I’m going to talk about Harry Potter. I’m going to assume my readers have read the novels or seen the movies (or both). The books have been out for a long time so don’t blather at me about spoilers.
The other day, I picked up the first Harry Potter novel because I wanted some easy, quick, light, brain candy reading. I’ve read the whole series many times over and I’m a fan of them. Given my penchant for loving YA, it’s not a surprise that I end up reading them at least once a year.
Having said all that, I sat there reading thinking, “This is ridiculous! That would never happen! NEVER.” The books should come with a warning: “Beware plot holes. Your brain my trip.”
In the very first chapter of the very first book we are presented with a situation complied entirely of bullshit. Harry’s parents have died at the hands of Voldemort, the most evil wizard to have ever lived, and Harry somehow survived but also brought about Voldemort’s demise. All at the tender age of ONE. Okay, fine. I’m ok with that. I’ve read a ton of fantasy and science fiction that dealt with The Chosen One trope. It’s all good.
What happens next is not. The very night of his parents’ death, with Death Eaters still unaccounted for and no one certain that Voldemort is really gone, Dumbledore arrives at the home of the Dursleys. His mission? Leave a one year old baby wrapped in a blanket on a doorstep and walk away. Oh, and he leaves a letter in explanation.
Problem the first: Chances are pretty good little Harry would wake up and toddle off before Petunia Dursley knew what was on her doorstep. Thus, she would open her front door to find a rumpled blanket and a letter from a crazy wizard.
Problem the second: The Dursleys are Muggles. They have no means to protect Harry. Yes, yes, I know – the protective charm of Harry’s mother’s love. But that only works in the house itself. See: Dementors attacking in Little Whinging. All any Death Eater had to do was attack Harry at primary school or when he was wandering the neighborhood. The only person remotely keeping an eye out for Harry is Mrs. Figg and she’s a Squib. Swell planning there, Albus.
Moving forward, for the next TEN YEARS, Dumbledore does nothing to check in on Harry. Is he being treated well? Taken care of appropriately? Been told his own story? A wizard craves not these things. In reality, Harry is abused, bullied, and barely fed. And yet, somehow, this treatment does not turn Harry into a psychopath. Albus really lucked out, there.
Finally, Harry enters the wizarding world. Yay Harry! But once at Hogwarts he encounters Severus Snape. Who proceeds to spend the next seven years of Harry’s life taking his anger and petty jealousy of James out on Harry. He only begrudgingly works to keep Harry intact because he “has Lily’s eyes.” BIG WHOOP, SEVERUS. You managed to keep your child abuse to the strictly emotional! How kind of you. And no, I have never seen Snape as the hero that so many others did. He was snivelling wretch who was out to save his own hide while taking pieces of Harry’s. Piss off, Severus.
Where is Headmaster Dumbledore during all of this? Precisely nowhere. Abandoning Harry to the whims of a sadist whilst refusing to give Harry knowledge that Harry had every right to. Only when FORCED does Dumbledore admit the barest of truth to Harry. “I thought it best you figured it out for yourself, Harry.” Dumbledore acts like he knows everything that happens within the confines of Hogwarts but if that’s the case there are all kinds of infractions he ignores. I mean, come on. How hard would it have been for Dumbledore to grab a time turner from the Ministry and back time up an hour to figure out the whole Chamber of Secrets thing?
Eventually, Dumbledore dies and rather than prepare Harry for this event – which Dumbledore KNEW was coming – he instead let’s Harry witness Snape killing him. So much for the fact that you keep telling Harry to trust Snape, Albus. Well played! Dumbledore doesn’t give Harry any notion of how to find the remaining horcruxes, he doesn’t even tell Harry what he’s long known – that Harry himself is a horcrux. He just dies and leaves Harry a snitch that he can’t open until he’s walking into the forest to commit suicide by Voldemort.
Beyond that, Dumbledore has a whole Order of the Phoenix – why didn’t he send THEM horcrux hunting? It makes NO SENSE to give the task to a 17 year old boy but leave him NO DIRECTION.
Let’s talk about this wand business, too. In the end, Harry is able to defeat Voldemort and the Elder Wand because he had previously beaten Draco Malfoy in a duel. Draco was the unknown master of the Elder Wand, it having changed its allegiance when Draco disarmed Dumbledore on the tower. When Draco later lost his duel with Harry, the Elder Wand changed allegiance again – to Harry. All of this happens unbeknownst to basically ANYONE but Harry himself. (And maybe Mr. Ollivander, if he managed to follow the thread of Harry’s inquiries.)
That is an incredibly convoluted series of events. Are you seriously telling me that Dumbledore was willing to gamble THAT BIG? And yes, I know he tells Harry in King’s Cross that he had intended to die as the last master of the Elder Wand. Well isn’t he just the luckiest idiot that ever cast a spell? He had no back up plan. Nothing. What the hell did he think was going to happen?
It is an absolute miracle that Harry managed to survive at all, much less WIN, when he had Dumbledore for a ‘protector.’ It’s one thing for The Chosen One to go up against terrible odds but still manage to win because he’s given the tools to compensate for those odds. Harry, on the other hand, is given almost nothing and expected to beat the most evil wizard of all time.
Don’t tell Hagrid, but Dumbledore is kind of a prick.