Pottermore, CoS Chapter 17 (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!)…

CHAPTER 17: THE HEIR OF SLYTHERIN

Scene 1 (“Tom Riddle”)

There are two zoom levels to this scene: Zoom 1 and Zoom OUT 2 So far, the only thing I’ve been able to do in this scene is make the edges around Tom Riddle mist up a bit on Zoom OUT 2.

Scene 2 (“The Basilisk”)

There are lots of cool sound effects here and some very nice artwork. You can manipulate this scene by zooming/double-clicking and using mouse-over. There is no zoom in or out. The scene just moves up when you zoom or double-click.

  • Zoom 1: Can use mouse-over to get Harry’s robes to billow
  • Zoom 2: Scene moves upward and can see Fawkes (who flies to the right and out of the frame)
  • Zoom 3: Scene moves upward to the blinded Basilisk’s head. See venom dripping from its mouth, blood streaming from its eyes.

Scene 3 (“Harry Destroys the Diary”)

  • Zoom 1: Harry’s arm is raised over diary. He holds a basilisk fang ready to strike.
  • Zoom 2: Harry drives the basilisk fang into the diary. Splat. Riddle is not happy.

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, Cos 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!)…

CHAPTER 16: THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS

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

  • Zoom 1:
    • COLLECT Herpo the Foul Chocolate Frog Card
    • CLOSER LOOK at information on the Basilisk
  • Zoom 2: Anybody find anything?
  • Zoom 3:
    • COLLECT Castor Oil
    • COLLECT 5 Galleons (have to open door first though)

Scene 2 (“The Entrance to the Chamber”)

  • Zoom 2: In the sink with two faucets, click (or multi-click) on the left faucet handle. It spins around and finally reveals the drainage pipe leading into the Chamber of Secrets. (Thanks, allegra!)

Scene 3 (“Two Entwined Serpents”)

Only one Zoom level: See two entwined serpents. You can get the Chamber to open by clicking on the light on Harry’s wand (or the serpent’s eyes, or I hear the door itself). Anyway, once you’ve gotten the Chamber to open, you automatically UNLOCK the “The Chamber of Secrets” (JKR-exclusive content).

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, CoS Chapter 8 (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!)…

CHAPTER 8: THE DEATHDAY PARTY

Scene 1 (“Nearly Headless Nick’s Party”)
The key to zoom levels can be found at the bottom of the post.

  • Zoom 1 – You are invited to enter. :)
  • Zoom 2 – Watch the ghosts dance, and listen to the ghost music (very eerie and cool)
  • Zoom 3:
    • UNLOCK “Peeves” (Exclusive JKR Content)
    • COLLECT a Jet Black Candle
    • COLLECT a Galleon

Scene 2 (“Enemies of the Heir Beware”)
The key to zoom levels can be found at the bottom of the post.

  • Zoom 1:
    • From the Comments – COLLECT the hair of a Slytherin student! (Thank you, christy, itsmeas, Becky Abel!)
    • From the Comments – COLLECT a Licorice Wand (in the middle of the group of Slytherin students to the left). (Thank you, BloodCrimson11937, itsmeas, Rob!)
    • From the Comments – COLLECT Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum (towards the left of the Slytherin students). (Thank you, BloodCrimson11937, Steph, WolfsbaneKey15329, matt kenny, drakangel614, Annelucy! Special thanks to Steph and drakangel614 for the very precise directions!!!)
  • Zoom 2:
    • COLLECT five Galleons
    • From the Comments – COLLECT Cauldron Cake near Hermione’s foot. (Thanks, Yuka!)
    • Get the torches to burn brighter and illuminate the writing on the wall

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.

‘I Won’t Blow Up the House!’

On Dudley Dursley’s birthday, the unthinkable happens. Arabella Figg – the crazy old cat lady Harry gets dumped on every time Dudley has a birthday – breaks her leg, and the Dursleys have to figure out what to do with Harry. When the boy suggests just letting him stay home, Uncle Vernon protests that he does not want to come back to find the house in “ruins.”

“I won’t blow up the house,” replies Harry.

The Ruined House

Sounds like the typical parent/guardian exchange with t(w)eens, doesn’t it? But this is actually that rare, almost non-existent, occasion when there appears to be some factual basis for Dursley fears. Dumbledore apparently told the Dursleys in his letter dated 10 years earlier about the condition of the Potters’ home after Voldemort came calling.

