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Monthly Archives: August 2014

What’s next?

Okay, so last week I said that once Pottermore was done Mitchell and I would be starting something new that we’d mentioned before. That something is…

 

*dramatic drum roll noises*

 

The Harry Potter Re-Read! [official name to be decided].

Exactly what it sounds like, we’ll be doing a lengthy and in-depth read and analysis of all seven Harry Potter books. I may take a quick look at each film after we finish its book, just to comment on things that were added or changed and things I liked/disliked, but I know Mitchell isn’t so keen on the films so that will probably just be me. We haven’t decided yet.

This is a big project, folks. That means the unofficial weekly schedule I seem to have fallen into is going to vanish; these posts will take much longer to write. We have a certain amount of content already from past conversations about the series, but it’s going to need a lot of editing and polishing and we need to add more from actually re-reading the books, it’s been years since either of us last read them. We also live in different time zones and both work part-time, meaning scheduling time to work on this is going to prove interesting, and we’re likely to spend a lot of time laughing helplessly or getting sidetracked and ranting for pages about a single sentence, which will also add to the time.

When it starts, we’re going to be looking at the books in a lot of depth, focusing on worldbuilding, characterisation and plot holes, as well as diverting occasionally into things that really infuriate us about Rowling’s attitudes. Expect rants. Many rants. But unlike our general Pottermore mockery, we will try to provide a more balanced view where we can; there are still some things we like about the series, or we wouldn’t spend so much time on it.

I’m pretty excited about this, guys. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Time for all you lurkers to come into the light and talk to us, our few regular commenters are awesome but we know there are a lot more of you out there reading silently.

Watch this space.

 

Addendum by Mitchell:

This re-read/deconstruction is something Loten and I have been looking forward to doing for a long time (though we’ve been admittedly putting it off for a while, because it’s going to be an enormous undertaking). We both have lots of Thoughts about this series, which I suppose is only natural considering how we met and how long we’ve been discussing it, so a reread and in-depth analysis was inevitable. At one point Loten undertook to winnow out the best of our Potter-related discussions from the better part of two years’ personal correspondence, and there’s at least a hundred pages of text there (amusingly, we can no longer tell which of us wrote any given passage in that document, but that’s neither here nor there), just to give you an idea.

I’m going to be perfectly clear from the outset that our intent here is not completely friendly to the text – while there are things we love about the Harry Potter series, there are also lots of things we hate about it; I really can’t put it any other way (if you’ve read any of our fanfiction, this probably won’t be a surprise), and we intend to subject the text to quite a bit of critical analysis and will be discussing many of those issues in great detail. That said, I am prepared to be pleasantly surprised; it’s been long enough since I’ve read these books that I’ll admit my memory of the things that don’t enrage me may be rather hazy.

If this sounds like fun, please do stick around, and join us in the comments – I’m sure we’ll miss plenty of things, too. We’ve been going through these stories with a fine-toothed comb for years and keep finding new things to discuss, after all.

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Posted by on August 29, 2014 in loten, mitchell

 

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Pottermore bonus content: Celestina Warbeck.

LOTEN:

And now, for absolutely no reason, some Pottermore bonus content about Celestina Warbeck. Who literally nobody cares about. Who isn’t a character and never appears onscreen. Even Rowling admits this, calling her her favourite offscreen character. She’s not a character, she’s a name.

Anyway, let’s see what we’ve got here. She’s a Gryffindor (naturally) half-blood. Her Muggle mother was a failed actress who constantly wrote to Hogwarts demanding that they set up drama/music/dance clubs for her so-talented amazing daughter, since there’s no wizarding stage school. She has a chorus of banshees as backing singers, which… I don’t even know. Banshees don’t sing, Rowling. They scream. Even your banshees scream. Plus you state here that your pointless Sue singer has such an amazing voice it can overcome banshees, so her backing singers can’t be heard and are thus pointless. She’s been married three times and has a son.

Her fans get into collisions trying to get to her concerts for some unknown reason… tickets to her concerts show up on the black market for extortionate prices so Molly Weasley has never seen her live, which implies either the Weasleys are too stupid to buy tickets as soon as they go on sale or there’s actually no legit means of getting them and it’s some sort of scam.

She’s recorded a charity single of a Quidditch anthem to raise money for St Mungo’s. I’m not convinced this is even possible in the wizarding world. Lupin owned a gramophone, in the movie at least though I forget about the book, but everyone else just has radios or listens to live performances. I’m pretty sure wizards would have no idea how to record music anyway.

There’s also a music clip, apparently they have a singer performing at Wizarding World in Orlando every day, which is kind of a nice touch actually – and she sounds really good, even though the song is TERRIBLE. (Well, that’s a bit harsh. It’s kind of amusing in a cheesy way. I’ve heard far worse.)

JK reiterates that she’s a favourite – no kidding; she’s got more backstory than half the characters who actually appear and take part in the plot – and that she’s apparently based on Shirley Bassey and named after someone JK used to work with. All very nice, I’m just not sure why we’re meant to care. I’d much rather hear about characters who were part of the story.


 

MITCHELL:

That’s an interesting choice, I suppose. I almost think I should care about this, just because I’ve ranted about the absurdity of the wizarding world apparently only having a single singer… most of this is just random boring nonsense, though. I don’t begrudge Rowling making detailed profiles of characters who don’t end up in the actual text (that’s a thing actual good authors do sometimes, as part of worldbuilding) but this seems like a weird choice and given the emphasis on what a favourite she is probably means Rowling didn’t bother with the others.

I’ve no idea what to say about the banshees. I can’t recall if it’s ever been established what properties banshees have in the Potterverse (ugh, I’m probably going to have to dig out that awful Fantastic Beasts not-book-thing), but don’t their screams normally kill you? That doesn’t sound like a good starting point, honestly.

And once again we have a serious demographics fail, I think – seriously, how is the wizarding world big enough to have there be enough fans that there’s competition over who gets tickets and they reach exorbitant black market prices? (As you say, the best explanation would seem to be that it’s a kind of scam…) Unless Warbeck doesn’t do concerts often at all; if it’s something like once every couple of years, maybe you could make the numbers work out…


 

LOTEN:

Yeah, I have no real idea either, lol. Good point that a lot of authors do develop side characters who may never feature, and there was an article I read somewhere once implying she had named all of Harry’s year beyond the few kids we saw and stuff like that, but still.

I don’t remember either, but I’m pretty sure they do – I think someone, maybe Seamus, had a banshee for a Boggart in that one lesson in third year and the only way to render it harmless was to make it lose its voice as soon as it started screaming, but whatever. Even the ones that don’t kill you probably don’t sound very musical πŸ˜›

The numbers might work for the same reason the Quidditch-fan numbers sort of do, I suppose – if there’s only one singer, everyone’s a fan of her by default, same as there’s only one sport. Wait, no, there’s at least one band as well, isn’t there, Weird Sisters or whoever. Okay, nope, no idea. πŸ˜›


So remember how I said when we’d caught up with Pottermore we’d be doing something else? Details will go up tomorrow.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 28, 2014 in loten, mitchell

 

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Pottermore: Goblet of Fire, chapter 21-end.

LOTEN:

This update covers most of the book for some reason (chapters 21-37), taking us right to the end of Goblet of Fire, which presumably means skipping over huge chunks and rushing through it since last time we ended on the first task and that was fairly close to the start of the year.

Hibernating Skrewts. Pretty pointless scene, but the Skrewts look kind of cool.

Hogwarts kitchens, lots of very ugly house elves standing around doing nothing, a couple washing some pots. Kitchen looks… very small considering it’s serving the whole school. No new info. But lots of very very very creepy noises when you hover over drunk Winky, who starts crying horrifically, and various spectating elves who moan oddly. That’s actually quite disturbing.

The Yule Ball. Pretty art, but not much else.

Care of Magical Creatures with Grubbly-Plank after Hagrid has his little tantrum crying fit or whatever. The artists can’t draw horses, the Beauxbatons palominos look weird, lol. Still no explanation for why only drinking whiskey hasn’t killed them. Huh, apparently unicorn hair can make bandages as well as wand cores… not sure why they need bandages since every injury seems to be healed instantly, but sure, whatever. Reading Skeeter’s article about how Hagrid shouldn’t be a teacher (she’s got a point) and I never noticed in the book but it says Hagrid became gamekeeper right after being expelled. In his third year. When he was fourteen. That’s not legal in Muggle Britain but apparently child labour laws don’t exist in the wizarding world, can’t say I’m surprised.

Ludo Bagman meeting goblins in the pub in full view of everyone. Pointless scene.

Harry taking a bath. No explanation for the existence of the prefect’s bathroom at all. It looks even more ridiculous than the description (there’s an actual diving board and the tub is lined with gold). No new info, but you can play with the taps. Mercifully we’re spared art of naked Harry.

