Commentary on Harry Potter: Book 4

I can tell that Harry Potter was written by a woman because of the economic system. Almost all the jobs are either bureaucratic office work or food service. They don’t even have accountants or engineers in the wizard world.

If the wizards never interact with muggles, where do they get food from? There doesn’t seem to be any wizard farms.

Consider the concept of plumbing. The Weasleys live outside a muggle village, which they never interact with and don’t even know what a telephone is. But aren’t they hooked up to the local water service? Who designed and installed their plumbing system? Are we really supposed to believe that the water appears ex nihilo and then disappears?

Historically, the scary thing about witches is that they secretly live among us and affect our lives in ways we can’t see. But these all live in a totally isolated society just outside ours. And they are missing several of the building blocks of civilization. It’s like that 50 Shades of Grey woman who made the male protagonist an “industrialist”, whatever that even means.

*****

Slogging my way through Harry Potter 4. I’m pretty tired of all the middle school drama, but I guess that’s the core concept.

I figured somehow Harry would jump over the rules and become Hogwarts champion for the wizard tournament because the world revolves around him, but when they called Digory’s name, for about a full minute I thought this book series would have integrity for once. And then they called out Harry, and my reflex reaction was, “Oh of fucking course!”

Is it going to be the same garbage for the next three books? I know he’s going to win the stupid thing even though he already has plenty of money, so can I just skip to the next book?

*****

Halfway through Harry Potter 4. It’s bad enough to slog through all the lectures about racism and homophobia. Now we have a whole thing making us feel guilty for slavery.

Look, the house elves are designed for slave work. They’re like Pokemon. They don’t have human rights, because they aren’t human. They don’t even seem to really have full volition.

What would the elves possibly do with money anyway? What would they do in their free time? They don’t seem to have any hobbies.

And let me just guess. Dobby will play a major deus ex machina hand in taking down the Malfoys.

If I were black, I would be really offended that these subhuman total morons are supposed to be an allegory of my entire race. Fortunately, though, I’m not black.

*****

Listening to Rowling describe ninth grade romance makes it sound like she’s never met a teenage boy before. Maybe she was homeschooled.

It doesn’t matter how many quidditch games Harry has won if he can’t​ score on prom night. That’s the whole point of being quarterback. He shouldn’t have been so nervous about asking girls out, but maybe he’s just a late bloomer. Like, very late. Ginny has been eye-banging him for three years, and I find it literally unbelievable that he wouldn’t go for his best friend’s sister given the chance.

And Hermoine is totally going to bang that weird German kid. Hopefully they taught her an abortion spell in sex ed. To my knowledge she later marries Ron. It seems fitting that they would both settle for someone else’s secondhand goods. Ron’s like the male Christian virgin who marries the girl who for years just viewed him as her best guy friend while she slept with all the bad boys before settling down for the nice guy as soon as her looks start to fade.

There’s a joke somewhere in this about Hogwarts being a VD…

*****

They need to make a spin-off cartoon about Harry Potter’s father at school.

“James Potter: Friendship is Magic”

*****

I’ve been told that later books in the Harry Potter series get darker. I figured that meant kind of a horror or occultlike element. Supposedly he fights a ghost that looks like his father. But no, that’s not the kind of sick dystopian world Rowling had thought up at all.

I thought Harry Potter 4 couldn’t have pissed me off more than when Harry was chosen for the tournament. Wrong!

It’s screwed up enough that Harry has to compete in this stupid tournament against his will, but at least with the dragons he was able to defend himself and there were dragon handlers nearby in case of an emergency.

The second challenge. Harry and co have to dive into the lake and find their friends who would drown in an hour. These people are totally defenseless and totally innocent.

Dumbledore is a psychopath and possible pederast who should not be allowed anywhere near children.

And yeah I know it ended out being a joke and the kids were never in any real danger and they just said that so the challengers would care about the time limit. I don’t care. I’m tired of Rowling’s cop outs. She sucks at writing.

This book is a product of Rowling’s sick, twisted mind, which in turn is a product of a sick, twisted Europe, which she has helped create.

“Why hadn’t he just grabbed Ron and gone?”, She narrates, saying that Harry felt really stupid.

Uh, because the adults in the book told him they were going to kill his friends and he’s a decent human. Apparently none of the other challengers are.

On the plus side, #4 has more plot than book #3.

*****

I finished Harry Potter 4 in all its 17 disc glory. Guess who won the stupid tournament?

I feel like nothing has happened in the last two books, but I understand that Rowling is trying to break the monotony. You can’t have Voldemort be the main villain every time. Even though he was a kind of surprise main boss at the end (for the third out of four books), he wasn’t directly active like in the first two books. If nothing else, she is good at pacing. While better than Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire is still not nearly as good as Chamber of Secrets. I would say it’s on the same level as Sorcerer’s Stone. The plot meanders, though the dialogue isn’t as terrible.

