DISCLAIMER: This is not exactly a live blog and it’s definitely not a Finder’s Guide. It’s what I’ve found so far. There’s also probably some stuff I’m missing. :)
Here’s what I’ve found so far (DO NOT READ IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED!)…
CHAPTER 6: GILDEROY LOCKHART
Scene 1 (“Ron Receives a Howler”) – only 1 zoom, but lots of double-clicks
Double-click to get the Howler to misbehave. :)
On first double-click, it smokes
On second double-click, it starts to expand
On third double-dlick, it opens and screams
On fourth double-click, it sets itself on fire
On fifth double-click, it burns a hole in the table
Can COLLECT a gray feather (next to the smoking hole in the table) – I’m not sure if this was there the entire time and I just saw it after the fifth double-click or whether it’s not available for collecting until the fifth double-click.
Scene 2 (“Herbology”) The artwork in this scene is stunning! The key to zoom levels can be found at the bottom of the post.
Zoom 1 – Listen to the mandrake root scream
COLLECT a pair of earmuffs
COLLECT protective gloves (made of dragon hide!)
COLLECT Valerian Sprigs
COLLECT Dragon-dung Compost
COLLECT Small trowel
From the Comments – COLLECT Bat’s Wings in the sack to the left (Thanks again, Let’s Call Me Lily)
Scene 3 (“Cornish Pixies”) – GAME!!!
The game is “Peskipiksi Pesternomi!” You round the pixies up by guiding them with your wand into the cage. I’m not sure how many it takes to advance. 2 is not enough. 4 is. My best score so far is 8. Pixies.
PRIZE – Dympha Furmage Chocolate Frog Card
Key to Zoom Levels:
I am using the conventions I’ve seen used elsewhere when discussing Pottermore zoom levels:
“We’re nearly there,” [Ron] muttered suddenly. “Let me think – let me think . . .”
The white queen turned her blank face toward him.
“Yes . . . ” said Ron softly, “it’s the only way . . . I’ve got to be taken.”
“NO!” Harry and Hermione shouted.
“That’s chess!” snapped Ron. “You’ve got to make some sacrifices! I take one step forward and she’ll take me – that leaves you free to checkmate the king, Harry!”
“But – ”
“Do you want to stop Snape or not?”
So far, we’ve talked about the tasks and what they reveal about the House Heads and their Houses. But we haven’t focused much yet on what the tasks show us about the Trio. And there are actually 2 Rounds of encounters before the Trio even meets up with Fluffy and descends through the trapdoor.
Round 1: The adventure begins in the Gryffindor Common Room, when Neville tries to prevent the Trio from creeping out through the portrait hole. Hermione shows her excellent spell work by putting a “Petrificus Totalus” (Full Body-Bind) curse on Neville (foreshadowing many later uses of Petrificus Totalus: most memorably, Draco on Harry on Hogwarts Express, Dumbledore on Harry during Dumbledore’s death scene, Voldemort on Neville before Neville slays the snake). Round 1 goes to Hermione.
Round 2: The Trio encounter Peeves, who will of course make enough racket to get them caught roaming the halls at night. Harry ingeniously mimics the Bloody Baron from under his Invisibility Cloak. Round 2 belongs to Harry.
Round 3: The Trio meet up with Fluffy. Getting past the 3-headed beast is a collaborative effort. Harry quiets the dog by playing notes on a flute Hagrid carved for him. Ron opens the trapdoor, Harry goes through the trapdoor first, and Hermione continues blowing on the flute before jumping last. Round 3 belongs to The Trio.
Round 4: The Trio engage in another collaborative effort while tackling Sprout’s Devil’s Snare. Yes, Hermione is the one who recognizes the plant, notices its effects, and conjures the bluebell flames. But it’s Harry who recommends lighting a fire and Ron who reminds Hermione that she can light one without wood. Without Harry and Ron, Hermione would have frozen in panic. Round 4 belongs to The Trio, with some extra credit for Hermione.