Sudden jump to the lake task and meeting merpeople underwater. Yeah, we’re skipping a lot here. Finally some actual new content, about the Black Lake (here renamed to the Great Lake; not sure why it isn’t called Loch Something-or-other) – apparently the Hogwarts grounds are an actual nature reserve for magical creatures? That makes sense, though those parts really ought to be enforced as out of bounds to students… The merpeople are special Scottish merpeople and JK thinks regular giant squid are magical. The second task is JK’s favourite and originally in the first draft of CoS Harry and Ron were going to crash their car in the lake and meet the merpeople, who were actually going to be important in later books, and the lake itself would lead to other places. Pity she scrapped that, it might have been interesting.

Meeting Sirius in the cave. Why did he have to show up? At least the art is just of Padfoot, who’s much nicer (cancel that, you click him and he transforms, bugger). Amusingly, while Harry and Ron are pictured staring at him, Hermione has her back to him and is busy petting Buckbeak instead πŸ˜›

Hermione getting hate mail over things literally nobody in the world would care about. Unnecessary graphics of her hands being horribly burned. One of the owls menaces Harry, which is mildly amusing. Extra content about owls, even though I think she’s already talked about owls in an earlier book and I ranted about them a lot… There’s apparently an old British superstition that seeing owls during the day is unlucky, which I’ve never heard of, and this is because if wizards are sending messages by day then something bad is going on LOL WHAT wizards send messages at whatever time of day they damn well please because what is secrecy. Nobody knows how owls find people based on their names, including the people who train the owls in the first place… It’s also perfectly possible to block owls from finding you, which I suppose does at least explain why apparently nobody in the Ministry was bright enough to send an owl to Sirius and follow it when they were all trying to find him, but doesn’t explain why the Death Eaters didn’t do the same with Harry since there’s no way he would have worked out how to do it. JK admits she fucked up with Hedwig, since snowy owls fly by day and don’t make noises, and also admits she got a lot of letters about owl diets πŸ˜› I feel vindicated. Why on earth she didn’t spend thirty seconds researching this is beyond me, though.

Harry’s first snooping-in-someone-else’s-Pensieve experience, Crouch Jr’s trial. More new stuff, about Pensieves. They’re rare and most people are scared of them. Only powerful wizards can use them for some reason, and only super-special wizards can use them the way Dumbles does to sort out thoughts and ideas. Most Pensieves are buried with their owners. Dumbles’ one doesn’t belong to him, it’s a school one for all the Heads to use; there’s a rumour the Founders discovered it half-buried in the ground where they were going to build the school.

The maze. The picture makes it look tiny, actually, you’d get to the middle in five minutes. Clicking takes you through the maze to meet various monsters, which is kind of neat.

Voldy rising. Looks pretty creepy and atmospheric, but nothing new.

The weird golden net deus-ex-machina thing. James’ ghost whispering in Harry’s ear looks amusingly sinister. That’s really all there is to say.

Fake Moody being discovered. No new info.

Snape showing his Dark Mark. Awkward camera angle, they never show any faces in these scenes, so instead his hair is just completely covering his face. Looks stupid, but I’m glad they did this scene. Even if we do have to suffer Padfoot sitting on Harry’s bed growling at Snape for no reason.

This is where the illness and disability stuff is awkwardly shoehorned in, annoyingly. Let’s see…

“I decided that, broadly speaking, wizards would have the power to override ‘mundane’ nature but not ‘magical’ nature. Therefore a wizard could catch anything a Muggle might catch, but he could cure all of it; he would also comfortably survive a scorpion sting that might kill a Muggle, whereas he might die if bitten by a Venomous Tentacula. Similarly, bones broken in non-magical accidents… can be mended by magic, but the consequences of curses or backfiring magic could be serious, permanent or life-threatening.”

Well, that just makes no sense, but okay, sure, have that handwave if you must; she lists a few examples, Lockhart’s permanent amnesia, the Longbottoms, and Bill’s scars. This also doesn’t cover hereditary illnesses, birth defects, cancer and other non-contagious problems.

She states yet again that Lupin being a werewolf was a conscious HIV reference, and the Wolfsbane is meant to be analogous to the antiretroviral that stops it turning into AIDS; all Lupin’s angst was meant to demonstrate the isolation and stigma experienced by those with HIV. Except that Lupin’s angst was entirely of his own making since he was surrounded by friends who didn’t give a shit and only avoided him for three nights a month. Totally the same situation.

“Meanwhile Moody is the toughest Auror of them all, and a man who was very much more than his significant disabilities.”

Er, what disabilities? His wooden leg has no impact on his life, his missing eye was replaced with a more awesome x-ray version, and his severe paranoia and PTSD is dismissed as an amusing character quirk. He has no disabilities.

Also we note yet again the complete absence of any reference to mental or psychological illnesses or disabilities.

Moving on, the leaving feast. Nicely atmospheric, it’s silent and if you click Dumbles he gives his little speech about Cedric. Pointless scene though.

Finally, King’s Cross. Pointless scene. The end.

So, very rushed, but more extra content than I expected even if most of it was pointless.


 

MITCHELL:

Mostly it sounds like this update just had a bunch of art, from what you’re telling me. The thing about drunk Winky is disturbing though, and seems like an extension of her wonderfully sensitive treatment of alcoholism in the text. Oh looky at the poor pathetic thing, isn’t that such fun to watch? (Massive sarcasm tags, obviously). This shit really isn’t funny, Rowling, and I don’t have the slightest idea how to interpret this charitably even if I wanted to do so.

Hagrid became gamekeeper at fourteen. Right. Because that makes sense. I actually went and checked the books to see whether this was canon, and the same thing was explicitly said in the books too (I did a search for the word ‘expelled’ in PS/SS, CoS, and GoF to see what mentions I could find of it, and every time it just says he was expelled and allowed to stay on as gamekeeper immediately afterward). I have no idea why nobody’s commented on that before – well, you and I probably haven’t just because we try to avoid thinking about Hagrid where possible, perhaps, but that doesn’t explain the rest of the (anti-)fandom’s silence on the matter. I’m not surprised the wizarding world doesn’t have child labour laws though, they don’t have any other sensible laws either πŸ˜›

Seriously, a diving board and a gold-lined tub? For prefects? The prefects’ bathroom never made any sense in canon either (I honestly think it might have been a spur-of-the-moment invention because she needed some way for Cedric to return Harry’s favour, now I’m thinking about it)…

For once, something I actually like – Hogwarts’ grounds as a preserve for magical creatures makes perfect sense, and is a better explanation for why the fuck there’s a monster-infested ‘Forbidden Forest’ at a school among other things πŸ˜› (Still not a great one, because there’s absolutely no reason for the security to be so lax, but you know what I mean.) I assume the lake isn’t called Loch Something because then she’d have to either associate it with a real Scottish lake or else explicitly admit it’s completely imaginary; if she keeps it nameless she can keep up the atmosphere of mysterious plausibility (I’m not sure if that turn of phrase makes sense, but what I mean by it is the way the books were structured in such a way as to make it theoretically possible for the reader to believe the wizarding world was actually real and just hidden from them because they were Muggles; I think this actually might account for a lot of the books’ popularity, when you consider children younger than 11 being able to fantasise about receiving Hogwarts letters on their birthdays and so on). More content related to the merpeople could have been interesting, I suppose; that said, I wonder if she scrapped the car crashing in the lake because she couldn’t come up with an excuse for Harry and Ron to have survived it? Pity.

Oh, lovely, of course we needed more about the “Hermione gets misogynistic hate mail because of the tabloids” plot. Admittedly, thinking about it, that plotline didn’t have to be problematic and could have been used to make a really good point about the really awful things purity culture makes people do (especially in how it intersects with celebrity culture and gossip etc), but I don’t recall the book making any statements about it beyond something along the lines of ‘but Hermione didn’t even do what they’re trying to punish her for!’ rather than ‘even if she had, why the fuck should it matter?’.

The owl nonsense is vaguely amusing – I like that you point out that wizards are sending owls out by day constantly, so the connection to whatever superstition she’s thinking of (I’ve never heard of it either, but I suppose that could be a generational thing?) doesn’t actually work even if that was what her original inspiration was. And of course nobody knows how they find people – fuck it, it’s magic! (Too bad they were supposed to be children’s books or I would happily suggest ‘Harry Potter and the – Fuck it, It’s Magic!’ as an overarching title for an omnibus edition of the books.) Good point about the plot hole regarding blocking the owls – I suppose you can probably work around that, though; we could always assume something like adult wizards (e.g. Death Eaters, Ministry people, etc) just naturally assume everyone knows how to block unwanted owls, so they wouldn’t bother trying even if Harry never had a chance to learn? At least she admitted the mistake re: snowy owls and owl diets, that’s something at least πŸ™‚

Wonderful. So Pensieves (…I mistyped that as Peniseves and was tempted to leave it, take that for whatever you will) are super-special super-rare things that you need Su(e)per-powers to use, but everyone in the story who ever came into contact with one conveniently met that threshold?

