Pottermore, PoA Chapter 16 (what I’ve found so far…)

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!)…


Scene 1 (“Exam Time”)

Not long ago, I was challenged to write a fanfic using Lupin’s “Obstacle Course” concept. :) This makes it all the more exciting to see the beautiful Pottermore artwork for this scene. Still, I’m not getting everything right. The nifty new “completion bar” at the bottom of the scene tells me that I must have missed something. So I’m hoping you will help me find it.

  • Zoom 1:
    • With your cursor, you can make the Grindylow swim around its pool in the foreground.
    • COLLECT Knotgrass – at bass of the tank in which the Grindylow is swimming.
    • COLLECT Leeches – in the pool to the right of the Grindylow’s tank. (Thanks, Let’s Call Me Lily and Ritwik!)
  • Zoom 2:
    • The Red Caps are out in force! They will pop out of their holes with little prompting, but your cursor can help determine which ones pop out when.
    • COLLECT Horned Slugs – from the marshy area to the left back.
  • Zoom 3:
    • Your cursor can make the wispy Hinkypunk appear, holding his lantern to lead you astray.
    • COLLECT Fluxweed in the marshy area towards the back – by what I assume to be the boggart’s cabinet.

Okay, so now… I’m STILL missing something in this scene! (And yeah, I’ve had the Hinkypunk all along, so I’m not sure what I haven’t got or haven’t done).

Scene 2 (“The Committee”)

My completion bar is all the way full in this scene, so I know I found everything. This is actually one of the more disturbing scenes in PoA. I’m just glad Pottermore gave us plenty of activity to distract us… and that Hermione had her trusty Time Turner handy!

One thing that I learned as I went along with the new layout is that mouse movements (i.e., various actions) contribute as much to chapter completion as collecting things do. Since the old layout didn’t give us a completion bar, I didn’t realize this when I was first working with the completion bar in Chapter 16. At any rate, my completion bar for Scene 2 is full, but that doesn’t mean that I necessarily took note of everything necessary in order to make it full.

In the Comments, Ritwik asks: “in moment 2 how can your be filled when you didn’t shake the trees and let the crows fly and why didn’t you touch buckbeak’s ear”? And the truth is… I don’t know. I probably did all those things and didn’t say anything about them when I did them. So anyway, if your completion bar is not full in Scene 2, you might try shaking the trees to get the crows to fly and you might try touching Buckbeak’s ear. And actually, I do seem to vaguely recall doing those things when I first went through this scene!

  • Zoom 1:
    • COLLECT Tilly Toke Chocolate Frog Card. She saved Muggle lives when a dragon swooped down on a beach.
    • COLLECT Bertie Bott’s Aubergine-Flavoured Bean.
  • Zoom 2:
    • COLLECT Valerian Springs.
    • COLLECT Dried Nettles.
    • Make the door to Hagrid’s shack shake with your cursor.

Key to Zoom Levels:
I am using the conventions I’ve seen used elsewhere when discussing Pottermore zoom levels:

    • Zoom 1 = the original zoom level.
    • Zoom 2 = zoom in one level from Zoom 1.
    • Zoom 3 = zoom in two levels from Zoom 1.
    • Zoom OUT 2 = zoom out one level from Zoom 1.
    • Zoom OUT 3 = zoom out two levels from Zoom 1.

Pottermore, PoA Chapter 6 (what I’ve found so far…)

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!)…


Scene 1 (“Sir Cadogan”)

  • It doesn’t really make sense to discuss Zoom levels in this scene, because you can move the frame so many times. So I’ll just talk about double-clicking and zooming in.
    • UNLOCK “Sir Cadogan” (JKR-Exclusive Content) by clicking on his picture frame. (This should be fun, as I’ve always loved the crazy knight!). And OMG! He was a friend of Merlin’s! And a member of the Round Table!
    • Hover your cursor to get Sir Cadogan’s visor to lift up, to get his pony to whinny, and to get his sword to move.
    • Double-click or zoom in start moving with Sir Cadogan from his own picture to other pictures. First stop: a brick wall to the left. You can hear Sir Cadogan’s armor clanking as he runs towards the next picture.
    • Double-click or zoom in again to go left to a portrait of some high class ladies seemingly shocked at Sir Cadogan’s appearance in their frame. (Pottermore is definitely making me want to read PoA again… because I’d love to re-read the Portrait of Sir Cadogan’s adventures in this scene). The sighing and other sounds the ladies are making are just a tad… embarrassing.
    • Double-click or zoom in again to go left to a lamp on the brick wall.
    • Double-click or zoom in again to go left to a portrait of chanting monks.
    • Double-click or zoom in again to get Sir Cadogan to enter the monk’s frame. Hover your cursor over him to get him to wave.

