Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vector Potter 19: Voldemort and Nagini

OH NO, It's He Who Must Not Be Named:

People in the wizarding world love their pets. Even Lord Voldemort (who hates everyone) has his beloved giant killer snake, Nagini.

Lord V used to be Tom Marvolo Riddle, and was a terrible cheater at anagrams. I wonder if some people ALMOST figured out that Tom Riddle was really Voldemort when they noticed that all the letters required to spell out "Voldemort" were in his name. I'm sure anyone would've given up, though, when they noticed a couple of extra letters left over. Adding "I AM" before "LORD VOLDEMORT" is anagram cheating, Tom! Your new name should've been "Lord VOLDEMORTIAM" or something.

But then, he IS evil, so I suppose we should've expected cheating, but even on something as sacred as anagram clues? Even the Riddler would never do that.

A confession: Lord Voldemort has never completely done it for me as a villain. I love a good bad guy, but for some reason old moldy Voldy has never seemed as scary as I think he's intended to be. Maybe it's because when we first learn of him he's already been defeated by a baby. Maybe it's how weak he seems when he's hiding out on the back of a milquetoast's head or being carried around in fetal form (wouldn't it have been hilarious if he'd made Peter Pettigrew or somebody carry him around in one of those baby packs like Zach Galifanakas wore in The Hangover?). We get such a strong impression of him as something weak early on that even when he regains strengh, it's hard to shake that feealing of weakness.

Or maybe it's the lack of a nose. How can he smell your fear without a nose?

Vector Potter 18: Minerva McGonagal

Professor Minerva McGonagall:

Minerva McGonagall is, I think, an excellent name for a witch. Sounds very witchy to me. Maybe that's why, with such a classic witch name, Minerva is the witch we see the most often sporting the classic Halloween witch hat. Way to kick it old school, MC McG.

Minerva is also an animagus who can turn into a cat. This came in really useful that time Hogwarts was overrun with mice, when there was all this string that was rolled to nicely, and whenever you need someone to just stare halfheartedly out the window for hours on end.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vector Potter 17: Mrs. Weasley (and cookies!)

It's Ron (and the twins, and Ginny, and Percy, and so on and so on)'s mom, Mrs. Weasley:

It's the dear matriarch of the Weasley clan, Mrs. (aka Molly) Weasley, seen here offering you a plate of fresh, delicious cookies. I assume they're delicious, anyway. They look like chocolate chip, but you just never know in the wizarding world. They eat some strange things. But go ahead and try one. I want to see how you react before I try one.

Molly, along with husband Arthur is the parent of seven kids. They stopped with little Ginny either because they were satisfied that they'd produced a daughter at last or they were hoping to eventually have a non-ginger and finally just gave up.


Molly is also notable for uttering the only swear word (not to be confused with curse words, of which there are many) in the Harry Potter series, calling Bellatrix Lestrange a word that rhymes with the inoffensive-in-their-world "witch" just before killing her. Don't mess with Mrs. Weasley. Push her too far too often and she might get you an R rating.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vector Potter 16: Nymphadora Tonks

Hey, kids. It's Nymphadora Tonks:

How things had changed for J.K. Rowling by the time "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" was released. When the first one came out, they changed the title from "and the Philosopher's Stone" to "and the Sorcerer's Stone" for its US release. By the time the fifth came out, she had grown so powerful that she could name a new "character" "Nymphadora" and no one could stop her.

During this series, I've been mixing and matching influences when putting the characters together. Aside from the Mary Blair style influence, I've been taking a little from the movies, a little from the book descriptions (where Ron has freckles), a pinch of original American-edition Potter illustrator Mary Grandpre (who rightly, in my opinion, places the scar in the center of the forehead), and of course my own imagination. Tonks is the farthest away from her movie appearances as hos she looked in the movies was just so distant from how I pictured the character. Of course, as a shapeshifter she could look however she wants, but I got the feeling she usually went more for 80s-style punk than 70s-influenced rocker (is it me or do the later Potter movies seem as though the Wizarding World is just now getting Muggle fashions from the 70s? Or maybe England is?).

As a shapeshifter (or whatever the Potter series word is for shapeshifter), Tonks has the extra magic ability to change her appearance at will (unlike every other wizard who can do so with potions). This comes in handy during a key moment in the books when she... the time they need her to.... uh... Well, she changes her hair color a lot anyway.

Vector Potter 15: Dobby (and sock)

Well, look who we have here, it's Dobby the House Elf:

When I started this project and thought about which characters I would and wouldn't be making, I kind of thought Dobby was unlikely to make the list. He's not exactly Jar Jar Binks, but he's as close as the Potter series ever got to a Jar Jar type - mewling, hairless, referring to himself in the third person, and just a bit too broad with the comic relief.

Still there's something a lot more likable about Dobby the House Elf. Is it the lack of fart jokes? Is it because he is at least sometimes a valuable asset? Is it how his particular story concludes?

