Fun with Franchises: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001), Part III — “That Would Have Made a Nice Christmas Card… If You Weren’t Murdered”
Today we continue with another entry in our Fun with Franchises series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone, for those of you whose country doesn’t have to have the final say on titles and blatantly disrespects authors like that), the third part.
In case you don’t know how this works — a while back, I decided to rank my favorite Disney movies and rank my favorite James Bond movies. And the Disney ones were mostly straight synopses and not too much fun, but when I got to Bond, I enlisted the help of my friend Colin (whose blog is TokyoRemix.com. Fuck yeah, promotion!), who knows everything about the Bond franchise that I do not, for those articles, and along the way, learned how to have fun with it. And, by the end of the Bond articles, we were having so much fun that I said, “Man, we have to do this again with other stuff.” Because I spent about a straight month and a half putting together those articles. That’s how much time and effort actually goes into something like that. And not once did it feel like work. It was so much fun that I knew, as long as we were doing it for comedy purposes and able to riff off of each other — we could do pretty much any film and it would work.
And very quickly, the first ones you come up with are the major franchises, because those are not only the most fun, but also the most universally known. Everyone’s gonna understand all the jokes we make (well… most of them. Some of them might be limited to three people) about them. So that’s what we’re doing. And if you’re gonna have fun with franchises, it wouldn’t be right if you didn’t franchise it. Also, just so we’re clear, this is all for parody. We’re just messing with them because we love them.
And that’s Fun with Franchises. Right now, we’re doing the Harry Potter franchise, and today is the third part of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
We return with Harry, Ron and Hermione talking with Hagrid about their suspicions about Snape.
They know about Fluffy.
“What-chu know bout some Fluffy? I don’t know no Fluffy.”
Hagrid tells them not to get involved in this shit.
“What that dog is guarding is strictly between Dumbledore and Nicholas Flamel.”
“Who’s Nicholas Flamel?”
Oh shit, you don’t know Nicky Flams? Me and him go way back. I once saw him fight two baboons at once during a knife fight in international waters. That dude’s crazy.
Anyway, this scene was always a weird moment for me. Hagrid straight up drops a big clue that leads them in the right direction. And then to make it worse, he says, “I shouldn’t have told you that.” Jesus, man. Make the writing slightly better.
Well, who cares about obvious plot mechanics, it’s Christmas.
I guess the murder tree had nothing to say about this, huh?
Aww yeah, Filius Flitwick. Baddest motherfucker at Hogwarts. He’s been doing the swish and flick since before you were born. That dude takes down fully grown mountain troll as an alarm clock.
I want people to know that we’re not kidding about this. Flitwick is a BAMF.
This is what college was like over winter break too.
Wizard’s chess. This is what you do when no one’s around and one of your’s parents decided to go to Romania for the holidays and the other is an orphan.
Do we ever find out if any of the professors have families? They all seem to not. Do they just stay on campus? What’s the sexual tension like between professors? Which… I guess that’s really just asking… who hasn’t Trelawney fucked?
“What are you doing for Christmas, Harry? Going to visit your par…”
She tells them to look in the restricted section of the library on information regarding Nicholas Flamel. Which is such a dick move. “Hey guys, the only way we’re gonna get to the bottom of this is by sneaking into a portion of the school we could get expelled for visiting. So now while I go home to my family, you guys do it.” And she doesn’t offer any sort of solutions for how that’s gonna happen.
And why is Nicky Flams in the restricted section? Isn’t he like, a legitimate guy? I feel like this is like if Isaac Newton’s Ben Wa balls (which is really how he discovered gravity) were hidden on campus and they moved all books about him to the section you couldn’t get to without authorization. Isn’t that gonna raise more red flags than not restricting it?
Also, how does she know it’s restricted? Did she comb through the entire library looking for references to him? How do you know who he is and what he did? This seems awful ‘let’s just get this plot moving forward’ rather than making sense.
Hedwig is the Ted of this franchise.
Also, doesn’t she look a bit like Wilford Brimley in this moment?
“Happy Christmas, Harry.”
“Happy Christmas, Ron.”
Harry’s got a present.
Wizards all have good handwriting.
What’s with the lavender ink? You know this is Dumbledore. Flame on, man.
