Thursday, November 8, 2018

Discussion: Controversial Harry Potter Opinions

The 2018 Discussion Challenge is hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction & It Starts At Midnight

A few weeks ago, there was a thread on Twitter for the controversial Harry Potter hills you’re willing to die on. I wanted to add my opinions to the thread, but I discovered that I have too many opinions. I’m one of those weirdos who will gleefully waste her time overanalyzing a children’s book. Since my thoughts are too big for a Tweet, I’m going to inflict a whole blog post of Harry Potter opinions on you. Aren't you lucky? There are spoilers. Beware. Also, I’m putting on my flameproof armor now. This might get messy . . . .

Controversial Harry Potter Opinions

1. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were often terrible friends to each other. I wish Hermione had gotten more friends as an adult and ended up with someone better than Ron. Actually, I didn’t like any of the romances in the books. Why did they all have to marry their school friends? How often does that happen in real life?

2. Snape and Dumbledore are complex and well-written characters. They're some of the most fascinating fictional people in modern children's literature. I'm glad they exist. But, they aren’t heroes. Snape bullied children because he couldn’t get over his own teenage romance. Spending your whole life obsessing over your teenage crush isn’t romantic. It’s creepy. Dumbledore is reckless and should not have been allowed to run a school. Harry shouldn’t have named his kids after Snape and Dumbledore. (Wouldn't the Weasleys have been a better choice for names?) Still, I love Snape and Dumbledore as characters. You know that they're great characters if we're still talking about them 20 years after they came into the world.

3. I actually like the dancing scene in the seventh movie. I agree that it’s out of character for Hermione and Harry, but it changes the tone and signals the end of Ron’s drama. (Can you tell that I’m not the biggest Ron fan? His angst in Deathly Hallows irritated me. He knew what he was signing up for when he agreed to search for Hallows.)

4. Where are Harry’s grandparents? I was caught off-guard when I learned that Harry’s parents were 21 when they died. I assumed they were older because Harry doesn’t have grandparents. Where are they? These books have some giant holes in the worldbuilding! Another frustrating hole: Why can owls find people, but the Wizarding government can’t? Hedwig has no trouble delivering mail to Sirius. Can’t the government just follow the birds?

5. I liked the first Fantastic Beasts movie and have seen it several times. I'll probably end up seeing the second one eventually. Cursed Child, however, is dead to me. I'm sure the actual play is lovely and entertaining, but reading the script was painful. The plot is silly and the book characters act very out-of-character. I'm okay with JK Rowling expanding her fictional world, but maybe we should leave the original series and main characters alone? 

6. I'm (mostly) happy with the real ending of the series, but I wouldn’t have been mad at either of these endings:

  • It’s revealed that Harry isn’t a wizard at all. He’s just a normal kid who has been locked in a broom cupboard for years. He made up the wizard stuff to keep himself entertained. This would explain the worldbuilding holes.
  • Neville was actually The Chosen One. Everyone ignored him because Harry looks and acts more like a stereotypical hero.

7. Voldemort could have been a lot more complicated. We got some of his backstory, but it wasn’t enough for me. We needed more Voldemort!

8. Draco Malfoy would have fewer fans if Tom Felton was ugly or a bad actor. I think a lot of people love Malfoy because Felton was good at playing him in the movies. I don't completely understand the Malfoy love. I like him as a character; I wouldn't want to know him in real life. A redemption arc would have been cool, but I'm not angry that it didn't happen.

9. Even though I’m a proud Ravenclaw, I don’t think the house system should exist. It causes problems in the Wizarding World. The first thing that Harry learns about Slytherins is that “they’re evil.” Slapping labels on eleven year olds is not a good way to build a healthy society. Especially because the kids can’t change their labels. They’re only sorted once. I know that traditions and stereotypes are hard to change, but why does literally no one realize that the house system is broken?

10. I don’t like Hagrid. Mostly because his dialect is inconsistent in the American editions of the books, which annoyed me. I kept hoping he’d die so I didn’t have to read it anymore. (Haha, that sounds awful.) Even though I'm not a Hagrid lover, I wondered why nothing changed when he was proven innocent of opening The Chamber of Secrets. Since he’s innocent, was he given a real wand or allowed to attend adult wizarding school? The books gloss over this whole wrongful expulsion thing. I think that was a huge missed opportunity for character development. Hagrid could have been more dynamic and interesting.

What are your controversial thoughts about popular books?


