Some time ago the bulk of the first iteration of this essay was moved over into the ‘Post-Mortem’ essay in which I try, as much as possible, to confine myself to examining the writing as writing. This particular article is the one in which I attempt to examine the writing as story.
There are just far too many places where the story simply does not hold together.
Not that this is confined to DHs. We already had all kinds of bits of story which didn’t add up before Rowling even told us what the final book in the series was going to be called.
Quite a few of the ones here get raked over in some of the other essays in the collection as well. But I think they need a bit closer examination here. Including a couple of Rowling’s unkept promises.
Such as: from an early interview there was a statement made that we should expect to discover that Harry’s parents’ line of work was “important”. We did indeed expect to do so. We did not, however, ever discover any such thing.
Once HBP came out, I was already beginning to doubt that we would discover anything of the sort. Although I was still inclined to hedge my bets. It’s obvious that a number of bits of information had been deliberately kept back for the last book. And that could have turned out to be one of them. Certainly in regards to Lily. We’d been tacitly promised another bombshell there. Mainly by the narrative having concentrated so steadily on James, until Horace Slughorn turned up and rhapsodized about Lily’s skill in Potions for an entire book.
In the event though, we never heard a peep as to the Potters having ever done anything that was of any importance whatsoever. Apart from having a baby, and dying.
In fact, over the course of the last couple of books, the Potters (both of them) have been reduced to a pair of snotty, stuck-up, useless young berks. Rowling has since bounced a rather silly plot bunny at us concerning alleged activities of James and Sirius outside of Hogwarts. Which I refuse to adopt, and which was never mentioned in the books, nor does it add up to anything we had been told there. The most that can be said is that it does not absolutely contradict anything obvious.
Ultimately “What the Potters did” is simply not in the series at all.
I had considered it possible that while Rowling still had her main plot outline, this issue was something out on a secondary thread that had been snipped, like the Weasley cousin. We might have still discovered what James, or Lily did for a living (it now appears that Petunia was absolutely right, and they were both unemployed). But I doubted that this information would turn out to be anything that would be required for solving the problems which we knew had been set for the last installment of the adventure.
Second: we have myriad timeline glitches. Such as Albus’s perishing “11 years”. Dumbledore makes this statement toward the end of the first chapter of PS/SS in response to Minerva’s fussing over the excessive jubilation attendant upon the fall of the Dark Lord. He points out that “We’ve had precious little to celebrate for eleven years.” He goes on to underline the matter by stating on the following page that for eleven years he has been trying to persuade people to call He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named by his proper name; Voldemort.
Never mind that his proper name is “Tom Riddle”, a fact that Albus is perfectly well aware of. A fact which we don’t discover until the end of Book 2. In retrospect this ought really to have served as a warning that the author had little concern for the veracity of the information she would feed us, both on or off the page.
Timelines, however are a mess of a whole different magnitude, and one that I’m not going to go into here. But the fact that they are such a completely useless bundle of contradictions is a damning indictment against an author who attempts to pretend that this is creating a viable backstory.
Particularly not for a story in which two thirds of the motivations are all anchored at least a generation earlier. If not more.
The fact is that Rowling has made a habit of sketching in matters related to both her foreground and her background with a lot of vague sweeping pronouncements, and leaving it to the reader to draw all of the connections.
Which is tantamount to expecting the reader to shoulder the job of actually writing the book. And then, as it turned out, taking pot-shots at his efforts.
• • • •
A great deal more damning is the fact that by the time she made to the end, she was not merely telling the reader what to think, but had managed to undermine her entire set-up of why Harry Potter ever had to live with the Dursleys at all.
The gibberish about Harry’s mastery of the Elder wand is bad enough, and has its own article in this collection (‘The Power He “Knows Not”’). Her “explanation” for that one serves as a grand demonstration of straining at gnats and swallowing camels.
But Albus Dumbledore “Explaining It All” in the Celestial King’s Cross station outdoes that in a walk. It manages to completely disembowel her whole premise of the Magical Maternal Sacrificial Magic™ which presumably has kept Harry alive since Voldemort originally attacked him, and *required* that he live with the Dursleys in order to maintain it.
This premise dates all the way back to the beginning of the series and had been a continuing motif. But now, the whole line of reasoning is revealed to have been every bit as bogus as a wide selection of the fandom has always called it. Rendering the whole “Harry must live with the Dursleys to be protected from Voldemort” into a completely artificial source of conflict. and Albus’s insistence that he do so starts looking like something other than merely insensitive.
