The Boy Who Lived

I have to confess that I really love Chapter 1. I think last time I wrote about it, I may have said it reminded me in tone a bit of Tolkien’s opening to The Hobbit.

Actually, yes, I did.

In looking back, it appears that I wrote four consecutive blog posts about just this one chapter. In addition to the Hobbit comparison, I discussed the overwhelming presence of owls, drew up a  Chapter map (complete with explanation), and wrote another whole long post about Albus Dumbledore and sundry other issues. I really went “into the weeds” with this chapter seven years ago!

But in fairness, this brief introductory chapter accomplishes a lot. It sets up the conflict between the Dursleys and Harry and the recent and future conflicts between Harry and Voldemort, shows the secret world of the Wizards and its fear of being found out, introduces part of our main cast of Wizards, and hints at the recent war with Voldemort.

It’s a writing tour de force, and in it J.K. Rowling announces her presence on the literary stage.

The Power Dynamic

In terms of our broader themes, this chapter sets up various versions of power. We don’t know yet how it’s all going to play out, but we can clearly identify four power centers in the chapter:

Vernon Dursley – Vernon is a non-magical person who abuses power and people and gets “enraged” at anything that deviates from his conception of social norms (such as older people wearing weird attire). Yelling “at five different people” at work in the morning puts him in “a very good mood.” Yet after hearing rumors about the Potters from the “weirdos,” he shrinks into worry and insecurity. With just these small character details, Rowling establishes Vernon as an abuser who will soon be placed in the position of having to foster his “weirdo” nephew (Hint: This will not go well),  but she also establishes him as something of a paper tiger. Just put some pressure on him and watch him crumple.

Voldemort (a.k.a. “You-Know-Who”) – We don’t really meet Voldemort here, just hear about him. But from the conversation between Professor McGonagall and Albus Dumbledore, we find he is a magical person whom Wizards have feared for the past eleven years – feared so much that only Dumbledore will say his name. In fact, Voldemort murdered Harry’s parents the night before… and even tried to kill the boy. On a first read, this is where it gets confusing, because apparently trying to kill the boy made him disappear. Before the night he disappeared, Voldemort clearly possessed astounding powers, but used them to evil purpose. As the story progresses and he finds a way to return, his ill intent will thwart him over and over again. It’s almost like Rowling is saying that “power is not enough.” (Hint: It’s not!).

Albus Dumbledore – Dumbledore is, in many ways, the antithesis of Vernon Dursley and even moreso of Voldemort. He’s an older man, dressed weirdly, yet Professor McGonagall (who can transform herself from a cat into a human being!) defers to him. He speaks gently, consolingly, and with a certain amount of wisdom. He’s also a bit naive. He thinks that if he just explains the situation to the Dursleys in a letter, they will accept Harry and eventually tell him who he is. In addition, Dumbledore has a bit of humility, as we can see from this snippet of dialogue:

“But you’re different” [said Professor McGonagall]. Everyone knows you’re the only one You-Know-Who – oh, all right, Voldemort, was frightened of.”

“You flatter me,” said Dumbledore calmly. “Voldemort had  powers I will never have.”

“Only because you’re too – well – noble to use them.”

McGonagall here effectively establishes Dumbledore as a man whose powers rival Voldemort’s but who restrains himself from using the more ignoble types of power. We will (much) later learn exactly why Dumbledore restrains himself, but for now, it’s simply worth noting that in the first chapter Rowling subtly establishes the possibility that life could have gone much differently for Albus Dumbledore had he just seized all the power he was capable of wielding. Instead, he has chosen a different path and consequently introduces us and the Dursleys to Harry.

Harry Potter – He’s just a baby, but he inexplicably broke Voldemort’s power just the night before. The implication here is that Harry has amazing powers of his own (we will later discover the extent to which this is true), and McGonagall argues that Dumbledore should not give him up to the Dursleys because…

“He’ll be famous – a legend – I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter Day in the future – there will be books written about Harry – every child in our world will know his name!”

Dumbledore wisely replies that anonymity with the Dursleys will be better for Harry until “he’s ready to take” the fame thrust on him by the Wizarding World.

Dumbledore is right on the face of it. He’s just missing one major detail: the Dursleys are not the people he hopes they will be. And then he leaves Harry on the doorstep to face his unwilling aunt and uncle.

