Chapter Thirteen: Mad-Eye Moody
Better Title: Not Really Mad-Eye Moody
This is difficult. I'm not sure what to do here. On one hand, Mad-Eye Moody is a fantastic character with a deep, mysterious past. He is everything I love about the Harry Potter books. On the other hand, this isn't Mad-Eye Moody.
We're not supposed to know that yet, and we won't find out the truth about Mad-Eye until the last few chapters. And so here we are. Should I proceed with blissful naiveté, acting as if I don't know the truth? Should I begin sending Mad-Eye friendship poems and cheese baskets, while declaring him to be the next Han Solo?
Or should I start calling out J.K. Rowling now for writing an ending worthy of Twilight?
Or, third option, should I just eat candy corn and stop thinking so much?
Candy corn it is.
Much of the chapter deals with Harry's first day of classes. For Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures class, the students must feed the infamous Blast-Ended Skrewts. Once again, I have been mispronouncing a Harry Potter term and calling these creatures Blast-Ended Skwerts, which makes more sense to me. Oh well, nobody's prefect.
I love Hagrid as a teacher. Educators around the country can learn from his teaching method. Here's a guy who admits that he hasn't the foggiest idea what to do with a Blast-Ended Skrewt, but he still thinks it's fun to study them. Most teachers you encounter act as if they know everything and are devoid of all curiosity. That's a shame.
You know what else is a shame? I ate too much candy corn and now everything I eat for the rest of the day will taste like candy corn. The good news is that I only eat the yellow part of the candy corn, because that's were the vitamins are.
After class, there's a bit of scuffle between Malfoy and Ron. The fight ends when Mad-Eye zaps Malfoy, turning him into a ferret. Don't you just love (fake) Mad-Eye!?
Emperor Palpatine, Sauron, and Baby Voldemort are shopping at Hot Topic.
SAURON: This doesn't make sense.
VOLDEMORT: I know! $28 for a Cookie Monster shirt? No thanks!
SAURON: No, you idiot! Your plan!
VOLDEMORT: What about it?
EMPEROR: You send in one of your soldiers, and ask him to perfectly impersonate a well-known, legendary wizard.
SAURON: And he does this?
VOLDEMORT: Without fail.
SAURON: He does this for a whole year?!
EMPEROR: And this interloper, he's in the school right now, with the kid?
EMPEROR: Teaching him things and standing right next to him?
VOLDEMORT: I don't see your point.
SAURON: Why can't this disguised baddie just hit the kid over the head with a hammer? End of story!
VOLDEMORT: Oh, no. That's stupid. Stop being stupid. I need the kid alive. I need him brought to me. The only way this will work is if my soldier stays at the school all year, helping Harry out of jams and whatnot, and then in the last possible moment, Harry touches a special Portkey cup and is whisked away to my house.
SAURON: Why doesn't the villain make the special Porky cup right now? What's he waiting for?
VOLDEMORT: Harry needs to touch it.
EMPEROR: Throw the thing at Harry's dumb face!
VOLDEMORT: Hmm…no. I think it's best to have a complicated, poorly designed plan. Makes it more fun. Can I borrow some money? I want to buy a wallet chain and a white belt. And a Nirvana shirt.
EMPEROR: You don't even like Nirvana.
VOLDEMORT: Do too! I'm totally into Nirvana!
EMPEROR: You only like them because we like them. Can you even name one song?
VOLDEMORT: Um…I don't know the names. I only know the songs and how they go.
SAURON: Whatever. Let's throw wet paper towels against the bathroom wall.
Chapter Fourteen: The Unforgivable Curses
Better Title: Mad-Eye Rude-y
Fake Mad-Eye begins to teach the kids the three Unforgivable Curses. I don't know why. It makes me angry to think about this. The problem is that the rest of the book is so well constructed and the story is well told, but the conclusion makes everything completely pointless.
There is not enough candy corn in the world to ease the pain.
The three curses are, of course: The Imperius Curse, the Cruciatus Curse, and the Killing Curse. The Imperius Curse turns you into a puppet. The Cruciatus Curse causes severe pain in the victim, so horrible that it makes one go insane. And the Killing Curse fills your belly with sponge cake and then pours water into it. Or so I assume.
Perfuming the curses is illegal, but Mad-Eye needs to teach the kids how to defend themselves against the Dark magic that they will surely face. Dumbledore agrees. It's strange that Dumbledore doesn't realize that Mad-Eye isn't really Mad-Eye. Then again, Dumbledore may know the truth, but is playing along because seeing Harry Potter in trouble makes Dumbledore jolly.
Now, gentle readers, tell me why fake Mad-Eye doesn't flat-out lie to the kids and teach them bogus information? Teaching the students of Hogwarts how to combat the curses is like the Wicked Witch telling Dorothy, "I'm allergic to water."
Fake Mad-Eye needs to pass himself off as a real teacher, but only for the purposes of a foolishly complicated plan. There are ten thousand ways to accomplish Voldemort's goal, and teaching the children how to fight Dark Magic ain't one of them.
I don't get it. This section, and most of the Mad-Eye events, are confusing and incongruous with the outcome of the story. I'm ranting. Sorry. I just want a better ending to this book and I want Mad-Eye to be real! It's not fair!
Mad-Eye demonstrates the curses on some unfortunate spiders. The saddest part of this chapter comes when Neville Longbottom witnesses the Cruciatus Curse, the same curse that destroyed his parents' sanity. Poor, poor Neville. Mad-Eye senses he may have gone too far, and later tries to cheer up Neville by commending his Herbology skills and giving him a book about water plants.
