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Harry Potter is a shit series.
Now, growing up my mother read the series to both of my older sisters, and I sat in on a few of the readings, leaving before the first book was finished. It was only until the Deathly Hallows Part 2 came out that I wanted to see what all the hype was about. And I enjoyed it. I watched all the movies, and read all the books. I hyped it up, I ran with it. I wanted to be Harry Potter and go to Hogwarts just like everyone else did. I memorized all the pseudo-Latin spells, and Avada all of my friend's Kadavera's. I loved the world JK Rowling created. The world of Harry Potter, was amazing. But the book series isn't about that world, it just takes place in the world. If it was about the world, JK wouldn't have made the main setting in a school. She would have let the characters branch off into quests, like so many other world-building books do. But she didn't. She stuck her characters in a stationary building for 90 percent of the whole story line, only letting them go out if that was what the plot needed.
Speaking of plot, any avid fan will know that JK had sat down and plotted the whole series out from book one to book seven. Maybe not every little fact, but she had a lot of it down. I'm not saying planning was her issue with the Harry Potter series. On contrary, a little plan to put up goals and direction, like a map, never hurt anyone. Over planning, however does. Because she might have had all the plot spelled out, but the problem was she stuck to the plan. She wanted her characters to go left, and forced them too.
This is not good writing, and this is were her books suffer. There is no character development. The only growth in the characters is that they age, and act the age they are. When Harry is eleven, he acts like an awe-struck, naive eleven year old who has never seen, or heard about magic. Which is ok, because that is what he is. But after book one, he's been around magic for a whole school year. Knows enough about it to pass the first year, and understand what happened to some degree when he re-killed Voldemort at the end of book one. Which, given any eleven year old worth anything, should be flipping their shit with some sort of 'My god, I just killed someone with my own bare hands' moment. And should have at least been a sore spot to talk about, evil man-monster or not. But no, not even in the books, is Harry Potter phased by this.
You know what he is phased by in book two? Magic—still. This kid, a less naive, twelve-year-old shit, is still awestruck, and confused about magic. He is literally a wizard. And every time something magical happens, he's still freaking is like "Wow, didn't know magic could do that." I don't know about you, but when I was little, before I turned eleven. I had the basic understanding that magic could do whatever the heck you wanted it to do. But little Harry Potter, who has had a year of learning magic, and understanding that yes, he is a wizard. Could not think outside of the pages in the book. Most series will allude the audience into some 'off-screen' happenings, and understandings in characters. Or at least some sub-textual growth past the first book. But Harry Potter can only have the planned out life of JK Rowling. He should have been far more scared having almost died at age TWELVE then he was. Because Tom Riddle would have killed Harry, if not the two sentence explanation of 'Phoenix tears cures ALL'. Which is only used at this point, and never again in the series, which just goes to show you that it was a plotty plot device JK used, because she wanted an intense scene with none of the drawbacks. It was a cop-out, and I'm calling her out on it.
Let's continue shall we? So a thirteen year old, who was told was almost killed as a baby, kills a man, and almost dies via magic snake-bite. Has been going to wizarding school for two years, and his a wizard himself has the characteristics of a thirteen year old, who for the first time, wanders how 'magic can even do that.' But this book has a few new characters. Honestly, I liked book three. It wasn't the same old Voldemort story. Gave a little more background and character to Harry's parents, who at this point only were described as Harry's dead parents. It finally shows that JK does understand character development. But not in her own doing. She makes the fans connect the dots of 'James and friends were bad and bullies and shat on everyone' with the fact that James got Lily, fought against Voldemort. And I'm pretty sure there was a line or two that Sirius or Remus spits out about their regrets or something like that. The character development doesn't happen on the pages. So, really JK just understands that people grow up. Then time-travel to make the book two-times longer. Time-travel they never use again, so it also is a cop-out plot device. And Harry goes back home to his shitty family.
Book four, where no one believes Harry, there's a bunch of trials, and no one likes Harry, because Harry is a stupid freshmen, er, fourteen year old, and thinks he's too great for everyone. But he's Harry Potter, so he can't think like that (plus he's still wide-eyed about magic. Like give it a break man. You aren't the only one who hadn't been in the know of magic all your life, but you aren't seeing Hermione, or Dean Thomas or any other muggle-born all flustered about shit) No, JK has to push all the bad 'Fourteen year old' traits onto Ron, who honestly is the best character most of the time. He's the comic relief, and JK made that clear in the beginning. Comic relief characters should never be given to much of an angst/broody arc, because then it makes everything less appealing. They are causing the tense atmosphere, when their whole job is to be lifting it. It's why book four is such an awkward read. Ron's self-hatred arc was so left field from his character. Sure he wanted to be better than his Mormon-sized family, but not enough to take it out on his only friend. But this is the plot thing I was telling you about. JK wanted Ron to have a brood-feast. And forced it. She didn't treat Ron's character like a real life person. She made Ron to have thoughts and feelings not of her own, and not of her life-style. It is the challenge of an author to let the character make their own decision. If JK looked back on all the choices Ron had made in book 1-4, she would have known, that she couldn't drag out the brood feast for more than a page. Once Harry had explained to Ron that he hadn't put his name in the goblet. Ron, like Ron had done all in the past, would have been there for his friend. He would not have acted like a drunk ass-hole through most of the book.
