Pottermore, PoA Chapter 18 (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. According to my magic completion bar, I have found everything in this chapter!

Here’s what I’ve found (DO NOT READ IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED!)…

CHAPTER 18: MOONY, WORMTAIL, PADFOOT AND PRONGS

Scene 1 (“Lupin’s Tale”)

  • Zoom 1:
    • Just a single zoom again. Nothing to collect. You can, however, listen to Lupin’s story about the Marauders transforming into Animagi. If you hover your cursor, you can also make Padfoot sniff in kind of a snarly way.
    • In the Comments, Let’s Call Me Lily adds: “You can also make them twitch their ears, wriggle Lupin’s snout and make Prongs shift on his feet.” To which I would reply: “Yeah, I know. And you can even make Wormtail appear! on Lupin’s far side. But what I DIDN’T know when I wrote up this chapter was that those mouse movements MATTERED for moving the completion bar!” Anyway, for those of you who wishing to complete the chapter, be sure to do the hover your cursor and interact with the Marauders in their Animagus and Werewolf forms. :)

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.

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!

Pottermore, PoA Chapter 14 (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 14: SNAPE’S GRUDGE

Scene 1 (“Buckbeak’s Appeal”)

  • Zoom 1:
    • COLLECT a Bath bun – in the foreground, to the right of the candle.
  • Zoom 2:
    • Move cursor to get Buckbeak to eat from the bloody ferret meat in front of him.
    • Move cursor to get Fang to yawn.
    • Move cursor to make the worms move.
    • COLLECT Chocolate Frog Card for Wilfred Elphick (first Wizard gored by an African Erumpet) – by opening the top drawer beneath the worms.
    • COLLECT a Galleon – by opening the second drawer beneath the worms.
    • COLLECT Flobberworm Mucus – at the base of the chest beneath the bowl of worms.
    • CLOSER LOOK at the letter sent to Hagrid concerning Buckbeak’s attack on Malfoy – from the pocket in the hanging coat.

Scene 2 (“The Shrieking Shack”)

  • Zoom 1:
    • Move cursor over Harry’s head, to get Harry to become visible from beneath his Invisibility Cloak and hear the cloak removed.
    • COLLECT a bar of Frog Spawn Soap – from Ron’s pocket.
    • COLLECT a Leaping Toadstool – from the base of the tree next to the Shrieking Shack.
    • Move cursor over gate to hear it creak.
    • Move cursor over the pathway to get a squishy sound and the movement of what might possibly be leaping toadstools. (sorry, can’t tell precisely)
  • Zoom 2:
    • COLLECT Valerian Sprigs – from the valley to the right.
    • From the Comments:
      • COLLECT a Sprig of Lavendar from the dark patch on the side of the central hill. (Thanks, Annie and Elizabeth!)

Scene 3 (“A Spare Bit of Parchment”)

  • Zoom 1:
    • Move the cursor over the jars on Snape’s shelves to see some of the contents move.
    • COLLECT Pufferfish Eyes – from the left side of the third shelf to Snape’s left.
    • COLLECT Bat Spleens – from the floor below the shelves to Snape’s left.
    • COLLECT Dragon Liver – from the floor below the shelves to Snape’s left.
    • COLLECT Eels’ Eyes – from the right side of the second shelf to Snape’s left.
    • Move cursor over the bag to Harry’s left to see one of the items move. (sorry… can’t tell what it is).
    • CLOSER LOOK – the insult the Marauder’s Map gave to Severus Snape.
    • Move the cursor over Snape’s right arm to get him to throw the floo powder in the fireplace – and bring Lupin into the picture.

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 11 (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 11: THE FIREBOLT

Scene 1 (“The Firebolt Is Confiscated”)

I think I may have messed up the Zoom levels in this chapter, so if commenters can verify or correct the zoom levels, I would be very grateful.

After this chapter, I will take a break until I have finished teaching my class. I should return in about 7-8 hours.

  • Zoom 1:
    • Stephen Fry reads this dialogue-heavy scene and uses a delightful “McGonnagall” voice to read her lines.
    • COLLECT Chocolate Frog Card for Dunbar Oglethorpe (next to books to the left of the gobstones). Oglethorpe was the Chief of Q.U.A.B.B.L.E. – a Quidditch “betterment” league for Britain.
    • Move cursor to make Hermione pull the book up over her face.
  • Zoom 2:
    • UNLOCK “Gobstones” (JKR-Exclusive Content) – found on table in back of Ron. By moving your cursor, you can also get a gobstone on the table to squirt gunk. I’ve always wondered about Gobstones, since I knew that Severus Snape’s mother was an avid player while at Hogwarts.
    • COLLECT Spellotape (from the chair to the right, near McGonnagall).
    • COLLECT Homemade Mince Pies from the table next to the gobstones.
    • From the Comments:
      • COLLECT a bauble from the Christmas tree. (Thanks, Annie and Elizabeth!)

