A Grown-A** Woman Reads Harry Potter: I Get Things Now!

This was actually not that tasty.

This was actually not that tasty.

I want to know more about Cho Chang, goddamnit! Where is she from? How did she find out she was a wizard? What’s her favorite ice cream flavor?

Read installments 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Happy New Year, Muggles! Greetings from boring old California. It’s raining. A lot. Which is good, but I wish I were in snow-blanketed Hogsmeade. I bet there are no droughts there.

It’s January and I am getting SO into this. I cannot stop with Goblet of Fire!

Well, OK, sort of. I’m not devouring it, but whenever I know I have a good chunk of time to devote to it, I crack it open. And unless it’s right before bed and I start nodding off, I can’t stop. I get so invested. Like, I was lying in bed the other night and caught myself doing one of these when Snape found the Marauder's Map:

Also of note: I recently remembered I have seen another Harry Potter movie! It was Goblet of Fire, but I was so bored during it that I guess my brain just archived the entire experience. As I've been reading, however, dim memories of school dances and garishly-dressed reporters have come oozing out.

Other than that, I’ve hit a bit of a stall. No more big, boo-hoo, my-life-is-changed-forever posts at the moment.

In the absence of introspective awakenings, there are a few things I’ve wanted to address since I started this whole project. Because we wouldn’t be Ravishly if we didn’t align absolutely everything with social issues, let’s talk about diversity in Harry Potter.

Something was said to me early on — by my coworker Jenni, who has been my HP sounding board since I started — “(The books) treat fat people like shit.” It hung around in my memory, and I was worried it would subconsciously influence my interpretation of characters.

It didn’t have to. Because, boy, was she right.

In both the Muggle and Wizard world, a person’s size is directly equated with the degree of sloth, gluttony, and various other sins they exhibit: Pansy Parkinson, the Slytherin with a face like a pug, and large, lethargic Dudley, the worst kind of person you could possibly be (in case his interest in eating and sitting on his ass weren’t obvious enough emblems of this, Hagrid also turns dude into a pig just to drive the point home). Aunt Marge, as payback for dissing his parents, gets blown up like a balloon by good, thin Harry. It’s all extremely obvious and really disheartening. We can blame it on the time of publication, we can say “it could be worse,” but the constant doling out of fatness as a punishment still makes me squirm in my seat a little.

On the other hand, remember what I said about ‘pasty Hogwartsian kids’ in the first entry? I stand corrected. I’m pleasantly surprised by the number of people of color in Hogwarts. It's still pretty White, but the ratio seems pretty realistic for Britain at the time. So far, it’s been explicitly stated that Angelina Johnson is Black, and it seems Cho and Parvati are supposed to be of non-White lineage. And that doesn’t even account for the reader’s imagination — Dean and Seamus have always been of African descent in my head, and Oliver Wood, until he was described as muscular in Book Two, was a lean, tawny-toned, probably biracial wizard.

That brings us to women. I’d like to say, this being a saga with an underdog for a hero, that a historically underserved group like women are well-represented in Harry Potter...but I don't know if I can. Hermione’s about all we’ve got as far as a well-rounded female character. She’s great, but most of the other females are so...flat. I want to know more about Cho Chang, goddamnit! Where is she from? How did she find out she was a wizard? What’s her favorite ice cream flavor? All I know is that she plays Quidditch and is pretty. And hey — it’s great that Quidditch is co-ed and that the ideals of beauty at Hogwarts are Cho Chang and the Patil sisters, but almost all the girls and women are so one-dimensional it almost cancels that out — Trelawney is a kook, Lavender and Parvati are girly, and so on and so on. Crossing my fingers some of 'em get fleshed out soon.

Also, I was NOT amused by the Veela. Not so much because they represent women as tricky temptresses, but because they make men look so stupid. Portraying men as turning into blathering idiots around females is just about as bad as depicting women as vapid sex robots. Not down with it.

(I can hear the cheers of a thousand meninists rising up in the distance. GO AWAY.)

Speaking of gluttony, I found myself in a candy store a few weeks ago that had chocolate frogs! (And jelly slugs, but I don’t like gummy candy, and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavor Beans, but I have no interest in trying them. Willingly eating a vomit-flavored bean is not my idea of a good time; is that so crazy?)

The frog came with a wizard trading card. Who could it be?

Snape? Boooo.*

And I can boo at Snape because I GET THINGS NOW. Like this:

And this one, which has probably been around a million years but just made me guffaw out loud last month:

Not to mention I’ve been dying to find out what Taystee from Orange is the New Black means when she says something about Cedric Diggory at the end of Goblet of Fire. AND I FINALLY KNOW.

But I’m not telling.

*Srsly tho, let's raise a wand to Alan Rickman.


Books Read: Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire

Pages Read: 1,801

Favorite Character: Mad Eye Moody. I love that he's got such a soft spot for Harry (here is where I start chanting "Don’t be evil, don’t be evil, don’t be evil" to myself). NO NO NO NO NO

Least Favorite Character: Unpopular opinion here, but I find Winky and Dobby really grating. (Yes, I know Dobby dies. I stand by my statement.)

Quote: Four little words that made me stop, stare at the page, marvel at their simplicity, then underline them in glittery gel pen:

"They were going back."

If you like this article, please share it! Your clicks keep us alive!