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Pottermore: Deathly Hallows

30 Jun

Presenting the entirety of the final book of the series. I can understand them skipping over so much of this one, honestly, but as you’ll see what they did include is pretty bad.

You’ve noticed activity here has massively dropped. For anyone not stalking my FFN profile for status updates, I’ve started a new job and Mitchell is about to start a new job, which means little in the way of free time and energy. I’ll be continuing the baby silk moth posts when I can, but the HP posts will be delayed for a while, unfortunately.


LOTEN:

Pottermore shite! Deathly Hallows is up. In its entirety, as expected.

“The Decoy Harrys.” New content about the Dursleys… this can’t be good. Let’s see. Most of it isn’t even new, it just repeats what we knew before – Petunia was sick of her parents favouring her sister and moved to London, got an office job, met Vernon, loved how safe and normal he was, etc. Naturally this is described as a bad thing she should be villified for. They met Lily and James, James was an absolute ass to Vernon to the point where even Lily was upset, they left. Petunia didn’t want Lily as a bridesmaid for her wedding, oddly enough. They didn’t go to Lily and James’ wedding (can’t imagine why, that must have been such a Muggle-friendly event) and never spoke again except for the note about Harry’s birth, which they didn’t answer. All stuff we’ve heard before, all trying to blame Petunia despite it all being pretty reasonable.

And then this gem: Apparently Vernon hated Harry because he looked like James? They met twice. And didn’t even speak on the second occasion. I honestly think this was put in as another dig at Snape, because there’s absolutely no way that makes sense.

“The Ministry Has Fallen.” No new content. Kingsley’s lynx Patronus wiggles its ears adorably when you mouseover.

“Retrieving the Locket.” The trial/Dementor attack Harry blew his cover to interrupt (which I forgot even happened, the Ministry invasion had a lot of other more relevant scenes…). Oh, creepy, if you mouseover the prisoner she screams.

“Splinched.” Why would anyone care? Ron lost a tiny bit from his shoulder. Big whoop. (We can mouseover his arm and make him bleed… I should probably not enjoy that…) Bonus content about Extension Charms, of all things. The incantation is one of the worst, too – “Capacious Extremis“? Really, Rowling? All Hogwarts trunks come with them as standard, so do tents, but apparently it’s illegal to do them yourself because of the risk of breaking the secrecy act that nobody gives a fuck about. So Hermione’s handbag was illegal, but the pouch Hagrid gave Harry that I don’t think he actually used wasn’t. Sense, this makes none. (And the cars the Ministry use aren’t mentioned.) And of course no explanation of how this spell defies the laws of physics – it expands the interior of whatever you cast it on, doesn’t change the exterior at all, and makes the contents lighter. Because fuck it, it’s magic.

“The Graveyard.” No new info. Not even a shot of the weird concealed statue, just the gravestone.

“The Frozen Pool.” Aw, no silver doe art? Well, fuck you then. (I would have loved to see art of Snape hiding behind a tree, facepalming 😛 but no.) More content, Gryffindor’s sword, which can pretty much be summed up as ‘goblins are evil so it’s okay to be racist about them’. Made a thousand years ago to Godric’s instructions (so that’s why they made a sword out of silver… because some idiot insisted it look pretty. Gotcha) by the goblin king, who was so happy with what he’d made that he pretended Gryffindor had stolen it and sent goblins to get it back (except no, he didn’t, we were told in the book that by goblin custom the sword belonged to him anyway because he made it…). Noble Gryffindor mindraped them and sent them back to make threats, and told the goblin king that if he ever tried to steal from him again he would slaughter the entire goblin race. Because GENOCIDE is a completely reasonable reaction to someone trying to take a shiny thing off you. And he needed a sword in the first place because before the secrecy thing wizards and Muggles mingled freely (lol) and lots of wizards used swords because it was unsportsmanlike to use wands against Muggles (double lol) and naturally Gryffindor was an amazing duellist.

