Harry Potter and the Half-Blood prince by J.K. Rowling

In my continued journey through Harry Potter I read book 6, Harry Potter and the Half-blood prince. And I have grumpy, annoyed issues. Because of course I do. I am about 70 in my head, not 28. Anyway, this is the sixth book, and Harry goes back to school and learns a lot of potions from a funky book. Obviously a lot more happens, but I’m focused on other things.

Now onto my very grumpy issues. I don’t like the way women are portrayed in Harry Potter and the Half-blood prince. Technically a specific kind of woman. In the Half-blood prince we get to hang out with Fleur Delacour a lot more, and who wouldn’t want to do that? She’s fun. She is introduced in book four, as one of the Tri-wizard contestants, she’s a quarter Veela, French, gorgeous and clever, and she’s very girly, which is apparently a crime. In the beginning of the book Harry stays with the Weasleys, and learns that Fleur is going to marry Bill Weasley. Now there are legitimate reasons to dislike Fleur, she can be rude, and she’s a bit obnoxious and she seems to be a bit conceited. Which, fair enough. But it seems like the reason Hermione, Ginny and Mrs. Weasley dislike her is because she’s too feminine, and she isn’t good enough for Bill. Which is bullshit. Bill loves her, it should be enough. If she was openly cruel and horrible, then fine. She’s not.

Fleur is a girl-y girl. She’s also smart as shit. She was chosen for the Tri-wizard tournament, and she made it through her tasks fine. She was attacked by Victor, otherwise she would probably have made it much further in the maze. She is also compassionate and brave. She is passionate, strong, tough. She’s also confident, which is awesome, because she gets to be unapologetically confident. She knows she’s beautiful, she knows she’s clever and she works it.

So, there are spoilers by the way, at the end of the book Bill is in the hospital wing after being attacked by Fenrir and Fleur basically wins over Mrs. Weasley by proving herself. Because she loves all of Bill, not just his handsome face. I hate that Fleur has to prove that she isn’t so conceited that some scars will put her off before she’s accepted by the family. Bill loves her, and she loves Bill. And she’s smart, and she’s kind and she’s a bit silly perhaps, but she shouldn’t have to be different just to be accepted by her in-laws.

Since there are other women who are portrayed this way I will keep going, because why not beat a dead horse with a stick? I really, really don’t like how Cho is portrayed. Rowling has said that Cho was written in to make it clear that Ginny is perfect for Harry. Which is bullshit. The problem I have is that women in Harry Potter have this very narrow way they’re allowed to be to not be annoying. Cho Chang lost her boyfriend, and Harry is angry with her for crying and being sad. Because he’s an asshole. He completely disregards her feelings and seems to find her grief very inconvenient. Now I realize that Harry has talked through his issues about Cedric, but he seems completely baffled that Cho might need to talk about him. Maybe Cho doesn’t really have anyone else she can talk to? Harry’s relationship with Hermione and Ron is unique, it’s very different, and Harry is quite unique. He loses people all the time and he has to move on, because that’s just who he is. He can’t let grief consume him, it would break the world. Cho is just this normal girl. And Harry’s friends have danger and death hanging over them all the time, Cho’s friends have no way of understanding that. Something Harry constantly says about Ginny is that she doesn’t cry often, and she’s tough, which makes her better than Cho. I realize Harry is a teenaged boy, but it makes him sound a bit crazy. He seems to find Cho’s emotions so inconvenient and annoying he can’t even bear to look at her. She’s sad. People are allowed to be sad. I feel like Ginny and Hermione are written very “not-that-kind-of-girl.” And it annoys me, because it implies that to be a good girl you can’t be emotional, and you can’t care about how you look, and you have to be tough, and it’s bullshit. I love Ginny and Hermione, with all their flaws and brilliances. Sometimes girls are emotional, sometimes they’re not. Sometimes girls care about their looks, sometimes they don’t. And they get to be however they want to be, and be accepted for who they are. It bothers me so much.

Anyways. I love Harry Potter. #JusticeForCho&Fleur. And also Lavender Brown, because fuck how she was treated.