Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Verity Weasley on Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:39 pm

I'm reading, H.G.

By the way, what House are you in Pottermore?

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Chapter 13: Nicolas Flamel

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:38 pm

In which Neville Longbottom is worth twelve of Malfoy and Severus Snape has a “little chat” with Professor Quirrell.

There are no Slytherin observations for this chapter, and I’m running out of comments.

(Verity, I’m still on my way to Hogwarts. I will let you all know when I’m sorted.)


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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Denise P. on Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:50 pm

I have not forgotten about this thread. I have been reading and savoring it all over again. I got Lexicon Steve's reader's guide (different from the one on the Lexicon itself) and tried to be more aware of things I missed in previous readings.

We already brought up the snake at the zoo but as I was mowing, something else struck me. If you recall, Piers said “Harry was talking to it, weren’t you, Harry?” What struck me as interesting is what we know about being a Paselmouth. It won't sound like talking, it will sound like hissing. Remember how Justin (and everyone else) thought Harry was egging the snake on in CoS. So why would Piers have said or thought Harry was speaking to the snake if all he could hear was hissing like a snake? Personally, I think it is more likely that JK had not worked out that fine point yet and in her mind, Harry was speaking normally to the snake. It is just kinda fun to pick up on little things like that.

One thing I have really appreciated more this go around is how masterful JK gives us tidbits but leaves out so many significant things....and we never realize it for several books.

As Harry is getting ready to go to Hogwarts, Uncle Vernon is ragging him about Platform 9 3/4 and in fact, dumps Harry there after laughing and leaving him. Looking beyond the fact that an adult left a scrawny child alone at a train station in London....why was Aunt Petunia so closed mouth about it? She had been there to see offf Lily with her parents, how difficult would have been to give Harry, no doubt frightened, just a small nudge in the right direction?

Catching up with HG, why do we believe everything we are told in the books? Because so far, we have no reason to NOT believe it. Hagrid says that not a single dark wizard yet that was not a Slytherin, therefore they all were. Poor Hufflepuff were just a load of duffers....because Hagrid is our voice of authority so far and we don't have much to compare it to. Harry (and the reader) has to base their opinion on the information given.

So, based on what we have seen so far:
1. All dark wizards originate in Slytherin
2. There is racism by all wizards not pure bloods
3. Slytherins cheat, foul, are ambitious, sly and basically not a good lot of people.
4. Slytherin and Gryffindor have a long standing rivalry but for some reason, Snape (Head of Slytherin) has a deep, personal hatred for Harry.

Isn't it wonderful to see how JK is misdirecting us and spoon feeding us the (incorrect) conclusion that she wants us to believe? Why does she do this? It will certainly make the debunking of all this all the more powerful and meaningful.

I am actually up to the troll in my reading....



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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Choices on Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:50 pm

Denise - "So why would Piers have said or thought Harry was speaking to the snake if all he could hear was hissing like a snake?"

If I saw a boy standing in front of a dog and barking, I think I would assume (yeah, I know) that the boy was talking to the dog - they were just conversing in dog language. I found it logical that Piers would think that Harry was speaking to the snake - Harry hissed and the snake responded as if they were having a conversation, thus the assumption that Harry and the snake were talking to each other in snake language. I guess it's just all in the way you look at it.

Would it shed more light on things if I said I talk to my cats in cat language? They meow at me and I meow back at them. My dog whines and I whine back at her. We communicate in a way, so maybe Piers thought the same way about Harry and the snake. Just my two knuts.
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Archived thread of interest, perhaps...

Post  Potteraholic on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:49 pm

For all you current PS/SS read-along readers, you may find the recently archived [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] thread in the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] section, of particular interest. The way the thread is set-up, the chapter notes/summaries are linked in the index, and the comments about each particular chapter are posted in separate chunks of posts afterwards.

Happy rereading!

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Piers and parsel

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:09 pm

The difference between Piers Polkiss and the students at the duelling club is: the students knew that parsel is a language. But since they couldn’t understand the hissing sounds, most of them assumed Harry said something like "Go eat Justin".

Piers didn’t know that it is possible to talk to snakes, so he may be proud on his imagination: nothing is impossible until there is proof of its impossibility. A nice contrast to the Dursley’s?

