Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Enough Already! The Final Word on Harry Potter.

I'VE HELD MY tongue, figuratively speaking, on the whole matter of Harry Potter until now. The amount of bad commentary on Potter lately forces me to (figuratively) put pen to paper and (literally) blog about it.

Here I will consider a controversy that is of such a sensitive nature that I recommend that children stop reading, now. This is for mature adults only.

Regarding the controversy on the use of magic in the series, I have nothing to say that hasn't been said in great detail by those of far more competence than me. Neither will I consider the view that Potter is at its core a Christian tale, especially since its authoress J.K. Rowling is an active member of the Church of England (C of E, LOL), or if it is instead fundamentally pagan.

But there is a controversy of far higher importance. I am sad to report that even the most learned of theologians and highly respected laymen get it wrong. Way wrong. But at the risk of being appearing prideful, I claim that I am right, I know I am right, and I can prove that I am right. Those who disagree with me are certainly wrong. Everyone, it seems, from teenage fanboys (of the female variety) to tenured college professors make the same shameful error.

Of course I speak of the romantic relationship (or rather the lack thereof) between Harry and Hermione. Untold amounts of figurative ink has been spilled on this literally fictional relationship, and everybody got it wrong until now.

Harry likes Hermione. Hermione likes Harry. He is the hero of the series. She is the heroine of the series. They are always together. They work together well. They are strongly matched in abilities. They look so cute together. It is logical that they ought to be together. WHY DON'T THEY HAVE A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP???!!!?

Teenage girls wail literal tears at this injustice. Holders of Ph.D.s from storied universities claim this is a serious plot deficiency.

Total rubbish. In utter refutation, I give you one word: Chemistry.

Pascal wrote in Les Pensées, « Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point. » “The heart has its reasons that reason knows not of.” Chemistry is that je ne sais quoi, a subjective quality that sometimes involves actual chemicals, which is poorly represented either on the page or on the screen. Chemistry is poorly understood, involving subconscious psychology and obscure biology. Quelle horreur! How would you know if a character has actual chemistry with someone unless you actually are that character?

OK. Last chance for sensitive readers to bail out. You are warned.

Chemistry is something that I would not expect either a teenager or an academe to understand; for it colors, influences, shapes, and distorts the logic in a relationship, and can be imperfectly understood only by being in, and reflecting on, a number of relationships. For all we know, and I am being as blunt as possible, maybe Hermione's B.O. smells — to Harry — just like the body odor of Harry's Aunt Marge. Ewwwwwww. That is a total relationship-kill. Since nothing is stopping them from getting together, and they greatly enjoy their Platonic relationship, their impediment to a romantic relationship must be chemistry.

In times and places where marriages are arranged, a reasonable matchmaker would take chemistry into account. Likewise, a couple of virtue who do have chemistry, but realize that their relationship would cause problems, would not continue the relationship for the greater good. The head and the heart ought to coexist harmoniously, and ought not be opposed to one another.


  1. I really hope you mean "arranged" and not "arraigned" marriages. :-) In case you haven't seen it, here's a mention of your book in the current issue of the Jesuit journal "Company."

  2. Since when did a series of juvenile novels becomes worth all this fuss and feathers???

  3. Irene,

    I haven't heard from you in a while. I hope all is OK with you.

    I wouldn't call Potter merely a juvenile series, since it has broad appeal, as do other past epic fantasies. Good fiction, in my opinion, satisfies on a number of levels, and certainly the same could be said of Potter, despite its flaws.