This goes beyond merely rendering it into balognium. This is a poison pill.
Back at the opening of HBP, Rowling made a great to-do about how this sacrificial protection would eventually end when Harry came of age. Indeed, Dumbledore made a point of extracting an agreement from the Dursleys to continue to give him house room until he turned 17.
She continued to beat this particular drum at the opening of DHs with the Order making elaborate plans to move Harry to some other protected area before the sacrificial magic ran out. Which resulted in the 7 Potters escape from Privet Drive debacle.
Presumably, by the time of his birthday party at the Weasleys’ this particular magical protection was no longer a part of his arsenal.
Well, no, not so much. Not according to Albus in the Celestial King’s Cross Station. If I may quote:
“He took your blood, believing it would strengthen him. He took into his body a tiny part of the enchantments your mother laid upon you when she died for you. His body keeps her sacrifice alive, and while that enchantment survives, so do you and so does Voldemort’s last hope for himself.”
So, effectively, the “blood sacrifice” which allegedly protected Harry has actually been ineffective against Voldemort since the end of GoF, if it ever existed at all?
And yet it’s still protecting Harry because Voldemort appropriated a piece of it and is harboring it himself?
And furthermore, while Harry is now of age and no longer can draw upon magical mystical maternal sacrificial booga-booga himself, it is still in effect because a little bit of it is being stored remotely by Voldemort? Presumably only because Voldemort took that blood sample before Harry came of age?
Voldemort is certainly not underage. Lily wasn’t his mother. Why would it apply to him at all?
Does that work anything like a Horcrux? Or, more to the point, a Harrycrux?
It rather sounds like it.
And Rowling seriously expects me to believe this?
It would have been far simpler, and far less damaging to the entire canon, for Albus to have simply told Harry that he was still alive because you cannot kill two separate entities with one AK.
And that much I will continue to maintain.
And clearly I am not wrong.
Trying to hang everything that ever happens (or doesn’t happen) in the series on a mystical maternal sacrificial protection which is apparently without any constraints or limits, renders it into an all-purpose excuse which exceeds any allowable balognium limit that the reader should ever be expected to swallow.
• • • •
Even with all of the screwiness and contradictions which we got in HBP, once Rowling left us alone with it for a couple of years, to look at it from different angles, and to chew on it, and to digest it a bit, many of us managed to sort what we had out into various configurations that just about made sense.
But then she dropped DHs on us. From a great height. And our list of things to quibble over expanded exponentially.
And, more than a decade further down the track, DHs is still all but completely indigestible. There is next to no nutritional value there.
I think that if Rowling had deliberately sat down and asked herself; “Now. How many of my previously-stated ‘rules’ can I break in the course of this one book, just to wind people up?” she could have hardly bettered her performance.
I’m not going to go into the characters, who suddenly started acting either like aliens to themselves, or like cartoons. Or to fret unduly about why the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy of 1692 is suddenly moved back to 1689. But it rapidly becomes evident that there is something seriously off about the caliber of the underlying reasoning deployed to deliver the story. And all sorts of things that have suddenly been sprung upon us seem to have been abruptly sprung upon us to no purpose.
• • • •
For example: why the hell didn’t we know who Charity Burbage even was? Hermione sat in her class all through Year 3. Rowling couldn’t once have dropped the name; “Professor Burbage” in passing, so we might have at least remembered it, and the woman wouldn’t have come across as a complete redshirt?
This is the kind of thing that convinces me that Rowling doesn’t have a scrap of respect for her characters and doesn’t give a damn about any of them. They’re all just little Imperiused puppets to her.
And then there is the skewed logic that doesn’t even seem to try to hold together.
Example: that whole “exciting” decoy flight from #4 Privet drive was supposedly forced upon us because with the suspected infiltration of the Ministry, if Potter had used the Floo network or Apparated, the Ministry (and the infiltrating DEs) would “have him”. We are directly informed of this.
In Chapter 11, however, we are told — just as directly — that it is impossible to track someone who has Apparated unless you grab hold of them as they do it without their knowing. Or in other words you can only track a Disapparating wizard by latching on and following him, side-along. (And taking a major risk of splinching since he isn’t preparing to Apparate you.)
