What I Wish I Could Change About the Harry Potter Books
O Social Media, how you have some of the most ridiculous sponsored posts that I see all the time. I suppose because I am a Harry Potter fanatic, I constantly see the “Fifteen Things That Show the Harry Potter Series Makes No Sense” and other clickbait pieces of tripe. I read a few of these years ago but I’ve learned now that they all say the same things. Fred and George should have seen Peter on the map. Why did Harry need glasses if he was a wizard? Those kinds of “mistakes”.
There are things in the series, to be clear, that do not make sense and can be questioned as having never been explained. Why the school punished first-year students by having them go in the Forbidden Forest in the first book is a reasonable question. But most complaints I read can be easily explained and are quite nitpicky (Maybe Fred and George didn’t want to follow their brother on the map…the way the map reveals people isn’t made clear anyway).
My list today is not like this. No, these aren’t plot holes. These are major and minor details I merely want to change. My wife and I love this series about as much as you can love a set of books. I read, listen to or watch Harry Potter nearly every day of the year and it never suffers from diminishing returns. I have very few complaints about it. With that in mind, here are few of the things I would change about the Harry Potter books:
Harry and Hermione End Up Together
Go ahead. Throw tomatoes. Boo me off the stage. Spit at me and call me a devil. I don’t care. Just as those who love the Ron-Hermione pairing (or at least would not like a Hermione-Harry pairing) may not care what I think.
I get it. Ron needed something. Harry and his brothers overshadowed him literally his whole life. I also get it that Ginny was quite a catch and that Harry did well. But there just seems something delightful about Harry getting the girl after being best friends with her and going through war with her for seven years. They were in many ways perfect for each other. I do not wish they had gotten together early in the series and would not have cared even if it never happened prior to the epilogue. (Having said that, it would have been out of place to me for it to have happened during the Battle of Hogwarts, as it actually did for Ron and Hermione in the book, because Harry had too many other crises to occupy his mind).
To be honest I loved how slowly Rowling put Ron and Hermione together and think that route with Harry and Hermione instead would have been the best in my preferred alternate fantasy reality. Friendship developing into romance warms my heart in real life and fiction. Proving that men and women can have platonic relationships is commendable, but I wish other couplings would evince that. Not this one.
I also admit that part of what spurs my thinking is the added movie detail of Harry and Hermione dancing together in the tent after Ron left. I don’t really like many of the changes the movies make but that one is gold.
Fred doesn’t die
The deaths in this series are extremely well-written and thought out. Cedric’s was blindsiding. Sirius’s was gut-punching. Dumbledore’s altered the series entirely. And Dobby’s…well, I’ve written about it before. Twice. Even Hedwig’s was emotional.
And they all made the series more poignant and they all felt right. Except for one.
I do not like Fred’s death. At all. It was too depressing and out of place. It hits me like a terrible note in a beautiful song every time. I suppose she felt like she needed something to make the final battle darker and more intense. And highlighted by loss and mourning. She needed to take a beloved hero to make Voldemort’s war more realistic, I am guessing. I wish she had taken just about anyone other than one of the twins. No, I couldn’t handle losing Ron or Hermione or Neville or Luna either. But anyone else. Take Hagrid instead. Or Arthur. Or anyone other than one half of the hilarious duo that kept us in stitches for seven books, no matter how much angst Harry was going through.
Consistency in Quidditch
Admittedly I’m reaching a little bit here. First, these discrepancies are not even close to major plot points. And second, I am wise enough to believe that just because an explanation isn’t given for something, does not mean there isn’t a good one.
But as a sports fan it does grate on me a little that in the first book when Harry is injured for the last match, there is no replacement for him (and they lose by their worst margin in a century). Yet in the rest of the series, there are back-ups and suspended or injured Harry was replaced. (You’d think any sports team of any kind would have substitutes at the ready in case of injury even during a game.)
Additionally, in some cases if a person was on the team the previous year, they made it the following year automatically. In others, they had to try out again. Harry didn’t even have to try out his first year.
It seems to me this is one area where Rowling either didn’t keep up with prior details or her thoughts were expanding.
Everything with Grawp
Easily my least favorite parts of this series are scenes with Grawp. I don’t know why but I just do not enjoy the character or what he contributes to the story. Even Hagrid’s Tale of going to visit the giants is a tad boring to me, at least by Harry Potter standards.
Of course, without Grawp Rowling would have had to come up with a different means for Hermione and Harry being saved from Umbridge and the centaurs in the Forbidden Forest. But I trust her creative mind to come up with something as good or better. Like when the car saved Harry and Ron from the spiders.
