Friday, March 8, 2013

HP Readalong ~ Post 4.3

So, last week I provoked a surprising outcry over my suggestion that maybe Harry could have been less attention-seeking in his efforts to prove that he's not seeking attention, maybe by deflecting some attention.  To make up for it (but not take a word of it back) can I say that I was impressed by how quickly he forgave Ron?  Because that was pretty impressive for a 14-year old who feels put upon.  Am I forgiven?  Just a little bit?  No?  Ah well... Happy Harry Potter Day, y'all.

Also, sorry if the formatting is crazy.  Blogger's being weird and I have to class so...yeah.

Main Post
This is the kind of thing that I love about this series:
"Oh, don't mind me!" the Fat Lady called irritably after them.  "Don't apologize for bothering me!  I'll just hang here, wide open, until you get back, shall I?"
"Yeah, thanks!" Ron shouted over his shoulder. (373)
It's just a little aside and JKR doesn't make a big deal about it or anything, but these little notes of whimsy and ridiculousness are why this series makes me so happy.  Oh, and also this:
"Professor Dumbledore offered Dobby ten galleons a week, and weekends off," said Dobby, suddenly giving a little shiver, as though the prospect of so much leisure and riches were frightening, "but Dobby beat him down, miss.... Dobby likes freedom, miss, but he isn't want too much, miss, he likes work better." (379)
Oh, Dobby, you weird little negotiator.

But then there are moments like this, when the boys are all acting like - ugh - adolescent males:
"So ... you lot got dates for the ball yet?"
"Nope," said Ron.
"Well, you'd better hurry up, mate, or all the good ones will be gone." (393-394)
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All the good whats, pray tell?

And then Ron's all "As if!" to Hermione having a date for the ball who is not him and I want to punch him.  But kudos to Ginny for sticking to her committment to Neville and not ditching him just because a better choice (and he long-time) crush, condescended to consider her.  You go girl!  Also UGH, school dances.  Worst.  Things.  EVER.

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So Hermione goes to the ball with Krum and everyone's like whaaaa, since when is she pretty and what an unreasonable match even though Krum himself is so ugly.  And then we remember that Hermione's earlier thoughts about Krum were, "He looks really grumpy" (83) and "He's not even good-looking!" (317) and isn't she awesome for not just choosing guys for their looks?  Go Hermione.  This section's all about the girls.

**EDITED to remove evidence of my idiocy in questioning JKR's math skills.  Which isn't to say that I don't still question her math skills.**

So the Terrible Three are being all nosy as usual and thinking they know better than adults, and they're all like, What could Bagman possibly be doing in Hogsmeade if it has nothing to do with Harry?  And I'm all, it's a wizarding village so maybe he lives there or has friends there or just likes to drink at Madame Rosmerta's bar, and also he's a grown man and can do what he likes!  Yeah, I know that he has other motives and that generally this is just a red herring but man those kids think a lot of themselves!  But then Rita Skeeter comes along and she's all, Similar suspicions!  And Harry shrieks, "Trying to ruin someone else's life?" (450).  Because the Hogshead only has room for one nosy jerk at a time, apparently.

The Second Task - I suppose we should discuss that, yes?  I only have 3 brief points:
1) On page 179, the lake is described as "fathoms-deep," which seems a bit much for a one-hour swim without lifeguards, but according to Wikipedia, a fathom is only like 2 yards, so fathoms could mean 2 and therefore 4 yards, which would be rather disappointing but probably isn't what JKR meant.  "Fathoms-deep" usually means OMG CRUSHING WATER WEIGHT and, yeah... what about all those safety precautions?
2) In the bathroom with Myrtle, she informs Harry that the Hogwarts toilets flush into the lake.  Enough said.
3) Okay, Harry's determination to save everyone is pretty awesome, and also naive and adorable, and I approve.  Also, I can't help but judge Cedric and Krum for being all whatevs, the rest of you can all die.
Aww, they love each other!
Sirius returns!  And he's all, Stop fussing, Harry, I'm "Fulfilling my duty as godfather" (522) and I'm pretty sure all of us cheered in unison.  Then, being all wise and grown-up, he tells the kids, "If you want to know what a man's like, take a good hard look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals" (525), which is an excellent quote to hang on the wall in a class-based society, but will be sadly applied to him in the future.

