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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Pottermore: Goblet of Fire, part 1

This update was a bit short on plot-related stuff, it goes off on tangents about random things, but it theoretically covers the Quidditch World Cup and everything up until the start of term.


LOTEN:

Quote from JK:

‘Floo’ came from the flue that you find on a chimney and don’t ask me to tell you exactly what a flue is, because I don’t know.

Facepalm. Flue is just an old word for chimney, you hack. Use a fucking dictionary. She made the Floo network because she needed the kids to travel around and had screwed herself with the secrecy rule, and she thought it was funny to have it so if you spoke the wrong name you could end up somewhere else. Highlighted with an oh so funny story about a woman having a fight with her husband who jumps into the fire yelling that she wants to go to her mother’s house, goes missing, and is eventually found twenty years later living with a wizard called Myron Otherhaus who had fathered seven children with her because apparently she was secretly a Weasley or something and isn’t it hilarious how her existing family never knew if she was alive or dead for two decades? Either she was a horrible woman or the wizard was keeping her prisoner, but either way I can definitely see the humour. And more numbers fail:

in addition to domestic fireplaces there are around a thousand other fireplaces in Britain that are connected, including the Ministry, shops and inns.

St Mungo’s isn’t mentioned; the Ministry’s big but presumably every single fireplace won’t be connected. That’s a hell of a lot of shops and inns that we’re never told of. And Hogwarts isn’t on the Floo… so we don’t ask how Lupin managed to visit Snape’s office via Floo in PoA, or how various people use fireplaces to talk throughout OotP… for fuck’s sake woman.

Portkeys: apparently two Muggles found one by accident once and were transported to a Celestina Warbeck concert. Then promptly mind-raped, of course, though apparently the charm didn’t really take because one of them has supposedly had a pop hit with a Muggle version of the song she was singing when they arrived, as if the WW would ever allow that. Quote from JK:

I don’t like to boast, but I own a real Portkey – the key to the US city of LaPorte – which was given to me by the founder of Mugglenet.

I don’t like to boast, which is why I’ve chosen to boast about this. Nothing on how Portkeys actually work or anything, of course.

Witches and wizards apparently often reveal themselves to each other in public by wearing purple or green

because purple is for rich people and green is totes evil lulz – no seriously:

Green is the colour of much Dark magic – of the Dark Mark, of the potion in which Voldemort conceals one of his Horcruxes, of many Dark spells and curses, and of Slytherin house

Emphasis mine. Fuck you, JK, fuck you – ‘Slytherin house’ isn’t actually a type of magic, stop butchering words for racism. She confirms something I said a very long time ago about the four houses being loosely based on the four elements, too. And lol:

Colours like peach and salmon pink are distinctly un-magical and therefore much favoured by the likes of Aunt Petunia.

Who is of course totally aware of ‘magic colours’ and has clearly chosen to like pink deliberately because she’s evil. But it does explicitly say that really bright pink like Tonks is perfectly okay.

It gets worse. Hagrid and Dumbledore have the first names Rubeus (red) and Albus (white) because alchemical symbolism, red for passion and white for asceticism so together they make up Harry’s ideal father figure. Jesus Christ on a bicycle, I may be sick. (Also; Dumbledore, ascetic? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.)

And this update finishes as they arrive at Hogwarts.


MITCHELL:

I’d actually thought the Floo/flue thing was sort of cute, originally; and all this time she had no idea what a flue was? (The Floo Network is sort of an actual network of flues, I’d just thought she was being literal and spelling it wrong to be cute; I suppose I ought to know by now to keep my expectations low). I’m not even sure what else to say – the “oh, wouldn’t it be hilarious if it were easy to say things wrong and end up in the wrong place” is just… arrgh. Could this be any more blatantly a plot gimmick? And that’s not even mentioning the horrid story she uses as an example (which, among other things, raises some weird questions about how Floo powder even works – would it have even worked if she’d correctly pronounced “My mother’s house”? That’s certainly not the official/true/whatever name of the place, nor is it whatever name they’d have used to add it to the network; exactly how does it know where to send you, anyway? Do we now have mind-reading powder-fires?). My first reaction was to assume she’d been held prisoner there also, which – ugh, horrifying implications (but otherwise, why would someone just say ‘oh, I’m in the wrong place with some random guy! I guess I’d better just give up and have tons of babies with him and forget about my entire life up to this point’? Who the fuck thinks like this?). Just like everything else Rowling writes, it looks like a cute/harmless story on its face as long as you don’t think about it, but as soon as you do it all becomes horrifying. I’ve no idea what to do with the numbers-fail or the “Hogwarts is exempt” retcon, as neither of them make any fucking sense (as you’ve already pointed out). How is it possible to be so ignorant of the details of a world you’ve invented yourself?!

