Hogwarts's Future: How The Teachers Voted

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Hogwarts's Future: How The Teachers Voted

Post  Elanor on Sat May 28, 2011 12:10 pm

Hogwarts's Future: How The Teachers Voted

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. Elanor

Vulture - Oct 10, 2006 6:47 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Nov 16, 2006 12:43 am
(I want to make clear that this thread is not intended to cover the same ground as the "Will Harry Return To Hogwarts ?" thread.)

This thread is to discuss the scene in Book 6 when McGonagall, as new Head, asked for opinions on whether Hogwarts should close. I think that this is a very important scene, and extremely evenly-balanced. She asks the Heads of Houses (Slughorn representing Slytherin), and also asks Hagrid on the basis that both Dumbledore and she have always valued his opinion. In fact _ though it is not openly stated _ this means that, with the former Head of Gryffindor now Headmistress of Hogwarts, Hagrid becomes the Gryffindor representative for the purposes of the discussion.

Taking the discussion that ensues as a vote on closing the school, we get the following result:

For closing: 2 (McGonagall the Headmistress, and Slughorn for Slytherin)

Against closing: 2 (Hagrid for Gryffindor, and Sprout for Hufflepuff)

Abstention: 1 (Flitwick for Ravenclaw)

Now, this is not as simple as it first appears. It's not just a numbers game _ I believe JKR is very careful about who votes for what. For example, if McGonagall had abstained and Flitwick had voted against, it would still be 2-2 and one abstention, but the subconscious message to the reader would be very different. (It would, in fact, incline the reader towards keeping the school open _ whereas the vote distribution as it actually happens above is carefully weighted, in my opinion, to be 100% neutral and give no clue to JKR's intentions.)

Why do I read so much into who votes for what ? Well, JKR has always been clear that the reader is to weigh the different Houses _ well _ differently. Gryffindor has always been the main bulwark of the good side, and Hufflepuff has always been a loyal follower. We're told in Book 4 that the two have always had good relations.

Ravenclaw has always been on the good side, too, of course (and I'm not saying differently !!), but it goes its own way, and JKR is inclined to throw in tiny hints that depending on logic (Ravenclaw's strong point) is not the surest route for the good side. (There's a very tantalising bit in Book 5 where Hermione says that the Sorting Hat considered putting her in Ravenclaw, but "it decided on Gryffindor in the end". Why ?)

I think it's safe to say that we take McGonagall more seriously than Slughorn, and that, in any case, we expect a Gryffindor to consider the school's interests more than Slytherin. McGonagall's vote is the strongest card for those who think JKR will close Hogwarts.

On the other hand, Hagrid makes a strong speech against closing, even insisting that, if it closes, he'll teach any who want him to (admittedly, with Hagrid's classes, this won't be many !!). Sprout backs him up strongly. It's worth noting that the Againsts are more united in their speeches and their thinking than the Fors, and Sprout, Head of Hufflepuff says that it's what Dumbledore would want. (As against that, McGonagall claims that Dumbledore considered closing the school in Book 2.)

While the question of Hogwarts' closing (or not) is relevant to this thread, I would also like to see some discussion of the group dynamics and hidden meanings in this voting scene.
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Hogwarts's Future: How The Teachers Voted (Post 1 to 30)

Post  Elanor on Sat May 28, 2011 12:11 pm

Meoshimo - Oct 10, 2006 6:37 pm (#1 of 30)
It's hard to imagine a school that has been open for a millenia closing. All things must end, though.

I doubt that the decision for closure would fall to the Headmaster/Headmistress and Heads of Houses alone (if it falls to them at all). The school governors would undoubtedly play a large role in deciding this.

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shadzar - Oct 10, 2006 6:39 pm (#2 of 30)

I think Minerva may be overlooking something in respect to the school closing in book two. The fact that LV has returned and the DE got in means little, sicne they can be anywhere. DD wanted to close the school to the students since the threat was one that was and has been in the school for sometime. The threat of LV could be anywhere, however; and the school is no less safe than anywhere else, and evident by the campsite in GoF. Without students the basilisk could have been searched for with lesser worry for their safety by more experienced people. She may be thinking closely to that in her dispair, but forgetting that LV is not something contained within the school.

I think Slughorn may have had his own interests in mind. Since only he could have let DD know about the Horcruxes, and with DD dead he wouldn't feel safe in Hogwarts.

Sprout seems somewhat like DD, but a bit self-centered like Slughorn. She wants the students to have a chance to defend themselves, but knows she can't grow all the things needed to fight LV by herself without her classes to do it. Not saying she is only thinking of herself, but like any good gardener knows you must have proper tools for the task or you can't grow as much and as healthy as you should be able to. Perhaps she also is just following in D wishes out of respect like a Hufflepuff would...

