Before I start, I just want to clarify that I rather like the Harry Potter stories (although I do find some of the later ones somewhat bloated and in need of editing). I don’t care so much for the films, but I’ve always been more of a book person so that’s not surprising. So in case any Harry Potter fans want to take offense at this, I want to say that I’m totally with you guys. This is just meant to be a bit of fun.
The other thing I can say about myself is I have a background in academia (I know – scary but true). However, I don’t have the academic’s most basic calling card – the PhD. At various times, I have considered studying for one, but lots of reasons (mostly common sense) have prevented me. But in those moments of madness when I have considered it, one of the difficulties I have had is finding a suitable topic. Which takes us back to Harry Potter.
One of my PhD ideas was based on Harry Potter. It revolved around the fundamental premise that the only way the plots can work in these stories is if all the characters are stupid. I’ll try to summarise it as follows:
- the kids are stupid, because they think they know who the villain us (usually Snape) but they always turn out to be wrong (how else can Rowling do her patented twist at the end).
- the villains are stupid – they’re meant to be the most powerful evil wizards in the world, but they always end up getting foiled by a bunch of kids.
- the good adult wizards are also stupid – they never have the slightest idea what the evil wizards are up to, leaving Harry and his friends to solve (or mis-solve) the mystery while they stand around being wise and ineffectual (bit like that Jedi council in the Star Wars prequels – but that’s a whole other universe of stupidity).
So there you have the basic premise. I even had a title for it – Putting the dumb into Dumbledore: the role of stupidity in the Harry Potter novels. I was pleased that I was able to include a colon, as a colon is a necessity when it comes to PhD titles (another PhD idea I had was the role of the colon in PhD titles).
And now, I suppose it’s time to close my windows, lock my doors, and bunker down for the inevitable barrage from the Harry Potter world. Bring it on. I’m fully prepared to go first.
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