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Chess - Reflection or Projection?

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Chess - Reflection or Projection? Empty Chess - Reflection or Projection?

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 13, 2011 6:35 pm

"This topic is an archive of material orginally posted on the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum, hosted on WorldCrossing, which ceased operations on April 15, 2011"

Last edited by Lady Arabella on Fri May 13, 2011 7:00 pm; edited 2 times in total
Lady Arabella
Lady Arabella

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Join date : 2011-02-22
Location : Silicon Valley, CA

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Chess - Reflection or Projection? Empty Posts 1 to 25

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 13, 2011 6:45 pm

Chess-Reflection or Projection?
Steve Newton - Jul 9, 2005 9:21 am
Edited by Kip Carter Nov 17, 2005 6:54 pm

During the recent OOTP read along I posted this about chapter 38:

"Cho was passing, accompanied by Marietta Edgecombe, who was wearing a balaclava. His and Cho's eyes met for a moment. Cho blushed and kept walking. Harry looked back down at the chessboard just in time to see one of his pawns chased off its square by Ron's knight." Cho is the pawn? Ron said in SS, "I will be a knight." Harry was the bishop and Hermione was a castle. Who is playing the game???? Watch the chess games.

Mrs. Brisbee responded:

Cho must be the pawn. A pawn that makes it all the way across the board may be promoted to queen, but this pawn gets eliminated by Ron’s knight, and then Ron advances his queen against Harry’s rook. I’m not a ‘shipper, but it looks like Ron’s queen is Ginny, who he obviously wants to hook up with Harry. Does this mean that in future chess games the queen will always represent Ginny? Next time I read the books I am going to pay more attention to the chess games.

Nothing like having your ace trumped.

Anyway, I have thought that the chess references were important but I am not sure how. I had thought that they reflected the action going on in the book. I wonder, though, if they also foreshadow what is to come.

There was once a thread on chess that, as I remember it, suggested that Ron was Dumbledore. I think that JKR has pretty much shot this down

I had hoped to have reread all of the books by now in preparation for HBP. Alas, I have over estimated my ability to read. I was hoping to collect all of the chess references but have not yet had time.

What do folks think of the chess games in the books?
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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 9, 2005 10:27 am (#1 of 129)
Edited Jul 9, 2005 12:13 pm

The chess games I believe are a symbolic representation of the conflict between Harry and Voldemort in the second war and the Dumbledore and Voldemort in the first war.

If one looks at the first war with Voldemort as a chess game the result cound be considered a drawn game with neither side having sufficient material to checkmate.

If one looks at Harry's arrival at Hogwarts and the confrontations that occur at the end of PS as a chess match, these events could constitute the opening of a second chess match.

I would assert that CoS indicates the beginning of the middle game and that the middle game concludes in OotP. Also, it can be said that there are promotions that occur in some form or other in CoS (Hagrid) PoA (Sirius) GoF (Wormtail, and in some form Voldemort) and OotP (Neville, Ginny, Remus, Moody, and Bellatrix, Rookwood). In addition there also have been some notable captures Quirrell, Moody, Lucius Malfoy, Rookwood, and Sirius.

The end game I believe will begin with HBP and conclude with Voldemort being checkmated at the end of Book 7.
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Mrs Brisbee - Jul 10, 2005 5:03 am (#2 of 129)
Edited Jul 10, 2005 6:07 am

Let me see. The first reference to chess is in PS/SS at Christmas Ron plays with a hand-me-down set he is well familiar with: Ron knew them so well he never had trouble getting them to do what he wanted. (Ch12, "The Mirror of Erised")

Harry plays with a borrowed set, and the pieces don't "trust" his judgment.

This sort of reminds me of what happens at the end of GoF and all through OotP. Dumbledore states that only strong friendship and trust can defeat Voldemort's forces, but Fudge leads the Wizarding community into distrusting Dumbledore and Harry, and Harry begins to distrust Dumbledore too. Dumbledore's side becomes seriously weakened because of this.

Edit: I don't think I explained clearly what I mean and how it relates to chess, but can't think how to fix. I've had the flu over a week now and my brain is foggy.
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Steve Newton - Jul 10, 2005 9:40 am (#3 of 129)

Mrs. B., sorry about the flu thing. I haven't been tip top either so I have lots of sympathy.

Anyway, You brought up the chess in SS. Here are all of the chess references that I find in SS.

In chapter 12-The Mirror of Erised I see that Ron uses his grandfathers set and Harry uses Seamus'. Harry's don't trust him.

Harry gets his own chess set at the Christmas dinner. He promptly loses spectacularly to Ron. He blames Percy's help.

Ron asks Harry to play but Harry can only think of going back to the mirror.

Chapter 16-Through the Trapdoor

The big game. The trio are black chessmen. Harry a bishop. Hermione a castle (rook). Ron-"I am going to be a knight." Harry moves diagonally 4 squares to the right.

Hermione captures a bishop.

Ron darts around the board taking many pieces.

The white queen has a blank face.

Ron sacrifices himself. "I've got to be taken." "You've got to make some sacrifices."

Harry moves 3 spaces to the left.

To me Harry's moving seven spaces suggest the seven books. Ron's line about being a knight I find truly heroic. His comment about being taken is bothersome. Will he be imperioed at some point?
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Hollywand - Jul 10, 2005 3:54 pm (#4 of 129)

I always took Ron as the "Black Knight" to be a surrogate for Sirius Black. Sirius is killed by Bella, the blank faced white queen. The rook Hermione can be the castle, or is also a raven (claw), a reference to her intelligence and strategic importance to Hogwarts. The white king throwing his crown at Harry's feet suggests a victory for Harry, eventually.

I think you are correct, Steve in your observation that Cho is an insignificant figure chased from the game by the Weasleys, Ron and Ginny.
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Herm-own-ninny Weezly - Jul 10, 2005 4:19 pm (#5 of 129)
Edited Jul 10, 2005 5:22 pm

The chess scene at the end of SS sticks out in my mind as a reference to the war of good and evil (Harry and Voldemort). The black side would represent good and the white would represent bad. I did find this somewhat odd, considering those colors are usually switched. Then I realized there was a very good reason for good to be represented by black, which I will get to later.

White moved first. This makes sense, since the good side did not choose to start a war; they just chose to fight evil. So the war is certainly Voldemort and his Death Eaters' faults.

The first real shock comes when the Black knight is taken by the White queen. I believe this symbolizes Sirius being killed by Bella. Certainly there are previous deaths (Frank Bryce, Crouch Sr., Bertha Jorkins), but none of them had been players of the chess game (or they could argueably have been pawns), or in battle when they died. Sirius's death is the first one that actually came as a terrible shock to Harry and the others. This is the reason that good is black...as a connection to Sirius's name.

"Had to let that happen," Ron says about losing that Black knight. JKR has mentioned that she did not enjoy killing Sirius and she even cried when she did, but there was a good reason for it.

The white pieces showed no mercy each time they attacked. This sounds quite a bit like Death Eaters to me. Soon there is a huddle of lost pieces on both sides. This shows that the war will certainly have casualties, as has been stated by JKR as well.

Finally, Ron must sacrifice himself for Harry to checkmate the white king (Voldemort). I believe this means that good will triumph and Harry will live, all because Ron gives his life. This would definitely upset me if it were true, since I love Ron as a character.

I also find Harry, Ron, and Hermione's positions in the game interesting. None of them were made pawns, which goes to show that they will have a bigger role to play in the war than most children. Harry is not the black king, but ultimately the determining piece in the game, since he checkmates the king. I believe that Dumbledore is the black king, which gives me hope, since Dumbledore must have survived the chess game for black to have won.

Another thing I find interesting is that we never see the white king being taken (as it always is with chess). I wonder if this means that Voldemort's defeat will not be a result of death, but some other reason. I have always thought that death seemed to be too simple of a defeat for JKR to write.

I hope all of that made sense; let me know what you think!

Edit: I cross-posted with Hollywand. Glad to see we're thinking along the same lines, Hollywand!
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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 10, 2005 4:30 pm (#6 of 129)
Edited Jul 10, 2005 6:15 pm

Steve Newton, I agree that it is possible that Ron will be subjected to at least one of the three Unforgivable Curses and that this could represent a form of capture

Herm-own-ninny Weezly, that is an excellent point, Albus Dumbledore be the black king directing the other pieces. It makes more sense to have an experienced leader.

The idea of the white pieces representing Voldemort and the Death Eaters is an interesting twist on the stereotype of the good guys always wearing white. In this case the good guys are the black pieces.

Also, in a game of chess white always begins giving them the ability to control the tempo at first and achieve an early advantage along with the ability to take the initiative at first with black being on the the defensive.

In terms of the Harry Potter series. The idea of white led by Voldemort attempting to achieve an advantage and the advantage being neutralized by black led by Dumbledore occur in PS when the attempt to steal the Stone at Gringotts is thwarted by Hagrid and the attempt at Halloween is thwarted by Snape.

On another note I would assert that the Battle of the DoM is fought in such a way that Voldemort is forced into a position in which a Zugzwang occurs.

According to the chess diction that is part of the Allentown Chess Club's website Zugzwang is German for "compelled to move". It is a situation that occurs when any move a player makes will weaken his/her position, however, he/she is compelled to move in accordance to the rules.
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Hollywand - Jul 10, 2005 5:03 pm (#7 of 129)

That is a great thought, Herm-own-ninny, about the Black king, Dumbledore, surviving, I like that idea very much.

I won't belabor the concepts of Alchemy here, but the "Black" process represents a suffering that leads to higher consciousness. So the black losses for Harry can be connected to the loss of his godfather, and perhaps his friend Ron.

White, in heraldry, represents silver, so it's appropriate that the adverserial side is white, Slytherin silver. Sacrifices must be made by the black team to defeat the white team to get to the stone and defeat Voldemort.

The White queen, which I take to be Bella, is so zealous in her lust to kill that she makes a tactical error, and leaves the white king exposed, to his checkmate by Harry (and Hermione since she is still in the game). To me, this analogy suggests that Bella will make a similar tactical error, and her fanaticism will actually leave Voldemort comprimised.