Harry Potter rolled over inside his blankets without waking up. One small hand closed on the letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a few hours’ time by Mrs. Dursley’s scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk bottles, nor that he would spend the next few weeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley. . . . He couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: “To Harry Potter – the boy who lived!”

It is a powerful conclusion to a magnificent opening chapter.

Power, Choice, and Love – Preamble to The Harry Potter Re-Read

The Harry Potter Re-Read starts today! I promised that we would be back, and we are. I just needed to get through the holiday season and the start-of-semester season first.

Regarding the re-read… I considered going through the series backwards, but I took a look at the “Dark Lord Ascending” chapter this morning and decided it might be too dark a place to start. So we’ll start at the beginning.

Main themes this time around: Power, Choice, Love.

Since I’m assuming that you’ve read the series, I won’t be including spoiler warnings, except for the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (which, as the official “eighth story in the Harry Potter series” will be treated here as canon).

I don’t want to get dragged this time into side-issues like “Is Snape good or bad?” so here are my assumptions, which I believe are backed by canon:

  • Snape was a Death Eater in his youth.
  • By the time we meet him, Snape’s loyalty is to Lily’s memory, to Albus Dumbledore, and later to the Order of the Phoenix.
  • Snape consistently behaves like a jerk to Harry.

SPOILER TIME!!!

  • One of the alt-Timelines in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (CC) has Snape protecting Ron and Hermione and dying an unabashedly heroic and selfless death – an outcome that was canonically possible for Snape, apparently, by the time of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, when the timelines diverged.
  • Harry says to his son Albus Severus at the end of CC that the men he was named after were “great men, with huge flaws, and you know what – those flaws almost made them greater.”

SPOILER’S END!!!

So, these are my assumptions about Snape: He was a deeply flawed man who possessed elements of greatness. You can hate him if you like because of his past and his treatment of Harry, but I am not going to debate his loyalties or his ultimate greatness. I intend to assume them.

Well, that’s enough preamble. I’ll be back a bit later with something to say about “The Boy Who Lived.” :)

Fantastic Beasts and the Glaring Red Herring (spoilers!!!)

When the news first hit that JKR was writing a screenplay based on Newt Scamander’s travels in search of magical creatures, I was like, “Okay. Not exactly the project I would have picked, but I’ll check it out.”

I did scrunch up my face just a bit, though, when Rowling later started pushing Fantastic Beasts as the dawning of the “Age of Hufflepuff.” Not that I have anything against Hufflepuff. My sister is one. So is Newt Scamander. But as a Slytherin with a vested interest in the Slytherin/Gryffindor dichotomy, I did kind of think: “Boring!”

Meanwhile, Rowling did do one of the projects I would have picked – the adventures of Albus Severus Potter. I know a lot of people were put off by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It got labeled “glorified fanfiction,” and even “non-canonical” (though I’m not sure how you can support the “non-canonical” notion when no less an authority than Pottermore called it the official 8th Harry Potter story, and the play’s own website terms it “the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage.” That seems pretty definitively canonical to me).

Potter fans were concerned with the play’s alt-timeline depictions of our favorite HP characters. (My response: These were ALT-timelines! Not a problem that the characters are different!). And fans were of course concerned about the play drawing on some classic fanfic tropes. But most of those tropes were in the Alt-Timelines, which is actually kind of clever when you think about it… kind of like in that Sherlock episode that brings in the fanfic as a plot device.

I suspect, though, that there is an unstated issue behind a lot of the concerns – i.e., that the play demonstrated conclusively that Slytherin isn’t all dark wizards and power hungry freaks. Instead, the play gave us an Albus Potter sorted into Slytherin, making besties with (a completely freakin’ awesome) Scorpius Malfoy, and even allowing a malevolent Slytherin prat like Draco to grow up into a fairly decent adult. That’s bound to cause some consternation.

So I’ve got a theory about these projects, and it goes like this: They were part of an elaborate Fake-Out. A Distraction. A Misdirection. A Real-World Red Herring. JKR was playing us, just like she played us with Snape.

No, I’m not saying that JKR was not committed to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child independent of Fantastic Beasts. I’m sure she was. And I’m not saying that Newt Scamander and friends are nothing but misdirection. I strongly suspect that our main cast from Fantastic Beasts will play a crucial role in the wars to come.

At the same time, though, the timing of the play and the film’s focus on Newt both work really well as a blind for what JKR was really up to the whole time  –  developing a story that fans have craved since the release of Deathly Hallows… the oldest core-character tragedy in the HP universe, hidden in the background of the first 6 HP books and brought into the light only in the 7th.

