Headscratchers: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
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The Basilisk's Whispers
Why, when Harry hears the Basilisk speaking through the pipes, does no one else hear a thing?
I understand that no one is going to hear "Let me rip you" except Harry, but shouldn't they hear the hissing? Now, hissing probably would slip under most people's 'active listening radar' so to speak, but if Harry can hear and decipher it OVER the ambient conversation or noise, doesn't that mean it's loud enough to be heard? It's slightly more bearable the very first time, as Lockhart is probably too interested in his own voice to notice or care about a hissing noise, but the other times... I mean... I can't help wondering why no one ever says, "Hear what? *listens* What, that hissing sound? Probably the pipes." Wow... there goes 10 chapters...
With all the other weird stuff that goes on at Hogwarts (talking paintings, moving staircases, a ceiling that reflects the sky outside, ghosts, etc...), I am sure anybody who heard a little hissing on the walls didn't think twice about it. They probably just thought it was another weird feature of the place.
Maybe for non-muggle born. Anyone else in the cannon time frame would know it was a gas leak; any one from Hagrid's time would know a boiler was about to explode. Then again, muggle-born lose all common sense when they become wizards.
Truth in Television. This actually makes a lot of sense, though I don't know if Rowling meant it to. Different parts of your brain interpret sounds in different ways. Because Harry's a Parselmouth, he hears snakes hissing and interprets it as language. If anyone else did hear it, even when Harry brought it to their attention, it wouldn't be audible enough to bypass the ambient noise filter.
Even if they did hear it, it's hissing, coming from pipes. My pipes hiss all the time whenever water's turned on, so hearing random hissing coming from pipes wouldn't alert him to anything. He simply assumed that's what everyone else thought when it was brought up.
It's just hissing. With all the different sounds going on around, anyone could easily just include the sound with the mix of many voices going on around them. It's only because Harry can understand it as a language that it's particularly distinguishable for him. Much like anyone who speaks a second language. If there's a bunch of people speaking in all sorts of languages, you'll only ever distinguish the ones that you understand; however, every other foreign language to you will just mesh with every other sound unless you're specifically trying to eavesdrop on that conversation.
It's really simple, Harry always talked about a voice, so naturally they don't connect it with the hissing sound even if they do hear it. It's only later when the school's empty and Hermione's with Harry that she puts two and two together. The only sound, hissing, must be a snake and therefore the monster!
Considering that snakes don't really communicate much by hissing, or any other way that we know of, it's possible there would be a semi-telepathic component to Parseltongue. Of course, that raises the already tricky question of why Parselmouths hear snakes ssspeak like thisss. Kinda cartoonish, when you think about it. (They shouldn't have a "snake accent" because they shouldn't actually be using their mouths to say things.)
Makes sense. Snakes don't have eyelids, yet Harry saw (or thought he saw) the boa wink at him. That could have been a telepathic insight into the animal's body language, "translated" visually rather than audibly.
Perhaps they have a "snake accent" because there's a semi-telepathic component to Parseltongue, like you suggested, and Harry subconsciously thinks snakes should sound like that? By now, he subconsciously knows what Parseltongue sounds like - he talked to that snake in the zoo before he went to Hogwarts - so it's plausible that he simply doesn't consciously realize something his subconscious recognizes.
In the later books Parseltongue gets less cartoonish. The extra s's in this book are probably there because the earlier books are for a slightly younger audience and likely made to sound more like what the target age group would expect a snake language to sound like.
Or maybe Harry's fluency in Parseltongue improved as he practiced using it, and as his link with Voldemort got stronger over the course of the books.
Even worse, the basilisk specifically asks for permission to "rip... tear..." But snakes not only don't rip and tear their prey, they can't rip and tear their prey, because they have no limbs, and their teeth are made for piercing, no ripping/slashing. And in addition, at least one of the basilisk's fangs broke off in Harry's leg, so it's obvious that its fangs were not strong enough to rip human flesh without breaking off... Idiot Ball much?
It could have been repeating its instructions.
There is no way a giant magical snake could survive off of tiny prey.
A snake that big would need at least a horse every two weeks. And bones wouldn't have been found in the chamber because snakes eat their prey whole, digesting the bones. Another animal related Just Bugs Me is when Wormtail is able to get information from other rats. Rats have to establish relationships before they tell other rats things (And yes, they do inform each other of danger. At least that's true).
Snakes don't hibernate, they brumate. Also, larger snakes eat less often and can go up to a year without food. A snake that big eating a horse every two weeks would be incredibly unhealthy and fat, as their metabolisms are extremely efficient. My vote is magic snake that doesn't necessary need to eat, or there is another exit where it can get food as needed.
Not necessarily. The Basilisk in the book was 20 feet long. A 20 feet long Nile Crocodile doesn't need anywhere near as much food as a horse very two weeks. It can actually go months without eating again after a meal of an animal less than half the size of horse. Add to that the ability of some snakes to hibernate for many months at a time. A cold blooded animal, even a very large one, needs surprisingly little food. (And also, it's a magic snake!).
It has been implied that there was more than one way out of the Chamber. So that the Basilisk could be feeding off various creatures in the Forbidden forest, namely the swarm of acromantulas deep in the forest that were so scared of it.
Who's to say he didn't form relationships with other rats? Wormtail isn't the kind of person who would turn his nose at the idea of befriending some rats if he saw some personal gain in it.
Maybe Riddle put it in some sort of magical hybernation before he stopped the attacks and the hybernation ended when the Chamber was opened. Also while he was raising the Basilisk Riddle magically enlarged the Basilisk's food (rats, mice those sorts of things) as it grew.
Yet I second the hibernation theory, because that Basilisk has been in the Chambers for a thousand years before Riddle found it. So maybe it hunted when it could, and went into sleep when there wasn't any prey, so yeah.
For the film's version, little prey wouldn't suffice, but Salazar Slytherin could've installed spells into the Chamber that would periodically transport cattle or other large meals in from outside, to keep his pet fat and happy. As for the rat bones in the book, those were probably from animals that saw the basilisk incidentally and died, not ones it hunted down for food.
That can't be. If they saw the snake, they would have been petrified. And there is a distinct lack of little rat statues. (Thats a very good headscratcher, by the way. Where are the little rat statues anyway?).
Yes, it can. It's only petrification if you're not looking directly, otherwise it's death.
The Strange Case of the Basilisk in the Plumbing
I don't know much about snakes, but could a massive snake like that move through such tiny pipes?
Magical pipes. It's possible that Salazar worked on the plumbing (amusing since indoor plumbing wasn't around during the supposed creation of Hogwarts). It's also possible that Hogwarts changed over the centuries and made the pipes all throughout the school able to move like the staircases.
Plumbing existed as far back as ancient Rome (from whom we get the term "plumbing") and probably even further. It's not much of a stretch to assume that Wizards, who don't have to rely on technological innovations to advance, were able to invent the magical equivalent of toilets and so forth centuries before Muggles figured it out.
When you consider the apparent Wizard phobia to convenience and efficiency, it is a stretch. They still haven't adopted ballpoint pens or paper money, I don't see why they'd develop plumbing on their own.
Once again, plumbing has existed for thousands of years. It's not some newfangled technology, it's almost as old as western civilization. The fact that they use quills and parchment instead of pen and paper doesn't change the fact that they do make some technological adaptations; they have radios, telescopes, cars, etc, so plumbing is not that far outside the realm of possibility. As for paper money: paper can be Transfigured. Gold can't.
Since when? Was gold stated as one of the 5 principal exceptions to Gamp's law of elemental transfiguration? I believe that only Food was ever stated outright, though love is hinted to be a part of this by Slughorn. And if you consider what the Philosopher's stone can do to be transfiguration, Gold is definitely transfigurable, despite the extreme difficulty.
So wizards have plumbing, and yet they don't have any pumbles...
It's implied that a Stone would make a wizard wealthy just as it would a Muggle, which suggests that gold is "normally" immune to transfiguration — otherwise that aspect of the Stone would be as appealing as a device to convert lead into cheese. Still, seems people can be fooled by Leprachaun gold, etc.
To original poster: The basilisk was explicitly stated to be about twenty feet long. That is slightly bigger than the average king cobra. Take a grown man's fist. That is the size of a cobra's head. It would be more than possible for the basilisk to navigate the pipes of any institution potentially capable of servicing thousands.
People are probably envisioning the massive Basilisk from the movie. I know I was.
There are recorded real snakes that are 20 feet long (reticulated pythons). A retic is fairly heavily built, even, but could probably manage to fit through some decently sized pipes. King cobras, as noted above, aren't as heavily built and almost as long, so could easily manage it. Twenty feet long sounds enormous, but isn't that big by snake standards (not something you'd want to run into, but not limited to the realms of fantasy). One presumes that what makes the basilisk so scary is it's fatal and/or petrifying gaze, the fact that it's more malicious than any real snake, and the fact that it seems more inclined to wander about than a real snake of that size.
On the flip side, the basilisk is described as being "at least" twenty feet long, but later, Harry putting the sword through the roof of the basilisk's mouth puts the basilisk's fangs at Harry's elbow. That puts the head of the basilisk at considerably bigger than a king cobra, or a reticulated python.
Also, the snake was described as something gigantic, heavy enough to make the floor shake when it landed, and being heavy and strong enough to smack Harry into the wall with its body. The book also mentions its "as thick as an oak," and attacking with its tail. It certainly seems like it was a *lot* bigger than your average cobra the way it was described, and probably much longer. I suspect Rowling was thinking more of the snake Jafar turned into, that certainly would match the description a lot better.
To be honest I think this maybe another case of Rowling being bad with numbers, like she has stated in other cases. Twenty feet sounds huge even though its really not so big, she probably thought twenty feet sounded right while she was writing and never picked up on the fact that it didn't really fit Also its not something most people would catch as an inaccuracy.
The book never stated how long the basilisk was. "At least twenty feet" was how long it said the empty snake skin that Harry, Ron and Lockhart found in the entry tunnel was. That skin could've been lying there for centuries, shed when the basilisk was much younger and smaller; for that matter, given that Slytherin's heirs all have a chronic serpent fixation, it could've come from a completely different snake.
The Mystery of the Mysterious Culprit
Why on earth can nobody work out (except a twelve year-old Badass Bookworm) that a basilisk is the culprit? Presumably, any decent healer that understands the need to depetrify people with mandrakes would know the possible causes of petrification. So you've got your list of things that cause petrification - go through it systematically, and find your culprit.
The key clue was that Harry could hear it speaking via Parseltongue; i.e., narrowing your search focus down to magical reptiles only. And that was a clue only the Trio had. There is a specific scene in the book of Harry considering whether or not to tell Dumbledore that he's "hearing voices", and deciding not to.
DD has access to Occlumency. What Harry knows, he knows.
LEGILIMENCY is reading minds, not Occlumency. And not only would it be tremendously inethical to read the mind of one of your students without their permission, Harry would know he was being mind-read, since Snape's attempts on him caused the searched thoughts to arise to the top of his mind.