*facepalm* Is Celestina Warbeck the only bloody singer in the entire Wizarding world? I honestly think she is. I’m not sure I even have anything to say about the “I don’t want to boast, but ” thing either. I guess she’s entitled to be a little proud of her fans giving her “creative” things as a tribute to her work, but that one was just so stupid πŸ˜›

Uh. What. She could so easily have salvaged that somewhat, too – saying something like “Salazar Slytherin chose green as the colour of his House because of its affinity to dark magic” etc etc. Not that I’d have liked it if she did that, but it’d at least have been grammatically correct and gotten across the meaning she wanted. Instead we now have Slytherin House as a type of dark magic, up there alongside curses and, um, random Voldy-specific things. (Haha, even that doesn’t make any sense – from what she’s listed, it’s more logical to assume that Voldy just likes green for some reason, maybe because of Slytherin house). And of course she continues to propagate the same old tired bigotry; sigh. She confirmed the elements thing? I honestly couldn’t care less, since it never mattered πŸ˜› I have no idea what she’s trying to do with the pink/peach/etc colours thing either, aside from vilifying Petunia (and Umbridge?) and propagating the usual femmephobia. Not that I particularly care for pink or how it’s used, but there’s no call to be doing things like this πŸ˜› (And of course she carves out an exception for Tonks, because she’s inventing this colour shit on the spot and needs to resort to epicycles to make it make any kind of sense…)

Oh god, really? AGJHJORANGOPAGNKLDSNGKPOS!!! (sorry for the keyboard smash but I honestly have no words)


LOTEN:

I thought the Floo Network nomenclature was deliberate too, but apparently nope, in the decade or so since writing Chamber of Secrets she’s never taken the three seconds necessary to Google ‘flue’ and find out what it actually means. I had low expectations already, but once again she’s managed to – well, not exceed them, but you know what I mean! Having a transport system based on voice recognition is complete crap, though, nobody would think that was a good idea. As for the mind-reading powder-fires, who knows? It wouldn’t surprise me πŸ˜› though the woman is specifically described as being in tears at the time so probably wasn’t thinking clearly enough to use her mother’s actual name, and we all know stupid crying people daring to get upset at bad things deserve everything that happens to them because this is the magic of Harry Potter and JK has created a horrible, horrible world. I grow more bothered about this woman with every ‘hilarious’ or ‘romantic’ story we get. There really is no innocent explanation for why someone decides to stay in this stranger’s house and never ever leave or contact anyone, is there. But it’s totally okay because Myron Otherhaus is explicitly described as being very handsome, and pretty people can’t be kidnapping rapists because I don’t know, did JK ghost-write Wither? Ick. [Note: that link goes to a spork of Wither, not Wither itself. DO NOT look at the original book. Just don’t.]

There was never anything to do with the numbers-fail, but the Hogwarts retcon is just nonsense. The two big Floo scenes in Hogwarts involve Lupin and Sirius, she must remember at least one of them. There’s some vague BS about ‘sometimes the school fireplaces get tampered with’ but Hell would freeze over before Snape decided to connect his office to the Floo of his own accord and there was definitely no mention of the Trio having to figure out how to connect the Gryffindor fire to the Floo network to talk to Sirius.

Yes. Yes she is. Though judging by JK’s lyrics-writing ‘skills’, maybe we should be grateful there’s only one singer πŸ˜› And yeah, JK could just tell us she has a Portkey, no need to try to be self-effacing – if you don’t like boasting, you don’t boast, simple. Meh.

Absolutely. The whole of Slytherin House collectively form their own type of magic. Somehow. And never mind that if green was really such an evil colour, someone in the almost three thousand years since Hogwarts was founded might just have suggested changing the sodding House colours. I’m going with Voldy just liking green, though that only really applies to the Dark Mark unless he deliberately added green food colouring to the Potion of Despair; JK did seem to imply the colour was deliberate, which, no. Fair enough about the elements πŸ™‚ I wanted them to matter because I like elemental stuff, but sadly no. And surprisingly Umbridge wasn’t mentioned; I’d think it was to avoid spoilers since she doesn’t show up until next book, but Tonks got in two books early last time and features here, so I have no idea why JK didn’t point out how eeeeeevil Umbridge was. No mention of Lockhart and all his colourful crap, either. To be honest I think she has to give us a certain amount of extra content each update and didn’t want to say anything much about Quidditch, so flailed a bit and made up some colour-symbolism crap; this was in the chapter where they’re at the World Cup wandering around looking at all the pretty tents before the game.

No need to be sorry, I think AGJHJORANGOPAGNKLDSNGKPOS!!! perfectly sums it up. It’s just wrong on every conceivable level, isn’t it? Never mind a ‘characters reading the books’ fic, I want to see a ‘characters using Pottermore’ fic now πŸ˜› Snape would just about have recovered from his rage at this new anti-Slytherin shit in time to collapse laughing hysterically at this particular gem! Assuming he survived pointing out last book just how awful Lupin’s daddy was.


