Chapter Four: Flourish and Blotts
Better Title: Hermione's Mom and Dad's Big Scene
Harry's parents play a pivotal roll in the overall mythology of the series. Ron's parents acts as Harry's family, and their involvement in the story escalates with each book. But Hermione's parents? They are Muggle dentists who appear briefly in this chapter, and then are only spoken about in passing for the rest of the series. (Waiting for a Potter fan to scream at me, "Nuh-uh, ugly Dan! They appear on page 78, paragraph 3, line 5 of the…blah, blah, blah.")
Because we rarely see the Grangers, they are always intriguing. What must they think of all the magic? They seem very passive about it. Too passive, if you ask me. They act as if someone told them, "Your daughter is a very talented bassoonist, and she must attend a secret bassoon school to hone her craft."
If/when my child becomes a wizard, I won't politely follow them around a magic shopping district. I will excitingly give them a long list of nonsense words to read that end in "us," just to see what happens. Such as:
Dan Get Jetpack-us!
Booshy Voom Kazoom Phlut Putt-us!
Miley Cyrus! (Which no doubt brings forth a demon with high shoulders.)
And what happens if a wizard actually says, "Hocus pocus"? Or is it "Hoc-we poc-we"? Heh…grammar.
More importantly, I wonder why Voldemort doesn't grab the Grangers and use them as hostages. Surely by book 5, one of his spies must have told him about the frizzy-haired girl Harry always hangs around with. (Waiting for a Potter fan to scream at me, "Nuh-uh, crappy Dan! Hermione uses a love spell to protect her parents because love is a magic and Voldemort can't attack because he knows not of love! Love is like a billion sunshines…only better! And you don't know that because no one loves you! I love my cat and she shall never die! NEVER!")
In this chapter, Shark Force Omega buys their school supplies in Diagon Alley. But first, Harry has a spot of trouble using Floo powder. The magical dust turns any fireplace into a doorway that you can use to warp around the world. If you don't say your destination correctly, you will end up in the wrong fireplace, which is what happens to Harry.
This is problematic for anyone trying to Floo his way to a pie shop, because you run the risk of arriving at the pi shop. Heh…homonyms. What about people and stores with the same name? If I step into the fireplace and said, "Lady Gaga's house," how would the powder know if I wanted to visit the pop star or my grandma's kitten?
And why can't I use it? I never understood this. The powder is like a door or motorcycle. The wizards don't say a spell to activate it. So why couldn't any Muggle use it too? It's like finding a Pegasus and saying, "I'm not allowed to ride it because I'm Muggle. I have to ride a stupid horse and have a basic understanding of physics, math, biology, chemistry, English, art, and music instead." Wizards are racist and greedy.
(Waiting for a Potter fan to scream, "Nuh-uh, feces Dan! Floo powder only works if you have wizard blood because the powder uses love magic to detect if you have the right kind of blood. The powder is, like, super smart because it's filled with love. If you don't have the right blood than you will die in a fire if you try to use Floo powder. You should try it, awful Dan. I hope you die in a fire!")
And does Floo powder allow any wizard to pop into any fireplace? Isn't that an invasion of privacy? Their must be a few wizard perverts. Why wouldn't their be? Wizards have urges too. The fireplaces must be filled with perverts trying to catch a glimpse of flesh. Not so charming now, is it?
(Waiting for a Potter fan to scream at me, "Nuh-uh, hideous Dan! You can block the fireplace with a love charm because love is a power that has no equal! I love my teeth and that's why I have no cavities! And there are no wizard perverts because wizards are good and I like them! You are dumb and I hope you die from paper cuts.")
Whoa! Take it easy!
Harry winds up in the wrong shop and overhears Draco Malfoy and his dad Lucius talking to the shopkeeper. I understand why Draco is named Draco…it sounds like a vampiric dragon or something evil. But Lucius sounds like "luscious" and that makes me think of sexy ladies or apples. Hardly evil. Had he been a Sith Lord in Star Wars, his name would have been Darth Delightful.
Lucius needs to quickly sell off some illegal items he owns because the Ministry of Magic is searching homes for Dark Arts artifacts. This is important later in the story, and in book six. Until then, forget this paragraph ever happened.
Hagrid finds Harry wandering around the bad section of the shopping district and quickly ushers him to the happy area where the Weasleys and the Grangers all meet. While buying books, Lucius and Malfoy show up again, and after Lucius makes condescending remarks about the Weasleys, Mr. Weasley attacks. They fight, Hagrid breaks it up, and Lucius hands back the book he took from Ginny. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!)
The chapter ends with Harry meeting the famous Gilderoy Lockhart, who is signing books at the store. Gilderoy announces he will be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts! I don't know why I screamed that last sentence. Sorry.
MR. GRANGER: Over the summer, Hermione's Aunt Debbie died from rabies.
MR. WEASLEY: So sorry to hear that.
MR. GRANGER: Hermione said she could cure it by saying, "No more-us Rabie-us!" But she didn't want to get in trouble. So she watched her aunt die right before her eyes.