Sure, my bad, not that it changes anything. "...tremendously inethical to read..." of course it would, what's your point? "Harry would know he was being mind-read..." nope. If you refer to that time in "Half-blood Prince", it was merely the "don't think about white monkey" effect. But in OotP when Snape read's Harry's mind, the kid doesn't feel anything (apparently, because Severus didn't trust him to play along convincingly), and in Chamber of Secrets all Harry feels when DD read his mind was "like he was X-rayed".
Untrue, when Snape cast Legilimens on Harry, all the thoughts Snape saw were also seen by Harry.
Those were training sessions, of course he'd make it obvious. But when he read Harry's mind in Umbridge's office, the kid didn't feel anything, and he didn't even say the spell.
It's been a while since I've read the book, but I don't think that Snape read Harry's mind in Umbridge's office. Also, if that was Snape pointing out the obvious in the lessons, no wonder Harry failed so spectacularly. Snape didn't really give him anything to go on.
Even if he didn't, V did later in the same book, and again, no noticable effect. But even if there were some, so what? If the kid doesn't even know that mind reading is possible or what its effects should be, he wouldn't understand what is happening to him.
Basilisks don't usually petrify, they usually KILL. If every known encounter with a Basilisk to date has resulted in death, that is the expected result. An ancient wizard explorer who found himself face-to-face with a Basilisk in the wildnote If they are found in the wild, that is, rather than being a type of engineered creature, as suggested by the egg-of-rooster-hatched-by-toad mythology probably wasn't looking through a camera, mirror, water-reflection or convenient ghost. There is some case for a hand-telescope (looking glass?), but do we know if those who were petrified remember what petrified then? I know Myrtle did, but becoming-a-ghost might be a special case.
None of the people remembered nothing beyond 'yellow eyes', if that. Otherwise everyone would know what it was from the last time the Chamber opened. This makes sense...if the glaze instantly petrifies people, it would happen before their brain could realize what they were looking at.
Eh, no. That's not how mind works. You cannot remeber eyes but not that what was around those eyes. Especially since it's completely improbable that every time the Basilisk would be able to instantly meet his gaze with the victim's, which is a necessary condition for it to work, before they could see what it is.
Considering how wildly-improbable it is that so many people would have just missed being killed outright by the basilisk's gaze, it's possible that Dumbledore at least suspected the possibility of a basilisk, and worked some sort of subtle protection over Hogwarts that would ensure anyone seeing Slytherin's "pet" did so indirectly. He didn't tell others about his suspicion, because he wasn't certain he'd guessed right and didn't want everyone hiding their eyes all the time, in case it really was some other sort of monster.
I know this page is speculative, but can we stick to theories that actually have some trace of support? There is nothing in the books even hinting that such a 'subtle protection' is possible, and fanfic recommendations are on another page.
Not to mentioned how ludicrous such idea is. Giving one person that kind of luck for several hours was considered a huge deal. Giving it to the whole castle for an entire year is out of all borders.
To be able to do the scene in which Harry fools it by throwing a stone farther. Is it such a big deal?
Who says it heard it? Could have just sensed the vibration the stone made when it hit something. Plus, who says basilisks can't hear? It's a magic snake, one that's killed when it hears a rooster crowing, and the fact that Harry and Tom can speak to snakes means they can hear in some fashion.
^^Riddle did, in the movie. Here's the exact line: "Your bird might have blinded my snake, but it can still hear you!" The easy explanation? Kloves fails biology forever. In the book, Riddle yells at the Basilisk to smell Harry out. I suppose it could be argued that having the snake sniff Harry out wouldn't have created as much dramatic tension, but seriously, that change was just as stupid as the one they made to Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone's Mythology Gag about Hagrid buying Fluffy off a Greek man. (They made the guy Irish in the movie. *facepalm*)
Not so unbelievably bad. A number of snakes can in fact hear as well as see and smell, though by far not as well. It is quite possible that Fawkes's attack on the eyes crippled the Basilisk's ability to smell as well (though that seems unlikely).
The snakes in the Potterverse have a spoken, sound-based language! They have to be able to hear. Real snakes can, in fact hear. It's just that many of them sense the vibrations through the ground, and not through the air.
So wait... in the book, the basilisk HEARD Riddle telling it to smell it, which is good because it can't hear? How is that better than the basilisk hearing the stone in the movie?
And snakes don't have eyelids, but one blinked in the first book/movie. Is that an outrage too?
A Basilisk ISN'T a giant Snake. Otherwise they would have said "Giant Snake" A basilisk is a mythical creature, that hatches from a rooster's egg, or the egg of a hen without yolk, and is breeded by a snake. It, too, is a NON-Existing creature, and as such free for the author to decide what it can do or not...
um KING of Seperants. Sperants=snakes right? so that basically means "Giant Snake" Here's the quote from the book: "Of the many fearsome beasts and monsters that roam our land, there is none more curious or more deadly than the Basilisk, known also as the King of Serpents. This snake, which may reach gigantic size"
At the very least, it would make the Basilisk part snake, part bird (that would make kind of like a dinosaur, actually), and birds can hear very well.
The problem with this is that it means that Parselmouths can either talk to creatures which are partly snake, or simply snake-like...
Who says they can't? Snakes are probably just the best-known example, being the most famous Parselmouth, Slytherin's favourite animal and all.
So, your "proof" that a Basilisk is a snake is that they're nicknamed "King of Serpents?" By that standard, manatees count as cows because they're nicknamed "sea cows."
A slight nitpick, but how come the basilisk in the book, which should be around a thousand years old, is only 20 feet long? The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them said that the average length of an adult basilisk is 50 feet long.
Technically, it's only the snake skin that's stated to be about 20 feet long. If it's a really old skin, the basilisk could have grown quite a bit since that molting.
It also says they can live for an essentially indeterminate length of time like thousands of years. So it Could be relativity young still. Out-of-Universe its more likely an over-site.
An Heir with Surviving Predecessors
Why is Draco considered one of the candidates for Heir of Slytherin if both his parents are still living?
Wouldn't one of them be the heir? Does it skip generations? Does it skip women?
Ron claims it's because Draco's father taught him how to do it over the summer, but even that seems silly as he'd wait until he was old enough to be able to sneak around easier. Much of the first two books, when looking back, you realize things don't makes sense, but this is because they're young kids and don't think things through as much as they should. For example, should they really have shot a firecracker into a potion during a potions class so Hermione could steal ingredients? Who knows what that could have done if they'd had a particularly dangerous potion being brewed?
No, but what I mean is, being the heir is an inherited feature. It comes from being descended from Slytherin. And the phrasing "the" heir makes the referent unique, at least in my interpretation. Presumably, traits such as being a Parselmouth could exist in multiple descendants at once, arising at birth, but I always thought the title was written in a way that made it sound unique. Like, Prince Charles can't be the monarch until his mother dies. Thorin became the Heir of Durin when his father, Thrain, died. But both Draco's parents are alive, so one of them should be the heir. Unless there are multiple heirs simultaneously, or a reason for the title to skip over the relevant parent and land on Draco.
Draco's parents weren't hanging around at Hogwarts when all the trouble happened, which put them off the suspect list.
I am obviously not making myself clear. My question is not how Draco could be suspected of the actions carried out at Hogwarts. My question is how he could be what appears — at least to me — to be a unique entity, "the Heir" with a capital H and a definite article, to what appears to be an inherited position, when he should, according to my understanding, have to wait until his relevant parent is dead. Yes, he could be acting *on behalf* of the Heir, but I don't see how he could *be* the Heir, unless there are multiple heirs simultaneously, or it skips a generation.
Heir — "A person who inherits some or all of the estate of a recently deceased person. The legal successor is usually selected because they are related to the deceased by a direct bloodline or have been designated in a will or by a legal authority." It's possible they're thinking he was designated in a will. After all, there are no male heirs to the Black family out of Azkhaban. It was entirely possible for him to have been declared the Heir to Slytherin through an imprisoned family. Of course, they don't realize that it's a hereditary trait that's necessary to open the chamber, which is why they're mistaken in the first place.
Haven't read the book in a while, but I wasn't it mainly Harry, Ron and Hermione who suspected Draco of being the Heir? Harry and Ron probably wouldn't know/care about the proper definition of the word "Heir," and even if Hermione knew (as well she might), she could have just decided to let it go. Okay, maybe not completely in character for her, but then she did have more important things to worry about.
I think the "Heir" was a specific person, not a position. Voldemort was always the heir; his mother/grandfather didn't hold the position before him. So yes, it skips generations until it finds someone evil enough.
Did you miss the part of the backstory where the Gaunts spoke solely in Parseltongue, and Marvolo was waving Slytherin's family ring about (possibly without knowing its exact significance)? They were heirs, they just (at least seemingly, to me) didn't go to Hogwarts and (almost definitely didn't) find the Chamber.
The trio specifically searched for "the Heir" because the message on the wall referred to "The Heir of Slytherin". It was Diary-Tom's own ego that proclaimed him the Heir (singular), not anything the trio thought or theorized.
Just replace "heir" with "descendant" and the problem will go away.
All descendants were 'heirs' (lowercase). The one to find the Chamber would then become the 'Heir' (capital). If, using the Draco example, Narcissa found the Chamber, she would have been the 'Heir' because the very action of finding it made it so. If Voldemort's grandmother's uncle had found it, they would get the designation of Capital H 'Heir'.
I think this calls for an application of Occam's Razor. The phrase "the Heir" was used because it's more dramatic than saying "an heir."
I always thought "Heir" in context just meant the next parseltounge to "take up Slytherin's mantle" so to speak, by opening the chamber, which turned out to be Tom Riddle. Nothing to do with actual blood-succesion. The rumors of a new heir is just him messing with Hogwarts through Ginny, at which point Harry and Ron just think Draco the most Slytherin-Heir-ish student currently in the school.
At this point in the series, the trio is just twelve and have limited knowledge of their world. They know Malfoy is a Slytherin and a dick, so it's logical (for them) to assume he is the heir.
Salazar Slytherin has a number of descendants (though not as many as the other Hogwarts founders, for a number of reasons), but only one 'Heir' - the one who metaphorically 'inherits' his crusade to rid the school of muggleborns.
Nope. According to DD, V is the only living descendant of SS.
THEY'RE TWELVE. How much rationality do you want from twelve year-olds? Particularly ones that would quite like to blame Draco.
It is possible for there to be multiple heirs of Slytherin (any and all of his descendants who are Parselmouths). The trio are only looking for "The Heir" (singular, capital H), because they are looking for the ONE person who is currently opening the Chamber and petrifying people. (Why they didn't consider that there could be multiple people working together I don't know.) Of course, at this point, there was only one heir, because Voldemort's family is all dead. If Voldemort had ever had kids, they, too, would have been Slytherin's heirs/descendants.
