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Series Read-Along - HP and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter Fifteen Comments - posts #766 to #787

Post  Potteraholic on Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:31 pm



legolas returns - Sep 28, 2008 10:36 am (#766 of 925)

I am far from convinced that people were told to check up on Snape at that stage because he was Voldemort's right had man. Death Eaters might have followed his actions because of jealousy and wanting to see Snape humiliated in front of Voldemort. Wormtail was placed with Snape at the end of OOP. He was later at the Malfoys when they were out of favour. I am sure that Snape could have argued his way out of trouble whatever the problem was.


Mrs. Sirius - Sep 28, 2008 10:46 am (#767 of 925)

I think there is a danger in sharing a secret. Share it with one person and you don't know if they will share it with another, either voluntarily, or forcibly, you lose control of who has that information.

This may be a personal idiosyncrasy, but a very powerful memory or thought can lose it power when shared, it seems to defuse the power. A very clear memory like if I share a dream cam seem more vague after I tell someone about it. A very negative experience I had at work, which was making me lose sleep, once I wrote down the information helped me push that though to the back of my mind.

Snape’s cannot take any risks in his mission.


Julia H. - Sep 28, 2008 10:52 am (#768 of 925)

He could always have showed her the memories, as he did Harry.

Would McGonagall have wanted to see them? When Snape (it seems) finally tries to speak to her, she is no mood to listen to him. It would have taken some conversation at least before McGonagall was prepared to look at those memories. Would even Harry have wanted to see Snape's memories in different circumstances? Did he not take the memories only / mainly because it was Snape's dying wish? Did he not watch them in a moment of desperation and hopelessness? Would he have bothered to watch them otherwise, instead of perhaps trying to kill the man giving them to him? (Which is exactly McGonagall's reaction to Snape when he tries to speak to her.)

I agree with Soul Search. McGonagall is very clever but not necessarily good at deception. The Carrows might have noticed her changed attitude to Snape. She could not have helped Snape any more if she had known his secret: she did her best to protect the students anyway - what more could she have done? Nothing - at least until Harry appeared at Hogwarts and that was the moment when Snape probably tried to speak to her.

I am far from convinced that people were told to check up on Snape at that stage because he was Voldemort's right had man. Death Eaters might have followed his actions because of jealousy and wanting to see Snape humiliated in front of Voldemort. (legolas)

But that is an important point. Even if nobody told the Carrows to watch Snape, they would probably have seized the opportunity to take Snape's place as Voldemort's right hand man (or in the Headmaster's office). We also know that Voldemort did not trust anybody completely. At the beginning of DH, he still examined Snape's thoughts by Legilimency and was careful not to mention the horcrux at Hogwarts or DD's tomb to him. Wormtail may have been moved to the Malfoy Manor because there was nobody to spy on at Spinner's End since Snape was at Hogwarts, where the Carrows were with him.


freshwater - Sep 28, 2008 12:05 pm (#769 of 925)

'That is because it is a monstrous thing to slay a unicorn,' said Firenze...

I wonder if Jo was thinking of To Kill A Mockingbird.--mona amon

Here is more of Firenze's statement: "...it is a monstrous thing to kill a unicorn...You have slain something pure and defenseless to save yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life..."

I'd always thought JKR might be alluding to abortion, in the way that the Grindelwald conflict seems to allude to WWII....JM2K.


Quinn Crockett - Sep 28, 2008 3:42 pm (#770 of 925)

Oh, let's not even suggest that please.


Solitaire - Sep 28, 2008 7:41 pm (#771 of 925)

Whether or not it is true, I think such a discussion would be kipendoed mighty fast.


freshwater - Sep 28, 2008 7:55 pm (#772 of 925)

I think such a discussion would be kipendoed mighty fast.

Something which I find interesting in and of itself. Anyway, you are likely right, Solitaire.

It was not my intention to start a fractious discussion....I was merely expressing an opinion, as I find the similarities to real world/historical events to be striking. I am quite sure that many people will not agree with my perspective, and I'm fine with that and have no desire to try to persuade them otherwise. I do understand the need to maintain a peaceful and accepting atmosphere here on the forum.....I try to respond to others' statements in that manner, and I believe others should respond in that manner to my own statement. It should not be a big deal, actually.

Are we ready for ch. 16?


Mrs. Sirius - Sep 28, 2008 10:57 pm (#773 of 925)

Wow already?


mona amon - Sep 29, 2008 3:59 am (#774 of 925)

Here is more of Firenze's statement: "...it is a monstrous thing to kill a unicorn...You have slain something pure and defenseless to save yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life..."

Why a unicorn in particular, I wonder. There are many creatures that are equally pure and defenceless, yet they get slain for various reasons. So why is the unicorn special?

The passage from To Kill a Mockingbird which this quote reminds me of is a lot more clear about why mockingbirds should not be killed-

"When he gave us our air-rifles Atticus wouldn't teach us to shoot. Uncle Jack instructed us in the rudiments thereof; he said Atticus was not interested in guns. Atticus said to Jem one day, 'I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.

Your father's right,"" she said ""Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."" "


Dryleaves - Sep 29, 2008 4:52 am (#775 of 925)

Mona, in folklore the unicorn is a symbol of goodness and purity and its horn has healing magical powers.

Thanks for reminding me about the passage from To Kill A Mockingbird! Yet another book I should reread...


mona amon - Sep 29, 2008 6:39 am (#776 of 925)

in folklore the unicorn is a symbol of goodness and purity...

Aha! Then it makes sense.

Dryleaves, I've decided to re-read it too. While searching for this quote I came across so many wonderful, forgotten passages!


Steve Newton - Sep 29, 2008 2:24 pm (#777 of 925)

Snape's "odd, twisted smile' makes me think I'm missing something.

The trios off the cuff plan to protect the Stone may actually be the best plan they come up with during the series.

In the chess game I have seen Ron as being, symbolically, Dumbledore and Snape, sacrificing himself for the cause. I could see either.

Ron, "I'm going to be knight." Does he do anything later that might refer to Arthurian legend?


freshwater - Sep 29, 2008 6:46 pm (#778 of 925)

Thanks for posting that passage about the mockingbird, mona....I'm not familiar with that.

*off topic** We lived near downtown Birmingham, AL for a bit, near the Univ. of Birmingham and it's hospital. Every time an ambulance took off, the mockingbird nesting on our window ledge would imitate it....I'd grown up in the south, but that was a new one on me!

Ron, "I'm going to be knight." Does he do anything later that might refer to Arthurian legend?--Steve

Oooooo! Excellent question, Steve! Does having doubts and temporarily abandoning your mission (in GoF, in DH) fit any particular Arthurian archetypes? Lancelot?


Quinn Crockett - Sep 29, 2008 7:20 pm (#779 of 925)

I'm going to be knight. Does he do anything later that might refer to Arthurian legend?

Yes, Ron is the one who pulls the sword out of the lake, albeit along with Harry. The business about the Hufflepuff Cup is very holy grail-esque as well.

The Chess game is one of the only times where Ron actually takes charge.


Solitaire - Sep 29, 2008 7:53 pm (#780 of 925)

The Sword in the Lake = the Sword in the Stone? He also destroys the evil Horcrux.


Julia H. - Sep 29, 2008 10:27 pm (#781 of 925)

Ron, "I'm going to be knight." (Steve)

Weasley is our King

Lake: Lancelot du lac

In the chess game I have seen Ron as being, symbolically, Dumbledore and Snape, sacrificing himself for the cause. I could see either. (Steve)

Another very good observation.


PeskyPixie - Sep 30, 2008 8:21 am (#782 of 925)

Well put, Mrs. S. The centaurs seem to be fatalists, and Firenze is the 'Dobby' of his species, the weirdo who feels that some attempt should be made to thwart evil, no matter what the stars foretell. -mona

Ooh, interesting comparison. ***snickers at how the 'noble' centaurs would appreciate being compared to House-elfs***

I am far from convinced that people were told to check up on Snape at that stage because he was Voldemort's right had man. -legolas

I don't think that Lord Voldemort completely trusts anybody. By the time of DH he probably feels that Snape is under his control, but he's naturally the suspicious sort, and it would be highly in character for him to place two other Death Eaters at the school, to not give Snape a completely free run of things. I think it's like insurance for him. Sure, Snape is a loyal Death Eater, but the Carrows are in place for the one in a zillion chance that Snape may be wavering (or wanting to over throw the Dark Lord - who knows?! ).

mona, I read To Kill A Mockingbird last year, and when I got to the bit about how sinful it is to kill a mockingbird, I thought of the unicorns.

No abortion discussion, please. Besides being a sensitive issue, there are too many opinions and we all think we're right. (freshwater, I understand your point, but I'll e-mail you about that rather than post here. )

Oh, I never made these connections with Ron (being a knight, pulling the sword out of the lake, getting to the cup, plus his dad's name is Arthur and he has a brother named Percy!). Very nice.


Mrs. Sirius - Sep 30, 2008 9:47 am (#783 of 925)

Boy, it is so cool to be here with you smart people. I missed the lake and sword too! When Harry insisted that it had to be Ron to do the locket, I asked my self "why"? JK is amazing


Orion - Sep 30, 2008 11:35 am (#784 of 925)

The Chess game is one of the only times where Ron actually takes charge. Great observation, Quinn. It made me think how mature and courageous he is in that chapter, and how different the whole Ron personality is from later books. In the beginning we meet a bright, friendly kid who is completely equal with Harry. In the chess playing scene Ron is heroic and must be taken very seriously as a fighter. (Characteristics I don't normally appreciate but Ron carries them gracefully.)

Years later, for example in HBP, Ron is a bumbling, insecure intellectual loser who is abominably bad at school, has to rely entirely on Hermione to get results and behaves completely immaturely. For example: The fanged frisbee ("I always wanted one of these" - he is a prefect!), or ordering the first year out of one of the good armchairs by the fire. He seems like a caricature. Or maybe puberty wasn't nice to him.


tandaradei - Sep 30, 2008 5:09 pm (#785 of 925)

Orion said:

...[cut]...maybe puberty wasn't nice to him...[cut]...

Puberty wasn't nice to Harry: OotP = tantrums. Puberty wasn't nice to me, either. Listen, when the wash of hormones finally arrives for us males, guys survive with dignity. Won't speak to girls, and am betting someone will tell me off here.

Anyway: Ron. Jo patterned Ron after her best friend, who incidentally in real life supported her at her most desperate. Harry is the consummate hero around which the tale thrives; yet Neville, Ron, Luna, Hermione and the like all become necessary links in the chain that makes this such a true hero-story.


tandaradei - Sep 30, 2008 6:41 pm (#786 of 925)

aaargh, the "edit" function quit before I could rewrite a sentence where I inadvertently erased a key word. It should have said in third sentence of the "puberty" paragraph: "...guys rarely survive with dignity..."

oh well, whatever


freshwater - Sep 30, 2008 7:14 pm (#787 of 925)

Excellent observations on the Arthurian connections....thanks to all who posted, I hadn't caught any of those!



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Series Read-Along - HP and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter Sixteen Notes/Summary - post #788

Post  Potteraholic on Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:53 pm



Mrs. Sirius - Oct 3, 2008 10:24 pm (#788 of 925)

Chapter Sixteen - Through the Trapdoor

The pain in Harry's scar starts after his encounter in the forest, likewise the nightmares. Seeing Lord Voldemort triggers both.

Ron and Hermione are not as concerned about the pain in Harry's scar, they have never had anything to fear.

A question, does in Great Britain continue for a week after exams?

I love Lee Jordan and the twins tickling the squid. Dumbledore! No wait he is in London.

The character of the trio is defined in the scene after exams. Hermione wants to keep revising and discussing the exams, Ron just wants to relax enjoy the time, and Harry intuitively figures out to go to Hagrid about the Fluffy.

McGonagall shows that this point she considers the Ministry to be of importance, their is a certain confidence in the institution.

Hermione gasped..."Snape was standing there...You shouldn't be inside on a day like this" he said with an odd twisted smile."

We now know that Snape was not "up" to something, so his remark about being inside on day like this has to be taken at face value so does his smile. He is actually telling the trio go outside and play (something parents are familiar with). The twisted smile is just the trios perception based on their misunderstanding.

However Snape's parting words are a warning to Harry, that he will expelled him if goes out at night again.

Harry obviously feels very alone in is conflict with Voldemort. He thinks he'll go to the Dursley's to await LV to kill him. He has no idea of his support, especially from DD.

will it cover the three of us

This is the Ron that is Harry's true soul mate. Once Harry gets the danger through to Ron, Ron is unflinching in his support.

(more to follow)


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Series Read-Along - HP and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter Sixteen Comments - posts #789 to #824

Post  Potteraholic on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:00 pm



rambkowalczyk - Oct 6, 2008 9:34 am (#789 of 925)

just a couple of comments on Mrs. Sirius' post.

Does school in New Britain continue a week after exams?

I have no idea about that. But it is 'finals week' and maybe it's a coincidence that the first years finished all their exams early. I would suppose there are still OWLS and other exams going on as well.

We now know that Snape was not "up" to something, so his remark about being inside on day like this has to be taken at face value so does his smile. He is actually telling the trio go outside and play (something parents are familiar with). The twisted smile is just the trios perception based on their misunderstanding.

I find it amusing that Snape is telling the students to go out and play. But I do think that Snape was "up" to something. He has been following Harry around to make sure he is safe. I also suspect that Dumbledore told him he was going to London and to also keep an eye on things.


Solitaire - Oct 7, 2008 7:19 am (#790 of 925)

We know that school continues after the O.W.L.s, because the kids had already sat their O.W.L.s before they went off to rescue Sirius at the Ministry in OotP ... and there were still several days left after they returned.

Solitaire


Julia H. - Oct 7, 2008 7:57 am (#791 of 925)

I also suspect that Dumbledore told him he was going to London and to also keep an eye on things. (Ramb)

It makes a lot of sense, yet a lot depends on how real Dumbledore's "trip" was. If he only pretended to leave and was prepared to come back soon, then Snape perhaps had to watch Quirrell (as always) and send Dumbledore word as soon as he discovered that Quirrell had entered the forbidden area. Perhaps while he was sending the message to Dumbledore, the kids got through the trapdoor without meeting Snape. After all, if Snape was watching Harry / the Trio, he should have realised what they were going to do. However, it was easy only during the day and while they were not wearing the Cloak. Dumbledore himself had given Harry the Invisibility Cloak twice so he must have known that Snape would have a difficult time trying to watch invisible students at night. All in all, I think Snape had to watch Quirrell in the first place that night and only to warn Dumbledore because if Dumbledore wanted to have Snape as a potential spy in the future, he had to keep him out of a possible direct confrontation with Voldemort.

If Snape and Dumbledore knew that Quirrell was up to something that night and Dumbledore was prepared to catch him, it makes sense that Snape sent the children to "play" in the nice weather and threatened Harry with expulsion if he ventured another walk at night. He wanted to keep them away from the danger. Even if Dumbledore perhaps was also prepared to give Harry a chance to ... face Quirrell? / face Voldemort? / try his strength and his courage? ..., Snape probably just wanted to keep Harry alive.

Actually now that I think of it, even if Dumbledore and Snape did not specifically expect Quirrell to do anything that night, Snape probably had to keep an eye on Quirrell and Harry nevertheless, and he may have decided to watch the forbidden door and may have seen Quirrell, sent a message to Dumbledore in the same way and that may have been the reason why, as Dumbledore says, it became clear to me that the place I should be was the one I had just left.


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 7, 2008 8:34 am (#792 of 925)

Dumbledore himself had given Harry the Invisibility Cloak twice so he must have known that Snape would have a difficult time trying to watch invisible students at night.

This is why I think Dumbledore gave Snape that assignment more for Snape's sake than for Harry's. It seems to me that others would have been in a better position of keeping an eye on Harry and protecting him. Now that I've read DH, I think that Dumbledore banked on Snape being The One True And Only Way to defeat Voldemort, and that's why Dumbledore put so little trust in anyone else.


Choices - Oct 7, 2008 8:42 am (#793 of 925)

When I read that line about the kids being up to something, I figured that Snape (after I was convinced he was "good") might have been warning them that the "bad guy" might have been watching them and would know that something was going on. He was warning them to be careful.


Steve Newton - Oct 7, 2008 8:54 am (#794 of 925)

Are we ready for the next chapter? 17, I think.


Julia H. - Oct 7, 2008 9:00 am (#795 of 925)

It seems to me that others would have been in a better position of keeping an eye on Harry and protecting him. (Mrs Brisbee)

Hm... that was not my conclusion. Only Mad-eye Moody could have watched invisible people at night with more hope of success. The other teachers would have had the same difficulty and Snape had already demonstrated how much he was prepared to do or how able he was to protect Harry. (I think the first Quidditch game was a decisive moment: There were several teachers present, they all saw what was happening, but only Snape tried to do something and, of course, Hermione. That was a good indication of what could be expected in the future.) My conclusion was that while Snape certainly had to watch Harry as much as he could, he had to watch Quirrell that night in the first place to see what Quirrell was doing and to warn Dumbledore. By watching Quirrell he had a chance to protect Harry as well.(Of course, it is only speculation but it is fun .)

I figured that Snape (after I was convinced he was "good") might have been warning them that the "bad guy" might have been watching them and would know that something was going on. (Choices)

Interesting idea. Snape realised what Harry suspected him of trying to do and used this mistake to give Harry a warning. Quite clever. Only it did not work with Harry.


