יום רביעי, 30 במאי 2018

הערה על האינטרנט של היום

WebSightStory עתידה להיסגר בסוף החודש הבא. בדומה למיזמים רבים ושונים, נדמה לי שגם  היא יכולה להביט במבט מאשים-משהו כלפי Facebook. כלומר, המבט המאשים הזה מסתובב בסביבה כבר כמה שנים. מאז שלהי 2013 היה ברור שפייסבוק שואבת גולשים מהאינטרנט הרגיל בצורה דרמטית. ומאז 2015 לערך היה ברור שמדובר בחור שחור שאו שאתה נשאב לתוכו או שאתה מת. יהיו שיטענו שזה קרה עוד הרבה קודם.

היה נכון, כנראה, לסגור את WebSightStory כבר אז, אלא שהפכתי מעורב מעל לראשי במיזם נוסף, שעתיד להגיע להבשלה בחודשיים הקרובים, וכך מצאתי את עצמי ממשיך גם כאן וגם שם. מיזם שלישי שהתחלתי בו לפני שנה הפחית עוד יותר את היקפי הפעילות (כפי ששמו לב כמה גולשים נאמנים מהזן ההולך והופך נדיר יותר). אבל אסור לתת לדחייה ולהתנהלות (האידיוסינקרטית) של המיזם הזה, לגרום לטשטוש הקונטקסט. WebSightStory היתה מיזם בלוגוספירה, וכמו הרבה מאוד ישויות באקו-סיסטמה הזו, היא נפגעה אנושות מפייסבוק.

אפשר לתת לזה הרבה הסברים. הסבר אחד, מבריק באופיו, ניתן על ידי הבלוגר האיראני האגדי, חוסיין דרחשאן. דרחשאן, שנכלא ב2008, תקופת שיא של בלוגוספירה תוססת בעולם בכלל, ובאיראן בפרט, השתחרר מהכלא האיראני ב-2014, וכה הופתע לגלות את מצבה העדכני של הבלוגוספירה, עד שכתב עליה במהלך 2015 מאמר בכותרת: The rich, diverse, free web that I loved — and spent years in an Iranian jail for — is dying. תמצית ההסבר שלו מתחילה בטיב וחשיבות הקישורים באינטרנט של פעם:
"The hyperlink was my currency six years ago. Stemming from the idea of the hypertext, the hyperlink provided a diversity and decentralisation that the real world lacked. ... 
The hyperlink was a way to abandon centralization — all the links, lines and hierarchies — and replace them with something more distributed, a system of nodes and networks.
Blogs gave form to that spirit of decentralization: They were windows into lives you’d rarely know much about; bridges that connected different lives to each other and thereby changed them. ... "
וכיצד הם התדרדרו עד לדרך בה מגבילים את השימוש בקישורים כיום ברשתות החברתיות:
"Since I got out of jail, though, I’ve realized how much the hyperlink has been devalued, almost made obsolete. 
Nearly every social network now treats a link as just the same as it treats any other object — the same as a photo, or a piece of text — instead of seeing it as a way to make that text richer. You’re encouraged to post one single hyperlink and expose it to a quasi-democratic process of liking and plussing and hearting: Adding several links to a piece of text is usually not allowed. ... "
 ועד כמה הקישורים איבדו את מעמדם בהשוואה לטקסט "נייטיב" ולתמונות:
"these social networks tend to treat native text and pictures ... with a lot more respect than those that reside on outside web pages. One photographer friend explained to me how the images he uploads directly to Facebook receive a large number of likes, which in turn means they appear more on other people’s news feeds. On the other hand, when he posts a link to the same picture somewhere outside Facebook — his now-dusty blog, for instance — the images are much less visible to Facebook itself, and therefore get far fewer likes. The cycle reinforces itself. ...
But hyperlinks aren’t just the skeleton of the web: They are its eyes, a path to its soul. And a blind webpage, one without hyperlinks, can’t look or gaze at another webpage — and this has serious consequences for the dynamics of power on the web."
הבלוגוספירה לא לבד בעניין הזה. גם אתרי אינטרנט אחרים במודל web 2.0 (תוכן שמייצרים הגולשים)נמצאים באותה המצוקה. קחו לדוגמא את Funny Or Die. ואת הכתבה המצויינת בנושא מהארץ:
"הדלת שפתחה פייסבוק היתה בגודל זהה, פתוחה לפני כולם. העסקה הטובה לכל הצדדים עבדה במשך כמה שנים, אבל אז פייסבוק הונפקה .... מאחורי ההבטחות לחשיפה שוויונית צץ פתאום אלגוריתם ששולט בפיד על פי האינטרסים המעורפלים של פייסבוק עצמה. למשל, חותך את החשיפה של פוסטים ממאות או אלפי לייקים וצפיות לאחוזים ספורים מזה, במיוחד אם העזתם להכניס בהם לינקים חיצוניים, ומכניס עוד שינויים סמויים למחצה .... כמו שקלינמן הסביר בראיון לאתר ספליטסיידר בתחילת פברואר השנה... ותיאר איך הרשת החברתית שולטת בכל הפונקציות החשובות ליוצרי תוכן: אם היוצרים רוצים להרחיב את קהל היעד שלהם, הם חייבים לשלם לפייסבוק כדי שתפיץ את הפוסטים הממומנים לקהל חדש. אבל גם אחרי שהגולשים עשו לדף שלהם לייק, הם צריכים להמשיך לשלם כדי לקדם את התוכן. ומאותה הסיבה – התלות בפייסבוק לצורך חשיפה – גם שטחי הפרסום באתר שלהם לא זוכים לחשיפה מספקת, ולכן ההכנסות מפרסום יורדות. ... המשמעויות שמקרה Funny or Die מייצג מתחילות להתבהר – אתרי תוכן לא יצליחו לשרוד אם צרכני התוכן לא ישנו את דפוסי הצריכה שלהם ולא יפעילו אחריות סביבתית באינטרנט. .... אם, למשל, משתמשי פייסבוק שראו סרטון של Funny or Die היו נכנסים בעקבותיו באופן אקטיבי אל האתר החיצוני ולא אל לינק הפייסבוק, משוטטים בתוכן המוצע בו ומבלים בו זמן, היה נוצר איזון כלכלי בין החשיפה בפייסבוק לחשיפה באתר עצמו. וחשיפה משמעה כאמור פרסומות, ופרסומות משמען שכר ליוצרים."
פייסבוק לא הולכת להעלם מחר בבוקר. אבל היא לא תהיה בסביבה לנצח. נדמה שהדבר הכי סביר להעריך, לגבי מדורת השבט הגלובלית הזו, שהיא תעבור תהליך דומה לזה שעברו רשתות הטלוויזיה הגדולות של שנות ה-70 וה-80 בארה"ב ובעולם - וגם אצלנו בארץ.
אבל זה לא יקרה מחר. למה ?
כי נראה שפייסבוק עצמה מודעת לאיום הזה, של עצים צעירים שצומחים סביבה ומאיימים עליה. זה היה ההסבר ההגיוני ביותר לרכישות של whatsapp ושל instagram. וזה רציונל מוביל מאחורי פעילויות הרכש והמיזוג של פייסבוק.
(אני כמובן לא טוען שזה כל הרציונל. חלק (לא מבוטל) של הפעילות של פייסבוק הוא במסגרת המבט של החברה קדימה, אל הטכנולוגיות שישמשו בני-אדם לתקשר מחר עם המחשבים (ייראו אלה כאשר ייראו, אם שעון או פריט לביש אחר, אם סמארטפון נישא או מושתל, או כל צורה אחרת שאפשר לדמיין). אבל חלקה האחר הוא מסע עקבי, נחוש, כמעט בלתי-מתפשר לרכוש כל מה שנראה כבעל-פוטנציאל להציע תחליף של ממש למדורת השבט).