As Hagrid told Dumbledore at that time, the “house was almost destroyed,” and (as he later tells Harry) he took the boy from the “ruined house” himself. Aunt Petunia certainly knows that her sister “went and got herself blown up.” So it is with some bit of authentic, fact-based fear, perhaps, that Uncle Vernon mentions “ruins” when he thinks of Harry being left alone in the house while the family celebrates Dudley’s birthday at the zoo.

All Harry remembers of the You-Know-Who incident, though, is contained in a recurring dream about a flying motorcycle and the memory of a flash of green light from the “car crash”:

Sometimes, when he strained his memory during long hours in his cupboard, he came up with a strange vision: a blinding flash of green light and a burning pain on his forehead. This, he supposed, was the car crash, though he couldn’t imagine where all the green light came from.

(Well, Harry, that would actually be an Avada Kedavra curse, Voldemort’s signature spell. But you aren’t going to learn anything about the Unforgivables for four more years!)

Wandless Magic

Though the Dursleys may well have images of real ruins in mind when they talk about not wanting to leave Harry alone in the house, they seem more afraid of the random “strange things” that happen around the boy. Wizarding children have magical abilities, with or without a wand. The wand helps them learn to control and channel their magic, but being gifted with magic is not dependent on the wand.

Under various forms of stress, Harry has already caused his hair to grow back overnight from a bad haircut, caused a hated sweater to shrink while Aunt Petunia tried to force it on him, and even found himself on the roof of the school kitchens while attempting to escape from Dudley’s gang.

(Wandless magic plays a role throughout the series, but nowhere more strongly than in DH, where we learn of the wandless magic performed by young Lily Evans (Harry’s mother), her childhood friend Severus Snape, and Dumbledore’s own sister, Ariana. Ariana Dumbledore provides the tragic example of a Wizarding child who pays the price for being unable to control her magic.)

The Parselmouth

Then, there’s the event in the reptile house, from which this chapter takes its title. The Dursleys do end up taking Harry to the zoo (better than having him blow up the house, I suppose!), and after Dudley unsuccessfully tries to force his Muggle father to get a sleeping Boa Constrictor to “do something,” the snake initiates an interaction with Harry. First it winks, then it nods, then it gestures with its tail. In the course of this interaction, Harry starts talking to the snake. And the snake understands him.

On first reading, this seems like just another example of Harry’s wandless magic. And this possibility is underscored by the fact that when Dudley punches Harry, something more typically magical happens – the glass to the cage disappears, and the snake escapes. But as the snake leaves, it speaks to Harry in a “low, hissing voice” – and just as the snake understood Harry, Harry understands the snake.

Harry is a Parselmouth – a natural speaker of Parseltongue, the language of snakes. This is no ordinary magical power, and it is not typical of children’s wandless magic. In HBP, when Dumbledore teaches Voldemort’s history to Harry, he shows one memory in which an 11-year-old Tom Riddle (later Voldemort) reveals to the adult Dumbledore:

I can speak to snakes…. they find me, they whisper to me.

Dumbledore does not let on, but he is clearly taken aback by this revelation. Parseltongue is a language associated with Salazar Slytherin, founder of Slytherin House at Hogwarts, the House that values pure Wizard blood. Additionally, when Harry reveals his Parseltongue capabilities during the Duelling Club segment of CoS, his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger tell Harry that this is a bad thing – that Parseltongue is generally associated with Dark Magic, and that You-Know-Who himself is a Parselmouth.

And speaking of You-Know-Who… notice that just as the Boa in the reptile house initiates contact with Harry, so young Riddle tells Dumbledore that the snakes “find” him. Apparently, snakes can innately tell if a Wizard is a Parselmouth… and seek such Wizards out.

The Parselmouth motif becomes increasingly important throughout the series, as Dumbledore pieces together the connections between Harry and the wicked Wizard who tried to kill him. But at this point in the story, the snake incident looks like just a throw-away magic event, another neat magical thing Harry can do. Which makes “The Vanishing Glass” a wonderful early instance of Rowling’s talent for misdirection.

Reactions and Comments?
Let’s get this party started!

  • How justified do you think the Dursleys’ fears of Harry are?
  • What was your reaction the first time you read of Harry’s unconscious, wandless magical abilities? What is your reaction now?
  • On first reading, how did you feel about Harry’s ability to talk to snakes? Has your feeling changes since then?
  • Is there anything else you feel like commenting on?

Next time, from Chapter 3:

‘The Flight of the Dursleys’ … in which we discuss the strange letter(s) addressed to Harry… and the Dursleys’ even stranger behavior surrounding them.