Revisiting Harry Potter: The Harry-Dumbledore Buddy Comedy Commences

Okay, “buddy comedy” may be putting it a trifle too strongly. But you know what I mean? When they go off to make Slughorn come to Hogwarts, and Dumbledore goes off to have a poop while Harry (metaphorically) seduces Slughorn with his fame, courage, and loyalty to Hogwarts? And Dumbledore’s all, “Knitting patterns! Well, we must be off,” and cracks wise about his jam preferences. (Raspberry jam is delicious; good call, Dumbledore.) All the trappings of a classic buddy comedy! (Ish.)

It is also about damn time someone told off the Dursleys for being terrible child-rearers. I don’t know why Dumbledore wasn’t keeping a closer eye on that situation. Couldn’t the wizarding world have taken up a collection to pay Petunia and Vernon for Harry’s upkeep? They’d still have been jerks to him but at least they would have been accountable to someone and Dumbledore could have stopped by now and then to stop them putting Harry in the cupboard under the stairs. But what’s past is past, I guess. I’m glad something was said about how awful the Dursleys are, and I’m glad that Dumbledore tells Harry he’s proud of him for how he’s dealt with losing Sirius.

How do people feel about the chapter with Snape and Bellatrix and Narcissa? Personally I do not care for it. I am pleased to know all the ways Snape has been explaining to Lord V. his behavior over the years, but I’d have preferred that information to come out slowly instead of in one big infodump. Also, are you extremely curious what role Snape played in Emmeline Vance’s death? I AM. Do you think it was the kind of situation where Voldemort had found out information about Emmeline from another source, and Dumbledore knew he had, so he had Snape give Voldemort basically that same information? Or do you think an element of self-sacrifice on Emmeline Vance’s part was involved? Inquiring minds want to know.

You know who sucks? Fleur. I think she’s one of those people who’s all like, “Oh, you know, I don’t really have any friends who are girls,” and she thinks the reason for this is that she’s so beautiful and other girls are jealous, but the real reason is that if there’s a guy around she immediately stops paying attention to her girl friends. I would deeply resent having to be her bridesmaid, if I were Ginny.

This book amps up the everyday scariness of Voldemort, which I appreciate — you don’t want a toothless villain! I always thought we were going to find out why Florean Fortescue got taken, but we never did. I guess we’ll have to wait for the Encyclopedia that JK Rowling better not have decided against because that would make me sad. I posit that it’s because Florean knew some information about History that Voldemort wanted (because remember he knew all about medieval witch-burnings in the third book?), and I guess if you’re Voldemort and you want to know something you abduct and torture an expert on that subject. That is the Voldemort version of going to the library.

(Like, it’s either that, or Voldemort stopped in for ice cream and Florean Fortescue spit in his milkshake.)

Fred and George’s joke shop includes this product:

“One simple incantation and you will enter a top-quality, highly realistic, thirty-minute daydream, easy to fit into the average school lesson and virtually undetectable (side effects include vacant expresion and minor drooling). Not for sale to under-sixteens.”

Not for sale to under-sixteens EH? Real talk for a second here, y’all: They’re sex daydreams, right? This is a sex product?

The Adulting of Harry Potter: I’m making this a feature for Book Six, because Harry has grown up so much since the last book, and I think it deserves its own special feature. Let’s compare some Harry behaviors to their equivalents in earlier books.

1. When Harry suspected Snape was up to no good in the first book, he didn’t tell anyone because he was all “We’ve got no proof!” When he suspects Malfoy is up to no good in this book, he tells everyone. It doesn’t do him any good — because everyone’s like, “You’ve got no proof!”, but still, way to go, Harry. If you see something say something.

2. He deals with his grief over losing Sirius like a MOTHERFUCKING CHAMP. Whereas with Cedric he couldn’t figure out a way to process what had happened (again I say, shouldn’t someone be in charge of slapping this kid into wizard therapy?), he admits to Dumbledore that he feels terribly sad about Sirius and misses having a parent but he knows Sirius wouldn’t have wanted him to just curl up into a ball o’ sadness, and that’s why he’s going to keep on fighting evil because it’s what he wants and what Sirius would have wanted.

(Truth. Also, sniffle.)

3. In the fifth book, a pretty girl finds Harry in the company of Neville and Luna and Harry wishes he could die. In the sixth when the same situation occurs, Harry’s like, “Piss off, these are my friends.” Plus:

“People expect you to have cooler friends than us,” said Luna, once again displaying her knack for embarrassing honesty.

“You are cool,” said Harry shortly. “None of them was at the Ministry. They didn’t fight with me.”

Damn straight, Harry. I am glad you and I have both come around to appreciating Luna’s charms. She was wasted on us both in the previous book.

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37 thoughts on “Revisiting Harry Potter: The Harry-Dumbledore Buddy Comedy Commences

  1. Oooh, we had very different reactions to the book this week! I LOVE the Spinner’s End chapter and I guess I’m able to overlook the info dump aspect of it (which I hated in The Other Minister) because it’s all Snape, all the time.

