Friday, March 22, 2013

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Readalong Post 1

Alright, first things first. I don't really like this book. Except that I do. I actually love a lot of this book, but the shouty angst make it really hard to truly enjoy.

And before some of you start to wail about Harry being through so much, and adolescence is a bitch and how'd I react if an entire school thought I was a mental liar, let me just say, I get it. I understand why Harry is as he is in this book, I feel for him and I empathise with all the swirling emotions, hormones and craziness going through this head. That doesn't mean I want to read about a 15 year old sulk around with his hands shoved in his pockets. I went through that thank you very much, I don't want to do it again. And it isn't just Harry. Ron and Hermione are just as shouty and angsty and annoying in this book to me, and again I get it, but I do. not. want.

Moving on!

I'm not really sure why Ron is made prefect over Dean or Seamus or Neville (OK, maybe I get why he gets it over Neville). As far as I can tell he doesn't do much/at all better than the others in class, and he's broken so many school rules he probably should have been ineligible (although Gryffindor's motto probably reads "we break rules and you love us for it" in Latin) but I really love that he gets the badge. It's a very awwwww-y moment when he gets the badge and gets all red-eared and Mrs Weasley is still super proud of him even though she's had 25 other sons get better badges, but it's also step 1 in 'Ron gets on top of his issues with being the youngest male Weasley and lack of confidence'. Ickle Ronnikins is growing up, and this develops nicely from GoF where he had to confront his feels of inadequacy about being The Boy Who Lived's best bud.

So. Does anyone have a clue how the OWLs work? It can't be 1 OWL = 1 class, because an earlier book mentions Percy getting something ridiculous like 30# OWLs, and since Hermione cracked taking something like 12 classes how could that work? Also, Ron says (p205) that Fred and George got 3 OWLs each, which would mean what? They didn't complete 4 of their exams? In which case how could they possibly be let into their next year at Hogwarts?

The grading system is:
Exceeds Expectations
Troll (although this might have been a joke?)

So one option is that each grade is attributed a number of OWLs, so O=5 and D=1 (assuming T is a joke) in which case that would mean Percy got 6 O's, but of the subjects Harry and Ron are taking 7 are compulsory (Transfig, charms, potions, DADA, herbology, astronomy, history) and Percy would definitely have taken at least 3 extras, surely. And back with Fred and George they should have at least 7, assuming they failed all of them and didn't get higher than a D. All I can assume is that when they say they "got an OWL" they mean they got an O-grade, which still doesn't make sense with Percy's 30 OWLs but it's starting to hurt my brain, so I give up.

Extra stuff:

*"Fred and I managed to keep our peckers up somehow" (p205) This might only be funny to me because I don't know how far this slang has spread, but in Australia a pecker is a penis. Rowling's lewd humour continues!

*I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really want to know what Dudley sees/feels when the dementors attack.

*I love the ministry bits in this book, like them colluding to expel Harry by changing rooms and trying him in front of the full Wizengamot, or by hiring Umbridge as DADA (I'll probably scream and rant a lot next week after Harry's detention). Fudge is a pathetic little weasel, and it's great to have an adversary that isn't Voldemort, even if that doesn't remain the case all book long.

*I am firmly anti-Dursley but I really feel for them when Big-D is returned to them post-dementor. That must be a parent's worst nightmare.

*I love that Mafalda Hopkirk ends her letter which tells Harry that he's being expelled and is going to a disciplinary hearing with "Hoping you are well" (p30).

*Tonks is awesome, I would love to have the opportunity to change my appearance. How could you not become a spy?

*Mrs Weasley's fight against that boggart is heartbreaking, and just another example of the families and loss motif I mentioned last week.

*I listened to this section on audiobook, and damn that sorting hat song is so bad out loud. When I read it I can pretend the meter and rhyme works better, but it really, really doesn't.

Till next week, when I get on my soapbox and yell about Hermione (shock! gasp!) and how Umbridge is the most evil and scary villain in the series....

#Ok, I exaggerated. I just check and he got 12 OWLS, so the idea is that 1 OWL = 1 class but I still call bullshit because Hermione only gets 11 OWLS and with divination and muggle studies (which she dropped before OWLS) would have had 13 BUT she needed a time turner and that was supposed to be this big deal because she's a super achiever. How'd Percy and Bill manage it then HUH?


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