Scene 2 (“Divination”)
The key for Zoom Levels will be found at the bottom of the post.

  • Zoom 1:
    • Nice artwork. I’m not finding anything at the moment, though, to collect.
  • Zoom 2:
    • Move your cursor to make Trelawney’s teapot sing.
    • Hover your cursor to make objects on the right wall move.
    • COLLECT an Exploding Snap Pack of cards.
    • COLLECT Chocolate Frog Card for Cassandra Vablatsky (the seer who authored Unfogging the Future, our 3rd year Divination text).
    • COLLECT – surprise! – a tea cup!
    • COLLECT the book Xylomancy (on the art of divination by twigs). It’s in among the books. (Thanks Anonymous, inglenook17, Jobelle, Ritwik, Dunja, and  WrAcKsPuRt!)

Scene 3 (“Hagrid’s First Lesson”)
The key for Zoom Levels will be found at the bottom of the post.

  • Zoom 1:
    • Hover your to get the Hippogriffs in the foreground to move. Draco and company are to the right. Harry and company are to the left.
    • COLLECT Knotgrass (next to Ron’s foot). (Thanks, Ritwik and Annie!)
  • Zoom 2:
    • Hover your cursor to get the Hippogriff in the background to flap his wings.
    • UNLOCK “Professor Kettleburn” (JKR-Exclusive Content). And if you thought Hagrid was reckless with Magical Creatures… just wait till you read up on this guy!
    • COLLECT Chocolate Frog Card for Norvel Twonk (who died saving a Muggle child from a Manticore). This one is very hard to find. It’s next to the satchels lying on the ground. (Thanks, frenchie!)

Key to Zoom Levels:
I am using the conventions I’ve seen used elsewhere when discussing Pottermore zoom levels:

  • Zoom 1 = the original zoom level.
  • Zoom 2 = zoom in one level from Zoom 1.
  • Zoom 3 = zoom in two levels from Zoom 1.
  • Zoom OUT 2 = zoom out one level from Zoom 1.
  • Zoom OUT 3 = zoom out two levels from Zoom 1.

Pottermore, PoA Chapter 1 (what I’ve found so far…)

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!)…


Scene 1 (“Harry’s Birthday”)
The key for Zoom Levels will be found at the bottom of the post.

First off, I had the headphones connected to the computer when I opened this scene (but did not have them placed on my head), so I didn’t make the connection between Pottermore and the squeaking and scratching noises I was hearing. I thought they were coming from some mouse or bird that had accidentally found its way into the room. That didn’t quite make sense, though, because my black cat (Severus, of course) was calmly sleeping on top of his kitty condo.

If it had been a live animal, he would have been all over the place… and so would his black/white sister (Minerva). It was only then that I realized… the noise must be coming from Pottermore!

Here’s what my cats REALLY act like when there’s a bird nearby…

So… back to finding stuff on Pottermore…

  • Zoom 1:
    • I haven’t found anything yet. But I did enjoy listening to Hedwig hooting and watching the Monster Book of Monsters struggle against the belt that Harry bound it with.
  • Zoom 2:
    • COLLECT Tiny Brass Compass (near the Monster book). It makes a useful companion for long journeys by broom.
    • COLLECT Chocolate Frog Card for Edgar Stroulger (inventor of the Sneakoscope).
    • COLLECT a Galleon lying on top of the books on the shelf. (Thanks, Annie!)
    • CLOSER LOOK at McGonnagall’s note announcing the coming school year and attaching the permission note to visit Hogsmeade.
    • CLOSER LOOK at Hagrid’s birthday note.
    • CLOSER LOOK at the Daily Prophet article on Arthur Weasley winning the Daily Prophet Grand Prize Galleon Draw. (Thanks Z.J. Malik!)
    • CLOSER LOOK at Ron’s letter to Harry from the Weasleys’ summer holiday in Egypt. (Thanks Z.J. Malik!)
    • CLOSER LOOK at Ron’s birthday note to Harry about the Sneakoscope. (Thanks Z.J. Malik!)
    • CLOSER LOOK at Hermione’s letter to Harry from her holiday in France.

    Information I enjoyed in the Sidebar:
    The contents of the Broomstick Servicing Kit (Hermione’s birthday gift to Harry) and the behavior of the Sneakoscope (Ron’s birthday gift).