Finally, foreshadowing:
1) We learn from Hagrid that Dumbledore took care of him and helped him out after his dad died (455).  While this is of course reasonable, based on his relationship with Harry, it's pretty safe to say that Dumbly has a special interest in orphans... maybe some other orphans too??
2) We learn that Mr. Crouch has a thirst for power that answers to no man, but that that doesn't make him a Dark wizard.  Not only is JKR complicating the images of good and evil, but this is an issue that will specifically come up in the next book and throughout the rest of the series. (cough, Umbridge, cough)  What makes a person evil?  Pursuit of power?  Mere compliance?

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Wait, what?


  1. I like how when Harry gets done with the second task, and everyone's like, You asshole, Dumbledore wasn't going to let people DIE down there, he feels stupid and embarrassed. It's so sweet! And totally true because I feel like whenever you stand up for What's Right in real life, you do not feel brave and triumphant, you just feel dumb and awkward.

    I am going to have so many things to say about Sirius and Kreacher. I have a lot of thoughts. Many many many.

    1. "I feel like whenever you stand up for What's Right in real life, you do not feel brave and triumphant, you just feel dumb and awkward." - TRUTH. Standing up for stuff is the antithesis of cool, which is horribly unfortunate.

      And ohhhh, next book. We all have thoughts, I'm sure of it.


    I didn't realise a fathom was so little! I was thinking it was equal to a mile or so!


    1. I know, doesn't it seem like it should be hard to fathom a fathom? (PUN!)

    2. Oh, also, I have been saving that gif since we first started this readalong. So glad someone appreciated it!

    3. OMG that GIF. It makes me so happy and so grossed out at the same time.

  3. "But kudos to Ginny for sticking to her committment to Neville and not ditching him"

    GINNY IS THE BEST. I think we need to keep emphasizing this, because a lot of her awesomeness is understated and can be overlooked.

    Could all years go to the Yule Ball? Maybe it was just the older kids? I don't remember.

    1. Fourth years and up, plus any younger students they chose to invite. But my math was embarrassingly wrong, so ignore that point. Which I have now deleted, so you have no choice.

  4. YES more knocking Rowling for her lack of math skills. Now that we've started talking about it I can't stop looking for it.

    "In the bathroom with Myrtle, she informs Harry that the Hogwarts toilets flush into the lake. Enough said." I forgot about this and EWWW. I guess we have an answer to wizardinly plumbing. It is HORRIBLE and very unsanitary.

    I love the complications around what makes a wizard good or bad and it's not just hanging out with Voldie

    1. I like the complications and am compelled to mention them, but it bothers me that they're not applied to any main characters, except maybe Draco.

  5. "it's pretty safe to say that Dumbly has a special interest in orphans..." This seems really really creepy to me... like he uses them for gross experiments or something!

    Anyway... You are partially forgiven for your Harry meanness, mainly because you approve of his heroicness in the second challenge :)

    Annnnnd, I don't mean to question YOUR maths skills, but 12x100 is 1200, not 120. So.... That's a LOT of wizards. Almost definitely too many. But still.

    1. Oh my god, you're right! I'm such a moron. I shall now remove that and hang my head in embarrassment.

      Also, the orphan thing wasn't meant to be creepy, but you're totally right.

  6. I also wanted to punch Ron -- and how GREAT is it when Hermiome calls him out? So great. (I only want to punch him because KISS ALREADY!) Also, Ginny is the actual best. And go Neville for seeing how wonderful she is.

  7. I had stuff to SAY, and then I got to that GIF of Hermione and Malfoy dancing and lost it all, so: this post made me happy, and hi. :)

    *refills wine glass and watches that gif some more*

  8. Ooooo loving the deep thoughts there at the end!

    I do love that Rowling points out that power-hungry doesn't necessarily mean evil. I feel like she makes this point a lot, even with Nicholas Flamel back in book one - dude had the Philosopher's Stone and was just living his long life quietly. I think it's all to just show a contrast to Voldy, who was obviously power hungry but had a big ol' heaping side of evil to go with it and that made all the difference.

  9. Draco has been surprisingly quiet the last few books. I'm going to start shipping him and and Hermione to make up for it.