Edited to correct a typo. Thanks, Potteraholic.


Last edited by Hieronymus Graubart on Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:32 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Snapes or snakes? ;-)

Post  Potteraholic on Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:17 pm

Hieronymus Graubart wrote:Piers didn’t know that it is possible to talk to snapes...
A typo? Or a Freudian slip?

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Chapter 14: Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:57 pm

In which Hagrid tries to raise a dragon and Draco, Neville, Harry, and Hermione are caught out of bed at midnight.

There is no Slytherin observation for this chapter, so can we talk about chivalry?

I’m probably obsessed with this because it was totally omitted from the german translation and I didn’t learn that chivalry is a Gryffindor trait until I read the seventh(!) book in english to avoid to be spoiled months before I could purchase a german edition. Then my thoughts went like:

That’s the reason why there is Gryffindor’s sword! Godric was a muggle-born knight who only discovered his magic when he fell in love with Helga Hufflepuff
More probably, he was a half-blood who learned the wand work from his mother and the sword work from his father. But how can "historical" Salazar Slytherin have been the racist bigot depicted by the legend if his once best friend was muggle-born or at least half-blood? Were they only friends as long as Salazar wasn’t aware of Godrics blood status? Did Slytherin leave Hogwarts when he realized that non of his fellow founders was pure-blood? (This might have been another starting point for Slytherin observations).

Also, looking at the old tales, what does chivalry mean and what would we expect from chivalrous Gryffindors? (It’s so easily confused with courtesy, fairness or just good manners).

At first, I could only come up with negatives:

Obviously it is not all about how we treat the ladys. How could Gryffindor girls be chivalrous?

Chivalrous Gryffindors wouldn’t kick the face of an enemy who is already lying on the floor.

Riding about in shining armour and slaying dragons to win the hand and heart of a virgin would be ridiculous.

Then my mind jumped to:
Well, Robocop does it. The armour thing, I mean, although it isn’t really shiny. (I swear up to this moment I had never thought of Robocop as a modern knight.) So let’s see:
  1. Protect the innocent – check (first seen with lost Trevor on the Hogwarts express)
  2. Uphold the law – check (first seen with “everybody put their robes on”)
  3. Serve the public – whatever (check?)

Most sources on the internet try to tell me that “Serve the public trust” goes first, but my memory can not be wrong. Unable to read fast enough I never completely got the Third Directive.

Of course the order matters. Hermione starts to break rules consciously when it seems necessary to protect baby Norbert and childlike Hagrid, who would be in big troble if somedody found out that he was breaking the law of 1709.

Hermione may still be working on her bravery, but the Sorting Hat doesn’t need to foretell the future or to read minds (intentions and values, Harry never got this distinction). Being a legilimens reading students memories is sufficient to know that Hermione Granger is the true heiress of Gryffindor.

Alas, Minerva McGonagall doesn’t see anything chivalrous in the dragon incident, because she doesnt believe in the dragons existence. (I’m going ahaed, this will only be seen in the next chapter.) From her point of view:

Harry and Hermione had played a dirty trick on Draco (probably talking about "Harry's dragon" while pretending they didn't know that Draco could here them) "to get him out of bed and into trouble". (It’s hard to imagine that teachers darling would do this, but she is Harry’s second best friend and his best friend is in the hospital, so he may have convinced her she had to help him.) Then they were not satisfied imagining Draco wandering about to find the evidence, they had to go out to watch and laugh at him. (It’s nearly impossible to imagine that Hermione would do this, but since she was already involved, it may have happened.) All this was mean, stupid, and quite slytherinish, in contrast to the troll incident, where Hermiones fake story had some holes, but whatever had happened had obviously been very gryffindorish.

Draco, rather than warning the teachers about the presence of a very dangerous beast, as had been the duty of everybody who believed the fake dragon story, had tried to get some advantage over Harry by investigating on his own. Stupid, mean, and - well, not surprising.