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 7, 2008 9:22 am (#796 of 925)

My conclusion was that while Snape certainly had to watch Harry as much as he could, he had to watch Quirrell that night in the first place to see what Quirrell was doing and to warn Dumbledore.-- Julia H.

Which is what I see to be the problem: Dumbledore is already giving Snape so many tasks that Snape can't do any of them well.

As for the Quidditch match, if Snape was the only one who Dumbledore kept informed, then of course Snape was the only one who knew right off what to do. If Dumbledore had given the other teachers a head's up the danger at the Quidditch match could have been cleared up a lot quicker. As it was, no one looked to Quirrell while Snape was muttering the counter curse because Dumbledore hadn't bothered to inform them of the danger. It took Hermione accidently knocking Quirrell over to save the day. A good foreshadowing of Dumbledore's planning abilities, that.

Firenze springs to mind as someone who effectively protects Harry. Firenze even suspects he is going against Voldemort himself, but he still manages to drive off the danger and even goes so far as to give Harry a heads up on what the true danger is. So I think this shows that others could be very effective protectors.

Snape's problem is he has to blunder around, doing too many things, while trying to look like he isn't, while not getting help from others because Dumbledore won't trust them.

That's my take on it, anyway.

Looking forward to chapter 17!


Julia H. - Oct 7, 2008 9:42 am (#797 of 925)

As for the Quidditch match, if Snape was the only one who Dumbledore kept informed, then of course Snape was the only one who knew right off what to do. If Dumbledore had given the other teachers a head's up the danger at the Quidditch match could have been cleared up a lot quicker... It took Hermione accidently knocking Quirrell over to save the day. (Mrs Brisbee)

The other teachers may not have expected Quirrell to try to kill anyone (I don't know if Snape had actually expected that Quirrell was going to do something just then) but there was a student in serious danger of falling off his broom. The twins had the good sense to fly near him to try and catch him if he should fall. The referee of the game, who must have been flying up there, is not even mentioned. Even Hagrid, the least learned of the adults present, knew that Can't nothing interfere with a broomstick except powerful Dark magic - others may have realized it just as well. Yet, nobody did anything, except Snape, but he did not do anything to Quirrell, he concentrated on Harry, so his knowledge of who was jinxing the broom did not make that much difference. Others could just as well have tried to protect Harry with a spell or by going to him, like the twins.

As for Firenze, he could protect Harry only when Harry was in the forest, where he was not usually supposed to be. The only time he went there was because that was the detention McGonagall (or maybe someone else?) assigned to him.


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 7, 2008 10:04 am (#798 of 925)

Yet, nobody did anything, except Snape, but he did not do anything to Quirrell, he concentrated on Harry, so his knowledge of who was jinxing the broom did not make that much difference. Others could just as well have tried to protect Harry with a spell or by going to him, like the twins

My point was that if someone else had also gotten the heads up on Quirrell, that person could have concentrated on stopping Quirrell, while Snape handled the counter curse. Snape obviously was incapable of doing both.

The other teachers might have been trying to protect Harry with a spell, or waiting to slow his fall. There was no point in flying up to Harry. The twins proved it was futile.

We weren't shown what the other teachers were doing, even Quirrell. So they may or may not be utterly oblivious and incompetent.

Something to ask Rowling, I guess: Are the other teachers supposed to look like idiots in PS/SS, as a foil to the shiny jewel of Snape?
Edited to add:

As for Firenze, he could protect Harry only when Harry was in the forest, where he was not usually supposed to be. The only time he went there was because that was the detention McGonagall (or maybe someone else?) assigned to him. -- Julia H.

Does it strike anyone else as odd that Harry is sent into the forest to hunt for something drinking unicorn blood? Would McGonagall have done that if she knew the danger? Did Dumbledore? Firenze's a smart guy; he certainly figured it out.


Julia H. - Oct 7, 2008 11:10 am (#799 of 925)

Nice conversation, Mrs Brisbee!

Quirrell was after the stone in the first place and many of the teachers knew what was being guarded at Hogwarts and ultimately against whom (i.e. Voldemort), probably. That could have put them on their guard to some extent.

But I think the other adults have other jobs around Harry. McGonagall is the MOTHER of Gryffindor House in general, it is her job to help Harry experience success and gain self-confidence and self-knowledge and also to emphasize the rules if necessary. (DD helps Harry to break the same rules.) Hagrid is a lovable, friendly adult, probably the first one Harry has seen since his parents died. He is not even a teacher, so there is nothing "official" in their relationship. It is important to feel that you are loved by an adult. Snape's job is to protect Harry. That is what he has vowed and, IMO, is able to do (admittedly though, Harry is, by nature, difficult to protect). The other teachers don't seem to be particularly interested in Harry, apart from the fact, of course, that he is "the boy who lived".

Does it strike anyone else as odd that Harry is sent into the forest to hunt for something drinking unicorn blood?

Did anyone know that someone was drinking unicorn blood? They may have thought that some unknown beast was killing the unicorns with no particular purpose. Did McGonagall know what job the students would be doing in the forest? Yes, Firenze did figure out the Voldemort-connection but he was helped by the stars and he also knew the forest perhaps even better than Hagrid.


rambkowalczyk - Oct 7, 2008 2:12 pm (#800 of 925)

I hope Mrs. Sirius doesn't mind if I put my impressions of the latter half of chap 16 down before she does.

1 After McGonagall threatens Harry and Ron with another deduction of 50 point, Hermione comes into the common room and confesses that she lost Snape.

Well that's it then, isn't it? Harry said. The other two stared at him. He was pale and his eyes were glittering.

Snape's eyes were glittering when Dumbledore sent him to Voldemort at the end of book 4.

2 I think it is clear at this point that McGonagall doesn't know a thing about Harry, the prophecy, or what Dumbledore wishes to do. In book 6, Dumbledore points out that because of Tom Riddles' reaction to the prophecy, he paved the way for Harry to want to avenge his parents' death. (Harry in the same book admits that he would feel compelled to go after Voldemort even if he had never heard of the prophecy. Harry may not be (technically) avenging his parents' death but it is clear that he wants to stop Voldemort.

I think Dumbledore understands Harry's feelings. Maybe he felt that way about Muggles who hurt little witches. Whereas McGonagall just sees Harry as playing the hero as opposed to being one. Sort of the same contrast of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn regarding the freeing of Jim--Huck understood the risk and was willing to sacrifice his soul, where Tom just did it because it was a great adventure.

3 But it is clear that Harry understands in a fundamental way what Voldemort is about when he criticizes Hermione’s' excuse that they will get expelled. There won't be any Hogwarts to get expelled from...Losing points doesn't matter any more, can't you see? Do you think he'll leave you and your families alone if Gryffindor wins the house cup? If I get caught before I can get to the Stone, well, I'll have to go back to the Dursleys and wait for Voldemort to find me there...

Going back to the Dursleys would be a sacrifice to Harry.

...because I'm never going over to the Dark Side.

Dumbledore always thought it remarkable that Harry was never tempted.

4 The conversation between Neville and the trio shows Neville's determination to do what he thinks is right. I wonder if Neville had heard Harry's speech to Ron and Hermione (the one I quoted above) would his reaction been different?

5 Harry gives Ron and Hermione a chance to turn back at the trapdoor. Foolish or noble? He also thinks of their safety when he says if anything happens to me, turn back and send a message to Dumbledore.

6 ...but there's no wood Hermione cried.

It may be Harry who says Good thing you pay attention in Herbology, but it is Ron who says that Harry doesn't lose his head in a crisis.

7 Winged keys kudos to whoever noticed. Winged keys---Winky

8 Devil's Snare, Hermione's thinking, Getting the right Key--Harry's strategy, Chess--Ron's strategy

9 Harry is not willing to sacrifice Ron. Does this make him unlike Dumbledore? Does Dumbledore order people to go to their deaths for the cause? Ron sacrifices himself because he chose to. He wasn't ordered to and blindly obeying.

10 Hermione makes up for her panic with the Devil's Snare by solving the potion riddle. She also points out that being a great wizard isn't about being clever, but that friendship and bravery are more important.

11 Harry as strategist when he tells Hermione to go back to Ron and to get a message to Dumbledore. To Harry this is about stopping Voldemort and he knows he needs Dumbledore's help.


Julia H. - Oct 8, 2008 2:37 am (#801 of 925)

I wonder if we can pinpoint the exact type of talent / characteristics / knowledge the tasks require.

Fluffy: Handling a magical being? Artistic skills (music)? Be nice to a monster? (Animal kingdom, Hagrid.)

Devil's Snare: Knowledge put into practice? (Handling plants.) Fire (warmth, purity, light) against evil? (Hufflepuff, Sprout)

Flying keys: Sports skills, physical abilities? (Flitwick: Does it have anything to do with Ravenclaw values?)

Troll: Sheer power - the equivalent of strength in the wizarding world? (Quirrell - Voldemort)

Chess game: Bravery, willingness to sacrifice yourself, heroism? (McGonagall's magic: Gryffindor.) (I know chess requires logic, too, but I guess this particular game can only be won by means of someone's self-sacrifice. )

Potions: Logic - brains (Slytherin) but, ironically, in a Muggle fashion (Slytherin and anti-Slytherin at the same time, like Snape).

Mirror: Dumbledore: loyalty, choices. (What do you want to do with the Stone?)


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 8, 2008 6:31 am (#802 of 925)

Nice observations about the tasks, ramb and Julia.

I'd like to add that Dumbledore's room is the only one of the tasks that has a moral element. It stumps Quirrell and Voldemort, but Harry solves it with ease.

The key room is mostly Harry's athletic prowess and observation skills, but the riddle of which particular key to go after is solved by Ron. Even the best Quidditch player could be stuck in there for hours if they had to catch and try each of the hundreds of keys!

Fluffy and the trapdoor have the metaphorical trappings of a descent into the underworld, to face the dead, and Death.

Ron: "and lucky Harry doesn't lose his head in a crisis..." Another decapitation reference. Steve Newton has been tracking them. In this case-- in a crisis-- Harry doesn't lose his head.

That's all my random thoughts for now.


Dryleaves - Oct 8, 2008 6:35 am (#803 of 925)

Interesting observations about the tasks and the talents they require, Julia. Just some thoughts:

Fluffy: Handling a magical being? Artistic skills (music)? Be nice to a monster? (Animal kingdom, Hagrid.)

I think one talent here is to understand that pure strength/power is not always the best way to defeat your enemy, something like music, or love, can prove to much more “effective”. Cf. the Elder Wand - the Invisibility Cloak, for example.

Devil's Snare: Knowledge put into practice? (Handling plants.) Fire (warmth, purity, light) against evil? (Hufflepuff, Sprout)

Another quality that is specifically mentioned here is not to lose your head in a crisis.

Flying keys: Sports skills, physical abilities?

Harry has good use for one of his skills/talents as a seeker: “He had a knack for spotting things other people didn’t.” This is not only a sports skill, but important for a more spiritual kind of seeker as well.

Troll: Sheer power - the equivalent of strength in the wizarding world? (Quirrell - Voldemort)

When the trio in fact do fight a troll, at Halloween, it is not so much the question about sheer power as it is of sheer luck, I think.

Chess game: Bravery, willingness to sacrifice yourself, heroism? (McGonagall's magic: Gryffindor.) (I know chess requires logic, too, but I guess this particular game can only be won by means of someone's self-sacrifice. )

It is true that self-sacrifice is what makes them win the chess game, but for a single wizard that would be of no gain. This could mean an evil wizard would not get through, but Quirrell does. But it surely takes bravery to take the place of one of the chess men.

Harry is not willing to sacrifice Ron. Does this make him unlike Dumbledore? Does Dumbledore order people to go to their deaths for the cause? Ron sacrifices himself because he chose to. He wasn't ordered to and blindly obeying. (Ramb)

Dumbledore is manipulative, but in a way I think he gives his pawns a choice before the sacrifice. When he tells Snape that Harry has to die, Snape accuses Dumbledore of having used him, but we know that he goes through with everything in the end and I think that is his own choice. The information Harry gets through Snape’s memories provides him with a choice and he chooses to go to his death.

Potions: Logic - brains (Slytherin) but, ironically, in a Muggle fashion

It is interesting that a Muggle quality is needed for this task. Both Snape and Hermione have strong Muggle connections. To be a Muggle is sometimes a strength...

Then Hermione states that talents and skills are not that important, after all. Friendship and bravery is of more importance, and the way the trio solves the tasks prove that, of course.

ETA: Cross posted with Mrs Brisbee


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 8, 2008 6:45 am (#804 of 925)

It is interesting that a Muggle quality is needed for this task. Both Snape and Hermione have strong Muggle connections. To be a Muggle is sometimes a strength...

This might explain why Quirrellmort also had no problem with that task: Voldemort grew up in a Muggle orphanage.


Swedish Short-Snout - Oct 8, 2008 7:09 am (#805 of 925)

I know chess requires logic, too, but I guess this particular game can only be won by means of someone's self-sacrifice. - Julia

It is true that self-sacrifice is what makes them win the chess game, but for a single wizard that would be of no gain. This could mean an evil wizard would not get through, but Quirrell does. - Dryleaves

A single wizard could take the king's place.


Julia H. - Oct 8, 2008 7:17 am (#806 of 925)

This might explain why Quirrellmort also had no problem with that task: Voldemort grew up in a Muggle orphanage. (Mrs Brisbee)

Interesting. Snape may not have counted on Voldemort coming for the stone personally. I think the Muggle quality is significant here because a typical Voldemort supporter would be a wizard who despises everything that is Muggle and as a result would have no idea how to solve the puzzle. I'm not sure if I can see Tom Riddle doing logic puzzles in the orphanage but a more interesting question is how Quirrell got through the tasks. Did he solve each of them the way HRH did? He played music for Fluffy and knocked out his own Troll. He used the key too, but did he have to catch it in the same way Harry did or did he know a short-cut spell to call the key (after all he was on the guarding team)? He drank the Potion but did he have to solve the logic puzzle or had he found out earlier which bottle would be the right one? Did he play chess, too? Certainly, he could not sacrifice himself, and yet he got through. We know the Mirror was placed there later than the other things and that was the one Quirrell had no idea about. Yes, he failed the moral task, of course, but he did not even seem to know what kind of mirror it was. Earlier, Snape had asked Quirrell if he knew how to get past Fluffy, which implies Snape, like the children, thought that was the question Quirrell did not know the answer to. I doubt Dumbledore had to solve all the tasks to get to Harry so there must have been another way for insiders.


Soul Search - Oct 8, 2008 7:21 am (#807 of 925)

An important message from this chapter is that it took all three members of the trio for Harry to complete the task. In this chapter it was obvious and each contributed talents the others did not have, but all three helped in some way.

In is less obvious in CoS, as only Ron and Harry went down to the chamber, but Hermione, even though petrified, supplied the final link (basilisk, pipes) that got them there.

In PoA only Hermione and Harry performed the final task, but Ron got dragged into the tunnel which is what got them there.

In GoF Ron and Hermione helped Harry learn spells which got him through the tasks.

In OotP they all went to the ministry.

HBP might be a bit different. What did Ron and Hermione do? Other than moral support.

And, of course, both helped a lot with Deathly Hallows.

This chapter of PS/SS firmly establishes that Harry NEEDS the others; he can't go it alone.


Quinn Crockett - Oct 8, 2008 8:42 am (#808 of 925)

HBP might be a bit different. What did Ron and Hermione do? Other than moral support. - Actually, they didn't even really do that. They kept telling him either that Draco couldn't be up to anything or if he was, that it couldn't be anything that concerned them. Additionally, Hermione repeatedly insisted that the potions book would come to no good - and she was very quick with the "I told you so" as well. This episode is really the first time where Harry truly has to confront opposition from his supporters.

It may be that this stage represents Harry, who had heretofore relied on his friends in a crisis, having to go it alone. He alone knows the truth of Draco's plot (even though he doesn't know exactly what that plot is), he alone accompanies Dumbledore into the past (which irks Snape).


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 8, 2008 11:12 am (#809 of 925)

Good thought, Quinn.

The power of friendship is established as a theme in PS/SS. In HBP, perhaps it is examined further, with how meaningful real trust and support can be.


Ana Cis - Oct 12, 2008 7:32 am (#810 of 925)

Hi everyone. I’ve been away from the forum, but it’s great to be back.

Following up on Soul Search’s comment about the trio working together to complete the task, I would say that, in HBP, not only did the three provide more than moral support, but the team has grown to six members (same as Book 5 - OotP): Harry, Hermione, Ron, Luna, Ginny, & Neville.

From Harry’s perspective, the task was to keep a watch over Draco & Snape see what they were up to. If you remember in Ch . 25, Harry asks Ron & Hermione to other members for the D.A. to help them keep a close watch on Draco & Snape. Harry’s instincts told to expect for something to happen while Dumbledore was away from Hogwarts. Consequently, Harry’s team was able to catch Draco & the DE’s exiting the Room of Requirements, and although impeded by the Instant Darkness Powder, they were still able to alert the OotP members that were also on watch.

Remember, Harry’s goal was to find out what Draco was up to and impede him from completing his assignment. Even though Ron and Hermione didn’t agree with Harry’s viewpoint, they did follow his direction to shadow Draco. Although, Draco was able to complete his mission, killing Dumbledore by way of Snape’s action, Harry, his team and the OotP were able to catch them in the act, find who all were involved, how it was done.

