Revisiting Harry Potter: Origins

I know I know. I should have posted a post last Friday too. I didn’t do it because it was my first week back and there were a lot of things going on including buying a TV table and setting up my TV and DVD player and the Roku Box Captain Hammer gave me for Christmas. And buying a new purse (this one here). And organizing a work book club meeting for Five Quarters of an Orange (about which more later). And anyway I am lawless and I cannot be contained by rules. So.

(I am writing this in a coffee shop — I know, I’m such a cliche — and as I type, there is a fire truck stopped outside asking for directions to where he’s going. And it made me think of how when I was a kid, if there was an emergency vehicle of any kind in the neighborhood, we didn’t even have to ask. We just directed it to the house next door. Mumsy probably feels less nostalgic for these days but I thought it was kind of cool and funny.)

Anyway! To the point! Harry Potter and the let’s just agree to call it Philosopher’s Stone because contrary to popular belief, Americans are not morons.

Here are some things I have been thinking about:

1. Not to be a jerk, but you know when Dumbledore is all like, “They’ve had precious little to celebrate for the last eleven years?” Is this accurate? The last eleven years have been like the seventh Harry Potter book? Seriously, what was Dumbledore doing that whole time? Eleven years have gone by and Dumbledore still isn’t up off the mat? Shouldn’t he have gone to Voldemort’s house and challenged him to a magical duel? Like, he doesn’t even have the excuse with Voldemort that he SPOILERS had with Grindelwald of being secretly in love with him. Go fight that evil wizard, Dumbledore of ten years ago! Don’t let him just kill people willy-nilly!

1a. SPOILERS. Not to be a jerk again, because sorry, Dumbledore!, but doesn’t he know that Sirius Black was the Potters’ Secret-Keeper? When Hagrid talks about bringing Sirius his bike back, shouldn’t Dumbledore be like, “No, don’t bring the bike to Sirius, he’s terrible”? Whatever.

2. The wizard monetary system is bullshit. These kids don’t even go to regular school until they’re eleven, and the wizarding world expects them to able to count in multiples of seventeen sickles to a galleon? Is this some sick joke dreamed up by the goblins to screw with the wizards for oppressing them all these years? That…is sort of brilliant, actually. Way to go goblins. Guerrilla douchery.

3. Oh Neville. Show of hands everyone who clasped their hands to their heart and went “Neville!” I feel like that is as pervasive in our generation as singing along to “Part of Your World” if someone plays or sings two bars of it. (NB Start singing “Part of Your World” around a group of twenty-something girls. The results are shockingly consistent.)

4. SHUT UP SNAPE. Snape is the living worst. I cannot wait for…certain events that will occur later. JUST SHUT UP SNAPE. If you ever feel the desire to speak again JUST SHUT UP.

Y’all, I have to say, as origin stories go, this one is top-notch. There’s so much set-up of the awesome aspects of wizarding world, and then there is also this subsidiary mystery thing. I think it’s a good balance to strike. What’s good is that JK Rowling is also quietly setting up what’s going to happen in the later, horrifically dark books. But the main thing of the book is creating a world, and this world could not have been created better. With the sports? And the owls? And the floating candles? And the characters and how you now know they are going to grow into amazing heroes? It’s so great because you discovered it as the books went along, but JK Rowling knew all along. Well played, JK Rowling. Very, very well played. Ten trillion sparkly stars for you.