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Seven Obstacles for Seven Books

new bloomsbury covers

Seven Obstacles for Seven Books By hpboy13 Over the years, many essayists have attempted to connect the seven protections of the Sorcerer’s Stone to the seven books of the Harry Potter series.  Such a premise, by necessity, includes a bit of stretching – connecting types of magic and elements and whatnot.  I always enjoyed these essays – if you care to look at some of my favorites, dig into the MuggleNet archive and read the Two-Way Mirror column by Daniela (editorials #2, 4, and 5) for some absolutely epic matrix-y analysis.   I want to take my own stab at it, because I have not really seen an updated version that takes the latter books into account.  (This theory was in its heyday shortly before Book 6 came out, once everyone was heartily sick of guessing who the Half-Blood Prince was and analyzing every word and every ellipse in the prophecy.  After Half-Blood Prince, everyone was far too concerned with RAB, Horcruxes, and Snape to return to this, especially since the sixth obstacle fit the sixth book like a glove and did not demand much further analysis.)   Knowing Jo, seven obstacles for seven books should have some connection.  After ... Read More »

The Minor Characters of “The Cuckoo’s Calling”

The Cuckoo's Calling

What do the characters of "The Cuckoo's Calling" have in common with the characters of "Goblet of Fire"? Click here to read hpboy13's new editorial and find out! Read More »

The Suspects of Cuckoo’s Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling

by hpboy13 One of the most impressive things about Rowling’s books is how cleverly she leaves clues throughout the text, which we then find on rereads and just think to ourselves, “Damn, she’s brilliant!”  You know the ones: Hermione knocking over Quirrell, Snape accusing Harry of stealing Polyjuice ingredients in Year 4, etc.  I love catching these things on rereads. But some of the things we sometimes forget to appreciate on our umpteenth reading is how carefully Jo lays red herrings and fake trails.  This struck me on a recent rereading of Goblet of Fire: how Jo pointed the finger of blame at Crouch Sr., Karkaroff, and Bagman.  Goblet of Fire has a striking resemblance to Cuckoo’s Calling – it’s a whodunit.  The “crime” is putting Harry’s name into the Goblet of Fire, and we spend the book trying to figure out who did and why. The first time I read GoF, I was nine years old, and powered through the book, so I don’t really remember any theories I may have had.  But I am now in my twenties and considerably more well-read, so my mind was whirring as I read Cuckoo’s Calling.  I’d like to share my observations.  ... Read More »

Review: The Silkworm


The Silkworm is Jo’s follow-up to The Cuckoo’s Calling, and while it’s a solid book, it’s not quite as good as its predecessor. This is my review of the second Cormoran Strike novel; I shall strive to keep it spoiler-free, but if you want to avoid even vague hints, click away now. Read More »

Headmasters in the Canon


by hpboy13 The recent news of a Fantastic Beasts film has gotten us all in a tizzy – when I saw the headline, I assumed it was an April Fool’s joke, before remembering it was September. Once the initial reactions of “!!!!!” were over, talk then turned to the Potter fandom’s favorite activity: theorizing. Except I think many in the community are a bit rusty, because in lieu of actually looking things up in well-worn copies of Fantastic Beasts, people turned to the Harry Potter Wiki . This led to quite a bit of confusion, which I will now be happy to clear up. Before we launch into any actual discussion of facts, we shall have to establish the foundation of all our theories: what exactly is canon? Canon is what we can take as fact in the world of Harry Potter, and sources of it come in three levels: canon, dubious canon, and fanon. Back in the day, there was a much clearer distinction among them: canon was the books that were published by Jo, dubious canon was her website, and fanon was what happened when one read too much fanfiction and had the lines blurred. However, things are ... Read More »

Three Broomsticks editorial: “Headmasters in the canon”


In this most recent editorial found within the comfortable confines of The Three Broomsticks, our favorite editorialist - affectionately known as hpboy13 - has come up with a clever discussion on the Headmasters of Hogwarts and what we should come to expect, or hope to see, within the new Fantastic Beasts film series. Read More »