Book five is also one of my favorites. Only because you see a tiny sparkle of character development. Harry is finally understanding that he too is a wizard, and can do wizard things. I just fucking hate how nothing phases this kid. Sure he was a little messed up, FINALLY, with Cedric's death. But it really only was brought up when talking about Voldemort. Like, the guy died. How are the Hufflepuffs doing? He was their friend? JK made a World-building series, but strapped it to three kids as if it were a character-driven story. It clearly is not. You couldn't taken even a chapter out to show the effects of the Hufflepuffs? I know more about the Raven Claws than the poor Hufflepuffs, and the Hufflepuffs actually had a character that was a plot-device for a WHOLE BOOK. Luna, aka RavenClaw plot-device, pops up once or twice each book to say some weird-ass shit then disappears like her fucking shoes. Umbridge literally tortures Harry, and he just shrugs it off like some Russian spy who's been training with the Hydra all their lives. That's not how the real life works. That's not even how Harry works. Harry has literally burst into Dumbledore's office for much more petty shit than blood-quills. JK has made Harry burst into Dumbledore's office, because Harry doesn't like Snape. And sure, Dumbledore, aka Plot-device ex machina, is deciding to take the back seat in this shit-show right now. I do not believe that he is just letting this woman abuse his students like this. Or that any government official would allow a woman to harm children like this. You can not tell me not one of those kids in all of Hogwarts didn't send their parents a letter, or something telling them of how mean, and bat-shit Umbridge has been to them. And that not one of those parents thought about complaining to the ministry of magic. If anything, Umbridge should have been fired from parent complaints alone. But since the Parents do not play apart in the pages of Harry Potter, they do not exsist. And yes, I do know, sometimes you have to over look some realistic reactions to get the story across without going through fifty-thousand words of counter-attacks and loopholes. And I know about the whole 'Umbridge lock down' later in the books, but that only happens about half-way through. But there is still the first half of Kids sending letters to parents. And then Umbridge's plot-device of making Harry's life a horrible mess, only for him to shrug off, is complete and we don't get to see her until she's being a dictator at the ministry in book seven. Then JK kills off the best character, and thinks everyone will be okay with that shit. No. Prophecy that never really needed to be in the books, but I guess had to be because HARRY IS SPECIAL couldn't be spelled out enough. Like, he's already the main character, we get it. It would have been more interesting if Harry didn't have a prophecy. Just Voldemort was out killing the OG Order of the Phoenix, tracked down Lily and James, and just so happened to also try to kill Harry, which failed because...mother's love? What? Lily couldn't be the first mom to try and protect her child in this whole holocaust-y war going on. So, maybe a higher being of prophecy and all did need to step in to make this shit make sense.
On to book six. If you haven't got the idea yet, but Harry is an unphased sixteen year old, angsty piece of absolute shit, who is still amazed at magic, even though he's been learning about it since he was eleven. And don't try to convince me he hasn't learned anything because he was stopping Voldemort. Voldemort-schemes happen at a polite 'end of year' time frame, because even Voldemort has respect for education of the younger generation. Sure his build up happens all year, but can investigated at after-school/break-time hours. It is highly generous of him. JK wants to give Harry a love interest, and instead of sticking with Cho Chang, who is actually giving Harry a bit of her time. JK decides to one-eighty us with some awkward twilight-y love triangle, with Harry being the Jacob in this situation, and Ginny being the Belle. Like Ginny already expressed she was over Harry, and wanted to move one. Harry can't just press the back-button and realize he wants to be with Ginny for some weird, out of the blue reason. It would have made more sense to keep Harry out of the dating games. He is already busy with school, and almost dying every year. He can barely focus on school because of Voldemort everywhere, but for some reason he thinks he has enough time to bother with Ginny and her boyfriend. Sure. I get the appeal of having a large book, but sometimes less is more, ya' know? Especially if you can't put things in organically. It's when a lot of the theories of Love-potion Ginny comes from. What else is wrong with book six? Snape is an asshole as ever. There was that thing with Draco, but I'll write more about Draco a different time. Snape was an utter douche bag, but he always is.
