Friday, February 1, 2013

HP Readalong ~ Chamber of Secrets Part 2

I said last week on somebody's blog (can't remember whose) that us Dobby lovers should find a way to differentiate ourselves from the disturbingly large number of Dobby haters out there.  Since I am not nearly creative or tech-y enough to create some actual badge of honor, I am including the following picture to designate myself a member of the D-club.  Club Dob?  We'll talk about it.  Happy Harry Potter Day!

The Master Post
My original review

Part 1

Okay, the first thing we need to talk about today is yet another horrifying example of injustice in the wizarding world.  I could summarize it, except Cornelius Fudge just says it so much better:
"'Look at it from my point of view...  I'm under a lot of pressure.  Got to be seen doing something.  If it turns out it wasn't Hagrid, he'll be back with no more said...  If someone else is caught, you'll be let out with a fully apology...'" (pg. 261)
Is this man serious?  He, the highest representative of wizarding law in England, is going to incarcerate somebody because he's got to be seen doing something?  No evidence, other than the word of a child-turned-serial murderer fifty years before?  What, would actually holding an investigation seem too weak?  The series has been full of injustices up until now, though most of them have been emotional manipulation on the part of Rowling, to make us hate Slytherin and think Harry is awesome.  There's Dobby of course, though the fact that he's not human and his treatment is so widely accepted makes his slavery appear less heinous than it really it.  Here, though, we see injustice pervading the very structure of wizarding society at a level that nobody can miss and nobody does anything about it.  Hagrid isn't dragged in for questioning, he's imprisoned without trial, with only the hope of a meager apology to sustain him.  Injustice is a major vein, nay artery running through the series, and this horrifying example only foreshadows the worse to come.  And we'll get to what that jail is like next week...

Speaking of Hagrid - what the HECK is he thinking?  Okay, so he always thinks beasts are nice and fluffy when really they want to eat your face, but sending Harry and Ron into the Forbidden Forest when there's some unidentified evil thing lurking around that has only failed to kill students due to dumb luck?  Really?  Hogwarts is already the most dangerous place EVER, does the staff really need to put the kids in more danger?  And also, the return of Mr. Weasley's car, which has gone feral and dog-like, is just laughably awful.  So now we know why there had to be the ridiculous flying-to-school scene, but was this really the best way that Rowling could get Harry and Ron out of the horrible situation Hagrid put them in?

To back up a little, let's talk about the diary.  The ordinary-looking Muggle diary that Harry becomes inexplicably obsessed with despite the fact that nothing is written in it (okay, the random and violent abandonment in an out-of-order bathroom near the scene of a crime is a bit odd, but shh).  But it turns out that Voldy wrote all sorts of things!  Okay, I guess it is kind of cool, with how it can manipulate people and bring young Voldy back, and all through the power of WORDS.  So yeah, good one J.K.  Except for how this is supposedly a Horcrux even though it doesn't really seem like most of them and COME ON, Voldy would not have chosen a MUGGLE artifact to store his soul in and most of them don't even have personalities (see Hufflepuff's cup).  But I'm getting ahead of my self (Deathly Hallows, I'm looking at you).

And then Harry and Ron are all heroic (except Harry's more so, obviously) and I want to just put both of them in time out for being so irresponsible and also smack the teachers for not figuring this stuff out, which I definitely think they should have been able to do even without knowing that Harry's hearing voices (step 1: make a list of any- and everything that can Petrify people), and also for apparently not notifying any parents of the mortal peril their children are in because NOBODY LEAVES and that just doesn't make any sense.

And then (this is the big one), after saving the world again, there is "Hermione running toward him, screaming 'You solved it!  You solved it.'"  Facepalm.  No, Hermione.  You solved it, and Harry stole your notes.  LITERALLY.  Stop undermining yourself, this is two books in a row now.  And you, J.K. - we see through your not-so-clever ruse to make Harry the ultimate hero by having the real brains behind his brawn misrepresent herself.  STOP IT.

BUT.  Snape teaches Harry expelliarmus.  How cool is that?  I personally always believed in Harry's version of Snape (generally evil and out to destroy Harry) but even this early on he was giving Harry the tools to defeat the great Voldy himself.  (Note to 12-year old self: REMEMBER THIS.)  Oh, and while we're foreshadowing, can we note how terribly jealous Ron is of Hermione's hard-to-believe crush on Gilderoy Lockhart?  Just saying.  And also how despicable a person Lockhart is?  That man is is no way redeemable.