MITCHELL:

It really is impressive, isn’t it? (I honestly wonder if the ‘flue’ thing is just playing ignorant for attention, that seems like the kind of thing she could be saying to try to be funny… of course it just ends up making her look like an idiot). Same here about the expectations not having been low enough; everything she says just makes the world of Harry Potter more fucking horrifying, doesn’t it? (I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with an explanation for the Myron Otherhaus thing that isn’t terrible, and the only one I could think of is that the woman had been having a preexisting affair with him and was already planning to run away, and the mishap just made her start early… or her husband had misheard her and she actually meant to go to Otherhaus all along. That’s all ludicrously implausible, of course, but then again so is ‘Myron Otherhaus’ in the first place for crying out loud! Fuck, that’s all I’ve got, and it still doesn’t cut it). This whole thing is just so squick, the comparison to Wither is quite apt…

I have no idea what she was thinking with the Hogwarts-floo retcon either. Um, did she confuse it with Apparition? Or maybe she’s trying to retroactively justify the “Hogwarts is a super-safe secure place” bullshit she was constantly going on about in canon but which never made a lick of sense? There’s absolutely no way to make sense of the canon incidents – fuck, even Umbridge had a Floo connection! – and I have no idea why she would make a statement like this. I honestly think she’s forgotten what’s in her own books at this point (I don’t necessarily blame her having a fuzzy memory of things she wrote a while ago, but she could fucking look things up instead of talking out her arse!).

LOL, yes. To all of that πŸ™‚

Oh, she’s always going chapter by chapter? I guess that could explain the randomness of the bullshit somewhat, and why certain issues aren’t addressed at all, though of course not the fact that it’s all bullshit that contradicts her own canon πŸ˜› I’m not even sure what else there is to say about the colour-symbolism stuff, it’s just so obviously invented…


LOTEN:

I suppose she could be faking it – it’s a bloody stupid thing to say, surely any normal human being would look up a word before using it; for all she knew the ‘flue’ could be the part where oppressed little Victorian chimney-sweep kiddies often got stuck and died horribly – but God knows why she’d want to. I like your attempt at explaining it, but that doesn’t address the question of why she never told anyone where she was after she’d gone – sadly logic says it’s because she /couldn’t/ tell anyone. I wish JK would stop and think occasionally, it’s clearly a spur-of-the-moment story that she thought was funny at the time, like quite a few of her stories. I also wish any of the Pottermore team would stop and suggest she edit some of this crap – it’s not like it’s helping milk the cash cow, the site’s free and they don’t even sell much in the way of merchandise or anything. Though we would miss out on the entertainment as well as the squick if they did, I suppose!

Well, you could assume Umbridge had her Floo connection installed deliberately, given that she was a Ministry employee and probably wanted direct contact with Fudge occasionally, but that doesn’t explain the myriad other times the Floo’s been utilised in the school. I think you’re right that JK just forgets what’s in her own books. Because she obviously never fucking re-reads anything – come on, if most of her fans can memorise half the series through repeated readthroughs, you’d think the actual author would manage!

πŸ™‚

Sort of, yes. The content is released sequentially, you go through each chapter looking at scenes from the chapter and reading about the things mentioned in each scene, and every few scenes there’s some extra new bonus content from JK about some worldbuilding aspect or character backstory. I have no idea if she picks what to write about or if there are certain things they demand or what, but usually it’s about that specific chapter – I think Tonks being in Lupin’s story at the end of PoA was the first time she’s talked about later books. The colour symbolism is just funny really, apart from the racist overtones – apart from anything else, McGonagall is quite often described as wearing green πŸ˜› IIRC she’s wearing green the first time we see her, at the Sorting. Guess she must secretly be evil. Oops.

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3 Comments

Posted by on June 26, 2014 in loten, mitchell

 

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Pottermore; bonus content, Hogwarts admissions process

Just a short post this week, I have relatives staying and the house is chaos.


LOTEN:

Bonus content on Pottermore about the Hogwarts admissions process: there’s a locked tower somewhere with a book and quill on a table. There’s no ink, absolutely nobody has any idea how it even works (lol JK couldn’t think of anything), but apparently as soon as a child shows signs of magic the quill tries to write their name down and the book somehow decides whether to allow it or not? If the evidence of magical ability isn’t ‘dramatic’ enough the book shuts and won’t let the quill write the name down. So it’s even stupider than we thought; whether someone gets in or not is entirely dependent on the will of a sentient book nobody understands. And nobody’s ever tried to change this BLOODY STUPID system, or work out how it works.

JK, I think I preferred it when you refused to explain anything.


