All The Reasons That Harry Potter Should Have Died

There have been plenty of characters in my reading life that I would have been happy to see go, not because they’re abusive, violent, or just downright sucky, but because life isn’t fair. I think it’s been long enough past the last book in the Harry Potter series for me to post this, for everyone who’s still waiting to read that one – you’re painfully slow, and for everyone who isn’t over what happened – what was there to get over, every single main character (pretty much) lived.

Beatrix LeStrange

Why didn’t Voldemort kill off Harry Potter?  While I’m a little bias, because I’ve been Team Voldemort since book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and I quit reading Harry Potter around Book 4 originally because he stopped growing with me, I still think in a world of fairness and compromise, Harry and Voldemort should have both died.  What was that two page afterword where Harry Potter is a middle aged man with 2.5 kids, a yard rounded with white picket fence posts and the lingering redness of a lightening scar a little closer to the left side of his head than the right.  I’m also quite partial to Beatrix LeStrange since one of my favorite actresses plays her in the movie, my mother is the kinder and more beautiful of the Bea’s and thus her alter ego, Beatrice, and she’s just plain awesome.

Voldy and Harry @ Link Random

Let me cover the growing with me part first.  I was the same age as Harry when this book series came out.  We were moving along quite nicely, him and I, he with his lost parents and mine blazing in full glory with their tonsils rattling up the stairs when I wouldn’t clean my room, or I blasted my music too loud, or that year I spent trying to sleep on a back-breaking futon because I thought having a couch was “cooler” than having an actual bed.  This was around the time electric yellow was my main color pallet, a true child of the 80s.  He was being sorted, I was being kicked out of the middle school lunch table.  He had public enemy number one, Draco Malfoy, I had an evil cat that liked no one.  Things were comparable between the two of us.  All of a sudden, Goblet of Fire, and BAM, Harry stays the same age.  I know he’s magical and all, and somehow his rock hard head protected him from untimely death, but there was nothing strange about aging in Harry Potter.

Reason # 2.  Unlike a five paragraph essay, I will be outlining more than three reasons and I will choose the comments section as a form of rebuttal.  Afterwards are stupid.  In general, if I wanted to read an afterward, I would expect you to publish another book.  Do not give me four pages on how the characters lived happily ever after.  Very rare is the afterward section horrifying.  They usually glorify some theme of the book after the reader has already reached some plausible ending for themselves, which deems them overall pointless.   A synonym for “afterword” is epilogue.  In similar fashion, both of these are never long enough to be a story on their own, thus, they are a form of writing that hasn’t yet been discovered and should stay buried deep in their time capsule for another generation of anxious youth to dig up.

Dobby

Reason # 3. Dobby had to die, why didn’t Harry.  I think most of us can agree that Dobby is one of the best characters in the Harry Potter series.  Regardless if my best friend named her dog Dobby, I would still love Dobby with more passion than any other character other than Luna (or Moaning Myrtle).  Someone has to stick up for the ghost that is stuck in the toilets.  If you are going to come at me and say your favorite character is Hermoine than you need to reevaluate your own depths).  However, Dobby, the house elf form of Harry.  Dobby is a Malfoy elf who was treated cruelly because that family practiced dark magic and box-dyed hair.  He also unfortunately abuses himself by ironing his hands and ramming his head into a lamp.  Like Harry, he had a rough upbringing and relatively no shame.  While all the other house elves are buried in grief due to their lack of work, Dobby is just a happy go lucky elf.  If he sold cookies, I would most definitely be buying them.  If this character that was mostly good, outspoken (and quiet), sneaky, and the closest character to Harry if it weren’t for Ron, has to die after all of his turmoil, why does Harry get to live.  OFF WITH HIS HEAD.

Okay, okay, that was a little harsh.

Image @ Miss Walker Talks

Reason # 4.  If JK Rowling can’t write a truly, and openly homosexual headmaster into Dumbledore, why does she get to write a boy who can beat all odds. The most pointless thing this woman ever said in an interview, and believe me, I think she’s more than awesome, was that Dumbledore is gay.  If you have to explain what you’re doing in a children’s book, then you’re not actually doing it.  (See Reason #2. – Afterwards as long explanations of what you just did in a book with an already solid ending).

