Episode 123 – HBP 5: Bonks

Harry finally reaches The Burrow, where he sees the usual familiar faces, along with an unexpected one – a guest who is not welcomed by all members of the Weasley family. Join hosts Kristen, Kat, Caleb, and special guest Claire Furner of MuggleNet as they discuss Chapter 5 of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, “An Excess of Phlegm.”

On Episode 123 we discuss…

→ Episode 122 Recap: Slughorn = Lockhart?; The Lost Army; Protective death charms; Slughorns allegiance
→ PQOTW Responses
→ Mollywobbles
→ As seen on TV spells
→ A Sirius issue
Question of the Week
→ Check out the Alohomora! store

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  • SlytherinKnight

    Great episode as always, but this chapter, now that I am older and more aware of writing elements, characterization, etc, is one of my least favorite chapters in the entire series. This is the beginning of the downfall of Hermione’s character in this book (Hermione is my favorite non-Harry character). I never understood why Hermione doesn’t chide Ginny when Ginny insults Fleur by calling her names? Hermione who has always stood up for equal rights, hates bullying in many forms and yet just lets Ginny insult Fleur. Is this just because of the British vs French rivalry, is she jealous of Ron’s attention on Fleur rather than her, or perhaps even jealous that Fleur is a more accomplished witch than she is due to Fleur being a Triwizard Tournament Champion? And we’ve had this discussion during the previous book, but why is Hermione at the Burrow less than two weeks after school has let out? Does anyone remember when the last time Hermione spent an entire holidays with her parents, either summer or winter holidays?

    Also, I did find it interesting that Molly is letting Ginny call Fleur, a guest in their home, names? Again, is it because of the British vs French, because she doesn’t like Fleur because of her relationship with Bill or something else? For such a Light-sided family, the Weasleys are being quite Malfoy-ish in their (Ginny) treatment of Fleur, treating her as if she is lower than the Weasleys.

    • daveybjones999 .

      I agree that this always seemed out of character for both Hermione and the Weasley’s, but I always rationalized it as they didn’t like Fleur because she comes across as condescending a lot of the time.

    • Hufflepug

      Since Fleur’s Veela magic causes men to be attracted to her, it might follow that it also causes women to hate her, which is why she gets such a negative response from Hermione. In Molly’s case this effect is amplified because Bill would be her first son to get married so she is being very mama bear towards him.

      • SlytherinKnight

        Then what does that say about Hermione’s character, as she falls in love with a pretty easily swayed man in Ron. Harry doesn’t have the same issue, and Ron admits in this chapter that he is focused more on looks (as most guys are at his age true) but then at Hogwarts, his entire relationship with Lavender is seemingly focused solely on looks. Obviously Ron grows up in the end, but you have to wonder if that Hermione might have a case of ‘Am I not pretty enough?’ and could that be the cause of Ron and Hermione’s need for counseling in the ‘future’?

        • Hufflepug

          Ron and Hermione are not mature enough to date each other at this point. It’s important to remember that Ron quickly gets tired of his shallow relationship with Lavender and that’s a big turning point for him in terms of how he views women and dating. As for Hermione, it may very well be that she has a bit of hidden jealousy because there has only been one guy to notice her as pretty and dateable. But I don’t think that necessarily says anything bad about her character – we all have our own insecurities and Hermione is not the type to let them take over, which is why they only manifest in rare moments like this. I think when Ron finally comes around and realizes that Hermione is perfect for him not only because she’s awesome but also because she’s pretty, everything is good.

        • PuffNProud

          I never really thought that Ron liked Lavender because she was pretty. I thought he went for it because she admired him, and put him on the pedestal he’s wanted to be on.

          • Frodo Weasley

            I always thought it was because she was the first one to want to date him. Ron was very needy in the way of some sort of female relationship. Ron would never have had the nerve to approach a woman (i.e. his absolute terror at asking anyone to the Yule Ball) and if Lavender hadn’t thrown herself on him, who knows if that relationship would have even begun.

    • Actually Mrs. Weasley admonishes Ginny for calling Fleur ‘Phlegm.’