J.K. Rowling was bringing us Dumbledore vs. Grindelwald. And she hid that project in plain sight all the way through the first hour of Fantastic Beasts.

Why?

Well, can you imagine audience expectations going in to Fantastic Beasts if we’d known for the past two or so years that the movie was really setting us up for 1945 and the greatest Wizard Battle of all time? We would have had entire websites devoted to the shooting of the first film, possibly with drones videotaping any elements that fans could get near. We would have seen every bit of the same madness we see each year between seasons of Game of Thrones.

Instead, by hiding Dumbledore vs. Grindelwald behind the Fantastic Beasts front and distracting us with The Cursed Child, JKR could lower the temperature, allow the film to develop in peace, and then surprise and delight fans with this fantastic gift.

And Fantastic Beasts is a fantastic gift.

Here are a few of my first impressions. (I’ll go into more depth when I’ve had a chance to see the film a second time):

I had my eye on the Colin Farrell character from the first time I saw the trailers. He just had that “bad guy” vibe.

From the moment I saw the Grindelwald headlines at the beginning of the film, I kept a very close eye on the Colin Farrell character. I assumed from the start that the headlines were meant to put the audience on alert that Grindelwald could actually play a role in the film. (I hadn’t paid much attention to the Grindelwald/Dumbledore rumors, so I did not actually walk in to the theater with that expectation).

I found the opening hour of the film entertaining enough, and I certainly enjoyed being back in the Wizarding World, but I was finding the plot a bit thin. The sheer creepiness of the New Salem Philanthropic Society added an interesting flavor to the story, but it took the unveiling of the actual threat to get me fully engaged…

The Obscurial. As soon as Newt Scamander started talking about the Obscurus and the Obscurial, the alarms went off. I know the insight I had in that moment was not unique because – from what I can tell – nearly every fan who has seriously read and discussed the books had pretty much the same insight. It went something like this: “Graves is Grindelwald. Graves is looking for an Obscurial so he can use the Obscurus to gain power. An Obscurial is a magic-suppressing child preyed upon by an Obscurus. Grindelwald has seen such a child before. OMG!!! This is all about Arianna!”

And that brings us back to that intriguing moment from the trailer, when Graves (Grindelwald) wondered why (his former friend) Albus Dumbledore was “so fond of” Newt Scamander.

I think I might know. If, by chance, Newt’s interest in helping Obscurial children dated all the way back to Hogwarts, that would certainly endear him to Dumbledore – whether Arianna was technically an Obscurial or not (and I think this movie hints that she was). Whatever the case, though, we can infer that Dumbledore revealed nothing of his own family tragedy, given that Newt believes that the oldest Obscurial lived to age 10. Arianna was 14 (and Credence older still).

I’ll wrap this up with one thought: The aftermath of the first Grindelwald/Dumbledore duel in Godric’s Hollow – the duel that resulted in Arianna’s death –  provides a stark contrast between the two former friends.

Gellert Grindelwald saw the kind of power Arianna wielded and only wanted to harness it for his own benefit.

Albus Dumbledore never forgave himself for Arianna’s death, relinquished his desire for political power, and trained up wizards to fight against the darkness manifest in wizards like his friend.

This is the story behind Fantastic Beasts. And we are going to get to see it unfold!

 

January 2, 2010 – My First Snape Post

It happened about a week after I arrived, but on January 2, 2010, CoS Staff re-opened the sub-forum where members could post canon-based character analysis.

Wow. A whole sub-forum dedicated to serious character discussion!
ahem

At any rate, here is my first post written for the sub-forum where I spent a good part of my CoS experience…
before the place devolved into a never-ending battleground between warring factions

Originally Posted by TGW
The way she sent him to his death cheerfully and willingly (in the Forest) somehow makes me think that if Lily would understand why Snape needed to be harsh to Harry most of the time. Snape was in a war and so was Harry. Snape was behaving with the knowledge that Voldemort was coming back. Snape’s job to protect Harry and his usefulness depended upon his act being perfect. He needed his distance from Harry so that Voldemort could not ask him to misuse that trust.Lily could say that Snape was harsh and that he could/should have been sweeter to Harry if his love for her was true. Though that would IMO make her very shallow and superficial. I hope Lily would understand that Snape’s role as a spy would need him to be necessarily different to protect himself and others.

