Monday, November 15, 2010

Still more comments inspired by Harry Potter

1. Why do people like Draco and why was he not arrested? I get liking or redeeming a young, say first or second year, Draco but the later in the series the less believable it becomes. Draco is bigoted and cruel. He also committed several crimes even stated in universe to give automatic prison sentences for doing them. He was happy about the Basilisk petrifying Muggle-borns and Cedric's murder. He abused and tormented his fellow students. He cast unforgivable curses on Katie and Madam Rosmerta. He had several (at least two) unsuccessful murder attempts. He let Death Eaters into Hogwarts (though in that particular instance I wonder why it was so hard for them to get in since in pretty much every other book they really had no trouble getting in - hell they were hired to teach there a few times). Sure he couldn't bring himself to kill Dumbledore face-to-face but it was his first face-to-face murder and against one of the most respected people in the world. Had it been a muggle or muggle-born or just someone he hadn't known he probably would have been able to.

2. I wonder about Death Eater training. Do they even do real training (they do some since Draco was taught spells from others like Beatrix)? Do they practice killing say animals (or muggles which from their point of view is only a small step apart from animals) which would make them more blase towards killing in general? If Draco had done this type of training say butchering chickens and working his way up he probably would have been able to kill Dumbledore on sight when given the chance.

3. When Voldemort was on the back of Quirrell's head why didn't he go to Snape who he believed to be loyal to him for help? Later in the books Voldemort is shown to trust Snape a lot.

4. Why hadn't anyone told Harry (or Hermione) that there was an actual reason as to why not to use Voldemort's name - namely that a word can be made taboo? Had they known that from the get go they wouldn't have called him Voldemort (in Deathly Hallows Hermione and Harry temporarily stopped calling him Voldemort for no reason prior to Ron telling them to not say his name it is rather strange and the only explanation given is pretty poor amounting to something along the lines of them having got out of the habit of doing so). It seems that the various wizards/witches were purposely withholding useful information for no reason at all most of the time (a lot of useful info was withheld which would have changed things significantly such as telling them that Voldemort was trying to get in the department of mysteries and that Voldemort could fabricate visions). For that matter why does Harry or Dumbledore call him Voldemort? Voldemort was a name made up by Tom to be memorable, spread fear, etc. Had I been one of the characters in the books I would have called him Tom or Riddle after learning his name figuring that the more people know his real name the less people will fear him and be more likely to try and defend themselves (also the pure-bloods finding out he is not a pure-blood may cause some that were likely to join him to not do so). I would not make fun of him though by calling him moldymort or something.

5. I wonder about Hermione's parents. Really what do they think about the wizarding world and their daughter. Hermione, their only daughter, lives away from them for most of the year, even during breaks deciding to stay away from them fairly often (the Burro, Grimmauld Place, at school during holiday's like Christmas occasionally such as in the fourth year), and is living in a society they don't understand and aren't told much about. Even beyond that what do they think about her after she had completely removed their memories of herself and sent them to Australia (which by the way makes me wonder about the rest of her family, their patients, her old classmates, teachers, etc. - wouldn't they also be targets that could be used against Hermione)? Did she even try to convince them to move for their safety or did she just use magic to force them to do what she wanted them to? Considering how the magical world is (absolutely no hesitation to erase muggles memories or complaints -even Hermione doesn't complain like at the world cup where a muggle has his memory altered repeatedly) and how Hermione seems to not think about muggle things and ways (why hadn't she used a fountain pen or called Harry on the phone - there is a reason why I like the theory muggleborns have compulsions placed on them) and how distant she seems to be from her parents I find it likely that she didn't even try to convince them.

6. I've seen a number of fics that have Hermione's parents in them have them be against all candy since they are dentists. This annoys me. I get them having Hermione limit or avoid hard candy like suckers and gooey candy such as caramel that sticks to your teeth but other candy like say chocolate which melts quickly and doesn't leave much of a residue they wouldn't complain about very much since there are a lot worse things, like popcorn, pop, or acidic juices.

7. How would people act had Hermione's name came out of the Goblet of fire instead of Harry's or Cedric's? I figure Ron probably would have acted the way he did when Harry's name came out but other than him I really don't know. How would Harry act or Dumbledore (Hermione is one of the few people that could believably be able to think of a way around his age line had she wanted to)?

8. In the last book wearing the locket that contained part of Voldemort's soul caused problems. Why did any of them wear that locket? They knew that the diary managed to posses Ginny so putting the locket on should have been avoided for that reason alone. They could have stuck it in Hermione's bag or something instead of wearing it.

9. The Patronus Charm is a spell that bothered me quite a bit. It is said to be extremely difficult. Harry spent more time learning it than seemingly any other spell and the Wizard court was surprised that he was able to do so. Yet later it becomes seemingly very easy with at least twenty people shown being able to do them. It is stated that it is used to defend against some dark creatures like dementors and can't be used by a person who is dark. No problem with dark creatures being hurt by it but don't get why say death eaters can't cast them since I am sure they have happy memories as well. Harry didn't even use a happy memory. The whole memory of his parents thing didn't really exist since his only true memory of them was his mother's murder. The rest was from the mirror and that was just fantasy and desire.

