So being in lockdown and refusing to pay for Netflix has left me with few options to watch TV. I usually watch cooking shows on the Create channel (10.2) or edifying things on YouTube. I decided to watch the movies I bought on iTunes. One of those was Harry Potter 1. It had been a decade or so since I bought to watch with some nerd girl who ended up marrying a friend from high school, so I figured, what the heck?
Yeah, it was even more stupid than when I saw it 10 years ago and when it came out as a late teenager. I never read the books and seeing the movie as a more discerning adult made some things really stand out to me. If you look at the books/movies from the perspective of a gun owner and see it as an allegory to today’s world and schools, JK Rowling’s world is very much like the dumpster fire of gun control and school shootings today.
Harry Potter, from a rational, adult perspective, is sheer garbage meant for cheap entertainment and putting money in a few pockets. Okay, a lot of this stems from the fact that Rowling is a crappy writer who got lucky because children don’t notice plot holes you can drive a truck through, but it’s still fun to bash.
You want a good children’s story? The Chronicles of Narnia were a work of art. Yes, Lewis borrowed from Christianity and mythology, but as an allegory that took serious work and serious study. Lewis didn’t get to flip open a couple of books, make up wacky phrases, and look through a “Dummies Guide to Witchcraft” to make his book.
Lewis’ books took a real, old-fashioned classical education to write. They feature self-defense, rebellion against tyranny, heroism, responsibility, and follow some semblance of logic. By comparison, Rowling’s stuff makes as much sense as an “assault weapons” ban; it sounds good to people who don’t know any better.
So let’s tear into that Harry Potter/gun comparison, shall we?
Headmaster Dumbledore, the one person who is able to really do something to protect the children and the one with the ultimate responsibility to do just that, failed at his job.
Let’s take the first book. Knowing that Voldemort (that’s the really evil bad guy) wants the Philosopher’s Stone to give him immorality, Dumbledore has the stone moved from the bank vault to Hogwarts. That’s like deciding Fort Knox isn’t safe enough and so the bullion depository should be moved to the boarding school where the Treasury Secretary sends his kids.
Then at the end of the movie/book, whatever, it turns out that the instructor least suited to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, Professor Quirrell, is actually possessed by Voldemort and tries to kill Harry Potter to steal the stone.
That’s like having the teacher of Avoid Molestation 101 being a registered sex offender and no one bothering to check. Hey, Hogwarts is sounding almost like Clark County School District…
Dumbledore can know that Harry Potter is sneaking around the school and knows what the kids are up to because magic, yet he doesn’t know that Voldemort’s face is under Quirrell’s turban?
So if there is any logic in this world, of course Dumbledore does, but is probably too busy getting high on magic marijuana to care. Or maybe it’s one of those strange British boarding school traditions where kids survive on their own wit or die, like prison.
Next, WTF is up with magical powers? The wizard and witches need wands to do magic most of the time, so one wonders if you really need to be magical at all to use them. What if Muggles got ahold of wands? Would they suddenly be able to do magic?
Of course they would! This is the UK, after all. The UK has banned guns for all the “Muggle” average citizens. The Ministry of Magic is the police force. The lay witches and wizards are the average Britons lucky enough to be members of shooting clubs (or rich enough landowners to have shoots on their own property). The average citizen of the UK just can’t own a gun; they have to jump through extraordinary hoops almost like a magical person in Rowling’s world.
And the magic sucks! First, you need a wand, and then you need practice to swoosh it around and say a prepared phrase? And there’s one phrase that will just outright kill people if you say it? But the kids can’t get the intonation or pronunciation right unless you’re Hermione Granger? Judging from her and the classes at Hogwarts, the money would be better spent watching a couple videos on YouTube.
Reminds me of all the anti-gun people saying you need super high-speed training just to carry a gun. In their world, if you wanted to keep an unloaded pistol in a safe in a locked closet you would need a semester at Front Sight or some place similar.
Also, ever notice the smug sense of superiority the magic people have towards the muggles? The Malfoy family is the worst of the lot, but that’s because they’re evil, not because they’re unrealistic. The rest of the bunch who think muggles are cute, but not to be trusted with magic are the fictional world’s version of our elitists, like Bloomberg, who thinks average people can’t be trusted with guns. Hagrid, the groundskeeper, isn’t allowed to do magic except when given a special dispensation, even though he can use it relatively well; reminds me of Firearms Officers in British police services.
Let’s talk about Hogwarts’ security. Hmm, every semester there is a massive security breach equivalent to allowing a rapist or school shooter run free. Why are people sending their kids there and why is Dumbledore still in charge? Does he run a school district in Florida?
Well, good thing the school is protected from those dementor flying demons to keep that escaped prisoner who is trying to kill Harry Potter out of the school! Oh wait, they let him in and no one did anything about the werewolf either.
Oh look, someone murdered a cat and a troll got loose in the basement. Let’s send the kids back to their dorms totally unprotected by anyone. No evil force can get into the dorms! Sounds like “barricade the classroom door,” doesn’t it? And of course the hero kids are trapped out in the hall with the monsters.
For all of these problems, there is ostensibly a whole Ministry of Magic that sounds like it is supposed to deal with these problems. It should be able to find the secret chamber with the snake in it, find Voldemort and deal with him finally, protect the children, arrest the bad guys…oh wait, the Ministry of Magic is the government, isn’t it? Well we would expect the government to be incompetent too.
So that’s it, lest I turn into a total nerd and spend more wasted time of my life dissecting this throw-away entertainment into a master’s dissertation meant to impress that weird, immature girl who loves Harry Potter and never gives it up to you anyway.