Round 5: Flitwick’s Enchanted Keys also require a collaborative effort. However, for the collaboration to work, Harry has to rely on his Seeker skills and demonstrate a potential for leadership in Quidditch. He directs Hermione and Ron on the formation to fly so that he can catch the key he has identified. Round 5, I think, belongs primarily to Harry.
Round 6: Getting through McGonnagall’s Transfigured Chess match is entirely Ron’s task, with cooperation (not really collaboration) from Harry and Hermione. And this is one of the more difficult and risky tasks. So in taking the poll at the bottom of this post, it might be nice to weigh that difficulty and risk when considering Ron’s overall contribution toward saving the Stone. Round 6 goes to Ron.
Round 7: Getting past Quirrell’s Troll requires no effort on Harry’s or Hermione’s part because knocking out the Troll has already been accomplished… by Quirrell.
Round 8: Snape’s Logic Puzzle gives Hermione an opportunity to show her capacity for logical reasoning, and without her, Harry might have been stuck in that chamber forever. Round 8 belongs to Hermione.
Round 9: Dumbledore’s enchantment on Mirror of Erised gives Harry an opportunity to show his strength of character – the strength that helps him trump Voldemort’s attempt to attain the Stone and achieve immortality. We will discuss the Mirror in more detail in the post after next. But for now, Round 9 belongs to Harry.
The three members of the Trio show, from this very first major confrontation with Voldemort, that they possess an ability to work together as a group – and an ability to step forward with individual skills as needed. This will, of course, have major implications for the Horcrux Quest in DH, as will Ron’s sacrifice in the chess match…
You’ve Got to Make Some Sacrifices
When Ron decides to be “taken,” he decides to risk the possibility of death to keep Snape[sic]/Voldemort from getting the Stone. He does not know if the Queen’s blow will be lethal (and Harry and Hermione seem uncertain that he’s still alive when they move on to the next task). What he does know is, at the very least, it will hurt a lot and knock him unconscious. But the sacrifice is necessary in order to move his friends forward. So he sacrifices himself with that aim in mind.
I could be mistaken, but I think this is the first mention of sacrifice in the books. But it becomes a key theme in the series – as we will begin to understand when Dumbledore tells Harry of his mother’s sacrifice.
Perhaps most graphically, though, Ron’s sacrifice is a foreshadowing of the sacrifice that Harry will be asked to make in DH, when he goes out to meet Voldemort. Once again, it will be a situation in which sacrifice is “the only way” to halt evil from triumphing. And once again, it’s a conscious decision to face death for the sake of something bigger than oneself.
Harry makes his sacrifice in order to prevent Voldemort from attaining immortality. And 6 years earlier, he watched a young boy make the cold, calculated decision to face the possibility of death in order to prevent Voldemort from attaining immortality.
Coincidence? Perhaps not.
And now… let’s have another poll – this time on the Trio’s individual contributions. And let’s discuss your responses in the Comments thread! Multiple choice is possible this time:
I can’t believe it’s been Saturday since I last posted… but then again, I can. My husband’s out of town, and I’ve been running around all over the place, and today I had to keep the kitties calm while they were locked in a room because workmen were installing a furnace.
So, before we move on, let’s take a poll!
Which House Head’s task beyond the Trap Door is most made of awesome… and why?
Please explain your choice in the Comments thread!
I’ll be back to check after I’ve had a chance to see this Alan Rickman movie that’s been in my queue forever. Something called Sense and Sensibility.
ETA: I just remembered… some of you are dropping in randomly and haven’t read the last four posts! So if you need a refresher on the tasks, here you go…
“We must be miles under the school,” [Hermione] said.
“Lucky this plant thing’s here, really,” said Ron.
“Lucky!” shrieked Hermione. “Look at you both!”