Also, “similar to a wand, part of its magic is that it imbibes that which strengthens it.” Um, what? Since when can wands do that? (And how does a very dead stick ‘imbibe’ anything anyway?) I thought that was a specific goblin enchantment they put on the sword…

Oh, and apparently Snape chucked it in the pond out of spite – so we’re just ignoring the part where Dumbledore specifically told him Harry had to do some sort of trial to earn the sword (never mind that making no sense in the first place), and the part where if Harry wasn’t a TOTAL FUCKING MORON he could have got to the sword in about thirty seconds without nearly throttling himself or catching hypothermia. Nope, just spite. Uh huh. Fucking hell, this update is bad.

“Beedle the Bard.” No new info.

“Dobby to the Rescue.” Because the bloody elf was the most important part of the whole arrest-and-torture thing. No new info.

“Here Lies Dobby.” Good. That’s a fucking creepy corpse though, he looks like a ventriloquist’s dummy. No new info.

“Dragon Flight.” Extra content about alchemy? I’m not going to argue, despite it making zero sense here. Let’s see. Actually nothing new – alchemical instructions can be read as metaphors for spiritual journeys, which I already knew, and she repeats the bullshit about Rubeus and Albus being super-symbolic names for the two halves of Harry’s perfect father figure (gag) because red and white are important in alchemy. Also LOL retcon alert – alchemy is totally a NEWT option at Hogwarts, and Hermione just… didn’t want to do it because… reasons.

“Nagini Attacks.” I actually didn’t want to see Snape’s death scene, damnit. I still have feels. Especially with an animation of the bite complete with squishy noise? Fuck you. At least there was no scream.

“The Resurrection Stone.” No new info. Probably just as well, though I was expecting more incoherent rambling about death and sacrifice. And nothing from the bloody ‘train station’ with Jesus!Dumbles either, luckily.

“Kill the Snake.” Bonus content about hatstalls? They’re being pretty random with the info placement this time. Anyone whose Sorting takes more than five minutes. Hermione and Neville were close. Aw, Neville actually wanted Hufflepuff, he was trying to argue with the hat and it refused to listen to what he wanted. So much for “our choices show who we really are“, eh? Guess only the protagonist gets any kind of agency and ability to consent. McGonagall was a hatstall, she might have gone to Ravenclaw… if you say so. Pettigrew was a LOL RETCON hatstall too, the hat really considered putting him in Slytherin, hahaha fuck off.

Mercifully nothing from the epilogue. Understandable, since it doesn’t exist, but that was a very odd note to end on.

So. More bonus content this time, but none of it made sense and most of it was infuriating. And they still glossed over all the stuff I actually wanted to know about. Meh.


MITCHELL:

Well, Pottermore is always such a pleasant surprise 😉 I suppose at least we’ll have some easy content to write about for a bit, since everything else is lagging behind right now. I won’t turn up my nose at some conveniently barrelled fish.

To start with that sounds pretty typical, aside from having nothing to do with the title of “the decoy Harrys”… okay then. And yes, this sounds pretty ordinary, not that it’s anything new (nor is Rowling attempting to blame Petunia for holding grudges that are quite reasonable when you consider how she’s been treated).

I’ve no idea where to start with the Vernon thing; it’s just obviously utter nonsense (and I think you might be onto something about it being targeted at Snape, though then it raises the question of whether Rowling is even able to tell her antagonists apart). It also brings to mind a number of disturbing mental images – either James as a grown man looked very like an infant (leading to hilarious/horrific implications such as Snape being terrorised by such a monstrosity while at school, Lily implicitly having paedophilic tendencies… I’ll stop now), or infant Harry looked very like a grown man. And if we’re going to talk about Vernon’s reasons for hating Harry, he could have had plenty of more plausible ones (e.g. a quite reasonable under the circumstances distaste for magic, or resentment at having a second child and all the related hassle and expense foisted on him without his consent, etc) so I’ve no idea why this would be what she went with (except, of course, that she’s an idiot).

Well, screaming prisoners are so pleasant and provide such deep insight into the story we couldn’t otherwise have had, clearly this is an excellent bit of content that was essential to include.

