Terry Pratchett Book Club: Wyrd Sisters, Part I

Hey everyone - we're going to be taking a break this week (for the reread that would be Nov 27th) and we'll be back in *gulp* December. See you then!

Terry Pratchett Book Club: Mort, Part III

Hey all,

Just dropping in a note to let you know that this week's Pratchett Book Club post will be delayed until next week! Sorry about that!

See you then :)

Terry Pratchett Book Club: Equal Rites, Part II

Just a heads up, everyone:

The Book Club will not be going up this week (8/28) and will resume it's usual schedule next week! See you then!


Justice League Shows Us What Happens When You Team Up Without a Cinematic Universe

@mehndeke - Sorry, but no. Showing bodies was never the issue I cited; there's a major difference in how these characters are shot, which was pretty clear from my complaint about how the Amazons were filmed. It's one thing to just have Jason Momoa take his shirt off on camera. It's another to deliberately film upskirt shots of Wonder Woman, and have lighting set up to make her breasts glow.

Fellow Muggles and Magic Folk: The Harry Potter Epilogue Takes Place Today

@jcmnyu - The books didn't occur in real time! Harry is born in 1980 and goes to Hogwarts from 1991-1997. The Battle of Hogwarts occurs in 1998. Nineteen years later is 2017 ;-)

Rereading Frank Herbert’s Dune: Dune, Part Nine

@Crane - I am sorry for the mistake, and I've added an edit in the text to reflect the correct information. Thank you for bringing that to my attention!

Rereading Frank Herbert’s Dune: Dune, Part Four

@31 - Sorry, that argument of "you cannot place modern day values on a story that was not written in modern times otherwise you're doing it wrong" is patently false. There are many different ways to react to a story. Taking into account the time in which it was written allows for certain types of analysis. Dissecting it as it comes off today is a different type of analysis, and is valid in its own manner. Choosing to go over it one way or another is not "wrong." It's simply a decision. In fact, those different types of readings have names: you can analyze for "author intent," and "historical context," and also "reader response," and "modern day parallels" and much more besides. You can go over the text any way you like--you cannot tell me that I have to do it according to your preferred method because you've decided that it's the only way it should be done.

Also, the suggestion that I know nothing about feudal Europe or the Roman Empire because I haven't invoked them yet as a storytelling device is presumptuous as all get out. I am well aware of the devices and histories that Herbert is drawing on, but we haven't reached a point in the narrative where the parallels are doing much of anything besides existing. Once we get to a point where they're more direct or poignant, they will get discussed.

All the People Who Created the Death Star Weapon Throughout Star Wars History

@Lisamarie - There are some canonical references to Raith Sienar (though he is no longer the originator of the Death Star), but other than that, canon is the Geonisians onward. Apparently they were wiped out in a recent comic?

And kyber crystals, yes! I should have made note of that. Apparently one of the ways they're trying to differentiate the Legends from canon is with weird re-spelling like that. So it was originally Kaiburr Crystal, but now they're saying that "kaiburr" is a spelling that refers to the giant legendary crystal (from Splinter of the Mind's Eye) I think, and that the ones used in lightsabers are now kyber crystals. (I might have thrown a minor hissy fit over this on Facebook when I noticed. Because I'm an adult.)

Bryan Fuller Steps Down as Showrunner of Star Trek: Discovery
@houndie Uh. Well, to start, there's no indication that the captain will be female. The main central character--who is going to be a lieutenant commander--is going to be a woman. Also, I'm not sure that you did see what I did there, which was to use a goofy play on the show's name. ("discovered"? The show is called "Discovery"? Aaahahahahaaaaa, I'm the cleverest, no really, comedy gold right there) And finally, no. I am not too excited at the prospect of a female main character (or a female captain). I will never stop being excited about more ladies in space. Sorry.
H.G. Wells and Orson Wells Have a Radio Chat About War of the Worlds

@neaden - As you say, the wiki page linked reports nothing close to nation-wide panic, but there were still a great deal of people who did express concern, to the point where the CBS radio studio filled up with cops because they were being ordered to make immediate announcements as to the fictional nature of the program:

Producer John Houseman noticed that at about 8:32 pm. ET, CBS supervisor Davidson Taylor received a telephone call in the control room. Creasing his lips, Taylor left the studio and returned four minutes later, "pale as death". He had been ordered to interrupt "The War of the Worlds" broadcast immediately with an announcement of the program's fictional content, but by that time actor Ray Collins was choking on the roof of Broadcasting Building and the break was less than a minute away.[2]:404

Actor Stefan Schnabel recalled sitting in the anteroom after finishing his on-air performance. "A few policemen trickled in, then a few more. Soon, the room was full of policemen and a massive struggle was going on between the police, page boys, and CBS executives, who were trying to prevent the cops from busting in and stopping the show. It was a show to witness."[23]

Since the word choice seems to be bothersome, "many Americans" has been changed to "some Americans," but the story itself certainly still stands.

Cosplay: A Place For Expression and Inclusivity at NYCC

@JT Heyman - There are a few reasons why this became a general rule, and they have to do with controlling your own personal imagery. It's one thing to pose knowingly, but it has become unfortunately common for some people to take sneak shots from behind a cosplayer for less than savory purposes (similar to an upskirt photograph). Some people who ask for photographs can get bossy about the poses, clearly wanting a specific "sexy" shot for reasons they aren't disclosing. It can get pretty creepy if you don't know to define your own parameters ahead of time.

There's also the fact that if the cosplayer is a child they might just want to dress up for fun and dislike the idea of being photographed. Also, their parents might not want the kid's picture to end up online for reasons of privacy and protection.

And then there's the fact that cosplayers generally enjoy what they do, and want to know if their image is going to appear on a website or somesuch so that they can enjoy it. So it's polite to tell the person if you're just taking pictures for fun, or if you're going to be posting it somewhere publicly to make sure they are alright with the idea.

It’s Time to Talk About Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!

The play runs, in total, about 4 1/2 hours with both parts. So quite long, but still not a format where you can get in as much detail as a novel.

In regards to my comments about Albus and Scorpius and the reactions so far, two things:

1. Nowhere did I imply that I think friendship is less important than romantic love. In fact, I said the opposite of that--that I am a fan of very deep meaningful friendships in fiction. The comment I made was that there are certain cues in Albus and Scorpius's relationship that are often an indicator of more romantic attachment (such as another character relating his romantic feelings for another person to their relationship, or Scorpius's clear jealousy when Albus starts spending more time with Delphi). That is what bothered me. There were cues that were easily read romantically, that were ultimately ignored.

2. I did not mention sex or sexuality anywhere in that analysis. I said that it seemed as though they loved each other. Suggesting same-sex romance is not "forcing sexuality" on anything. It is exactly the same as suggesting romantic attachment between a boy and a girl.

