Lifestyle

BuzzFeed vs. Harry Potter: Reaction

This is a sort of repost from something I posted on Tumblr about 6 months ago, as a response to this post on Buzzfeed which proclaimed that “Harry Potter is actually one of the worst characters of all times“.
I’d have let it be, quietly, on my blog there, but as I’ve recently seen some of the opinions about both the series and the character “Harry Potter” in the last couple of days (it’s my week off college though, so I may have just bumped into it because the corners of the internet I’m currently spending my time at are even stranger than usual).
 
As anybody who knows me at all will be able to tell you – I’m a massive potterhead. My description on both Twitter and Instagram has included some variation of “9 3/4 potterhead” for the last 3 years at least:
 
Now I must warn you – my chosen method of action is usually trying to get as many logical arguments in there as possible, so this is a long text – like, really long – but hey, I had a point to prove, okay?? So let’s have the rant!

(Just one last quick remark here: you could, of course, go and read the original article on BuzzFeed first, but I did actually try and phrase exactly what I was reacting against, so it’s not really necessary 🙂 )

***

You know what? I’m going to do something here I swore to myself I would never do ever because it only leads to no good: respond to an article online that annoys the heck out of me just because of its sheer inaccuracy.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I usually really like BuzzFeed (I spend an embarrassing amount of time watching their videos and I think I’m subscribed to every single one of their YouTube channels (and there’s a ridiculous amount of those, let that be clear)) – and the writer of this article has every right in the world to her opinion. But if you’re going to try and convince other people of your opinion, how about you go ahead and do it by using the actual facts, rather than turning and twisting them for no other purpose than to support your opinion.
 
Turning and twisting the facts, you say, how so? Well, let me elaborate:
 
Now, the author of this article starts by stating that “Harry was freakin’ selfish