HBP is the most complex of all the books, with all its multiple plots and themes, so it is hard to keep untangle and keep track of each of them. I believe JKR uses the sixth book to reach the peak of all the mysteries within the story. For me, of all the books, HBP left me with the most questions, and if there’s one thing JKR is good is keeping us in suspense. As is evident with all the forums and chat rooms her books have consequently created.

Ana Cis

P.S.: I know this is mostly about HBP; however, it’s follow up about the summary of all the books, and how HBP follows the same pattern as the rest of the books.


tandaradei - Oct 13, 2008 12:16 pm (#811 of 925)

Man I have been soooo busy. Must catch up, but want to post this now before it gets too dated.

Here's a Neville Moment:

...[cut]..."I suppose you think its funny that Longbottom here heard the story and believed it, too?"

Harry caught Neville's eye and tried to tell him without words that this wasn't true because Neville was looking stunned and hurt......[cut]...

PS. Chapter 18,"The Forbidden Forest," p. 243 US.

OK, here I'm thinking we have proof that Neville hears much that's going on between Harry and Ron, even when they're whispering about doing "illegal" things.

Also, I'm thinking here that Neville is having another temporary "sea change," thinking first that Harry and Ron were doing something wrong and that he got suckered into becoming something of an accomplice with them under Minerva McGonagall's eyes; and also that Harry and Ron might have been playing Neville the fool.

This double hurt temporarily puts Neville on the "other side" of HRH, though he now appears to maintain a positive attitude towards magic and Hogwarts. In the next quote below, however, Neville prepares to stop Harry and Ron BEFORE they can get caught by McGonagall. I would like to note here that Neville is maintaining a high ground stand in trying to do the right thing, here because he remains ignorant of Harry and Ron's ultimate reasons for their breaking rules.

...[cut]..."Don't call me an idiot!" said Neville. "I don't think you should be breaking any more rules! And you were the one who told me to stand up to people!"...[cut]...

PS. Chapter 19,"Through the Trap Door," p. 272 US.

This to me is an interesting evolution. Neville is acting like a true Gryffindor, but here under slightly ignorant circumstances, just like the previous case. In the previous one, Neville "blindly" tries to help Harry and Ron, not knowing all the facts; and here Neville "blindly" tries to help McGonagall out, not knowing all the facts. I guess we could say Neville makes a mistake in both circumstances, but is brave in both; and will be rewarded well in the second circumstance in a measure that IMO quite well makes up for his punishments in the first circumstance.

I'm thinking that by the end of this story Neville makes up his mind to continue his walk as a wizard pushing for what is good ... and also to support Harry & Co. "blindly," even though he suffered for it under one circumstance in this book.


rcs - Oct 13, 2008 6:15 pm (#812 of 925)

Tandaradei, I think you mean PS, Chapters 15 and 16. PS/SS doesn't have a chapter 19 or 20.


tandaradei - Oct 13, 2008 6:20 pm (#813 of 925)

Ouch, you're right. I didn't even check that part.


freshwater - Oct 13, 2008 7:47 pm (#814 of 925)

Excellent points, Tandaradei! I'm glad you're keeping track of the Neville moments as we read on!


Mrs. Sirius - Oct 13, 2008 10:46 pm (#815 of 925)

I thought I posted these last week but it seem that it didn't go through:

Once again Harry and that lonely feeling. This time none of the Gryffindors speak to him because he has broken the rules.

They establish patterns early, together again preparing for a big mission, Hermione at her books, Harry and Ron thinking.

It seems that they young first years stay up late an awful lot.

Has anyone on this thread kept track of gifts Harry has receive? Here he takes a gift from Hagrid, a flute.

Neville, the knight, gallant in his new confidence to fight for what is right, what is right not easy. He will stand up to Harry Potter himself. Once again he is here before Harry to challenge his leaving the dorm. This also reminds me of how he charges out of Hogwarts to challenge Voldemort at the end of DH. Ignoring the danger to fight, looks at it, Ron right in the eye, to stand for what is right.

We get to see a spell up close here. Hermione does Petrificus Totalus, Neville arms and legs go together, he falls, he cannot speak only his eyes move. Like Harry at the end of HBP, held by DD spell.

Ever chivalrous, Ron offers Hermione the chance to go done the trap door first. Harry leads.

“Yes but there is no wood” have you gone mad? Are you a witch or not?

I love this line. I so looked forward to seeing this in the movie. This is gem JK planted and had to wait until DH for it’s punch line. This is also, (IMHO) laying the foundation for those of us who were R-H shippers. The entire exchange between Ron and Hermione starts to lay a certain tension that is more heightened.

Is their wondering here about meeting a full grown dragon foreshadowing?

Getting the key is highly coordinated task and shows how well the kids work together.

I don't really play chess so don't know the rule or moves, but I have seen some wonderful analysis. But gallant Ron does sacrifice himself for Harry and the fight.

A note about the troll, if Quirrell contributed the troll, why didn't red flags go up for the teachers when the troll broke into the school and Quirrell acted scared?

I'm thinking that by the end of this story Neville makes up his mind to continue his walk as a wizard pushing for what is good ... and also to support Harry & Co. "blindly," even though he suffered for it under one circumstance in this book.

At the end he does get rewarded, validation. And his reward, the 10 points is what gets the big notice.


Steve Newton - Oct 14, 2008 5:44 am (#816 of 925)

In the Snape thread folks are trying to find who and where it is said that Snape "gave as good as he got." Folks can't find it and they have looked in the spots where I thought that it would have been. ((I haven't checked.) Anyway, someone suggested that the folks on the read along should keep an eye out for it. Just thought that I'd mention it.


Choices - Oct 14, 2008 8:01 am (#817 of 925)

I don't have time to look, but isn't that when Harry asked Sirius about Snape and what he saw in the Pensieve where James and Sirius were bullying Snape? Sirius is sort of trying to justify what they did to Snape by saying that he gave as good as he got? I just don't remember right now what book it is in.


Julia H. - Oct 14, 2008 9:02 am (#818 of 925)

Choices, that is what a lot of people seem to have thought. The chapter is Careers Advice and it is in OotP and several of us looked for this quote specifically there (reading the chapter several times) as well as in other places in the books and it is simply not there. I also searched the internet for the quote and I found the phrase in discussions and fanfiction but I found no specific mention of the place where it was in the books. I also looked for the quote in a website where quotes from and about Snape (existing in the books) are collected and I still did not find it. It seems to be a widely cited phrase which simply cannot be found in the books. Or is there anyone here who knows where it is and can give us the exact quotation?


rambkowalczyk - Oct 14, 2008 4:28 pm (#819 of 925)

I also searched the internet for the quote and I found the phrase in discussions and fanfiction but I found no specific mention of the place where it was in the books.

I'm not the only one who wasted... erm spent a lot of time looking for that phrase.

if Quirrell contributed the troll, why didn't red flags go up for the teachers when the troll broke into the school and Quirrell acted scared?

I suspect he fooled most people with his stuttering. People may have thought he had book knowledge but not practical knowledge. Anyway Dumbledore wasn't fooled and this could have been a clue for him. Also Snape suspected something was up because he tried to stop Quirrell from getting through the trapdoor.


PeskyPixie - Oct 14, 2008 5:12 pm (#820 of 925)

I really wonder whether Snape's tattoo was burning a bit as Voldy attempted his comeback (fortifying himself with unicorn blood, and all). He claims in GoF that the Dark Mark is darker and clearer than 'before'. Well, before what? Surely it's not darker than it had been when Voldy was in power? Snape's claim hints at the possibility of the Dark Mark slightly darkening or tingling each time the Dark Lord is gaining strength.

Another thing I wonder about is whether Snape is purely lucky that he does not say anything too incriminating to Quirrellmort (when questioned by the Dark Lord he pretty much worms his way around the threats he makes to Quirrell), or whether he makes sure that anything he says to anyone will allow him room for maneuvering during unplanned moments in the future.


Julia H. - Oct 14, 2008 10:24 pm (#821 of 925)

I'm not the only one who wasted... erm spent a lot of time looking for that phrase. (Ramb)

LOL!

I suspect he fooled most people with his stuttering. People may have thought he had book knowledge but not practical knowledge. (Ramb)

Yes, that it probable. In fact Quirrell himself tells Harry this: "Yes, Severus does seem the type, doesn't he? So useful to have him swooping around like an overgrown bat. Next to him, who would suspect p-p-poor, st-stuttering P-Professor Quirrell?"

It seems perhaps Quirrell did not only stutter but also took advantage of the fact that he had a colleague with a dark appearance and a dark past. I wonder if it was only the Trio who suspected Snape or if there were others as well.

Another thing I wonder about is whether Snape is purely lucky that he does not say anything too incriminating to Quirrellmort (when questioned by the Dark Lord he pretty much worms his way around the threats he makes to Quirrell), or whether he makes sure that anything he says to anyone will allow him room for maneuvering during unplanned moments in the future. (Pesky)

Let's see:

Have you found out how to get past that beast of Hagrid's yet?

You don't want me as your enemy, Quirrell...

You know perfectly well what I mean.

We'll have another little chat soon, when you've had time to think things over and decided where your loyalties lie.

These sentences are rather cryptic and can be interpreted in two ways but it is because they are only fragments of a dialogue. However Quirrellmort (unlike Harry and the reader) hears everything Snape tells him and it may be less ambiguous to him. To Harry it seems Snape wants to make Quirrell find out information about Fluffy for him but Voldemort later knows that Snape's purpose was to stop Quirrell from getting the stone. The "loyalties" part is especially intriguing: Snape later claims (to Bella / Voldy) that he did not know Quirrell worked for Voldemort and only stopped him because he thought Quirrell wanted the stone for himself. However, if Snape is using the phrase "where your loyalties lie" with reference to choosing between the dark side and the light side, that should make Voldemort think a bit because this phrase seems to contradict the idea of someone working for himself alone. Or if Snape is using the phrase with reference to being loyal to Dumbledore or not, that is again something Voldemort may not like.

It seems it can't be very easy for Snape to explain everything to Voldemort. (What he tells Bella in HBP is probably only a short summary and easy enough since Bella does not know these details, while Voldemort was there with Quirrell personally.) Voldemort is not a naturally trusting person so there must be a thorough and highly unpleasant questioning when Snape returns to him (especially since LV wants to kill him originally).


Dryleaves - Oct 15, 2008 1:30 am (#822 of 925)

I really wonder whether Snape's tattoo was burning a bit as Voldy attempted his comeback (fortifying himself with unicorn blood, and all). He claims in GoF that the Dark Mark is darker and clearer than 'before'. Well, before what? Pesky

Interesting question. The Mark is not mentioned before GoF. In the Pensieve Snape says "It's coming back... Karkaroff's too... stronger and clearer than ever..." and in DH, "The Princes Tale", Snape tells DD at the Yule Ball that "Karkaroff's Mark is becoming darker too." and "Karkaroff intends to flee if the Mark burns".

I get the impression that the Mark keeps rather a low profile before GoF, though. Karkaroff seems very distressed about his Mark, which may suggest that the Mark has been inactive before. And this may suggest Snape has not felt it burn either. In HBP Snape tells Bellatrix about his interactions with Quirrell that Voldemort was "very weak, sharing the body of a mediocre wizard. He did not dare reveal himself to a former ally if that ally might turn him over to Dumbledore or the Ministry", and this too I think is a sign that the Mark did not darken or burn before. I think the Mark may have needed Voldemort's active will to show itself and burn, it was not just a passive indicator of Voldemort's power status.

However, if Snape is using the phrase "where your loyalties lie" with reference to choosing between the dark side and the light side, that should make Voldemort think a bit because this phrase seems to contradict the idea of someone working for himself alone. Or if Snape is using the phrase with reference to being loyal to Dumbledore or not, that is again something Voldemort may not like. Julia

Yes, this must be a tricky one! As have already been said, we do not know what Snape said to Quirrell exactly, but the wording was probably ambiguous. Maybe the loyalty part could sound like Snape is asking Quirrell if he is loyal to Hogwarts or to himself. From the "Spinner's End" chapter it seems as if Snape told Voldemort that he had thought him dead and that was why he did not go searching for him. He tells Voldemort that he just thought unworthy Quirrell wanted the Stone for himself and he wanted to prevent this from happening. And I guess Voldemort would not have been too satisfied had Snape tried to get hold of the Stone for himself. And Snape could have told Voldemort that he thought it would be a good move to play the role of DD's loyal employee when dealing with Quirrell.

I am sure Snape was questioned in a very thorough and unpleasant way when he returned to Voldemort and it was probably the big test of his Occlumency skills. I think Voldemort thinks very highly of his own Legilimency skills and while he does not trust his followers he trusts his own abilities. When he finds nothing in Snape's mind contradicting what Snape tells him, he believes him. It is a bit strange that Occlumency seems to be an unknown (or simply underestimated?) skill to the world's best Legilimens, though.


Julia H. - Oct 15, 2008 2:59 am (#823 of 925)

I am sure Snape was questioned in a very thorough and unpleasant way when he returned to Voldemort and it was probably the big test of his Occlumency skills. I think Voldemort thinks very highly of his own Legilimency skills and while he does not trust his followers he trusts his own abilities. (Dryleaves)

Yes, I agree that is was mainly because of Snape's Occlumency skills that Voldemort believed him. (He did have to explain but he also had to pass the Legilimency test afterwards.) In HBP, Harry does not have visions of Voldemort and Dumbledore tells him Voldemort is probably employing Occlumency against him. (Something he apparently stops doing in DH.) That implies Dumbledore thinks Voldemort knows about Occlumency. Still, on the one hand, he probably trusts his superb Legilimency skills very much and, on the other hand, Snape is not likely to boast about his Occlumency knowledge in DE circles. In HBP, he asks Bella whether she really thinks that he, Snape, could deceive the greatest Legilimens on Earth and Bella doesn't know what to say to that. Later, she asks him how it is possible that Dumbledore has trusted him all this time and Snape is very careful not to mention Occlumency at all, instead he says Dumbledore has to believe the best of people. In other words, instead of emphasizing his own merit, he mentions Voldemort's skills and Dumbledore's "weakness" as reasons why he could not deceive one but can deceive the other and that is probably in accordance with how Voldemort's followers are officially supposed to see their master and his enemy. Of course, in reality it is Voldemort's weakness and Snape's skills that make it possible for him to spy on Voldemort.


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 15, 2008 6:07 am (#824 of 925)

Remember, Harry’s goal was to find out what Draco was up to and impede him from completing his assignment. Even though Ron and Hermione didn’t agree with Harry’s viewpoint, they did follow his direction to shadow Draco. Although, Draco was able to complete his mission, killing Dumbledore by way of Snape’s action, Harry, his team and the OotP were able to catch them in the act, find who all were involved, how it was done. Ana Cis

Interesting. So I wonder what would have happened with Draco if Harry hadn't have been so intent on interfering with Draco's plans? Would Draco have appeared on the tower with all his DE pals in tow to make sure his mission was accomplished, with no time allowed for Dumbledore to talk Draco out of it? If Draco didn't have to go through a bloody battle, where he saw death and maiming, would he have thought killing a bit easier once he had Dumbledore cornered? But I guess I'm off topic....

This to me is an interesting evolution. Neville is acting like a true Gryffindor, but here under slightly ignorant circumstances, just like the previous case. In the previous one, Neville "blindly" tries to help Harry and Ron, not knowing all the facts; and here Neville "blindly" tries to help McGonagall out, not knowing all the facts. I guess we could say Neville makes a mistake in both circumstances, but is brave in both; and will be rewarded well in the second circumstance in a measure that IMO quite well makes up for his punishments in the first circumstance.

I'm thinking that by the end of this story Neville makes up his mind to continue his walk as a wizard pushing for what is good ... and also to support Harry & Co. "blindly," even though he suffered for it under one circumstance in this book.-- tanaradei

I like your thoughts on Neville, tandaradei. I think Rowling is bringing up the theme of "intent matters": Why one does something is at least as important as what one does. Here Neville doesn't have all the facts, and hence gets things wrong. PoA will play with the idea by using time travel to give Harry and Hermione a do-over with better knowledge to act upon. And of course we will often see Harry struggle with the lack of knowledge throughout the series, like in OotP where his good intentions and lack of information lead to Sirius's death, or DH where Harry tries to untangle the mess Dumbledore has left him.

I think by the end of the series Neville has become very reflective. He seems to have a good grasp of the cost and effect of what he does in the fight. So even if he doesn't have all the facts at the end, he seems to understand the meaning of his actions.



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Series Read-Along - HP and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter Seventeen Notes/Summary - post #825

Post  Potteraholic on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:02 pm



Steve Newton - Oct 15, 2008 6:05 pm (#825 of 925)

Chapter Seventeen - The Man With Two Faces

It seems that I remember the Janus being discussed at length somewhere but I can't remember where.

Quirrell-"You're too nosy to live, Potter." I guess he gets the nosiness from never asking questions. Maybe not.

According to Quirrell James and Snape "loathed each other."

When Harry awakens the image seems to connect Dumbledore and the Snitch.

Harry is almost dead and wakes up 3 days later. I have heard this story before.

I seem to be the only one who suspects that Harry actually died. He is in the presence of the Stone and someone who knows how to use it. He bounces back. If I was really good I'd check back on the conversation with Firenze to see if it parallels anything here.

Doesn't Dumbledore use the crossing line at the hearing in OotP?

I guess that I should have paid more attention to the question that could not be answered.

Harry says that Dumbledore "taught us just enough to help." Sort of a description of DH.