On the illness/disability thing: I’m really not sure what to say about it, honestly. It seems kind of pointless to me, except that she’s done the same thing with everything else in the wizarding world so why not with injury and disease too? Basically she seems to have thought that the magical world couldn’t possibly use anything the non-magical world does, but has to instead have a magical counterpart (or in some cases, just antiquated counterpart, like the quills and parchment etc) that serves the same functional role but is more… er, magically whimsical or goofy etc. So of course wizards are immune to the diseases and injuries etc that non-magical people can get; they’re Better Than Us, after all! but they have their own diseases that are even worse because their lives couldn’t possibly be that different because of it. (I also notice that nothing is ever said, either in Pottermore or in the books themselves, about whether Muggles are susceptible to magical diseases…)

I agree with you completely about Lupin and Moody, naturally.


 

LOTEN:

Yes, this update was mostly pretty art and useless collectables πŸ˜› But there was more content than I was expecting, especially compared to last time, though they’re still skipping through it much faster than they did in the earlier books. Anyway, the crying-Winky sound file really was disturbing.

For my own sanity I’m going to assume Hagrid was apprenticed to the existing gamekeeper at fourteen, and took over the actual job later. That’s certainly not what really happened, but whatever. I assume that’s what the fans believe too, or they’ve never stopped to think about Dumbles making a teenage boy work for him illegally… though actually Dumbles wasn’t even Headmaster then. So why the hell does Hagrid worship him so much? Dippet was Headmaster when it all went down. Dumbles took over shortly afterwards because Dippet resigned over it, or something. Sense, this makes none.

I do wonder what ‘prefect’ meant at JK’s school. Because I was actually a prefect one year and it meant absolutely nothing and I certainly didn’t get any perks like a private swimming pool spa thing.

Yeah, I liked that idea too. So naturally it’s never mentioned in the books themselves and plays no part in the story. Good point about the lake name but she could always just have said offhand that Muggles call it something else and left that part vague. As for Harry and Ron’s survival, they’re more likely to survive crashing into a lake full of helpful magic creatures than they are crashing into a tree that wants to kill them πŸ˜› The impact would have about the same force regardless. She did say the tree crash was less dramatic than the lake one… I’m not sure it is, but okay.

Oh yes, the narrative never at any point says that it’s fucked up to hate a girl for dating someone. It’s too busy ignoring people sending dangerous substances to teenage girls (I wonder if Rowling realises it’s analogous to acid attacks?) and egging on the Weasleys slut-shaming their own baby sister for daring to go out with non-protagonist boys. Still, I’d rather they include the scene here than pretend it didn’t happen even if most people don’t realise how terrible it is.

I’m pretty sure no character at any point shows any concern for making their owls fly by day, whether for secrecy or for the birds’ welfare. Harry uses Pig at one point because Hedwig’s ‘too noticeable’ so that was obviously a daytime flight anyway and it’s never been said that the post is meant to be done overnight. Hell, the first book has owls stalking the Dursleys in broad daylight for days in the second chapter of the series. I like your title, haha. As for that handwave, I guess that works, if we also assume all these adult wizards forget that Hogwarts actually teaches you bugger-all πŸ˜›

Yep. Just like Patronuses and various other plot devices. At least she’s consistent?

Yes, that’s the basic summary of it. She does explicitly say in this entry that Muggles can’t catch dragon pox or spattergroit, and those are the only two magical diseases she bothered inventing. And IIRC Muggles can theoretically catch lycanthropy but they don’t taste as nice as wizards so they don’t get bitten, or something stupid like that. So they can get at least one magical disease, but not at least two others. I take back what I just said about consistency…


 

MITCHELL:

Fair enough πŸ˜› I’m never really sure how reasonable my expectations are, considering I’ve never seen the content firsthand…

That’s why I went and checked the actual text, because that was the version I’d had in my head as well (I think I’ve come across some fanfics that explicitly said he’d been made an apprentice then, also, so I knew I’d read it at one point; I didn’t want to confuse that with canon). So I think it’s entirely likely that most fans are operating on a similar assumption as well. You have a very good point raising the question about Dumbledore’s involvement, too – I suppose he could have become headmaster immediately following the incident, if that’s why Dippet resigned, and one of his first actions after assuming office was to offer Hagrid the job? That still doesn’t make a lot of sense, though, because one wonders how on earth he could have got away with it – his predecessor steps down because of a murder in the school, then his first act is to hire the student who was EXPELLED FOR (essentially) BEING THE MURDER SUSPECT? Considering it’s also strongly implied Dumbledore was the only person who believed Hagrid innocent, I can’t see how on earth he managed that.

Haha, yes.

Good point about the force of crashing into the lake; I’d mostly been thinking about the fact that it’s difficult to escape from a car underwater and that they would probably have suffocated… (I did take a look at the text to see if it said whether they’d had the windows rolled down but it doesn’t specify; if not, it’s very difficult to open car doors/windows/etc underwater due to the pressure. I suppose the presumably-helpful merfolk would make a difference there, though, so never mind.)

I hadn’t even considered the comparison to acid attacks; that’s very interesting (and disturbing, not that it tells us anything we didn’t already know about the awfulness of Potterverse wizard society), and I’m sure she didn’t intend that.

Good point. (Though I suppose the owls stalking the Dursleys in daylight could be written off as one of the sort of unusual events that inspired the superstition; that was early enough that she hadn’t established a pattern yet of wizards not caring what time of day the owls are out…)

Good point, heh πŸ˜›

Oh yes, consistency; what is that? πŸ˜‰ And just when we were prepared to give her credit for a bit of it, too…


 

LOTEN:

You’re not missing much πŸ˜› Though some of the art is neat, I suppose.

Fair enough then. I’m sticking with the apprentice theory anyway, I don’t need more ways in which canon is broken, lol. It’s not like I care about Hagrid enough to have an opinion anyway. You’re right that it’s not very plausible Dumbles could get away with hiring a disgraced murder suspect, but it’s probable nobody actually cared since the post of Hogwarts gamekeeper is completely pointless 99% of the time πŸ˜› In seven years Hagrid’s duties are looking for something that was attacking unicorns, which he failed at; growing pumpkins for Halloween which could be Transfigured; keeping roosters so they could die Because Plot; claiming to grow cabbages at one point because buying slug repellant was a cover story; breeding random monsters for his own amusement. Pretty sure that’s all he does. Nothing on the grounds is at risk from predators or poachers and nothing needs to be maintained for hunting, so a gamekeeper is useless, and the grounds presumably maintain themselves by magic. So the job is pointless and murder never matters in the wizarding world, it’s depressingly plausible Hagrid could get the job easily πŸ˜›

You’re forgetting this is a magic car that can open its own doors and kick its passengers out. Somehow. Because… adding something to make it fly gave it a brain? (And actually how did Arthur do it? He’s portrayed as a hapless idiot so scattered he can barely dress himself who knows nothing about machinery, but the flying and invisibility things are mechanical and done with buttons and so on, they were built not enchanted…) Anyway, it’s pretty academic since JK changed her mind about the random merpeople. Not sure what role she was expecting them to play later on anyway given that they can’t leave the water…

No, she probably didn’t; it only occurred to me as I was writing that part to you. But this is a girl in the public eye who is then maliciously exposed to a toxic liquid that causes serious injuries, for literally no reason except spite. Also can we just note this happened in front of the entire school at breakfast and not only did nobody investigate what must be a highly illegal assault, but her Head of House couldn’t even be arsed to follow the girl out of the room to see how badly she was hurt. (Nor could her friends, but we already knew they were selfish little bastards.)

I’m willing to accept that explanation, because it implies that Harry going to school was an awful thing necessitating the urgency of owls flying by day πŸ˜›

She does seem determined to avoid us cutting her any slack at all, doesn’t she?


 

MITCHELL:

I certainly didn’t think I was missing much, judging by what you keep telling me! πŸ˜›

Oh, agreed πŸ˜› It’s a bit weird Hagrid doesn’t appear to have any actual duties, though, if Hogwarts is actually a reserve for magical creatures (how many of those could there be, also? I think the only other one that ever gets mentioned is the dragon compound in Romania where Charlie Weasley works). And everything on the grounds is at risk from predators, but that’s Hagrid’s own bloody fault for introducing an invasive species of gigantic sapient spiders… does that count? πŸ˜› I suppose you do have a point that nobody seems to care about murder in the wizarding world, though if that’s true it raises the question as to why Dippet felt the need to resign (I suppose that’s depressingly realistic in a way though – everyone gives lip service to caring about things like murder even if they don’t in actuality, so somebody has to take the fall even if it won’t change anything to make it look like something’s being done…).