בשלב מסויים זה לא יעבוד. אולי זה יקרה בגלל שיפול האסימון לגופים האחראיים על תחום התחרות בעל-מדינות הרלוונטיות (כמו ארה"ב והאיחוד האירופאי )? אולי זה יקרה בשלב שבו חברות בינלאומיות כבר לא יצייתו לכללים של המדינות אבל שבו התחרות בין החברות השונות תביא לצמיחת מתחרים?
ואולי זה בכלל יקרה בגלל שמי שיקבע לתאגידים הבינלאומיים את כללי-ההתנהגות תהיה מדינת-על, דוגמת סין המתהווה? אבל יכול להיות שמדינת-על שכזו לא תתנגד לרשת חברתית גלובלית שאין לה מתחרים, כל עוד מתקיימים תנאים מסויימים?
ובכל זאת, אני אופטימי. אפילו האימפריה הרומית בת מאות השנים נפלה לבסוף. ואין לנו שום סיבה להניח, על בסיס ההיסטוריה האנושית, שיש בידי האנושות אפשרות להקים אימפריה אחרת, שלא תיפול בסופו של דבר.
יבוא יום ופייסבוק תיפול. ואז, כמו בכל יער, כשעץ גדול נופל, יתפנה מרחב אדיר לצמיחתם של עצים צעירים ורבי-פוטנציאל.

אבל עד שהיום הזה יבוא, צילה של פייסבוק מוטל על חלקים גדולים מדי של האינטרנט.

קשה לעצים קטנים לשרוד בצל.

יום ראשון, 29 באפריל 2018

The Harry Potter discrepancies - Post 4: Book 7

The Harry Potter discrepancies series continues. After reviewing the discrepancies in -
It is time to to move on to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (a.k.a HP7):


But first, let us get it off our chest:
HP7 was a disappointment at the first read, it remained such in repeats over the years, and the feeling only got stronger this time around. It is sad, because once you start the series, you want to go the distance. But the joy of the first books is slowly replaced by the tension of wanting to ride it till the end, and the discrepancies are not the only problem. HP7 is a seriously flawed book. Just compare the dramatic density of HP6 with HP7 !
If only Rowling had let the cave-horcrux be destroyed at book 6, it would have made HP7 so much better (not perfect, as there are still some serious discrepancies left to handle... but better).

Why did Rowling kept the horcrux for book 7 ? because it would have made the shrill nakedness of the HP7 plot too blatant. It is an incomplete-book in comparison with its ripe and mature brethren.
A work in progress.
Half-chewed.
In my mind, HP7 was the first of J.K's crimes against her own creation.
And the real shame ? j.k didn't need to write more.... All that was required to make a very good book 7 was to take the current material and edit it to the length of HP2....
(although a different handle of teenage Harry and the hunt for horcruxes would be much better in my mind and a lot more consistent with what we've learned to expect, considering the direction and decisions made by Rowling in the previous books).

HP7 mostly relies on the huge momentum that the previous books of the series created. Sadly, it brings with it discrepancies aplenty. HP7 is indeed to king of the HP series, in that shameful aspect (page numbers refer to the  Scholastic USA 2007 First Edition):
  1. p.46: It turns out that Pius Thicknesse made it an offense to connect the Dursley's house to the floo network, to place a portkey there, or to apparate in or out, and Moody sums that it was "Absolutely pointless, seeing as your mother's charm does that already"... assuming the charm does not send people to Azkaban, then we can understand this statement to mean that the charm prevents these activities, which kind of makes sense as minimal protections for Harry's safety (minimal, because we assumed the charm did much more to prevent death eaters from that minimal action of reaching the neighbourhood, walking to the house, knocking at the door and then doing their lord's wishes upon the Dursleys and little Harry ). But if the charm does prevent such activities, how did it come to be that the Dursley's house was connected to the floo network repeatedly, from HP3 and on ? (remember that time when the Weaslys got trapped in the fireplace?)
  2. p. 52:  Ron Weasly, seeing 6 Harry Potters changing clothes, states "I knew Ginny was lying about that tattoo"... come on! Ron was in the same dormitory with Harry for 6 years now. He had seen him changing clothes all the time. There is no possibility that Harry would have a tattoo prior to the summer vacation after year 6 and Ron would not know about it.
    (if you assume that Ginny had told Ron that Harry got one thru the summer, then -
    1) considering the strict security harry enforced on himself that summer, there was no chance he had gone and got himself a tattoo and Ron should have known it
    2) Harry and Ginny are no longer bf/gf, remember? so why would she tell Ron about an intimate detail harry shared with her recently ) - btw, this is not only a discrepancy, but a crime : repeating a joke that was already used in HP6? come on !
  3. p. 55: "see you all in about an hour in the Burrow" says Moody before they lift off.... He says it outside.... Where neighbors and stalking death eaters can hear him. And he shouts it - so that his voice can be heard above the noise of the flying motorbike engine.... So much for security, eh Moody ? (I mean, whoever hears it, has no need to track them, but go straight to the burrow and attack the house)
  4. p. 55: When the motorcycle turns upside down harry losses his broomstick as he aims to save his racksack and Hedwig's cage. One would have thought there would be better ways to salvage a falling broomstick, considering all of the Accio broomstick we've seen in HP4 and HP6...
  5. p. 61: Harry's wand "acted of its own accord"... a spurt of golden fire... the explanation is provided in p. 711 at the "kings cross" chapter but Dumbledore's explanation, that the wand gained some of Voldemort's powers in the HP4 tackle, was ridiculous. The explanation is certainly one of the peaks of HP7's foolish moments. She could have made it a last protective enchantment Dumbldedore has set . She could even toy with the idea that Dumbeldore has given his life for harry and now harry enjoys another layer of protection (although that could have complicated things further, because if so, why didn't Sirius's death do the same? His father's death? etc) . Either way: She should have been methodical.
    The important points about this blunder are :
    1) priori incantatem was a known phenomenon to experts.
    2) but the theory Dumbdlore suggests is unknown to anyone. if it had to do with meeting brother-wands, than there should have been an explanation regarding the question which wand won ?! (and we know that the meeting at HP4 ended with harry's victory in the meeting of wands)

    The idea that the wand, taking a part of Voldemort's abilities will work against him, is quite bizzarre, to say the least. It would have been wiser to say that the wand, beating its brethern, had become a super-wand. But then it broke because of a charm cast by Hermione? So Rowling tries to explain it is powerful only against Voldemort... and it gets really embarrassing. A wand that has Harry's courage and Voldemort's skill should be a super-wand. The new "elder wand" perhaps. Not something so bizzare. This entire adventure at wand lore by j.k is mainly embarrassing.

    We are left with a phenomenon that is unexplained by the internal, consistent logic of the framework Rowling has set up. she created a problem for a reason. in this case - to send Voldemort after the elder wand. But just like the worse fantasy writers - she makes up new laws  just to reach a solution, and those new laws that are inconsistent with everything we have known till now.
    and that is Horrible.
    inexcusable.
    sad.
  6. Waiting for harry to reach 17 so that he can do magic is the excuse for waiting at the burrow (other than Bill and Fleur's wedding). But it isn't because harry can't do magic. It is because of the trace that is lifted when harry is 17. Why should a Voldemort controlled ministry lift the trace from Harry at all? ever ?
    Coming to think of it, how can it be that the ministry has such magic and Voldemort cannot do an identical thing to locate harry ? (and it does not really matter if the trace is person-specific or age-specific. either way, it can enable locating harry)
    There is a partial discussion of this in ps. 168 , p. 205 (Lupin states with certainty that it is impossible to still have the trace on harry))

    Talking of traces: hp7 does not deal with the fact that harry does illegal apparitions. doesn't the ministry monitor such actions ?
  7. Harry's coming of age (p.113) stresses Rowling's horrible omission of any reference to the fact that both Ron and Hermione came of age. These are not meaningless events, considering the fact that everyone in the wizarding world know about the affiliation between the boy who lived and those two. Why? 
  8. p. 112 Harry asks Ron about Hhermione: "how she expects me to stop seeing stuff in my sleep..." , following his dream-vision about Voldemort seeking Grogorovitch. It seems that Harry has completely forgotten about what he was trained to do during most of the HP5 year, when he was required to learn Occlumency, and practice it every night before going to sleep.... 
  9. The impact of polyjiuce potion lasts an hour. That we learned in HP2. This lesson was reiterated in HP4, as fake-moody (B. Crouch jr.) had to keep drinking it to keep his disguise. And yet, at Bill &Fleur's wedding, Harry drank one drink of the polyjuice potion before the wedding, and despite the long hours of the celebration, he didn't take another sip... and yet he did not come back to his original form.... How can that be?
  10. If Regulus black emptied the basin in the cave from the dreadful potion, how was it refilled again for Dumbeldore and Harry ? (And no, it does not refill automatically by magic. Voldemort had to refill it when he went there with Kreacher... HP7, p. 194)
  11. in p. 195 it is stated clearly that house elfs can apparate and disaparate disregarding all wizarding anti-measures. Examples: Kreacher in the cave by the sea; House elves in Hogwarts. If that is the case, why didn't Harry send one of the pair Dobby/Kreacher into Bellatrix Lestrange's safe to get the cup/horcrux ? Why arent' house elves used for burglaries? the potential of this miscalculated thinking on J.K.R's behalf regarding House Elves and Apparition is endless.

