Eeeeeeek, this is what happens

when you are occupied with this new game called Kerfluffle where you go “Kerfluffle!” and your puppy-niece waves her teensy little paws at you in response and that’s it, that’s the whole game. And when you are occupied with this highly adorable game, you do not always have time to read the blogs promptly so sometimes you miss posts that notify you that you are supposed to post an introductory post to the Harry Potter Readalong. And then it is nine in the evening and you are scrambling to get a post written fast fast fast even though what you really wanted to be doing was reading Tigana in bed.

The Harry Potter Readalong commenceth!

(It’s not too late for you to join us, comrades.)

So, here is my introductory post: I am Jenny, and I jumped on the Harry Potter train in 1999 or so, and thereafter I waited with baited breath for each subsequent book. I read the last three at midnight. I never believed that A Certain Person was evil, no matter how many signs pointed in that direction. Many were the theories proposed by my family about what was going to happen in books four through seven. Around book three my mother called a major plot point that doesn’t get proven correct until book seven; and using her theory as a jumping-off point, I figured out something quite clever about Harry’s mother’s childhood. Not to brag. I was just really, really right. I was so right.

(I wasn’t right about this one other theory I had, that McGonagall was secretly evil? She is not. But my friend Teacher proposed this theory, and the more I thought about it, the righter it seemed. I still feel like the books could have gone that way without its being too jarring. I am willing to argue about this in the comments with you, as long as McGonagall isn’t, like, your favorite character. Cause I don’t want you to think I don’t like her. I just think it would have been reasonable for her to turn out evil.)

Since I will be carrying on at some length about these books over the upcoming weeks, I shall take this opportunity to say that everything I say about these books comes from a place of very intense love. I love these books so much. Whenever I criticize them, even if they really deserve it because why are the Blast-Ended Skrewts and why didn’t he just hand Harry a Portkey sometime instead of going through that whole ridiculous-ass plan with the goblet and the maze and whatnot, I feel kind of churlish and ungrateful. Like there is this voice in my head going, “Really. Really. You’re going to complain about the injudiciousness of JK Rowling’s adverb use? That’s what you’re going to do right now? You don’t think maybe instead you should THANK HER FOR YOUR ENTIRE CHILDHOOD?”

Which like, yeah. That’s clearly what I should do. I will commence doing a lot of that, plus a very tiny bit of complaining. Hooray! Let the Harry Pottering begin!

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54 thoughts on “Eeeeeeek, this is what happens

  1. Happy new year, Jenny. It’s difficult returning after a break sometimes. I would never have thought of McGonagall as evil, but then I admit I haven’t read all the books. And it would have been strange for Maggie Smith to play an evil character so it never crossed my mind. Enjoy the readalong!

    • It wouldn’t have crossed my mind either if my friend hadn’t brought it up to me. But once someone suggests it to you, you can’t unsee it. At least I never have.

  2. Happy New Year, Jenny. Playing kerfluffle with puppy sounds like so much fun…no wonder you missed the Potter intro post. I never really thought of McGonagall as evil, but when I saw her on screen, there seemed like there was a lot of potential there. And I never believed anything bad of Snape ever…always knew he would be the good guy 🙂

  3. I had to quit going to the movies with a writer/friend of mine who sat beside me during a couple of them making comments about how the books were “over-written” and Hermione wasn’t a strong-enough character. It did seem, in your excellent words, churlish and ungrateful. (Also, she is going to that special hell reserved for people who talk in the theater.)

  4. I revisited Potter two years ago, so I shan’t be joining you, but godspeed. And I can’t deal with the idea of McGonagall as evil, because McGonagall is Maggie Smith, who only comes in “snarkily charming older woman” for me.

    • Hahahaha, you are different from me. I revisit them every year since 2007, and I think even before then. I know I would reread the whole series before each successive book came out, to make sure I remembered everything that was up.

  5. I didn’t get the childhood thing, but because of the song Lily’s Eyes from The Secret Garden, I was all “WHAT IF SNAPE WAS IN LOVE WITH HARRY’S MOM OMG.”

    I’m ok with you theorizing McGonagall’s evil. I don’t know if she’d be somehow flattered by being thought capable of that kind of ruse, or insulted because MCGONAGALL.

    And omg. DO NOT BE MEAN ABOUT JKR’S ADVERBS.

  6. Ok, yes, she can be adverb-y, but you are so right about just kind of thanking her for making our childhoods wonderful instead of magic-less, and I spent my whole life waiting for an owl (until I read the Night Circus, when I spent months waiting for an invitation to the circus). And Hermione is the greatest ever and when she breaks the rules I get all giddy inside.

    • Hahahah, I started a little later than expecting an owl. But I don’t think I would have anyway. I only sort of ever even believed in Santa Claus, let alone Hogwarts. Isn’t it the best ever when Hermione hits Malfoy for insulting Hagrid?

    • Oh, I’ll just tell you now. I don’t think it’s going to rate an entire post. It’s never clear where she finds out that Dumbledore is taking Harry to the Dursleys, and she tries really hard to talk him out of it. She doesn’t like Muggles and talks smack about them on several occasions for kind of no reason. She’s super faily at protecting the Philosopher’s Stone when it comes up that it might be in danger. She lets the dementors kiss Barty Crouch when she was supposed to be guarding him — what, she can’t do a Patronus? I CALL BULLSHIT. She also TOTALLY tries to interrogate the living shit out of Harry at the end of the sixth book even when he’s like, “Dumbledore asked me not to say.” Plus, she’s supposedly Dumbledore’s right-hand man at Hogwarts but he almost never asks her for anything ever.