The Psychopaths – Bristow, Riddle, and Crouch


by hpboy13 Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for The Cuckoo’s Calling!!! The end will be spoiled! The killer revealed! The mystery ruined! The climax quoted! In short, do not read on if you’ve not finished Cuckoo’s Calling. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS!!! I was plugging along, writing my piece analyzing the characters of The Cuckoo’s Calling, when I noticed the section on John Bristow was getting rather long and unwieldy. And this isn’t surprising – Jo does not do one-dimensional villains who are evil “just because.” Rather, she delves deeper into their psyche. And John Bristow calls to mind some of the most terrible characters in Jo’s other books. So I’ve spun off the analysis of John Bristow into its own article. The character analysis of everyone else in the book is on its way! John Bristow & Tom Riddle John Bristow is quite the villain – he isn’t unpleasant like Tony Landry, but rather hides his evil very well. He appears almost cartoonish at first, crying and acting like a pushover. But this veneer hides a psychopathic killer. Jo has displayed an aptitude for writing about psychopaths in all three of her projects. The Casual Vacancy’s Fats has all the makings of one, ... Read More »

Rowling’s back!

Cuckoo's Calling

I’m somewhat ashamed, but I didn’t read The Cuckoo’s Calling as soon as it came out. I was wary of being disappointed as I had been by Casual Vacancy. But I am beyond thrilled to say that Cuckoo’s Calling is a return to form for Jo, a spectacularly written mystery that utterly engrossed me! Read More »

New Editorial in the Three Broomsticks: ‘Albus Dumbledore and the Sorcerer’s Stone’

The Trio

In this latest investigation, hpboy13 attempts to unearth the question of whether or not there were clear forms of aid along the way, helping the trio throughout Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Read More »

Albus Dumbledore and the Sorcerer’s Stone


By hpboy13 At the end of Sorcerer’s Stone, there is a brief exchange among the Trio that first introduces us to the idea of Dumbledore’s omniscience: “D’you think [Dumbledore] meant you to do it?” said Ron. “Sending you your father’s cloak and everything?” “Well,” Hermione exploded, “if he did — I mean to say — that’s terrible — you could have been killed.” “No it isn’t,” said Harry thoughtfully. “He’s a funny man, Dumbledore. I think he sort of wanted to give me a chance. I think he knows more or less everything that goes on here, you know. I reckon he had a pretty good idea we were going to try, and instead of stopping us, he just taught us enough to help. I don’t think it was an accident he let me find out how the mirror worked. It’s almost like he thought I had the right to face Voldemort if I could….”(SS302) Now, we could just take this at face value – Dumbledore knew everything and planned everything – and just leave it at that… but where would be the fun? So, upon my fourteenth reread of the series this summer (it’s an annual tradition going back ... Read More »

New editorial in the Three Broomsticks: “Is ‘Harry Potter’ a feminist text?”


Over the course of the Harry Potter series, author J.K. Rowling has created some iconic, and let's face it, kick-ass female characters like Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Molly Weasley, Nymphadora Tonks, Ginny Weasley, and Minerva McGonagall. But are these women the norm or the exception in the Wizarding world? Read More »

Is Harry Potter a Feminist Text?


By hpboy13 As a fandom, there are many things that we have come to agree on over the years. Neville is a BAMF. Voldemort is a Drama Queen. The Prince’s Tale makes us cry. The Epilogue kind of sucked. But there is one question that divides us to this day, one that I have long intended to address in an essay but kept putting off: is Harry Potter a feminist text? Every fan will have an opinion on this, and they are all different – I’ve heard the gamut of them, from “totally feminist” to “anti-feminist.” I will give my views on the matter, and beg everyone to keep the debate in the comments civil, since this is a touchier subject than most. The way I see it, whether HP is feminist or not depends on three factors: Are the female characters strong? Do they all sit around fussing about dresses and waiting to be rescued, or do they kick butt and take names all on their own? Are the women independent? Is the #1 goal to find a man to settle down with, or is it okay to not give two hoots about men? How are the women treated ... Read More »

What are the “12 Failsafe Ways to Charm Witches”?

ron hermione kiss

One of the more intriguing presents Harry receives on his seventeenth birthday is a book titled Twelve Failsafe Ways to Charm Witches. It's a present from Ron, who's gotten it from Fred and George for his own birthday five months earlier. He tells Harry, “Explains everything you need to know about girls. If only I'd had this last year I'd have known exactly how to get rid of Lavender and I would've known how to get going with...” (DH113) But what are these twelve mystery tips exactly? Read More »

The Three Broomsticks: Did Harry deserve sweet vengeance on Peter?


