Why do hats mean death?

We’ve all seen it happen… Bob and Carol are out kayaking when suddenly the boat goes over a waterfall! The boat snaps like the brittle twig it is and the two friends are lost in the swirling currents.

A few minutes later we see Carol crawling onto the bank, miraculously she survived! She yells out “WE MADE IT BOB!!!!!!!!” then pauses, “Bob? Bob?….Bob?”

We see Bob’s hat floating on the water. Carol bursts into tears and leaves.

Why?

How come when film characters see someone’s hat after an accident they assume they’re dead? To help make my point at how ridiculous this is I have made a list of all the possible meanings that can be taken from this situation.

  • Bob is lying injured in a shallower part of the lake and has sent his hat out as an SOS.
  • Bob survived and gave his hat as an offering to the lake spirits in exchange for sparing his life.
  • Someone wearing a hat similar to Bob’s hat dropped his hat here a few days ago.
  • Bob threw his hat away, deciding that it is a bad luck hat and directly responsible for the accident.
  • A wild ferocious animal ate Bob and regurgitated his hat.
  • A wild ferocious animal ate Bob’s hat and regurgitated it.
  • Bob is swimming through the water- directly under the hat.
  • Bob’s hat fell off.

You’ll notice that most, if not all, of these meanings would suggest that Bob is alive. I get that filmmakers can’t actually show us Bob’s drowned, bloated corpse at the bottom of the lake- but the hat thing is overdone. I don’t even get why a hat would symbolise death… Unless…

In all those films where the hero goes off-screen and comes back with the death hat- did they pull that off the corpse? When they press the hat to their chests and don’t show the inside- is that because they haven’t removed the head yet?

A lot of Disney films just got a whole lot more disturbing…

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Bella is part Vampire

(Note: I will be posting about a lot of famous books in this blog- and that will inevitably include Twilight. But I will not be posting about it constantly. So if you are one of those people who hates Twilight with a passion- just skip this post. Go read some of the Harry Potter stuff I posted recently. Please don’t flood the comments section with your vitriol. Thank You.)

—–Spoilers—–

I’m certainly not the first Twilight fan to notice something a little odd about Bella Swan.

In a world where vampires naturally freak ordinary humans out- Bella is, from the start, pretty much at ease with them.

After years of being a mediocre and clumsy human, when she transforms she is immediatley an extraordinary and graceful vampire.

She is described as being unnaturally pale- despite living in Pheonix- so pale that people believe her when she jokes that her mother is an albino.

Both she (and her father) have a mind-sheild supernatural gift that is still strong in its human form. And

She can smell human blood…

One of the most popular theories is that she is part werewolf (read all about it here: http://moviepilot.com/posts/2014/12/05/twilight-fan-theory-suggests-bella-is-part-werewolf-2481819?lt_source=external,manual )

But I have a different theory- what if she’s part vampire?

In Breaking Dawn we learn that male vampires can impregnate human women- and Jacob imprinting on Renesmee would suggest that hybrids can have children (all the theories about why werewolves imprint involve creating more or stronger wolves).

The question is- can their children have children? And can their children have children? And what about their children?

Assuming each generation bred with humans (and considering how controlled Renesmee is, I’m guessing they probably could easily do it if they wanted to) eventually the vampire genes would become more and more diluted. Until all that was left was an unusual sensitivity to human blood, a strong supernatural gift and pale skin.

This also explains Bella’s ability to withstand severe pain. When she and Edward first have intercourse Bella is bruised all over- yet she doesn’t feel anything. Later when she is being burned by the venom she manages to keep silent throughout.

When she is transformed she is described as graceful (even for a vampire), beautiful (even for a vampire), and powerful (even for a vampire). She is automatically better than every other vampire- why? Because she (sort of, kinda) already was one. She is now (sort of, kinda) a double vampire.

Her deep, unconditional love for Edward comes from her vampire genes. Vampires are shown as being so constant that a change such as falling in love can consume them. Her supernatural DNA also may be responsible for her clumsiness and lack of coordination (vampires are heavier than humans and they move faster, Bella’s instinct on how to move is therefore different to an ordinary human’s. Part of her DNA is geared towards a totally different body); her self control; her intelligence (Edward comments on this- so we’ll take his word for it) and her beauty (ditto.).

Of course, to get all these characteristics we have to assume that Bella got a higher dose of the gene than her father (judging by Charlie’s gift it’s probably from the father’s side). But I’m that can be explained by drawing a simple vampire punnet square (which I’m not going to do- I’m not that much of a Twilight geek!)

Think about it and all the loose ends from the series will tie up- it’s hard to believe Stephanie Meyer didn’t do it on purpose….

The Sorting Hat can’t see into your soul and the system is flawed

On their first day at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry first years are lines up in the great hall and are forced to don a tatty old singing hat that will sort them into their houses.

The four houses are (for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past decade):

Gryffindor- home to the brave, chivalrous and godlike.

Slytherin- home to the cunning, ambitious and mostly rascist and evil.

