4.20.14 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling.
Reread: 440/870.

Photo on 2014-04-20 at 21.30 #2

OH, I SEE IT HAS BEEN AWHILE. New job! The notes I left on this section like a week and a half ago are terrible. I’ll do what I can, here.

So–here come the as yet unnamed DUMBLEDORE’S ARMY!!!! They go to the squalid pub of Dumbledore’s unspeakable brother, Aberforth Goatliker. Just a real rat’s nest of wizard deviance, that Dumbledore family. At this pub many people are criminals and they serve FIREWHISKY to the underage wizards, which is very exciting.

???? question about the firewhisky ??????????? booze ahead

It seems like maybe firewhisky is the only powerfully alcoholic beverage wizards know about. This is very strange. Surely the benefit of wizard pubs is that you get additional, magical booze–not that all other boooze in the universe is extinguished from your world, and at the broadest expanses of your self-indulging dreams, you conceive only of…Butterbeer and Firewhisky? The twins Weasley have never snuck into the dorm with bottles of tequila or cheap wine? Wizard kind is NOT EVEN SURE WHAT THAT WINE STUFF IS ALL ABOUT? That just does not seem true.

Then again, I guess in England you can only go to ONE WIZARD SCHOOL and live in ONE WIZARD TOWN or work at ONE WIZARD OFFICE, so I suppose that ONE WIZARD HARD LIQUOR is appropriate for their unnecessarily withholding and yet morally superior wizard lifestyle. The only thing you can imagine, for comfort, is that Britain is just really backwards, and everyone else is uncomfortable to visit. You’ll note they left Britain to deal with Voldemort on their onesies.

So in this DA as will be meeting, surrounded by criminals, we find the first tender buds of revolution. This is very exciting and I feel strongly about young revolutionary souls. More importantly, Ron hates Michael Corner and wishes him not to date Ron’s sister. Ginny should date Harry instead, due to this being the closest Ron will get to dating Harry himself. Sadly for Ron and his mental image of Ginny, but not for Michael Corner,  Harry is presently BUBBLING OVER for CHO. Keep it together, Harry. You have many a chest-monster to go.

The young revolutionaries make half a pact. The Ministry for Magic tightens its grip and THINGS GET REAL. Just as the soon-to-be-DA starts up, Educational Decree #24 bans clubs. Hermione, having arranged this whole thing, becomes a little anxious about it, but they get going, and learn that Harry is basically a PERFECT MOTIVATIONAL UNDERDOG who will lead them all!

(NOTE: he is definitely working his way up to Full Wizard Jesus by now, early ministry edition. Since it is Easter I give you the gift of analyzing wildly with regard to Umbridge’s detention: Harry, aware of the consequences and choosing to endure them, speaks up against her, and is punished with a less frightful version of one of the stigmata. He even gets to carry his own cross, in the form of the quill. HOW’S THAT for some classic Christlike foreshadowing?)

Then there’s some quidditch, Ron is bad at quidditch, Harry and the twins are banned from quidditch, dark days in the pitch of quiddith here at Hogwarts. Okay my notes are truly awful here, but two points:

1) Harry’s scar hurts because of Voldemort’s feelings. Harry Potter is Voldemort’s mood ring. I find this thought incredibly satisfying. WHO CARES why, it’s GREAT.

2) [tw rape culture] I’m VERY sad I lost the page for this, but essentially the Gryffindor girls’ dorm has an alarm that prevents boys going up the stairs, but the boys’ dorm doesn’t. A rape alarm, obviously–what else would it be? Probably both sides should have an alarm, for modesty’s sake. But what happens in the text is Hermione telling us that the alarm is sexist against boys because they’re no more unreliable (read: no more likely to rape their classmates) than girls. WELL, THAT IS NOT TRUE. It is, however, the kind of argument people use to shut down rape survivors and people who want to talk about the most frightening daily realities of living as someone who is perceived as female. It’s the “not all men are like that” argument, basically, and it doesn’t even need to be in the book. JKR had to go out of her way to fit it in!

We don’t find out about this alarm, improbably, until our protagonists’ fifth year. That makes no sense, of course, and it doesn’t make sense for it to appear now, either. All that happens is that JKR chooses to send Ron up the stairs in a fit of unthinking excitement–and then, once Hermione’s dreadful commentary has been triggered, she brings him down again. The episode is nothing but an opportunity for Hermione to convey JKR’s clumsy rape apologism. And, like the house elf mess, this extraneous aside makes JKR’s most consciously progressive character (and brightest, and most passionate) into a mouthpiece and a jerk.

You know what is really a mess, though? Giants. Giants are like House Elves except…giant. Grotesque, subhuman, at the mercy of wizardkind, and basically just not a concept that should have emerged from the realm of pure irresponsible fancy into the world of Weighty Consideration. They’re basically violent beasts and it seems really unlikely that half-giant, half-human people could ever be the result of consensual sex. ALSO, AS MENTIONED PREVIOUSLY, THERE ARE NOT A LOT OF GIANT/HUMAN SEXUAL POSSIBILITIES THAT ARE NOT HORRIFYING AND FATAL.

Grawp is now here at Hogwarts. Grawp is Hagrid’s full-giant half-brother and he is horrible. Hagrid has him illegally, like all of his pets. His brother is literally serving this book’s role of “Hagrid’s disgusting monster pet.” That is basically all you need to know about how horrible the idea of giants is as explored by J.K. Rowling.

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