Why did Harry’s father leave it in Dumbledore’s possession, exactly? Especially since, as we find out later, Dumbledore was seeking that shit out for like, half his life. Kinda shady when you phrase it like that and the likelihood is that you strong-armed your way into possession of it.
Also, here’s one of the three most powerful magical items in the world… let’s give it to an eleven year old. What could go wrong there?
It looks like a hobo bindle.
It could be that I’ve been out of the country for too long, but it took me a second to register the words “hobo bindle.” Sounds a bit like a grundle bundle.
It’s a sex robe. As in, if you wear it in public, you will never have sex.
Or an invisibility cloak. Which can be used to have sex all over campus!
Want to make sure your dead relatives don’t see you masturbate?
If only Pee-Wee had one of those.
Also, how come he never fashions that into like, an actual cloak? Something he could wear, with a hood, that can stay on by itself. I’m always curious how that thing doesn’t fall off. It looks just like a sheet your throw over yourself like you’re Charlie Brown and it’s Halloween. It’s weird that he never tried turning it into a jacket that he could just wear around himself.
And it’s also weird that no one else in the school knows anything about it despite him using it at least once every year.
What is it with John Cleese movies and invisible shit? Agh, that fucking car.
So this is before proper mo-cap became a thing (Lord of the Rings was doing it concurrently). Is he waring the giant unitard suit or are they just digitally removing the rest of him like bad photoshop? I have an idea, but I figure it’s worth asking out loud.
It’s funny how there’s almost never anyone in this dorm.
Use it well, indeed. If you get an invisibility cloak, the first thing you use it for is to steal some shit from a place you’re not supposed to be.
How does he know what book to pull? The Dementor Decimal System?
Two things. First:
Second – that’s Voldemort.
And I guess a third — what?
Nice eye lighting.
He reminds me of the way Christopher Lloyd looked in the Dennis the Menace movie.
That’s right. I went there.
I’ve always loved this scene.
Oh, but Harry comes across this little exchange.
Which… probably should have happened after the troll incident and not two months later, don’t you think?
No comment on the hand gesture.
“We’ll have another chat soon. When you decide where your loyalties lie.”
Again – what the fuck does this mean? They never make it clear at all. And even when you know what it’s about… loyalties on what side? How much does he know about Quirrell? How much is he giving away about himself here? None of this makes any goddamn sense.
“What were you two doing?”
“Nothing, nothing. Nothing at all.”
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“What? Nothing, nothing.”
“Forgive us, we were, ah, just walking the parapet, taking a look around.”
So Harry sneaks into a random room and finds this thing. Weird that in this empty ass, creepy looking room, they just put a mirror here by itself.
This is a horror movie scene. You can start any horror movie with this moment — person walks into a dark, empty, creepy room, with nothing but a mirror in it, and stares into it. Literally you could go anywhere with that prompt and nine times out of ten, it’s a horror movie. And the tenth time, it’s this scene.
That would have made a nice Christmas card… if you weren’t murdered.
This is actually a really touching moment. I’m glad they included it.
Am I the only one who was watching this and hearing Jay-Z in my head?
Mostly I was thinking that this is the prelude gesture to a Stranger.
I meant… masturbating with a numb hand, not shooting an Arab on the beach for no reason.
“Man, you gotta see this shit!”
“I don’t see your parents, I see me.”
“WHAT AM I DOING TO HERMIONE?!”
What a beautiful shot. Almost makes me forget that the walls look like those of a prison bathroom.
What kind of heating do you think they get in there? You think Filch is anal about the thermostat the way all of our fathers are?
It’s also pretty fascinating to me how they don’t want students wandering the corridors at night, even before people are trying to kill them. I’m not really sure why they’re so militant about it, when the castle is protected magically. There’s all sorts of great shit to be discovering in this place. You’re telling me you wouldn’t want to go wandering the halls at 3 am, just looking around at shit? I get not wanting them to be wandering the grounds outside — there’s some fucked up shit in that dark forest (as we find out later). But wandering the hallways — that’s not a crime. Just make sure they don’t go down the one corridor they’re not supposed to go. That’s not so hard. What fucking harm is this kid doing in a room with a goddamn mirror and nothing else?
