Battle of Hogwarts – 15th Anniversary

On May 2, 1998, the Battle of Hogwarts was fought. Each year, Expecto Patronum! honors all the brave men, women, Headmaster portraits, and magical creatures who helped in the fight against Lord Voldemort for the future of the Wizarding World, especially:

  • Harry Potter – who personally faced Lord Voldemort twice that night… and prevailed
  • Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger – who stood beside Harry throughout his Quest and provided much-needed support during the Battle
  • Luna Lovegood – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and helping Harry into Ravenclaw Tower
  • Neville Longbottom – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and slaying Nagini
  • Ginny Weasley – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and giving Harry inspiration
  • The Portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black – for locating Harry in the Forest of Dean
  • Severus Snape – for getting the Sword of Gryffindor to Harry in the Forest of Dean and for using his dying moments to offer the memories that would help Harry to defeat Lord Voldemort
  • The Portrait of Albus Dumbledore – for providing much-needed guidance to Headmaster Snape
  • Aberforth Dumbledore – for helping Harry, the Order, the DA, and many others get in to Hogwarts from the Hog’s Head and for then fighting in the Battle alongside many other citizens of Hogsmeade
  • The Members of the DA, the Order, the Gryffindor alumni, the Slytherins who returned with Slughorn, and the citizens of Hogsmeade – for standing up to fight
  • The Magical Creatures who fought – particularly Kreacher and the House Elves, the Centaurs of the Forbidden Forest, and Grawp
  • Minerva McGonnagall, Horace Slughorn, Filius Flitwick – for leadership during the Battle and for directly battling Voldemort
  • Molly Weasley – for destroying Bellatrix Lestrange
  • Hagrid – for being true of heart
  • Peeves and Trelawney – for their unique contributions

And now, we’d like to honor the fallen heroes:

Severus Snape


Credit: Look… at… me by ~FabiolaCapo

Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks


Credit: Remus x Tonks: Pale and Still by ~Kitoky

Fred Weasley


Credit: the death of Fred by *viria13

Plus Colin Creevey and the 50 or more unnamed dead.

Thank you!


We are celebrating the 15th Anniversary with new fanart. If you have any Battle of Hogwarts fanart that you particularly like, you are encouraged to share it in the Comments thread!

Battle of Hogwarts – 14th Anniversary

On May 2, 1998, the Battle of Hogwarts was fought. Each year, Expecto Patronum! honors all the brave men, women, Headmaster portraits, and magical creatures who helped in the fight against Lord Voldemort for the future of the Wizarding World, especially:

  • Harry Potter – who personally faced Lord Voldemort twice that night… and prevailed
  • Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger – who stood beside Harry throughout his Quest and provided much-needed support during the Battle
  • Luna Lovegood – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and helping Harry into Ravenclaw Tower
  • Neville Longbottom – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and slaying Nagini
  • Ginny Weasley – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and giving Harry inspiration
  • The Portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black – for locating Harry in the Forest of Dean
  • Severus Snape – for getting the Sword of Gryffindor to Harry in the Forest of Dean and for using his dying moments to offer the memories that would help Harry to defeat Lord Voldemort
  • The Portrait of Albus Dumbledore – for providing much-needed guidance to Headmaster Snape
  • Aberforth Dumbledore – for helping Harry, the Order, the DA, and many others get in to Hogwarts from the Hog’s Head and for then fighting in the Battle alongside many other citizens of Hogsmeade
  • The Members of the DA, the Order, the Gryffindor alumni, the Slytherins who returned with Slughorn, and the citizens of Hogsmeade – for standing up to fight
  • The Magical Creatures who fought – particularly Kreacher and the House Elves, the Centaurs of the Forbidden Forest, and Grawp
  • Minerva McGonnagall, Horace Slughorn, Filius Flitwick – for leadership during the Battle and for directly battling Voldemort
  • Molly Weasley – for destroying Bellatrix Lestrange
  • Hagrid – for being true of heart
  • Peeves and Trelawney – for their unique contributions

And now, we’d like to honor the fallen heroes:

Severus Snape


Credit: DH: Look at Me by FrizzyHermione

Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks


Credit: SPOILERS_Lupin + Tonks Ending? by ~endoftheline

Fred Weasley

Weasleys mourn Fred's death
Credit: Fredless by ~balmasque

Plus Colin Creevey and the 50 or more unnamed dead.