MITCHELL:

I remember her mentioning the quill/book system before and I’ll say the same thing now I said then: THIS IS STUPID! She’s showing her children’s book roots again. I thought these were supposed to be SERIOUS and GROWN UP and have real worldbuilding and all that other shite she’s tried to pass them off as. I agree with you, it was better when she wasn’t trying to explain things.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 20, 2014 in loten, mitchell

 

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Just for the record…

J.K. Rowling is apparently receiving a lot of misogynistic abuse for a certain political opinion of hers. I’m not particularly informed about the situation in question and can’t comment on the views themselves, but I feel I need to say explicitly that this is not okay.

Goodness knows I disagree with Rowling over all sorts of things, and honestly I don’t think particularly highly of her, but that doesn’t mean she deserves to be harassed and deluged with gendered slurs. Nobody deserves that, no matter who they are, and it’s an absolute travesty that this sort of thing happens so frequently.

I’ve said a lot of very critical things about her in the past and will undoubtedly continue to in the future – I think her writing skills are incredibly overrated; her books are full of protagonist-centred morality, internalised misogyny, and all sorts of other moral unpleasantness; doubtless I could come up with quite a few other things I dislike about her given time. But it’s important to draw the distinction between criticism and harassment – I have not and will never condone the latter, and the people doing it ought to be ashamed of themselves (though sadly I doubt they will).

So on this particular issue, Ms. Rowling, I’m on your side.

Just for the record.

(h/t to Ophelia Benson, here, here, and here)

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 13, 2014 in mitchell

 

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Pottermore; Prisoner of Azkaban, chapter 16-end.

LOTEN:

So, the final part of PoA. Not as terrible as I anticipated, mostly since it was once again pretty light on extra content, but there were a few gems.

Apparently the Shrieking Shack was built specifically for Lupin and wasn’t an existing random house. So Dumbles’ amazing plan was to build an insecure easily-destroyed not remotely werewolf-proof house at the end of a tunnel guarded by a dangerous people-maiming tree and then generate rumours about ghosts to keep nosy wizards away… Seriously JK, stop retconning things, you’re just making it worse.

Apparently Muggles taste worse to werewolves than wizards do, LOL, so they’re not attacked as often and they’re also more likely to die from the bite wound because they’re so inferior and weak (also because the bite apparently has to be sealed with dittany and powdered silver or the victim dies, which I suppose is at least semi-interesting), so no Muggle werewolves because they’re just not good enough.

re: stories of werewolves in the Forbidden Forest – when werewolves mate in wolf form during full moon they apparently give birth to super-intelligent wolves and Dumbles gave permission for a litter to be released there for some reason. So there are actual werewolves in the forest apparently. At least she doesn’t say they’re Lupin’s, but seriously wtf. Also if this was true Harry and co would have met them by now, or Hagrid would have bred one with Fang or something.

No extra content about the ‘prank’, obviously. Nothing new about Severus or anyone else interesting either.

Time Turners – apparently after lots of experimenting they’ve determined you can only go back about five hours without risk of dying horribly and painfully and fucking up the present/future because they’re super-dangerous. So Dumbles gives one to a thirteen year old girl with full permission from the Ministry and no opposition from rational adults, of course. Quote from JK admitting she didn’t think it through when she decided to include time travel (you don’t say????) which is why she had to write all the random crap into the Ministry battle so they could smash all the Time Turners in existence and thus have to resolve the plot the hard way, because apparently there are none anywhere else in the world and apparently this explains why nobody thought to use one in the entire year of war that had happened by then…

More wank about how super-hard a Patronus is… its shape represents your secret unknown self and someone who produces the Patronus they wanted to have is apparently obsessive and possibly dangerous, instead of simply being aware of their own personality – not sure who this is meant to be aimed at, I’m not aware of any of the characters picking their own Patronus. Dogs, cats and horses are most common, it’s normally but not always from the caster’s native country, extinct animals are possible, owls are rare and magical animals are the rarest and most specialest ever. But Dumbles totally isn’t a Sue for having a phoenix since the wizard with the most powerful Patronus ever known had a mouse. Oh, and Dark wizards who can cast one can only do it because they’re arrogant and totally believe they’re right about everything (even though that should have no bearing on whether they can feel happy or not); she used Umbridge as an example but it was probably a dig at Snape. Nothing on Snape’s Patronus though because for some insane reason Pottermore never spoils any plot point beyond the current book, as if anyone on the site hasn’t read them already, except for the story of Lupin and Tonks which I assume was included now because JK just loves it so much.

For some reason one of the random items you can collect in each scene was a hair curler in Lupin’s office, lol. I don’t know why, but it was kind of amusing.

