Harry Potter and the Inexplicably Incompetent and Short-sighted or Else Unbelievably Manipulative Headmaster Who’s Supposed to be Looking Out for Him would be a more accurate title. Poor Harry, he really does not have a single responsible adult in his life (well, except Molly and he never heeds her advice anyway).
Some random thoughts that occurred to me in the course of this reread below.
Reading about St. Mungo’s, I have a number of questions I don’t remember occurring to me before – for example, what do wizards do when they get a non-magical illness, like smallpox or pneumonia, seeing as Healers seem to only treat magical maladies? Judging by Ron’s reaction to doctors („those Muggle nutter that cut people up?“) and the general poor understanding of the Muggle world among pure-blood families, they don’t have a habit of turning to Muggle medicine, which would mean they have magical means for dealing with those, which poses an ethical issue – if they can treat Muggle diseases, aren’t they obligated to share this knowledge with Muggles, their fellow human beings? There’s even a specific example in the text – Arthur takes a Blood Replenishing Potion to treat his non-stop bleeding after the bite. I feel like this should definitely be something ethics would require them to share with everyone, especially considering the need for blood in the Muggle world; it would make the need for blood donations obsolete.
This should be called Harry Potter: The Ungrateful Little Shit. I’d forgotten what an obnoxious brat he is throughout this book, and what a low opinion he has of his friends. If it wasn’t for his supreme affection and loyalty to Neville exhibited in the heartbreaking St. Mungo’s scene (which made me cry, again), I’d have hated his guts by the last quarter of the book. It also illuminated for me just how much Harry underappreciates Hermione without whom he’d have been dead at 11, not to mention failed all his exams and sent back to the Muggle world. She deserves much much more recognition than he gives her, which is barely any. And the same goes for Ron.
Speaking of Hermione, another thing I notice clearly now that for some reason hadn’t struck me that much before is just how ruthless she is! (It’s one of the things I love most about her tbh.) She keeps a women unemployed with blackmail and then forces her to do her job for free. I’ll be honest, this is skirting the line even for me, the most diehard fan of Hermione – it’s not only illegal (though Hermione has proven before she only cares for those rules that jive with her inner moral compass), it’s pretty cruel. It makes you think just how much JKR loathes tabloid journalists! But it doesn’t stop there – this is also the book where 16-year-old Hermione disobeys a teacher (a first for her), starts an illegal organisation in direct defiance of said teacher and the law, manipulates marginalised creatures over whom she has enormous privilege to further her political agenda (good thing she grows out of that eventually), and inflicts a permanent – yes, as in lifelong – facial disfigurement to traitors. She’d make one fearsome dictator, if she were into power – it’s a good thing she’s not.
Found another inconsistency – if you can listen in on other people’s conversations in Pensieve memories even when the person whose memory it is didn’t hear it at the time means any secret can be revealed if you found someone who was at the vicinity of its sharing at the time and ask them to extract the memory. Anyone could have known Remus was a werewolf for example, if they were on the grounds that day (and the entire school was) if they just entered their memory and went close enough to the Marauders.
I have to say the oft-repeated criticism that the DE couldn’t handle a bunch of teenagers is not true – they could, and did. They had them all defeated, and Harry with the unscathed prophecy cornered, when the Order and the Aurors arrived, and it was only after Dumbledore turned up that they were finally subdued – they had managed to murder Sirius and incapacitate Tonks and were well on their way to escape before that.