Anne T. Donahue
September 12, 2013 1:00 pm

I told you I’d do it. The week before the last two (one was my birthday! I AM NOW 28!), I promised I’d return with my favourite movie of ~*aLL TiMe*~

And I’ve done better. Not only have I returned with my favourite movie of all time, I have returned with my favourite franchise of all time, and yes, I am going to write about all of them. Yes, I am going to write all about:

HARRY

FREAKING

POTTER

I mean, it’s about time. We know each other, you and I, so I’d like to think you trust me enough not to butcher the most beloved books and movies of the last 1024242 years. I trust me enough. (Cue: John Candy’s “I like me” speech from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles) I know how much I’ve wept and cried and convinced myself I could attend Hogwarts in my 20s. Because here’s the thing: I began reading Harry Potter in 2007, which was arguably one of the worst years of the then 22. And even though the books and movies didn’t fix anything, they were a terrific reprieve from the long-running “who am I and what am I doing and where am I going in life and how can I feel like a functioning human” summer months. And then I got why everyone loved them, and why they were better than everything, so yes, you can take my word that I will not write anything blasphemous about Harry, Hermione, Ron, and friends.

So let’s do this. Let’s get philosophical. Let’s talk like Alan Rickman. Let’s wonder if my cat is secretly Maggie Smith, and whether Professor McGonagall knows what a week-end is. WE ARE ALL WITCHES AND WIZARDS.

1. I mean, of course Professor McGonagall is a cat — she rules

Like out of every animal, of course she chose to be a cat. This isn’t a game. We’re not joking around here, thank you. Can you imagine how disappointing it would be if you could NOT morph into a cat? Or how disappointing it would be if Professor McGonagell couldn’t? No. Don’t imagine that. Harry Potter is about to be delivered to his terrible relatives, and there’s no time to imagine anything worse than the next 11 years of his life.

2. When Hagrid cries we all cry, by the way

That is the rule. If you don’t cry when Hagrid cries you are actually made of rocks inside and out. No: you are a rock. You are an island. But not in the Simon and Garfunkel way; you are a rock like you are an actual piece of land.

3. Who would trust an 11-year-old boy to make breakfast, though?

Like Harry Potter emerges from his cupboard under the stairs, and the first thing he hears is “MAKE BREAKFAST DON’T BURN THE BREAKFAST.” Maybe I’m paranoid, but I don’t trust even myself to make breakfast. Imagine you asked an 11-year-old kid to make you breakfast? You’d be an insane person. I mean, YES we all had chores and things to do growing up, but let’s just say the one time I was convinced I could make eggs, I added oil and water into the pan at a friend’s house and nearly set it on fire. I mean, Volcano starring Tommy Lee Jones was my favourite movie at the time for heaven’s sake.

But as I was saying, Harry Potter belongs NOT in that abusive home, by the way. (Why couldn’t Dumbledore just see he was clearly being abused and needed to grow up in the castle? WHY.) (I mean, I know why, but don’t tell me you haven’t wondered the same thing once or twice.)

4. Also, if you don’t love owls you are also a rock and/or island and/or a piece of land

RIGHT? I mean, there’s Hedwig, and then there’s ALL THE OTHER OWLS. Owls are the best! Look at their faces! THEY HOOT FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE. J.K. Rowling has singlehandedly ensured that we live in a world that respects owls, and if I ever meet her, I will point to all the owl paraphernalia and I will thank her, and then buy her an owl of her choosing. (Like, a photo of an owl. She is far richer than I am, so she can afford her own owl or owl sanctuary I’m sure.)

I LIKE OWLS OKAY LET ME HAVE THIS.

5. But most importantly Harry Potter teaches the best “be yourself!” lesson

Aunt Petunia just called Harry Potter and his parents a freak, and do you know what? GET OUT OF HERE, PETUNIA. That’s literally the message. (Well, one of many.) Be yourself, and if people have an issue with it, they can jog on, because you are a wizard (of your own life), and you are not to be messed with. And anyone who labels anyone a freak are probably boring and awful, anyway.

I mean, look at these guys. But unrelated: I just realized those are real hats guys wear to school in England which is actually kind of cool, though. Or is it not cool? England, give me answers. (Are you allowed to take off the hat? And how does it stay on?)

