Waiting for Pottermore: Stupefied

Here’s an amusing follow-up to the last post on DH2. Enjoy!

And speaking of stupefied…

Luna is now a Gryffindor. Yep, Luna actress (and big HP fan) Evanna Lynch sorted into Gryffindor on Pottermore.
(Many thanks to janinavalencia for finding and sharing that information).

Here’s what Evanna tweeted out about the experience:

Ahhhh umm errrrrr…. Just got sorted. Slight identity crisis. Need to sit down and process this… #pottermore

I’m in Gryffindor. #Pottermore #confusion #shock #pride #happiness #LUNADONTLEAVEME!!!

I don’t know what to do. I feel like Jo just told me I’m a man. I’m SO utterly confused.

Gryffindor! Woahhh what an honour! I’m so happy! But confused! But happy! BUT CONFUSED. #Pottermore #farewellravenclaw

Dammit, now I have to change my whole bleedin’ wardrobe!!! #pottermore #butredandgoldarenotmycolours

Sorry for the tweet explosion… I’m just…having a moment. #farewellravenclaw #pottermore #JowhathaveyouDONE?!

Sounds a bit stupefied herself, doesn’t she?

I guess we can now use this pic with feeling!

Luna in her Gryffindor Lion hat

Waiting for Pottermore DH2: choices, choices, choices

Note: While we wait for the Pottermore email, we continue our discussion of the DH2 movie…

But first… you need to know about the most deeply horrible, astonishingly EVOL poll in the history of humankind:

It’s the Anglophenia Fan Favorites poll, in which we are given the choice of voting between Alan Rickman and Benedict Cumberbatch or between Colin Firth and David Tennant.

In fandom terms, that translates:

Professor Snape (or Colonel Brandon/Alexander Dane/Hans Gruber/ Sheriff of Nottingham) VS. Sherlock Holmes.


Mr. Darcy VS. Barty Crouch, Jr. / The Tenth Doctor

Yikes! Those are choices that really hurt – probably at least as much as the choices the filmmakers had to face in translating the second half of Deathly Hallows to the screen.

Choices that hurt

Let’s say you’re doing a book that fans are passionate about. There are moments that fans have been dying to see…

Fred’s death, for example. Or Snape’s loss of Lily’s friendship. Or Dumbledore’s backstory. Or Snape saving Lupin’s life and telling the portrait not to say “Mudblood.” Or Harry taunting Voldemort with Snape’s true loyalties and giving Riddle one last chance at remorse.

But you’ve got this other audience to account for… the audience that never reads the books and only sees the movies and that could care less about the intricacies of wandlore.

How do you make a movie that gives the book-fans enough of what they want to see and is still comprehensible for the movie-only fans? That’s the dilemma that the filmmakers were faced with. And they left every single one of those “dying-to see” moments out… yet managed to leave most fans feeling satisfied.

Let’s talk about a few of those choices…

The Mudblood Incident

One of the key complaints I’ve heard from one small corner of the fandom is that the film’s portrayal of “The Prince’s Tale” makes Severus Snape look like an innocent victim by failing to present the “Mudblood” incident or its aftermath.

Okay, I personally wanted to see this material on the big screen, but after giving it some thought, I realized that it presents a devil’s snare of potential difficulties. Here is what I wrote about it on the CoS forum:

I would have liked to see them include the “Mudblood” incident too, but in thinking it over, I realized that its inclusion is fraught with all sorts of potential difficulties for other characters – difficulties that I doubt the filmmakers wanted to unleash, particularly given the raw emotional power of Rickman’s overall performance.

As soon as Rickman’s Snape starts showing the depth of his pain, he’s got the audience in the palm of his hand. If the pain had started sooner, beneath the portrait of the Fat Lady [when Lily cut off their friendship], it could have swayed movie-only audience opinion in directions that the filmmakers would not have wanted – like against Lily, for instance. That wouldn’t be fair, since he used the word [Mudblood] on her, but film is an essentially emotional medium, and film audiences love redemption stories – especially when a character is in love. Film audiences generally want to see all but the most monstrous characters given a second chance after they’ve blown it in a big way.

In that context, the filmmakers probably made the right decision to cut the incident. They could not really tell which character(s) would get hurt the most by showing it, and filmmakers like to know exactly what audience impact will be.