Bleh. Good point. I’m not sure what to say about the car’s wacky properties either, that always struck me as absurd too (but it’s really rather typical of Potterverse magic, isn’t it? Add magic to something and it gains +100 absurdity points as a byproduct, with no guarantee as to how those points will manifest). As for how Arthur did it… yeah, I don’t know either. Unless the idiocy is an act to try to avoid suspicion, but that’s really not supported by the text. Maybe he just installed various parts he stole while on the job, and didn’t create them himself; I seem to recall it having been established explicitly in the text that he did things like that from time to time, so I’m not sure that would be much more of a stretch.

That is a very good point. And people wonder why we go on so much about the abysmal safety standards at Hogwarts? Who in their right mind would want to go to a school like this? More to the point, how is it that things like this fail to make an impression on readers enough that they can seriously fantasise about how wonderful it would be to go there?


 

LOTEN:

Haha, true. Though I’m not sure they are at risk – the giant spiders make no sense because there’s nothing for them to eat. The only large animals and creatures we know of in there are unicorns that nothing kills, Thestrals that are probably more likely to kill the spiders, and centaurs that can probably outrun or avoid them. The spiders themselves only mention eating people, and there aren’t many of those wandering around the forest πŸ˜› I assume there must be non-magical things like deer and so on in there, the Thestrals need to eat too, so I suppose Hagrid might look after those. As for Dippet, maybe he just wanted an excuse to leave the crazy murdercastle πŸ˜›

Yeah, I think the car needs to go on the Fuck It, It’s Magic list of things we just give up trying to explain πŸ˜› Theft will do as a handwave.

Well, Hogwarts is mostly safe enough as long as you’re not a main character or a Slytherin, nobody cares enough to want to hurt you πŸ˜› But yes, that’s not really a great selling point, is it…

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 22, 2014 in loten, mitchell

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Pottermore: Quidditch World Cup, end.

LOTEN:

Continuing with the quarter finals, USA vs Liechtenstein. USA won and their fans are psychotic gloating weirdos who have kidnapped the Liechtenstein mascot for some reason. But the real gem this update is the opening paragraph:

“If Muggles haven’t noticed the celebrations currently piercing the Patagonian night, we must assume that in addition to being non-magical they are also remarkably stupid.”

Rowling, fuck off. Everyone in your world has always assumed Muggles were remarkably stupid. As have you, much of the time, since you seem to forget you are one. It’s the wizards who are too stupid to ward their camps so Muggles can’t notice them.


MITCHELL:

Mascot kidnappings. Right. Lovely. As for the comment about the ‘remarkably stupid’ Muggles… do you know, I honestly think her sentiment is sincere. She must think her readers are remarkably stupid to not notice that that’s an insult aimed directly at them (after all, the readers are ‘Muggles’ and could not have possibly seen these imaginary events, therefore they fit the precise description she just gave). I’m beginning to think Rowling’s belief that Muggles are ‘remarkably stupid’ must be some form of projection; fuck you, lady, we are not all copies of you. Some of us have brains. (And this is even before considering that, if we take her canon seriously, even if they did notice THEY WOULDN’T KNOW THAT BECAUSE SOMEONE WOULD COME ERASE THEIR BRAINS.) Maybe it’s just due to proximity but I’m seriously reminded of those awful Stephenie Meyer quotes they’re dissecting now at Das Sporking, where she goes on and on about how useless humans are and it’s really not so bad if vampires eat them. God, that’s depressing.


LOTEN:

The mascot has been returned. But apparently it took owls communicating between the Liechtenstein Minister of Magic and the President of the Magical Congress of the United States to make it happen. Oh dear me there are so many things wrong with this.

One, OWLS CAN’T FLY THAT FAST ACROSS THE FUCKING ATLANTIC AND BACK. An owl from Patagonia to Liechtenstein to tell their Minister the mascot’s missing. An owl from Liechtenstein to the US complaining about it. A response back to Liechtenstein and an owl to Patagonia telling the fans to give it back. That’s three trans-Atlantic flights and a flight right down the length of the Americas, in less than 24 hours, not including the time spent arguing about what to do and then writing these letters. You’d be hard pressed to do that in a bloody jet, let alone by owl.

Two, if sports fans are misbehaving in a country, that country’s law enforcement deal with it, something on this scale is not going to become a major diplomatic incident requiring direct intervention from the rulers of several countries. (Particularly since the Patagonian authorities were apparently not involved in this.)

Ugh, you’re right that she’s quite possibly just insulting everyone. Lovely. I agree with the Meyer comparison too, it is unfortunately timed to point out just how similar they are. And of course you’re dead right about the brain-erasing, today’s update also includes the information that they’ve performed memory charms on at least two thousand local Muggles and an undisclosed number of passing planes. Because mindwiping someone who’s flying a fucking plane is really sensible and not at all dangerous, well done wizardkind! Rowling, for once in your life, please THINK before writing something. Plane crashes aren’t funny.


MITCHELL:

What. I have no idea what to say about that. (Never mind the fact my first question is why the US apparently has a Magical Congress; hasn’t she previously established that there are only 11 Wizarding schools in the entire world? Just how large is the supposed magical population of the States and how many elected officials do they have? Never mind the fact that apparently the magical governments all just happen to be carbon copies of the Muggle versions with ‘Magical’ tacked in front; clearly Rowling is a font of creativity as she’s so often praised). We’ve talked about how ridiculous the owls are before, but that really is quite absurd and I think significantly moreso than anything there’s been in canon (I don’t recall trans-Atlantic flights at least). And, as you say, there’s no sensible reason that a missing sports mascot would require diplomatic negotiations.

…they performed memory charms on planes. Even disregarding the danger, how the fuck does that work? I certainly don’t recall any suggestion in canon that the spell could be cast at range; it leads me to wonder about all sorts of logistical things – do they automatically put a wizard on every flight just in case emergency brain erasure is needed? (Or alternatively, do they have someone attempt to apparate onto a moving plane?) Do they have wizards stationed in airports to brainwash everyone as they disembark? It’s especially weird when as far as I know canon wizards don’t even know what the fuck planes are, so I’m not sure why they’d even think to check if the brainwashing were needed. And, of course, all of this is disregarding the fact that as you say it could easily cause a crash. I don’t even.


LOTEN:

Yeah, I side-eyed the numbers fail there too. I don’t know how many officials constitutes a Congress but I think she means it as the Ministry and includes everyone who works for them down to the office tea-girl, and she just misused the word because congress=government. And lol, why would there be trans-Atlantic owl flights in canon, nowhere across the Atlantic exists. You’re right it’s the biggest owl-fail we’ve seen though, and all she had to do to avoid it was say Floo call or Apparition/Portkey visit. When you have multiple instantaneous bits of magic at your disposal, do not go and pick a different one that won’t actually work.

That’s a good point. I assume they chased the plane on brooms? That’s not remotely sensible either, of course, and still very dangerous. Also maybe impossible, the slipstream etc from a 747 must be powerful enough to send a stick flying. And lol yes, there’s no reason any of them would know what planes are, it’s not as if any of them ever look at the sky or as if the heart of wizarding Britain is in a city with six international airports and a bunch of smaller ones. I give up.


MITCHELL:

I hadn’t even considered chasing the plane on brooms, but I suppose that could have been what she’d been thinking (though as you say there are plenty of logistical issues there too!). I agree with you, at this point I give up. I’ll just go off somewhere and bash my head against a wall.


LOTEN:

Today’s wankery is the last quarter-final match, so we’ll get a week or two before enduring any more of it, I assume. Japan vs Nigeria. Boring match, an attempt to pretend Beaters are useful, the Nigerians lost when a Bludger smashed their Seeker’s broom and now there’s an inquiry because professional brooms are meant to be able to survive Bludger attacks.

Rowling.

Harry’s broom was smashed to pieces, remember? He cried over it. Because he’s weird. I doubt a willow tree managed to hit harder than a flying cannonball.

Also if the Bludgers can’t damage brooms, then they are there solely to damage other human beings, and that’s appalling. Go home.


MITCHELL:

I really don’t have anything to say about Bludgers at this point. (The only possible way to salvage her comment about “professional brooms” is to suggest that Harry’s oh-so-amazing Nimbus 2000 was actually below professional standards, but that contradicts canon so bleh. Or maybe the inquiry is about why the Bludger attacked a broom instead of people like a good sentient cannonball.) Also, let’s not ignore the fact that if Bludgers are destroying the brooms it’s probably not much better when they’re hitting human bones.


LOTEN:

I don’t think she can get away with that handwave, not after all the emphasis she put on how the new Nimbus was the bestest most specialist bunch of twigs ever. And no, it does state the inquiry is into why the Nigerian team were using unsafe brooms, and if that’s not an oxymoron I don’t know what is. Might also be inquiring into why the company behind them made unsafe brooms – couldn’t possibly be because CANNONBALL BEATS STICK, could it? Seriously, if you want indestructible brooms, stop being so fucking lazy and put some of your own charms on them.