Ravenclaw- home to those who are intelligent, but not brave or evil enough to get into Slytherin or Gryffindor.

Hufflepuff- the rest. (Great news kids! We’ve peered into your innermost soul, your darkest fears and your brightest ambitions and have decided to label you… Miscellaneous!)

It is generally accepted that the sorting hat possesses some mind reading (or legilimency in the Harry Potter Universe) abilities- but the closer you look at this theory, the more cracks start to appear. First there is evidence of the sorting hat going wrong.

————AFTER THIS POINT THERE WILL BE MASSIVE SPOILERS BE WARNED—————————–

Petter ‘Wormtail’ Pettigrew was sorted into Gryffindor- yet he certainly didn’t the fit the phsycological profile needed. He was cowardly, disloyal, and grew up to betray his friends to save his own skin. Another missorted Gryffindor is Percy Weasley who craved power from an early age and was always shown as being very ambitious clearly more suited to the cunning and power-hungry Slytherins. Hermione Granger, one of the ‘big three’ is also unsuited for Gryfinndor (nobody seems to get wrongly sorted into any other houses) seeing as her intelligence and skill for thinking outside of the box places her firmly in the Ravenclaw camp.

So if the sorting hat can’t see your soul how is it sorting, how come so many students appear to be sorted correctly?

Well, imagine it’s your first day at school and you get sorted into Gryffindor.

Even if you have been brought up as a traditional pureblood you’re going to get beaten up if you start mouthing off about ‘blood traitors’ or ‘mudblood scum’. So you keep quiet. Gradually you notice that the muggleborns are roughly as good at magic as you and don’t seem to be as scummy as you used to believe. Perhaps you even make friends with some of them. You learn that the way to become popular is to start doing sports and foolhardy acts of bravery so you pull a few pranks, fight a few duels and enjoy the attention you get.

By the end if the year you are a true Gryffindor.

On the other hand if you are sorted into Slytherin.

You are immediately asked who your family are and how ‘pureblood’ you are. Some of the older students tell you about all the great wizards that have been in Slytherin. They also tell you about the ‘mudbloods’ who are destroying wizardkind. You don’t stand up for those kids when they get teased your housemates w

ould make life hell for you if you did.You notice that some of the kids in your house seem to have more money and power than others and that they aren’t above sharing it with their friends. You start to hang around these kids and do what they do.

By the end of the year you are a true Slytherin. The fact is the houses shape the student’s personalities not the other way round. But even if the hat could sense your soul, the system would still be flawed. As Dumbledore said “we sort too soon.”

The sorting hat is based on the idea that if you’ll always be the same but that simple isn’t true. Throughout the books we see characters change and differ from the house personality.

James Potter was a bully when he was fifteen.

Dumbledore went a bit off the rails as a teenager.

Neville Longbottem used to be a loser.

As for Severus Snape- he completely changed.

He grew up as Lily’s best friend, then became a Death-Eater, then became a bitter, spiteful teacher, then died  hero. When he put the sorting hat on his head -aged just eleven- did the sorting hat peer into his innermost soul and see his potential to be brave, clever and kind and wonder about where to put him?

Or was it just a hat that knew he was from a Slytherin family and so yelled out “Slytherin!” almost immediately.

Why teach transfiguration in Hogwarts?

Hogwarts, as a school, teaches a variety of subjects. They teach:

  • Charms, the lesson that teaches you how to do simple but useful things with your wand.
  • Defence against the Dark Arts, the lesson that teaches you how to defend yourself.
  • Divination, Arithmancy (and possibly runes), the lesson that teaches you how to tell the future.
  • Herbology, the lesson that teaches you about different magical plants and their properties.
  • Potions, the lesson that teaches you how to ‘bottle fame, brew glory and even put a stopper in death!’ (Also how to put up with the worst teacher in existence.)
  • Transfiguration, the lesson that teaches you how to… change rodents into china?

The fact is that transfiguration is pointless. Utterly pointless. At best it’s an extension of charms. Throughout the series we see Harry saving his own life using spells he learned in DATDA and Charms, and people being brought back from the brink of death by potions and herbology. We even see a whole room in the Ministry of Magic devoted to Divination.

The only time any adult in the whole series uses Transfiguration (besides to teach other people to use it, or to show off their abilities) is to create a large human-sized magical chess set to guard a stone that produces the elixir of immortality.

Now how often is that situation going to come up?

What’s interesting about transfiguration is that the people who can do it are considered intelligent. Very intelligent. So intelligent that the transfiguration teacher seems to be the one who gets to be head teacher when the old one retires/is horribly murdered in front of a student/ gets fired.

Now why is it that such a pointless task is held in such high esteem?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that, at Hogwarts, all students are taught to do nothing but memorize information. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that people who have never been given the opportunity to think for themselves often never do. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that intelligent people often prefer to let the masses work while they relax. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that if you start teaching people pointless but hard things and acting like it’s all above their heads when ever they ask why, in the Harry Potter Universe everyone pays you loads, give you a prestigious job and basically just lets you get on with it…