    Furthermore, having a house elf with you solves a lot of transport problems. As well as other issues of protection (remember the end of HP2 and how Dobby handled Lucius Malfoy with ease? )
    So, another question arises - Why couldn't Harry order Kreacher to protect them? Why couldn't Harry ask for Dobby's help? (a theoretical answer to that would be Harry's habit of self-reliance, but considering the odds he faces in HP7, it seems more foolish than ever.... unless, naturally, you weigh the dramatic advantages of the breaking into the vault in Rowling's chosen manner....

    And just to make sure this nail went all the way thru: surely, if Kreacher could bring Mundungus to Grimuald place, he could also bring Umbridge along.... or even better, just go to her residence, take the locket, and disappear. Elf-magic, no? (always a literary problem when you introduce super-powers.... the equation can never be balanced afterwards).
  12. Harry giving Kreacher the locket Regulus had left in the basin was a charming gesture, which evidently touched Kreacher's heart. But isn't a locket a kind of an item to wear? Assuming it is - why doesn't it set Kreacher free ?
  13. Why search for the locket in Umbridge's office and not in her home? I understand that Rowling had a desperate desire to show us the racial pure-blood regime as it is seen through the lens of the muggle-registration-board sessions, but it was a rather illogical excuse. Would have been much more impressive to tell this through a rescue mission to save a friend in need or someone essential for the quest. But it wasn't logic that guided J.K in her design of HP7. 
  14.  do you recall that HP6 introduced non-verbal spells? Harry got some hold of this technique. And yet, in HP7, he is unable to do a non-verbal Muffliato during the session of the registration board session? (p. 260)
  15. While running away from the ministry, Yaxley was accidentally brought into the secret of the Grimuald location. So the 3 friends apparate to the Forrest. But no one thinks that Kreacher should be alerted? called? Why should he be left to the mercy of the death eaters? (the excuse, in p. 278, is the fear that someone would come along. And yet, considering what we know about elfish apparations, we can assume that summoning Kreacher could be done in a time or a manner that would reduce the chance. More importantly: since when does Harry Potter abandon someone in distress? Elf-discrimination!)
  16. While in the woods, why can't they ask Dobby to get them food?
  17. The Taboo spell (p. 389-390), that trace-spell that locates anyone saying "Voldemort" is a cute idea that backfires, being illogicality exemplified. All one needs to do is set a "taboo"-like spell over the mentioning of the names "Harry", "Hermione" and "Ron", in a tight enough time unit (let's say 15 minutes) and sooner or later, you will get to the right people, won't you?
  18. At gringots, Harry casts the Imperius curse for the very first time in his life on two persons (an old goblin and Travers, the death eater). Harry was never able to cast a Cruciatus curse. Bellatrix once told him he had to really mean it when he failed casting it at her (HP5, during the Atrium duel). So we can assume for J.K's sake that Harry really means to control those two. But how does he do it? We are not told if he has to control every aspect of their behavior or merely guide them in his thoughts. We are not told of the intricacies of the situation. And more importantly - how can it be that neither objects? And even a greater doubt rises - how can it be that a magical bank doesn't have any safety measure against such a predicatable mean to steal people's money?
  19. At the lake (after escaping Gringotts), after the vision of Voldemort discovering that Harry has stolen the cup, Harry should not be wet (p. 552). The three exchanged to dry and warm robes a few pages ago (p. 547). 

It is a pleasure to say that there were about a 100 pages of freedom of discrepancy. I don't think it is an accident, as these were the ones that mark the point where HP7 finally soars to the heights that his brethren had marked. How sad that it is such an inconsistent book. 

Let's celebrate this aspect with the Movie's Trailer -



Take a breather, and continue our journey throughout the long list of HP7 discrepancies:
  1. Voldemort's assumption (p. 654, during his conversation with Snape at the shrieking shack) that Harry is safe, is completely illogical. His army includes giants and giant spiders and his death eaters are using powerful enchantments shot from afar (of the kind that killed Fred Weasely). Nothing guarantees Harry from these. Nothing. 
  2. Worse, it isn't clear why Voldemort lets others do his fighting when he knows his Horcrux is in danger (and might be one of the others). How come he isn't trying to save the diadem? Why was he in such a hurry to get to Hogwarts in the first place? 
  3. Voldemort should not let Nagini kill Snape. It makes no sense! He should have killed him with his own wand. After all, by his own logic, that was the only way so that he would become the true owner of the elder wand.
    There is no other logic if you believe that killing the previous owner grants control of the death stick.
    And yet Voldemort avoids that. It might have some sense had Voldemort displayed some form of emotion - but in p. 656 it is stated that Harry sensed no sadness and no remorse after the death of Snape.
  4. Is it logical to assume that Snape would have cooperated with Dumbledore not knowing whether Harry will live?
    I think not. Dramatic considerations made Rowling hide that detail hidden from the readers. But logic demands a much more stubborn snape. After all, his love for Lilly has made Harry's life a holy grail for Snape. It is not something he may give up just like that. He should have demanded more. And it could be expected that Harry would see in his memories some reference to that...
  5. When Dumbledore guided Snape about the time when Voldemort shall guard his snake, and explained the message harry needed to receivem, how exactly did Dumbledore expect Snape to locate Harry and communicate with him?
    How did Snape expect to get such an opportunity while being in Voldemort's company?
    What would have happend if Harry had been lucky in Godric's hollow and was able to kill Nagini then? He would have never known that he is a living horcrux, and Voldemort would come back again ... and again... and again....
  6. Harry's choice of no goodbyes (p. 693, ) is illogical. Dramatically convenient but unacceptable plot-wise He had to brief Ron and Hermione; To explain why; To plan ahead; So that they would be ready to launch the final assualt on horcrux-less Voldemort.
    Otherwise, his sacrifice is for nothing. What happenes in p. 695-696 (making Neville a secret keeper regarding the importance of Nagini's death, but not about this exposing Voldemoret vulnerable) is only slightly logical - because it had to be a premeditated action and not accidental as J.K chose, and it had to be a full disclosure of at list two facts by Harry: when I'm not around 1) kill Nagini. 2) With Nagini and myself dead, know that Voldemort is killable now.
    The real problem behind this discrepancy is simple: now that there are only two Horcruxes left - the snake and Harry, and Voldermort knows that his secret is revealed, there is no logic at all in keeping the secrecy. It only protects Voldemort instead of exposing Harry to danger.
  7. Why does the eldar wand agree to kill Harry at the first of the two confrontations with Voldemort ?!?
    Does the wand know about Horcruxes?
    or does it understand that Harry is ready to die and therefore it cooperates with Voldemort's curse despite Harry being his own owner?
  8. Why didn't Harry die? Rowling suggests a self-contradicting explanation.
    At the meeting in king's cross, as Harry states that he should have died, as he did not defend himself, because he meant to let Voldemort kill him, Dumbledore answers:
    "and that, will, I think, have made all the difference"
    How? In what way?
    This can only have meaning in a hallows-context. Harry wouldn't have reached King's Cross if he hadn't meant to die.
    But then, ps. 708-709, the explanation goes to the taking of blood at the end of HP4...and creates the greatest weakness of book 7: the musue of the hallows. The namesake of the book (for God's sake!) are not used by the author (=by Dumbledore) to save Harry's life.
    Why not?
    probably because Rowling realized at a stage that was too late, that if Harry couldn't die, then he couldn't die!
    Meaning: if the Deathly Hallows gave Harry true control over death, then Voldemort could have performed all the Avada Kedavra's in the world and Harry would still be alive, right?(worse, Harry could ignore the warning in Biddle the Bard's "the tale of the three brothers" and bring everyone he wanted back from the dead, attempting to undo all of Voldermort's evils.... )
    but that was not the ending J.K had in mind!
    So she had to backtrack some of the way, and the outcome is the greatest discrepancy of the series .... a legendary set of magical tools that Dumbledore goes out of his way to acquire and pass to Harry's ownership... And it does not deliver ... It had to be a late decision by J.K, otherwise there was no way the hallows would be so centric, and receive such a serious treatment thru the book (ending is particularly puzzling with H.P telling Dumbledore what he did with the resurrection stone and the wand).
    I, for one, think it was a horrible decision by J.K. because dominion over death does mean you are unaffected by the curses. It just means that you get to choose. On the other hand, the mean that she has chosen to explain harry's immortality - Voldemort taking his blood and thus tying Harry's life to his own - has two major weaknesses:
    1) if Harry cannot die, he cannot die.... so how come he gets to King's Cross despite the protection of the blood-charm?
    2) If Harry is still alive, and Voldemort has Harry's blood in his veins, how come Voldemort can die, despite the protection of the blood?