There are additional problems with its inclusion as well. David Yates used a portion of SWM (“Snape’s Worst Memory”) in the OotP movie, but he did not incorporate the “Mudblood” incident. Adding it for DH2 would require re-shooting the earlier scene or working some digital magic to insert Lily into it. And that, of course, would mean casting a third actress to play Lily’s part – and getting Alec Hopkin (Teen Snape) back to utter the unforgivable word. (ETA NOTE: The additional material with a third Lily that was originally shot for OotP and then cut would not help since Harry is in the frame – in completely the wrong clothes and without all of the battle grime and gore that we see in TPT).

In addition, I think that the complaint that the exclusion of the Mudblood incident makes Snape look like an innocent victim is a product of very short-sighted thinking. What is most visually striking about the incident (and film is a visual medium) is watching James Potter and the Marauders launch an unprovoked attack on Severus Snape. In all likelihood, including the incident in the film would make Snape look even more like a victim.

Little James is puckishly cute as he runs through the halls tipping over his “victims'” school books.

This James, though, is hardly “cute” as he attempts to remove “Snivelly’s trousers”:

I would humbly submit that the filmmakers just didn’t want to go there with James, particularly given that they will later need to present him sympathetically in the Forest… and there’s really very little story to get the movie-only crowd to buy in to that sympathetic portrayal once the filmmakers re-unleash SWM. It’s hard enough already for many book readers to make the leap of faith into believing that James simply changed, and book readers have information that the movie-onlies don’t possess.

The choice the filmmakers made, then, was to make nobody look very much like the victim, and nobody look very much like the perpetrator. For purposes of the film, it was probably a wise choice.

Weasley Loss and Gain

Some book fans are angry at not seeing Fred die. And one big question many fans have asked is, “How the heck did Percy get there?”

That’s a good question! But there are actually other people whose return is a bit confusing – for instance Cho Chang (what’s she doing there in the Room of Requirement when she graduated the year before?) and Luna Lovegood (how’d she get there ahead of Harry, when she’d last been seen at Shell Cottage?). In the case of the Ravenclaw girls, my assumption is that they are there mainly to answer Harry’s question about the lost diadem. And yes, they are supposed to be there, even if the film never quite lets us know how they arrived.

Percy, though, has one of the book’s more dramatic entrances into the Room of Requirement, and we never see that drama in the film. I do think, though, that the filmmakers’ decision (while perhaps making Percy’s sudden appearance confusing for book fans ) actually makes matters less confusing for the general movie audience. Percy’s estrangement from his family has never become an overt plot point in the films. We do see Percy doing Ministry duties at cross-purposes to Harry and Dumbledore, but that’s about as far as that subplot goes. And let’s face it, without the subplot, many movie-only fans probably don’t really remember who Percy is anyway.

So, that nixes Percy’s big entrance because the big entrance would simply not make sense. And sorry, but if we nix Percy’s big entrance, we also nix witnessing Fred’s death. Yeah, we could still see Fred die, but we wouldn’t see it in the context of his welcoming Percy back into the family and later Percy throwing himself on Fred’s dead body.

If we remove Fred’s death from the context of Percy’s return, we may as well see Fred lying already dead in the Great Hall. And that is the choice the filmmakers made. Rather than go for overkill by showing Fred die on the screen and then show his family mourn, the filmmakers went the more subtle route of showing him already dead, surrounded by his family.

Whether we actually see Fred die or not, this scene still has tremendous emotional impact. I have not gotten past it once without breaking into sobs.

Dumbledore’s Backstory

King’s Cross is a big disappointment to many people. The wandlore, the backstory, Dumbledore’s remorse – all of it is missing.

Most of the essentials, though, were presented in DH1. And when the filmmakers decided (ACK!!!) to negate Grindelwald’s big moment of defiance and remorse, they couldn’t exactly go deeply into the Grindelwald plot in King’s Cross. In fact, I predicted in November that this would happen.

At least Ciaran Hinds’ fabulous performance – bringing to life Aberforth’s hundred years of bitterness – implicitly verifies the depth to which Albus Dumbledore had sunk in his youth. If we want to know more detail about the manner in which Albus’ choices sacrificed his sister’s life, we can always consult the books – or at least the nearest Potter fan. :)

Honestly, though, I did miss the King’s Cross wandlore. I suppose I experienced a bit of it vicariously through the interaction between Harry and Ollivander at Shell Cottage. But after all we’ve seen of the wand, would it truly have been too much information for the general movie audience if Harry had briefly discussed the Elder Wand with Dumbledore?

