Friday, March 1, 2013

HP Readalong 4.2

It's Friday!  That means it's Harry Potter Day!  This week we're talking about the first task in the Tri-Wizard Tournament!  It was a relatively short read this week, even though I only picked up the book while eating breakfast and sometimes before bed, but I managed to keep myself from reading ahead.  Progress, right?

Hermione starts SPEW, AKA "Stop the Outrageous Abuse of Our Fellow Magical Creatures and Campaign for a Change in their Legal Status" (224) because she's nothing if not obvious.  But seriously, go her!  Instead of just telling off all the Weasleys about house elves, she's actually doing something, which is unusual enough for adults, never mind kids.  Of course, I want to smack everybody else ever for being all "But they like being enslaved."  I'm sure American plantation owners pre-1865 said that too.  Especially Harry!  For such a "great wizard," he doesn't give a crap, despite having been the one to recognize Dobby's outrageous abuse and set him free.  And you know what it is?  Laziness.  And also probably avoiding negative feelings because it's all about him.  Jerk.

Meanwhile, the creepiest man ever is teaching the kids admittedly illegal curses and they're all like "Cool" except, predictably, for Hermione, who's all, "Is this a good idea?"  Right there with ya, girl.  And Moody puts the Imperius curse on Harry, who predictably can fight it off without even trying.  Snore.

Then some other people get there!  The Beauxbatons students arrive in a flying carriage the size of a house complete with massive horses that the Hogwartians can see from a distance, begging the question of how the Muggles don't see it.  If so many could spot the flying car, you'd think the whole county would be staring goggle-eyed at a flying house.  I much prefer the Durmstrang students mode of travel: an old pirate ship that must magically move between bodies of water, so that they appear from the depths of the lake.  Much more impressive.  And then, to throw a little bit of xenophobia into the mix, everyone Hermione despises the French students because, well, they're French and aren't in raptures over Hogwarts, but the Durmstrangs students are cool because they're all "Is this gold?  Is that fire?  Like, for being warm?"  Because having an abusive headmaster is soooo much more acceptable than forgetting to wear a cloak.
That's right, Hermione.
The school champions are selected!  And all the Gryffindors are all "ugh, that pretty boy, Cedric" and you know what?  It's totally unjustified.  Just because he beat them at Quidditch once and happens to be attractive (it's not like he's always in front of a mirror or playing with his hair like some past student we have yet to see) doesn't make this okay!  You know what else is messed up?  How the Goblet of Fire is a binding magical contract and after only having 24 hours to decide to put your name in, students are forced to participate or - what?  Die?  Is that the consequence of wizards and witches changing their mind?  And of other, evil wizards making up your mind for you?  Because that is messed up.  The wizarding world is so freaking dangerous!  We see shortly thereafter that the champions need to battle a dragon, and that it takes a dozen wizards aiming Stunning spells at exactly the same time to subdue a dragon.  But don't worry, because "no champion will find himself or herself in mortal danger" (215).  Because stealing an egg from an angry, fire-breathing dragon with impenetrable skin isn't perilous at all.  Also, why does anybody still tell Hagrid secrets?
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So Harry's chosen, and Ron's an ass, and Harry's all wtf and Hermione says, "it's always you who gets all the attention, you know it is" and I'm like "YAY for recognizing this fact!"  Of course, if Harry didn't actually want all this attention like he claims, he could always have refused to go in a closet with Rita Skeeter and have his picture taken and maybe written to the Daily Prophet to tell them to print a correction about Cedric being in the tournament.  But no, he just goes along with all of it, sighing dramatically throughout (okay, I added that last part).  I never heard Barty Crouch make a stipulation about the champions being bound to pose for a camera but hey, maybe I missed something (I didn't).
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Put that in the Daily Prophet.

Oh, we can't forget Harry and Malfoy cursing each other and I ask you, where did they learn curses to make somebody's teeth grow excessively and to make boils spring up?  Is this why the kids liked Lupin's classes so much?  Or is it just the wizarding equivalent of kids in language classes looking up all the bad words (curses if you will)?  Because I really don't think that jinxes like these should really be a part of their magical educations.