    And thus we reach the sad conclusion that while Rowling thought she had climbed out of the pit, she was actually caught in the snare... what a pity. Hallows vs Horcruxes would have been a much better book than the hunt for Horcruxes.

    (And if you are still not convinced that the book was originally about Hallows, in the deep meaning of saviours of the show, then please explain Dumbledore telling Harry "you are the worthy possessor of the Hallows" and why he explains that it had to be difficult to attain the hallows lest he captures the hallows at the wrong time for the wrong reasons... can the sentence "you are the true master of death, because the true master does not seek to run away from Death. " (p. 720)) be anything but a clear demonstration of J.K's inability to decide what the hallows actually mean?

    And last hallows related issue: why did Dumbledore wish that Hermione would know about the deathly hallows? If they have no other meaning other than to let Harry see his already dead beloved ones, surely there was a less problematic manner to inform him of that potential. The hallows information might have turned the trio away from the Horcrux destruction course!
  9. What reason did Dumbledore have for not informing Harry when it mattered about his guess regarding Harry's tethering to life? What is so problematic about Harry knowing that he is not going to die? Why the cruelty?
    (Especially, as is stated in p. 713, Dumbledore has known, for some time now, that Harry was the better man among them two...)
  10. On the one hand, Dumbledore was sure that Voldermort would try to get the Elder wand. On the other, he intended that Severus Snape would end with the Elder wand. But didn't he know that Voldemort would kill for that wand? (did he plan that Severus would give the wand to Harry?)
    Seriously, how could Dumbeldore plan that Malfoy would disarm him and take possession of the elder wand only to be disarmed by Harry much later? This doesn't make sense at all. 
  11. Why did Voldemort collapse after hitting Harry with the Avada Kedavra in the forest? After all, no destruction of one of his other horcruxes had impacted him in this manner. 
  12. Many noticed that Bellatrix Lestrange spoke to Voldemort as a lover (p. 724) when he collapsed after hitting Harry with a curse. But Voldemort, theoretically, has no place for love. Adoration, yes. Love? No. He can't stand the touch of the thing, or don't you remember HP1? 
  13. How could it be that Voldemort, the great Legilimens, failed to recognize that Narcissa Malfoy was hiding something? (that Harry was actually alive)
    Was she that good an occlumens? After all, Snape attributed Malfoy's control of this art to his teachings by Bellatrix, not by Narcissa.... and why didn't he send Bellatrix to perform this task ? why one of the Malfoys?
  14. After harry's returns to life he casts shield charms, first over Neville, then over others that Voldemort faces (p. 733-734). But Voldemort isn't one to use curses other than the Avada Kedavra - against which there is no protection ....
    Furthermore, Harry himself states later on (during the final duel with Voldemort, in the great hall) that his own sacrifice has given protection to all around, similar to the one his mother's sacrifice gave to him. If he knows it, why does he bother cast shield charms?
  15. (a) Why don't Hogwarts house-elves use magic when they fight ?
    (b) why do the house elves join the fight so lately? where were they in the previous hours? (while the late arrival of the relatives of the fighting pupils has some logic (but only some, as apparations are instant), the slow response of the house-elves, who are duty-bound to protect their masters, has no logic in it).
    The literary reason is clear: dramatic action. Alas, the internal consistency and logic are sacrificed completely on this altar, a weakness that marks hp7 and makes it the lesser of the 7 books, in my mind.
  16. How can it be that Voldemort intends to duel Harry, knowing that only a short while ago he failed to kill Harry even though he had used the elder wand? (p. 737-744). This is the final duel between Harry and Voldemort. Voldemort speaks of Harry's theoretical armament. But how can it be that he does not deal with what should have been the real and bothering question for him: how can it be that Harry is STILL alive after a second Aveda Kedavra? Voldemort is not that stupid. He must surely understand at this stage that something went horribly wrong in his calculations. Instead of running away and planning again, he confronts Harry once more?
  17. Worse, at this stage, Voldemort must know that all his Horcruxes have been destroyed.
    Rowling tried to hide the lack of response of Voldemort to Nagini's death with the appearance of fresh forces on the Hogwarts battlefield. But Voldemort, who was so angry and scared as he slowly discovered the destruction of Horcrux after Horcrux is surprisingly indifferent to Nagini's death, the only thing in the entire series to which he displayed affection ! (only a few pages ago in the book.... and let's remember, this isn't just a beloved pet. It was his last Horcrux!)
    This behavior might be attributed to shock, but Voldemort has displayed such a careful and cowardly behaviour in the past (consider his conduct in HP5 & HP6, sending others to do his dirty work and running away in the end of HP5), so how come all of a sudden he stands and fights a battle that appears to be a losing one ?
  18. The final Voldemort-Harry duel is very dramatic but extremely illogical. Neither character has the tendency for such a conversation before fighting. Voldemort is snake-like, not a chatty individual (consider his fight with Dumbledore in HP5, or the duel in the graveyard in HP4. Not the type to let another handle him with chitchat.
    And Harry? Why does Harry linger? (The reason is simple: Rowling has decided, illogically, that Harry is not going to kill Voldemort. That V is going to kill himself. Which makes Harry's role passive in the duel. When has Harry made that decision?
  19. p. 743-744: Why did Voldemort's curse rebound? What made it rebound? An Expeliarmus? It has never happened before. If you accept the wand-serves-it's-rightful-owner logic of J.K.R, then you expect the elder wand to turn in Voldemort's hands and shoot the killing curse at him. But the curse was flying towards Harry... and rebounded... It is totally inconsistent with any other duel that has ever taken place in the Harry-Potter-universe. This has got to make you sad.
  20. p. 748-749: Dumbeldore and Harry are both experienced Horcrux hunters. How can they assume that the resurrection stone (left in the forest where it fell) and the elder wand (to be returned to Dumbledore's tomb) shall be left at peace?
    The stone is magical and can, therefore, be traced by talented wizards (as D found the ring of Slytherin). Others can take a page from Voldemort and desecrate Dumbledore's grave. The decision to let things be forgotten be might be wise. But the protection on those powerful magical artifacts can only be described as foolishly irresponsible.
  21. In retrospect, there was no reason what so ever for Dumbledore not to tell Harry how to destroy Horcruxes. it just doesn't make sense.
  22. And another thought, arising from Dumbledore's picture. Don't you think Dumbeldore's picture is a little too wise for a picture? Almost like talking to the original, isn't it? Is it really typical for a picture to be able to guide a person the way it had guided Snape?
  23. Why doesn't Snape get his picture? And if he does, why doesn't Harry address it? Doesn't Snape deserve it? (or is Snape's picture less potent than Dumbeldore's picture?)
And there we have it. 42 Discrepancies in the final book of a great series. In my opinion, discrepancies 26, 27, 29, 35, 36,38 & 40  are serious flaws in the seventh book. Whenever I reach these or think about them I flinch for J.K.R. It is really unpleasant to mess up like that. And it makes  HP7 a lot harder to read, which is a shame, because the climax of a series should be at least as good as previous parts.

