okay okay but hear me out: wizarding tattoos
tattoos of cats that wind around your ankles, birds that fly across your back when you move, a wand that moves when you move your own wand, a map on the back of your hand that shows your current location
the possibilities are endless
- book one: professor mcgonagall and the you put a WHAT in our WHERE albus
- book two: professor mcgonagall and the we have a WHAT IN OUR WHERE ALBUS
- book three: professor mcgonagall and the ministry is sending us WHAT because of WHO
- book four: professor mcgonagall and the ARE YOU SHITTING ME ALBUS
- book five: professor mcgonagall and the we have WHO telling us to do WHAT
- book six: professor mcgonagall and the albus do something NO NOT THAT
- book seven: professor mcgonagall and the I FINALLY GET TO BLOW SHIT UP THANK YOU WIZARD GOD
I suspect that Jo Rowling probably imagined James and Harry as white too, i don’t mind that, that’s her business.
Personally I’m mentally acting against the white-as-default-unless-otherwise-specified that’s pervasive in imagining media especially in predominately white fandom culture.
I’ve generally operated on a POC-unless-otherwise-noted basis with how I imagine characters. My HP headcanons aren’t What If Everybody In Harry Potter Was Black Instead Of White. They only read that way if you’re still stuck in the white-as-default zone.
James’ skin color, hair texture, etc to my knowledge has never been specified and that means to me that even a reader who strictly contains themselves within the bounds of canon is free to imagine him as any number of ethnicities.
In absence of a specified race I chose to imagine the one that makes the story most compelling to me.
In absence of a specified race I chose to imagine the one that makes the story most compelling to me.
My James is black because that creates the most personally compelling racial background for my Harry. It is informed by my interpretation of the canon interactions between the Potters and the Evans/Dursleys, whom Jo Rowling and I probably imagine very similarly. It is informed by my experience as the black mixed-race child of a black man and a white woman who grew up more or less estranged from both my parents largely in the care of my white maternal aunt and her family, household, values, and prejudices. It is informed by my personal desire for a black mixed-race hero story.
Probably most important to me, my desire to create and disseminate content that involves non-white interpretations of popularly-imagined-white-by-default characters reflects my desire to speak to people like me, who are not used to seeing faces like theirs represented in the popular media they consume. It reflects my fight against white-as-default. It reflects my desire to contribute to young people of color feeling empowered by popular fiction and not othered by it. It reflects my desire not to let blockbuster casting directors dictate what you may or may not imagine the characters that populate your fiction to be.
It’s not arbitrary and it doesn’t come from nowhere, but if it did, that would be fine too. All my interpretations are based squarely in canon. But if they weren’t, that would be damn well acceptable. Squeeze representation out of anywhere you can feel it and fabricate the rest. Own your fiction.
The James as black headcannon not only works, it adds a whole different depth to the story. First off, Veron’s intenser hatred for James than Lily, The whole Pure-Race dogma of the death eaters, the fact that James, though pureblood, didn’t seem to have any Death Eater family members like Sirius did.
Then Harry as mixed, the teasing he got as school, the fact that he was never mistaken for an actual relative of the Dursley’s in public. His black uncontrollable hair that his white family had NO IDEA how to deal with. His eyes were always considered striking though it’s not an unusual color for whites.
Screw it, headcannon accepted.
The basic plot, which cannot be ignored even in the films, is that Harry, Hermione and Ron give up everything for their political struggle. They drop out of high school, they go illegal, defy the government, belong to an underground organization [The Order of the Phoenix], operate out of safe houses and forests and even raid offices of the government and banking offices. This is all done in principled opposition to the Dark Wizard Voldemort and a corrupt bureaucratized government that has been heavily infiltrated with his evil minions. This is revolutionary activity. But the movie version does not present it as such or emphasize these radical aspects of the plot, thereby entirely missing the dramatic sweep and action present in the first half of the last novel.
The novels recognize the importance of alternative media for political struggle. The mainstream press [The Daily Prophet] is shown as unreliable and unprincipled, eventually deteriorating into a fear-mongering propaganda machine for the Voldemort-controlled bureaucracy. For a while the alternative but above ground media [The Quibbler] publishes the real news, but it ceases to print after the daughter of the publisher is kidnapped. In the book, friends of Harry [Lee Jordan, with Fred and George Weasley as frequent guests] start broadcasting the real news from an underground radio station, encrypted with a password. This radio station becomes a critical link for the resistance, which is scattered and weak. Although we are treated to some radio broadcast updates in the movie, they are delivered by a disembodied and professional sounding voice, not our friends the Weasleys. This undermines the important message - a guiding principle behind the media coop - that in a serious situation it becomes necessary to produce your own media and not to rely on ‘professionals’.