      HBP, US e-book pg.185

      ” ‘…I expect that’s why [Bill has] gone for Phlegm.’ ‘Stop calling her that, Ginny,’ said Mrs. Weasley sharply, as Harry and Hermione laughed.’ “

      • SlytherinKnight

        Thanks for pointing that out, I had forgotten about that.

    • Snatch The Snitch

      Hermione can’t be perfect. I think it’d be kind of lame for her not to have any flaws. If someone annoys you this is likely to happen, I don’t care who you are. Also, just because someone doesn’t like someone doesn’t mean they’re Malfoyish.

      • SlytherinKnight

        Maybe Malfoy-ish is not the right word, but its a weird and abrupt change for Hermione since she has always been that champion for the underdog (House Elves) and here she is letting Ginny call someone names for no reason other than they are annoying her. While I can understand Hermione having flaws, she’s pushy, very little social skills and quite a bit over-bearing, but one of the things I’ve always loved about her character is that she stands up for what she believes in, no matter what others might say (again S.P.E.W) and yet here, she does nothing.

        • Hufflepug

          I see where you’re coming from. But Fleur can’t really be described as an underdog. She’s beautiful, brave, and incredibly talented as she was selected to be in the Triwizard tournament. Not to mention that she’s taking Ron’s attention. Even people who are usually selfless towards others like Hermione can become jealous when someone who has many of their own great qualities arrives. I wonder if Hermione’s reaction to Fleur was JK Rowling’s answer to that plot line that she dropped in GoF where Hermione was supposed to become jealous of the Weasleys’ cousin Mafalda.

    • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

      Hermione calling Fleur Phlegm, in my opinion, made Hermione more real and more likable. As much as we want Hermione to be above the gossip and caddy-ness, she is a 16 year old girl. What stands out to me isn’t that Hermione is gossipy behind Fleur’s back, but that she grows to appreciate Fleur. Even a year later Hermione is much more accustomed to Fleur and much nicer to her. Hermione is realistic in this – most people tease others because they don’t know them. Once Hermione gets to know Fleur on a more personal basis she likes her and stops calling her names. Hermione is an example for younger readers and while I don’t think Jo would encourage anyone to bully or gossip, she also is showing that just because you may think something negative about someone initially, that does not make them a bad person and before you can judge someone, you should get to know them. That said, I remember reading this and wondering the same thing. It wasn’t until I really reflected on it that I understood why Hermione (and Jo) acted this way.

  • Hufflepug

    Harry’s E in Potions shows how a horrible teacher can affect a student’s grades. Remember how Snape would give him the worst grades in the class during Order of the Phoenix? When you think about how Harry had to study potions on his own to prepare for the OWL while still dealing with the stress that came at the end of his fifth year, the fact that he pulled off an E shows that he has been far more competent at Potions than we think because Snape has just been so hard on him that it diminished his confidence in the subject. If Snape had administered the OWL we might have expected Harry to get a P or even a D. Some people should just not be teachers – almost everyone has known a teacher who should probably have picked another career. And it’s pretty ironic that Snape as the Half Blood Prince ends up being the best Potions teacher Harry ever had.

    • TheEmotionalRangeofMcgonagall

      I suppose its good that in the Wizarding World your grades are based solely on how you perform in a single exam. Where I live only 50% of your mark is based on your final exam while the other 50% is based on tasks and exams throughout the year. Do you think that if the marks Snape’s had given Harry counted towards anything he would’ve marked him fairly? I’m inclined to think that maybe Dumbledore would’ve stepped in like he did in book three (I think) to stop Snape failing Harry purposefully.

      Harry did pretty well in potions in the end but lets not forget that at this point Harry desperately wants to become an auror. Suppose that’s part of the reason Jo had Slughorn teach potions in this book so Harry could keep that dream alive, even if it doesn’t really matter in the end because he defeated Voldemort with expelliarmus automatically qualifying him to become one without the marks.

      I just find the wizards marking system so subjective. If you got a marker that was biased like Snape your whole future could be ruined by that one person. It’s just insane.