This is also my take. Harry was born in the middle of a war. He would also be destined to become the focal point in the second war that Dumbledore and Snape knew was coming. It made no sense at all in such a context for Snape to treat Harry or any of the Gryffindors kindly in his class. The Gryffindors did potions with the Slytherins, and there were three children of Death Eaters in the class. If Snape had been fair, news would quickly have gotten back to the Death Eaters, and Snape’s own role as a spy would have been compromised. We know for a fact that Dumbledore wanted Snape to play his role convincingly.

Not only that, but Harry needs to be toughened up in order to survive. Everything Snape does – including expressing frustration with Harry’s lack of seriousness – could be read as helping Harry develop survival skills – you know, like a drill sergeant.

Snape is a very skilled, and not a terribly patient, man. He does have some serious issues with Harry, as seen in the memories of his conversations with Dumbledore. But I think “hate” is way too strong a word. He finds the boy very frustrating and often infuriating. But he never wavers in doing his duty by him.

Originally Posted by TGW
He did see Harry in a better light. That was why he passed on the message to Harry (about his walk in the Forest) and gave his very personal memories IMO.

For me, the key is the personal memories. Why would such an intensely proud and private man give such personal memories to a boy he truly hated? In the end, he gave Harry the greatest gift anybody could give him – memories of his mother. And Harry appears to recognize this as a gift. Snape did not just give Harry Dumbledore’s orders for meeting Voldemort. He gave him what was truly in his own heart.

Another key is the Silver Doe in the Forest of Dean. This is a sort of spectral embodiment of Snape’s soul. And Harry recognizes it as benign, not knowing who it belongs to. It may have taken the same form as Lily’s Patronus, but it is Snape’s Patronus, not Lily’s. His soul has has been repaired from whatever damage he did to it by becoming a Death Eater.

Originally Posted by TGW

All I can see from this was that Snape did not answer Dumbledore’s query; instead he changed the subject to tell Dumbledore that he loved Lily and also to show off his Patronus, which would help us connect with the Sliver Doe. This says nothing positive or negative about his feelings for Harry IMO.

Even if it is to be read in the most negative light, it says nothing about where Snape stands a year later, after he has taken on the horrifying final mission Dumbledore has given him. I think the text shows Snape’s motives being progressively purified. The final mission is not one that can be undertaken strictly for love of Lily. It has to be taken on in order to defeat evil. And in the process, we see Snape embrace good. What else can account for the fact that in the Battle Over Little Whinging, Snape nearly blows his cover simply in order to save the life of one of the Marauders? That is a completely selfless act… and one that makes him even more hated because of the damage accidentally done to George.

The following is speculation, but it seems likely to me that Snape’s constant exposure to Voldemort and the Death Eaters makes him more committed than ever to doing the right thing for its own sake. He has developed a strong enough moral compass in his years at Hogwarts to see Voldemort and his former Death Eater friends the way Lily saw them – as the evil that they truly are. The evidence in the text indicates (to me, at least) that Snape is determined to do what he can to bring Voldemort down, even after he knows that Lily’s son must allow Voldemort to kill him in order to make that happen. Even in dying, Snape’s first thought is toward completing the mission.

Originally Posted by TGWI don’t think Snape hurt Harry. Angered him, made Harry hate him, made Harry wish for his death (in HBP) but I don’t think Harry was hurt by Snape. And I also don’t think Snape left it to Dumbledore to counter anything. He IMO took it upon himself to set right all the misunderstanding Harry had through the memories. I think Harry understood.

Exactly. And another dimension to the memories… We see a definite progression in how Snape regards Harry.

At first, he’s just a thing to be exchanged for the life of the mother. Then he’s the boy who survived when Lily Evans died… but who Snape vows to protect regardless. Throughout the memories, Snape keeps on and on about James Potter’s son. But in the last conversation before Dumbledore’s death, he refers to Harry as Lily Potter‘s son.

Note the distinction here. Not only has he shifted from thinking of Harry as James’ son, he has also shifted from thinking of Lily by her maiden name. He now calls her “Potter.” He has fully acknowledged that she was James’ wife and that Harry was her son.

Note also that when he first hears of Lily’s death, he cannot bear to think of her eyes in Harry’s face. But in his last few seconds of life, he requests to look at Lily’s eyes in Harry’s face. It would have no power if we didn’t know that Snape had refused so strongly to see Lily in Harry. In that case, we could read it (as the Snape naysayers do) as just an obsessive desire to look into Lily’s eyes.