After Potter: Minerva McGonagall became headmistress of Hogwarts @ vizen.deviantart.com

Reason # 5. Harry had this ridiculous notion of justice.  Everything was just, everything must be nice, people must act politely to one another, and sneaking around is not a form of lying, but a form of truth-seeking.  He wasn’t even smart, he was lucky and had a girl friend (who we now find out he should have ended up with – if this woman changes anymore plot details, we’re all going to take her to the gallows).  If this justice was an actual justice than the two of them, Voldemort and Harry Potter would have died together.  You can’t take the truly evil villain out of the world without knocking out the truly good character too and making the world fight out what it’s going to be.  If you want to have a balance for six books, you have to continue that balance through book seven.  And let’s be really honest here, wizarding school didn’t really teach them anything other than the things they were learning by discovering the secret twists of Hogwarts.  How many of these people actually listened in class other than Hermoine.  Even then, she was that hated student who reminded the teacher that they have homework to turn in.

Image @ We Know Memes

Reason # 6. The “children’s book” argument.  How many children actually read this book. Hands? At what age did you pick up the Harry Potter book?  Other than the deeply and fanatical religious that didn’t allow their children to even touch that dreadful witchcraft, how many people read these as children.  And even if they did, by the end of the series, were they still children? Doubtful.  Kill him off.

Reason # 7. Emotional Quality.  On a scale of 1 to 10, this book would have been 17 times more emotional if Harry had died.  Fans everywhere would have a good cry in their beds, write angry fan mail to JK Rowling and wait in their invisibility cloaks and non-matching scarves for the movie to come out.  We all still would have gone to the theme park.  All of those people on tumblr would have written their own, MUCH BETTER, fake epilogues and Ron and Hermoine would have become the new Potter power couple.  Undoubtedly, they would go on to remember Harry and name their first born child HP Jr.

Reason # 8.  This reason I’m not quite sure I believe in, but…. Neville could have risen beyond his hopelessness and killed Voldemort at the end.  He and Harry did have some strange connections throughout the series.

Buzz Feed has other ideas of what happened after the end of Harry Potter as well, if anyone, you know, wants a look see.

Catster_LetsTalk1_28

Do you agree that Harry Potter should have died?  Which other changes would you make to the book?  Feel free to make as many as you want because JK Rowling just keeps saying things in interviews that totally throw every fan out there off their handle.  You can have opinions too, even if everyone hates you for them.

If I haven’t convinced you enough, Lord Voldemort can on Twitter:

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“Cinderelly, Cinderelly, Got No Time to Dilly-Dally.”

Lunar Chronicles 0.5 - Illustration by Goni Montes

Who knew?  Who knew I would be this deliciously into cyborgs and hover crafts?  The girl doesn’t even have a glass slipper, but instead a robotic foot, six years too small and yet, she’s just as Cinderella as the next gal waving from the Disney Castle.  I was literally number 179 on the request list for this book at the library.  Cinder is the story of Cinderella, in the future, when girls can have grease stained foreheads and lay under the hot bed of a truck mixing wires and nug luts in their tool boxes (that’s right, I know what a lug nut is).

It makes me laugh whenever a girlfriend brags about her boyfriend, or husband, being able to change her tie, or her oil.  How the grease stains on the boy’s hands stay all day and don’t wash off even after scrubbing with that expensive brand name soap that smells like Cucumber Melon.  How manly those grease stains seem to be.  How to spot a husband: look for the dirt under his fingernails, the dregs in his palm’s love line.

Flower Power

Anyway this isn’t about husband hunting, it’s about machinery, and women of power.  I loved this book as a young adult selection for many reasons.  The first is that it can be read and enjoyed by both young adult males and young adult females.  You’d think a refigured fairytale would turn boys off.  On the contrary, the machinary takes on the element of another character in this book. It’s just as important as the over all story telling as the characters are.   While the adventure, technology, and machinery is there for the typical boy this also gives teenage girls the ability to fantasize.  Today we clap-on girls who get stuck on the side of a highway and can change their own tire without having to flag down a conspicuous male or call their daddy, and Cinder is a mechanic.  She makes it acceptable for girls to lie under a truck on one of those sliding boards and pluck at the wires, configure the engine, change the oil.

