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Open Thread: Happy 20th Anniversary, Harry Potter

Image via Warner Bros.
Image via Warner Bros.

If, today, you encountered social media, a periodical, or—in any likelihood—another person, you undoubtedly learned, quickly, that this was no common Monday. Or perhaps you already knew. In any case, exactly twenty years ago, J.K. Rowling’s debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone—the first in a magical series of seven—was published by Bloomsbury.

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Many of us probably remember our first time we discovered Rowling’s wizarding world, one that is dazzling, fanciful and yet, at the same time, warm and familiar. You had always known you were a Gryffindor with a splash of Hufflepuff; you simply didn’t possess the vocabulary. Some of you, perhaps, were born into a world where Harry Potter always existed. And if that’s the case, there’s a strong chance the series shaped the way you understood yourself and the world.

I have two younger sisters, and they began reading the books before me. Then, one idle summer day—the latter half of high school, I think—I picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Much to my surprise—and likely, to my sisters’ chagrin—I didn’t put it down until I had finished.

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My affection for the series has never dwindled. I’ve taken more Sorting Hat quizzes than I care to admit, including the one on Pottermore (I’m a Ravenclaw). If I ever have a daughter, I’ll ensure that she makes Hermione Granger’s acquaintance. I support any educational institution that permits my cat to live with me in the student dormitory.

I expect a number of you also came of age with the Harry Potter series, and I encourage you to discuss your experiences, character analyses, and House Elf politics in the comments. And if you’re interested to know your personality breakdown in terms of Hogwarts houses, I suggest this quiz. For instance, I am significantly Ravenclaw, but with enough traces of Hufflepuff for emotional intelligence and a capacity for empathy—or so the quiz tells me. I certainly haven’t had multiple involved conversations on this topic today, nor have I determined which of my friends would be an excellent Minister of Magic or Hogwarts headmistress.

...okay, that’s enough from me. Go forth without shame or hesitation and immerse yourself in Potterdom.

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DISCUSSION

mortal-dictata
Mortal Dictata

Here’s my usually controversial opinion on the books/films.

Pansy Parkinson is the worst treated character out of the lot and the only one who is never given a chance of redemption. This is a character who isn’t a Death Eater nor the child of one, doesn’t kill or attempt to kill anyone, and does actually also care for her friends but is treated as though she murdered the entire Order simply for being scared after having lived in a fucking concentration camp for a year.

Meanwhile characters like Draco and Snape are treated sympathetically (Alan Rickman redeemed Snape in the films but book Snape is still just a creepy guy who saved the world simply because he was a Nice Guy TM over Lily) despite having actually joined the Wizarding Nazis and likely took part in war crimes.

Also don’t even get me started on Ron who is the least loyal friend in fiction and generally a shite human being who vindictively bullies his friends out of jealousy for several years yet “gets the girl” who was the prime target of his bullying for said years. Hermione as a character could literally marry any other bloke and done far better.

Doesn’t feel like 20 years If I’m honest though as even now I still remember going to watch the first film when I was around 6-7 (though that might be to do with the fact my mum pranged the car in the car park on the way to watch it).

BTW ‘Claws rule, ‘Puffs drool.