What really bothers me though is having them used to send messages and lead people around (that and it going from being extremely difficult to not so difficult). If they could do that why hadn't anyone told Harry they could do that when he first learned the spell? Being able to communicate and have it scout places (if it can lead people around it should be able to scout as well) would have been extremely useful, to the point that it would have changed parts of the story had he known.

When this spell was introduced as being able to fight dark creatures and uses positive emotions I thought it would be used against Voldemort (or create a new spell based upon this as its foundation). Voldemort is no longer human; he became a dark creature to the point that 'love' supposedly hurts him (enough to knock him out of Harry's head at least). Using this spell to fight Voldemort would make an extremely large amount of sense since A. Voldemort is a Dark Creature. B. Love is a positive emotion. C. Makes more sense than most of the stuff that did happen in the books.

10. I like stories that deviate from the books at the Goblet of Fire story. Several things do annoy me though. Why use the same tasks so often? If your going to deviate from the original story why not create new tasks just have the person in charge of organizing the tasks chose something else. If the same tasks are used why not have the characters, like say Harry, use different methods more often. I get that each character is a Champion for their school but continuously calling them champions is annoying. I'd like to see them called contenders for the cup more often.

11. How the hell did Wormtail track down Voldemort so fast after being found out as being Ron's pet rat? Over a dozen years Voldemort had been wandering alone without being sought out or found and yet only a few weeks after his secret was revealed Wormtail managed to track him down. Also did Voldemort not know about Peter's animagus form or just never see Scabbers when possessing Quirrell? If he had known why didn't he go to him for help finding the Philosopher's stone?

12. I have read a few fan fics in which some of the characters, such as Hermione and Harry, turn to the dark side. On occasion I like fics in which the characters decide to or are forced to use tactics that are considered dark. Contemplating what actions or situations that would occur to cause them to or what motivations they have which lead them to darkness can be very interesting. I tend to like the gradual fall, in particular when there reasons/motivations for evil actions are good (road to hell is paved with good intentions) or they aren't actually dark but use tactics and actions that are dark to achieve their goals. This does happen a bit in the books given that several light sided characters use unforgivable curses - which evidently are pretty easy to use and get much easier to use the more they are used since Harry was able to use the Cruciatus curse because Carrow spit on McGonagall (I don't really get why he decided to use a pain curse rather than a disabling not painful curse or the mind control curse which he used in the bank).

Some characters are more likely to do so than other characters. Of the characters in Harry Potter I could see a number of them doing so but the two that I find most interesting are Harry and Hermione. I can come up with a number of reasons and situations that could have occurred which could be used to write a fic in which they do so. I can't fathom a realistic situation in which either of them would willingly join Voldemort (outside of doing so to stab him in the back) but can come up with a number of ways that they could be considered and/or become dark. I really like the idea of a dark Hermione and don't like Ron the death eater fics. Ron I could see betraying Harry or Hermione (he does get jealous, is envious, and wants power/attention, amongst other things) but he doesn't have the drive, intellect, or really what it takes to become a dark lord (follower like Peter I could see though).

For Harry I can picture him becoming angry and wanting vengeance for the things that happen to him. Everyone has a breaking point and it is a very sad fact that people will do and go to extreme even completely irrational lengths to get revenge and to protect themselves. He doesn't really have the drive though. He is shown to use the pain curse and the mind control curse in the books.

Hermione going dark is very interesting more so than Harry. She is caring and tries to do good (is good and my favorite character) but she did do things like create a cursed contract (the DA contract), hexed someone for her own or other peoples potential gain (to help Ron get on the team), been reading the books in the restricted section (for example the book with the polyjuice potion recipe), stole (for example the ingredients for the polyjuice), blackmailed someone (Rita the reporter), kidnapped someone (Rita), erased/altered peoples memories (her parents), sent spells at people in anger (like the birds at Ron) and lied in the books (she lied/told half truths/left out info so people would draw the wrong conclusion/etc fairly often actually so I really don't get why so many fics state that she doesn't do so)- most of which was done in the last few books that I didn't really like that much. She was picked on, insulted, called things like mudblood, and had a hard time when she fist came to Hogwarts before befriending Harry and Ron (more so Harry since Ron was one of the ones that picked on her until the point she cried) that could have eventually led to resentment and hatred. Though really it is her desire for knowledge and her drive that I see leading her on the path to darkness. I can easily see her reading a book that corrupts her (considering that we are shown a book that possesses someone and evil books are mentioned to exist this is extremely possible though I'm thinking more about the knowledge itself corrupting her) or that she learns via books or somewhere else something that turns her moral compass gray. People have done some terrible things on the quest for knowledge and she seems like a person who would desire knowledge or would champion a cause to the degree that she'd rationalize her actions on the quest for it. Her fall into darkness likely would be gradual though and probably be far more terrible than what the other characters would likely do if they turned dark. Harry would most likely be angry and kill people he is not a person that does much planning, Ron would do so to save himself or for his own personal gain but is a bit too cowardly and lacking in the desire to learn things to become too terrible, Hermione though has the intellect, drive, ability to plan, create spells, and ability to rationalize (for example she did so when she stole ingredients, breaking rules, lying) her own actions to become far worse than probably any of the characters including Voldemort (he's far too reliant on the unforgivables and is not very imaginative).