Aaaand the general blah-ness of the beginning of the series is over.  Onwards and upwards!


  1. There is so much here that you touched on that I don't where to start.

    Yes to the injustice. You wrote it much better than I did re: hagrid's lack of trial, but i mentioned that, too. dumbledore worked so hard to keep snape out of prison back during vold war I, but he didn't seem to lift a finger to help hagrid here.

    Come on, Hermione. you are the awesomest and you should just own up to it already.

    LOVE the Tom Riddle calculator. I almost peed my pants I laughed so hard.

    I almost used that image of Chris Rock (?) myself. Spent about 30 minutes writing my post last night and about 3 hours looking for images. that was one i put it and then took out in lieu of the nonsequitur tacos.

    And yes: Snape & expelliarmus. After reading PS/SS, I never doubted Snape. (Well, there was a brief moment at the end of HBP, but then I re-read it again and I was all, like, yeah, that was planned.) But it wasn't until re-reading CoS that I realized that it was Snape who taught Harry his signature spell.

    1. Lol, that's Antoine Dodson. He did a TV interview after his sister was almost raped and his words have kind of meanly been used in various songs and whatnot....but this is hilarious, lol.

      I think I'm kind of blind to a lot of this characterization stuff until someone points it out and I'm all like OF COURSE and then I psychoanalyze. But until then, I tend to go with Harry's outlook, which is a rather flawed position.

  2. So, yay Dobby!

    I think that while Fudge is obviously being horrible by just arresting Hagrid and carting him off, I think it was realistic. We all know that crap happens all the time, so why not in the wizarding world too?

    Voldy seemed okay with creating Horcruxes out of Muggle things, a couple of the other ones are. And it served a purpose too - it wasn't JUST a Horcrux, he created it so that he could come back someday as his 16-year old self.

    Maybe I'm just the non-feminist of the group, but I don't really see Hermione undermining herself... I saw it more as "Hey, you figured out that piece of paper without me having to explain it all to you!" And you know, I'm sure she was just happy that everyone was alive and not petrified anymore.

    Gah, so much negativeness in a lot of today's posts! I'm looking forward to Book 3, cause I think a lot of the things we're all nit-picking on are partly because these first books were short children's books.

    1. The injustice is just so much more OVERT in the wizarding world and they don't even go through the motions of trying to find the person responsible.

      I guess if you consider the snake a Muggle... but everything else was a magical artifact or person, lol. My rather unclear point was that the diary was fitted into a later storyline - I don't think that was Rowling's initial intention.

      But Hermione deserves credit too! If Harry had at least been like, "I couldn't have done it without your help, Hermione!" or Ron was like, "OMG Hermione, my little sis would be dead if not for you, you are so awesome" or even the school had given her an award too (as Rayna mentioned) then I'd be like okay, cool, everyone did well. But no, Harry gets all the credit and it's not fair! **stamps foot**

      Book 3 is soooooo much better, you can expect all the gushing from me!!!

    2. Hm! I think that's a really good point, Sarah, that injustice like that happens all the time in the world outside of books. Do we think JK was trying to get kids riled up, so that when they see stuff like that happen in the real world, they're primed to (at least want to) do something about it?

  3. "What, would actually holding an investigation seem too weak?" Right? Why is his go to move "Let's just arrest someone" before "Let's actually investigate what's going on!" Because I believe under pressure, he would just want to arrest Hagrid without sufficient evidence because of the past. But at least go through the motions of doing an investigation, Fudge, or else you're just locking people up without due process. What is going on with the wizarding legal world? And it's not like Hagrid is just going to sit in a cell. He's going to be guarded by Dementors, which at this point we don't know how awful that is but it's actually HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE torture because the wizarding world is all about punishment instead of rehab for the incarcerated.

    Good point about them apparently not notifying the parents of the petrified kids. Or else their parents just didn't care enough to even come visit and see how their petrified kids are doing.

    I did however think Hermione's "You solved it" still works cos I think she must have known they used her notes. Yet she's still that excited that they managed to find the chamber cos, come on, how do they do anything without her? She's shocked that got that much figured out.

    1. Lol, due process. That must be one of those funny Muggle ideas because the wizarding world shows no conception of such a thing (poor Sirius). And oh my god, dementors, right? I can't wait to go off on those next book and afterwards too because holy crap who thought that was a good idea?!