    Yes to Harry finally sticking up for Luna and Neville–I mention that, too, but I wish Harry could realize before the series is over in book 7 just how much NL and LL could be among his inner circle, too.

    I mostly skimmed the chapters for this post, so I did not notice the sex dreams. Well-spotted!

    • Yeah, I agree it would be great if he had become closer friends with Neville and Luna. But I can understand why JK Rowling wouldn’t want to do that from her perspective as the writer — she’s got this whole dynamic established with the central trio, and it would be a much bigger hassle to have those expository conversations if Neville and Luna were there as well. You know?

  2. ha, “the Voldemort version of going to the library.” I think of it like one of my favorite scenes from Superatural–an upright old man is walking down a sidewalk, and a man who isn’t looking where he’s going bumps into him. When the old man, who is Death, calmly brushes off (with his hand) the shoulder that got bumped, the man drops dead.
    Fleur is half veela, so she never had to learn to interest people; she could entrance everybody. I like it that the Weasleys aren’t entranced but are nice to her anyway.

      • I worried about that, too; my daughter talked me into watching selections from the first season during the day, to lessen the chance of nightmares. And after that first season? Not so scary.

  3. I have to say, I always felt like the Dursleys were the weakest part of the whole HP series. They are so extravagantly ridiculous and stupid–I’ve always thought that Rowling was trying to do a Roald Dahl-esque villain thing there, like Mr. Dursley is supposed to be a male Miss Trunchbull, only she couldn’t pull it off. And yeah, you’d think the wizards could do something about it rather than shrugging and saying, “Oh well, you’ll just have to put up with abuse that anyone IRL would call social workers about.”

    What do you all think of the Dursleys as elements of the HP universe? Does anyone think they’re a good thing for the series?

    • I think she does pull it off, if the goal of the books were to make Roald Dahly characters. I mean I don’t think the Dursleys are particularly weaker characters than Miss Trunchbull, if Miss Trunchbull is the standard we’re judging by. I think the Roald Dahl books had a fairly simple moral universe, whereas the moral universe of the Harry Potter books is a good bit more nuanced than that.

      Or to put it another way — the Dursleys as presented in the first book are very, very first-book type characters. Uncle Vernon doesn’t fit in nearly as well by the time the sixth book rolls around. He seems jarringly like a caricature by that time, whereas before he seemed to fit okay into the world of the book.

  4. Raspberry jam IS delicious. Let’s get some at brunch.

    “Or do you think an element of self-sacrifice on Emmeline Vance’s part was involved?” OH! *cries*

    Awwwww nos. two and threeeeeee. Sigh. Harry Potter series. You are the best.

    • Okay, we can get raspberry jam. I consent to this plan.

      I’m not saying she did sacrifice herself! I was just opening up a question to the group.

  5. Oh, Jenny, what a monster you are. Now I can’t stop picturing Voldemort jonesing for some Rocky Road.
    Also, Patty Sessions: I agree with you re: the Dursleys. I always figured Rowling wrote the first book for a much younger audience, and having created these Dahl-esque people, didn’t know how to backtrack. I waited the WHOLE SERIES for her to humanize Petunia – I really thought it was coming in the 7th book. Rowling let me down.

    • Hahahaha, Mumsy, he would never eat Rocky Road. I’m sure he only eats pure vanilla ice cream. :p

      JK Rowling zigged when you thought she would zag! You thought Petunia was going to get humanized, but instead it was Dudley!

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  7. I agree that Harry is growing up, and that it’s about time! I don’t blame him for this because as a kid, he has had a whole lot of heartbreak, but to know that now he is learning to handle it is refreshing, and even a little awe inspiring. And good for calling the Dursley’s on the carpet. Those frickin people needed that long ago!!

    As usual Jenny, you rock the casbah, and your review was awesome today. I always look forward to these reviews. :)

    • You are so nice! And YEAH, Harry is the BEST. Power to Harry. He’s a cool dude by now, and I also find it really impressive that he’s managed to grow up into such a good adult (given what he’s had to work with).

  8. It is SUCH a buddy comedy! If only there weren’t so many murders and whatnot…

    I think you’re pretty unfair to Fleur though! Because I’ll bet she’s tried to be SO nice to Molly, and has gotten nothing back, so of course she’s going to be all like ‘Bill, I love you. PROTECT ME FROM YOUR MOTHER!’

    ALSO- Clearly Fred and George are selling sex daydreams. I had to read that bit about 3 times just to check, but yep. Spell porn. I was highly amused!

    • There can be murders in buddy comedies!

      Whoa, whoa, wait, what? You think Fleur tried to be nice? Cause I totally don’t think she did. Even if Molly was unwinnable due to the mama-bear instinct thing, I don’t think Ginny would be hostile to Fleur without cause. Like, right? Ginny has nothing against Fleur. I feel like the reason Ginny’s being mean to Fleur is because Fleur’s being a really unfriendly, critical houseguest.