  1. I love hearing people's controversial Harry Potter opinions because whether I agree with them or not, I love seeing how different people interpret and experience the series. I would've been so mad if it had a 'this was all a dream' ending, haha! It would explain a lot of those holes though, so I can understand that aspect. I think it would have been really neat if Neville had been The Chosen one also--what a good twist that would have been! And I totally agree that I needed more from Voledmort. It just wasn't enough to make me understand him as an evil guy.

    And the Hagrid thing! I didn't get that either. I just assumed everyone was happy with how things were? But I can't imagine that would be the case... it was definitely a missed opportunity to have more about Hagrid. Thanks for sharing all of these, I enjoyed reading through them.

  2. This was awesome :D I totally agree on some of these points, including the romance, the labels and Snape/Dumbledore . Also, good question about the owls and grandparents :D

  3. My mum thought my dad was a pillock at school yet married him when she was 20! Sort of Lily and James huh! I wasn't ever convinced by Ron and Hermione as a couple! I got so annoyed at Dumbledore for not telling Harry WHY he had to forget the Dept of Mysteries in book 5. Had he warned Harry why he might get lured there it never would've happened! Grr! I love Neville. In the end he kind of was The Chosen One-leading the rebellion at Hogwarts, standing up to Voldemort and killing the snake! I can see your point on how divisive the school house system is...but I'm still a happy Hufflepuff! I would've liked to see some resolution for Hagrid-a bloody apology for a start!

    I actually hated that dancing scene as it made it look like Harry and Hermione were going to kiss. It really bugged me! I seem to be one of the few who really enjoyed The Cursed Child!

    Fun post!

  4. I never read the books, but I know enough from the movies to follow along. As always, this was hilarious. I think you might have a point about the trio's friendship. There were times I wondered if it was healthy

  5. "Spending your whole life obsessing over your teenage crush isn’t romantic. It’s creepy." RIGHT?!?!?! 100% agree!!!

  6. I don't get all the Snape love - he's in love with Lily, but treats everyone else like garbage? Worst teacher ever. And I will never read The Cursed Child. I'm not even really into Fantastic Beasts. I kind of just wanted it to end with the original books.

  7. GAH I had to skim, because I am only on Book 5, but never fear, I bookmarked it (and added it to my monthly recap post hah) so I can read it when I am done! Because I assume your opinions are, at the very least, hilarious. So far I love Ron (even though some people seem to not? Which I don't get but okay) and I am on the Umbridge book and can we just stab that bitch real quick? Malfoy I do not like, and from what I understand, he doesn't get any LESS awful so who likes him and WHY? No thank you please (and I think you are spot on about the actor thing!) I do love Hagrid. Like so much. Is he going to do something to displease me? I hope not.

    DUDE YES with the grandparents! I have wondered that too- this silly aunt was the ONLY family member they could dredge up?!? Sounds fake.

  8. Girrrlll you got some opinions and I love it. Each day, I want the HP fandom to die down. It's been over 15 years and stores (read: Hot Topic) are still carrying merch like the movies just came out. I want it to be a beautiful memory of my childhood, not dragged out until my kids have kids.

    I agree about Snape and Dumbledore, they had no business around children. Nor did the majority of their Dark Arts instructors!

  9. Ooooh Harry Potter controversy! I do agree with you on the romances. The only one I love is Neville and Luna and that wasn't really confirmed. I also 100% agree about Snape and Dumbledore. They're both so complex but honestly they're awful. I can appreciate that they had their reasons and it all worked out in the end. And YES Cursed Child is GARBAGE and I hate it! What was Rowling thinking, putting her name on that? You're probably right about Draco, but honestly I'll never know what my feelings would have been because I saw the movies before reading the books. I feel like people liked him before the movies came out though, maybe? Awesome post!

  10. Oooooh, Harry Potter smack talk! Bring it on! :)
    I was always meh on the Ron + Hermione pairing. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. But Harry + Ginny? UGH! I was never a fan of Ginny and never, ever bought into that relationship. It felt totally forced and awkward and made me wonder why JKR felt the need to go that route. Just... UGH. Snaps and Dumbledore were finely written characters. Layered and complex and flawed. But heroes? Nope. Snape needed to build a bridge and get over it - and taking out his angst on Harry was just petty and cruel. Dumbledore had his own agenda and was willing to expend anyone to get it. Not exactly heroic. Loved the dancing scene. It was sweet and added a little light heartedness when it was needed most. I didn’t need a redemption arc for Malfoy and am kinda glad it didn’t happen. Not everyone sees the error of their ways and turns over a new leaf. Some choose to knowingly go the other way and that’s real life. Malloy was another complex/conflicted character but I didn't need him to become one of the good guys. I do agree that a lot of the Malfoy love probably stems from Tom Felton beinga decent looking guy.

