Plot Inconsistency or Red Herring: Which Is It?

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Plot Inconsistency or Red Herring: Which Is It?

Post  Elanor on Sun May 29, 2011 1:00 am

Plot Inconsistency or Red Herring: Which Is It?

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

zelmia - Aug 14, 2007 2:00 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Sep 26, 2007 4:31 am
The release of Deathly Hallows seems to have exposed what appear to be several inconsistencies within the overall saga - not the least of which is the revelation that once a Secret Keeper dies, everyone to whom the Secret was revealed is now a Secret Keeper him- or herself.

However, since the original explanation about the Secret Keeper was given on JKR's web site and not within the context of the story, should we really consider this to be an error?

This Thread is to hash out whether or not certain plot points are genuine errors in storytelling ("Flints"), deliberate (or even inadvertent) misdirection on the part of the Author (Mark Evans), or simply our own particular interpretation of the text.
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Plot Inconsistency or Red Herring: Which Is It? (Post 1 to 50)

Post  Elanor on Sun May 29, 2011 1:01 am

TomProffitt - Aug 14, 2007 3:10 pm (#1 of 86)
Bullheaded empiricist
I think that we have a couple of types of inconsistencies that have creeped into canon.

First is anything to do with math. Rowling just plain messes up things to do with numbers. If there is a number in the question or answer don't be expecting total accuracy, and in some cases anything close to accuracy.

Second is the interpretation of a fan question. Jo evaded, obfuscated, and downright misled us on some questions to keep from revealing the plot. This has led to many mistaken conclusions about what would come to pass. Personally I think "the secret faculty spouse" was actually a way to avoid answering questions about Snape's marital status.

Third is the obscure question misinterpreted or changed. I think this where the Fidelius charm falls. Jo's original plan or idea that she gave on her website didn't work when she got to the point of actually writing DH, so, she changed it to make it work.

And fourth, is Jo working outside her notes. I think that Jo has had many different ideas and plans for the characters and plots over the time she spent writing and just can't be expected to remember every little detail. Sometimes I think she gives the wrong answer, because she's had several different ideas. I think this is the "inconsistency" with Ron's post-series employment and Hermione's middle name. (And why is it a big deal whether her middle name was Jean or Jane?)

I don't think Jo had any inconsistencies worth whinging about. The plot worked satisfactorily and none of the major characters behaved in a wildly inconsistent manner.

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Madam Pince - Aug 14, 2007 4:44 pm (#2 of 86)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
It was interesting to me that when JKR became aware that the "Mark Evans" thing had sparked huge discussions in the fandom, she came onto her website and posted something there to "correct" our misunderstanding. That was pretty decent of her, I thought. Sure, we could've had years more of fun with speculating, but in the long run we (or at least I) would've probably been a bit disappointed that we'd wasted all that time on it. (Sort of like how we feel about the "important and classified spouse" and the "who will do magic late in life" and so forth.)

To me, the "errors" seem to be just a result of, as Tom says, a combination of several things. Math and very very detailed explanations are just not JKR's thing. While we have only one storyline in our heads, she undoubtedly has dozens, if not hundreds. Ideas considered, discarded, kept, fleshed out to a certain degree, written but then edited out, etc. It must be murder to try to keep all that straight. And if changes came about as she was writing, she could hardly go back and "correct" things she'd said in interviews or whatever, because that would be tantamount to just waving a red flag and saying "This is going to be important!" I don't believe she gave intentional "red herrings." She told us she never intentionally deliberately lied to us, and I believe her.

The Fidelius charm and the Elder Wand mastery things undoubtedly make perfect sense in her head, and I know from experience that oftentimes when something makes sense to you yourself, it can be difficult to recall that someone else may not be privy to your same knowledge or interpretation or whatever. It makes it hard to explain, or even to realize that you need to explain it.

I think, too, that JKR was probably being massively pressured by the media and her marketing people to do these interviews and webchats right away, just as soon as DH was released. ("Ride the popularity wave" blah, blah, blah...) This may have triggered errors that wouldn't have popped up if she'd had a couple weeks to peruse the online fandom and chat with Melissa/Emerson. Although I was as anxious as anyone, I almost wish she'd have waited a bit and released answers on her website so they'd have been more thoughtfully considered.

Another thing to consider about information from the Viera interview and the webchat -- she may have been totally exhausted. The month of July had to have been horrible "sleep-wise" for her -- travelling, movie premieres, book-signings, interviews, readings, the whole "Wow it's really over" keeping her awake -- I can't even begin to imagine how sleep-deprived the woman must've been for the whole month.

A big final wish I had, though, is that she would've had a "real fan" to do a pre-release edit. I know editors are professionals, but I don't think they've read all the theories/options/opinions that are out there that "real fans" have read, and therefore only a "real fan" would've been able to sniff out the questions that other "real fan" readers were going to have. Realistically, it could've been only Melissa or Emerson, I think, since she has a prior relationship with them. And I think she could've trusted either one of them with the job. I believe it would've resulted in some more satisfactory explanations for us. But, alas earwax...

As she said in the webchat, I shall anxiously await more website updates and hopefully an upcoming encyclopedia...

One final thought -- only in a world which is as detailed and creative as Rowling's could the possibilities even exist for so many "errors," and the creative details are what I love about her books. So, I'll take the trade-off...

OK, one more final thought -- JKR was being extremely generous and gracious by doing the interviews, etc. that she did do during the decade of the progress of the books. She was being kind and "throwing us a bone," so to speak. She could've been just a clam and never said a word, which would've been frustrating to us beyond belief. She was trying to be nice, and if she made a couple errors along the way, well, that goes with the territory sometimes. Again, I'll take the trade-off...

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NFla Barbara - Aug 14, 2007 7:16 pm (#3 of 86)

I agree that we can't hold JKR responsible for not living up to every expectation, even those she planted herself (like the idea that someone was going to do magic late in life, which had people contorting to figure out who the latecomer was). But with everything her books have earned for her publisher, I would expect a lot of internal checking and a consistent timeline. (On the other hand, what lowly editor is going to argue with such a successful author?)

This has been discussed elsewhere, but one of the inconsistencies that annoyed me in DH was the statement that Hermione had never done a memory charm, when she had already modified the memories of her parents. To say afterwards "well, they were just two different types of spells" seems to be cleaning up something that should have been clear from the start. It seemed to me that just a teeny bit of editing could have avoided the whole thing -- instead of saying "Nor have I" after Ron says "I've never done a Memory Charm," Hermione could say "I've only changed memories, never erased them."

On the "Questions not answered" thread someone posted the language from JKR's website that led to a possible conflict between how she described the secret-keeping on the website and how it appeared in DH. But I am not sure that was inconsistent. She apparently said (I could not find this on the website myself) that even after the original secret-keeper was dead, "none of them could reveal" the location. But I think "them" referred to the Potters, who couldn't reveal it when the original secret-keeper was alive, not the other holders of the secret. I'm sorry, I should have copied part of the post from the "Questions not answered" thread -- it would have been clearer. Anyway, after reading that and going back to DH, I don't think that's a plot inconsistency -- I think it's a case of a statement on the website being (probably unintentionally) ambiguous.

