Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 9

In the ninth chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry learns how truly awful Draco Malfoy is, and he and his friends discover that there’s more to Hogwarts than they previously thought. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to re-read Harry Potter.


I’d say that chapter eight is intriguing and chapter nine is where I became hooked. This is where I needed to know what was in that trapdoor and, on top of that, I was beginning to grow more attached to the friendship brewing between Ron, Harry, and Hermione. I guess I never really thought about it, but Hermione isn’t developed much in this first book, is she? As she is right now, she’s more a caricature of a know-it-all than much else, which is fine for the purpose that she serves when Harry and Ron leave for the midnight duel with Draco. But, again, having the knowledge of the whole series in hindsight, there’s not that much of Hermione until the next book, as far as I remember it.

Anyway, this chapter opens with broom flying and that incessant Draco Malfoy. How did Rowling find a name to fit someone so perfectly? It just drips malevolence and, as much as Draco is a caricature of the privileged white bully so far, he also suits what needs to happen here: Harry finds something he is good at, something that might help him fit in.

That’s really what this is about for me: Harry is the complete and total outsider, even with his newfound friend Ron, who was born into a magical family. Ron has that history of the world that Harry does not, though Ron never holds that over Harry’s head.

Here, during the first flying lesson between the Gryffindor and Slytherin first-years, Harry worries that he’ll have to do yet another thing that will show his fellow classmates that he is the boy who survived Voldemort’s curse, yet he can’t do a single thing magical in the world.

Which…ok, since there are NO SPOILERS POSSIBLE for this series for me anymore, I can actually ask questions that would have otherwise been rhetorical and EVERYONE CAN ANSWER THEM. But I was thinking about Harry getting chosen/invited to attend Hogwarts, and it got my brain gears turning….so. How does that happen? I don’t think there’s much in the books to support a conclusive answer, but perhaps Rowling has answered this before. People are born magical, as I recall, and Squibs are those who have no magical powers, but are born to magical families. Now, I know the Ministry of Magic keeps track of magical births, but…how? Is there like some sort of….machine or something that lets the Ministry know that so-and-so in York or that-child-over-there in Portsmouth or some-newborn in Abergavenny is magical? How is that possible? Or do I have this all wrong and children become magical at some point?

I suppose that’s sort of how my brain works for a lot of these things, especially when fully-imagined worlds like this are so terribly detailed. The ins-and-outs of such things really do fascinate me, and I would have loved to see more of the Ministry of Magic and how different departments operated and what sort of things the magical world did to conceal themselves from Muggles.

Anyway, the only reason I bring this up at all is that as far as I know, Harry’s the only kid in his classes that comes from a family that is not at all supportive of him going to Hogwarts, and I sort of hate Draco for using that against him. I discussed that yesterday during chapter eight, but none of these people are aware of just how bad things are for Harry or just how new this all is for him now. Draco teases Harry about it, but I’m sure Draco could have used anything to pick on Harry. How was this any new?

In particular, Draco chooses to go after Harry’s very-little-but-growing ego, especially since he’s apparently a world-class flier. I still cannot get over how hilarious the imagery is of Draco “narrowly escaping Muggles in helicopters.” Obviously his friends are going to be prone to either believing him or fearing the act of calling him out on such bullshittery, but I was surprised at just how unbelievable that story was. But that’s the thing with some people who act like Draco do: There really isn’t much at the core of who they are, so they inflate their own reality in order to be better than anyone else. Well, at least in their heads, I mean.

I still have to wonder exactly how much bullying the staff at Hogwarts were aware of. We see here at breakfast on the first day of flying class how Draco picks on Neville, stealing his Remembrall, but getting caught by Professor McGonagall. Now, there’s no one who is less of a fool than her, so, upon witnessing Draco doing such a thing to Neville, I still wonder why she and other teachers did not take a more proactive step towards protecting the more vulnerable students. Of course, I have Neville in mind, but we all know as the series goes on that Draco, Snape, Crabbe, Goyle, and Pansy Parkinson get worse. And worse. AND WORSE. I mean…Hagrid knows the most out of everyone about how bad the bullying is. (Well….Dumbledore has always proven to know way more than anyone else, so actually, maybe he did know more than Hagrid.) Why didn’t anyone step in? I mean, I suppose we’ll get to elaborate more on that later when we approach Snape’s greater involvement in the story, but just another thought that popped into my head.

The flying scene is one of the first truly fantastic moments in the whole series and one that can sort of represent what a lot of this story is about. Harry risks his personal safety and his position at Hogwarts to help out someone who needs it. I mean….THAT’S BASICALLY ALL SEVEN BOOKS RIGHT THERE amirite amirite. Okay, that’s grossly simplified, of course, but despite being a true outcast and not knowing any of these people well at all, Harry recognizes even the smallest of injustices at this age and does what he can to fight them. Of course, he’s not perfect, as the series would later show (LOL ORDER OF THE PHOENIX), but even this early on, he’s got a great sense of what is moral to him. It’s also nice that what feels moral also brings Harry joy:

He mounted the broom and kicked hard against the ground and up, up he soared; air rushed through his hair, and his robes whipped out behind him–and in a rush of fierce joy he realized he’d found something he could do without being taught–this was easy, this was wonderful.

I don’t think Harry was necessarily sad while at Hogwarts, as the very fact that he was there and not at home with the Dursleys was immensely joyous to him, but it’s impossible to ignore how left out and dejected he feels by being the new kid who has had a life of disadvantage thrown at him. Here, up on that broom, chasing Draco and successfully catching the Remembrall before he and it crashed to the ground, Harry is in a euphoric state of happiness. It is nice to see it happen.

Of course, it only becomes better (and sows the seeds for Harry’s ~Special Snowflake~ complex that arrives later) once Harry thinks he’s being punished by McGonagall, but finds out instead that she is trying to recruit him for Quidditch. Aside from this first match in this book, I’m not a big Quidditch fan myself. The concept is neat and I absolutely would not deny the chance to play it if this all were real, but the scenes of Quidditch largely bore me. (Wait….I do like the scene where the dementors arrive in Prisoner of Azkaban.) Still, it is a good thing to have, especially in this book, to help show us that Harry is at least good at something that isn’t getting lost or stumbling on danger accidentally.

I love that Malfoy’s set-up to get Ron and Harry up to the trophy room backfires, but not really on him. It certainly fails, as no one gets caught, but it’s fascinating that had Malfoy not done this, the group would not have found the three-headed dog guarding the trap door. If anything, beyond being a pivotal plot piece to the entire narrative of The Sorcerer’s Stone, I do love how much the nighttime scene not only establishes the pattern of people sneaking around Hogwarts at night, but it’s fun to see how willing Harry and Ron were willing to break the rules. I mean, it must be said that Dumbledore and McGonagall were pretty easy on them for all that they did, always sneaking about, always getting into trouble, always convinced there was some sort of conspiracy involved.

Even beyond that, it’s a nice chance for Rowling to expand the setting that this novel takes place. While I couldn’t even begin to draw a map of what Hogwarts looks like, it does help me get a better picture of the place in my head. (Is there a map of Hogwarts? Surely, some dedicated fan read all of the passages describing the place and attempted to map out what it looked like, right?)

