“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

Childhood Reading Tag

Hello! I was stood in the kitchen the other day waiting for my pasta to boil, scrolling through my reader on WordPress and I was seeing so many cool, interesting posts people had written about books they’ve read or are reading. It got me thinking about everything I’ve read over the years and I thought of an idea for a tag! I’m not under any illusions that this is going to become a thing. I basically just wanted to do it for myself, but if anyone does want to do it then go ahead I’d love to see what other people read throughout their childhoods!

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First Love – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I’m sure this is one that pretty much everyone can relate too. Harry Potter was one of the first things I read (or had read to me when I was really young) and it’s remained my ultimate favourite ever since. I absolutely love high fantasy in which you can just become completely immersed and forget about any troubles you may have had at school that day or that deadline that’s fast looming over you that you should really be working on instead of reading Harry Potter… Not that I’ve ever done that haha.

I don’t even know what else there is to say about one of the best selling book series’ of all time. I’m sure you all have but if you haven’t read them DO IT! I firmly believe everyone should read these books before they die. Recently my gran told me she hadn’t seen the movies and I could not contain my horror.

Blyton's Famous Five.

Oldest Reading Memory – The Famous Five by Enid Blyton

These books take me right back to my oldest memories of reading as a child. I don’t think they’re books I would particularly enjoy reading now I’m 20, but back in the day I loved a bit of Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy. The one I remember the most is the “On Kirrin Island Again” book. I think I must’ve read that one over and over again. As much as looking back the characters’ speech is quite comical, I used to get pretty swept up in the drama of these guys’ summer holidays.

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School Reading Memory – The Magic Key by Roderick Hunt

I’m not sure what everyone else read in the early years of school but I know that everyone at my school read a lot of books from The Magic Key series. I didn’t properly decide that English was my favourite subject until the end of secondary school but I definitely remember looking forward to reading what happened next with Biff, Chip and Kipper. This was so long ago I can hardly remember the individual storylines but I guess this series was pretty instrumental in me learning how to read, so deserves a mention in my opinion!

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YA Favourite – Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

This is another super high fantasy series. I was really invested in the first book, then went on to read Inkspell and the start of Inkdeath. Unfortunately I think Inkdeath was either too advanced or too slow paced for my young mind but I remember absolutely loving Inkheart. A film adaptation was made of the book but unfortunately it wasn’t received very well and the sequel was never made. I’m not sure if it was the budget or just the wrong time, but I think that some amazing films could be made out of these books. Especially given the rise of the internet, fandoms and the popoularity of fantasy series’ like The Hunger Games.

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Guilty Pleasure – My Diary by Liz Rettig

Well I can’t exactly claim that this was academically challenging or anything but I’ll be honest with you, I loved these books. At the end of the day reading is reading and sometimes it’s just fun to read something a bit silly. These books contained the over dramatic internal monologue of Kelly Ann and I lapped up every page until, full disclosure, I was probably too old for it to still be acceptable. Oh well, that’s why it’s a guilty pleasure, not ashamed!

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Honourable Mention – The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I can’t finish up this post without mentioning The Chronicles of Narnia. I can’t quite place in my mind what age I was when I started reading these books but I think I was quite young. I remember watching the 1988 BBC TV series with my best friend Megan when we were children and later seeing the movies. As I’ve said previously I love fantasy series’, it seems criminal that I still haven’t read the Lord of the Rings series (I know) but I will get around to it! Obviously when I was younger I never understood the heavy religious themes of the books (Aslan is literally a thinly veiled lion Jesus), but to me Edmund was the original bad ass and he just couldn’t deny himself that turkish delight! A classic.

Well that’s everything from me just now but please do this tag if you enjoyed it! I felt really nostalgic writing it but probably forgot so many things that I read when I was younger.

Until next time,

J x

Update: thought I would tag a few people who’s blogs I’ve been enjoying recently.