This was transparently inserted to set us up for the fact that eventually one of the DEs would do exactly that and force the trio out of their hideaway at #12.
Only, now it raises the question of why Harry couldn’t have Apparated side-along to the Weasleys’ with an Order member from some other location. Mrs Figg’s house perhaps. No one could have grabbed hold of them to track them there. Not unless there was a DE in an invisibility cloak hiding in her sitting room. Or one of them is a cat Animagus.
And besides. It’s portkeys that the Ministry authorizes. And monitors the Floo. The Ministry issues Apparition licenses, but it doesn’t oversee Apparition.
Although when you consider; Magical reversal squads supposedly are alerted in the case of splinching. Or are they? Why didn’t a magical reversal squad respond to Ron’s splinching?
Or, hell, if they are tracking Apparitions, why haven’t significantly large groups of people all Apparating to the same place been monitored to lead the DMLE to the site of DE meetings?
For that matter why couldn’t Harry have simply left with the Dursleys, when the Dursleys did, and gone with them to a neutral point somewhere well away from #4, been dropped off, and then side-alonged with someone else? If it was safe for them why wouldn’t it be safe for him? I seriously doubt that anyone sitting in a Ministry office could be able to tell who is being side-alonged when someone else is Apparating. Even if there is a master log of Apparitions.
And if there is, why didn’t anyone ever compare it with the dates of the DE’s known activities in the past? Presumably, if there is such a log, the log records who is doing the Apparating by name? At least from departure point. Which might be helpful if said departure point is a crime scene. And if it records destination, why didn’t someone send Aurors to the identified site to arrest them?
It’s all a piece of fake tension produced by fake reasoning.
• • • •
At most, Thicknesse only was having #4 itself remotely monitored. Harry could have gotten away from there easily enough. That whole trip wasn’t necessary. It was as illogical and contrived and poorly planned as something I would expect from a fanficer who was still in Middle School. And a lot of fanficers in Middle School could have come up with something a good deal more convincing.
It was a big flashy production number, “written for the movies,” and inserted to try to make the reader think the story was exciting.
While we’re at it, why not send Hedwig off the day before, with an innocuous letter to the Weasleys to ask them to keep Hedwig until further notice? Get the bird out of the house with a message that would give nothing significant away, one that even if it was intercepted, the DEs would just read and let the bird continue on its way in hopes of intercepting future messages, and eliminate the silliness of half a dozen people escaping from #4 with stuffed birds in cages.
(Answer: since Rowling had nothing for the bird to do in this story, she had to either kill her on stage, or make other arrangements. She decided could manage some additional cheap tear-jerking by killing her. Why couldn’t Hedwig have earned her keep at the Weasleys’? I doubt that poor old Errol is still around. For that matter, why couldn’t Ginny take Hedwig with her to Hogwarts?)
And so long as we still are escaping from Privet Drive: we were told years ago in ‘Quidditch Through the Ages’ that there is no spell or charm which will enable a wizard to fly unassisted. And yet during the escape, we see Tom Riddle swooping around like Superman. What’s up with that?
No. I’m sorry. I just don’t believe it.
To say nothing of Harry Potter and His Amazing Auto-Wand, which more properly belongs in the second of the balognium essays.
(Or the grazing Thestral. We know Thestrals like fresh meat, but they also were foraging in rubbish bins in London. They probably eat anything. A pity that Hagrid, who used them for a lesson, didn’t bother to tell us so. Still, a creature with fangs is not really likely to graze.)
• • • •
We are also expected to believe that the Harry who mended Demelza Roberts’s split lip from a collision in Quidditch practice without problems in HBP suddenly doesn’t know how to heal wounds by Chapter 2 in DHs.
Or (all together now) the brilliant Hermione Granger who can rewrite her own parents personal histories and pack them off to Australia by chapter 6, yet claims she doesn’t know any memory spells a handful of chapters later. This is one of the reasons I am convinced the book wasn’t actually edited at all. This would have been an easy fix. She could have truthfully claimed that she didn’t know Obliviate. You don’t create a whole new history for someone with an Obliviate.
• • • •
Plus, we finally had the “Dark wizard Grindelwald” brought up in (well, it’s Skeeter, so you can’t exactly call it polite) conversation. We have now officially even been informed of Albus Dumbledore’s “spectacular” duel with Gellert Grindelwald. It’s about time.