Euhm… What? Apparently the fact that he was willing to die in order to (maybe) stop a lunatic from killing everybody, wasn’t enough, and his ‘saving people’ thing in all the previous years isn’t even mentioned (2nd year, gigantic basilisk, anybody?) What bugs me most though, is that Harry’s selfishness is apparently proven by the fact that other people sacrificed themselves for him. Let me just go over the people this author mentions:
  1. His parents: yes, the fact that his parents died because the above-mentioned lunatic decided to paint a target on a baby is obviously a sign of how this one-year-old was selfish – how dare a baby have parents that care enough for him to try and protect him no matter what. (the same thought can be expanded to include Sirius and Lupin, btw)
  2. Hagrid: the only time I can actually imagine Hagrid ‘sacrificing’ himself for Harry, would be during the final battle, when he chose to fight for Hogwarts (his home), against Voldemort (the guy who was responsible for killing Dumbledore, the man who guaranteed Hagrid a home) – every other time Hagrid got hurt, it was because he’d done something stupid (I love Hagrid, but the man wasn’t exactly known for his sense, was he now?) Also, is no one going to mention the sacrifices Harry made for Hagrid? (First year, Norbert; second year, believing in Hagrid after he is accused of having set free Slytherin’s monster, again; …)
  3. The Weasleys: a family which took in Harry time and time again – a grown man and woman, who decided to stand by their values rather than join the lunatic and as such, painted huge targets on the whole families back, and yes: who decided to allow their children to have friends over – such horror!
  4. The entire Order of the Phoenix: a group of adults who consciously chose to fight against the lunatic, and as such are willing to accept the dangers that come with fighting a war – any sacrifices they made were to the war, not to Harry Potter (at the most, they made sacrifices for The Boy Who Lived, but that’s a completely different problem)
  5. Dumbledore, Snape and ‘Pretty much every professor at Hogwarts, ever’: first of all: GROSS OVEREXAGERATION much? Second of all: all of the above are professors at a school, and as such they are responsible for the emotional, physical and mental well-being of their students – some students have depression, some have a fear of failure, one has a lunatic trying to kill him every year – in all of the above cases, the student is not to be blamed, and the teachers are there as people who are meant to guide and help them become the best adults they might grow up to be – and that does, indeed, usually involve said student staying alive long enough for them to grow up and be an adult.
  6. An extra mention for Snape here: the guy’s a douche bag. What’s more, the guy’s a douche bag who was horrible to one of his students for no other reason that “he looks just like his father, but he has his mother’s eyes’. Does he sort of sacrifice himself in a way that benefits Harry? Yes. Does he, however, do any of this for Harry? NO. And that makes all the difference: Snape does everything he does because he decided to follow the wizard-equivalent of Hitler, and only realised when he was in way deep that that involved killing the supposed ‘love of his life’ (and don’t even get me started on all that’s wrong with that idea) – there isn’t a greasy hair on Snape’s under-shampooed head that would consider doing anything for Harry – Lilly’s son, on the other hand, him, he’ll do anything for.
  7. The Dursleys: how are these even on this list? They sacrificed hardly any money, care, attention and no love whatsoever – it is stated about as explicit as you can get in a children’s book that they abused him – even if you were to say that the danger they were put in by Harry’s presence, was negated by this very presence (blood wards, anybody?) – if anything, they basically looked for any danger possible, by denying Harry the basic rights which the wards were supposedly based on (his calling it a home – a house ain’t a home, people, and that house most certainly did not sound like a home) and thus rendering the protection these wards offered less ‘sure’.
  8. Next on the list: Neville and Hermione: the other Chose One whose parents were tortured into a mental ward in honor of the lunatic and the Mudblood who constantly one-up’s the purebloods and as such has a target painted on her back anyways – will the fact that they knew Harry on a personal level have confirmed their decision to stand up against Mr. Lunatic? Probably, most likely even – But it was not at the root of their decision-making-process.
  9. Dobby: you know what, this one actually almost is true – Dobby did, in fact sacrifice his life for Harry, Hermione, Ron, Luna, Mr. Olivander, Dean Thomas ànd Griphook. Of course, that could only come to happen because Harry had first saved Dobby from the abusive environment that was the Malfoy household, almost resulting in Lucius Malfoy seriously harming him. (so, basically, Dobby was just sort of evening out the debts, if you want to look at it that way)
  10. To, again, quote the author: ‘The list could continue but it’s exhausting me emotionally to write this‘, so I’ll just finish up with a question: why on earth are you so determined to negate all of these people’s ability (and right!) to come to their own decision? You hand your reader a list of people who have in some way, to some extent, sacrificed part of their lives to the Wizard War, a war which Harry Potter was prophesied (and by many of the people above: FORCED) to play a big part in – but why on earth should that mean that he was the reason for their doing so? Surely, to confuse consequence (Harry Potter ‘benefited’ from their actions) and cause (they did what they did so Harry Potter would benefit) is a rookie mistake which a published writer ought not make?

Second point: “Harry took his anger out on others“: now there are two ways to interpret this statement: either refer to third year, and the blowing up of Aunt Marge (which the author of the article also mentions), or the roller coaster of feelings that was his entire fifth, and partially sixth, year:

  1. Third year: Harry was a teenage boy who was constantly told lies about his parents, by those who “took [him] in, out of the goodness of [their] hearts” – furthermore, it is stated in this book as well that this same Aunt Marge not only allowed, but encouraged her dog to bite Harry (abuse, again). In third year, Harry Potter has reached a point where he finally knows the truth about his parents – a truth, might I add, drastically different from the garbage he was told before Hagrid rectified some of the ‘facts’ – and yet, is forced to listen to this woman, who has a history of physically (and, most likely, verbally) abusing him and who has, at this point, already been there for a week, spewing derogatory lies about his parents. What’s more, he has to do so, because if not, he knows his uncle will gladly deny him any treat – in this case, his permission to go to Hogsmead. Also: minor detail – it was accidental magic. Now the point to accidental magic is basically that you don’t do it on purpose – you don’t sit there, going, now how might I be as annoying as possible – No! You literally feel something so powerfully, that you can’t keep it in anymore, and yet you force it down anyways – to the point where, yes, it comes out in anyway it can. Some people will get so mad they’ll start crying, Harry has his magic trying to do what he is forcing himself not to: make the source of his anger go away.
  2. Fifth year: look, I’ll be short about this, okay: he’s 15, a teenager, has hormones raging through his body, has just seen the lunatic who killed his parents before he could even speak come back to life, has said lunatic trying to break into his mind and is becoming more and more aware that there is probably a reason why said lunatic keeps trying to get him too, but he isn’t being told – you honestly think any teenager would do any differently? Most of them take their anger out on others just because they feel somebody said something wrong – and if you honestly think you were any different you’re either lying, or you were a very, very rare exception.