Slytherin does get hosed.



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Series Read-Along - HP and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter Seventeen Comments - posts #826 to #850

Post  Potteraholic on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:08 pm



Mrs Brisbee - Oct 16, 2008 3:35 am (#826 of 925)

It seems that I remember the Janus being discussed at length somewhere but I can't remember where.-- Steve Newton

I remember Janus being discussed in the last PS/SS read along.

Janus is the two faced Roman god of gates and doors. One face looks forward, the other behind. One represents sunrise, the beginning, and the other sunset, the end. In times of peace, his temple doors are kept closed. But in times of war, Janus's temple doors are thrown open.

Harry says that Dumbledore "taught us just enough to help." Sort of a description of DH.

Nice tie in, there!


tandaradei - Oct 16, 2008 8:51 am (#827 of 925)

Steve Newton said:

...[cut]...According to Quirrell James and Snape "loathed each other." ...[cut]...

....and where did Quirrell come by this bit of information? Quirrell snags Hagrid with a dragon's egg, I'm assuming, by borrowing from Voldemort's [i.e., Tom's] memories of how Tom framed Hagrid during their time together at Hogwarts. But I doubt Voldemort cared that much for the Snape/James rivalry thing; this was an aside, for which Voldemort presumably would not have briefed Quirrell. Was Quirrell a contemporary of James? What House? Maybe Jo could enlighten us?


Julia H. - Oct 16, 2008 9:13 am (#828 of 925)

Interesting question, tandaradei. Until Jo gives us an answer, here is my thought: I think the easiest answer is to assume that Quirrell was close enough in age to Snape and James to witness their enmity. (It was not exactly a secret, was it?) Another possibility is that the teachers were talking about the famous Harry Potter when he was coming to Hogwarts or when he was already there and Snape let it slip how very much Harry was like his father and how they had loathed each other. Actually Snape was sitting next to Quirrell and talking to him during the Welcome Feast when he looked at Harry.


Soul Search - Oct 16, 2008 9:35 am (#829 of 925)

Good point, tandaradei. Far as we know from canon, neither Quirrell nor Voldemort were contemporary with Snape/James/Sirius at Hogwarts. Snape was a Death Eater so may have conveyed his dislike of James to Voldemort. He may have even taken part in one of the "defied him three times" events that occurred before the prophecy. Still, why would Voldemort mention Snape/James to Quirrell. Quirrell must have been at Hogwarts at the same time as Snape, either as a student or as a professor of something. Didn't we have a discussion a while back about how Quirrell could have been at Hogwarts more than one year and JKR responded to a question that Quirrell had been the Muggle studies professor, or something?

Am intrigued by Steve Newton's suggestion that Harry actually died and Dumbledore used the Stone to revive him, but cannot find any canon to support it. In looking for something I really couldn't find any reason for Harry to be unconscious for three days. Harry prevented Quirrell from performing a deadly curse by grabbing his face. It was only(?) Harry's scar hurting intensely that caused him to "... fall into blackness." So, it must have been Voldemort's intense emotion that affected Harry. But, for THREE days? Did Voldemort try to occupy Harry's mind like he did in OotP? If Quirrell was dying Voldemort may have wanted to transfer to another body. I do recall that Harry already had a piece of Voldemort’s soul in him. Did Voldemort not recognize it? There sure is a lot more going on here than recognized on my first read.

There is also the question of whether Dumbledore planned for Harry to try and rescue the Stone. The new information we get from Deathly Hallows is Dumbledore telling Snape "Keep an eye on Quirrell ... ." So, Dumbledore did suspect Quirrell, but did he suspect Quirrell was harboring Voldemort? Would Dumbledore send an eleven-year-old Harry Potter to confront Voldemort? Knowing the prophecy?


Julia H. - Oct 16, 2008 10:26 am (#830 of 925)

I don't mean to argue but what do we know about Quirrell that makes it impossible that he was a contemporary of Snape and James? We know he was "young". Apparently, we also know he had been the Muggle Studies teacher before starting to teach DADA. Immediately before his DADA year he had taken a year's leave from Hogwarts to do some "field research" or something. That means, though he was young, he probably was not exactly twenty since he had been a Hogwarts teacher for at least a few years. Snape is 31 at the beginning of PS. I would not call him old. Is there any information that excludes the possibility of Quirrell being in his late twenties at least, in which case he may have been at school for a while at the same time as Snape and James?

Interesting question about what made Harry unconscious for three days. Whether he actually died... it would be an intriguing foreshadowing of DH, yet he apparently did not have a (near-)death experience here.


Soul Search - Oct 16, 2008 11:31 am (#831 of 925)

... what do we know about Quirrell that makes it impossible that he was a contemporary of Snape and James? Julia H.

Quirrell’s statement about Snape and James says he did know them, or knew of them. There just isn't anything else to qualify the inference.

... yet he apparently did not have a (near-)death experience here. Julia H.

Maybe he did. "... and other voices, maybe in Harry's own head, crying, "Harry! Harry!" I thought it must be his parents. They are dead. Maybe it was just Dumbledore returning, though.


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 16, 2008 11:56 am (#832 of 925)

I'm sure Harry didn't die. The Stone cannot bring the dead back to life, because no magic can do that. There is magic that can prevent death, but in Harry's case it was Voldemort stealing his blood to make a new body, which won't happen for another three years. I think the strain of the Voldybit trying to tear itself away from his soul probably drove Harry into a three-day coma.


Soul Search - Oct 16, 2008 12:07 pm (#833 of 925)

I'm sure Harry didn't die. The Stone cannot bring the dead back to life, ... Good point, Mrs Brisbee. Of course, Harry could have been quite close to death and Dumbledore used the Stone to make the elixir.

Regarding Quirrell’s timeline. Quirrell was at Hogwarts with Snape during the PS school year. Not unreasonable that he overheard Snape ranting to Dumbledore about Harry and James, similar to what we heard in Deathly Hallows.


Quinn Crockett - Oct 16, 2008 9:54 pm (#834 of 925)

It seems that they young first years stay up late an awful lot. - Indeed! I remember thinking it odd that, as many nights in a row that they spent most of the night prowling around, that they never fell asleep in class or in front of the fire or just needed to call it an early night after a couple of days.

He claims in GoF that the Dark Mark is darker and clearer than 'before'. - I always interpreted this as "before..." the last time they talked about it. The conversation is obviously an ongoing one for these two men.

I really couldn't find any reason for Harry to be unconscious for three days. - I think it was just Harry's body finally catching up on all that lost sleep.


Julia H. - Oct 16, 2008 10:11 pm (#835 of 925)

Nevertheless, Harry, while you may only have delayed his return to power, it will merely take someone else who is prepared to fight what seems a losing battle next time -- and if he is delayed again, and again, why, he may never return to power. (Dumbledore)

In DH, we find out Dumbledore is pretty sure at the time that Voldemort will return. He also knows about the prophecy. Yet, here he says it might be possible to stop Voldemort from returning. Of course, it is a question what we mean by "returning to power": magical power or political power? Could Dumbledore simply mean even if Voldemort gets his magical power back, he can be prevented from becoming powerful in a political sense? IMO, that is not what he seems to be saying here. Or is he just trying to say something soothing and hopeful to this brave child even though he does not believe what he is saying? Any thoughts?

The information that Lily could have saved her own life and only died because she chose to protect Harry comes up first in the previous chapter and now here. I think it will be mentioned in GoF as well and of course in OotP. We will understand the full significance of this voluntary life sacrifice in DH when Harry is prepared to do the same for others (and when we learn Snape's back-story). Another important motif built up carefully from the beginning.

EDIT: Kids staying up late at night: What I find odd is that, while nighttime prowling in the corridors is prohibited, once they are inside Gryffindor Tower, they can do whatever they want to. Nobody makes it sure that they actually go to bed. I'm surprised students don't have a party every night or every weekend at least. I guess their Head of House could check whether they actually sleep or not but McGonagall never seems to do that.


Soul Search - Oct 17, 2008 6:48 am (#836 of 925)

Even after completing the series I think PS was the best written of all the books. So much is described in what, for JKR, is a short book. I am even more impressed when I note the number of connections to subsequent books.

It is not my favorite; that is probably PoA. At least in terms of which book I just pick up to read again. But, PS did get me hooked.


Quinn Crockett - Oct 17, 2008 7:24 pm (#837 of 925)

while nighttime prowling in the corridors is prohibited, once they are inside Gryffindor Tower, they can do whatever they want to. - I'm sure the Prefects would be responsible for ensuring that the students were actually in bed. But even Prefects have homework and they have to sleep too. Strange that there isn't some sort of designated RA/dorm monitor/whatever you want to call it.


Solitaire - Oct 17, 2008 7:25 pm (#838 of 925)

He is in the presence of the Stone and someone who knows how to use it.

In order to remain alive, however, wouldn't he have to continue drinking the Elixir of Life? Apparently Nicholas Flamel would die when he gave up the Stone, since he wouldn't be able to make any more of the Elixir of life.

Regarding the Janus figure ... I think Elanor has discussed this at length on the Alchemy thread.

Harry already had a piece of Voldemort’s soul in him. Did Voldemort not recognize it?

Soul Search, I do not think Voldemort ever figured out that he transferred a part of his soul into Harry. That oversight, among others, helped him bring about his own downfall.

I agree about the kids and the late nights. I guess if they are actually in their own common room, they can't be prevented from pulling late-nighters ... although we all know that a number of their late-nighters involve cavorting around the castle! Like father, like son, eh?

Solitaire


rcs - Oct 17, 2008 8:45 pm (#839 of 925)

In order to remain alive, however, wouldn't he have to continue drinking the Elixir of Life? Apparently Nicholas Flamel would die when he gave up the Stone, since he wouldn't be able to make any more of the Elixir of life. --Solitaire

Flamel didn't have Horcruxes, though. Voldemort only needed the Elixir of Life to regain his body; once he'd done so, his Horcruxes would sustain him indefinitely.


Dryleaves - Oct 18, 2008 3:50 am (#840 of 925)

So much is described in what, for JKR, is a short book. I am even more impressed when I note the number of connections to subsequent books. (Soul Search)

I agree. I was amazed to see in how many ways this chapter foreshadows what will come in DH, for example the Deathly Hallows themselves. Quirrell's talk of power relates to the Elder Wand, the Philosopher's Stone could relate to the Resurrection Stone, maybe, but is used by Flamel and his wife much in the same way that the Invisibility Cloak is used in DH: it is destroyed/taken off when the owner is prepared to meet with death. I think Steve mentioned the connection between DD and the Snitch, and in DH we have the Snitch with the Resurrection Stone in it, which Harry inherits from DD, and in DH Harry also seeks the truth about DD.

The man with two faces is of course Quirrell with Voldemort at the back of his head, but Janus is as has already been mentioned, the Roman god of gates, doors, beginnings and endings. This first book, the beginning, foreshadows the last book, the end. The same things occur in both books. The Snitch Harry inherits has the inscription "I open at the close". It is a circular composition (alchemy circle) where the beginning and the end are the same, like a man with two faces, looking backwards and forwards.

I also read that Janus often symbolize transitions, for example the growing up of young people, and that could fit the HP story very well. Janus also symbolize the way from past to future.

I have also read somewhere (I thought it was the Lexicon, but it was not) that Snape has a connection to Janus. As a spy he is two-faced, of course, and according to what I read his birthday, the 9th of January is a Janus feast (and at least the month is Janus' month). Apart from the fact that he is a double agent, Snape's role in the story is as beginning and end or as a gate, as he gives Voldemort the Prophecy that makes him go after the Potters, and Snape's request that Lily be saved is what gives her the choice to live or die to protect her son, which leads to Harry surviving because of the protection from his mother's love. In the end Snape shows his other face and gives Harry the information he needs in order to defeat Voldemort.


Steve Newton - Oct 18, 2008 5:06 am (#841 of 925)

Solitaire-"In order to remain alive, however, wouldn't he have to continue drinking the Elixir of Life?"

I don't think so. At least not any more than the rest of us. Flamel was over 600 years old and so, I think, would need a little extra to keep on truckin'.


Julia H. - Oct 18, 2008 6:33 am (#842 of 925)

Fascinating ideas, Dryleaves, about Janus, about beginning and ending and how Quirrell and Snape are related to Janus. I would only like to mention another example of interesting symmetry between PS and DH. In PS, Harry suspects Snape all the time and anticipates a meeting with Snape but in the end he finds Quirrell. In DH, in the Forest of Dean, Harry remembers (Janus-faced) Quirrell as he saw and heard him in the Forbidden Forest and then it seems he can hear the rustling of a cloak among the trees again. I'm sure he actually hears (Janus?) Snape in his travelling cloak walking past the tent on his way towards the lake, with the sword. Harry is thinking of Quirrell but in reality he is going to "meet" Snape.


Solitaire - Oct 18, 2008 9:53 am (#843 of 925)

I guess I misunderstood, Steve. I thought you were talking about Harry, not Voldemort. If you were, wouldn't the physical laws still have to apply to him, age notwithstanding?


freshwater - Oct 18, 2008 10:49 am (#844 of 925)

I haven't been contributing much lately, but have definitely been enjoying the comments and insights and connections posted....just want to say "thank you" to all for the thought-provoking ideas!


Ana Cis - Oct 19, 2008 10:54 am (#845 of 925)

In reference to the Janus symbolism, it’s a characteristic theme throughout all the books; consistent with the dualistic nature of things and people in the Potter World. No one is absolutely good or absolutely bad. Sirius informs Harry of this in Book 5, OotP, when he says that the world is not divided into Death Eaters and good people (Ch . 14). Something Harry, as well as we the readers, have to learn in each of the books, as we are usually fooled as to who's the villain and who the good guy.

Now that I’ve read the whole series, I begin to see how consistently Jo emphasizes this theme. I haven’t been able to keep up with the reading and the post on this thread as I would like to. So I apologize for referring way back to chapter one when we’re reintroduced to Dumbledore. It really hit me on how different I see him as character post Book 7. From the start, when Jo introduces DD, she openly shows us his strong secretive nature. He just doesn’t like to share much information to people he trusts, even McGonagall - his most faithful colleagues. He really gives a new meaning the name “Secret Keeper” .

Jo also begins to hint about DD’s other side when McGonagall describes Dumbledore as too noble obtain and use all magic’s powerful attributes as Voldemort had done. By DD telling us that he’s blushing as much as the time that Madame Pomfrey had complimented his earmuffs, we now realize his blushes (pink/secrets ) indicate his craving weakness for power and glory, and must work hard from seeking that path.

Consequently, Dumbledore also shows his Janus nature just as Snape does.

In reference as to how Dumbledore knew what happened to James & Lily in Godric’s Hallow, JKR explains the events during the Leaky Cauldron’s Pottercast, last December (2007). Here’s the text version:

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“MA [JKR]: That's how I feel as well, yeah, so. Okay. Obviously Dumbledore could cast a charm on a dwelling that would immediately alert him if something happened to it. So he can know instantaneously. That's not a problem at all. And then he could dispatch Hagrid, and so on. But I think The Scottish Book will have to answer that question. I'm gonna have to really go back through notes, and either admit I've lost 24 hours, or, I don't know, hurriedly come up with some back story to fill it. Either way, you either get to be right, or you get more story. So you can't complain.”

The actual audio version of the Pottercast: It was JKR who stated the comment above, not Melissa (MA: ) :

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Somehow, I’ll catch up reading all the wonderful posts, and try harder to keep up.

Ana Cis


Elanor - Oct 19, 2008 12:19 pm (#846 of 925)

Hi! I'm afraid I haven't had the time to follow this thread since school has started again but Solitaire tells me that some details about the Janus symbolism would help. This is a theme that we very often analyzed on the alchemy thread, for example here: HBP re-read Chapter 4 in connection with Dumbledore and Slughorn presented as a Janus figure when clearing up the room. Here's what I was posting about that symbol then and if you enter "Janus" in the search function of the alchemy thread you'll find many more examples, applying mostly to Harry and Voldemort. I hope this will help!

From post #765:

They stood back to back, the tall thin wizard and the short round one, and waved their wands in one identical sweeping.

We've talked about that symbol very often. In short, Janus was the god of the doors, symbol of the entry and the exit, who became afterwards the symbol of the couple of opposites, the master of the "two ways": meditation and action, in and out, yes and no... He is, at the same time, the divergence point and the fundamental unity, and the illustration of that sentence alchemists loved: "The road that goes up is the same that the road that goes down" (Heraclite). For the alchemists, Janus represented the fact that the materia prima is formed by 2 bodies, which are in fact one, and that though opposites, they truly in essence have the same appearance.

So, DD and Slughorn, back to back and who seem really opposite are the two faces of a same puzzle, the key to Voldemort's past, and share the same goal. They are more united that it would seem at first sight.

#VALUE!

The door is opened when they arrive and is still opened when they leave since "They were at the front door when there was a shout from behind them. [...] Dumbledore turned to see Slughorn breathless in the doorway to the sitting room." And when they're outside, they still hear him saying he wants a pay rise. The door is opened because the Wizarding World is at war and a new "expedition" in that war against Voldemort starts for the three of them on Slughorn's doorstep... Funnily enough, his house is even on the top a hill, a reminder of the Roma's hills?"


Ana Cis - Oct 19, 2008 1:47 pm (#847 of 925)

Thanks Elanor, Janus symbolizing the entry and the exit fit quite well with the books where there are so may doors, doorsteps, trapdoors, gates, and stairs (etc.); and where everyone and everything is going up, down, left, right, and vice-a-versa. One can get dizzy paying attention to all the directions Jo gives in just a single chapter!

