What I Learned From a Harry Potter Movie Marathon

Undertaking a Harry Potter movie marathon is daunting and requires a schedule, homemade butter beer, witty friends, Hogwarts and/or magic themed shirts, roomy sweatpants, and copious amounts of takeout food.

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 My friends and I accepted this challenge, and it unlocked some secrets that I overlooked when reading the series. First, you must understand that I had a unique Harry Potter reading experience. I didn’t read the books as they were released when I was a child. There was no “growing up with Harry and the gang” or extensive emotional investment or reading, rereading, fanfic reading and deep pondering. Instead, I read them back to back over a 7-week period as an adult. I was able to step back with an analytical adult mind to observe the series. It wasn’t an emotional part of my childhood intertwined with who I am now, but it did take over my life for almost two months. This inundation of Harry Potter was nothing compared to two days with over 19-hours of movie saturation. Here are some things that marathoning has taught me about the wizarding world that I missed when reading the series:

  • The red flags about teachers are more obvious in the movies than in the books.  Quirrell holding a giant iguana for no reason? Red flag. Lockhart being more extra than a three cheese pizza with all the meats and an extra layer of pepperoni? Red flag. Moody licking his lips in a creepy way and never asking for chapstick? Red flag. Umbridge’s too wide eyes? Red friggin flag. In the same way, Lupin gets thrown out for being a werewolf because parents would be in an uproar about it. Yet, parents are perfectly cool with Quidditch games during lightening storms, sealing the castle when a convicted felon is discovered within, and fights to the death with dragons.
  • Lucius Malfoy’s hair is always laid, even when stressed about the Dark Lord. Neither battle nor Voldemort terrorism nor Azkaban time can put a single blond hair askew on his perfectly styled head. Lucius needs to take Hermione under his wing and teach her the power of product. 
  • Ginny Weasley is just as boring in the books as reflected in the movies. There’s a school of thought about Ginny’s feisty behavior, independent woman actions, and how she and Harry were destined to end up together. For me, she was a yawn on paper and on screen. An after thought so Harry could end up a legitimate member of the Weasley family forever. The movies directly reflect my sentiments. She’s in the over 19-hours of movies for maybe 20 minutes, not counting laying dead in the Chamber of Secrets while Harry rescues her. The two most memorable scenes with her are palpably awkward kissing scenes that have less chemistry than Crookshanks and Scabbers. 
  • Hufflepuff house is more accurately portrayed in the movies than in the books.  In the book series, Hufflepuff is a house full of bumbling idiots and misfits. Cedric Diggory, the best person in the whole of Hogwarts over the age of 17, is a Hufflepuff. Tonks, the only female auror, is a Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff house had the most students stay to fight in the final battle behind those glory-seeking Gryffindors. The movie shows children wearing yellow and black ties fighting alongside aurors, the Order, and professors. They aren’t seen as less than, but as loyal and true. Even Rowling herself has defended Hufflepuff house recently, when she was the one writing the bumbling idiocy of them. 
  • Molly Weasley is a true feminist role-model. Molly is a mother of boys and shows them how capable women are. She is in the Order, is Arthur’s better half in every way, defeats Beatrix LeStrange with mama-bear fervor, and she knows how to rock a dress. She doesn’t take no guff from no one.

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