Throwback Wednesday: 6 Ways Harry Potter Could Have Been Way Better

"Ron and Hermione Sad"

Guys, I haven’t updated my personal blog Apathetic Chipmunk in so long, even though I keep jotting down blog post ideas. Both fortunately and unfortunately Bad Books, Good Times and my job keep me pretty busy. The other night, though, I took a trip down memory lane and read through some of my old posts and found one of my favourites, which I’ve reposted below.

6 Ways Harry Potter Could Have Been Way Better 

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— including 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 extra pounds!

Instead, we’re left with this message:

"Lupin, eat"

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?

"Krum and Hermione dance"

 

"Ron and Hermione Sad"

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 positively enchanted.

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.

Furthermore, 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.

What other missed opportunities do you guys think Harry Potter had?

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0 comments

    • 22aer22 Reply

      Like when he first found out he was a wizard or being like, “Oh my god, Voldemort, seriously, why are you up my ass all the time?”

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  1. Lougoober Reply

    For point 1, in the books, Petunia does make Dudley go on a diet and I think they have him start taking boxing classes at some point, or else I made that last part up. But I definitely remember a scene with him being angry about only having one slice of cantaloupe to eat for breakfast.
    But as for the Hogwarts side of things, no one’s weight makes any sense. They have seem to have huge feasts every night, and I can buy that no one puts on much more weight because the castle and its grounds are gigantic and there’s a lot of stairs so they probably burn off their meals really easily, but why do Neville and Crabbe and Goyle manage to stay so fat? Magic? Magic fat?

    4) What about magic steroids? Make you play Quidditch better and they’re supposed to make your spells a little stronger, but they give you crazy hallucinations to the point that you make Luna Lovegood seem perfectly reasonable and rather boring by comparison.

    I definitely think not having any sort of sex-ed scene in the books is a wasted opportunity. I guess since it’s a children’s book series that would maybe have been frowned upon, but you’ve got this huge castle full of mostly unsupervised teenagers and there’s always empty classrooms all over the place.
    Plus I think it would’ve been hilarious to have Snape and McGonagall together explaining the facts of life to the kids, with the same tact and grace they use to teach their regular classes.

    On a more serious note, it probably would’ve made sense if there had been a mention that part of the Hogwarts grounds is completely dedicated to growing and raising the food for the school. I buy that the House elves make everything themselves, but where do they actually GET the food if there’s not some huge farm nearby that’s full of chickens and carrots? It seems like there’s just Hagrid growing pumpkins.

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    • malcolmthecynic Reply

      But as for the Hogwarts side of things, no one’s weight makes any sense.

      You’re assuming people’s metabolism levels are the same, but this is not the case in real life.

      It’s also implied pretty heavily that you need to be in good shape to play Quidditch (presumably to fly more agilely?), so there is definitely a subset of athletes in the school.

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    • 22aer22 Reply

      I’m surprised by the lack of dieting spells going on. There could have been some really moving stories of abusing dieting spells going on.

      Somewhere out there is definitely a humor fanfic where Snape and McGonagall are teaching a sex ed class together. And if there isn’t, congrats, you found the one original Harry Potter fanfic that is left to write!

      I don’t know why but “It seems like there’s just Hagrid growing pumpkins” Really cracked me up.

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  2. Jena Reply

    tbh the biggest outstanding gripe I have with the series is how Slytherin is portrayed. Not only is virtually every evil character from Slytherin, but Slytherin can’t even claim a wholly uncontroversial “good” person (the closest would be Slughorn, but he’s not exactly portrayed favorable). After a while it just becomes lazy writing to be like Slytherin = evil. JKR wasted a big opportunity to emphasize her house unity theme by making everyone in Slytherin irredeemable. Do I believe that a house that values ambition would churn out a lot of assholes? Yes. Do I believe that valuing ambition makes you evil? No. Shame that JKR seems to…

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    • 22aer22 Reply

      That’s always annoyed me too. On paper their qualities can be really good, but for some reason everyone in that house seemed to automatically be a massive dick! Like when a fraternity is like, “We stand for brotherhood and kindness and being upstanding citizens,” but then for some reason everyone in that frat is just fricken horrible and has become a cesspool for evil. That’s what I think happened to Slytherin 🙁

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      • Anonymous Reply

        I wanted to see evil people from other houses. And maybe see someone from Hufflepuff do something worthwhile without dying!

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      • E.H.Taylor Reply

        I’ve had the same problem and have decided it must be some kind of magic fungus or mold growing in their common room that makes everyone evil. I mean, they’re in the dungeons after all, which is a prime spore producing environment. They should definitely have that checked out.

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