The remaining Harry and Hermione characters could suggests that they are more closely linked than some may think, or will work together as a unit to defeat Voldemort. It is Hermione's intellect that gets Harry past the potions section of the journey toward the stone.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 10, 2005 5:24 pm (#8 of 129)
Edited Jul 10, 2005 6:46 pm

Hollywand, the idea of Bella being the white queen fits very well with idea that the Battle of the DoM is fought in such a way that Voldemort is forced into a position in which a Zugzwang occurs because Voldemort is forced to lose either Bella who represents the white queen or the orb that contains the prophecy neither of which is desirable. But, because Voldemort is constrained to move he is forced to choose between Bella and the orb and to decide which move will be less of a weakening to his position. Yet even though Bella remains in the game as you pointed out her nature as a zealot still weakens Voldemort's position in some fashion which, is as yet invisible.
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Hollywand - Jul 10, 2005 5:43 pm (#9 of 129)

Good point, Nathan, I agree.
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Herm-own-ninny Weezly - Jul 10, 2005 6:21 pm (#10 of 129)
Edited Jul 10, 2005 7:43 pm

To me, this analogy suggests that Bella will make a similar tactical error, and her fanaticism will actually leave Voldemort comprimised.

I like that idea very much, Hollywand. Perhaps Ron's sacrifice and Bella's tactical error could be intertwined? Ron would recognize that he can lure Bella into a situation that would comprimise Voldemort but result in his own death. He would then proceed to enter this situation, fully aware that he will die, thus sacrificing himself so Harry can defeat Voldemort.

Not a pleasant thought, but it makes sense in relation to the chess game, at least, since it was the white queen that took out Ron's knight.
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Hollywand - Jul 10, 2005 7:30 pm (#11 of 129)

Great progression, Herm-own-ninny, you are living up to your handle there, you clever one. I liked the idea that you suggested that Voldemort may be checkmated and not killed. Another member of the Order of the Lexicon named Puja suggested that Voldemort has stolen everything he is made of now---unicorn blood, Harry's blood, daddy's bones, and Pettigrew's paw. Perhaps, in a stunning moment, he will be vacuumed away into nothingness. It would be good.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 10, 2005 8:02 pm (#12 of 129)
Edited Jul 10, 2005 9:10 pm

The commentary made about Ron being captured by use of the Imperius Curse is interesting because of the foreshadowing that occurred in GoF when Ron has the dream about the spiders making him dance and Harry telling him to the spiders that he does not want to indicates that he will be subjected to the curse and that he will successfully resist it. But, that Harry will be forced into a position in which a Zugzwang occurs and that Harry will be forced to choose between helping Ron resist the curse and some other as yet unknown thing or person. but, that Harry will choose to Help Ron seems to be indicated by Ron's vision of himself as head boy and will be successful.
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Steve Newton - Jul 11, 2005 5:14 am (#13 of 129)

Wow, I've already learned more than I knew.

Chamber of Secrets chess references.

Chapter 11-The Dueling Club

Hermione and Ron play chess. Ron's bishop wrestles her knight off the board.

All that I could find.
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Madame Pomfrey - Jul 11, 2005 6:40 am (#14 of 129)
Edited Jul 11, 2005 7:44 am

Is Hermione's knight Krum?
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Steve Newton - Jul 11, 2005 7:38 am (#15 of 129)

Madame Pomfrey, that's what it suggests to me.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 11, 2005 8:54 am (#16 of 129)
Edited Jul 11, 2005 10:55 am

Some further random thoughts occured to me.

First, I belive that the assignment of the characters to various chess pieces is for the most part fluid in nature in that when one person died a second person took on that role. For, example, it could be argued that in the first war with Voldemort the role of the black queen could have been occupied at various points by Dorcas Meadowes, Lily Potter, Marlene McKinnon, and Alice Longbottom.

The idea of Dorcas Meadowes as being symbolic of the black queen in the first war with Voldemort is based on the statement that she was killed by Voldemort personally due to the important role she played in fighting the first war with Voldemort. This idea is reminiscent to me of a situations that sometimes occur in badly played chess games where because of the lack of development early in the game the white queen is taken by the black queen and the black king has no choice but to take the white queen because the knights are not in a position to capture the black queen once the white queen has been captured and the white king checked. So in order to remove the check posed by Dorcas Meadowes Voldemort is forced to capture her through the use of the AK because, the DE's who are his knights are not in a position to do so.

The idea of Lily Potter assuming the role of the black queen or at the very least a black rook at the time of her death reminded me of a scenario in which a queen or a rook is protecting a pawn in the endgame in which a pawn and the queen place the white king in a check forcing the white king (Voldemort) to take the black queen in this case Lily Potter and allow for the promotion of the black pawn Harry into a piece that will eventually force checkmate.

In regards to Marlene McKinnon there are at least two possibilities that I can imagine for her character. First, that she is a candidate for the pposition of the black queen because, some weaker players seek to remove the stronger opponents queen early in the game so as to level the playing field. The second, possibility for Marlene McKinnon I see is that she is not a queen but a pawn, in fact she is the first pawn to be taken in the game. In some chess openings black is forced by the nature of the opening to battle back from the loss of a pawn early in the first moves of the game. The loss of this pawn initially gives white an advantage in material.

Alice Longbottom, is another interesting case. Alice Longbottom can either be viewed as a pawn who is promoted to a queen in the same sequence of moves that allowed for Harry to be promoted because, a king who is the middle of the board with two pawns advancing toward promotion is an untenable situation because it is impossible to take either pawn. Conversely, Alice and Frank could be seen as rooks because, there are situations in which the the two rooks and equally and even surpass the power of the one queen.

Seond, Ron's Bishop wrestled Hermione's Knight from the field this tend to make me think that Ron's Bishop forced Hermione's knight to withdraw to a safer position on the board to avoid being taken. Thsi would fit in with the statement that J.K. Rowling made that indicated that we as readers would be seeing Viktor Krum again. These seems to indicate to me that both Krum and Ron would court Hermione.
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Herm-own-ninny Weezly - Jul 11, 2005 9:16 am (#17 of 129)
Edited Jul 11, 2005 10:20 am

Is Hermione's knight Krum? (Madame Pomfrey)

I believe that is a very good guess... So I agree!

I also like the idea of the characters' assignments to pieces being fluid, Nathan. Perhaps the pieces HRH stepped into in SS were previously Order members who had died in the first war (the previous game, played by Quirrell). I've no real guesses as to which Order members, as it could be any of them. Unless someone else has some guesses?

I also like the idea of the game Quirrell played before them being a representation of the first war. I wish we knew a bit more about it. I wouldn't be surprised if it ended with a draw, which allowed him to pass since he didn't lose (after all, we don't exactly know the rules of the enchanted chess board and who can pass). That would represent the fact that neither side won the first war, but were just waiting for a new game.
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Steve Newton - Jul 11, 2005 10:13 am (#18 of 129)

Nathan, I don't see how a knight being taken off the board could be going somewhere safer on the board.

The McKinnan stuff is interesting. I don't remember much about her but it does seem as if she was important.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 11, 2005 10:37 am (#19 of 129)
Edited Jul 11, 2005 11:38 am

Steve Newton, I thought I edited that statement I actually meant to reword it. What I meant to say that the wrestling of the Knight from the board by the Bishop was a capture and that the capture temporarily removed Krum from the scene. However, given the statement that by J.K. Rowling that readers would be seeing krum again. I took that to mean that a pawn would promoted to a knight thereby allowing Krum to return.
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Hollywand - Jul 11, 2005 10:40 am (#20 of 129)

Here's another way to look at the chess play between Ron and Hermione:

Harry was Ron's "Bishop" in book one.

Krum is Hermione's "Knight" in Book four.

The competition between the two pieces could suggest an upcoming rivalry between Krum and Harry. Ron was also very jealous of Krum in Book Four, and may have even more reason to be jealous of him in Book Six. Wink
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Herm-own-ninny Weezly - Jul 11, 2005 10:42 am (#21 of 129)

I took that to mean that a pawn would promoted to a knight thereby allowing Krum to return.

I know most of the rules of chess, but don't usually have enough patience to actually play an entire game. That being said, can someone explain the rule of a pawn being promoted to a knight? I know about the pawn to queen rule, but I've never heard of a pawn becoming a knight. Sorry for this temporary ignorance, but your help would be appreciated.
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Hollywand - Jul 11, 2005 11:07 am (#22 of 129)

Another interesting detail Steve noted, is that

Harry moved four spaces diagonally.

Harry moved three spaces to the left (for the checkmate?)

"diagonally" is perhaps a pun on Diagon Alley, and the number of times Harry visits. He arrives at Nocturne Alley, and these would be the moves to the left---does this actually happen in the books? Apologies for my hideous memory

Book One is with Hagrid to Gringotts

Book Two: Mrs. Weasley takes them. Lucius get a poke in the nose.

Book Three: Floo powder-Mistake- Nocturnally

Book Four: arrives via Knight bus to Diagonally

Book Five: straight to Number 12 Grimmauld

I know I'm botching the progression badly, but perhaps book Six will be back to Nockturne?
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Madame Pomfrey - Jul 11, 2005 11:18 am (#23 of 129)
Edited Jul 11, 2005 12:35 pm

I thought book 2 was with floo powder to knockturn alley and knight bus is book 3.Book 4 Mrs.Weasley does the shopping? Anyway,When I saw the word diagonally I was thinking the same thing- Diagon Alley.I think Harry will revisit Knockturn alley.

Steve,reguarding the chess play involving Ron's capture of the pawn while Harry is eyeing Cho.Couldn't Marrietta be the pawn that is used by Cho to disband the DA? I'm not good at chess.The word "pawn" caught my attention.I think it was odd of Cho not to notice Marrietta's absence from the last DA meeting-Plus I think Cho will be the one to change houses.Just a hunch.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 11, 2005 11:18 am (#24 of 129)
Edited Jul 11, 2005 12:19 pm

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) Laws that enetered into effect on 1 July 2005 define a pawn promotion in the following way.

Article 3.7(e) When a pawn reaches the rank furthest from its starting position it must be exchanged as part of the same move for a new queen, rook, bishop or knight of the same colour. The player`s choice is not restricted to pieces that have been captured previously. This exchange of a pawn for another piece is called `promotion` and the effect of the new piece is immediate.

