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WTF Friday: The Harry Potter Edition January 28, 2011

Posted by J. in Genius.
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I admit it: I love me some Harry Potter.  I own all seven books in hardcover and I read each and every one of them in one sitting, cover to cover.  My husband has twice waited in line at midnight to pick up my pre-ordered copy.

I get the fan hysteria.  I get it when it seems like people lose their grips on reality and seem to think they’re part of that particular imaginary world.  When I read the stories, I get absorbed in the atmosphere.  I feel like I’m really there and that I know the characters personally.  Harry Potter isn’t the only series that triggered that kind of response in me.  There are a few books like this.  Books I didn’t want to end because I was completely enveloped in the world it created.  Books I thought about long after I finished reading.

But I, being a prudent person, know that there are limits.  There are lines I won’t cross out of concerns for my own dignity.  For others, however, those lines are a bit more blurry.  And in some cases, a LOT more blurry.

We’ve all seen this.  Perhaps some of you reading it have actually done this. I’m not here to judge.  No, strike that.  It’s WTF Friday.  It’s all about judgment.  Or the lack thereof.

Putting your kids in Harry Potter costumes for Halloween, or to go get their pre-ordered copy at Borders, or for Theme Day at the Cineplex, or for their 10th birthday party…that’s super-cute.

It gets dicey when your Harry Potter fan has his driver’s license and drives himself around town looking for just the right fabric for his Griffyndor robes.  Still, you have to allow for the tendency of teenagers to become obsessed with things like this.  Who doesn’t remember loving like this?  From boys getting mop-topped Beatles haircuts, to girls screaming at New Kids on the Block concerts, to a wall covered in Team Edward posters, idol worship is at its peak in those teen years.  We want to be with our idols.  We want to be them.  We want them to bite us on the neck.

If you still want to be Harry or Ron or Hermione when you’re 40, you need an intervention before you lose that cage match with your dignity.

You get a pass if it’s Halloween and you’re going to a party or somewhere that an adult person might be excused or even expected to dress up.

I’ll cut you some slack if you’re dressing up for your kid’s Harry Potter themed birthday party.  But there is really no excuse for putting on a costume to see a midnight showing of a movie.  Or to pick up your pre-ordered copy from Borders.  Just because everyone else does it doesn’t mean you look less stupid.  If everyone else went out to the Outback for supper wearing a Borat mankini, would you wear one too?

I’m mentioning this because it’s a slippery slope, and somewhere deep inside you know it too.

You can always take your costume off, and sometimes, you should.  Knowing when to say when can keep you from making some dreadful, horrible mistakes.

Like this one.Dude, you have got to live with that tattoo forever.  You know that, right?  And not for nothing, but why Dobby?   Why the ugliest and arguably the most annoying character in the series?  And why is it that big?  Honestly, there’s a lot of bad HP ink out there, but this is the one that ignited my WTF moment.  Not the manga Harry that covered the love handles of one woman.  Not the badly rendered Snapes.  Not the death eater forearm tats.  Not even the Phoenix that covers one woman’s back from shoulders to hips.

Fucking Dobby.

Gah.  I had to put my head down for a minute and let that one pass.

Now, not all Harry Potter WTFdom comes from what we as fans do ourselves.  Some of it is done unto us.

Is it just me, or am I the only person to look at this discovery from some Satanic garden in China and think it looks like a real life mandrake?I thought at first that this particular plant always grew people-looking roots, but apparently these are kind of a fluke.  A freak of nature, if you will.  (It’s called the Chinese bellflower, FYI, among other things.) And the roots are always horribly ugly.  In case you were wondering, the plant itself in one of those “invasive” varieties that give gardeners the fits, especially since you can’t chop them up and use them to unpetrify people who’ve been turned to stone.  They’re just a nuisance, so you yank those whores out by the roots.  Imagine the Chinese farmer who pulled these out.

I, for one, would have run hell-bent for leather in the opposite direction, arms flailing, screaming “WHAAAAAT THE FUUUUUUUCK!” (I wonder what that sounds like in Chinese…)

Them are some Hell-plants right there.  Ayuh.

Finally, hopping back onto the Express Train of Crazy, WTF is the deal with fan-fiction?  Seriously.

It’s like watching an accident, or any of Spike TV’s original programming.  You don’t want to look, but you really can’t help it.  You want to try to understand…maybe even help, but you can only stare helplessly and shake your head.

It’s not the stories so much.  If you, as a writer, can take established characters and evolve them, devolve them, involve them in ways the original story didn’t, and you can do it well, I’m impressed.  I’ve read a couple of stories (out of perhaps a bazillion and twelve) that took an original franchise into a different, even more interesting direction.

Oh, but it’s rare.

What you usually find are rabid fans creating stories.  Badly.  Then, discussing them.  At length.  I get the impression that there are people frequenting these fan-fic forums that have lost sight of the fact that not only are you discussing a world that is imaginary to begin with, but that everyone in the world possessed of an imagination has as much right as anyone else to their own interpretations/variations/adaptations of that world.  They’re just as imaginary.  It’s all pretend.  Try to remember that.