The past-Lupin Boggart expert was actually his father, it turns out – Lyall Lupin. LIKE LOYAL DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE HAHA I’M SO CLEVER WHY AREN’T YOU WORSHIPPING MY BRILLIANCE. His mother was a Muggle (named Hope, of all things, gack) and was so special and sensitive she saw a Boggart in the woods somehow, and Lupin Senior changed it into a mushroom (what?) and led her to believe he’d saved her from a dangerous attacker, and only told her the truth about that and about being a wizard months later after she’d fallen in love with him. So being a colossal asshat runs in the family, clearly. Lupin Sr pissed Greyback off by trying to make him register as a werewolf while he was attempting to convince the rest of the Ministry at his hearing that he was just a Muggle tramp and had no idea how those Muggle children got eaten, so Lupin Jr was bitten age 5 because if you’ve pissed off a borderline-paedophilic werewolf you’d absolutely leave your young child unguarded without even locking his bedroom window (no really, the attack is described, Greyback just opens the window and saunters in). Lots of emo wank about how hard his life was. Dumbles showed up just before his 11th birthday and revealed he’d known about them and been stalking them all along and just never bothered to help them even though all the emo wank says they had to keep moving house and little Lupin had no friends and it’s so tragic, but it’s all okay because he can totally come to Hogwarts and endanger people now. Then some more emo wank. His mother snuffed it at some unspecified point before the end of the first war, Daddy is stated to have still been alive at that time but is never mentioned again.

No extra detail about Tonks, they just fell in love somehow while working for the Order, not sure why we were promised extra content because there’s just lots more emo wank about poor Remus struggling so hard with his conscience because he loves her so much but he’s such a terrible monster sob it’s so tragic, with no additional information. Quote from JK about how much she loved him and hated killing him, followed by stating that his lycanthropy was a metaphor for AIDS just in case nobody had got that already – those lines directly follow each other, which rather unfortunately implies she killed him off for being gay as well as to orphan his pointless son… Plus his Patronus is apparently a wolf and he hates it, which is just funny.


MITCHELL:

I seem to remember the Shrieking Shack thing having been canon, despite how stupid it is; I’m almost certain that was mentioned before and I think it was in the books themselves. I’m too lazy to look for it, though. When you think it through, though, it’s definitely about the stupidest plan possible – if he were going to build something special to contain Lupin, there are far better ways to go about it (not to mention YOU DON’T DIG A MILES LONG TUNNEL WHEN YOU CAN APPARATE OR FLY, and that’d be more secure anyway). Build a concrete bunker underground and apparate him in, then leave him and come back later. Even better, don’t give it any exits, just some ventilation so he doesn’t suffocate. It doesn’t matter if it’s a retcon, it’s idiotic either way.

Um, the silver and dittany thing actually makes this MUCH MUCH WORSE πŸ˜› It means that the existence of werewolves as a problem at all is entirely wizards’ fault. Every single werewolf in the series (and there are apparently lots of them, if Greyback’s army is supposed to be a major threat) would have to have been effectively created intentionally by a wizard after being bitten. The sensible thing to do, of course, would be to let them die, especially given what terrible lives they are apparently doomed to lead (but I have no idea what Rowling’s ideas on euthanasia are, and I don’t want to presume to guess since she’s incoherent on everything death-related). Furthermore, you have to wonder how werewolves got started in the first place then, given that, and the only comprehensible solution is that the werewolf condition was intentionally created by some wizard. And it just figures she’d use this as an excuse to slip more anti-Muggle stuff in… because the possibility of Muggle werewolves could have been halfway interesting (though it does raise all sorts of worldbuilding questions) and of course we can’t have that.

OH GOD WHAT. WHAT. WHYYYYYYYYY?

Figures there’d be nothing new about anything actually interesting…

Well, that’s just a wonderful explanation. (I’m weirdly grateful she at least admitted to screwing up there, honestly, even if it isn’t much and doesn’t go nearly far enough).

Um, that makes no sense at all. Why is self-awareness such a terrible thing? (Oh, right, because Rowling has none) I’m not sure what else to say about any of the Patronus stuff, except that it’s interesting what she includes and what she leaves out (more slavish worship of Dumbles, I agree there’s no other way to read that “magical creatures are the speshulest” thing), yet no discussion of Snape at all (despite, objectively, his Patronus being one of the only actually interesting ones, even if I don’t like it), or of the weird messaging shit everyone uses them for later (which never made any sense considering what they were originally supposed to do). And of course it’s still super-hard despite everyone and anyone in canon being able to do it. You keep using that word, Rowling, I do not think it means what you think it means.

Uh, okay then. πŸ˜›

Wait, what. EVERYONE IN THIS WORLD IS AN IDIOT. I’m not sure what else there is to say, honestly…

Oh, that’s just lovely. So it is AIDS, despite Lupin being TOTALLY NOT GAY YOU GUYS (just vaguely ironic, even if technically it might be worth giving her points for not doing the “AIDS is a gay disease” thing). And there are tons of unfortunate implications where that’s concerned. Greyback the gay paedophile who gives children AIDS for fun? Lupin needs to go infiltrate the evil horde of AIDS-infected people who are going to invade and be a supposedly major threat? Either do lycanthropy as AIDS metaphor or lycanthropy as lycanthropy, Rowling, but you really can’t do both at the same time.


