Welcome to the first 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.
~I solemnly swear that I am up to no good~
Specialis Revelio: a spell that reveals an object's hidden secrets.
The Dursleys are simultaneously incredibly dull and rather mean-spirited. Vernon Dursley goes to work one day and sees many odd sights, including owl packs, oddly dressed people in cloaks, and a particularly odd cat sitting near his house. We learn that the Dursleys do not like Petunia Dursley's side of the family and that Vernon believes these oddities to be the work of "their sort".
That night, an old man appears on the Dursleys' street and recognizes the cat that is still sitting there. The cat transforms into a woman named Minerva McGonagall. The man, Dumbledore, confirms to her that the rumors she's heard all day are true. James and Lily Potter are dead. Someone named Voldemort killed them but could not kill their son, Harry. A man named Hagrid flies in on a motorcycle with baby Harry in tow. The three adults say a tearful goodbye to Harry and leave him on the doorstep of his aunt and uncle- Vernon and Petunia Dursley.
In the chapter, a man on the news mentions that "Bonfire Night" (November 5) is next week, placing this day either at the end of October or in the first couple days of November. Further details from JKR herself confirm that the Potters were killed October 31, meaning that this chapter takes place on November 1. Harry was born in 1980 and is a year old at this point, meaning that the date of this chapter is November 1, 1981.
"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." So much nostalgia in that single sentence.
WWP Analysis- The WWP analysis puts a lot of emphasis on the number 12. It's mentioned in various forms several times throughout the chapter. Not sure how important this really is, but it could be interesting to follow!
- There's some time that's potentially not accounted for here. By the time Hagrid shows up with Harry, it's almost been a full 24 hours since Harry's parents were killed. So... what was going on in between?
- Dumbledore seems to have some interesting devices. A watch with 12 hands? A put-outer that can take all the lights out of street lamps? What other things does he have up his sleeve?
Notes for First YearsWow, that Sirius Black guy seems nice for letting Hagrid borrow his bike!
This may not be a true controversy, but I've heard others mention it and was confused by the way they explained this. I feel like it's a plot hole.
So. McGonagall was there all day. On purpose. Simple explanation: waiting until Dumbledore gets there to hear the truth. Right? No. She was surprised that Dumbledore was leaving Harry with the Dursleys. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and will assume that she did know that they were Harry's relatives. I'll also give her the benefit of the doubt that she would be willing to wait all day just to hear the news from Dumbledore. But, he didn't pre-plan this (he didn't know she'd be there) and we've already established she didn't know he was leaving Harry with the Dursleys... so...?
Maybe she thought he'd be offering his condolences? But that doesn't make sense. Also, this is during the school year. She could've gone to his office or something. Plus, didn't she have some classes to teach or students to watch after? C'mon, Minerva.
Dedalus Diggle is mentioned briefly. The name is familiar, and I'm certain he pops up again later, but I can't quite place him. Does Harry meet him at The Leaky Cauldron?
(Remember, this section is spoilery if you haven't seen the movie!)
We open the movie on "part 2" of this chapter, with McGonagall and Dumbledore. The major thing here is that we don't get any prior characterization of the Dursleys in the movie, except McGonagall saying "they're the worst type of muggles". I kind of like this for the purpose of the movie because A- the book opening would be a bit odd as the opening to a movie, & B- I like that our first glimpse of them is through Harry's eyes.
No first years past this point!
From here forward, spoilers from all 7 books are fair game!
One that could be seen as foreshadowing that I'm pretty certain isn't purposeful foreshadowing is the use of the "put-outer". Potentially a hot take here, but it seems like Rowling took this and found a way to revamp it to help her in book 7. If this were true foreshadowing, she would've called it a deluminator from the start instead of a silly "put-outer".
Dumbledore's watch is mentioned to have 12 hands. Is it possible that this watch is something like the clock hanging in the Weasleys' house? I don't think this ever comes back, but the WWP analysis mentions the 12 hands and I've been really curious about it ever since.
So, that's it for this first 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!