Thank you!


Battle of Hogwarts – 13th Anniversary

It is the final week of the term – Finals Week, to be exact – and Expecto Patronum will return next week by re-opening of the Chamber of Secrets. :) I could not, however, pass up an opportunity to write a post commemorating this day.

Today is the 13th Anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts – the day on which 50 brave defenders fell in the seemingly hopeless, but ultimately successful, attempt to wrest control of the Wizarding World from Voldemort and his minions.

Among the fallen – Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Colin Creevey, and Fred Weasley.

Expecto Patronum commemorated the Anniversary last year by celebrating the heroes’ exploits and offering tributes to the fallen.

This year, we have a somewhat more graphic representation… photographs from the scene of the battle (click to see at full-size):

The Castle’s protective spells begin to crumble…

crumbling protective spells at Hogwarts

Professor McGonnagall awakens the armor, admonishing it to defend the castle…

awakened armor

Fiendfyre engulfs the Room of Requirement…

fiendfyre

Lupin and Tonks reach across the chasm…

Lupin and Tonks

Nagini lunges, possibly towards Severus Snape…

the last horcrux

Fred. Gasp. Fred…

will my heart ever stop weeping?

Molly takes care of the Dark Lord’s most loyal psycho…

not my daughter!

As always, Expecto Patronum would like to honor all the brave men, women and magical creatures – mentioned and unmentioned – who fought Lord Voldemort for the future of the Wizarding World.

And, of course, to Harry Potter… the Boy Who Lived. Again.

Thank you!

Harry Potter and the Invisible Man

Something fluid and silvery gray went slithering to the floor where it lay in gleaming folds. Ron gasped.

“I’ve heard of those,” he said in a hushed voice, dropping the box of Every Flavor Beans he’d gotten from Hermione. “If that’s what I think it is – They’re really rare, and really valuable.”

“What is it?”

Harry picked the shining, silvery cloth off the floor. It was strange to the touch, like water woven into material.

“It’s an invisibility cloak,” said Ron, a look of awe on his face. “I’m sure it is – try it on.”

The great thing with the Harry Potter series is that the title formula makes it very easy to write bizarro-scenario titles like the one I just wrote. (And if anybody wants to use “Harry Potter and the Invisible Man” for a fanfic, be my guest!)

Even though the Dursleys often treat Harry as if he’s invisible (and even though Severus Snape pretends he’s invisible after Harry witnesses a memory of his father humiliating Snape), Harry Potter never actually does not meet up with a literal Invisible Man in the course of JKR’s series. However, he does acquire an object that gives him invisibility at will. And there are “invisible” men willing to stay in the background as Harry moves to the foreground in the war against Voldemort.

Remember way back in January? We talked in one of the first re-read posts about the comparison between Harry and Cinderella. As a Cinderella figure, Harry has never really experienced a proper Christmas since his parents were killed. And his first Christmas at Hogwarts begins to set things right.

But a little backtracking is in order. When the Trio concludes that Snape tried to kill Harry during the Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch match, Hagrid accidentally lets it slip that what Fluffy is guarding is a matter “between Professor Dumbledore an’ Nicolas Flamel.” Naturally, the Trio becomes obsessed with finding out more about Flamel – setting up Harry’s first adventure with the Invisibility Cloak.

In fact, it should be noted that before that adventure, the Trio spends considerable time in the Hogwarts Library looking for Flamel… in all the wrong places. Harry even goes into the Restricted Section, and gets shooed out of the Library entirely by Madam Pince, the Hogwarts Librarian. Whatever possesses them to assume that Flamel is famous, I don’t know. But he is, and they do.