Concluding his three-part "Revenge" series, hpboy13's latest article discusses the one character that seems most justified in getting payback: Harry. After everything he has suffered, losing his parents, being condemned to the Dursleys, and growing up with no real family, how could he not want revenge on Wormtail, the man whose betrayal of Lily and James caused all this? Read More »

The Three Broomsticks: Why is Hermione the only character to get revenge?


In the next installment of his The Three Broomsticks Revenge series, hpboy 13 looks at Hermione, and her pursuit of vengeance within the series. Brilliant, creative, and determined, Hermione is the perfect candidate to pay back unsavoury characters. However, why does she get revenge, and no one else? Read More »

Revenge Part III: Harry’s Mercy


By hpboy13 Note: This is the concluding part of my “Revenge” trilogy. You are strongly encouraged to read Part I: The Missing Message and Part II: Hermione’s Revenge first, or you will be mightily confused. Perhaps the most significant quest for vengeance going on in the series occurs quite early: that of Sirius against Peter Pettigrew in Prisoner of Azkaban. This is the precursor to the Lupin/Pettigrew showdown we all hoped to see in Hallows, and perhaps if we’d paid attention here, we wouldn’t have gotten our hopes up (the Lupin/Pettigrew conflict is addressed in Part I). The reason that Sirius/Lupin/Harry vs. Pettigrew is significant enough to get its own essay, is that it’s unique in the scope of the series. As I talked about in Part I, Jo denies just about all her characters the opportunity to get revenge. In Part II, I discussed how Hermione is twice granted the rare opportunity to get revenge – and does she ever take it! But this is unique because Sirius, Lupin, and Harry are given the opportunity to take revenge – yet they don’t. If anyone is justified in seeking revenge in the Potter series, it’s Sirius seeking to make Peter ... Read More »

Revenge Part II: Hermione’s Revenge


By hpboy13 Note: This is the middle part of my “Revenge” trilogy. You are strongly encouraged to read Part I: The Missing Message first, or you might be mightily confused. I have talked about how Jo does not allow any of her characters to fulfill their personal vendettas against other characters. There is, however, one very noticeable exception in all this: Hermione Granger. Unlike the other characters, Jo does allow her to get revenge. The two most satisfying instances of payback in the books are both Hermione’s. Rita Skeeter Hermione’s sense of justice is a very strong one, and she is not afraid to carry it out herself. Between smacking Draco in Prisoner of Azkaban and starting S.P.E.W. in Goblet of Fire, we come to expect her to take matters into her own hands. And so, none of us are surprised when she doesn’t take kindly to Rita Skeeter. Hermione stood up very abruptly, her butterbeer clutched in her hand as though it were a grenade. “You horrible woman,” she said through gritted teeth, “you don’t care, do you, anything for a story, and anyone will do, won’t they. Even Ludo Bagman —” […] “She’ll be after you next, Hermione,” ... Read More »

The Three Broomsticks: Has J.K. Rowling robbed her characters of justice?

the Trio

Harry Potter presents us with a multitude of themes on love, friendship, bravery, and morality, but what about revenge? There are countless despicable characters who certainly warrant vengeance. Read More »

Revenge Part I: The Missing Message

Baby Harry Potter

By hpboy13 Note: This editorial was inspired by and owes a great debt to a panel at Expeditious 2010 – the “Vengeance Panel” – by Carla Cecil, Amy Loviska, Nat Gibson, and Mike Varney. The excellent discussion there gave me all the ideas that will be in this essay, and it was one of the best panels I ever attended. In stories, one of the themes that is most prevalent is revenge. Revenge is the act of paying back someone who has wronged you, usually in a very unpleasant manner. Ever since Eris, goddess of Chaos, dropped a golden apple because she was offended at not being invited to a party, and thereby started the Trojan War in The Iliad, characters have been seeking to avenge past slights and wrongs. And between Eris’ success with the apple (she did start the war after all), and Telemachus’ success in slaughtering his mother’s suitors in The Odyssey, characters both good and bad have successfully gotten revenge. This is usually followed by a platitude about how awful revenge is, two wrongs don’t make a right, and so forth. This brings us to Harry Potter. In a book that is full to the brim ... Read More »

Why Luna Is Loved

Luna Lovegood

I frequently write about characters I dislike, because I’ve a lot to say on the subject. And just as frequently, I get told that I should write something positive instead, about how much I love one of the characters. So that is just what I’ll do! Read More »