Which begs the question of why Dumbledore was so sure that "there is no question of who" had opened the Chamber. Why was he so very sure that Voldemort hadn't had a kid? Voldemort had been more or less human prior to his encounter with baby Harry, and many of his Death Eaters had practically worshiped the guy; having an affair with one or more of his female followers wasn't beyond the range of possibility, and any wizarding offspring that resulted could easily have been at Hogwarts (under the mother's surname) at the time these events occurred. Dumbledore didn't start his hunt for the Horcruxes until after he'd learned of Riddle's diary, so he shouldn't yet have known enough about the Big Bad's personal life to be certain this hadn't happened.
Theres a very simple answer to this: The trio believed that Lucius was the one who opened the Chamber 50 years ago.
With one problem: Lucius wasn't even alive 50 years before Chamber of Secrets, let alone at Hogwarts (he was born post-Sep 1953 or pre-Sep 1954).
Like they know that. People age slower in the wizarding world anyway, so it must be harder to visually estimate ages.
Would you honestly believe that Lucius Malfoy was over 61 years old, if you were at school with his 12 year old son? It seems far more likely they would think he was the same age as Arthur.
Wait a second, they didn't even know the Chamber had been opened fifty years ago until they talked to Draco in the Slytherin common room! Prior to that, they knew it had been opened before (from what Dobby had said), but not when. So they could've just assumed it was when Lucius was at school, and by the time they found that it wasn't, they knew it wasn't Draco anyway. (And really, you think it's so far out that a wizard could look like Lucius at 61 when Hagrid is 63? Really?)
Reward for Service to the School
Why does Tom Riddle still have an award with his name on it on display at Hogwarts?
You would think that becoming a mass murderer, probably the most notorious wizard ever, would be enough to have someone reconsider why they are still displaying that award. It may not have been well-known that Tom Riddle became Lord Voldemort, but Dumbledore wasn't the only one who knew. Plus, as headmaster, he certainly would have had the authority to say he wanted it removed.
It doesn't have to have been on display — it was just "in the trophy room," and who knows if anyone ever even goes in there. The only reason Ron knew about it was that he'd had it for detention. And maybe Dumbledore thought that getting rid of it entirely would amount to revisionism, or maybe they just haven't gotten around to it — God knows there are institutions all over the world that have yet to apologize for things they really should.
Dumbledore seems to be of the school of thought that you should attempt to re-humanize monsters like Voldemort because it weakens the fear they inspire. "Voldemort" sounds like a force of pure evil, "Tom Riddle" is just a man. Also, it helps to remember that evil men can easily come from humble roots, which would have been an important lesson for Dumbledore, since his handsome young boyfriend became an evil tyrant.
NOW it should be removed considering that it's now proven that he unleashed the Basilisk fifty years ago. Fifty years ago, it was thought that he caught the person releasing it; him being the Dark Lord later doesn't really matter if it still seemed like he did something to merit the reward.
I agree. Once it was discovered that Tom Riddle let the moster free, than his award (reguardless of who he became) for stopping the monster 50 years ago, should be taken down. Then again, maybe it was and we just don't hear about it.
Or, more likely, he forgot that Riddle's trophy was there; Dumbledore's an old wizard, so something was bound to slip his mind. Plus, it wouldn't have mattered about re-humanizing Voldermort, since nobody knew he was Tom Riddle in the first place.
It's just another plaque among God knows how many others in that trophy room. Ron probably would've forgotten about it the moment it left his field of vision if he hadn't vomited slugs all over it and been forced to clean it extra hard, probably spending the entire time muttering "Goddamn you, Tom Riddle," under his breath. And Harry's own award for Services to the School is never referenced again in the entire series. It's not at all unreasonable to assume that no one knew or cared about Riddle's award.
It's mentioned at some point that a lot of people sort of forgot who Voldemort was before he was, well, Voldemort - how many people would know that Tom Riddle, a young, handsome and intelligent student, and Lord Voldemort, a meglomaniac who barely looks human, are the same person, unless they were told?
It's also Truth in Television that an old public school that Hogwarts is modelled on wouldn't let the fact of Tom Riddle having become a genocidal terrorist affect the honours he received way back when he was a student.
Movie!Neville's passing out upon seeing the mandrakes in herbology class.
Not amazing, just good at the subject (compared with failing at everything else until he takes a level in badass in the final book).
Besides, mandrakes are hardly ordinary plants. Ordinary plants don't kill you if you screw up when caring for them, and don't look like humans (admittedly, the mandrakes in the class were too young to kill, but that was likely small comfort to Neville's nerves).
Neville is just interested in plants and so good at herbology, not magically immune to effects, no more than a seismologist is immune to earthquakes.
He wasn't knocked unconscious by their cry, he just passed out upon seeing them. Which, for someone fascinated by Herbology, is out of character.
He was 12 years old and a total wimp (well, that scene in the first book notwithstanding)! Cut the boy some slack.
This was during Neville’s first run with Herbology. Before he had developed his affinity for the subject. Seems to be his first time with a mandrake, anyway. And even if it wasn’t, someone with an affinity for the subject in general may still have parts of it they don’t like.
To the troper above me, wrong. He had Herbology the year prior and it mentioned in the book that even in his first year he was exceptionally talented in Herbology and his high Herbology exam scores made up for his poor Potions score.
No need to be rude. Neville is a wimp by nature and mandrakes aren't exactly cuddly kittens. Just because he likes Herbology doesn't make him an instant genius on everything single new plant that is introduced.
A mandrake's cry will make you pass out (when they're young, it kills when it's an adult) just because Nevile's good at herbology doesn't mean he has super-ears or something. The earmuffs he was wearing were either faulty or not fully covering his ears. It could of been Harry or the teacher just as easily.
The main problem with that is Seamus specifically tells the teacher that Neville's fainting had nothing to do with the earmuffs not being on properly. He took one look at a Mandrake and fainted dead away at the sight of it.
He was so excited at the prospect of working with mandrakes that he hyperventilated and lost consciousness.
The question is whether or not it is an important enough element to warrant such intense scrutiny. In what way does it detract from either the plot or the characterization of Neville? In fact, given the condensed nature of the films it actually gives the viewer a necessary contextual clue that Neville is not the bravest of the Gryffindor crew (at least initially). As we see in later films Neville becomes more and more of a heroic figure in his own right and when contrasted with these earlier depictions it becomes clear how much he has grown as a character. So instead of Adaptation Decay I posit that it is simply Adaptational License.
You're all assuming Neville fainted because of what he was directly experiencing. But Neville's interest in Herbology might actually have meant that he, unlike his classmates, already knew what use these moving, human-like organisms would be put to: that they'd be chopped up, still writhing and wailing, for use as ingredients for potions and medicines. The thought of doing this to such animated plants, for a boy who loves plant life, could've been horrific enough to make him pass out, even if mandrakes can't think or feel pain. It's just like how Harry himself was susceptible to fainting when he faced the dementors, because he had far more basis to be horrorstruck by their presence than his classmates.
The thing that bugs me about the Neville fainting incident is Sprout's callous treatment of the affair. She literally tells the class to leave her star pupil lying on the ground. What would she have done if it was a student who was bad at Herbology, use him as fertilizer?
Just because Sprout tells the students to leave Neville on the floor doesn't mean that she's not going to tend to him in a scene that we don't see. Maybe she didn't want her class full of twelve year olds getting into a flap over the fact that the creatures they were going to be studying had made one of their fellow students pass out.
Why does Myrtle die instead of getting petrified?
She doesn't look at the basilisk directly either, she sees the basilisk through glasses. Why does a camera lens provide more protection than glasses lenses?
When the teachers open the camera, the film disintegrates, meaning the film took the brunt of the magical instant death glare. Just think about that for a second; if Colin didn't have film in it, he'd be just as dead as Myrtle.
Nope, he wouldn't. The camera viewfinder has a mirror inside - that is what saved Colin. Melting of the film, BTW, makes no sense.
If Colin had taken a picture of the basilisk, then the film would have gotten the full blast of the death glare.
Myrtle had been crying and possibly wasn't wearing her glasses, or her glasses weren't thick enough to provide protection, or she looked over the top of her glasses as she was putting them on after she'd been crying, or they're not really "glasses" glasses and she took a page out of Francine Frensky's book and wears lensless glasses as to appear smarter.
Seeing as she was hiding in the bathroom in the first place because Olive Hornby was teasing her about those glasses, the last one seems unlikely.
With the camera, the puddle, and the mirror, the basilisk's gaze was reflected off of something (the mirror, water, and glass, respectively). Glasses don't work as reflectors, they work as focusing agents, meaning that Myrtle probably got more dead than usual from a basilisk gaze.
Justin Finch-Fletchley saw the basilisk through Nearly-headless Nick. I guess ghosts consist of small reflective areas?
Simplest explanation is Myrtle took off her glasses to dry her eyes after she had been crying, looked up when she heard the basilisk and got fried. Riddle could then have replaced her glasses to make her less like a basilisk victim.
Surely if eyeglasses offered protection against a basilisk's gaze, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them would've mentioned this? They'd be standard-issue for every wizard who encounters such a creature if they could help. Heck, Harry himself wears glasses: would Tom have threatened him with his pet's gaze if his eyewear made him less vulnerable to it?
Why are flesh-eating slugs eating cabbage?
When Harry asks Hagrid why he is in Knockturn alley, Hagrid says he is buying repellant for flesh-eating slugs since they're eating the school's cabbages. Why would flesh-eating slugs be eating cabbage? And why is repellant for them a black arts object that can't be bought in Diagon Alley? Is "flesh-eating" a misnomer, or is Hagrid lying?
Maybe they are in fact omnivorous. They just call them flesh-eating, so that you know they are dangerous. Another theory is that, yes, he was lying, and was really there as D's eye watching Malfoys.
In the Rifftrax, the guys opined that he was really there picking up hookers. On the other hand, maybe he knew a guy who was willing to cut him a deal. Wouldn't be the first time in the series Hagrid made a shady deal with someone.
No, he was buying flesh-eating slug repellant. As in, slug repellant that eats flesh. Which, I think, is something that most reputable stores would not sell.
Lupin mentions flesh-eating slugs during his boggart lecture in the next book, so they evidently are a genuine life form familiar to wizarding folk.
I realize this is a bit of a stretch, but as I recall, Hagrid doesn't actually use the word "eat" when he talks about the slugs. Maybe flesh-eating slugs do something else in cabbage, like hibernate or produce young, that renders the cabbage inedible.
How do you think the flesh-eating slugs eat your flesh? They hide in your produce and when you're making dinner that's when they get you!
I'll never eat cole slaw again...
Judging from what Harry heared of Basilisk's grumbling, the beast was insanely bloodthirsty and craving for warm, succulent human flesh. So, why didn't it eat any of the children it petrified? Ok, maybe Creevey was saved by the timely (of course) intervention from Dumbledore, but I have an impression it took a certain time after the attacks to find the others. On the other hand, how long should it take a huge hungry snake to devour a kid?
