I’d like to start off by saying this sort of thing gets me upset, so be prepared for profanity. I try to keep it clean around here, but I kind of just know when I’m going to lose it. Also, my alternative title was, “Hermione and Professor McGonagall are idiots.” Let’s rock:
As a refresher, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban‘s second act occurs when Buckbeak (a half eagle, half horse) is sentenced to death and apparently killed and Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black (not a great name; J.K. Rowling has PND – that’s Proper Noun Disease) is captured by the Demontors (again, PND), who plan to suck his soul out of his body as punishment for escaping from prison. Sounds fair, right? Oh, and Peter Pettigrew (aka Wormtail – again, PND) escapes – he’s the man who is to blame for revealing Harry’s parent’s secret location to Voldemort, the self styled Wizard Hitler of the Harry Potter world that killed Harry’s parents. This is resolved when Harry and Hermione use the timeturner necklace to travel backwards through time, save Buckbeak from the executioner, save Harry and Sirius from the Dementors and then save Sirius from his holding cell at Horgwarts Castle.
Got that? They traveled backwards through time to solve the problems.
Stop for a minute and consider the implications of being able to travel through time and change things for the better. Now imagine you’re Harry Potter; where would you go first? Easy – go kill Voldemort before he becomes too powerful. Not only would you save your parents’ lives, but countless others, and you’d get to grow up like a regular kid – well, like a regular magic kid, I guess. But you’d bring every dark wizard catcher on earth through time if you have to get Voldemort, right? I’m sure there are lots of moral questions to kick around, but if I could travel through time and kill Hitler when he was still in his artist phase, I’d do it. I think killing is fundamentally wrong, but fuck Hitler. Fuck him right in that stupid mustache. There’s having a right to your own opinion and then there’s being a mass murdering Nazi fuck head. I don’t play that, and Harry shouldn’t play that, either.
“Awful things happen to wizards who meddle with time, Harry.” Right, Hermione’s warning. Is this why we can’t go right the significant wrongs? I don’t buy it. This just isn’t enough of a cover for this gigantic hole in the greater Harry Potter plot. Here’s a list of characters that something awful happened to that didn’t meddle with time:
- James Potter
- Lily Potter
- Cedric Diggory
- Sirius Black
- Katie Bell
- Albus Dumbledore
- Percival Dumbledore
- Kendra Dumbledore
- Lord Voldemort
- J.R. Lupin
- Peter Pettigrew
- Nymphadora Tonks
- Fred Weasley
- Frank Longbottom
- Alice Longbottom
And that’s just off the top of my head. So it seems like in the Harry Potter world, you’ve got a good chance of getting your ass kicked whether you meddle with time or not. Here’s one more: Hagrid got framed for murder and kicked out of school, never knew his mom and his dad died when he was like 12. That sounds pretty awful to me.
Furthermore, the revelation that time travel is possible means that the only bigger idiot than Hermione in the Harry Potter series is Professor McGonagall, the person that gave her the time turner in the first place. How long has McGonagall known time travel was possible? Before the prophecy that ultimately killed Harry’s parents was made? Before Voldemort rose to power? Before Rowling wrote page after page of The Deathly Hallows featuring the gang in the woods, pitching their tent, casting protection spells and later, Hermione crying? When did McGonagall know? And who else knows?!? Dumbledore?
This sucks. Including time travel in The Prisoner of Azkaban is the worst thing Rowling has ever done. I’d say it ruins her books, but honestly, the prom scene in Goblet of Fire pretty much does that all by itself, not to mention the sheer insanity of the tournament in the first place. Let’s conduct a life threatening sporting event on our boarding school campus. Brilliant!