But knowing that Snape initially could not bear to think of Lily’s eyes in Harry’s face, we can see rather that Snape here is seeing Harry as he is… not as what he expects to see. (to paraphrase Dumbledore). And he is acknowledging – to Harry – that he recognizes Harry’s full identity. And this, of course, is underscored by the fact that he gives Harry memories of his mother.

Troll… from the Dungeon!

Oooops! I guess I really meant THIS kind of troll…

Yes, it has happened. Death-Eater-wannabe roleplay has invaded Pottermore. And it started in the Dungeon.

At first, it was a minor and occasional annoyance. But when Slytherin effectively banished all the “mudblood” talk from the Common Room, it migrated to the Great Hall. And it wasn’t even clever. I mean, “Die, Mudblood scum hahahaha”?

It was a troll. From the Dungeon. No self-respecting Slytherin would show up in the Great Hall with ZERO House points and launch into such literacy-challenged tirades. Even Malfoy would first have earned some emeralds!

Consequently, a large number of non-trollish Slytherins led the charge to vanquish the troll and clean up the Great Hall… showing, I suppose, that Slytherin solidarity sometimes takes second place to the Greater (Slytherin) Good. After all, we need the good will of the other Houses in order to win the House Cup! (And, of course, most of us just don’t hold with the anti-Muggleborn nonsense!). Which brings me to my main point…

As a result of this incident, a Ravenclaw friend told me of some Death Eater roleplay coming out of the myHogwarts Beta. But those DE wannabes have actually put a little bit of thought into their position. For them, the Wizarding Community remains in essentially the same position as that of the Jews in Nazi Germany. Here is a bit of their argument:

Could one not argue that Witches and Wizards, as a race, were treated the same as the jews, and were, and still are well within their rights to battle muggles and supporters of muggles until the days when witches and wizards are free to walk across this planet as themselves?

To which I reply:

It’s true that the DE hatred of of Muggles and Muggleborns originated in the centuries-long genocidal campaign of Muggles to wipe out all Wizards. But that is still no justification for the MEANS the DEs used to redress the wrong. If we use the analogy of Jews in Hitler’s Germany, Voldemort merely reversed the roles… and attempted to turn the Muggles and Muggleborns into the Jews.

Salazar Slytherin’s suspicions of Muggleborns resulted from fear. He thought they were potential spies who would place loyalty to their Muggle families ahead of loyalty to the Wizarding community. Given that the Muggles were at that time engaged in genocide, his fear was not entirely unfounded.

The problem (quite apart from Salazar’s Basilisk!) is that even after centuries of proof that Muggleborns were loyal to the Wizarding community, some Purebloods maintained their fear and suspicion of Muggleborns.

Regarding the Muggles themselves, it seems to me that the Wizarding community was faced with two options: non-confrontation and invisibility OR deciding to organize an effort to wipe the Muggles out. IMO, the Statute of Secrecy was as much about the virtue of the Wizarding community (i.e., deciding not to counter one genocide with another genocide) as it was about self-protection. In other words, it was as much about protecing the Muggles as it was about protecting the Wizards. IMO it is one of the most extraordinary feats of moral heroism imaginable.

However, after centuries of persecution it is hardly surprising that not all Wizards were on board for it. Hence, Dumbledore’s flirtation with Wizarding dominance. Hence, the appeal of Voldemort to many Pureblood families. One of the key attractions of the Wizarding dominance ideology was that Wizards would no longer have to hide. Also, my assumption is that the Purebloods are the ones whose ancestors suffered most under the Muggles… and were the least inclined to forgive.

So the DE wannabe argument itself is not entirely out of left field. However, there is never any justification for genocide, even in its incipient rather than fully realized form. And there is never any justification for the use of dark magic. So Voldemort’s entire project was fundamentally flawed at its base.

CCS

Thoughts?

Pottermore Content: Number 4 Privet Drive

Time to discuss some actual Pottermore content!