      • Hufflepug

        Ha, your comment about expelliarmus was perfect!
        I suppose it can be a good thing and a bad thing to have a single exam count for everything. Good in that it rules out unfair grades given by teachers like Snape, bad in that some students are just bad test takers. What happens if they’re going through something emotionally on the day of the OWL and can’t perform well? At my university classes are all over the place in terms of how many assignments go into the final grade, and I always get stressed about the classes that only have a midterm and a final because that’s a lot of weight to put on two tests. It must be so much worse than that at Hogwarts, especially since the exams are cumulative over FIVE YEARS (ahhhhh!!!!!) Anyway, it really seems like Hogwarts hardly has anything standardized. The DADA teachers never picked up where the other left off and instead usually taught their own interests. We do see textbooks that are generally used though, like the Standard Book of Spells volumes. But overall their system is very flawed and way too vulnerable to unfair teachers.

  • QUAKER CONFUSION PSA
    So I am in the midst of listening to another great episode and became confused about user ‘nettlescarlet’ ‘s association with the ‘Quaker Oats Guy’ and Slughorn. A quick google search later and I see the familiar Quaker cartoon on the container of oats… “But,” I say to myself, “he doesn’t even have a mustache! Clearly this is not who this user was referring to.” I then searched and saw that a Mr. Wilford Brimley fits EXACTLY the description of Slughorn and I am assuming this is the person to whom ‘nettlescarlet’ was referring. Wilford Brimley, who is an American actor and was known for promoting Quaker Oats is also famous in America as the ‘diabeetus’ man due to his exaggerated pronunciation of the word in several tv commercials. Anywho, I hope to have put a name with the face and cleared up any confusion that anyone (like me) may have had. Now, onward with this episode!

    • Hufflepug

      Thanks, I had the same Quaker confusion, but I definitely recognize “diabeetus” man. Yup, that’s Slughorn haha.

    • I’m glad I wasn’t alone in the confusion.

    • UmbridgeRage

      Oh, the main elderly man from Cocoon. Being from Australia I had no idea who everyone was talking about. Thanks for clearing that up.

    • Ellen Dawn

      Oh my gosh, thank you for this. So Slughorn. I can’t stop laughing, hahaha.

  • SlytherinKnight

    This just popped into my head as I am writing a fan fiction story starting in Half Blood Prince, but Molly doesn’t ask a security question of Dumbledore when he arrives but does for her husband. Does that mean that Molly believes that Dumbledore is ‘too powerful’ to be impersonated or something? And is this a case of the wizarding world being so enamored by Dumbledore’s reputation that they believe him to be almost invincible? If that’s the case, then it could explain why the Ministry folded so easily after Dumbledore’s death and how ill-prepared the wizarding world was to fight without its champion in Dumbledore

    • Possibly, though I feel she was just shocked as she says she didn’t expect them until the morning and maybe she just forgot to ask the question(s) due to her shock…? Is Dumbledore really that powerful that certain magical rules just simply don’t apply? Or is it that he is so magical and so can avoid situations where he may be vulnerable?
      I think, too, though they would never say so, the Ministry relies heavily on Dumbledore and so it is not surprising that they crumbled almost at the exact moment of his death.

      • The Half Blood Princess

        I think Arthur’s the only Weasley that actually does the security questions, and Molly didn’t with DD because she finds them silly and only does them with Arthur because he insists.

        • Frodo Weasley

          Sorry, HBP, I didn’t see your comment. I think you’re absolutely right.

    • Healer In Training

      This comment got me thinking…while security questions seem to be the recommended form of identifying an individual, with how many people can one actually share such information? In other words, assuming people actually used this for security, how many people do you share the question/answer with? I’m assuming many people have specific questions with specific individuals (Arthur would be the only one able to ask Molly her question), but Arthur’s question is not specific to an audience (anyone could ask him what is his greatest ambition). Should questions be more specific between individuals that are related or spend more time together, while a person should have a general question/answer for the general public? This brings me to my final point, if you share the question/answer pair with too many individuals, it is more likely that someone unwanted can find out this information and impersonate you. Overall, I agree with Dumbledore and other characters that this is a silly, and possibly ineffective method of identification, and is thus useless.
      To answer your question. I don’t think Molly believes that Dumbledore is too powerful, but that she either doesn’t know the proper question/answer, that he doesn’t have an established question/answer (although he indicates something about jam in chapter 3, I think), or no one but Arthur really does this.