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zelmia - Aug 14, 2007 7:18 pm (#4 of 86)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
only in a world which is as detailed and creative as Rowling's could the possibilities even exist for so many "errors," and the creative details are what I love about her books. So, I'll take the trade-off...
Indeed, Madame Pince. I agree completely

I didn't really think "the Trace" itself was inconsistent - just the Ministry's application of it.
Harry says in DH "If I can't use magic and you can't use magic around me..." That jibes with the notion that underage magic can be detected, but not in a house when there are other "of age" witches and wizards. Dobby used the Hover Charm in an house where an underage wizard lived - and was the only wizard known to reside in the entire area as far as the Ministry knew.

With that in mind, Tonks and Moody's magic in OP were a bit more of a problem. While this may be a bit of an error in that it isn't really spelled out within the context of the story, I think we can come up with sufficient explanation for it to make sense without having it exposited for us.
For example, many Order members also worked for the Ministry. Someone could easily have done something to prevent the Minstry from responding, or positioned themselves so no response would be necessary.

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TomProffitt - Aug 15, 2007 4:51 am (#5 of 86)

Bullheaded empiricist
I think if you "nit pick" Rowling runs into more trouble than some other authors. So, I try not to nit pick.

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Elanor - Aug 15, 2007 5:23 am (#6 of 86)

When it comes to numbers, I think that Jo first looks at their symbolism and therefore what we may think are inconsistencies are in fact symbols (IMO).

For example, the fact that the Hogwarts Express always seems to leave on September 1st, always on a Sunday, as the first day of class always seems to be a Monday: to me, it only makes sense if it is a symbol.

Here is what I had posted about it a long time ago on the now archived first alchemy thread (post #891):

"01/09 (you probably write it 09/01, don't you?), well 1+9= 10, the ouroboros again. Which means that each book is a journey in itself and, at the same time, part of the "big" journey of the entire 7 books. Each school year is a circle, a cycle and, symbolically, each year it "bites his own tail".

More, the train leaves on a Sunday, the day of the sun, of gold, and school starts on a Monday, the Moon day, silver. It will take another year to Harry to turn this silver into gold again, in a word to make another step on his symbolical journey. Each year is a stage that makes him (and other characters) stronger, more powerful,knowing more about his past and about himself. He learns it the hard way but the cycle is here every year, till the 7th and last one that will lead him to his own symbolical Philosopher's Stone and the achievement of his destiny.

Another example would be Auntie Muriel's age which, IMO, can be seen as symbolic too, see here, post #17 of the DH Chapter 18 thread.

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Luna Logic - Aug 15, 2007 10:08 am (#7 of 86)

from the other side (of the Channel)
Edited by Aug 15, 2007 10:16 am
I am reaching the same conclusion as Elanor, not about numbers, but about the Epilogue.
On the thread about this chapter,- here during a little discussion with Muggle Doctor, we were seeing the Epilogue as the true achievement of Harry's Journey.
As Elanor, I will say, the achievement of Harry's seven journeys. As Elanor (again!) says somewhere, it takes place 19 years after. And, the First of September again (1 09), and, it is the first journey of Harry's son, Albus Severus, which is symbolizing also that achievement (but here, my English lets me down !).

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Madam Pince - Aug 15, 2007 11:41 am (#8 of 86)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
How about "milestone," Luna Logic? (Your English is fabulous, by the way! "Achievement" makes perfect sense...)

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Luna Logic - Aug 15, 2007 1:36 pm (#9 of 86)

from the other side (of the Channel)
Edited by Aug 15, 2007 1:42 pm
Thanks for the compliment, Madam Pince But I simply took "achievement" from Muggle Doctor in the discussion on the Epilogue thread ! And now I am at a loss with your "milestone"..."post of stone marking the miles on a road" (Oxford dictionary). Yes, and, thus or then... I think you made a link with the journey… road... miles... milestone... Harry's journey...
It seems I will have good dreams, perhaps a little confusing (but I like it ), tonight (soon for me!)

edited: yes,bed for me because It seems I have achieve my free account posting quota!

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TomProffitt - Aug 15, 2007 1:51 pm (#10 of 86)

Bullheaded empiricist
milestone - An important event or turning point in one's history or career (The American Heritage Dictionary)

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wynnleaf - Aug 15, 2007 7:09 pm (#11 of 86)

I don't have any real problem with JKR over the fact that there are inconsistencies or even errors in canon. The only time it really concerns me is when fans start bending over backwards to explain every single thing in canon and JKR's interviews in an effort to force them to all make some sort of sense, so that there won't be any errors.

I've seen elsewhere people that try to explain how Ron can be both an auror and partner with George and JKR didn't really contradict herself. That's just forcing the issue in an effort to deny that JKR ever made a mistake.

It's like the thing of Snape going to talk to DD's portrait in the Headmaster's office well before the MOM takeover and well before Snape was made Headmaster of Hogwarts -- a time when Snape's supposedly known as a murderer. Sure, we can work out some sort of extra-canon reason for this occurring like Snape knowing a secret way into the castle and into the Headmaster's study and can get in without anyone else's knowledge. The problem is that's just inventing things that JKR never told us to try and force the scene to work within the rest of canon and not be a continuity error. The problem with the scene is that it can only be explained by JKR, not by readers inventing non-canon plot lines to "cover" for the inconsistency.

I use this only as an example. Like I said, the inconsistency doesn't bother me much. I do think DH needed another several months of editing and revision and was probably being finished to fit the filmmaking deadlines. But I can still enjoy the book. What I don't care for is the tendency of the fandom to insist that there are no inconsistencies, when in order to "cover" for apparent inconsistencies, they are having to create a pseudo-canon.

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Madam Pince - Aug 15, 2007 7:24 pm (#12 of 86)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Well, what else are we supposed to do when we wonder "Hey, hmmmm... how did Snape talk to Dumbledore's portrait when he wasn't even Headmaster yet?" Just stick our fingers in our ears and hum "LALALALALA..." and pretend we didn't notice the inconsistency?

The problem with the scene is that it can only be explained by JKR, not by readers inventing non-canon plot lines to "cover" for the inconsistency. Exactly. So what are we left with when JKR (well, any author) fails to explain? If we want to understand what we read, and if we want the story to make sense to us, we almost have to try to fill in the holes ourselves, don't we?

I don't see how readers with any imagination at all (which clearly most of JKR's fans are) could help but try to come up with explanations. That's why I agree with you that that is the point where it's bothersome. We shouldn't really have to do that, should we? I still love, love, love the books, and I can understand and forgive JKR for any inconsistencies, but I can't pretend they don't bother me a bit.

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PatPat - Aug 15, 2007 8:39 pm (#13 of 86)

I agree with your post, Madame Pince, except your last paragraph. I don't find it bothersome at all that people fill in the blanks (or inconsistencies) with their own imagination. Isn't that what reading is? I would be totally bored with a book that told me everything and left nothing to my imagination. And why is it a problem that people try to explain what others think of as inconsistencies? That's part of exploring a novel and using your imagination to make everything in the story work. JKR wasn't just creating a story. She wove for us a whole world. There's no way she would be able to explain every single little thing to our obsessive satisfaction. It is a continuing saga. I think it was zelmia that pointed out that, in a situation like this, where each book is not an independent story, but only one part of a whole, we HAVE to assume that the information presented is connected. That means that, if something seems inconsistent, we have to fill in the blanks with logic and, yes, our own imagination. Honestly I think if we throw out JKR's interviews and go strictly by the books, the number of supposed inconsistencies lessens. There is no canon inconsistencies regarding the Fidelius Charm, Hermione's middle name (which I agree with Tom, what's the difference? It's not a major plot point.), or Ron's job. We're only confused about these things because we're adding in information she gave in interviews or on her web site.