It’s impressive how that setting also plays into the chance for Rowling to use the dark, twisted hallways to firmly establish the four characters who roam the corridors. By this point, halfway through the novel, we have a fairly good idea who these people are. Harry’s reluctance, matched with Ron’s carefree certainty, clashes with Hermione insistent interference and Neville’s complete fear. They’re all just the most obvious part of their respective personalities, but I think it’s a sign of good characterization if one can tell the difference between a group of characters. While there are some smaller characters along the way who don’t really get developed beyond a few mentions, aren’t most of the rest extremely iconic? I think the fact that the HP fandom can have the ability to latch on to people who aren’t around all that much just goes to show how well Rowling can develop people who don’t grace her pages all that often.

For the record, there are not enough fan pages for Peeves. I’m just saying.

Really, though, it’s the end of this chapter, piled on top of some great character steps and the redemptive broom flying scene, that made me want to spend the next hour or so binging when I was first reading this. The mere existence of a three headed-dog was certainly enough for me to wonder WHAT THE HELL IS THAT DOING IN A SCHOOL. Right? But Hermione’s matter-of-fact statement about the trapdoor that it was standing on was way more than enough to pique that voice inside my head that starting telling me that reading this book one chapter at a time was a terrible idea. I mean….what on earth could you be hiding inside Hogwarts that needed a three-headed dog for protection?

Hermione, on the other hand, was more concerned with heaping scorn on Ron and Harry. Oh, Hermione, you are so young right now. You will change this mentality and when you do, it will be glorious. But for now, you’ll stomp off to bed in a huff and I’ll choose to identify more with Harry, who heads to sleep with a million questions running through his mind. It makes it very easy for one to slip themselves directly into his position, too.


Oh, Harry Potter. I really have missed you.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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170 Responses to Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 9

  1. anninyn says:

    I think the teachers are aware of the bullying, but also feel like there's not much they can do.

    It's based on the British Private schools, and from my husbands experience bullying is rife but the teachers just sort of- ignore it? They step in when it goes too far, but otherwise have the attitude that someone who can't cope won't be able to cope with the real word. Which is untrue and unfair, but is still what happens.

  2. HGCFMJ says:

    J.K. Rowling said in an interview that a magical quill writes each magical person's name on a list for Hogwarts when they're born.

  3. Avit says:

    So…. a wizard did it?

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:



      like me. because it forgot me 🙁

        • Fish Guts says:

          And me!


          I should sue.

          Except I could never sue Hogwarts BECAUSE IT IS TOO AWESOME.

      • Hanah says:

        I seem to remember it being McGonagall's quill, though I assume it's an ancient artefact of Hogwart's which she just happens to be in charge of at the moment as Deputy Head, so probably one of the founders made it? I like to think it was Hufflepuff, because bless her she doesn't seem to have done much apart from have a cup.

        Although the quill does make me a bit sad, because Neville was scared his whole childhood of being not magical enough to go but obviously Hogwarts knew he was on the list. Would it have hurt to have let his family know earlier and save years of worry? Poor old Neville, he never caught much of a break.

      • TreasureCat says:

        Serious question, because I did not know about this epic magical quill and now I am curious, is there a place on the internet that has collected all of the HP canon spoken by JK Rowling that isnt in the books? I reckon there must be, but I wouldnt know where to start looking D:

  4. eleventysix says:

    But that’s the thing with some people who act like Draco do: There really isn’t much at the core of who they are, so they inflate their own reality in order to be better than anyone else. Well, at least in their heads, I mean.

    Hmm, interesting. Malfoy sounds almost exactly like House (the planet, not the doctor). On the inside, he's just so tiny. There's a part of me that would have loved to see how Nine/Ten/Eleven would have reacted to meeting individual characters from HP. I know Ten was a fan, but I feel like he and certain ages of Harry wouldn't have played nicely.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Haha, yes, I was going to make that comment myself! 😀

      (And like I said over on Watches the other day, I still think Eleven/Luna would be an epic friendship…)

    • echinodermata says:

      Haha, I've totally read fanfic of Draco becoming a companion. (Don't remember which Doctor, though)

  5. roguebelle says:

    As someone above said, there's a magical quill that puts people down for Hogwarts when they're born — no idea how the quill knows. And it sort of doesn't make a lot of sense, because then why would pureblooded families worry about putting out Squibs (like how the Longbottoms worried about Neville)? Couldn't they just, y'know… check? Or mightn't those families have magical quills of their own or something? Mightn't St Mungo's, to note it on birth certificates or something? You'd think they'd have developed some way, outside of Hogwarts notification, to know right off the bat if they'd produced a magical kid or not.

    I also find it really interesting how little information we get, really, about Muggleborns' families and their place in things. The Dursleys are against Harry going to Hogwarts, but it isn't like the concept is *new* to them. JK never implies that any of the other Muggleborns have families who are anything but pleased about their magical nature — but there must be some who don't like it, or are scared by it, or are just otherwise against it in some way. I wonder how much they get bewitched — are there some families who, if they looked like they were going to put up a fuss, get Confunded all to hell and believe their kids are at Eton or something? The Ministry must have quite a job on their hands making sure no one talks, even if they are pleased. I mean, you might be able to get the parents to understand the importance of secrecy, but then again you might not, lots of adults are pretty stupid/self-involved, so… more charming there? And what about siblings? You can't convince a 7-year-old to keep a secret like that. How does it work?

    JK's also said elsewhere that not all magical children in Britain go to Hogwarts — some are sent to other schools and some are home-schooled. Does the quill at Hogwarts somehow know where the parents are going to send the kid? Or do they get the letters and then decline? Or does some contact happen before that 11th birthday? And again, with the Muggleborns, it's not like they really have another choice — they don't know that other schools exist to write to them for a transfer, and they can't be homeschooled, and it's clearly to dangerous to leave the magical talents undisciplined, so… if a Muggle family tried to refuse to let a kid go to Hogwarts, what, exactly, would happen?

    These are the things I wonder about this world.

    • knut_knut says:

      ahhh, should have read your comment before writing mine! These are important questions and I need answers!

      • roguebelle says:

        Hehe — Yeah, the trouble is that JK sometimes throws information out there without following it up as strongly as my neurotic mind would like. I spent several years running Harry Potter RPGs, so the nitpicky details became super-crucial, and those questions are now locked in my mad little brain forever. 😉

        • knut_knut says:

          Is Rowling officially not writing a HP Encyclopedia? I heard she was then I heard she wasn't. She should really get on that because I love reading all the mythology and whatnot (like all of Tolkien's Middle Earth stuff)

          • nochenne says:

            She is, but she said she wants to take her time to do it well. She joked on PotterCast in 2007 that it might well take her ten years. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if it was more than that. She built the Harry Potter world for a long time before she even finished PS. Considering the dedication that must have taken, I think she probably deserves some time to make a great encyclopedia. Think of all the notes and scraps of paper she'll have to find, compile, and organize, not to mention the actual writing of the book itself!

    • HieronymusGrbrd says:

      You can't convince a 7-year-old to keep a secret like that.

      Who would believe a 7-year-old claiming their sibling was a witch or wizard?
      Most parents would probably keep their mouths shut out of fear nobody would believe them.
      If unauthorized muggles read Hermione's letters to her parents, they would rather assume that Hermione plans to become a fantasy author and is testing her ideas on the only persons who won't refuse to read this nonsense.

      But this may have been much more of a problem in times when muggles weren't so eager to deny the existence of magic.