I always took Petrified in Chamber of Secrets to literally mean turned to stone, so maybe after the Basilisk accidentally stoned them, they became inedible. Though, why didn't the snake eat anyone fifty years earlier, that is a mystery. Apparently, the snake was unleashed, everyone knew about it, but only one person died. Were people petrified back then because the snake kept not doing his killy-eye-thing correctly back then, too?
Ineadible, fine. Indestructible? Hardly. So, even if it couldn't eat them, surely it could grab them and smash them against the nearest wall, right? I mean, it wasn't just hunting there, Riddle controlled it and he most likely wanted those people dead, one way or another. Why would he suddenly be so lenient?
Didn't Diary!Riddle say Ginny was too strong for him to control 100%, so she stopped the Basilisk from killing anyone? Or is that just fanon?
He didn't. It is.
Riddle wanted the Petrified students to be found, the better to terrify everyone. So, no snacking for the basilisk, else all anyone would know is that somebody disappeared.
That makes sense. It was his adult self that learned that - after a few object lessons are made - Nothing Is Scarier.
*shrug* Not really. He could've left the heads, or shattered remains, or hell, an explanation in blood on the wall. Also, why would he care if they were terrified or not? His goal was to discredit DD, dead students fulfil that purpose much better then missing ones.
It COULDN'T eat the petrified students, but it has no issue eating because it usually doesn't petrify: its gaze kills instantly, as in the case of Myrtle. Petrification was completely accidental in all cases: had the stopgaps like the water (Norris), the camera (Colin) or the mirror (Hermie) not been in place, they most certainly would have been eaten.
The Basilisk attacking in the people in the hallways
Ok, I get how Mrs. Norris was attacked just outside Myrtle's bathroom since that's where the entrance to the Chamber is, but how exactly did Colin, Justin, Nick, Hermione, and Penelope get attacked in various corridors, presumably nowhere near where pipes could feasibly end? Basically, it seems like we're supposed to believe that in the middle of every corridor there's just a giant hole in the wall where a Basilisk can stick its head out, petrify someone, then disappear before anyone else walks down that corridor. Or, we're meant to believe that Hogwarts is so big that some corridors are frequently almost empty, allowing the Basilisk to slither all over the school completely unseen or heard for a whole year, only encountering one or two people at a time, who are all carrying something reflective...
There's more than one bathroom in Hogwarts. Probably at least two (1 boys, 1 girls) on every floor. Probably more (boys, girls, Staff; multiple bathrooms for large floors). We already know Prefects get their own bathroom, too.
Well, when the Trio comes upon the scene of the first attack, and are standing around wondering what to do, they hear the rest of the school filing out of the Great Hall. Moments later, they're surrounded by students and teachers. The hallway with Moaning Myrtle's bathroom must be in a major thoroughfare, possibly even right next to the Great Hall.
Hermione being Petrified
If Hermione already knew about the Basilisk, why didn't she just shut her eyes instead of using the mirror? I can't believe she wouldn't have heard it coming, and it would have to be quicker to shut your eyes than to hold a mirror up and find the right angle to keep from getting killed. And if she couldn't hear it because it was lying in wait around some corner instead of slithering around, it still can't have been any more dangerous to walk around with your eyes shut than it would be to look around corners with a mirror, knowing you'd get Petrified if the Basilisk was there. It obviously wasn't going to eat anyone anyway. And for that matter, how would it be possible for Hermione and Penelope to be Petrified at the same time? Why would they have both been looking in the mirror? Wouldn't it have made more sense to take it in turns to look around each corner, so that way if one of them were Petrified, the other wouldn't be, and would know that the Basilisk was around the next corner?
I don't know about the rest of it, but as to closing her eyes, remember the Basilisk had poison fangs too. If petrified does mean literally turned to stone, if Hermione were petrified, the snake wouldn't then be able to kill her by poisoning her, whereas if she closed her eyes it could just come up behind her and bite her, so being petrified with the mirror and still having a hope of survival would actually be better than closing her eyes and getting killed.
She'd need to be able to see where she was walking, or she'd run into a wall or another person. She was looking out for other people, to warn them as well. No one else heard it coming, and snakes generally don't make much noise when they're moving, unless they're moving over something noisy (eg rustling leaves). Penelope was holding the mirror, and we know Hermione is naturally curious - she probably couldn't resist glancing at the mirror. I do admit taking turns to look would have been better.
More than likely, Hermione ran into Penelope in the hallway. Penelope just happened to have her mirror, so they used that to look around corners, assuming that it would be better to be Petrified than killed if they encountered the Basilisk. There's a cure for being Petrified, after all. Dead is a bit more permenant.
Just a minor headscratcher, but, how did the teachers know immediately that it was Ginny who'd been taken into the Chamber? The writing on the wall said "Her skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever," not "Ginny Weasley's skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever." The teachers should have had to have done a roll call to see who was missing, and as far as we can tell, that didn't happen.
Maybe they can do that remotely. With magic.
Remember the school is tightly controlled by this point. The students couldn't roam the corridors or go anywhere unaccompanied by a teacher. It would be immediately obvious if someone wasn't accounted for.
A lot of people miss that the disappearance actually happens during classtime (Which Ron and Harry have skipped to visit Hermione.), so there's not much question where she's supposed to be anyway. As Riddle was trying to make sure that everyone knew she was gone, it's entirely possible he had her leap up from her seat after class started and run out the door before anyone could stop her, and then no one could find her until they saw the message. (Riddle obviously knowing enough magic to hide her on the way to the Chamber.)
It's possible Ginny's name was written on the wall.
Perhaps Ginny had already gone missing before the message was discovered? She is supposed to be in class. Whoever was supposed to have her at that point noticed she wasn't there and got McGonagall to help search for her. During the search they discover the message and put two-and-two together.
Ginny Stealing The Diary Back
How did no one notice Ginny sneaking into Harry's dormitory?
After Ginny tried to flush the diary away and Harry finds it, she tries to steal it back and does so... from Harry's dormitory. How is that possible? Girls cannot go into the boys dorms and vice versa. If I recall, there is a sort of charm keeping each out of the other's dorms. Someone should've noticed Ginny regardless.
There's only a charm keeping boys out of the girls' dormitories, due to the sexism of the people who put it in place way back when. Hermione has been in the boys' room on occasion.
And she was presumably smart enough to wait until she saw everyone leave - if anyone caught her, she really does have an ironclad excuse of looking for one of her brothers.
In fact, Riddle states outright that "the foolish little brat waited until your dormitory was deserted and stole it back."
Forgive me if I'm forgetting, but is it ever made clear how Ginny knew Harry had the diary or why she stole it back? Is it just the simplest answer that she didn't want anyone else to be controlled by Riddle?
It is. Firstly, she finds out he has it during Valentine's Day, when the dwarfs are running around singing valentines. One of them tackles Harry and sings him a valentine from Ginny- accidentally ripping his bag and spilling ink all over his books, including the diary. This also is where Harry notes that the diary is completely dry and realises that it absorbs ink. Memory!Tom Riddle states that Ginny stole it back because she was afraid that Harry would work out how to use it and learn her secrets.
In fact, on repeat reads, you can see the book even points out Ginny spotting the diary and recognizing it. This is made more confusing for people who have only seen the movie. Kloves seems to find it unimportant to explain how people know things at times, such as how movie!Lupin never explains how he knows what the Marauder's Map is.
First rule: When Busted...Sell Evidences?
When Harry accidently teleports into the "Borgin & Burkes", he finds there Lucuis selling some illegal potions from his stock in view of Ministery raids. Uhm, why is he selling them? Malfoys are supposed to be filty rich, and "B&B" is a pawnshop, which means Lucius will definitely not get a good bargain, so does that paltry profit really matters to him so much, that he's prepared to compromise his secrets by involving a greedy unscrupulous profiteer? Why not simply re-hide or even destroy the potions?
I'm pretty sure he hadn't been busted yet and that he was selling them in case he would be.
Agree. The doesn't negate the question about why would he sell them instead of re-hiding/destroying.
Because he thinks it's too dangerous to have them around, and if he has to get rid of them, he'd prefer to make a pretty Knut in the process.
Which brings us back to the initial question. Was that Knut, produced by a stingy pawnbroker, really that pretty for the ostensibly rich Malfoy that he risked involving said pawnbroker in his dark secrets? Wasn't it obvious that should Mr. Burke one day be arrested for his shady dealings (you can only bribe so many law enforcers and another Mr. Crouch can always take helm one day) he'd immediately use that information to save his hide, like busted D Es did?
The Malfoys are rich, powerful, well-respected and apparently VERY good at covering up how Obviously Evil they are around the right people. If Burke was arrested, it would be the word of a shady pawnbroker against a respected member of the wizarding community. All Lucius has to do is claim that he visited the shop for completely innocuous reasons and Burke is lying to save his own skin.
Again, under the current ministry with the Minister in his pocket, sure. If another Crouch takes the helm? Not so sure at all. Severe or not, Burke would've still been a threat. It just seems to me that the ostensible profit couldn't possibly be worth the risk, however small.
Lucius has obviously been doing business with Burke for a long time. Allowing the man to buy some items he needed to get rid of, anyway, might simply have been a means of keeping the pawnbroker on good terms with him. Mr. Malfoy couldn't have gotten all that under-the-table influence just by throwing money at problems; he's probably worked hard to cozy up to a lot of people, both in politics and in the black market of Dark wizardry.
In a way, it makes a kind of sense that if Lucius Malfoy had some evidence to hide, his first thought would be "there's gotta be some underling I can foist this on." He'd probably see personally disposing of some potions as beneath him. Also, he probably would consider destroying the potions a last resort, since then he wouldn't be able to retrieve them after the heat dies down. And hiding them could be an iffy proposition, since someone else might find them. By selling them to Borgin, he knows exactly where they are, and doesn't have to worry about the Ministry stumbling upon them while doing any searches.
In book 6, its shown that Draco can intimidate Borgin just by showing his Dark Mark, because Borgin don't wanna screw with Death Eaters. If Draco can pull that off, we can only imagine how much less willing Borgin is to cross the far older and more competent Lucius.
Just how stupid is the wizarding world?
So Lockhart’s plan is to track down wizards that accomplished amazing tasks, wipe their memories, and then claim he did the tasks himself. However, in order for Lockhart to know about these acts of heroism, he had to have heard about them from someone else which means the story has spread far enough for a large number of people to have already heard it. He does this enough times to write several books and not one person goes “I thought so-and-so killed that thing/saved that village/cured that disease? The number of people that know he’s lying must be staggering, how does he get away with it?
While I agree in general, that yes, the wizarding world in HP is very, very stupid, there might be some justifications in this case. Lockhart apparently commited all his "feats" in some distant and secluded backwater settlements (I mean, even more secluded and backwater than the wizarding world in general), whose residents, of course, do not read his books, and those who do read, never bother to go and check anything and stubbornly ignore the obvious nonsenses his books must be riddled with (now, why does this sound so familiar...?). Sure, those residents might find out that their savior was stricken with amnesia, but I guess, for an evil-fighter it is an occupational hazard, and since they don't know about other similair cases, it doesn't raise their suspicions. Lockhart risked exposure, of course, but then any scam-artist does. Of course, you'd think that after he wrote how he cured a werevolf even his fangirls would start wondering why isn't there a long line of them standing at his doors, but that must be me being that nagging alien thing again.