The FIDE defines a rank in Article 2.4 of its Laws. The eight vertical columns of squares are called `files`. The eight horizontal rows of squares are called ranks`. A straight line of squares of the same colour, touching corner to corner, is called a `diagonal`.

Hollywand, that is interesting it demonstrates that Harry shifts between being a knight and a bishop.

This post was edited to combine two posts into one.
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Hollywand - Jul 11, 2005 11:28 am (#25 of 129)
Edited Jul 11, 2005 12:34 pm

Thanks, friends, told ya I was "barking".

I like the suggestion that the players have fluid positions, as Nathan has suggested. To this end:

"Weasley is our King" can be connected to the chess games.

Weasley "didn't let the "quaffle" in---as the red ball a goal of the game, we have discussed on the Alchemy thread how the three balls represent three key Alchemical stages: Rubedo (the red process) Nigredo, the Black (Bludger) process, and Albedo (the white, silver, process) the snitch is gold with silver wings, so represents a unity of the four houses. Harry is in the gold "seeker" position to pursue the snitch, and ultimately reaching this goal ends the game rather than the quaffle, so that's the one to watch.

If Harry moves four squares to the right diagonally, this could also symbolize his ability to unify the four houses. As the goal Keep---Ron stands in the position of the King would in chess. Ron prevents Voldemort from attaining the stone. I'm sure a number of players will work in concert; Voldemort's selfish nature will lead to his ultimate isolation and vulnerability.

Hmm. I love this forum. Everyone's contribution brings new layers to this great text all the time.

So I do think Mr. Krum is in for a promotion, yes indeedy.....he's a seeker, as well....

Last edited by Lady Arabella on Fri May 13, 2011 7:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
Lady Arabella
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Chess - Reflection or Projection? Empty Poasts 26 to 50

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 13, 2011 6:55 pm

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Steve Newton - Jul 11, 2005 12:02 pm (#26 of 129)

The problem that I have with the fluid roles is that it makes things so flexible that it seems that any interpretation can be made to fit. If this is the case, any interpretation works, than it would seem that nothing is being explained.

Is that clearer to you than it is to me?
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Hollywand - Jul 11, 2005 12:15 pm (#27 of 129)

Sure, I think that's a totally fair question to raise. What I consider when unravelling the clues is Rowling's text. Puns, double entendre, alliteration are all her style. I do think her literary writing style is very fluid in its symbolism. Green, for example is connected to Slytherin and to the color of Lily's eyes, so one has to make plausible supporting arguments that connect the metaphors.

I don't think any interpretation works. For me, characters masquerading as others like, "James is Lupin", or "Harry has a twin", I don't think fit. I don't think Rowling would lead the readers into a niche they couldn't possibly have seem coming; the clues would be in the text.

I also tend not to try to figure out how magic works, eg ("why did Dumbledore need to take the elevator?") as the logic of magic is exclusive to Jo.
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[Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 11, 2005 12:39 pm (#28 of 129)
Edited Jul 11, 2005 1:39 pm

Steve Newton when I say that I see the roles as being fluid. I did not mean to the extent that you have stated. So I now qualify that statement to mean the following the fluidity of the assignment as chess pieces is such that who occupies what position is generally dependent on the situation that is occuring. That is not to say there are not permenant assignment which can be made.

For example the identity of the white and black kings do not change and are immutable. The same can be of at least one of the bishops. I would argue that Lucius Malfoy is one of the White Bishops while, I argue that Sirius is one of the of the black bishops because, I agrue that their movements are generally limited because of their station.
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Steve Newton - Jul 11, 2005 1:19 pm (#29 of 129)

Nathan, do you think that they change from book to book or more regularly?
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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 11, 2005 1:47 pm (#30 of 129)

Steve I argue that some change from book to book and still others. more regularly depending on the situation.

The difficultly with having the kings as immutable is that such an ignores the prophecy given by Trelawney given in 1979 that neither can live while the other survives.

If the kings are immutable then a third game will have to be played with Harry and Voldemort as Kings.
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Mrs Brisbee - Jul 11, 2005 2:05 pm (#31 of 129)
Edited Jul 11, 2005 3:17 pm

In a true monarchy isn't the king the State also? Like in Shakespeare where the King of England is just called "England"? So the kings may simply embody the Wizarding State as the forces of good and evil desire them to be, rather than represent any particular person.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 11, 2005 9:39 pm (#32 of 129)
Edited Jul 11, 2005 10:43 pm

Steve, to further clarify my ideas on the fluidity of the characters as represented by chess pieces falls into three categories.

First, there are those characters whose positions may be immutable. Second, there are characters whose positions change from book to book. Third, there are characters whose positions change depending on the situation.

The problem with the idea of characters representing immutable positions on the board is most clearly demonstated by using Dumbledore and Harry as examples. If Dumbledore is the Black King and Voldemort the White King, then, the prophecy given by Trelawney in 1979 means that there will be a third game in which Harry will be the Black King and Voldemort will serve as the White King. Because, in terms of chess metaphors the prophecy tends to indicate that the Death Eaters as metaphors of white will be checkmated.

Mrs. Brisbee, I agree that is a possibility with black representing the good as exemplified by the OotP and DA and white representing the evil as exemplified by Voldemort the Death Eaters. in essence as a reversal of the old stereotype that the good characters are always in white and the bad characters are always in black.

Hollywand, I agree that not one set of allusions or metaphors can ever totally explain the Harry Potter series. However, I think that the chess metaphor adequately explains the nature of the war being fought between the forces led by Albus Dumbledore and the forces led by Vodlemort because, as Dr. Emmanuel Lasker once remarked "Chess is above all, a fight!"

far from prefect - Jul 12, 2005 1:09 pm (#33 of 129)

Man, I love you guys! You are all so danged smart! It's an education to read the Forum. Thank you!!!!!
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Steve Newton - Jul 12, 2005 4:05 pm (#34 of 129)

Chess references from Prisoner of Azkaban.

Want that again?
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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 12, 2005 4:33 pm (#35 of 129)
Edited Jul 12, 2005 5:35 pm

Steve Newton I would like to see the chess references you found from PoA. I am sure they will be equally as interesting as those in CoS if not more so. I want to thank you for starting this thread. It is most insightful discussion my compliments.

Cheers, Nathan
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Mrs Brisbee - Jul 12, 2005 5:59 pm (#36 of 129)

Nathan, I think that was the list for PoA.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 12, 2005 6:35 pm (#37 of 129)
Edited Jul 12, 2005 8:01 pm

The lack of references to wizard chess in PoA is reminiscent to me of the interval between the rounds of a chess tournament. During this time the pairings for the next round are determined. If one looks at the sequence of the books

PS could be seen as represenative of the registration and the beginning of Round 1 in Voldemort as white and Harry as Black. PS ends with Voldemort in check because of the destruction of the stone I believe CoS is the end of Round 1 and that Harry wins because the destruction of the diary checkmates Voldemort. I see PoA is an interval in which the moves in PS and CoS are analyzed and the pairings for the next round are determined. I call this an interval because, Harry does not actually face Voldemort. I view GoF as the beginning of Round 2. In this Harry is white Voldemort is Black, The inability of Voldemort to defeat Harry results in a game that seems at first to be a draw. But, the failure of Crouch Jr. to kill Harry results in Voldemort being checked again. OotP is the end of Round 2. Voldemort attempts to checkmate Harry by either possessing him or having Dumbledore kill him but, the effort fails and Harry checkmates Voldemort. I believe most of HBP will be an interval because of J.K. Rowling's statement about Voldemort preferring to let the Death Eaters do most of the work and that Round three will begin either in the closing chapters of HBP or that Book 7 will contain both the beginning and ending of round 3 and that the epilogue will be the closing ceremonies and adjournment.
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Steve Newton - Jul 13, 2005 4:56 am (#38 of 129)

Yes, Nathan, Mrs. Brisbee is correct. I could find no chess references in POA.
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Mrs Brisbee - Jul 13, 2005 5:23 am (#39 of 129)
Edited Jul 13, 2005 6:24 am

Exploding Snap seems to be the game of choice in books 2, 3, and 4 I think. Exploding Snap is a card game that has the potential of blowing up in your face. Ron builds a house of cards out of his deck in one of the books (GoF) and gets his eyebrows singed when it explodes. In OotP though we are done with that game and back on chess. Maybe because chess is a game that required tactical thinking, and sacrifices. I don't think we ever learn anything about the rules of Exploding Snap, except the potential for KA-BOOM.
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Steve Newton - Jul 14, 2005 2:48 pm (#40 of 129)

GOF chess references.

Chapter 10-Bill and Ron play chess. No details of the game.

Chapter 23-

'"Hermione, he's got ages!" snapped Ron. "Want a game of chess, Harry?" "Yeah, okay," said Harry. Then, spotting the look on Hermione's face, he said, "Come on, how'm I supposed to concentrate with all this noise going on? I won't even be able to hear the egg over this lot." "Oh I suppose not," she sighed, and she sat down to watch their chess match, which culminated in an exciting checkmate of Ron's, involving a couple of recklessly brave pawns and a very violent bishop.'

Chapter 37-

'Harry returned to Gryffindor Tower the following evening....He found he didn't care very much. He liked it best when he was with Ron and Hermione and they were talking about other things, or else letting him sit in silence while they played chess. He felt as though all three of them had reached an understanding they didn't need to put into words; that each was waiting for some sign, some word, of what was going on outside Hogwarts - and that it was useless to speculate about what might be coming until they knew anything for certain.'
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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 14, 2005 8:28 pm (#41 of 129)

There are some possible interpretations for the for the ending with two pawns and a bishop.

First, the game could foreshadow the confrontation in the DoM in OotP with Neville and Harry reprsenting the pawns and Remus representing the Bishop.

Second, it could foreshadow the confrontation that follows the transportation of Harry and Cedric to the graveyard.
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Steve Newton - Jul 15, 2005 12:52 pm (#42 of 129)

Nathan, I can't see Harry or Neville being pawns. I have heard speculation that such scenes represent events 2 books later. If so than this would be relevant to Harry Potter and the ????

Harry was a bishop in the first book.