Only; excuse me? A supposed “war” with the Dark wizard who has allegedly conquered most of Eastern Europe is settled in a single, two wizard, one-on-one duel?
You know, I would have thought that he’d have had, oh, something like an army to support him in this so-called war. Am I being unreasonable here?
Is that how wizarding wars are traditionally fought? The two sides each pick a champion and they just duke it out between the two of them? And everyone just agrees to accept the outcome? Nobody on the losing side goes on fighting?
Or had Grindelwald’s bid for world dominance already failed, and it was just that nobody could capture him or convince him to turn himself in?
For five years?
That’s how long people had been begging one of the local High School teachers in Great Britain to come and solve their foreign wars problem for them. Single-handedly, evidently. (What is wrong with this picture?)
I mean, extrapolate that into people nagging McGonagall (whose time at school certainly overlapped Riddle’s before Rowling pulled another; “Ha, ha, fooled you!” and suddenly jettisoned her statement that McGonagall was “a sprightly 70” at the end of GoF, and, out of left field, rewrote Minerva’s history to post on Pottermore retrofitting her a couple of decades younger) to solve their Tom Riddle problem and see how well it plays. The whole concept is just so wrong on so many levels it makes my brain itch.
• • • •
I will have to admit that Rowling did manage to surprise me once in DHs. It was in Chapter 2. And it was a straightforward “Fool me twice, shame on me” moment, too. It was about the last time that anything in the book really surprised me, though.
But I did get suckered into the belief that after Harry had been triumphantly proved to be telling the truth about Voldemort’s return over the course of OotP, that the Ministry would believe him at the end of HBP. The Prophet article with its insinuations that Harry had been seen running from the scene from which Dumbledore had fallen from the tower (before the fall of the Ministry, mind you) yanked the rug right out from under me. Rowling could still do that when she keeps things more or less in scale.
Of course it does raise the question of why no one ever accused Harry of murdering Cedric Diggory over the course of OotP. Which, if Voldemort had supposedly not returned — as the Ministry was claiming — is certainly the first alternative explanation one might have expected people to leap to.
Particularly given that the DADA professor at that point had been teaching all of the Hogwarts students from Year 4 and up about *Unforgivables* all year. And it would certainly have been an easy way to get Harry out of the picture if the Ministry chose to do it. Just bung him into Azkaban for murdering a fellow student and Bob’s your uncle...
Of course that would have brought the whole series to a screeching halt.
• • • •
And next, in Chapter 6, Rowling subjects us to a shabby little attempt to rewrite HBP.
“Dumbledore was sure Riddle already knew how to make a Horcrux by the time he asked Slughorn about them.” Er, no Harry, Albus didn’t tell us — or you — anything of the sort. Or at least not at any point in any conversation to which we were a party. He wasn’t thinking that at the time Tom was asking about it either, although he may have come to that conclusion later. And we certainly never heard him tell you about it.
For that matter, Tom probably had already come across the book on creating a Horcrux before his conversation with Slughorn. But he didn’t come across it in the Hogwarts library.
Rowling clearly either doesn’t remember, or she wants us to forget that she already had Sluggy tell Tom that the subject of Horcruxes was banned by the time Tom was asking him about them, and to not mention their conversation to anyone, accordingly. I know what I’ve read. And I can pick up my copy of HBP and read it again any time I please, because the conversation really is in there. And what Slughorn says is that Tom won’t find any references to Horcruxes in the Hogwarts library because the subject has been banned.
If Slughorn was being truthful in his statement that the subject had been banned, and that Tom would not find any further references to it in the Hogwarts library — and it is difficult to believe that Slughorn would be arbitrarily lying about something that could be so easily proved false — then the whole conversation in DHs of how Tom had managed to get hold of the forbidden book before Albus removed it from the library is completely out in left field.
If the subject of Horcruxes had already been banned by the time Tom was asking about it — which was well before Albus became Headmaster, and Albus really had the authority to remove it from the library himself, then either Albus had ramrodded the issue through despite any protests from Dippett (although why anyone would have raised objections to banning that subject is also debatable, surely it would only really be of use to someone who was trying to destroy one, and you don’t leave that job to schoolchildren — or do you? Albus?), or the whole staff had agreed to the suppression of that subject.
In any event, unless Sluggy is lying, the book had already been removed from the library. Given what we now know about Albus, I certainly wouldn’t have put it beyond him to have removed it and stowed it in the Room of Hidden Things without Dippett’s knowledge. But I don’t seriously think that he would have. I think if he had removed it, he’d have been more likely to have taken it and warded it in his quarters, or some place no one else had access to.