New shit is meant to start today with the first semi-final. I’m sure you’re looking forward to it. Really. πŸ˜›


MITCHELL:

Oh joy. Well, at least we’ll have more content for the blog πŸ˜›


LOTEN:

Not as much as you’d think, she really has lost interest πŸ˜› this match went on for almost 24 hours and took two posts, and all that happened was one of the US players started hitting her head repeatedly on her own broom for some reason and it was a close finish. Woo.


MITCHELL:

Well, I suppose it’s only natural; it never really was interesting in the first place! If the person writing it has lost interest, though, how can they expect any of the followers to give a fuck? I don’t think she’d thought this out very far at all when she decided to do it, honestly. I really don’t understand this thing about the player hitting her head on a broom, either; it really gave no explanation at all?


LOTEN:

Haha, very true πŸ˜› Er, not really, it was sort of presented as a combination of stress and exhaustion but mostly it was just ‘and then this happened, and then another thing happened, and then this…’ Today’s entry for the second semi-final was a colossal heap of shite as well, Bulgaria were playing again and the whole thing is just how amazing Krum is, how one of his team mates jumped in front of a Bludger to save him and how when the other Seeker broke off chasing the Snitch to help the guy who’d just been knocked out Krum was amazing enough to stop and wait until she was ready to chase it again and how he deliberately didn’t catch the Snitch at one point because in his amazingness he believed his team could catch up the points and good grief I nearly vomited.

Unsurprisingly, they won. If there’s anyone left on the site who doesn’t believe they’re going to win the final as well I’ll eat my Crookshanks plushie. This despite the fact that apparently six of the seven (I assume the one who wasn’t was Krum because he’s amazing, though it doesn’t actually say) were bleeding from the head in the first hour after “Quaffle-off” – yes, apparently the start of the match is actually called that, I facepalmed hard enough to hurt.

Incidentally there was one post in the downtime between the quarter finals and the semi finals, it was meant to be something from Ludo Bagman (who still has a job because…?) about the betting odds and his tips for who to bet on and whatever. I didn’t bother mentioning it because it really wasn’t worth mentioning, it was duller than ditchwater and contained no content whatsoever πŸ˜›


MITCHELL:

I really don’t know what to say about any of this, lol. Even saying it’s horrible might be giving it too much credit, it mostly just sounds banal (well, until she gets into Sueifying – I doubt that’s a word but fuck it, it is now – Krum even more than she’d already been doing, which deserves all the scorn). I really do think she’s building up Krum so much simply because he’s the only name the audience are guaranteed to recognise, lol (or, less charitably, he’s the only one she recognises? I’m not sure if that makes sense…). Bleeding from the head, seriously? I remain utterly impressed with Rowling’s level of seriousness and sensitivity when addressing physical violence and injury. And ‘Quaffle-off’, seriously? Facepalm is right, I really can’t think of what to say. She isn’t even trying.

Yeah, the Ludo Bagman thing isn’t really interesting except insofar as it’s natural to wonder why he’s still employed (and, for that matter, hasn’t been arrested, if I remember canon correctly)… once again, I think Rowling’s falling back on using names people recognise from canon in an attempt to keep them interested. I’ll admit to being at least a little curious whether that works on anyone.


LOTEN:

Yeah, it really is just banal, and I strongly suspect just something that was thrown out to make us forget that the next Goblet of Fire update is long overdue. This Quidditch crap is the equivalent of jingling shiny keys at us πŸ˜› You could be right about Krum though, I suppose it saves her hurting herself trying to develop one of her three-second character names into a candidate for whatever the Quidditch equivalent of Sports Personality of the Year is (sadly that’s actually a real thing here…). And yes, six people bleeding from the head. At least it was serious enough to stop the game and fetch Healers, which is more than you might expect from wizards, though given their sensible and caring natures I expect the Healers just stopped the bleeding and sent them back out because concussions don’t exist in Fantasyland.

Arrested, or possibly assassinated by goblins. I don’t really care, honestly πŸ˜› Right now they’ve got us trying to guess which famous person is going to join Ginny for the report of the winner’s ceremony after the final at the end of this week. I’ll save you the suspense, out of the possible options it’s OBVIOUSLY going to be Harry, goddamnit. Apparently the final is going to be reported ‘live’ too, which I assume means a sentence or two every hour until whoever’s doing it (honestly I doubt it’s Rowling) gets bored. Unless they do something sad like make a Twitter account for it, in which case you’ll be deprived of the experience since I don’t use Twitter πŸ˜›


MITCHELL:

Hmm, you could be right πŸ˜› Though I think it’s probably also an attempt to capitalise on the popularity of the World Cup, which would be fair enough if it weren’t so stupid. lol, yes, good point that Krum saves her quite a bit of effort…

Oh god, really? That’s just asinine. I’ll be utterly shocked if it isn’t Harry also, even without knowing what all of the other options are; haha, now watch us be wrong and they do something actually surprising for once. I’m not on Twitter either, so if the “live reporting” does end up meaning that I suppose we’ll just have to content ourselves with not seeing it. Oh dear; however will we possibly manage? (Admittedly, losing out on the opportunity to mock it would actually be at least a tad disappointing…)


LOTEN:

Oh, this latest post is a real doozy. Random gossip column interlude from Rita Skeeter, inevitably. It’s meant to tie in with the Quidditch World Cup shit, but it’s just a clumsy way to update everyone on what the survivors of Dumbledore’s Army are now doing in 2014. Also oh look I was right, Harry’s showed up. Shock.

For some reason there’s nearly a riot because fans are so desperate to get close to Harry. No seriously he’s not still going to be that popular sixteen years later, shut up. Anyway, Snowflake takes his sons to meet Krum. But not his daughter, because sport isn’t for girls (seriously there’s no mention that they have a daughter, despite the fact she clearly exists by now). He’s apparently starting to go grey and he has a slight cut on his face so for some reason Rita starts speculating that Ginny hexed him before she buggered off to Patagonia and left her family to fend for themselves. Blah blah blah. I’m kind of amused there’s even a hint that their marriage isn’t perfect, wish anyone but Skeeter had said it. Also a hint that Harry and Krum are gay because they hugged each other when they met… oh, shut up.

Sadly Ron and Hermione are still married (well, we knew that since the Epilogue That Must Not Be Named takes place three years after this but I can hope) but the shine has really worn off Ron apparently. He’s going bald and apparently only lasted a couple of years as a fellow Auror before dropping out to run the joke shop with George. Rowling really has realised he’s a terrible character; first her admission that Ron and Hermione would never have worked, and now her admission that actually he never did much with his life. I approve of this, at least.

Despite being married, Hermione gets to keep her own surname here, at least, which is nice (if unlikely; almost all UK brides take their husband’s name, it’s very rare not to, and there’s no indication that witches get that choice). Skeeter’s snarking a bit, but does say she’s now Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Good for her, she can avoid her useless husband and the children she was clearly forced at wandpoint to have.

Neville’s Herbology teacher, his wife Hannah Abbott is applying to take over as Matron. Apparently they’re both alcoholics. I’m going to interpret Skeeter’s bitching and Rowling’s lack of understanding of alcoholism as them actually suffering a bit of PTSD, because fuck knows someone needs to.

Luna’s still Luna. Married to the magizoologist guy and with twin sons. No mention of the Quibbler sadly. A bit of general bitching about the other Weasley boys, trying too hard to be funny – Charlie might be gay because he’s still single, Bill clearly used love potions to get Fleur to marry him, blah blah blah. Their parents aren’t here apparently, guess Snowflake doesn’t love them any more. Nor are any of the older generation. Finally a couple of lengthy paragraphs about Teddy Lupin and Victoire Weasley because in JK’s weird universe a national newspaper believes that the whole world is extremely interested in two teenagers snogging.

So, mostly a lot of irrelevant crap just confirming the direness of the epilogue, a couple of semi-interesting points.


MITCHELL:

I’m honestly not sure what to say about most of this, heh.

I continue to be baffled by the ridiculous level of celebrity she believes Harry would have, especially this long after the events; as we’ve noticed before, it doesn’t even really make sense for him to have been that overwhelmingly famous in the stories themselves. The rest is just stupid, but as you say it’s vaguely amusing to have the hint that all may not be well πŸ˜› (too bad it’s clearly intended to be read as bullshit because she’s put it in the mouth of Skeeter-strawman).

*facepalm* ugh at the sport-is-for-boys thing. Especially when canon has established it blatantly ISN’T in the Wizarding World, women play Quidditch right alongside the men in every instance we’ve seen and FFS, Ginny was a Quidditch player it’s highly unlikely her daughter would be left out of sport by default. (Rowling, this is a good example of how not to do worldbuilding: don’t import your own default stereotypes into a culture where they wouldn’t belong!)

I think at least a few of those things about Ron had been previously established in extracanonical comments she made (e.g. dropping out of Aurory to run the joke shop, though I actually suspect that one was a hasty patch to reconcile two conflicting versions of the future she’d previously mentioned). But as you say, it’s at least interesting that she’s no longer whitewashing him as much.