So far we haven't seen Ron lose and all of the comments seem to indicate that Ron is the player.
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Kip Carter - Aug 2, 2005 10:27 am (#43 of 129)

This thread was closed down during the sixteen day period surrounding the release of Book Six. It is now opened for posts.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 2, 2005 10:47 am (#44 of 129)
Edited Aug 2, 2005 12:08 pm

In HBP the title of chapter twenty-seven: The Lightning Struck the Tower reminded of the capture of a piece. In the case of the tower the piece I would assert was captured was a rook. In Spanish and Portuguese the Rook is called El Torre. Torre is the Spanish word for tower. Is it possible that the Rooks could metaphors for the places where Harry is protected?

The lightning that struck the tower could be viewed as an attempt by the Death Eaters to either check the progress of the Order or checkmate the Order of the Phoenix. In a sense they are successful because, Dumbledore is presumably killed.

If Dumbledore was killed then I would say the capture of the rook resulted in checkmate, and that Voldemort and the Death Eaters checkmated the Order. However, Dumbledore was killed and the Order checkmated. Snape himself paved the way for the final round of play by ordering the DE's to leave Harry for the Dark Lord.

On the other hand if Dumbledore survived then I would say the Order is in check only and would argue that the game continues to conclude in book 7.
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Steve Newton - Aug 2, 2005 11:04 am (#45 of 129)

You're a step or two ahead of me. I should be able to post the chess references from OOTP tonight.

I don't recall any obvious ones in HBP but I'mnot done my second reading yet.
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Steve Newton - Aug 2, 2005 6:24 pm (#46 of 129)

Chess references from OOTP.

Chapter 24-Occlumency

'Harry, dear,' said Mrs Weasley, poking her head into his and Ron's bedroom, where the pair of them were playing wizard chess watched by Hermione, Ginny and Crookshanks, 'could you come down to the kitchen? Professor Snape would like a word with you.' Harry did not immediately register what she had said; one of his castles was engaged in a violent tussle with a pawn of Rons and he was egging it on enthusiastically. 'Squash him - squash him, he's only a pawn, you idiot. Sorry, Mrs Weasley, what did you say?' 'Professor Snape, dear. In the kitchen. He'd like a word.'

Chapter 31-Owls

On Friday, Harry and Ron had a day off while Hermione sat her Ancient Runes exam, and as they had the whole weekend in front of them they permitted themselves a break from revision. They stretched and yawned beside the open window, through which warm summer air was wafting as they played wizard chess. Harry could see Hagrid in the distance, teaching a class on the edge of the Forest. He was trying to guess what creatures they were examining - he thought it must be unicorns, because the boys seemed to be standing back a little – when the portrait hole opened and Hermione clambered in, looking thoroughly bad-tempered. 'How were the Runes?' said Ron, yawning and stretching. 'I mis-translated ehwaz,' said Hermione furiously. 'It means partnership, not defence; I mixed it up with eihwaz.' 'Ah well,' said Ron lazily, 'that's only one mistake, isn't it, you'll still get -' 'Oh, shut up!' said Hermione angrily. 'It could be the one mistake that makes the difference between a pass and a fail. And what's more, someone's put another Niffler in Umbridge's office. I don't know how they got it through that new door, but I just walked past there and Umbridge is shrieking her head off - by the sound of it, it tried to take a chunk out of her leg -' 'Good,' said Harry and Ron together. 'It is not good!' said Hermione hotly. 'She thinks it's Hagrid doing it, remember? And we do not want Hagrid chucked out!' 'He's teaching at the moment; she can't blame him,' said Harry, gesturing out of the window. 'Oh, you're so naive sometimes, Harry. You really think Umbridge will wait for proof?' said Hermione, who seemed determined to be in a towering temper, and she swept off towards the girls' dormitories, banging the door behind her. 'Such a lovely, sweet-tempered girl,' said Ron, very quietly, prodding his queen forward to beat up one of Harry's knights.

Chapter 38-The Second War Begins

“Harry and Ron whiled away most of the journey playing wizard chess while Hermione read out snippets from the Prophet. It was now full of articles about how to repel Dementors, attempts by the Ministry to track down Death Eaters and hysterical letters claiming that the writer had seen Lord Voldemort walking past their house that very morning… `It hasn't really started yet,' sighed Hermione gloomily, folding up the newspaper again. `But it won't be long now…' `Hey, Harry' said Ron softly, nodding towards the glass window on to the corridor. Harry looked around. Cho was passing, accompanied by Marietta Edgecombe, who was wearing a balaclava. His and Cho's eyes met for a moment. Cho blushed and kept walking. Harry looked back down at the chessboard just in time to see one of his pawns chased off its square by Ron's knight. `Well, I always thought he was a bit of an idiot,' he said, prodding his queen forwards towards Harry's quivering castle. `Good for you. Just choose someone - better - next time.' He cast Harry an oddly furtive look as he said it. `Well, I've chosen Dean Thomas, would you say he's better?' asked Ginny vaguely. WHAT?' shouted Ron, upending the chessboard: Crookshanks went plunging after the pieces and Hedwig and Pigwidgeon twittered and hooted angrily from overhead.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 2, 2005 6:48 pm (#47 of 129)

Steve, all I have to say is excellent work. I also, would like to apolgizee for perhaps jumping ahead a bit. I had those ideas bubbling away in the cauldron following my second reading of HBP and I wanted to post them while, fresh in mind.
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Steve Newton - Aug 2, 2005 7:09 pm (#48 of 129)

Your ideas are fine. My finding needs work.
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Madam Pince - Aug 6, 2005 1:30 pm (#49 of 129)

I had this thought a few days ago while watching the first movie again and thinking about the phrase that Snape has been "placed" somewhere. I'm not a chess player and haven't even read this whole thread, but it occurs to me that the situation as left at the end of HBP is rather chess-like. I'm not drawing allegories of specific characters being specific chess pieces, but it seems to me that Dumbledore has sacrificed himself in order to place Snape in a certain position on the board, next to Voldemort (OK, one allegory -- Voldemort = king.) Anyway, Voldemort would be very wary of Dumbledore's close proximity, since he's clearly on the opposite side. But Voldy won't be so wary of Snape, so he will allow Snape to get too close. Snape will thus be in an excellent position to "make the way clear" for Harry to deal the final blow. This is why Dumbledore saw that it was more crucial for Snape to continue on, rather than Dumbledore himself.

Or something like that.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 6, 2005 1:38 pm (#50 of 129)
Edited Aug 6, 2005 2:41 pm

Madam Pince, that is an excellent observation. There are some instances when a player will intentionally sacrifice a piece in order to obtain a positional advantage. I can imagine Dumbledore sacrifice himself in order to position Snape in such a way that he can assist Harry at the time of the final confrontation.

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Chess - Reflection or Projection? Empty Poasts 51 to 75

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 13, 2011 7:15 pm

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Madam Pince - Aug 6, 2005 1:40 pm (#51 of 129)

# **Blushes*** I'm honored! Maybe someday I can learn to play the game after all!
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Steve Newton - Aug 8, 2005 9:45 am (#52 of 129)

Nathan, I think that somewhere, you have commented that HBP leaves the series in sort of a chess situation. Others have also used this language. It seems that most of this book was setting the scene for the conclusion.

So far I have seen instances where the chess game reflects, and emphasizes, the events that we have just seen. F'rinstance the game at the end of OOTP where the pawn is removed from the game. Others, such as the game at teh end of SS seem to be projecting/forecasting some future course of the books. I'll have to sit down and do some analysis of all of the games. (Yes, I know, I should have done this already.)

I don't recall any chess in HBP.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 8, 2005 1:28 pm (#53 of 129)
Edited Aug 8, 2005 2:44 pm

Steve there were no overt references to chess in HBP. I commented that the title of chapter 27: The Lightning Struck the Tower could possibly be construed as a metaphor for the capture of a piece specifically a rook because, in Spanish and Portuguese the Rook is known as El Torre. Torre is Spanish and Portuguese word for tower.

The reference to the lightning that struck the tower could be viewed as metaphor for either a check or check mate because, the confrontation between Dumbledore and the Death Eaters could be viewed as an attempt by the Death Eaters to either check the progress of the Order or checkmate the Order of the Phoenix. In a sense they are successful because, Dumbledore is presumably killed.

If Dumbledore was killed then I would say the capture of the rook resulted in checkmate, and that Voldemort and the Death Eaters checkmated the Order. However, Dumbledore was killed and the Order checkmated. Snape himself paved the way for the final round of play by ordering the DE's to leave Harry for the Dark Lord.

On the other hand if Dumbledore survived then I would say the Order is in check only and would argue that the game continues to conclude in book 7.

I am tending to toward the idea that it is only a check because of J.K. Rowling's statement that book 7 is a continuation of the events in book 6.
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Ms Amanda - Aug 10, 2005 3:58 pm (#54 of 129)

Ok, I read through quickly and I did not notice this anywhere. Forgive me if I'm posting something someone else has come up with. I'm not an avid chess player and sometimes I get a little lost.

Over and over in other threads, posters were drawing parallels between Ron and Dumbledore. It became so important that it was a theory that Ron was Dumbledore. JKR quashed the theory; Ron is not Dumbledore physically.

However, if the chess games represent a symbolic foreshadowing of the book, what if Ron's sacrifice in chess represents Dumbledore's sacrifice?

It would make sense that it would be necessary to sacrifice Dumbledore for Harry to "move on." The next obstacle is to work out the puzzle of Snape, isn't it? The logic problem from Snape could represent our quandry about Snape now.

My only problem is the white queen. She could still represent Bella or perhaps Cissy, if the Unbreakable Vow is seen as the catalyst for Dumbledore's death.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 10, 2005 4:32 pm (#55 of 129)
Edited Aug 10, 2005 5:33 pm

Ms. Amanda, I believe the white queen could be a metaphor either Bella or Cissy depending on the context. I think that all the pieces with the possible exception of the kings are fluid in nature and can be metaphors for a wide variety of characters.

For example, in the DoM at the end of OotP I believe the white queen could have been a metaphor for Bella. But that a shift may have occurred in the interval and that at the time of Bella and Cissy's visit to Snape that Cissy represented the position of the white queen. I agree the unbreakable vow was one of the catalysts that brought about Dumbledore's death.
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TangledWeb - Aug 10, 2005 4:51 pm (#56 of 129)

Ms Amanda, you bring up a good point!

