I went to a “fancy-dress” party the other night that was Harry Potter themed. It seemed a very appropriate rite of passage for me studying abroad in England this year. It also reminded me of an article I wrote for one of my college’s papers. There are actually a few articles I’d like to post here such as one about the time I was in an abusive relationship with my Wii Fit and my article about what happens in every single Grey’s Anatomy episode ever. Except now I can build on that to include Private Practice wahoooo. Without further ado, here’s how I would have improved the Harry Potter series.
After reading the Harry Potter series, part of me was satisfied, but a bigger part of me felt there was something missing. After much deliberation— pie charts, venn diagrams, musical montages, and elaborate surveys—I finally figured out the six things that would have made Harry Potter a much better series. Maybe even the best ever.
1) Addressing the issue of obesity:
Though many characters in the novel suffer from obesity, the issue is never directly addressed. Characters like Dudley and Goyle were never aided but were simply allowed to increase their weight classifications from chubby -> overweight -> fat -> ogre -> obese, and straight on to full-blown tubba-blubba status. If there had been even brief mentions of the Dursleys signing Dudley up as a member of the local gym, if Hogwarts had introduced a mandatory fitness program, or if there was some sort of Richard Simmons-esque wizard character, then fat children around the world—but mainly in America—would have been inspired to shed those pounds!
2) Unwanted pregnancies or children out of wedlock:
Despite all the steamy wizarding action, there was no mention of anyone forgetting to cast anti pregnancy spells. The world wants to know if there’s a plan B spell? Pregnius go awaytius? No-mo-Babyosa? It would have been engagingly realistic to show all the kinky wizard passion that went on when these teens were alone in the common rooms or the Prefect’s unsupervised bathrooms. Instead we’re led to believe that Hogwarts is a school of virginal witches and wizards. How many of us longed for Hermione to have a pregnancy scare with Victor Krum to add more drama between her and Ron? Or Parvati, the Gryffindor slut, to cast an abortius-fetius spell after a night of too much “butter” beer? I for one would have been mesmerized.
3) Messy divorces:
Narcissa and Lucious Malfoy had a failing, loveless marriage that should have ended with a divorce filled with fights over child custody, money, and other wizardly possessions. Had this divorce occurred earlier in Draco’s life, it would have helped explain his cantankerous, snotty, attention-seeking ways. This glimpse into marriages that lost the “magic” would have highlighted the all too real struggles couples have—muggle or not. These modern day struggles between unhappy married couples would have better fleshed out not only the Malfoy’s marriage but the Weasley’s as well. Had Mrs. Weasley been left to raise 37 children on her own, it would have added for an exciting, emotional rollercoaster. If a henpecked Mr. Weasley had left to pursue his career in the ministry and run off with his much younger secretary, eyes would have been glued to the pages of this brave novel. There’s no reason to believe that love can overcome monetary hardships, let alone Voldemort impending doom. It’s sickening that Harry Potter would continue to promote the idea of strong, stable marriages through the worst of times.
4) Drug Overdoses:
Living a life of fame and fortune and quidditch is truly the dream for many a Harry Potter character. An awesome storyline would have been former Gryffindor quidditch team captain Oliver Wood falling prey to the temptations that all quidditch stars probably face. It’s a well known fact that wizard drug dealers lace their shit with the best spells and give you a high that only sweet magic could. Harry, too, for that matter was a star in every regard, and logically drug usage should have played a large role in his life at Hogwarts. How else would he escape the pain? J.K. can’t possibly expect the readers of this series to believe Harry overcame issues of guilt, abandonment, abuse, loss, loneliness, and more without being aided by drugs. That’s simply inhuman. Friendship is no substitute for the joy and feelings of self-worth that drugs can give you.
5) Work study programs:
How in the hell did dirt poor Ron Weasley pay for Hogwarts? Let alone all six hundred of his siblings? Is there a Hogwarts scholarship fund? Is there a work study program? This issue was certainly not addressed, and the books suffered greatly from it. We’re led to believe that out of the goodness of Dumbledore’s heart he allows anyone to enter Hogwarts and receive a topnotch education—free of charge. Harry understandably attends because his parents left him a rich orphan, which is a plot device no book as ever seen. Ron on the other hand just had a shitty hand dealt to him. How can Hogwarts afford to pay its teachers’ salary if students are there on charity? There’s no mention of a wealthy donor or kids having to work in the cafeteria and wait for everyone and their mother to get out before they can go home. Life is not a fairy tale. Poor kids go to school and clean up after the rich kids. If Harry Potter leads you to believe otherwise then it is a disservice to everyone who reads it. However, there is documented proof that 99% of orphans end up extremely wealthy and in a school for the finest witches and wizards, so at least that was believable.
6) House Elves going apeshit:
Underneath Dobby’s cheerful, submissive exterior lurked a sassy, mouthy rebel who could have liberated the House Elves. The issue of House Elf slavery was vaguely addressed when Hermione briefly started a club to fight for their freedom. This club was quickly forgotten when Ron love drama became the only issue Hermione addressed—or undressed, what up?—In any case, what the series needed was some sarcasm seeping through Dobby’s “Yes, Harry Potter”, and “Dobby loves Harry Potter”. Fuck that. There are clearly smarmy, snarky undertones to all of his groveling, and it would have been a delight to see this potential realized.