    • Frodo Weasley

      I think she didn’t ask a security question because she thinks the whole thing to be foolish. Remember it was Arthur insisted on asking questions when he arrived home, not Molly.

  • Hufflepug

    Caleb, this is from the wiki. It explains why your book is different from the others:

    “In early editions of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Hermione Granger is said to receive eleven O.W.L.s, scoring ten O’s and one E. However, after the events of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione shrunk her class load from twelve subjects to ten, dropping both Divination and Muggle Studies. This was corrected in the Scholastic edition, where Ron instead states the she received nine O’s and one E, giving her a total of ten O.W.L.s.”

    • Yep! I was preparing for the episode by reading my e-book and simultaneously listening to my audio book and the audio book was the incorrect version (11) and the e-book was right (10). Clearly the e-book and all other editions were corrected, but I find it interesting that they never updated the audio books. Maybe it is too difficult/a hassle to get Jim Dale (and every other international audio book narrator) back into the studio to just record the word ‘Ten…’

      • Hufflepug

        That makes me wonder – does your audio book of Goblet have James coming out of Voldemort’s wand before Lily? Or was that mistake caught before the audio book came out? I’ve never listened to the books, always read them.

        • Yes, that mistake is in the audio books too! I believe the audio books were read from the very first edition of the books so as to get them released in time for people to listen to! It always throws me off whenever I listen to that part of GoF but then I immediately remember whats going on and mentally correct it. I virtually always have the audio books going somehow somewhere… in the car, on my phone, on my ipad, or on my computer…I love bringing Harry with me to get me through mundane reception area waiting, homework studying sessions, long car trips etc. I am always cycling through the series, and in fact, have lapped Alohomora at least three times, I think! 🙂

          • Hufflepug

            That sounds wonderful to have Harry everywhere like that. I might need to buy them for myself at some point 🙂

          • Waffles

            Hey, that’s funny. My audiobooks have the Priori Incantatem scene read the other, edited way where Lily comes out first. I have the American Jim Dale version, do you have Stephen Fry’s? Although I still don’t understand why it’d be different, because you’re right, wouldn’t they have both been recorded in time for the book’s release? How strange.

            After writing this, I went and listened to a YouTube recording done of this scene read by Jim Dale and it’s got James coming out of the wand like yours. I guess it must have been edited at some point. It must have been fairly early on, though, as my recordings were just burned off of some old library CDs. I learn something new every day I guess, haha.

    • Sharona Lumos

      I own a Dutch first edition of HBP, where Hermione receives eleven OWLs. My English adult edition speaks of ten OWLs. My audio book (in English) was also incorrect saying Hermione had gotten 11 OWLs. I never knew of this mistake until listening to the podcast. Now I’m beginning to wonder of they ever fixed this in newer editions of the Dutch copy.

  • The Half Blood Princess

    Yay! You read my comment! And yes, I am a she.

    Anyway, one of my favorite quotes is in this chapter, that DD says it is easier to forgive someone for being wrong than for being right. I think it’s very wise, and try to keep that in mind in my own life.

    I don’t like Ron because of moments when he says things like, “No one in their right mind would like Tongs when Fleur is around.” I know he’s a 16 year old boy but, really?

    This doesn’t really mean anything, but Hermione gets an O in every class but DADA, Harry only gets an O in DADA, and Ron doesn’t get an O in anything. So between the 3 of them, they got exactly one O in everything.

    Can’t think of anything else to say about this chapter.

  • ScarletGhost

    I find it interesting that teachers seem to be allowed to pick and choose the grades that students can be admitted into their classes with. (I may be getting slightly ahead of myself) but we see Harry’s hopes and dreams get crushed because Snape won’t let him in the class without an Outstanding OWL. but we later learn Slughorn will allow anyone with an Exceeds Expectations or up in. This isn’t fair to students who have gone on not being able to take the class class because Snape was teaching but now Slughorn is, that means they could’ve taken the class but now it’s too late. That also brings me to the kids who were planning on taking Defense Against the Dark Arts but they only got an Exceeds Expectations and now Snape is teaching he requires an Outstanding. I guess my general point would be is there even a curriculum at this school or do teachers just get to teach what they want willy-nilly without any supervision guidance? There really should be a set requirement for all classes, especially the way the DADA job goes you’d have a new policy for that every year.