So. Let’s Talk About The Killing Joke.

@hihosilver28 - That's a really good question. For my part--as a person who really loves what this story does for Batman and the Joker but has always been disappointed by the path taken to get there--I think there are two options. You either try to mitigate the problems by making Barbara more vocal and relevant during what occurs in the actual Killing Joke narrative, or you rewrite the basic premise so that the endgame of TKJ doesn't rely on Barbara being abused. If you do the former, then Barbara needs to have opinions on the events that are occurring before, during, and after. If you do the latter, then there has to be another reason for Batman to reach the level of anger that the end of the story requires--preferably one that doesn't require sexual abuse at all. 

(Also, Joe R's suggestion to use JMS's story "Ladies Night" would have been pretty incredible, offering a real sense of foreboding to a story that is already designed to make the audience nervous, and having the added benefit of giving Barbara companions who are women. There's also a suggestion there that Barbara chooses the name "Oracle" due to inspiration from Wonder Woman, which is a fascinating parallel to Dick Grayson--who chose the name Nightwing after a Kyptonian myth that Superman told him.)

Feast Your Eyes On the First Footage From American Gods!

@Tom - The song is called "In the Pines," also known as "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" according to my wife. But we couldn't find the particular cover used in the trailer.

A Myth About Truth, Reality, and Self-Actualization: The Matrix

@Stefan - Aside from the irony of the all-knowing Oracle playing music by two of the best jazz improv musicians in the world, the song choices are also interesting. The Reinhardt piece is "Nuages," which translates to 'clouds,' but was also known by the title "It's the Bluest Kind of Blues." The Ellington song is "I'm Beginning to See the Light." They are excellent brackets to the Oracle's conversation with Neo: seeing as she has fairly blue news to give him (that he's not "The One") and that this is point where Neo starts to unpack his destiny (hence seeing the light).

X-Men: Apocalypse Really Hopes You Remember Those Characters You Liked From Before

@Perene - But it's not the same with Scott's brother. Alex was a character of import in the two prior films, who had his own story and journey and powers. He contributed to both of those films as a heroic figure, and did the same in this film. Making a choice to have a known character die is not the same as creating two female characters out of thin air for the sole purpose of murdering them. That's what makes it a fridging, and that's what makes it lazy and insulting. Alex didn't come out of nowhere, he already had a part in these proceedings. Erik's family was created just to make him sad when they died.

The Harry Potter Reread: The Deathly Hallows, Chapters 7 and 8

Hey everybody, in regards to the comments about appropriating symbols, I feel like I should clarify my stance here a bit:

When it comes to the original svastika in Sanskrit, I agree that there's no reason why India or other Asian cultures should ever remove it. (It's common on Buddhist statues and in temples and much more, and was part of their heritage well before Nazi Germany used it.) But this is primarily an issue of association--in Asia, there's no reason to associate that symbol with Nazism, which should be obvious in context. But if a white person walks around wearing a swastika (even if it is due to an interest in ancient Indian culture), that association changes entirely. And that's what Krum is reacting to at the wedding; if he saw the Deathly Hallows symbol carved on an ancient wizarding statue, much older than Grindelwald, he would probably be a bit irked at seeing it--but not personally offended. Here, he has no way of knowing Xenophilius' intention in wearing the symbol, and that's where the need for sensitivity comes in.

The Golden Trio has Been Cast for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!

@ChristopherLBennett - Yes, colorblind casting is often employed in theatre (the BBC has a rule for it as well). But in this case, the choice is a big deal because of its context outside of the medium--and you can bet everyone involved in the production knows that. This isn't simply a Shakespeare adaptation that has been cast this way and that way for years. This is Harry Potter. This is the first continuation of Harry's story since the 7th book, and its canon. And the first person to perform the role of Hermione in this tale is a black woman, which is something that many fans have been desperate to see for years. With all these components at play, I think it's a mistake to dismiss it down to the medium.

The Harry Potter Reread: The Half-Blood Prince, Chapters 23 and 24

@Legendary and Lisamarie - Qualification on the "methods" comment: When talking about methods in this instance, I'm talking very specifically about how behaviors--even ones that seem unsavory at face value, like verbal manipulation via flattery--can be used to wildly opposite ends. The sentence about methods is meant to be taken in context with the paragraph it's a part of, not a vague statement to be applied anywhere.

@AndrewHB - I have to disagree on Harry feeling guilty here. His upset and guilt occurs because the result of Sectumsempra was not his desired outcome, as proved by his reaction; Harry feels bad because he never meant to do Draco that kind of harm. The fact that he suspects Draco of being a Death Eater is irrelevant at this juncture; this particular fight comes about due to Draco being cornered at a vulnerable moment and lashing out instinctively--it's a fight between them as Malfoy and Potter, not as Death Eater and Chosen One. More to the point, there were plenty of other hexes Harry could have thrown at Draco to stop his attack that wouldn't have wounded him so badly. Harry had probably hoped that Sectumsempra worked more like Levicorpus, something inconvenient and immobilizing, but not producing that level of bodily injury. Trying the hex without knowing what it would do was a reckless, dangerous decision, and Harry understands that after the fact.

The Star Wars: Episode II Novelization Actually Makes You Feel Sorry For Jar Jar Binks

@MikePoteet - They spend a great deal of time going on about why Jango wanted an exact clone, how he's essentially raising Boba to be an even more hardcore version of himself--which is what he believes he would have been if he'd had parental guidance as a child. It makes Boba Fett a far less interesting character and also removes one of the more interesting intimations about Jango that the movie makes; the idea that Jango genuinely wanted to be a father, not train up a super-mini-me.

@Anthony Pero - The book actually does have Palpatine attempt to use her death as a rallying point; he initially thinks that the assassination attempt at the start of the story has worked, and he addresses the Senate in tears over Amidala's death. Then Padme busts in and further cements her anti-military stance, shocking everyone. So it backfires on him at that point.

The Harry Potter Reread: The Half-Blood Prince, Chapters 13 and 14

Everybody, just to make this perfectly clear: when I say that Merope was abandoned, I'm talking about the situation from her own perspective. I don't think that Tom Riddle owed her a thing. I also don't think that Merope is entirely in her right mind, be it from the treatment of her family, or from disorders caused by inbreeding, or some combination of the two. From the little that we hear, she seems to have a tenuous grasp on reality. Dumbledore himself points out that she likely stopped giving Riddle love potions because she had hoped that he had grown to truly love her over the time they spent together. The fact that she even considered that speaks to her mental state.

