Saturday, 27 June 2009

If SOAS were more like Hogwarts

I watched the first Harry Potter movie for fun on my laptop in between reading for my dissertation. I got the DVD from HMV - another for one those 'sales.' There's a friggin sale every other day - yay, good for me and my movie addiction. 

The first time I ever heard of Harry Potter was my 2nd or 3rd year at Queen Mary's. My friend Ben used to carry Marx around for 'light reading' was carrying Harry Potter as well. I remember him pulling it out of his book bag once and telling me what a sterling book it was. This guy Ben was a real contradiction.  He was a fervent Marxist and his political ideas and beliefs were so firmly formed the first year I had met him. I was just a bumbling kid schooled in these American schools, no political consciousness on that level and here was this guy who knew exactly what he believed in. He was also engaged and had a steady girlfriend. A real grounded guy. He was a Marxist but was afraid of watching horror movies ever since he watched Bambi and they killed Bambi's mother. After graduating and all, the guy started working for a bank! And not just any old job, he was hard core investment banking. He said he was going to bring down the system from deep within the belly of the beast. 

Well anyway, I first started reading Harry Potter when I was in Islamabad after finishing university. I was reading pirated copies - bless piracy. My little sister seemed less interested in it than me! It's a great world that R.K. Rowling has created. I guess it's so endearing because although it's a fantastical place, it's still pretty normal every day stuff about friendships, relationships, families, etc. And the funny thing is how multi cultural, politically correct it is, too. 

I met the love of my life while reading Harry Potter actually. I was waiting for my ride having just landed in Amman, Jordan and was reading this pirated copy! My ride had not come yet and I called the office and I guess was looking a bit worried and this guy suddenly starts speaking to me. I guess I must have looked a little lost. When he'd heard that I was going to get a cab instead he said, I would advise you to wait for your office car. So I called the office back and told them I would rather wait for the car. So we got talking about Iraq, South Africa, what he was doing, what I was doing, etc. The story according to him is that I picked him. Apparently I asked for the time.

There's another Queen Mary friend with whom I have long and ardent discussions (ardent and long discussions - what sounds better?) about the Harry Potter books and we make comparisons with the movies. This Greek friend of mine, Vassilia or Vasso, is one of the most quirky, un-self-conscious, intelligent and caring people I know. She's two years younger than me and is even more scatter brained than me and also very fussy in a cute granny way. You can tell her anything - the worst disaster you can think of - and she knows the appropriate thing to say. She's really nerdy, too, which makes her the ideal coffe-movie-date. We talk for hours about nothing. For instance, she thinks Snape was a bad character through and through. And that the books went downhill after the fifth or so. Plenty of room for discussion as you can see. 

Watching the first Harry Potter movie was great. Ron, Hermione and Harry are so adorable. Especially Ron, I have started to really become irritated by this guy along the way as he whines so much all the friggin time. More over, he is so lucky being friends with Harry who is single-mindedly brave and Hermione who is a walking encyclopedia. If you really ask me, Hermione is the real hero - Harry would be nowhere without her. But anyway, it was nice to see the movie. The little kids are so friggin cute. 

I sort of wish SOAS was more like Hogwarts! But let's imagine some parallels. 

I guess neo liberalism and capitalism are You Know Who.

Let's see. Is Professor Bernstein like Hagrid? Who is Snape? Good hand? Who is Dumbledore? I guess Professor Bernstein could also be Dumbledore. Cramer could also be, a younger one, I guess. I think Professor Trelawny is Rostami-Povey or Zoe Marriage?  Who's McGonagall?? We don't seem to have had that many lady prof's. Too bad. 

The library staff and the security are the goblins. Guarding our precious library books, the serious library atmosphere, and our tendency to eat and drink. They should call it Gringotts instead. 

The War to Peace Transitions class is like the Transfiguration class.

Okay, this was fun. Little joys of life. 


  1. harry potter -- a story that unravels in your life ... first Ben, then boyfriend, then SOAS. what next!

    P.S. looks like your friend, Ben, did not have to bring down the system from deep within its belly imploded on its own.

    P.P.S. if farzana rasheed were a harry potter character who would it be?

  2. Maybe it was Ben who brought down the system. As for which character, I don't know. I would like to be a powerful magic maker, I guess. :D