I know I know it’s blasphemy to speak ill of HP but true art is meant to be critiqued. Also if Harry Potter was perfect we wouldn’t have that glorious fan fiction that exists in the world and it wouldn’t leave us wanting so much more.
Here are the following things that have been irking me since the last book came out.
Aunt Petunia is a truly wasted character in my opinion. She’s too villanous in the beginning of the novel where she more than borders on child abuse. Her motivation for taking in Harry never seems very clear especially if she only plans to neglect him. The howler from Dumbledore still doesn’t really give us a clear background on her reasoning other than we establish those two characters have met.
Not to mention her relationship with Lily is convoluted. It’s true we get a glimpse into their childhood and surprise surprise the root issue between the two sisters is jealousy but it is clear they did once care for each other. Despite this fact Petunia never let’s go of her anger even after her sister’s murder, not just death her murder. I feel like for somebody you hate to get murdered one could say the score is settled and you could let go. Normally an actual human might be filled with regrets over not making up rather than still fueled by bitterness. I mean come on, Lily got what ever comeuppance Petunia thought she deserved.
Near the end we see Dudley Dursley start to come around and make peace with Harry but I feel less invested in him as a character. To me he only represents the culture of the Dursleys but not really a significant foil to Harry. There is a set up in the book where the last time Harry and Petunia see each other and they act the like they have something to say to each other but it’s left unspoken. In the movie version they do share a small exchange where she says something about Voldermort murdering her sister not just Harry’s mother but that doesn’t really satisfy me fully.
This woman had to change Harry’s diapers, probably had him play with Dudley as infants, take him to the doctor and it seems odd she wouldn’t see it as a chance to make up for a lost relationship with her departed sister. It would make sense if she would resent him choosing to embrace magic as that was an issue with her Lily but she remains uncomplicated and mean.
No Love in Hufflepufftown
Can we all take a minute to talk about Hufflepuff? The Jan Brady of the houses. I feel like America embraces Hufflepuff in an ironic hipster kind of way. They also are kind of the every man’s house. I do think they have grown attraction because they are so neglected in the books. They truly lack significance in seven different books and even The Cursed Child. I mean this a quarter of the student body. Sure we have Cedric as our token Hufflepuff and he is chosen as trizwizard champion over his other 7th year Gryffindor comrades. I do feel like there isn’t a lot of emphasis of him being a Hufflepuff.
Oh yes and there is Tonks who is a Hufflepuff but literally almost no one knows that unless they are a super geek. Slytherin has some very heavy hitters in the book with Snape, Draco, Slughorn, and basically every Death Eater. Ravenclaw has Luna Lovegood and Cho Chang both playing pretty significant roles throughout the series.
The history of Hogwarts is rich with facts about the other houses. Obviously with Harry being a Gryffindor we are saturated with those facts such as learning about the sword of Gryffindor, Godric Gryffindor, Godric’s Hollow, and an entire setting in their common room all the time. Slytherin basically has an origin story all of the second novel with the heir of Slytherin and the Basilisk. Ravenclaw holds out for a few books but by the end of the seventh book we get a whole thrilling tale about Rowena Ravenclaw and her daughter the Gray Lady. Harry even gets to spend some quality time in the Ravenclaw and Slytherin common rooms.
The most we get about Hufflepuff History is a story where Tom Riddle plumps up and murders a descendent of Helga Hufflepuff. Let’s also be real Hepzibah or whatever her name was did not exactly paint a great picture of Hufflepuff. We know the dorms are near the kitchen which is what every good home owner wants, their bedroom right off the kitchen area. That’s like a couple on House Hunters being able to buy a home without his and her sinks. Their ghost the Fat Friar is a cartoon at best. I’m just saying they deserved more than Hannah Abbott and that Ernie kid.
The Lack of Americans
I mean I know how bratty, and entitled and well let’s just say it American this complaint sounds. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to whine. I mean I know so many of you are reading this and saying “Rob, what about Fantastic Beasts?” Well you know what? That’s barely canon in the opinion of this reporter. I mean so much of the Harry Potter fan base is from North America. We publish and sell so many copies, the movies are produced by Warner Bros which is an American studio. I’m not saying make Harry American but just like one minor character would be a nice bone to throw us. Like just make Professor Sprout from like Wisconsin or something.
This one might be the hardest for me. I love Ron Weasley. I feel like I need to express that here at the beginning. He is a good, relatable and flawed character whom I feel did not live up to his potential or at the very least lacked any pay off. Ron’s whole narrative has to do with being in the shadow, not having a place and overall feeling inferior. As you get to the last book it doesn’t really wrap up in his favor with him finding himself. He’s not exceptional at magic, or quidditch, or notably funny or smarter than anyone else in the novels. He comes off as being in Harry’s shadow the whole time or his brothers’. I mean I’m one of those people who even though they don’t ship Harry and Hermione I do recognize their chemistry but have been better than Ron and Hermione’s. I felt like by the end of the book they tried to very lazily make us feel better about him. The horcrux making the Harry and Hermione apparition that he stabs, or with him coming up with the Basilisk fang.
I love Ron to reiterate again but I feel like he would’ve died earlier in the books and almost served as a martyr rather than carry on a sub par arc through out the story. Ron just needed one thing whether it was a more intense love storyline, or a skill or a development of a magical power (like Tonk’s metamorphosis), or even a truly heroic moment all to himself (Hermione had plenty). Sorry Ron.