I wonder if the inclusion of content related to Splinching was just so she/they could find a place to fit Ron in somewhere? Goodness knows he did hardly anything in the book itself… Anyway, I’m amused at your enjoying the blood, heh. I don’t even know what to say about the extension charm thing, except that (as usual) her attempt to elaborate on any bit of her magic system explains nothing and trivialises any accomplishment her characters could otherwise have had. I mean, in the book Hermione’s purse comes across as a major accomplishment and we get the impression it took her some serious research to set it up; now we’re to learn all she had to do was say two words? (Well, of course all she had to do was point a stick and say words, because that’s the only way anything works in the Potterverse when Rowling provides details, but nothing else actually seems to work that way… to reprise an old complaint of mine) Of course it’s illegal Just Because, also; of all the things that the supposedly super-important secrecy act forbids, something as easily concealable as this is a high priority?

Somehow I doubt the Pottermore artists’ priorities are anywhere near ours, heh 😛 Nevertheless, maybe if we’re lucky one of our readers will have artistic tendencies and draw it for you? 😉

As for the Gryffindor sword business… wow, it’s really amazing how she can make it even worse than we’d have thought, isn’t it? So essentially, Godric Gryffindor was a selfish racist asshole, who thought it was so important he be able to “sportingly” fight Muggles (fairness is super-important so he mustn’t use a wand, but there’s nothing wrong with a magically-enhanced super sword!) that he very nearly started a war with yet another race? Well, I suppose that explains quite a few of the bullying tendencies Gryffindor house seems to look on so favourably… it all goes back to the very beginning.

This is the first we’ve heard of wands having that property, yes; previously I think the only thing she’d ever given it to was the sword (and possibly by extension goblin-made artefacts generally). It’s also a pretty nonsensical idea when you stop to think about it; what, exactly, does “imbibes that which strengthens it” mean? (The only example we have is the bloody basilisk venom, which only “strengthens” it by authorial fiat and is otherwise a corrosive substance…)

Spite. Right. Yes, Rowling, I agree there’s a lot of spite here, but I think the bit we need to talk about is that which you seem to hold toward your characters and your readers…

Alchemy. Right. You can’t just retcon things like that in, Rowling, these things matter! It’s not negligible that you wrote your foremost institution of magical learning (cough cough) neglecting what you’ve implied to be a serious and important area of study, and you can’t just weasel out of that now (and I especially don’t like the arbitrary shitting on Hermione’s character to do it).

Oh, of course they’d show that.

Why are we talking about “hatstalls” now (and why did there have to be a fucking term for that anyway)? And of course she has to have the hat overriding any agency Neville could have had, he’s not the protagonist so who gives a fuck? Don’t do this shit, Rowling. I’m not pleased with the Pettigrew thing either; must everyone villainous in the entire Potterverse be connected to Slytherin somehow?

I’m not sure what else to say about most of this… it’s honestly pretty dull, though that could just be because it’s more of the usual bullshit and I’m used to it all by now.


Yeah, that was honestly as far as we discussed it this time. Everything able to be commented on was just so vastly wrong there was no point in debating about it. I’ve no idea what’s going to happen on Pottermore now, they may keep adding random bits of bonus content as time goes by but it’s pretty clear that Rowling’s bored with the whole thing by now.

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11 Comments

Posted by on June 30, 2015 in loten, mitchell

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

11 responses to “Pottermore: Deathly Hallows

  1. DawnM

    July 1, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I prefer the idea of Alchemy as an advanced degree subject, where you need to go to something like Univeristy in order to study it. I’ve never noticed Rowling mention anything about advanced study institutions similar to college/university in her writings. Does the idea come up somewhere and I just missed it?

     
    • All-I-need

      July 1, 2015 at 11:59 am

      No, there’s no mention of any kind of university anywhere, beyond the total number of wizarding schools in the world (11? 7? I don’t remember). She never mentions where all the other teachers work, either. If you want to be a teacher after you’ve finished school, apparently you have to wait for a current member of staff to die – there doesn’t seem to be another place of employment except abroad, where you’d be faced with the same problem.

