24 February 2018

Re-reading the Harry Potter series: what I learnt

What I learnt from re-reading the Harry Potter series

Over the last couple of months I took a trip back down memory lane, re-reading the whole Harry Potter series. And it was an eye-opener. I probably last read the whole series through when I was 14/15, and I missed out on SO much when I did.

Re-reading the Harry Potter series: what I learnt

First up, let's talk about Ron. The movies portray him as this goofy guy with a good heart. But the books are another matter. In the first five he's an absolute bellend to Hermione. He treats her with no respect, actively mocks anything she believes in, makes her feel ugly and only uses her when he's stuck on homework. In the last two books this bullying side of Ron is wiped away. I know that character development is a thing, but these are two completely different characters. I still kinda feel disappointed that Hermione ended up marrying someone who made so much of her school life a misery.

I'm backing away from the negatives ... for now. I'd forgotten just how much backstory went into each and every core character, and oh my GOD who doesn't love a nose into a backstory? J K went all out on this and I'd completely forgotten everything about Voldemort's youth, and Dumbledore's family, and even Snape's great love. These are probably my favourite parts of the books. I LOVE seeing exactly what makes a character tick, and all of these snippets from the past are the dream. I'm basically living for the pensieve tbh.

I'd also forgotten how dubious you feel about Dumbledore by the end. He *did* kind of only protect Harry so that he could die at the right time, and even Snape had to step in and question his morals on this. Then we have his friendship with Nazi-esque Grindelwald, and the fact that he may or may not have killed his sister. In the films his character seems unblemished, but in the last few books I was definitely questioning alongside Harry whether Dumbledore really was the great man we thought he was.

Can we just talk about Dumbledore's apparent homosexuality for a moment? I thought that when I re-read the book I'd come across hints and clues about the fact that Dumbledore was gay. But do you know what? There was absolutely nothing. And that made me rage. I'd rather no LGBT+ representation than an author to pretend that it's there when it's not. 

Harry's character development in the books was something that honestly astounded me. I lived for the moments where he had to question whether his dad really was the hero he thought he was. I think that, as young adults, we all go through a period where we realise that are parents aren't always the ones wearing the capes. It was so important for me that Harry realised he's built his parents up to be something they might not be, and he could recognise their flaws. 

What I mostly came away thinking is that I wished there was more diversity in the books. They're an amazing series, but they're filled with cis white characters, and I think J K really could have done better. 

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  1. Wow, looking back at the Harry Potter series with an adult's perspective you can see there's actually quite a lot wrong with the series! I'm definitely going to have to take a trip down memory lane myself soon and do a re-read of HP. x www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

    1. There really is! But I still loved it, and re-reading it was so fun

      Steph x


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