The novel makes it clear that in this phase of the struggle the characters romantic lives take a backseat to their political activity, as Harry breaks up with the love of his life [Ginny Weasley] so as to avoid making her a target for Voldemort’s forces, who are known to use torture and kidnapping as tactics. The ‘love triangle’ that becomes the focus of the movie isn’t even really present in the books. In the books, the relationship between Harry and Hermione is totally platonic - Ron is shown as jealous, but the feeling is entirely without foundation. In the book Harry says to Ron: “I love her like a sister and I reckon she feels the same way about me. It’s always been like that. I thought you knew” (pg 378, DH US Hardback). This conveys that men and women can be close comrades and friends without being involved romantically. But in the film, Harry and Hermione are shown dancing romantically, and Harry’s line to Ron about his brotherly feeling towards Hermione does not even make it into the film. This completely undermines the important message that jealousy is counter-productive and has toxic effects, which is an important feminist message for young people."
Okay, okay, I’m going to tell you what Hermione sees in Ron.
A trio is a balancing act, right? They’re equalizers of each other. Harry’s like the action, Hermione’s the brains, Ron’s the heart. Hermione has been assassinated in these movies, and I mean that genuinely—by giving her every single positive character trait that Ron has, they have assassinated her character in the movies. She’s been harmed by being made to be less human, because everything good Ron has, she’s been given.
So, for instance: “If you want to kill Harry, you’re going to have to kill me too”—RON, leg is broken, he’s in pain, gets up and stands in front of Harry and says this. Who gets that line in the movie? Hermione.
“Fear of a name increases the fear of the thing itself.” Hermione doesn’t say Voldemort’s name until well into the books—that’s Dumbledore’s line. When does Hermione say it in the movies? Beginning of Movie 2.
When the Devil’s Snare is curling itself around everybody, Hermione panics, and Ron is the one who keeps his head and says “Are you a witch or not?” In the movie, everybody else panics and Hermione keeps her head and does the biggest, brightest flare of sunlight spell there ever was.
So, Hermione—all her flaws were shaved away in the films. And that sounds like you’re making a kick-ass, amazing character, and what you’re doing is dehumanizing her. And it pisses me off. It really does.
In the books, they balance each other out, because where Hermione gets frazzled and maybe her rationality overtakes some of her instinct, Ron has that to back it up; Ron has a kind of emotional grounding that can keep Hermione’s hyper-rationalness in check. Sometimes Hermione’s super-logical nature grates Harry and bothers him, and isn’t the thing he needs even if it’s the right thing, like when she says “You have a saving people thing.” That is the thing that Harry needed to hear, she’s a hundred percent right, but the way she does it is wrong. That’s the classic “she’s super logical, she’s super brilliant, but she doesn’t know how to handle people emotionally,” at least Harry.
So in the books they are this balanced group, and in the movies, in the movies—hell, not even Harry is good enough for Hermione in the movies. No one’s good enough for Hermione in the movies—God isn’t good enough for Hermione in the movies! Hermione is everybody’s everything in the movies.
Harry’s idea to jump on the dragon in the books, who gets it in the movies? Hermione, who hates to fly. Hermione, who overcomes her withering fear of flying to take over Harry’s big idea to get out of the—like, why does Hermione get all these moments?
[John: Because we need to market the movie to girls.]
I think girls like the books, period. And like the Hermione in the books, and like the Hermione in the books just fine before Hollywood made her idealized and perfect. And if they would have trusted that, they would have been just fine.
Would the movies have been bad if she was as awesome as she was in the books, and as human as she was in the books? Would the movies get worse?
She IS a strong girl character. This is the thing that pisses me off. They are equating “strong” with superhuman. To me, the Hermione in the book is twelve times stronger than the completely unreachable ideal of Hermione in the movies. Give me the Hermione in the book who’s human and has flaws any single day of the week.
Here’s a classic example: When Snape in the first book yells at Hermione for being an insufferable know-it-all, do you want to know what Ron says in the book? “Well, you’re asking the questions, and she has to answer. Why ask if you don’t want to be told?” What does he say in the movie? “He’s got a point, you know.” Ron? Would never do that. Would NEVER do that, even before he liked Hermione. Ron would never do that."