[personal profile] jeneralist
OK, with less than a month to go before the last book in the series is released, I've got some questions. No, not "Who is Snape really working for?" -- that's something that everyone wonders. My questions are more idiosyncratic.

  • When Harry's parents were killed, he was taken to live with his aunt and uncle. We're told this was because Harry got some protection from living with his relatives; plus, if he had grown up among Wizards, he would have had a swelled head early on. My question: what about his grandparents? Do any of the books come out and say that all four of Harry's grandparents were dead or incapacitated? Lily's parents were Muggles, so he would have grown up without contact with the Wizarding world -- but at least they weren't virulently anti-magic, the way his aunt and uncle are.

  • One early summer, Harry let the Dursleys think that he could do magic at any time; they were surprised (and quite pleased) to eventually find out that under-age wizards aren't allowed to do magic unless at school. Petunia, having grown up with her witchy sister, should have remembered that important fact from her own childhood.

  • Dumbledore apparently collected the invisibility cloak from James Potter's effects after his death, and held it aside for Harry. We are given to believe that it is a rare object, even among wizards; no others have been encountered (even Draco Malfoy, whose family is quite wealthy, doesn't seem to have one -- if he did, he would have used it at some point in Year 6!), and people rarely take precautions against being spied upon by invisible watchers. So where did James Potter get it? He used it during his time at Hogwarts, so it could not have been the result of any money he earned after graduation. Together, James and Lily left behind a tidy sum for Harry to inherit -- did they have that money during their lives, or are the contents of Harry's vault at Gringott's the result of a good life insurance policy? (Related question: who was dumb enough to write insurance policies for members of the Order of the Phoenix?)

  • Another question about artifacts: wouldn't Hermione's teachers have been aware of the oddities in her schedule the year she had the time-turner? Wouldn't they have compared notes about the smartest girl in her year? Which means that when Snape suggested that Harry had something to do with Sirius Black's escape, and Dumbledore suggested that would be impossible unless Harry had a way to be in two places at once, Snape stopped arguing because he understood Dumbledore's subtext: yes, Harry did do it; it was an action I authorized, now be quiet.

  • And am I the only one that thinks that Hogwarts is, at its heart, a puffed-up Vo-tech school? All of their classes are about how to use their main "technology": magic. Even the history class is history of magic. Where are the classes on general history (given that Dumbledore defeated a noted dark magician in 1945, there's a chance the wizarding world was involved in WWII), literature, or art? I feel sorry for the teachers -- reading homework essays by 16-year-olds who haven't been taught anything about grammar and composition since they were 10. [Of course, the Muggles have their own glorified vo-tech: medical school comes to mind!]


Feel free to suggest your own answers, or to jump in with more questions of your own.

vo tech

Date: 2007-06-24 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tracyandrook.livejournal.com
" 'it works in practice, now how does it work in theory?' "
From a really good book I'm reading, _Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art Since Pollock_. I need to go into this in my own journal...

Date: 2007-06-25 04:02 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The whole thing with the Dursely guardianship is iffy. Dumbledore says that living under the roof of a blood relative is somehow protective for Harry--why then is it not protective for everybody else? There are Death Eaters on the loose--quick, move in with Grandma! Problem solved.

The invisibility cloak and the Gringotts legacy bother me less. We know that James Potter's family had been wizards for a long time, so the cloak could be an heirloom of any vintage, perhaps even made by some ancestor. Many of the old wizarding families seem also to be old money. The Weasleys' genteel poverty is so embarrassing to them in part because it's so unusual.