When Neville heard Draco tell his minions about "Harry’s dragon", he should have warned the authorities, but obviously he didn’t believe the story. He may have assumed that Draco was setting up the scene for another story to be told at the next morning, about how he nearly had caught Harry and the dragon, but all evidence was lost by bad luck. So Neville went to bed only slightly worried, but when he woke up at night and Harry wasn’t there, he decided that this story must be true and Harry should be warned. If she had thought twice about it. McGonagall might have realized that this was actually a brave act of misled chivalry and Neville didn’t deserve the same punishment as the other delinquents, but poor Neville was sacrificed to Minervas righteous rage.

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Chapter 15: The Forbidden Forest

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:45 pm

In which we meet our first centaurs – and a hooded unicorn-killer

Slytherin observation Nr. 8:

Slytherins taunt Harry for helping them to win the House Cup. Again I have to wonder: All Slytherins? The cravats and scarfs in house colours shown in the movies were never mentioned in the books. So, if Harry meets some random students in a corridor and they are not mean to him, would he remember to have seen them at the Slytherin table?

Also, Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs turn on Harry, because everybody had been longing to see Slytherin lose the house cup. Does this show us that all other houses hate Slytherin? Or is it simply because no student at Hogwarts remembers a Year’s End Feast where the Great Hall was not decorated in green and silver and it’s just boring to have to see this again regardless of whose colours these are? How would Ravenclaws (or Hufflepuffs) react if Hufflepuff (or Ravenclaw) had won the House Cup for six consecutive years and Harry had ruined their chance to see a change?

Let’s face it: The main reason to have houses and a competition for a House Cup is discipline. In theory, no student will allow any house mate to do any rule-breaking because this may result in a loss of points for their house. We have seen this at work when Hermione tried to stop Harry and Ron on their way to the Midnight Duell, and we will see it again when Neville tries to stop Harry, Ron and Hermione on their way through the trap-door. If somebody manages to escape this control mechanism and then is caught breaking the rules, the reactions of house mates and other students add to and are probably worse than any official punishment. This is no sign of evil, it is the behaviour you expect when you use a house system.

(There is a second reason to have houses: In theory, we would also expect that anybody who is good on a specific topic would try to help their house mates with their homework in a non-cheating way, to increase their knowledge and skills and chances to win some points for their house. We only see a glimpse of this when Hermione beta-reads her friends homework, but never allows them to copy her work, because “how would they learn from this?”).

Sorting by personality may not be the best of all choices, but isn’t fandoms’ obsession with sorting sites telling? A second-quarter-of-the-alphabet-house would be quite boring, and randomly being sorted into a house with a made-up name that doesn’t relate to you wouldn’t be much better. Also, as far as I could see up to this point, the Slytherin personality is not generally bad, like the Gryffindor personality is not generally good.

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Chapter 16: Through the Trapdor

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:00 pm

In which Ron demonstrates his ability to mock what others said and Neville stands up to his friends

'Oh Professor Flitwick, I’m so worried, I think I got question fourteen b wrong ...' (Hermione’s voice)

Were we surprised when this came up again in DH?

'Nothing! All fine!' (Wormtail’s voice)

'Ssssssshshshshsssst' (Harry’s parsel voice)


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Chapter 17: The Man with Two Faces

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:47 am

In which this story ends in surprising ways and Albus Dumbledore has a lot of quotable lines.

"... a complete secret, so, naturally, the whole school knows."

"... death is but the next great adventure."

"... humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things which are worst for them."

"... Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself."

"The truth ... is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution."


And, of course: "Alas! Earwax!" . , all from this chapter.

Not to forget: "There are all kinds of courage ..."

But seriuosly, did he intend to make all Slytherins hate their headmaster, and the trio, and Neville Longbottom?

I understand that Harry, Ron and Hermione deserved some joy after all they went through, and Neville needed a very public booster to his self esteem. But couldn’t the feast have been started in an undecorated hall to show everybody the race was still open? Disappointing Slytherins in this cruel way after making them believe they had already won may be the first hint that Dumbledore isn’t quite the wonderfull person Harry sees.