Still, we can understand that it is hard to maintain an extremely high level through such a long voyage, and the attention to the discrepancies is the outcome of the generally excellent level of J.K.R's writing. We wouldn't have noticed it, hadn't we expected more (:

יום ראשון, 25 במרץ 2018

The Harry Potter discrepancies - Post 3: Book 6

The Harry Potter discrepancies series continues. After reviewing the discrepancies in books 1-4, and book 5 we can move along to book 6:



So, with no further ado, lets start talking about the discrepancies in the first book of the series where Harry starts hunting Voldemort. (all pages refer to the 2005 UK Bloomsbury First Edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K Rowling):

  1. Severus Snape tells Narcissa and Bellatrix that he did not search for Voldemort because he thought that he was dead. This is a good excuse until the end of hp1. Afterwards, he and all other death eaters should have known better ... And it becomes a ridiculous argument at the beginning of hp4... After all, we know that the dark mark was getting stronger for months during HP4... how can it be that neither one of those death eaters went looking for their master at that time ?!? (and that Voldemort accepted such an excuse knowing the impact his strengthening had on the mark....)
  2. HP6 introduces two new concepts, and both create significant discrepancies.
    The first - side along apparition. Crucial for the dynamics of HP6, it is described in the leaflet the ministry sends (p. 45 ). The problem - it more or less pulls the rug from under the logic of using the following alternatives along the series to help get underage wizards to different places:
    • the magicked car in hp2
    • the portkeys in hp4
    • mr. Weasly going with Harry to the ministry by muggle transport on HP5
    • the Order escorting harry on broomsticks on HP5 and HP7
    why not use side-along appartition and get it over with ?!?
    One of the stronger proofs that J.K is human. Her meticulous and marvelous planning-ahead of an enticing and rich septology (7-book series) is discovered as less from perfect, because of her choice - for her own reasons (most likely - dramatic flow) to introduce an idea that she deemed as crucial for HP6 but that undermined the logic of other books.
  3. As stated above, HP6 introduces two new concepts. The second - None-Verbal Spells. Once again, this was deemed Essential by Rowling for her own reasons (most likely, to enable Dumbledore his first act, as the dramatic confrontation in the tower unfolds), but fact is, till HP6 all spells we've seen performed by wizards and witches OUTSIDE OF HOGWARTS, including duels (such as that in the ministry in HP5), including Voldermort and Dumbledore themselves, were verbal. Why? Why would a person use verbal spells when he can have that split second advantage ? and even more so, why isn't the non-verbal logic maintained in book 7?
    The literary reason is clear - it is far more dramatic to hear the spell Incanted and then view the outcome then see something happen and only then realize what it was that caused it. But the discrepancy is even clearer. 
  4. Hermione explaining Hagrid they couldn't apply for time-turners to include care for magical creatures in their busy workload as six year students, because the ministry's stock was entirely destroyed (it happened during the duel at HP5's finale). But someone made those time-turners, no? So can't more be made?
  5. Why didn't Dobby give Harry a gift this year at Christmas ?
  6. How come that Harry Potter, a very careful and responsible person as far as dark arts are concerned (consider his careful conduct regarding the cursed necklace in this same book) did not destroy Romilda Vane's love-potion filled candies ? or at least handle them with more care ?
  7. How can it be that Harry lets himself send Kreacher away with the words "out of it" knowing too well that Sirius' badly-worded command had sent the house-elf in the past straight to Bellatrix's hands? And why didn't Kreacher use this opportunity to run away to the last true black, once again?
  8. How come Harry thinks that all the tunnels seen in the maurauder's maps are under watch when he knows (since HP3) that some of them are not known to anyone of the teachers? It isn't that he came forward and reported those tunnels to anyone... and we know (spoiler!) that in HP7 one of them would be used without the knowledge of the teaching stuff, so that at that late stage of the saga it was still unknown to the Hogwarts' administration!
    How negligent can harry be in his treatment of the Malfoy threat ? (the answer is quiet simple, but not formally stated: as both Lupin and Sirius are members of the order, one of them must have given the necessary information to Dumbledore by now)
  9. Did Dumbledore really forget that he asked Harry to carry his invisibility cloak on him at all times? Or did j.k forgot that?
    After all, harry did carry it. And Dumbledore was supposed to know things. It might not be a discrepancy. It might have been Dumbledore's way of letting Harry recuperate from their disagreement regarding Snape, or even his way of letting harry alert the D.A.
  10. You would assume that phoenix's tears could cure Fenrir Greyback's bites, as a basilisk bite was no match to Fawkes, wouldn't you ? But j.k preferred the drama of Fleur's loyalty to her injured man and the developing relationship with mrs. Weasly, despite the screaming discrepancy with HP2....
  11. (spoiler if you didn't read 7) What did Dumbledore expect to happen to Snape, as he asked the man to kill him ? Yes, obviously, at first, this would make Snape's position near Voldemort secured. But after all, Dumbledore assumes that Voldemort shall fall. That harry will bring his death. Dumbeldore has been working on this - the solution that will rid the final horcrux while keeping harry alive - in the year before his death.
    So, once Voldemort fell, had Severus survived, who would have believed him ?
    How could he possibly prove his innocence ?
    After all, let's remember that Dumbledore wasn't able to help people in much 'easier' situations, such as Sirius Black at the end of HP3.... with Dumbledore absent, Snape was as good as future-prisoner-for-life-in-azkaban (had Voldemort fallen with Snape staying alive... Didn't Dumbledore care? Didn't Snape consider his survival as a realistic possibility?
  12. (spoiler if you didn't read 7) How can it be that at the end of HP6 Harry Potter seriously thinks that if he meets Snape he can overcome him and that he imagines that he will use the Avada Kedavra curse against Voldemort  ?
    How self-delusional can a person be ?
    In previous books he has survived thanks to his realistic judgement and recognition of his own limitations (Think HP4's end).
    Even worse, Harry knows that dark magic required training. He knows his own failures using the crucio curse (twice: at the end of HP5 against B. Lestrange and at the end of HP6 against S. Snape).
    And it gets even worse... Harry knows that he failed to face Voldemort in HP5, in the duel in the ministry (where he felt the immense gap in abilities between himself and Voldemort).
    He had a very good demonstration at the climax of book 6 to the gap in dueling abilities between himself and Snape.
    And let us not forget that even regardless of the duels, the voyage to get the horcrux demonstrated to Harry how unprepared he was to handle Voldemort's wizardry....
    Now, we all know that Dumbledore has planned everything so that Harry will not need to kill Voldemort, and that instead V shall Perform an unplanned suicide.
    HP7 is an alleged demonstration of Dumbledore's brilliance and ingenuity, but it presents Harry in a very bad light. Do us a favor, J.K, What happened that the boy who lived lost his touch with reality?
Personally, I feel that discrepancies 1, 11 & 12 are so glaring, that they seriously undermine the book. HP6 might have a shorter  list of discrepancies than HP5, but their impact on the reader is greater... How sad. 

יום רביעי, 14 במרץ 2018

צעצוע אירוויזיוני או משהו אחר ?

נו, אז כבר ראיתם את הקליפ של השיר הישראלי לאירוויזיון 2018? 

מודה.
אישית
במבט ראשון
התחברתי יותר לבריטניה, צרפת, סרביה, דנמרק ואוקראינה
אבל יש להודות - אלה דברים שכבר שמענו שכמותם... 