 

LOTEN:

Haha, yes, this latest update was just full of terrible things, wasn’t it? Agreed about the Shack. The idea was that it would be a nice comfortable house for poor little Lupin, but they’ve overlooked the fact that poor little Lupin would only be aware of his surroundings for about an hour at the very most and it might be a bit more important to make it freaking monster-proof. (Also who do you suppose had the fun job of cleaning up the place after each full moon? I somehow doubt transformed werewolves are housebroken unless they’ve taken Wolfsbane, and I’ve had to clean out the indoor part of a wolf pen at the zoo I used to volunteer at and it’s not pleasant :P)

Ugh, you’re right about the werewolf treatment implications. This is also numbers-fail again – we’re told Greyback has ‘an army’. Lupin never says how many werewolves are in this mysterious place he’s infiltrating but there’s clearly quite a lot because JK doesn’t understand how wolf packs work and unless they’re blood relatives pack size is determined by what sort of prey is available and how many wolves are needed to hunt it vs how many wolves each successful hunt can feed, which wouldn’t affect anyone who’s a normal wizard all but a few nights a month. Anyway, there’s a lot of them. Lupin is (supposed to be) proof that werewolf does not always equal monster, ditto Bill’s slight wolf-ness and the random guy in St Mungo’s who didn’t seem particularly homicidal. So we can assume not all werewolves would be following Greyback, particularly since at least some of them must be less pathetic than Lupin and would go their own way, so there’s presumably another load of neutral werewolves. That all seems like a lot given the (apparent) size of the wizarding population. Also their numbers would theoretically be increasing every full moon; the neutral non-psycho werewolves will be trying to lock themselves up, and the rich ones get Wolfsbane, so aside from accidents they wouldn’t be making too many more werewolves, but all Greyback’s implausible pack should be merrily running through Diagon Alley every full moon snapping at everyone they can reach and their population should have exploded.

Anyway, there was a line in all the wank about how many victims beg to be allowed to die rather than live as werewolves, but JK declined to comment about whether that request is ever granted or not. Frankly given the wizarding world’s general attitude I doubt many get the choice; unless a friend or relative saves you I imagine the official healers let you die because thinly-veiled metaphor for racism.

And yes, naturally, nothing on the origins of lycanthropy. It just exists because werewolves, fuck it it’s magic.

I agree with your capslock. I can’t tell you why, though. Because JK is mad, apparently. πŸ˜›

Yeah, the Patronus stuff was mostly nonsense, and we’ll have to wait for later books for the stuff we actually want to know because NO SPOILERS UNLESS IT’S LUPIN’S HORRIFIC LOVE-LIFE. Though I suspect Snape’s Patronus really will be ‘it’s unrequited love, stfu and don’t question it’ since Tonks’ was mentioned and that was the only explanation.

I think EVERYONE IN THIS WORLD IS AN IDIOT about covers it, honestly, no need to say anything else πŸ˜› Why would you create this kind of backstory and present it as a good thing for a character you like? Hey look everyone, Lupin’s awesome because he’s descended from a lying bastard who used emotional manipulation to get a helpless frail Muggle to fall in love with him, isn’t that just wonderful?


 

MITCHELL:

Oh, eurgh, I hadn’t thought about that aspect of the Shrieking Shack πŸ˜› Bad enough someone has to repair all the damage he does to the interior while he’s rampaging, but that’s even worse. Then again, do any werewolf mythologies actually deal with biological functions on that level of detail? For all we know, werewolves don’t have anuses while transformed or something silly like that, because magic. (I cannot believe I just typed that)

lol, yes. “Oh, maths.” I never understood how it was possible for werewolves to simultaneously be such a huge threat and menace to society, and also be irrelevant enough that the narrative and the characters could completely ignore them whenever they felt like it. (Nor, for that matter, how they avoided turning all of Britain into werewolves fairly quickly; the ‘dittany and silver’ treatment solves that problem but just raises the question of why they haven’t wiped out humans yet).

Strangely, one of the things that pissed me off the most, aside from everything we’ve already said, is that Lupin’s parents apparently decorated their wedding cake with a boggart – um, Rowling, you’ve explicitly specified several times that NOBODY KNOWS WHAT A BOGGART ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE. *facepalm*


 

LOTEN:

Lol, very good point about the Boggart! Though I don’t believe that either, really. Before anyone invented a spell to make it change into something funny for whatever warped reason, they’d have done the far more sensible thing and attacked the scary monster with fire and tried to actually kill it (seriously who the hell would bother with Riddikulus when they could just blow it up; I did once consider getting Severus to do that); surely once it’s dead it would obey the standard shapeshifter trope and turn back into its original form, because everything does. Or failing that, they can’t all live in cupboards and so on, there must have been instances where someone encountered one unexpectedly and saw its real shape before it had time to mind-read their greatest fear and change into it. Plus Moody looks at the one in Grimmauld Place through the ceiling when it doesn’t know he’s looking at it, he must see its true shape. Let’s assume that’s another instance of “Lupin is a moron who can’t teach and so is the author of whatever textbook he assigned them that Hermione read”.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2014 in loten, mitchell