  11. My BFF likes to loudly declare at sci-fi/fantasy conventions "Harry Potter is a children's book - fight me." So that's my best friend.

    #1. I 100% agree. Ick, and I hate Hermione/Ron. I'm fine that they got together in school, but that they ended up married? Sorry, Hermione could do way better.

    #2. Again, I agree with you. I <3 Snape forever (but a goodly part of that could be because Alan Rickman... THE WORLD MAY NEVER KNOW. They are well written, great characters. Snape's whole thing with Lily? Definitely creepy, not really sweet. Dumbledore definitely a superhero, but also should NOT be in charge of the safety of a school full of kids. WTF, wizarding world.

    #3. I have no memory of this place. (Wrong fandom... #sorrynotsorry)

    #4. Hey, these are good questions. There are lots more holes though, so shh, don't look to closely or you'll rip the fragile fabric of "reality."

    #5. I don't care what anyone says, Cursed Child is no part of my canon and I refuse to read it, see it, or acknowledge its existence. Cursed who?

    #6. I mean, they basically said your second point on #6 was kind of a thing, and it could have been Neville or Harry but something about Reasons, and basically Voldemort MADE Harry the Chosen One when he decided to off him instead of Neville or something? Neville is way the heck better than Harry anyway.

    #7. I think we might get more Voldemort in the new series? Or just Grindelwald. I don't know, I'm not a wizard.

    #8. I think in the later books he did get a bit of a redemption arc, or at least some sympathetic story time. It was made pretty clear that he didn't want to be doing the things he was, but felt he had to. I think that people like him for some of the same reasons they like Snape - he's a bit of a reluctant villain, in the end. Plus, the actor who plays him 1) does a great job and 2) doesn't suck to look at. Agreed that people would definitely like him less if he was not played by Tom Felton.

    #9. As a Hufflepuff, I can tell you that we are not the "misc" house, and I'm sure you've got Slytherins going "uh thanks, we're not the evil house." Also, Griffindor is CLEARLY the worst house. (There's one of my unpopular Harry Potter opinions. The other is that Harry Potter himself is just about the WORST character in the series. Chew on that.) The point was that each house was supposed to call to a different type of personality, kind of like people have different learning styles. OK, we'll take the visual learners, and you take the kids who learn best through hands on learning... that type of thing. And then it got all mucked up when some super famous dark wizards ended up being Slytherins. That the books follow a bunch of Griffindors as big damn heroes with a few Ravenclaws as minor supporting cast and then all Slytherins cast in the villanous roles and a couple of bumbling Hufflepuff background characters doesn't help the interpretation you posted any, but that's not the original intent of the founding fathers (and mothers, thank you) of Hogwarts. Harry also went into the Sorting Ceremony with very little knowledge except some pre-existing prejudice against Slytherins, so the reader gets force-fed Harry's prejudice through the whole series as well. Slytherins are GREAT - they will just f*** you up if you mess with the people they love. Which, really, um, Griffindors are gonna do the same - have you SEEN Molly Weasley?

    #10. Didn't he still get in trouble for bringing a monster into the school, so that's why he was expelled or whatever? Or just another plot hole. Let's not forget that once these kids hit 11 years old all formal education stop. They no longer need things like mathematics or English for their wizardly lives!

  12. I think I got to this series too late to have super strong opinions about it like most people do. Don't get me wrong, I really loved it, but I never pored over it looking for deeper meaning or anything. I was fine with the romances, but never incredibly wowed by them. (I did marry my high school sweetheart, so I'm the last one to complain about that, though.) You make a really good point about plotholes--for some reason I never thought about the grandparents.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  13. Great post! I am a Potterhead myself and you make good points here. I loved Snape too, but yes he bullied children and was obsessed over Lily. And I never thought about Harry’s grandparents, that's a solid question there, where are they?
    Enjoy your weekend!

  14. Ok, Ron and Hagrid. I love them both.
    I love how Hagrid's character is written, mostly because of the friendship between him and Harry/Ron/Hermione. I like how when Harry and Ron fall out with Hermione it's Hagrid she turns to and how he's the only one to tell Harry and Ron they're out of order. And how loyal they are to him throughout, even as they slowly start to realise that a lot of the time he's a massive pain. There's a lovely little bit too when Hedwig dies and Hagrid notices Harry's upset and says something comforting, even though Harry's trying not to show it because Mad-eye's just died so obviously it would seem petty. The dialect thing does bother me a bit though - EVERYONE has an accent why are only some of them written a certain way? Are we supposed to think everyone else apart from Hagrid and Mundungus are speaking RP?

