Friday, 14 March 2014

Harry Potter and The Sloppily Snogging Adolescents

Although I've already written about how the true hero of the Harry Potter series was, in fact, Neville Longbottom here, I thought the time was ripe to discuss love in the magical world, seeing as I just finished watching all the movies again. Love in the Harry Potter universe is awkward, forced, and not all that romantic.

Ron & Hermione Screencaps [Order of the Phoenix] - romione Screencap
Pictured: Romance.

The Harry Potter series deals with a number of themes, such as: what it would be like to find out that you are a wizard and the most important person who ever lived, what it would be like to go to boarding school in England, and what it would be like to have a bitching invisibility cloak that you conveniently forget about when the plot demands it.
"Hot damn. I've got to be good looking 'cause I'm so hard to see."

And while these themes are, for the most part, handled quite well in the movies (I'm focusing on the movies for sake of convenience), romantic love unfortunately is not. Handled well, I mean. The lack of handjobs in the series is the first indicator of this poor handling, but the narrative of the movies never really gave much leeway for the romantic sub-plots to be dealt with any significant way. Therefore, romantic liaisons between Hogwarts students are noticeably ham-fisted as they have to rush in a quickie before Harry destroys a Horcrux or something.

Sometimes a Horcux rushed in a quickie too.

Characters are a forced together without a lot (or any) time given to actually develop any real chemistry between them, despite being main characters in every movie. Ron and Hermione do the endlessly entertaining will they, won't they, you-know-they-will-and-wish-they'd-just-get-on-with-it dance, or in their case, fumble, from as early as Year 3. Possibly, even Chamber of Secrets.

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets - ronald-weasley Screencap
Get on with it.

Obviously, these are young characters whose clumsy inability to manage the romantic feelings tentatively forming between them is supposed to highlight the growing pains of adolescence. But they are young, like 12 years old, when the hints start coming, which begs the question of why there are moments of gawkiness between Ron and Hermione sprinkled in so early, aside from a not-too-subtle attempt to make everyone swoon with a bigger pay-off when they finally and inevitably kiss in the final movie (in the Chamber of Secrets! Nice, bringing it back around).
He's wet. She's wet. Half the audience is wet.

Unfortunately, in one of the least effective attempts in cinematic history to suggest that this inevitable end result might not be as inevitable as it so totally is (that is until Jacob developed shirt-disintegration disease in the presence of Bella), they even try to add a love triangle to spice up some drama in Half-Blood Prince with the addition of Lavender Brown. Lavender has no defining characteristics aside for being irrationally attracted to Ron for no reason that can be determined by mortal man. He pays her no attention and is barely aware of her presence until she starts flirting with him. He is then bemused by her flirting and doesn't really flirt back, only really makes out with her because she is there and doesn't even really like her. And all this after he didn't really do anything to get her attention in the first place. Some might say he impressed her by his mad Keeper skills, but in the movie, she is totally into him before Quidditch trial-outs happen.

This happened in the Weasly twin's joke shop. Before school started. So, yeah. Apparently, Ron's got it going on.

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Lavender, she is not actually a minor secondary character but is in fact merely a plot device to make Hermione jealous and move along the romance between Ron and Hermione.

Although, she also has a bit of creepy stalker lady from her mother's side.

However, Ron and Hermione's adolescent wizard play at Ross and Rachel (Hermione is Ross in this equation) pales in comparison to the dour and oddly lifeless chemistry between Harry and Ginny. While Harry might be the Boy Who Lived and the Chosen One or whatever, he certainly is no lover. His first love 'interest', for lack of a better word, is Cho Chang. And after being failing to muster up the courage to talk to her and completely incapable of interacting with her in a normal manner in The Goblet of Fire, Harry has to made do with being her rebound in Order of the Phoenix.

Harry described this kiss as "wet", which is kinda rich in light of Ron and Hermione's  first kiss above.

That sub-plot fizzled out in Half-Blood Prince since Cho Chang was only meant to provided some romantic interest for Harry while we waited for Ginny to get older so Harry didn't seem too much like a pedophile when he started getting interested in her. And of course, Harry only really starts getting interested in Ginny when she is dating Dean Thomas, because apparently the only way for a main character to feel love for someone in the wizarding world is through jealousy.

"Yes, kiss me now. I think Harry's watching."

But the thing is, there is little to no spark whatsoever between Harry and Ginny in the movies. Most of the 'romantic' scenes with the two of them are so lifeless and devoid of passion aside from a sad reluctance that they know that they have to do it and might as well get it over with.

"I'm sorry, Harry. I'm so frigid that I'm just not feeling it, you know?" - Ginny

Part of this is the obviously forced nature of these scenes, like the dress zipper scene pictured above. Perhaps because the scene itself is so reserved and lacking any real passion (despite the fact Voldemort is out and about killing people and the threat of death is a pretty good aphrodisiac), it obscures the fact it makes little sense. Harry is in the kitchen/living room area of the Weasley's house when Ginny appears out of nowhere and asks him to zip her up. In the living room. Of a house where more than seven witches and wizards are currently residing. Why was she walking around the house with the zip for her dress undone? Was there nobody in the vicinity of her bedroom, which I think she might have been sharing with Hermione, who could have helped zip her dress up? Was she looking for Harry so that he could do it? And if so, does that mean that her thought-process went something like, "I know. I'll put on my dress in my room, walk downstairs to the living room area, wait around a bit and hope Harry comes by so he can do up my zip and then we can snog for a while"?

Well, it worked. So, hooray?

Harry and Ginny end up together because they end up together. Not because anything is allowed to really develop between them onscreen but because it happened in the books. So, they are forced together in situations where they have to try and be into each other, despite not actually feeling any real magic.

But at least there is this kind of magic instead.
And while adolescent love in Hogwarts might lack fire and a certain authenticity, it undeniably has an abundance of snogging.

No, seriously. That's an eight minute video of kissing scenes from the movies. People kiss a lot in Hogwarts. Mostly in a hesitant awkward manner. Get a room.

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