Dobby won't ever be my favorite character, but in the end I did wind up liking the little guy, and that's a lot more than I expected.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Vector Potter 14: Neville Longbottom and Trevor

Here's nervous, nerdy, and very lovable Neville Longbottom:

Poor Neville Longbottom is one of those kids who just always seems to be struggling - struggling with the terrible burden of the past, struggling to remember the password into Gryffindor, struggling to just walk and breath at the same time. He's an awkward kid, but you keep telling yourself he'll probably grow out of it.

Neville's parents, rebels against the evil Lord Voldemort, were tortured to the point of madness when he was very young. After that, he was raised by his stern grandmother (how stern? This is a woman who wore a stuffed vulture on her hat. Suggests a lot about her attitude, I think).

Many of the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry have pet owls, but Neville has his little pet toad, Trevor. It's a little-known fact that students who have toads instead of owls also use their pets to send messages to people far away, though instead of taking mere hours for delivery, it takes several years. Also, the messages never arrive. Also, the owls eat the toads.

Neville eventually found something he really excelled in: Plants. Neville was a wizard in herbology class (OK, technically even the bad students were wizards, but you know what I mean). Being good with plants may seem just as nerdy as being bad at sports, but Neville proved that attitude wrong in the final battle of Hogwarts when he summoned great vines to come and strangle the life out of Bellatrix Lestrange, the very witch who had long ago tortured his parents.

Wait... that's not what happened? Well, it should have.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vector Potter 13: Cho Chang

Here's Cho Chang:

Cho Chang was a Ravenclaw student at Hogwarts and little Harry Potter's first crush. Before dating Harry, Cho Chang dated Cedric Diggory, but their relationship fell apart when Cedric was savagely murdered by the evil Lord Voldemort and then turned into a vampire. The next year, Cho dated our boy Harry and cried when she first kissed him. Most kids have awkward first kisses, but if you actually leave the girl crying, something has gone horribly wrong. After the crying kiss incident, Harry and Cho actually went on one more date, which somehow went even worse!

After that, Cho Chang quietly retired to a convent probably.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vector Potter 12: Sirius Black

And now, the prisoner of Azkaban himself, Sirius Black:

Sirius Black is Harry Potter's godfather, which seems to imply that wizard kids are baptized. Kind of surprising, right? Usually in modern times, a Godfather's only real duties are to stand around during the baptism and then perform a terrible Marlon Brando impersonation afterward. The traditional responsibilities of a godfather, however, also include assisting in the religious upbringing of the child (something that doesn't really come up in Potter), protecting the child (something Sirius at least attempts), and raising the child in the event of the parents deaths (well, he wanted to).

Sirius Black is an Animagus, a rare wizard with the ability to transform into one specific animal. Sirius, coincidentally sharing a name with the Dog Star, just so happens to transform into a massive, black dog. Also, his favorite Led Zepplin song is "Black Dog," though maybe that's not much of a coincidence. I mean, it's a pretty sweet song. What do you think, a guy like Sirius Black is going to be into "Stairway to Heaven?" I don't think so. "The Battle of Evermore?" No. "Black Dog." It's awesome.

Some lyrics:
"Didn't take too long 'fore I found out, what people mean my down and out.
Framed me for murder, perfect plan, sent me away to Azkaban.
I don't know but I been told, Lord Voldemort ain't got no soul."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vector Potter 11: Ron Weasley and Scabbers

Here at last is Harry Potter's best friend, Ron Weasley (and his pet rat, Scabbers):

Every worthy hero has a sidekick. Batman has his intelligent, capable Robin. Han Solo has the mighty and loyal Chewbacca. Harry Potter has Ron Weasley, a sidekick whose chief attributes seem to be whining and turning away from Harry whenever his feelings get slightly bruised.

Still, even if as a sidekick he is as shoddy and second-hand as his clothes, Ron always comes around eventually. I suppose that's what you need in a sidekick, at least at the most basic level.

Ron is shown here wearing one of his Christmas sweaters from his mother. Redheaded, wearnig an "R" sweater, and attracting girls who are much too good for him - I never realized before how much Ron Weasley has in common with Archie Andrews.

With Ron here is his pet rat Scabbers. A rat is a pretty poor pet to begin with, but (SPOILER ALERT) is an especially poor pet when he is secretly an evil lackey of your best friend's archenemy in disguise. What kind of man spends around a dozen years hiding out in the body of a rat? Answer: A man who likes cheese.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cornered: cute little Wonder Woman

Hogwarts is closed today for the Fourth of July (which I realize makes no sense whatsoever). Instead, here's my entry for today's Star Spangled theme on Cornered, Wonder Woman:

Check out the rest of the Star -Spangled Corners!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Vector Potter 10: Bellatrix Lestrange

Time for the Deatheaters darkest lady, Bellatrix Lestrange:

She is crazy.