       
  2. All-I-need

    July 1, 2015 at 11:57 am

    First of all, congratulations to both of you on your new jobs!

    Wow, I didn’t even get an email alerting me to this new Pottermore content as I normally do. Oh joy.

    There seems to be a lot of bullshitting going on in this part. As you already said, the entire thing with Vernon doesn’t make sense. I highly doubt he even remembers what James looked like exactly. He met the guy twice and it would have taken years for Harry to start resembling him in any significant way and I can tell you that I wouldn’t have more than a vague memory of how someone I barely knew looked like after all that time. He does have a right to despise James, however – many people do.

    I always thought Alchemy was something that used to be taught at Hogwarts until they decided it was too archaic and “modernised” the subject into Potions as we know it, but that’s just my personal headcanon. Nevertheless, there are only two people at Hogwarts who we can safely assume know enough about Alchemy to teach it: Snape and Dumbledore. Now Dumbledore is never mentioned as anything but a former transfiguration teacher and seems to be spending his time eating sweets, avoiding Ministry mail and plotting everyone’s downfall. And I would love to see Rowling try and fit Alchemy into Snape’s teaching schedule. He’s teaching full-time Potions for years 1-5, NEWT classes for years 6 and 7, doing patrols, working as Head of Slytherin and therefore has to set time aside to be available to students, spying for the Order AND the Death Eaters and presumably has to sleep at some point, as do the students. How is he going to fit NEWT classes for Alchemy in? Will the entire class be handed time turners? (Okay, that would actually be legit. After all, the Ministry thought a third-grader was a good choice to have one just so she could work herself to a burn-out at school). This is a train wreck.

    Implying that Pettigrew was almost sent to Slytherin is a serious insult to the entire House. One of their famous traits is cunning, and let’s be honest – moss is probably more cunning than Pettigrew. Tricking the Ministry into believing he was dead doesn’t count, either, because the Ministry is so incompetent they wouldn’t have arrested him if he’d been found drawing the Dark Mark on the street in chalk.
    I could see Neville in Hufflepuff, though, and I think he would have fared a lot better there – less bullying from both Gryffindors and Slytherins, for one, and I suspect Snape would have spent more time ignoring him. My theory is that half the time Snape targeted him just to goad Harry into doing something stupid – not a difficult thing to achieve. Temper, Potter. Also, Neville could still have done every brave thing he ever did without being a Gryffindor. Amazingly enough, people can have more than one personality trait und Hufflepuff doesn’t have a badger on its crest for nothing.

    I’m not even going to comment on Godric Gryffindor and his sword. You’ve already summed it up nicely. Good lord.

    Also, did you guys hear about what Rowling said about how you become an Animagus? Apparently you have to keep some plant leaf in your mouth for an entire month (among other things). PLEASE, Rowling, explain to me how the Marauders pulled that one off with regular Transfiguration classes with the one teacher who went through the process herself and therefore would realise what they were up to immediately? (side note: people on tumblr came up with a nice solution of them pretending to have a bet going on about whether or not they can stay completely mute for a month and of course they’d then drag it out for another month or two just to avoid arousing suspicion) It’s still a stupid detail and it’s clear that she didn’t put any thinking into it that went beyond: “Well, it’s a difficult and time-consuming process” … uh-huh.

     
    • janach

      July 2, 2015 at 4:55 am

      If you pay attention to what Pettigrew actually does instead of what is said about him, he’s really quite competent. Besides framing Sirius and bringing Voldy back to life, he had to have had a certain amount of cleverness to maintain his status as a Marauder (even a third-tier Marauder) a for seven years rather than being adoped by the other three as a full-time target the way Severus was. That can’t have happened by accident, James and Sirius being what they are. Peter is not at all the bumbling, helpless coward that JKR insists he is.

