Putting Potter In His Place: a Glimpse of Fullness, The King of Parody

If you didn’t know, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is kind of a big deal. Her fantasy novel series is one of the best-selling book series of all time, and the adapted eight-part film series is the highest grossing film series of all time. People love Harry Potter and there’s really no other better way to say it. If you’re like myself, meaning you identify under “Generation-Y” aka you’re a “millennial,” and you’re literate in at least one of seventy languages, then you’ve probably at least heard of Harry Potter if not read one of the books, maybe you’ve even read all seven of them. Some of such people I know have read all seven, many of them are young adults in their mid-twenties, and many of them consider Harry Potter their all-time favorite book.

Personally I don’t like Harry Potter. I don’t like Harry potter really at all. I can’t decide which I like less actually, Harry Potter or that virtually all readers my age seem to love him. All in all though I really just don’t like the books. I never did. At least, I didn’t enjoy all of them all so much. I remember being in the sixth-grade when Sorcerer’s Stone debuted. I’d first learned about it from a few classmates of mine who’d been so excited about it they couldn’t stop talking about it. Soon thereafter my own teacher had become so impressed, she’d changed her full lesson-plan to make my class read it. I remember being pretty pissed off about that. For one thing, I’d hated reading real literature while that age, and for another the book is really kind of big, and in my eyes, at least while a sixth-grader seemed insurmountable. But my real biggest problem with Harry Potter was the genre. Fantasy’s just really not my genre, and that’s so still to this day. But even then I’d found the story pretty lame. After about twenty-or-so pages or whatever I’d actually read of it, I’d already determined it pretty lame. Lame in my opinion. Not lame by fact. Thankfully eventually I’d found the book on audiocassette. Had I not I’d have probably been pretty screwed because I’d probably not have read any of it. But to make a long story shorter, in the time that had followed I’d ended up “reading” all three subsequent installments of Harry Potter by way of audiocassette. I’d no longer needed “reading” any of them after having “read” the fourth novel and so there I’d stopped. The last three novels though I’ll just probably never read, and probably won’t “read” either. I mean I haven’t yet cared enough even to watch the films. I’ve heard by many they’re good, though, but then again I’d also heard the books were good.

Although I really haven’t met too many who’d agree with me on Harry Potter, considering how tremendous the franchise is, I feel there’s gotta be at least a good few or more like me, and I don’t have any doubt that there are. But anyway, the main focus of this entry is Harry Potter parodies, so time to dig in. Rowling’s franchise does hold a distinct record, having more than five-hundred-thousand fan fiction parodies having been made of it to date, which is mind-frying to think that that figure’s collective of her fan labor. Most of Rowling’s fan fiction parodies do render self-published, although somewhat frequently they’re instead made by major players in pop-culture such as Saturday Night Live, MAD Magazine, The Onion, South Park, and The Simpsons just to list a few.


Harry Potter parodies quite often do render in the form of books, and have rendered with books in many different languages. Going to stick just with English examples here, though.

Barry Trotter 

By:  Michael Gerber

Barry Trotter is one of the better-known Potter parody books. Created by novelist and humorist Michael Gerber, Barry Trotter is mainly just about its three main characters, Barry Trotter and his two close friends, Lon Measly and Ermine Cringer, all three of who are students at Hogwash School for Wizardry and Witchcrap. Barry Trotter’s managed itself into a series, comprising thus far three novels: Barry Trotter and the Shameless Parody, Barry Trotter and the Unauthorized Sequel, and Barry Trotter and the Dead Horse.


Harry Pothead and the Marijuana Stone

By:  Dana Larson

Harry Pothead and the Marijuana Stone by Dana Larson of Canada, for the most part keeps on par with all of Rowling’s own story, but adds a few tweaks of his own, the most notable of which is that Harry discovers not that he’s a wizard but that he’s a “weedster.” There’s really not much of any message to the story; it’s just fun-hearted, silly and outrageous, and made in like with a pothead’s kind of humor kept well in mind. Larson tweaks all of the main characters’ names to help fit the billing: Vacuous Vape, Gon Weedly and Morava McGanjagal, for some example.