Disney should take a lesson.  Not all girls have to get crowns, and floating dresses.  Not all girls have to get glass slippers in the end to make it worth it, or live happily ever after.  Some girls are perfectly happy being at the top of fantasy leagues, having happy ever after be a coffee and a good book, or the 53rd Superbowl Game between the Patriots and the Panthers rather than a man and a soft bed.

I love books that make these things okay, makes girls guts speak.  As in, sometimes we all get stuck into the crowd, afraid to be unique, afraid to like sports, or wake up and go to school with last nights mascara under our eyes, or no mascara because we’re naked badasses.  We’ll it is okay, we can be badass, naked, never own nail polish, or “healthy glow” blush.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (unrelated to Stephanie)

I think all this is honky dory for young adult book clubs.  The only problem I had with this as a young adult read was that it was entirely predictable, and there were too many foreshadows to not grasp what was coming.  This may come as a rant to you, but I hate predictable or easy young adult fiction.  Young adults are apt, insightful, and they’re all miniature spies.  If I can tell from page twenty what the plot twist is, every teen in the teen center can tell on page twenty what the plot twist is.  I hate when authors think that young adults are less savvy than their adult counterparts or that they won’t figure it out.  Just because you’ll be published under the “young adult” umbrella doesn’t mean that your book shouldn’t have the equivalent intelligent level of an “adult” read.

You find this with teachers sometimes, that their expectations are lower than what young adults can actually produce and due to that students are less likely to offer their high quality imaginations or insights.  We need to enter the world where we realize what young adults are capable of, and that our expectations for them as readers have turned into sick love triangles, and make-out sessions.  Young adults don’t need that in a book (as you’ll find with Cinder which is impeccable without one awkward tongue make-out scene).  What they need is books that light up the world around them.

While I am disappointed by the Hunger Games love triangle because it’s so predictable, it did tell young adults about politics, about American freedom, or their own countries power, their own governments power.  I was lucky enough to be born in America, but just this morning on BBC News Hour I heard that Pussy Riot (a band) was arrested and has been in jail for six weeks because they wrote a song to Mary asking to take Putin away.  They sang it in a famous religious space, yes, but in the US you could write a song about nearly anything and be safe in your home that very night.

In Hunger Games, teens are brought into a world where no one is safe, no life is one of freedom whether you’re in a rich district or a poor district.  It serves the same purpose as Animal Farm, showing young adults the world of politics, and current events.

Honky Dory isn’t the word I want to use for young adult fiction, I want to use words we use to describe adult fiction: gripping, captivating, enlightening, riveting, intelligent, emotional, “it changed my life.”  All of these words should be the same words we use for all sorts of fiction, every genre.  We don’t want to raise girls who only go from Sweet Valley High to the pink chick-lit section of a bookstore.  Nothing against chick-lit, I love the stuff when I’m sitting in a beach chair and letting the wind whiff my hair.  However, girls need to experience more than romance and dating as young adults and adults.  Boys need to experience more than war novels, adventure novels, and mystery novels.  It would do them some good to read Virginia Woolf, and Jane Austen. It would do girls some good to read Cormac McCarthy, and Mark Twain.

We need to raise a new generation that crosses stigmas, boundaries, and barriers.  We can only do this by promoting books that do this.  Bertolt Brecht says, “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”  Literature has a duty to not only match the minds of young adults, but go beyond their high school lives, their lockers.  It’s duty is to take them to a new culture, experience, a new government, less freedom, less electricity, more life outside of the confines of their own existence.

Sherman Alexie said it best, “The world, even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don’t know.”  Regardless if you’re a kid from a broken home, if you lived under a Seattle railway system because your mother was hooked on crank, if you were brought up with your car insurance paid and your college money in a savings.  Whether you have white picket fences, or chain linked fences, literature should shape your view of the world as something greater than these things.  It should empower you, change you, expand you as a human being.

Cinder does this in ways, and fails in others.  By fail, I mean fail my high expectations of what SOLID young adult books should do.  It’s a sweet read.  Read it if you need a break from the literary, or the mystery.  Read it if you need to go back to sixteen and breathe in the heat of hair straighteners, or the smell of soggy cafeteria hotdogs.  Let your young adults read it because it has less love story, and gives power to the unique.  Don’t expect it to tell you about the world, just expect it to be.  Read Sonya Hartnett, Markus Zusak, and Sherman Alexie to chisel your world.