She leapt up and struggled toward a damp wall. She had to struggle because the moment she landed, the plant had started to twist snakelike tendrils around her ankles. As for Harry and Ron, their legs had already been bound tightly in long creepers without their noticing.
The Trio’s fall through the trapdoor is broken by Professor Sprout’s protection for the Stone – Devil’s Snare.
So far, about the only thing we know about Professor Sprout (whom we have not yet met) is that she’s a “dumpy little witch” who teaches Herbology in the Greenhouses. With the Devil’s Snare, though, we at least meet her handiwork.
The brilliance of Sprout’s protection is that while the Devil’s Snare breaks the fall of those who go through the trapdoor, it also tries to kill them… and will succeed, unless the potential victim remembers how to fight it. If Harry’s and Ron’s reaction to their soft landing is any indication, most people would be lulled into a feeling of safety and might not even think to escape the plant’s tendrils until they are already being strangled or crushed to death. Worse yet, the more they struggle, the tighter the plant will bind them.
Devil’s Snare may not be as flashy as transfigured chess pieces, but it is truly an impressive bit of protection. In standard vampire fighting mode, fire or light will defeat the plant. But remembering that requires some knowledge of Herbology – and who but an Herbology geek would remember back to First Year Herbology lectures while they’re under attack from the plant?
Based on what we’ve seen of the Wizarding community, the average Wizard would most likely pay more attention to flashier subjects like DADA or Transfiguration or Charms, and wouldn’t stand a chance if attacked by Devil’s Snare – making it a doubly effective defense.
Thankfully the Trio have Hermione on hand to remember what Professor Sprout told them about the plant. And thankfully, they also have Ron on hand to remind her that she can conjure fire:
“Devil’s Snare, Devil’s Snare… what did Professor Sprout say? – it likes the dark and the damp – ”
“So light a fire!” Harry choked.
“Yes – of course – but there’s no wood!” Hermione cried, wringing her hands.
“HAVE YOU GONE MAD? Ron bellowed. “ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?”
“Oh right!” said Hermione, and she whipped out her wand, waved it, muttered something, and sent a jet of the same bluebell flames she had used on Snape at the plant. In a matter of seconds, the two boys felt it loosening its grip as it cringed away from the light and warmth.
And so the Trio escape the Devil’s Snare’s clutches.
But as with so many other elements introduced in PS/SS, this episode serves also to foreshadow later events. In OotP, a Devil’s Snare sent by a Death Eater as a “Christmas gift” to spell-damaged Unspeakable Broderick Bode successfully strangles the intended victim. And during the Battle of Hogwarts, Professor Sprout again uses Devil’s Snare – this time as part of the castle’s defenses against Voldemort’s minions.
Professor Sprout, Head of House for Hufflepuff, is also (as we can see) a formidable, if unconventional, fighter who who brings her less conventional resources as an Herbologist to bear in the battle against evil. Significantly, she will teach Neville Longbottom to do the same.
“I don’t know how you found out about the Stone, but rest assured, no one can possibly steal it, it’s too well protected.”
“I suppose you think you’re harder to get past than a pack of enchantments!” she stormed.
Poor Professor McGonnagall. She’s left to guard the castle while Dumbledore’s running off to the Ministry, and now some ickle firsties are claiming that someone’s going to steal the Stone! As much sympathy as I have for the Deputy Headmistress, though, I do find her confidence in the enchantments disturbingly overconfident.
Yes, the Stone is guarded, as Hagrid earlier told the Trio:
“… he borrowed Fluffy from me … then some o’ the teachers did enchantments …. Professor Sprout – Professor Flitwick – Professor McGonnagall -” he ticked them off on his fingers, “Professor Quirrell – an’ Dumbledore himself did somethin’, o’ course. Hang on, I’ve forgotten someone. Oh yeah, Professor Snape.”
But the enchantments will fall… first to a determined thief, and then to a very determined group of 11 and 12 year olds!