1 fussy aside:
"'Can your eye - I mean, can you - ?'
'Yeah, it can see through Invisibility Cloaks,' Moody said quietly" (322).
For those of you who have read Deathly Hallows... you know what I'm saying.  For the rest of you, take notes.
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15 comments:

  1. Aw, give Harry a break! When you were fourteen were you steady writing to papers to correct them about things? Bet not! Bet you did what the grown-ups told you most of the time because otherwise they were very, very gripey. I one time stood up to my principal about something when I was fifteen and it was SO STRESSFUL and she looked at me like I was a bug and I was completely quelched.

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    1. Shh, stop making good points. I did strive to avoid hypocrisy though, even if I wasn't always successful. But yeah, I followed directions. Harry's just so annoying!

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    2. To be fair, Harry DOES spend a lot of time sighing dramatically about stuff that he could take very basic action to rectify.

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  2. I like that we had opposite reactions about the ship vs. Beauxbatons carriage.

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  3. See I'm actually sort of torn on the house elf thing. Cos on the one hand I thought about the slaves and comparing the house elves to them and claiming they LIKED the work they were doing and didn't want to get paid. But on the other hand, every interaction with the house elves, including Dobby, suggests they DO like the work and they DON'T want to get paid. Even Dobby turns down more money and time off and seems shocked that Dumbledore would even suggest giving him that much. Though way to go to JK for not making this stuff so black and white.

    On a lighter note, can Moody's eye work like xray specs? Is he constantly looking at naked students cos ewww Moody. Stop that. They're children.

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    1. I was going to bring up Moody's eye next week, because Parvati is like "ew, it's so creepy, it should be banned" when they're at the ball, and at first I was like "stupid Parvati" but then I was like, wait, it can see through walls and desks and invisibility cloaks, it can probably look through clothes and that IS gross.

      And that's the end of my useless little story.

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    2. I think we need to maybe know more about house elves to decide for sure. But they look a whole lot like slaves and there's not much evidence to the contrary so even if that is legitimately what they like, there's no real way for Ron and Hagrid and who all to know that.

      And the EYE, right? At the ball, Moody is going to see through Harry's robe to his socks underneath and that is NOT OKAY because of all the other things he must be able to see. Hear hear, Parvati!

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  4. The Cedric hate is really really unfair. I kind of love Cedric this time round, so I feel very stressed about finishing this book. Really.

    Hey, yeah, stop being mean about Harry! They ALL had their pictures taken, and I'm sure he thought they were all going to be interviewed- it's not his fault he's The Boy Who Lived!

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    1. Lol, I love how much of an outcry this is causing. I just thing Harry's annoying is all! I was very impressed with how quickly he forgave Ron though, so kudos to him on that. But I still say he could have avoided some of the excess attention.

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  5. I want to know exactly how the ship makes it to Hogwarts. Because clearly it isn't simply travelling underwater because it's a lake. But isn't the school protected from people apparating etc, so how come a ship can just appear in their lake? Did they turn their protections off?

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    1. Hmm... I suppose that's a valid question but stop ruining it for me. IT'S MAGIC.

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  6. Moody's eye could have an entire character analysis unto itself. Also, I've read them all and I can't for the life of me think of what you're referencing in Hallows about said eye so now I am very excited/anxious to get there and be all, "AHA! I see now!" (Pun intended?)

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  7. The Cedric hate is definitely unjustified, though not improbable, because teenagers. And Cedric didn't do anything to stop the Hufflepuffs from quoting Skeeter and wearing "Potter Stinks" buttons until after Harry helped him with the first challenge, so, teenagers.

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    1. Yeah, you're right about Cedric. Although, I would argue that, like for Ron, it must be hard for a lot of the kids in that school to be around Harry. He's legend so who can live up? No matter what Cedric (or Ron or Malfoy or whoever) does, he'll never be as good. I think that's a more understandable reason for not saying something than "wah, nobody understands me!"

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