Hermione keeping her surname is interesting (I’ve always thought changing it would be OOC for her). I’m tempted to speculate whether it’s just Rowling wanting to retain the character’s name for recognition purposes – “Hermione Granger” is much more deeply embedded in whatever cultural consciousness of Potter things exists than Hermione with any other surname, after all. Then again, as far as I recall the dreadful epilogue never did mention her name one way or the other, just that she was married to Ron (and actually even that may have been implied more than stated), so it’s not an inconsistency.

…alcoholics. Really. I don’t even know what to say at this point, except that it’s apparent she continues to treat that issue with her characteristic sensitivity. Of course people who happen to own a pub would be alcoholics, why the fuck wouldn’t they be? Rowling, you need sensitivity training. STAT.

Love potions. Of course. Because we can’t have any discussion of someone marrying a person prettier than them (“out of their league”, how I loathe this phrase and concept) without the insinuation that no pretty person would condescend to do that out of free will; adding mind-altering substances just makes it oh-so-funny.

Lovely. Just lovely. What a pleasant surprise πŸ˜›


LOTEN:

Yeah, especially since the British fans would only form a very small percentage of the crowd and there’s no reason why anyone outside Britain would have heard of him. As we discussed with the Bulgarian ambassador at the canon World Cup. (And actually Krum and Fleur never seemed to care who he was, did they? Nor did any of the Beauxbatons or Durmstrang lot. That was nice.)

I know, it’s ghastly. I’m glad not to have the Lily-clone onscreen, of course, but the James-clone was still there and so was the most unfortunately named boy in existence, so leaving her out is impossible to explain except with sexism. On the heels of all the misogyny in Cuckoo, it’s not looking good for Rowling right now, honestly.

Hm, really? I clearly stopped paying attention as soon as his name came up πŸ˜›

Changing it would be OOC for her if she was American, certainly, it seems much more of a conscious choice over there. Here it simply wouldn’t occur to most women not to change their surname if they get married, it’s just one of those things that happens. I don’t remember exactly what the epilogue says either, and I refuse to ever read it again except once more when we finish our re-read so I’m not going to look, but from now on my headcanon is that they married young and she had children because peer pressure etc and then she came to her senses and they’re now divorced πŸ˜›

Yeah, pretty much. It’s also phrased because plausible deniability, since if anyone objects Rowling can just blame it on Skeeter-strawman. Ditto with the love potion thing, it’s phrased as poisonous tabloid bitchiness so it can’t be easily challenged as a horrible thing. Never mind that she’s just stated he’s a rapist.

I thought you’d enjoy it πŸ˜›


MITCHELL:

Yes, that’s a good point. We’ve definitely discussed that before; even if we were to grant Rowling the absurd level of popularity she gave him in the book *within Britain*, it’s still utterly absurd to expect it to extend beyond there (especially to e.g. people like the Bulgarian ambassador). Though as you say, at least Krum and Fleur didn’t seem to know or care; actually, come to think of it, neither did the foreign headmasters, did they? (And come to think of it, Karkaroff probably should have by dint of being a Death Eater, even if he wouldn’t have otherwise… this really is a tangled mess :P).

Agreed.

As far as I know, yes. I’m only going off things I’ve seen discussed at deathtocapslock and the like, I don’t think I’ve seen the actual interview quotes myself…

I don’t know that that’s the case, per se – I think it’s more of a conscious choice within certain circles (e.g. educated feminist women), but otherwise changing to the husband’s name is still the default choice. A lot of the bureaucratic systems and such also assume by default that the name is going to be changed, which makes things difficult for people who want to do other things. I think it’s probably pretty similar on both sides of the pond, honestly. I wasn’t planning to look it up in the epilogue either, lol; we can cross that bridge when we come to it. I don’t bother with headcanons for epilogue-related things, and I’m surprised you do: aren’t you the one who spent so long convincing me that it never happened? πŸ˜‰

Oh yes, I also assumed that having Skeeter be the one to say it (as with so many of these things) was for plausible deniability purposes, and for that matter that Rowling doesn’t intend the love potion thing to be taken seriously per se. It’s a bit more than plausible deniability, because as far as I can tell the intent is not for the reader to believe that love potions were actually involved. That said, I don’t think that matters; it’s enough that she thinks it’s an appropriate thing to casually joke about. (What would be a comparable real world circumstance? I can’t really imagine a tabloid cover saying something like “Famous Woman X is pregnant! Did Famous Man Y rape her?” and getting away with it…)


LOTEN:

Good point. Nobody ever speaks to Maxime about anything except Hagrid’s gruesome attempt at flirting so there’s no knowing what she thinks, but she certainly didn’t seem anything except annoyed that Hogwarts were getting two entrants. And Karkaroff’s existence makes no sense anyway except as the single token foreigner, lol. Plus of course neither of them should have been there anyway because hello they have schools to run and it actually is a full time job. Like everything else in this series, Harry is famous when the plot requires it and mysteriously unrecognisable the rest of the time.

Hm, fair enough then. And LOL, touchΓ©! Of course the entire epilogue doesn’t exist πŸ˜‰ But if it somehow did and wasn’t just an unfortunate mass hallucination, then I imagine that would be the explanation.

Sad but true. Just replace ‘love potion’ with ‘rohypnol’ and see how funny it is then.

No report on the oh so dramatic final until tomorrow, it doesn’t start until I go offline for dinner etc lol. I have this odd feeling that it’s just possible Bulgaria might win. Can’t imagine what makes me think that…


MITCHELL:

Heh, yes. That’s partially my point – they shouldn’t just have objected to Hogwarts having an extra contestant, but the fact that the local celebrity was apparently being given special treatment. Very good point that they shouldn’t have been there at all, too! Rowling never really does seem to have wrapped her mind around the fact that school administrators actually have real work to do.

I actually wouldn’t be completely surprised if she pulled another stupid stunt like she did in the book actually – remember, Krum catches the snitch for no reason to end the game before the point disparity gets worse (which still makes no bloody sense, lol). Maybe he’ll sabotage the game again and show himself to be a colossal troll? πŸ˜› (I wish.)


LOTEN:

You somehow managed to still give her too much credit, lol. Bulgaria won. And won purely because Krum was amazing and caught the Snitch, because this game is ridiculously broken and the position of Seeker is stupid. The updates were apparently in real time every few minutes (which must have been annoying as fuck to follow, honestly) as posts from both Ginny and Rita. Ginny’s were your standard sports commentary, people scoring goals, people saving goals, people doing fancy moves, bla bla bla. Rita’s additions were completely pointless, she was literally describing Dumbledore’s Army members watching a sports match – this person applauded, this person (Hermione) understandably yawned, this person’s child supports a different team to their parents. It was unbelievably dull. It also ended with Ginny hexing Rita mid sentence, because all Gryffindors know that it’s perfectly acceptable to physically assault people in public as long as they choose someone unpopular.


MITCHELL:

Of course. Of course the win’s due to the Snitch, because the bloody Seeker is the only thing that matters. The updates sound just thrilling also, lol – real-time gossip about people nobody would care about in-universe except for the fact they’re characters familiar to the readers? There’s almost something meta going on there, I think, but I can’t put my finger on it exactly… Well, props to Rowling for finally writing Ginny in-character, I suppose? πŸ˜‰ That behaviour is consistent with at least one of her canon multiple personalities…


LOTEN:

Haha, yes. I agree, it is rather meta on some level, isn’t it? And lol, yes, finally something that sounds like it was actually Ginny. This whole Quidditch thing was a total waste of time, honestly. I haven’t bothered looking around the site to see how many people actually care.


MITCHELL:

I obviously agree with you that it was a complete waste of time, but when have we not said that about anything Quidditch-related? I would be curious to know if anyone actually cares, there might be some interesting insights into the fanbase and/or the people on Pottermore to be gained from it, but I don’t blame you for avoiding them.


LOTEN:

Haha, true. But even those interested in Quidditch would probably have been disappointed, obviously most of what I picked out for you was non-game content but there wasn’t much else in all honesty. None of the entries were very long and you got a few sentences about the gameplay plus the random shite I pulled out to tell you. It really was all just filler to stop people fretting over when the next canon update will be released, I think, lol. I could have understood if it had gone into more depth about each match and talked more technically about the sport, but there was just no substance to any of it.

