His haaaaair is as daaaaaaark as a blackboooooooard"
Ahem. I think I'm going to be singing that all day. While blushing for poor little Ginny. Here's somebody's lovely orchestrated edition, so you can be singing it, too:
As that plays, here's a recap of last week's posting:
Masha provided recipes for Pepperup potion and "a slow-brewing elixir for lowered inhibitions and reduced internal chatter", the latter of which sounds like just the thing for me. It's too bad I haven't got any of those ingredients in my house... not one. Apparently I need to replenish my stock. (Or maybe just plenish it; I've never had Siberian ginseng.) Anyway, Masha's post also contains some good thoughts about Parseltongue and caricatures and whether to give the Potter books to children:
I can see reasons for pause in the series, as there are in most books, depending on the individual child's needs, temptations, and maturity. Would I be more likely to tuck away Potter and prominently display The Hobbit..yes, I would, but it would be because I love The Hobbit, it's a better book, and one of my favorites, and parents are always going to encourage their favorites. It's just a fact of nature. But while I can see aspects of the books that are very problematic in the formation of youthful morality, I don't see enough to deny a child the books. Yet.And I say: Well put. I'm too tempted, because the books are so often attacked and misguidedly denounced, to overcompensate with unequivocal praise. Masha's point is a good corrective.
Christie got caught up, offering one post about ghosts and Deathday party and another about potions and Parseltongue. From the latter:
About the Parselmouth gift being the domain of dark wizards, I feel the same as I do about his suitability for placement in Slytherin. Though the wizarding world is stubborn in its prejudices, I insist that the evilness (or goodness) of a thing, a created object or a genetic gift, is in how it is used. I'm pulling strongly for Harry, here. I sense and understand his fear. It is true that the Parselmouth gift is one often used for evil. But that makes me even more determined to see Harry use it for good. The ability to speak to snakes, like most things, is not intrinsically wrong. So it's unfortunate his classmates see it as such.Ah, the ability to make fine distinctions. Humans are so bad at it. And yet, for justice's sake, it's imperative. Harry doesn't know why he can speak to snakes, or how; half the time, he doesn't realize he's doing it, and the one time he did knowingly have a conversation with one, he was just being compassionate. After all, snakes are God's creatures, too. But pre-teen Hogwarts is all HARRY'S TRYING TO KILL US. Easy does it, kids.
* * *
This Week in Reading Harry
Read: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapters 13-15
Potential Discussion Points:
1. Dangerous books. Ever since the Teacher wrote "Of making many books there is no end" inside his own book—if not before—authors have been putting meta-commentary on literature inside literature. Rowling's strikes me as incredibly funny:
"Some of the books the Ministry's confiscated—Dad's told me—there was one that burned your eyes out. And everyone who read Sonnets of a Sorcerer spoke in limericks for the rest of their lives. And some old witch in Bath had a book that you could never stop reading! You just had to wander around with your nose in it, trying to do everything one-handed. And—"The number of times I've wandered around the house with my nose in a book, trying to do everything one-handed... Hahaha. Also, limericks! That would be embarrassing. Especially considering that limericks tend to range from naughty to filthy. I read one of the "man from Nantucket" ones once, and it pretty much soured me on that particular poetic form, mainly because I've never been able to forget it. Worst mental images ever.
2. Valentine's Day. Of all the holidays in all the calendar, Valentine's Day has got to be the worst. I hated it when I was single, primarily because I was single, but when I got married I discovered that while candlelight dinners and romantic evenings are nice anytime, they're really not improved by infusion of lurid pink and being situated in crowded restaurants (both Lou and I recoil in horror from the very thought of going out to dinner on February 14.)
That holiday, commercially appropriated and cheapened far beyond the saccharine point, is an apropos choice for a little more Gilderoy Lockhart party of awkward. Especially since our Gilderoy is "five-time winner of Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile award." What with Snape "looking as though the first person to ask him for a love potion would be force-fed poison" and grim singing dwarfs with wings and harps, this section is beautifully comic.
And now, because I can't resist, some Harry-themed valentines from around the interwebs:
|Source. Yes, these last three are all from the same place.|
There are more where they came from, too.
Along the same lines, I'm totally giggling about the mandrakes getting all moody and secretive and trying to move into each others' pots. Well. Apparently I'm still in junior high.
3. Poor Hagrid. Between Tom and Fudge... how mean. And unfair. That is all.
4. T.M. Riddle. Here's where the book's mystery—which is pretty awesome—really ramps up. I love it that Riddle is called Riddle here, while Harry's trying to figure him out. And speaking of that mystery, there are so many clues dropping in these chapters. I kept thinking "I want to write about that, but [SPOILER spoiler spoiler MEGASPOILER!!!!!!]"
5. Choosing classes. Presumably some of these kids are writing home for advice, and Neville got barraged whether he asked or not, but Hogwarts, never the sort of school to burden kids with much adult oversight, plunges them into choosing their own classes. Which they're mostly too young and confused to do, and they display that in brilliantly childlike ways. Dean Thomas' tactic sounds as logical as anyone else's.
6. Deus ex Ford Anglia. Clearly Mr. Weasley didn't just enchant the car to make it fly; he made it family-loyal, like a puppy. Cute.
|You guys. Someone QUILTED the flying car.|
|Art by JamusDu.|
8. Dumbledore. "However, you will find that I will only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me. You will also find that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it." I love Dumbledore. He sounds like a war general here, or maybe just like a good teacher who also happens to be a really cool and powerful wizard. His odd juxtaposition of mighty protectiveness and shockingly open-handed freedom are on frequent display in these early books, combined with an almost omnipotent sense for what's going on in his school and a plot-benefiting tendency to not know—or not reveal—the big important answers until after the fact. I'm looking forward to more Dumbledore in a week or two.
* * *
...okay, Hagrid, really? I know you wanted to reveal some things, but you thought it was safe to send two twelve-year-old kids and a cowardly dog into a nest of acromantulas? Way deep in the Forbidden Forest? Really?!!!