So now that we know who is guarding the stone (and it reads largely like a staff roster of House Heads at Hogwarts!), let’s get a brief overview of the how:
Hagrid (Care of Magical Creatures): Fluffy
Professor Sprout (Herbology): Devil’s Snare
Professor Flitwick (Charms): Enchanted Keys
Professor McGonnagall (Transfiguration): Living Chess Pieces
Professor Quirrell (Defense Against the Dark Arts): Troll
Professor Snape (Potions): Logic Puzzle, Potions, Enchanted Fire
Professor Dumbledore (Headmaster): Re-Enchanted Mirror of Erised
As guardian of the trapdoor (and we have discussed the Fluffy/Cerberus connection before), Fluffy should prove a formidable foe. After all, he nearly ripped off the leg of Severus Snape… who wasn’t even trying to steal the Stone!
But perhaps that’s whole point. Fluffy’s presence would dissuade all but the most determined of thieves (or, apparently, the most determined of Gryffindors!). And that is why Snape asked Quirrell if he had figured out how to get past the dog. As Voldemort’s slave, Quirrell does have the determination required. This is a man who made an attempt on the Stone at Gringotts after all! And since the time Snape cornered Quirrell in the Forbidden Forest, Hagrid has rendered Fluffy’s protection null by unknowingly revealing Fluffy’s weak spot to “Quirrellmort.” Consequently, when the Trio arrive at the door to the 3rd floor corridor, an enchanted harp has already played the beast to sleep.
Their reaction to seeing the harp? Predictably: “Snape must have left it there.”
But the Trio, too, came prepared to play Fluffy to sleep. Harry brought a flute, and that flute proves their salvation when the harp stops playing.
The young Gryffindors’ determination to get through the trapdoor comes not from a desire to steal the Stone but from the desire to prevent Voldemort’s return to power – a determination spearheaded by Harry’s reminder of the threat that he… and Hogwarts… and the Wizarding World as a whole would face if Voldemort returns:
“If Snape gets hold of the Stone, Voldemort’s coming back! Haven’t you heard what it was like when he was trying to take over? There won’t be any Hogwarts to get expelled from! He’ll flatten it, or turn it into a school for the Dark Arts! Losing points doesn’t matter anymore, can’t you see? D’you think he’ll leave you and your families alone if Gryffindor wins the house cup? If I get caught before I can get to the Stone, well, I’ll have to go back to the Dursleys and wait for Voldemort to find me there, it’s only dying a bit later than I would have, because I’m never going over to the Dark Side! I’m going through the trapdoor tonight and nothing you two say is going to stop me! Voldemort killed my parents, remember?”
He glared at them.
“You’re right, Harry,” said Hermione in a small voice.
As DH shows, 6 years later, Harry is quite on target with his analysis of what the return of Voldemort would mean. And this is before he learns about blood prejudice or about the blood prejudice campaign that would also target the likes of Hermione (Muggle-born) and Ron (“blood traitor“)… and it is well before Harry learns that he himself was the target on the night his parents were killed.
The only thing Harry is substantially wrong about (apart from the Snape bit) is that Voldemort would be able to kill him at the Dursleys. Actually, the Dark Lord can’t. In fact, as we learn much later, Harry is under special blood protection under his aunt’s roof because of his mother’s sacrifice. And this is the reason Dumbledore “inexplicably” keeps sending him back to the Dursleys during school breaks.
Because of the Trio’s determination to stop Voldemort’s return, nothing is going to stop these kids from going through that trapdoor – not Neville (on whom Hermione, regretfully, uses a Petrificus Totalus), not Peeves (on whom Harry tests his best “Bloody Baron” voice), and not Fluffy.
I’ll be back later to discuss, individually, the enchantments created by the House Heads on the other side of the of the trapdoor … and how the Trio overcome them. But this, at least, should get us started on our journey into the bowels of Hogwarts.