I AM NOT saying that Tom Riddle had culpability in his own abuse. I am saying that Merope Gaunt believed that he had grown to love her, and then he quickly left. From her perspective, she was abandoned by the man she loved. That is not the reality of the situation, but because she believed it, she was effected by it.

Additionally, as I mentioned in the post, there is an aspect of abandonment by society at work as well--which has nothing to do with Tom. The fact that it was so easy for Burke to take advantage of her, the fact that she had to give birth in an orphanage because she had nowhere else to go, the fact that she had been abandoned by her family emotionally her entire life... these are also factors in her development and part of the narrative that led to her death.

5 Mistakes That Hollywood Blockbusters Should Stop Making, as Proved By Pan

Yeah, guys, I do mean "miners." Or to be more succinct:

Alan Rickman, Galaxy Quest

Some of them are children because it's like this:


The Harry Potter Reread: The Half-Blood Prince, Chapters 5 and 6

Regarding Hermione's "E" in DADA, I always assumed that she panicked herself out of the "O" because she's messed up a DADA exam before, in Lupin's class. So she got a little too worked up recalling that, and botched something. I doubt that Harry's extra credit bit led to the "O," otherwise they would have to offer extra credit to every student to allow them to achieve one. But with Hermione, I don't think the point was supposed to be that she isn't as good at DADA as Harry (since we know she's excellent at it), but more that her obsession over being the best student in the universe burned her because she couldn't divorce herself from the one time she didn't do perfectly on a test. (And I say that as someone who has experienced this exact problem.)

@Mister_DK: I'm not sure I'd agree that Arthur isn't that good of a wizard. I think I'd argue that he's simply not ambitious, which is the primary thing that Slughorn values. Molly is the more ambitious of the two of them by far, as noted by her irritation with Arthur for missing the Muggle artifacts office now that he's doing "more important" work. Molly clearly wishes Arthur were just a bit more of a "go-getter," which he's clearly not. Arthur works hard and well, but he's also happy being stationary.

In regard to the perfume thing, a writer can certainly use an action as setup while still having it pertain to the characters. So I'd still argue that we're seeing Molly preference for her daughter's company here, and point out that she usually doesn't ask her boys to help with the cooking unless she's got an exceptionally large meal to get on the table.

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 33 and 34

I do have thoughts on the allusion as to what the centaurs are doing with Umbridge, which I should probably get into detail on when we encounter her again in the hospital wing. I don't think that the rape suggestion works, but this has a lot to do with how I was taught classics, so we'll see if I can explain my reasoning well enough when we come to it. 

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 27 and 28
@Don S. - Which leads me to a wild theory, linked to CoS, when Fawkes, the Sorting Hat and the sword assist Harry because of his loyalty to Dumbledore. Since most things have their opposites, could there be an opposite of Horcruxes? An object (or room of a building) that functions as the extension of the overflow of a wizard’s soul (or the souls of a group of wizards), instead of a container for a soul fragment? ^^^I love this idea. In regard to the timing of "Snape's Worst Memory" and the Whomping Willow incident - In pretty much every source I checked, general wisdom indicates that Snape's Worst Memory takes place before Sirius sends him into the Willow. I find it super unlikely that anything else could be true, because the idea of James continuing to go after Snape following that incident makes no narrative sense whatsoever. The Willow incident was a turning point for all the Marauders, but James especially. The confusion seems to come from the later indication that the Willow incident happens after the last time Snape talks to Lily. The problem is, everyone assumes that this memory is the last time they speak, and I don't think it's meant to be; Lily says that she'll never help him again, not that she'll never talk to him again. And as the War gets even more serious in their final two years at Hogwarts, it makes perfect sense to me that Lily would want to confront her old friend a final time about the path he was taking. She may be angry at him for calling her a mudblood, but she still wouldn't want to see him become a Death Eater. I assume that she took him aside at some point in sixth year to see if she could reach him, and he rebuffed her again. Then the Willow incident occurs. (Which further goes along with my theory that Snape's Worst Memory is named that way because of the bullying, not because of Lily's part in it--I think the fact that he was unprepared for this incident, incapable of fighting back the way he wanted to, is what makes it so horrific to him. I doubt he was ever caught so off guard before or after this event.)
Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye Works Because it’s Written Like Great Fan Fiction

Hey all,

The text of the article was not meant to intimate that the value of the art/artists is not intrinsic to the success of this comic at all. I could have written an entirely separate article on the artwork alone, but this piece in particular wasn't dedicated to that; it's simply pointing out fanfic tropes within the text. If we want to have a discussion about Aja, Wu, Pulido, and Hollingsworth in the comments (or another piece altogether) that's awesome. For my part, I tend to think of artwork and writing in comics as two separate aspects no matter how well they are married in that work--it's just how my brain breaks it down. It doesn't mean that I think less of the art, or don't believe that the art informs the text and vice versa; that couldn't be further from the truth.

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 23 and 24

@Lisamarie - Your point about Muggle parents losing their magical kids is something that I wonder about too. We don't get very much info on that front, but the indication seems to be yes in most cases. On the other hand, part of that problem seems to be how adaptable the parents are themselves; Hermione's parents are very clearly uncomfortable with the wizarding word, whereas we know that Lily's parents were super excited about having a witch daughter. So maybe it really just varies family to family?

@wiredog - ...I have no idea how that happened. XD

@Andrew - Shucks, thank you so much! 

@sps49 - I didn't mean to imply that Ginny was being overlooked due to being female, but rather that fictional narratives have a tendency to focus on male pain to the exclusion of female pain. Rowling is effectively doing the opposite by bringing Ginny's pain to the forefront and reminding us that it's a mistake to overlook it.

@beastofman - I legit laughed at that comment for a couple minutes (also imagining Alan Rickman doing it).

@Ellynne - I'm still going to disagree (respectfully) with your points on Snape and teaching because they indicate the exact opposite to me. While I know that Umbridge's impressions on teaching are messed up due to her connection with the Ministry, her point that the classwork is too advanced is a real problem if Snape is, in fact, teaching ahead of what the class is prepared for. Harry using Snape's notes in the next book has nothing to do with how Snape teaches--the instructions that Snape left in the textbook are for himself, and not indicative of how he would teach the same material in a class (moreover, we see multiple examples of him setting students up to fail in his class). And Harry receiving the E in his OWL has many other contributing factors aside from Snape's teaching, the key one being his newfound care for the subject once he realizes that he needs to take NEWT-level Potions to become an Auror.