What I gather about Ron is that since he is good at chess, he is quite the strategist. During that chess scene in HP&SS, Ron took the lead and directed Hermione and Harry across the board. I feel Dumbledore is the same with the Order...he has been the ultimate strategist in the fight against Dumbledore. I can see how Ron's sacrifice in the chess game could be a parallel to Dumbledore's sacrifice for Harry.

I think you have made a good suggestion for the White Queen. I am thinking that the White Queen may not just be female...perhaps the White Queen is Snape himself (if gender is a non-issue). The Queen is the most powerful piece in chess, and one could argue that Snape has the most power in this war, as he has intimate knowledge of both sides..and it seems that only he has this knowledge (or at least only he is able to obtain it). The White Queen has taken the black knight, as Snape took Dumbledore in Book 6.

Interestingly enough, if you read in HP&SS, Ron is thinking what to do next in the game

"We're nearly there," he muttered suddenly. "Let me think -- let me think..." The white queen turned her blank face toward him. "Yes..." said Ron softly, "it's the only way...I've got to be taken."

it almost seems like the White Queen turned towards Ron, and he got the suggestion from her...as if the White Queen and the Black Knight discussed it before it happened (perhaps similar to how Dumbledore and Snape could have discussed his death before it happened).
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John Reutebuch - Aug 11, 2005 3:08 am (#57 of 129)

Just thought you ought to know, but in chess, knights can only move in an "L" shape,though Ron, who we all know was on a knight, sacrificed himself by moving one forward.However, I had recently had a theory:because wizards chess is a variation of the muggle version, they probably play by new rules.Note:you may have seen this theory in my new thread "Wizard Chess-Playing by a Different Book?".Someone named Nathan Zimmerman suggested I should post my theory here.
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Steve Newton - Aug 11, 2005 5:09 am (#58 of 129)

John, I took that to mean that Ron had already moved 2 spaces of his move and now could move forward or backward one space. He chose to go forward and sacrifice himself instead of going backward and saving himself.
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Steve Newton - Aug 11, 2005 8:02 am (#59 of 129)

Like Nathan I found no chess references in HBP. Then I read a post by Elanor in the HBP discussions folder about chapter one, The Other Minister. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is mentioned. Elanor says this: "it comes from the French word "échiquier" (chessboard) and it was brought by the Normans."

A hidden reference suggests that there may be others in HBP and the other books.
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Mrs Brisbee - Aug 11, 2005 3:23 pm (#60 of 129)

Yes, just when I had vowed to pay more attention to the chess references in the books, there are no more! In HBP, I think snogging has replaced exploding snap and chess as favorite recreational activity

As for the odd description of the movement of Ron's knight, I think Steve's idea that Ron slid to the side then moved one rank forward makes sense. I think Harry in PS/SS said something about Wizard Chess being a lot like Muggle chess, except the pieces were like little people you could order around in combat. I think then the moves must be the same.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 11, 2005 7:13 pm (#61 of 129)
Edited Aug 11, 2005 8:13 pm

John, I agree it is possible that there are different rules. I just think that there have been no indications regarding the rules.

The game of wizard chess reminds me of the old computer game from the 1980's called Battle Chess.
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Elanor - Aug 11, 2005 10:01 pm (#62 of 129)
Edited Aug 11, 2005 11:03 pm

Steve, thanks for thinking my idea wasn't too far-fetched, I didn't dare posting it here. I don't know why but this mention of a chessboard reminded me of Gandalf saying in the "Return of the King" movie: "The board is set. The pieces are moving.". Maybe because it is exactly the feeling I had at the beginning of the HBP.

As for the names of the pieces, some are different in French:

- The Rook is "la tour", the Tower.
- The Bishop is "le fou", the Fool (or lunatic? a connection to Luna here?)
- The Knight is "le cavalier", the Horse-rider.

I am not a good chess player but I know that, when you say "check", a French player will say "échec" and that that word means failure, defeat. Literally, "to put the king in check" (faire échec au roi), is "to put the king in a no-win situation". To checkmate is "échec et mat" and "mat" was first an Arabic word (mât), meaning "dead".

I hope it helps! :-)
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Saralinda Again - Aug 12, 2005 8:48 am (#63 of 129)

Thank you, Elanor, for the translations.

Isn't the word "checkmate" in English also originally a corruption of something Arabic like shakh mat, "the king is dead"?
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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 12, 2005 8:51 am (#64 of 129)
Edited Aug 12, 2005 10:33 am

Saralinda, yes the word checkmate is a corruption but, there is some debate as to the origin and meaning of the phrase. This debate was briefly illustrated in the September 2003 article by Janet L. Newton entitled The King Isn't Dead After All!: The Real Meaning of Shah Mat or the Lesson of the Commode

On another note after reading the essay on checkmate I found another essay on the same website discussing Chess in Harry Potter by Janet L. Mewton called Irving Finkel, Jeremy Silman and the Chess of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" written March and April 2005
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John Reutebuch - Aug 12, 2005 1:00 pm (#65 of 129)

Really? I've never heard of it.
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Matilda the Pygmy Puff - Aug 13, 2005 11:49 am (#66 of 129)

Did it say in the book that Ron only moved forward once space, ir was it just like that in the movie?
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Steve Newton - Aug 27, 2005 7:47 am (#67 of 129)

Ydnam96 said in another thread:

"I'm thinking Narnia now, where the White Queen showed up in every book but looked different in each one. Not to say that Snape is a shape shifter or whatever, but that in a literary sense the "white queen" could be term or icon for someone who is hiding, or not what they seem, or someone with many faces."

This would seem to have a connection with chess.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 27, 2005 9:42 am (#68 of 129)
Edited Aug 27, 2005 10:47 am

In several threads mention has been made about the title Chancellor the Exchequer being a covert reference to Chess because the word Exchequer is derived from the French word for Chess?
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Steve Newton - Aug 27, 2005 12:36 pm (#69 of 129)

I think that we have something from Elanor about that.
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Elanor - Sep 7, 2005 7:32 am (#70 of 129)
Edited Sep 7, 2005 8:35 am

I've checked again and here is exactly what my Encyclopaedic History Dictionary says about the "Echiquier" (chessboard):

"Echiquier [literally "chessboard"]: Feudal court of the dukes of Normandy, so called because its sessions took place in front of a table covered with a squared cloth, with squares looking as the ones on a chessboard, so to allow faster counts by piling up tokens in the squares. It seems to have existed even before William the Conqueror's time.
[... I spare you the Normandy Dukedom customs]

In England, under the Norman Kings, the name of Echiquier [that will become "Exchequer"] was given since the 12th century to the financial department of the Curia regis and, since about 1250, to a court of justice in charge of the questions regarding the Treasury. Since 1873, it became a section of the "High court of justice". The British Finance Minister is still called "Chancellor of the Exchequer" [chancelier de l'échiquier in French]." (The translation is mine, sorry if it isn't very good)

I hope it helps!
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Steve Newton - Oct 3, 2005 10:34 am (#71 of 129)

The Giant Squid posted this in the Albus Dumbledore thread.

"Poor Harry it seems he is but a pawn in a very cunning game of wizards chess.--Honour

Hmm, with DD's strategy echoing that of Ron in PS/SS? He sacrifices himself so that Harry can complete the quest."
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Elanor - Oct 6, 2005 11:02 am (#72 of 129)
Edited Oct 6, 2005 12:03 pm

Steve, it is maybe (ok, most certainly) a weird idea but I wonder if I didn't find another hidden chess reference in the HBP. In chapter 5, Mr Weasley says to Mrs Weasley and Harry, in the kitchen:

"No, we got wind of a nasty Backfiring Jinx down in Elephant and Castle, but luckily the Magical Law Enforcement Squad had sorted it out by the time we got there." (p.87)

Perhaps there is more than that about that London area, what do you think? It is pretty rare that areas' names are mentioned in the books so I found curious the "castle" mention here. But maybe it only shows that my poor head needs holidays!
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Nathan Zimmermann - Oct 6, 2005 6:03 pm (#73 of 129)

Elanor, both maybe be chess references because, in the game of Chienese Chess there is piece called the elephant.
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Mrs Brisbee - Oct 7, 2005 4:16 am (#74 of 129)
Edited Oct 7, 2005 6:17 am

Really? How does the elephant move in Chinese chess?

Edit: Okay, I overcame my laziness and looked it up.

Xiangqi is Chinese chess. Xiang means elephant, and qi means strategy game.

There is a piece called an elephant, and it is analogous to the bishop. However, an elephant can only move 2 squares diagonally, and cannot leave its side of the board.

Edit II: A bit about castles. The rooks in Xiangqi are called chariots (the original meaning of the word). They move just like rooks in the European version of chess. The meaning of the name was changed because of a similarity with the spanish word for fortress.

Each side of the board in Xiangqi also has an area on it designated as the "palace". The king resides in this patch of squares, and can't stray from them.
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Ann - Oct 24, 2005 10:55 am (#75 of 129)
Edited Oct 24, 2005 11:59 am

Elanor, you of all people should know that "Elephant and Castle" is a corruption of "L'Enfant de Castille"!

Okay, so I've been resisting this thread, but I can't control myself any more. I hope the following link will be allowed, since it's very closely tied in with the discussion. This was the original Dumbledore is Ron theory, with a detailed analysis of every move and every character in the SS chess game.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The theory about the chess game led to the theory that Ron, at some point in Book 7, is thrown back into the past and becomes Dumbledore. Main arguments (aside from the chess game): I CoS Dumbledore has "auburn" hair, like the older Weasleys; Dumbledore has a long crooked nose and long fingered hands, and is very tall; while Ron's has a long nose, large hands, and is very tall; both Ron & Dumbledore are nuts about sweets; they have similar senses of humor; and Dumbledore says he tried Bertie Bott's Every-Flavor Beans "in his youth," yet according to his wizard trading card, Bertie Bott wasn't born until 1935, when Dumbledore was in his 80s or so. Dumbledore has a scar on his leg (SS, Chapter 1), and Ron's was broken badly in PoA. Also, the Phoenix suggests a rebirth of some kind.