    Ron gets a lot of hate nowadays but I think he's just so important to Harry's happiness, and I honestly think him and Hermione go well together. Is she too good for him? Yeah. But she'd be too good for most people. And I just think they have a lot of chemistry on the page and the relationship was built up well from very early on. I don't blame him for the fight in Deathly Hallows either. He was hangry (which is not to be underestimated)and he was sick with worry about his family, which WASN'T the same for Harry or Hermione. And even Hermione thought Harry had more of a plan than he did. And as a whole he's very loyal and he makes me laugh so I can forgive him a lot.

    I love that dancing scene in the tent though. It's one of my favourites in the films. I also think Dumbledore is a terrible, terrible, cold, heartless person. But so interesting as a character. My weirdest Harry Potter opinion? I would have quite liked Harry to end up with Luna! She seems to get him sometimes on a level that no-one else does. Oh and I never thought about the grandparents thing because I never really had grandparents as a kid (my parents both lost their parents in their 20's and 30's) so it seemed perfectly normal to me.

    Sorry about the big paragraph...

  15. Gotta add my 2cents on all this cause I have some opinions too. It's hard not to have any on a books that are so loved and they are some of my all-time fav books. So...

    1. Totally agree with you. I didn't like the end where everyone marries each other. I thought it was lame and didn't like the romantic pairings either. I also agree that the trio didn't seem to be great friends to each other, or rather Harry and Ron weren't great friends to Hermione. They didn't give her as much support as they gave each other.

    2. Again, totally agree. Btw, have you ever listened to the podcast "Witch Please"? It's a Harry Potter podcast run by 2 women working in academia in Canada. It's really good and they go in-depth when analyzing the books. I love listening to people shred my favorite stuff apart like that. Just analyze the shit outta it. They revealed some pretty interesting stuff and they discussed the creepiness of Snape and his holding out on this crush so many years after the fact. (I thought it was corny that Harry named his kids after those two. Totally agree Weasleys would've been better.)

    3. Not a fan of the movies and not a fan of Ron either but despite his angst, I liked him in the 7th book. Those hard times revealed the true nature (sort of) of the trio. It also shows how privileged Ron is despite his family's economic situation — he has the option to leave and go back to his life. I think his strength shows when he chooses to join his friends on their quest for the Hallows. I don't think he'd made the choice before but was just going along because his friends were and his family was so deep in Order of the Phoenix stuff.

    4. Lol! Damn good questions. A big hole for me is when Sirius was a fugitive miserable and confined to Grimauld Place because Dumbledore said it's too dangerous for him to leave there, why couldn't he just take Polyjuice Potion when he needed a much-needed break from the house?

    5. I didn't mind the Cursed Child script, but I do agree that it was silly and I was annoyed that the book characters were out-of-character. The whole time-travel thing didn't work for me either, but I was entertained so I didn't hate it.

    8. I'm not a Draco Malfoy fan because he was an annoying lil sh*t as a kid, but part of the reason I like Cursed Child is because we get some of Draco's perspective of Hogwarts in it. Not everyone would have had a great time there (though Harry sells us on it), and though Draco was annoying and a bully, that doesn't mean he enjoyed attending the school. I wouldn't mind a redemption arc for him. I think Draco was how he was as a kid because of the dark stuff his parents were into and he thought he had to be a part of.

    9. I like the House system, but I agree it's broken and I find it weird that there's no intermingling between the houses until way later in the books. I think it's because the books are from Harry's perspective and he doesn't make friends from other houses until later, but really, kids would have made friends with people from other houses and invited them to their room, even if the common rooms are hidden.

    10. Lol! That is horrible! Lol! Hoping he would die so you could stop reading his dialect! Lol!
    I'm on/off about Hagrid. I liked him, but was glad in the 6th book when the trio got frustrated with him ffor always inviting them to do potentially dangerous stuff that could get them in trouble.

  16. Here's my controversial HP opinion...I enjoyed the series when I read it but once I was done that was it. I didn't get overly attached to anyone (for a lot of the reasons you mentioned) and I'll never read it again. I don't know what my house or Petronous is. lol The movies were cute but I'm just not that attached to the whole thing.

    It could be because I'm older and it isn't *my* childhood series that I grew up with.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  17. OK. Firstly, you like Scorpius though right?! He's so precious!!!! Lol.

    Snape... I think Snape is a complex character, but can't believe he's 100% bad b/c Alan Rickman.