      Butbutbut someone needs to give Hermione credit too! And she needs to stop giving up her own credit. And J.K. needs to be less Harry-impressed.

    2. Yeah you're right, SOMEONE needed to give Hermione some credit! I don't blame the school for not awarding her with anything, since they probably didn't know she pretty much cracked the case for Harry & Ron, being petrified and all. So it's really Harry & Ron's fault that they didn't mention this to the teachers. FOR SHAME

  4. 'No, Hermione. You solved it, and Harry stole your notes. LITERALLY."

    But pulling that piece of paper out of her stone hand was HARD, OKAY? He didn't even rip it! Someone get this boy a medal.

    OMG that reminds me that HARRY AND RON received "special awards for services to the school" for going into the CoS. So Hermione doesn't get any recognition for being the one to solve the mystery that has mystified grown-ass magical teachers for CENTURIES.

    I just... I can't.

    1. Oh my god, good point! I never even realized the injustice of Hermione not getting recognized for solving a murder that had all the grown-ups completely stumped! Now I'm even angrier!

  5. So, Fudge's attitude kind of isn't that different from like politicians and high up police people and everything, no? If you can't find the ACTUAL guy, pin it on the nearest one? (Yeah, I've seen The West Wing and The Wire, I know what's up!)

    Anyway... So the diary is a Horcrux (Shhhhh, we aren't meant to know this yet!) but I feel like JK either hadn't fully decided on this yet, or hadn't figured out what the other Horcruxes would be, or stuff like that, you know?

    I think this is a LOT more like Hermione undermining herself than it was in the Philosopher's Stone. BECAUSE THAT WAS JUST A REALISATION OK?! But yeah, she totally solved this one. BLOODY HELL JK!

    1. Oh, I agree that Fudge's attitude isn't all that unusual but a) he's more explicit about it and b) there's no evidence that he even TRIED to find out what was going on before arresting somebody!

      I don't think I stated it very well, but I think that the diary is fitted into the Horcrux storyline later on, rather than actually foreshadowing it. If the Horcruxes had been planned out, I think that Rowling would have chosen a different object than a Muggle diary.

  6. Aw, Hermione doesn't know that Harry stole her notes/ She wakes up without her piece of paper but like -- if that were you, you'd assume that you dropped it when you got attacked. Right? Plus, Hermione always thinks that the information in her brain will also get into everyone else's brains (hence her constant frustration with Ron and Harry not knowing the stuff she knows), so I think it was reasonable of her to think that Harry figured out the same stuff she figured out.

    Also, JK Rowling knows how awesome Hermione is. Harry and Ron sometimes undervalue her, but I don't think the books do. Any intelligent reader can spot all the days Hermione is always saving.

    1. Yes, but Hermione's not an actual person (I know, hard to believe, right?) - therefore the author is choosing to have her say that. Why? To reinforce that Harry is the hero. He needs Hermione because heroes aren't bookish (or a lot of 12-year olds wouldn't think they are, anyway), but really he is the ultimate hero. I think that as the series goes on, Rowling realizes that it doesn't have to be an absolute and gives Hermione more credit, but for not she's ultra-focused on Harry, to the expense of other characters.

  7. Club Dob - whut whut! We're going to need a secret handshake. Or at least customized hats.

    I hadn't thought about the diary being a muggle object, and now it's kind of bugging me. Voldemort huh-ates his muggle heritage - he wouldn't pick the diary as his first (?) horcrux out of some sort of "this is where I came from" sentiment. Hmm. But, it does make sense that Harry's obsessed with it right away, what with him hearing and being drawn to the others. And the others don't full on possess you, but they can give you an evil(er) edge. Like with Umbridge and the necklace. I definitely do think JK had the horcruxes planned out at this point.

  8. Goodness, how could anyone not like Dobby. He's a wonderful character!

  9. Dobby badge for the win! I love it and will use it this week. Assuming I remember to do so. Also, so much injustice with the Hagrid situation, and you'd think they'd have apologized/gotten over that with him YEARS ago when it turns out Riddle is Voldemort and so really, not to be trusted after all? No?

    Rowling doesn't really go into how terrible Azkaban really is until the next book (I can't wait for the next book - I love this one!), but Hagrid must have been reallllll messed up by that stay there. No white-collar prison for the wizarding world.