“There’s no-one like Krum”: Celebrity Culture in Harry Potter

I was lying in bed the other night, trying to lull myself to sleep by re-watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when I noticed something about Ron in that book/film. It’s only a sort of sub-plot of the story, and one I’ve always kind of glossed over in my mind, but it stood out to me more in my sleepy, hazy head-space for some reason. Ron is obsessed with Viktor Krum!

At the Quidditch World Cup Ron is ecstatic to see Krum play as seeker for the Bulgarian team and when Krum arrived at Hogwarts for the Tri-Wizard tournament Ron was dumbstruck. There are, naturally, celebrities in J.K Rowling’s immersive and fully formed wizarding world and Krum is probably the one we learn the most about.

Personally, I find Viktor Krum a particularly interesting character because he is an incredibly successful and famous athlete whilst still being a student at the Durmstrang Institute. If Harry holds the record for youngest Gryffindor seeker in a century, surely Krum must have a few of these unofficial titles to his name as well! Despite his celebrity status, Krum travelled to Hogwarts along with his peers in order to take part in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. This resulted in him spending a lot of time in the presence of normal wizards, including one of his biggest fans Ron Weasley.

Krum’s role in The Goblet of Fire is, largely, to be a plot device. He fuels Ron and Hermione’s ongoing romantic tension and ends up hexed in the maze in order to clear the path to the Tri-Wizard cup for Harry and Cedric. Putting his role in the actual tournament aside, Krum’s impact on both Ron and Hermione is an interesting one.

Perhaps unrealistically, Krum sets his sights on the quiet, pensive Hermione Granger (who has her head in a book 80% of the time) instead of on one the hoards of girls following him around everywhere. His quiet and understated demeanour means that Harry and Ron do not find out about his relationship with Hermione until the Yule Ball. Instantly Ron, who had previously adored Krum (and famously stated: “There’s no one like Krum! He’s like a bird the way he rides the wind! He’s more than an athlete! He’s an artist.”), now immediately despises him for bringing Hermione as his date to the ball and, in doing so, shattering both his assertion that Hermione is completely undesirable and desperate for a date and his own ego (because we all know he would’ve been more than happy to go with Hermione).

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This characterisation of Krum is clever in that it humanises a celebrity and reveals his desire to live a quieter and less glamorous life through his choice to pursue Hermione. He frequently displays his sincerity through acts such as rescuing Hermione from the Black Lake in the second challenge and asking her to write to him one he has left Hogwarts. Despite Ron’s newfound hatred of him, Krum endears himself to the reader/watcher.

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Ron’s reaction to Krum, however, adds depth to Rowling’s depiction of celebrity culture. It demonstrates that fans put their idols on pedestals. They expect them to be perfect at all times. Ron expects that because Krum is a brilliant seeker that he will be equally as brilliant in every aspect of his life. Quickly, however, when Krum does something that damages Ron’s pride he reverses his opinion and decides that Krum is now “the enemy” rather than an “artist”. In doing this Rowling suggests that when you hold somebody to such an unattainable standard you will always be let down when meeting them in reality. Ron’s experience, despite being entirely self inflicted, left him jaded and disappointed.

On a positive note this experience worked out pretty well for Hermione. She bagged a date with a celebrity and also pissed off Ron doing it, which I imagine is one of her favourite past times 🙂

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Hope you enjoyed this silly post!

Until next time,

J x

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The Problem with Inspirational People

I’ll rephrase that, it’s not the inspirational people’s problem, it’s mine. There are so many positive things to be gained from watching and listening to the people who inspire you but, sometimes, I find it has the opposite effect.

One of the most inspirational people in the world, to me personally, is Emma Watson. I’m a MASSIVE Harry Potter fan (obviously) so have known of Emma since I was literally a small child. Watching her play Hermione in the Harry Potter films and grow up on screen, while I was also growing up, was amazing to me. I left the cinema after seeing The Deathly Hallows Part 2 sobbing my eyes out that it was the end. I was wrong though, Emma Watson has continued to inspire me in almost every way since that day. I learned that she studied literature at Brown University, starred in an adaptation of one of my favourite books ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’, is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, a proud advocate for feminism and sustainable fashion and she started her own book club ‘Our Shared Shelf’ that champions female writers.

Emma Watson placing free books in random places in Paris (like an angel) as part of her book club ‘Our Shared Shelf’. Picture from Emma Watson’s Instagram (@emmawatson)

She’s pretty much a perfect human to me and I think if I ever met her I’d be a blubbering mess and wouldn’t be able to say anything. I’m excited every time she posts on Twitter or Instagram and actively keep up with her latest projects. Most of the time, I’m just in sheer awe of her. If I achieve 0.001% of what she has achieved in my life I’ll be over the moon. I look up to her and admire her work.