I’m sure Hermione’s up at 3 am in the library most nights. How come she doesn’t get in trouble? You’re telling me you lose points for your house if you wake up at 3 o’clock and want to go down to the kitchen and have a sandwich with the old elf who works the early morning shift and shoot the shit? I’d do that every night. I used to love walking up the street when I was back home, delivering newspapers, going to the breakfast place up the corner, talking to the old guys who talked shit at each other all morning and got all their drinks and stuff free. And here it’s like — “Uh oh, if Harry’s caught out of bed, they’re gonna tie him upside down on a crucifix and shove a quaffle in his ass.” You’re in a place of MAGIC! Surely being out of bed is not the worst crime in the world.
You’re telling me there are no late night positions at that school? Lee Jordan doing the midnight-to-eight shift on school radio? There has to be some people who get to be out of bed without issue. I don’t get it. They say this shit all the way up through Half-Blood Prince — they don’t like kids being out of bed. It makes no sense. Can’t you go hang out with the house elves and shoot dice down in the kitchens if you want to?
I think this is primarily just a private boarding school thing. The kids at most boarding schools get around it, but they live in dorms, so it’s only a matter of sneaking into each other’s rooms and taking videos of each other putting Icy-Hot on their balls (this went on at at least one private high school in Connecticut that we know of). But at Hogwarts, you have everyone together, and the common room is cool at any time.
I can see why they wouldn’t want people wandering the corridors at night cause there’s just classrooms and nobody around. What they should be worried about is how the boys’ and girls’ dormitories are both at the top of staircases from the common room. You know Hufflepuff has orgies.
As for late night radio, that was Lupin’s job during Prisoner of Azkaban. He played tunes all night, just eating popsicles. And if you get that reference, we can be friends.
The only difference with him is, rather than handing out sage advice to Richard Dreyfuss, Lupin actually murdered people if the moon hit him just right.
Which, here’s two other questions — what kind of student jobs are available on campus? They must have kids working. There has to be work-study in this place. How can they do that? What kind of jobs are there? Or do they just make detention kids do it, like Gilderoy Lockhart? How does Lee Jordan get that Quidditch announcing gig? Someone’s gotta be the greenskeeper. Who has that job? Hagrid? Filch/ Is there study abroad at this school? Can you do that? There have to be offices for this sort of thing. (I know they don’t have a ‘career’ office. We’ll get into that a bunch over these articles.) Guidance counselors. I need to know how this stuff works.
Also, here’s a question — where do the professors sleep? They all seem to have their own quarters. Do they sleep in their offices? I don’t remember seeing a bed set up in Lupin’s office in that third movie. So they must have a place to sleep. Do they do it church-style, with all them sleeping in the same room? A row of beds like The Cider House Rules? Presumably they all have their own rooms. Where? We’ve seen a lot of places in this castle over our time there. Not once have I seen where the professors sleep.
And where do they shower? I’ve seen bathrooms in like, four movies in this franchise (this one, with the troll, Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom, the one Harry showers in with the egg, and the one he fucks up Draco in — some of which may be the same one)… pretty sure I’ve only seen one place to take a shower. And that was the prefects’ bathroom. (Which is funny, since it’s open to both Head Boys and Head Girls. They separate them where they sleep, but not in that one bathroom.) Where do these people shower? There must be some kind of situation if an entire common room only has two bathrooms for students to use. I lived on a hall with I don’t know, 14 people, and there were two bathrooms on the hallway, with a single shower and toilet in each. That shit wasn’t always pleasant. Especially when one shower would constantly be filling up with water if you were in it for more than three minutes.
Or when there was randomly half a wig’s worth of hair on the shower wall. Or when you had a 9am class and got up at 8 and there were people waiting, or calling dibs.
Why haven’t they made a TV series about this place? I’d be fascinated to see how that works. Trying to get Physical Plant to set up a work order to fix shit, waiting three weeks, pissed as hell. LARPers taking over your common room on Thursday nights. Having your neighbor constantly be locking himself out of his room when he went to shower and borrowing your underwear so he could climb on the ledge in through his own window and not flash everyone outside. There’s gold here, people!
These are all things that happened to us at Wesleyan. But it’s more fun with magic.