Film and Television

As one might expect, this is a very common venue for Harry Potter Parodies. Several examples are out there, these are just but two.

Epic Movie

Kevin McDonald as Harry Potter, George Alvarez as Ron Weasley, Crista Flanagan as Hermione Granger

If you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. Scary Movie, Not Another Teen Movie, Date Movie, Disaster Movie, they’re all the same movie. But Epic Movie did happen to do a thing on Harry Potter. It was just a quick short scene, something like two or three minutes. In typical fashion of parody films, I found that it wasn’t really all that funny. They’d tried exploiting of that Harry, Ron and Hermione have aged over the course of making the films. So in Epic Movie they’re presented as having aged considerably, like aged well into adulthood and aged there badly as well. If memory serves correct, when they’d done it, it actually really was a fresh idea and worthwhile joke and still not close to expiration, but unfortunately they’d pulled it off poorly.


Saturday Night Live

Rachel Dratch as Harry Potter

Rachel Dratch always was pretty great on SNL. She’s done a lot of great characters and pre-pubescent Harry was definitely one of them. In the skit embedded here, Ron and Harry return to Hogwarts to discover that Hermione, played in-skit by Lindsay Lohan, has developed very much physically over the time since she’d been away from school. It’s a pretty funny skit. I actually do remember having seen it live when it had aired. Cool to have seen it once again.



Depending who you ask, it’s the best venue for parody there is.

MAD Magazine

Mad #391 March 2000; Cover Artist: Richard Williams; Featured Article: Harry Plodder and the Kidney Stone, written by Desmond Devlin, art by Kevin Pope

For at least a couple years while growing up, MAD Magazine was something somewhat important to me, something fun and dependable, and good to look forward to from one issue to the next. Articles I remember were sharp and witty though always laxed, distinct in their style, never uppity or imposing; a good design for a kid, at least for the kid that I was it was good. And of course timeless comics like Spy vs. Spy, and other recurring mainstays like fold-ins behind the back covers. And of course the front covers—I’d be lying if I claimed that that weren’t actually the best part to any issue of MAD. As a kid, something about Alfred E. Neuman covers could make buying an issue worthwhile in and of itself.

Being the satirical and parodying pop-culture critics that they so often tend being, I wasn’t so surprised after tallying up Harry Potter’s total, but MAD has parodied Harry Potter at least nine different times, nine times at least that I have found. There may be more. The first parodying of Potter happened in March of 2000, featuring some classic E. Neuman on the front cover with Harry, and accompanied inside a parody of the novel, which MAD titled, Harry Plodder and the Kidney Stone. I remember purchasing the issue myself, way back when. Oh, nostalgia.


The Onion

July 26, 2000: Harry Potter Books Spark Rise in Satanism Among Children

It seems no matter how well known The Onion becomes, people continue falling for them time and time again. On one hand, no matter how stupid their content may be, they always disguise it with good and proper presentation, but on the other hand, if you ever do fall for an Onion article, well, use it as a motivator to try and make yourself be more thoughtful in general because you should never be falling for them. A lot of people somehow do, though, and in some extreme cases a lot of people will fall for one all at once.

Harry Potter Books Spark Rise in Satanism Among Children is easily among the most extreme examples that I know of. Apparently, according to The Onion, High Priest Egan of the First Church of Satan had said of Harry Potter, “Harry is an absolute godsend to our cause … an organization like ours thrives on new blood—no pun intended—and we’ve had more applicants than we can handle lately. And, of course, practically all of them are virgins, which is gravy.” Apparently, some hardline Christians who’d read the article copied it and made a chain letter, and sent it out among their fellow friends as “proof” of their views. Needless to say, when all had been said, circulated, and done, things didn’t prove anywhere near in their favor.



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