6. But Hagrid why would you make Harry find platform 9 3/4 on his own!?

I mean, I know the kid’s basically been through the war already. But this is a tall order. And I, an adult human, would be overwhelmed by the task, and would probably go home. Like, sometimes I don’t know the address to a place I’m going and realize it too late and then honestly think, “I should go home.” BECAUSE LIFE IS HARD OKAY? (I don’t, but still.) And this task seems impossible. How is Harry handling himself so well? Am I just very fragile about things like trains and breakfast? No. I am fragile about someone buying the whole snack cart.

7. Harry Potter, why on earth would you buy the whole snack cart

This isn’t to say I don’t support him buying the snack cart. But there are rules. Rules like what about the other kids down the hall who really wanted food off the snack cart. WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER KIDS. Also, I can’t even sick I’d get if I ate all that candy. I drank a latte too fast today and it’s been two hours and I still feel unfortunate. But seriously, Harry: you’re an awesome friend, but as someone who is always one of the other kids down the hall… come on, man.

8. UGH MALFOY IS THAT FRAT BOY WE ALL KNOW AND DISLIKE

You know those guys, right? Like, the ones who were born rich, and then think they don’t have to work for anything because they already think they’re something special? You just KNOW he joined a country club when he was older and treated his wife terribly. Like, he was basically the guy Romy wanted to date in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. What was his name again? Buddy? Sure. He was Buddy. FORTUNATELY, Tom Felton seems like a wonderful prince of a human being.

9. I would honestly sob if I wasn’t in Gryffindor

I know all the houses are majestic. But can you imagine if you watched cool people like Ron and Hermione go to Gryffindor and you were sent to Hufflepuff? I KNOW THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH HUFFLEPUFF. THEY ARE NICE. But it’s not the same. Though can I say that for the record, I wouldn’t HATE being in Slytherin because who WOULDN’T mind hanging around with Snape all day? Or more importantly, Alan Rickman, who I’d lecture on the importance of not cheating on Emma Thompson with Mia from work.

10. Which brings me to my next point: we all have a crush on Snape, right?

The bad-ass with the heart of gold! OUR KRYPTONITE! “OUR” as in “THE HUMAN RACE.” And now, watching it all over again, it’s like, “No, but you’re mean to Harry to protect him and because you loved Lily so much, and you were there right after she died” and now all of us have died because our hearts are broken RIP all of us we are ghosts.

11. We are all also Hermione Granger, too

At least I am…? In certain ways? Ex. the need to be correct, constantly, and the need to one-up my fellow (wo)men. NOT IN A MEAN WAY, but listen. I like facts, okay? We all like facts. Hermione Granger likes facts. And sometimes, because of our love of facts, we are misunderstood until we join forces and defeat Professor Squirrel (yes I know his real name but he doesn’t deserve to be called by it) with our new friends. Am I bending my own reality in hopes of making Hermione’s story apply to me? Absolutely. But when I was in university, my professors told me to stop putting my hand up and give the rest of the students a chance. (Actually.) And I loved it. (Of course.)

12. Every time I watch Quiddich all I can think about is Toofer in 30 Rock

Remember when he’s at a hockey or baseball game with Jack, and he starts going on about the Quiddich point system, and if the Snitch is worth so many points, why would anyone ever bother with the Quaffle? BUT HE IS RIGHT. Can we please talk about this? Or at least talk about what’s even more important: the Great Hall.

13. People who live in England: do your schools look like Hogwarts?

I’m not joking, this is a real question. I know SOME do because of history and the fact that your country has a lot of it. But do you guys have to wear robes and do you do things like have banquets and celebrations and traditions? In my elementary school, we had colour houses, and basically it was an excuse to collect Zehrs tapes and pop tabs for charity, and then win pizza parties and movie days if you collected the most, or did the most amount of work. (You got one pizza/movie day a month, and it was HEAVEN.) Then in high school, you had nothing. Also, my high school had an area built entirely of portables that was infected with mould, and then it almost burned down when people were smoking in it.

So I ask you again: do you or do you not all attend Hogwarts?