  7. I just reread these a year ago (or maybe it was two?) and it seems too soon to put myself through that emotional upheaval again. But I will be looking forward to your reread posts! A friend of mine just finished the series and while I was somewhat jealous that she got to experience them for the first time, I think each reread reveals something new – about the overall plot, the characters, the wizarding world. Really, what I’m trying to say (I think), is that you can’t go wrong with a Harry Potter reread.

    • Hahahaha, I will admit there is plenty of emotional upheaval involved in a reread of these books. I always turn into a big block of tension when I read the fifth book sequence where they’re at the Ministry. My God that sequence is tense.

      • My last reread ended with me in the fetal position wailing “IT’S ALL OVER!” with husband, looking uncomfortable, telling me “Um, it already ended? And you can read them again?” It was messy.

  8. I’ll look forward to your posts! I love Harry Potter so much, and re-read/listen to the books at least a couple of times each year. They are my favorite comfort reads. What I have to ignore are the occasional small errors or conflicts in the plots (like Percy threatening to deduct points even though later on Prefects can’t take away house points, or how Hagrid flies to the shack in the first book). There are more but I can’t think of them off the top of my head this morning. But usually I just mentally go “Lalalalalala – not listening to you critical side of my brain!” They are such minor points that I can let it go in appreciation of the greater story.

    • I’m still deciding what my posts are to be. Hopefully they will be interesting! Are you sure Percy threatens to deduct points when he’s a prefect? If he does it when he’s Head Boy then it’s okay. And maybe when he did it as a prefect he just didn’t know that he couldn’t deduct the points.

  9. This is wonderful, and I will be reading!!! I love these books, and they provided me with lots of entertainment in my early 20’s. I can’t wait to see what you have to say!!

    • Hahaha, I can’t wait to see what I have to say either. I haven’t in the least planned my posts — still waiting for a schedule from Alice so I can have some sense of what I want to write about and when.

  10. I adore the Harry Potter books – I just re-read them myself last summer and I loved the experience. I’d actually read all but the last book over before, and I’m with you in reading the last three books at midnight. 😀 I’m looking forward to what you’re thinking as you go through them again!

  11. Happy New Year! I remember coming to HP rather late; the third book was already published. Man, I love love that series. I haven’t reread the books in a long time but they may be just the thing to get my reluctant reader enjoying books.

    Where is the picture of your puppy-niece? I’m not really a dog person but I want to see what she looks like. 😉

  12. WHAAAT!!! Okay, I need to know what your mother predicted and why RIGHT NOW and also your really good evidence for McGonogall being reasonably evil because OH MY GOD I never thought of these things. And also, COULD MOODY HAVE WASTED MORE TIME??!?!

    • Okay, she predicted that Snape was in love with Lily. After the third book! The third one! AND she came up with this whole scenario where Snape dies right after looking into Harry’s eyes, which is basically exactly what happens as you may recall. (Her version of the scene was much more maudlin and feelingsy.)

      My evidence for McGonagall is detailed in an above comment to Alley. It’s not overwhelming but I thought it was a pretty good working theory.

  13. McGonagall as evil? What a crazy and awesome and never-would-have-thunk-it myself theory! I absolutely adore her, and I think her being evil would have been the ultimate betrayal – I’m almost freaking out just now thinking about it and I KNOW it isn’t true! Ha!

  14. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to write posts for this. I think I might just do one per book and read the other posts? I need to see the schedule… I love schedules.

    I was never very good at making HP predictions. I was right about That Guy not being evil, but I admit to waffling a bit. I never thought about McConagall as evil but boy, that would have been crazy! I’ve reread several of them, but not all of them in at the same time so I am excited about this 🙂

    • I never waffled. I had about ten seconds of mad outrage when I first read it (because it was very very late at night — or well, I guess by then it was very very early in the morning), and then I immediately was like, Oh Jenny. Come on. You know this is a set-up.

  15. There is a slight possibility of me joining this … I have about a million reading projects going on right now but whatever! It’s Harry Potter! And I haven’t reread them in 2 or 3 years so now is as good a time as any. 😉

  16. When I was moving out of my mom’s house for the last and final time in Spring of 2011, I reread all the books. I was in the middle of my finals for graduate school and instead of studying, I just read Harry Potter. I’m pretty sure that was an excellent life decision. I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning (I usually go to bed between 9 and 11, so that was ridiculous for me). A friend of mine is convinced that I was mourning my childhood and that’s possibly true, but it was also just so nice to reread. I’m not sure I’m ready for a reread right now, but I think it might be time toward the middle of the year or the end of the year. Happy rereading Jenny!

    • Awww. That sounds amazing and like a totally good life decision. I too go to bed between 9 and 11. The closer to 9 I can go to bed, the happier a clam I am. I love rereading generally, and rereading Harry Potter is a special treat.

  17. I’m from the readalong list – hullo! The best parts about growing up with these books were the theories, debates, and midnight release parties! You probably went through these books with a fine-toothed comb, because when I read about the Certain Person, I was like OMG How Did I Not See This Coming. So excited to revisit these nostalgic books!

    • Hahahaha, I did go through the books several times, and I had a number of equally obsessed friends-and-relations who did not mind having long, involved conversations about what we thought was going to happen in the future books. And yeah, I did the midnight release parties. Those were amazing. The next generation is missing out so hard.

  18. You know, I had never considered that he could have just handed Harry a Portkey. But yes, there are inconsistencies and everything, but it’s Harry Potter. It IS my childhood. I will never not love these books (I hope?).

    I hope you have so much fun rereading!

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