There are several hills in the story also. Doesn’t one have to go down a hill to get from the castle to Hagrid’s cabin; or maybe it’s just in the movies. There’s also the hill to get to the port key and get to World Quidditch Championship grounds. I’m sure there are more, but those are the one I can remember right now. By the way, isn't Rome surrounded by seven hills surrounding Rome? Hmmnn

Referencing earlier discussions about whether Harry died when he confronted Quirrell, I believe Dumbledore answered the question when he said that he “arrived just in time to pull Quirrell off” Harry. The DD said, a few moments later, that he was afraid Harry’s effort to keep the Stone away from Voldemort/Voldemort had nearly killed him. However, metaphorically or symbolically speaking, Harry did die and rose (woke) up again three days later. He was even covered up in “white linen” sheets. In this book like DH, Harry succeeded where Voldemort had failed. This was just the first of the seven steps or levels until he finally defeats Voldemort (or one could say Voldemort defeats himself).

Ana Cis


Julia H. - Oct 19, 2008 2:17 pm (#848 of 925)

Snape meets Dumbledore on a windy hilltop.

I think Sirius's hiding place in GoF is on a hill.


legolas returns - Oct 19, 2008 2:20 pm (#849 of 925)

Also Hagrid hides out in the cave in OOP.


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 20, 2008 8:48 am (#850 of 925)

Janus as a name shows up in OotP, as the Janus Thickey ward where the kids find Gilderoy Lockhart, Neville's parents, and the unfortunate Mr. Bode.

Also, in view of the doors of Janus's temple, that scene in OotP where Dumbledore throws open the doors of Hogwarts right after Umbridge sacks Trelawney sounds like a declaration of war.



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Series Read-Along - HP and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter Seventeen Comments - posts #851 to #875

Post  Potteraholic on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:17 pm



Soul Search - Oct 20, 2008 1:35 pm (#851 of 925)

This last chapter of PS is where Dumbledore says to Harry, "... I will not, of course, lie." On first read Dumbledore becomes a fine, upstanding wizard with this statement but, as the series progresses, we have doubts. Finally, Deathly Hallows confirms that he has been lying to Harry and practically everyone else.

Dumbledore's favorite form of lie is by omission, but he is pretty good at other forms as well. We don't note it until much later, but his first lie is upon our first meeting when McGonagall asks how Harry survived and Dumbledore responds "We may never know." He knew exactly how Harry survived. It was that knowing that allowed him to put the protections on Privet Drive and how he knew Voldemort was not dead and would be back.

I thought this an appropriate place to open a discussion about Dumbledore's lying so we can continue it on our re-read.


Julia H. - Oct 20, 2008 1:49 pm (#852 of 925)

So... are we going to collect the instances of Dumbledore lying?


Steve Newton - Oct 20, 2008 2:12 pm (#853 of 925)

Not telling the entire story is not lying. I can't think of any outright lies that Dumbledore tells. Omitting details does not seem the same as saying things that you know to be untrue.


legolas returns - Oct 20, 2008 2:19 pm (#854 of 925)

I don’t think that Dumbledore is lying to McGonagall at this stage. Things have happened all of a sudden. I am sure that there was chaos after Voldemorts demise. He has not seen Harry and he has not had a report from Hagrid. He must have known that Harry was alive otherwise he would not have sent him to collect Harry. It is Dumbledores habit to look at memories after events and try and link things together. I don’t think he would have had a chance by the following day and particularly 10 seconds after seeing Harry. I think that possibly he might have had a chance after he had a proper report from Hagrid and in the following days and weeks. I am sure that in third year Lupin would have confirmed his definite suspicions by telling him what Harry had told him. He already knew about Harry’s link with Voldemort by the end of first year.


rcs - Oct 20, 2008 4:33 pm (#855 of 925)

I can't think of any outright lies that Dumbledore tells. --Steve Newton

Dumbledore lies to Harry during that first conversation in the Hospital Wing about why Snape has tried to protect Harry so much. DD says it's because James saved Snape's life, but in DH we learn that the real reason was Snape's love for Lily (and Dumbledore knew that).

Actually, that particular incident with the joke the Marauders tried to play on Snape (the one involving the Whomping Willow and Lupin in werewolf form) is a major red herring for lots of things throughout the series. It's posited as the explanation for Snape wanting to save Harry's life and turns out to be a red herring, but it's also given as the reason for Snape's intense hatred of Sirius, when more than likely Snape's real reason was that he thought Sirius had betrayed Lily (remember Dumbledore's line about "putting their trust in the wrong person"? Snape must have known who that person appeared to have been); chances are it wasn't just a "schoolboy grudge" after all.

As far as I know, this is the only time DD outright lies to Harry, and it's arguably justified by his oath to keep Snape's secret, although still somewhat unexpected.


tandaradei - Oct 20, 2008 5:37 pm (#856 of 925)

As for me, I shall donate one big "ouch!" as to the question/problem of lying... What is a lie? That's not as bad a question as What is Truth, but it’s still up there for philosophers to argue. Actually, in a way I think Jo lies to us from the beginning with all her red herrings; but I loved those lies (though they humbled me). Heck, to me Snape was her biggest "lie"; at least as how I read it.

Anyway, how about prescience? I find many similarities in this SS/PS chapter with DH writings, and wonder how much of this was intentional. Here's a few examples:

1. Here's Jo's description of Harry's "death" in both places (is that a lie?):

...[cut]...He felt Quirrell's arm wrenched from his grasp, knew all was lost, and fell into blackness, down ... down ... down ...[cut]...

SS, Ch 17,"The Man with Two Faces," p. 295 US.

...[cut]...He saw the mouth move and a flash of green light, and everything was gone.

...[cut]...He lay facedown, listening to the silence...[cut]...

DH,Ch 34/35,"The Forest Again / King's Cross," p. 704f US.

In both these instances, on a first read, we are sure Harry has died. Who wants to argue if that's a lie? hehe

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

2. Prescient Similarity #2: now the standard vision of heaven involves golden harps, right?

...[cut]...Something gold was glinting just above him. The Snitch! He tried to catch it, but his arms were too heavy...[cut]...

SS, Ch 17,"The Man with Two Faces," p. 295 US.

...[cut]...The Snitch. His nerveless fingers fumbled for a moment with the pouch...[cut]...

...[cut]...He pressed the golden metal to his lips and whispered, "I am about to die"...[cut]...

DH,Ch 34,"The Forest Again," p. 698 US.

The Snitch pretty much begins and ends everything here (I open at the close); are we to think of it as a golden little angel? Also, how about Harry's arms: "arms too heavy" and "Nerveless fingers." I have no idea what to make of this, but find the images similar and interesting, almost as if one image were to preselect the other.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

3. OK, how about glasses:

...[cut]...He blinked. It wasn't the Snitch at all. It was a pair of glasses...[cut]...

...[cut]...He blinked again. The smiling face of Dumbledore came into view...[cut]...

<

SS, Ch 17,"The Man with Two Faces," p. 295 US.

...[cut]...He spun around. Albus Dumbledore was walking toward him, sprightly and upright...[cut]...

...[cut]...Dumbledore's long silver hair and beard, the piercingly blue eyes behind half-moon spectacles ... everything as he remembered it...[cut]...

DH,Ch 35,"King's Cross," p. 707 US.

I notice that in the last instance Harry himself no longer needs glasses. I wonder what that is all about.

Anyway, those are some beginning/ending similarities that I found striking in two rather small parts of SS & DH.


Soul Search - Oct 20, 2008 6:16 pm (#857 of 925)

So... are we going to collect the instances of Dumbledore lying? (Julia H.)

That's what I had in mind. But more than just the lie, the reason for it and its affect on the reader's view of the storyline. Dumbledore does not lie for no reason. After telling Harry he wouldn't lie, Dumbledore tells Harry Snape saved him because James saved Snape. TOTAL LIE. But we believed it for a long time. We judged Snape, at lest in part, based upon Dumbledore's lie.

I also note that lying was a theme previous to Dumbledore's statement. Harry had to lie about what he saw in the mirror and he caught Voldemort in a lie about how his parents died. These seemed to be a buildup to Dumbledore's lie, but it is had to tell.

I think we note Dumbledore's lies because they are significant signals in the storyline. Dumbledore's lies are a red flag that something is going on.


Solitaire - Oct 20, 2008 7:26 pm (#858 of 925)

Did Dumbledore really lie about Snape? If James really did save Snape, then wasn't Snape in his debt? Perhaps it was not the real reason Snape chose to help Harry. If the life debt was real, however, then Dumbledore simply offered it as the reason behind Snape's assistance, which was the only explanation he could offer, given his promise to Snape that he would never tell Harry the truth.

Solitaire


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 20, 2008 8:30 pm (#859 of 925)

I do think that Dumbledore lied about Snape. To be fair, he was probably casting about for something to explain Snape, and thanks to Snape he wouldn't tell the truth, and James did save Snape. But I don't think Dumbledore had any illusions about Snape's motives, and knew right well it had nothing to do with wanting put something right with James.

It was a white lie in the moment, but ended up being a poisonous lie in the long run, because it did nothing to build trust between Harry and Snape. First off, Dumbledore as good as told Harry that Snape had saved him and thus was even with James-- so if Snape is all done with the debt, why trust Snape in the future? Second, Snape in PoA told Harry flat out that he didn't feel he owed James anything. So Dumbledore looks like he has no idea what he's talking about when in comes to Snape's motives, and Harry has good reason to mistrust Snape.


Julia H. - Oct 20, 2008 10:40 pm (#860 of 925)

About Dumbledore lying: I agree that his lies are usually (maybe always) white lies (although even those can prove to be harmful) and they are also red herrings. They are necessary for the story: If Harry had a wise, knowledgeable guardian, ready to share all information with him, where would the mystery be? It is the same with Trelawney: The author needs someone to tell us a true prophecy once or twice in the books but not someone who could tell the future (in a believable way) just any time.

About DD's "We may never know.":

This is McGonagall's question and DD's answer:

It's just astounding... of all the things to stop him... but how in the name of heaven did Harry survive? "We can only guess," said Dumbledore. "We may never know."

In OotP, he says: "But I knew, too, where Voldemort was weak. And so I made my decision. You would be protected by an ancient magic of which he knows, which he despises, and which he has always, therefore, underestimated - to his cost. I am speaking, of course, of the fact that your mother died to save you. She gave you a lingering protection he never expected, a protection that flows in your veins to this day. I put my trust, therefore, in your mother's blood. I delivered you to her sister, her only remaining relative. ... Your aunt knows this. I explained what I had done in the letter I left, with you, on her doorstep. She knows that allowing you houseroom may well have kept you alive for the past fifteen years."

So DD says "We may never know" to McGonagall just when he is about to put the letter explaining the answer to this very question on Petunia's doorstep. I think it is a lie but I understand why Dumbledore thinks it necessary: even though McGonagall is intelligent and trustworthy, DD probably thinks it is safer for Harry if nobody knows (without a good reason at least) how and by what he is protected - Death Eaters are still walking free and DD also expects Voldemort to return to power in the future. DD was brought up to believe in secrecy whenever it was possible. (Of course, he could say "I'd rather not discuss this question" but he chooses not to.)

In the last chapter of PS, DD tells Harry "Nevertheless, Harry, while you may only have delayed his return to power, it will merely take someone else who is prepared to fight what seems a losing battle next time -- and if he is delayed again, and again, why, he may never return to power." Elsewhere he acknowledges that he was convinced Voldemort would eventually return so here he is probably saying something he does not believe. But it is a white lie because he probably wants to give hope and encouragement to the eleven-year-old boy who has barely survived a very dangerous fight.

As for lying about Snape: I agree with Mrs Brisbee that as far as Dumbledore is speaking about Snape's motives, he is lying - I don't think it has escaped his attention what Snape thinks about James saving his life - and he knows very well why Snape is protecting Harry. Of course he can't tell that to Harry but hasn't he just said "I shall answer your questions unless I have a very good reason not to, in which case I beg you'll forgive me. I shall not, of course, lie."? What is more, Harry does not even ask him why Snape has protected him. All he asks is this: "Quirrell said he hates me because he hated my father. Is that true?" I can see no reason why DD should want to give any (false) explanation of why Snape has been protecting Harry. He cannot tell him the truth but he could just let Harry understand (on his own even) that although Snape hated James, that does not stop him from protecting Harry when he realizes he is in danger. (It would not really be so hard to grasp.) Of course, Jo needs this as a red herring: Harry will suspect Snape of wrongdoing several times in the future and the reader must be made to believe that Snape's saving Harry's life in the first book somehow "does not count" and it only means that Snape has now paid back a debt once and for all.

I also agree that DD, who knows that Snape has just begun to protect Harry (and that he has just begun to pay back a debt - a different debt, one that he feels very deeply), here misses a very good opportunity to create some basic trust between Snape and Harry.


Quinn Crockett - Oct 20, 2008 10:43 pm (#861 of 925)

Interesting discussion. Certainly those who have been on the receiving end of "lying by omission" feel they have been lied to. Witness Harry's reaction at the end of OotP, when he confronts Dumbledore - who, for his part, actually confesses that Harry isn't nearly as angry with him as he should be.

On the other hand, who among us hasn't, at some point, "lied by omission"? Particularly with regard to young children?

Dumbledore's "lie" about James having saved Snape's life was, as far as I have always interpreted, as much of the truth as Dumbledore knew of that situation at the time. It is not until PoA that Dumbledore learns the full story of what happened there. Still, there is a point to be made in that Snape had actually been protecting Harry for Lily's sake - which Dumbledore knew full well. As Solitaire points out, Dumbledore, having been sworn to secrecy, couldn't tell Harry this but seems to have felt that he had to tell Harry something.

Hmm.... My apologies. I completely forgot where I was going with this.....


Soul Search - Oct 21, 2008 6:41 am (#862 of 925)

Good observations, Julia H. and Mrs Brisbee. I also agree that Dumbledore missed a chance to improve the trust between Harry and Snape. But, of course, had he done that the storyline would have been different.

We now know that Dumbledore knew "everything" when he visited Harry. He refused to tell Harry why Voldemort wanted to kill him and I do agree that eleven is a bit young to learn that your parents died just because they chose to protect you. Yet, Harry has just confronted Voldemort and should have learned a bit more of what was going on.

Dumbledore takes on the role of "unreliable narrator." We can usually trust that what he says is true, no direct lies (mostly,) but that he is leaving out a lot. Each book ends with Dumbledore revealing a bit more to Harry, but still leaving out something really important. For example, CoS ends with Harry learning he can speak Parseltongue because Voldemort transferred a piece of himself to Harry, but not the big issue of Harry being a horcrux. Did Dumbledore pity Harry, knowing what he knew? Until Voldemort used Harry's blood in GoF Dumbledore thought Harry had to die to defeat Voldemort.


rambkowalczyk - Oct 21, 2008 3:07 pm (#863 of 925)

I also agree that Dumbledore missed a chance to improve the trust between Harry and Snape.

I don't think there was much that Dumbledore could have done to improve the trust between Snape and Harry. That responsibility belonged to Snape and he was too obsessed by the fact that Harry looked so much like his father to think straight.

Also I don't think Dumbledore was lying all that much when he said that Snape owed a debt. Granted it wasn't to James but it was to Lily. Dumbledore is trying to convey to Harry that Snape takes his debts seriously. It was why Dumbledore trusted him.


tandaradei - Oct 21, 2008 4:35 pm (#864 of 925)

Perhaps Dumbledore speaks to Harry with ambassadorial caution?? Remember the "widget" in OotP: it clarified that Harry actually possessed two "souls." Perhaps all those widgets in DD's office pertained to his studies over Harry? Until HBP, I wonder if Dumbledore couldn't himself wonder how much Voldemort might learn from Harry, since both shared Voldy's soulbit.

Perhaps that's why he gets so vague even over things about Snape: so that Voldemort might not learn anything about DD's real ambitions: to destroy all the horcruxes???


Soul Search - Oct 21, 2008 4:44 pm (#865 of 925)

tandaradei, good point that Dumbledore must also worry about what Voldemort might learn. Keeping Harry in the dark also assures that Voldemort won't learn anything from him or anyone he tells. Might even justify Dumbledore's lying by omission.


legolas returns - Oct 21, 2008 5:20 pm (#866 of 925)

How do you tell an eleven-year-old boy (and us the reader) that his teacher really loved your mother but hated your father? How do you tell an 11 year old about the prophecy? How do you tell an 11 year old that Snape passed on what he heard of the prophecy to Voldemort and then he felt sorry when he realised who was targeted and killed? How do you tell an 11 year old that you still trust this individual when both of Harry’s parents are dead? It would have spoiled the story.

Dumbledore had promised Snape that he would never let out the truth and in particular to Harry. Dumbledore never breaks Snape’s trust even when he meets Harry at Kings Cross. Snape never breaks his promise to Dumbledore to protect Harry. If Dumbledore had broken his vow to Snape this would have put Snape in a more dangerous position and Harry’s protection would be put at risk.

Was his statement regarding Snape and James therefore truth or lies? Doesn’t Obi Wan Kenobi say something about something being the truth from a certain point of view. I would like to mention the following points that may have lead Dumbledore to tell Harry this.