    • The Half Blood Princess

      Hmm, neither Hermione nor Ron got an O in DADA but they still take it. Is that an oops on Jo’s part?

      • ScarletGhost

        I never thought of that point. Perhaps Sharona Lumos is right that Snape doresn’t require an Outstanding for DADA. They’re right it doesn’t explicitly say anywhere (that I could find) I just assumed that his requirements would transfer between the two positions.

    • Sharona Lumos

      I’m not sure it says anywhere that Snape requires an Outstanding in DADA too? If so, please correct me. I imagine that Dumbledore would have had a conversation with Snape saying he could have the job, only if he accepted students with an Exceeds Expectations. Especially, as you pointed out, because of the DADA lack of, shall we say, consistency.
      Also I think teachers don’t just teach what they want willy-nilly, because OWL and NEWT examinations are being done by examiners (from the Ministry I think?) from outside the school. This means there is a set requirement for each class (or at least that would make sense). Why else would they have a Wizarding Examinations Authority?
      I’m with you on the fact that it just seems strange and unfair that Slughorn gets to ‘change the rules’. Especially given the fact that there IS such a thing as a Wizarding Examinations Authority.
      What I’m trying to say is this:
      I think the subject of each class is the same, aka they all need to learn the same stuff every year. The difference is that Snape only wants to teach the brightest of the brightest on NEWT-level, while Slughorn has the patience to teach those who are not so talented.

    • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

      I always viewed the O.W.L.’s as a sort of wizarding SAT. Colleges can accept or reject people using these scores and they can get you into or out of certain classes at certain colleges. I also always imagined the 6th and 7th years at Hogwarts to be more college-y. By extension, then teachers would have the power to accept students into their classes based off of certain grades.
      I totally agree that the situation Harry’s year is messed up. I think there was a more orderly process over seen by the administrative side of Hogwarts (does that even exist?), but Dumbledore is fairly distracted this year and the transition is pretty tough. I don’t think this is the case every year, I think it is specific to the situation regarding Harry.

      • TheEmotionalRangeofMcgonagall

        I know for Universities where I live that the marks you need to get into certain courses change every year depending on supply and demand. Like Harry got an EE in Care of Magical Creature’s but he didn’t continue with the course so perhaps that let kids with an A tale the class in his place?
        Maybe not enough people got O’s in DADA to run the course without letting people who got EE’s into the course? Dumbledore just seems to let the teaches do what they want most of the time but I can’t see the point of having the classes there but only letting three people into them because they are the only ones who got O’s.
        I know Snape is a git but I can see him making exceptions for his potions classes for Slytherin students if he thought they had the potential and had only received EE’s. Maybe Mcgonagall is so definite on Harry getting an O because he knows that Snape would never make an exception for him in a million years.

    • SlytherinKnight

      I was wondering what the grade values are for the OWLs, is it like here in the US when anything above a 90% is an A, 80%+ is a B and so on. The fact that both Hermione and Ron got EE on their Defense OWL doesn’t sit right with me, we know that Hermione knows all the spells backwards and forwards, and she can cast them pretty well as evident by her performance in the DoM, and not to say Ron isn’t smart but why did Hermione only get an EE on that OWL. She was the one who found all the spells for Harry during the Triwizard Tournament and most during fifth year with the DA. How are these exams graded? We know of a written and practical portion, but is there a grading weight given to each one? Like for Defense, is the practical portion worth more than the written. With Harry getting an Outstanding and Hermione only getting an EE, JK made it seem like the only reason Harry got that O is because of his Patronus. Was Harry the only person in his year to get an O in Defense and if so, that shouldn’t bode well for the wizarding world and its own protection.

      • TheEmotionalRangeofMcgonagall

        If only one person in the entire grade gets an O would that mean that Snape runs a potion class with only one student every year? It doesn’t sit right with me either. It seems JK is suggesting that only one person does get an O because I can’t see anyone else who would challenge Harry or Hermione for the top spot in defence. What if Snape had changed the rules for the sixth year DADA class and only let people with an O into the class? Would it just be a private lesson between him and Harry? Come to think of it, maybe that why he changed his mind about allowing EE students in….