      That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a Slytherin, of course. People in any House can be competent—even Gryffindors, though we don’t see many examples of it. I hate the way every unpleasant person in canon is shunted into Slytherin House. Umbridge is a classic case of Hufflepuff loyalty gone evil, but JKR insists she’s a Slytherin as well.

       
      • All-I-need

        July 2, 2015 at 4:32 pm

        That’s a good point you’ve made there about Pettigrew and I agree that we could give him more credit for that. I just don’t see a lot of cunning in cutting of a finger and transforming into a rat to escape, though framing Sirius for it was a clever move. And as for bringing Voldy back … well, he was following his master’s orders step by step when he did that. I always thought that maybe James and Sirius and Remus kind of allowed Peter into their midst because he was a Gryffindor and the only one they were bullying was Severus, so it’s not completely unbelievable that they would take an awkward youth in their own house under their wing.

        I agree with you on the House issue. I think somehow, JKR got it into her head that “evil” is actually one of the main requirements for being in Slytherin and therefore anyone who she deems in any way evil has to end up there. There’s certainly no other reason for why Crabbe and Goyle should be there, who get as much characterisation in the books as your basic house plant. In the same manner, her writing seems to imply that Hufflepuff is filled with morons and everyone who didn’t fit into the neat categories of “outgoing bully”, “obviously evil” and “intelligent”. It’s a shame.

         
    • Loten

      July 2, 2015 at 7:42 am

      Thank you 🙂

      No, I haven’t heard anything about the animagus process… what the hell? Well… some credit for originality, I suppose, since that certainly bears no resemblance to any shapeshifting I have ever seen anywhere else… facepalm.

      That theory about alchemy being a now-obsolete subject sounds familiar, that’s what I’ve always assumed as well – either it’s a very common headcanon, or Rowling actually said that at some point and has therefore just contradicted herself again.

       
  3. liminal fruitbat

    July 1, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Oh my god this is the shittiest new canon ever.

    And of course no explanation of how this spell defies the laws of physics

    Magical theory: so important they need textbooks in it from year one, so utterly non-existent we get some bullshit about how you can’t create food but can create animals, sauce, and wine.

    I genuinely want to vomit at that Gryffindor bullshit. I think the wizarding world is due for another goblin rebellion any time now.

     
  4. SoxyOutfoxing

    July 2, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Yeesh, I’m not one of Snape’s defenders, but the idea that he was being spiteful in that situation is just so lolwhut. We already had a perfectly acceptable explanation, we didn’t need another one that makes a scene that’s clearly supposed to have serious gravitas into the sole result of someone being a petty jerk.

    Same with the Godric and sword thing. We had an explanation that consisted of a genuine cultural misunderstanding, only to get ‘lol nope goblins just are thieving dickbags,’ and even that doesn’t make sense. If a master craftsman decides they like their work too much to sell it, why wouldn’t they just not sell it? Make Godric a new sword, he won’t know the difference. Like, what, the goblin realised it was something he wanted to keep only after he had given it away?

    And does JK realise that the choice between Gryffindor and Slytherin is the exact same choice her hero had? The one that was offered as proof he was a good person in that one bit of canon that everyone quotes all the time? I mean, sure, Pettigrew made his evil choices further down the line, but still. Ignoring the epilogue Harry only made it to seventeen; maybe he’s going to betray all his friends in a fit of pragmatism. Not to mention the Neville thing: “It is our choices that show who we really are, in such that if you are the kind of person whose choices are over-ridden by a hat, you are a sidekick at best.”

    It’s like JK thinks her detractors were complaining that her books are too nuanced or something. They really really weren’t, but this all takes things to a new low.

     
  5. P.S. Paddfoot (@PSPaddfoot)

    July 4, 2015 at 1:15 am

    On the subject of Alchemy, it is supposed to only be available to 6th and 7th years, though JK had considered making it a required subject from first year onward. The 6th and 7th year availability never made sense to me. You would think that when they get to choose their electives in 3rd year, that it would become an option then. That actually makes sense to me, since I imagine it takes years to learn it in any meaningful sense.

