Every once in a while I may post a random blog post about something random but probably linked to books or TV/movies or both as the description of this blog itself contains the word “babble.”
Today I’m finally venting on the utter confusion instilled in me as a child when I saw the first Harry Potter film and read the first Harry Potter book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
I was seven years old when I saw the first Harry Potter film when it came out in the movie theaters. We went to see it because my brother had read the book (obviously after seeing the magic that was the movie I immediately read the book, the series, and the rest is history).
Well I was young but not stupid but this film (after reading the book) had my little brain convolutedly confused. Why? Well Harry Potter’s birthday is July 31. In the film Hagrid shows up on his birthday, takes him shopping, then delivers him to the train station where Harry hops on the Hogwarts Express which departs at 11am on September 1 each year without fail for the beginning of term.
Do you see it? Do you? WHERE IS AUGUST????
I knew and know the months of the year and yet September 1 succinctly followed July 31! Was I wrong? Did I fail to accurately recall the calendar year?
Well I didn’t notice when I first saw the film obviously but once I’d read the book where it is logically explained that Hagrid shows up on Harry’s birthday (July 31) and takes him school shopping after which Harry goes back to the Dursleys for one month and the Dursleys drop Harry off at the train station on September 1.
But it still drives my mind mad when I watch the film, nay, films! Yes plural because as I began once again pondering this ridiculous (but understandable from a filmmaker’s point of view) timeline choice in the film I began to realize that they did this EVERY TIME. Oh ho ho! Film directors Chris Columbus and his buddy Alfonso Cuarón are little Weasley tricksters.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Dobby shows up on Harry’s birthday (yes, July 31 still) and that night Harry escapes to the Weasley’s house who make it there just after dawn and then they pack off to King’s Cross station and go to Hogwarts because it’s September 1st?! While of course in the book it explains that Harry stayed the remainder of the summer at the Weasleys until September 1st.
THEN in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Aunt Marge shows up on Harry’s birthday and Harry runs away after dinner that night where he ends up in the Leaky Cauldron pub and the next day he is off to freaking Hogwarts because it’s September 1 YET AGAIN. But obviously in the book (which is far more logical, thank you J.K.R.) Aunt Marge is there for a whole week and Harry spends the remainder of the summer at the Leaky Cauldron/Diagon Alley until September 1.
The subsequent films spend less and less time focused on the summer and more on the school year (I think directors Mike Newell and David Yates knew I was on to them) but they still finagle with time…but that’s to be expected with films so we’ll just glaze over them…for now. So yeah, they’re a bit hazy in timeline, like most films are due to time constraints, money constraints, and the o holy entertainment factor, but at least the first three feel planned. Like: “Where can we cut down on time?” “Well, what’s that boring nonsense about Harry faffing about between his birthday and school?” “What, August?” “Yeah, let’s cut it.” “Who needs August anyway?” “Let’s not even bother with a time transition scene and just erase August all together!” “They’ll never notice!” Well, as the saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, [insert a shaking fist revving up for a punch].
Anyway…to sum up my rational adult mind, my confused inner child, and the web of ponderings this morning has brought my idle mind, I’ve come up with a theory that will satisfy my brain whilst reminiscing or watching the films: August does not exist in the calendar year of the Wizarding (film) World. (This obviously doesn’t apply to the Wizarding (book) World…aka the real Wizarding World because J.K. Rowling wrote the books in their entirety and they make complete brilliant sense).
And now, I can exhale.
Yes I think shall make a cup of tea now…perhaps figure out something productive to do on my day off from work.