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!

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