מה שלא נגיד על השיר הישראלי -
הוא אחר
הוא חדש
אולי מטופש 
אבל יש הרבה אומץ 
במהלך האומנותי הזה 
עם הmada baka (לך תבין מה זה בכלל.... זה מה שהאינטרנט הביא)
וכל הפקה פקה 
האלה 
והביקורת החברתית 
שלא-מסתתרת שם בפנים
אלא מוטחת בפני המאזין/הצופה

וכמובן
יש גם את הנקודה הזו
שאי אפשר להתעלם ממנה -
אי אפשר להישאר אדיש לשיר הזה. 
או שאוהבים אותו או ששונאים אותו. 
אין אמצע.

נטע ברזילי עשתה כאן
אמנות במיטבה. 
לא צריך לטעות כאן. 



יום רביעי, 28 בפברואר 2018

The Harry Potter discrepancies - Post 2: book 5

The Harry Potter discrepancies series continues. After reviewing the discrepancies in books 1-4, we can move on to book 5.


Where hp4 is the watershed of heaviness and seriousness in the series, hp5 is going seriously into the darker sides of life.

The movie's trailer illustrates this well:



j.k made a very interesting attempt at the inspection of evil that can be summarized nicely by a Sirius Black quote:
"the world ins't split into good people and death eaters"
And yet, sadly, it is also the first book that isn't working well in the series.
Why?
Too many discrepancies.
Not all of the same magnitude.
But once a certain amount is reached, a book fails to get you over that suspension of doubt and let your imagination to sore with the author's.

So, lets start talking about those discrepancies !
  1. I just can't get the detection system that the ministry operates. They can find out about any magic done by an underage wizard. know where it was performed. They know what spell was performed. And yet, they do not know of the presence of dementors in the immediate vicinity of Harry's house ?!? there is no sense in such a detecting ability.
    (the information supplied by Dumbledore in hp6, p. 344, regarding this detection (about it being able to identify location and not identity the perpetrator, as there is an assumption that wizarding parents watch after their kids, does not make things clearer. Vice versa, it raises another question: what do the ministry people do with magic performed in settlements where there are several wizarding families, and magic is performed by an under-age wizard somewhere in the street? assuming they have detection on two wizarding family houses, as they watch two underage wizards and the magic was performed mid-way, do they press charges both underage wizards?
    Just for reference sake: the same information is repeated in Moody's mention of the TRACE, the system that traces all magic performed near under-age wizards (that are being traced), in hp7, ps. 46-47)
  2. Serious stuck in the house in the same book we learn about the possibility of metamorphmagus Nymphadora Tonks? I mean, really. what kind of lousy magicians are Dumbledore and Mcgonagall if neither can't help Sirius to look different ?
  3. And Dumbldore, with all his troubles - how lame is he as a people's person, that he doesn't understand what he is doing to Sirius and Harry? do us a favor.
  4. Dumbledore helps Harry to be cleared of all charges and then  leaves him there without a single word of encouragement? do us a favor. Even if he wishes to avoid seeing Voldy looking at him from Harry's eyes, even if he wishes not to make it clear how important Harry is to him, there was no reason whatsoever to be so blatantly distant, considering he must have known how Harry must have felt. There is no logical explanation for the behavior, unless you say Albus Percival was cruel. Is that what you actually say ,  J.K ? I thought not.
    This blunder, making Dumbledore act out of character, carry throughout hp5 making it one of the least Believable aspects of this book, and one of the main reasons hp5 is the first in the series I could not believe  from the start. sad, really.
    If you still don't get it, read again the end of hp4. remind yourself how considerate Dumbledore was then, and his realization of harry's distress. Then go to hp5's end and read J.K's lame excuses for this behavior. now rethink this. The boy has been under a very difficult experience a month ago. He has been in a very hostile environment ever since. And you don't bother to communicate with him at all? What kind of a monster are you, Dumbledore? or more accurately, how senseless do you think we are, J.K ? 
    (for fairness sake, see item 18 regarding j.k's partial and problematic response)
  5. Misconception of Percy: what he is, in essence, is a regulation and order person. As such, Percy would not say that Harry got off a technicality (as per his letter to Ron), but would focus on the nature of testimony for him (old woman, squib, unreliable and supporting an unbelievable tale).
  6. Lack of constitutional background in magical England ?!? where have all these wizards been during the Magna Carta, the Glorious Revolution and the slow evolution of an Unwritten Constitution?!? And if there is a constitution of sorts, how can it be that Doloras Umbridge can give a license to one Quidditch team immediately while she still considers the other? Umbridge might be a horrible person but she has shown a tendency to stick to the letters of the law. Where is that law? 
  7. The confiscation of brooms following Harry, George and Fred's ban from Quidditch for life had nothing to do with the ban. After all, they were not banned from flying. or training. just from competitive Quidditch in school. Are there no property rights in the wizarding world of J.K ? (and yes, I know, this is an attempt to stress the dangers of power misused. But it is an unreliable attempt, which is very poorly performed, especially in comparison to J.K's great work on details in other aspects of this marvelous creation). 
  8. What happened to a week's  worth of detentions with Umbridge Harry was supposed to receive as punishment for the interview he gave the Quibbler ? Did it evaporate ? Because unlike previous detention, there was no mention of this punishment taking place, after its announcement .
  9. How can it be that the room of requirement enabled anyone searching after the DA to find them, if it was established to let them be in a place that shall not be found? (btw, why run away hysterically instead of waiting inside for a while and devising a strategy that would also make use of the maurauder's map?)
    hp6, p. 424 explains (thru Hermione) that Malfoy was able to enter the room as he knew he was searching for the D.A's headquarters. But it wasn't formed just as that. it was formed under the wish not to be found. Why did it answer this later request and not the earliest of not being found? And why, when Filch, for example, was looking after George and Fred, both could not be found ?
  10. How can it be that Hermione Granger did not think of bewitching the list so only those on the list can read it ? (a spell so simple that all students at school used to hide the quibbler article....)
  11. What does Fudge know exactly about the use of time-turners ? After all, Sirius was saved behind his back, no ? What does he mean when he says (p. 542): "is there the usual simple explanation involving a reversal of time...?"
  12. Is harry really that irresponsible, that although he knows Snape is a spy for Dumbledore (p. 521), and although he knows that there is a real risk that Voledmort may be able to read his memories, he chooses to get to know memories of Snape saved in the Pensieve ??!
  13. The most illogical moment of hp5 is probably that moment when Severus Snape, the master of self-control (whose full capacity in that aspect, as well as his willingness of  self-sacrifice are revealed in hp7) breaks and sends harry away from his office: "I don't want to see you in this office ever again" (p. 572) and leaves harry unprotected against Voldemort. It is particularly illogical, considering Snape's complicated duty towards harry, and that fact that even if Snape broke for a minute because of the emotional burdens of facing Lilly's son, he had plenty of time to recuperate. And he didn't. 
  14.  As Hermione sets Umbridge up with the centaurs (p665-667), several things don't add up:
    a) why does she try to stop Umbridge from insulting the centaurs? she could just stay quiet.
    b) why does she tell the centaurs she wanted them to handle Umbridge ? if she was smart enough to plan this, she had to remember that the centaurs did not wish to be aligned with humans in any way...
  15. There is a basic theme going in the hp books: Harry doesn't desert people in trouble.
    Even if it means he is going heads on into an incredible danger at desperate odds (books 1 &2 are excellent examples of that, and in both he does it with a cold head. In the first he willingly goes to face a teacher trying  to steal the Philosopher's stone. In the second he willingly goes into a place where Slytherin's monster awaits (most likely with slytherin's heir....). In book 3 he has no choice as Ron is being dragged in front of his very eyes (and it is unclear what is happening). In book 4 he has no initiative in choosing the confrontations. Book 5 returns to the theme of harry-goes-to-the-rescue. Only, this time, he goes heads on to face Voldemort himself. And he does it as he knows, fully and clearly, that last year he barely escaped.  Had he done it alone, this would have been the most noble of actions. But he is bringing 5 other kids along. And he does it knowing what was Cedric Diggory's fate.
    This is a clear break from the past books as far as Harry the self-sacrificing hero goes.
    It is a different kind of story now.
    For the first time in the history of the series, Harry knowingly puts his friends in danger.
    Now, don't get me wrong, getting to the department of the mysteries in the ministry of magic is essential for the purposes of book 5, as it enables to present to the entire public that V is back, in the most dramatic fashion possible... and we have to admit it: Rowling did it exquisitely with the battle in the atrium. But the price for this was breaking Harry out of character.
    We are going to see much much more of this breaking of character in book 7, for similar reasons.
    key quote. p. 690 as harry realizes the truth: "If sirius really was not there, he had led his friends to their deaths for no reason at all.. He just wanted to get them all out of this alive, to make sure none of his friends paid a terrible price for his stupidity".... but there was no real difficulty with them paying a terrible price to save Sirius?
  16. p. 730: "Voldemort, of course, had been obsessed with the possibility of hearing the prophecy ever since he regained his body"
    Why the obsession? surely he knows, like all worthwhile wizards, the limits of prophecies....
    (this tendency to instill a flaw into a villain, so common in literature, was done here with uncharacteristic negligence by J.K. Rowling) 
  17. p. 732 : "members of the Order of the Phoenix have more reliable methods of communicating than the fire in Dolores Umbridge's office" ...
    And yet no one thought that Harry or someone in his surrounding should be supplied with such means of communication for an emergency?
    Let us assume that Harry is not trusted. It is known that he tends to get into dangerous situations. It is also known that he is a prime target for the enemy.
    Won't it be wiser to make sure that he knows how to call for help in dire situations ? Was it so difficult to supply Hermione or Ron with a means to communucate with Mrs. Weasly, or with Lupin ?!?
    Wouldn't you expect a simple measure? to make sure that Harry knows that whenever immediate action is required, he must coordinate it with the Order, to make sure no one gets hurt by accident ? (and lets drive this nail home: p. 731, knowing of Voldemort's problem regarding the prophecy (not wishing to reveal himself, but requiring that either he or Harry shall remove the prophecy from the shelf): wasn't it obvious that Harry would be tempted somehow? after all, this was a major purpose of the Occlumency lessons !
    So, wouldn't it be easier just to supply the kid with a reliable means of communication so he would be able ascertain what he saw was a false vision ?
    btw, the need for such a mean of communication became extreme once Dumbledore left the school. 
  18. J.K's logic in response to discrepancy 4 is in p. 729-730, ,mainly regarding the uses Voldemort could make of harry's connection to him, but there, more discrepancies present themselves:
    if Dumbledore feared Voldemort's realization of the Harry-Voldy connection for such a long time, why didn't he bother to have Harry learn Occlumency beforehand ?
    yes, we know.
    It would mean no luring of harry to the department of mysteries and no hp5 as we know it.
    But seriously.... Dumbledore can't be so smart and so stupid at the same time!
    Dumbledore suspected the nature of the curse 15 years ago, believed V to have survived (hp5, p. 736) and had stout knowledge that Voldemort had survived and tried to regain human form for at least 3 years ! (since the end of book 1) he should have undertaken the necessary steps to prepare harry for his challenge at the beginning of book two (and truthfully? when we see how harry copes with his challenge in book 7, it becomes apparent how his earlier years have been wasted) 
  19. Legilimens is once more an example how super powers confound a writer much more than they enhance a character. think of all the times when harry got in trouble in hp1-hp4 and Snape/Dumbpledore looked at him, seemingly reading his mind but not learning of what troubled him/what he tried to hide...
  20. choosing Snape to teach Occlumency? Is this an attempt to mark Snape for Voldemort as an expert Occlument? So he'll start thinking about what Snape might be hiding from him? After all, he is a Dumbledore spy !
  21.  p. 734: J.K through Dumbledore explains why D couldn't teach Occlumency: "it was a mistake for me not to teach you myself, though i was sure, at the time, that nothing could have been more dangerous than to open your mind even further to Voldemort while in my presence".
    Surely, there are other wizards/witches that control Occlumency, other than Snape and Dumbledore....
  22. Remember the mirror Sirius gave harry for communications? Is it logical that harry would not inspect such a thing carefully ? That he would just shove it aside without any reason ? And once finding it (too late for any use) how can he completely ignore the fact that he had a medium of communication and he had that he neglected to use ? with the sad outcome regarding the death of Sirius?
    also, is it logical that Sirius, knowing that harry detests danger and tends to protect him,will provide such an item without reference to its advantages?
    J.K wished to use this mean only regarding Harry's difficulty in accepting Sirius' death (the stage of denial), but she ignored all other aspects... 
  23. The members of the order have a talk with the Dursleys at the end of HP5, telling them to treat him nicely. Why didn't anyone do it before? Why didn't Dumbledore do something in the first eleven years ? Why didn't any of the others (Lupin, Weasly, etc) do this decent action?
  24. If Voldemort was not willing to come to the ministry to take his prohphecy, why did he show up there at all ? How illogical can that person be ?!
  25. Why wasn't harry warned about value he had regarding the prohpecy, so that it be much harder to lure him outside of Hogwarts?  Dumbledore himself states so at p. 728 but does not provide an adequate explanation. Wasn't it enough to say that Voldemort needs something from that place that only Harry can get for him and that the longer Voldemort does not have this information, the better ? 
  26. Once Hermione released Rita Skeeter from the jar - she no longer had real leverage on the journalist. Why would Rita cooperate? Hermione can't prove her allegations.
--- All page numbers refer to the Bloomsbury 2003 First Edition (UK) of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K Rowling; 