As far as the Trace, I don't see that as an inconsistency. All Dumbledore said in OoP was that the Ministry could detect underage magic but not who performed it. This is not a contradiction. Harry says in DH, when they are worried he still has his trace, that no one can use magic near him. I see the Trace as being like a kind of bubble surrounding the person. If someone inside the person's zone performs magic, the Ministry detects it but cannot be sure who performed it if there is more than one wizard present. As has already been stated, Harry was the ONLY wizard living on Privet Drive, so, when Dobby performed his spell, the Ministry assumed it was Harry. As far as the magic performed near Harry in OoP, I don't see that as a problem either. At that time, the Ministry had not yet been taken over by the DE's. The Order would not have been concerned about being tracked by the DE's using Harry's Trace as they were in DH.

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Phoenix - Aug 15, 2007 8:57 pm (#14 of 86)

Nicola Mlynek
I agree with your post, Madame Pince, except your last paragraph. I don't find it bothersome at all that people fill in the blanks (or inconsistencies) with their own imagination. Isn't that what reading is? -PatPat

I agree wholeheartedly! I do think JKR approves of imagination!

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wynnleaf - Aug 15, 2007 9:14 pm (#15 of 86)

I'm not trying to say not to come up with theories about inconsistencies. Sure, if you want there to solve the inconsistencies and want to attempt to come up with a solution for everything, fine. But what I object to is the attempt to prove that nothing is really inconsistent by "covering" for the inconsistency and then saying that JKR didn't really leave any inconsistencies or errors, as long as fans can create some sort of explanation regardless how much it's extra-canon.

Or worse, trying to claim JKR didn't make any errors or inconsistencies, and then when someone gives one as an example, coming up with extra-canon solutions which JKR never even mentioned, in order to support the contention that it wasn't inconsistent or an error.

So -- for example -- suppose someone says, "JKR contradicted herself when she said Ron became an auror after Hogwarts and later said he joined George at the joke shop after Hogwarts." And someone else says, "oh no, she didn't contradict herself, because she could have meant that Ron did both at the same time." The problem is, without JKR having actually said Ron did both, it's a contradiction. Just because a fan can come up with a scenario to force them both to fit, doesn't make that what JKR said.

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Madam Pince - Aug 15, 2007 9:32 pm (#16 of 86)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
I agree with your post, Madame Pince, except your last paragraph. I don't find it bothersome at all that people fill in the blanks (or inconsistencies) with their own imagination.

Ummmm... PatPat, I think you meant "wynnleaf" instead of "Madam Pince." I was saying essentially the same thing you were, I think.

Or if you really did mean me, maybe I wasn't clear -- I didn't mean that it's bothersome to me that we readers do fill in the blanks with our own imaginations -- I meant that it is bothersome to me that we have to. (JKR please forgive me! I love you and your books, truly I do! ) It's just that, well, the lady is making a lot of money. And the publishers are making a lot of money. Somewhere in there, somebody should be doing some editing and some double-checking and such to try to ensure these things don't happen. Obviously I'm not talking about the webchat or the interview errors -- those are just human error and totally understandable. But canon, written, plot inconsistencies just ought not to happen in a publication of this magnitude and caliber. In my very humble and completely non-publishing-industry-related-therefore-not-an-expert opinion...

And wynnleaf, I see more of what you mean now. Thanks for the fuller explanation! That makes sense now.

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zelmia - Aug 15, 2007 10:10 pm (#17 of 86)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
Personally, I don't have a problem using the Author's established precedents and paradigms to draw reasonable conclusions that are not fully exposited for the reader; in fact, as far as I'm concerned, the less exposition the better.

So, what do we think the inconsistencies are?

Despite JKR's half-hearted attempt to explain that he had to repeat his final year at Hogwarts, Marcus Flint still being around in Harry's 3rd year (PA) is a genuine mistake and I think a good base line for us - even though this little error ultimately has no bearing whatsoever on the overall plot.

On the other hand, the Fidelius Charm - which is a major plot point - was not contradictory in within the context of the story. It only seemed so because the Author had literally told us something different. So, in my opinion, this is not technically an inconsistency even though it is initially confusing.

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TomProffitt - Aug 16, 2007 4:43 am (#18 of 86)

Bullheaded empiricist
You know, this thread would be very useful for asking for opinions on specifics we didn't follow. For example, we've been hashing out on other threads the chain of possession of the Elder Wand and the way it changes "ownership."

I'm starting to think JKR goofed in her rules. Grindelwald stole the Elder Wand from Gregorovich and gained apparent Mastery. Didn't LV essentially steal the Elder Wand from Draco when he took it from Dumbledore's tomb? We can save the details of this question for the Elder Wand thread, but does anyone else think that this might be an inconsistency on Rowling's part?

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Wanda - Aug 16, 2007 7:22 am (#19 of 86)

Editor
I though that, Tom. How can Grindelwald have been the master of the Elder Wand if he just stole it? Surely to gain Mastery of the wand surely you have to fight for it?

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Elanor - Aug 16, 2007 7:28 am (#20 of 86)

Maybe Grindelwald hasn't really been the master of the wand, just its owner, just like Voldemort has been. Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald though and thus became the true master of the wand, whoever its previous master was. Does it make sense?

Great catch about the epilogue happening on September First Luna! Another grat ouroboros symbol indeed!

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wynnleaf - Aug 16, 2007 8:29 am (#21 of 86)

We could get into a huge question of errors or inconsistencies about the Elder Wand, when there's a thread already focused just on the wand. The big ones I see are regarding LV and DD's duel in OOTP and why we see LV having no problem using his wand against DD (even though he can't kill him); and the question of why Harry or LV's wand would react in any kind of odd way during the Privet Drive escape since neither one was a master of the wand or had possession of it. Just seemed wierd to me.

Personally, I wondered if the Deathly Hallows idea was something JKR thought up later -- maybe after OOTP -- and worked to incorporate into the entire story. There are other inconsistencies regarding the Hallows, in particular the invisibility cloak which DD can see through and which Mad Eye's eye can see through as well. And Snape, although not the master of the cloak, was able to use it in POA. Maybe that part isn't inconsistent, but I thought that not just anyone would be able to use it.

Anyway, if JKR thought up the Hallows after OOTP, I can see why they might not entirely mesh with all of her earlier scenes.

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Choices - Aug 16, 2007 10:16 am (#22 of 86)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
I have no problem with the cloak and the fact that Mad Eye could see through it - his is a magical eye with magical ability. I think it is only normal, human eyes that can not see through it.

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mollis - Aug 16, 2007 10:32 am (#23 of 86)

I took some of the Elder Wand stuff over to that thread and responded to it over there so that this thread wouldn't get overtaken by the same discussion we are already having.