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 17 and 18

@AeronaGreenjoy - In re: Harry feeling so fatigued in Transfiguration... this is something that seems to come up so often in fantasy narratives without being addressed, when it's actually very important; the energy required to use these powers. It's the same in Star Wars, too: when Luke fires the torpedoes that blow up the Death Star, we see him gasp, like pushing a button took all his effort. The point is that it did; he used the Force to direct the torpedoes and it was exhausting. But the narrative of the film never says that. Similarly, it is very rare that Rowling ever talks about the physical and mental fatigue that comes with using magic, but it must be a factor. My assumption is that when you're in a class trying to practice something over and over than you just can't quite get, you're going to arrive at a similar fatigue that you would after studying for hours. The effort requires a lot of energy expenditure.

@crzydroid - Aw, crap. I knew I was forgetting something... ;-)

In regard to Fred and George: it's funny - I'm sure I would have hated them in school as a fellow student (but then, I was far more Hermione-like as a teenager than I am now). I think it's because we get a much closer window into their characters via the books that I'm so supportive. We see in the earlier volumes that the twins are a major component of fostering unity in their family, of spreading affection, even if they do it in an irritating way. That doesn't mean they never do anything questionable, but they are teenagers and they are trickster figures, so I'm willing to cut them quite a bit of slack.

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 13 and 14

In regard to muggle racism appearing in the Potterverse via purebloods: Frankly, there is no reason to assume that wizards would not have many of the same prejudices that Muggles have, regardless of their detachment from Muggle culture. Wizard culture reflects Muggle culture at every turn: belief that beauty makes one superior, that wealth makes one superior, that famous connections make one superior. Just because students of color at Hogwarts to do not regularly hear derogatory epithets hurled their way does not mean that racial-based prejudice doesn't exist in the wizarding world, even amongst purebloods who do not have contact with Muggles. It's not at all surprising to find someone like Pansy Parkinson making use of it. Also, the fact that there are pureblood wizards of color does not preclude the possibility of racial prejudice existing in the slightest. I cannot stress that enough. It occurs in non-magic culture all the time; respect given to wealthy and affluent people of color is often not extended to POC without those advantages. It's classist racism--these things are often interconnected.

Where Angelina is concerned, we're actually not given information regarding her blood status, but for Slytherins to express those attitudes toward anyone who did not hold with their pureblood ideals is hardly surprising.

In regard to Dean's ethnicity: It's true that the narrative section making clear that he is of "African descent" is only in the US version of Philosopher's Stone. It was in the UK version originally, but Bloomsbury edited out everything that they found to be "surplus" in that chapter, which is the reason it doesn't appear there. But that does mean that Rowling always intended the character to be black. Both Blaise and Lee Jordan are specifically described as dark-skinned.

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 11 and 12

On the "progress is good" comment - I did actually mean exactly what twiff was alluding to at #14. The use of the phrase "by definition" was super deliberate. ;-)

@wiredog -I have also often wondered about Luna being on the spectrum, as she reminds me of kids I grew up with who were similarly situated. I suspect that will become more of a talking point later on as we get to know Luna better.

@Aeryl - Agreed on Snape's directions. And then he calls Harry out on it because he's clearly hoping someone is going to trip up there. He's the worst.

@Gabriela - Everything on my computer seems to autocorrect now! It's like every time there's a system update, more autocorrecting features happen. And they make me ANGRY. So yes, if it seems as though there's a multitude of errors, that is most definitely contributing.

@Quietus - Eh, except memory can easily be impaired under serious stresses, so it wouldn't really surprise me if Hermione's memory stalled out in those sorts of situations, particularly being a young as she is in that incident. (Before she's acclimated to the idea of every year being this perilous.)

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: “The Friends of English Magic”

@Knotwise - Derp. I meant to type Game of Thrones and typed Sherlock because my fingers are not connected to my brain, it would seem. Thanks for pointing it out!

The Dursleys Were Mean to Harry Because They’re Terrible, Not Because He Was a Horcrux

@Peter D - Rowling has stated outright in interviews that Harry is not a "true" Horcrux because he was not created the same way as the others. The idea that a true Horcrux and an untrue Horcrux would have the same properties and affects on their surroundings seems a much larger leap in logic when we view how other people in Harry's life react to him. So I wouldn't view both of these theories as "equally specious and speculative" at all.

@Dr. Thanatos - Rowling has insisted that Draco is basically a bad person, though. In fact, she's gone to pretty great lengths to assure people of that, since she was disturbed at how many young women wanted to "rescue" the poor baby. ;-)

@adjbaker - I find it really hard to believe that Vernon ever held baby Harry if he could help it. The Dursleys run a pretty old-fashioned house hold in the first place, so I suspect that Vernon tried to keep away from baby-duty as much as possible, moreso where Harry was concerned. And Dudley certainly didn't hold him, what with them being near to the same age. Plus, if that's the theory, then it would stand to reason that his affect on them would wear off when they were no longer holding him. And it doesn't.

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 9 and 10
@Muswell - On the Molly front, clearly signalling that a Weasley was going to die and then not killing one didn’t feel like a misdirection, as it did in a certain recent Hollywood film; it felt like lazy editing after a last minute change of mind. Whited out text because Ultron spoilers: If you're referring to Whedon, I'd have to disagree. His favorite way of killing characters often uses that exact trick; telegraphing that someone else is going to bite the dust, then switching it to blindside his audience. In the case of Hawkeye, it was so obvious that it would have been incredibly ham-fisted to kill him. Might as well have put a neon flipping sign over the guy's head.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 7 and 8

@Athreeren: Emily growing up? Yeah, that will happen… Honestly, even for a monocle, not worth it.

...yeah, fair enough. ;-)

