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Harry Incandenza and the Philosopher’s Stone

July 16, 2009

Or, Why Infinite Jest and Harry Potter Are Actually the Same Book

Enfield Quidditch Academy

I kind of hate myself for this. But I saw HP6 last night and once I started I couldn’t stop. Here’s the run-down:

Infinite Jest
Harry Potter series
Protagonist: Harold James “Hal” Incandenza, tennis and lexical prodigy. Protagonist: Harold James “Harry” Potter, quidditch and magical prodigy.
Extensive daddy issues re: suicide of James Incandenza, towering father-figure. Extensive daddy issues re: murder of James Potter, towering father-figure.
Both parents talented professionals; mother, Avril, Canadian-born. Both parents talented wizards; mother, Lily, muggle-born.
Suffers from horror-show dreams. Suffers from horror-show dreams.
Addicted to secret Bob Hope sessions in school pump room. Addicted to secret Mirror of Erised sessions in school storage room.
Enfield Tennis Academy: Top-ranked institution of junior tennis and academic education. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: Top-ranked institution of junior quidditch and magical education.
School culture of pervasive recreational drug abuse and use of performance-enhancing Substances. School culture of pervasive butterbeer abuse and use of performance-enhancing potions.
Buddy figure: Michael Pemulis, for whom ETA is ticket out of working-class Allston roots. Buddy figure: Ron Weasley, for whom HSW&W is ticket out of working-class Devonshire roots.
Lovable blue-collar giant Donald Gately. Lovable blue-collar giant Rubeus Hagrid.
Canadian separatist terrorists may be hatching insidious plot to enslave Americans. Deatheater terrorists may be hatching insidious plot to enslave wizards and muggles.
Ennett House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries
The fatally beautiful Joelle van Dyne The fatally beautiful Fleur Delacour
Whataburger Invitational Triwizard Tournament
Port Washington Beauxbatons
Eschaton Wizard’s Chess
The Unexamined Life The Three Broomsticks
Helen Steeply Rita Skeeter
Tennis Quidditch
Substances Voldemort

In conclusion, “J.K. Rowling” is a pseudonym of David Foster Wallace.


9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2009 1:34 pm

    Though I guess HP was probably a little easier to film than IJ would be.

  2. July 17, 2009 12:31 am

    The parallel between “Canadian-born” and “muggle-born”? Magnificent.

  3. Andy permalink
    July 17, 2009 12:29 pm

    Very, very clever! Is it too much of a stretch to correlate the Great Concavity to Azkaban, and the ATHSCME fans to Dementors?

    If “Incandenza!” was never a spell in the Potter books, it should have been.

  4. July 17, 2009 4:35 pm

    Great job, I’m very amused! Perhaps the now-grown-up HP fans will all be prepared to become DFW fans. Or perhaps some interim writing is necessary, say, a film called “When Harry Met Acid.”

    Heading off to the Half-Blood Pince in an hour… Incandenza!

  5. July 22, 2009 1:49 pm

    Love it!

  6. July 23, 2009 3:26 pm


    Okay, but so if David Foster Wallace had written the Harry Potter books, what do you think would be the very first scene? Harry, under a monstrous spell, trying desperately to communicate with his Professors as they look on in horror?

  7. ariel permalink
    July 26, 2009 8:43 am

    awesome! laughing

  8. Matthew Harris permalink
    March 19, 2011 8:26 pm

    An entombed father figure is buried with an ultimate weapon, and when our protagonist realizes that the ultimate weapon has already been found, he says “Too Late”

  9. July 27, 2011 10:32 pm

    oh my GOD OH MY GOD
    it makes my head hurt how much sense this makes
    also, Enfield Quidditch Academy? I DIED.

    You, Sir or Madame, are excellent. Please continue to exist for as long as possible.

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