Before we get to Harry’s first Cloak adventure, however, let’s talk more about his first real experience of Christmas and his acquisition of the Cloak.

On Christmas Eve (six years to the day before his nearly fatal visit to his birthplace of Godric’s Hollow), Harry goes “to bed looking forward to the next day for the food and the fun, but not expecting any presents at all.” Instead, when he wakes up in the morning, he is stunned to find that he has a small stack of presents at the foot of his bed.

“Will you look at this?” [Harry exclaims] “I’ve got some presents!”

“What did you expect, turnips?” said Ron.

As it turns out, Harry gets a hand-carved flute from Hagrid, a 50-pence piece from the Dursleys (from which we learn that Muggle money fascinates Ron), a Weasley sweater from Molly Weasley (signaling the beginning of his unofficial adoption into the Weasley family), a box of Chocolate Frogs from Hermione, and the Invisibility Cloak. The Cloak comes with a mysterious note, written in a “narrow, loopy” hand:

Your father left this in my possession before he died. It is time it was returned to you. Use it well.

A Very Merry Christmas to you.

Since this is a re-read, I am going to assume that we all know that the note is from Albus Dumbledore and that it is his first direct outreach to Harry since Harry arrived at Hogwarts.

The Cloak not only belonged to Harry’s father, but his father inherited it from one of his parents… going all the way back to his ancestor Ignotus Peverell, with whom the Cloak originates, and who is buried not far from Harry’s parents in the graveyard at Godric’s Hollow.

Through Ignotus Peverell, Harry is distantly related to Voldemort (a direct descendent of Ignotus’ older brother Cadmus Peverell, who possessed the Resurrection Stone). The oldest brother, Antioch Peverell, possessed the Elder Wand – which is currently in the possession of Albus Dumbledore.

The reason I have mentioned the Cloak’s background is that I’d like to draw attention to something rather remarkable – the fact that Albus Dumbledore actually returns the Cloak to Harry, even though legend claims that the person who unites the three Hallows will become the Master of Death.

For 10 years, Dumbledore has held two of the Hallows in his possession. But rather than seek out the final Hallow, he instead relinquishes the Hallow that rightfully belongs to another. He could have kept it, and Harry would have been none the wiser. But Dumbledore allows himself to be merely the custodian of the Cloak until he can safely pass it on to Harry, its rightful owner.

Such an action would be remarkable for any Wizard who made a study of the Hallows. It is even more remarkable for Dumbledore, whose youthful fantasies specifically involved uniting the Hallows to create a world ruled by Wizards… or more specifically, by himself and Gellert Grindelwald. Returning the Cloak to Harry shows the  extent to which Dumbledore has turned his back on his past failings.

Though Dumbledore is later fatally tempted by the Resurrection Stone, it’s not through an attempt to unite the Hallows. It’s just a moment of weakness in which he succumbs to the temptation to bring back his dead sister (a point that is indirectly related to the second part of this chapter).

Regardless of Dumledore’s failings, returning the Cloak to Harry shows significant character growth since his sister’s death. In a very real sense, Dumbledore is one “invisible man” in this post’s title – a man willing to remain anonymous, willing to guide Harry from the background, willing to let the boy ultimately move into the spotlight.

Battle of Hogwarts Anniversary

On May 2, 1998, the Battle of Hogwarts was fought. Today we’d like to honor all the brave men, women and magical creatures who fought Lord Voldemort for the future of the Wizarding World, especially:

