Thursday, June 6, 2013

HPP: Absolutely Normal Danger

Pumpkin pasties are no longer a literary invention (were they ever?  I've never come upon them 'til now, but I will devour a Cornish pasty if you put it in front of me).  Jenna's mastered the art of wizard cooking with a delicious recipe.  I love pasties, and I love pumpkin.  I may just have to attempt this.  If I do, I promise pictures!

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.



  1. Yeah!!!! I love the dolls!! You look like Hermione, and Masha' s chic Goth is fantastic. I can easily see her as a Gryffindor, perhaps because I think she could rock any of the Houses if she really chose the identity, which seems to often result in a Gryffindor sort. And I totally want that Hufflepuff outfit. :D

    Great points! I'd tell you about Harry's trajectory in vice and virtue, but SPOILERS. You're right that it keeps him from being a "Larry Stew". Rowling took care with that; she gave him her birthday, so he's obviously dear to her, and she schools him in courage, which she has spoken of as the virtue she values most highly, but perfect he ain't. Interestingly, she says Hermione is a caricature of herself at a young age.

    And these chapters are brilliant, aren't they! These books really are page turners.

    Awesome post!!

    1. Except Jenna's cat is a tortoise shell coloring. Otherwise, it's pretty good. But if you miss the cat details... ;)

    2. Alas, the dollmaker only had the black cat, and no dogs. :c

      Luba can't be a familiar.

    3. Luba would make a scarily-over-emotional familiar..I don't even want to imagine ;) I'll take a tiny, sedate owl over her anyway..and, can you imagine trying to send messages via Luba - she'd either eat them or tear them into careful shreds.

  2. "And these chapters are brilliant, aren't they! These books really are page turners."

    They really are! I need to stop reading and start posting..This morning, I PROMISE!!

    Christie, I LOVE my doll!!! And your's, and Jenna's!! It totally works...

    The castle is amazing..maybe I'll write on that.

  3. Oh wow, that dollmaker really needs some other body templates!

    Harry being / not being a Sue: I think he's a realistically flawed character who is (for perfectly well-established in-story reasons) in a very Sueish position vis-a-vis the Wizarding world. Everyone either admires and protects or hates / bullies him; he's The Boy Who Lived and Dumbledore's [SPOILER] and several other things in the course of the books. Which I think works, for the most part, as a story about Harry and his experiences. I think I do have some caveats about it in terms of how the specific behavior of some of the adults is portrayed, but I'll save that for a little later, I think. I might talk myself out of them before then. . .

  4. "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."

    Well, it's discomforting to see this primarily because it's something we are all guilty of doing. Who hasn't taken pleasure in the misfortune or pain of an enemy?

    Now, as we get older we realize we shouldn't & we try not to do so (or at least we should realize this). But oftentimes it's our visceral first reaction on hearing news of an enemy's troubles.

    And not to excuse Harry, but he is, at this time, only eleven years old


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