1) Dumbledore's had ideas that Snape should be able to get over the hurt he experienced
2) Snape’s reaction to being saved by James (he never forgives him). He never thought kindly on it and went mad when Harry mentioned it to him. He still maintained that James did it for selfish reasons.
3) Dumbledore's promise to Snape which protects the protector.
4) Dumbledore trusting people when others would not
5) His unusual ideas, his isolation and his secrecy
6) His wish to protect Harry and ensure that he was happy rather than burden him. He had fallen into a trap because he cared for Harry.

From Dumbledore's point that this was not a lie, it meant that further awkward questions were diverted, he told Harry things in a simple manner that would not burden Harry too much (I am including the continually fighting against Voldemort to stop him coming back in here as well) and he did not break Snape’s trust.

In HBP when Harry finds out about Snape overhearing the prophecy. Dumbledore says Snape had no idea which parents it referred to. When Harry is in the hospital after Dumbledore's death nobody corrects him when he said that Snape did not give a damn about his mother. McGonagall (her head of house) and Lupin do not correct Harry by saying that they were once friends. They are all incredulous that Dumbledore believed Snape’s story about being sorry (in particular they did not believe that he was sorry that James died). It's omission by everybody but the prize for omission goes to Dumbledore.


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 21, 2008 8:38 pm (#867 of 925)

I don't think there was much that Dumbledore could have done to improve the trust between Snape and Harry. That responsibility belonged to Snape and he was too obsessed by the fact that Harry looked so much like his father to think straight. --rambkowalczyk

That's a good point. Snape never does much to build trust, and does quite a bit to undermine it. Although Dumbledore lies (by omission, if you like), perhaps he is closer to the truth of Snape's dedication with the pay back James version, since I always felt that Snape was trying to pay back some debt he felt he owed for helping to get Lily killed, and was perpetually frustrated that things wouldn't quite go to plan.

I wonder if Snape was some sort of special project for Dumbledore? Dumbledore puts a lot of effort into Snape, and indulges Snape's desire to not to have to explain his actions or why he should be trusted to anyone else, including those he has directly wronged.

After DH, I find that I just don't understand Dumbledore. Sometimes he seems to be working for the Greater Good, and as cold hearted as some of the things that necessitates might be, I can still understand that. But other times he seems to use his power to... I can't even explain it. Like he shapes things for his personal whims and foibles, as if that's the same as the Greater Good.


Julia H. - Oct 21, 2008 10:27 pm (#868 of 925)

How do you tell an eleven-year-old boy (and us the reader) that his teacher really loved your mother but hated your father? How do you tell an 11 year old about the prophecy? How do you tell an 11 year old that Snape passed on what he heard of the prophecy to Voldemort and then he felt sorry when he realised who was targeted and killed? How do you tell an 11 year old that you still trust this individual when both of Harry’s parents are dead? It would have spoiled the story (legolas)

I don't think Dumbledore should have told any of that to Harry (not at that point anyway) - not only because Harry was too young but also because of his promise to Snape. (It would have been better if Snape had wanted to tell Harry all that - maybe later - but Dumbledore could not have made that choice for him.) Oh, yes, and it would have spoiled the story.

But I still think this kind of explanation did harm in the way Mrs Brisbee explained it and it was not necessary. Harry could have understood simply that Snape's loathing of James made Snape treat Harry unfairly in class (etc.) but Snape did not want Harry dead (as I think Quirrell said) and would save him when his life was in danger. Harry would have understood that people are not simply black or white and the same person could do both bad things and good things and perhaps Harry could have put Snape's general treatment of him and his actions in a critical situation into different "boxes" in his mind. That would not have made Snape Harry's favourite teacher but I think it would have been a basic form of trust: perhaps Harry would have known how much bad and how much good he could expect from Snape and perhaps he would have known Snape was not out there to kill him later.

I agree that Dumbledore could not have done much to build real trust between these two people, most of it did not depend on him, but he could have done this much, so why telling Harry (almost) that Snape had now paid back a debt and that was all when he knew Snape had vowed to protect Harry as long as necessary? BTW, I think DD could know that Snape did not feel indebted to James for his life. He knew Snape rather well at this point. This was the same Dumbledore who, on the hilltop, had shamed Snape into seeing that three lives were in danger not just one. On the hilltop, Dumbledore did not seem to think Snape was desperately trying to pay back a life-debt to James. If Dumbledore realized Snape did not feel he owed anything to James due to the Prank when James was in mortal danger, then what would have made Dumbledore believe Snape thought he was indebted at all? Dumbledore knew very well why Snape was protecting Harry and I see no point in giving a false reason for it even if he could not tell the real one (especially after promising that he would rather not answer than lie). The explanation did not help Harry much anyway:

Harry tried to understand this but it made his head pound, so he stopped.

Of course, I see JKR's point. Readers, who have no idea yet about the real depth and complexity of the Snape character, may at this point find it intriguing that someone would be so determined to protect his dead enemy's son just so he could go back to hating his memory in peace. ... in peace! How could DD use this phrase with reference to Snape?


Julia H. - Oct 22, 2008 4:25 am (#869 of 925)

I wonder if Snape was some sort of special project for Dumbledore? Dumbledore puts a lot of effort into Snape, and indulges Snape's desire to not to have to explain his actions or why he should be trusted to anyone else, including those he has directly wronged. (Mrs Brisbee)

It is a good question. I wonder that, too, and I think he probably was though perhaps my interpretation of the "special project" is different from yours. I am thinking about factors like DD's own mistake in his youth and his lasting guilt about it (he may have seen the similarity with Snape, which may have made Snape special to him); the fact that Snape personally had sought DD's help to put it right what he had done wrong and practically had given himself up to him; that by vouching for Snape and by single-handedly giving him a second chance, DD took moral responsibility for Snape so he "had to" guide him and protect him, which then resulted in a father-and-son relationship between them - at least I think Snape came to regard DD as his "true" father (as opposed to the "real" one) and he probably needed a father figure he could respect. (I have often noted that fathers are often at the roots of problems in HP. Both Snape and DD had disturbing pictures of their fathers though in different ways.) I also like to suspect that DD intended for some kind of reconciliation between Snape and Harry, eventually, though he could not do much about it during the seven years of the books.

Mrs Brisbee, I think I'll take this to the Snape thread.


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 22, 2008 6:02 am (#870 of 925)

Julia, I don't think we are too far off in our assessment of what motivated Dumbledore to take such a deep interest in Snape. Because of his past, and his dealings with Grindelwald and the young Tom Riddle, I think Dumbledore loved the chance to groom someone away from the Dark Side, and into a key fighter. I still think the Snape/Harry interaction was mostly for Snape's benefit. Dumbledore seems to be testing Snape, pushing him forward.

I don't think Dumbledore knows what yet to expect from Harry, until the end, and then he is quite pleased at the mettle and skill Harry showed. There is the Prophecy, and Dumbledore's guess that Harry has a piece of Voldemort's soul and must therefore die so Voldemort can be destroyed, but he doesn't know until the end of PS/SS just what kind of player Harry will be.

Dumbledore seems to hone in on individuals, and put his stock in that one person he thinks can do the job (doesn't he even say in HBP that it takes an individual to overthrow a tyrant? I should look that up). Looking at it all now that the series is done, I don't think Dumbledore was very good at organizing his many loyal followers into a cohesive group, and using that strength.


wynnleaf - Oct 22, 2008 7:43 am (#871 of 925)

I was looking back at comments about Dumbledore's "omission" in not telling Harry about Snape's motivations. While DD couldn't tell Harry Snape's true motivations, because of his promise to Snape, that does not necessitate him telling Harry what he did. Harry is not the only student that Snape works to protect or help during the series and DD could easily have simply told Harry that Snape, as a teacher at the school, was protecting Harry as he might any student. DD did not need to go into a version of the Life Debt and Prank excuse which probably had little to nothing to do with Snape's motivations and, in any case, did not agree with Snape's own view of James' rescue attempt.

Dumbledore tells Harry Snape saved him because James saved Snape. TOTAL LIE. But we believed it for a long time. We judged Snape, at lest in part, based upon Dumbledore's lie. (Soul Search)

This is important because the readers and Harry are given this view that Snape was only interested in protecting a student if he "owed" something to that student that he was forced to repay. And of course, that's not true.

I'm not sure that Snape actually viewed himself as having a life debt to James, since he thought James' motivation was to save his friends from getting into deep trouble, rather than to save Snape.

But however he viewed it, we know that it wasn't his reason for protecting Harry. Of course, DD couldn't say what the real reason was, but since we also know that Snape helped or protected other students and adults as well, DD did not have to blame Snape's willingness to help a student on a need to pay back a one-time debt. This implies that were it not for that debt, Snape was the type of person who'd have just as soon allowed a student to die.

Certainly we know that 10 years previously Snape wasn't motivated by concern over the safety of a baby, but we also know that by the time of Harry's life at Hogwarts, Snape was motivated to save or protect others.

As for DD's interest in Snape, I agree that DD seems to hone in on Snape, and as Julia points out, DD has a responsibility for Snape after have vouched for him and put him in a place of authority at Hogwarts. But I don't think DD is good at seeing the interactions of those under his authority and understanding how to deal with their relationships. What he said to Harry at the end of PS would only increase Harry's bad opinion of Snape, and there are other times where I just don't think DD "got it" regarding the Harry and Snape dynamic.


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 22, 2008 8:03 am (#872 of 925)

But however he viewed it, we know that it wasn't his reason for protecting Harry. Of course, DD couldn't say what the real reason was, but since we also know that Snape helped or protected other students and adults as well, DD did not have to blame Snape's willingness to help a student on a need to pay back a one-time debt. This implies that were it not for that debt, Snape was the type of person who'd have just as soon allowed a student to die.

Certainly we know that 10 years previously Snape wasn't motivated by concern over the safety of a baby, but we also know that by the time of Harry's life at Hogwarts, Snape was motivated to save or protect others.-- wynnleaf

I'm not sure we do know that, or that Dumbledore knew that Snape would risk anything to save or protect anyone not Lily-related at this point. We know that years from now Snape will, but at this point how has Snape's morals been shown or tested?

As far as I'm concerned what Dumbledore said was a lie, and it didn't help build any trust, but it may of been an accurate presentation of Snape's viewpoint on what he owed (just Harry, and only because he had a debt) at that particular time. I don't think he saw beyond Lily, and I do question whether he would have taken a risk to help just any student. In later years Snape will have evolved and will protect other students, but I don't see that we know he is like that now.


rambkowalczyk - Oct 22, 2008 8:49 am (#873 of 925)

I think we need to go back to the original conversation.

And there's something else..."

Fire away.

Quirrell said Snape--

Professor Snape, Harry.

Note that it was ok for Harry to say Quirrell but not Snape. (I also think that if Harry said Flitwick without the professor, Dumbledore wouldn't bother to correct him.) It implies that Dumbledore holds Snape in high regard and expects Harry to do so as well. Dumbledore knows what kind of a teacher Snape is, knows how bitter Snape is and how he takes it out on students and in spite of this he wants Harry to treat Snape with respect.

Yes, him--Quirrell said he hates me because he hated my father. Is that true?

Again, Dumbledore doesn't correct Harry about how he addressed Quirrell.

"Well, they did rather detest each other. Not unlike yourself and Mr. Malfoy.

Dumbledore may not know about the events that lead Lily to permanently break it off with Snape but he must have realized that the intensity of Snape's hatred for James had a lot to do with the fact that both boys wanted Lily's approval and affection. Since he promised Snape that he would not reveal any of this (and I don't think an 11 year old boy needs to know this) he could only describe the rivalry in more simpler terms. --like that of Harry and Draco.

Dumbledore isn't lying here. The relationship between Harry and Draco are similar to that of Snape and James. Both rivalries started with something small and steadily escalated. If Harry and Draco happened to fall in love with the same girl, history could have repeated itself.

And then, your father did something that Snape could never forgive."" "

Note Dumbledore says Snape not Professor Snape. This may be an unconscious disapproval of Snape's inability to forgive.

This statement is also true. Snape didn't forgive James for saving him. Does it really matter that James had multiple motives for doing what he did? James did the right thing. He saw that what Sirius did not only put Snape's life in danger but also Lupin's. At risk to his own life (we'll assume he didn't become a stag because no one knew he was an Animagus) he did something about it.

Snape had a choice. He could have chosen to believe that James made decision to correct a bad one or remain bitter for the rest of his life. James' action could have been a turning point for Snape because if he could have acknowledge James action as at least an improvement over his previous behavior they might have been able to hate each other less. (There would still be the Lily rivalry).

When Snape came to Dumbledore, Dumbledore had to forgive Snape for giving the prophecy to Voldemort. Dumbledore had to forgive himself for his part that lead to his sister's death. Maybe he wants Harry to know that something might happen between him and Draco and that forgiveness is necessary.

What!

He saved his life.

What?

..."Funny, the way people's minds work, isn't it? Professor Snape couldn't bear being in your father's debt..."

Now it's 'Professor Snape' so I think this sentence is true. He couldn't stand being in James debt. Not that he necessarily was in James debt since Snape felt that James acted ignobly. What Dumbledore couldn't say was that he owed a debt to Lily and when he couldn't save Lily he agreed to transfer this debt to Harry because he knew Lily loved her son. But the truth was Snape felt he had a debt to pay and was honor bound to see it through.

I do believe he worked so hard to protect you this year because he felt that would make him and your father even.

What Dumbledore doesn't say is "make him and your father even (or equal) in Lily's eyes." Snape recognizes that Lily chose James because James changed in a positive way for her and he didn't.

then he could go back to hating your father's memory in peace...

again showing Snape's inability or difficulty in forgiveness.


Soul Search - Oct 22, 2008 11:49 am (#874 of 925)

Good step-by-step analysis, rambkowalczyk.

Also interesting how the use of the honorific "Professor" plays a role in the discussion. Through out the series Harry continues to show disrespect for Snape by not using "Professor" and Dumbledore continues to correct him. Certainly through HBP. Does Dumbledore correct Harry in King's Cross? I can't recall. Was Snape even mentioned? Anyway, the use of "Professor" later becomes "I trust Severus Snape," another continuing theme.

I do believe he worked so hard to protect you this year because he felt that would make him and your father even.

Did Snape really work all that hard to protect Harry? We saw the Quidditch scene, but what else? Snape did "keep an eye on" Quirrell, but was that just for Harry? I think he also kept an eye on Harry; at least he seemed to be around enough to inconvenience Harry's attempt to get through Fluffy's door.

I guess the remaining question is why did Dumbledore even bring up the prank, since he couldn't reveal the truth about why Snape would protect Harry? It does, sort of, introduce James and establishes that James and Snape were at Hogwarts at the same time. No mention of Lily, Sirius, Lupin, or Pettigrew, though. It looks to me that JKR just wanted to provide some background for PoA.


Julia H. - Oct 22, 2008 12:47 pm (#875 of 925)

I do believe he worked so hard to protect you this year because he felt that would make him and your father even.

What Dumbledore doesn't say is "make him and your father even (or equal) in Lily's eyes." Snape recognizes that Lily chose James because James changed in a positive way for her and he didn't. (Ramb)

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that though Dumbledore mentions the prank and that Snape hated the idea of being indebted to James, he does not say Snape wanted to be "even with James" in the sense of saving Harry's life in return for James saving his but "even" as someone who also changed for the better for Lily's sake. (Is that what you mean?) Dumbledore pronounces two different true statements without actively making a (false) connection between them, while Harry (and the reader) certainly will make that connection. Hah! That would be worthy of Iago - appearing to say something without actually saying it! (Of course, we all know Dumbledore is very clever. ) Interesting analysis, BTW.

I still think the Snape/Harry interaction was mostly for Snape's benefit. Dumbledore seems to be testing Snape, pushing him forward. (Mrs Brisbee)

That's a thought provoking idea. I agree that to save Snape's soul (and maybe his life, since Snape appears to be suicidal after Lily's death), Dumbledore had to give him a purpose, a task that was meaningful to him and that pushed him forward. But I also think that Dumbledore thought that he was securing an able and absolutely dedicated protector for Harry. (The PS year may still be a testing year though.) Dumbledore will give Snape more and more tasks and increasingly difficult ones - I don't think he would do that if he did not think Snape was up to these jobs. The "mostly" part of your observation seems to suggest that Snape was practically more important to Dumbledore than Harry. While I would not mind it if it was so (), I don't find it probable at all. Dumbledore's main goal is to defeat Voldemort and Harry is the key figure in that fight. I don't think he would risk that goal by choosing Harry's most important protector mainly for the protector's sake. Besides, Dumbledore seems to be personally attached to Harry from the beginning. But I agree that Dumbledore did want to give Snape the opportunity to change and to improve and to prove himself.

In later years Snape will have evolved and will protect other students, but I don't see that we know he is like that now.

Good point. But Snape has been a teacher at Hogwarts for ten years now. As Ramb points out, Dumbledore insists on Harry giving some respect to Snape, and perhaps that indicates Dumbledore's opinion of Snape - the opinion that developed during those ten years. While we can't know anything for sure at this point, as early as in the next book, Snape appears to be at least a responsible member of the Hogwarts teaching staff - he responsibly and dutifully participates in protecting the students and he also takes charge responsibly when an "accident" occurs in his class (thanks to Harry). It is not the same as actually saving students' lives but certainly some indication that Snape already takes the safety of students in general seriously. And Dumbledore may know more about that.

Did Snape really work all that hard to protect Harry? (Soul Search)

Well, if Dumbledore says so...