  • Harry Potter – who personally faced Lord Voldemort twice that night… and prevailed
  • Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger – who stood beside Harry throughout his Quest and provided much-needed support during the Battle
  • Luna Lovegood – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and helping Harry into Ravenclaw Tower
  • Neville Longbottom – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and slaying Nagini
  • Ginny Weasley – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and giving Harry inspiration
  • Severus Snape – for giving Harry the memories in his dying moments that helped Harry defeat Lord Voldemort
  • Aberforth Dumbledore – for helping Harry, the Order, the DA, and many others get in to Hogwarts from the Hog’s Head and for then fighting in the Battle alongside many other citizens of Hogsmeade
  • The Members of the DA, the Order, the Gryffindor alumni, and the citizens of Hogsmeade – for standing up to fight
  • The Magical Creatures who fought – particularly Kreacher and the House Elves, the Centaurs of the Forbidden Forest, and Grawp
  • Minerva McGonnagall, Horace Slughorn, Filius Flitwick – for leadership during the Battle and for fighting Voldemort
  • Molly Weasley – for destroying Bellatrix Lestrange
  • Hagrid – for being true of heart
  • Peeves and Trelawney – for their unique contributions

And now, we’d like to honor the fallen heroes:

Severus Snape


Credit: DH: Look at Me by FrizzyHermione

Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks


Credit: SPOILERS_Lupin + Tonks Ending? by ~endoftheline

Fred Weasley

Weasleys mourn Fred's death
Credit: Fredless by ~balmasque

Plus Colin Creevey and the 50 or more unnamed dead.

Thank you!


And not to kill the somber mood, but here’s a Battle of Hogwarts tie-in that I wrote for my entry in the Second Task in the Quest for the Hallows contest. It made it to the Final Round: Fifth Place Overall and Fourth Place in the Best HP-Related Story category.

One Big Weasley Family

The other day, I answered a bunch of questions about the Weasley clan on the CoS forum. Since the Weasleys have just entered our re-read, I thought I’d share my responses here.

1. Do you think that anyone gets “lost” in the Weasley family? It’s a big group with a lot of strong personalities there. Does everyone get a fair look in?

Despite the Weasley family size, Arthur and Molly are loving parents who don’t play favorites. The younger kids may get short shrift when it comes to possessions because Arthur doesn’t make enough money to support a lot of recreational purchases (though he does make a sufficient income to provide the necessities). But yes, I’d say that in terms of affection and attention, everyone is treated equally and fairly in the Weasley family.

Most of Ron’s concerns are in his head, not based on reality (as we learn when he destroys the Horcrux). Ron’s parents would love him whether he made Prefect, Quidditch team, Head Boy, gets the girl of his dreams – or not.

2. How do you think that Molly and Arthur’s relationship has impacted on their brood and how they see the world.

Molly and Arthur have a wonderful, loving relationship that embraces, basically, all people of good will – regardless of blood status. This has definitely rubbed off on their kids. Only Percy goes through a major “status” phase, in which status matters more than personal ties. But at the moment when it matters most, he returns to the values he was raised with and joins his family to fight against Voldemort.

3. What do you think about the fact that we rarely see the entire Weasley Clan together? Is this just “bad fortune” or is there something askew with the family dynamic.

No, I don’t think it’s bad fortune or anything wrong with the family dynamic. I think it’s just that even before the drama with Percy, you’ve got two adult sons who are pursuing their careers in other parts of the world. There doesn’t seem to be any strain in the family relationship between Bill, Charlie, and the rest of the family. The only family dynamic issues that come up in a big way are Percy’s rejection of his family and the family’s initial dislike for Bill’s fiance. But by the time Bill and Fleur marry, they have realized that she really loves Bill for himself, and they accept her and grow to love her.

4. How big an impact did Percy’s abandonment of his family from GOF to DH have on his siblings? We’ve seen that Arthur gets quietly angry and Molly gets tearful. Is there anything Percy’s fellow siblings could have done?

It was huge. I don’t think there’s anything anybody could have done though. Percy was always status-conscious. He was embarrassed by the fact that his family couldn’t have all those nice things that other families could have. And he wanted to be more successful in his career than his father, so he became a climber.

Percy is the only one who could have realized his error, and thankfully he did before it was too late to reconcile. For me, one of the most wrenching moments of the series is Percy’s reaction to Fred’s death. Thank goodness he was actually there and fighting alongside Fred and bantering with his brother. I can’t begin to imagine Percy’s guilt if he had not gone to Hogwarts and reconciled with his family before his brother died.

