Wednesday, June 2, 2010

At Flourish and Blotts

So here's the thing about rereading Harry Potter, I know what's going to happen. Okay, that's obvious, but knowing what's going to happen means that I have favorite bits and ummm...un-favorite bits. Now, usually when I reread the series I zoom through all 7 books in about 2 weeks, so if I'm at an un-favorite part, I know that I'll be getting to a favorite part soon. When you're only reading a chapter at a time, then you know that the un-favorite part (like, you know, all of Chamber of Secrets) is going to last a while. It's making it a bit difficult. This was my 3rd attempt at this chapter since my last post and I finally made it all the way through.

Everyone receives their Hogwarts letters and a trip to Diagon Alley is quickly planned. Harry is "taught" how to use floo powder, but he has some problems and ends up at what is obviously a Dark Wizard shop. This is made even more clear when Malfoy and his dad show up to sell some of their goods. Harry eventually makes it out to the street where Hagrid finds him and guides him back to Diagon Alley. They soon find Hermione and the Weasleys. Shopping is done, ending with a trip to Flourish and Blotts, where Lockhart is signing his book. He notices Harry and pulls him up for a photo, announcing that he will be teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts that year. After escaping, he and Ginny end up in an altercation with Malfoy, which culminates in a fist fight between Lucius Malfoy and Arthur Weasley.

Basically I find this chapter pretty boring. I know there's lots of stuff that comes up later in the series - the Hand of Glory, the Vanishing Cabinet, Harry teaching Mr. Weasley about telephones - but it's done in a way that feels pretty tedious by the umpteenth read (conservative estimate on how many times I've actually read this book: 8). Anyway, because of all that, I'm going to write a rambling post about the Floo Network.

It's stupid. Okay, it's a cheap and easy way for families to travel, except, you don't seem to be able to have more than one person go at a time. Obviously when the kids are really young you must be able to travel together because you couldn't have an infant traveling alone, but at what age do kids start to travel by themselves. Awfully young it would seem. How safe is that? Harry proves just how easy it is to get lost. How many kids do you think get lost in the floo system every year. Okay, sure. All the fireplaces go to other wizards, who could likely help a lost child get where they need to be, but not all wizards are good people. Imagine a child younger or stupider than Harry ending up at Borgin and Burkes!

Of course, the Floo Network does have it's uses, the whole head in the fireplace method of communication is pretty freaking cool, but as a method of family travel, I think it falls far short. My family would be taking the Knight Bus instead.

Not as long and rambley as I had intended, but my dinner smells done and I'm hungry. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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