Not a Slytherin observation, just a speculation, because we couldn’t read the part of Rita Skeeter’s book where she reveals young Dumbledore’s house:
Hermione never told us the source of "I hear Dumbledore himself was one (a Gryffindor)". Obviously she didn’t read this in a trustworthy book, it’s just a rumour she had heard on the Hogwarts Express. Maybe we shouldn’t believe it. Wise old Dumbledore seems to fit into every house, and this is probably what a headmaster should be. But judging from what we learned in DH, the Sorting Hat may have seen some good reasons to put young Dumbledore into Slytherin.

At least in this first book, JKR didn’t really paint Slytherin as black as I seemed to remember from previous reads. I have to keep on re-reading this with an open mind. Reading the next book we will have to talk about interesting characters like Millicent Bulstrode and Salazar Slytherin.

So, does somebody like to start a "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Read Along" thread, or should we be honest and have a "Hieronymus Graubart blogs Slytherin Observations and miscellaneous stuff" thread?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Verity Weasley on Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:27 am

Hieronymous, it must at times feel as though you are posting into the void, but rest assured that people are reading, even if they aren't commentating along with you. Due to other commitments, I haven't been able to join in with the re-read. but I still enjoy reading your comments. In any case, I seem to be incapable of reading a book slowly. The other day, I took a book down to the gym with me, to read while I was on the treadmill, but ended up finishing it in one day (A Thousand Splendid Sons - I recommend it).

Anyway, I agree with you. It was unnecessarily cruel of Dumbledore to have the Great Hall decorated with Slytherin colours, only for those last minute house points to change everything. Dumbledore had had several days to think things over, and to think about the extra points he was going to award to Gryffindor. Was such public humiliation of Slytherin really necessary?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Solitaire on Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:30 pm

Hieronymus Graubart wrote:... couldn’t the feast have been started in an undecorated hall to show everybody the race was still open? Disappointing Slytherins in this cruel way after making them believe they had already won may be the first hint that Dumbledore isn’t quite the wonderfull person Harry sees.
Perhaps the castle decorates itself, based on what is in the Houses' hourglasses. It's possible that Dumbledore wanted to award those points publicly, the way so many of them had been taken from the four Gryffindors (Harry, in particular), so the hourglasses were not able to compute them just yet. Truthfully, I think Dumbledore just wanted to give Harry a taste of victory, as there had been so little of it in his previous eleven years. This was equally true of Neville, despite his having been raised in a Wizarding home with family who at least loved him ... even if they didn't think much of his abilities as a wizard.

Then again, perhaps he wanted to remind the student body, one last time, that Voldemort seemed poised to return. This would certainly do it.

Hieronymus Graubart wrote:Hermione never told us the source of "<em>I hear Dumbledore himself was one</em> (a Gryffindor)". Obviously she didn’t read this in a trustworthy book, it’s just a rumour she had heard on the Hogwarts Express.
Bit of a leap there, to automatically assume Hermione's source isn't trustworthy. How do we know it didn't come from Hogwarts: A History, like so may of her other little factoids? Jo herself, in one of her interviews, actually says that she frequently uses Hermione to give information she needs the reader to know, because Hermione is trustworthy. (2003 CoS Interview with Eric of Mugglenet and Melissa of TLC) She must have wanted the reader to know DD was a Gryffindor. Besides, Hermione only says "I hear Dumbledore himself was" a Gryffindor. We know he was the Transfiguration professor before McGonagall. Was he also Head of House for Gryffindor at that time? Most heads of houses seem to have belonged to the houses they head ... right? The Lexicon says he was Head Boy. Would there be a record of those things somewhere at Hogwarts? Or does HAH function as its record?

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Hearsay

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:30 pm

"I hear ..." is the point I tried to make. Hermione didn't say: "I read this in (insert book title here)" like she says so many times for other factoids. Isn't this telling?

I'm aware that JKR "frequently uses Hermione to give information she needs the reader to know, because Hermione is trustworthy". but Hermione is not always right, even if she quotes a book. "It's impossible to apparate at hogwarts" (but house-elves do it anyway) comes into mind. I don't blame Hermione for this, it's obviously an error in Hogwarts: A History, a book that totally ignores the presence of house-elves at Hogwarts. (Actually I'm not sure if Hermione ever says it this way or if she always uses words that might be interpreted to say "Humans can not apparate at Hogwarts", so the misinterpretation may be our fault.)