Flitwick I think was totally unsure of himself after what happened with Snape and didn't want to voice anything thinking he may not make a wise decision so took the logical way out which was allow the body of governers decide the best course so he couldn't be confident himself.

Hagrid has no place else to go. He loves Hogwarts like no other shown than DD. His respect and loyalty to DD for what may be a life saving situation could be somewhat overly shown. But he really feels that he doesn't want anyone else to have to go through what he almost had to until DD allowed him to live at Hogwarts. Also he doesn't feel like he is the right person to make such a decision cause he doesn't se himself as a leader really as seen with his nervousness with teaching.

DD was the glue and voice of reasoning for Hogwarts. It seems that without him the other teachers don't know what to do at all. His strength gave them strength to accomplish things that Minerva definately would have never tried without him.

This simple fear may have them all questioning their own abilities. As for the school opening for a new year will solely depend on the governers or MoM because they are so unorganized without DD.

I think in all likelyhood the school will remain open even without DD. More security may be brought in so the students will be better protected than having them scattered about to be picked off one-by-one by LV. But I am often wrong about these things so....

I hope that is what you mean by hidden meanings behind the votes.

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Thom Matheson - Oct 10, 2006 7:13 pm (#3 of 30)

This is a great idea for a new thread.

Another consideration needs to be whether or not we can take for granted that Minerva will be annointed as the new head. I don't necessarily think that will happen. She is a strong educator, and a great head of house with Griffindor, but each time she has had to sub for Dumbledore she has been somewhat indecisive. Of the existing teachers, she gets the nod, but as was stated The governors and Ministry will play a part.

My other quick thought on this is Scrimgour. I don't believe that he would not be above thinking of using the school to somehow involve Harry. There is more to this guy then we have seen thus far.

The dynamics of each head of house is a great mix. I also accept that Hagrid would be the Griffindor voice. Not sure about Slughorn. He is a true Slytherin and would have to think about "what's in it for me".

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Finn BV - Oct 10, 2006 7:19 pm (#4 of 30)

Me kayaking, Niagara River, August 2006. I have been likened to Reepicheep in this photo.
Well, Slughorn didn't want to come back to Hogwarts in the first place, so as a person I would say he's not entirely devoted to the school; of course, this was at the beginning of HBP before had had come back.

I agree with you entirely, Vulture, that the weight of the votes is absolutely neutral. The fact that Slytherin, regardless that Slughorn acted, chose "for" is iconic of what Salazar Slytherin would have said.

Hagrid's loyalty to the school is evident, because he has been associated with it (teaching, groundskeeping, or studying) for nearly 60 years now. And McGonagall's been teaching for 40 years. I think the point is that devotion and loyalty are two of the most prized values in humanity. Hufflepuff's really got something to it.

I agree though with Meoshimo that the board of governors, and angry letters from parents will have something to say (though probably less) in the decision too.

EDIT: Thom, since Minerva was "Deputy Headmistress" before, I figured that was the lead-in to Headmistress. However, if it hadn't been for this, I would agree I didn't think she could just step in there without being approved.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Oct 10, 2006 8:59 pm (#5 of 30)

There are a second and a third vote taken on that occasion

Vote 1: Closing of Hogwarts

In favor: 2 (McGonagall the Headmistress, and Slughorn for Slytherin)

Against: 2 (Hagrid for Gryffindor, and Sprout for Hufflepuff)

Abstention: 1 (Flitwick for Ravenclaw

Not Voting due to ineligibility: 1 (Harry as the student representative

Vote 2: Location of Dumbledore's resting place

In favor 4: (Hagrid, for Gryffindor, Flitwick for Ravenclaw, Sprout, for Hufflepuff, and Harry representing the student body, and alumni.)

Against: 1 (McGonagall Headmistress)

Abstention: 1 (Slughorn for Slytherin)

Vote 3: Student Attendance at the funeral

Unanimously approved by a vote of six in favor none opposed and and no abstentions

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Die Zimtzicke - Oct 11, 2006 7:22 am (#6 of 30)

Does it matter how they voted? Is it there decision anyway? I suppose it might matter if they were lining up support to go against the future decision of the board of Govenors, but it might really depend on if any kids are allowed to come back.

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S.E. Jones - Oct 11, 2006 4:53 pm (#7 of 30)

Let it snow!
I thought McGonagall agreed with Flitwick that the decision should be put to the governors. She never said the school should close, just that Dumbledore had once considered it during CoS.

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shadzar - Oct 11, 2006 5:10 pm (#8 of 30)


"I want to talk about what happens to Hogwarts before he gets here," she said quickly. "Personally, I am not convinced that the school should reopen next year. The death of the headmaster at the hands of one of our colleagues is a terrible stain upon Hogwarts's history. It is horrible."