The subject had been banned. The book had been removed. Rowling is trying to cut corners and deny what she has already written, because she seems to have decided that what she had written was now inconvenient. Not for the last time, either.
For that matter; If Albus had successfully agitated to get the subject banned, and this campaign took place before he became Headmaster, then it would not have been Albus, but Professor Dippett upon whose authority the books were removed from the library. And I am not convinced that Dippett would have simply handed them over to Albus for safekeeping. In fact he could hardly have done that if Tom had somehow managed to get hold of them anyway.
I am unsure of just what Rowling meant to accomplish by this attempt to pretend that she had not really written what she clearly did write. Because it would appear to serve no purpose other than to confuse the issue, and to anger those readers who object to being blatantly and disingenuously lied to.
• • • •
Because she did eventually also make a point of giving us the information that Tom had known about the Room of Hidden Things, even if she waited until nearly the end of the book to do it. That information, even given so much later, renders the whole issue of who had managed to get hold of the book when completely unnecessary.
The most obvious line of reasoning is that Albus raised a stink about the subject being accessible to the students. Dippett agreed to this, and banned it, removing any book on the subject to the Room of Hidden Things (he certainly didn’t want them in his office), burying them in there among centuries of other banned subjects and materials. Slughorn told Tom the subject was banned, and Tom, who if he hadn’t found the specific information already, almost certainly already knew about the Room of Hidden Things — having probably charmed the information out of one of the Hogwarts ghosts — went there to collect the references he was looking for. Probably with a simple “Accio”, as Hermione later did. He returned the book(s) when he was finished with them, and some years later when Albus was appointed Headmaster, and had reason to start mulling over what Tom had been up to, he retrieved the books and removed them to his own study where they would be even less likely to be found by a student. By then of course it was already far too late.
Which renders Harry’s claim that Sluggy had not said, what we all can go back and read that he had said, an authorial lie to no purpose whatsoever — other than to make us aware that the author is lying.
• • • •
Another unnecessary issue raised in that particular conversation was to insert the question of how the Diary had managed to possess Ginny, and to extend this principle to all Horcruxes. This added confusion by deliberately complicating an issue which did not require it.
We had already been told in HBP (and had it implied to us several books earlier) that the Diary was designed as a weapon. This ought to have made it unique among Horcruxes. In fact Albus claimed in HBP that the fact that the Diary was designed as a weapon as well as a Horcrux made it particularly disturbing.
But if any Horcrux will reach out and take possession of whoever is in contact with it, then what is so uniquely disturbing about the fact that the Diary reached out and took possession of Ginny Weasley? Isn’t that now just what Horcruxes do?
Not to mention that this makes them much more easily recognizable as Horcruxes. Which is seriously counter-productive if the point is to conceal the fact that you’ve made one.
It all worked much more smoothly when Horcruxes were merely inert safeguards against death, and the Diary was somehow something worse. For one thing that would have not raised the question of whether Dolores Umbridge had been acting under any prompting other than her own general nastiness from being in contact with the Locket over the previous year.
Yes, that’s right. Umbridge had been in contact with the Locket for something like a year. Mundungus Fletcher had stolen it from the house before Harry sent Kreachur off to the Hogwarts kitchens the summer previously. The Diary had eaten up Ginny Weasley within about three months.
We were never given any indication that Umbridge had been possessed. And if Rowling was going to gratuitously raise that possibility it is a question that ought certainly to have at least been asked.
But, no, being in contact with the Locket for a year hadn’t even affected her ability to cast a Patronus.
• • • •
Although in fairness to Rowling, I have to admit that this issue raises some absolutely *fascinating* possibilities related to the question of why Tom Riddle found that he didn’t want to go on wearing the Ring after he turned it into a Horcrux. Particularly when you stop and think of what the stone in that ring was capable of before he gave it an interactive interface.
Tom Riddle doesn’t LIKE to be visited by echoes of the dead, you know. We saw that in the Little Hangleton graveyard...
