Monday, September 27, 2010

The Boggart in the Wardrobe

So, I'm going to stop making promises about how often I'll be posting...they just don't work! This time it was a combination of work being too exhausting and my sister sending me the link to a Harry Potter trivia game and subsequently getting completely sucked into the site. Also, my Community DVD arrived and there's commentary on every episode! (Readers of my other blog should keep an eye out there, I'll probably be reviewing the DVD in the next couple days.) Enough excuses! On to the chapter synopsis...

Malfoy continues to be a whiny little baby, finally showing up in the middle of potions class several days later. He's a big jerk to Harry and Ron. Snape's a big jerk to the whole of Gryffindor, Neville in particular. After lunch (on their way to which Hermione seemingly disappears for a minute) it's time for their first Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson with Professor Lupin. All are excited when they discover it will be a practical lesson and Lupin brings them to the staff room to take care of a boggart. Everyone gets a turn but Hermione (who's, of course, disappointed) and Harry, who's hurt when Lupin steps in to keep him from facing the boggart. No one else noticed this though, so it's likely that a part of this was Harry being an oversensitive 13-year-old. (Yes, I know Lupin confesses to stopping Harry from facing the boggart later, I'm saying that Harry probably felt the sting a bit more than was strictly necessary.)

I find the following interesting: "...said Harry, accidentally beheading a dead caterpillar..." Why did Rowling choose to specify that the caterpillar was already dead? I don't have an answer to that question, but it made me think, once again, about how difficult it would be for a vegan to be a wizard. Boomslang skin. Caterpillars. Eye of Newt. Potions certainly aren't very animal friendly! It makes me wonder if there are witches or wizards out there working to vegan-ize popular potion recipes? I feel certain that such an attempt would not have gone over well in Snape's classroom.

Speaking of Snape, I can't help but be impressed by his knowledge. When Neville screws up his potion, Snape knows exactly what it was that Neville did incorrectly. How does he know that an excess of rat spleen and leech juice (there's another couple animal products) were what caused the potion to turn orange? Is it just teaching experience, or is it experimentation on his own? Those of us who can see the future, know that Snape was not averse to experimenting while a student himself, does he still remember all those failed experiments?

As for the rest of the chapter, the boggart stuff is fun, though I really don't see the harm of a boggart if you know it's there, but nothing really jumped out at me as worth discussion in the second half of the chapter.

My previous ramblings on wizard vegans proved to be somewhat controversial...provide your thoughts in the comments!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Talons and Tea Leaves

Well, if any of my readers are still around, I'm back! August ended up being a string of health problems (two trips to the emergency room and a trip to my doctor) but I'm finally healthy again! Now, blogger is being really weird, so I'm going to get right into it.

It's the first day of lessons and the very first class of the day is Divination. Harry, Ron and Hermione find their way up to the Divination tower, which is in an area of the school they've never been to before. They start out reading tea leaves and Professor Trelawney sees the Grim in Harry's cup, a prediction of death. In their next class Professor McGonagall (and Hermione) scoffs and tells the class that Trelawney predicts the death of one student a year and a death is yet to occur. After lunch, they have Care of Magical Creatures with the Slytherins. Hagrid introduces the class to hippogriffs and Harry rides Buckbeak. Malfoy insults Buckbeak and is attacked. At the end of the day, the trio go see Hagrid in his hut, where they manage to cheer him up a bit before Hagrid realizes Harry shouldn't be out after dark and escorts them back up to the castle.

Unfortunately, I got sucked into the whole time aspect of Hermione and her classes and spent most of the time pretty distracted (So Harry and Ron actually sat through the class three times? Was the last time the time with Hermione there? If it hadn't been, would they remember a different version of what happened in class? How do the professors of her other classes know she was there? etc.) I most definitely have time travel issues...I want it to make sense. Generally I prefer sci-fi time travel to fantasy time travel I suppose; I much prefer when they try to explain it with science than magic!

Before my time-related distraction, I did manage to wonder who else is taking Arithmancy and Muggle-Studies with Hermione. Every 3rd year Gryffindor we know of (though I do wonder if there are a couple of nameless girls we never hear about) is in the Divination class. Yes, those classes are most likely with other houses (I'm pretty sure we find out later that Arithmancy is with Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff), but doesn't it seem weird that no other Gryffindor wanted to take those classes? I can tell you right now that if someone were to give me the option of taking Arithmancy, Muggle Studdies or Divination, Divination would be my last choice (of course, I'm a Ravenclaw). It seems odd.

Thoughts? Admonishments for my lack of posting? Anything interesting happen while I was away? Share in the comments!