Also, I can sort of answer where the students shower through basic logic, but what about teachers? Do they have their own washrooms? Do they get their own private bathrooms? Do they commute? How does this work? Presumably they don’t commute, because Trewlaney lives there. So how does their living situation work? What do their rooms look like? What do they do during their off hours? Do they go out and have fun? Are they coming to class hungover in the morning? Is it frowned upon if a teacher brings home someone they picked up at the Three Broomsticks? Or at the wizard club? (That has to be a part of the TV show, too. Wizard clubbing. You know there’s some wizard equivalent of roofies and ecstasy.) Is it an issue if Professor Sinistra brings home some guy to bang up in the Astronomy Tower? What’s the walk of shame like at Hogwarts?
Which brings me to another point — what about wizarding booty calls? Say you wanted a booty call from someone who lives in Hogsmeade at 2 am — how do they show up? They lock the doors of the castle. Do you go down and let them in? Do you have to call down to the guard and have them sent up? I doubt you’d use the secret passages, since I’m figuring this is a staff member having the booty call. I can’t imagine a student is gonna have a booty call with someone who isn’t also a student. Then you’re getting into a fifth year dating a 22 year old townie, or someone dating a muggle, and that brings up all sorts of other issues. I’m talking two consenting adults, of-age.
Say a Hogwarts professor is a single young woman, and she’s been sort of seeing this guy, but there’s nothing official, they’re just sort of been hanging out for a while and haven’t sat down to talk about it or put labels on it. He’s an attorney for Fletchley, MacMillan, Brocklehurst and Boot. He lives away from Hogwarts. She wants to call him over for the night and it’s after midnight. How does he get in? Let’s say he apparates outside the grounds and starts walking up to the gate. How does he get in the castle? How does he get out of the castle? Does he have to walk out in front of everybody? Does he wait until people are in class to go shower and stuff? There are legitimate things to be delved into here.
And on another note — do you get into more trouble if you’re caught out of bed as a student, or if you’re out of bed because you just fucked a Hufflepuff girl up in the dorms? Which is the bigger infraction? Is Flitwick gonna run into you in the hallway, like, “Where are you coming from? The barrels? Why? You fucked a Hufflepuff? Was she hot? A fifth year? All right, my man, up top!”? Are they gonna frown upon the sex or the being out of bed more? I feel like they’ll take away some points for being out of bed, but the underage wizard sex is the bigger issue, and they can’t really police that. (Shit… what about house elf sex? Do they all just make babies on the regular?)
And that’s another question — how do you call in a booty call while on campus? They don’t have cell phones. How do you get word to Katie Bell that you want her to come over? Or, how does Katie Bell call you to tell you she wants you to come over? You can’t text. That would make things a lot easier. Because this way you have no idea what time she put the sweatpants on and tapped out for the night. There’s no computers. So how do you call in a booty call? I bet that’s one of those things that’d make you glad you took those occlumency lessons.
This is what the paintings really should be used for.
Oh, that would be awesome. Then you start getting into relationships with the paintings. The scene practically writes itself. The girl comes home, pissed at some guy, and the painting acts as her therapist. Or there’s a chain like the fucking Gondor torches of paintings getting word that someone wants you to come over.
One final question before I’m done with all my thinking — what kind of ground rules do you think they have about sleeping with TAs? You know they have them. You know they have TAs, for one. And you know the TAs want to fuck the shit out of their students. Because that’s part of the job description. You’re telling me if you’re a fifth year TA, you don’t want to bang the shit out of some fourth years? (I tried to skew as older as possible, since in my mind, they’re all in college, but in actuality, fourth year is still only 15 for them.
Though, another random point — there must be people who got pushed, grade-wise, who are a year older or a year younger. Like the ones who were born in November and December and couldn’t enroll in pre-k until the next year. Or the ones who randomly had to do a stint in their country’s army and are three years older than the rest of us freshmen. Or are they really all just the same age? Presumably so, since magic age seems to have nothing to do with legitimate schooling. But I digress…)
But there have to be TAs at this place, right? And they have to be fucking the students, right? There’s no way that it doesn’t happen in this place. That’s the kind of shit I wish they showed more of in the books. We could get seasons of TV show out of stuff like this.
