Category Archives: Charlene

Final Thoughts

New Harry Potter

Note from Ashley: My post about the Epilogue is still to come next week, which is why I’ve abstained from writing final notes, myself. I get an entire post to wax poetic about the end of this series and the end of this project, so it’s only fair everyone else gets a space, too.

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I’ve had so much fun with this, not only writing my own posts, but getting to read what everyone else thinks about Harry Potter (SPOILER ALERT: you all love it). I’ve enjoyed all the insights everyone has had that I’ve never, ever had in all of my rereads, and the discussions that followed, but my very most favorite thing was getting to see new GIFs I’d never seen before. You guys are good at GIFs, is what I’m saying.

Also, I can’t believe it’s over. Again. Sads. Don’t mind me, I’m just going to be over here in the corner, rereading all the books and pretending Harry Potter is never going to end ever ever. Continue reading


The Deathly Hallows, Chapters 26-27: Conversations With My Mother

When I was in college my mother had a job where she used AIM to communicate to her coworkers in the office. AIM, boys and girls, stands for AOL Instant Messanger. It was how people communicated when they couldn’t be bothered to talk face in the dark ages before text messaging and facebook. I, like most people I knew, also had an AIM account. I don’t remember how my mom got my AIM name, if I gave it to her or she just kind of picked up through that magical osmosis moms have. But she got it and she used to IM to chat. In all caps, because her work was done in caps and she never turned capslock off.

Besides checking on how I was doing BY SHOUTING AT ME LIKE THIS, my mom also liked to talk about Harry Potter. She was a big fan. Not because she’s read the books – that would take too long – but because she loved the movies. The trick with that is that it’s awfully hard to speculate about book seven when the movies were years behind. In the frantic lead up to the release of Deathly Hallows, my mom did what she could to satisfy her curiosity: she prowled the internet for speculation and spoiled, and IMed me.

The following is our exact conversation just before the book came. I saved it because it is a sparkly fluffy unicorn of wonderfulness and should be shared. I originally posted it on my livejournal, which was a blogging website people used to communicate when they weren’t IMing each other.

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The Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 34-36: Surving The Battle of the Department of Mysteries

Who needs an intro when there’s heartache in your future?


There are times when you want to tell Harry he’s an idiot. That he’s too wrapped in his own twisted relationship with Voldemort, that he has a hard time taking advice objectively, that he can be kind of obsessive. Those things are true. He’s an idiot. Harry has to save Sirius and he believes there’s no one else for the job. They can ask for no help, there’s no time to do anything but get on the flying death horses and go. But the noble thing about Harry is that in a choice between his life and the life of someone else, the someone else wins every time. He will sacrifice himself to save the people he cares about. His entire life has been touched by death and he will do anything to stop any more of it. It’s both beautiful and broken – and it sometimes leads to terrible consequences.

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The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 1-3: This One Is My Favorite


In my first post, I wrote I wasn’t going to do the intro into my love for Harry Potter. I was saving it. For today. Because today is the first day of Order of the Phoenix and this is my favorite book. I know lots of people don’t like this book, who find it brooding and emo but it’s my favorite. Besides having the biggest, baddest, most impactful end battle of any of the books, this book also captures the teenage experience. Harry deals with his first crush and teenage rebellion. He makes choices that define not the boy he was, but the man he will become. He learns that evil comes in many faces and forms but so does bravery and loyalty.

It’s my favorite book because this is such a big year for Harry. Sure he’s capslocky but he’s angry, grieving, and struggling to understand why he’s singled out for so much tragedy. I’d be angry too, if it were me.

But it isn’t just about my favorite book. It’s about Harry being my favorite character. I’ve always identified with his experiences, always felt the two of us understood each other. To explain why I have to explain how I discovered the books.


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Goblet of Fire, Chapters 17-19: It’s Kind Of Like The Wizarding Olympics Except With More Cheating So It’s Really Like The Wizarding Tour de France

I love the Olympics. I eagerly await the next round and once it arrives, I become obsessed. Suddenly I’m an expert in sports I haven’t thought about since the last round and explaining to anyone who listens why a particular achievement in the Olympic is so incredible. I watch curling and rowing and spout off on the wonder of the Triple Chocolate Mudslide spin performed on the snowboard half pipe for the first time in history (fact: all names of snowboard trick sound like either desserts or cocktails). Basically, I would love the Triwizard Tournament and, once the champions were announced, would instantly become an expert on the various competitors and what type of challenges they’re likely to face.

And then I’d want the hold thing narrated by Bob Costas.

Related: I wonder if there are wizarding teenagers who treats sports competitions the way Muggles do? Like, is anyone just sitting under the bleachers talking about how much they don’t care about who wins, despite the fact they went through all the trouble to show up? There has to be. I refuse to believe anything else is possible.

So. The Tournament is coming.


Harry’s name has just come out of the Goblet of Fire, to the confusion and anger of everyone involved. He’s in with the other champions when the headmasters of the participating schools come in demanding answers. Naturally, everyone thinks Hogwarts in general and Harry in particular has cheated in order to get his name into the goblet and to have it selected as a fourth. This moment is played very strangely in the movie, with Dumbledore looking like he’s about to reenact scenes from Zero Dark Thirty as he grills Harry for answers. In reality, Dumbledore asks Harry if he put his name in, Harry insists he did not, and the rest of the headmasters take their anger at an injustice (and really, they have a point – it’s not fair at all what happens) out on Dumbledore and the Ministry. However, in the end there’s nothing to be done and Harry can’t compete. The students of Durmstrang and Beauxbatons can’t vote in a second champion each cause of reasons. Magic, you know how it is. Ludo Bagman suggests they retire for a drink because he’s useless.

The most important bit of this scene is Moody explaining the difficult magic in tricking the Goblet of Fire. Unfortunately, Hogwarts doesn’t allow Muggle technology so the BY THE WAY, THIS IS HOW I DID IT neon sign above his head remains unlit. Also unlit: the sign reading WHY DON’T I JUST HIT POTTER OVER THE HEAD WITH A BRICK AND CART HIM OFF TO THE DARK LORD, THAT WOULD BE MUCH EASIER sign. Too bad Malfoy can’t make any of that into a badge.

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