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zelmia - Aug 16, 2007 11:10 am (#24 of 86)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
I don't see the Cloak as being inconsistent because we really didn't know anything about it, other then it had previously been James's. She has Ron tell us that Invisibility Cloaks in general are "really rare" so, obviously such a thing exists without being a Hallow. Harry's Cloak is apparently only unique in that it "indestructible". But like all the Hallows, it is not completely infallible. Moody can see through it with his Magical Eye, and Dumbledore can see through it by the non-verbal use of an relatively common incantation.
When the Death Eaters try to "Accio" the Cloak away from Harry in Hogsmeade, to me, that falls into the "Master of the..." category. In other words, only the Master of the Cloak could summon it. That does not strike me as inconsistent, since we had been given the Tale of the Hallows prior to that.

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journeymom - Aug 16, 2007 12:10 pm (#25 of 86)

Personally, I wondered if the Deathly Hallows idea was something JKR thought up later -- maybe after OOTP -- and worked to incorporate into the entire story.

Wynnleaf, I've probably misunderstood you. But I don't see how JKR could have thought up the concept of the deathly hallows after OotP. She's had it from the start, as evidenced by all the Arthurian legend referrences, tarot cards and the hallows of Britain objects: Arthur and Ginevra Weasley, Harry's cloak, Ron's chess set, wands in general, school-aged Snape hanging by his ankle.

Most authors' works have not been so closely scrutinized in progress, before the author even finished writing the story. Most authors readers do not devote websites to indexing and cross referencing every line in the books from here to eternity.

I suppose it doesn't really matter what Hermione's middle name is, except that I like 'Jane' better than 'Jean'. Jane seems just so terribly British.

Edited for accuracy

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zelmia - Aug 16, 2007 12:59 pm (#26 of 86)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
I have been meaning to mention this. In my opinion, Wormtail being placed in Gryffindor is a pretty gaping inconsitency. Ultimately, we saw nothing of his character to indicate that he was even remotely brave/courageous.

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TomProffitt - Aug 16, 2007 1:44 pm (#27 of 86)

Bullheaded empiricist
zelmia, I suppose he could have asked the hat to put him in Gryffindor. I've often wondered how he ended up in Gryffindor myself, as nearly all of the other characters seem very well placed and consistent.

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legolas returns - Aug 16, 2007 1:46 pm (#28 of 86)

Perhaps he showed bravery before coming to school-I think its an ask JKR question.

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Madam Pince - Aug 16, 2007 4:15 pm (#29 of 86)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Zelmia, I agree about the Peter Pettigrew thing. I was absolutely convinced we would see Pettigrew do something immensely brave in DH, thus giving validity to him being in Gryffindor. Alas, earwax. I don't count his split-second hesitation as "bravery."

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legolas returns - Aug 16, 2007 4:30 pm (#30 of 86)

He was in a position of power so you cant call it bravery.

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TomProffitt - Aug 16, 2007 4:46 pm (#31 of 86)

Bullheaded empiricist
Pettigrew was rather short of redeeming qualities. He had little ambition, no seeming thirst to prove himself, no cunning. He wouldn't have been much of a Slytherin. Perhaps he belonged in Harry's House for those that "felt a bit queasy."

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Choices - Aug 16, 2007 4:50 pm (#32 of 86)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
As Dumbledore said, "Sometimes I think we sort too early".....or words to that effect. Perhaps the hat sorted him into Gryffindor in the hopes that some of their traits would rub off on him?

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PatPat - Aug 16, 2007 7:12 pm (#33 of 86)

LOL, Tom.

I don't necessarily see Pettigrew being in Gryffindor as an inconsistency so much as another way of showing us that the Sorting Hat is not always right, or, as Choices points out, the sorting is done too early. Pettigrew might have been one of those difficult placements and the sorting hat just did the best it could with Pettigrew's atrocious personality.

I admit that I, too, wondered about how Grindelwald could have been master of the wand simply by stealing it but then I re-read the passage:

Harry saw the delight upon his handsome face, then the intruder shot a Stunning Spell from his wand and jumped neatly backward out of the window with a crow of laughter. (DH 14)

I think the key is the Stunning Spell. This spell stopped Gregorovitch from chasing Grindelwald and thus counted as a defeat. I believe it is this that caused the wand to change allegiance, not the theft. JKR didn't put the stunning spell there for the heck of it. I think it's crucial.

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Remi - Aug 18, 2007 8:36 pm (#34 of 86)

Dumbledore's woman through and through
I don't see Pettigrew being in Gryffindor as an inconsistency or as a way of showing that the Sorting Hat isn't always right. I thought it goes back to the whole "choice" theme of the book:

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Like Neville, Pettigrew was placed into Gryffindor because the Sorting Hat saw that he had the ability to be brave. But unlike Neville, Pettigrew never chose bravery. (IMHO)

But I am still confused with the fidelius charm thing. Even if we don't refer to what Jo said on her website, I still think there are inconsistencies. Specifically, if Bill is the Secret Keeper for Shell Cottage, how did Harry & co. apparate there and see Bill & Fleur? According to POA, even if they knew where it was they could have their nose pressed against their sitting room window and never find them. Yet Harry apparates to the location that Ron tells him and he sees the cottage and people outside. Am I missing something? If I'm not, what happens is inconsistent to me.

But as some of you already mentioned, the inconsistencies don't bother me too much. Well, OK - maybe a lot in the beginning, but for the most part I'm able to let them go.

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zelmia - Aug 18, 2007 11:05 pm (#35 of 86)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
I wondered about Shell Cottage too, Remi. And, in my opinion, this is an inconsistency as compared with the explanation we were given back in PA. What I told myself after reading that section was maybe if Bill gives Ron persmission to reveal Shell Cottage that serves the same purpose as writing it down like Dumbledore did.
For example, Bill must have known Ron would go back to Harry and Hermione if he could. He may have told Ron something along the lines of "If you run into any of our friends who need a place to go, send them to me". That may have been the same thing as writing it down.

Of course, I'm just making this up to satisfy my own need for an explanation.

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Elanor - Aug 18, 2007 11:47 pm (#36 of 86)

That's a good explanation Zelmia!

Also, Harry and the others Apparate outside Shell Cottage (I presume outside the range of the Fidelius Charm) and Bill and Fleur come to Harry who is kneeling near Dobby. Maybe the fact that the Secret Keeper shows himself to Harry and brings him back inside the Fidelius area is enough?

Dumbledore wasn't present when Harry arrived at 12 GP: he may not have needed to be told anything if DD had been with him when he arrived on that day. He had no difficulty coming very close to 12 GP either, the "trick" was just to enter it. Just a thought!

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zelmia - Aug 19, 2007 12:58 am (#37 of 86)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
I agree with your explanation too, Elanor, in fact that's a better one. The thing is, just saying "Shell Cottage" and the name of the town is pretty general information. So even though Ron tells Dobby to go there (I agree that they would had to have apparated beyond the protection), I don't think they would have been able to see the Cottage itself because of the Charm.
However, because Ron has been there before, once Dobby apparates with him and the others, Ron can run in and alert his brother, leaving the others just outside the perimeter for a moment. And by the time Harry gets there, Bill is already waiting for him.

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legolas returns - Aug 19, 2007 4:51 am (#38 of 86)

I thought that the house was not put under the Fidelus charm until HRH escaped from the Malfoy Manor. Up to that point the bad guys assumed that Ron was sick and at his parents house. Once Ron had been identified then his family was more at risk. Prior to that point the family was being watched and still going to work.

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Xenophilius - Aug 19, 2007 6:10 am (#39 of 86)

legolas returns - You read it the way I did. I assumed the Fidelius Charm was added after they arrived at Shell Cottage. Prior to the escape from Malfoy Manor, Bill and Fluer were not in hiding.