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 3 and 4
@Aeryl - I always assumed the Lupin was really just asking Harry the question to appease Moody, who didn't register that it wasn't a particularly useful question, so it was more of a fail of Alastor's part. I'd presume that Remus is thinking "pfft, like I wouldn't know if a Death Eater had swapped out Harry." He may be the most cautious of all the Marauders, but that doesn't actually mean much in the long run... @scm of 2814 - I agree that the twins would have been a boone to the war effort, but considering that Molly Weasley's greatest fear is losing members of her family in the war, it's hardly surprising that she was happy to direct them elsewhere. @Jobi-Wan - Your wife writing Percy fanfic and waiting for his redemption is the best thing I've heard all week. Adorable. @DemetriosX - You know, I always figured she couldn't really kill Percy because he wasn't likeable enough. If he had died after redeeming himself it would have been tragic definitely, but the emotional impact wouldn't have been quite as high.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 36 and 37
@Mostlyanthony - Re: Why make the point of Harry noting Hermione's kiss on the cheek if they were never destined to be? Because it's always notable if your friends get a bit more physical with you. And that does tend to happen as you grow up. You get even more comfortable with each other, and more physical as teenagers, and decide that a kiss on the cheek is appropriate. But it's still new to Harry, hence the commentary.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 36 and 37
@Athreeren - In addition to the points Aeryl made, it's important to remember that memories can be tampered with before going into a pensieve. Additionally, it is likely that if the Ministry claims that someone is "delusional" (a term that Fudge levels at Harry pointedly), they are unlikely to trust any evidence from that person, even memories from a pensieve. And the point Fudge is making with the giants would undoubtedly bear out; the wizarding world is terrified of giants since the first war against Voldemort. Even someone like Ron, who is normally fair-minded, is immediately freaked out when he discovers Hagrid's heritage. If that response is the sort that Hagrid gets from a friend, the indication is that the response from the wizarding world is exponentially worse. If Fudge suggested making pals with them, everyone would says he'd lost his mind. The point is not that Fudge is entirely wrong in his concerns, it's that he lacks the courage to do what is right regardless. The other aspect here, which I think is deeply important, is that Rowling is trying to show how hard it is to convince a population that terrible things are occurring right on their doorstep--that is why these parents turn to their kids and tell them not to believe Dumbledore. (It doesn't matter that Albus is such a powerful wizard; there is major precedent for parents getting crazy pissed at schools for teaching their kids anything they didn't approve of first.) People want to believe that they're safe and that their government would not endanger them. Convincing them otherwise is never easy.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 36 and 37
@themightysven - OH MY GAWD ...in my defense I'm battling a cold, and was totally trying to type "warned Harry back in first year." ButI kind of want to leave it because that's AMAZING.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 34 and 35
@DemetroisX - My only issue with that theory is that I feel like it would be standard auror procedure to confiscate dark wizard wands and use priori on them to free murdered souls, then. And we get no indication of that.... @Athreeren - He doesn't actually carry Cedric, as Aeryl pointed out above. Where the leg is concerned, Harry knows this is his only shot at escaping. At that point, massive amounts of adrenaline would kick in, which would dull the pain in his leg. That's pretty much par for the course in human survival. If you really know your life depends on you being able to run fifty feet on an injured leg, your body is going to help you do that. @wiredog - The suggestion with memory charms is that damage is more likely to occur for two reasons 1) the victim has too many charms placed on them--like the poor campgrounds keeper at the Quidditch World Cup 2) the person performing the charm doesn't care and isn't careful. I think it's safe to assume that Hermione was incredibly careful with the minds of her parents, and she's also incredibly skilled. I imagine she did them no damage at all. The consent issue is a whole other problem, of course... My guess on the Portkey issue is that Portkeys are automatically two-way unless they are programmed to work at a certain time (like the ones used to get to the Quidditch World Cup). If they are time triggered, then they are one-use and one way. Obviously, the Triwizard Cup couldn't be a time triggered Portkey since Barty wouldn't know what time Harry would reach the Cup.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 34 and 35
@DemetriosX - That's an interesting thought. My only thought is that in seeing James and Lily via the Resurrection Stone in the final book, my immediate assumption is that they are being sort of... contacted? In the afterlife? But there's nothing to prove that, of course. @FSS - That's right! My bad. ;-) Regarding Dumbledore knowing it is Barty Crouch Jr. under the Moody Polyjuice Potion - Well, let's think it through here. Dumbledore says in these books that he usually just follows through on his hunches, and that he's very good at guessing. He has been in contact with Sirius the whole year, which means that most of the things that Sirius told Harry, he also told Dumbledore. The story about Barty's death at Azkaban would read weirdly to anyone paying attention, even if you couldn't put your finger on it. Dumbledore had probably heard word of everything that happened at the World Cup involving Winky, and knew she certainly didn't cast the Dark Mark. So who did? He knows that Lucius is a coward at heart, that none of the Death Eaters in that crowd would have the stomach to show their true colors anyway - in case they got caught. And there's still the matter of Winky being there. Who would Winky be protecting? It's obviously not Crouch (given crazy background with dark magic and dark magic users), but it is likely someone close to him because of her involvement. Here's my thought: Dumbledore figured that either Mrs. Crouch or Barty had to be alive. One of these people was being protected by Crouch and his house-elf that night. (He might have wondered if Mrs. Crouch's terror over her son's imprisonment hadn't deeply affected her psyche. It would make sense that Crouch would fake her death and hide her away if she suddenly decided to blame him for everything that went wrong in their family, and flirted with using dark magic as a result.) We know that Dumbledore looked at Bagman and Karkaroff in the pensieve as well. But Karkaroff flees that night, and Dumbledore would likely know that. Snape would have told him about the panic Karkaroff was having over the Dark Mark, which would make him a less likely suspect; no one afraid of Voldemort is going to be their guy. Bagman is another possibility perhaps, but once Moody takes Harry, then Bagman is out. It's clear that he's not Moody at that point, therefore it's someone disguised with Polyjuice, therefore his hunch about the Crouches is the one that played out. So summon Winky.
Protecting What You Love: On the Difference Between Criticism, Rage, and Vilification
@Ay-leen the Peacemaker - Absolutely. Though, calling a creator out on issues in their work that seem racist, sexist, etc. to me still generally falls under the criticism banner. For example, I wouldn't count bringing up Joss Whedon's little-girl-big-gun-this-is-how-I-do-feminism trope as a personal attack on him. I'd group that in with critical analysis, even if it does seem to say something about the creator by way of addressing it. (There's definitely a reverse side to this, where fandom will viciously defend certain darlings because they are believed to be above any ill-word. Which is its own brand of incredibly harmful, imo.)
Protecting What You Love: On the Difference Between Criticism, Rage, and Vilification
@1 - I would have thought that the latter half of the sentence you quoted there would have suggested exactly that. Artistic value does not only exist in the past. But it's also important to talk about the ways in which all art is an access point for culture, which is what that paragraph was meant to address.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 30 and 31
