Thursday, October 14, 2004

Magical him

Since the Harry Potter books make up the bulk of many Americans' knowledge about life in Great Britain, Marianne used to joke that when I came to the University of Aberdeen it would be just like Hogwarts, with people flying around casting spells and shit. Well, now that I'm here I can see for myself that the only magic going on here is the magic of learning and I think we all know that that does not count. And as for levitation of any sort, well the two hours we spend walking to and from uni every day is enough to convince me out of that one.

But there is one element of Hogwarts that does actually exist here at AU, and he teaches one of my classes. If you tell me this man was not the original inspiration for the character of Gilderoy Lockhart, I won't believe you. This man is an expert on self-love, not to mention dramatic pauses. He refers to the class as his audience. He has a book coming out in a few months. He is a man thoroughly (and mistakenly) convinced of his own charisma. He even looks like a weird version of Kenneth Branaugh. It's absolutely uncanny.

Yesterday I met a girl who had taken one of NotLockhart's classes last year. I asked her if she learned much, and she told me, "I don't know, but I learned a lot about him."

Ever since I came to the realization of who this man reminded me of, everything NotLockhart says or does has been waaaay too right. He even has the fake modesty going on: "Oh, you'll have to excuse me, I've gone off on a tangent. These are all things I've been researching for my new book, but I'm sure it's completely boring to all of you! Seriously, though, it's fascinating. Keep in mind that everything I've been telling you has never been published's all coming from right here [points to own head]. So please, treasure your notes...they will be invaluable when transcribing your final essays." Then he says, "Unpublished, of course, until my book comes out in a few months. Then everyone will be able to read it!"

NotLockhart likes to show us pictures of ancient relics and say "UNTOUCHED" very dramatically, then close his eyes and observe a moment of silence for how untouched they are. As if the sheer power of how untouched they are has just rendered him incapable of speech. In fact, he's very fond of moments of silence, but usually they're in honor of a "charming" "witticism" he has just made.

NotLockhart loves to remind us very smugly that most of what we might find in texts dealing with his subject will contradict what he's teaching us, and naturally assumes that this makes him a genius instead of a moron. I don't think he's a moron, actually -- but he's really, really not as interesting as he thinks he is.

Luckily, now that I've figured out that he's totally Gilderoy Lockhart, lectures have taken on a whole new level of entertainment.


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