There were two Quidditch scenes, not only one, in which Snape worked hard to protect Harry. There is also the information that Snape seemed to be following Harry because Harry kept running into him wherever he went. Snape probably was following him and that is in itself a lot of work even if not as spectacular as the Quidditch scene. Then we also know he told Filch to alert him if he noticed anyone walking about at night. That may have been because of Quirrell in the first place but Snape may have thought of Harry as well.



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Series Read-Along - HP and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter Seventeen Comments - posts #876 to #900

Post  Potteraholic on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:20 pm



freshwater - Oct 22, 2008 1:53 pm (#876 of 925)

Legolas returns, your points in post 866 were excellent and well stated! Thanks!

Does anyone recall DD saying something like, "The truth is a dangerous thing and must be treated with caution" ? This is certainly not an exact quote, but I have this notion that DD said something like this to Harry at some point.....?


rambkowalczyk - Oct 22, 2008 3:17 pm (#877 of 925)

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that though Dumbledore mentions the prank and that Snape hated the idea of being indebted to James, he does not say Snape wanted to be "even with James" in the sense of saving Harry's life in return for James saving his but "even" as someone who also changed for the better for Lily's sake. (Is that what you mean?)

yes, I have no idea if this was JKR's intent though.


Ana Cis - Oct 22, 2008 6:17 pm (#878 of 925)

This more of a technical point as to the reason that DD didn't lie to Harry this time, although, tends to keep truth close to his chest in most cases.

One thing I’ve learned through all the years of researching the books for symbolic meaning is that Jo is very particular and intentional in her wording. Harry asked Dumbledore specifically if it was true that Snape hated his father. Dumbledore was completely honest when he that “they detested each other” just as Draco and Harry did. It’s was also completely true that James did save Snape life and that Snape could never forgive James. This was confirmed twice PoA; Snape never forgave James because he always believed, and refused to think otherwise, that James was in on Sirius' scheme to have Lupin (as a werewolf) hurt/kill Snape. Jo writes that Dumbledore believed Snape was in James debt. This is an opinion, not a fact. At this time, DD really did think this. Whether he was correct, we never get find out. However, if he was wrong, it does not mean he lied.

Additionally, as far as lying to McGonagall, remember that there’s a spy who had just betrayed the Potters. Dumbledore didn’t know who the person was; it really seems that the only one he could trust was Hagrid (since as spells don’t work on him being a half-giant and all). McGonagall is good, but she’s human, no match for Voldemort, and therefore vulnerable. If I was in Dumbledore’s shoes, I would have lied to her also. This was a time when Voldemort, at height of his power, could use Legilimens, the imperious curse on anyone, or convert anyone through torture and fear. Dumbledore couldn’t take the chance, and didn’t know if Voldemort had been significantly weakened. It wasn’t until Harry gave him the diary in CoS, that he began to suspect that Voldemort may have created more than one Horcrux, and it wasn’t until he got Slughorn’s memories in HBP that his theories were confirmed.

With such a powerful and deceitful Wizard, you bet I’d be lying, just a Harry did with Quirrell and the Sorcerer Stone.

Ana Cis


freshwater - Oct 22, 2008 6:36 pm (#879 of 925)

With such a powerful and deceitful Wizard, you bet I’d be lying..."--Ana Cis

With such a powerful, deceitful, remorseless and self-serving wizard as LV, it only makes sense for DD to be discreet, cautious and to choose his words very carefully, no matter the person to whom he is speaking.


Julia H. - Oct 22, 2008 10:16 pm (#880 of 925)

Dumbledore does not say he believes Snape is indebted to James. If he said that, I'd find no reason to think he is lying.(It is interesting Dumbledore does not mention Snape's debt to James on the hilltop although there would be a reason to remind him if Dumbledore wanted.) What he says is this:

I do believe he worked so hard to protect you this year because he felt that would make him and your father even.

I think even if Dumbledore himself thinks Snape is indebted to James, he knows the real reason why Snape worked so hard to protect Harry and he can probably realize that Snape does not feel he is indebted to James (hilltop) so this sentence cannot be true (regarding Snape's reason to protect Harry or what Dumbledore believes about it) unless the way Ramb interpreted it. But I agree with everyone who says Dumbledore has a reason when he lies directly or by omission and his intentions are good. (The results are not always the best.)

Another thing that strikes me is this: Dumbledore says:

Professor Snape couldn't bear being in your father's debt....

This reminds me of something Snape says:

"But never --- never tell, Dumbledore! This must be between us! Swear it! I cannot bear - especially Potter’s son - I want your word!”

It may or may not be so but perhaps Dumbledore uses the phrase couldn't bear"" because he remembers Snape's exact words that he couldn't bear it if Potter's son knew - and Potter's son is there now, asking him about Snape, and perhaps that is what makes Dumbledore think that giving Harry some kind of explanation will be the best way to keep Snape's true motivation a secret. "


Julia H. - Oct 22, 2008 10:49 pm (#881 of 925)

It is just sad that what comes across is that Snape is protecting Harry due to hatred (towards James) when in fact his actions now are motivated by love (for Lily).


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 23, 2008 6:28 am (#882 of 925)

The biggest problem is that Snape doesn't want to have to explain himself at all. He doesn't want his love of Lily out there at all, and he himself tears down Dumbledore's debt-to-James explanation in PoA. Which leaves Harry with nothing.


Quinn Crockett - Oct 23, 2008 11:26 am (#883 of 925)

Yeah, Snape wants it both ways. He wants respect and admiration, but he doesn't want anyone to know about anything he might do that might actually earn it.

Dumbledore is in a very tricky position here. He has promised both not to reveal Snape's precious little secret, but also not to lie to Harry. Whose information takes precedence? Harry's right to know the truth about his parents and the "it's only a matter of time" death sentence he's being force to live under? Or Snape, with his "Please, please, please don't tell anyone that I'm really a sentimental idiot?"

Dumbledore had a very, VERY fine line to walk there and he managed well enough to appease both interests.


Steve Newton - Oct 23, 2008 12:43 pm (#884 of 925)

I think that we are dealing with issues that are not resolved in SS/PS.

Perhaps we should start on the Chamber of Secrets and see what answers we find there.


Julia H. - Oct 23, 2008 12:45 pm (#885 of 925)

Dumbledore could have told Harry a lot about his parents without mentioning Snape's secret, for which Harry would have been too young anyway at this point. (Actually, there was a lot that Dumbledore did not tell Harry about his parents even though he could have told him.) But telling Harry that Snape was protecting him because he hated his father so much had nothing to do with Harry's right to know the truth about his parents, and it was not, strictly speaking, necessary (Dumbledore could have kept his promise to Snape without it), and it was harmful.

He wants respect and admiration, but he doesn't want anyone to know about anything he might do that might actually earn it. (Quinn)

It is because "the best of Snape" (as Dumbledore puts it) is so close to the worst of him and he cannot reveal one without the other.

EDIT: Cross-posted with Steve!

Perhaps we should start on the Chamber of Secrets and see what answers we find there.

OK, is it going to be a different thread or shall we continue this one?


Steve Newton - Oct 23, 2008 1:55 pm (#886 of 925)

Since your post was 885 I'm thinking that we are already getting pretty well along. Another thread would seem best to me.


Quinn Crockett - Oct 23, 2008 4:08 pm (#887 of 925)

But telling Harry that Snape was protecting him because he hated his father so much had nothing to do with Harry's right to know the truth about his parents, and it was not, strictly speaking, necessary

Ah. See, here we have a slight discrepancy of semantics. You are saying Dumbledore is telling Harry that Snape protected him because he hated his father, whereas I agree with the interpretation that Dumbledore is saying Snape protected Harry in spite of hating his father. I also agree that Dumbledore's suggestion that Snape's protection was "...because he felt that would make him and your father even" is indeed missing the critical element "in your mother's eyes."

Harry asked Dumbledore a direct question: "Quirrell said that [Snape] hated my father. Is that true?" Dumbledore answered in the way he felt appropriate.


Ana Cis - Oct 23, 2008 6:03 pm (#888 of 925)

Oops! My mistake Julia, thanks for helping clarify my point. One would think I would get the correct quote. That’ll teach me not to post after a long day at work; my tired brain gets all scrambled. Thankfully, I got the point across that Dumbledore statement was an opinion vs. a fact.

Well... at least my mistake helped me notice that Harry, showing his bias, misquoted Quirrell: "Quirrell said that [Snape] hated my father. Is that true?"

When he actually said: ““.. He was at Hogwarts with your father, didn't you know? They loathed each other “.”

Harry only notes Snape’s hate while ignoring his father’s feelings. Written in the third person, limited omniscient view, Jo fooled me into taking Harry’s side without noting his emotional bias. I never asked myself: what is James' part in this relationship. Then I automatically took in Dumbledore’s opinion as a fact, exonerating James of all blame. It’s interesting to find out now, that I know most of the story, how I internalized Harry’s attitude, thereby becoming prejudiced against Snape. Jo’s good at messing with my mind.

...Glad to start CoS when you are.

Ana Cis


freshwater - Oct 23, 2008 6:09 pm (#889 of 925)

I'll post a new thread for Cos...

Are there any volunteers to facilitate chapters in CoS?

I'll take chapters 1-3 to get us started.


wynnleaf - Oct 23, 2008 6:28 pm (#890 of 925)

I'm looking forward to CoS. Hope I get to take part a little more. I just moved and I'm job hunting. Too little time.


Quinn Crockett - Oct 23, 2008 9:15 pm (#891 of 925)

Well... at least my mistake helped me notice that Harry, showing his bias, misquoted Quirrell: "Quirrell said that [Snape] hated my father. Is that true?"

When he actually said: ““.. He was at Hogwarts with your father, didn't you know? They loathed each other “.”

Yes, but Snape is alive and well and actively spiteful toward Harry. His father, on the other hand, is dead and Harry has, up to this point, heard only good things said of him by the people who actually knew him. Of course he would be biased about his father.


Julia H. - Oct 23, 2008 10:07 pm (#892 of 925)

You are saying Dumbledore is telling Harry that Snape protected him because he hated his father, whereas I agree with the interpretation that Dumbledore is saying Snape protected Harry in spite of hating his father. (Quinn)

I see. Indeed if I interpreted it as in spite of, I would think DD's words were quite true and not at all harmful... What makes me think of because is this:

Professor Snape couldn't bear being in your father's debt.... Then he could go back to hating your father's memory in peace....

Yes, the "in your mother's eyes" element would make the statement true but that is of course the forbidden part. Words can be tricky. As it is stated here, "even" decidedly seems to be referring to paying back a life-debt - and Dumbledore knows it.

Ana Cis, interesting point about Harry's change of words: What he repeats to Dumbledore is not Quirrell's exact words but his own interpretation of them. (I think it is quite realistic: We probably do that all the time when we say what someone else has said to us.)

It is absolutely understandable that Harry is biased about his father. The trick is that the reader gets biased, too.


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 24, 2008 6:48 am (#893 of 925)

I'm not so sure that was so much bias as Harry trying to get to the bottom of Snape's feelings. (... Quirrell said he hates me because he hated my father. Is that true?") Harry's has to deal with how Snape feels, not James, so I find his question directly to the point.

As a reader, I don't think it lead to me being biased in any particular way, because I understand why Harry would ask the question in such a way. But I can't speak for all readers, or what sort of conclusions they draw. I'm actually not following the argument on how it tricks the reader into bias. but then my brain's often off on another page anyway.

I wanted to check in on the themes we wanted to follow in the read along, but have to go do something else now. Later!


Mrs Brisbee - Nov 7, 2008 11:03 am (#894 of 925)

I know this is late, but I wanted to tie something in to the epigraphs of Book 7, which are about accepting a place for both life and death. My theory has been that Snape is the character that doesn't accept life, Dumbledore doesn't accept death, Voldemort never learns to accept either, and Harry learns to accept both and moves on with his life.

Harry's story has only just begun, and the journey will be detailed in depth over the series. Dumbledore remains ambiguous in this book, except for the enticing hint about the Mirror of Erised. Voldemort is plainly a mess, not able to live or die properly. We do get a metaphorical clue about Snape. I know this has been brought up numerous times over the years, but I want to connect it to the final book. Asphodel is lily, wormwood is bitterness, combine them and you have Draught of Living Death. Now who is the best in the world at making Draught of Living Death, so good he's turned it into an art form? Why, the Half-Blood Prince-- in other words, Snape. If that's not a metaphorical clue, I don't know what is!


Julia H. - Nov 7, 2008 11:36 am (#895 of 925)

Interesting.


freshwater - Nov 7, 2008 8:50 pm (#896 of 925)

Very interesting ideas, Mrs. B! I particularly like the bit about the Draught of Living Death being made from "lily" and "bitterness".

My theory has been that Snape is the character that doesn't accept life, Dumbledore doesn't accept death, Voldemort never learns to accept either, and Harry learns to accept both and moves on with his life.--Mrs. Brisbee

I can see that Snape does not accept life --as it has been ordered for him--, but I am confused as to why you say that DD "doesn't accept death". He directed Snape to kill him, months in advance of the actual event, and made no attempt to prevent his own death when the time came, but stood there and calmly took the A.K. Or....did you mean it in the sense that DD did not accept Death's tyranny?

It makes sense to me to say that Voldemort never was able to accept either life or death, or to cope with either of them successfully. And I do agree that one of the major themes of the series is that Harry comes to a point of accepting both the life he has been given/dealt and the (apparent) death he must endure....and so is ultimately able to move on into a full, actualized life.


Solitaire - Nov 7, 2008 9:03 pm (#897 of 925)

Asphodel is lily, wormwood is bitterness, combine them and you have Draught of Living Death.

Interesting. Snape's life is a kind of "living death." He is carrying on, but he doesn't really seem to live, to enjoy life. Good point, Mrs. B.


Julia H. - Nov 8, 2008 1:36 am (#898 of 925)

No, Snape's life is not real life. His cold eyes also indicate that. Yet, his job is to protect lives. I sometimes think he can be compared to these stones which are cold and hard and lifeless, yet help preserve life for the living. The Philosopher's Stone can give you eternal life. The Resurrection Stone brings the dead back - not to life but to a connection with the living. Another stone, the bezoar (first mentioned together with the Draught of Living Death), protects people against poisons, i.e., against death. Snape is like another one of these stones: Nothing can make him alive again but he can save other people's lives - and he is sacrificed in the process. He is also very much like the second brother in The Tale of the Three Brothers, engaged in a desperate fight with Death for someone who has already been taken by Death until he himself dies and then he finds her in death.


Solitaire - Nov 8, 2008 3:29 am (#899 of 925)

He is definitely a "dead man walking" from the time he agrees to AK Dumbledore.


legolas returns - Nov 8, 2008 4:25 am (#900 of 925)

I think that it was possibly as early as when he first saw Dumbledore on the hillside that he became "dead man walking". If he hadn't chosen that path perhaps he would have been killed at another time.



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Series Read-Along - HP and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter Seventeen Comments - posts #901 to #925

Post  Potteraholic on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:22 pm



Sinistra - Nov 8, 2008 10:31 am (#901 of 925)

I like Mrs Brisbee's theory about the Snape-Draught of Living Death connection. It does really fit Snape's life.

Interestingly, he first mentions the main ingredients of this potion during Harry's first class, he asks Harry about them. I don't think it's just a coincidence.


Mrs Brisbee - Nov 8, 2008 10:55 am (#902 of 925)

Thanks. I would like to say again that others have made the same observation several times over the years, but I've never seen anything tying it together with the DH epigraphs. Draught of Living Death is the Chekov's gun that never fires. It keeps cropping up, but it never figures into the plot. I can only conclude that it there for a significant metaphorical reason.

My thoughts on Dumbledore and his inability to properly die can be found here. I don't think I can tie it into PS/SS, because Dumbledore remains mysterious until DH.


Solitaire - Nov 8, 2008 1:21 pm (#903 of 925)

Sinistra, I do not think any question or remark made by Snape to Harry is ever a coincidence ... do you? Snape really set the tone of his and Harry's relationship in that very encounter. As nosy as Snape is, I believe he not only knew Harry had no idea who he was (he knew Petunia well enough to know she would never have voluntarily told him), but he also had a pretty good idea that Harry would not have been allowed to look at his books or learn anything about Hogwarts while staying at her house. Hence, he must have known that Harry could have no way of knowing the answers to the questions he was asking him. He purposely humiliated Harry.

Solitaire


freshwater - Nov 8, 2008 4:58 pm (#904 of 925)

Hence, he must have known that Harry could have no way of knowing the answers to the questions he was asking him. He purposely humiliated Harry.--Solitaire

Makes sense to me, Solitaire. The fact that Snape was facing off against the son of his life-long love and of his prime antagonist undoubtedly brought out the unconscious references to "lily" and "bitterness" in his questions.


Julia H. - Nov 8, 2008 5:05 pm (#905 of 925)

I don't know how much Snape can guess at this point that the Dursleys will not allow Harry to look at his books, but as a matter of fact, in the August before the PS school-year, they leave Harry alone (ignore him completely) and he actually looks at his books.

He had decided to call her Hedwig, a name he had found in A History of Magic. His schoolbooks were very interesting.

Of course, Harry doesn't learn them by heart. Earlier someone suggested that Snape might be looking for Lily in Harry during the first lesson. Certainly, it is not probable that Harry will know the answers to these questions unless he, like Lily, has a natural talent - and a corresponding interest - in Potions.