JKR seemingly scotched this theory completely, with the following posting on the Rumors section of her site:

Dumbledore is really Ron/Harry ‘from the future'
Your inventiveness knows no bounds, and I do not mean that sarcastically; these theories open up exhilarating new vistas of possibility… but they’re wrong. Could it be that by speculating that Harry/Ron becomes Dumbledore, you are seeking reassurance that neither dies young?

I’ve also heard a whisper about Ron and Hermione’s son time-travelling, so I shall go further and tell you that NONE of the characters in the books has returned from the future. As for the idea of Ron and Hermione having a son… (chuckles as the distant roars of a million shippers reach my ears, all cursing me to an eternity of unsatisfied curiosity).

So, with much reluctance, I decided the theory must be wrong. BUT, then HBP came out, and in it we have additional evidence. Most important, Ron apparently receives for his birthday a watch that sounds very much like the one Dumbledore is described as consulting in Chapter 1 of SS. Also, with Dumbledore's strategic sacrifice of himself (I think it is to put Snape in a position to help Harry vanquish Voldemort), we have the real-world parallel to Ron's sacrifice in the SS chess game. Basically, he's done it again. And just to clinch things, JKR said in a post-HBP release interview that Ron's eyes are blue. And she said in another interview that people shouldn't be worrying about at Harry's family, they're not really important; but that Dumbledore's family would be a "profitable line of inquiry." But the only Dumbledore family member we know about is Aberforth, his brother and the bartender at the Hogshead (Edinburgh talk), whose inappropriate-charms-on-a-goat thing sounds very much like the sort of thing Fred or George might get up to. Also (lame, but I'll throw it in here), the cover of the American edition shows both Ron & Dumbledore, and they look quite strikingly alike to me.

So I went back and looked at her posting. It seems to me that she's very careful to say that Dumbledore is none of these people from the future, which she emphasizes by putting in quotes. This is a very different sort of theory, which should already have been ruled out anyway by the fact that Madam Marchbanks talks about examining him during his NEWTS, presumably in the mid-19th century. But she doesn't say that Dumbledore is not Ron at all. The only place she leaves off the "from the future" qualifier is in her rhetorical question.

So I think it's still a possibility. She did say in one interview that she couldn't imagine Ron becoming a teacher, which I find a stronger argument against the theory than her Rumors post, but the evidence otherwise looks fairly strong to me.

(Sorry about the long post!)
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Chess - Reflection or Projection? Empty Posts 76 to 100

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 13, 2011 7:27 pm

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Nathan Zimmermann - Oct 24, 2005 5:07 pm (#76 of 129)

Ann that is interesting point about the "L'Enfant de Castille is the French translation of the Spanish title Infante de Castilla, the title was given to the heir apparent to the throne of Castille.
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Elanor - Oct 24, 2005 10:41 pm (#77 of 129)

Ann: "Elanor, you of all people should know that "Elephant and Castle" is a corruption of "L'Enfant de Castille"!

LOL Ann, no, it didn't cross my mind at all! Actually, in French we say "L'infante de Castille" (not "l'enfant") and the "ill" in Castille is pronounced as the "y" in "you", which is a bit far from castle when said aloud but quite close when written down. Languages are really fascinating!

BTW, we had a very famous "infante de Castille" here: Blanche de Castille (Blanche means "white" in French), queen of France in the 13th century, grand-daughter of Alienor of Aquitaine, mother of Louis IX (St Louis) and twice regent of the Kingdom (when Louis IX was still a child and during the 7th crusade). All in all, one of the most important women of the French medieval history. And, for our alchemical reading of the HBP, another "white" reference...

Ann: "Most important, Ron apparently receives for his birthday a watch that sounds very much like the one Dumbledore is described as consulting in Chapter 1 of SS.

Yes, I do agree that there is something worth pursuing here. I don't believe in coincidences in JKR's work, especially that huge ones. What if, knowing his end was near, the watch was a present from DD to Ron, knowing it would help him in the future? DD could well be related to the Weasleys after all and see some likenesses between himself and the Weasley children (beginning with Ron and the twins). I know it is far-fetched but they could even be his heirs, real and spiritual. What do you think?
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Ann - Oct 25, 2005 3:33 pm (#78 of 129)

Ooops--sorry about my French spelling. I'd merely heard the equivalence (from my husband who knows everything), and never seen it.

Yes, it occurred to me that it might be Dumbledore's watch that Ron receives. But it seemed odd to me that it would be said to come from his parents for his coming of age. I can't see Molly and Arthur not giving him anything to mark the occasion. And of course if the gift was from Dumbledore, Ron would have been even more pleased, so why not tell him?

Still, JKR may have put it in there just to throw those of us who really like the equivalence into a tizzy. She seems to like to do that.
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Nathan Zimmermann- Jan 9, 2006 7:02 pm (#79 of 129)

A question from the standpoint of a chess game could The actions of the Death Eaters in the closing chapters of HBP construe a series of strategic and tactical errors?
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Ana Cis - Jan 12, 2006 6:03 pm (#80 of 129)
Edited by Jan 12, 2006 6:04 pm

After reading this thread and reading Mrs. Brisbee's post #74 about Chinese Chess where she states that the elephant is analogous to the bishop. I find whole Elephant and Castle discussion in HBP intriguing because Harry was the Bishop and Hermione the castle/rook in PS/SS. The backfiring Jinx probably does refer to a strategic/tactical error: (Dumbledore) being removed from the game, leaving the Elephant/bishop (Harry) and Castle/rook (Hermione) to finish and win the game.

I do see this as a huge foreshadowing to more than just the event at the Astronomy Tower.

I wonder how Harry would feel if he finds out that Ron and Dumbledore are the same person. Personally, I would find it freaky, but it may answer how DD is so aware of what's happening.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Mar 16, 2006 1:20 pm (#81 of 129)

I was thinking about the conversation between Harry and Ginny at the end of HBP,

"Voldemort uses people his enemies are close to. He's already used you as bait once, and that was just because you're my best friend's sister. Think of how much danger you'll be in if we keep this up. He'll know, he'll find out. He'll try and get to me through you." "What if I don't care?" (HBP American Large Print Edition page 820), and it reminded me very much of a quotation from The Lion in Winter:

Kings, queens, knights everywhere you look and I'm the only pawn. I haven't got a thing to lose - that makes me dangerous.

In essence Ginny could act as wild card, much in the same that a pawn on verge of promotion sometimes does in the endgame of a match
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Nathan Zimmermann - Apr 1, 2006 4:54 pm (#82 of 129)

Vulture's comment here (Vulture, "+ Problems in Book Six" #250, 25 Mar 2006 12:11 pm) because, his commentary on Draco being a sacrificial pawn is interesting.
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Tom Marvolo Riddleton - Apr 21, 2006 6:59 pm (#83 of 129)

However, I had recently had a theory:because wizards chess is a variation of the muggle version, they probably play by new rules. John Reutebuch Post 57

HP&SS Chapter 12 The Mirror of Erised: "Ron also started teaching Harry wizard chess. This was exactly like muggle chess except that the figures were alive, which made it a lot like directing troops in battle."

I doubt the rules change at all in wizard chess.

That said, I was curious if Ron's skill at wizard chess suggests any actual skill in directing troops. Other than chess, I see no other example of this in the first six books. What I do recognize, though, is that Ron seems to be a natural. You can, of course, teach yourself how to play chess well, but I doubt at the age of eleven that Ron had done much in-depth studying of chess strategy. I was just wondering if this somehow suggested that Ron would become some form of leader in the final book.
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journeymom - Apr 23, 2006 8:38 am (#84 of 129)

I don't think Ron has to be Dumbledore from the future in order to direct the chess game in PS/SS. It was symbolic.

Ron's watch is definitely intriguing. Perhaps Dd didn't want Ron to know the watch was from him. So he gave it to Arthur and Molly to give to Ron. Though why he wouldn't want Ron to know, I don't have a theory.

Greg F, Ron's contribution to Book 7 might be to provide strategy for everybody else (you go here, you go there) while Harry makes his final move and goes after Voldemort. I'm picturing this after all the horcruxes have been destroyed.
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Steve Newton - Aug 30, 2006 7:24 am (#85 of 129)

I am rereading OOTP. In chapter 31, O.W.L.S., I read this, "Three rows to his right and four seats ahead, Hermione was already scribbling..."

This seems reminiscent of Harry's moves in chapter 16 of SS/PS during the chess game.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 30, 2006 8:33 am (#86 of 129)

Steve your thought raises an interessting question, is it possible that the characters symbolize are fluid changing both sex and gender?

I ask because, in PS Harry played the role of the bishop and if as you point out Hermione is during the course of OotP moving in a similar fashion to the way Harry did in PS, is it possible that she and Harry began shifting roles, and that she was fully invested with the role of the bishop after Harry assumed mantle of leadership over the D.A.
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Steve Newton - Aug 30, 2006 9:11 am (#87 of 129)

Nathan, not bad. I think that it is very possible. Of course, Ron will be a knight.
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LooneyLuna - Aug 31, 2006 5:18 pm (#88 of 129)

I don't know about that, Steve. Weasley is our King, after all. I could see Ron in book 7 directing the "troops" as it were, from a stationary base, say Hogwarts or Grimmauld Place. Causing a diversion while Harry can gather and destroy horcruxes.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 31, 2006 5:52 pm (#89 of 129)

There is another interesting example tied to chess in the series.

When Ginny Weasley's name is written in the following manner Weasley, Ginevra Molly, her initials would be read as W.G.M.

In international chess terminology the initials W.G.M. are used to abbreviate the highly controversial, and largely archaic and outmoded title of Women's Grand Master.
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Steve Newton - Aug 31, 2006 7:24 pm (#90 of 129)

LooneyLuna, Weasley is our king is bothersome. Somehow, I have always given precedence to Ron's statement in SS/PS. Perhaps another Weasley will be King. What kind of king? Don't know. I find it hard to see the Ministry being replaced by a king but I guess it could happen.
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Magic Words - Sep 1, 2006 5:35 am (#91 of 129)

I've always wondered, from a strategic standpoint, how Ron justified not making the three of them king, queen, and maybe castle. Knights and bishops are generally taken at some point, but you know your king is safe and hopefully your queen, since it's the most powerful. All he did was come up with four pieces instead of just three that needed to be protected.
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LooneyLuna - Sep 1, 2006 6:41 am (#92 of 129)

Hmmm...maybe Weasley as King is better suited to his Quidditch position as keeper. He pretty much has to stay in one spot, only flying short distances to the goals.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Sep 1, 2006 10:13 am (#93 of 129)
Edited Sep 1, 2006 11:17 am

The king although is the most important piece on a chessboard, in the sense that once checkmated the game ends. The king is also the weakest piece because, its movements are limited to one square.

