Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling


It's now less than ten days 'till the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (and just by the way, boyfriend and I will be attending the live podcast I was talking about - only because of my cunning and entrepreneurial spirit, thankyouverymuch) and I'm well into my re-read of the series. So in these last remaining days I'll publish my thoughts on each of the books and the questions that remain in my mind after reading the series again. The type of questions that I would like to have answered by the time I finish reading Deathly Hallows. I'll write a bit of my theories for the last book and answer questions about Draco and McGonagall.

SPOILERS AHEAD - please do not proceed if you haven't read all the books from the HP series published so far.

  1. Where did Dumbledore get his scar of London Underground? Is it possibly a remnant of his defeat of Grindelwald? Is the fact that both Harry and Dumbledore have scars significant?
  2. Can Hagrid Apparate? I suppose not, because he borrowed Sirius' motorbike and remember that Hagrid said in a later book that there's no broom strong enough to hold him. AND Hagrid claims he flew to the island on which he first met Harry. Is it then a far-fetched conclusion that he probably flew on Sirius' motorbike?
  3. When Harry gets to Hogwarts with the boats and across the lake, he lands in an underground harbour. Could this be significant in a possible future attack on Hogwarts?
  4. Fun fact of the day: there are 142 staircases at Hogwarts.
  5. In the first speech Dumbledore has upon Harry's arrival to Hogwarts, he says Nitwit, Blubber, Oddment, Tweak. Harry remembers these words at the end of HBP. Are they significant and what do they mean in the context (bear in mind these are actual words)?
  6. We find out right at the beginning Snape wanted the DADA job. Why would Voldemort have wanted him to get the job if he knew Snape was only going to last a year (the job is jinxed) and why would Snape finally accept the position of Potions teacher? And besides, the subject is Defence Against the Dark Arts - what if (pardon my naivete) Snape really only wanted to teach defence, not actual Dark Arts? (Most of the Dark Arts are forbidden by law anyway.)
  7. Snape says in his first lesson that he can teach how to bottle fame, brew glory and stopper death. Was the latter the reason Voldemort wanted Snape among the Death Eaters?
  8. JKR establishes very early that (according to Harry!) Snape hates Harry. All this might be because of a feud between James and Snape. But it also severs another purpose - Snape is able to keep his cover by pretending to hate Harry and continue his work as a double spy. Besides Snape treats everyone apart from Slytherins badly and there is no proof that he treats Harry worse than the others.
  9. Hermione knows what the 12 uses of the dragon's blood are. Will this come in useful in DH - taking into account that the trio flies on a dragon?
  10. Dumbledore is also famous for his defeat of Grindelwald. What was that all about?
  11. As far as I can recall, it is not Dumbledore's habit to come to Quidditch matches, yet he comes to watch Gryffindor's second match. Could that be a sign D has his suspicions about Quirell or merely a sign that the takes the safety of his students seriously?
  12. Could the fact that Voldemort drinks Unicorn's blood and that it is known that "you will have but a half life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips" have any bearing on how the final showdown between V and Harry is resolved?
  13. Ronan, the centaur, says: "Always the innocent are the first victims." This is a huge foreshadowing as Cedric - basically an innocent bystander - dies in GoF.
  14. The centaurs dish out more of their wisdom by saying Mars is bright tonight, The Forrest hides many secrets and (says Firenze) The Forest isn't safe at this time - especially for you [Harry]. Seeing in OotP that Firenze is friendly with Dumbledore, is it possible that the centaurs told D whom they saw lurking in the Forrest? And what are the other secrets (plural!) the Forrest contains?
  15. In this and in several of the following books, Snape seems to make it his priority to get Harry expelled from Hogwarts. What if - and I may be totally off - Snape tries to get Harry go live with the Dursleys, where he is most safe?
  16. Towards the end Harry says: "[...] I'll have to go back to the Dursleys and wait for Voldemort to find me there. It's only dying a bit later than I would have done, because I'm never going over to the Dark side." Is this a huge foreshadowing foretelling V's attack on Harry which takes place in Privet Drive? Possibly even Harry's death?
  17. Some people have suggested that the order of the tasks and the teachers that have set them foretells the main events of each of the books. Let's review: Fluffy (Hargrid), Devil's Snare (Sprout), flying keys (Flitwick), giant chessboard (McGonagall), troll (Quirell), potions (Snape), Mirror of Erised (Dumbledore). Any ideas?
  18. In the end Dumbledore says to Harry: "[...] not being truly alive, he [Voldemort] cannot be killed." Is this true or is this a false statement, because in CoS, Dumbledore meets the first of V's Horcruxes.
  19. And again from Dumbledore: "to have been loved so deeply, even thought the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection for ever." Is this lasting protection Harry's ability to love or something else?
Apart from the burning questions listed above, this is a thoroughly enjoyable novel, light, a bit naive, where most of the story revolves around House points, Quidditch and the mystery of the Philosopher's Stone. And as I mentioned above - Snape is being made the bad guy, but purely so because Harry is subjective. Fred and George tell the first-years that Snape is foul and likes to take points off anybody who isn't Slytherin. I don't think Harry is being treated far worse than anybody else. And keeping Snape unpleasant, mean and awful creates lots of tension in the plot and keeps the story interesting.

There's is a bit of back story and quite a few foreshadowings, but nothing major. That's why you want to read the next novel.

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posted by Nadezhda | 14:39


2 Comments:


Anonymous Mitja said...

Whe I read this I thought of you.


Blogger Nadezhda said...

While I don't have a problem with gays or gay literature I have never in my life read a single piece of fanfiction. What I have read are editorials, heavily based on canon. I do have my teories (it's so much fun trying to guess what happens next), but I'm allright even if none of them come true.

What I really want from DH is a good, enoyable book that answers all the questions.




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