      • roguebelle says:

        An eminently worthy point — though I do still feel there are more complications than get addressed in the books. I mean, for one thing, I can easily see some poor kid ending up in therapy for some dissociative/vaguely schizophrenic disorder, if they don't stop telling the stories and continue to insist on these fabulous things. And just the webs of lies the parents must have to concoct to explain, first, where the kid is (easy enough for rich Muggles to say boarding school, but what about poorer ones? How do they explain suddenly having those funds?), and then, I mean, we really don't see wizards returning to the Muggle world post-graduation. It must be a complex problem. I wonder how much Hogwarts/the Ministry helps them out with the cover stories.

    • monkeybutter says:

      In the case of adults, it's probably something along the lines of what Dumbledore did in HBP. I imagine that if parents really throw a fit, they don't have to send their kids, but they're probably made aware of the dangers of letting magical abilities go unchecked. I feel like Dumbledore would do anything to prevent another Ariana. As for younger kids, who's going to believe them that their older brother rides a broomstick and turned the cat into a toaster? I think the restriction on magic at home also helps tamp down chatty kids.

      Magical parents can probably just tell the school if they choose not to send their kids there. They're told to send an owl with their response in the acceptance letter. Muggle kids always have the option of transferring after they start at Hogwarts. If they aren't happy, they could always go to their head of house. Kids left in the middle of term a few times because of the danger without hindrance. And I like to think that the professors aside from Snape do their best to make everyone feel welcome.

    • pooslie says:

      I think that squibs still go to hogwarts?

      after all, they still have the magic "gene" and perhaps they just need a wand and/or training to show magical ability.

    • @Zippy8604 says:

      I don't know about muggle parents but it is mentioned in the books a few times that some kids had one magic parent and one muggle parent and the muggle parents usually aren't very happy when they find out, like Snape and Voldermort but I'm pretty sure there are a few others at school with Harry, I just can't remember who.

      • Amanda says:

        If I recall correctly Seamus is the first to mention his parentage. Though his dad seems less angry and more surprised by his description.

      • roguebelle says:

        But then what *happens*? That's what I want to know. How do they reconcile it? How do they get the parents to agree? Or do they even care? Are there ever struggles? Muggleborns are, after all, in the Muggle system in a way that kids born to magical parents aren't, and so they're theoretically still subject to Muggle judicial decisions — could a parent try to go to court over it? Fight a custody battle to keep the kid out of Hogwarts? What would happen? So many potential complications. And I feel like they'd mostly end with someone's memory getting modified, which is practical but not as, y'know, ethical as the good guys might like to have it.

  6. knut_knut says:

    kind of related-ish quesiton: is Hogwarts Britain's ONLY magical school? And what happens if you're muggle born, you get accepted to Hogwarts, but refuse to go or enroll in a different magical school? Are you just forever unable to control your magical powers? Sounds kind of dangerous…

    • Avit says:

      I think it is the only one in Britain. I'm sure different magical schools also teach you to control your powers — otherwise magical kids elsewhere would have decimated the Muggle population, right? — but I dunno about refusing to go. Someone who can't and won't exercise control over their magic sounds like a liability to secrecy though, so maybe the Ministry would get involved… and thinking about it, that could be taken down a very dark path.

    • sabra_n says:

      In the Dresden Files books, people who deliberately refuse their magical gifts become non-magical eventually, though they can always rekindle their abilities by starting to practice again. So maybe that happens in HP as well? Then again, the question of who's magical and who isn't is more liquid in the DF books than it is in HP, which seems to have a pretty hard line between wizards and Muggles.

      • @ladylately says:

        Ariana tried to deny her powers after she was attacked, remember? Didn't turn out so hot.

        I think we have to assume the Ministry gets involved if the Muggle parents try to refuse the kid's attendance. With magic, it's not just a question of custody- it's a question of the kid's mental health and physical safety. A Muggle parent denying their kid Hogwarts probably comes under 'child abuse by neglect'.

      • Christa says:

        Didn't the Marvolos refuse to go to school? They have magic but are just unable to really hone it. And are batshit crazy.

    • Claire says:

      In GoF, Malfoy brags about his father wanting to send him to Durmstrang instead of Hogwarts, and in DH, one of the things that they read in the paper/Lupin tells them is that the Ministry (under Voldemort) make it the law that every wizard under 18 has to attend Hogwarts, implying that before this they had the choice.

      From this, I assume that Hogwarts is the only magical school in Britain but children can be sent to other schools overseas or they can be homeschooled.

  7. Becky says:

    I don't know, if any of the teachers HAD stepped in to stop the bullying, would we have been quite as proud of the BAMFs they all grow up to be? These kids really do look out for each other, and they take ownership of their own stories–they've never let being bullied define who they are. If this were reality, I would maybe say yeah, those teachers are falling down a bit on the job, but for the sake of the story and character development, I wouldn't have it any other way. It's kind of the same way I feel about Harry and the Dursleys: if there'd been anything to like about his childhood–if it had even been average–there wouldn't have been quite such a stark difference between his Muggle life and his magical life, and his story of who he is and his character would not have been as powerful as it is.

    • roguebelle says:

      Let us never forget, though, about Barty/Mad-Eye turning Draco into the amazing bouncing ferret. Frankly, I think Hogwarts could do with some more of *that* kind of discipline. It'd certainly be character-building. ;D

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yeah, there's always an element of "adults are useless" in kids books so that the main characters have the opportunity to grow and go on adventures. It gets frustrating when the trio's claims and warnings go unheeded after they've been right so many times, but life is occasionally frustrating, and you can't always count on other people to solve your problems. Ha, the tendency of adults to keep the kids in the dark really helped Harry develop that stubborn martyr attitude, didn't it? And their magic flourished when they were left to their own devices and bullied by both other students and the administration — Hermione's clever spellwork and everyone in the DA are proof of that.

      Bullying is bad, but it seems like Hogwarts staff ignored everything that wasn't an immediate threat or disruptive. Sucks, but it's realistic.

  8. roguebelle says:

    Which is sort of funny, because the narrative talks about how Dudley's school gives them sticks for hitting each other with, which is meant to be good training for the real world — and then you get Hogwarts, where the sticks do a LOT more damage.

  9. elyce says:

    Justin Finch-Fletchley's parents weren't particularly happy that he was going to Hogwarts since he was supposed to go to a prestigious Muggle school (Eton, same school as Prince William). So there's one.

  10. FlameRaven says:

    Right. My understanding of British boarding schools is that bullying is just expected and mostly ignored. Which is really pretty unfortunate. Anyone from England want to explain the system better, and if it's still around today? Most of the fiction I've read is set more in the past, usually not any more recent than maybe the 70's or 80's.

    • Sparkie says:

      Hmm, well I'm from England but am certainly no expert and didn't go to a public school. However, I don't believe it's prevalent any more, and definitely not in any official sense. I had heard of 'fagging' but never in regards to sexual practises-although there are reasonably common stereotypes of everyone from public schools being gay due to there being all boys/(girls).

      • ferriswheeljunky says:

        Yes, fagging is now banned by every school (thank goodness). It was a pretty nasty system (I recommend reading Roald Dahl's autobiography 'Boy' for a good description – and also because it's a great book). I'm sure there were occasional instances of sexual abuse involved (while I'm recommending autobiographies, C. S. Lewis's 'Surprised by Joy' gives a good description of the sexual tone of British public schools in bygone years, and Stephen Fry's 'Moab is My Washpot' is more up-to-date). But the sexual element was never the main point of the system; it was usually just a form of institutionalised slavery to teach younger boys their place. I think most sexual encounters happened outside the fagging system, though probably with some taking advantage of the younger boys involved.