        I guess you’d assume that the practical and theory are weighted equally, 50% each, but then with a subject like History of Magic is the entire grade just based on one exam? That seems pretty unfair.

      • ScarletGhost

        That’s actually a really good point. I feel like it is more of a plot device more than anything else. The reason Harry got an O and was better than Hermione was just to balance out the trio and to reflect their supposed “skills” if you may. Harry is supposed to defeat Voldemort he is supposed to be the savior of the wizarding world and that idea is enhanced in the readers because we see “Wow Harry is better than HERMIONE in DADA!” It also gives us that funny little bit of Hermione being disappointed that she missed one O and there’s that cute little dialogue with Ron.

        But I agree I think that Hermione should have gotten an O as well unless you are right that the practical application is weighted heavier (which would make sense for a practical defense class.) We see in Dumbledore’s Army and other situations that Hermione does need help on spells that can’t be learned directly from the book (like you said the patronus.) I don’t know how many of those types of spells were on the DADA OWL though given that Harry’s patronus was just a demonstration for teh grader.

    • Frodo Weasley

      I agree, but this leads to another point- Are we really supposed to believe that Dawlish got an O in anything?!?!?!! C’mon this guy is like the poster child for incompetence! LOL Maybe he didn’t have Snape for Potions, I guess

      • Hufflepug

        It’s funny, there’s a quote from Dumbledore saying Dawlish got an O in all his NEWTs! I imagine him just stumbling in and accidentally pulling it off. Or maybe he’s one of those people who doesn’t seem as smart as he actually is deep down, or was better in school than in the real world.

  • ScarletGhost

    I wanted to say that it isn’t really surprising that Harry got an Exceeds Expectations on his Potions OWL. Don’t quote me I could be wrong, but I believe somewhere in Order when Harry is taking his examinations he says that potions was remarkably easy without Snape there to intimidate him. Harry may not be the smartest wizard, but he isn’t stupid. I think he could do well in potions if his professor didn’t constantly set him up to fail.

    • PuffNProud

      Agree. Harry seemed to have done a good job often in his 5th year but kept on having accidents that would prevent him from submitting his sample…

    • Sharona Lumos

      I had the exact same thought. I thought of that same sentence I knew I had read once and had to look it up. In my British adult version on page 631 of OotP:

      ”Hermione’s bad mood persisted for most of the weekend, though Harry and Ron found it quite easy to ignore as they spent most of Saturday and Sunday revising for potions on Monday, the exam which Harry had been looking forward to least – and which he was sure would be the downfall of his ambitions to become an Auror. […] The afternoon practical was not as dreadful as he had expected it to be. With Snape absent from the proceedings, he found that he was much more relaxed than he usually was while making potions. […] When Professor Marchbanks said, ‘Step away from your cauldrons please, the examination is over,’ Harry corked his sample flask feeling that he might not have achieved a good grade but he had, with luck, avoided to fail”

    • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

      When Slughorn said that Lily was good at potions it sort of explained this for me. I know not everything is inherited but I don’t think Harry is naturally bad at potions, he just has an awful teacher and feels intimidated haha.

  • Odd that Fred and George received their O.W.L. results at the end of their exam school year (in book three) while the trio had to wait over the summer to see their results. Continuity error?

  • Also, I’m wondering if anyone else jakejuwayyid@yahoo.com feeling the same way as I do right now. As we began this book, I was very excited. Snape, the ministers, Dumbledore, and then Slughorn. All these super exciting and new things hitting us all at once. But suddenly all these things are over and all we have left to look forward too is kinda plain and boring school life, with a Malfoy plot we already know the outcome of and a Prince mystery we already know the answer to.

    I have suddenly lost excitement for this book as the rest of what we get to read isn’t as exciting as it was the first time around.

    Also, why so little Rosie!?!

