Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Owl Post

Hooray! Chamber of Secrets is finally over and we can move on to what I think is the best of the "non-death" books (by which of course I mean no one dies).

Harry's home for the holidays and apparently thinking about his life story while he does his homework, because, you know, who doesn't? He's able to ponder (and whine) a little more when he realizes it's his birthday, but before he can get too self-pitying, a bunch of owls arrive with gifts and letters. What a great opportunity to think about his past again! He gets a sneakoscope from Ron, who's in Egypt with his family, a broom-servicing kit from Hermione who's in France with her family, a biting book from Hagrid who's probably at Hogwarts, and an uncomfortable moment with his uncle from the Hogwarts administrators. All-in-all, a pretty great birthday.

I've already talked about how boring these recap chapters are, so I'm not going to do that again. Instead I'm going to talk about wizarding forms of communication. I've touched on related subjects in the past, like why isn't there a wizard internet and how floo powder is a pretty stupid way to travel, but we haven't really looked at the wizarding community's communication methods (or lack thereof).

Ron's phone call got me thinking about the fact that the wizarding methods for instantaneous communication are just not good. Here in the muggle world, we've got phones (cell, home, business), fax, email/IM, texting, etc. Basically, we're pretty much wired up (or are we now wirelessed up?). Sure these take money, and not everyone can afford such luxuries, but the vast majority of the Western world at least is reachable 24/7. (I'm not because I never remember to bring my cell phone with me anywhere, but that's not what we're talking about right now.)

Weirdly, the wizarding world doesn't really have anything comparable. Sure they have ways of instantaneous communication, but none of them are as accessible. Take the whole shoving your head in the fire using floo powder thing, if you're nowhere near a fireplace (and the fireplace has to be connected to the floo network) this method of communication is out. I can hear you thinking, "yeah, but if you don't have your phone on you, that method of communication is out" which is true, the difference being that there doesn't seem to be such a thing as a "mobile fireplace", basically making this like having a home phone. Then again, this is the early 1990's, perhaps they'd have something like that now. (Again, I should totally be a wizard inventor!)

The only other instantaneous method of communication I can think of is the patronus messenger. The way I understand the books, not everyone can do a patronus, and I would think endowing your patronus with the ability to speak would be even more difficult. Obviously, this method is not going to be for everyone.

It's no wonder Ron screwed up the phone call so badly! You'd think people who could do magic could come up with a quicker, easier, and more accessible way to get in touch with each other!

What do you think? Did I miss any methods from the books?

1 comment:

  1. Dumbledore has sent pictures with messages. But that is still problematic. Because if the picture is not in the same building then it has to be a picture of the same person in order for them to move freely. I guess for the most part the wizard world seems perfectly happy with Owl post. It is very reliable.