Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Problem with Professors

At the moment I’m engrossed with re-reading the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling in preparation for the theatrical release of the final film in July. Unfortunately, I’ve reached my least favourite book in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and I’ve found myself not wanting to continue reading. Obviously I can’t just skip over the fifth book, and finish reading the rest of the series, because that would be heresy. I find it physically impossible to read books out of their proper order, even if I’ve read the series as many times as I have with Harry Potter. When I first read the Order of the Phoenix, and every time re-read it (as well as the multiple times I’ve watched the film), I have the same reaction: utter repulsion and anger, which are then transmuted into sheer boredom, and which then results in swift abandonment.

During my current re-reading of the book I’ve noticed that it is certain themes in the story which are the cause of my extreme reaction. These themes revolve around the new character, Dolores Umbridge. In short, she is a despicable person, whom I cannot help but hate. I’m usually in full support of authority figures who do things for a reason, but Umbridge, and her puppet-master Cornelius Fudge (the Minister for Magic), are anything but reasonable. They are short-sited, stubborn, and unjust, all for the wrong reasons. Umbridge feels that she should have complete authority over the Hogwarts students, and over their teachers (including Dumbledore). Stupid cow that she is, she actually thinks that this is possible. Obviously Dumbledore cannot be controlled (nor should he be), and someone should have given her a reality cheque. The best moment of the book (and the movie of course) occurs when Fred and George Weasley decide that they have had enough ot Umbridge’s meddling, and that their time at Hogwarts has come to an end. In true trouble-maker style that would have made their rebellious forefathers (Lupin, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs) proud, they go out with a bang, literally. It really doesn’t get any better than seeing Umbridge chased down by a firecracker dragon!

photo courtesy of allmoviephoto

At the finale of the story the truth about the return of Lord Voldemort is revealed (and accepted) by the Wizarding community, and Umbridge is dethroned. While the battle between the forces of good and evil (yes, clichés abound) is actually only beginning, the small victory of having an unfair person put in her place, and reason restored to teaching at Hogwarts is at least a battle won. I’m not a believer in stories always turning out for the better (that’s just not real life), I try to find hope for the resolution of my own story, just as Harry and his friends must always look to the light, even though it is often dimmed. 

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