I never understood why there are only aurors and no army. What if the Ministry instituted mandatory conscription to fight Voldemort and trained them all up? That’s the shit I wanna see. Or maybe Dumbledore ordered a clone army ten years before, and…
The wizarding world seems to be very much like the U.N. more than anything. “This guy’s going around killing people. We should all meet up and start a coalition that decides to tell him very strongly that he should stop doing that.” And then there’s like thirteen people on the Afghan desk that are tasked with taking him out.
I want to see the Munich version of Grindelwald’s capture. That’s the movie I’d want instead of running around catching coin-stealing anteater. Or Seven Samurai but with wands.
Anyway, back to student fucking.
What about teachers? That’s how I’ll end this. You know at some point, over the history of the school, a teacher has fucked a student. Or multiple students. Is it a big deal? Does it happen? What? I’ll even give them the benefit of the doubt and say it was only a young teacher and seventh years. Even sixth years, since I’m sure 17 isn’t as bad over there as it is in most states here. But still — that had to have come up some time (as it will in that TV series that needs to happen). What do you think the regulations are on that?
♫ It’s no use / He sees her / He starts to shake and cough / Just like the / old man in / that book by Karkaroff” ♫ (Don’t Wand So Close to Me)
That’s a good note to end on. Back to the movie. Harry’s looking at the mirror that shows him his dead parents.
I like watching young boys, motherfucker.
“How long were you standing there?”
Dumbledore explains that it’s the Mirror of Erised. It shows you what you want most. “The deepest and most desperate desires of our hearts.”
“What does it show you?”
This is a completely different shot in a post-Halloween world.
“So do you like, lay eggs, or…how does this work?”
Ah, the owl transition. Anyhoo… (I’m fucking hilarious.)
Nicholas Flamel. (The answer is always in the book with the wavy, crinkling pages, isn’t it?)
I only just now realized they must have shot this scene twice, once with “philosopher” and once with “sorcerer.” It’s like seeing clips of Laurel and Hardy shooting scenes in Spanish after they do the English takes.
The Sorcerer’s Stone… I’m sorry… American habit… the Philosopher’s Stone can turn any metal into gold and produces the elixir of life, which makes the drinker immortal. Flamel has the only one in existence. He’s 665.
(He has chosen…wisely.)
And it’s a really odd year to pick for an age, considering you’re basically just inviting comparisons to him being Satan.
Anyway, that’s what Fluffy’s guarding.
Side note — is gold part of the elixir of life? Are people drinking gold?
Naturally they must tell Hagrid about it.
Look at the size of those oven mitts. Also, what the fuck is Ron doing?
This shot is adorable.
He also had none of this furniture in the later movies.
A dragon’s egg.
It’s funny that his teacups are the size of a big bowl of soup for other people.
Welcome to Jurassic Park.
Aww…he’s so cute! Let’s take him to Gringotts and blind him!
I like how Hermione’s the only one thinking, “That shit is like, crazy illegal.”
For the record, his name is Norbert. Not to be confused with Academy Award nominee Norbit.
That ain’t a Norwegian Ridgeback, that’s a Chinese myth dragon!
Malfoy be watching.
Oh shit, they in trouble now. The good news is, they won’t have to call Harry’s parents.
McGonagall’s also taking fifty points away from each of them. Because she can do anything in that outfit.
“What?! And you only gave us five for the troll?!”
This is hilarious, them taking away fifty points each for being out of bed late, since in like two movies they’ll be doing this shit all the time, and there will be actual people around trying to murder them. Which makes it even funnier, since the castle is like, crazy protected from stuff.
Malfoy’s also getting punished too. Tell on them all you want, you were out of bed too, motherfucker. Maggie Smith – second biggest badass at Hogwarts.
Evil glare. (And a slightly darker black turtleneck.)
This place always looks amazing. I guarantee you I will post every exterior of this castle that comes up in this franchise.
So their detention is to go back exactly where they were before.
That’s the “punishment” face.
Hagrid’s gotta go do some shit in the dark forest. He’s also upset about Norbert. They took him away. He’s worried Norbert won’t like Romania. (Does anyone?)
Reaction shots are the key to comedy.
I also like how Filch is like, “Damn it, man, quit being such a bitch about it. You’re going into the fucking forest now. Things kill you there.”