        I can also vouch for the fact that British schools (as a gross generalisation) don't tend to have such an interventionist attitude towards bullying, even today. I watch American TV shows and am continually astonished at all the counsellors and other people there seem to be to help with bullying. Maybe it doesn't really work like that in practice, but I know that in my school there was never anyone even designated for us to go to if we were getting bullied.

  11. Moonie says:

    There's an official Marauder's Map, actually. One of my friends has it.

    I used to be the same way about Quidditch (my eyes would glaze over and I didn't get the game at all) but one day I forced myself to learn/understand the game, and now I actually love the scenes. YAAAY.

  12. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    Slytherin observation Nr. 5:

    The other Slytherins joined in Draco’s laughter because it is so funny that the great lump couldn’t control his broomstick. All Slytherins? Are they all evil? Would Theodore Nott, who may already have seen death (he can see thestrals in fifth year) laugh about a potentially deathly accident? Would Harry notice that one, or two, or three Slytherins are not laughing?

    In Chapter 13, all Gryffindors except Hermione fell about laughing because it is so funny that Neville could not defend himself against the Leg-Locker Curse. Their excuse may be that they are not aware of what happened and think bunny hopping Neville is acting a joke. But is he known for acting jokes like this? Also they are not all first years, there may be prefects in the common room. Perhaps laughing about Neville should not be considered a sign of evil?

    I loved how JKR made Parvati, not Hermione, the first who stood up for Neville and for Harry. In GoF we learn that Padme and Parvaty are the prettiest girls in their year. Does Pansy Parkinson refer to this: Only girls as ugly as Millicent Bulstrode should notice boys like Neville? (I wonder what Millicent thinks about this. Did we assume that she and Pansy are friends? But this way lays the abyss of fan fiction.)

    So I’ll add Pansy to my list of Slytherins to be disliked (four now), but to everybody else I have to give the benefit of doubt.

    • roguebelle says:

      Your points illustrate one of the many reasons I think the line between Gryffindor and Slytherin is actually a pretty thin one.

    • FlameRaven says:

      I do wish we'd gotten some non-evil, sympathetic Slytherin characters. I mean, I understand the houses don't have a lot of contact with each other outside classes, but it bothers me that Slytherin is always presented as this united front of evil jerks. There are probably a lot of Slytherins who were uncomfortable but probably couldn't speak out. This gets even worse in the later books– how is it that there were no Slytherins who were muggle-born, or had muggle-born friends, or just didn't agree with Voldemort's plan of mass murder?

      • HieronymusGrbrd says:

        My Slytherin observations are actually an attempt to point out that Slytherin is not always presented as this united front of evil jerks, this is largely reader's imagination.

        How do you know that Slytherins who were uncomfortable or didn't agree with Voldemort's plan of mass murder couldn't speak out? Isn't it possible that Harry just never listened to them?

        • knut_knut says:

          I always side-eyed Harry when he would say/think things like everyone at the Slytherin table looked mean or happy when something distressing happened. I feel like because he expected them to be evil thanks to a few REALLY EVIL CHARACTERS that came from Slytherin House, he was projecting his expectations on them. We definitely know that some of them really are mean and nasty (Malfoy's crew) but I don't think ALL of them are bad and twisted =/

        • FlameRaven says:

          Unfortunately, we're stuck in Harry's POV, so we don't know what's happening in private groups of Slytherins, but. JKR also never takes the opportunity to have anyone from Slytherin show Harry support, either. The latter is what I'd liked to have seen, just a little. Surely by the later books there would have been opportunity for some Slytherins to come over and be like "Hey guys, we're really upset about this whole thing, can we come fight on your side?" I mean, I only read Deathly Hallows the once, but it seems like even in the battle of Hogwarts we get no mention of anyone from Slytherin fighting against Voldemort.

          I would have liked to see a little more development from Slytherin especially, although pretty much all the other houses are ignored. This makes sense because of the POV, but is still a bit disappointing. I'm not going to lie, I'm still a little annoyed that we spend most of our time in Deathly Hallows with Harry, because I would really rather have seen the power dynamics and student rebellion going on at Hogwarts, and not listened to Ron, Harry, and Hermione sit and bicker in the woods. :/

      • Amanda says:

        While I do agree there must have been some non-evil Slytherins I am pretty sure that by definition Slytherin does not have muggle-born students. Salazar basically said 'pure bloods only plz k thx' when he was doing the sorting personally and those feelings mus thave been transferred to the hat.

        • erin says:

          They might not have any Muggleborns, but we know they're not all purebloods either. Remember Snape! 🙂

    • rumantic says:

      I think as well though, you have to remember that Harry is not only seeing this through a Gryffindor perspective, he's also seeing it through a teenage (or, indeed at this point, preteen) perspective. Eleven year olds don't tend to be skilled in critical thinking. They take things for granted and the scenes that Harry describes here are probably more impressions than actual detailed accounts of what happened. It's unlikely that all the gryffindors fell about laughing, but a fair few of them might well have done, and the only one who Harry specifically noticed didn't was Hermione. It's like if you did something embarrassing at school, you might think everyone was laughing at you, when really it was a couple of the "cool" kids and that boy that you think is cute. You don't really register whether anybody else is laughing or not, it just feels like everyone is.

      I think also that events that happen when you're young, you don't tend to go back and examine the validity of the explanations or conclusions you came to at the time, unless something forces you to reconsider (and then it's quite often painfully obvious and you think WTF? Why didn't I notice this before?!)

      I have no idea if that makes sense. But if you want an example, go and read the Dumbledore essay linked to in the comments for Mark Rereads Chapter 8. It's obvious when you read it written down like that and yet Harry never comes to this conclusion openly in the books, because he's never developed past 17 or 18. As the reader, you probably stick with Harry's perception without thinking about it (at least I did!) until/unless you come across something which challenges these perceptions.

      • Andrew (Chagrin) says:

        All of that, plus his position as the Boy Who Lived and everything, everyone is going to act weird around him – he and his friends get the worst of Slytherins' bullshit. So yeah, I can see exactly why having someone like Draco dedicated to making him miserable, and having a handful of others join in/laugh along, would make him think "they're all part of it" and not notice that someone like say a Theodore Nott (my pet character) just minds his own business.

    • widerspruch says:

      I love your Slytherin observations 😀 Will be looking forward to them in each review!

    • Andrew (Chagrin) says:

      I'm glad that you're doing this. I've long contended that the reader is MEANT to realise that the way we view Slytherin is through a certain, clearly prejudiced, perspective. Even Hagrid's "all dark wizards are Slytherin" thing is directly and starkly countered when we find out about Pettigrew, which I think was Rowling's way of telling us to reevaluate certain things (because before that, Hagrid was considered a kind of mouthpiece for her own views by a lot of fandom).

    • nathanielessex says:

      I was going to reply that the fact that in deathly hallows no slytherins stayed behind to defend the school against Voldemort is a sign that they're all pretty bad, but then I rememberred that they were all ordered to leave, and not given a chance to choose a side. This further shows the prejudiced view of slytherin students by other characters. Wow, i didn't think I'd ever defend slytherin students.

      • Darth_Ember says:

        They came back to fight, with Slughorn. At least some of them. IIRC Rowling regretted not making that clearer.