5. The Weasleys were like a real family to Harry. What’s your view on this given that there were already 7 kids in the family already.

Embracing people was integral to Weasley family values. They would not have been the Weasley family if they had not taken Harry in.

The Wizard Rock band Ministry of Magic has a nice take on this aspect of the Weasleys in their song “I Heart Weasleys”:

We found the bigger
We grew, the more love we had.
It’s spilling onto our friends,
We can’t contain it.

I think that about says it.

6. If you filled out the poll above (listing all the members of the Weasley family), why did you pick the character you chose your favourite?

I chose Molly… but only because both twins were not an option. The twins are my favorite Weasleys, but I wouldn’t want to choose between the two of them.

At any rate, I chose Molly because she’s so caring, loving, human. And she instills those values in her kids, even if they manifest them differently.

The section I was writing about this morning was on the first appearance of the Weasleys. I think it’s telling that after the twins tell Molly that the black-haired boy on the platform was the famous Harry Potter, her first words are “Poor dear” – not “OMG! Harry Potter! Really?!?!?”

Even though they’ve probably heard her tell the story of the Boy Who Lived, once Molly has met the actual flesh-and-blood boy, she insists that her kids see him as a person, not a celebrity. She sees him with compassion.

This is one of the things I love the most about Molly.

7. Who are least alike in the Weasley family? Who’s most alike? Is there an element of peer pressure on those who are least like the others? Who’s the most misunderstood?

Least alike? Uh, Percy and just about anybody.

Most alike? Well, that’s obvious, isn’t it? The twins!

8. Given Arthur doesn’t seem so highly motivated, do you think that his children are “over achievers”. The have been very successful in their fields and indeed in school (think quidditch captains, head boys, prefects etc). If so, where do they get this drive?

I disagree about Arthur’s motivation. I think that Arthur has values that do not involve climbing up the ladder and pursuing prestige. Arthur values his family. And that is probably a primary source of his kids’ achievements, with the exception of Percy, who is clearly embarrassed by his father’s supposed lack of drive. As far as I can tell, none of the other kids share Percy’s embarrassment.

I think it’s obvious that the Weasleys, generally, are just a very intelligent bunch. Even jokers Fred and George do amazing magic for their jokeshop (and in their battle against Umbridge) – despite not putting much stock in academic achievement. And even though Ron is a bit of an underachiever compared to his oldest brothers and his sister, his raw intelligence is clear from his ability to beat the Wizard chess pieces as early as PS/SS.

So basically, I think it’s a combination of raw intelligence and strong family ties that are the primary drivers behind the Weasley kids’ success.

Comments?

Studies in Scarlet

According to Wikipedia

Scarlet (from the Persian säqirlāt) is a bright red color with a hue that is somewhat toward the orange. It is redder than vermilion. It is a pure chroma on the color wheel one-fourth of the way between red and orange. [2] Traditionally, scarlet is the color of flame. It may also refer to the color of the blood of a living person.

Assuming that Wikipedia has got its Hex color coordinates right (#FF2000), I am now writing in Scarlet. And Harry may not know it yet, but scarlet is about to become, probably, the most important color in his life.

A Family in Scarlet

After Uncle Vernon drops Harry off at Kings Cross (and the Dursley family laughs derisively at Harry’s claim that the train will depart from the apparently non-existent Platform Nine and Three-Quarters), Harry meets another family: a mother, four boys, and a girl. All with flaming red hair. Hair the color of scarlet.

You don’t really need me to tell you what happens next. Harry asks directions to the platform. Molly Weasley tells him how to get through the anti-Muggle barrier. And Harry makes it to the train (which, by the way, happens to be driven by a scarlet steam engine!) What’s more important is the significance of this encounter. The Weasleys will become the first functional family Harry knows.

When I first read this chapter, I knew the Weasleys were important. After all, I’d seen five movies! But I didn’t really guess just how important until I was about half-way through with HBP.

