Harry Potter Book Club: Week Off, Again

Hello, book club friends,

Christie has had the flu and I have a serious case of trying to learn accompaniments for a children's choir rehearsal tomorrow, so today you get just two things from me.

First, Tor's Steven Padnick complains "Can We Stop Sorting Ourselves into Hogwarts Houses, Please?" (Honestly, sir: no, probably not. But I do get your point.) What do you all think about the ideas in the article? Agree? Disagree? Correctives? For myself, while compassion as a virtue isn't specifically assigned House representation, I think Hufflepuffs are generally good at it, as is Harry in his best moments, and I think the series itself emphasizes the virtue. But I was very intrigued by the Avatar: The Last Airbender elemental/virtue pairings.

Second, with apologies for the language: "Sh*t Harry Potter Fans Never Say." You guys. I laughed so hard. Possible spoilers if you've never seen the movies OR read the books.

Book club resumes next week! Enjoy your break. And read Masha's basilisk post. :D


  1. :( I was SO READY too! Oh well, You guys definitely deserve breaks!

    1. Aaaahhh, sorry! I thought about going on, but I just couldn't do it, and I really wanted to give Christie a week to catch up... there's so much in these last couple of chapters of the book... but I DID feel bad putting things on hold.

  2. Steven Padnick is correct; the Hogwarts Houses are poorly designed and include a Racism and Bullying House as one-quarter of the options. But I also think fans tend to revise among themselves -- & that's not necessarily misunderstanding or ignoring the text. People who identify Slytherin aren't (usually) going "woo, racism and bullying!" but identifying with an imaginary Slytherin That Might Have Been -- actual ambition in all forms, ability to play the angles, Marketing Majorishness -- I don't know what all. And JKR says a couple times that Slytherins Aren't All Bad (though she kind of undermines that by making the founding of the house explicitly based on Racism and Bullying, but whatever; it's there and people are going to try to fan-con it into plausibility)

    I know I've done that with Hufflepuff. I don't think of myself as "miscellaneous background duffers," but I identify with Hufflepuff because on the HP Non-Exclusive Scale of Values I rate Helping People and Getting It Done a lot higher than Brains or Sports or Whatever Slytherin Is About. And because I'm a fan and I identify with Hufflepuff, I automatically pour a lot more mental embroidery into the Hufflepuff Ethos than is necessarily strongly supported in the book.

    That doesn't mean the problems aren't still there. But you can acknowledge that a thing has problems and still be a fan. I think it's possible to be a Fan Slytherin without at all advocating Canon Slytherinicity.

    So it's a good point about the weakness of the Houses, and something important to think about for sure -- but I'm still opening up the yellow and black umbrella if Padnick tries to rain on my fan parade. I'm open to being convinced otherwise.

    1. Speaking as a Slytherin, I'd like to say, "Woo, racism & bullying...er, wait, no, nothing like that at all." ;)

      I agree that the Houses, as written, are pretty untenable. We don't really get any depth or background to them, not even Gryffindor really, to make them seem all that plausible beyond driving the plot & giving reasons for certain people behaving as they do.

    2. Laura, your comment is AWESOME. From start to finish. Hat tip from a fellow Hufflepuff.

      I think the Houses have weaknesses, and are limited in their hard canon incarnations by the story Rowling is trying to tell, but I do think there are reasons fans identify themselves as one House or another--and with the possible exception of Ravenclaw, which is pretty obviously knowledge/intellectualism-based, we're usually seeing something that Rowling put traces of in place but then overrode with a whole lot of "The Slytherin common room password is 'Mudblood'" or "Hufflepuffs are really good... finders." (OK, that last one is from the movies. ;))

      Even Gryffindor seems to me less about sports and more about willingness to conquer fear than the books quite show. Which is why I identified as Gryff for so long, till I finally caved and decided to celebrate Hufflepuff as the obvious House for me.

      Appreciate your added perspective, George. ;)

  3. The one I really liked in the "Sh*t Harry Potter Fans Never Say" was "Yeah! Dobby die!!"

    1. Hahahaha! That one made me laugh a lot. And maybe sniffle.

      The one that really killed me was "Favorite book 6 movie scene?" "The burning of the Burrow." SERIOUSLY.

  4. Wait, I do kind of want to read a book from Trelawney's perspective! And be all free-will-y about what wand I choose. :)


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