The Harry Potter-a-thon


On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, Gail and the boys and I had a Harry Potter marathon. We watched all five movies back to back, and Gail had fun making Harry Potter-themed snacks. We’re all big fans of the Harry Potter series, but as with Star Wars, when you see a movie enough times and get to know the characters well enough, you start to notice little things that don’t make sense. I have fun coming up with these things. These are not a knock on the movies — I know that they are fantasy and that they don’t need to be 100% realistic to be enjoyable, in fact, any fantasy movie that’s 100% realistic isn’t really fantasy, now is it?

Philosopher’s Stone

  • Hagrid says about Gringotts “ain’t no place safer! Not one! ‘cept perhaps Hogwarts.” Rrrrright. Hogwarts is guarding possibly the most important and valuable object in the wizarding world, and three eleven-year-olds — including one who’s only known about the wizarding world for less than a year — are able to get by the traps. Not to mention the fact that when Harry finally does arrive at the end, Quirrell is already there, which means that he got by all the traps too — and Harry had help, while Quirrel did it by himself. Hey, bang-up job on those traps, Hogwarts professors.
  • Nicolas Flamel has had the stone, presumably in Gringotts, for well over 600 years. Why did they decide to move it to Hogwarts? Ron makes a good point about keeping a creature like Fluffy in a school. Surely they suspected that Voldemort might try to steal the Stone, so why bring it to Hogwarts and put the students in danger?
  • To get into the room where Fluffy is guarding the trap door, Hermione performs a simple “alohomora” spell. Shouldn’t the teachers have magically locked that door so that simple spells wouldn’t open it?
  • Similarly, if the restricted section of the library is truly restricted, surely the gate should be magically locked.
  • When Voldemort tells Quirrell to kill Harry, why does he attempt to choke him? Why not just use avada kedavra? And why is he able to touch Harry’s throat, but turns to dust when Harry touches him? Quirrell says he tried to kill Harry a number of times previously as well — why use a complicated curse to make Harry’s broom fly all over the place and not just use the killing curse? He had plenty of opportunities…

Chamber of Secrets

  • If Hagrid was at Hogwarts when the Chamber was opened fifty years ago, that would make him between sixty-one and sixty-seven years old at the time of this film. Does Hagrid look that old to you?
  • On a similar note, Professor Dumbledore had a fairly long grey beard in the fifty-year-old flashbacks. My beard has a fair bit of grey in it, and if I hadn’t shaved in ten years, it could be that long, so it’s possible that Dumbledore is as young as forty in the flashback, but likely older. That makes him at least ninety now.
  • Gilderoy Lockhart is a fraud, and yet he takes a number of opportunities to perform spells in front of people, with disastrous results. If I were pretending to be awesome when I really wasn’t, I’d try to avoid performing in front of people, lest my inadequacies be publicly displayed. Why would he choose to try to fix Harry’s broken arm? Why would he choose to start the dueling club when he knows he can’t fight? For that matter, why would he take this teaching job in the first place?
  • Speaking of the dueling club, Snape says “perhaps it would be a good idea to teach them how to block unfriendly spells”, to which Lockhart answers “An excellent suggestion!” and then doesn’t do it. He picks two students and basically says “go!” without any advice on what to do.
  • Why do some “expelliarmus” charms flick the victim’s wand away harmlessly (Lupin on Snape) while others (Snape on Lockhart, Harry on Snape) knock the victim twenty feet back?
  • When trying to stop the flying car, Ron pulls out his wand and taps the steering wheel saying “Stop! Stop! Stop!”. He’s been around magic all his life — does he really think this will work? I know it’s a plot device to have him break his wand, but it could have been done better.
  • Is “eat slugs!” really a spell, or did Ron just say that out loud and then do a non-vocal spell, something they don’t learn until sixth year?

Prisoner of Azkaban

  • Fred and George said they took the Maurauder’s Map from Filch’s office during their first year, which means that they’ve had it since before Ron arrived at Hogwarts. During that time, if they had looked up the Gryffindor dormatories, they’d have seen the name “Peter Pettigrew” on the map because Scabbers lived there. Either they never looked up the Gryffindor dorms in that time (which seems unlikely), or they never thought it weird that the name of a person who they didn’t know kept showing up in the Gryffindor dorms.
  • Sirius got past the dementors and into Hogwarts, presumably, because he was an animagus and turned into a dog. Are dementors really fooled by animagi? The Maurauder’s Map isn’t. Wouldn’t this mean that any animagus sent to Azkaban could simply transform and walk out?
  • Hermione says something like “Bad things happen to wizards who mess with time”. If that’s the case, why would a professor give a time-turner to a thirteen year old witch just so that she could take extra classes? Doesn’t this seem dangerous?

Goblet of Fire

Order of the Phoenix

I’ve only seen this movie two or three times, so I don’t really have any comments about this one. One thing I do want to mention is that the character of Luna Lovegood was perfectly cast. She is exactly how I pictured her when reading the books, seemingly kind of ditzy, but sweet and strangely wise. She’s got the right dreamy sort of look and voice.

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