After Lockhart did the first one, he would have become a famous monster hunter himself. It wouldn't surprise me if other monster hunters sought him out and got their stories stolen for their trouble. Also consider that Hermione showed in Deathly Hallows that you can not only remove a person's memory but edit others in their place. If some wizard said "Hey, I thought Joe Blow killed that dragon" then Joe Blow wouldn't know what he was talking about, and it would just be dismissed as a mistaken rumor.
"It wouldn't surprise me if other monster hunters sought him out" - uhm, why? If the monster hunters actively sought each other out, it surely would not be limited to Lockhart - they would've known of each other's exploits and thus would've easily exposed the fraud once he approached them. You'd thing that monster-hunters would be suspicious and reclusive if they cared about their well-being.
Another question is how did a nincompoop like Lockhart manage to Obliviate not one, but a dozen of professional monster-hunters? Oh, sure he's good at the spell, but he'd still need to overpower or take them off guard, which, seeing his abysmal skills in sorcery, seems quite far-fetched.
He probably showed up at their houses and tried to ingratiate himself to them as he asked them about what they did. Then he hit them with an Obliviate when they looked away to roll their eyes.
They weren't professional monster hunters, they were people who had managed to overcome monsters when the situation arose.
Does Hogwarts not screen their teachers before employing them or something? I mean, good lord, do they not review them every now again? How the hell did they actually let Lockhart teach there for as long as they did?! Even if they let him in based purely on his fame, surely someone would have complained when they realised how bad a teacher he was?
It is explicitly stated that no one competent wants the job because every teacher who has it is fired or dies or something after a year, so they have to hire who they can get. The only other person who wanted it was Snape, and Dumbledore couldn't have given it to him because then Snape would be gone next year and Dumbledore wouldn't have had anyone to spy on Voldemort/help him protect Harry. He only gives him the job in HBP because he knows Snape is going to have to kill him and leave at the end of the year anyway.
TOGA. There had been a string of single-term teachers. His immediate predecessor was KILLED in the job. Only a vain, pompous fool devoted to image would want the job.
Harry needs to learn that glory-seeking and vanity are bad things. Lockhart is the visual aid.
Harry already knew that glory-seeking and vanity were bad things. He always hated the publicity that went with being the Boy-Who-Lived. From book 1:
Harry: Everyone thinks I'm special. All those people in the Leaky Cauldron, Professor Quirrell, Mr. Ollivander... but I don't know anything about magic at all. How can they expect great things?
For that matter, leaving Harry at the Dursleys was supposed to be the educational aid re: keeping Harry from getting a big head via his fame.
Yeah, but seriously, imagine you're a seventh year taking their final exam, and you have to put up with HIM as a teacher.
All the exams were cancelled that year.
But not their NEWT tests.
Better an incompetent teacher than no teacher at all. Imagine being a seventh-year and having to take your final exam for a class you haven't had all year, because there was nobody to teach it. At least you could learn a bit of theory from Lockhart, as the techniques that were used to defeat all those monsters were genuine... they just weren't performed by Lockhart.
In book five we find out that if Dumbledore cannot hire a professor then the Ministry will appoint one. This is terrible in book five because of the disagreement about Voldemort but what's wrong with the Ministry sending over an Auror back in book two when Fudge hung on to Dumbledore's every word? Is it a matter of pride or something with him?
That rule wasn't instituted until Book Five, so at the time Fudge had no authority at all to appoint teachers against Dumbledore's will. Admittedly, this still doesn't explain why Dumbledore doesn't ask Fudge to loan him an Auror; its peacetime, the Auror department doesn't have much to do anyway, Fudge is still sucking up to Dumbledore this year, and he could get someone like Kingsley Shacklebolt over easily.
Dumbledore isn't perfect. He didn't know Lockhart was a fake when he hired him.
This would imply he hired him without spending so much as five minutes talking to him. Seriously, most job interviews nowadays for skilled positions actually ask you a few questions about said skills, if not asking to see the results of your last certification test.
Indeed. Being a complete fraud means you're a complete fraud, which for Lockhart became blatantly obvious to everyone except his willfully blind fangirls the first time he tried to teach a class. What, is DD less able to tell a competent wizard from an incompetent one than the average 2nd-year student? Or was he just fangirling as much as Hermione was?
Well from Pottermore it appears that Albus knew some of these 'monster-hunters' that Lockhart charmed. He put Lockhart into DADA position (by bribing him with HP) to 'expose' him as a fraud. The teachers who remembered him at the school did ask Albus what kids could learn from an arrogant person (He's was arrogant as a kid too. I mean come on he imagined a entrance to his school like what Harry experienced some years later). Albus said "They can learn what to be and what not to be". From Pottermore's site.
The problem with Pottermore is that it breaks one of the cardinal rules of storytelling Show Don't Tell. Its all very well Rowling coming along later and thinking up all of these various things but the fact of the matter is that, as far as the book is concerned, Dumbledore gives no indication whatsoever he knew Lockhart was dangerous. The most we can tell is that he knew Lockhart was some kind of con man and was clearly lying about both his skills and his adventures, but was desperate enough to employ anyone even remotely qualified by this point. All it would have taken is one paragraph revealing all of this to us but it simply does not exist.
Also, if we accept this as true then it makes Dumbledore look even worse. He knowingly hired an incompetent fraud and paid him? He knowingly allowed a man who'd proven willing to abuse memory charms to supervise schoolchildren? Why did you feel this kind of thing was necessary to 'expose him'? You're Albus frigging Dumbledore, who among your encyclopedic list of honors and qualifications are also acknowledged as Wizarding Britain's greatest expert in mind magic. You're capable of undoing memory charms cast by Tom Riddle himself (as laid out explicitly in backstory in book 6, re: Morfin Gaunt). If you know some of the monster hunters that Lockhart charmed, why not uncharm them (which would be only the human thing to do anyway, to help medically treat people who have been mind raped) and then they can press charges vs. Lockhart? Or hey, why not just press charges yourself? You're only Chief Warlock of the frigging Wizengamot, and it isn't until several years later and the return of Voldemort that your political influence starts to wane. Instead you waste everyone's time, a year of the students' educations, and the money gone to pay Lockhart's salary — as well as almost getting Ginny Weasley killed by Lockhart's negligence — as a roundabout way of doing something you could have done any number of other quicker, safer, and less wasteful ways. Dear Merlin, Dumbledore, do you ever miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity?
If we abandon other invalid versions like "Ministry was sold on his bullshit and forced DD to hire him" this leaves us with two options: either DD indeed hired Lockhart without knowing or realizing that he's a fraud, and hence, DD is an idiot, or that he hired Gilderoy knowingly and planned to use him as a visual aid for Harry as to the dangers of vain-glory, and considered another lost year of education as well as the potential hazard to students from an incompetent twat screwing around with magic in the classroomnote Such as the pixie incident. for the whole school an acceptable trade-off.
Where you can't expect from a story every single, little detail to be added to a story. This is what it says on Pottermore
Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster during Lockhart's time, happened to have known two of the wizards whose memories Lockhart erased, and had a shrewd and accurate idea what was happening. He correctly believed that dragging Lockhart into a normal, school atmosphere would reveal his fradulence and, a vacancy in Defence Against the Dark Arts having opened up in June 1992, tracked down the author and, slyly hinting that teaching Harry Potter, who was a second-year student there at the time, would boost Lockhart's popularity beyond anything else, convinced Lockhart to return to Hogwarts (something Lockhart had not been too keen to do, as many of his teachers were still there and might have remembered his foolishness and ineptitude).
Harry Potter and the Two Voldemorts?
Imagine Tom riddle would have succeeded. What would happen with the bodiless Voldemort? "It would have strengthened the present-day Voldemort considerably", says Rowling. But how? there would be 2 Voldemort, as two different entities. Does that count as strengthen?
Chances are, Diary!Tom didn't fully understand hat it meant to be a Horcrux. (Hence why he referred to himself as a memory) This could be for one of two reasons: (1)He had just learnt how to split one's soul and was still trying to grasp the concept.(2)Spending all of that time trapped within an inanimate object warped his understandings. If he succeeded he would probably combine with the bodiless Voldemort, who would be strengthened due to the fact that not only would he have a new body, but part of his soul back as well.
Not quite sure about Voldemort "re-fusing" with the diary Horcrux. Wasn't it mentioned somewhere that the only way for a person to "undo" the Horcrux is to feel remorse (and accept the accompanying pain) for the actions that were taken to create the Horcrux? I would think this is the only way possible for a wizard to recombine his/her soul pieces together. Voldemort's soul is to be forever left in pieces because he cannot feel remorse, nor would his egomaniac pride ever let him even if he could.
I always presumed Diary!Riddle would've just done the same thing Pettegrew did and ressurected V.
So there would be 2 Voldies... Yeah, but I don't think Voldemort, young or old, would share his power with someone, even his "clone"
They might have shared the same mind once the big V was resurrected. Voldemort would be inhabiting two bodies at once, teenage Tom and his present-day form, and one of the horcruxes Harry needs to destroy would now be a living, spell-flinging projection of Voldemort himself.
Wow, that really would be fucked up...
Meh, not really. Think of the Horcruxes is mini-One Rings, sentient, but unquestionably loyal to their master. Hell, maybe Riddle's corporeality wouldn't even be permanent, so once the energy he drained from Ginny was spent, he'd return to the diary.
Or the always possible (3)Voldemort lied to Diary Riddle about how the Horcrux worked. Diary Riddle thinks he's gathering energy to give himself a body and start over, but Voldemort can, for instance, instantly siphon all that energy back into himself at any time he chooses, which would probably mean as soon as he thought the diary had gathered enough, which would probably be true as soon as he found out about it.
How can you lie to somebody about how they function?
More importantly, how can someone that is created solely out of your own memories and knowledge not know something you do?
On that note, does Diary Tom know about his exploits as Voldemort? He refers to Voldemort as the greatest wizard who ever lived, is that just youthful arrogance or did the soul fragment somehow gain all the new knowledge/memories Voldemort gained after the split? More likely, did he learn from Ginny while he possessed her?
Nope. From the sound of his talk to Harry, his memory had already planned his Voldemort identity when it was created, but he had to ask Ginny what his adult self did to know.
Nearly Headless Nick
How exactly did they un-petrify him if he's a ghost and can't drink the mandrake juice?
Either they transformed it into some ghost-applicable form, or he just eventually got better.
How? he's dead, so how was he unpetrif — wait, he wasn't even petrified because he was dead, dead seeing as he got the full brunt of the basilisk stare. How was that undone?
