21 July 2017

21 Harry Potter Questions

Ravenclaw anniversary edition of the first Harry Potter book, by Bloombury

Ten years ago today the final book in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series was released. I grew up reading the books and watching the movies, so I have a lot of nostalgia for the series even if I wouldn't classify myself as a mega Potter fan today. So, in honor of the tenth anniversary of the series' end, I thought it would be fun to answer some Harry Potter tag questions--I picked 21 questions from Lauren Fairweather's 25 Harry Potter Questions video, since the final book was released on July 21st:

1. Favorite book?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix--I love the rebellious, fight-the-power theme of this one, and the Weasley twins' departure from Hogwarts remains one of my favorite scenes of the series.

2. Books or movies? 

Controversial answer, but I prefer the movies. I've seen the movies way more times than I've read the books, and as I'm currently experiencing the books again in audiobook form, I'm reminded of why. In my opinion, Rowling's writing style isn't her strong point, so I don't find I'm missing much in the translation from page to screen. The plot and the magical world of the series work really well in a cinematic format, and any excessively long passages where not much happens are cut or condensed into nifty montages for the films.

3. Favorite quote?

It's a bit long, but this exchange from my favorite scene:

Umbridge: ‘You two,’ she went on, gazing down at Fred and George, ‘are about to learn what happens to wrong-doers in my school.’

‘You know what?’ said Fred. ‘I don’t think we are.’

He turned to his twin.

‘George,’ said Fred, ‘I think we’ve outgrown full-time education.’

‘Yeah, I’ve been feeling that way myself,’ said George lightly.

4. Favorite female character?

Probably Luna, since she's just so unapologetically odd.

5. Favorite male character?

Is it cheating to say the Weasley twins? Because I will anyway.

6. Favorite Weasley?

See above. Also, I refuse to accept that Fred Weasley is dead.

7. Favorite villain?

Professor Lockhart, particularly as hilariously performed by Kenneth Branagh in the Chamber of Secrets film. I'll also give an honorable mention to Lucius Malfoy as played by Jason Isaccs in the Order of the Phoenix film--a subtle villain like that is so much more interesting and compelling than the over-the-top evil Voldemort.

8. Favorite Professor?

Professor Lupin, since despite being a werewolf he was easily the most intelligent, competent, and helpful professor Hogwarts ever had in Harry's time.

9. Is there a character that you felt differently about in the movies?

I found Gilderoy Lockhart a lot funnier in the movies, particularly as I've gotten older.

10. Is there a movie that you prefer to the book?

I wasn't a fan of Prisoner of Azkaban as a book, perhaps because I was a little young for it when I read it, but it's actually my favorite of all the movies. I think Alfonso Cuaron did an excellent job creating a movie that had a strong aesthetic and stood well both as a complete story on its own and as a part of a larger story.

11. Is there any aspect of the books that you’d want to change?

Tone down the darkness and violence in the later installments, without question. I know people love the scene where Molly Weasley kills Bellatrix Lestrange in defense of Ginny (with a strongly-worded exclamation to boot), but should we really be delighting in that? Isn't killing something that is always, always a last resort and one that is deeply regretted, and shouldn't that have been shown? Better still, there were plenty of non-fatal ways of magically incapacitating an opponent, as the series depicted throughout, and I really think that more of these should have been employed by the so-called "good guys" in the Battle of Hogwarts. Finally, did the series really have to turn to torture and war in its second half, or could this story have ended in a different way with more of the puzzles and strategy of the first half? I think it could have, and I think it would have been better for it.

12. Which house would you be in?

Ravenclaw, both self-identified and sorted by the Pottermore quiz.

13. Which class would be your favorite?

I always thought that Charms seemed the most interesting, since you could manipulate the qualities of objects and make them do various useful things. Plus pretty much all of the other classes had creepy aspects that I wouldn't have liked at all--gross ingredients in Potions, semi-sentient plants in Herbology, dark magic in Defense Against the Dark Arts, and the intensely cruel and disturbing practice of turning live animals into inanimate objects in Transfiguration. I guess History of Magic would have been okay too, out of the basic classes.

14. Which spell do you think would be the most useful?

A lot of the spells in the book wouldn't be all that useful in real life, in my opinion, since they either work with magical objects and creatures that don't exist (say, with expecto patronum) or are easily replaced by technology (like with lumos). I guess accio would be potentially handy, since it's kind of like using telekinesis.

15. What would your patronus be?

My personal pick would be a cat, and that's just what I got on the Pottermore patronus quiz--a Siberian cat, to be exact.

16. Have you played any of the video games? 

I was obsessed with the Playstation version of Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, which took me six months to finish, and that was with help since I got stuck in a lot of places. It was fun to roam around Hogwarts, though, particularly since I actually played the game before I even saw the first film. I tried to play the Chamber of Secrets Playstation game after but I found it even harder, and gave up fairly quickly.

17. Were you happy with the ending? 

Not really, for the reasons outlined in my answer to question 11.

18. What did you think of Cursed Child? 

That it's basically sanctioned fan-fiction, rather than the "8th Harry Potter story" as it was marketed. I thought the characters from the original series were very unlike themselves throughout, both in what they did and how they spoke.

19. What about Ilvermorny?

I don't know too much about it, and in general I'm not as interested in the spinoff media of the Harry Potter world as I am in the original series.

20. Favorite form of fan creation? 

Potter Puppet Pals! My favorite is the extra-long episode "Harryween," but "Ron's Parents" is a great short one if you only have a minute.

21. How much does Harry Potter mean to you? 

I actually wrote a whole post on this called "Growing Up With Harry Potter"!

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