    • Darth_Ember says:

      Perhaps part of it with the Slytherins is that they've grown up in the wizarding world, where you can drink a potion to regrow missing bones, and where accidentally leaving part of yourself behind in a magic teleport can be fixed without death.
      So they'd come across more callous to Muggle-raised students, because they already know it's fixable, so it becomes like those 'funniest home videos' type shows, in which you can laugh at somebody, say, colliding with a wall because they were being silly and spinning in place for ages – they're not so badly hurt that it stops being funny.
      When magic fixes consequences, your idea of slapstick probably becomes a bit more extreme.

  13. ravendaine says:

    One of my favorite mental images comes from this chapter. I just love that The Fat Lady can leave her painting at any time and you're just out of luck until she decides to come back. I find that hugely hysterical…and also, as a paranoid stressed worrier, I would imagine myself freaking out about forgetting to bring an assignment for class and not being able to go get it because the painting decided to go for a stroll in some nice landscape a few floors away.

    • HieronymusGrbrd says:

      I imagine that there are times when the Fat Lady has to be on duty, but can take a vacation at night, when nobody should be out anyway.

      • ravendaine says:

        I'm sure that's true, but it's wonderful to contemplate. 🙂 Slightly related: theories on why paintings can speak, while photographs can only move? Is the spirit of the painted individual actually captured somehow in the painting (especially since it appears that the figure only exists in one painting at a time, like Phineas Nigellus), while a photo is only some sort of mildly animated imprint? What about paintings of non-specific people? Perhaps it is the artist's act of creation that imbues the figure with consciousness?

        Harry Potter = a theoretical science all its own.

        • rumantic says:

          I know that the Headteacher portraits were specifically different to other portraits by being able to visit their other paintings; the fat lady et al could only move about within the castle, even if there happened to be other paintings of them elsewhere.

          It always made me wonder why magical art wasn't an option to be chosen in 3rd year and above – instead they had both numerology and divination – what??

          • HieronymusGrbrd says:

            Magical Art as a topic at Hogwarts? I never thought of this! Maybe you just found where Hermione got her eleventh O.W.L. (Nobody ever said that Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Care of Magical Creatures, Divination and Muggle Studies are the only options to be chosen in 3rd year and above.)

            • rumantic says:

              I thought it was implied that those were the only subjects though. No other subjects were ever mentioned, in any case.

              I have to go and re-count Hermione's OWLs!

              • wandcrafter says:

                I think those were the only ones mentioned because those were the ones Harry took or his friends took. The stories are actually told from Harry's point of view, in that, with very few exceptions, we readers know only what he knows. For example, we come upon Snape and Filch WITH HARRY, rather than being with Snape and Filch when Harry is discovered outside the door. I imagine there are a number of advanced courses, and, as I create wands, I like to think that Wandcrafting is an AP course that is a sub-specialty of Herbology. <3 And there must be advanced astronomy as a requirement for those interested in divination… not to mention special studies in palm reading, graphology (interpreting handwriting), tea leaves, smoke reading, tarot cards, star charts, the I-Ching, Chinese fortune sticks, etc., etc., etc.

                • rumantic says:

                  True. I always thought those would be advanced courses taken after school though, like the auror training Harry is interested in. I suppose we never see seventh year, and sixth year is so dominated by Umbridge that it's hard to tell.

          • echinodermata says:

            I always wanted some sort of class that muggleborns, and those without the upbringing, could take, that would be kind of like magical home economics + cultural explanations or something. Where it could be a sort of counter to muggle studies. Granted, I don't know if you could stretch that class to 5 years of material with standardized exams and stuff, but there does need to be that kind of class offered, surely.

            • @ladylately says:

              'Introduction to Wizardry: Required for all first-year Muggle-born students. Optional else.'

              • @ladylately says:

                (since I can't edit)
                This would also explain why Hermione tends to know more wizarding culture than Harry, other than her overall bookishness. Because Harry's not classified 'muggle-born', he wouldn't have been registered for the class. And it's not like Dursleys were the sort of people to take him to drop/add day (which may have been an option for magical parents).

  14. Pseudonymph says:

    Some people have mentioned that there's a magical quill that writes down the names of magical children. This reminds me strongly of something in Christian mythology (I hope that's not offensive but I really don't know what else to call it) that has to do with a guy in heaven who writes down the names of believers. Is it Peter? Or maybe an Angel? I don't remember but since HP is pretty much drenched with Christian imagery and symbolism I wouldn't be surprised if the magical quill is somehow related to that.

    Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

  15. Mauve_Avenger says:

    Am I just woefully unobservant, or did the down-voting button get removed very recently?

    "Anyway, this chapter opens with broom flying and that incessant Draco Malfoy. How did Rowling find a name to fit someone so perfectly? It just drips malevolence…"

    It's funny you should mention this, because one of the hidden extras on J.K. Rowling's website is a page from an early draft of this book (the Potions lesson in the last chapter, if I remember correctly?), in which Draco's last name is "Spungen." There was also apparently a TV special in which Rowling showed a handwritten list of Hogwarts students in Harry's year. Spungen is crossed out and replaced by "Spinks," but Malfoy's name seems to appear separately further up the list:
    <img width="340" height="358" src=""/&gt;
    Image should link back to source.

    I have no idea what the first two columns of symbols are supposed to mean, but it looks like the third one shows which House each student is in.

    • TreasureCat says:

      The first column looks like it denotes male or female. Empty circle = female, filled in square = male.

      • echinodermata says:

        (anybody else irrationally thinking that's not the system for pedigrees? why is one shaded but the other not? don't mind me, I get bothered by weird things.)

        • erin says:

          HA! I was just sitting there for a minute, trying to figure out whether the shading denoted a recessive or dominant trait, and why only the boys had it…

          MUST BE SEX-LINKED AND ATTACHED TO THE Y-CHROMOSOME. *scuttles away to do biology homework*

    • t09yavorski says:

      The first column is gender. Squares are boys and circles are girls. The Second column I would guess to be blood status. Hermione and Justin have an N, maybe for NonMagical family. Seamus had a circled star which would make that half bloods and the other star would then be fullblood wizard families.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Nope, disappeared this morning, I guess, after some ugliness on Mark Watches.

      I'm so glad that she decided against Spungen, because I wouldn't have been able to stop thinking about Sid and Nancy, and Draco in an unhealthy relationship with Hermione. Or Harry. Or anyone, really.

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        Yeah, I saw the stuff on MW just after I posted. 🙁

        I suppose I'm glad that it's gone now, though.

        • knut_knut says:

          what happened? why can't we all just get along 🙁 although the lack of a down-vote makes me feel a little better because I was always afraid I'd accidentally hit it. Sometimes my mouse has a mind of its own 😀

        • widerspruch says:

          I was about to ask the same about the down button.

          What happened exactly? D:

          ETA: wait, I just saw it. Augh, nasty business 🙁

    • eleventysix says:

      I tried, I didn't want to ruin the happy thoughts on this page, but I really don't think I can keep this to myself:
      Dear Smeyer –
      This, THIS RIGHT HERE is how you plan out a book/series and make it wonderful and intricate and thoughtful and complex and absolutely amazing. This is how you make something entirely fantastic seem real and engaging and worthwhile. You put effort and thought and heart into everything you want to write, and you NEVER assume that your flights of fancy will necessarily captivate the rest of the world without some serious consideration about what was behind them.

      Scarred for life by the mere thought of your books.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This chapter can be summed up with one question:


  17. Kylie says:

    The only thought I have during the Remembrall scene is basically: Don't worry, Neville. One day you will be an unadulterated badass that kills a giant fricking snake (that is possessed by a portion of Voldemort's soul) with Gryffindor's sword. IN ONE SWING. WHILE YOU'RE ON FIRE.