14. But back to Snape: how weird is it that he’s so obsessed with treating Harry so badly?

When you think about it, it’s straight up bizarre that Snape can’t just act cold, but goes out of his way to bully Harry. Obviously this is by no means a dig at this series because it and all of its characters are wonderful. But can you imagine if you had a teacher at school — good reason or not — who just constantly made you feel BAD? What a mind trick. Like, think about how much Harry hated Snape, then realized UPON HIS DEATH that he was good. Think of the counselling. The many, many, many years of counselling there’d be on that topic alone.

Of course, I love that we find out *~tHe TRuTh~* down the road, but at first, watching Philosopher’s Stone, it is totally a question of “what is the deal with this guy?! He’s clearly off his rocker.”

15. “Happy Christmas, Harry!” – “Happy Christmas, Ron!”

AND NOTHING IN THE WORLD FILLS MY HEART WITH MORE JOY.

16. And then I get attracted to Snape even more when he threatens Squirrel

I am only human. And he’s all mad, and all menacing, and like, WE GET IT, ALAN RICKMAN. You are a wonderful person, and your character is great, and if I were juuuust a little older and you weren’t with your life partner, we could probably go on a date and have a terrific time. Am I going too far? Not far enough? What if I told you guys that like Professor Squirrel I also had Voldemort’s face on the back of my head?

17. Like you, I also assume Squirrel was killing unicorns and drinking their blood

Which is terrifying, obviously, but also the weirdest mental picture in the world. Like, you can imagine Voldemort himself doing that. But Squirrel? That’s nuts! Or did Voldemort untie himself from Squirrel’s head and manage to grow legs and walk there to do it? And did Squirrel have to like, lay on his back while Voldemort drank from this unicorn? Do you think there was a dialogue? “Actually, Squirrel, can you just… okay, like, lay … wait, no I’m still too far away. Okay, just lay down like you would if you were napping, but put your head directly where we bit the unicorn. Juuuust like that. Great. Thanks!” Do you think they laughed? Or do you think it was a situation they felt really weird about? Also, why Squirrel. Also, I hope you don’t mind that I’m calling him Squirrel, he just deserves no real recognition whatsoever.

18. Neville is a hero and don’t let anyone forget it

It DOES take courage to stand up to your pals, and you know how Neville does it in his pyjamas when he’s 11? I don’t know if I could do it NOW. I know I could say “I don’t want to go, so yeah, no, I’m not going and you shouldn’t either,” but I probably wouldn’t threaten to fight my friends because inevitably, it would destroy our friendship. It would always be the time I said, “I will fight you” and the time they were like, “whaaaat?”

I mean, I’d threaten to fight them if they were going to attack someone or start making meth, but if they were going to try and save the Philosopher’s Stone, I would be so on board with that they’d get annoyed with me for infringing on their friend group. And then they’d threaten to fight me unless I left them alone.

19. All of this work to get the Philosopher’s Stone, though, makes me think I would do terribly in Gryffindor

Because I’m watching them go through the three-headed dog, the Devil’s Snare, the keys, the chess game, and then the poison, and WOOF. No thank you. Honestly I’d see the dogs and think, “This is something that isn’t for me” and then I would make my way over to Ravenclaw or Slytherin where I could still be sarcastic or something. But I would be proud of Ron, Hermione, and Harry though! I’d just be the kind of witch who does well with spells academically, but would rather be making people laugh or at least not having to play chess FOR MY LIFE.

20. AND IT ALL WORKED OUT

Except, I can’t stop wondering how Voldemort chose Squirrel’s head. I would love to have heard that conversation. “Let me attach myself to your head.” – “Okay.” And then too late, it sets in: there is a face on the back of his head. Can you also imagine realizing too late you shouldn’t have aligned with Voldemort? How do you come back from THAT? Like, “Oh my friends are going to elect this guy!” and then the guy turns out to be VOLDEMORT. Well that’s just great. Guess who you CAN’T vote out in four years. (Him.)

But honestly YOU GUYS I am so excited to watch the rest of the series with you. We’re about to go on a mesmerizing journey, and more importantly, our crushes on Snape will only increase and strengthen. This will be either better than buying all the candy on the trolly, or Christmas at Hogwarts jk nothing in the WORLD is better than that.

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