If Rowling had resisted the impulse, we would have also been spared that incredibly lame replay of Frodo and Sam and the One Ring over the course of the camping trip from Hell. That was something else that was completely unnecessary. And while I am sure that fans of Christopher Lee and Vincent Price heartily enjoyed the little production of “The Last Temptation of Ron B. Weasley”, I will have to admit that I found that to be cheesy and unnecessary as well.
e.g., Isn’t “Return of the King’ the volume of LOTR that Rowling claims she never finished? Maybe if you cannot finish a book it isn’t the best source of elements to lift and insert into your own stories.
• • • •
On the other hand; redesigning the Horcruxes into little cut-rate versions of the One Ring does at least give theorists a clear line of reasoning to extrapolate just how Tom might have come to decide to create the Diary as a weaponized Horcrux. Especially if we can now expect all Horcruxes, or at least all of Tom’s Horcruxes to be similarly “grabby”.
It’s very likely that Tom, who seems to be able to take possession of other living creatures without the need of a spell or a wand, might very well generate Horcruxes that are particularly grabby in such a manner. They are, after all, generated by fragments of *his* soul.
I’ve said for years that the Diary was not one of the originally planned set. Nor was it one of the early ones created. I think it was the 5th of that set. Not created until something like early 1981.
I’d also say that he was given that idea some time, oh, say, around 1979, or early 1980.
After he’d entrusted the Cup to Bellatrix.
Is that part of what’s wrong with Bellatrix? Getting it to turn her loose might have presented a bit of a problem. Tom may have been at least somewhat amused, but I doubt that he’d have welcomed the potential competition. Or at least not coming from Bellatrix.
Once he got her loose from it, she was ordered to put it in her vault and leave it there. Probably with strong enough instructions that even after he disappeared she didn’t dare retrieve it and give it another go.
But if this is the case, that could be the point that he may have decided that this might be a way to get himself into the school, remotely, for some useful mayhem, right under Dumbledore’s crooked nose. (And possibly to eliminate Dumbledore at long-distance.)
I’ll admit that I’d still prefer to reject the One Ring theory of Horcruxes, but if entertained, that variant does at least come bearing a housewarming gift.
• • • •
I’m not sure I buy that Albus deliberately let his legacies to the trio pass through Ministry hands, but I suppose we’ll just have to accept that too. But, really, with both the Hogwarts Staff and the Order at his command, and knowing he was going to be dead by the end of the year, you would think he could have found some rather more trusted messenger.
But of course we then wouldn’t have needed the utter nonsense of learning that the school’s athletic equipment possesses “flesh memory”. How ever would we have coped without knowing that?
• • • •
And of course we all had to wait until all three of the trio were legally adults to learn that wizards have their own children’s tales. She just couldn’t introduce that novel concept in Book 1. Oh nooooo...
• • • •
Which brings us to the wedding.
I will admit that it is rather fun to note that Luna recognized Harry immediately despite the Polyjuice.
From the description, one wonders whether the Weasley’s Aunt Muriel is related to Irma Pince. (One of the people online insisted that Aunt Muriel had shown up at her wedding. This comment was met by the sally that Aunt Muriel shows up at everybody’s wedding.)
*sigh* Maths. Elphias Doge claimed in the obituary he wrote for Albus that he had left on the Grand Tour alone, after Kendra’s funeral, and returned later to find that his friend had sustained another tragedy. Now he is claiming to have attended Ariana’s funeral as well, which was only two months after Kendra’s. Not all that grand a tour after all, eh?
And infodumps galore.
Oh, I get it. Scrimgeour is supposed to be our token example of how a character can be on the right side without being nice. Or even particularly good. As well as being rather hateful. Nice to finally have that clear.
And of course that description couldn’t be just as easily applied to anyone else…
• • • •
Finally! Finally, (even if we aren’t told about it for several more chapters) we get a rational justification for why people might reasonably be reluctant to mention Lord Voldemort by name.
Of course that reason was never valid until the DEs actually took over the Ministry, since he seems to have needed the Ministry’s full resources before he would be able to impose it, and he never seems to have come close to taking over the Ministry during his first rise. But I just guess everyone was getting into practice against the day he would...
Er, Moody? Would you explain to me how subjecting Snape (or anyone else) to a tongue-tying curse is supposed to slow down a master of nonverbal magic? Any master of nonverbal magic? That’s standard sixth year curriculum, after all.
Which reminds me. What happened to nonverbal spellcasting? Wasn’t that supposed to be somehow important? Everyone in this book appears to have forgotten that lesson. They’re all screaming out their spells like a bunch of First Years.
