Okay, this is probably gonna catch some flack, but I have one serious issue with this series (I have more, but for the sake of this post, I have one):
Why didn’t anybody just shoot Harry Potter?
So, these are characters that exist in a world where magically inclined individuals carry around wands. In order to use these wands, wizards must perform an audible incantation. It is mentioned multiple times in the books/movies that the inflection one uses on these incantations can affect their outcome, implying that the only way to adequately perform a spell is to confidently exclaim what you are about to do. Spells like “Expelliarmus” are used when one wizard hears another wizard utter something threatening. They react to the beginning of the incantation, which is simple enough. Not reacting in some way when your adversary is giving you a split second TO react is a bit absurd. It’s like how people in Dragon Ball Z sit and wait for Goku to finish his “Kamehameha” BS and kind of just continue to stand there before, during, and after it kicks off.
However, unless you’re an idiot or a Bond villain, you aren’t going to stand there with the gun and shout “PULLING THE TRIGGER NNNNNNNNOW!” You’re just gonna shoot the dude in his weird glasses having face. These people live in a world where near to EVERYONE has these wands. Sure, some are better with them than others. Ron could have his wand stuck right up your butt and be all “I swear to you, I am going to killing curse right now. Here it comes.” and you’d still be all “Lulz. I hope there are cornish pasties in the Great Hall this evening.” Ultimately though, when there is a hoard of evil wizards out to erase you from existence, you are going to be on the lookout for someone waving a wand in a noseless, intimidating manner. You aren’t going to be as attuned to the dude drawing a pistol from his robes while you’re in the shower (and putting on the fake “No, Myrtle, don’t look” act when you know you like it).
Now, the easy argument is that nobody could get a gun into Hogwarts. That the teachers would know. Because magic.
How much shit got sneaked past these teachers? A troll. Everything the Weasley Twins have ever done. The entirety of the Room of Requirement. A giant effing basilisk in the basement. Tom Riddle slowly being an evil whack-job as a boy. The Silverback Gorilla that killed Hagrid and assumed his life as his own, finally feeling as though he has a purpose beyond picking his butt and then smelling his finger for tourists. EVERYTHING gets past these teachers. The friggin castle could be on FIRE, and Professor Babbling would still be all “My, these students sure are late for their Ancient Runes exam.” Getting a gun or other sort of weapon into the castle would be a cake walk. Hell, I’m surprised Draco didn’t just sneak 5 full grown Bengal Tigers into Dumbledore’s office to try and kill him. Or an M1 Abrams Tank.
And maybe the Death Eater crew didn’t want to off Harry at school. Why not pop him when he’s at home. Or headed home. Or dicking around in that grungy playground where the Dementors got to him. Simply TALKING to any of the students would surely reveal enough information about where Harry goes on breaks. It makes sense that they wouldn’t be able to magic him, has surely the Ministry would be up their bums in a second. So if you can’t find the exact house or attack the house directly due to Dumblebore intervention or you’re worried that the ministry’s people are tracking you, then employ some Muggles. The Malfoys are swimming in more riches than Scrooge McDuck after a successful corporate takeover. Hire someone who specializes in finding and eliminating people. Don’t want Harry to die because your anemic boss wants to kill him personally? Then have the dude eliminate the Dursley’s and kidnap the boy. Hell, take a trunk full of gold to the Dursley’s THEMSELVES and be like “hey, wanna be rich?”
This all may seem silly, but I feel like it brings up a valid issue with this series. “They’re just fictional characters, you daft fool” some of you may cry. Well fine. Let’s look at it that way: The “Muggle” element is unfairly unrepresented in this series. Granted, it’s directly ABOUT wizards, but not being able to see the dichotomy of the world leaves the world scope feeling limited and confined. Think about a storyline where someone fails at killing Harry, say Lucius Malfoy, and he returns in a tizzy, frustrated and scared. The teens all draw wands, waiting for an incantation, when in a swift motion BOOM! A shot rings out and Harry drops (not dead of course, because this is a money-making series and J.K. Rowling is NOT going back to living in fridge boxes). This is more than just a cliched American answer to a problem, it inherently makes the world more dangerous. What about a story where Harry and friends are on the lamb, and a group of Muggles attack them, under employ of the Death Eaters. Do they kill them? Hurt them? Stun them? They have been taught their whole lives to NOT use magic against Muggles. There’s a whole thing about the Ministry nearly expelling Harry from the Magic Club when he does. Are there self-defense sub-clauses? We don’t know because we don’t have that connection. We never even truly see the Death Eaters, after coming back to power, menacing or otherwise disturbing the peace in Muggle world. Were they too busy? Were they like “well, let’s slowly eliminate as many children as we can in order to bulk up, and then maybe we can attack the humans. Maybe small town. You know what, a farm. Just one farm. Start small, y’know.”
Essentially, eliminating the Muggle element separates the world from our own. All we know is “bad people hate muggles, good folks like them.” What about nice people that were raised into bigotry? Or bad people that see some sort of capital in the Muggle population? The non-magic population exist as a background element used just to delineate assholes from nice people, give an excuse for relegating magic events to certain areas and downplaying magical conflicts (We don’t have any scenes of magical people launching huge fireballs at one another over the English countryside because APPARENTLY WE CAN’T HAVE AWESOME THINGS), and act as a reminder that these events DO take place in actual England and not loopy fantasy MAGICLAND.
Adding a more present human element (the Dursleys DO NOT count, come on… those people are hardly human… they’re more like walking, talking piles of hate lard) would increase the REALITY of the narrative. Think of that episode of Buffy. You know the one. THAT episode. Season 6, Episode 19 “Seeing Red.” If you are a fan of the series, you know what I mean and I am so sorry for bringing it up. If you are not, go watch it. The entire series. Also:
MAJOR SPOILER ALERT
The shooting of both Buffy and Tara are so shocking because of the nature of it. It was so simple, so human. So real to us. We feel sad when Buffy dives into a mysterious portal. Or when someone gets magically eradicated, but the use of a simple gun brings it home for us. Anya’s death is similar in that it feels so unceremonious. The simplicity of it brings the narrative into our own unromanticized world and connects to us at a deeper level. I feel Harry Potter’s ability to relate to both a wider populace and it’s fans closer was cheapened by the lack of a more relatable human element. Now, that doesn’t make it a bad series. I have my personal problems with it overall, but I’m also a fan of the Star Wars extended universe pre-Disney Tyranny, so I don’t have room to judge. These books and movies have become dear to many, many people, some of which are people I am very close to. They have created a culture and brought people together, bonding them around these characters. It’s truly a beautiful thing. In the end though, I feel the narrative was cheapened by putting muggles into the background. It didn’t have to be a gun or a tank (though, come on… Neville in a tank…. right?), but there really should have been a straight up Muggle character or area or anything that brought the narrative out of the dreamscape and more into our own backyard.
(sorry for the long post, I got carried away)
Anyway, hope everyone enjoyed the read.
ACCIO MEAN COMMENTS!
2 thoughts on “Harry Potter and the Concealed 45”
Part of it is a blind spot the Brits seem to have about guns, I think. Look at all the Dr. Who stuff where guns are almost forever “not the answer” even when they are around. Rowling created a magical world where gun laws actually work as desired.
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Excellent point, Bill. Perhaps in the magical land of the Potterverse, gun laws work, the economy is stable and people truly believe in equality…
Woah… That got heavy….
Thank you so much for the read and for your comment.