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Friday, September 14, 2007

Emerging from Potterland

Putting it to rest --

So I finished the first Harry Potter book. As I'd previously mentioned, once Harry got to the atrociously named Hogwarts Academy -- hell, once he was even on the train -- the book's narrative got much more interesting. I won't say it ever managed to hurtle the twin bars of being either (a) actually well written or (b) truly enjoyable, but still, there was a lot of stuff going on to keep a reader intrigued (kind of like pretty fireworks will always hold the attention of any primate in line of sight), and the sudden advent of a great many characters who weren't those odious Dursleys was like abruptly toppling into a pool of cool clear water after a week crawling through a gigantic, half full box of powdered laundry soap.

I got all the way to the end, and somewhere around the last page, I felt a brief but nearly overwhelming impulse to continue on reading the damned series. But Rowland continued her narrative past whatever sentence or paragraph it was that had nearly hooked me, allowing me to recall just how appallingly packed from end to end, side to side, and top to bottom the first installment had been with utter, mindboggling stupidity -- ineptly coined names like 'Hogwarts' and 'Dumbledore', a magical message system entirely dependent on goddam birds, fucking flying BROOMS for the love of Christ, pointy hats and dumbass robes and holy jesus everybody has a magic WAND have you lost your fucking MIND and every other utterly moronically contrived feature of the goddam 'wizarding world' that there is no explanation offered for because, you know, there is simply no possible explanation for any of this horseshit at all except "J.K. Rowland thought it was a cool idea at the time" (and she was SOOOO UNBELIEVABLY WRONG, if being wrong was a crime, she'd be in maximum security solitary confinement for not only the rest of her life, but for as long as anyone who has ever read her books remained alive, as well), and, oh my GOD, the insane, deranged, completely brain bending stupidity that is Quidditch -- I mean, are you KIDDING ME? How many people would fall off their (goddam idiotic fucking retarded) flying broomsticks and DIE in every single Quidditch match if anyone ever really tried to do something like this? Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME???

And I still can't get over Hagrid's rather matter of fact explanation as to why the existence of the entire 'wizarding world' is kept secret from the Muggles -- because otherwise, Muggles would expect magical solutions to all their problems. Which is pretty much like saying, if 10% of the population had access to advanced technology that could cure all disease, end all war, and otherwise eliminate all material want, that technology should be kept secret from the other 90% of humanity, because, you know, otherwise they'd want that technology used for their benefit, too.

All of that came rushing back, right around the time Harry was vowing to use his new magical powers to make Dudley miserable all summer. And I decided I didn't really need to read any more, after all.

One further note -- it's extremely difficult for me to accept that anyone as beloved of the entire 'wizarding world' as Harry Potter is, would be allowed to be raised in an environment as emotionally abusive as the Dursley home. I mean, you're wizards, you can do all this amazing shit (with BROOMS! and MAGIC WANDS! arrrrrggggghhhhhh) you love this kid beyond all sanity or reason, Voldemort has apparently died or gone into hiding somewhere, and you have no respect whatsoever for Muggle laws or Muggle customs -- and yet, you let the Dursleys treat Harry like dogshit for ten years? (Yeah, I'm talking to YOU, Dumbledore -- hang your head in shame, cocksucker).

Difficult though it is for me to accept that state of events, however, it is absolutely impossible for me to believe that Harry could have come out of that formative experience with anything like the personality Rowling describes him as having. This kid has spent his entire life up through the age of 11 without the slightest shred of affection or approval, being locked up in closets, beaten up, slapped around, berated, humiliated, degraded, and neglected, the last of which is the best he can ever hope for. This poor little bastard has lived in hell every minute of every day for the first ten years of his life, and you're telling me that a gigantic hairy guy with a magic umbrella shows up one day, and suddenly, Harry becomes this sweet lovable affectionate noble courageous heroic emotionally well balanced and mentally healthy kid?

There's no fucking way. Realistically, the first book in this series should have been titled Harry Potter, Very Nearly A Serial Killer; swear to God, this poor little prick would have been torturing every cat he could get his hands on since he was six years old. Give Harry Potter, Boy Sociopath a magic wand and show him how to use it, and as soon as he gets a chance, he's going to be walking around downtown London blasting random passersby into cinders and giggling hysterically while he does it.

AFTER he turns the entire Dursley family into Monterey Jack and runs them through a gigantic magical cheese slicer, I mean.

Anyway. Maybe the series does get better, at some point, but it's going to have to do it without me. I'm done.

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