I always liked Filch. I was kind of upset the movies marginalized him so much and also made him a bit of a crony for the douchebags. Since he’s more than that. I always enjoyed the way these first movies used him.
“What? We’re actually going into the forest? I thought you were kidding.”
Best facial reaction in the movie.
He has such a badass moment here, too. Malfoy’s like, “There are werewolves in there.” And Filch is like, “Oh, there’s more than werewolves in there. You can be sure of that. Nighty night.”
Doesn’t look that dangerous to me.
Shots like this always bring me back to the Hound of the Baskervilles episode of Wishbone, which freaked the shit out of me as a kid.
The other thing I’m curious about — this isn’t technically part of the grounds at the school, right? Or is it? Presumably it is, right? Which means that all the shit that’s in this forest is magically protected as the rest of the school is. You’d think maybe they’d do something about that. Or, you know… not send fucking CHILDREN in there at night just to teach them a lesson about being out of bed.
The only thing missing is a bad animatronic owl and a sign that says “I’d turn back if I was you.”
“Mmmm… dragon cum. Still fresh.”
Was that not Capri Sun?
Somebody killed Alex Mack.
I swear, I can explain! It wasn’t me!
“Want a sniff? This is the finest dragon cum in the world, this is. Put some of this on your fingers while doing the dirty, she’ll be finished in no time.”
Oh shit, someone’s there. Either that or it’s a munchkin hanging himself.
Then Hagrid says they’re gonna split up, because what better thing to do with children in a dangerous place where they’re not allowed or supposed to be than leave them to their own devices?
Ron and Hermione go with him and Harry goes with Malfoy. Harry doesn’t like the idea, but he’s a sport about it.
“Okay, but I get Fang.”
“Okay. Just so’s you know, he’s a little bitch.”
This would have made a great road movie. The Road to Ilvermorny.
Also, though — he just left two kids on their own in a forest where things actually can kill you.
Oh, a clearing. Shit’s obviously gonna go down here. I’ve played video games before.
Jesus. This is really entry-level production design.
What? It’s just a dude going down on a unicorn in a deserted forest. We’ve all been there.
Oh shit, the scar hurts. You know what this means.
For the ladies out there, where does this put Voldemort in relation to dudes who just won’t do it?
When Mom says dinner is ready:
They do a good job making Voldemort all weird and spooky. Though I guess, at this point, we don’t really know who it is, though we have some good guesses at it.
I love the way he sort of floats up and over. I think it’s the arms being out where it’s like, “This guy is a boss, and he has complete self-confidence.” You know who else kept his arms out? Xerxes.
Branches are always in the worst places at the wrong times.
In actuality, that’s just Dumbledore’s cruising outfit.
I love this pose. This looks like something the killer in Scary Movie would do.
OH SHIT IT’S A CENTAUR!
I’d be peacing too. You just don’t fuck with a centaur like that.
Hey, remember when they cut Firenze out of all the other movies? Damn shame, because it was pretty awesome when he became their Divination professor for a minute or two in Order of the Phoenix.
In the TV show we make, there should be a Divination professor who thinks it’s all bullshit and does drugs and makes stuff up as he goes.
Firenze explains that unicorn blood will keep you alive even if you’re an inch from death, but it curses your soul and gives you crazy diarrhea.
Harry don’t understand who would do that. (Really? Also, I bet Cher drinks that shit all the time.)
“You mean that was Voldemort?”
“Yes, motherfucker, that was Voldemort.”
Weird how there’s like, an entire forest of creatures and no one heard the unicorn get murdered before just this moment.
Also a point of order — this is the Dark Forest, and is technically on school grounds, therefore protected by magic. Wouldn’t that imply that Voldemort is somewhere on the grounds most of the time? Or, at the very least, that there’s a credible threat around and maybe we should do something about SENDING KIDS INTO THE FOREST WITH A MASS MURDERER ON THE LOOSE?
Of course you all show up now.
He looks like Nightcrawler and Beast fucked and had a centaur.
This is where we’ll END PART III.
– – – – – – – – – –
Tomorrow we finish up the film with Part IV, and rape plants, security flaws, some fucked up head shit and earwax.
(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)