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  shepherdess on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:55 pm

Ok; I see no reason to start another thread for discussing the same book. So I'm going to put my random questions about PS/SS here. I don't expect any of these will be in-depth plot analysis, and some are probably just my failing memory.  But here goes.

A History of MagicHistory of Magic -Binns
A Beginner’s Guide to TransfigurationTransfiguration -McGonagall
One Thousand Magical Herbs and FungiHerbology and Potions –Sprout and Snape
Magical Drafts and PotionsPotions -Snape
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemCare of Magical Creatures?
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-ProtectionDefense Against the Dark Arts –Quirrell
Magical Theory -?
The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) –probably Charms -Flitwick
No textbook –Astronomy –Sinistra
No textbook –Flying –Hooch

Why does Harry need Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? He doesn't have Care of Magical Creatures in first year.

What class is Magical Theory used for?
-----------------------
If students are allowed “an owl OR a cat OR a toad”, how can Ron (and before him, Percy) have Scabbers? Why doesn’t anyone ever say anything about this?
-----------------------
“He (Olivander) measured Harry from shoulder to finger, then wrist to elbow, shoulder to floor, knee to armpit and round his head.”….“Harry suddenly realized that the tape measure, which was measuring between his nostrils, was doing this on its own.”

New content from J.K. Rowling on Pottermore says:
“In my experience, longer wands might suit taller wizards, but they tend to be drawn to bigger personalities, and those of a more spacious and dramatic style of magic. Neater wands favour more elegant and refined spell-casting.
However, abnormally short wands usually select those in whose character something is lacking, rather than because they are physically undersized”


Besides, you buy your wand long before you reach the size you will be as an adult, and it seems many wizards will use the same wand for life.  So why all the measuring?
---------------------
“unicorn hairs, phoenix tail feathers, and dragon heartstrings” What are heartstrings? Tail feathers can be plucked from a phoenix without killing it (although Fawkes ‘gave’ the feathers for Harry and LV’s wands). Hairs can be plucked from a unicorn without killing it (but perhaps they ‘give’ them). But can a heartstring be removed from a dragon without killing it? How does Hermione feel about having a wand with a dragon heartstring?

More later; but that's a start.
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Many Questions

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:25 pm

Magical Theory – is probably used in Charms and in Transfiguration (and in other classes?), because it has all the theory – like Gamp’s Law and its exceptions – while The Standard Book of Spells is just a book of spells, and A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration also just tells you what to do, not why to do this, or why something can not be done.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  - may be of some use in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Some of these Beasts are quite dangerous, so the students need to learn where they should not go if they don’t want to find the Beasts, and what they should do if the Beasts find them. Since there are no other self-protection lessons, this is probably covered in Defence.

an owl OR a cat OR a toad – The emphasis is on OR, so I imagine that owl, cat and toad are just examples. Actually any small animal is allowed, but ONLY ONE.

Olivanders measurements – I don’t know anything about these things, but: Is it possible that certain ratios, like (shoulder to finger / wrist to elbow) or (shoulder to floor / knee to armpit) don’t change much while children grow up? Olivander may have a system to fit wizards to wands that includes much more than just length. Or it may all be a big show to impress the customers.

What are heartstrings? – I don’t have the German edition at hand, but I seem to remember that it says "Drachen-Herzmuskelfaser", which would translate to "dragon heart muscle fibre" (or "fiber" for Americans). Since dragons are not immortal, you don’t need to kill one to get a heartstring. Just find a dead dragon.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Mona on Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:10 pm

But can a heartstring be removed from a dragon without killing it? How does Hermione feel about having a wand with a dragon heartstring?
I think dragons are probably slaughtered for their useful body parts. Dragon-hide gloves, boots and jackets are all mentioned in the books, and wasn't someone complaining about the price of dragon liver in one of the books (sorry, don't remember which one)? It wouldn't bother Hermione who isn't a vegan or anything, but I'm guessing Hagrid may be against it.  