On fan-fic pairings that just don’t work for you:

“I remember seeing an interesting title called Neville gets an O. Turns out it was Snape/Hermione, which I find morally, intellectually, and sensually DISGUSTING.”

I gotta admit, I do partially agree with her in that I find the idea of Neville getting an O interesting.

Not all fan fiction is about hookups, though.  Lots of folks really don’t like it when you take an established character and make them act in ways that are out of character.  But what of Dumbledore?  He’s rather a dichotomy unto himself.  Is he a kind old man, or master manipulator?  Discuss.

“Is he manipulative? Yes

Is he an evil bastard? No

Evidence:

1st year: Albus genuinely thought it was the minister requesting long meetings and so with his love of flying, decided to take a threstral. With the wards going off protecting the room with the stone, he tried to get back fast as possilbe. He couldn’t leave the threstral out in the open, so he had to fly it back. He did set the obstacle course up to bring the trio together and to test them; he did not suspect Voldemort would try to steal the stone at the same time. Quirell wasn’t suspected with the troll as Voldemort used Quirell as a shield when Albus tried to read his mind as he only looked at what he was thinking right than. He also sounded like he was a prior teacher there.

2nd Year: When reading Ginny’s surface thoughts (among others), all Albus found was normal thoughts as Voldemort shielded suspicious thoughts. He didn’t know it was Ginny and Fawkes could not flash Albus into the chamber at the end for whatever reason…maybe he was at a meeting with the Governors and couldn’t leave for whatever reason.

3rd Year: The best spies are not the obvious spy such as Snape. The best spies are the ones who you wouldn’t think have it in them as you dismiss them. Albus made many mistakes with Sirius/Peter. They were both in the order so he thought they were his friends so he didn’t read there minds. Werewolves have natural mind shields therefore with the suspicions on Remus, there was no way to verify he was still with them; also, Albus thought he spent so much time with wolf packs, he inadvertantly let something important slip. When either the trasfer of secret keeper to Peter or casting the spell with him secret keeper, paper written by Peter but with a spell to look like Sirius’s was used. No one except the Marauders and Lily new of the illegal animaguses. When the muggles minds were read, they saw Peter disapear and thought he was disintagrated minus a finger. All pure logic states Sirius betrayed the Potters.

4th Year: Crouch was a very good actor. He grew up with family in the ministry and knew Moody growing up. He refined it prior to the feast. Everyone was busy that year so little interaction between Albus and Crouch happened. When there was interaction, Albus thought anything off was just Moody being more paranoid due to what happened prior to the year starting or a dark magic user in the school (Harry’s the 4th champion). Also, all that was needed was for Harry’s name willingly printed on paper (from something handed in) and a confundus charm to believe there were four schools to make it binding.

5th Year: Albus had next to no political power. While he hated corporal punishment and banned it while he when he became headmaster, it was overturned with Umbridge citing lack of disipline as the reason. He did screw up with oclumency though, Harry refused to learn from Snape; Snapes method lacked help as well…

6th Year: Albus knew he was dieing from his greed and would last weeks into the summer. With Snape killing Albus, it was thought Snape would be able to cement his position as Riddle’s right hand and hopefully find the other horocruxes.

7th Year: Albus helped show where the real sword was located. He also didn’t know the three Deathly Hallows would let Harry comeback to life if he mastered all three; Albus thought Snape would be the one to end both his master’s lifes as Albus trust Snape with Snape using an unbreakable bond.

Albut believed in doing things for the greater good, not his or any individual, but the whole world. Did he manipulate others for that purpose? Yes. Was he doing it because he is evil? No.”

I’m no Professor Trelawney, but I can see the future.  I hope you’re still loving your virginity when you’re 40, because you’re still going to have it.  And it’ll be with you in your mom’s basement while you role-play with other 40-year-old virgins.  Enjoy!

And for the piece de resistance, the coup de grace, a comment from the discussion about “Which plots make you scream?”

“Ugh, the ones I hate the most are when Harry and Draco go to some secondary school together (as in no magic and no Hogwarts exists). Of course it is always seems that one of them is the hot hunk and the other is just an average student, and so on and so forth. Eventually, they fall for each other in a series of fluffy romantic moments (meanwhile their characters are way off base). And it is just such a cute and romantic tale that make you want to squeal (*head to desk*…repeated). Yeah, I hate. I hate it a lot. That isn’t even Harry Potter. That is just a mochary of Harry Potter. *sighes* Nothing I can do about it, but rrrrr…”

I’m guessing this “mochary” of the Harry Potter universe isn’t going to do much for you then.Heh.  Heh.  Heh.

Happy WTF Friday, y’all!

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Comments»

1. Yorkie - January 29, 2011

Urgh…Harry Potter and porn…just can’t go there, really…

Good post. I joined your WTF FRidays yesterday with a post on “Men”. Enjoy!


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