Point numéro trois: “Harry is kind of a fuckboy”: now let me just remind you of some stuff here:

  1. Go look up the definition of fuckboy, ‘cuz I’m pretty sure that word doesn’t mean what you think it means. That being said, let’s ignore the word and talk about what the author actually discusses.
  2. At this point, Harry is 14 – not only is he 14, he has NO experience with girls, crushes and love, and he is forced to suddenly gain that experience with a girl whom he truly doesn’t really care all that much about.
  3. Also: he was FORCED to participate in the Tournament, which meant he was FORCED to go to the Yule Ball, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, he was then FORCED to make sure and bring a date (whom he was first FORCED to go and ask, see the part where he has NO experience) so he could be FORCED to actually dance – that’s a lot of things he was forced into, so can you really blame him for not necessarily enjoying the ball?
  4. Regardless, the author actually managed to make sense for the first time in this whole article: that does not, indeed mean that he couldn’t treat Parvati Patil a lot better than he did – congrats to you!

Next point: “Harry thinks he is above rules, which he displays continually by using his cloak to sneak out and be a real punk”: Now, this is actually a good point to bring up, because, indeed, Harry does indeed quite often break the rules – however: some slight amendments must be made to this statement:

  1. First of all, Harry does not necessarily break the rules, just to break the rules – for the majority of the time, he actually has a pretty decent reason to try and do whatever it is he wants to do (although that does not, of course, mean that he is therefore entitled to also do it).
  2. Second of all, a possible argument against his rule breaking could be that, on many occasions, his rule-breaking could be avoided simply by turning to adults and asking for their help, HOWEVER: that is again ignoring the particular circumstances: not only was Harry trained from a young age to ‘not ask questions’ (long live Petunia), on those occasions where he does ask for help, it turns out rather… lets say down-ish – McGonnagall in first year and Lockhart in second year are only some examples of this.
  3. Furthermore, not only does asking for help usually not work out all too great for him, authority figures in general tend to not really be all that inviting to ask for help, either – again: I give you: Lockhart, but Quirell, Fudge and Umbridge only serve to further prove my point.
  4. Finally: the author wonders “what if Neville or Draco had tried out sneaking out all the times that Harry did?” – now, we don’t have any actual prove that either of these characters made a habit of roaming the halls whenever they so pleased, but could we please not forget that, albeit for very differing reasons, Fred and George Weasley as well as Luna Lovegood are confirmed to not necessarily always be in their dorms when they should be, and we know that one of the reasons that the prefects, Headboy- and girl and professors patrol the castle every night, is because there is a certain tendency to not pay all that much attention to (certain of) the rules – hence, he isn’t the only one!
  5. Does any of that imply that it’s a good thing that Harry breaks the rules? No – but it does mean that he is hardly the ‘villain’ he is made out to be because of it.
The next few points I can get to rather quickly:
  1. He was completely reliant on others”: yes. He was also years younger than any of the other contestants, who voluntarily entered and prepared for such events – considering that the first years of Hogwarts are basically spent on just covering the basics, you know that the other contestants have an exponentially bigger choice of options than a fourth-year could ever hope to have.
  2.  He was a dick to Moaning Myrtle”: LET ME USE SIMPLE WORDS FOR THIS ONE: just because it’s a girl spying on a boy DOESN’T MAKE IT OKAY – people get sued for spying on others when naked, why does the fact that she’s sad (or as the author made her sound: pathetic) mean that she should be above the rules? (also: you can’t first punish Harry for supposedly thinking himself above the rules, and then go on to say that, as long as he is the victim of the rule-breaking, it’s totally okay).
  3.  And Harry loves being the centre of attention”: you say you read the books, but did you now? Did you really? Because it is stated in the books LITERALLY, as we are allowed to follow what Harry is thinking, that he did in fact very much so really think that those people would be left underwater – READ THE BOOKS!