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Solitaire on Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:21 am

Hieronymus Graubart wrote:Since dragons are not immortal, you don’t need to kill one to get a heartstring. Just find a dead dragon.
Fawkes was obviously alive when he gave his feathers for Harry's and Voldy's wands, and I'm betting Fleur's wand core (Veela hair from her grandmother) was probably taken when Granny was still alive. The way Ollivander described Cedric's wand core--something like "a hair from the tail of a particularly fine unicorn" (not the exact words, but I can't find my book)--makes it sound as though the animal was still alive when its tail hair was taken. It kind of makes me wonder whether magical cores taken from LIVE animals were more powerful than those taken from dead animals ... although I can't for the life of me figure out how one could get a dragon heartstring from a live dragon! LOL

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Julia H. on Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:52 am

I'm pretty sure a dragon has to die before you can take its heartstring.

As Mona says, lots of dragon parts are used, and it's reasonable that most of these are taken from dead dragons. A dragon seems to be a very useful creature in the wizarding world. Since we have books like Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit, we must conclude that some sort of dragon breeding exists, even if it is prohibited for those without a special licence perhaps (like Hagrid).

It is interesting about Ollivander's measurements... Given JKR's comments, my guess is that it's not really the physical dimensions of the wizard that is being measured. There must be some delicate magic involved which can measure the wizard's personality. It's a bit like Sorting - an eleven-year-old child's personality is not finished, yet it is being assessed and the outcome has long-term consequences, which probably reinforce whatever seems to be the dominant aspect of his personality at the moment.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  shepherdess on Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:04 pm

"...this is probably covered in Defence" I don't know. If it's called Defence Against the Dark Arts, I wouldn't think it would cover defence against magical creatures. Just because a creature is dangerous doesn't mean it's "dark".

"Actually any small animal is allowed, but ONLY ONE." Perhaps. I hadn't thought about it that way. But if that were the case, seems it would be simplar and clearer to just say "each student is allowed to bring ONE small pet" or "students are allowed to bring a small pet, but only ONE", or "small pets are allowed, but only ONE per student".

"Is it possible that certain ratios, .....don’t change much while children grow up?" Well now, I never thought about ratios; that's an interesting idea. Perhaps Olivander uses these measurements/ratios to narrow down the possible wands for a particular witch/wizard, rather than just having them try every wand in the shop. But within the possibilities, he doesn't know exactly which one is the right one. Or something like that?  

Mona, I think you're probably right about dragons being slaughtered for profit, though the idea doesn't appeal to me. But I also don't believe one can remove a heartstring without killing the dragon. Yes, I think Hagrid would disapprove. The thing is, if Hermione cares so much about the treatment of house elves, I find it hard to believe she wouldn't be bothered by killing dragons for wand cores.

Soli, thanks for reminding me about the veela hair-another example of a wand core being obtained from a living thing. It seems to me that, if obtaining a wand core from a dead creature would make it less powerful, Olivander wouldn't want to use it as it would make an inferior product.

Julia, I like the idea of this unique, magical measuring tape being used to measure personality/temperament or something similar instead of physical size. And again, maybe it's not precise, but used to give Olivander a general idea of what kind of wand might work for the particular witch/wizard.

Thank you all for your comments.  I'll post some more questions soon.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Solitaire on Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:30 am

Shepherdess wrote:"Actually any small animal is allowed, but ONLY ONE."
Ooh, goodie! I want to bring Lola. After all, she is about the size of a Kneazle. Of course, she would probably run wild in the castle and bark a lot. (I think she is a small, white version of Sirius in dog form.) LOL I can't imagine dogs being allowed. They're too noisy and would need to be walked at all hours. They'd have to turn the ROR into a dog park!

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  azi on Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:00 pm

I think Ron quietly broke the 'owl or cat or toad' rule. I doubt Scabbers was very noticeable most of the time and how would teachers keep track of who owns what? If you're not a particularly badly behaved student you can get away with things like that, in my experience anyway.

Some things that have come to mind while reading PS myself:

Unicorn horns cost 21 galleons each. Based on the 1 galleon = £5 (currently US$7.9) that JKR has quoted, that seems quite cheap to me. £105 (US$166) for a unicorn horn seems a bargain, given how rare unicorns seem to be and assuming they must be dead to harvest the horn. I wonder if they're bred like we are wondering about dragons?