  9. UGH Fleur is EXACTLY that girl. I would always tell guys that if a girl had NO female friends, ware her. Ladies have an unerring bullshit detector for other ladies.

    • Ladies have a bullshit detector. I don’t think it’s unerring. Also, I want to make a clear distinction between women who don’t have female friends, and women who say “I don’t really have women friends.” I’m criticizing the latter not the former. I think it is definitely possible for a lady to have grown apart from a lot of her old friends and not totally cemented friendships with new people because maybe she is introverted or whatever; and that is sad for her but is not irritating in the way that it’s irritating to meet someone who says “Oh I don’t really have women friends” in a fake-embarrassed-but-actually-weirdly-proud kind of way.

  10. They are absolutely selling sex daydreams, with the pirates and the wenches and whatnot.

    Good question about Florean! He owns a pretty happening shop, maybe he witnessed some sort of meeting that Voldie wanted to know about. Or maybe he saw something he shouldn’t have.

    I feel bad for Fleur. I would be terrified to be dropped amidst my fiancée’s family — not knowing any of them — and then have said fiancée just take off. It doesn’t help that her social skills are so underdeveloped, though.

    • Okay, YES, Fleur is in an awkward, cruddy situation with her fiancee taking off right after she comes stay with his family. But she is super rude to everyone. I bet she criticizes Molly’s cooking too. And remember when she makes fun of Molly’s favorite romantic song at Christmas, like openly, in front of Molly, mocks her? That’s really uncool! If she thinks the song is so terrible she can make fun of it QUIETLY TO HERSELF IN HER ROOM or to one of her girlfriends. Except I’m betting she doesn’t have girlfriends because the only woman we’ve ever seen her be nice to is her little sister.

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  14. If I’m recalling correctly, Hermione was verrrrrry interested in those thirty-minute daydreams. Hers would involve Ron, wearing only his Quidditch helmet…reading aloud from Hogwarts: A History.

  15. Yeah, it’s probably a sex product. And probably should have gone under the Adulting section. I love how much more tolerable all that adulting makes Harry.

    • Doesn’t it? But actually, I never had any problem with Harry. It’s just that when he grows up in this manner, he quickly becomes my favorite character in the series. Bless him.

  16. First of all, I am cackling my head off at the thought of someone spitting in Vmort’s milkshake.

    Second, I wonder if the customer could pick the subject of their magic sex fantasy? Or is it just a generic pirate/cowboy/etc kind of shindig?

    Third, I actually feel the opposite about the Fleur situation. I think JKR turns Hermione and Ginny into this totally out-of-character catty female stereotype when they hate on Fleur. Yes, Fleur is annoying to them and she says things that are a bit rude sometimes (I give her a small bit of slack because she’s still learning English and I know I said some pretty rude stuff unintentionally when I was learning Spanish), but there’s no excuse to call her a cow or imply that she’s an idiot. I guess I’m just very sensitive to the ways girls are portrayed in popular culture; it seems like we’re either shown as stuck-up (Hermione, often), catty mean girls, sluts, or weepy messes (Cho, all the time). /so many FEELINGS

    • You’re cackling NOW but you won’t be cackling when Voldemort drags YOU off. :p

      I dunno, I definitely see your point, and I agree that JKR doesn’t do such a great job with the ladies in her book (apart from Hermione). BUT, I think if I had to live with Fleur, I’d be mean about (note: about! not to! Ginny and Hermione aren’t mean to Fleur when she’s around) her too. She doesn’t say inadvertently rude things; she says rude things like “Your favorite song is stupid; your cooking is bad; your education system is flawed”. Those things are rude! That’s not how you be a guest!

  17. I was TROUBLED by Emmaline Vance too, because the implication is that Snape gave the necessary info to have her killed and *maybe* took part in the killing. So did she know she had cancer and was like “yep, take me” or did Snape ask Dumbles for a willing candidate, or did Dumbles just nominate her, or did Snape do it without the rest knowing? I NEED TO KNOW THIS.

  18. Agreed that chapter 2 was a bit of an info dump and probably could have been dealt with better. However, I love Snape’s snark towards Bellatrix so that makes up for a lot. It’s nice to see him being a dick to someone not awesome.

    • Eh. The only person I enjoy Snape being a dick to is Umbridge. And even that wasn’t so great. I didn’t know who to root for. I prefer Snape being SAD. REALLY SAD. Which he deserves because he DID EVIL and NEEDS TO BE PUNISHED.

  19. I haven’t read this one yet, but this was a good (and funny) read. Yes to the Dursleys, though, I suppose it works in a childrens’ book that they still treat him badly, but you would think something would have been done.

    • I know! We know that someone with a connection to the wizarding world was aware of how miserable he was, and I just can’t believe that nobody did anything. Ever. Stupid wizards.

  20. Your first paragraph is such a gorgeous example of why I love you so. You makes me laugh, just so much. The rest is pretty fab too, but oh I love that first paragraph.

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