Perhaps they could transform the potion into some form of ectoplasm or some shit like that, that could be applied to a ghost. Or he just gradually got better, because he was, well, dead and couldn't be killed again, and he'd already refused to "move on".
Maybe they sprayed it on him.
I'm going with the spraying theory. I mean, how did any of the victims drink the potion when they were petrified, including their throat muscles?
Or maybe they increased the dosage for Nick's draught so it'll work. It was stated earlier in the book that ghosts require food to be rotten to be able to taste things at all. Increasing the dosage of the mandrake draught and then throwing it through him a few times would probably do the trick.
Not quite. The ghosts say they can "almost" taste the food, and Hermione speculates that they let it rot to give it a strong taste.
We know that not everything that's called a "potion" necessarily has to be drunk to work: Colin Creevy used a potion to develop his film so his photos would move. Possibly an anti-Petrification potion is applied externally, so spraying would work for Nick and rubbing it on, for everyone else.
Did you guys even read the novel/watch the movie? It's quickly, BUT VERY CLEARLY mentioned that Nick got a full blast from the Basilisk, and if he had been alive, he would have died, NOT been petrified. However, as Film!Harry says, "Nick's already dead, so he couldn't die again."
That Last one still doesn't explain how Nick managed to 'depetrify'. My personal hypothesis is that his petrification was bound with that of Justin's. Hence when Justin was cured, so was Nick.
He didn't depetrify because he wasn't petrified in the first place. Petrification only happens to those who see the basilisk through some sort of a filter. Eseentially, nothing happened to Nick.
So he was floating a few inches above the floor, completely frozen, eyes staring, saying nothing, seeing nothing, responding to nothing, for months at a time, for kicks?
The Chamber of Secrets
Why exactly is the entrance to the Chamber placed in a girl's bathroom of all places? I know the basilisk would have needed pipes to get around, but surely there are more convenient rooms available.
Because you wouldn't think to look for it there.
Forget the girl's bathroom. It's been implied to be there since like...the 9th/10th century. The chamber of secrets' entrance is inside a sink. In the girl's bathroom. It may not be a modern looking bathroom if the film is to be believed, but did Hogwarts somehow have indoor plumbing and bathrooms in the 9th/10th century?! Indoor plumbing wasn't widely available until the last quarter of the 19th century. I'll describe my theory below.
The original entrance was probably the one with those stone serpent statues, just outside the Chamber itself. Tom Riddle probably found it while exploring under the castle, then backtracked through the adjoining passages to find one that led into the castle's pipework. On finding a navigable route — one that, unfortunately, led to a girls' bathroom; still, he had to work with what was available — he then bewitched a sink to act as a second security-door, and carved the image of a snake into its tap as an activation-assist. All this would've been in the 1940s, so the modern plumbing was already in place when he did this.
Explained on Pottermore: The Chamber was originally accessed through a secret trapdoor, but in the eighteenth century when elaborate plumbing was installed, things were changed around a bit — thanks to a Slytherin descendant named Corvinus Gaunt, who took steps to ensure that the trapdoor and chamber would not be found and that the Chamber would be accessible through the plumbing, for the select few who knew how.modified the plumbing plans as an adult rather than
Heck, maybe Corvinus set up the entrance in the girls' bathroom because he intended his daughter to become the new Heir. Nobody ever said the Heir couldn't be a girl, after all.
Lockhart's dumbest move?
Why would Lockhart, want to duel with Snape?
Lockhart knows he's a fraud, why on earth would he demonstrate that in front of the students?
You presume that the initiative was his. I guess he was subtly goaded into doing it by DD and/or Snape (Oh, professor, in these dangerous time it'd be nice if our students could stand for themselves. You wouldn't mind sharing your peerless duelling expertise with them, would you? And Severus here would be glad to assist you.) In this case he wouldn't be able to refuse without it looking suspicious.
Lockhart also might have thought 'Oh, he's just the Potions professor, I can beat him easily'. Of course, this requires Lockhart to be an ignorant moron to have not heard of Snape's past as an Inner Circle Death Eater, but then again, Lockhart is an ignorant moron.
I didn't get any impression whatsoever that Snape being a senior Death Eater was common knowledge by Book 2 only that he was in league with Voldemort which could mean anything from being a hitman to being imperioused against his will to making Voldemort his dinner. Harry certainly wasn't sure about it until book 4 where we learn about the tattoos.
Harry doesn't even find out that the Death Eaters were called Death Eaters until book 4 (which is a Headscratchers all its own over on the Goblet of Fire page) — is that proof that the term 'Death Eater' wasn't public knowledge? Of course not. its only proof that (Watsonian) Harry's ignorance and lack of curiosity about the Wizarding World is a staggering thing / (Doylist) Rowling doesn't bother creating setting details until she feels like it, even if logically they should have showed up several books before. But since Dumbledore had to testify about Snape's being a spy in open court before the Wizengamot to get him off, Snape's past as a DE is in the public record. Maybe schoolkids who were in diapers at the time wouldn't have read about it, but Lockhart presumably had a Daily Prophet subscription during and immediately after the first war against Voldemort.
He probably expected Snape to go easy on him, seeing as they were just demonstrating. Plus, the thing about a lie is, if you tell it often enough, you start believing it yourself. Perhaps Lockhart had fooled himself into thinking he really was a dueling master.
Snape is one of the most logical choice of an outsider: Dumbledore obviously is an insane choice. McGonagall is a transfiguration master and Flitwick is a charms master (And former dueler), so either could obviously defeat him. Binns, Filch, and Hagrid can't duel for various reasons. This leaves Vector, Trelawney, Snape, Sprout, Sinistra, Burbage, and Hooch. Personality-wise, Trelawney almost certainly wouldn't do it, and Sprout would probably also refuse. Hooch probably only cares about flying. We don't actually know enough about Vector, Sinistra, Burbage, and the unnamed Ancient Runes teacher to say anything about them, but Snape is certainly in the top five 'reasonable' choices an outsider might pick.
Snape probably was the only one to volunteer. Lockhart's a pompous know-it-all and a glory hound, and we know how Snape feels about such people. He probably had to restrain himself from using something a bit nastier than Expelliarmus.
The Awful Truth told early
When Harry asks Dumbledore about the similarities between himself and Tom Riddle, Dumbledore tells him that when the killing curse backfired on him, it gave Harry a huge chunk of his powers and possibly some of his personality. In other words, HE TELLS HIM THAT HE'S A HORCRUX. Not in those words, but that's basically what he's saying. Why does the whole Horcrux thing become such an Awful Truth when he basically told him, already?!
I guess he was building up to. You know, so he doesn't have to drop it all on Harry in one go and then add "oh, by the way, you also have to die."
There's a huge difference between "you got some talents from him when you defeated him as a baby" and "you've got a portion of his soul in you (and you have to die to extract it so he can die for good)".
Yeah, but what thing in a person is usually seen to host their personalities and, in the case of magic, their powers? THE SOUL. Seriously, how else would Voldie's personality and powers have transferred to him?
That reasoning sounds a lot like what we might call Rose Potter Syndrome, i.e. "the ending is obvious because I read ahead." Seriously, when you first read that passage, did you immediately think "Aha, Voldie must have transferred his soul into Harry and Harry will eventually have to die in order to destroy him"? It's only obvious that Dumbledore is talking about Voldemort's soul if you have 20/20 hindsight.
Also, DD did not know it was Horcruxes he was dealing with until Harry retrieved Slughorn's memory in 6. He may have suspected, but we don't know for how long before Harry confirmed it for sure.
Except, of course, that he admits he was grooming the kid to die from the very start, so he totally knew, and besides, how many things allow people to survive the way V did? I doubt, that many.
It was actually Snape who thought so, and while Dumbledore didn't deny it, he didn't confirm it either. There is no conceivable way for Dumbledore to have even suspected about Harry being a Horcrux until this point. Also, Dumbledore had no way of knowing the reason that it happened in the first place - Voldemort having created so many Horcruxes - until well after the events of the Chamber of Secrets.
Of course he couldn't say "Yes, Severus, I plan for him to die", but non-denial in this case pretty much equals to concession. As for the diary, if he realised what it was, and I think we can agree he did, then he had to realise that V would only allow it to be used that way if he had several to spare. From there it's a leap of logic, sure, but not an inconceivable one: "V made several Horcruxes -> his soul was unstable -> part of it might've latched to the kid <- kid has some kind of mental connection to V". So he had to at least consider this possibility.
He was grooming Harry to prepare him for a conflict in which he might die. The absolute requirement that Harry die wasn't proven until Dumbledore'd tracked down enough of Riddle's memories to be certain.
Word of God is that Dumbledore suspected Voldemort had made horcruxes even as far back as 1981 (remember that Dumbledore was always convinced that Voldemort would somehow return), confirmed his suspicion when he examined the diary at the end of book 2, and confirmed that Harry was also a horcrux during the "by essence divided?" scene from book 5. He probably had Harry retrieve Slughorn's untampered memory so as to keep up the charade that he didn't know about the Horcruxes. He could have just said, "I'm pretty sure the diary was a Horcrux. V probably made some more. Get Slughorn's memory so we can find out if he had a specific number in mind," but chose not to. The longer he keeps Harry in the dark, the less likely it is that he'll discover the truth. The answer he gave him in 2 was probably him testing out the idea of coming clean to Harry at some point in the future, which he later decided against.
After Myrtle died, why didn't anyone just ask her how she died then?
Think about it: a girl has just been murdered and now her ghost is floating around — how do you not ask her what happened? Sure, she didn't know who the Heir was, but it would be clear enough from her testimony that Aragog wasn't the monster.
Yes, it also seems rather unlikely that the identity of the monster wasn't discovered until fifty years later by a 13-year-old girl. I know Hermione's smart, but surely it wouldn't have taken experts long to figure it out. This very significant part of the story was simply a MASSIVE plot hole. There's no other way around it.
Well, that part can be explained away easily enough. The teachers couldn't put Harry hearing a voice and being a Parselmouth together and realize the monster was a snake because only the trio knew about Harry hearing the voice. And fifty years ago, there was no Harry hearing voices in the castle.
I call foul. Dumbledore knew Tom Riddle was dangerous and had hurt people at the orphanage, and he knew he was a Parselmouth. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a basic school text and has a detailed entry on basilisks, so asking Myrtle how she died and hearing that it involved hearing someone making hissing noises and then seeing a pair of yellow eyes should have been a pretty big giveaway.
Actually, Dumbledore probably did know. The whole deal with Voldemort's fear of Dumbledore was that Dumbledore saw through him the whole way through when no one else did. Problem was, nobody else would have suspected the perfect, Head Boy Tom Riddle who apparently caught the "Heir of Slytherin". Dumbledore may have tried to tell people, although he may not have known about the basilisk, but most likely no one listened to him.
Except, of course, Myrtle tells Harry in the book that no one ever asked her how she died. Stupidity aside, no one knew about the strange hissing noises or the yellow eyes which no one would know means a basilisk.