I find it strange that Hagrid justs leaves Harry on the train from London to get back to Privet Drive. Firstly, he's only 11. Secondly, how does he carry all the things he's bought on his own? I doubt the station is particularly near Privet Drive.

The cave the first years enter when they first arrive at Hogwarts. I find it strange that it's never mentioned again. Why even go that way? Just to impress the new students?

Dumbledore comes across as quite ditzy and 'out there' during this book. I keep wondering whether it was an act given how much more serious he was in later books (while still quite jokey...but in a less flippant and random way).

I still hate Snape. I don't care if he turned out to be on the right side, he was still a bully! Can you guess which scene I'm currently reading?  
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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  shepherdess on Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:55 pm

I think Ron quietly broke the 'owl or cat or toad' rule. But if Ron was breaking a rule, then so was straight-laced Percy, and I have trouble believing he would -especially one so easy to get busted for. Plus, Scabbers bit Crabbe -in front of Malfoy, and we know there's no love lost between Malfoy and Ron. Malfoy would have jumped at the chance to get Ron in trouble if he was doing something he's not supposed to do.

Lee Jordan had a spider (giant tarantula). Spiders are not on the list of approved pets for Hogwarts either. Are we supposed to believe he's taking it a pet, or do you suppose that he’s taking it to use for pranks?
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I agree about Hagrid leaving an eleven year old boy to get home on his own. In fact that was my next question. Not only is he young, but this particular boy is supposed to be under protection, and I don't think the protections around 4PD extend all the way to where Hagrid left Harry. For a while there Harry was left vulnerable. Odd that Hagrid would do that.

“…people were gawping at them on the Underground, laden as they were with all their funny-shaped packages, with the sleeping snowy owl on Harry’s lap.” Harry’s purchases, etc. from Diagon Alley that he has to take home with him are as follows:

1 owl in a large cage
8 textbooks
1 pewter cauldron
1 telescope
1 set of brass scales
1 winter cloak
3 sets of robes (why are robes in sets?)
1 pointed hat
1 pair of protective gloves
1 wand
1 set of phials
Supply of basic potion ingredients
Parchment
Quills
Ink
Possibly some owl treats (not stated in canon, but I can’t imagine Hagrid not making sure)
A ticket for the Hogwarts Express (Hagrid gave it to him)

“Hagrid helped Harry on to the train that would take him back to the Dursleys…” I can see how that would be necessary, but how did Harry get from the train station to 4 PD with all that stuff? And who was watching out for his safety from the time Hagrid left him, on the train ride, and from the train station to PD? If there’s a train station near PD, why do the Dursleys have to take Harry all the way to King’s Cross and pick him up from there every year? Why not let him take the train to King’s Cross?
------------------------

On July 30, Hagrid arrived at the hut on the rock, and among other things, gave Dudley a pig’s tail. Vernon agrees to take Harry to King’s Cross on September 1 because they’re taking Dudley to the hospital to have the tail removed. Why did they wait a full month to get that taken care of?
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“Two hours later, Harry’s huge, heavy trunk had been loaded into the Dursley’s car…” Where did Harry get a trunk? “It only took Harry one trip upstairs to move everything he owned from the cupboard to this room.” Of course, if he put all his belongings in the trunk, that would explain why it only took one trip. But I don’t think he already had the trunk. The Dursleys would never have given him something that large, useful or expensive. He couldn’t have gotten it himself as he had no money or way to get it. He did not get it in Diagon Alley (see above).
----------------------------

The infamous dirt mark on Ron’s nose—why doesn’t Mrs. Weasley us magic to remove it? I know—“just because you can do magic doesn’t mean you should”. But rubbing it didn’t remove the spot, and she sent her son off to school with a dirty nose. Magic would have fixed that in no time.
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Why is Harry’s (and everyone else’s) Hogwarts ticket (that Hagrid gave him) never required or collected?
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Scabbers was “Wormtail” ,or Peter Pettigrew and Pettigrew was one of LV’s most loyal supporters (if not the brightest). He would have known who Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle were-that they were sons of Death Eaters and LV supporters. Why then did Scabbers bite Goyle in an act that seemed to be defensive of Ron who is anti-LV?
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I have question about the boats too.

