Harry Potter and the Distinctive Round Glasses (Better Suited to a Style-Deficient Twelve-Year-Old)

randomlaughterislove:

"…he continues to wear the distinctive round glasses that some might say are better suited to a style-deficient twelve-year-old…" -Rita Skeeter (x)

This line speaks to me. Partly because it is hilarious, but partly because these glasses mean so much to the HP fandom and I’m sure there’s a story behind them.

Harry (age 7): Blind as a bat, but when he tells the Dursleys they just ignore him. Sleeping under the stairs in a dark cupboard certainly doesn’t help his already biologically cursed eyesight.

Harry (age 8): Fails half his classes because he’s struggling to read the board. During the parent-teacher conference, when asked about possible eyesight problems, the Dursleys respond that no, he was just born incredibly stupid, bad genes. Considering Harry’s similarly lackluster performance the year prior, his teacher finds it easier (less paperwork) to accept his legal guardians’ lack of diagnosis.

Harry (age 9): He has an equally incompetent teacher, but a new guidance counselor notices signs of neglect, one of which being the lack of care concerning his obviously poor eyesight. She bombards the Dursleys with phone calls and messages until an annoyed Vernon finally answers just to shut her up. Much to his surprise, she yells more loudly and much more effectively. She succeeds in obtaining consent to schedule an eye appointment with the school nurse. Forced into a corner, and hoping this will halt any further investigations into his home life, Vernon buys the cheapest option he can find, a discount pair of round-rimmed glasses. Upon putting on his new glasses, Harry’s eyes widen, taking it all in. He is fascinated by the world that was hiding just beyond his fingertips. Finally able to see properly, Harry momentarily wonders if magic just might be real.

Harry (age 10): The result of various encounters with Dudley and his mates, Harry’s glasses are barely holding together, despite wrapping them in copious amounts of scotch tape. The glasses that gave him so much joy, have become a burden. Toward the end of the year, the guidance counselor attempts to file for neglect and possible abuse, but the school year ends and the Dursleys resolve to send Harry to a reform school, one without nosy guidance counselors.

Harry (age 11): Upon discovering magic is indeed real, his world widens even more, a whole new world beyond the cupboard under the stairs, beyond Little Whinging, beyond the Dursleys.

Read More

I asked seven anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians if they would rather have been a typical Indian or a typical European in 1491. None was delighted by the question, because it required judging the past by the standards of today—a fallacy disparaged as “presentism” by social scientists. But every one chose to be an Indian. Some early colonists gave the same answer. Horrifying the leaders of Jamestown and Plymouth, scores of English ran off to live with the Indians. My ancestor shared their desire, which is what led to the trumped-up murder charges against him—or that’s what my grandfather told me, anyway.

As for the Indians, evidence suggests that they often viewed Europeans with disdain. The Hurons, a chagrined missionary reported, thought the French possessed “little intelligence in comparison to themselves.” Europeans, Indians said, were physically weak, sexually untrustworthy, atrociously ugly, and just plain dirty. (Spaniards, who seldom if ever bathed, were amazed by the Aztec desire for personal cleanliness.) A Jesuit reported that the “Savages” were disgusted by handkerchiefs: “They say, we place what is unclean in a fine white piece of linen, and put it away in our pockets as something very precious, while they throw it upon the ground.” The Micmac scoffed at the notion of French superiority. If Christian civilization was so wonderful, why were its inhabitants leaving?

Like people everywhere, Indians survived by cleverly exploiting their environment. Europeans tended to manage land by breaking it into fragments for farmers and herders. Indians often worked on such a grand scale that the scope of their ambition can be hard to grasp. They created small plots, as Europeans did (about 1.5 million acres of terraces still exist in the Peruvian Andes), but they also reshaped entire landscapes to suit their purposes. A principal tool was fire, used to keep down underbrush and create the open, grassy conditions favorable for game. Rather than domesticating animals for meat, Indians retooled whole ecosystems to grow bumper crops of elk, deer, and bison. The first white settlers in Ohio found forests as open as English parks—they could drive carriages through the woods. Along the Hudson River the annual fall burning lit up the banks for miles on end; so flashy was the show that the Dutch in New Amsterdam boated upriver to goggle at the blaze like children at fireworks. In North America, Indian torches had their biggest impact on the Midwestern prairie, much or most of which was created and maintained by fire. Millennia of exuberant burning shaped the plains into vast buffalo farms. When Indian societies disintegrated, forest invaded savannah in Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Texas Hill Country. Is it possible that the Indians changed the Americas more than the invading Europeans did? “The answer is probably yes for most regions for the next 250 years or so” after Columbus, William Denevan wrote, “and for some regions right up to the present time.”

Quoted from the essay "1941" written by Charles C. Mann, about the major impact that Native Americans had on the Americas (ecologically and culturally) before white people invaded, bringing their diseases and shoving Christianity down the Indians’ throats and murdering them and banning their cultures.

Check out the whole piece (which is rather long). (P.S thanks to @cazalis for sending me this great link)

another excerpt:

Human history, in Crosby’s interpretation, is marked by two world-altering centers of invention: the Middle East and central Mexico, where Indian groups independently created nearly all of the Neolithic innovations, writing included. The Neolithic Revolution began in the Middle East about 10,000 years ago. In the next few millennia humankind invented the wheel, the metal tool, and agriculture. The Sumerians eventually put these inventions together, added writing, and became the world’s first civilization. Afterward Sumeria’s heirs in Europe and Asia frantically copied one another’s happiest discoveries; innovations ricocheted from one corner of Eurasia to another, stimulating technological progress. Native Americans, who had crossed to Alaska before Sumeria, missed out on the bounty. “They had to do everything on their own,” Crosby says. Remarkably, they succeeded.