And an Albus-boggart/surrogate seems a very lame security measure.
Also; Moody’s dead. His spells are still working? What is that supposed to tell us?
Maths again? Or a little hint that being dead hasn’t crimped Albus’s style when it comes to lying? Lily’s letter states that James is getting antsy about Albus not having returned his cloak by the time they held Harry’s first birthday tea. At King’s Cross Albus claims to have borrowed it only “a few days” before the Potters were killed.
Or is this just another hint that no one bothered to edit the manuscript at all?
• • • •
Oh ghod, of all the irrational stupidity. It’s small wonder the Black family is all but extinct.
So, let me get this straight: Regulus boasted, in writing, of his intention to destroy the Locket, then suicided (unnecessarily, since it sounds like he didn’t have to die. Kreachur could have taken him home to recover) in a grand gesture, in order to steal it, and made no attempt to destroy it whatsoever. Leaving it up to his House Elf to actually perform that task.
Yup. Sorted too soon, all right.
BTW, haven’t we ever heard of something called a Bubble-Head Charm?
• • • •
And we’ve lost track of the timeline again. Kreachur certainly spoke with “Miss Cissy” back in OotP, but “Miss Bella” was still in Azkaban until after Kreachur had returned to #12. The break-out wasn’t until the end of the Christmas break. And Kreachur had turned up at #12 again before then.
And of course the DEs posted out in the square looking at the house and not seeing it, have shown up because people inside the house have been talking about Voldemort. Nothing to do with Snape at all. (Once Albus was dead, if Snape had told anyone about #12 they would have seen it. Nobody seems to remember that.)
• • • •
The Trace: which evidently cannot be placed upon an adult. So will someone please explain to me why having the Trace — signaling underage magic — go off in the Riddles’ sitting room should send Morfin Gaunt to Azkaban? Morfin is well beyond the age of setting off the Trace. (This one was pointed out to me by a correspondent. Thank you very much.) I guess the Trace somehow wasn’t in use in ’42. Despite it’s being in response to legislation adopted in the 19th century. Or more probably the Trace is on the wand, not the wizard, and Tom used Morfin’s wand. (So why not say so?)
• • • •
And it was at this point, the point that Remus was delivering his infodump on the fall of the Ministry, that I was thrown out of the story completely. I never properly got all the way back in.
“Voldemort is playing a very clever game.”
No he isn’t. There is nothing clever about this pot of bilge.
Political coups simply do not take place in a week without protest.
How stupid does this author think I am?
I flatly don’t believe it. Any of it. That is not what happened.
This is no longer a “story”. This is a dirty lie.
• • • •
Oh, what’s the use?
I don’t believe this book. I don’t want to believe this book. This book is a bloody insult. It isn’t a story, it’s a 759-page “fuck you” note.
It isn’t just a case of the characters all succumbing to idiot plot disease (i.e., the plot only works if someone, or everyone, starts acting like idiots) but that the explanations for what actually happen don’t make sense according to rules which she either already set up, or which are intrinsic to the nature of the elements she chose to use to facilitate it.
Voldemort stuffs a giant snake into a corpse to have it masquerade as an old woman, and the snake is able to make the corpse walk bipedaly. Now how is that supposed to work? What is this, Tom Riddle and his amazing trained walking snake? Since when does a snake understand how to operate limbs? Tom has already groused to us about the fact that snakes can’t handle wands. Not even when you are possessing them.
(ETA 2020: okay, okay, the corpse was an Inferus. The snake was directing it. It does not strain in-story plausibility for that particular snake to have been able to control one of Tom’s Inferi. What strains plausibility is stuffing a 14-foot snake large enough to swallow an adult human being, inside the corpse of an old woman.)
And how long was that poor snake stuck in a corpse, in a village, waiting for Harry Potter to show up? It’s winter. With snow on the ground. What’s keeping the snake awake? Someone report this to the RSPCA.
And the snake can see, or at least sense H & H through the Cloak, too (Along with Moody, Albus and Peeves, real fine protection there). No explanation for that of course.
Unless Rowling just suddenly remembered that it is supposed to be a snake, and that snakes have amazing senses of smell.
While we’re at it, We are directly told that none of the snakes that Tom had possessed in Albania lived very long afterwards, and Quirrell was dying before Tom had held him for a year. Helloooooo, making a snake a Horcrux is a *permanent* form of possession. Why is the snake still alive four years later. We’re forced to make an exception for Harry, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to strain myself making one for the snake.