‘Everyone in?’ shouted Hagrid, who had a boat to himself, ‘Right then – FORWARD!’
And the fleet of little boats moved off all at once, gliding across the lake, which was as smooth as glass.

It’s probably safe to assume that magic is used here, but is it Hagrid doing the magic or some kind of charm that’s put on the boats so that Hagrid can…activate(?)…it to deliver the first years to the castle? If it’s Hagrid doing magic, that’s pretty risky as any student (Malfoy?) who might know that Hagrid’s not supposed to do magic could report it to someone and get him in trouble.
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I agree about DD being portrayed very differently in the beginning. Was JKR just trying introduce him to us as a quirky character only to find out later how serious and in control he is?

I have more.  
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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  azi on Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:04 am

We could go on forever taking everything apart.  I guess we need to remember that this was JKRs first book and it isn't perfect. She probably didn't have the story completely fleshed out at this point so there will be inconsistencies.

I also noticed the trunk thing but didn't write it down and forgot!

One reason that Harry may have been driven to Kings Cross by the Dursley's is because the train back to Privet Drive left from Paddington. I haven't been through Paddington for some time but seem to remember the walk to the underground (to get the tube to Kings Cross) takes a loooong time and they recommend it will take 30 mins for the trip between stations. I guess it would be difficult for an 11 year old to get a trunk full of stuff all that way on his own (but we still have the issue of how he managed it earlier).

There are many major train stations in London (Kings Cross, Paddington, St Pancras, Waterloo, Liverpool Street, Euston and Marylebone to name a few!) and you take the underground (or bus) between them if you need to. Trains from Paddington go west-ish in the direction of Reading, Bristol and Wales. Trains from Kings Cross go north up the East Coast mainline through Yorkshire up to Scotland. Harry can't get a train directly from PD to Kings Cross because the lines don't run that way.

Interesting tidbit - you can't actually get to Surrey (the county in which Privet Drive is located) direct from Paddington. You would need to go from Waterloo, London Bridge or Victoria stations.

Maybe the animals rule is something that is frequently flouted by students so it seems the norm? We also don't know whether Percy took Scabbers to school with him or not.

Were the tickets checked magically without anyone realising?  

I assume the boats were already charmed to move so Hagrid just said the words. I wonder where the boats are stored when not in use? In the cave, I guess.

Maybe Scabbers was annoyed because his sleep was interrupted.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Verity Weasley on Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:15 am

I'm coming late to this discussion, but I had a few thoughts on what has been mentioned so far.

Dragon heartstring - maybe it has a misleading name. Think about catgut. It doesn't really come from the gut of a cat, it doesn't even come from a cat at all. I don't think any of us are totally familiar with dragon anatomy, but maybe the 'heartstring' has nothing to do with the heart at all. I like the connection that all the other wand cores come from a live creature (or Veela), so hopefully that is the case with the dragon heartstring too.

I agree that Ollivander's measuring tape is probably not all that concerned with actual physical measurements, but is assessing something much more nebulous.

“It only took Harry one trip upstairs to move everything he owned from the cupboard to this room.”
I think this is a reference to the fact that Harry owns very little, not that he has some way to move large amounts of stuff easily!  

Vernon agrees to take Harry to King’s Cross on September 1 because they’re taking Dudley to the hospital to have the tail removed. Why did they wait a full month to get that taken care of?
Because they would have been hoping that it just fell off or disappeared by itself, saving them the discomfort of dealing with it or even thinking about it. Dealing with the presence of the tail means admitting that magic is real, something they go to great pains to ignore. Going to the hospital was a last resort because of Dudley needing to go to school.

Scabbers (Pettigrew) might have known the adult Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle, but that doesn't mean he would recognise their children. Especially not through a rat's eyes. Besides, Pettigrew is only concerned about self-preservation. He'd be loyal to whoever was most likely to protect him, in this case, Ron, his devoted owner. Plus, he probably was annoyed about being woken up!  

At the beginning of PS, life in the wizarding world was quite carefree. There was no hint yet of the trouble and the dark days ahead (although presumably Dumbledore had some reason for entrusting Hagrid with the retrieval of the Philosopher's Stone from Gringotts), so I guess it makes sense that Dumbledore would be more light-hearted at this point.

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