    • Healer In Training

      I also feel similarly. The first few chapters were really exciting and right now I’m sort of on a sunken plateau. I don’t know if it has to do with the anticipation of what is going to come, or rather that these past chapters are comparatively lower on my order of favorites compared to Spinner’s End. I’m still excited to read HBP as it’s near the top of my favorites (but who knows, that may change), and due to the fact that I haven’t read it as frequently as some of the others due to its relative newness (I reread the series many times between book releases and always leading up to the next book release, so naturally I have read the earlier ones quite a bit more).

      • HBP was my favorite book after my first read through. The mysteries and the discoveries were all just so interesting and game changing. They just don’t have the same effect reading through the book again, with so much to trudge through as well.

  • Healer In Training

    So a few quick comments about some things brought up in the episode.

    First, I was intrigued by the Weasley family clock, but not simply because all the hands point to mortal peril. I noticed during my read that the hand of Mr. Weasley moves to traveling while apparating. This brings me back to a comment I made several weeks ago regarding danger while traveling. Is Mr. Weasley no longer in danger because he is in essence inaccessible during apparition? Also I was curious as to when the hands all moved to this position. I personally think this occurred after the incident at the ministry. My defense against it occurring after the graveyard return of Voldemort, is that while few people knew that Voldemort was back, he laid low, therefore did not cause much ruckus that put anyone in harm.

    Second, I was intrigued by the healing (or attempt of) done by Mrs. Weasley to help Hermione’s bruise. We see her looking up information in a sort of self help book. Is this the wizard equivalent to over the counter medication. Is there anything stopping individuals from performing more complex healing that they have not been trained to use (the equivalent to different licensures in the muggle world based on education?). Is this basic form of healing one of those things, such as cooking and cleaning spells that are just learned in one’s free time? I think this is another example of how Hogwarts I’ll prepares its students to handle everyday situations (an idea that has been brought up in several episodes in the history of Alohomora).

    My final comment has to do with the disappointment that Harry feels after not being able to pursue the career of aurora due to the fact he will not learn a certain subset of skills that would be useful to defeat Voldemort. Is the projection that this war will take that long really that far fetched? Grindelwald rose to power some time after Ariana’s death in 1884 (I could not find a general or specific date for his rise to power). He was not defeated by Dumbledore until 1945; which is a significant stretch of time. Voldemort first rose to power in the 1970s and was not defeated until 1981. Both of these wars taking significant amounts of time. So while it might be easy to expect that this war go more quickly than previous because we know the extremity of the problems that would arise if Voldemort rises to power, is it really unexpected that this war will take several years (enough where an auror’s subset of skills would be useful to Harry?) Just curious what other people think about this.

    Sorry if anything is long winded or confusing, I am currently writing after having studied for 10+ hours for several tests this week. Also I scanned the comments quickly before writing, and I don’t believe anyone has yet made these points, but a proactive apology to anyone who did that I missed.

    • Hufflepug

      1. I think you’re right about apparition keeping people temporarily safe. But I wonder if the clock always briefly changes when someone is somewhere new (for example, it changes to work in the morning but then immediately goes back to mortal peril). But that doesn’t really reflect how dark life has become. And it must have changed after the public accepted the truth about Voldemort. Now I’m just thinking of how Molly probably spent a huge chunk of book 7 walking around with that clock, wishing for Ron’s hand to change even slightly so she would know he was still out there.

      2. I don’t know if there are any laws prohibiting witches and wizards from using more complex healing spells, but most people probably have the common sense to know how much they can do. We do the same thing in the Muggle world: anyone can disinfect a cut or remove a minor splinter at home but would not dare perform surgery because it’s very serious and only a select few know what to do. It seems like these healing spells are learned outside of school and I would agree that Hogwarts should do more to prepare students for that.

      3. I agree completely with you on this one. Harry probably doesn’t think he has the skills necessary to defeat Voldemort yet. The revelation of the Horcruxes changes everything because it puts Harry several steps ahead of Voldemort and is really the only feasible way a 17 year old could defeat this powerful dark wizard. I think we as readers subconsciously forget that the characters don’t know there is only one book left in the series and so it feels like less of a mystery for us than it does for them.

  • Can I just say, that after last year of having their heads bitten off for the smallest thing, it doesn’t surprise me that they almost avoid talking about Sirius.