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Remi - Aug 19, 2007 6:27 am (#40 of 86)

Dumbledore's woman through and through
So, as soon as Dobby appeared with Ollivander, Griphook, Luna & Dean, Bill started moving his family from the Burrow to Muriels and Arthur became their families secret-keeper? Since Ginny was home on Easter Holiday she was safe too.

OK - that makes sense and can be supported by what Jo wrote (p.482 US version). I read that scene to think Bill was talking about the past v. the present when he says,

"I've been getting them all out of the Burrow."

Should've realized that since he used the present perfect tense instead of the past tense, that is what he meant.

But when Bill says, I've done it on this cottage too; I'm Secret-Keeper here." does it mean whomever is there is already protected by the Charm and don't have to specifically be told or even know that the Charm is being used?

Details, details. It really doesn't matter.

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rambkowalczyk - Aug 20, 2007 1:19 pm (#41 of 86)

One other possible plot inconsistantcy is the assumption that multiple pensieve memories are shown in consecutive order. For instances JKR says that Severus went into Sirius' bedroom right after he killed Dumbledore instead of after Moody's death. But now we all assume that the werewolf incident happened earlier that the worst memory when previous to this book I would have bet it was almost canon that it happened in their 6th or 7th year.

Another thing is that Snape doesn't come out as she wishes to portray him at least not for most people. I think that the way Tom Proffitt sees Snape is probably the way JKR wishes Snape to be seen. But I don't think it's quite written the way it should be. For example alot of the examples that have been used to show that Snape is a bully and hates Harry can also be interpreted as perhaps not so bad and that Harry could be misinterpreting Snape.

The point I am trying to make is not whether or not Snape is a bully or whether or not he hates Harry,(JKR intended for him to be a bully and to hate Harry as well), but are the examples that she is using the best examples that can be used? On one hand they are good because they show a certain ambiguity in that one can argue that perhaps Snape isn't quite the terrible person that he seems to be, that there are other reasons for the way he behaves.(besides just hating Harry.

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zelmia - Aug 20, 2007 2:53 pm (#42 of 86)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
I may be alone, but I didn't read the Pensieve memories as "out of order" because memories don't really work like that. They just come to you - sometimes in a particular sequence, other times by association with one thing and another.

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NFla Barbara - Aug 20, 2007 6:25 pm (#43 of 86)


The point I am trying to make is not whether or not Snape is a bully or whether or not he hates Harry,(JKR intended for him to be a bully and to hate Harry as well), but are the examples that she is using the best examples that can be used? On one hand they are good because they show a certain ambiguity in that one can argue that perhaps Snape isn't quite the terrible person that he seems to be, that there are other reasons for the way he behaves


Or maybe he IS the terrible person he seems to be, but there are reasons for him being that way. I wonder if JKR is as ambivalent about Snape as the text. It must be hard not to get attached to such a great character, even if you patterned him after someone you did not like.

At the moment, for me, it all comes down to choices. Good people make bad ones; unpleasant people can make good ones. I don't see Snape's choices as plot inconsistencies so much as illustrations that "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."


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PatPat - Aug 20, 2007 6:59 pm (#44 of 86)

I agree, zelmia. It didn't even occur to me that the issue of order may be a problem for some. I just figured they weren't necessarily in order. We have no canon that penseive memories always play in order.

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rambkowalczyk - Aug 20, 2007 9:10 pm (#45 of 86)

Or maybe he IS the terrible person he seems to be, but there are reasons for him being that way. I wonder if JKR is as ambivalent about Snape as the text. It must be hard not to get attached to such a great character, even if you patterned him after someone you did not like.

At the moment, for me, it all comes down to choices. Good people make bad ones; unpleasant people can make good ones. I don't see Snape's choices as plot inconsistencies so much as illustrations that "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." NFLa Barbara

Sorry I'm not explaining myself all that well. Let me try again with what I mean by Snape inconsistantcy.

At the end of book 6 someone had come up with Snape the Lone Crusader hypothesis. It explained alot of things well. The one thing it probably didn't explain well was why was Snape so nasty to the students in general. (Lone Crusader said that Snape's hatred of Harry was because Snape wanted to defeat the Dark Lord and that the prophecy took that away from him.)

Instead we get the Lone Oddball whose idea of love is limited and as a result hurts the one he loves by his choices and tried to spend the rest of his life making up for it, but although he follows Dumbledore's direction, there is question as to whether or not he is redeemed by the end of his life.

Inconsistantcies. Snape believes that the Slytherin house is the way to go. Why would he believe this if he has a Muggle father? If his mother was a Slytherin, why did she marry a Muggle? Why does he call himself the Half-Blood Prince if he wants to be a Death Eater?

We are given a portrait of a man who loved Lily and still loved her even after she rejected him. After her death, he is encouraged to protect Harry for Lily's sake so that her death won't be without meaning. He seems to blindly obey this and we aren't too sure if he has changed or if he has changed enough. Does he do it for Lily or for Dumbledore? Does Snape still hate Harry when he dies or has he changed enough?

JKR says through Harry that Snape was brave. But was he brave without love or did the love eventually come. Does it matter to JKR or is bravery/courage the only thing worth having?

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NFla Barbara - Aug 20, 2007 9:33 pm (#46 of 86)

Hi rambkowalczyk,

I think those are all great questions -- I just don't think they are plot inconsistencies. In retrospect, I think the books consistently reveal a very conflicted character, one who is supposed to inspire conflicted feelings in readers.

Why would Snape embrace Slytherin if he had a muggle father? Maybe for some of the same reasons Tom Riddle did. They were both the offspring of a muggle father and a witch. That is not a inconsistency...we could debate what it reveals (such as self-loathing or hatred of an abusive or absent father) but that's different from saying "it's inconsistent."

Why would a Slytherin marry a muggle...I am not sure we know that Eileen Price or Merope Gaunt were Slytherins; I don't think Merope even attended Hogwarts. Eileen did but I don't remember if we know her house. Either way, falling in love with a member of a "forbidden" group is a plot device, not a plot inconsistency.

I think I understand what you're saying, but I don't think any of the information we have about Snape is inconsistent in the sense of "if this is true, then that cannot be."

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PatPat - Aug 22, 2007 5:42 pm (#47 of 86)

I agree with Barbara. These are not plot inconsistencies. They are a very very complex character. I think the problem with Snape is he is a little TOO realistic. We expect every one of his decisions to have some logical reasoning behind it. But is this actually true of real people?? No way. Most people act on their feelings and desires and beliefs which, more often than not, conflict with each other. I would hate to have all of my life's decisions analyzed as to whether they make logical sense! They won't. Trust me! So why should Snape's? One of the things I like best about Jo is how she creates characters that are real people. Never perfect. Always flawed. Sometimes understandable. But often not. Sheer brilliance.

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Choices - Aug 22, 2007 5:44 pm (#48 of 86)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
Well said, PatPat. I totally agree with you.

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PatPat - Aug 22, 2007 5:52 pm (#49 of 86)

Thanks, Choices!

