out loud? Eh, probably nothing, better keep talking to this snake.”

The snake leaves the zoo saying, “Brazil here I come. Thanks, amigo.” The bred-in-captivity snake speaks English and a word of Portuguese. In book two we find out that snakes have their own language and Harry understands it, but how does the language have separate words for English and Portuguese, thus allowing for this bit of dialog to translate the way it does? Are there multiple snake languages, and how does Harry understand Snake-Portuguese? And why would the snake speak Snake-Portuguese?! The snake’s bloodline originates in Brazil, so why doesn’t it speak Snake-Guarani or some other native snake tribal language? Ugh, so many unanswered questions…..must..stop….

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