MR. WEALSEY: We're not allowed to help Muggles or interfere with their lives.
MR. GRANGER: Well, that's one less life you have to worry about interfering with, I suppose.
MR. WEASLEY: Yep. By the way, aren't can openers wacky creations! I collect them!!!
MR. GRANGER: How do you sleep at night?
MR. WEASLEY: On a wacky woopty bed that tells me bedtime stories!
MR. GRANGER: [sigh]
MR. WEASLEY: Doorbells are my favorite!
Chapter Five: The Whomping Willow
Better Title: Did they forget about Floo powder?
Why would a school own a dangerous, carnivorous tree capable of maiming any unlucky child foolish enough to get close to it? My school wasn't decorated with a bucket of acid in the parking lot. There were no bee-filled water fountains or razor-sharp toilets. Schools today are so safe that instead of scissors, students are given dull spoons, and everyone must wear goggles when reading very sharp verbs. So why is Hogwarts littered with dangerous, deadly items?
(Waiting for a Potter fan to scream, "Because it teaches the value of friendship, pathetic Dan!")
Most of the chapter deals with Harry and Ron driving the flying car to Hogwarts after they miss their train. It's fun, but why didn't they use Floo powder? (Waiting for a Potter fan to scream at me, "Duh, assy Dan! Hogwarts is protected by invisible magic and spells so Floo powder wouldn't work! And you can't break the spells because they are very good spells. And love is a magic spell that makes good things happen! And Muggles can't fly on broomsticks because broomsticks are powered by love and you need magic love blood to use them! Your body looks like a snake ate a sack of marbles!")
When they arrive at the campus, they crash into the Whomping Willow, the tree that smashes and thrashes about. Harry and Ron narrowly escape but are quickly punished for breaking billions of magic laws when Snape finds them. Even Dumbledore is pissed, and that guy awards points if you set a teacher on fire.
Harry and Ron miss the welcoming feast but are treated like heroes in their own dorm for stealing the flying car. Oh, and this is Ginny's first year at Hogwarts and she has been sorted into Gryffindor…duh.
The school board votes on how to best decorate the campus.
COUNCIL MEMBER 1: Along with the Whomping Willow, I suggest a moat made of diseased blood and broken glass be placed around the school, and we can let the children ride around the moat on inner tubes!
COUNCIL MEMBER 2: What about starting a fire in the library for the children to play with?
COUNCIL MEMBER 3: And I think the entrance to the school needs a new statue—a statue that randomly makes people pregnant.
COUNCIL MEMBER 2: Agreed. Hooper Huckleturd just came back from his arctic expedition and he's brought with him a magical stone tablet that will melt the bones of any who gaze upon it. We should place the tablet in the dinning hall.
COUNCIL MEMBER 4: Good idea. We should also invite Pervert Phil to aimlessly wander around the campus in his van.
QUIL: Actually, it's Quil. And it's not a van. It's an ice cream truck.
Chapter Six: Gilderoy Lockhart
Better Title: Potter's Number One Fan
Harry's first day of classes doesn’t go well. Although, since his parents can't be re-killed and he's no longer living in a closet, I would assume every day henceforth would be a good day for Harry. Glass is half full, Harry Potter.
During Herbology, the students replant the Mandrake seedlings, which look like babies with leafy hair. The kids must wear earmuffs when dealing with the plants because the plants make a paralyzing scream. It's good to know how to replant a Mandrake. That will be much more useful than learning about democracy, knowing how to divide a restaurant bill or pay your taxes, or understanding human reproduction and safe sex. Good on ya, Hogwarts!
Throughout the chapter, the vain and cocky Gilderoy Lockhart keeps cornering Harry and trying to explain what fame is all about. These sections are very funny. Gilderoy is such a goofy and fun character. Of all the Dark Arts professors, he's the most enjoyable. (I'd pick Mad-Eye Moody, but that isn't REALLY Mad-Eye Moody, a fact which makes me want to vomit with frustration.)
We also meet Colin Creevey, a nice kid who has a creepy fascination with Harry Potter. Colin always reminds me of Chris Farley doing The Chris Farley Show.
Lockhart's first class doesn't go as planned. He asks the students to take a hilarious 54-question test that includes questions such as, "When is Gilderoy Lockhart's birthday, and what would an ideal gift be?" He then tries to show them how to battle the seemingly benevolent Cornish pixies, but the pixies fly about madly once out of the cage, and Lockhart can't contain them. He leaves the room, letting Shark Force Omega deal with the problem.
Harry and Colin get lost in the castle.
HARRY: Uh-oh. Here comes Snape. He'll deduct points from us for being out of our room.
COLIN: Oh no!
HARRY: Um…why are you holding my hand?
COLIN: Oh…heh…I thought it was my own hand…
HARRY: Look over there! [Harry points] There are two suits of armor that are just our size.
HARRY: Snape is right around the corner! Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
COLIN: You and I both want to know what your scar tastes like?
HARRY: Ugh…I'm never talking to you again.
COLIN: I named my skeleton Harry Potter, so now when I hug myself, I'm also hugging Harry Pot—Hey! Where are you going?
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