Wasn’t that fun, boys and girls? Next week’s post will cover the most recent canon Pottermore update of the Goblet of Fire content. After that I’ll be starting something new that’s been hinted at before, so watch this space.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on August 14, 2014 in loten, mitchell

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Pottermore: Quidditch World Cup, part 4

LOTEN:

So, Pottermore wankery, now we’re into the quarter finals. (There’s even a printable wall chart so people can pin it to the wall and keep a record of who gets eliminated each round. If I ever find someone who’s done it I’m going to kill them with a hammer for their own good, lol.) No real name fail, though a few of the Welsh names are pretty questionably not Welsh. The Welsh and Brazilian managers had a brawl after Rita Skeeter (who sadly still exists and is somehow still a journalist) got the Brazilian manager drunk enough to insult the Welsh team, the Welsh manager was arrested for cursing him (apparently his skin has ‘almost regrown’ lol serious injury is hilarious lol), who the fuck cares. The actual match was pretty much an afterthought, the reporter pretending to be Ginny clearly doesn’t really care any more than we do.


 

MITCHELL:

Oy. Really? A printable bracket chart for people to put on their walls? I don’t think I’d have believed it if you hadn’t told me, but it really does look like she’s trying to get people to treat this like it’s an actual sport tournament going on in the actual world. I mean, okay, I’ve nothing against roleplaying really but it seems a strange thing to try to do it with, and I don’t recall Pottermore having presented itself as roleplay before this… it just sounds odd. I know what you mean though, if I found out someone were actually taking this shit remotely seriously I’d probably be terrified also πŸ˜› I don’t even know what to do with the drunken brawl or whatever it is – “skin almost regrown”? How on earth have Potterverse wizards not driven themselves to extinction already with their sheer trigger-happy stupidity? How did they even live long enough to develop “healing” to counteract all the damage they’re constantly doing to each other?


 

LOTEN:

Yeah, I’m getting that impression too, and you’re right that it is very weird. This is the first time they’ve done something in ‘real time’ apart from the House cups; all the updates have always just been the canon content before. I suppose it’s just because of the World Cup this year, but even so, it’s pretty odd. (As for roleplaying, the site’s never done it officially but oh dear God the amount of really really really shit roleplay that goes on on the messageboards there…) And yeah, the fight just makes no sense, does it. The next match is scheduled for tomorrow, because apparently all the quarter-final matches are going to be two days apart despite the fact it’s impossible to predict how long each game will last. Oh look, JK forgot how her creation works again.


 

MITCHELL:

The House cups make sense as a thing to do in ‘real time’ since they actually depend on input from the players. The Quidditch thing is nothing like that, it’s just wait a bit and get fed a bunch of nonsense, rinse, repeat. What’s kind of sad is that I can actually imagine some ways to make something like this work – I don’t know if they do this sort of thing with World Cup football but over here (in particular with college basketball) it’s a popular thing to have people guess what the final brackets are going to look like and place bets and so on; they could easily have done something like that here. Or make a system similar to fantasy sports and let people choose players and compete (I have no idea how fantasy sports work really, lol, and because Quidditch isn’t a particularly coherent game it might not work that well, but in theory all you’d need is a weighted random number generator and a bunch of spreadsheets). Do either of those and you’ve given people a reason to care about the outcomes of these supposed matches and you might actually be able to drum up a bit of enthusiasm. I compared the current form to roleplaying because there’s really no other reason to give a shit, though honestly that might be an insult to roleplaying and now I feel badly about saying that (ugh, I can imagine the awful roleplay on the boards though, please do spare me the details).

And of course she forgot that Quidditch matches don’t last for consistent lengths, though in fairness that’s terrible game design (baseball can go fuck itself too) so I’m not sure how much I should object to a retcon there. It actually occurs to me that if the game were timed rather than ending when the Snitch were caught, the Snitch isn’t nearly as stupid – you’d probably want to make it worth fewer points, and either have multiples of them or release them after they’re caught etc so it’s not a one-time deal (plus maybe eliminating the Seeker position and having all players allowed to catch them), but then it’s just an additional source of points rather than the only thing that matters for winning the game.


 

LOTEN:

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that happens in football too, not just the World Cup but all the endless leagues and tournaments that seem to happen all bloody year πŸ˜› You’re right, if you’re going to do something like this you need to treat it like a real sport – but on the other hand imagine just how sad and pathetic that would be? Maybe we should be glad it’s only as bad as it is, lol.


 

MITCHELL:

Fair enough; I thought there was probably something like that but I wasn’t certain. I think it would be slightly less pathetic if they were treating it more like a real sport actually, if only because then there’s at least a little audience participation and they have more of an excuse for caring. As it stands it’s just “be fed irrelevant bullshit periodically” and I can’t imagine what anyone gets out of it.


 

LOTEN:

I think what we’re meant to get out of it is a distraction to stop us wondering when the long-promised next canon update is finally going to happen!

Today’s match is Bulgaria vs Norway. Bulgaria won in less than three quarters of an hour because Krum is omgsoamazing and Rowling just fucking loves him for some reason. And the Norway coach broke down in tears because that’s how all professional sports managers leading national teams behave over losing. Good grief.


 

MITCHELL:

Oh, of course she’s still going on about Krum – he’s the only player who was a character in the books so of course fans are more likely to care if he’s involved, it seems like pandering to me πŸ˜› (It’s not like there are going to be fans of Keyboardsmash Whoever; ironically, it seems like she’s trying to make Krum’s celebrity status transcend the books). And of course the coach broke down in tears, because Potterverse wizards have no concept of emotional maturity.


 

LOTEN:

Eh, calling Krum a character is a bit of a stretch. You’d think since he and Hermione were allegedly dating for a few months and since she is actually a main character we might have seen a bit more of him than we actually did, particularly since Harry worships all Quidditch players and Ron’s a fanboy at least some of the time, but no. JK just seems really, really proud of him, hence his pointless cameo in Deathly Hallows.


 

MITCHELL:

True, I think what I meant to say is that he’s at least recognisable and people know more about him than just his name and nationality (I suppose maybe there were a few details provided about the Irish team also in GoF, but I can’t recall much of anything aside from the names). You’re right he didn’t show up much in the actual books despite the fact realistically he probably should have done… I’m not surprised the Pottermore content is focusing on him somewhat though, he’s pretty much the only preexisting character she has to work with.


 

LOTEN:

True about Krum. I’m pretty sure all we learned in GoF about the Irish lot were their names, and not all of those as far as I remember. I still don’t know why Krum needed to be an implausible super-famous Quidditch prodigy instead of an ordinary Durmstrang student, unless it was JK trying to pretend there was a tiny chance Harry wouldn’t win the Triwizard. But we shall observe that the female champion wasn’t a super-special anything, and we shall scowl about it. Anyway, I think the main reason was so that she didn’t have to make up stories about the Bulgarian matches, they all boil down to “Krum’s amazing and oh yeah there was a match going on.” One good thing about the Quidditch World Cup, she won’t be doing it again, even if the site’s still popular in four years – I think she’s running out of ideas.

[Second half of the quarter finals next week.]

 
8 Comments

Posted by on August 7, 2014 in loten, mitchell

 

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Signal Boost: “How to Be a Strategic Asset for Bullies”

This is brilliantly written and anyone who spends time in spaces on the internet should read it.

(via Shakesville)

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2014 in mitchell

 

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Pottermore: Quidditch World Cup, part 3

LOTEN:

JK remembered she was doing some Quidditch shit on Pottermore, there are going to be daily updates for the next week. Calm down, I know you’re excited πŸ˜› We have coverage of two more matches. Neither sound remotely like Ginny, or like a human at all frankly. JK gets a slap for “Seeker Snuka” and another for “Hector Bolobolo” in the first match (for all I know that’s a legitimate Fijian name but it certainly sounds like she’s taking the piss). In the second match one of the teams was disqualified because the Snitch flew up a Beater’s sleeve and that counted as him illegally catching it because this sport totally makes sense.


 

MITCHELL:

LOL. More Quidditch shit. YAY, just what I wanted! Snuka, seriously? As for Bolobolo, I looked it up and I think she’s full of shit – there is apparently a book called Bolo’bolo, and a coffeeshop by the same name somewhere, and then there’s this:

[Note from Loten; the link he sent me was to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. It worked at the time but now insists I activate a free trial for something in order to view it, which no, sod off.]

So it seems like it’s an actual thing but I can find no connection whatsoever to Fiji. Half points, maybe? (Or is this another “‘Cho Chang’ two Korean last names is supposed to be Chinese” moment? :P) And that rule makes no fucking sense, lol, like everything else in Quidditch. Surely in a sensible game they’d just call a time-out, re-release the damn thing and restart the game (maybe with a small penalty in points or something?). Oh, wait, I forgot all that bullshit she established in DH with the “flesh memories” that means Snitches are fucking single-use because wizards are morons (despite it being an obvious retcon since we’d never heard anything about Snitches being replaced in the previous books, and were led to believe a standard set of Quidditch balls contained exactly one of them). Fuck Quidditch. And fuck me for even bothering to think about it this much, lol. What’s sad is that if you got rid of Snitches and Seekers it probably wouldn’t be too hard to turn Quidditch into a vaguely sensible game (and even keep a lot of the jokes at the expense of sports), the only thing you’d lose is the super-special position for Harry to get that requires no skills whatsoever and lets him instantly win the game (oh noes, what a bloody tragedy).