Could this be an indication that of the sextet of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Ginny and Luna, that Ron is in fact the weakest link?

If for a moment we assume that each of the six members of the sextet would take up a position on the eighth rank allowing them to metaphoorically assume the following positions in preparation for book seven.

1. King
2. King's Bishop
3. King's Knight
4. King's Rook
5. Queen
6. Queen's Bishop
7. Queen's Knight
8. Quuen's Rook

Then there are two positions left unoccupied and yet to be filled.
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Nathan Zimmermann - Sep 1, 2006 4:57 pm (#94 of 129)

The initial groupings of the D.A. members during the battle of the Tower are interesting to me

# Group 1: consists of Harry and Dumbledore untill Dumbledore metaphorically taken.

# Group 2: is made up of Ron, Ginny and Neville

# Group 3: the final grouping contains Hermione and Luna</li<

In an endgane scenario the use of the king and a knight on conjunction will result in a stalemate and a knoght often offers inadquate protection for the king.

Given the grouping of Ron, Nevile and Ginny in the initial phases of the Battle of the Tower that Ron once again assumed the role of a knight, thereby requiring his group in a triad.

Since, Luna and Hermione were grouped as a duo it is possible to conclude that during the battle each assumed the role of bishops. In endgames the use of both bishops can result in a checkmate under the right conditions.

Of the six members of the sextet the role Harry assumed in the battle is the most problematic? Does anyone have any thoughts on the subject?
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Madame Pomfrey - Sep 19, 2006 7:04 am (#95 of 129)

This may have been mentioned before,but somehow I missed it.In OOP Harry and Ron are playing chess when Molly announces that Professor Snape would like a word with Harry. "Squash him---squash him,he's only a pawn,you idiot---Sorry,Mrs.Weasley,what did you say?"

How do you interpret this Steve? Is Snape being referred to as a pawn used by both Dumbledore and Voldemort?
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Steve Newton - Sep 19, 2006 8:04 am (#96 of 129)
Edited Sep 19, 2006 9:25 am

I don't have my book so will have to check later. I always sort of put Snape down as Bishop but I could be very wrong.

AAAARG! (I almost forgot Talk Like a Pirate Day!)
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journeymom - Sep 19, 2006 8:50 am (#97 of 129)


And I've never seen this thread before and will have to go read it from the beginning. I love the HP chess analogy.
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journeymom - Sep 19, 2006 12:11 pm (#98 of 129)
Edited Sep 19, 2006 1:25 pm

[Bonks head on desk] Not only have I seen this thread before but I posted on it 4 months ago. Ah well.

Some thoughts. In the Big Game Harry makes 7 moves. There are 7 horcruxes. Or, rather, 6 plus the origional shriveled bit of LV's soul still in his body.

Everybody should go back and read Nathan Zimmerman's post #37, July 12, 2005. It holds up well post-HBP and I think it accurately describes the structure of the story in chess game terms.

Bella may have been the White Queen up until HBP. I like the idea that Narcissa is White Queen, at least in Spinner End when she insists on the UV. She's certainly described as white often enough.

But by the end of HBP Snape is definitely the White Queen. His ability to Occlude equates to the White Queen's blank face.

At any point in these analogies has a 'pawn' made it across the board and been 'promoted'? Did Snape already do that when he returned to Dd? Or is that Pettigrew, who has yet to repay his debt to Harry?

Edited to say, I prefer the idea that Harry's seven moves equate to the seven books.

And one more thing. Regarding the phrase "Lightening Struck Tower", I thought that was the name for a Tarot card. In another case of Trelawney getting it right, she keeps turning over the Tower card. She's very concerned about it and tries to tell Dumbledore about it but he finally kicks her out of his office.

But wikipedia references 'The Tower Struck by Lightening' by Fernando Arrabal in its Chess entry. So maybe JKR was getting twice the meaning with one symbol.
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TheSaint - Oct 21, 2006 3:02 pm (#99 of 129)
Edited by Kip Carter Oct 22, 2006 12:21 am


I looked and looked trying to find that. I finally crossed and article saying the title was derived from the 16th card of the tarot...in reference to the two players being thrown from the tower. But it did find this kind of...interesting(?). [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

(TheSaint, normally links to other sites of which we have no control are not allowed as a part of a post; however I have checked this link and it apparently poses no problem. In the future when you feel a link provides an answer to a member's question, please post that you have a link that could be of interest and provide your email address as a way of obtaining the link. I thank you in advance. - Kip)
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MuggleTeacher - Nov 7, 2006 2:17 pm (#100 of 129)

Ron's Death

The Die is Cast...

I am not a researcher, and while I enjoy everyone’s insights into the Harry Potter phenomenon, at times there is just too much out there to sort through. With that said, it may be that my topic has been well-explored and that I just couldn’t find it easily. If that is the case, I apologize. If not, then I’m interested to have the insight of other readers.

To start off regarding Ron – I disagree with those who have questioned why Ron is even around. Yes, he’s an “everyman.” Yes, he’s (within reason, not blindly) a loyal friend of Harry’s and his “best mate.” But I think there’s more to it. After all, he was selected to be in Gryffindor (the hat knows what it’s doing) and I think it’s because, when the chips are down, he’s in the thick of things. What gives us courage, after all, is different for each. But what drives our courage isn’t all that important. The fact that we are courageous is the key (it’s our choices and actions that define us). This may be even more important in Ron’s case as it has been said; courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to move forward despite our fears. Ron may have these “petty” fears (as do we all) but perhaps the fact that he overcomes them to move to action shows he is one of the most courageous characters of all. But that’s a topic to be explored later.

Moving on to my real purpose – It is true that Rowling has been cagey regarding who will live and who will die by the end of the story. Most likely because she herself has admitted that she has changed her mind from time to time throughout her writing (and wants the freedom to continue to do so). And like the writing in her books, she is very adept at misleading us while never actually “lying.”

So while there is some general ambiguity on the matter, I believe that it is quite possible Ron will die in book 7. Not at the hand of Voldemort himself, but during the rising action to the final confrontation. I got thinking about this after watching The Sorcerer’s Stone the other day and then digging up my copy of the book and reading the actual text. I also tried to find other writings in this regard online, but didn’t find anything satisfactory.

Why do I think this? Here’s a quote from The Sorcerer’s Stone (book p. 283):

“We’re nearly there,” he (Ron) muttered suddenly. “Let me think – let me think…” The white queen turned her blank face toward him. “Yes…” said Ron softly, “it’s the only way… I’ve got to be taken.” “NO!” Harry and Hermione shouted. “That’s chess!” snapped Ron. “You’ve got to make some sacrifices! I take one step forward and she’ll take me – that leaves you free to checkmate the king, Harry! Ready?” Ron called, his face pale but determined. “Here I go – now, don’t hang around once you’ve won.”

And while we can’t include this in the “cannon,” I’d like to add the dialogue from the movie since it seems to make the point even clearer:

HARRY: Wait a minute… RON: Right. You understand, Harry. Once I make my move, the queen will take me. Then you’re free to check the king. HARRY: Ron, no! HERMY: What is it? HARRY: He’s going to sacrifice himself. HERMY: No, you can’t there must be another way. RON: Harry, it’s you that has to go on. I know it. Not me. Not Hermione. You.

Here’s what I take from this:

In the lead-up to the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort, there is obviously going to be a fight. Based on the entirety of the books so far and the conclusion of The Half-Blood Prince, Ron and Hermione will be part of that initial battle. Noting that in every case so far (except Azkaban which did not have a strong Voldemort presence) Harry ends up without them at his side.

So, at a crucial moment, in order to allow Harry the opportunity to take on Voldemort directly, I believe Ron will (with complete understanding of his actions) sacrifice himself. In The Order of the Phoenix we saw the rallying of the Death Eaters. We saw some enthusiastic sadistic actions
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Chess - Reflection or Projection? Empty Posts 101 to 129

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 13, 2011 7:38 pm

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Choices - Nov 7, 2006 9:24 am (#101 of 129)

You might want to post your thoughts on the Ron Weasley thread.

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Madame Pomfrey - Nov 7, 2006 9:53 am (#102 of 129)

Hi, Muggle Teacher. This topic was raised before.Many feel that there is alot of forshadowing of Ron's death.In the chess game it has even been speculated that the white queen is Belatrix. There is also Ron's comments about the tea leaves "Die,Ron,Die" which may also be forshadowing. I think it entirely possible that Ron will sacrifice himself so that Harry can move forward to vanquish Voldemort in the final showdown. Personally,I can see Voldemort using Harry's best mates to get to Harry, thinking that they will sell Harry out in order to save their own skins because it is what he would do being that he believes there is nothing worse than death.

I think it possible that Ron will die,but I hope not.It would break my heart.

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Holly T. - Nov 8, 2006 6:57 am (#103 of 129)

For those who are interested in the chess theories about Ron and so on, there's a book out about the history of chess. It's called The Immortal Game and the author is David Shenk. I enjoyed the book but I didn't get anything out of it specifically related to Harry Potter. However, I was thinking that someone else might.

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journeymom - Nov 10, 2006 4:39 pm (#104 of 129)

MuggleTeacher's post is all about Ron's roll in the Chess Game in PS.

Yes, this idea has been discussed before, but it's great fun to discuss it again! I love the chess game analogy. I thought the same as you do, MuggleTeacher, about this scene, until I read HBP. Now it seems clear to me that Ron's part in the chess game foreshadowed Dumbledore's death in HBP. Wasn't the chess game the puzzle before Snape's potion riddle? Dumbledore died so Harry could advance a step, and now Snape will assist Harry somehow in Book 7.

Anyway, that's my take on it!

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Laura W - Nov 11, 2006 2:40 am (#105 of 129)

"MuggleTeacher's post is all about Ron's roll in the Chess Game in PS."

Yes it is. And there's also another Ron/chess reference.

