Monday, October 17, 2016

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 4: The Keeper of the Keys

Welcome to the next Specialis Revelio chapter analysis! If this is your first time on the blog, please check out this introductory post, where I explain the purpose of this blog, as well as the different sections you'll see in each post. You can also click here to go to the page where all of my posts are listed in chronological order.

~I solemnly swear that I am up to no good~

Specialis Revelio: a spell that reveals an object's hidden secrets.


Summary
At the stroke of midnight, a giant man bangs down the door and wakes everyone up. He greets Harry and wishes him a happy birthday. He introduces himself as Rubeus Hagrid, the keeper of keys at Hogwarts, and Harry doesn't know what he's talking about. Hagrid realizes that Harry isn't familiar with the magical world and gets angry at the Dursleys, yelling at them for their lies.

Hagrid informs Harry that he's a wizard. His parents did not die in a car crash, but rather at the hands of an evil wizard named Voldemort. Harry finally receives his letter from Hogwarts, which includes a school supply list. The Dursleys attempt to keep him from attending Hogwarts, but Hagrid jinxes a pig tail onto Dudley, which causes him and his parents to freak out. Hagrid and Harry settle in for the night.

Timeline
This takes place just after the stroke of midnight on Harry's birthday: July 31, 1991.
We also get official confirmation that Harry's parents were killed on Halloween (1980).

Personal Thoughts
I feel like everything I want to say here is better suited for a different section. Nonetheless, for now I'll say that I actually think the movie handled some of this better. That being said, I do LOVE the 2 page illustration of the island cottage in the illustrated edition.


WWP Analysis
- In French, vol de mort means flight from death, so Hagrid's assessment that Voldemort isn't dead is a definite possibility.
- Some questions are raised about Lily (Harry's mom) and Aunt Petunia. What's the background there? Might Petunia have secret powers? Where does all of this anger come from?
- The book notes that emotions are Hagrid's weakness. I never realized how true this is, but I'll keep it in mind moving forward.


Notes for First Years
- Just in general, soak in this info. This background is important through the whole series.
- Hmm. I wonder how Hagrid managed to get himself expelled?


Controversial Moments
1- so Harry meets this dude and just decides to go along with him? I don't care how much you hate the Dursleys- this guy is a rando stranger. Have you never heard of the phrase STRANGER DANGER?! Not that I don't love Hagrid, but seriously, this dude followed them all the way to this secluded island. Is that not at least a little creepy? Does that not make you pause to think about things for a second?
2- Also, why are the Dursleys so vehemently against Harry going to Hogwarts? Sure, they hate magic, but they get him out of their hair for the entire school year. Sounds like a win for them, given that they seem to hate Harry just as much as they hate magic.



My Remembrall is Glowing!
I completely forgot that Hagrid essentially laid out the whole story to Harry here. I obviously remembered "yer a wizard, Harry," but I forgot that he shared all the Voldemort information here. Also, I always forget that he and Harry stay at the hut overnight. In the movie, they leave in the middle of the night, so I always think it happened the same way in the book, but it didn't.

Got Peeves'd
(Remember, this section is spoilery if you haven't seen the movie!)
Going off of what I was just talking about, the movie doesn't have Hagrid tell Harry all of the Voldemort stuff until later, and I actually kinda like it that way. It feels like more of an info-dump here.



No first years past this point!
From here forward, spoilers from all 7 books are fair game!

Divination Class
Hagrid clearly doesn't know about the prophecy, because he doesn't know why Voldemort went after Harry and his family. Which makes sense given that barely anyone knows about the prophecy, but it's interesting to go back and be reminded that most people really had no idea why Voldemort went after Harry and why he couldn't kill him. We also get a little hint about Hagrid's expulsion here too.


Miscellaneous
Hagrid's umbrella clearly has magical powers and it's been widely speculated that it contains the fragments of his wand. This is probably the case, though we've seen that broken wands are exactly that- broken. His umbrella seems to function fairly well. I'd assume that Hagrid probably didn't have the ability to bewitch it himself so maybe our dear Dumbledore did it.



So, that's it for this chapter analysis! I'm already so excited about re-reading this series and looking at each chapter through a different lens than I normally do. Let me know in the comments what you thought of this post and if you have any ideas for other things that I can look at in the chapter. Thanks so much for reading and don't forget to check out my links below!

Check out my links below!


~Mischief Managed~

Monday, October 10, 2016

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 3: The Letters From No One

Welcome to the next Specialis Revelio chapter analysis! If this is your first time on the blog, please check out this introductory post, where I explain the purpose of this blog, as well as the different sections you'll see in each post. You can also click here to go to the page where all of my posts are listed in chronological order.

~I solemnly swear that I am up to no good~

Specialis Revelio: a spell that reveals an object's hidden secrets.