 

LOTEN:

I thought you’d be pleased πŸ˜› Her names are getting worse and worse, aren’t they? Today’s gems include Kquewanda Bailey (supposedly Jamaican; Google pulls up 16 hits and four of those are Pottermore-related :P) and Darius Smackhammer, which sounds like a Discworld dwarf name. The actual content is the usual bullshit, and a note at the end that the rules state if a member of the audience hexes a player the other team automatically forfeit the match whether they knew anything about it or not. So basically if you hex a member of the team you actually support, they win. How the fuck does that work? (And why doesn’t it happen in every match?)


 

MITCHELL:

Oh my god what are those. Kquewanda might be worse than Renesmee, for fuck’s sake! And LOL at the Discworld dwarfs (and lots of other Fantasyland dwarfs too, for that matter); trying to imagine them playing Quidditch is making my head hurt πŸ˜› As for that rule… wow, Rowling knows nothing about game design, does she? I can sort of see what she was trying to do (don’t interfere with the other team or it hurts yours!) except the loophole is so bloody obvious that Quidditch would actually become a game of quickdraw for the fans. Which would probably be a better game than Quidditch, admittedly, plus you have thousands of spectators attempting to hex the idiots who decided to play Quidditch professionally, which would be significantly more fun to watch than Quidditch πŸ˜›


 

LOTEN:

Yeah, I’m pretty sure no language anywhere has Kq as a letter combination. One of the Discworld dwarfs does end up on a broomstick at one point actually πŸ˜› It’s kind of a long story and they’re definitely not playing Quidditch, but even so, lol. Today’s stupid name is Willi Wenzel; nothing else to comment on since apparently the current match has been going on for twelve hours and they’ve stopped for a nap…


 

MITCHELL:

I can imagine constructions where kq would occur in the middle of a compound word, though I can’t think of any actual examples (something like ‘kickquick’, if that were a word). But it wouldn’t be a unique sound, lol, they wouldn’t be part of the same syllable or anything. Um. Anyway, Willi Wenzel is pretty bad but not nearly as bad as some of the others πŸ˜› And for some reason I thought they weren’t allowed to interrupt matches for things like naps and eating etc, it had to be played continuously until the Snitch was caught… maybe that was in the quidditch spinoff book? I don’t remember exactly, but I think she’s just contradicted her canon again.


 

LOTEN:

Yeah, I thought the same as you about the matches not allowed to pause, I think she did contradict her canon again. Also even though they did stop for sleep they’re all getting stupidly tired for some reason, the match is still going and one player literally fell asleep on his broom (without falling off, apparently, Quidditch players must have leg muscles related to bird’s foot muscles that automatically contract when they sleep) and one of the Seekers had the Snitch hovering in front of his eyebrow for five minutes without noticing it. Now, I can buy that Seekers are all fucking oblivious, but if you have a gold glittery shiny thing flapping its wings that close to your eye you will fucking see it. How are they all this tired after two days of play with a sleep in between? The broom does most of the work anyway. No stupid names this time, at least.


MITCHELL:

Good, it’s not just me πŸ™‚ What is the point of releasing extra material if it contradicts all the stuff that came before it? Learn to fucking write, JKR! Hm, them getting stupidly tired doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either (maybe it’s the monotony of it all getting to them?). None of that makes any sense. Speaking of which, what format is all of this information being presented in? You make it sound like they’re trying to present it in real-time or something as if these matches are actually happening, which could be vaguely clever except it sounds like it’s just bloody stupid πŸ˜›


 

LOTEN:

Third update about the same damned match, and it’s finished. And both teams are receiving medical treatment for some reason? They played for three days which included two stops for them to sleep, I don’t see what the problem is. JK obviously knows sleep deprivation = bad (which never stopped her giving her teachers schedules that would kill them in weeks) but never bothered to look up how long that takes. The format is articles in the Daily Prophet sports column. Except there isn’t an actual Daily Prophet on the site, so it’s just random newspaper clippings. Allegedly written by Ginny, except not. (Also why is Ginny a sports correspondent, canon has her as an actual player and she does have three children and a husband who all require extensive babysitting whenever they’re around. Why wouldn’t it be Lee Jordan, the kid who spends most of canon commentating on Quidditch matches?) Today’s name fail is Bruno Bruunhart.


 

MITCHELL:

That’s ridiculous, lol. And makes no sense. Admittedly I can imagine people getting things like eyestrain or the like, or maybe damage from flying objects (like enchanted homing cannonballs, or… I don’t know, stray birds or something) but this doesn’t sound particularly sensible. LOL yes, good point about the sleep deprivation thing πŸ˜› The format also doesn’t make much sense – in particular, considering how much Rowling hated on the Daily Prophet it seems weird she’d be using it now πŸ˜› (except there is literally no other wizarding news source so I suppose she’s left with no choice). Good point about Ginny – I can’t remember what she’s said about her in canon; I do know she was supposed to have played professionally for a while, but there may have been something about her retiring early also (I seriously don’t remember and may be getting some fics mixed up in here too). Regardless, you’re right it’d make more sense for someone like Lee Jordan to be doing it (speaking of which, why the fuck do they have a student commentating the matches in the first place?! I’m sure we’ve talked about that before). Bruno Bruunhart, seriously? *facepalm*


 

LOTEN:

Today’s Quidditch fail contains no specific fail, it’s just dull, lol. No name fails, no content beyond “hey remember Krum and how amazing he was? Here he is again, fucking worship him because I’m suddenly obsessed with him despite not bothering to write him into the main plot of the canon series.”


 

MITCHELL:

LOL, I’d been wondering whether Krum was going to return and whether she’d start pretending he was important again…


 

LOTEN:

No real Pottermore fail today either, I’m undecided about giving name-fail points to Hongo and Shingo of Japan and Wladyslaw of Poland because those are actual legit names but she’s clearly searched for ones that might sound silly to Westerners deliberately. I’d be a lot more charitable about the name fails if she hadn’t piled on the racism throughout Cuckoo.


 

MITCHELL:

lol, fair enough! Yeah, it does sound like she’s deliberately looking for goofy names, but that’s still much better than making up shit like Kquewanda or Bolobolo or whatever.


 

LOTEN:

We’re abandoning name-fail for today’s Quidditch match to cover extensive biology and potion fail. Someone tried the Wronski Feint that Rowling is oh so very proud of, and were apparently a fucking moron and forgot to pull out of their dive, and slammed into the ground at sixty miles an hour.

Rowling.

You live in Britain. You have seen the anti-speeding ad campaign that points out that a child hit by a car at 30mph has an 80% chance of survival whereas a child hit by a car at 40mph has an 80% chance of death. It ran for fucking years. Anyone colliding at 60mph with something solid, bereft of any safety measures like airbags/seatbelts/large expanses of sheet metal and fibreglass/a fucking crash helmet, would die on impact.

Despite this, Healers were on standby, and… administered Skele-Gro.

No.

Skele-Gro regrows inexplicably missing bones. It has never been mentioned that it’s a treatment for existing broken ones. The nose-resetting spell is the only thing we see in canon that seems able to do that. Anyway, apparently this guy has broken most of the bones in his body and

currently believes himself to be a budgerigar called Klaus

which presumably means his head collided with the ground and no seriously he’s dead and rather splattered. But he’s going to make a full recovery. Despite receiving the incorrect treatment for injuries that were fatal anyway. And he’s not even a Gryffindor.


 

MITCHELL:

Oh my god, seriously? Yeah, at that speed he probably would go splat (and even if not, “broken nearly every bone in his body” presumably includes the neck/spinal column/etc, no? If that didn’t kill him he’d probably come out of this a quadriplegic or something). And everything you say about Skele-Gro is spot-on, there is no reason whatsoever to believe it could be used to treat anything other than missing bones based on what canon has provided (though that also raises quite a lot of questions, such as why there is apparently a brand-name product for such a niche use, or for that matter why there are brand-name products at all in such a small community as Rowling’s wizarding world). And of course we have her usual trademark sensitivity toward mental illness and this dead-undead man thinks he’s a budgie, because that’s totally how concussions work even if we ignore the fact his head is probably a mess of pulp. *facepalm*


 

LOTEN:

Ugh, I know, she went from boring with a side of name-fail to total WTF overnight. It’s apparently exhausted her, too, we’re taking a break until the quarter-finals start (though naturally it doesn’t say when that is). Good point about the brand-name recognition too – though if we assume a lot of the stupider-sounding potions are made by a gimmicky company a la Weasley twins, and that most people actually use far more sensible treatments, I feel better about the wizarding world in general πŸ˜› Don’t be silly, that’s not how concussions work, concussions don’t exist in Fantasyland! Thinking you’re a budgie comes about from massive brain damage, which as we’ve already seen from Lockhart’s example is absolutely hilarious…

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2014 in loten, mitchell

 

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