    Key to Zoom Levels:
    I am using the conventions I’ve seen used elsewhere when discussing Pottermore zoom levels:

    • Zoom 1 = the original zoom level.
    • Zoom 2 = zoom in one level from Zoom 1.
    • Zoom 3 = zoom in two levels from Zoom 1.
    • Zoom OUT 2 = zoom out one level from Zoom 1.
    • Zoom OUT 3 = zoom out two levels from Zoom 1.

Ickle Firsties Take On the Hogwarts Staff

“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.

Foreshadowing? Perhaps.

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:

A Pack of Enchantments

“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:

  1. Hagrid (Care of Magical Creatures): Fluffy
  2. Professor Sprout (Herbology): Devil’s Snare
  3. Professor Flitwick (Charms): Enchanted Keys
  4. Professor McGonnagall (Transfiguration): Living Chess Pieces
  5. Professor Quirrell (Defense Against the Dark Arts): Troll
  6. Professor Snape (Potions): Logic Puzzle, Potions, Enchanted Fire
  7. 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.”

Gryffindor Determination

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.

A Few House Elf Duties

This is proving to be a hectic week. I’m taking a Math course, and I have a midterm next week. So I’m busy trying to relearn everything that we learned before Combinatorics broke my brain.

At any rate, this is my explanation for the Snapespicion post that strings together a bunch of quotes and offers precious little analysis, and I’m sticking to it! I will revise that post and re-post it after I finish my midterm! And we will also move on with the re-read… after I finish my midterm!

Okay, so now that I’ve informed readers of where we are and when to expect some more (and better) re-read posts, I’m finished with performing the house elf duties mentioned in my title. Now we can move on to some search terms!

Here are a few more search terms that have landed people on this blog. Some of these have pretty simple answers… and some are just perplexing:

Search term: who said nitwit! blubber! oddment! tweak
Answer: Albus Dumbledore, in his opening remarks at the Welcoming Banquet the first night Harry was ever on Hogwarts grounds. Harry, consequently, asks his prefect (Percy Weasley) if Dumbledore is a bit mad.

Search term: le patronus de drago malefoy
Answer: He doesn’t have one. For starters, Hogwarts does not teach the Patronus charm. Harry learned it in one-on-one lessons from Remus Lupin and in turn taught it to Dumbledore’s Army. Secondly, JKR has said that Death Eaters cannot cast a Patronus – with the exception of Severus Snape, who is no longer a true Death Eater by the time the series begins.

Search term: can you learn expecto patronum in year 5
Answer: Not in the Hogwarts curriculum… though you can learn it from Harry if you are a member of Dumbledore’s Army.

Search term: how to get past professor snape poa vide
Answer: I don’t have an answer! But I’d love to know what this is all about! I searched google using that search term and came up with nothing. I mean, I did see the link to my blog on the first page of Google results. It landed me at “Forgiveness and the Final Pensieve” – one of the first posts I ever wrote. And sure enough, somebody landed on that post on June 27… but oddly, the search term was not used until June 28, and then it was used twice. I’d like to know what page the searcher landed on!

Search terms: godric’s hollow map / map of diagon alley
Answer: I looked these up too, and the closest I came was this (from the theme park). This blog does not appear to be in the first five pages of Google results for either of these search terms, so I’m a little surprised that people landed here using these terms.

Search term: why isn’t hagrid in half blood prince
Answer: Ummm… he is.

Well, that’s it with search terms for now. I’ll be back soon to clean up the Snapespicion post and carry on with the re-read! But first… that Math midterm! Wish me luck!

Centaurs of the Forest

“Hullo, Bane,” said Hagrid. “All right?”

“Good evening, Hagrid, I hope you are well?”

“Well enough. Look, I’ve jus’ bin askin’ Ronan, you seen anythin’ odd in here lately? There’s a unicorn bin injured – would yeh know anythin’ about it?”

Bane walked over to stand next to Ronan. He looked skyward.

“Mars is bright tonight,” he said simply.

“We’ve heard,” said Hagrid grumpily. “Well, if either of you do see anythin’, let me know, won’t yeh? We’ll be off, then.”

Harry and Hermione followed him out of the clearing, staring over their shoulders at Ronan and Bane until the trees blocked their view.

“Never,” said Hagrid irritably, “try an’ get a straight answer out of a centaur. Ruddy stargazers. Not interested in anythin’ closer’n the moon.”