So now we have a cold-blooded snake staking out a graveyard, in the snow, until someone just happens to show up to visit the Potters’ grave, and hurrying home to put on her Bathilda disguise and hobble out to intercept the visitors at the Potter house. What if they had gone to the house first?
For that matter; unless Tom realizes that Potter is hunting for his Horcruxes — and Rowing is insistent that he didn’t suspect that until after the Gringotts heist, why should he assume that Potter is going to be anywhere near Godric’s Hollow at all? Just out of pure sentiment?
While we’re at it, if Potter is serious about hunting Horcruxes, then yes, a trip to Godric’s Hollow should be on the agenda. Albus claimed that Tom had intended to create one from Harry’s death. Oughtn’t they to check the house to be sure?
But they made NO determined effort to get into the house and look for a Horcrux, or anything suspected to have been used to create one from. Shouldn’t they have gone back later, maybe before the Gringotts heist to be absolutely certain? Or sent someone from the Order? They might have at least told Bill and Fleur.
Snape’s Patronus is a silver doe in honor of the woman who rejected him and whom he inadvertently got killed. Er, would somebody please explain to me how this constitutes “a single, very HAPPY memory”? This is Snape we’re talking about, not Bellatrix. Or Umbridge.
(We couldn’t have seen the Deluminator in action even once since Book 1 Chapter 1?)
Oh, wonderful. Voldemort now not only can fly like Superman, he can force himself through an arrow-slit window “...like a snake and landed, lightly as vapor, inside the cell-like room—” Well, of course it’s “cell-like”. This is a prison, and it’s a CELL. Is that supposed to sound dramatic? It doesn’t.
What is this story? Who is this villain? Did somebody rip out a few pages of ‘Dracula’ and stick them in here by mistake? (Well, it certainly was a mistake, even if it was done on purpose.) Will Tom be crawling down the outside of the tower — head first — next?
Ta-daa!! Harry manages to capture himself by speaking The Name, which “breaks all protective spells”. Er, how many times did Harry say the forbidden name while they were all staying in #12, again? This tracing spell was already a factor back then. It’s presumably how the DEs got onto them so fast in Tottenham Court Road, after all. You can’t even tell us that speaking the name demolishes all protective spells except Fidileus and pretend to be making sense can you?
Excuse me, but Wormtail’s own silver hand strangles him for failing to attack Harry Potter? I thought the whole point was that none of the DEs were supposed to attack Harry Potter? That Voldemort needed to kill him himself?
Dobby Apparates the prisoners and the trio to Shell Cottage. Isn’t Shell Cottege supposed to be *Secret Kept*?
Oh. Now Snape is flying through the air like Superman, too. Isn’t that just wonderful. It’s not even something that we merely have to politely avert our eyes from because it’s Riddle. Maybe Snape’ll be the one crawling down the outsides of buildings, head first next.
The Snape-shaped hole in the window? Oh, Puh-leez! I don’t know where Rowling’s dittoheads get the nerve to kick such up a fuss when the people who are troubled by this book call it cartoonish. What division of Warner Bros. does Rowling think is going to be turning this into a movie? The animation division? Is Snape going to be played by Daffy Duck or Wile E. Coyote?
(Someone on the DHs sporking community on Lj has dubbed this whole book ‘Harry Potter and the Snape-Shaped Hole’. That kind of says it all, doesn’t it?)
The DHs sporking community is greatly recommended for those who are likely to appreciate it. This essay barely scratches the surface of the awful that is DHs. As of October, 2021 the comm was still online. You can find it here:
Ron and Hermione reappear with their arms full of Basilisk fangs. Excuse me, but venomous snakes only have 2, count them, 2 fangs. Fangs are not just big pointy teeth.
Ron Weasley can suddenly mimic Parseltongue well enough to open a door, but not well enough for an actual Parselmouth (Harry) to understand the noise he makes as language? Right.
And I just cannot go any further with this. I’m sure there are additional examples in the last five chapters. But I have had all I can take. My brain hurts.
• • • •
Although I have to admit I really appreciate the verdict of the “list mom”, Sydney Padua on the old Tea at Spinner’s End board, that I was hanging out on when DHs was released. She says; “This is my favorite book in the series! It’s so messed-up we can talk about it for YEARS!”
And y’know what? Some of us have.