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rambkowalczyk - Aug 24, 2007 8:11 pm (#50 of 86)

Why would Snape embrace Slytherin if he had a muggle father? Maybe for some of the same reasons Tom Riddle did. They were both the offspring of a muggle father and a witch. That is not a inconsistency...we could debate what it reveals (such as self-loathing or hatred of an abusive or absent father) but that's different from saying "it's inconsistent." NFLa Barbara

analogy doesn't work because Tom killed his Muggle father and we have no indication as to what happened to Snape's father. Keep in mind Snape could still embrace Slytherin for the same reason as Tom assuming that Tom's only reason was ambition. My question is along the lines Why does Snape call himself the Half-blood Prince when Voldemort wishes to deny the existance of his Muggle father by killing him.

I agree that the things that I bring up make Snape a complex character, but something doesn't work for me and it's difficult to pinpoint it.

We expect every one of his decisions to have some logical reasoning behind it. But is this actually true of real people?? No way. Most people act on their feelings and desires and beliefs which, more often than not, conflict with each other. I would hate to have all of my life's decisions analyzed as to whether they make logical sense! They won't. Trust me! So why should Snape's? Pat Pat

I think I understand what you are saying. And yes this is true of Snape and probably even true of the Malfoy family. But is this JKR's intent? As a for instance, I doubt if Snape could articulate why he decided to be a Death Eater. I think in the hands of a more perfect author, Snape's reasons for joining the Death Eaters would have been stated and if it were an illogical reason it would have been stated as such. and perhaps a point would be made as to why people make imperfect choices.
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Plot Inconsistency or Red Herring: Which Is It? (Post 51 to 86)

Post  Elanor on Sun May 29, 2011 1:02 am

NFla Barbara - Aug 24, 2007 10:19 pm (#51 of 86)
The analogy is that both embraced a pure blood ethic (LV directly, Snape I think by association) without being pure blood themselves. What happened to their fathers is irrelevant. My point was simply that it potentially reveals an inner conflict in the character but is not a plot inconsistency.

A plot inconsistency would be if we were told that only pure bloods can be Slytherins. Even then the inconsistency wouldn't be why Snape embraced Slytherin, but why the Sorting Hat placed him there. But we aren't told that; we are told Salazar Slytherin wanted to limit the school to those of "purest" ancestry, but the Sorting Hat seems to have looked at qualities rather than blood when placing students. Tom and Snape aren't the only examples -- Harry is not a pureblood either, since Lily was muggle-born, but the Sorting Hat would have placed him in Slytherin unless he had protested.

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rambkowalczyk - Aug 27, 2007 3:50 pm (#52 of 86)

Another possible plot inconsistancy.

Dumbledore promises Draco that he and his mother can be hidden. Everyone will think they are did. How did he plan to do this?

I see only two possible things that went wrong in the tower scene. Harry was there and other Death Eaters invaded the castle.

Who was suppose to hide Draco and where was he to be hidden. If it was Snape why didn't he do it? How would he have done it if this went according to plan.

How could the Order that is any one else but Snape hide the Malfoys. It appears that no one knew of this plan.

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zelmia - Sep 2, 2007 11:05 am (#53 of 86)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
Excellent point, Ramb. Since we know that Dumbledore was dying, and that Snape had to kill him because of the Vow, there simply wouldn't have been any way to implement this offer.

One thing that I think may be inconsistent - or not - is that in OP Moody looks up through the various levels of 12GP and identifies a Boggart inside a desk. "It's just a Boggart, Molly..." In PA we are told that "no one knows what a Boggart looks like in its natural form" or something like that. And though we have been able to come up with satisfactory explanations for Moody's remark (i.e. he didn't see anything and therefore knew it was a Boggart), I am still inclined to consider this a minor inconsistency.

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Madam Pince - Sep 5, 2007 6:57 pm (#54 of 86)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
...which reminds me of another one. When Lupin is teaching Harry to do Expecto Patronum, he uses a boggart for the training sessions. Now, Expecto Patronum works for dementors, but it shouldn't work for boggarts -- that one is Riddikulus. Seems to me that even a boggart displaying itself as a dementor is still a boggart, so Expecto Patronum shouldn't do anything.

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NFla Barbara - Sep 5, 2007 8:38 pm (#55 of 86)

I don't think the point was to use the patronus to get rid of the boggart -- it was to give Harry something to focus on that would make him want to generate the patronus.

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zelmia - Sep 5, 2007 10:51 pm (#56 of 86)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
I agree, Barbara. This may be an inconsistency, but personally it never seemed to me to be one. Harry had the same expereince with the Boggart-Dementor as with the real Dementor. Therefore this was the best way to teach him the Charm. Because the Boggart behaves exactly in the way of whatever the person fears, it makes sense to me that the Boggart would be repelled by the Patronus.

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totyle - Sep 6, 2007 3:01 am (#57 of 86)

Zelmia is right. In GoF Harry has the same reaction to the Boggart appearing as a dementor when he is in the maze. He is described as hearing its rattling breath and feeling its clammy coldness.

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Madam Pince - Sep 6, 2007 9:35 pm (#58 of 86)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Maybe, but I still don't like it. I can see where the boggart would appear like a dementor, and by virtue of its "disguise" it would cause the beholder to feel the same feelings as if it were a dementor, and thus it would certainly work fine as a training dummy for Harry. My objection is more about how it responds to a repelling charm -- it's still at heart a boggart, so it seems to me that only boggart-repelling charms should be successful on it.

But then again, I'm the one who argued with my college roommates for hours over how the Superman movie shouldn't have worked because Clark Kent was specifically told that he couldn't reverse time to change outcomes without causing the universe to explode or something, yet he still did it. I need to get a life.

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PatPat - Sep 9, 2007 10:37 am (#59 of 86)

LOL, Madam Pince. I do the same thing. I had an hour long discussion with my cousin about the Tom Hanks movie, Cast Away. I insisted that it made absolutely no sense that Tom's character wouldn't have opened the Fed Ex package if he were stranded on a deserted island for years. Ruined the whole movie for me. (if you haven't seen the movie, rent it. You'll see what I mean!)

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Remi - Sep 10, 2007 5:30 pm (#60 of 86)

Dumbledore's woman through and through
I completely agree with the Boggart-as-Dementor thing, and am thrilled others mentioned it first.

(and without digressing too much, I also agree with the Fed Ex package in Castaway -- what if it had miraculously contained charged cellphones or something???)

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legolas returns - Sep 10, 2007 11:55 pm (#61 of 86)

Sirius gave Harry the toy broom at age one and then a proper broom at age thirteen saying to him "count this as thirteen years worth of Birthday presents". How did he forget that he sent the toy broom?

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zelmia - Sep 11, 2007 12:10 am (#62 of 86)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
Because he was in prison having his emotions messed with night and day for 12 years?

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azi - Sep 11, 2007 7:24 am (#63 of 86)

Photo borrowed from Ardent Photography
Telling Harry he had a toy broom would be a bit pointless, I think. Harry won't remember having it! If JKR had said it was 12 years worth then we forumers would have complained she can't do maths again wouldn't we? Or we'd have been discussing how important the item Harry must have recieved for his first birthday will be.

Alternatively, Sirius could just have forgotten. Azkaban doesn't do people much good, like zelmia points out.

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wynnleaf - Sep 12, 2007 12:30 pm (#64 of 86)

On possible inconsistency in DH is the Fidelius Charm. In DH, we learn that you can be your own Secret Keeper. That being the case, why would the Potters have had anyone other than themselves as Secret Keeper?