When Columbus appeared in the Caribbean, the descendants of the world’s two Neolithic civilizations collided, with overwhelming consequences for both. American Neolithic development occurred later than that of the Middle East, possibly because the Indians needed more time to build up the requisite population density. Without beasts of burden they could not capitalize on the wheel (for individual workers on uneven terrain skids are nearly as effective as carts for hauling), and they never developed steel. But in agriculture they handily outstripped the children of Sumeria. Every tomato in Italy, every potato in Ireland, and every hot pepper in Thailand came from this hemisphere. Worldwide, more than half the crops grown today were initially developed in the Americas.

Maize, as corn is called in the rest of the world, was a triumph with global implications. Indians developed an extraordinary number of maize varieties for different growing conditions, which meant that the crop could and did spread throughout the planet. Central and Southern Europeans became particularly dependent on it; maize was the staple of Serbia, Romania, and Moldavia by the nineteenth century. Indian crops dramatically reduced hunger, Crosby says, which led to an Old World population boom.

Along with peanuts and manioc, maize came to Africa and transformed agriculture there, too. “The probability is that the population of Africa was greatly increased because of maize and other American Indian crops,” Crosby says. “Those extra people helped make the slave trade possible.” Maize conquered Africa at the time when introduced diseases were leveling Indian societies. The Spanish, the Portuguese, and the British were alarmed by the death rate among Indians, because they wanted to exploit them as workers. Faced with a labor shortage, the Europeans turned their eyes to Africa. The continent’s quarrelsome societies helped slave traders to siphon off millions of people. The maize-fed population boom, Crosby believes, let the awful trade continue without pumping the well dry.

Back home in the Americas, Indian agriculture long sustained some of the world’s largest cities. The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán dazzled Hernán Cortés in 1519; it was bigger than Paris, Europe’s greatest metropolis. The Spaniards gawped like hayseeds at the wide streets, ornately carved buildings, and markets bright with goods from hundreds of miles away. They had never before seen a city with botanical gardens, for the excellent reason that none existed in Europe. The same novelty attended the force of a thousand men that kept the crowded streets immaculate. (Streets that weren’t ankle-deep in sewage! The conquistadors had never heard of such a thing.) Central America was not the only locus of prosperity. Thousands of miles north, John Smith, of Pocahontas fame, visited Massachusetts in 1614, before it was emptied by disease, and declared that the land was “so planted with Gardens and Corne fields, and so well inhabited with a goodly, strong and well proportioned people … [that] I would rather live here than any where.”

and another excerpt:

In as yet unpublished research the archaeologists Eduardo Neves, of the University of São Paulo; Michael Heckenberger, of the University of Florida; and their colleagues examined terra preta in the upper Xingu, a huge southern tributary of the Amazon. Not all Xingu cultures left behind this living earth, they discovered. But the ones that did generated it rapidly—suggesting to Woods that terra preta was created deliberately. In a process reminiscent of dropping microorganism-rich starter into plain dough to create sourdough bread, Amazonian peoples, he believes, inoculated bad soil with a transforming bacterial charge. Not every group of Indians there did this, but quite a few did, and over an extended period of time.

When Woods told me this, I was so amazed that I almost dropped the phone. I ceased to be articulate for a moment and said things like “wow” and “gosh.” Woods chuckled at my reaction, probably because he understood what was passing through my mind. Faced with an ecological problem, I was thinking, the Indians fixed it. They were in the process of terraforming the Amazon when Columbus showed up and ruined everything.

(via badass-bharat-deafmuslim-artista)

the-tao-of-fandom:

But what if Abeforth putting ‘inappropriate charms on a goat’ was actually nothing to do with bestiality he just had a really crap day and shaved ‘MERLIN’S LEFT TESTICLE WOULD MAKE A BETTER MINISTER THAN YOU’ on a billy and mailed it to Cornelius Fudge? 

tinylilremus:

Headcanon: Nowadays, Percy Weasley is always making jokes. The general consensus is that Percy’s joke-telling is so bad that it’s almost painful, but since the last thing Fred ever did was laugh at his joke, Percy feels that wherever Fred is, he’s enjoying the fact that his brother is at least trying.

The family always make an effort to laugh despite how awful the jokes are, knowing how much it means to Percy.

goddamnit.

herpriorities:

The “point-me” spell Harry uses in GoF was created by a Muslim witch sick of wondering which direction the Kabaa was.

headcanon accepted

siriusblaque:

  • walburga black visiting sirius in azkaban
  • walburga black threading her talon-like fingers through his hair
  • walburga black telling him how proud he’s made her, how she had no idea
  • walburga black calling him her most loyal son
  • sirius screaming bloody murder on the inside of his brain

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU

every-flavored-bean:

Ok but imagine every other Hogwarts student finding out each year why the Defense against the dark arts teacher has left.

"Harry Potter kiLLED HIM WITH HIS BARE HANDS?"

"Harry Potter erASED HIS ENTIRE MEMORY?"

"Harry Potter let hiM TURN INTO A WEREWOLF?"

"Harry Potter disCOVERED HIM IN CHEST??"

"Harry Potter let heR GET CAPTURED BY CENTAURS?"

[on diversity in media] I think its social responsibility. I think it’s our responsibility to stand up and say what we want. It think if you look at television in the past two years, it’s becoming the decade of the female. Like, all these new shows with female leads. Even if you look at television, as well as cable, as well as films, there’s been a resurgence, as far as the leading woman in Hollywood, which is great. And I think we’re also at the point now…you know, it’s interesting…x

(Source: forassgard)