Author has written 8 stories for Harry Potter, Naruto, Misc. Books, Misc. Tv Shows, and A song of Ice and Fire.
Not sure how many people read these things, but I think it’s sometimes interesting to get the author’s perspective on the characters and so forth, so that’s what I’ll do here.
JK Rowling started with an interesting, whimsical fairytale world. Unfortunately, she then felt the need to make it more grown-up for the later books, and everything just fell apart. I think the series as a whole would have been much better if she had maintained the more fanciful approach, rather than trying to go gritty.
Things really started going down hill in book 5. No sane person could possibly think that isolating Harry with relatives that were, at the very least, emotionally abusive would be a good idea, particularly while he blamed himself for Cedric’s death. Dumbledore’s decision to completely ignore a teenager that is being subjected to a nation-wide defamation campaign and repeatedly targeted for unfair punishment by authorities in the school where Dumbledore is the headmaster is absurd. He’s incredibly lucky that Harry was still willing to fight Voldemort after all that. I would have been sorely tempted to get the heck out of dodge, and let everyone else deal with the fallout on their own.
Book 6 took things to an even more ridiculous extreme. Draco Malfoy had repeatedly made it clear that he was excited and enthusiastic about the idea of becoming a death eater. In book 2, he gleefully shouted out his approval of the idea that the “mudbloods” would be killed. In book 4, he threatened Harry and his friends (“They’ll be the first to go, now the Dark Lord’s back. Mudbloods and Muggle-lovers first!”). At the end of book 5, he made it even more clear that he intended to join Voldemort (“You’re going to pay. I’m going to make you pay for what you’ve done to my father.” – emphasis in original). And yet, nobody believes Harry when he starts trying to warn people that Malfoy is up to something.
And perhaps the most outrageous thing about book 6 – those lessons with Dumbledore. Complete waste of time. Dumbledore gave Harry the basics of the mission, but deliberately did not give him the skills necessary to complete it. Take a close look at the trip to the cave. Dumbledore knows he’s dying; this is going to be the best chance he has to ensure that Harry is ready to find the other Horcruxes. And yet, Dumbledore doesn’t explain anything. The one time that Harry asks how Dumbledore knows that this is the place, rather than an informative response, Dumbledore goes the ‘wise and mysterious old man’ route, and simply says, “It has known magic”. How is that supposed to help Harry during the Horcrux hunt?
And then we get to book 7. The ultimate letdown. JKR created a powerful magical system with almost unlimited potential. And yet, when we get to the final book, instead of an epic look at what magical warfare is really like, we get three idiots in a tent going on the worst scavenger hunt in history. Where are the fidelius-charmed safehouses? Where are the protean-charmed alert systems to allow for rapid response teams? What about using time turners, so that once the good guys are notified of an attack, they have an hour to plan and prepare before turning back and leaping into the fray? What potions could be used in war? We saw how incredibly powerful felix felicis was. Why not use that? What other options are there? What kind of weapons can devious people like Fred and George come up with? And then there is the mental and moral shift the good guys have to go through now that they are technically outlaws. How far are they willing to go for victory? Do they start imperiusing death eaters? Killing the snatchers? Unleashing fiendfyre in the ministry? Where do they draw the line?
Even worse, in my opinion, is that Harry and co. didn’t find the horcruxes because they were skilled, or because they worked hard. They found them because they were lucky. It was pure luck that they overheard Griphook talking about the Sword of Gryffindor. It was pure luck that Bellatrix Lestrange saw the sword and started freaking out. It was pure luck that Harry had previously encountered the Diadem and remembered it. It was pure luck that Harry happened to be there to get the memories from Snape. It is extremely unsatisfying when the good guys win not because they truly deserve the victory, but because they lucked into it.
Harry – Nice, relatable, every-man character. My biggest gripe with him is that he is so darned passive. He got a prophecy at the end of 3rd year saying the Dark Lord would be back, worse than ever, and yet, he did nothing. No additional studying to make sure that he’s ready. No asking Lupin to come by and help him learn more about DADA. Just messing around playing Quidditch and goofing off with Ron.
Hermione – I liked her up through Book 5. Book 6, everyone was running around with the idiot ball, so we can’t judge her too harshly. Book 7… makes her one of the most bigoted characters in the series. She mindwipes her parents to keep them safe. Meaning that she is convinced that they don’t have the right to make decisions for themselves. She can choose to risk her life for her friend, but they can’t risk their lives for their daughter? Other characters may get a pass because they don’t think that muggles would be able to do much. Which is still bigotry, but it’s bigotry born of ignorance. They don’t know what muggles can do. Hermione has no such excuse. She knows that, even without magic, muggles can be very inventive and clever, but she still sends her parents off to Australia without even talking to them.
Ron – I honestly think it would have been best for everyone if he hadn’t been part of the Golden Trio. Not that I think he’s a bad person. I think he is a relatively normal teenage boy – he’s on the lazy side, he sometimes loses his temper, gets jealous, gets distracted by girls, etc. There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of those things; lots of people are like that and eventually grow out of it. But when it comes to being part of a team trying to save the world, he’s just dead weight. If he hadn’t been with Harry and Hermione, he might not have felt so overshadowed, and things would have been better for the other two if they didn’t have to drag him along everywhere. I do find it amusing when authors portray him as a total idiot yet have him as one of the principal conspirators in an almost successful plot to keep Harry and Hermione potioned. Those two concepts are most definitely mutually exclusive.
