Okay. Believe it or not, I was tagged to do this tag by Rachel way back in June. I’m not quite sure why I never did it, though? Anyway, since I find myself in a bit of blogging slump (and a reading slump, actually), and it’s the holidays (what better holiday book than Harry Potter?) I figured I would finally, finally do this!
I don’t talk about Harry Potter much on this blog, mostly because I’ve stopped relying on it like I used to, but you would be wrong to think it doesn’t mean more to me than any other series in the world. It was through Harry Potter that I discovered not only a love of reading but a love of writing. It was through Harry Potter fanfiction websites that I developed technical skills in writing. It was through Harry Potter that I met some of my best friends. It was through Harry Potter that I survived three miserable years living in Egypt. The series absolutely changed my life.
There used to be a time when I would re-read Harry Potter in its entirety at least once a year, but I haven’t done this in three years, the longest I’ve ever gone. I think it’s just because I haven’t been doing very much re-reading in general, since there’s so much other new stuff to read that I can’t justify re-reading. But anyway, Harry Potter will always be my first book love and my first major fandom. Just wanted to establish that before I started on this tag!
1. Favourite book?
I always go back and forth between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix! I love that GoF is soooo long and features so many different things – new characters, new schools, the Quidditch World Cup, different tasks in the games, Harry and Ron fighting, the return of Voldemort, Cedric…so much shit goes down in GoF. It’s just a wild ride from start to finish. But OotF captures such a hefty spirit of resistance, as Rachel has said, that it’s impossible not to love it. One of my favorite scenes in that book is when Fred and George pull off their final prank as a fuck-you to Umbridge, and all the camaraderie between the Houses is beautiful to see.
2. Least favourite book?
Hmm, probably Half-Blood Prince, which I think of as the Tom Riddle backstory book. I mean, does anything else really happen? So it’s a little too slow, and I find it kind of depressing throughout, plus Dumbledore dies, which kills me a little every time.
3. Favourite movie?
This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I really loved the adaptations for Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. I remember being really disappointed when I discovered Chris Columbus would no longer be directing. I thought he managed to capture the magic of the series and the spirit of the characters better than any other director.
4 Least favourite movie?
Goblet of Fire, without a doubt. Maybe it’s because I had such high expectations given that it’s my favorite book, but the film was just completely ridiculous. First, there’s the weird and borderline creepy gender segregation with Durmstrang and Beauxbatons, which was utterly nonsensical. Then there was Dumbledore – bad enough that we had Michael Gambon, but whoever was directing him somehow made him even more terrible. Then there was the travesty of the Yule Ball and its costumes. There were just so many necessary changes.
5 Favourite quote?
I’m really terrible at remembering quotes off-hand, but it’s probably something Dumbledore has said.
6. Favourite Weasley?
The twins, but Fred in particular.
7. Favourite female character?
Hermione. I’m much less connected to her now, but as a young girl she was definitely someone I looked up to.
8. Favourite villain?
You know, one of my favorite plot twists in the series has always been the reveal that Goblet of Fire-Moody is Barty Crouch Jr., so I’m going to go with him. But also Tom Riddle/Voldemort. /Rachel
9. Favourite male character?
Dumbledore. I think he’s such a fascinating character, and one of my favorite thing about the final book is that we get to learn so much about his history. He’s got this sheen of goodness and wisdom but he’s actually rather manipulative and selfish. He also still maintains this notion of sacrificing for the greater good (as he sacrificed Harry), which I think is such an intriguing and tragic character trait to have. Dumbledore tries – he tries so hard to be good. In fact, for a long time all the other characters see him as this perfect, wise old man, but slowly he is revealed to be as human as the rest of us.
And of course, I have to give a shout-out to Snape, who is a loathsome human being and a bigot but also in my opinion one of the most well-crafted characters in all of literature. I could seriously write a dissertation on Snape; I have so many headcanons about why he is the way he is.
10. Favourite professor?
McGonagall, hands down! I’m still over here in my corner praying for a prequel series all about McGonagall as a young woman. Like, can you imagine? A three-book series taking us back to the Harry Potter world with McGonagall as a young adult? Featuring young Dumbledore and young Voldemort? How incredible would this be? Rowling keeps writing these random novels and I wish she would go back to her roots and write some fantasy.
WOULD YOU RATHER
11. A, Wash Snape’s hair, or B, spend a day listening to Lockhart rant about himself.
B; I actually find Lockhart kind of hilarious. I loved his casting in the films, too.