  • Outspoken1

    While listening to the podcast, ‘someone’ made the comment that Dumbledore knew he was dying …” That got me to thinking; so I put together a quick timeline. Arguably, Dumbledore found the ring just after the term ended, thus was cursed and (as we learned in DH) had the discussion with Snape about his impending death (within a year) and that Snape was to be the one to kill him.

    So that means Dumbledore, the great puppet-master (remember, Jo most closely identifies with Dumbledore. Hmmm…), is forced to streamline his plans to destroy Voldemort. By making Snape the DADA teacher, he insures that either Snape or McGonagall will become headmaster/mistress upon his death (Snape if Voldemort wins; McGonagall is the Ministry is still in power). The DADA job is cursed to allow the teacher only one term, BUT it does not mean the teacher must die or leave Hogwarts. They just would only teach one term.

    Further, Slughorn is then available to become head of Slytheryn if Snape becomes Headmaster. Slughorn would be a better choice than, say the Carows.

    Dumbledore is messing with the Dursely’s because it is the last time he will probably ever see them. Similarly, many of the things he does, people he interacts with in HBP are on a ‘last time he will [fill in the blank] with that person/thing.’ After taking care of my Mom during home hospice, you have no idea how important humor/food and drink/friends/visitors are when truly preparing to die.

    Dumbledore gathers Harry after only a brief fortnight at the Dursley’s, perhaps to both ‘collect’ Slughorn (oh, the irony!) and allow Harry to both have a stronger emotional support system with Ron, Hermione, the rest of the Weasley’s and have easier access to him should the lessons begin before school starts. BTW, any directed teaching is a valid lesson, whether it be a formal classroom lesson or a teacher/person who acts as a role model. Did not Dumbledore act as a role model when, near the end of DH, Harry engaged Neville to ‘kill the snake?’ Did not Lily shielding Harry from Voldemort give him the role model to allow Voldemort to ‘kill’ him to save his friends? Lessons, folks!!

    Jumping ahead, Dumbledore’s final act, at the ultimate cost of his already shortened life, is to protect Harry at the top of the Astronomy Tower by freezing and muting him so he cannot fight and risk being accidentally killed by someone other than Voldemort. Part of that act is to protect Harry as the tool to destroy Voldemort but it is also another ‘lesson’ about sacrifice ‘for the greater good.’

    • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

      This totally makes sense! Also – your comment about the Dursley’s is very spot on. I had never thought about it that way but it so true! (and a little sad).

  • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

    I think it was Caleb who mentioned the O.W.L.’s and how they are similar to our standardized testing. While I cannot speak for the British system, it was remarkable how much the O.W.L. process mirrored my own. I was reading these books for the umpteenth about the same time college decisions came out and this chapter was much more stressful than I had remembered. Doing this reread with you guys made me think of that reread and I firmly believe that Jo was making a statement about standardized testing. While many people say that SAT scores and college admissions do not determine your future, at the time, it can feel that way. Harry’s one score in DADA totally changes (he believes) his entire career path, the same way many students feel like a bad SAT score will alter his or her life. But in the same way that one standardized test score will not ruin your life or career, the score Harry gets doesn’t end his dream, either. This whole subplot about schooling and testing just continued to prove to me how deep these books are and is another example of Jo’s ability to engage readers of all ages at all different levels of their lives.

  • The_Potter_Dude

    Did Moody become a inferi because Lupin and Bill in DH could not find Mad-Eye’s body?

    • ISeeThestrals

      I don’t think so. Harry would have noticed. As far as I recall, the last we hear of Moody is concerning his eye and that’s it. I don’t think he was mentioned again.

  • ISeeThestrals

    When it came to Fleur, I don’t think I ever gave her much notice. So I wasn’t siding with either the boys or the girls when it came to how they felt about her. It was like she just appeared after a long absence. As far as I remember, I think I kind of sided with Molly on the fact that this wedding came suddenly. Then again, we don’t tend to see much of Bill, so I would assume some time after the Triwizard Tournament, Bill and Fleur started getting to know each other. I don’t recall if it was mentioned how long they were dating.
    This chapter’s forecast, ‘Fleury with a chance of phlegm’.