13. I have been told that fan stories that contain Harry acquiring slaves for some reason are fairly common (there was some kind of challenge or something). I have not read or seen very many of these. I find the idea interesting. What interests me the most about this type of fic is the potential cultural clashes between wizarding society and the non-magical society (muggle). I would like to see more of the cultural clash than what is usually displayed in fics or the books. That the wizarding world still has laws allowing for slavery or the option to duel someone to solve your problems makes a significant amount of sense to me. Sure dueling and slavery are outlawed in the real world at this time but just a few generations ago that was not true (and while outlawed it still happens there are currently millions of people in slavery and a few duels to the death are reported every year). There are many reasons as to why I could find this way of thinking still being part of the wizarding world. The two main reasons are the pure-blood agenda with them not viewing muggles as human (hell I wouldn't be surprised if they viewed muggles below house elves since house elves can at least do magic). The second reason is because magic users live a lot longer than non-magic users with the separation between the magical world and non-magical world occurred at a time when these types of things were not only allowed they were fairly common. Since wizards/witches have a longer life spans than muggles those in the government and in charge of things could have been in office for say a hundred years and are extremely slow to change things particularly if it is in their advantage to not change things. In the books the political/judicial/media system was pretty bad and corrupt. A class system also existed: Pure-bloods, Half-bloods, Mudbloods, Squibs, and Muggles (though the main characters didn't really care about or accept that it existed but I would bet that businesses and many people would particularly if the pure-bloods control the majority of power).

There is a lot of interesting ways in which to view the wizarding world clashing with modern society's views about things. It seems to me that wizarding society would be a much more stagnant culture far less adapt at changing since they have less reason to invent new things, access to less people in which to figure things out, and live much longer and likely to become set in their ways. Their society, at least the pure-bloods, seems to have much less taboos about inbreeding from what I have been told (I don't actually remember that from the books but I was told by someone that the Gaunts and the Blacks had close inbreeding for generations - they state that Rowling said that for the Gaunts and the Blacks family tree showed it for them).

14. In the third task of the triwizard tournament could they have flown over the maze or burned it down? The tasks really aren't that interesting for viewers. That is one way to change things for a fic, have the organizers realize that the tasks other than the dragon really are not that interesting for spectators.

15. Ron being a tactical genius in fics because of his chess skills bothers me. Yes he is good at chess, though really how good is unknown since we don't see him play against chess-masters only fellow students, but that is not a good enough reason in my mind to have him be a tactical genius leading a large group of people. Chess is played by rules and the right combination of moves to counter moves can be memorized. He doesn't seem to have a good enough grasp of psychology, awareness of what's going on around him, or show much strategy outside of chess (he also doesn't plan ahead much tending to wait until the last minute).

16. Harry is supposed to be very good at defense against dark arts but the books don't really do a very good job of displaying that. His battle tactics could use some work with his favorite spells being Expelliarmus and Lumos. I'd like to have seen him make creative use of say first year spells like the fire creating spell or the levitation charm both seem to me like they'd be very useful in combat (smoke and fire make good distractions if nothing else and levitating things seems like it would be very useful against attacks like the killing curse which can be blocked by objects).

17. The underage magic tracking was very inconsistent in the books. Hermione had done spells prior to Hogwarts like the spell to fix Harry's glasses so why didn't Hermione get warned about underage magic? Harry got a warning because magic was used in his house by Dobby who was an elf but all other times his magic went undetected. Tonks did spells in Harry's room yet no letter was sent even though since spells are monitored by location her spells should have been blamed on Harry.

18. Harry being extremely fit (or Wizards in general) is another annoying thing from fics. Wizards use magic or have elves do things for them so are not likely to be very physically fit and quidditch does not seem like a sport that will give a person lots of muscles.

19. Magic does not seem to be very good at dealing with physical appearance or hiding ugliness. It does not seem to be able to do eye repair, hair restoration, restore completely severed limbs, remove fat, and what dental work exists must be very limited. If it could fix eyes why do wizards like Harry Potter and Dumbledore wear glasses? If good dental work can be done by magic why is poor and ugly teeth (such as yellowed) mentioned? If limbs can be restored why does a wizard with a peg leg not have the limb restored? If magic could be used to reduce fat and being fat is considered unwanted why are some wizards/witches mentioned as being fat (this could be a cultural thing since thin was not always the standard of beauty)? Why would a witch choose to be an ugly hag if magic can make them pretty?

20. If the Dursley's dislike Harry Potter and magic why did they go to the degree they did to keep him from going to Hogwarts? I would think that they'd have been happy to send the reply letter which would have him be away for at least 10 months of the year. Why did they send him any Christmas gifts (They sent him some really crappy things but still why send anything at all)? The only thing I can come up with is that they really, really hate him and want to cause him pain but why would they hate him as much as they do?

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