But first… I draw your attention to the new Pottermore CEO’s comments on Pottermore’s future. You can stream or download Charlie Redmayne’s remarks and listen to them for yourself. But here are a few key points:

  • We will see new books on Pottermore in the “next few weeks and months.”
  • Content, rather than functionality, will become the primary focus in the next few weeks, and there will be a considerable amount of new JKR content added to the site.
  • “New interactives and community functionalities will be added in the coming weeks.”
  • Pottermore will be looking to port the Pottermore experience to other platforms, including tablets and phones – and to make greater use of Facebook and YouTube. (No timeline given on this)
  • The future may include enhanced ebooks from the Pottermore Shop. (No timeline given on this)

One thing to realize: Redmayne took over Pottermore in November. Apparently, not having the site up and running by October – as originally promised – and needing to migrate to an entirely new platform did not play well for the previous CEO.

So… what this means is that Redmayne was not involved in any of the Beta problems. His job was to fix them. And actually, dueling came up in December (a month after Redmayne took over) – after it had been down since August. Not a bad start!

Anyway, it sounds like Redmayne has the vision for Pottermore that previous leadership lacked. He wants to make Pottermore “amazing”… and he recognizes that it’s not close to being there at this point.

Now, on to some content…

A couple of weeks ago, I made my first purchase from the Pottermore Shop. Actually, I bought all 7 ebooks all at once and put them on my Kindle.

One nice thing about the Kindle is that you can see popular highlights. And the most popular highlight in PS/SS is this one:

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

That sentence has been highlighted by 7 people.

7 books, 7 highlights… interesting. But I digress.

Now, much as I love the opening line, and love its whimsical quality, I’m not sure I would have highlighted it. It’s not like it’s possible to miss it! After all, it’s the first line in the Harry Potter series!

Yet it is important… and JKR’s content on Pottermore gives us a little bit of insight into the thought process that went in to assigning that address to the Dursleys. The privet bush is, apparently, the quintessentially suburban British hedge bush. And that alone would make it remarkably Dursleyish.

But what I found curious is what she says about the number four in the “exclusive JKR content” for the very first scene in Pottermore. There, she claims that she has always found four to be a “rather hard and unforgiving number” – which is why she gave it to the Dursleys.

Okay.

Obviously, four is the number of the square – and perhaps JKR does not like being boxed in. But in addition to the box, four is the number of letters in the Tetragrammaton (YHVH) – the Hebrew name for God. A considerable amount of Western music is composed in 4/4 time. There are four Gospels, four temperaments, four humors, four suits of cards, four seasons, four Beatles, four elements, and yes…

There are Four Hogwarts Founders, and Four Hogwarts Houses!

So JKR did not give the number four only to the Dursleys. She gave the number to Hogwarts itself.

I don’t know about you, but I find this point curious. Even back in the bad old days before the publication of Deathly Hallows, when many fans assumed that Slytherin = Evil and that it should be eradicated not only from Hogwarts but from the face of the Wizarding Earth (thus turning four Houses into three), JKR held strong and said that the four Houses aligned with the four Elements, and that they all were needed to balance each other out and reach fulfillment.

So what do you think?

  • In tying the four Houses to the the four Elements and claiming the necessity of each, was JKR trying to move beyond her antipathy to the number four?
  • In showing the conflict between the four Houses throughout the series (or at least between the three Houses and Slytherin), was JKR playing to her antipathy to the number four – and illustrating the hard, unforgiving nature of the number four?
  • Is the conflict between the four Houses necessary in order to arrive at the uneasy reconciliation at the end, when Harry offers his son a more enlightened, adult view of Slytherin House?
  • Or is it just oddly coincidental that the number four is both the number of the hard, unforgiving Dursley home and the number of Hogwarts Houses?

I await your comments…

Pottermore: I Just Solved Snape’s Logic Puzzle

Sorry I’ve disappeared into Pottermore for the past couple of days. I will be back tomorrow, I think – or possibly Monday – to write up my general thoughts.

In the meantime, I just wanted to let everybody know that on Pottermore, you will have an opportunity to solve Snape’s Logic Puzzle. And when you get to that point in the story, you will find that one of my two final solutions is correct. :)

If you have visited Solving Snape’s Logic Puzzle, then you will know that figuring out the single final solution is impossible without actually seeing the layout of the bottles. You can only narrow it down to two potential positions for the “Forward” potion. (No such problem exists for the “Backward” potion).

I’m not going to reveal right now which one of my two solutions is the correct one. I’d like to give you an opportunity to solve the puzzle for yourself when you get to Pottermore.  But I will say this: while it was a solution I anticipated, it was not the solution I expected… though I think it was kind of the solution I was hoping for.

Feel free to use my Logic Puzzle notes when you get to Pottermore. Goodness knows I did!