12. A, duel an elated Bellatrix, or B, an angry Molly
A; I probably wouldn’t want to hurt Molly, right? But I wouldn’t hold back against Bellatrix.
13. Travel to Hogwarts via A. Hogwarts Express or B. flying car.
A; I literally have planned out vacations where I ride a train that looks just like the Hogwarts Express and goes over similar scenery. I’m completely obsessed with trains, particularly old-fashioned ones that have “compartments” and food trolleys and old leather seats.
14. A, Kiss Voldemort. Or B, give Umbridge a bubble bath.
A., with the caveat that he looks like Christian Coulson as Tom Riddle. /Rachel
15. A, ride a hippogriff, B, ride a firebolt
God, can I say neither? I’ve never been one of those people who wants to fly. I’m not particularly afraid of heights, but I don’t find the idea of being suspended in midair particularly comforting either. Also, I hate roller coasters because of that feeling you get in your stomach when the car dips down. I guess if I had to choose I would go with the firebolt because I would be able to control it and not go too high, but I can’t imagine sitting on a broomstick is comfortable in the least.
BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION
16. Is there a character which you felt differently about in the movies vs books?
Probably Ginny. She was never my favorite in the books but at least she had character and personality and fire. The books just turned her into a cardboard cutout, a stand-in for Harry Potter Love Interest.
17. Is there a movie you preferred instead of the book?
18. Richard Harris or Michael Gambon as Dumbledore?
Richard Harris was Dumbledore. It was the role he was born to play. His performance is probably one of the major reasons I loved the first two movies so much. Just watching him on-screen gave me that feeling of safety and reassurance that Dumbledore always gave me in the books.
19. Your top thing (person or event) which wasn’t included in the movie that annoyed you most.
Just one? I’m sure there are a ton, though since I haven’t re-read the series in so long I’m not sure I remember most of them. Maybe the Maurauders flashback? Because I fucking refuse to acknowledge the travesty that we got.
20. If you could remake any of the Potter movies, which would it be?
You know, I would remake the movies into a lengthy TV series. I’m confident that this is something that will be done in later years. Given how huge and detailed the books are, it would just make so much more sense; movies are so not the right format for this. I can totally see the BBC taking this up as a huge project and having a mini-series of like six to ten hour-long episodes for each book. We could also include more diversity! Modern Harry Potter fanart has firmly convinced me that Harry is half-Indian and Hermione is black, and I think that would be an absolutely incredible and wonderful change to make. Ginny could be given more screen-time and other minor characters could be fleshed out more as well, and we could get an abundance of gorgeous scenery.
21. Which house was your first gut feeling you’d be a part of?
When I was much younger, it was Gryffindor, but as I got older I realized I was 100% a Ravenclaw.
22. Which house were you actually sorted into on Pottemore (or another online sorting quiz)?
In Pottermore I think I got…Slytherin or Gryffindor? But 98% of the time on other online quizzes I get Ravenclaw.
23. Which class would be your favourite?
Charms. It’s such a versatile subject.
24. Which spell do you think would be most useful to learn?
I don’t know if this counts but I’m gonna go with Apparition. It’s basically teleportation. I could go from one corner of the world to the other in a second! Amazing!
25. Which character do you think at Hogwarts you’d instantly become best friends with?
Hermione and I would absolutely be best friends. My real-life best friend is pretty much a religious Hermione.
26. If you could own one of the three Hallows, which would it be?
Invisibility Cloak. There are way more real world applications for that than the other two. /Rachel
27. Is there any aspect of the books you’d want to change? This can be a character, an event, anything.
Unlike most people I didn’t hate the epilogue when I first read it, though I wasn’t super impressed with it. Over the years, however, after reading about other people’s expectations for it and what it could have been, I’ve grown more disappointed with it. It really could have been so much more and captured the dissatisfaction of the generation that grew up reading the series.
28. Favourite marauder?
Remus. I think he’s probably the character I am most like in the series, actually. And he’s such an utter tragedy, being the last of all his loved ones to die.
29. If you could bring one character back to life, which would it be?
Fred. I think this is the one death that made me cry. The symbolism in his death was too much for me to bear. Not only did the Weasley’s lose a member of their family, proving that no one is safe, but it was one of the bravest, funniest, most hopeful members.
30. Hallows or horcruxes?
I’m actually really, really fascinated by Horcruxes. Just, the idea of them is so dark and twisted and I think they added a really mature tone to the series. I’d never want to make one, obviously, since not only are you murdering someone but you’re also tearing yourself apart (again, fascinating and twisted!), so I’ll go with Hallows if we’re choosing which I want to use.