Moody's charms to protect Grimmauld Place against Snape (now one of the Secret Keepers) make no sense in the face of nonverbal magic and the fact that you can pass along the secret with a handwritten note.

Further, the fact that no one seems to notice that Snape could easily have betrayed the house to the Death Eaters, yet doesn't, is a small plot hole.

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zelmia - Sep 12, 2007 1:48 pm (#65 of 86)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
No, I think he did betray the house to the Death Eaters. But the other protections kept them from being able to get in.

Or maybe not.

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Die Zimtzicke - Oct 9, 2007 9:33 pm (#66 of 86)

I meant to compliment Wynnleaf on am earlier post, but I never got around to it. Bad Girl, Die! Oh, well, better late than never.

I agree that I also do not have any major earthshaking problems with Jo because there are inconsistencies or even errors in canon. They have disappointed me at times, but I can usually live with them, if I can find other fans to acknowledge them with me and discuss them. The only time it really bothers the heck out of me is when fans start bending over backwards to explain every single thing in canon and JKR's interviews in an effort to make Jo infallible.

I once saw an icon with a picture of Jo on it, and the caption was, "The highest I can count is lots." I loved that.

A lot of fans (not necessarily on this board, but they are out there) get really bent out of shape if you say anything critical at all about anything. Jo has to be perfect to them and they'll jump through hoops to make it so, but I'll never understand why. And I'll never understand why, cash cow or not, the editors didn't go through some of this better than they did.

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PeskyPixie - Oct 10, 2007 10:25 am (#67 of 86)

I hear you, Die. This is what I meant on the movie thread about Bellatrix's accent, although that was part of a larger, different discussion.

Honestly, I feel some of JKR's more critical fans would have served as better editors!

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Choices - Oct 10, 2007 12:14 pm (#68 of 86)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
Die - "The only time it really bothers the heck out of me is when fans start bending over backwards to explain every single thing in canon and JKR's interviews in an effort to make Jo infallible."

We have definitely had our differences in the past and I do not mean to start a ruckus here, but are we not just different sides of the same coin? You (and others) seem to bend over backwards to criticize JKR, while I (and others) seem to bend over backwards to defend her.

I admit I do want her to be "perfect" and I am more than willing to cut her some slack in return for all the pleasure and enjoyment she has given me by letting me enter and revel in her characters and magical world. I think she has done an amazing job - far and away better than I could ever do if my life depended on it, and I call myself having a good imagination and being a good writer - so I am willing to allow her to make a few minor slip-ups without pouncing on her. I do this in the same way that I would not announce to a room full of people that my favorite aunt's slip was showing or she had a run in her pantyhose - otherwise she is perfect and I love her, so I refrain from pointing out her faults.

That is in no way to mean that you are not free to say what you will, but just try to see where we, on the other side of the coin, are coming from. We just have different ways of looking at things and different opinions, but that does not mean that we can not each enjoy this forum in our own way. We find it just as annoying when someone criticizes JKR, as you find it when we try to explain and defend her.

I am sure there are probably plot inconsistencies - in well over a thousand pages of writing, how could there not be? But I do not look at this as a failing on JKR's part, but as literary license. Sometimes things have to twist and bend a bit to make it all work, and I'm OK with that - as I said above, I am more than willing to cut her some slack in return for what she has given me.

While some of us deify her, others are chipping away at the pedestal on which she stands, and JKR is laughing all the way to the bank - she is evidently doing something right. LOL

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Madam Pince - Oct 10, 2007 12:32 pm (#69 of 86)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
The neat thing is, I don't think JKR lets it worry her much either way. She seems to sort of take the position "Well, here's the story as it is in my head, and it's my story, so this is the way it goes. If there's mistakes and some don't like it, that's fine, and if others do like it, that's fine too. I'm just gonna write my story." And clearly she's not 100% accurate on details on many occasions, but she isn't fussed by it -- it's just the story she's telling and she's sticking by it. She said something in the Meredith Viera interview like "Well, if the story's any good it will stand the test of time, and if it isn't, it won't. So we'll just have to see, won't we?"

I have said before that I do wish that someone like either Emerson or Melissa from mugglenet and Leaky could've possibly previewed/edited for her. I'm sure they could've made some suggestions -- I bet they read more HP details and theories every day than JKR's "real" editors have read in their lifetimes. But alas earwax...

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PeskyPixie - Oct 10, 2007 12:40 pm (#70 of 86)

Edited Oct 10, 2007 1:22 pm
I treat JKR as a great artist rather than a peddler of children's stories. Thus, I do not feel bad about analyzing her creations in an unbiased fashion. It really has nothing to do with 'if you have nothing nice to say don't say anything at all' or 'some see the glass half-empty while others see it half-full'. JKR has some glaring inconsistencies, especially in her last book. It is not traitorous to regard these for what they are. JKR is my dear ol' aunt no more than Leo Tolstoy is my long-lost great-grandfather (you should hear what I have to say about some of his writing , although he too is one of my favourites). They are artists, creators, and if an artist's work is no stand the test of time, it will be debated over many times.

Let me make myself clear: I NEVER criticize my beloved HP books with those who scoff at them, however, I feel free to do this here as it is supposed to be a forum rather than a fan club. Most people hate HBP but it is my absolute favourite. Reading criticisms of this book does irritate me at times (especially when done from a "literary" standpoint), but I applaud the forum for allowing diverse views to be heard.

EDIT: I see Choices has edited parts of her post which has made parts of mine irrelevant !

However, I must add that JKR's inconsistencies do not always make her plots 'work'. Rather, at many points they take away from the authenticity of the incredible world she has created. Perhaps they bother me because as an artist myself, I really value precision and accuracy. I understand it's not important to some, but it is to me.

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Madam Pince - Oct 10, 2007 3:41 pm (#71 of 86)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
That was sort of what I was saying earlier -- I don't think JKR considers herself a "great artist." She considers herself to be telling a story, not just for children, but telling a story. It seems that she doesn't value precision and accuracy as much as she values telling a good story, hence the inconsistencies. This is not to say that either viewpoint is "better" or "more right" than the other -- just totally different points of view. I tend to be more nitpicky myself and lots of the things that don't fit make me want to go in there and "fix" them myself -- hence I can often be found making up all kinds of bizarre and "totally-only-mine" explanations for them. Oh well. It's fun and keeps me off of eBay.

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PatPat - Oct 10, 2007 4:14 pm (#72 of 86)

I agree with Choices 100%. It's not about "bending over backwards." It's about interpreting the story and looking at it from different viewpoints. That is, after all, what reading is about. If I am to add my imagination and personality to the story, then I am going to look at it from all angles and see if there is a way to make what some people consider inconsistencies work. Does that mean my interpretation is exactly what JKR intended? Not necessarily. But it doesn't make it any less valid either. I also think she left many things intentionally vague and complex to give us something to think about (and debate about ).

I've also said before that I think a lot of what are considered inconsistencies are because we add in things that JKR has said in her interviews. If you solely look at the books, many of these things vanish. Why do a lot of people have a problem with JKR's explanation of the Fidelius Charm in DH? Because we took what she said about it on her web site as canon. There's actually nothing contradictory about the Fidelius Charm in the books if you leave out her web site explanation, an explanation, BTW, that she gave several years before DH was even written.

