May 23rd, 2003

A Pocket Full of Murder

The Things You Learn...

I've started my preliminary re-read of HP canon, so to have it all fairly fresh in my mind by the time Book V comes out, and I'm reading more attentively this time than ever before. A few things I observed while reading PS/SS:
  • Dumbledore's Chocolate Frog card credits him with a love of ten-pin bowling and chamber music. Rather Muggle interests, to be sure (and can't you just see Dumbledore at a bowling alley, with his beard flying out behind him as he sends the ball hurtling down the lane? Hee!). I wonder if Dumbledore was Muggleborn?

  • Snape not only sounds like Alan Rickman, he moves like Alan Rickman. When he's sneaking off to the forbidden forest to meet Quirrell, Harry immediately recognizes him by his "prowling gait". Woo. That being said, however, Snape is hardly attractive in this book. Too much yelling and running about in an undignified manner.

  • From what I can see in this book (including the Mirror of Erised chapter), Ron is truly not greedy, nor ambitious, nor jealous of Harry's status as the hero. He just wants to do something that sets him apart from his brothers -- they're the competition he's desperate to beat. And that's perfectly natural for the youngest son of a large family. Even Dumbledore puts that interpretation on it, and doesn't seem to think Ron's desire to escape his brothers' shadow is an inherently evil thing.

  • Ginny gets a surprising amount of attention in this book considering she's not even old enough to go to Hogwarts yet. Just in case you missed her at King's Cross at the beginning of the school year, she's back again at the end, and our attention is deliberately drawn to her both times. One might almost be tempted to think her significant for some reason. :)

  • Hagrid doesn't hesitate to speak ill of authority figures he doesn't respect (like Fudge), but he really seems to trust and respect Snape, and defends him every time the Trio says anything critical. I wonder what Hagrid knows that makes him so confident of Snape's integrity and good judgment?

  • Any accusations that Harry goes about breaking rules with impunity in this book are unfounded, IMO. The dragon incident was all about helping and protecting Hagrid -- and even at that Harry gets caught and suffers the consequences and feels terrible about it. Every other time Harry does something really radical on his own (like going after the Stone), it's only because he's already tried to get a teacher or other authority figure involved and they've refused to listen or help. I was actually surprised to see, this time around, how much time JKR devotes in the book to carefully explaining why Harry has to do what he does, and that he's been forced into it after exhausting the other possibilities. It's not Harry's rule-breaking that gets rewarded in the end; it's his courage and perseverance in doing the right thing at great risk to himself (including the risk of being expelled from Hogwarts, the only happy place he's ever known).
  • There were all sorts of other things too, but like an idiot I didn't write them down. I'm going to have to start making notes to remind myself...
    A Pocket Full of Murder

    ...what a tale my thoughts could tell...

    dr_c has just reminded me, in a comment to the previous post, of another point I had noticed but forgotten -- and how could I forget this one, since it immediately generated a massive plot bunny in my brain, I cannot imagine --

  • Harry has a horrible feeling that Snape can read minds.</i>
  • This may just be Harry's youthful paranoia, generated by his fear that Snape is evil and working on behalf of Voldemort, but it did strike me (and obviously dr_c as well) as an unusual thing for JKR to say.

    Could there be some truth to it? Obviously it can't be as simple as Snape really being a mind-reader or Harry would never get away with anything; but could he have some limited kind of prescience or telepathic ability? If so, where did he get it from?

    And if Snape has some idea -- even a general one -- of what people around him are thinking, might this be part of the reason he's so nasty and bitter all the time?