All Is Not Well by Luke Davis

As I turn the final page of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, the words ‘all was well’ mark a dark new chapter in the history of this planet. For the first time in ten years, readers could no longer revel in the admittedly flawed but still enjoyable novels, while JK Rowling presumably noticed her river of money had slowly begun to vanish. I, however, was left amazed. Amazed at just what people saw in these books and at why it seemed a crime to suggest that anything at all was wrong with these books. Are Potter fans (or ‘Potterheads’, as I believe they call themselves) right to praise these stories the way they do, or is this just another set of incoherent words on paper?

The very basic outline for this series of books is that they are set in a world of magic and sorcery. Just reading the blurb of the first book (‘HARRY POTTER IS A WIZARD!’ in capital letters) makes me envisage Rowling clearly being over-excited, seeing this as the perfect excuse to write books which make no sense whatsoever, explaining everything with the simple reasoning of ‘but it’s magic’. I know it is magic but, if nothing can possibly be believed in the book, how is the reader supposed to relate to anything that happens? From the many times I have seen the films and read the books, I have not once wished I could live in the wizarding world, simply because there’s no logic there. And I’m not talking about the Doctor Who logic ignorance where literally nothing going on makes any sort of sense – it’s not quite that bad, but it’s not far off.

Only in Harry Potter, for example, could Dumbledore – the one man keeping hundreds of children safe from inevitable death – not only ask his close friend and colleague to kill him, putting all those students in perilous danger, but also appoint him as his successor, despite his connection with the Death Eaters. I hope I’m missing something here because this old man is, without a doubt, the most irresponsible headmaster I have ever heard of. When schools are in danger of being taken over by terrorists, and members of staff can’t do anything about it or even send the children home, there is something very wrong and I honestly worry for those people who await their letter on their eleventh birthdays. I’ll admit that the devastated Hogwarts is a distressing image, but throughout all seven books, we are led to believe that Hogwarts is a safe haven, where nothing could possibly go wrong. Then suddenly we’re given this dark, corrupt place of ‘education’ controlled by Death Eaters and filled with dark magic.

As for dark magic, well, I cannot see that anyone felt the need to celebrate the fall of Voldemort in any way apart from the Death Eaters, who must have seen it as extra publicity for his rise again a few years later. The whole point of Voldemort being defeated is made entirely irrelevant when, apart from one year when Harry instead receives a visit from a mass murderer, Voldemort returns every year. And how does Voldemort return? By using information he obtained in the Hogwarts library, of course. Hermione has often visited this area of the library, sometimes with Harry and Ron, without any permission from any teacher. Without these books Tom Riddle would never have learnt about horcruxes, would never have become Voldemort, and they’d never have had to defeat Quirrell.

I’m all for the saving of libraries, but no one seems to accept that those in Slytherin, although admittedly not generally the type to spend their time in the library, do still exist and can easily learn about any dark magic they wish to know about.

If there were any magical OFSTED equivalent, Hogwarts would have been long since shut down. It is a school beyond irresponsible, to the point where there are instruction manuals for making yourself look like anyone else (provided you have a single hair of theirs) and they haven’t removed them or put them out of children’s reach. Besides, even if they’re not for the students’ use, why exactly are they in a school where the library is primarily for the students? Whoever thought up the idea of the school having a restricted section (which is never used in any lessons) indirectly caused the deaths of all the wizards and Muggles killed by Voldemort and the Death Eaters.

But none of this compares to the revelation of ‘You’re a wizard, Harry’. If ever there was an iconic literary moment for this generation, this would be it. Hagrid bursts through the door, breaking the brilliant news that Harry Potter has been accepted into the glorious world that is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, the logic behind this acceptance into the wizarding world is very flawed indeed. While the ‘send a letter and hope they respond’ technique didn’t quite work, their plan of sending a half-giant to break down the door of people who have never actually met him, announcing he is going to take Harry away for the next seven years of his life to learn magic rather than having a proper education, is equally ridiculous. Maybe I’m not ‘reading between the lines’ enough here but, as far as I can see, the only real jobs in the wizarding world are working in a shop, being a teacher, or working for the Ministry of Magic. Two of those options have already been taken over by dark magic before, and someone like Hermione isn’t exactly going to jump at the chance of working in a textbook shop.

If by any chance you have not read these books, spare yourself from the pain and effort of having to turn every page, knowing every time you do a mess of words will appear, each sentence bringing new suffering to your eyes. If you are determined to read something you will regret for the rest of your existence on this planet, go and read Twilight or The Hunger Games. But, believe me, this isn’t worth it – half of the characters couldn’t manage to stay until the end, and neither will you.