SEJones:

I think that reads like a closed vote. She may just be trying not to include her own vote so strongly as she is uncomfortable to make the decisions for everyone else and it not being her place to make it alone asked for the others opinions.

Since the concensus shows no majority either way, I see her agreeing with neutrality to give the decision over to those better suited for, or more responsible for it.

12 governors, I think it was, could yeild a split vote. Having Hogwarts staff have a single vote would break any ties. Unless it requires unanimous votes as may be apparent in CoS.
"the other eleven governors contacted me today." ~~~~~ "Several of them seemed to think that you had threatened to curse their families if they didn't agree to suspend me in the first place.
Who replaced Lucius? Is that even the system used? If it isn't then my assessment is almost totally flawed.

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Meoshimo - Oct 11, 2006 5:54 pm (#9 of 30)

I wouldn't think that there would be a Ministry of Magical Education (because Hogwarts is the only magical primary school), but I wonder of there is someone other than Hogwarts staff and the school governors, someone within the Ministry who would have something to do with it? Perhaps there's a bylaw that states that if the governors are split evenly on such a decision, then the Wizengamot puts it to a vote? I'm not sure if those decisions need to be unanimous or not. Perhaps the voting process is similar to how the Pope is elected. They deliberate until a unanimous vote is come to.

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Thom Matheson - Oct 11, 2006 6:22 pm (#10 of 30)

Given all the hooha in OoP, what strength does the governors have over the Ministry anyway. This could open the door for Scrimgour

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S.E. Jones - Oct 11, 2006 6:55 pm (#11 of 30)

Let it snow!
shadzar, I read that comment as her not being certain. She says she isn't convinced the school should reopen, but doesn't say she is convinced it should close either. When you put that comment together with saying she thinks they should let the governors decide, it sounds like she's simply not voting.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Oct 11, 2006 8:10 pm (#12 of 30)

Here is a question why is Harry, sixth year given the role of acting as the representative of the Student Body surely it is more appropriate to have that responsibility fall to the Head Girl and Head Boy?

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Phelim Mcintyre - Oct 12, 2006 4:34 am (#13 of 30)

Nathan - Harry represents the students by default. He is there because McGonnagel wants to know why he was out and about with Dumbledore. Also, like Hagrid, if Dumbledore is willing to give him space so must she.

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journeymom - Oct 12, 2006 5:18 pm (#14 of 30)

I don't see it as Harry representing the student body at all. Harry happened to be there because McGonagall previously asked him some questions. He stuck around and gave his input. It was fortuitous that he was there, being so loyal to Dumbledore.

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far from prefect - Oct 13, 2006 2:25 pm (#15 of 30)

Harry may be representing the students, but he is far from being the average. I think McGonagal wanted his input because he was close to Dumbledore. She knows that he is the lynch-pin in the way the future unfolds. She doesn't need to know the entire prophesy to know that Harry is the key. Also, she may feel that to carry on Dumbledore's work she must protect Harry. Will that be easier at Hogwarts or elsewhere?

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Finn BV - Oct 13, 2006 7:18 pm (#16 of 30)

Me kayaking, Niagara River, August 2006. I have been likened to Reepicheep in this photo.
Slightly off-topic, but do we know who the Head Boy and Girl were in HBP? Or what their function is, if they have any special one?

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Phelim Mcintyre - Oct 14, 2006 4:34 am (#17 of 30)

No Finn we don't, the last head boy mentioned by name is Percy Weasley in PoA. Sudden thought - what would happen if McGonnagel made Harry head boy?

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Choices - Oct 14, 2006 1:40 pm (#18 of 30)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
Ron sees himself as Head Boy in the Mirror of Erised, so I am hoping he will be named Head Boy to fulfill that desire.

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Die Zimtzicke - Oct 15, 2006 8:22 pm (#19 of 30)

I missed the prefects and head boy/girl, etc, in HBP a lot. It as one of the things I thought could have been included without much space being taken up. I do think if there were any, McGonagall should have met with them at some point about what was going to happen at least concerning the funeral, and probably yes, the future of the school.

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S.E. Jones - Oct 15, 2006 8:31 pm (#20 of 30)

Let it snow!
There's really no reason for us to hear about the Head Boy/Girl in HBP. We've either heard about them before in passing (i.e. Hermione explaning that she and Ron have to meet with the head boy/girl on the train) or because someone Harry knew personally was one (i.e. Percy). There's a mention, I think, of Hermione and Ron going to the prefects cabin on the train, but why would we really see them after that? Also, McGonagall may have talked with them after the teachers had made up their minds about what was going to happen with the school. I never got the impression (unless I'm just remembering extirely wrongly, which could be) that McGonagall was actually asking Harry his opinion about whether the school should close or what should be done about the funeral. Harry was only there to answer where he and Dumbledore had been and what happened on the tower, and he just voiced his opinion when the subjects came up (although he did ask about the funeral, bringing the subject up himself).