Summary
Harry receives a harsh punishment for the snake incident that lasts well into summer vacation. Dudley prepares to begin school at Smeltings Academy, while Harry will be going to public school. One day, Harry discovers a letter in the post with his name on it. His uncle takes it away, refusing to let him see it. Over the next several days, Harry begins to receive more & more letters, sometimes coming in odd ways such as inside eggs. This garners more & more extreme reactions from his uncle, eventually leading to mass amounts of letters shooting out of the fireplace. Much to Dudley's distress, Vernon decides that the family is going to be leaving the house to take a trip in hopes of avoiding the letters. The next day, they receive numerous letters at their hotel, so Vernon takes them all the way to an island shack. As the clock strikes midnight on Harry's 11th birthday, there's a loud knock at the door.



Timeline
So, there's something a bit wonky here with the dates. Given that J.K. Rowling is known for really detailed foreshadowing, it's often assumed that everything is meticulously done, but that's not incredibly accurate with some of the dates in this first book.

So. Chapter 3 spans an entire week, starting as Harry gets the mail on a Tuesday, and ending right at the beginning of Harry's birthday, which (given this timeline) is a Tuesday. The quick explanation here is that we are explicitly told days of the week for several of these days. The day that the Dursleys go to the island is explicitly mentioned as a Monday, because Dudley complains that he's missing his Monday programs. We also know that this is not an accident because we get a clear "On Friday... On Saturday... On Sunday... The next morning" succession, so Rowling clearly set it up so the day before Harry's birthday was a Monday, thus making Harry's birthday (July 31!) a Tuesday.
So, pretty clear timeline, right? Except. We already established that this is taking place in the summer of 1991. Harry and Dudley were both born in 1980 and they're both turning 11, plus tons of other out-of-story confirmation that this year is 1991. However, July 31 was on a Wednesday in 1991. So clearly, Rowling made an oopsie here. Because Harry's birthday & the year this takes place are both solid facts, but the timeline that she very purposefully lays out in this chapter contradicts these facts. Clearly, she just didn't have her dates right, but I had a lot of fun laying all of this out and proving that I was right and J.K. Rowling was wrong ;)

Personal Thoughts
I love the humor surrounding the Smelting stick! Also, I love the moment where Harry makes that clever quip back to Dudley and Dudley is too slow to figure out that he was insulted. It's our first brief glimpse into Harry's single distinct personality trait- DAT. SASS. Also, there's a point where Vernon is humming "Tiptoe Through the Tulips," which is fitting because that song gives me the creeps.


WWP Analysis
-More references to the number 12, including a dozen eggs, midnight, and the number 36.
-There's an interesting note that Mrs. Figg seems to get around quite a bit. She's apparently hobbling around near the Dursleys' house, despite living a few streets away.


Notes for First Years
Not much here today, kids. This chapter is rather heavy on plot elements that are specifically for this book. Remember that Aunt Marge tho.


Controversial Moments
Again, nada. This chapter is just here to move dat plot along. The only potential one is the whole messed up date thing.



My Remembrall is Glowing!
I totally forgot about Harry sneaking downstairs in the morning to beat the Dursleys to the mail! Young Harry was super proactive when trying to get these letters. I also forgot they stopped at a hotel before the island.

Got Peeves'd
(Remember, this section is spoilery if you haven't seen the movie!)
The movie leaves out everything relating to the school Harry was supposed to go to. Also, it left out the fact that he got a real bedroom. Also, the night spent at the hotel. Honestly, a large chunk of this chapter was left out. It was basically boiled down to letters, letters, and more letters, followed by the trip to the island. And TBH, that makes a lot of sense because none of those things are really very important to the overall plot, so it makes sense to condense a bit in order to not bog down the movie. Having every single day play out wouldn't have translated well into movie form, despite being good within this chapter.



No first years past this point!
From here forward, spoilers from all 7 books are fair game!

Divination Class
Again, not much here. Sure, we'll continue to see Dudley and crew beating up Harry, but that's not "foreshadowing," per se. I guess the closest thing is just how kooky Dumbledore is portrayed in this book. Sending letters via egg and addressing them specifically to the cupboard under the stairs or the smallest bedroom makes total sense with quirky Dumbledore. We also get a glimpse into the persistence on both Dumbledore's and the Dursleys' sides-- the Dursleys will avoid 5ever and Dumbledore will just keep on truckin'.


Miscellaneous
Not a spoiler, but this seems like the best place to talk about it, since I already harped on it in the non-spoiler section. Seriously, though, I can't believe all these day of the week inaccuracies! After some searching and some back and forth, I think that all of this section was based on the year that this was written. If my memory serves me correctly, this was written in 1990, and the days of the week mentioned line up correctly for the dates when using the 1990 calendar. Given that we already noted that we know this takes place in 1991, this is clearly some sort of editing error. How did no one catch this?! My only guess is that maybe she wasn't sure what year this was supposed to take place or didn't mention the year to the editor or something but there was some sort of slip up here.

Also, fun fact that I read a long time ago on JKR's website-- apparently, the original plan (or at least, one of the earlier plans) was for the boat guy to be Hermione's dad (and for the family to own the island, I think). As you can tell, this is a vague memory so I don't remember all the details, but that just really stands out in my mind.