OoP, chapter Occlumency. Harry and Ron are playing wizard chess in their room at 12GP: ... "one of his (Harry's) castles was engaged in a violent tussle with a pawn of Ron's and he was egging it on enthusiastically. (Harry) 'Squash him - *squash him*, he's only a pawn, you idiot.' "

(Chess Reflection or) Projection? Ron, a pawn to be squashed?

The first couple of times I read OoP, I didn't think anything of this passage. The third time - when the implications dawned on me -, I hated Harry for making that statement in the midst of their game! (It hurts me to even quote it here.)


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Steve Newton - Nov 11, 2006 6:24 am (#106 of 129)

Well, in was, and th is is war, squash him is what you do. I don't think that this is exactly the point of your post. Anyway I don't think that it is Ron who is the pawn being squashed.

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Holly T. - Nov 11, 2006 6:58 am (#107 of 129)

During that chess game in HBP, Snape is at the door. Mrs. Weasley has just told Harry Snape wants to see him when Harry is saying "squash him, he's onlys a pawn." I've always read that as if Snape is the pawn. Of DD? Of LV?

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Mrs Brisbee - Nov 11, 2006 7:16 am (#108 of 129)

Could Harry's castle stand for Hogwarts, Intellect, or Learning? If we do the Ron is Dumbledore thing, then the pawn could be Harry, or Snape. Both are Dumbledore's pawns for the Occlumency lessons.

Edit: I forgot to mention Sirius, who is also a pawn in this, but puts up a valiant struggle none the less.

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S.E. Jones - Nov 11, 2006 4:32 pm (#109 of 129)

Wouldn't it be more telling that Harry's castle can't crush the mere pawn? I mean, it's a pawn, so it use if fairly limited within the game, and yet Harry can't get his castle to take it. Maybe it's similar to how Voldemort sees Harry as merely a pawn but won't be able to squash him (similar to what Mrs. Brisbee just said).

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Laura W - Nov 12, 2006 1:34 am (#110 of 129)

Well, I'm glad to see that I am the only one who took that scene in HBP and what Harry said so literally. That the pawn piece which belonged to Ron Weasley represented Ron Weasley and would be squashed (ie - killed) in order to save Harry Potter's castle chess piece which represented Harry Potter himself.

If I'm the only one who interpreted it this way, then maybe I've got it wrong. (I am a very literal - as opposed to creative - person by nature.) And I would dearly love to be wrong in this case. (crosses fingers)


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Nathan Zimmermann - Nov 12, 2006 10:43 am (#111 of 129)

The pawn can become dangerous especially if it is promoted to another piece. This danger symbolizes to me of the danger that Sirius and Harry represented to each other at the conclusion of OotP.

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journeymom - Nov 13, 2006 1:13 pm (#112 of 129)

Nathan, could you expand or clarify your comment? How is the role of the pawn symbolic of the danger that Sirius and Harry represented to each other?

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Nathan Zimmermann - Nov 13, 2006 2:17 pm (#113 of 129)

Harry and Sirius represent during certain instances in OotP the concept of a doubled pawn, a doubled pawn refers to a scenario in which two pawns of the same color are on the same file.

I would argue that such a scenario occurs in OotP and is brought about by the bonds that Harry and Sirius share it is this bond that leads them both to Department of Mysteries. One of the two pawns Sirius is taken metaphorically when he falls through the veil the second pawn, that is Harry leaving Harry in a stronger position because, while not achieving promotion is able with Dumbledore's aid to check Voldemort I have seen instances where a pawn and a queen together can effectively check the opposing king.

In essence, Harry a metaphor for a pawn and Dumbledore as a metaphor for a queen are able to check the king that is Voldemort. Voldemort Dumbledore fight each other to a stalemate, Voldemort attempts to possess Harry and is forced into a check because he cannot possess Harry throough the combination of Harry and Dumbledore.

Voldemort is checked and must withdraw to a safer position. This allows Harry to procced toward the promotion that awaits him in HBP.

Bellatrix and Dumbledore can be considered opposing queens because, their power and skill cancel each other out. Consider how Bellatrix was able to deflect Dumbledore's spell.

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journeymom - Nov 13, 2006 4:15 pm (#114 of 129)

I have GOT to remember that the King is supposed to be the most important piece, not the Queen.

Thanks, Nathan.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Nov 13, 2006 4:42 pm (#115 of 129)

I reposted my earlier post because, there were grammatical errors that I did not catch when I posted earlier.

Harry and Sirius represent during certain instances in OotP the concept of a doubled pawn, a doubled pawn refers to a scenario in which two pawns of the same color are on the same file.

I would argue that such a scenario occurs in OotP and is brought about by the bonds that Harry and Sirius share, it is this bond that leads them both to Department of Mysteries. One of the two pawns, Sirius is taken metaphorically, when he falls through the veil.

The second pawn, Harry is left in a stronger position because, while not achieving promotion Harry is able with Dumbledore's aid to check Voldemort. I have seen instances where a pawn and a queen together can effectively check the opposing king.

In essence, Harry is a metaphor for a pawn and Dumbledore as a metaphor for a queen are able to check the king that is Voldemort. Voldemort and Dumbledore fight each other to a stalemate, Voldemort then attempts to possess Harry and is forced into a check because he cannot possess Harry throough the combination of Harry and Dumbledore.

Voldemort is checked and must withdraw to a safer position. This allows Harry to procced toward the promotion that awaits him in HBP.

Bellatrix and Dumbledore can be considered opposing queens because, their power and skill cancel each other out. Consider how Bellatrix was able to deflect Dumbledore's spell.


Going back to the Department of Mysteries battle the I would argue that the while Dumbledore Represents a queen I would argue that Ron serves as meatphor for the king because his ability to participate in the battle is severely limited because of the attack made on him by the brain. This alos fits in with the idea that Weasley is Our King.

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journeymom - Nov 13, 2006 6:50 pm (#116 of 129)

I like that idea about King Ron cornered by the brains.

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painting sheila - Nov 23, 2006 1:29 pm (#117 of 129)

Have you all discussed the part in GofF in the Yule Ball chapter where Harry, Ron, and Hermione are all in the common room prior to the Yule Ball. Hermione is scolding Harry for not having the egg clue figured out yet. Harry says he can;t concentrate with all the festivities and noise going on.

"Oh, I suppose not, " she sighed, and she sat down to watch their chess match, which culminated in an exciting checkmate of Ron's, involving a couple of recklessly brave pawns and a very violent bishop.

I thought you all could pull something out of this, or at least direct me where I should go.



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journeymom - Nov 24, 2006 3:30 pm (#118 of 129)

Perhaps the reckless pawn could be Draco and the violent bishop could be Snape. Ron's king would be Dumbledore.

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TheSaint - Nov 25, 2006 8:27 am (#119 of 129)

I thought Harry was the bishop?

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[TomProffitt - Nov 25, 2006 9:38 am (#120 of 129)

"I thought Harry was the bishop?" --- TheSaint

I don't think that Rowling is particularly consistent with her chess imagery. I suspect that each time she uses a chess game to mirror actual events it is very specific in time and place rather than generalized for the whole series of books. For example, in the scene with the game on the train and the parting of ways between Harry & Cho I don't think the game carries any further than that scene on the train. I suspect that all of Rowling's chess analogies are like that.

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journeymom - Nov 25, 2006 11:05 am (#121 of 129)

Tom, exactly. I recently realized this. I've been trying to fit all the chess analogies to the origional chess game in PS/SS.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Nov 26, 2006 9:56 am (#122 of 129)

Tom, I would argue that the chess imagery is in an if itself structure to have an inherent fluidity as befits the the fluid nature of a chess game.

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TomProffitt - Nov 26, 2006 2:12 pm (#123 of 129)

Nathan, I didn't follow that sentence, would you rephrase it, please.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Nov 27, 2006 10:25 am (#124 of 129)

Tom, the chess imagery within the series is not in my opinion static in the sense that, I doubt that the characters are intended to consistently and immutably serve as a metaphor for a specific chess piece. I believe that J.K. Rowling constructed the series in such a way that as the series progresses and the characters grow and change, the chess imagery associated with the characters will change as well.

I believe that evolution of the characters and the chess imagery that accompanies them was an element that J.K. Rowling intentionally incorporated into the series because, I would argue that such changes and transformation force the readers to shift their focus from the individual characters (pieces) to the series as a whole (chess game as a whole).

Indeed while Harry served in the role of a bishop in PS, I would argue that throughout OotP Harry filled several roles most important the role of a pawn.

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TomProffitt - Nov 27, 2006 11:37 am (#125 of 129)

I disagree, Nathan. I think we can make valid analogies comparing the Harry Potter series to Chess, but I don't see any evidence to show that Rowling is specifically using chess analogies herself, other than in a few isolated instances.

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Steve Newton - Nov 27, 2006 11:44 am (#126 of 129)

In the chess game in book one Ron as the knight has been described as symbolizing Dumbledore. If that is the case than Dumbledore has sacrificed himself so that Harry can go on.

Of course I have also heard it suggested that in this game the Ron symbolizes Snape who has now sacrificed himself so Harry can go on.

Of course in the game Harry and Hermione go on.

I'm so confused.

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journeymom - Nov 27, 2006 2:23 pm (#127 of 129)

I don't think Snape has sacrificed himself yet. IF he's a good guy, he might sacrifice himself in Book 7. Even if he's His Own Man, he might accidentally off himself in Harry's service. Kind of the way Gollum destroyed himself following his own agenda, to the benefit of the good side.

TomProffitt, you're saying we can compare the whole story to a chess game but JKR is not doing that herself?

I suppose the analogy isn't blindingly obvious, but the Chess game in PS will probably be visited again in the final story. Which began with HBP.

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TomProffitt - Nov 27, 2006 2:41 pm (#128 of 129)

"TomProffitt, you're saying we can compare the whole story to a chess game but JKR is not doing that herself?" --- journeymom

It's a truism. There are millions of analogies we can use that Rowling never thought of. Just because Rowling didn't intend for a specific analogy to be used doesn't make it invalid. It's a Rorschach Test, more or less. But I do think that if we push too hard trying to find something we'll just confuse ourselves.

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Robert Dierken - Dec 13, 2006 9:13 pm (#129 of 129)

And Sir Cadogan is, of course, a knight.

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