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Die Zimtzicke - Oct 16, 2006 7:40 am (#21 of 30)

If the head boy and head girl were people who believed in Harry, it could have been quite different. One might wonder, as with the other DA members, why they weren't trying to help in the crisis. I do wonder why they could not have been included in the meeting. What's the use of having the title if it's meaningless and you don't know any more about what's going on than anyone else? What happens to the school should matter to other people besides the teachers and Harry.

As for prefects, we still need that house unity that got dropped by the wayside in OotP. Again, if people were chosen who were either against or for Harry, or neutral, it might have explained a lot. I would like to have at least seen who the Gryffindor prefects were. They could have been helpful to Harry, and to the teachers, at some point. Maybe not at the meeting, but somewhere.

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Esther Rose - Oct 16, 2006 9:19 am (#22 of 30)

In my opinion, Harry became an impromptu student representative the moment he was not excused from the office once the voting started. This may give some small clue as to how the staff in the office at the time felt about Harry. Harry was not a silent witness. He remained in the office during the vote and yet none of the professors objected his being there or objected his opinion when he spoke. Both were respected and taken into some account.

In addition, we could argue that Harry has done more for Hogwarts than any other student currently in the student body even though he was never Head Boy.

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Thom Matheson - Oct 16, 2006 11:06 am (#23 of 30)

Not Head Boy yet.

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Soul Search - Oct 17, 2006 12:45 pm (#24 of 30)

I had the sense that McGonagall etal thought of Harry as Dumbldore's representative.

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T Vrana - Oct 17, 2006 8:16 pm (#25 of 30)

Soul Search- I agree. I saw his inclusion as a recognition that Harry has transcended Hogwarts student and has filled, to some extent, the vacuum left by DD's death. He is, in some ways, the new DD, and they all recognized it, whether they knew it or not.

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Soul Search - Oct 18, 2006 7:31 am (#26 of 30)

T Vrana,

"He is, in some ways, the new DD ..."

I agree. And, I am wondering if you have hit on a prelude to book seven: Harry is recognized as the leader in the fight against Voldemort.

The wizarding world already has the "Chosen One" attitude. Hogwarts' staff now looks to Harry as Dumbledore's replacement. Harry has the DA. The Order needs a new leader ...

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Die Zimtzicke - Oct 18, 2006 10:42 am (#27 of 30)

There was no DA in HBP, which irritated me to no end, but if we are conceding Harry has leadership qualities now, then I agree to a certain extent.

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Soul Search - Oct 18, 2006 1:41 pm (#28 of 30)

I am a little hesitant to suggest active "leadership" though. Harry is rather young, and he does have enough to be getting on with, what with horcruxes and all. I am thinking more along the lines of the rest of the wizarding world looking to Harry in the fight against Voldemort.

Harry now knows Voldemort better than anyone.

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legolas returns - Oct 18, 2006 2:37 pm (#29 of 30)

When I reread the chapter where the teachers are discussing what to do with the school I noticed/read the following

1)Harry manages to deflect questions of where he and Dumbledore had been prior by telling her that it was Dumbledores wish that nobody should know and by changing the subject. I would love to have been able to delay the heads of house by a few minutes to see what would have happend. I dont think that McGonagall expects to be given the information (About Madam Rosmerta)/lack of information that Harry gives her. The heads of houses walked in mid conversation and Harry is not asked to leave-partly because McGonagall is stunned by what she has been told and partly because her attention is quickly focussed on the heads of house. McGonagall tells Harry to go quickly back to his dormitory to avoid being questioned by the minister when he asks to leave. This is backing up Dumbledores attitude of protecting him from the ministry.

2)McGonagall does not make any decisions/give any strong point of view on whether the school should close. She does personally say that its a stain on Hogwarts history and she is very disturbed/upset by the murder. She gives a possible argument as a talking point but asks for peoples point of view. The other teachers come up with other arguments that could be expected to be discussed by the govenors/what Dumbledore would have wanted.

The teachers are not really the people to decide. It is the govenors choice

3)Harry keeps quiet until he has a valid point. The teachers respect his views. I think that he unofficially becomes a student spokesperson because he was there at the time. I am not sure how much that we can read into this though. I dont think he would have been asked his point of view if he had not been there. It does not mean that he will become head boy.

As for a future leadership role-I agree with you soul search. I wonder if the wizarding world will be following him trying to find out what he is doing. This could be a hindrance rather than a help.

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Thom Matheson - Oct 18, 2006 2:43 pm (#30 of 30)

I so agree with you all. Every time I hear Ministry, I cringe because of one important item. Umbridge didn't lose her job. She is not going to go away for a while. I can even see her trying to push for the school to close.

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