Neville – Great guy! Would have been very interesting to see more about his time at Hogwarts during book 7. Went from a shy, little boy to the mastermind behind what was probably the largest resistance group during Voldemort’s rule. Quite an impressive rise.
Lupin – Hate him. We got a very good look at his character in Book 3, when he didn’t tell anyone that Sirius was an animagus. In other words, he concealed crucial information about someone he thought was trying to kill Harry, and his reasoning was that he didn’t want to admit to Dumbledore that he’d made some questionable decisions more than a decade earlier. Seriously? Dumbledore being disappointed is a bigger concern than your best friend’s son’s life? That’s messed up. And Lupin just goes downhill from there, until he eventually abandons his pregnant wife. In some ways, I think it’s a good thing that he died. At least he went out a hero. If he’d lived, he probably would have been a deadbeat dad that left Tonks and Teddy when it turned out that married life was a bit tougher than he expected.
Tonks – Cool character that didn’t deserve her fate. And by fate, I mean both dying, and being impregnated by Lupin. Unfortunately, JKR didn’t really show us anything more about her.
McGonagall – Her initials are M.M. That probably stands for ‘Mindless Minion’, cause that’s exactly what she was. Doesn’t matter what Dumbledore wants, she follows without question, even if she knows that it’s a bad idea. Leave a baby on a doorstep with people you know are not fit to raise him? No problem. Completely ignore a death eater destroying the discipline system at the school, and routinely victimizing the students that you are responsible for? She’ll do it. It says a lot that the only time in the books that she stands up for Harry was when she was fighting with Umbridge, who had just gotten Dumbledore kicked out of the school. Methinks it wasn’t actually Harry that she was standing up for…
Snape – I don’t understand how any sane person can consider him a hero. Despite his claims, he didn’t have to act like that towards Harry. In fact, Lucius Malfoy, of all people, would have advised against it. He tells Draco in Book 2 that it is not wise to appear less than fond of Harry Potter. If Snape had been fair, or even gotten close to Harry (“Sure, I knew your Mom. Let me tell you all about her…”) he could have easily justified it to any inquisitive death eaters by saying that he was simply following the Dark Lord’s orders to spy, and ensuring that he was in a prime position for when Voldemort came back. Instead, he sabotaged countless students’ educations, probably crippling the ministry’s ability to fight back, given that Potions is a required class for both Aurors and Healers. Even at the very end, he never makes a firm stand against Riddle. I am 100% convinced that he was playing both sides. He probably would have preferred Dumbledore winning over Riddle, but so long as he was on the winning side, it didn’t really matter.
Dumbledore – Do I really have to explain this one? All of the innocent people who died in book 7 are dead because of him. He had 15 years to get ready, and he wasted it. He did nothing to prepare for the war and encouraged others to follow suit. While many people focus on his crimes against Harry, in my mind, that is just a drop in a bucket compared to everything else. For a high-ranking government official to do absolutely nothing about a known threat like Voldemort (possibly even covering up evidence at times, as probably happened at the end of books 1 and 2) is treason. Plain and simple. Nothing he did to Harry compares to that.
Tropes that I find a bit ridiculous:
(Okay, to be honest, some of these can be fun if done correctly, but they just get used sooo much that it gets a bit stale, in my opinion.)
Friendly Goblins will solve all your problems – The one time the good guys trusted the goblins to help, Griphook stabbed them in the back. I think it’s especially funny when Harry goes back in time, and the first thing that he does is make Griphook his new account manager. In canon, both Bill and Hagrid warn Harry about trusting goblins too much. That’s not to say that they are evil, just that they have a separate culture and society which has different standards and principles.
Marriage Law – Harry and co. were willing to defy the Ministry over their right to learn Defense Against the Dark Arts. And yet people think that they will meekly submit when told who to marry by a corrupt Ministry?
Unbreakable Marriage Contracts – Why didn’t anybody have to fulfill these things before? And if they do exist, how do we explain people like Andromeda Tonks? Presumably the Blacks would have had contracts, but Andromeda had no problem getting out of hers.
Harry inherits a bazillion unclaimed vaults – One of his ancestors would have claimed them before. The idea that Gringotts has a bunch of gold locked away in old vaults just waiting for the rightful heir is hard to believe. If there wasn’t an appropriate heir when the last vault holder died, distant relatives would have inherited, or the ministry would have claimed the gold (it’s called bona vacantia, and was a well-established part of English law long before the Statue of Secrecy).
Little Orphan Susan – The books don’t say that Susan Bones is an orphan, and clearly state that she does not live with her Aunt Amelia. When discussing Amelia’s murder, the Prime Minister notes that she lived alone (and investigators certainly would have taken note of anything indicating a child had lived there and was now missing). Further, while the books do talk about the Bones being killed, book 5 says that Susan lost an aunt, uncle and cousins – with no mention of her parents. The fact that she talks on occasion with her Aunt Amelia does not mean that her parents are dead.
This is enough to go on for now. I’ll write my thoughts about other fandoms some other time.