Grawp just gives me a headache. Maybe if he had had a killer scene in the Battle of Hogwarts, like he comes out of nowhere and wipes out Avery, Rookwood and Travers, then I would feel differently. As is, the aim of feeling for Hagrid because this is his only family misses to me. I do not enjoy Grawp or like Hagrid any better because of him.
A seven-book series on Harry’s Parents, the rest of the Marauders and Snape
The Cursed Child was fine as a play. The Fantastic Beasts movies are good. Yet there is nothing I long for as much as an extension to the first seven volumes as a prequel that details Harry’s parents, their friends and Snape while they were at Hogwarts. I would devour those books no matter how good or bad they were. It would be a risk to be sure, but it is one worth making to me. Everything else that has been published by Rowling since 2007, including everything on Pottermore, just cannot compare to how fascinating this idea would be.
Those are the things I would change about the Harry Potter books. Do you have things about this epic fantasy series you would like to change? Comment below!
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9 thoughts on “What I Wish I Could Change About the Harry Potter Books”
Interesting list. A few thoughts:
1. I wouldn’t change Ron and Hermione. Harry gets everything. Ron has received nothing but hand-me-downs his entire life. I think it is awesome that he ended up with the smartest and most accomplished girl in his class.
2. I agree about Fred. Splitting up that pair was too much. There were plenty of other choices that could have accomplished that same thing.
3. I love Snape. I love this background and his “redemption” but I do wish he had been less awful to Harry. The way he treats a child undercuts some of his heroism. At least, it does to me. I can completely understand some of his dislike of Harry due to his likeness to his father, but I think he goes too far too often. He could still have been perceived as a villain without the mean-spirited stuff.
Ron’s life circumstances is easily the biggest reason in my mind for him to end up with Hermione. i respect that take and this point by me doesn’t really do anything to detract from the end of the series. As I have shared many times with you and others in individual communication, a huge part of this is driven by my wife being so much like Hermione to me.
Agree about Snape.
I like your list. I, too, like the idea of Hermione and Harry together. However, I do like the way that even though they aren’t put together as a couple, they are forever linked as friends and in-laws. I wish that we had more time to see the relationship between Harry and Ginny grow. I loved that pairing and I think that she did an excellent job foreshadowing that throughout the series and especially in the early part of “The Half-Blood Prince.”
I would also love a book detailing the friendship and exploits of the four Marauders and Snape.
I agree with Phill on Snape and his relationship with Harry. However, I do think it made the chapter in Book 7 all the more poignant when we finally learn the truth.
Nice! I appreciate this kind of comment.
1. Nope. Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione are satisfactory relationships. While we’re at it (romantic relationships) though, can we get rid of the whole Harry/Cho storyline, please? Easily the most annoying thing in the entire series. Yep, more annoying than Dobby. More annoying than Moaning Myrtle. Even more annoying than Lavender and Won Won. I would take seven books of Grawp over it.
2. Nope. I think the story would’ve lost a lot of the emotional “oomph” without the loss of Fred. It had to be someone we liked that much. I, personally, though, was affected more by the combined loss of both Lupin and Tonks.
3. Sure. whatever. It’s very minor to me, though.
4. I don’t feel strongly one way or the other about Grawp. I don’t dislike that storyline though.
5. Eh. Without the yearly threat of Voldemort (who was supposedly pretty quiet during that time), I don’t think the previous generation’s stint at Hogwarts would be all that interesting. Just a bunch of boring and/or gross teenage stuff. I don’t need to see any more of old Snivelus’s underpants. I think they picked the right story with the Fantastic Beasts movies, the rise and fall of Grindelwald. It could be fun to go further back in time. A young Nicholas Flamel? The founders of Hogwarts? Maybe even Merlin himself? Or maybe the wizarding world in a different culture. Any number of African or Asian cultures especially would be very interesting in the wizarding world, to me, at least.
I knew before I read this comment that it would be like this! 🙂 Crazy how differently we think. And as the 80s primetime sitcom lineup taught me, It takes Diff’rent Strokes to the move the world.
I think Harry/Ginny thing was good same with Ron/Hermione I made have put Ginny with Neville though I don’t know. I agree with Dad, Harry and Cho together…excuse me while I go puke. I don’t know about the marauders though, I enjoy the Newt Scamander movies a lot more than I enjoy even the Harry Potter movies they’re not better than the books though.
I do believe, however, that the whole Ron and Lavender thing is the most annoying thing in the whole series.
It is. I do believe it’s intentionally annoying.