No real LGBT storylines
This might seem like an agenda but whatever. I know so many of you are like but what about Dumbledore? Well you know what? That is implied at best and you have to look pretty hard between the lines to know about Grindewald. Also if JK Rowling had never said it I feel we as society wouldn’t ever know.
Here is what I propose should have happened. I believe it would have been better if the revelation had been that Snape was in love with James Potter instead of Lily. It would make sense why he was so angry because he was repressed, also why he had such fury against James because of unrequited love and misplaced feelings. Also his severe dislike of Harry might be easier to swallow because Harry would constantly remind Snape of James’s love for a woman. On a side note it’s not even worth complaining about but I always hated how Snape was such a dick to Harry and then was like “I love your mother” and sure he did some low-key things along the way for Harry but overall was rude af and I don’t feel like that is paying tribute to Lily.
Also I think you could’ve had Seamus and Dean fall in love because otherwise what is the point of them?
Slytherin is bad news bears
The Hogwarts houses can feel a little too black and white at times. I feel like it’s like Gryffindor is full of saviors (but let’s be real it’s the place that housed Lavender Brown so it’s not that impressive) and Slytherin is just the Legion of Doom. We get a lot more of the inside track of Gryffindor so I think we know it can be flawed (see Percy Weasley). However Slytherin is just code for evil? I feel like that’s not fair to that house and also if that was true why not make more an effort stop the future Death Eaters from basically forming in detention?
The world just needed 1-2 normal Slytherin witches and wizards for redemption. Just like 2 people who were like “Oh yeah I was in Slytherin and now I work for Magical Law Enforcement and enjoy collecting magical art and not trying to commit genocide in a weird Hitler esq fashion”. They attempt to give us Slughorn but come on, he is pompous and self-serving the only thing about him is that he likes Harry and is pretty harmless.
I’m just saying a place that is school of villains could have benefited from being a little more in the grey space. I’m also not counting The Cursed Child as canon in this reference.
Is she that great or is she just a myth? She is character who I feel like is forced upon us. I feel like in one of the books we just establish that she is hot, funny, smart and independent. When we really didn’t get that from her in the first couple of books. There is a lot of description about her greatness but not a lot of scenes or evidence to back it up. Her love story with Harry feels very forced and once again I feel like it’s referenced that it’s so impactful without really having them be together very much, more just thinking about each other a lot. At best they like the idea of each other. Also is it me or do Lily and Ginny feel eerily similar? Dudebro has got some bad mommy issues.
Also I don’t think anyone of us wants to talk about the movie version of Ginny.
He is barely mentioned in the book. I mean I have reread these books plenty of times but I can’t even tell you which book has one featuring sentence about him. His presence and reluctant help in the 7th book also feels highly convenient. He just happens to live in Hogsmead and has his own access to the castle? I don’t know about that, but I do like that we have a credible Anti-Dumbledore person. The 7th book is all about casting some light on Albus and I feel like Aberforth at least has a reason to dislike him and he does add some truth and insight only a sibling can do. Also though I feel like no one wants to talk about how it’s possible this man might have fucked a goat?
Draco and Hermione
SAY WHAT YOU WILL IT COULD’VE BEEN GREAT. Honestly Draco is such a wasted character, he is literally a little piss ant bully turned almost murderer turned reluctant death eater. I feel like that could’ve been so much more compelling if there was some expansion on his struggle. I feel like I don’t often give the movies more credit than the books but in the 6th movie (easily my least favorite) we do get to see some non verbal scenes with him where you can sense more of his resistance. He’s such a dick for so long and you wanted him to come around and help in the battle but he doesn’t really ever apologize or help out more just doesn’t make an effort to stop them. Narcissa Malfoy is more helpful in the battle of Hogwarts than Draco if we are being real.
Enter my Hermione ship. I just think it could’ve broken down some barriers. You could start subtlety making them like each other or talking maybe via tutoring or something (I mean we’ve all seen One Tree Hill, right? #nathanandhaley) because here is the other part of this: They are teenagers who are hormonal and they spend way too much time researching versus trying to get some. Maybe it’s a british thing. However it could’ve added a little teen element. Taught Draco to overcome his prejudices and maybe teach Hermione to get off her high horse a little. I still love Hermione, I hated typing that but I needed to hone in my point. Also its way more conflict and intrigue. I mean if Emma Watson can love a Beast, she can suck face with some blonde fool. It also could’ve created some resolution with Harry and Draco which never really seems to come to pass. We only get a curt nod in a train station. (Once again excluding The Cursed Child).
Um cheesey as hell. I don’t like it. I just feel like a peak into the future wasn’t a bad idea but it got so fairy tale/after school special. I just feel like keeping it a little vague or having some interpretation would’ve been better than tying it up with a bow. The movie just layers on the velveeta. All three of our stars have established careers, children and playful marriages. It’s sweet but I feel like it doesn’t follow the tone of the rest of the books. I just don’t like it.
Not accepting me
I mean I literally was 11 when those books came to the US and I feel like my entire 5th grade class learned about real disappointment when no owls came to save us from doing our lame ass ecosystem projects.