    Also, suck it, Draco.

  18. mugglemomof2 says:

    I <3 this chapter revisit! You said it all perfectly!

  19. andreah1234 says:

    You know what I just noticed? There is no down-vote button in this review. Like not for anyone. I THINK THIS IS WORDPRESS' WAY OF TELLING US HOW AWESOME WE ALL ARE. =D.

    And…FUCK YEAH HARRY POTTER (AGAIN). (Why yes, I will do this on every single re-read. I'm a fangirl, put up with me please.)

    I have wondered how come the teachers don't actually do much in the cases of bullying at the school, because it's something we see so often on the series, and we see the teacher being (most of the time) very ethical and fair (with exception of Snape, who was bullied himself), so why not do anything. I mean we've seen Draco (being a complete ass) bully, erm, pretty much EVERYONE HE KNOWS, hell even Grabbe and Goyle who are his friends, Snape (though he's a bit more complex and has some reasons, BUT THAT DOESN'T MAKES IT RIGHT), a few Slytherin bullying other people, a few Gryffindors have done it as well, JAMES AND SIRIUS (who I adore but hell, he was an ass and a bullying one at that), and I could go on. So why not doing anything about it? I mean they clearly could, they are *magical*, and can at least try and put a stop to it. And I know it's more complicated than that, but as a bullied myself I just can't accept the fact that people who are supposed to protect you and make you sure you are safe and shit would just ignore it because it "helps building character or because there's nothing they can do about it" (WHICH HAS HAPPENED BY THE WAY). It just doesn't seems right. And I don't see someone as McGonagall with her sense of justice doing that. IDEK.

    So, yeah after much senseless rambling, FUCK YEAH HARRY POTTER.

  20. Yareth says:

    Perhaps Draco came from this. I could be totes wrong tho lol

    #4: Draconian

    Draco had a good side, but you wouldn’t know it from the word that bears his name.

    In 7th century B.C. Athens, the lawmaker Draco reformed the criminal justice system. Personal revenge was no longer acceptable; instead, Athenian criminals would answer to a code of justice.

    So far so good … except that Draco’s laws were uniformly harsh. Almost every transgression was punishable by death.

    These days, draconian means “cruel” or “severe,” and is often still applied to laws or rules – as in this headline: “China’s Draconian Instructions For Reporting On Google Revealed.” (, Mar. 26, 2010)

    • Vikinhaw says:

      Just to add to it Draco is also Latin for dragon. Either way his name sounds pretty evil and slightly aristocratic so it suits him perfectly.

  21. Pip_Harper says:

    Also, there is the fact that there needs to be some jeopardy in the story apart from the conspiracy theories, etc., and where else to find that in a boarding school but via bullying? Rowling sort of has her hands tied here – no matter how sensible, discerning and smart her teacher characters are, she can't have them do much more than act like average, never-around-or-doing-anything-really-to-help teachers.

  22. Maya says:

    Did anyone ever come to a consensus about the genetics of wizardry? I think I remember that everyone (and by everyone, I mean "people on the Internet who care about this stuff like I do") seemed to agree that it couldn't simply be a simple dominant-recessive thing since that would make it pretty difficult to have Muggleborns be as common as they are. I just don't remember ever seeing if anyone came up with a good polygenic argument.


    • Avit says:

      Am I wrong in thinking that Squibs were made out to be rarer than Muggleborns? How many Muggleborns do we know of? Since it's taken for granted that the child of a magical and a muggle parent would be magical, which suggests the muggle genes are dominant, but Muggleborns exist, that means it has to be more than simple complete-dominance, right?

      • Avit says:

        …wait a minute, that was wrong. Which suggests magical genes are dominant, but Squibs exist.

    • echinodermata says:

      I just don't remember ever seeing if anyone came up with a good polygenic argument.

      If you want an explanation that's purely genetics, and doesn't bring up issues of say development, I feel like you pretty much have to use multiple genes.

  23. doesntsparkle says:

    So, what about Muggle borns? Does the quill just know that people are magical, or are wizards spying on us to see if we have magic?

  24. monkeybutter says:
    • Pseudonymph says:

      Yes! Thank you, that's exactly what I was thinking of. But now I'm thinking the possible connection to HP is actually pretty tenuous. But that's what it reminded me of.

  25. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Also, can I just say how brilliant it is that there is no 'downvote' button?
    I don't know if this is WordPress or you doing that Mark, but I'm glad! I don't like the idea that we could downvote people's opinions if we don't agree with them.

    Yay for upvotes and positivity! :D:D:D

  26. rumantic says:

    On the subject of Hermione, I just read this in an interview – this is what Jo said caused her to immediately accept Steve Kloves as screenwriter for the films.

    "Steve turned to me while food was being ordered and said quietly, "You know who my favorite character is?" I looked at him, red hair included, and thought: You're going to say Ron. Please, please don't say Ron – Ron's so easy to love! And he said: "Hermione." At which point, under my standoffish, mistrusting exterior, I just melted. Because if he got Hermione, he got the books. He also, to a large extent, got me."

    • The3HeadedDog says:

      Since when have Ron been more likeable than Hermione, I dare ask? A lot of people seem to dislike Ron, but I rarely see anyone dislike Hermione.

      Don't get me wrong! I love Ron. 🙂

    • Shay_Guy says:

      Some would dispute that his Hermione fandom is such a good thing, given some of the characterization differences in the movie and things like her getting Ron's lines.

      • arctic_hare says:

        Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaah, I'd be one of them. In theory, it sounds nice, but the way it played out in the scripts… he just Didn't Get It and removed so much of what makes her a well-rounded character (like her flaws), and reduced Ron to a caricature so she could get his lines. I think Hermione is awesome enough on her own without needing to diminish others for her sake, thank you. Bad Kloves.

        • The3HeadedDog says:

          Plus all the Harry/Hermione-shipping in the movies. Ugh, I could do without that. 🙁

          I agree, if he likes her character so much, why change her??

          • arctic_hare says:

            Ew, don't remind me. 😡

            I think he really does like her, but he doesn't get what really makes her such a great character and so believable. We all know her good points, so I won't list them, but to make a character feel like a real person, they have to have flaws and failings and moments of weakness, and they have to make sense for who they are and their place in the world – e.g., her ignorance of what "Mudblood" meant. They can't be perfect, because real humans are not. We all make bad choices from time to time, say the wrong thing, hurt people, have brain farts like "There's no wood!" Because he likes her so much, he thinks out of that intense liking that he needs to correct her flaws and make her seem more awesome… but it's a misguided impulse, and it backfires because it strips her of what makes her so human and likable, so realistic and relatable.

            What's worrying about it, is that it's a novice mistake you tend to see from inexperienced writers. And this is someone who's been getting paid to write for many years. That makes it worse, IMO, than if I saw this same thing in a fanfic writer who's still getting their toes wet.

          • rumantic says:

            Oh yeah, I totally forgot about this and I HATED it, SO MUCH. I had to stop myself from shouting out in the cinema.

            • Kiryn says:

              This is what I have to do when I watch the movies…suppress the impulse to scream when Kloves mangles a character, and it ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE ONE OF MY FAVORITES, TOO.

              Other Examples: Sirius (in OotP), Grindelwald, Regulus, and the list goes on.

    • doesntsparkle says:

      I read that interview a while ago, so I don't remember it that clearly, but JKR said something about realizing that he Kloves hadn't actually read the books after talking to him for a few minutes.