    Of course Pettigrew was almost a Slytherin, he turned out to be evil as an adult, so clearly as an 11 year old child he had it in him to betray his friends, and murder 12 muggles. Speaking of Slytherin’s JK sends her congradulations to “the snakes” for winning the house cup this year. It read as a bitter insult to me.

    As a Hufflepuff (on every freaking Harry Potter website, including Pottermore), I agree with the person who said Umbridge is a Hufflepuff in its most extreme form of loyalty. (Then again I am the person who has Regulus Black as a Hufflepuff in her own headcanon.) I also always thought Neville should have been a Hufflepuff, but of course he couldn’t be that, because then he could not pull the sword of Gryffindor out of the stupid sorting hat.

    Speaking of Gryffindor, way to nearly start a war over a sword. Seriously? No wonder Slytherin walked away from Hogwarts, who wants to deal with a hypocrit like that?

    I’m glad I do not pay much attention to Pottermore. Everytime she shares more things about her universe, I find myself even more disappointed. Thank goodness there is FanFiction. I have read plenty with way better explanations for things.

     
    • janach

      July 4, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      Regulus as a Hufflepuff is a good idea. Unfortunately, we are shown the Slytherin decorations in his bedroom in Book Seven. Maybe the Hat wanted to put him in Hufflepuff, but he persuaded it otherwise because it would break his dear mother’s heart if a second son failed to be Sorted into the traditional family House. Which is Hufflepuffish argument, of course, but Godric’s Hat seems to be rather erratic about putting kids where they want to go rather than where they fit. In my fanfic “Sal’s Hat,” Salazar’s yarmulke is more determined to put kids where they belong instead of where they ask. It puts Greg Goyle in Hufflepuff because he’s loyally determined to go to Slytherin with his friend Draco (who is clever, but really needs looking after), and places Vincent Crabbe (who is reckless about casting spells he shouldn’t) into Gryffindor.

      You make an important point that students are Sorted at eleven, so their character and behavior as adults is not necessarily relevant. Though JKR would rant long and hard against it, I’m convinced Gilderoy Lockhart was a Gryffindor. Yes, as an adult he’s a coward, but at eleven he really wanted to fight monsters, and was certain he’d be able to do it. Monster-fighting, however, requires competence as well as courage, and when he discovered he didn’t have the actual ability, he took up fiction-writing instead.

      Likewise, people have argued that Dumbledore’s faults are those of a Ravenclaw rather than a Slytherin, but that’s adult Dumbledore. Albus in his teens was clearly brimming with Slytherin ambition—winning awards, corresponding with accomplished adults, and so on. But the Grindelwald/Ariana disaster was so traumatic that Albus became convinced that Slytherin ambition leads to evil, and must be suppressed, in himself and in others.

      As for me, I don’t need any tests to know I’m a Ravenclaw. It would be cool to be a Slytherin, but actually trying to accomplish great ambitions takes too much work. Reading, learning, and analyzing is easier and more fun.

       
      • P.S. Paddfoot (@PSPaddfoot)

        July 6, 2015 at 2:50 am

        I’m glad you think Regulus as a Hufflepuff is a good idea. I wish to write a fan-fic story one day, where I elaborate more on how that could even be. Which speaking of fan-fic, I think I’m going to have to track your story down. Sal’s Hat sounds a lot more intriguing than Gryffindor’s. Plus after googling what a yarmulke is, I like the look of it.

        I always thought of Lockhart as a Gryffindor as well. For some reason I even thought it was cannon. He just seems to fit the mold of a Gryffindor, or a Slytherin. I could see monster fighting as a pretty big ambition, but I’m not wholly convinced on the Slytherin part to be honest. It takes a bit more than just ambition to make Slytherin I think. Then when you point out Dumbledore as a young man, he pretty much embodied Slytherin. It could be argued as an adult, that despite what he may have said, he was still pretty Slytherin in action. I wonder if Dumbledore asked the hat to put him into Gryffindor?

         

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