The Draught of Living Death may be there for metaphorical reasons - I'm glad it is never actually used. (It sounds similar to the substance Juliet drinks in Romeo and Juliet.) However, as a literary device, it is used in one more way: as a subtle hint in HBP at the relationship between Snape and the Half-Blood Prince. (Of course, it is a hint that the reader is not meant to notice. ) At the first Potions lesson, the Draught of Living Death, the bezoar and wolfsbane are mentioned. The Draught of Living Death and the bezoar are connected to the Prince in HBP. Wolfsbane is not, but it is also mentioned in that book - my guess is that it is not an accident. (Perhaps connecting wolfsbane to the Prince as well might make the connection between Snape and the Prince too obvious - especially that Wolfsbane Potion is actually made by Snape in PoA - yet JKR makes sure to bring wolfsbane up again in HBP, where the other two things are mentioned, too.)

A few more points about asphodel and wormwood: Asphodel in Greek mythology is connected with the dead and with graves and with Hades (Meadow of Asphodel). Wormwood, while extremely bitter, has considerable medicinal effects (healing powers?).


Solitaire - Nov 8, 2008 8:29 pm (#906 of 925)

I thought Uncle Vernon usually locked up Harry's things. Sorry. I still think Snape made a conscious effort to embarrass Harry.


Dryleaves - Nov 9, 2008 7:32 am (#907 of 925)

I think he did too. Even if some students laugh, I do not think any of them were supposed to know the answers to Snape's questions. Hermione does, of course, but Snape is not interested in her answers, he is interested in Harry's lack of them. I think Snape has dreaded this moment and that he tries to get in control by treating Harry this way.


Solitaire - Nov 9, 2008 3:45 pm (#908 of 925)

Interesting thought, Dryleaves. I'm sure he probably was dreading the moment Harry arrived at Hogwarts. It makes one wonder, though ... what if Harry had looked like Lily instead of James, with her red hair? Would Snape have treated him differently?


mona amon - Nov 9, 2008 9:40 pm (#909 of 925)

I think he would have. Since his hatred of Harry was irrational in the first place, some such irrational reason could have made a difference in his attitude.

I think Snape has dreaded this moment and that he tries to get in control by treating Harry this way.

Wow, Dryleaves, you've read Snape like a book! Now I feel it must have been exactly like that.

Brilliant thoughts, Mrs. Brisbee, in post#892 and in the post you linked us to. I agree that Snape doesn't accept life, but Dumbledore not accepting death is a lot more problematic.

Voldemort has sought to conquer death by controlling of it: Finding immortality for himself, and wanting to kill others or not as the whim takes him, imagining himself to have the final right over life and death.

Dumbledore’s failure is more subtle; he wants the dead to come to him, arise from some external source. So he puts on the ring containing the Resurrection Stone, which would have brought back those at peace...

...Dumbledore also seems to have a hard time accepting that after he is dead, those he leaves behind will be able to find him within themselves. Instead, he tries to maintain an external presence. He withholds information from the living, and he attempts to keep control of his plots even after his death. If he could trust that people could grow and learn from his wisdom, it wouldn't be necessary. (Mrs. Brisbee, #84, DH General Discussion thread)

I'll have to read the relevant portions of DH before I can answer properly, but I never felt that Dumbledore's obsession with the Hallows and the Resurrection Stone in particular had anything to do with his attitude towards death. I think his fascination with the Hallows was primarily intellectual, (I believe the same about Snape's fascination with the Dark Arts). As a brilliant teenager, he finally meets another like him, falls head over heels in love and is unduly influenced by the other's dazzling ideas. Nothing that we learn about Dumbledore in the books supports the idea that he really wanted to be Master of Death. He does try to bring Arianna back from the dead, but that is more to do with unresolved feelings of extreme guilt than with anything else. He probably never really loved her, he definitely resented her (if I were in Dumbledore's position I'm sure I'd have felt the same), and knows that he has failed in his duty to her. His rash attempt to bring her back with the Resurrection Stone is, I feel, nothing but a desperate attempt to magically resolve something that he was unable to do emotionally.

In certain ways I think he has the same problem as Snape, the inability to move on. We get a rather false picture of him, in this book in particular. His interest in Tenpin Bowling and Chamber Music and especially his twinkling blue eyes as opposed to Snape's empty tunnels give us the impression that he was somehow much better at 'living' than Snape. But behind the facade he was probably quite as lonely, and had just as much trouble accepting life.

As for his wanting to maintain an external presence instead of peacefully giving up the ghost, he felt, rightly or wrongly, that only his continued presence in some form would ensure the proper working of his plan. Or is that the real difficulty in accepting death anyway?(I think I've just confused myself, lol) What I mean is, if there had been no war and no need for master plans, he would have gone quite happily on to the Next Great Adventure.


freshwater - Nov 9, 2008 9:55 pm (#910 of 925)

His interest in Tenpin Bowling and Chamber Music and especially his twinkling blue eyes as opposed to Snape's empty tunnels give us the impression that he was somehow much better at 'living' than Snape. But behind the facade he was probably quite as lonely, and had just as much trouble accepting life.-- mona amon

Wow, mona, very interesting points! But I'm inclined to change your statement slightly to: Despite the fact that, "behind the facade he was probably quite as lonely, and had just as much trouble accepting life" (as Snape), DD "was somehow much better at 'living' than Snape." I think both statements are true, and are reflective of each other.


Julia H. - Nov 9, 2008 11:18 pm (#911 of 925)

I agree that Snape must have dreaded the moment he would first have to see Harry - and he had ten years to think about it. By the time Harry did arrive, he had probably been full of the Harry Potter of his own (nightmarish) imagination. He knew all the time that Harry had Lily's eyes but he can't have known how much Harry would look like James at least until late summer when he could have heard it from Hagrid (although we don't know if he did). It is hard to tell how he would have reacted if Harry had looked more like Lily. He would probably have reacted in a different way but I'm not sure it would have been easier for him.

It is also absolutely probable that Snape wanted to get in control by treating Harry the way he did. He had to handle the situation (emotionally) somehow because he had to keep functioning (both as a teacher and as Harry's protector) despite Harry Potter's continued presence in the school and this is how he managed.

Very interesting thoughts, Mona, and very convincing to me! There is one thing though: I have always thought that Dumbledore truly loved Ariana, although he may not have been able to convey that properly to her - he may have been too intellectual for that - and he probably only understood what she had meant to him when she was already dead. It is very sad but Dumbledore would not be the first one to make that mistake. But then again, who knows?


rcs - Nov 10, 2008 4:18 am (#912 of 925)

By the way, one thing I have always believed about Dumbledore was that it really was Dumbledore's curse that killed Ariana. I also think that DD knew this for certain ever since he dueled with Grindelwald. My theory is that Grindelwald's revenge for having been beaten was to tell DD the truth about who killed Ariana, thus saddling DD with the pain of this knowledge for the rest of his life. This is hinted at when DD says he didn't want to face Grindelwald for fear of what he might find out about how Ariana died. Another hint is that JKR makes a point of telling us that Harry doesn't want to ask if DD ever found out who killed Ariana. I think that Dumbledore did find out the truth (which I believe to be that DD really did inadvertently kill his sister); that was the price he paid for defeating Grindelwald.

I'm curious what other people think of this theory.


Soul Search - Nov 10, 2008 8:27 am (#913 of 925)

I wonder if Dumbledore, or Aberforth for that matter, would have used a killing curse in the fight with Grindelwald. Reading the personalities, only Grindelwald might have resorted to a killing curse and even that is not likely; the fight didn't seem to be a "to the death" sort of thing. None sought the death of another.

Another consideration is a combination of curses killing Ariana. We have seen examples where multiple curses cause unexpected and more devastating effects. Could a non-killing curse from Dumbledore, combined with a curse from one of the others, have killed Ariana? This seems the more likely scenario.

So the question becomes could a curse from Dumbledore, inadvertently striking Ariana along with another curse from one of the others have killed her? If none of the combatants were using killing curses, then it had to be a combination of curses from two or all three of them that killed her. Then Dumbledore's participation in her death becomes very possible, even likely.

Then again, we must remember that Ariana was responsible for her mother's death. She was obviously very powerful and capable of killing accidently. She was excited by the duel and her own rebounding magic could very well have been the cause of her death.

I don't quite understand how Grindelwald could convince Dumbledore that Dumbledore was the cause of Ariana's death. They were all there. What could Grindelwald know that Dumbledore wouldn't? Would Dumbledore even believe Grindelwald?


Steve Newton - Nov 10, 2008 10:26 am (#914 of 925)

Odd comments from a ways back. Mrs. B mentioned how the Draft of Living Death seems to apply to Snape. Throughout the books, at least the earlier ones there is much bat imagery around him. Since there is also a mythical relationship between bats and vampires is this indicating that while Snape is not a vampire he is sort of the living dead. Have I watched too much of Buffy and Angel?


Orion - Nov 10, 2008 10:47 am (#915 of 925)

Yes.

DD was somehow much better at 'living' than Snape."" They were both rubbish at it. All those people who live in a cubicle in this cold heap of stone. That's not healthy. Neville sets a good example. The others are all neurotics.


Julia H. - Nov 10, 2008 12:11 pm (#916 of 925)

There are very few adults in the series whose lives we know and they are not full of serious psychological problems. A large part of it is due to the "negative energy" coming from guys like Grindelwald and Voldemort - but of course it is more complicated than that.


Thom Matheson - Apr 19, 2009 6:33 pm (#917 of 925)

I know that I should have jumped on this ages ago. But, there you go. In the sorting scene at the end, the narration says, Only three more to go. Then it names Turpin, Thomas, Weasley, and Zabini. That's 4 not 3. Did I misread that or is that an oops?


Solitaire - Apr 19, 2009 10:11 pm (#918 of 925)

My version, which is the dark blue Scholastic paperback version with gold lettering, says the following:

And now there were only four people left to be sorted. "Thomas, Dean," a black boy even taller than Ron, joined Harry at the Gryffindor table. "Turpin, Lisa," became a Ravenclaw and then it was Ron's turn. He was pale green by now. Harry crossed his fingers under the table and a second later the hat had shouted, "GRYFFINDOR!"

Perhaps mine is a newer edition.


Thom Matheson - Apr 20, 2009 8:06 pm (#919 of 925)

Maybe mine is a typo worth something.


Solitaire - Apr 20, 2009 9:37 pm (#920 of 925)

It could be, Thom ... particularly if it is a first edition. Is this a Scholastic version or a Bloomsbury version?


Thom Matheson - Apr 21, 2009 6:22 am (#921 of 925)

Scholastic


Madam Pince - May 3, 2009 7:30 am (#922 of 925)

Mine says the same thing as Thom's (and you're correct, Thom, it is wrong! Good catch! JKR and her "maths"... For some reason I think maybe I noticed that at one point, but I forgot it...):

And now there were only three people left to be sorted. "Thomas, Dean," a Black boy even taller than Ron, joined Harry at the Gryffindor table. "Turpin, Lisa," became a Ravenclaw and then it was Ron's turn. He was pale green by now. Harry crossed his fingers under the table and a second later the hat had shouted, "GRYFFINDOR!" Harry clapped loudly with the rest as Ron collapsed into the chair next to him. "Well done, Ron, excellent," said Percy Weasley pompously across Harry as "Zabini, Blaise," was made a Slytherin.

So if yours is worth something, mine is too! LOL! (Mine is a hardcover purple & red Scholastic edition with dark green endpapers and a dust jacket, that I think I got at our school's book fair last year, to replace a 'book club' edition that I used to have, so that all my HP books would be the same size on my bookshelf. ) The numbers in the front say "63 62 61 60 59 58 57 56" "0/0 01 02 03 04" "Printed in the USA 12" Doesn't that mean the 63rd printing, or something like that? Steve Newton might know... Seems like they should've caught an error like that before the 63rd printing, though...


mona amon - May 3, 2009 10:03 am (#923 of 925)

My Bloomsbury edition does not mention Dean Thomas's sorting at all.

And now there were only three people left to be sorted. "Turpin, Lisa," became a Ravenclaw and then it was Ron's turn. He was pale green by now. Harry crossed his fingers under the table and ... (The rest is the same as in Madam Pince's quote.)

So it was probably some editor's fault that the math was off, not JKR's.


Madam Pince - May 3, 2009 11:29 am (#924 of 925)

Isn't that an odd bit of editing? Why would they take out all mention of Dean Thomas instead of changing the "three" to a "four"? Hmmmmm.

Or maybe they added the Dean Thomas stuff later, so that we'd know that a) he's Black, and b) he's tall, and they forgot to change the "three" to a "four"?

Edit: Cross-post with Azi! Great minds think alike!


azi - May 3, 2009 11:31 am (#925 of 925)

Maybe the editors in the US wanted to introduce Dean Thomas during the sorting whereas the British editors weren't so fussed? Maybe they added him in but forgot to change the number of people.

Oh yes, I remember the Dean Thomas discussion before. I don't think there's any mention of his skin colour in the UK editions. Very little description at all, in my memory.

Edit - Yes, Madam P! I've been editing to add to what you've edited to add.




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Other read-along threads to follow...

Post  Potteraholic on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:52 pm

There will be 3 more read-along threads reposted in this one thread in the days and weeks to come: CoS, PoA, and GoF. They will be reposted following the same set-up as was used to repost PS/SS: a separate post for each chapter's notes/summary followed by posters' comments, in chunks of 20 to 50 posts.

Stay tuned!
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Series Read-Along - HP and the Chamber of Secrets

Post  Potteraholic on Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:36 pm


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. It was copied/saved by Julia H. and reformatted/reposted by Potteraholic. ~Potteraholic




Index of Links to Chapter Notes/Summaries   [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
(posters' comments follow each chapter summary)

Chapter One - [url=]The Worst Birthday[/url]
Chapter Two - [url=]Dobby's Warning[/url]
Chapter Three - [url=]The Burrow[/url]
Chapter Four - [url=]At Flourish and Blotts[/url]
Chapter Five - [url=]The Whomping Willow[/url]
Chapter Six - [url=]Gilderoy Lockhart [/url]
Chapter Seven - [url=]Mudbloods and Murmurs [/url]
Chapter Eight - [url=]The Deathday Party [/url]
Chapter Nine - [url=]The Writing on the Wall [/url]
Chapter Ten - [url=]The Rogue Bludger [/url]
Chapter Twelve - [url=]The Duelling Club [/url]
Chapter Thirteen - [url=]The Polyjuice Potion[/url]
Chapter Fourteen - [url=]The Very Secret Diary [/url]
Chapter Fifteen - [url=]Cornelius Fudge [/url]
Chapter Sixteen - [url=]Aragog [/url]
Chapter Seventeen - [url=]The Chamber of Secrets [/url]
Chapter Eighteen - [url=]The Heir of Slytherin [/url]
Chapter Ninteen - [url=]Dobby's Reward [/url]



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Series Read-Along - HP and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter One Notes/Summary - post #1

Post  Potteraholic on Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:07 pm



freshwater - Oct 23, 2008 6:13 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Oct 23, 2008 10:26 pm

I've volunteered to post chapter notes for the first three chapters of CoS, to get us rolling on the new book.....my lack of posting for the last few chapters of PS/SS left me feeling as though I wasn't pulling my weight! But...tonight is a school night, so I'll get notes on ch. 1 up (tomorrow) Friday evening.

If someone is eager to get started and wants to post before Friday evening, I won't be offended at all....go for it!


freshwater - Oct 24, 2008 10:18 pm (#1 of 702)

So...it's 11:57 p.m. where I live. Sorry for the delay. I didn't mean to take "Friday evening" so literally!

Chapter One - The Worst Birthday

--plenty of backstory notes from JKR, just in case the reader had never laid eyes on PS/SS....

--I think JKR may have overdone it a bit, while trying to cause the reader to feel for Harry:

1) p.3 "He missed Hogwarts so much it was like having a constant stomach ache."

2) p.4 "Harry looked nothing like the rest of the family."

3) p. 5 "...he was back at the Dursleys for the summer, back to being treated like a dog that had rolled in something smelly."

4) p. 5 the Dursleys are totally ignoring the fact that it is Harry's birthday

5) p. 6 the Dursleys rehearse for the business dinner, and Harry repeats 3 times(!!!): "I'll be in my bedroom,making no noise and pretending I'm not there."

6) p.7 "No cards, no presents, and he would be spending the evening pretending not to exsist."

7) p.7 "He had never felt so lonely....Harry missed his friends....They, however, didn't seem to miss him at all. Neither of them had written to him all summer."

8 ) p.8 "Harry kept waking in the night, drenched in cold sweat, wondering where Voldemort was now, remembering his livid face, his wide,mad eyes--"

9) p. 10 Petunia has Harry clean the windows, wash the car, mow the lawn, trim the flower beds, prune and water the roses, paint the garden bench and spread manure on the flowers....then feeds him a bare cheese sandwich for supper.

--in the midst of all this angst, Harry shows his indomitable spirit when Dudley tries to torment him (p. 9), suggesting that he might set the hedge on fire, and announcing fake magic words; both of which terrify Dudley.

--perhaps all this disdain and rejection is a foil for the exuberant devotion felt by the character introduced in ch. 2?

I've heard it said that book 1 has many parallels with book 7, and that book 2 has many parallels with book 6.....the only one I've noted so far is a bit of a stretch: Harry is surprised to see/meet Dobby at the Dursleys in CoS, and Harry is surprised to see DD at the Dursleys in HBP, despite the fact that the first was completely unannounced and that DD had written personally to tell Harry he was coming.



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