In regard to Bagman's trial: I stand by my thinking that this was a failure of their justice system. The assumption that Bagman has absolutely no fault here is incorrect in my mind. Just because he's painted as an idiot does not automatically mean he is beyond thoughtful wrongdoing. Bagman isn't actually an idiot, he's duplicitous. Even if he didn't think he was helping Voldemort (which I'm sure he didn't) in talking to Rookwood, he knew he was doing something wrong. That's the point. And that's why it's wrong that he gets off while people applaud him. Rowling makes a point of showing people praising Bagman for his performance in Quidditch directly after the vote is over. It is meant to be the reason they voted that way; they think well of him for being a Quidditch star. I'm not saying he deserves to be put in Azkaban (and this is a problem with how little we see of their justice system, we don't know what lies between prison and dismissal), but he should be required to at least pay fines, or do some kind of community work. @gadget and Katherine W - Actually, Pensieve memories can be altered, as we'll see via Slughorn. At least, you can prevent them from getting the real, clear memories across if you don't want people to learn certain information. Which means that Pensieves would be useless in court. And Veritaserum has weaknesses, particularly if people know they're being exposed to it. Rowling has stated that it would never be used in court because certain people have the strength to resist it. Snape doesn't give an entirely true disclaimer on the stuff when he brings it up because he's trying to scare Harry. @Aeryl - I agree with you overall on Neville's gran, but for one issue I continue to have with her; that kind moment at the end of the books doesn't work for me. She's not actually being kind by realizing Neville's worth all along, she's being kind because Neville is finally matching up to his father in her estimation (even if he hasn't killed Nagini yet). She is by no means as bad as the Dursleys, of course. But refusing to acknowledge a child as their own unique person is a pretty terrible crime for anyone raising a child. @hg - It is definitely suggested that Crouch oversaw his son's trial to prove he would not have anything to do with dark magic users. In addition, he seems to have been in charge of most of these proceedings, which is sort of ridiculous. @Don S. - The Pensieve doesn't show you things from the perspective of the person whose memory it is because it is technically showing you a clear, unadulterated version of events. The clearest way I can think to put it is, it's not precisely memory as humans understand it.
The Harry Potter Reread, The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 26 and 27
In regard to the argument about whether Snape was doing this all intentionally... I maintain, that entire argument falls apart when you consider that if Snape had been good to the kid, if Harry had trusted him, he could have dumped him right in Voldemort's lap. It was in Voldemort's best interest for Snape to be kind to Harry. (And even if that seemed off to other people because of his rivalry with James, it would makes sense in turn because of how he felt about Lily.) So I refuse to believe that this nastiness is all a tactic to make him seem like better Voldemort supporter. All Snape had to do was make the case that befriending the boy was in Voldy's best interests. He's a megalomaniac, but he's not a total moron. He'd have seen the merit in those tactics, and the other Death Eaters would have looked like fools. Moreover, as it's been pointed out before, Snape constantly goes overboard. He's not acting like a Voldemort supporter, he's acting like an angry little boy with an axe to grind. Even if he's using it partly as a cover--his blind hatred of James prevents Voldemort from asking Snape to stick closer to Harry--it's all coming from a real place. Both Dumbledore and Voldemort have Snape's number to an extent; there is a limit to his usefulness because he can't see past his history. Otherwise both of them would have tried to manuveur him into even more important roles.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 24 and 25
For Binns - I was always kind of under the impression that you couldn't get rid of him? I know we may think of pushing the class to a different room and hiring someone else, but for all we know, Binns would simply show up to teach there...
The Mummy was the Indiana Jones Successor that We Deserved
A note on The Mummy Returns and the reasons why it's not my favorite, despite still being generally fun: The problem with this movie is straight up a writing problem. It was admitted by the production team that when the first Mummy was created, they had too many ideas for one script. So they split off half of their ideas and shoved them into the second movie. Problematically, this results in a film that doesn't feel like a sequel--it feels like another first film. Which is why we're burdened with all this weird info that should not suddenly get revealed on a second run; Evie is a reincarnated Egyptian princess! (Really. Really.) Rick is a warrior for god sent to protect her! We only didn't see that tattoo in the last movie because his armband covered it! All the married stuff is super cute, but dampened by Evie's sudden transformation into action herione. I have no problem with her learning stuff from Rick that ocassionally comes in handy, but morphing her into a stock Strong Female Character--she's suddenly the best fighter and the ultimate badass!--took away so much of her adorable uniqueness. Also, dismantling the love story between Imhotep and Ancksunamun (making it clear that she never really loved him all that much) kind of destroys the stakes of the previous film. It's hard to root for Imhotep--as much as you ever root for a villain--in the first movie when you know the poor bastard's relationship is a sham. It's also lowers the complexity of Ancksunamun's character; she becomes a nasty opportunist, instead of a woman who actively chose to defy a powerful pharaoh because he claimed ownership over her body. If the point was that she only got into bed with Imhotep because she knew he could ressurect her and free her from subservience to men altogether, that would be fine... but she's not painted that way. She's just cold and cruel. I don't dislike the movie altogether; I still find it fun to watch sometimes, and there are parts that I love. But it will never be "canon" in my brain. There are too many things that bug me about it.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 21 and 22
@Aeryl - Kreacher is an interesting case because I've always been curious about what constitutes "good treatment" from Sirius' monster of a mother. I'd says this is a situation with no neat answers because we have so little information on house-elf history and how they are meant to serve their families. I'd probably compare them more to servants than chattel slaves? They are denied too many rights (they aren't allowed wands, aren't given the opportunity/ability to find gainful employment that doesn't involve being tied to a family) for their place in wizarding society to seem benevolent to me, regardless of the personal relationships with individual families. The reason I assume that they were probably coerced into that system in the first place, is that they are shown as part of a collective of magical sentient beings that the wizarding world has woked hard to keep control over. Their place is more akin to serfs in the feudal system, I would say.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 21 and 22
@Aeryl - I agree that not following through on the implications of linking the lot of house-elves to slavery is a problem, if that's what intended here. But I have a hard time viewing them as analogous to pets either, for the simple reason that we're given no indication that the house-elves created this space for themselves--and that's a similarly problematic omission. That's something that many domesticated animals did; for instance, house cats became pets because there was more food for them in cities, so felines literally started moving in and people eventually let them stay in their homes. Also, good pet owners often don't think of their pets as merely things that they own--they think of them as extensions of their family. Perhaps it's because we don't see many house-elves who have good relations with the families who own them, but if there's no reciprocation to that relationship, nothing done to make sure the elves are constantly happy with their family and the work they do, then the pet analogy works even less for me. I do agree that the most important goal of any sort of house-elf activism should not be freedom, since there's so much more that needs fixing immediately that would help them more. But if the idea of ownership has been imposed on the elves by wizards, then I have trouble viewing it as a-okay, regardless of how long the system has been in place. If you're brought up from birth in society that teaches you that ownship is important and normal, you are bound to believe it and never question it. The problem comes from them never being allowed any other options, and believing that not being "owned" is a horrible fate. Personally, I would hope that somewhere down the line, the elves are given the ability to pick what makes them happiest. And that they have the ability to make that choice at any point in their lives.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 19 and 20