 

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2014 AHA Conference Postmortem

Before I say anything else, I should say that I’m incredibly glad I went to the conference. It really isn’t often I get the opportunity to have conversations with so many intelligent people who agree with me about the important things (when that’s already established and understood, we can proceed to much more nuanced and interesting material rather than rehashing old battles, which is quite refreshing). And beyond that, many of the people I was able to meet and converse with are people whose writing and speaking etc I’d been previously familiar with due to their roles in the movement; perhaps my perception of their fame is skewed, but I inevitably feel a bit star-struck and it then astonishes me that such people are interested in talking with me and hearing what I have to say. (It was even more shocking that the handful of them I’d previously met remembered me, especially since the most recent of such meetings was nearly two years ago.)

In addition to that, I had the privilege of listening to some truly excellent talks; if that takes second place in my estimation to socialising (and sometimes having debates) with the other attendees, it is only because I often watch talks online etc and it’s not quite so different in person.

The only downside of my having gone was its effect on my sleep schedule; after nearly four full days of conference, I did little other than sleep after I returned home on Sunday and then lost quite a bit of Monday to sleep as well. I think I might dislike hypersomnia even more than insomnia, honestly; if only I could do something other than oscillate between the two.

I must also admit that the conference gave me quite a lot of ideas to write about; hopefully I’ll get some of those pieces finished and posted here relatively soon.

(To those of you to whom I gave the address of this blog at the conference, if you’re here: welcome! I hope you stick around.)

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2014 in mitchell

 

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Pottermore; introduction and PoA chapters 8-15

Well, folks, we’re counting down to the start of the Harry Potter re-read. To get us all in the mood, I’m going to be writing about Pottermore. For those of you who’ve never heard of it, it’s a site that was set up a few years ago by Rowling and her team. It’s quite hard to explain, but they’re basically creating semi-interactive versions of the books, you’re presented with a scene from each chapter that has animations and sounds, little things you can collect, and sometimes weird little mini-games. Each update normally covers half a dozen chapters or so, roughly speaking, and there’s always extra previously unknown (suddenly made up/retconned) information about a couple of subjects. Some of it’s pretty interesting; a lot of it contradicts itself; and some of it is terrible. You’re Sorted into Houses and there are things you can do to earn points and compete for the House Cup during the downtime between updates (I don’t bother because I’m lazy and it’s not that fun).

Mitchell doesn’t have a Pottermore account, so I summarise all the fail for him each time there’s an update, then we rant to each other about it. I started doing this somewhere near the beginning of Prisoner of Azkaban, so we don’t have anything from previous updates; at some point I might go back and cover them, but I probably won’t. These Pottermore posts are going to be transcripts of our dialogue when we discussed each update at the time it was released. New updates are few and far between, it’s currently stalled about half way through Goblet of Fire, but you can enjoy what we have so far and there will be new posts each time it does update.

These posts aren’t formal sporks/reviews/re-reads. We’re not trying to be reasonable or balanced, we’re not trying to be fair, we’re just laughing and/or ranting. For proper sensible comments, you’ll have to wait for the re-read.

The first transcript covers chapters 8-15 of Prisoner of Azkaban. Enjoy.


LOTEN:

Firstly the Marauders’ Map – turns out it was keyed specifically and eternally to Snape so if he spoke his name near it at any point EVER it would spew insults. Who the hell sets up something like that? (Not to mention that it still doesn’t explain how the map knew he was a professor…) And apparently the only reason the Marauders made it was to help Lupin. This isn’t explained at all; it says they started exploring the grounds to help Lupin, and the interior of the castle was mapped with the help of the invisibility cloak. These points don’t seem to be connected, since the grounds don’t appear on the map and mapping the castle wouldn’t help the werewolf. No further explanation given. Also this gem from JK herself:

“The Marauder’s Map subsequently became something of a bane to its true originator (me), because it allowed Harry a little too much freedom of information. I never showed Harry taking the map back from the empty office of (the supposed) Mad-Eye Moody, and I sometimes regretted that I had not capitalised on this mistake to leave it there. However, I like the moment when Harry watches Ginny’s dot moving around the school in Deathly Hallows, so on balance I am glad I let Harry reclaim his rightful property.”

Translation: I deliberately wrote myself into a corner purely so there could be romantic creepy stalking later on! Why yes, I do enjoy Twilight, why do you ask?

Some stuff on portraits, too: apparently the level of sentience and awareness depends on how magically powerful the subject was in life and has nothing to do with how the painting is done, which makes no sense at all. Also this fucked-up paragraph:

“Traditionally, a headmaster or headmistress is painted before their death. Once the portrait is completed, the headmaster or headmistress in question keeps it under lock and key, regularly visiting it in its cupboard (if so desired) to teach it to act and behave exactly like themselves, and imparting all kinds of useful memories and pieces of knowledge that may then be shared through the centuries with their successors in office.”