יום ראשון, 7 בינואר 2018

The Harry Potter discrepancies - post 1: covering books 1-4

The Harry Potter series of books is a favorite of mine and many others. A huge literary phenomena that has many factors behind its success, with Rowling's writing talent first among them, of course.


And still, nothing is perfect. Over the years I've gathered notes of discrepancies I found in the series. I mentioned a few in a post, a few months ago.

Seeing how people responded to the Big Bang Theory discrepancies post (and its addendum), I've talked around and realized readers would also like a similar critical look at the Harry Potter series of books. As I was just getting the itch to read it again, it seemed like the perfect timing...

Book 1: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone (from now on: hp1): 
The book is flaw-less (in my mind) once you realize that Dumbledore is letting harry face challenges intentionally as he prepares him for his (future) final confrontation with Voldemort.

Book 2: Harry Potter and the Chamber of secrets (from now on: hp2): 
Unlike book 1, this one has some discrepancies. Not that many, and yet....

  1. It just cannot be that Lockahrt is as useless as he is described. I mean: the man's books are bestsellers and sensible people such as mrs. Weasley are relying on information gleaned from them that is proven to be effective(consider hp5 and the doxies, p. 96-97). So some of the stuff he authored (or co-authored or stole) is useful. Can't he ever remember any of it at all? Illogical.
  2. Why didn't Ginny take the diary the day after she saw it in harry's hands but instead waited ... and waited... and waited....
  3. How come that Ginny trusted tom's diary again to a measure that let him to take control over her once more ?


Book 3: Harry Potter and the prisoner of azkaban (from now on: hp3):
Most of the book is quite consistent. But as things get more interesting the discrepancies start to add up...