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.

January 2, 2010 – My First Snape Post

It happened about a week after I arrived, but on January 2, 2010, CoS Staff re-opened the sub-forum where members could post canon-based character analysis.

Wow. A whole sub-forum dedicated to serious character discussion!
ahem

At any rate, here is my first post written for the sub-forum where I spent a good part of my CoS experience…
before the place devolved into a never-ending battleground between warring factions

Originally Posted by TGW
The way she sent him to his death cheerfully and willingly (in the Forest) somehow makes me think that if Lily would understand why Snape needed to be harsh to Harry most of the time. Snape was in a war and so was Harry. Snape was behaving with the knowledge that Voldemort was coming back. Snape’s job to protect Harry and his usefulness depended upon his act being perfect. He needed his distance from Harry so that Voldemort could not ask him to misuse that trust.Lily could say that Snape was harsh and that he could/should have been sweeter to Harry if his love for her was true. Though that would IMO make her very shallow and superficial. I hope Lily would understand that Snape’s role as a spy would need him to be necessarily different to protect himself and others.

This is also my take. Harry was born in the middle of a war. He would also be destined to become the focal point in the second war that Dumbledore and Snape knew was coming. It made no sense at all in such a context for Snape to treat Harry or any of the Gryffindors kindly in his class. The Gryffindors did potions with the Slytherins, and there were three children of Death Eaters in the class. If Snape had been fair, news would quickly have gotten back to the Death Eaters, and Snape’s own role as a spy would have been compromised. We know for a fact that Dumbledore wanted Snape to play his role convincingly.

Not only that, but Harry needs to be toughened up in order to survive. Everything Snape does – including expressing frustration with Harry’s lack of seriousness – could be read as helping Harry develop survival skills – you know, like a drill sergeant.

Snape is a very skilled, and not a terribly patient, man. He does have some serious issues with Harry, as seen in the memories of his conversations with Dumbledore. But I think “hate” is way too strong a word. He finds the boy very frustrating and often infuriating. But he never wavers in doing his duty by him.

Originally Posted by TGW
He did see Harry in a better light. That was why he passed on the message to Harry (about his walk in the Forest) and gave his very personal memories IMO.

For me, the key is the personal memories. Why would such an intensely proud and private man give such personal memories to a boy he truly hated? In the end, he gave Harry the greatest gift anybody could give him – memories of his mother. And Harry appears to recognize this as a gift. Snape did not just give Harry Dumbledore’s orders for meeting Voldemort. He gave him what was truly in his own heart.

Another key is the Silver Doe in the Forest of Dean. This is a sort of spectral embodiment of Snape’s soul. And Harry recognizes it as benign, not knowing who it belongs to. It may have taken the same form as Lily’s Patronus, but it is Snape’s Patronus, not Lily’s. His soul has has been repaired from whatever damage he did to it by becoming a Death Eater.

Originally Posted by TGW

All I can see from this was that Snape did not answer Dumbledore’s query; instead he changed the subject to tell Dumbledore that he loved Lily and also to show off his Patronus, which would help us connect with the Sliver Doe. This says nothing positive or negative about his feelings for Harry IMO.

Even if it is to be read in the most negative light, it says nothing about where Snape stands a year later, after he has taken on the horrifying final mission Dumbledore has given him. I think the text shows Snape’s motives being progressively purified. The final mission is not one that can be undertaken strictly for love of Lily. It has to be taken on in order to defeat evil. And in the process, we see Snape embrace good. What else can account for the fact that in the Battle Over Little Whinging, Snape nearly blows his cover simply in order to save the life of one of the Marauders? That is a completely selfless act… and one that makes him even more hated because of the damage accidentally done to George.

The following is speculation, but it seems likely to me that Snape’s constant exposure to Voldemort and the Death Eaters makes him more committed than ever to doing the right thing for its own sake. He has developed a strong enough moral compass in his years at Hogwarts to see Voldemort and his former Death Eater friends the way Lily saw them – as the evil that they truly are. The evidence in the text indicates (to me, at least) that Snape is determined to do what he can to bring Voldemort down, even after he knows that Lily’s son must allow Voldemort to kill him in order to make that happen. Even in dying, Snape’s first thought is toward completing the mission.

Originally Posted by TGWI don’t think Snape hurt Harry. Angered him, made Harry hate him, made Harry wish for his death (in HBP) but I don’t think Harry was hurt by Snape. And I also don’t think Snape left it to Dumbledore to counter anything. He IMO took it upon himself to set right all the misunderstanding Harry had through the memories. I think Harry understood.