  4.  Harry doesn’t freaking LISTEN”: you are, for the second time in this entire article, right – congrats! Of course, you could then go on to wonder why on earth any one would allow him to be taught such an important skill by someone who actively bullies him and refuses to actually give him any sort of instructions, but oh well, you have a point – if not to Snape and Dumbledore, he should at least have listened to Hermione more readily when she tried to tell him that his dream might not be ‘real’.
  5. Harry refused to use his damn brain”: although, as far as Sirius’ dead goes, the author has a point (see above), her remark concerning the mirror once again begs the question: did you really read the book? Really now? Because in the book, it is explicitly stated that not only did Harry not know what was in the package that Sirius gave to him (i.e. the mirror), but that the reason that he chose not to open it, was because he did not want to be tempted to contact Sirius, whom he knew was both growing bored of and anxious in his parental home and was known to sometimes be rather rash in his actions – in other words, to protect SIRIUS.
  6. He legitimately thought only about himself 97% of the time”: yes, of course, the fact that he was very much aware of the fact that these 6 (or 13) people would be risking their lives by pretending to be him when there was a perfectly good plan already in place which would endanger NO ONE (even if the plan was known by the Death Eaters, how about they figure another one out just like it?) Also, AGAIN: could you PLEASE, AT LEAST be consistent: either other people sacrifice themselves for him, and that’s his fault, or he tries to avoid them sacrificing themselves for him, in which case it’s also his fault? CHOOSE ONE AND STICK WITH IT, WHY DON’T YOU – you really can’t have it both ways!
  7. He gets credits for everything even though he would have been dead in the first book without the help of his friends”: YET AGAIN: did you really read the books? Or did you just completely forget that big thing in the fifth book where he gets embarrassed because all of these people are supposedly willing to sign up for the DA because they think he’s something special – to which he literally says: “It was just luck, most of it, and other people”? Did you just forget that? The part where he literally says what you just said? Or are you just copying Harry Potter now?
  8. He is cocky for no reason”: You know what? This one doesn’t even deserve a reply – IT WASN’T IN THE BOOKS, IT WAS IN THE MOVIES
  9. He was stubborn AF”: Things weren’t going his way? Yes, he should have just gone to the lunatic and politely have asked him to stop trying to kill him because it was ever so inconvenient. Mad at his friend? Yes, he should totally have tried again to talk to Ron, his best friend, who chose to believe something which, let’s face it, it should have been obvious there was no way for it to be true, and just let Ron walk all over him – cuz that’s a healthy friendship! Mad that Snape treats him unfairly? Snape’s a bully in a position of authority – smarting him off is quite literally the only thing Harry can do, cuz Snape’s gonna find something to go off about whether he does or not
  10. And, tbh, he plays the victim”: NEWSFLASH: he IS the victim. END OF DISCUSSION
In conclusion: this whole article seemed like somebody just sort of collected a list of ‘unpopular opinions’ twisted them until they made no more sense whatsoever, and then pushed them all together under the disclaimer of ‘I read the books so I know what I’m talking about’ – newsflash: having read the books does not in any way mean that you cannot be wrong as anything about them – and guess what: you were.
 
***
So… Yeah… I guess you could say I was pretty upset about the article – then again, what I was trying to prove in my response wasn’t so much that she couldn’t feel that way about Harry Potter – let’s be honest, there’s plenty of things to not like him about, for starters that he was about as attentive and observant as a brick…
If you didn’t get how upset I was before, this is what my tags looked like…


My real problem, though, was that the author used a) arguments that were just plain wrong; b) arguments that contradicted each other; AND c) arguments that were taken from the movies after stating (repeatedly) that she had read the books and of course she was using them as her source…

 
I can handle many things, but just plain old not checking your basic sources is, sorrynotsorry, just a huge no-go for me…
 

Anyways, there you have it – my respons to BuzzFeed’s badly argumented, makes-no-sense article…

Are there any articles out there that just made you want to go and write a politely-phrased-but-sarcastically-destroying reply? Do you agree with the author? With or without her arguments 😉

 
Be sure to let me know below!
 
-Saar