  1. How can it be that the bogart, a shape-shifter, also has all the abilities of those he changes to ? isn't it amazing that a simple creature as that can actually influence harry like a real dementor ?!?
  2. Why didn't Scabbers/Pettigrew run away during the looooong confrontation between the three kids and Black? after all, he fought so decisively to get away from ron as soon as he was found in Hagrid's cabin...
  3. The timing of Snape's entry into the room in the shack (the door moves) and what he says he knows after he reveals himself do not add up.
  4. Why was Harry prepared to kill Sirius Black but objected the killing of Peter Pettigrew?
  5. If Lupin lost his mind each time he became werewolf before the development of the wolfsbane potion, how exactly could his friends control him? after all, neither was larger than him. they could tackle him, but not control him, unless he communicated with him,which implies he kept his mind and consciousness...
  6. How can it be that other than Lupin, no one ever sees Wormtail on the maurauder's map?!? (for example: Snape, Harry, George and Fred (after all, Pettigrew is always in Ron and Harry's dormitory!))
  7. If time-turners are saved in the ministry, how can it be that once Voldemort has influence there, he doesn't get someone to go back in time and tell him that when he goes to kill H.P he must not kill either of the parents?
    after all, all he needs to do in the re-run murder is freeze both parents, and kill only the baby, and nothing shall go wrong.
    (and lets make it clear: Voldemort knew it during book 4 when incredibly illogical efforts were needed and made to support his resurrection; surely getting a time-turner using B. Crouch sr. and sending B. Crouch jr. backwards in time would have been less time consuming and a lot less complicated)
    also see the pottermore article  to realize j.k's confusion in this subject.
  8. When harry confronts Sirius Black he aims a wand at him, intending to kill him.... but Harry never learned a deadly curse... it would only come at book 4...
  9. Dumbledore didn't know about the evolution as animagi of James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew ? did not know of the way that they escorted Remus Lupin during full moon nights? Does that man know anything about things taking place in Hogwarts ?
    [but on the other hand, Dumbledore was told of the prank against Snape, swore Snape to secrecy, and had no other thoughts about the roles that Potter and Black filled in that event? nothing to raise suspicions that justified finding out everything ? [and if he had found it all out, why did he let Black into Hogwarts after 12 years as an escaped prisoner?]]
  10. With time-turners a magical possibility and the greatest wizard of the age believing the story of Black, and knowing that Pettigrew was in Hogwarts at a certain time, are we supposed to believe that there was no possibility to recapture  peter the rat before he could make a significant distance from the area of the lake ?
    no possibility at all ?!?
    this can mean only one option - that Dumbledore sucks as a wizard. Even harry's father & co knew how to make a map that showed everyone's location in Hogwarts. and Dumbledore couldn't go back in time, locate Pettigrew just as he escaped, capture him, introduce him in front of the ministry and save a lot of trouble down the road? do us a favor.


Book 4: Harry Potter and the goblet of fire (from now on: hp4):
As the books grow longer and more complicated, they gather more internal discrepancies, but in JKR's best tradition the rate of accumulation is accelerated as we make progress in the book:

  1. Why have the extreme security measures regarding Sirius Black been removed ? He hasn't been caught. He has shown a proven ability to enter Hogwarts at will. And nobody from the ministry believed his innocence or any other claim made by Harry, Ron and Hermione, right ? So what happened, other than that the Black-storyline is no longer interesting enough ?
  2. They should have used magic... (but they didn't):
    - Ludo Bagman's broken nose
    - Cedric Digory's did not repair his ripped bag
  3. Professor McGonagal couldn't handle Peeves and threatened to inform the principle if he would not stop throwing water bombs.... but in hp3 professor Lupin had no problem handling peeves.
  4. Dobby says he traveled for two whole years trying to find work, but it is November of Harry's fourth year, and Dobby has been released in June of harry's second year, so, I'm getting at no more than a year and a half (rounding up)
  5. Both Cedric and Harry see Krum use an unforgivable curse and yet they continue the tournament? it is an unforgivable curse. a crime that will send Victor to a lifetime in Azkaban. But do they linger to make sure he is caught ? No. they send a help! spark and carry on the competition.
  6. So, let us get this straight (this will be a spoiler, if you haven't finished the series): Severus Snape has the dark mark burning, calling him to apparate to his resurrected master. presumably, he goes to Dumbledore, tells him about it. At this moment, they both know that Voldemort is back. Harry is in the graveyard with V and the joining crowd of death eaters. What do Dumbledore and Snape do in the 15-20 minutes of the ensuing duel in the graveyard, until Harry returns? (Snape makes it clear (hp6, p. 33, talking to Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange) that he apparated to V two hours after the first call, waiting for Dumbledore's orders).
  7. Why did Fawkes cry a healing tear over Harry's leg, but not over the cut in his hand ?
  8. When minister Fudge entered the room where Barty Crouch jr. was held, he was escorted with a dementor and it applied the kiss to the death eater.
    Why didn't prof. Snape or prof. McGonagall perform a Patronus and saved Barty Crouch jr. ? (we know from hp7 that Snape controls the Patronus spell, and it is safe to assume that so does prof. Mc)
  9. Why didn't Fudge request Harry to take Veritaserum ? Why didn't Dumbledore insist ? Are there really no ways to check such a thing out ?
  10. Why did the Tri-Wizard cup work as a two-way port-key? Harry was supposed to die. What use did it have for Voldemort? after all, he most probably did not plan to go to Hogwarts himself, did he ? and at the beginning of hp4, it was implied that a port-key, once it served its mission, is not active anymore.
  11. The greatest problem with the internal logic of hp4: do portkeys work inside Hogwarts ?
    If they do, then although the idea of the cup as a port-key is a dramatic ingenuity, it lacks any logical base. whoever set this, could have set any other kind of portkey that would send harry directly to the dark lord. There was no need for the entire year. There was no need for the ongoing risk of B. Crouch jr. being discovered.
    All he had to do was use an opportunity on the first month to entrap harry to touch a magicked portkey. He could have lent Harry a book (remember the one he lent Nevill?)
    True, the complicated way theoretically enabled Harry's capture and death while B. Crouch jr. keeps his position as Moody and is able to get away safely, but we can imagine just as simple ways to achieve the same, once Moody bought Harry's trust (which was as early as after the Malfoy-the-ferret show).
    If they don't, then how come this works? and if you think the TriWizard Tournament third stage is justification enough (as some defences had to be removed to enable the dangers of the maze), think again - surely letting go of some defences in the Quidditch pitch doesn't mean Dumbledore would be negligent enough to remove those defences from the entire borders of Hogwards. 
  12. How can it be that for harry, the carriages are still horse-less? (p. 629... why do Thestrals become visible to Harry only in book 5?)
  13. And the last discrepancy for hp4: assuming that the ancient mother sacrifice charm is no longer deterring Voldemort as he now shares Harry's blood, how come that the ancient relations-protection still keeps harry out of harm's way in the summers? 



Just like in real life, going over the first 4 books, it is time to get a breather. We will continue with Harry Potter discrepancies in the next post.

יום רביעי, 27 בדצמבר 2017

The year when it all became real

2017 may be the year when it all became real. When you look at the history of SpaceX's Falcon 9 flights you see that 2017 is a landmark year: the first no-failues year.

When I Watch one of those videos of a launch and landing of a falcon 9  -


I always remember those old science fiction movies. In front of our eyes a science fiction vision is forming into reality.

That vision, thanks to visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk is much broader than just efficiently operating current (and rather un-ambitions, in science fiction terms, space programs). Musk is seriously talking about the making of humanity into a space-crossing civilization. Check out his recent update of the Mars program:


It may take a hundreds of years to actually establish truly independent, self-supporting human settlements on Mars. It might take more.

Think how long it took the American colonies to progress from that first Mayflower voyage to the Declaration of Independence (and the later historical milestones, starting with the Constitutional Convention and going through all those 19th century and 20th century stages which brought it into its current role in human civilization). We might assume that the first Mars colonies will need at least as long a time. So, the minimal scale is 300-400 years from our current time to that future when the Mars united states is a dominant and thriving independent civilization, right ? Maybe. Maybe more. Maybe less. Technology has made some serious changes to the time needed for some changes, right?
Still, It might be that we are closer to a parallel time-frame, that when the Europeans discovered America... Which might make our solar-system futuristic and pessimistic scale into a 500-600 projection.

And yet, the dream of colonizing other planets in our own solar system is just the beginning of the vision. 2017 was also a significant year in the process of discovering earth-like planets outside our own solar system:

This vision might need a 1000 years into the future to be realized. For people born into our own era it may be frustrating, thinking that planets discovered today are going to become targets for actual landing, researching and settling only in another millennia. But to paraphrase the old scientific saying, you can reach this high only if you stand on the shoulders of others. 2017 might be remembered as one of those years when human progress clicked together and created that step in the ladder, leading humanity in the right direction, to a future as a space-going civilization.