Exactly. And another dimension to the memories… We see a definite progression in how Snape regards Harry.

At first, he’s just a thing to be exchanged for the life of the mother. Then he’s the boy who survived when Lily Evans died… but who Snape vows to protect regardless. Throughout the memories, Snape keeps on and on about James Potter’s son. But in the last conversation before Dumbledore’s death, he refers to Harry as Lily Potter‘s son.

Note the distinction here. Not only has he shifted from thinking of Harry as James’ son, he has also shifted from thinking of Lily by her maiden name. He now calls her “Potter.” He has fully acknowledged that she was James’ wife and that Harry was her son.

Note also that when he first hears of Lily’s death, he cannot bear to think of her eyes in Harry’s face. But in his last few seconds of life, he requests to look at Lily’s eyes in Harry’s face. It would have no power if we didn’t know that Snape had refused so strongly to see Lily in Harry. In that case, we could read it (as the Snape naysayers do) as just an obsessive desire to look into Lily’s eyes.

But knowing that Snape initially could not bear to think of Lily’s eyes in Harry’s face, we can see rather that Snape here is seeing Harry as he is… not as what he expects to see. (to paraphrase Dumbledore). And he is acknowledging – to Harry – that he recognizes Harry’s full identity. And this, of course, is underscored by the fact that he gives Harry memories of his mother.

December 25, 2009 – The Series’ Most Shocking Moment, The Story of Harry’s Past, and What Was I Dead Wrong About?

On December 25, 2009 – when I had been blogging here for nearly 10 days – I wrote my first posts on the Chamber of Secrets forum… and quickly got sucked in.

Here are the three content posts that I wrote on my first full day on the CoS forum:

Most Shocking Moment in the Whole Series?

Most shocking moment(s) for me:

Finding out that Harry had to let Voldemort kill him in order to destroy the part of Voldemort’s soul that was in him. This was probably the single most shocking moment for me…. as I think it was for Snape.
(Or, I should say, it was the most shocking moment for Snape in the Harry plot. Lily’s death was the most shocking moment for Snape in the Snape plot).

Finding out that Snape was the Death Eater responsible for delivering part of the prophesy to Voldemort. That stunned me.

Snape’s death and exsanguination at the fangs of Nagini. If there’s any single scene that shows just the complete self-absorption, coldness and depravity of Voldemort, this is it. He didn’t kill Snape because he found out he was a spy. He killed Snape thinking him a trusted servant who (he believed) just happened to have something that he wanted – the allegiance of the Elder Wand. Does Voldemort have any soul left?

Fred Weasley’s death. I don’t know why, but I never suspected Rowling would lay the hand of death on one of the Weasley twins.

Harry naming his younger son Albus Severus. I thought it was perfect, and it brought tears to my eyes, but I had to read it a couple of times to believe it was real.

I was not, alas, shocked at the death of Albus Dumbledore. I thought Dumbledore had to die in order for the hero to complete his Quest. And I was not especially shocked that Snape killed him… mainly because I knew before I read the books that Snape had done something in the course of the story that led to a huge debate over whether he was good or evil. When I did finally read the books, I personally believed that Snape was Dumbledore’s man and that the killing was most likely planned… but I had no idea as to the details of the plan.

Was the Story of Harry’s Past Told to the Children?

We don’t actually know if the children know the story of Harry’s role during the Second Wizarding War. What the epilogue indicates is that they apparently don’t know their father is so famous.

I like to think that Harry told them the story, but that he told them that battling people trying to murder you is not all that glorious when it’s actually happening – which is the same message he gave the members of Dumbledore’s Army.

I’m betting that regardless of what he said or didn’t say, he shielded his children significantly from his fame. I think that’s indicated by Albus Severus’ reaction to the other kids gawking from the train. The Potter kids are going to learn soon enough how famous their father is once they get to Hogwarts. To me, that seems an appropriate time to let them know – at age 11, the same age Harry was when he found out that he was “The Boy Who Lived.”

What Were You Dead Wrong About?

I thought Lucius Malfoy would die a horrible, horrible death.

I thought the Deathly Hallows would be a place.

I believed the mission was to protect Harry, when it was really to get him to sacrifice himself (or rather, the part of Voldemort’s soul in him).

I was right about Snape and Dumbledore working together to ensure Dumbledore’s death, but I was wrong about the immediate cause of that collaboration.

I suspected that Severus loved Lily, but I never imagined that he knew her before Hogwarts, or that he was the first magic person she ever knew, or that Petunia knew him and remembered him talking about dementors.