    It's always concerned me that sending teenagers to do it seems like the best plan in Dumbledore's head.

    The big one: Draco.

    Draco is not a villain. He can be cruel. He can be disgustingly bigoted. Most of the bad stuff he does, he does before the age of 16. That doesn't mean it's ok. It means he's a lost and confused child.

    Yes, some of the bad stuff is stuff he does between 16 and 18 (still legally a child,) but we see more of the fact that he isn't given much choice. His actions are pre-determined by trying to protect his parents and survive. Unlike the other characters, many of whom make conscious decisions to be bad, Draco's actions after the age of 16 are usually an attempt to minimise harm... which makes him more redeemable than the majority of the adults around him.

  18. I agree with you on #2. Neither Snape nor Dumbledore is a hero. Both are complicated men, with a mix of "good" and "bad" traits.

    Re #4, I figured that either James's parents were killed by Voldemort before James and Lily were, or they were older when James was born, and died while he was still at Hogwarts. Lily and Petunia's parents obviously must also have been dead by the time Lily died, or they would have been the more logical choice to be Harry's guardians, rather than Petunia and Vernon.

    I pretend Cursed Child doesn't exist. I own the hardcover, and I refuse to read it. I've read enough spoilers to know I'm not going to like it, plus it breaks some significant pieces of the worldbuilding. It's too bad, because I was really delighted that they cast Hermione as a woman of color.

  19. I just got back from Universal in Florida and spent several days in the HP world again while there. I agree with all of your controversial views! Why did HP not have grandparents?? That's always bugged me! And yeah, I didn't like any of the romances either. This series has lots of great characters, though, like you said. It's hard to get away from them because they burrow into your heart forever.

  20. I WISH Neville had been the chosen one. Harry acted like a spoiled teenager for the last several books and it really ruined the whole series for me. I really enjoyed the first 3 but I haven't re-read them after my time with the final book. And it's been 11 years'ish...

  21. I am a HUGE Ron fan, ha ha. 💜✨

    There is something in the books somewhere about Harry's wizarding grandparents, but I don't remember what was said about the reason they were not around. And there is also something said about owls. I think if you don't use your own personal owl they won't be tracked, I mean the Ministry can't follow every owl 24/7. That's why Sirius told Harry not to send Hedwig with messages and why he sent a newly bought owl to the Hogwarts owlery and not directly to Harry, and then told Harry to keep it and not send it back. He gave the owl to Ron. 💟

    JKR said with Snape and Dumbledore she wanted to show that people are usually never 100% good, or %100 bad. Slytherins are "cunning and ambitious" and it was mentioned there are okay/good Slytherins. I ended up liking Malfoy in the last book because he was starting to come around, and this continued into his adult life. 👍✨

    The only thing I hated about The Cursed Child was what they did to the Trolley Lady. 😱

  22. totally agree about Snape and Dumbledore. I never considered them heroes. I was shocked when I learned about the real Dumbledore in the last book. I still liked them because I like realistic characters. but for me they were more villains or antiheroes. Great Post AJ!

  23. I agree Snape and Dumbledore are GREAT characters, but it doesn't mean they are necessarily GREAT people.

  24. I swear that I triedv very hard to like them together, but Hermione/Ron never worked out for me. Their relationship perpetuated the stereotype that if a boy is mean to you it's because he likes you.

    Tânia @MyLovelySecret

  25. 1. Totally completely disagree. Ron/Hermione is probably only realistic romance in the series. And I dont think Hermione could have done better than someone who was willing to sacrifice his life for her. He knew her inside out still loved her more than anything. They are the example of true love. And a lot of people end up with their high school sweetheart. They are my favourite pairing.

    I actually hated the dance scene. Sorry. It was TOTALLY OOC for both Harry Hermione.

    I am the biggest Ron fan. He wasn't OBLIGED to help Harry. Harry told him to leave twice. He had lost a lot of blood. He was sick worried about his family. The horcrux made his insecurities ten times worse. He had every reason to leave and I don't blame him. Because he said the moment he had left them he wanted to come back but the snatchers got him. Later he came back and saved harry's life destroyed the horcrux. He earned his apology.

    Totally agree with you about voldemort's backstory.

    Imo snape was a vile person. But a very well written character. Dumbledore was manipulative but I have respect for him.

    200% agree with you about malfoy bit. Honestly why people don't understand the difference between actors and characters. He was a pathetic little shit and had no redeeming quality. Sorry.

    I love hagrid. I think he was a cinnamon roll.

    I loved the ending.