Which means that when Snape suggested that Harry had something to do with Sirius Black's escape, and Dumbledore suggested that would be impossible unless Harry had a way to be in two places at once, Snape stopped arguing because he understood Dumbledore's subtext: yes, Harry did do it; it was an action I authorized, now be quiet.
I hadn't put the time-turner paradox together with the question of Snape's loyalties before, but I like your conclusion about this detail. I have been certain for some time that Snape was one of the good guys. I'm betting he had some sort of grand passion for Lily, turned himself over to Dumbledore in an effort to save her, and has been looking out for Harry in his own tortured way ever since, because Harry is her son. And really, it makes perfect sense that he would regard with ambivalence the son that the dead love of his life had with the bully who made his school days a living hell. Snape's final mockery of Harry in the last book read, to me, like a last attempt to teach him occlumency, which Harry desperately needs to get better at. Every one of those criticisms is true, and it would have been easy enough for Snape to kill Harry then if he'd wanted to. Only by mocking Harry could Snape get out of there without doing the boy worse harm, and still hope not to be questioned later about his motives.

Perhaps the student essays are written with some grammar-checking equivalent of the Quick Quotes Quill?

Date: 2007-06-25 05:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] selki.livejournal.com
I'm betting he had some sort of grand passion for Lily, turned himself over to Dumbledore in an effort to save her, and has been looking out for Harry in his own tortured way ever since, because Harry is her son. And really, it makes perfect sense that he would regard with ambivalence the son that the dead love of his life had with the bully who made his school days a living hell. Snape's final mockery of Harry in the last book read, to me, like a last attempt to teach him occlumency

That's how I've read it so far.

Date: 2007-06-25 02:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] onyxtwilight.livejournal.com
Dumbledore says that living under the roof of a blood relative is somehow protective for Harry--why then is it not protective for everybody else?

He gave us the answer to that -- it's an extension (his extension) of the magical protection Lily imparted to Harry with her death. I don't have the books handy, so I can't quote, but small comments in book 5 (and maybe 6?) made this clear. The original protection was hers, fueled by her death. He stretched it to make it last as long as he could, and had to link it to "Harry's mother's blood" and the roof under which they dwell.

Date: 2007-06-25 05:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] selki.livejournal.com
1) Good question
2) Harry's mom may have been smart enough to get away with doing magic outside of school without being detected, or she may have been clever enough to *fake* doing magic to intimidate Petunia.
3) I hadn't thought about where the cloak comes from
4) I wondered about the time-turner -- shouldn't Hermione look months older than everyone else in her year?
5) Brilliant! Would you mind if I passed on your Vo-tech school analysis in comments to [livejournal.com profile] silmaril, who posted recently about the lack of fiction reading among wizards /literature studies at Harry's school?
http://silmaril.livejournal.com/516747.html
http://silmaril.livejournal.com/517293.html

Date: 2007-06-25 10:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeneralist.livejournal.com
Sure, go ahead and share! I just f-lock this stuff so that I don't have to hear, "So, you think med school is glamorized vo-tech?" during my next job interview.

Given that I teach at a med school, it could be a bit awkward!

Date: 2007-06-25 11:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeneralist.livejournal.com
Oh, wait, this isn't friends-locked.

Date: 2007-06-25 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] selki.livejournal.com
Do go ahead and lock it if you wish; I'll just pass the quote and your LJ name (minus the med school bit).

Date: 2007-06-26 02:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeneralist.livejournal.com
Nah, no biggie. I like to get comments from people who aren't on my f-list once in a while!

Date: 2007-06-26 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skyefyr.livejournal.com
My thoughts about Petunia not remembering the "rule" was that maybe when her sister went to Hogwarts the rule didn't exist. They never say when it was started, and it very well could have started over the misbehavings / showings off of a student in the time between Lilly's and Harry's time.

Date: 2007-06-27 02:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeneralist.livejournal.com
Hmm... good point. So much of Hogwarts is made to seem permanent, I forget that rules can change!

Wrinkles

Date: 2007-09-11 01:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] disownedheidi.livejournal.com
As to Hermione, High Schoolers look all different ages anyways. Some seniors look about 12 and some freshman look about 30. So I'm sure she's still in the range...

Hi jeneralist. Lindalee and Tigira suggested I contact you, as I just moved to your neck of the woods. Here I am! Hello.

Re: Wrinkles

Date: 2007-09-11 12:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeneralist.livejournal.com
My neck of the woods?

These days, I've got two woods: central NJ and the suburbs north of Philly. Which woods are you in?

And welcome!

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