The U-Bend #8: Not a Mistake: An Opportunity
by Andrew Lee and Robert Lanto
“I must not tell lies.”
-Umbridge’s Punishment (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
We are of a generation where some more wise and smarter person said, “If life gives you lemons make lemonade”. Many artists from chefs, to painters, to book writers would normally tell you that there are no such things as mistakes, just ways to make that particular thing better. That’s what Julia Childs once told her viewers, then again so did Martha Stuart, and we all know what happened to poor old Martha. At the end of the day, mistakes are a great equalizer because we can all be accredited to making them. All this “talk” brings me to my point, which is what should J.K. Rowling do with the “mistakes” in her books?
What mistakes you ask! There are many to the avid reader of the Potter series, for example, the Marcus Flint appearance in Prisoner of Azkaban. Wait a minute that would make him an eighth year student! Did Marcus fail a grade? That is what J.K. Rowling has gone on record saying. Is this really such a mistake? Also, what about Dennis Creevy magically appearing in the Hogs Head during the Hogsmeade meeting? Dennis couldn’t have gone; you have to be in your third year or higher to attend Hogsmeade weekends, and he is only in his second year. Since this error is one of the more recent errors, we in the Potter community are left to speculate amongst ourselves as to why he was allowed to attend. Did J.K. make a slip of the finger when she typed out his name? Has he turned to a life of crime and stolen or “obtained” another copy of the Marauders Map?
So how can J.K. “fix” or make these glaring errors disappear? Simple! With a simple wave of her magical fingers over the keyboard of a labtop or desktop computer. Yes, that’s right! Why not write four short novels/stories where the main attraction isn’t Harry Potter but what’s going on in the background with other people as the main attraction. We have to remember that history isn’t objective, it is one of the most subjective subjects a person can take because it is always written from the perspective of the winner.
Now, I propose four so that we can get a glimpse into the world of not only the Gryffindors but also the evil Slytherins, the Ravenclaws, and, don’t forget the Hufflepuffs. I mean, come on, wouldn’t it be a dang good, enjoyable read to see how Marcus Flint’s eighth year unfolds? Giving us the opportunity to see how he thinks. Perhaps giving insight to his character and even showing other Slytherins who aren’t Malfoy, but maybe just as evil. We could read about how a chaser plays and thinks during a Quidditch match, and since Flint is captain, we’d even get to see how he differs from Oliver Wood’s leadership style (mostly, I figure, it’s just him being more evil). Off the pitch, we would see how Flint deals with his extra year studying, or perhaps even being mocked and humiliated for failing. His story could be one of redemption, as he tries to prove himself after his failing. Or it could be a story of how the degenerates of the magical community start out their life without an education!
Obviously, Colin and Dennis Creevy should be stars of the Gryffindor story, which could take place during Order of the Phoenix. It could deal with how Dennis managed to sneak out of the school. I’m almost willing to bet he’s been influenced by the Slytherins and turned to a life a wrongdoing and crime. More realistically though, it could be that Fred and George show Dennis the secret passage Harry used. Which is great because now that they’re gone wouldn’t it be great to read more about them (the Creevys) and their antics? Or maybe it could involve a little bit more and have the two recovering the Marauder’s Map (helping to fill in another partial plot hole). Other Gryffindors could also appear like signature forger Dean Thomas, or Ginny (since Colin is in the same year as her). The possibilities are endless, I see the Fox specials now “When Gryffindors go bad.”
It starts to get tougher from here on out. Ravenclaw would be a tough one. Until Order of the Phoenix, I might have recommended a short story featuring Cho Chang. But now, we all know that if any Ravenclaw student were to appear as the main character in a short story, it would have to be Luna Lovegood. Her character is just begging for more background. It’s finally an opportunity to see why she acts that way, and perhaps why she is so misunderstood by the others (I bet it’s because she’s evil). It might explain how Ginny and Luna became friends, or show other friends (who “fix” things) that she has made. If any character has to appear in a Luna story, it would have to be Moaning Myrtle. The two characters are just so different from the others that they would make a perfect pairing for an adventure. It would be a strange tale, but it could be interesting. The search for nargles anyone?
The hardest story would be one based on a Hufflepuff student. Any story about Cedric Diggory, though interesting, would either be cut short (because of his death), or only reinforce what we already know from Goblet of Fire. The only problem is that no other Hufflepuff has really gotten the attention that Cedric has. Justin Finch-Fletchley was petrified so quickly, that his story might not be as interesting. Though, if a character still has conscious thought during petrifaction it might make for an interesting tale of how one deals with it (probably thinks evil thoughts). The only other character I can think of is Susan Bones, but I don’t know anything that would make an interesting tale for her.
Which neatly brings me to the end. See, not all mistakes are mistakes; they serve as a means to make the things we enjoy interesting. If all we did everyday of our lives was the same old thing, life would be boring. Mistakes, from a Darwinian perspective, serve to evolve us, and from a less scientific and more business perspective, serve to make the rich richer, and the poor poorer.