I was wrong that no Weasley twin could die.

I assumed Dumbledore was just a kindly, benign, immensely powerful elderly wizard, when he was in fact a master strategist and military genius, willing to ask his men to make extraordinary sacrifices in order to win the war.

Ways to Read the Harry Potter Series, Part 3

This post is a composite of two separate posts that originally appeared in an area of the Chamber of Secrets forum that is not open to the public. My answers to the questionnaire (once again!) tell you more about me as a reader of Harry Potter than anything else. :)

Feel free to use the comments thread to post your own responses to the questionnaire (or to my answers).

7. When do you think does critical character analysis cross the line and becomes character bashing/racist/sexist/other?

I don’t see a lot of racism and sexism in HP character analysis. (And I steer completely clear of the rancorous Severus vs. Lily debate because I love both characters). I do suppose, though, that analysis dismissing the possibility that Molly might be able to duel effectively because she’s a mother and housewife could be construed as verging on sexism – if not crossing the line into it.

As for bashing, well…

Let’s say, hypothetically, that we’re analyzing a character who does some things that are mean spirited and some things that help in the fight against Voldemort. And let’s say, hypothetically, that someone does not like the character because of the mean spirited things the character does.

Disliking the character is not bashing. Indicating that the mean spirited things the character does are distasteful is not bashing.

However, let’s say that dislike for the character leads to an analysis that automatically pre-defines all of the character’s actions and motives as “bad” – even actions and motives that would be considered “good” if the person’s favorite characters did them. I would consider that to be bashing.

Let me use James as an example. I dislike James. That is not bashing. I am appalled by his actions in SWM. That is not bashing.

However, if I defined James’s actions on the night Voldemort comes to Godric’s Hollow in terms of James’s actions in SWM… and then decided based upon SWM that nothing James ever does could possibly be construed in a positive light – and that therefore his brave and selfless actions on the night of his death must by definition be analyzed negatively – that would be bashing.

It’s sort of the character analysis equivalent of the ad hominen attack. Basically, this is a form of analysis that imposes a pre-defined analytical outcome based almost exclusively on dislike of the character and that then manipulates the text in order to arrive at that pre-defined outcome.

I can think of other characters besides James who could be subject to this sort of analysis. ;)

8. To what extent do you allow your opinions of the characters to be swayed by the opinions of other characters?

Very little, in the end.

That doesn’t mean that I’m not influenced while I’m reading by characters’ opinions. Reacting to and testing characters’ opinions against other evidence is part of the reading experience imo. Basically, I always leave open the option to revise a character opinion based on additional information that I’m shown.

Until I read SWM, I didn’t put any stock at all in Snape’s opinions of Marauders. But for some reason, before I read TPT, I put pretty close to absolute trust in what Sirius had said about Snape. My final opinions were influenced more by what I was shown than by what I was told.

I do think that Harry’s a bit of a special case because he’s the Hero of a monomyth. It is inherent to the structure of the monomyth that the Hero have great wisdom at the end of the tale. So I do put a lot of stock in Harry’s final opinions… but that’s due to the mythic structure of the tale.

And speaking of the monomyth, etc. – I made some comments earlier about symbolism. Basically, I will engage in symbolism if the symbolism is obvious… or is suggested by JKR. But I’m not big on just combing through the text trying to force symbolic readings on it.

For example:

In Pottermore Rowling revealed her reasoning behind giving the Dursleys the number “4” in their address. She says that she sees “4” as a “hard” and “unforgiving” number, hence it winds up in the Dursley street address.

But that leaves open the question of why she creates 4 Houses at Hogwarts and 4 founders of those Houses. Is she using the same logic in creating 4 Houses as she used in assigning 4 to the Dursley address? Or is she using an entirely different logic (for example, the number of elements)? In other words, is it merely coincidental that there are also 4 Houses or does it have some kind of significance in relation to her opinion of the number 4?

Since JKR herself brings up the issue of number 4, I think this type of exploration is fairly natural and organic, not forced. But I can guarantee that if she hadn’t brought it up in the first place, I certainly would not be picking through the text looking for groups of 4 and applying some sort of symbolic approach to them! (actually, I’m not picking through the text even now!)

Speaking of the 4 Elements… JKR has stated explicitly that each House is associated with one of the Elements:

Gryffindor – Fire
Hufflepuff – Earth
Ravenclaw – Air
Slytherin – Water

So, since the Elements are pretty obviously important to JKR’s conception of the Houses, I think it’s fairly natural to explore the meanings of each of the elements and see how each House’s element applies to the House.

So yeah, I do think that there are reasonable applications of symbolism in the text.