Well, at nearly 1500 words, this post has now gone on too long (thanks for making it this far with me!). So  I think I’ll devote my next DH2 post entirely to the element I missed the most… and why I think it made sense for the filmmakers to cut it.

Until then…

Pottermore: Day 5 Hints

Well, it appears that we broke the Magic Quill this morning:

Q. I solved the clue for Day 4 but I couldn’t find The Magical Quill. What happened?

A. Due to huge demand today, not everyone who solved the Day 4 clue was able to find The Magical Quill. To ensure no one missed out on the chance to register for early access to Pottermore, we decided to direct people who successfully solved the clue straight to the Pottermore registration page, where they were able to register as normal.

In some ways, the breakage was to be expected. Pottermore gave us about 18.5 hours advance warning on when to expect the clue, and the time window was favorable to the Americas. It was like finally, folks in the Western Hemisphere did not have to get up in the middle of the night in order to get early access to Pottermore!

Now they know what happens when you let two densely-populated continents know too far in advance when to expect the clue. ;)

Day 5 Time Window

After what happened this morning, I did suspect that we would not see a specific time window for Day 5. And sure enough, this is as much as the Pottermore Insider will say about the timing for tomorrow’s clue:

Q. So far, all the clues have appeared in the early hours of the morning in my time zone. Will this continue for the remainder of The Magical Quill challenge?

A. We know that Harry Potter fans around the world are taking part in the challenge, so we will be varying the times that the clues are revealed.

So, it looks like we’re on our own again… which means that some of us (not me!) will probably be staying up all night next to the computer, hitting the refresh button every few minutes. However, I personally suspect that the next clue will come at a time when folks in North and South America don’t have to stay up all night.

The notice from Pottermore Insider indicates that they will be varying the times to accommodate different parts of the world. All the clues for Days 1-3 came at times when folks on my side of the world would normally be asleep. So I think they’ll provide more clues at times when the Western Hemisphere is awake… though I have no idea exactly when. :)

And don’t forget… I could be completely wrong! (though I was definitely right about that TriWizard Tournament clue! LOL)

Day 5 Clues

So, that brings us to the most important things for Day 5: What are some possible numbers to consider?

The next book is Order of the Phoenix (OotP)… and it is huge. OotP is the biggest book of the series, coming in at 870 pages of more densely packed (and smaller) print. This is why, I think, the clues are supposed to be getting easier.

So let’s think about some easy numbers from OotP:

  • In what year do students take their O.W.L. exams?
  • What’s the street number of Order of the Phoenix Headquarters?
  • How many dementors attack Harry and his cousin Dudley in the alleyway in Little Whinging?
  • What is the number of the Educational Decree banning all student organizations, societies, teams, groups, and clubs?
  • How many students fly on thestrals to the Department of Mysteries to try to save Sirius?
  • Probably too hard: How many members of the Order of the Phoenix arrive at Privet Drive to escort Harry to Order Headquarters?

Okay, aside from that last one, most of those are probably easy enough to be usable.

The street number for Order of the Phoenix Headquarters is in the title of one of the book’s chapters. So is the Educational Decree. The names of the students (and hence, the number) can be easily found in both the “Fight or Flight” and “Department of Mysteries” chapters, towards the end of the book.

So, does anyone else have suggestions for numbers to focus on? If so, please share them in the Comments thread. Oh, and here’s a good chapter-by-chapter breakdown to refresh your memory of OotP.

Based on the already-established pattern (7 books * number of days/chances remaining), once you have the solution to the clue, the number you will multiply by is 21… except, of course, in the unlikely chance that Pottermore breaks the pattern!

I will live blog the 5th Clue if it comes at a time when I’m at my computer.

For those who are still working at getting early access into Pottermore: Good luck on the Day 5 Clue!

Note about the Comments thread: If you’re new to the blog and have never commented before, there may be a small delay in getting your comment posted.


Here is a note that Jess (the Last Muggle) wrote in the comments that might prove useful to people trying to get in to Pottermore:

I’ve been telling folks who are interested in registering and haven’t had success yet to follow hp_batsignal on Twitter and set it up for only those tweets to come to your phone. Today, I received a tweet with when the clue went live and a follow-up tweet with the answer.