    • Catherine says:

      I know this is completely unrelated to this comment, but did you see one of the names on that list Mauve_Avenger posted? PROOF that we have distant wizard relatives! 😀

    • MichelleZB says:

      Ironically, Steve didn't get the books AT ALL.

  27. Shay_Guy says:

    While I couldn’t even begin to draw a map of what Hogwarts looks like, it does help me get a better picture of the place in my head. (Is there a map of Hogwarts? Surely, some dedicated fan read all of the passages describing the place and attempted to map out what it looked like, right?)

    A quote from Terry Pratchett on his Discworld books comes to mind:

    "The world rides through space on the back of a turtle. This is one of the great ancient world myths, found wherever men and turtles are gathered together; the four elephants were an indo-European sophistication. The idea has been lying in the lumber room of legend for centuries. All I had to do was grab it and run away before the alarms went off."

    "There are no maps. You can't map a sense of humor. Anyway, what is a fantasy map but a space beyond which There Be Dragons? On the Discworld we know There Be Dragons Everywhere. They might not all have scales and forked tongues, but they Be Here all right, grinning and jostling and trying to sell you souvenirs."


    • mpknighit says:


    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      And, of course, another one from from him…

      I said there'd never be a map of the Discworld. This is it

      Which is from (you guessed it) the preface to the map of the Discworld. 😀
      And a very lovely map it is too.

  28. arctic_hare says:

    It's pretty damn screwed up that the teachers don't seem to do more about the bullying, but it's also fairly realistic. In cases like Draco specifically, I would suggest that some of it comes from Lucius' (who is played by Jason Isaacs, btw – did you know?) influence. He was a school governor, after all, and had enough influence to pull the shit he did in CoS, getting Dumbledore sacked and all. He's also very influential in the Ministry due to money. I wouldn't doubt that the faculty feels like they can't do much to anger the child of a man like that, and there are probably others like him. In the wizarding world, as in our world, money talks, and much louder than anything else. =/

    But! Since this is fiction, I can take comfort in the fact that it does work itself out in some fashion eventually. I don't doubt that they still bought their way out of some justice after the war, but they're still in disgrace and Draco did nothing good for anyone, and people know that. Meanwhile, look what our Neville does. 😀 And everyone loves him for it, as they should. I confess, I had a special soft spot in my heart for Neville from the beginning, because I know what it's like to be the one nobody really likes, and practically everyone makes fun of in some way, and so I felt horrible for him. I wanted to shake all the Gryffindors for laughing at him, poor boy. So I cheered every time he did something awesome, and it made me feel so warm and fuzzy and proud to see what he'd become by DH. I <3 Neville for ever and always. <3

    Lastly, I am a bad fan and never knew about the magical quill. *hangs head* I still wonder about the muggleborn students, though!

    • notemily says:

      I had a soft spot for Neville too. I'm always the absent-minded one who would completely forget the password and then write them all down and then LOSE THE LIST. Oh Neville. Until Luna came along, he was the character I identified with most.

  29. kartikeya200 says:

    There's a tiny line from Hagrid to the Dursleys about how Harry's 'had his name down since he was born', if I remember right. Clearly, it has been too long since I've read this book and I should RECTIFY THIS IMMEDIATELY.

  30. Matilda says:

    If you are interested in the backgrounds of the students in Harry's year, there is a wonderful essay written by Grace has Victory called "Secrets of the Class List", where she figures out where in Britain each student is from, and also some details about their backgrounds, based on the idea – which I believe JKR confirmed – that Hogwarts is basically a microcosm of the demographics of Britain. She uses statistics to calculate how many students of each religion would be in a class of forty, then makes educated guesses based on names and what we know about each character to determine who's who. For example, she guesses that Terry Boot is the single evangelical christian (should that be captialized? sorry), Michael Corner is agnostic, and Anthony Goldstein, Jewish – probably reform. Her reasoning is really plausible, too. I recommend it highly, here's the link:

  31. pennylane27 says:

    Oh Harry Potter.

    that's all I have to say.

  32. gembird says:

    Yep, it looks like it's a Black family tradition- and of course Draco and Tonks are part of that, because Narcissa and Andromeda changed their surname from Black at marriage.

    I always thought it was pretty awesome that Sirius Black could turn into a black dog. It's so obvious by the end of PoA that the 'Grim' was Sirius, how did we not see it? Well, okay, I was thirteen so maybe not :p But it's still cool that JKR dropped those clues in.

    On that note- I read somewhere that Bellatrix means 'female warrior'. That certainly makes sense for Voldemort's right-hjand woman.

  33. monkeybutter says:

    Sorry to go OT, but I figure it goes with Mark Reads. Here's Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss!

    Looks pretty good, I like the pin, and I still don't think there's any way to make Liam Hemsworth handsome.

  34. echinodermata says:

    What do you mean by squibs being the result of a mutation, though? This line doesn't really make sense to me: "It means that two wizards would always have wizard children (or squibs)"

    • Avit says:

      Well, if it were just complete dominance, and wizardry was recessive, then ww x ww would necessarily mean all-ww offspring, right? In which case Squibbitude would have to be result of unrelated mutation, because no way that dominant W is anywhere in that mix otherwise.

      • echinodermata says:

        And by unrelated mutation, do you mean a mutation in a second gene? Because that was my original point.

        • Avit says:

          Mm, like not hereditary? Like a codon or two in one of the w genes gets messed up and turns into a W.


          • echinodermata says:

            That's possible (by "not hereditary", I assume you mean that the mutation was not passed down from a family member, but instead arose spontaneously in the person in question. (Should you care, the scientific term for that is a de novo mutation.)).

            However, the likelihood of this happening over and over independently to produce all the squibs in existence is so low that this honestly doesn't work as a viable explanation.

            • Avit says:

              Yes, that's it! (I'm always collecting words, even if they fall out of my pockets sometimes, so, cool.)

              I was going to bring up chromosomal anomalies but I guess those are much broader than a specific gene getting mutated specifically to produce the opposite allele.

              …those Science of Harry Potter people ought to jump on this.

  35. Shay_Guy says:

    Oh! Something I forgot to mention.

    Aside from this first match in this book, I’m not a big Quidditch fan myself. The concept is neat and I absolutely would not deny the chance to play it if this all were real, but the scenes of Quidditch largely bore me.

    Turns out Rowling didn't enjoy writing them that much either. She said so in an interview that came out after HBP — it's the sort of thing that's hard to keep interesting from book to book. I think PoA is the only book where Harry plays in matches against all three other houses. PS/SS had him in the infirmary for the third match, GoF and DH had no Quidditch matches at Hogwarts at all, OotP had Harry banned after the first (and it fast-forwarded through the second and had him away for most of the third), CoS had the Cup canceled just before the…second match?

    • Andrew (Chagrin) says:

      Yeah, Rowling getting bored with writing quidditch matches is directly responsible for us getting Luna as quidditch commentator, one of the funniest chapters in the entire series.

    • notemily says:

      I think the best part about Quidditch was the character development it afforded both Harry and Ron when Ron made the team and Harry became captain.

  36. Andrew (Chagrin) says:

    Harry finds something he is good at, something that might help him fit in.

    You know what pisses me off? Some people in the fandom accuse Harry of being a "jock". Which, apart from the fact that they HAVE NO IDEA WHAT A JOCK ACTUALLY IS, really bothers me because it's devaluing the one thing Harry takes pride in for his OWN sake. When I reread the books, I always notice how little self-esteem Harry really has early on in the series; JKR never really beats the reader over the head with it, but all his doubts about not being able to pick up magic, not being sorted into a house, etc. etc. etc. I mean even when you get as late as OotP, the scene where Ron and Hermione are hinting to him that he should be the leader of the DA, he just doesn't get what they're implying because the idea is preposterous to him and he outright argues with them against it.