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Die Zimtzicke - Oct 10, 2007 5:18 pm (#73 of 86)

Love you Madam Pince...keeps me off e-bay, too. I've been very naughty in that regard.

And I would be delighted to ignore all explanations Jo has made on her site or in interviews, but very few fans on very few boards are willing to do likewise in my experience.

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PatPat - Oct 10, 2007 5:27 pm (#74 of 86)

Oh, you're right Die. A lot of people want to consider every single thing JKR has ever said as canon and I think that's probably a mistake and maybe where a lot of confusion comes from.

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wynnleaf - Oct 10, 2007 6:56 pm (#75 of 86)

I've got some online friends who write a lot of fan fic (I don't), and for them, finding possible solutions to the apparent inconsistencies can be important if they want to be able to write a story using those elements and try to have the story fit canon as much as possible.

So for instance, those people will work very hard to come up with plausible reasons to fill plot holes or possible inconsistencies with something like the Fidelius Charm problems. It's not that they don't think JKR has made any mistakes. They definitely do admit that. But they want the HP world to work as consistently as possible, so even if it's more probable that an inconsistency is really just an authorial error, they'll try to solve it within canon.

I accept that, because I understand the intent.

What I don't care for is the insistence that JKR didn't make mistakes.

Good grief, the greatest of authors have made mistakes. Why does every mistake of JKR's have to be explained away as having not been in error? I love JKR, but she's certainly not above many great authors and I can't think of any other author that's considered flawless.

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mona amon - Oct 10, 2007 8:35 pm (#76 of 86)

I tend to be more nitpicky myself and lots of the things that don't fit make me want to go in there and "fix" them myself -- hence I can often be found making up all kinds of bizarre and "totally-only-mine" explanations for them. Oh well. It's fun and keeps me off of eBay. (Madam Pince)

LOL, I agree. I too think its great fun to take an apparent inconsistency, and cook up an explanation that fits. For instance, why didn't Voldemort learn the location of #12 Grimmauld Place from Severus after the death of Dumbledore? Maybe he never asked him, maybe he was ignorant of the fact that Severus was also a Secret Keeper now. I feel the Fidelius Charm is just the sort of magic that Voldemort wouldn't bother to try and understand, since it involves love and trust.

But I do have a problem with the fact that a person can be their own Secret Keeper. Its not a plot inconsistency, but I feel the whole idea of the Fidelius Charm is somewhat cheapened because of it. In POA I thought that the reason the charm was so powerful was because it involved faith in the secret keeper, and the secret keeper's own integrity. But if you can be your own secret keeper, of course you can trust yourself, and of course you are not going to betray yourself, so what is so 'fidelius' about it?

Good grief, the greatest of authors have made mistakes. (Wynnleaf)

You are so right! If there's a book with no flaws, no mistakes, perfect literary style, etc.,etc, its sure to be the most boring book in the whole world!

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PeskyPixie - Oct 12, 2007 8:37 am (#77 of 86)

What I don't care for is the insistence that JKR didn't make mistakes. Good grief, the greatest of authors have made mistakes. Why does every mistake of JKR's have to be explained away as having not been in error? I love JKR, but she's certainly not above many great authors and I can't think of any other author that's considered flawless. -wynnleaf

This is my view as well. Nobody should feel obligated to deny JKR's errors. The 'literary' part of me does not feel disloyal to recognize inconsistencies for what they are.

The 'rabid fan' side of me, however, has also made up "totally-only-mine" theories. I tried to share one (about the portraits in the headmaster/mistress's study) on the forum and ... let's just say it didn't get a very warm welcome!

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PatPat - Oct 12, 2007 6:17 pm (#78 of 86)

Who is "insisting" that JKR didn't make mistakes? I'm certainly not. I'm merely saying that there is nothing wrong, IMO, with trying to take these mistakes and inconsistencies and make them fit into the context of the story. Isn't that what the forum is about? Looking at the story from different angles and adding our own thoughts and imaginations to it so we can all debate about it? Just because we have different opinions on which things are inconsistencies and which aren't doesn't mean that we think there aren't ANY mistakes.

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PeskyPixie - Oct 13, 2007 12:47 pm (#79 of 86)

Some people tend to get upset when inconsistencies are pointed out, PatPat. As fans we can toss about ideas to make them work within the HP world, but at the same time there is nothing wrong or traitorous about acknowledging that sometimes an inconsistency is simply an editing error on JKR's part.

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Die Zimtzicke - Oct 16, 2007 9:39 am (#80 of 86)

Most forums are only about looking at the story from different angles and adding our own thoughts and imaginations to it, your thoughts and imagination tallies with what the majority of the fans on that forum think. I have to give credit to this forum for being somewhat tolerant of theories, ships, etc. that didn't fly. Some of them take quite a bit of imagination.

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Geber - Jan 24, 2008 7:00 pm (#81 of 86)

I noticed the concerns about secret keepers; if Harry's parents could have been their own secret keepers, why did they tell anyone about the house they were staying in? Perhaps they were renting it. They would have needed an intermediary to deal with the landlord. Notice Harry is never informed he inherited the house in Goderic's Hollow, which supports the idea it was rented.

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zelmia - Jan 24, 2008 11:57 pm (#82 of 86)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
I think it unlikely that the house in Godric's Hollow was rented. Renting a home would risk drawing attention to the "abilities" of its occupants.

Also, Godric's Hollow is described as having been settled by "old wizarding families", and the Potters are descended from the Peverells, who are certainly buried there so probably lived there as well. James and Lily certainly had a great deal of money for people so young, so it may have come from that side of the family.

What I'm getting at is that James and Lily could certainly have afforded to buy a house.

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Madam Pince - Jan 25, 2008 9:26 am (#83 of 86)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
That's an interesting point that it's not mentioned about Harry inheriting. Even if the house was blown to bits, he still should've inherited the land it was standing on, no?

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Choices - Jan 25, 2008 10:42 am (#84 of 86)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
I agree that the house the Potter's were staying in was "rented" - or better yet, loaned to them by Dumbledore, rent free. Harry didn't inherit the house because it belonged to the Dumbledore family. We know that in the early years, Bathilda Bagshot was a neighbor of the Dumbledore's and then later we hear of her visiting the Potter's house - I think it was the same house. It makes sense to me that when Dumbledore told the Potters they needed to go into hiding, he offered them his own house in Godric's Hollow as a place of refuge.

It is also interesting to note that James is never mentioned as having inherited his parent's home. He was an only child, so it seems logical to speculate that the house was left to him. It is possible that the Godric's Hollow house had belonged to James' parents, but it just doesn't make sense to me that he and Lily would hide in their own home, even if Voldemort couldn't see them there. It's just too obvious, so I think they would have gone to a different place to hide, hence my belief that it was Dumbledore's house.

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Madam Pince - Jan 25, 2008 3:07 pm (#85 of 86)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
This sounds to me like one of those things JKR would answer in an interview like she did about the Invisibility Cloak -- "Oh, didn't I tell you that? Sorry! My bad! I thought it was obvious that it was _____"

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PatPat - Jan 28, 2008 5:53 pm (#86 of 86)

I'm with Choices that the house was probably Dumbledore's. It makes sense and tallies with the fact that Dumbledore somehow knew immediately what happened in the house, but never seems to have gone there. Perhaps there was some kind of portrait in the house that informed Dumbledore when the Potters were attacked?
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