I always got the feeling they did ask her, or at least Dumbledore did, which is how he knew that Hagrid was to be trusted. It seemed pretty clear that it was enforced cover-up, with Hagrid taking the fall. Even Fudge alludes to that when he comes to take Hagrid away. Even he doesn't seem to believe that Hagrid was responsible, and he would have been very young when all that went down.
Basically this. Someone's been murdered (a little white girl, no less), and the public wants someone to go down. There isn't any real evidence, but out of fear, Hagrid is rushed into a conviction. Later, no-one really holds him to it, and that's why he's allowed to stay at Hogwarts in the first place.
Besides which, Myrtle was initially obsessed with punishing and tormenting those who had teased and bullied her. She might not have even been around for anyone to ask. Once she was finally put to task for haunting her former enemy, the issue of Hagrid's expulsion and guilt was already considered closed; why rock the boat?
And not to put too fine a point of things, but Myrtle was REALLY annoying and didn't do much besides cry and blubber to herself when she wasn't screaming at people. It probably wasn't until Harry and Hermione came along that anyone bothered to try talking to her and asking how she died. Hermione even said that most of the girls avoided using that bathroom because Myrtle was so disturbing/annoying. That doesn't explain why somebody on the staff at Hogwarts 50 Years ago didn't try talking to her then and asking what happened. Perhaps she didn't manifest as a ghost until years after her death?
Can depend on how long it took for the staff to realize that Myrtle became a ghost. I mean, she haunts the girls' bathroom, not many teachers are going to be walking in there frequently. And with all the ghosts floating around Hogwarts, I doubt many students would find Myrtle's manifestation into a ghost worth reporting to a teacher, even if she is annoying and chases everyone away from the haunted bathroom from her moaning. Plus, it wasn't as though Myrtle was even aware of what was going on with Hagrid to have thought to leave the bathroom to try to defend him. Unless someone knew of her existence as a ghost at the time and even knew enough of the case to think to ask her to prove that Hagrid was innocent (or to learn of what the real creature was), it wasn't going to happen so shortly after the incident.
Would Myrtle have really helped, though? Her memory basically amounted to "I saw eyes, and then I was dead." That only leads to "Basilisk" if the characters are already thinking along those lines, as the Power Trio were. To an administrator 50 years prior, it would have just sounded like she was attacked by a giant spider (who have lots of eyes, obviously) and bitten.
Uhm, do the words "homicide investigation" sound completely idle in that wretched world or are all the Ministry investigators imbeciles? Otherwise, it's rather difficult to regard a version of a lethal spider bite seriously, when the victim has no spider bite-marks and no spider poison in her body!!! What, did Riddle manage to feign both?
That's exactly the conclusion they came to in the books without Myrtle's story. Why would her bite have changed it?
Oh yeah, the truth was uncovered — FIFTY YEARS later, and by a 13-year-old. If Myrtle had been asked about her death at the time, "big yellow eyes" would have been more than enough to determine that the creature was a basilisk. Apparently, though, no teacher past or present could be bothered to actually research the matter. Also, Myrtle manifested as a ghost almost immediately after death, and waited for Olive Hornby in the bathroom. So, anyone at the time would have known she was the victim, and asked her about it. This is just a MASSIVE plot hole.
How does big yellow eyes equate to "basilisk"? How would anyone know the color of basilisk eyes? Looking at eyes and then dying wasn't that big of a clue, but it would certainly point you in the right direction. The problem, of course, is you already have a story in place: Hagrid had a monster in the castle, and clearly that could have easily killed Myrtle. As stated, only Dumbledore possibly thought to ask Myrtle about it, and there's no definite time period in which she returned. Perhaps he had no way of overturning it at that point if he even figured out it was a basilisk (even then, if Tom was vague on the monster Hagrid had, the teachers might have suspected Hagrid had a basilisk). The wizarding world does like to settle on the easiest routes of investigation.
Re: 'how would anyone know the color of basilisk eyes', the answer is 'basilisk eyes don't change color after the basilisk is dead'.
I would argue that Myrtle probably didn't actually manifest as a ghost immediately. Otherwise, we'd have seen a whole lot of new ghosts at the Battle of Hogwarts.
Probably never even mentioned a spider since it escaped. Say that Hagrid had a creature of unknown origin and he'd found it and driven it off. Like Riddle said, everyone would believe him over Hagrid anyway.
Or Tom had the basilisk bite Myrtle's freshly-dead corpse to further implicate Hagrid. Its venom was so potent that it could've liquified her tissues around the bite-marks, the same as a spider's bite does to its prey. Tom could've also dripped some spider venom on the bite wounds as additional planted evidence: there's bound to have been plenty in the Potions lab.
It's kind of a running theme in the series that the Wizarding World likes easy explanations and that the Ministry doesn't value deep investigations. They had a dead girl whose story they didn't want spreading, a pre-discredited suspect who was a member of a persecuted minority, and the sterling prefect as an eyewitness. They'd have been more than happy to close the case on that alone.
It was mentioned in the book that Myrtle haunted one of her school tormentors for a while.
Ok, here's how it goes (this is all a guess, I could be wrong) Myrtle's crying in a stall when she hears a voice, she opens the stall to tell them to get lost, sees the basilisk eyes and dies. She rises from her body and probably takes a moment to go "oh my gosh, I'm dead". By the time she's gotten over the inital shock of having just died Tom Riddle and the Basilisk are long gone. She might of gone right away to haunt the bully or she hid elsewhere in the school to sulk; either way, she would of been too busy/depressed to be interviewed. By the time she was seen again someone probably would of told her that her killer had been caught and she would have been like "good, now leave me alone while I sob in the crapper". At the time of the murder the ministry and current headmaster (Dumbledore was a teacher back then) have about two things on their mind: 1) get this over with asap so everyone can get on with their lives and 2) try to find an accaptable target to pin the murder to. Hagrid, being half-giant, would have been a candidate for #2. Tom Riddle probably went to the investigators with the info on Hagrid just as their search was getting desperate. Plus Riddle probably didn't mention Aragog because he saw Aragog escape (Riddle's motive was to stay at Hogwarts over the summer and they wouldn't let him if the monster was still on the loose). Hagrid, not wanting to turn Aragon in wouldn't mention him. I guess that explains most of it.
Now that I think of it. Since the case was clarified and Hagrid was proven innocent, why didn't they lift the ban for him to own a wand? Now that I think of it further, how come Hagrid could still conjure pretty normally (fire, water, pig tail for Dudley, boat propelling) with only the splinters of his wand hidden in his umbrella, but Harry couldn't conjure at all after his wand had snapped in DH, and Ron's wand started backfiring having only cracked? Now that I think of it even further, how did Hagrid get hold of his broken wand in the first place? What, did the Ministry officials simply gave it to him as a keepsake after they'd broken it? Pretty unlikely, especially since, as we find out, even the splinters can be used for conjuration.
While he wasn't guilty of freeing the monster from the Chamber of Secrets, he was still guilty of breaking Wizarding law by hatching an acromantula that went on to populate a decent fraction of the Forbidden Forest. That alone is probably worth a wand snapping.
That doesn't answer the questions of how did he get the splinters back and how was he still able to cast spells when Harry and Ron couldn't when their wands snapped.
He did have a very large wand. It might have been an extra point of driving the insult home of tossing the splinters of his wand to him. With enough of the pieces, he did somehow fashion his umbrella, but even he says it doesn't work properly all the time (wanting to turn Dudley into a pig for example), so it's not hard to believe that it sometimes works like Ron's broken wand did.
I recently came to the conclusion that Dumbledore fixed the wand for Hagrid, using the Elder Wand, the way Harry did in book 7. In this case, Hagrid being not very good at magic and having only studied up 'til his third year, and doing magic sporadically when he thought he could get away with it after that, explains things like Dudley's pigtail. After all, turning him into a pig would have been a difficult spell, well beyond third-year level.
In Philosopher's Stone, Hagrid openly tells Olivander that he still has the pieces of his snapped wand, and though he hurries to deny that he uses them, I doubt even Hagrid would openly admit to owning the pieces of his old wand if that was illegal. Since we know that broken wands are, on the whole, pretty useless and likely to backfire, it's possible that the Ministry simply let Hagrid keep the pieces (possibly viewing it as their version of Throw the Dog a Bone) because he wouldn't be able to use it properly. The above troper might have a point that Dumbledore helped out when it came to fixing the wand or at least encasing it in the umbrella. Dumbledore, after all, knew that Hagrid was innocent, and probably thought that Hagrid should at least be able to do magic in emergency situations.
Don't forget that this is the same Ministry of Magic that arrested Stan Shunpike so that they would look like they were capturing Death Eaters. When in doubt, the Ministry prefers to look like they're doing something, rather than admit they're flummoxed. Wizarding society in general seems to be very conservative (they still use quill pens, for crying out loud), and Harry points out that Scrimgeour is guilty of the same mistakes that Fudge made. It's not hard to imagine that this has been their M.O. since time immemorial.
Why on earth did Hogwarts hire Lockhart?
Yes, he's a celebrity, but surely the most superficial interview would have exposed him as an untalented waste of space who hadn't a clue what he was doing.
The inclusion of clearly incompetent teachers like Lockhart (and Hagrid) was JKR's Take That at the British educational system, where, apparently, Lockharts and Hagrids are a dime a dozen.
Based on my experience with the educational systems of Peru and America, I would say teachers like Lockhart and Hagrid are a dime a dozen everywhere.
He was apparently the only one who would take the cursed job of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Dumbledore also doesn't seem to care much for the education at Hogwarts, beyond making sure every class has a teacher, being much more concerned with ensuring student safety and dealing with the day-to-day affairs in the school.
As much was said in the book:
Hermione: "Professor Dumbledore obviously thought he was the best man for the job -" Hagrid: "He was the only man for the job. An' I mean the on' one."
Aye, he then goes on to comment how people are starting to think the job is jinxed and are wary of taking it. But you know, what makes this a Headscratcher to me is that Dumbledore is so indifferent to the quality of education at Hogwarts and/or so dogmatic in his adherence to traditional educational techniques and structures that he decides to hire Lockhart instead of stopping to think about a better way to deal with the situation. Hermione and Ron, when helping Harry prepare for the third task, demonstrated that a trio of motivated students can make significant educational gains in the practical Defense Against the Dark Arts subject by making use of the resources available to them (empty classrooms, free time, and a library) with no need for a teacher or traditionally structured class. Harry then goes on to show that an experienced and talented student can be a much better teacher than an unqualified adult when he spends the better part of the year instructing his peers in the ways of combat as the leader of Dumbledore's Army, and he does it for free. Hell, even that lame-ass dueling club Lockhart and Snape set up was probably a better way to learn Defense Against the Dark Arts than Lockhart's stupid class; at least students had the chance to spar with each other in a relatively safe environment. Dumbledore should have realized that hiring Lockhart would be a waste of resources and would do more harm than good and should have disbanded the class for the year and should have hired an older student who got Outstanding on his OWL on the subject to give seminars and instructions when possible (kind of like a T.A.), or he should have started his own dueling club at the beginning of the year to replace the class, or he should have left the class empty and let dedicated students use the free time to study the subject by themselves. As things stand, Dumbledore is wasting the school's money on an incompetent teacher and forcing students to lose several hours of their time per week listening to a blowhard who, by the way, forces them to buy his entire collection of works for the year (quite a financial burden on poor people like the Weasleys). The similarities with Real Life schools are depressing, to say the least.