Centaurs, as everybody knows, are horse on the bottom with human on top. They are hybrid creatures, struggling with dual natures – animal and human. Not surprisingly, classical myths depict them variably as base or wise.

In the ancient myths, centaurs are primarily bestial, embracing the more Dionysian characteristics of drunken revelry and unbridled lust. The centaur Nessus tried to rape Hercules’ (Heracles’) wife Deianira and told her the lie that resulted in the hero’s death. A group of drunken centaur guests attacked the wedding of Pirithous and tried to carry off the bride. When the wise centaur Pholus invited Hercules to dine, the wine fumes incensed the other centaurs to attack. Pholus and the wisest centaur of all, Chiron – teacher of Hercules and Achilles – both died as a result of the other centaurs’ ferocity.

Sadly, Dante places all the centaurs – whether ferocious or wise, whether Nessus or whether Pholus and Chiron – in the Inferno. But in The Chronicles of Narnia (one of JKR’s favorite works), C.S. Lewis portrays the centaurs as the wisest of Narnians, invariably loyal to Aslan and to the rightful Kings and Queens of Narnia.

JKR places her centaurs within both these traditions. As in the classical myths, there are ferocious centaurs and wise centaurs. And her wisest centaur, like Chiron, becomes a teacher. When that wisest centaur, Firenze, rescues Harry from Voldemort and places the boy on his back, though, he incenses Bane, the most ferocious of the forest centaurs:

“Firenze!” Bane thundered. “What are you doing? You have a human on your back! Have you no shame? Are you a common mule?”

The pride of JKR’s centaurs could be seen, in traditional terms, as being at odds with the animal part of their nature. Unlike horses (or mules), they do not wish to be seen as beasts of burden. After all, they possess the gift of reason. However, according to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, centaurs have been classified as “beasts” by the Ministry of Magic at their own request. Why would these fiercely proud rational beings wish to be classified as “beasts”? Is it merely to show their disdain of human classifications? I am curious to know what anybody else makes of this.

Whatever the case, some other points of interest about centaurs (found in Fantastic Beasts):

Centaurs are believed to have originated in Greece, though there are now centaur communities in many parts of Europe. Wizarding authorities in each of the countries where centaurs are found have allocated areas where the centaurs will not be troubled by Muggles; however, centaurs stand in little need of wizard protection, having their own means of hiding from humans.

The ways of the centaur are shrouded in mystery. They are generally speaking as mistrustful of wizards as they are of Muggles and indeed seem to make little differentiation between us. They live in herds ranging in size from ten to fifty members. They are reputed to be well-versed in magical healing, divination, archery, and astronomy.

The footnote indicates that centaurs have been given a XXXX classification. And here’s the interesting part…

not because it is unduly aggressive, but because it should be treated with great respect. The same applies to merpeople and unicorns.

In JKR’s universe, centaurs, merpeople (whom we won’t meet until GoF), and unicorns all command the same respect. And on the issue of aggressiveness, Newt Scamander has apparently never met Bane!

Note also that whether ferocious or wise, all the centaurs – like their Greek mythological forerunner Chiron – are stargazers and prognosticators. In fact, JKR’s centaurs (with the exception of Firenze) are practically cultic in their adherence to what is written in the stars. For them, Fate rules, not Free Will. The future is predestined, and if the stars say that Harry Potter must die, then Harry Potter must die:

“What have you been telling him?” growled Bane. “Remember, Firenze, we are sworn not to set ourselves against the heavens. Have we not read what is to come in the movements of the planets?”

Ronan pawed the ground nervously. “I’m sure Firenze thought he was acting for the best,” he said in his gloomy voice.

Bane kicked his back legs in anger.

“For the best! What is that to do with us? Centaurs are concerned with what has been foretold! It is not our business to run around like donkeys after stray humans in our forest!”

Harry misinterprets this as a wish for him to die. When he gets back to Gryffindor Tower, he says that if Snape [sic] steals the Stone, and then Voldemort comes to finish him off, “Bane’ll be happy.” But that’s not exactly what Bane is saying. He is saying that centaurs do not interfere. They do not set themselves against the stars. That does not mean that they are necessarily happy about what is written in the stars.

The reason I’ve gone on at such length about the centaurs is that they will prove one of the more important creatures living in the Forest. They are crucial to the outcome of OotP as well as DH, so it’s important to take a look at the characteristics of JKR’s centaurs – and see how they fit in with the centaur myth.

We will take up again with Firenze when we discuss Harry’s encounter in the Forest with Voldemort.