On Krum and his crush on Hermione - We'll probably be able to get more into this later, but I definitely get the impression Viktor is constantly underestimated due to his star Quidditch status. Unlike Bagman--who loves being known for it and riding on it--Krum actually wants people to think of him as a human being. He's got layers, to paraphrase a green ogre. @Mostlyanthony - No one could ever doubt the importance of Hermione and her abilities. But to claim that there is no need--particularly a very important psychological need--for both Harry and Hermione to have a friend like Ron is simply, patently untrue. Knowing someone who has the ability to laugh things off, to distract you, to help you enjoy life when it looks particularly bleak... those are all things that both Harry and Hermione need desperately on a daily basis. And if you don't think that helps to keep the trio alive just as readily as Hermione smarts do, then I direct you to how badly things fall apart when Ron leaves in DH. To any point in time when he's gone or distant. Ron is deeply needed by his friends. The sad part is that he just never seems to realize how much.
This is Why Obi-Wan Lied to Luke Skywalker About His Father
@NeuralNet - In the novelization of Episode III (which I totally recommend! it makes the movie a lot better/fills in holes and gaps), when Vader "wakes up" for the first time he basically finds that the damage done to his physical form has severely impeded his ability to access the Force--and it's partially suggested that he's already taxing himself heavily just by using to Force to keep himself alive. Those machines can only do so much, even though they make him look super boss. As to the "Obi-Wan being surprised about Leia" commentary, this is my take: Obi-Wan didn't consider Leia a viable option because Bail Organa had already trained her as a badass senator. Luke had no prospects, making him a pretty easy mark to recruit, but getting Leia to abandon her fancy leadership position within the Alliance? Why would she want to leave? It's not as though Obi-Wan doesn't remember her--he talks to Luke about her in ROTJ. But Leia had far fewer questions about her family and destiny than Luke did because she was so well provided for and in a position of power. Getting her to forgo that in favor of training to be a Jedi was never going to be simple.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 15 and 16
@birgit - The implication Rowling has made elsewhere is that owls are basically magical creatures with preturnatural senses in that regard. In fact, the only way to prevent an owl from fiding you is to shield yourself with various charms and spells, which plenty of wizards and witches do if they don't wish to be contacted.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 15 and 16
@Quietus - In addition to what Aeryl and Sophist have said, Rowling has also made the point that Occlumency is more about being able to separate yourself from your emotions. This is ostensibly why Draco is better at it than Harry; he finds it easier to compartmentalize his life. Whereas the Imperius Curse has nothing to do with separating from your emotional self. @JReynolds - I think this again comes down to wizards simply wanting magic to do everything for them. They'd prefer not to have tests and nominees or votes for the champions. They'd rather give it to a mystical magic object.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 13 and 14
Re: the skrewts - I dunno, this makes it even funnier to me when considering Dumbledore's sign-off, then. "You wanna let the students raise those creepy, dengerous things I asked you to breed for the tournament? Yeah, that's cool. I mean, don't tell anyone involved in the tournament. But cool." Re: using the Unforgivables later in the books - This does make you super curious as to how the trials were carried out following Voldemort's downfall. Obviously, Azkaban needs a big overhaul before they can do anything. And everyone on the good guy side is getting pardons regardless. The Ministry probably barely questions them at all, unless it's to testify. It's clear enough that Hermione has her work cut out for her in reforming the legal system, once she gets in there.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 13 and 14
Re: Hermione and the curses - I should have specified there; I meant that Harry and Neville were the only ones who were horrified by the curses themselves. Hermione is absolutely concerned on Neville's behalf, but less so about the display.
Tangled, Brave, and Frozen All Made the Same Critical Mistake
@Peter David - You're absolutely right... and none of those women speak or have any influence on the plot whatsoever. There is a huge difference between being a periphery character and being "character drapery." @imbubbasmom - I think it's a matter of perspective where Brave is concerned; Merida's mother doesn't come off well either when you look the other way. It's fine for a parent to want their child to be responsible and begin growing up, but Queen Elinor wants that while completely disrespecting all of Merida's personal interests. And she forces a very specific brand of femininity on her daughter (the constricting clothes, the ladylike manners, the mild and inactive hobbies) which is not true to Merida's person. None of that is good parenting. So while Merida is a brat about certain things, the queen is refusing to let her daughter be a individual. The point is that they are both wrong, and both come to realize that and compromise.
Tangled, Brave, and Frozen All Made the Same Critical Mistake
To address a few common points being made: "Movies are doing so much better, though--so we should just be happy about that!" We can do that and still offer critique on where these films fall down. The only way entertainment will continue to do better on representation is by continuing to bring these problems to attention. We can like how these movies are improving and still acknowledge their problems. "But it wouldn't actually be realistic for these things to happen in these eras/types of kingdoms/relative locations." ...These are fictional universes. They are full of rock trolls and magic flowers and people turned into bears. They have no obligation to be in any way similar to history, even if they are taking notes from historical backdrops. If your suspension of debelief extends to witches with magical powers and magical creatures, but not to women serving in armies and carousing in taverns, that's a problem. "But Disney is now refusing to create new, good male characters and that's bad!" You've got all of history to go back and revisit for excellent male fictional characters. More importantly, that's not really true. I would argue that Flynn Rider and Maleficent's Diaval are great male characters and role models. Kristoff is a great guy. Hans isn't a nice guy, but he's pretty darned nuanced as a character, more than most Disney villains.
Tangled, Brave, and Frozen All Made the Same Critical Mistake
@a guy - This is a similar situation to Olaf, though; while a snowman doesn't really have a gender per se, Olaf is voiced by a man and referred to as "him." Same thing with Groot. I know that in the comics they make more of a point on Groot's genderlessness, but the film really didn't make any effort at all in that regard.
Tangled, Brave, and Frozen All Made the Same Critical Mistake
@Edward Barron - Re: "affirmative action hiring."--Actually, that is a practice known as "Genderblind casting," and it's pretty great! You can get some amazing layers out of stories that you never knew were there before when you genderblind cast.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 9 and 10
@All - Sorry guys, in reference to the link to Hillsborough. The link I had intended to put in there was one that I came to from that wiki page, giving the stats of stadium incidents and their causes in the UK. The Hillsborough disaster was, of course, not due to rioting fans. This is the link intended.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 9 and 10
@Sophist - Eh, Hermione's suggestion was that they should all go to sleep at that point, so I'm not sure that her way was going to provide any more reflection than playing Quidditch....
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 9 and 10
@themightysven - That makes sense to me for the Ministry's part, but it begs a lot of questions about how the government interacts with the bank, which we're never given much information on. (Since goblins really don't seem intent on giving wizards lots of leeway within their system.) It's interesting to speculate, though!
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 7 and 8