So, that's it for this chapter analysis! I'm already so excited about re-reading this series and looking at each chapter through a different lens than I normally do. Let me know in the comments what you thought of this post and if you have any ideas for other things that I can look at in the chapter. Thanks so much for reading and don't forget to check out my links below!

Check out my links below!


~Mischief Managed~

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 2: The Vanishing Glass

Welcome to the next Specialis Revelio chapter analysis! If this is your first time on the blog, please check out this introductory post, where I explain the purpose of this blog, as well as the different sections you'll see in each post. You can also click here to go to the page where all of my posts are listed in chronological order.

~I solemnly swear that I am up to no good~

Specialis Revelio: a spell that reveals an object's hidden secrets.


Summary
Ten years after the events of chapter one, the Dursleys still live nearly the exact same as before. Harry has grown up in the cupboard under the stairs, largely ignored save for taunts, punishments, and bullying.

The chapter opens on Dudley's birthday. Dudley is doted upon and receives numerous birthday presents. Harry is supposed to be left at the neighbor's (Mrs. Figg) house for the day, but she has an injury and cannot take care of him, so Harry is able to go to the zoo with the Dursleys and Dudley's best friend, Piers Polkiss. We discover that odd things seem to happen around Harry. While in the snake room at the zoo, Harry seemingly speaks to a snake before the glass disappears and the snake escapes. Harry is punished by the Dursleys for this and lays in his cupboard contemplating his rather odd life.



Timeline
Dudley is ~5 weeks older than Harry, and his DOB is June 23, 1980. Therefore, this chapter takes place on Saturday, June 23, 1991.

Personal Thoughts
TBH, my favorite moment from this scene is something that happens exclusively in the movie! But I do really enjoy these little stories about Harry accidentally using magic.


WWP Analysis
- The book mentions that socks seem to be a running bit. Like last time, I'm not 100% sure that this has any real significance, but this is definitely something that could be interesting to follow. I know for sure this one pops up again.
- Again, 12, 13, and watches are also running symbols. The numbers appear again in this chapter in the form of the number of presents.
- Fig= "not literal". Fig leaf= "something that conceals or camouflages." Is this coincidental, or is Mrs. Figg hiding something?
- How come Harry can talk to snakes specifically, but not any of Mrs. Figg's cats?


Notes for First Years
-Keep that cabbage scent handy, kids. Never know when it'll come wafting back again.
-IDK about you, but I'd rather stay far away from snakes than talk to them.


Controversial Moments
Everyone's favorite criticism of this chapter is the fact that snakes don't have eyelids and therefore could never wink or blink at Harry. Oops. Good research, JKR!



My Remembrall is Glowing!
... actually, it's not, really. There's nothing of note that has really slipped my mind here. There are a few fun moments that I'm reminded of upon each re-read (Harry's motor-bike dream, receiving ice cream, the rando moments of accidental magic usage) but none of these things are anything I've outright forgotten.

Got Peeves'd
(Remember, this section is spoilery if you haven't seen the movie!)
Actually, this time it's what is in the movie. I love the scene where the glass disappears and Dudley falls into the water, only to realize that the glass is there again and he's stuck in the snake display. Brilliant.



No first years past this point!
From here forward, spoilers from all 7 books are fair game!

Divination Class
The clear things here are the parseltongue and Mrs. Figg. Mrs. Figg is obviously rather purposeful, though IDK if the extent of her involvement was decided. Also, the snake stuff is clever because at the time it's presented as just another odd thing Harry randomly does rather than something that's actually rather unique. So it's super subtle foreshadowing in the fact that it's something readers will clearly remember, but it's packaged in a way that purposely makes this specific ability not stand out. Then, when he's revealed as a parselmouth in book 2, it's this epic revelation and the reader immediately thinks back to the foreshadowing in book 1.



Miscellaneous
OK, so I wanted to take a moment to discuss the use of magic by underage wizards. This is dealt with rather severely once wizards enter school. In fact, this causes problems for Harry HALF of the summers he's living with the Dursleys... but it's completely unregulated before kids go to Hogwarts? This has never made sense to me. Wouldn't witches/wizards with zero training be more dangerous because they have no idea how to use their powers? They don't have a real grasp on them yet and probably don't fully understand that they need to keep everything under wraps. The implications of exposing magic to the muggle world have not yet been given to them. Plus, this is even worse for muggle-borns or people like Harry who have no idea that the Wizarding World exists. It just seems really odd to me that no one tries to do anything about these outbursts, despite panic over purposeful use of basic charms.

Also, once a witch/wizard stars learning magic, do they no longer have accidental outbursts? Ron makes snow fall on accident once, but that's all I can remember. This accidental magic usage seems to be one of the things that wasn't fully thought out or developed.



So, that's it for this chapter analysis! I'm already so excited about re-reading this series and looking at each chapter through a different lens than I normally do. Let me know in the comments what you thought of this post and if you have any ideas for other things that I can look at in the chapter. Thanks so much for reading and don't forget to check out my links below!

Check out my links below!


~Mischief Managed~