My offering this week is much less crafty and productive, and much more fiddling-around-on-the-internet. Behold! The three hostesses as Hogwarts students:
I made Masha Gryffindor, since Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw are already spoken for! (Slytherin's reputation seems too evil for sweet Masha.) I do wish there were a better variety of dolls, as the three of us probably represent three totally different female body types. Try it out for yourself at Doll Divine. There are male doll bases too, obviously.
In Chapters 8, 9, and 10 we pan over the first two months at Hogwarts and get an imaginative introduction of what life is like for schoolwizards and schoolwitches. Rowling does this while easily advancing the plot. That's not something a casual reader would probably stop to observe, but it's skillful authoring.
What stood out to me most in these three chapters is something Jenna nailed on the head, so I hardly need repeat myself: the lack of safety and permanent-state-of-potential-danger present for all residents of Hogwarts. All parties treat it as a matter of course, hardly batting an eyelash. Passwords, forbidden forests, hell-dog guarded hallways, and poltergeists are among the perils, to start with. This is a huge part of what makes the world of Harry Potter delightful. And the fact that Harry just takes it all in stride, I think, helps the reader to as well, and is part of the character of the novel. The "oh, you know, all of the sudden I'm a wizard and there's this whole new world I've never known of 'til now and I'm actually kinda famous" premise. Look, the lady keeps topping herself. You gotta hand it to her. It's what's meant by the word "page-turner."
Harry's days of being bullied are far from left behind with the Dursleys, but this time around he has friendship, adult affection, and a reputation to put steel in his spine. Plus, he loves what he's learning, and that makes all the difference. The broom-flying is delightful. I like that Harry is a natural at that but that Hermione excells in magic. It'd be too much if Harry were good at everything. And I appreciated the conception of the Halloween ball. Halloween is my favorite holiday--oh to have an invitation to Hogwarts for All Hallows' Eve!
|artist unknown, source|
Poor Neville continues to develop as the character most often confined to the infirmary, and Hermione . . . while being a nosy, over-achieving, know-it-all, she is really a fantastic character. I like her immensely, though I don't know how much I'd be able to take if she were my real life classmate. I like that she knows the rules and wants to follow them. I like that she is unapologetic about her intelligence and that she speaks her mind. So when she lied for the boys after they saved her from the troll, I was a bit boggled. She didn't need to make up a story to McGonagall to explain why she was in the bathroom. They would have got off the hook just the same if she was honest. But, I understand that Rowling needed a fair trade, something Hermione would do for them in exchange for their sacrifice for her. Yet an ominous feeling remains that friendship with Ron and Harry are going to lead her down the rule-breaking road more and more.
Other things are coming together, tightening the knots, trimming the fat. Harry has reason to believe that the package Hagrid picked up from Gringotts is in Hogwarts, and that what is in it is dangerous and/or valuable. The fist midnight romp through the castle makes me feel positively festive and like wandering around with a lit candle to look for secret passageways. One can always hope. . .
Jenna mentions a fair amount of discomfort at Harry's immorality at taking pleasure from his enemies' pain. I agree that it's a vice, but I'm glad Harry has one. Otherwise, he'd be a Larry Stew (the male equivalent of a Mary Sue), and this gives him the potential for growth. The only way I would seriously dislike his depiction thusly is if it came off to the reader in such a way that he or she didn't even notice the wrongness of it, and took it as a matter of course that those who mistreat us deserve their comeuppance. I don't know if this will be the case. We'll have to sit tight and read much further before we can say for certain.
As for quidditch: ouch! It goes right along with the rest of Hogwarts in the way of gleeful violence and casual danger. The best part of it to me seems to be the flying. I'm rather a soccer fan, myself.