Before we do, though—The Harry Potter Book Club met live for the first time last Monday:
|Me, Masha on Skype, Christie|
And it was awesome. We talked about Snape and spoilers and the possibility of doing some other book clubs when we finish with Harry... all of which will, I believe, be revealed in time. ;)
Meanwhile: this week, Masha spoke of loving Lockhart and other Rowling caricatures, Hermione's breaking character, Hogwarts' slipshod student management, and the relationship between wizards and everyone else:
...also, as Christie's mentioned, J.K. Rowling seems to be presenting common decency as exceptional goodness pretty often as it relates to any interaction between wizards and anyone else, be they elves or muggles. I'm not sure if it's to create in the reader an awareness of how deeply flawed the wizarding world is, or if it is supposed to be viewed by the reader as exemplary. Thoughts here??And Christie has been down with a cold (wish I had thought to send her some Pepperup Potion), but I'm going to move forward; Chamber of Secrets is pretty action-based and, compared to some of the other books, easy to write about in a concise fashion. At least, I think so. Christie might scold me later. ;P
And now, for next week's reading!
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This Week in Reading Harry
Read: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapters 8-9
In honor of Nearly Headless Nick's five hundredth deathday, here's a link to the Rowling-penned ballad depicting his death (page down to get to it). A taste:
It was a mistake any wizard could make
Who was tired and caught on the hop
One piffling error, and then, to my terror,
I found myself facing the chop.
Potential Discussion Points:
|Art by Keith James|
|Art by VivalaVida|
3 informal a small, slight, or weak person, especially a child.and according to the World English Dictionary:
2. a firework that does not explode because of a fault; dud...both of which could be relevant to Rowling's usage.
We meet two Squibs in the Harry Potter series (the other is a spoiler yet); in Filch's case, the janitorial job may have been some of the same kindness, Dumbledorian or otherwise, that allowed the expelled Hagrid to stay on as Keeper of the Keys and Grounds. Unlike for Hagrid, however, being constantly close to magic he can't do seems to have soured Filch (either that, or he was a nastier person to begin with. Or both.) Secondary school students cannot be expected to kindly treat someone who is constantly threatening and punishing them beyond the bounds of reason, but their instinctive distrust and hatred only feeds into Filch's lifelong bitterness. From an obvious sense of inferiority, he sought out the Kwikspell course—which looks like something marketed for $19.99 by infomercial on cable TV—but perhaps he might have become less brutal, lived more peaceably, if he had simply gone out and lived among Muggles from an early age.
|Art by matisnape|
Oh, and here's a song about getting flushed by her wizard rock namesake, The Moaning Myrtles. (I wish I could've found a video for "Wrocking Around the Bathroom Stall", which is set to "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" and is my favorite TMM song, but I couldn't; you can listen to it over on Grooveshark, though.) Wrocking from the U-bend:
4. Professor Binns, history, myth, and boredom. This time spoofing the general perspective on history classes, Rowling gives us a teacher so locked into dry routine and dryer lecturing that he never even notices his own death. History doesn't have to be boring, however, as the entire classroom wakes up when the lesson becomes relevant. Binns will never be this interesting again, so here's a picture of him entering through the blackboard:
|Ghostly professor, sleepy class. Art by SusiKISS.|
5. Gothic humor and horror. That pair runs these two chapters. Humor leads out with the Deathday party, the salamander, Peeves, Moaning Myrtle, etc.. Horror follows behind with the murderous voice in the wall and the petrification of Mrs. Norris. The creepy message daubed on the stone wall, with the petrified cat hung beneath it, sounds like something straight out of a horror movie—and it's a sign that the book is going to keep getting darker.
Which it will.
Oh, and I don't like spiders either, Ron.
Go forth and talk Potter!