I’d like to see more from the periphery characters. Harry is in love with that Asian chick who has said all of maybe three sentences in the entire book. Why is he attracted to her? All men love Asian girls, but what is so special about her? When do we get to see more from Ginny and less from Malfoy and Snape?

Rowling seems to realize how much BS her books are. Harry gets chosen for the tournament. The reader wants to rebel, but Rowling assures us that the characters are just as frustrated as we are.

I don’t care. For once Harry needs to be a bystander as the world develops around him. He needs to have someone else save the day. He should of at least lost the stupid tournament that he didn’t have a reason to care about in the first place. I’m not accepting her cop out excuse.

To balance out the criticism, I really like the theme of post-schism. The best stories begin in the middle. Years before the main characters were alive, there were all sorts of broken friendships as different people took sides and betrayed each other and it was impossible to discern allies from enemies. You get a sense of lingering disappointment and pain in the books as they progress. Harry Potter is often compared to Narnia, but I think the better comparison is A Series of Unfortunate Events.

I really like that Cedric and Harry both won the tournament, just because it frustrated all those Ministry of Magic fags who like to torture innocent people in the name of British bureaucracy. That there were two winners shows how stupid the stupid tournament actually was. Waste of time accomplished.

But the ending was even more stupid. Cedric dies immediately for no reason. Petigrew does some kind of wiccan black mass, but I can’t see how anyone is surprised. It might not have been a super great idea to invite the dark arts school into Hogwarts while everyone is worried about the return of the dark wizard. (Again, Dumbledore should not be allowed around children.) Then you have the kind of 1980s wrestling drama between Harry and Voldemort that didn’t change anything. It seems like a ridiculously elaborate plan for something so simple. He could have just kidnapped him in Hogsmead or Diagon Alley.

Voldemort is a terrible ruler. Actual dictators have to appease their followers. Instead he tortures and deceives those most loyal to him. The Death Eaters would have staged a coup were this an African dictatorship. I like how he is surprised that his followers are as traitorous and self-interested as he is. And of course once again most of the exposition is done through two hours of stagnant meaningless dialogue. In total fairness​ to He Who Must Not Be Named (which is bad grammar), he sounds like he really believes in his mission and his followers are just opportunists. Truly he deserves to be the heir of Slytherin.

The biggest plot twist is that Harry didn’t throw the trophy into the lake and tell every “responsible adult” to go fuck themselves

+ + +

So I wrote this post over a couple days as it developed. At this point at 10:49pm on Sunday, Moody​ has revealed himself to be a dark wizard. I quit. I hate this​ book. I don’t care how Rowling ties it all together. From here until the end of the​ book I’m not bothering​ to write down my thoughts. The number one rule in storytelling is that the characters have to be consistent. She has done this stupid hero and villain reversal too many times, plus the clumsy expository dialogue. I hate Rowling and I hate her blind fans who devour any escapism that comes their way. These are the same people who watch Dr Who and the new Star Wars. It’s painfully terrible lazy writing. You can’t set up a book one way and then reverse it in the last few chapters. That’s Will Ferrel level of bad. I’m glad I wasn’t allowed to read this as a child.

Okay. One last point. Multiculturalism aside, Dumbledore’s speech at the end highlighted an important ​lesson my generation seemed to have missed. Life is unfair. The noble selfless people tend to take the brunt of evil in the world. Often justice never comes. Nothing will bring Cedric back. He died for doing the right thing and for trusting the right people. Virtue is a way of life and not an individual action. And often death is totally meaningless. This is an important lesson in our society that desperately tries to pretend death doesn’t exist. But the book is still bullshit. It’s such a profound lesson that I’m sure Rowling put it in incidentally as a plot device without intending anything deep or meaningful about it, hence why none of the fans picked up on it. The real deaths are those of Harry’s parents, which mean everything to the series.

+ + +

Unfortunately I’ll be taking some time off from the series. This seems like an appropriate place, since around book four is where most quitters threw in the towel. I plan on finishing the last three audiobooks, but I’m getting a new car and it won’t have a CD player in it (though I might install one). I would bet Harry ends the fifth book in the hospital wing after a near miss that should have been impossible to survive. I’m also guessing that Draco turns good at the very end of the series, because racism or something.

Also, I want to give a shout out to the incredibly talented man who reads the audiobooks, Jim Dale. This man is a greater actor than anyone in Hollywood. Every character has a unique voice, and you can feel all the small emotional inflections. If you insist on reading the series, it’s definitely worth getting the CDs.

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