Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Halitosis

Books-we'd-like-to-read department

Plot Summary of the new Harry Potter:

The book opens with Harry struggling to contain the spread of the dreaded Horcrux, a delicious and nourishing malted hot drink (containing all the essential vitamins and minerals, and available in Plain, Strawberry and Chocolate flavours) through which Voldemort is spreading his evil essence, cleverly disguising it as 'permitted additives'. Harry tracks his foe to a call center training facility where Voldemort is preparing a secret army of crank callers, to be known by the dread name of the Deathly Hallo!s, whose anonymous phone calls shall help spread the reign of terror of He Who Shall Not Be Named. Breaking into a class in heavy breathing given by the Dark Lord himself, Harry confronts Voldemort, only to be taken captive and have his right arm cut off. Voldemort then reveals that he is Harry's true father and that he only killed Harry's parents because James Potter walked in on Voldemort and Harry's mother in bed together and dared to make fun of Voldemort's wand. At first Harry refuses to believe this, but Voldemort reminds him how every time James Potter's spirit shows up it's always wearing horns and how the man's nickname was Prongs [1].

The shock of this revelation, combined with the loss of blood from his amputated arm, sends Harry into a deep delirium where imaginary conversations with Dumbledore, Lupin and other potentially merchandisable characters mingle with feelings of disgust and vaguely prurient interest in his mother. His arm healed by the little known Breakium Bracchium spell, Harry proceeds to dress all in black, tells Ginny to go join a nunnery and spends his time walking about the ramparts of Hogwarts muttering to himself, eventually becoming the acting chairman of the Royal Society for Fictional Characters with Quasi-Freudian Hang-ups.

With Harry thus out of commission, Ron dons the mantle of the leader of the good side, until he remembers that this makes him invisible. Certain that he can bring Voldemort to justice, Ron hunts him down in the Deathly Hallows, and gets himself blown to little pieces, leaving behind nothing but three freckles and a lock of red hair. These are returned to a tearful Hermoine, who thinks for a while that she might be pregnant with Ron's child, but discovers that she's just eaten the 'morning sickness' flavour of Bertie Bott's Beans. Desperate for vengeance, she goes looking for Harry, and finds him wandering about the stables stark naked, poking out the eyes of the Gryphons.

150 pages of unconvincing adolescent angst later, Harry is finally convinced to rejoin the good fight, but decides to get a quick makeover first, figuring that the reason he isn't making any headway against Voldemort (or with girls) is that with his geeky glasses he isn't cool enough to be a true Hollywood hero. He exchanges his mild mannered glasses for a set of contacts and immediately discovers that he can now fly without a broomstick as long as he wears his underwear on the outside. On a whim, he also decides to get plastic surgery for his scar, which proves to be a masterstroke because with the scar gone Voldemort's power is broken in half.

Eventually, Harry and Voldemort meet in a wandfight at high noon, where Voldemort, despite his new weakness, manages to blow Harry's wand out of his hand and is about to kill the boy (who's writhing in the street crying "Father! Father!") when Hermoine, who's been standing unnoticed in a side street, kills Voldemort with a well-timed spell from her Winchester. Hermoine lets Harry take credit for the kill though, partly because she doesn't dare offend the patriarchal sensibilities of 12 million readers, but mostly because the prospect of being known for the rest of her life as "The Woman Who Shot He Who Must Not Be Named" is not one she particularly fancies. Heartbroken over the loss of Ron and poisoned by the knowledge of her secret, she returns to her home in Manchester and proceeds to burn her house, grow a designer stubble and live out the rest of her days in a haze of alcohol.

His enemy finally vanquished, Harry decides to run for Prime Minister, an ambition he's secretly nursed ever since he was voted Most Likely to End up as Tony Blair in third grade, but is killed by the irate ghost of Dumbledore, who was promised three flashbacks and only got two. The book ends with a moving description of Harry's funeral, where a procession of thousands of Harry Potter fans march through the streets of London in silent solidarity with their hero, being mistaken by the muggles watching in bemusement for a convention of Trekkies, only with less cool handshakes.

[1] The connection of horns to cuckoldry being, of course, yet another instance of how Rowling successfully blends elements of archaic and medieval myth into her stories.

14 comments:

A songbird said...

Any particular reason behind your annoyance with the harry potter series ;)

Falstaff said...

songbird: Oh, just the usual. The ridiculous hype, the blatant media manipulation. The shocking violation of literary meritocracy that the success of the HP series represents. The general notion that any time you see a group of adults behaving like gormless lemmings it's a good idea to make fun of them. The disappointment with myself for not having stopped reading this stuff at least two books before I should have, which I'm now compensating for. Oh, and pure snobbishness, of course.

The Man Who Wasnt There said...

and oh how about a simple "Because it deserves to be ridiculed?"

3inone said...

:) you should write for the New York Times!

Cheshire Cat said...

I think I might have preferred this version...

rs said...

"Hermoine lets Harry take credit for the kill though, partly because she doesn't dare offend the patriarchal sensibilities of 12 million readers"
:D

Space Bar said...

no no, the best part of it was harry putting the eyes out of the gryphons (though hippogriffs would have been better. brings godfather issues into the whole mess).

this is how art imitates life, how meta-fiction is constructed and how jkr makes ironic nods to rita skeeter and media hype.

Falstaff said...

TMWWT: Too easy.

3inone: Thanks, though I think you're exaggerating. Now if Murdoch takes over WSJ I could write for them.

cat: Thanks. It's the only version of the end I know, so I can't comment.

rs: Thanks

space bar: Yes, I quite loved that bit, though I hadn't really thought about the Godfather connection - the Equus links was what I was going for.

Space Bar said...

er--i meant sirius black the godfather; not the film. i mean, did you see the hug daniel radcliffe gave gary oldman in OotP?

Falstaff said...

space bar: Ah, sorry. Haven't seen any of the HP movies. I was thinking more of the Godfather-horses connection. Had visions of Voldemort arranging for Harry to wake up with the head of his favorite Gryphon in his bed.

Space Bar said...

ooh! that would be loverly! ;D wish I'd thought of that!

Anonymous said...

Who decides which books get press (Harry Potter) and which get censored? After all, censorship is becoming America's favorite past-time. The US gov't (and their corporate friends), already detain protesters, ban books like "America Deceived" from Amazon and Wikipedia, shut down Imus and fire 21-year tenured, BYU physics professor Steven Jones because he proved explosives, thermite in particular, took down the WTC buildings. Free Speech forever (especially for books).
Last link (before Google Books caves to pressure and drops the title):
America Deceived (book)

rs said...

Just read this post for the fourth time. while my commonplace taste in literature goes all out for harry potter (only those who write this well can look down upon JKR) i have to admit that this spoof on harry potter is much more readable.
seriously, acting chairman of the Royal Society for Fictional Characters with Quasi-Freudian Hang-ups :D

samira said...

Despite the fact that I'm an absolute nutter for the books, I have to say that this was hilarious. It's Hermione, though, not Hermoine. Just, you know, FYI.