    So yeah, Harry finding that he's a great flyer is a huge thing for his personal develoment, and when he finds out his father was a quidditch player too it even adds that extra connection to his parents he longs for so desperately.

    • gembird says:

      A lot of Gryffindor hate in general seems to be that they're 'the jock house'. Um, no. We see them play a lot of Quidditch, but we see them doing a lot of EVERYTHING because Gryffindor is Harry's house and pretty much his surrogate family (especially since it's full of Weasleys). So yeah, I'm 100% with you! It just ignores how important things like Quidditch are to Harry for the fact that he can be admired for something he actively chooses to do, rather than being 'The Boy Who Lived' or the kid the Dursleys treat like crap.

      And also, Harry is a Seeker. You can't be the big macho jock and be a Seeker, because you need to be light, fast and sneaky. I think these people just see a sport and assume jock-dom.

    • MichelleZB says:

      It's true. Harry takes 5 books to finally crack, but for 5 books, it's all, "Er… " and "Excuse me… " A really polite little kid, scared to stand up for himself and with a really low sense of self-worth. Let him have his damn sport.

  37. Andrew (Chagrin) says:

    I think you mean Public schools. 😉

    (Seriously, WTF Britain. That makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE.)

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      Actually, 'Public Schools' and 'Private Schools' in Britain are the same thing – namely a school that relies on fees etc, rather than government funding.
      Regular schools are just called 'Comprehensives'. Or, by most people, 'regular schools'.

      And yes, it makes no sense and it confuses us too. 😉

    • anninyn says:

      And what with being British, it;s relatively safe to assume I know what they're called. 😉 I tend to call them Private Schools around Americans to avoid confusion.

  38. Andrew (Chagrin) says:

    But yeah, absolutely, I always assumed that large swaths of things – particularly the negative ones – that take place inside Hogwarts are Rowling making larger points about the British schooling system.

  39. Kiryn says:

    It's not just Britain. I'm from CA, United States, and my experience is that on the large scale, bullying is ignored unless if you bring it right in front of the teachers, and even Draco learns not to do that in later books (at least, he doesn't really bully in front of any other teacher besides Snape and Hagrid…and Imposter-Moody the one time). But yeah, I definitely would never say that I've known a school system that takes any real 'proactive' steps to stop bullying.

  40. erin says:

    Because I have little to say to say other than "YAYYY HP!!!":

    Hey Mark! When are you gonna watch AVPS?? I'd like to mark a day off on my calendar.

    …Lol… Mark a day off for Mark….

  41. kajacana says:

    Re: How Hogwarts knows/how the quill makes its list of wizardy kids:
    Oh Mark you are so silly IT IS MAGIC!!! 🙂

  42. fakehepburn says:

    So…am I the only person IntenseDebate just changed for? Because I notice the downvote button is gone (HALLELUJAH!), and now there's spellchecking? WHAT IS THIS WIZARDRY?

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      Yeah, Mark got them to disable the down-voting this morning, I think.

      I'm pretty sure the spell-check has been there the whole time, though. Or at least, it has been for me.

  43. Meltha says:

    It's true the characters are kind of stereotypes at this point, but that gives them so much room to grow in the years ahead. After all, maybe it's not so much that Hermione is one-dimensional as Harry's perception of her is.

    As for the bullying… it's troubling on a lot of levels. On one hand, yes, someone needs to do something. On the other hand, what exactly are they supposed to do? Half the time it seems that pointing out bullying someone is wrong tends to make the bully focus more on that kid out of retaliation for being caught at it, especially in this circumstance where they're all actually living together. Still, there should be something. Teachers have to walk such an incredibly thin tightrope on this one.

    As for Draco, yes, he's a git, but I can't help thinking that a lot of the bullies who tortured me in grade school and middle school ended up having been from homes that were abusive in their own way, and for some of them bullying was about trying to get power back. I have to think the Malfoy household wasn't exactly Little House on the Prairie material (unless maybe it was the Olesons).

    • Kelly says:

      I think that's part of the reason why I love Jason Isaacs' portrayal of Lucius so much-he kinda hauls Draco around when he's not snapping at him, or he's poking his son with his stick or doing something physical and not what a loving parent would do to get a child to obey. It made me think that behind closed doors, daddy Malfoy was probably whacking Draco with his cane instead of hitting something near him.

  44. bingo007 says:

    was fluffy sleepy and sluggish in attacking the trio since peeves was singing just before?

  45. blessthechildren says:

    Every time I read the books or this blog I leanr something new. McGonagall need to hand-write in all of our names and send us our owls. 25 isn't too late!!! D:

    Found the quote about this:

  46. blessthechildren says:

    That is my favorite HP movie line 😀

  47. blessthechildren says:

    <img src""&gt;
    Aw, I love Quidditch, and I I'm afraid of heights! I always missed the Quidditch plot-lines in the movie – especially in OotP when there is no Draco ass-kicking and Umbridge (arrghableh) happiness and Firebolt stealing.

    <img src""&gt;
    On that same note, DRACO IS AN ASSHAT. JK Rowling does a great job building us up for the HBP and DH insanity. Oh Draco, you slimy bullying git, taking your own failures out on your kid by naming him after a creepy bug constellation.

  48. blessthechildren says:

    <img src=""&gt;
    Aw, I love Quidditch, and I I'm afraid of heights! I always missed the Quidditch plot-lines in the movie – especially in OotP when there is no Draco ass-kicking and Umbridge (arrghableh) happiness and Firebolt stealing.

    <img src=""&gt;
    On that same note, DRACO IS AN ASSHAT. JK Rowling does a great job building us up for the HBP and DH insanity. Oh Draco, you slimy bullying git, taking your own failures out on your kid by naming him after a creepy bug constellation.

    (…fickle HTML is fickle. *embarrassed*)

  49. Jen says:

    My theory is that when a baby is born in the magical world, a tracker is placed on it to monitor for magic. >.> Thus they can keep track of which children show magical promise and which don't. As for magic in muggle families, it's likely that there are enough witches and wizards hiding in society to notice when children are acting atypical, and can alert the MoM.

  50. Queue says:

    The best place to find an accurate plan of the castle is – I'm almost sorry to say – in the PC game for OOTP. They even had JKR assist in the design.

  51. neptune says:… A sketch Rowling did for the film makers to show where stuff is, although its more CASTLE. LAKE. FORBIDDEN FOREST. A detailed castle map would be so awesome omg as would reading A History of Magic. WANT!


  52. Quincy Morris says:

    Yeah, if you want to see what Hogwarts looks like, I hear that the Order of the Phoenix video game tried to re-create the castle.

    • Naru says:

      And the Half Blood Prince EA game. They're pretty bad games (the gameplay is terrrible) but the developers put a LOT of effort into recreating the castle and grounds, and they did a really great job. I think it's almost worth playing just to explore Hogwarts.

  53. Kateus3000 says:

    Even though Peeves annoyed me to no end most of the time when I read the series, it still makes me endlessly sad that he was one character that was completely left out of the movies. Of course they were able to move the plot along just fine without him, but I felt like he just adds that extra bit of comic releif, and I was pretty disappointed when he was just completely ignored in the movies.

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