@Xomic - I'm uncertain as to why you feel Hermione's activism for house-elves in incorrect. What's happening there is out-and-out slavery, regardless of how "happy" some house-elves might believe they are in their situations. It is absolutely correct for Hermione to call attention to their conditions and make noise about it. In fact, it is one of the series' primary themes that Rowling draws attention to over and over -- the way wizardkind treats all magical non-humans as second class citizens or far less. The house-elves are being used as an example in that regard; they do not exist to serve humans "in nature." They have been taught to do so by centuries upon centuries of conditioning. Hermione may not know how to be the most effective activist, but she's definitely a rebel with a cause.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 7 and 8
@Quietus - I agree with you: Fleur is executed pretty poorly as a character. But I think failing to recognize the veela as part of that exact issue is a mistake. There was no reason Rowling needed to include this trope--and if she was, she could have produced a new spin on it (which is part of why I argue that women should be affected by them, that there should be male veela) to make a different commentary. At best, inserting this stereotype into the work is lazy writing, at worse, it does damage and actively undermines Fleur as a character.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 7 and 8
@edgewalker - I think calling these statements "insane" is a pretty big overstatement. The issues with veela have been addressed by fans before, and the references made to what sort of characters they mimic in older ficiton are just that--referenced outside material that Rowling used for inspiration. As to "reading too deeply"... that is the point of a reread? We're here to delve into underlying themes and issues within the work. So I'm definitely not going to stop doing that. Just FYI. Additionally, Rowling probably didn't intend for these characters to come off this way. That's kind of exactly the point. Just because an author does not intend their work to reinforce problematic fiction tropes doesn't mean that their work can't. @Xomic - Your comment works from the assumption that it seems unlikely that Rowling is writing with feminist ideas in mind because her work does not always support them. What this ignores is that it is possible to be a feminist and write fiction that addresses feminism and still make mistakes in your depiction of women as an author. Rowling does do that, in more than one place. It does not mean that she doesn't care about feminist issues, and it doesn't mean that she's avoiding them in her work--it just means that she didn't always do a perfect job of it. Also, Hermione's work on SPEW (and I'm not sure that I'd call her "frenzied"--I'd call her young and inexperienced at the work) does not effect whether or not the character is feminist. She's a kid taking her first steps as an activist. She's learning. That's a human journey, not an inherently female one.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 7 and 8
@Random22 and Muswell - I am so glad that these units of measurement exist and make sense. I feel marginally less crazy. ;-)
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 7 and 8
@StrongDreams - ^^^Exactly what Aeryl is saying at #19. We're on the same page. Men are not slobbering beasts who cannot control themselves, but they are being portrayed that way due to a specific kind of magic that radiates from a person. By this token, it's not really the choice of the veela to attract men in this manner--they do it automatically by virtue of being the way they are. Which is exactly the sort of dialogue that usually revolves around women who are disbelieved when they are assaulted. To get really, really dark here: if a veela were raped by a wizard, would other wizards insist that was her own fault? For having that magical pull, for simply being what she is? The Potterverse operates largely on metaphors, magical equivalents to what we see in the real world (which a great deal of modern fantasy and sci-fi tends to do, of course). Hence my comparison of the love potion to a roofie. In this case, I simply don't understand why this world requires an equivalent to seducing fae and nymphs. It only contributes to that culture of "wicked women who drive men mad," which further contributes to the dialogue of "men can't help themselves." Putting it in a book aimed at kids reinforces that idea to young boys. It just doesn't sit right with me. @Quietus - Considering how socially conscious these books are? I'm pretty sure that Rowling is incredibly cognizant of gender roles in her fiction. I just think she made a flub in this particular instance.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 7 and 8
@StrongDreams - I definitely get the impression that teenage boys here are expected to be more affected more by the veela due to hormones(?), but it's definitely not just the boys; the referee stops doing his job to flex in front of them. The love potion is completely different in terms of magic having a hold on someone--that is basically a magical roofie. It's also centered around creating romantic feelings more than sexual ones. Whereas the suggestion that veela are somehow forcing men to think of them more sexually via magic can easily be read in a weird rape-apologist tone i.e. "It's not men's faults for being so entranced! Those women were just too magically beautiful for the boys to control themselves!" The fact that JKR is a woman (and largely a feminist based on Hermione as a character) does not mean that she's incapable of making missteps in that regard.
You Cannot Tell if Star Wars: Episode VII is Good or Bad From 90 Seconds of Footage
@wiredog - Eh, In terms of fight choreography, it definitely lends itself more to a broadsword discipline in the original trilogy. We get martial arts influence in the prequels, but that's just blended into everything else. Katanas tend to have a slight curve to the blade as well, which makes them different. ...also, katanas have crossguards too. @hihosilver28 - You know, this is definitely one of the major arguments against, and I almost went with it too--but then I was thinking about it, and lightsabers practically never "slide" like that. It might have something to do with the energy aspect of the saber? They sort of bounce off each other or lock together rather than sliding. Which would make the lightsaber crossguard more a safety measure to prevent people from getting to your shoulders/arms without getting into an awkward position.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 1 and 2
Yeah, I'd thought it was Bertha Jorkins that made Nagini into a horcrux... In regard to milking the snake - I know nothing about snakes, clearly. ;-) But I maintain that it's still suuuuuper creepy that that's what he's living off of.
Is Loki Canonically Genderfluid Now?
True, Loki does all sorts of things in the original mythology, but the comics version of him has been around for decades without Marvel ever going there. So... it's still a big deal.
Let’s adjust those Intimacy Settings. Doctor Who: “Dark Water”
A couple people have made the comment that "the Rani is essentially a female Master," and while I totally support the idea of having the Rani back on the show (please please please please), that particular insistence makes me super sad. The Rani is her own character. She is cold and logical and only interested in the pursuit of science. Her megolomania is relegated to a very specific place, and she NEVER obssessed over the Doctor the way the Master does. So yes, I'd like her back, sooner rather than later. But the idea that she and the Master are interchangeable could not be further from the truth.
The Harry Potter Reread: The Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapters 19 and 20
@17, 18, 19 - I stand by the generation parallels because a parallel doesn't mean an exact correlation. In fact, it works in the oppsite manner, to show how Harry's generation was just different enough to create the better outcome (Hermione having a backbone, Ron being less vindictive than Sirius by virtue of having a loving family, Harry being more compassionate than James, as was mentioned above). This is exactly where the Neville/Peter parallel works out; Neville never goes down the path Peter does because he doesn't attach himself to the trio. He doesn't rely on their protection or their friendship to learn his own self-worth. Colin Creevey may have been in consideration for this role, but I doubt it. He really does seem a plot device in Book 2 to prevent Harry from going down the Gilderoy Lockhart Road of Fame. @MGP - That's a very interesting point - my only thought there is that to Hagrid, he probably is thinking of Sirius retroactively as a Slytherin because he thought he betrayed the Potters and Sirius's whole family came through that house. Which is still not cool, but probably not simple forgetfulness or a lie from Hagrid's own perspective. (Even if it is untrue.)

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