That’s one way for fans to save themselves a sleepless night at the computer. :-)

In the comments, Scott asks:

Do you think they could also ask how many members are in OoP? original or
revived? I just thought of that possibility.

That’s a good question!

I would focus more on the photo of the members of the original Order of the Phoenix – (i.e., the photo that serves as inspiration for Dumbledore’s Army). I think it’s too difficult to find a precise count for the members of the revived Order, so I don’t think they’d use that. But yes, I do think the photo is a possibility.

Thanks for the suggestion!

ETA 2:

Additional clues suggested by readers:

Some other numbers I thought of were the row number of the prophecy and number of members in Dumbledore’s Army.

Another possible clue could be the number of members in DA.

More great suggestions! Thanks!!!

ETA 3:
Something interesting I just noticed: the number of members of Dumbledore’s Army and the number of named original members of the Order of the Phoenix is the same, assuming that we count Severus Snape as a member of the original Order after he turned spy.

But this is why I think it’s unlikely for the clue to ask for the number of members of the original Order. Some people might not think to count Snape.

If you’re looking for the photo of the original members of the Order, it’s in the chapter “The Woes of Mrs. Weasley.” I was looking in the wrong place (focusing on the Dumbledore’s Army chapters). :)

But as someone pointed out, if the clue is supposed to be really easy, it is likely to be the street number for Order HQ (i.e., where Sirius lives). I would also add that it could be the year students take their O.W.L. exams. Those seem to be the easiest numbers out there for OotP.

Good luck!

Forgiveness and the Final Pensieve

Back to last night’s post on Severus Snape. A friend of mine mentioned this morning that while Snape is a heroic character, he is also one that you would hardly want to have tea with! No controversy there, right? (well, except for those Snape haters who want to deny any heroism to this character).

For me, Snapes’ most frustrating characteristic is that he just could not let go of the wrongs done to him in the past and kept taking his resentment out on the (initially) innocent son of his former tormentor and rival. Of course, the anger this creates in Harry gives Snape internal justification for his own continued resentment. But based upon the Final Pensieve, I would argue that Snape got past his bitterness in the end.

Unlike some Snape haters I’ve read, I do not believe that his final act was selfish. He had enough control over his mind, even in his dying moments, to choose which memories to give Harry. The memories he chooses are a gesture of forgiveness and reconciliation. Certainly Harry understands them as such by the time he names his second son after his most hated professor. And it seems presumptuous to assume that Harry got this wrong.

For starters, Snape was not pleading with Harry to understand him or his motivations. Snape is a man who is hardly afraid of being hated or misunderstood. And he wasn’t just giving Harry his marching orders for the showdown with Voldemort. He could have done that without showing Harry all of those embarrassing memories of Lily.

Instead, Snape was finally acknowledging, for the first time to Harry at least, that Harry Potter was Lily’s son too – not just James’s son – and that he himself (Snape) bore a great deal of responsibility for destroying his childhood friendship with Lily. Snape is a proud man who chooses in his last moment to humble himself. With these memories, he acknowledges his own culpability, his own sin. He is finally revealing that he was not just an innocent victim of mean James Potter and the other Marauders.

The key to this reading is that Snape freely gives Harry his worst school memory – the same memory that Harry stole a peak at after an Occlumency lesson. Harry’s unearned look into the Pensieve had egregiously violated Snape’s privacy, infuriating the Potions Master. But Snape seemingly forgives Harry here, not only giving him the complete memory, but revealing to Harry the ultimate consequences of young Snape’s own actions.

Harry already knows that Snape called his mother a mudblood when she rushed to defend him. But Harry had not previously seen Lily confront young Severus with the fact that he was now calling every muggle-born a mudblood. Yes, Harry probably suspected it, given Snape’s Death Eater past, but Snape himself chooses to reveal it to his least favorite pupil. And what does he reveal? That it was young Snape’s corruption by the pure blood ideology – despite being a half-blood like Harry and Dumbledore – that destroyed a long friendship with Harry’s mother.

Yes, you can read “Look at me” as nothing more than the desire to gaze into Lily’s eyes as he dies. Lots of Snape haters do. But given everything Snape shows Harry, it’s more likely IMO that he’s finally acknowledging, to Harry, that Harry is, as Dumbledore told him, his mother’s son. He is not responsible for the sins of his father. He has his mother’s eyes.