What the fuck. No seriously what the actual fuck. Not only does this contradict what JK wrote in canon with Dumbles’ portrait and what she confirmed later with Harry getting a portrait done of Snape, but it makes no bloody sense and is just plain daft. I can see Twinkles being loopy enough to lock a painting of himself in a cupboard and talk to it every day, maybe, but seriously what the fuck.

Oh, and apparently the reason the Firebolt is so omgsuperamazing is that the stand, the foot rest thingies (the ones that aren’t even in the fucking books and were invented for the films… headdesk) and the band that holds the twigs around the handle are all goblin-made ironwork. No explanation of why this matters. But it’s so expensive and rare because the goblin workers keep going on strike or walking out over ‘the smallest matters’ – translation, get fed up with wizards. Can’t imagine why.


MITCHELL:

I don’t understand the helping Lupin thing at all. The only thing I can think of there is that maybe she’s trying to say he needed it to be able to sneak back undetected after he transformed back or something, but then wasn’t Pomfrey supposed to deal with that anyway? The Snape thing just goes to demonstrate what utter moral exemplars the Marauders were, although as you say it still doesn’t explain the “Professor” thing – he did call himself “Professor Snape” when he was inspecting it, but if the map is just triggered by a keyword it (a) wouldn’t be able to take in that information and (b) wouldn’t be able to update its insults using any further information (doesn’t it say something about his age too? It can’t have known that).

As for her approving of the creepy stalking; par for the course, really. Do not want. I can kind of see what she was trying to do, honestly (people do fawn over mementos, and it does at least show him she’s still alive and ambulatory, but it’s still rather creepy)… the biggest problem is that Harry keeps the map for that entirely sentimental purpose instead of giving it to somebody who could actually use it to much better effect. I think this might be another case where we see the narcissistic selfishness coming out, really.

I seriously have no idea what to say about the portrait thing though. What the fuck. That is simply incredible (in the old sense of that word). You’re quite right it contradicts everything else she gave us on the subject, too. It’s almost a shame you finished writing my one-shot already, because I’m sure you could have worked some mockery of that in there.

Wait, so the best thing about the Firebolt is that you don’t actually get to own it because goblins made it? (I know she probably just forgot about that, lol worldbuilding consistency what is that?) It’s kind of hilarious to see her confusing the films with the books though. And of course she never explains why those things make any kind of difference whatsoever, because she never does that with anything about the goddamn brooms, she has no idea how they work in the first place after all…


LOTEN:

Yeah, Pomfrey went and fetched Lupin every morning after his transformations. JK just wants to pretend the map was for a reason other than burgling places and stalking victims. Keying it to insult Snape is actually out of character for them; they were such arrogant little bastards they should have assumed there’s no way he’d ever get hold of it. I don’t remember it mentioning his age, just his looks and the fact that he was apparently too much of an idiot to be a professor (as if that would have disqualified him even if it was true!).

I could forgive Harry for checking it briefly every now and then to see that Ginny was still there and alive and moving around, but not spending hours tracking her around the building, that’s just weird. Plus as you say she could have used the map herself so she and Neville and Luna and the other people Saint Harry doesn’t give a shit about could have avoided the only two Death Eaters apparently behaving like actual villains and doing actual evil things.

The portrait thing is just deranged, although it’s an oddly hilarious mental image to picture Dumbles crouching in a cupboard teaching a painting how to twinkle properly: “No no no, more patronising than that!”

Haha, I’d forgotten that wizards can’t truly own goblin-made stuff! Okay, that’s totally hilarious. Harry doesn’t even own half his super-broom. I almost wish I wrote more about flying and Quidditch and stuff just so I could work some of this crap in – only almost, though. At least that explains why the goblins are willing to make broom parts – they’re doing it for the lulz. I can imagine them interrupting the World Cup final; a goblin walks onto the pitch and snaps its fingers, and half the brooms fall to pieces…

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2014 in loten, mitchell

 

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Where I’ve been (& will be for a bit)

I apologiseΒ for the dearth of posts recently; I’ve been a bit busy and haven’t had the energy. In particular, I’ve been closely following a lot of the ongoing discussion about Elliot Rodger and the UCSB shooting (which I wrote about here) and it’s taken a lot out of me, especially where discussing and thinking about issues of toxic masculinity are concerned (which has made it difficult to progress with the Homecoming shred, though I intend getting back to that as soon as I can).

And in addition to that, there was a death in the family last week, which was unfortunately rather sudden.

For the rest of this week I’ll be at the national convention of the American Humanist Association in Philadelphia, which means I probably won’t be posting again until next week or so. If any of our readersΒ will be there (low odds, I know), please do let me know and look for me if you so desire.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2014 in mitchell