Those who read the book know that this is part of Fake Mad-Eye's evil plot. The plant book he gave Neville will later help Harry win the corrupt Triwizard Tournament. And yet what if the distressed Neville ran away? What if Neville lost the book, like he loses so many others? What if Neville slips and falls and dies on the steps before the tournament? The chances that Fake Mad-Eye's plan will work are slim. I love Neville. We all love Neville. But making him the keystone to the entire evil plot is as foolish as eating the white tips of candy corn. (That's where bacteria thrive!)
Harry finally receives word from Sirius, who is a complete idiot and signs the letter as "Sirius." Mr. Black is racing back to Hogwarts to find out more about Harry's scar pain.
Completely off topic: Why do all the mail owls arrive in the hall at the same time? Do they wait outside to make a dramatic entrance?
EMPEROR: Maybe your plan does make sense.
VOLDEMORT: Thank you!
EMPEROR: It's similar to the time that I taught Luke Skywalker how to defend himself against my lightning bolt fingers. Oh. Wait. That didn't happen because I'm not a damn moron!
SAURON: Maybe you should also teach Harry how to assassinate nose-less losers.
VOLDEMORT: How dare you talk to the Dark Lord that way!?
SAURON: You're not the Dark Lord. Maybe you can be the Gloomy Vice-President, or the Shady Councilmen.
VOLDEMORT: My plan is perfect! Perfect!
EMPEROR: Wouldn't it have made more sense if Fake Mad-Eye turned a spoon into a Portkey and said, "Here's a spoon, Harry. Touch it.'?
VOLDEMORT: No! Harry needs to win the tournament! It's the only way I can get his blood!
SAURON: Or just have Fake Mad-Eye give him a papercut and then run away with the blood?
VOLDEMORT: No! No! Stop it! I'm smart! I'm a smart person with good thoughts! Ya'll are just jealous!
EMPEROR: Are you crying?
VOLDEMORT: I'm not coming to your sleepover. You know that, right? I'm taking all your pictures off the edge of my bedroom mirror! I hate you!
SAURON: Relax, Mort. We're just teasing you. Now you wait here with our bags while we go try on sunglasses. I'd invite you, but, you know…no nose.
VOLDEMORT: I don't even want sunglasses. So the joke's on you!
EMPEROR: Dude, stop writing "Nirvana Rulz" on your Converse. How old are you?
Chapter Fifteen: Beauxbatons and Durmstrang
Better Title: S.P.E.W. You!
I haven't mentioned Hermione's quest to emancipate all the House Elves. She was furious after learning that House Elves make all the food and do most of the housework at the school and so she forms S.P.E.W., the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare.
I love this subplot in the book. Even if I have a very real fear of being watched by tiny elves, perverted mice, and imps while I sleep or do my private dance in the morning, the House Elves should be freed.
News circulates that the other two schools competing in the tournament will be arriving, and everyone lines up outside to greet them. The Beauxbaton students show up in a giant stage coach pulled by titanic flying horses. The mighty Durmstrang school shows up in a ship in the middle of the lake. And wouldn't you know it? One of the students is none other than Quidditch all-star Viktor Krum!
I wonder how Hogwarts would travel to another school? Inside an enormous kangaroo pouch, according to the dream I keep having. And if the American school were in the tournament, the students would show up in Mr. Johnson's wife's van, which smells like baby vomit and Taco Bell. (Mr. Johnson was once a teacher, but now he just monitors the distance learning Herbology class.)
At the sleepover
EMPEROR: Truth or dare!?
EMPEROR: What did you and Lisa do in the car last night at the party?
SAURON: We just talked! Honest!
EMPEROR: Then why are you turning red! Hahahaha!
VOLDEMORT: OK. OK. My turn!
SAURON: Truth or dare?
SAURON: What's the furthest you've been with a girl?
VOLDEMORT: My stomach hurts. I better go home. Can I call my mom?
EMPEROR: Answer the question, Morty.
VOLDEMORT: Dare! I want a dare!
SAURON: Has to be a double dare.
VOLDEMORT: Double dare.
SAURON: I double dare you to kill Harry Potter in a sensible way.
VOLDEMORT: Truth! I want Truth!
SAURON: Too late! You said double dare. You have to do it or else we dunk your head in the toilet.
VOLDEMORT: Hmm. I got it! I'll go to Spain and wait in a tree with a big knife and hope that one day Harry will decide to climb that tree.
SAURON: Screw it. You're getting flushed.
VOLDEMORT: No! Guys! Come on! What if I cursed an apple, and then fed the apple to a rabbit, and then took the rabbit back in time—
EMPEROR: Or you could have Fake Mad-Eye stick a dagger in Harry's neck and scoop up some of that blood for you.
VOLDEMORT: But…we need Portkeys and enchantments and secrets and…don't flush my head!
EMPEROR: Why did we even invite you?
SAURON: Should have invited Owen Tittlebuds. That home-schooled wizard is a delight.
VOLDEMORT: My stomach hurts! I better go home. Guys! For real!
SAURON: Stop wiggling, Morty! It's only toilet water!
EMPEROR: Stop pinching me, you baby!
House Bergstein School Announcements
Tryouts for the varsity Unicorn Rodeo team will be held Monday at 5:30 p.m. in the Room of Rodeos. Bring your medical form and bandages. It will get rowdy.
Early dismissal today for all students going on the trip to Dimension K. Watch out for the super-intelligent vines and the Frown Clowns. Have fun!
Early diss-missiles for all students who made fun of my pants. The missile will be striking sometime before noon tomorrow, and will diss your hair and/or love life. Be prepared.
The only guaranteed way to avoid catching Sphinx Jinx is to abstain from sex with Sphinxes.
Learn how to disarm the diss-missile.
Calculate the speed of jealousy.
Describe the exact taste of candy corn without using the words sweet, sugary, or candy-ish.
Related posts: Blogging Harry Potter