On reading the chapter again, it’s fun to note that JKR tells us (nearly) everything we need to know about the Weasley clan right here, in their first appearance on the platform! Percy is pretentious, with his silver Prefect badge. The twins are uproarious. Ron is gloomy, worried that he won’t live up to the family tradition. Little Ginny, Harry’s future wife, is already obsessed with Harry Potter, at least in the abstract. And then there’s Molly.

Let’s face it, for most of us, travel days are completely frazzled days… even if we don’t have five kids in tow! Yet Molly Weasley is not only collected enough to ensure that her sons make the train – despite some good-natured mocking from her twin boys – she even has the time (and presence of mind!) to help out a confused and embarrassed black-haired boy and make him feel welcome:

“Excuse me,” Harry said to the plump woman.

“Hello, dear,” she said. “First time at Hogwarts? Ron’s new, too.”
[description snipped]

“Yes,” said Harry. “The thing is – the thing is, I don’t know how to – ”

“How to get onto the platform?” she said kindly, and Harry nodded.

“Not to worry,” she said.
[and she gave him the instructions]

No matter how large, the Weasleys are a close-knit family, with enough love to overflow family boundaries, and Molly is a caring guide.

But Molly’s best moment in this scene comes, I think, after twins Fred and George have helped Harry get his trunk onto the train, have seen the scar, recognized that he’s Harry Potter, and brought the news back to their mother:

“You know that black-haired boy who was near us in the station? Know who he is?”

“Who?”

Harry Potter!”

Harry heard the little girl’s voice.

“Oh, Mom, can I go on the train and see him, Mom, oh please…”

“You’ve already seen him, Ginny, and the poor boy isn’t something you goggle at in a zoo. Is he really, Fred? How do you know?”

“Asked him. Saw his scar. It’s really there – like lightning.”

“Poor dear – no wonder he was alone, I wondered. He was ever so polite when he asked how to get onto the platform.”

“Never mind that, do you think he remembers what You-Know-Who looks like?”

Their mother suddenly became very stern.

“I forbid you to ask him, Fred. No, don’t you dare. As though he needs reminding of that on his first day at school.”

Did I mention that I love Molly Weasley? Given the kids’ awareness of Harry Potter, it’s almost certain that she has told her children the story of the Boy Who Lived. But when she actually meets the famous boy, Molly regards him as a human being, not a symbol and not a celebrity (unlike the hero worshippers at the Leaky Cauldron), and she instructs her children to do so too.

On learning who he is, the first words out of Molly’s mouth (“poor dear” and “he was ever so polite”) tell us a lot about her – her values and compassion. Despite the value of his story and symbolism for the anti-Voldemort side, Molly regards real-life Harry more as an orphan, a boy alone, than as the child who came face-to-face with You-Know-Who and inexplicably survived. And we don’t know it yet, but Molly will personally see to it that this boy will never have to feel like an orphan again. Years before marrying the little girl who wants to “goggle” him, Harry will become an important part of the extended Weasley family. The marriage just makes it official.

I Heart Weasleys

Did I say that I love Molly Weasley? Actually, I heart Molly – just like Wizard Rock band Ministry of Magic, which best captures the Weasley spirit in the “I Heart Weasleys” tribute (player with song is on the right). This one’s for you, Molly and family:

There are some things in
This world that go beyond fame,
Worth more than money
Or just about anything.

Wizard or Muggle,
Some things will never change.
Like love and family,
They will last forever.

Weasleys, sing with the Weasleys.
If you, if you agree with us.
Weasleys, dance with the Weasleys.
Sing out, sing, sing along with us.

Maybe we’re not rich, but we are happy. Happy.
Maybe we can’t afford a big, dark house like the Malfoys.
We’re the Weasley clan and we love everybody. Everyone.
If you came over you’d be a Weasley too. Yes, it’s true.

Oh, and by the way, the Weasleys (like the Potters) are all in Gryffindor – with its colors of scarlet and gold.