Sometimes though, If I’m having a bad day or have just had a set back of some form, I see an Instagram post by somebody I’m usually inspired by, about their latest exciting endeavor, and it just makes me feel inadequate. I fully know that this is my own problem and nothing to do with them but, none the less, it is the case.

Zoe Sugg launching new beauty range ”Jelly & Gelato’. Picture from Zoe Sugg’s Instagram (@zoella)

I follow a lot of bloggers and youtubers and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of their lifestyles. Most of the time I just think it’s really cool that they’re working on creative projects that they’re passionate about. Whether it’s books, product ranges, short films and sketches, campaigns or music. I’m envious of those who are in a position to create something they love and have it be a success.

Hannah Witton winning an award at Summer in the City. Picture from Hannah Witton’s Instagram (@hannahwitton)

An example of this is Hazel Hayes’ short films. I have always loved writing and am currently studying English Literature at university in the hope that one day I’ll be able to pursue writing as a career. On top of that I’m a massive fan of film and TV and have written screenplays for my own enjoyment for years. It’s awesome that Hazel is achieving her goals and creating short films and I find it encouraging and inspirational to see, but again sadly when I feel bad I start to compare myself to people like her. Which I KNOW is one of the most unhealthy thing I could do, but I think about my own life and the things I’ve achieved and compare it to these, very successful, people.

Hazel Hayes on set of ‘Prank Me’. Picture from Hazel Hayes’ Instagram (@thehazelhayes)

It serves no purpose other than to demoralise myself, but I’m sure a lot of people understand that it just feels out of your own control sometimes. It’s unhealthy but natural to compare yourself to others. Sometimes I even look at the career trajectory of some of these people and then decide that I’ll never achieve success because I haven’t done the things they had done at my age. I know, it makes no sense and everybody has their own individual paths.

Anyway, this is just a little something that was on my mind yesterday that I thought I’d share. 90% of the time, seeing what these people are up to puts me in a great mood… especially Emma Watson.

Until next time,

J x

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is one of my favourite books for many many reasons. I read it about 3 years ago when I was in my last year of secondary school. I read it along with The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and wrote my “dissertation” (technically what it was called but it was only about 4,000 words long) on them.

Some books stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page and, for me, The Perks of Being a Wallflower was one of those books. It was the first book I ever cried my eyes out at (despite everyone calling me heartless for not crying at Rue’s death in The Hunger Games).

Charlie is an introverted adolescent boy just starting high school in America. Throughout the book, which is written in epistolary (letter) form from Charlie’s perspective, we slowly start to understand the somewhat unusual way Charlie sees the world. He is incredibly passive and, in many situations, goes completely unnoticed by other characters, simply witnessing other people’s lives and never really living his own. Patrick, one of the other main characters, remarks on this at a party and says:

“He’s a wallflower. You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.”

This is, of course, where the book gets it’s name. After befriending Patrick and Sam Charlie begins to grow in confidence and his letters become more positive. The book explores many topics such as abuse, sexuality, mental illness and the role of authority in young people’s lives.

Ultimately the exploration of all of these themes boils down to one overarching message, which Chbosky puts very succinctly:

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

This line struck me because, at least in my opinion, it is largely true. I know so many people who have allowed themselves to be treated badly due to low self esteem. When Charlie reiterates his teacher’s poignant words to Sam there is a kind of quiet clarity. The entire purpose of the novel becomes apparent and all of the different character’s stories are put into perspective.

Chbosky’s writing is simple, easy to understand and almost child like at points. His art, however, lies in his subtlety and his ability to write an enamouring, emotionally driven novel.

The Perks of being a wallflower book review

I can’t write a review on the book without mentioning the movie. The script was written and directed by Chbosky, which means it remains very true to the book. The film is incredibly nostalgic, as is the book, referencing old TV shows, songs and films throughout. It is, of course, set in the 90’s so the fashion is always eye catching (if at some points questionable). The sets are colourful and traditionally American which, even if you’re not from America, adds a sense of familiarity.

Emma Watson - The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Lastly, the casting of the film could not have been better. You may not know this yet but Emma Watson may be my favourite human on earth, so as soon as I found out she was going to be in the film I was SOLD. Logan Lerman played Charlie with the nuance and emotional complexity that was necessary for the role and I can’t imagine anyone else playing the part. Ezra Miller, who played Patrick, has been known for his impressive performances in other films like “We Need To Talk About Kevin” and he proved his diversity as an actor in this film, portraying sweet-natured yet exuberant Patrick perfectly.

Well I think that’s just about all I have to say for now (other than if you haven’t read this book GO READ IT NOW). I hope you enjoyed this and thank you for reading. Comment below if you also love this book or want to suggest any other books I might like 🙂

Until next time,

J x