AND then Book seven. Oh, where to start. So JK knew she was leading up to a war. But instead of spacing out a few more details of getting things figured out and situated with the horcruxes and learning about Voldemort's past. She shoves them into the last bit of book six, and this one. So the reader is subjected to information overload of characters we should have been knowing about since book one, but was given 'look it's magic' thought the whole series. And JK is reaping what she sowed, which was nothing, so she's put into over-exposition time. Harry gets no character development. Honestly, the whole 'deathly hallows' is confusing. If it was alluded to in the other SIX BOOKS it would have made a lot more sense. Like, JK says she planned out the series. An author plans out their stories to give hints and foreshadowing to future events. Maybe if the deathly hallow tale was first read in the first or second book, and referenced a bit in the other books, it would be great. But all we get are side-quests like some poorly made RPG the first six books. I guess Flamel is mentioned a bit in the last book, and you get a little shout out to the basilisks, and a Griffondor sword cameo. But the whole Deathly Hallows thing is literally the end game here, and we are only learning about it in the end game. That's not how end-games work. And then the 'plot-twist' that has everyone so gasping for breath. It's not a plot twist, more of a plot whiplash. Snape cared still loved Lily, and everything he did was for her. I hate it. It would have made Snape a much better character with this whole scene just cut out. Sure, in theory it was cute, and character saving. In practice, it makes Snape look like a crazed, stalker who couldn't let go and became a sad, sad man. One that bullied the child of the woman he loved, because that child looked like his father. Snape's whole character is him not letting go. He can't let go that he was bullied. He can't let go that he didn't get the girl. And he pushes it onto a child, because Snape is a sad, sad man, who should not be around children. He was an ACTUAL DEATH EATER before going to Dumbledore and saying 'sorry, my bad.' He was an actual murderer, but because he still obsessed about a dead woman we barely even know, that is alright in our books. But I concede, this isn't a 'I hate Snape-sympathizer' rant.
And the finally, the big fight. JK has killed off characters in some gruesome ways. Dumbledore falls to his death, there's a lot of magic-word/light show deaths. And even some hand-touch disintegration deaths. What does the main villain of this move get? Zapped and peacefully turned into paper in the wind? Not even a sword stab? Isn't Voldemort himself a Horcrux at this moment since he isn't in his original body, but his sole was but into the disgusting baby-thing in book four? Shouldn't he be stabbed in the back with the Griffondor sword? Something? Anything? A little 'Avada Kadavera' payback. No he get's "Stupified" and dies. I might remind you all that "Stupify" only stuns a person. It's like a taser, it doesn't kill. But this time, for plot reasons, it does.
Then JK can't even let her characters have their own life after Voldemort, because she shoves in an epilogue no one needs, or wants. If she kept the end of the last chapter and ended the book with it. It would have been fine. But then she has to two in this '20 years later' bullshit. Leaving the readers wanting more of characters she'll never give us. Only to turn around, and hand to public a fan fiction. On of which doesn't make any sense. There are a million better fan fictions all over the web, that turn the Harry Potter Series into something much better than it currently is, expanding on points JK didn't think she had to write, developing characters and explaining things that should have already been explained, and actually made sense with the given literature. But the Cursed Child is so all over the place, that is was just a poorly done fan-service that holds no ground.
So why is Harry Potter so big? It can't be because they were particularly good books, both now-me and younger-me agreed on that. The movies were ok, but even then it suffered from a lot of what the books suffered from, and even more because they were missing a lot of good the books did have. I get that JK built a magical world with bright colors, and made enough books to make it stick. But a lot of books make a lot of magical worlds. Some far better than Harry Potter or any of the mainstream magic books. And it's not like JK made a whole NEW world with her stories, she just made a secret community of magic in this world. Something everyone does. The Hogwarts houses are a big thing, but she really only focuses on Griffondor, repeatedly called Slitherns 'all evil', Raven Claw is represented by a crazy-chick and Hufflepuff a dead dude. The world JK built is so half-built, and her characters barely developed into more than just plot devices, a plot of which has so many holes in it that can't even be blamed on the character's decisions, because it's so clear that she was pulling ever last string until it hurt. There's nothing new about her books, just your average prophecy/war/wizard/slice-of-life mash up in a school. Nothing progressive, and barely any diversity to make everyone flock to it. It's definitely not a literary masterpiece, with little to no fancy English-class structure and form. It is a book for entertainment, and yeah it is pretty entertaining, other than picking it apart to memorize each spell, and try to piece together a culture, I wouldn't read it again.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't like Harry Potter. But you shouldn't blindly accept it as this master piece. I've read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It took me almost nine months to get through it, and I've grown as a person reading that one book. It's about the size of Book two of Harry Potter. I can read the Harry Potter series in two weeks, and not learn a thing about anything. Other than the blatant Nazi parallels in Voldemort and the currupt government statements of the book. I can't say I connect anything with the books. I can get my fill of Nazi parallels from 93 percent of today's media. Heck, Steven Universe, a child's cartoon, is filled with Nazi parallels. And if I wanted corrupt government I'd reread 1984. But people aren't reading Frankenstein, or 1984, or even branching off from Harry Potter, because it is so hyped, and so revered as this masterpiece an read-all/end-all of books. It's not. It's a good read for entertainment value, but that's about it. And I know I keep throwing around 'Masterpiece' a lot, making it out like everyone thinks this series is a gold mine. It's just hte way the media and everyone is eating it all up, and for so long. You'd think it was equal to a Shakespearean play.
I will probably come back and say some more, but for right now, this is all I got. —LoCay