It is also unlikely that a Board of Governors, being bureocrats, would accept such a novel idea.
"Hell, even that lame-ass dueling club Lockhart and Snape set up..." Snape had nothing to do with setting it up; it was all Lockhart's idea. Personally, I think he only agreed to "duel" Lockhart so that he could (attempt, at least) to bring him down a peg. One of Snape's many dick moves? Yeah, but who's complaining?
But in that case, there's a danger of the curse falling upon the T.A. instead, and in any case, it's not initially obvious that Lockhart is as bad as he turns out to be. He's an arrogant blowhard, but as far as most people are aware, he's also brave and quite skilled.
As demonstrated by the Trelawney prophecy incident, Dumbledore personally interviews his prospective teachers and assesses their abilities. Therefore, he should have been quite aware that Lockhart was incompetent at what his job required of him.
The only problem with Lockhart being the only man for the job, as Hagrid says, is that we know from the first book that Snape has been pushing to become the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher for a while now. And even ignoring what we find out after the fact regarding Snape being a Death Eater double-agent and his own dark past, Snape seems a lot more qualified to be teaching the course than Lockhart. The scene with the dueling club pretty much proves that. Hell, given what Dumbledore suspects is coming, putting someone like Snape in charge of training the next generation of wizards in fighting Dark Arts would seem like a smart idea.
Dumbledore knew the job was jinxed, and he didn't want to lose his double agent. Losing Lockhart? Pfft, who cares?
The problem other than Snape's checkered past would be finding a replacement Potions professor and really, do you think Dumbledore could have gotten a 12 year old Harry to get Slughorn to come teach like he did in book 6?
At that point, Voldemort hadn't come back yet, so it might have been easier to recruit Slughorn since he wouldn't have to worry about antagonizing the Death Eaters by working for Dumbledore (on the other hand, it might have also been harder, since he wouldn't have been tempted by the thought of the powerful protection Hogwarts and Dumbledore offered). Regardless, the Potions replacement would not have had to be Horace - it could have been any number of decent potion makers around. Without the fear of the curse weighing on their shoulders, I am sure a lot more people would like the chance to teach at the internationally famous Hogwarts school. By letting Snape take the DADA post, Dumbledore would have reduced the problem of finding a replacement DADA teacher to the much easier problem of finding a suitable Potions teacher.
However, with the above notion, there's still the problem of the curse on the DADA position. I do believe Dumbledore was still using Snape, and therefore, wouldn't want to take the chance of the suspected curse causing him some kind of harm.
In Snape's defense, it really wasn't a curse to him. After all he killed Dumbledore without any harm happening to himself, so he was pretty safe himself. The worst would have been that Snape would have just left, much like Lupin did, but he probably would have still been of some use, considering Voldemort hadn't been resurrected yet. The only real significance would be that Harry would hate DADA and begin to excel in Potions instead. Besides, with Snape's past with the Dark Arts, that'd make him a perfect candidate to teach the class to defend themselves against it. Like the saying goes, "to catch a thief, you must think like a thief".
Not really a curse to him? He kills the only person who trusts him and knows him to be good, and condemns himself to a year of hatred from his former colleagues and the task of protecting children from sadistic Death Eaters while said children are running a resistance movement! If Nagini hadn't killed him, he might well have had some sort of breakdown once everything was over.
That may have been exactly what Dumbles was afraid of. According to the Harry Potter Wiki: "When J. K. Rowling was asked for the reason Dumbledore would not give Severus Snape the Defense Against the Dark Arts job, the author responded that Dumbledore believed that teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts would bring out Snape's worst side, though Dumbledore finally relented in Harry's sixth year."
Not so much relented as had no other choice. After the debacle that was Umbridge the year before and knowing that he was going to die roughly within a year, he *had* to make sure Harry had a competent teacher that last year. He wanted to cram as much knowledge into Harry as possible, both standard education and Horcrux related, before he died.
There's also politics to consider; the last thing Dumbledore needs is Cornelius Fudge marching into his office demanding to know why a Death Eater is teaching a Dark Arts class at his school. It's technically Defense Against the Dark Arts, but those are the little details that get lost in political wars.
Plenty of "ex"-Death Eaters work in the Ministry, so why wouldn't Fudge trust one to teach DADA?
Forget Snape: If Dumbledore was that desperate for a competent DADA instructor, why didn't he roll up his sleeves and try teaching the course himself? Surely the wizard who brought down the previous Dark Lord and keeps the current one at bay can teach more than just Transfiguration, and he could go right back to being Headmaster when the curse bumps him out of the job. It can't be that he'd lack the time to do both jobs, because McGonagall repeatedly takes charge in Dumbledore's absence without cutting back on her teaching duties.
Because curses are not nice, manageable things, and that "bump" could've been extremely unpleasant or even lethal.
I read quite a thorough study that deconstructs the HP books and explains most of the seeming inconsistencies as parts of Dumbledore's grand scheme:the whole study is named "The Big Game of Professor Dumbledore" in order to prepare Harry for his role in the upcoming war. Thus, hiring Lockhart was a mean to ward Harry off vainglory (which could be provoked by the universal adoration) with a demonstrative example.
Where did you read this study? It sounds interesting, but when I tried entering The Big Game of Professor Dumbledore in Google, I couldn't find it.
Which would mean Dumbledore screwed up his entire school's chance of learning about a subject for a year, including his 5th and 7th year students who have to take life-determining exams, in order to teach his chosen one an Aesop. Isn't he the greatest?
Meh, not that likely. Lockhart is a massive fraud, but chances are he at least has picked up on a few things from sheer osmosis, given the fact that his claimed experiences would have him being scrutinized and generally rubbing shoulders with the elite of the magical community's fighters, so he probably has enough knowledge to credibly teach a class (after all, lectures and celebrity teaching courses are probably a good source of income for him). It's not a GREAT policy for the school, but it's not one that might completely screw everything up irreparably.
As for screwing up the entire school's chances of learning about a subject, he also has to provide the one person the prophecy says will be able to stop Voldy with the best education possible or the rest of the students' lives have little to no value. I don't think that Dumbledore is so much sacrificing all for the one as much as trying to get as much good as possible out of what will become a very bad situation. Harry is most important because through Harry, the rest get saved.
So "the best education" for Harry means denying him a year's worth of meaningful, productive Defense lessons? When Dumbledore knows Voldemort's shown his face again (har har) and that his return is no longer a matter of doubt? All in the name of a pat moral about the dangers of egotism? Impossible. That's absurd even from a Harrycentric point of view, without taking the rest of the school into account. Harry needed the Defense knowledge more. Look, Dumbledore even mentions during the Snape flashbacks in DH that other teachers have described Harry as "modest". I can't believe Harry's ego was really so big a concern for Dumbledore that he couldn't have just taken the kid aside one day and said "Hey, listen, H.P., make sure not to let the whole Boy Who Lived thing go to your head, huh?".
This is probably the reason, but it's still not something a good headmaster should do. Leaders of vigilante counterterrorism organizations shouldn't be in charge of the only school in the country.
What? How does being a leader of an organization in war time exclude you from being headmaster of a school?
Because it leads to conflicts of interests. If you are the headmaster in the only school in the country and also the leader of a counterterrorism unit, it's only a matter of time before you do something like plant a listening device on the son of a suspected guerrilla, or start indoctrinating your pupils against the ideology preached by the prominent terrorist organization of the time, or something like that.
Dumbledore wouldn't bug any of the kids, because he believes in second- and third- and fifteenth-chances for everyone. This might be considered a failing by some, but it is understandable after you find out about his relationship with Grindelwald.
We also don't exactly hear about a whole wave of OWL and NEWT students failing en masse, or even really complaining about Lockhart beyond 'he likes the sound of his own voice quite a bit.' And he teaches from his books, which despite putting himself into the heroic role, are based upon the exploits of talented witches and wizards who genuinely could do the things they said they could. It's entirely possible that he was an adequate (if not fantastic) teacher.
Except we saw that he the exact opposite. He was an inadequate teacher; all he did was talk about himself and give the kids quizzes about his fair color and favorite conditioner.
We saw one introductory "test" that was like that, which he probably threw together at the last minute when he realized that, oh crap, he's supposed to be teaching in the morning, isn't he? No reason to assume they were all as frivolous as that; even Lockhart would've surely run out of questions to ask about himself, eventually.
With regards to the failing exams: the way grades are calculated for A-levels/GCSE's (which OW Ls and NEW Ts are pretty much copies of), around the same number of people would pass as usual, they'd just do so while knowing less. So they'd be screwed if they had to actually use the stuff in the future, but their actual grades would be fine.
The thing that bugs me about Lockhart is that it's directly implied that all the methods in his books (the werewolf, the tea-strainer incident, etc.) were all legitimate actions albeit performed by other people. What.
Yes, this bothered me too. If the Homorphus Charm was a real thing someone used to turn a werewolf into a human, why wasn't it used on Lupin/Greyback/etc? Wild mass guess: Maybe only one wizard in history ever knew how to do it, and when Lockhart modified their memory, the art of de-werewolfing was lost.
The Charm probably only turns a werewolf back into human form for that particular transformation, not permanently. It's the same deal as the potions Lupin had been taking, a suppressor rather than a cure. If Lockhart implied the fix would last, that was just him showing his ignorance.
Could be that, as well as a combination of other factors (the one about Fudge demanding to know why a former Death Eater is teaching a Dark Arts class is an excellent suggestion), Dumbledore was already seeing the hammer of the Ministry coming down on him. Sure, they didn't install Umbridge until they were getting nervous about Dumbledore, but that doesn't mean they weren't already peering over his shoulder, making sure he wasn't attempting any wild changes in the school curriculum. If he had tried doing something innovative, it could well be that the Ministry would say "No, sorry, Dumbledore, that simply won't do," and forced him to hire Lockhart anyway.
Hold on a second: who's to say DD didn't try to get someone else for the job but was forced to bow to the pressure of the Ministry because they thought Lockhart better than anyone else?
There's a theory that the stuff Lockhart were told..like the "Pixie" charm he tried.. was misinformation given to him by other wizards.
God knows if anyone's gonna read this, since this article is already so long, but lemme offer up a suggestion I didn't see in here. Remember that while Dumbledore is in charge of hiring, there's also a Board of Governors he has to answer too. The Board see the school from an outsider's perspective, and don't see problems like hiring incompetent teachers the same way Dumbledore would. They have the power to fire Dumbledore, so they must have some kind of policy-making power. Dumbledore might have had a ton of ideas for alternate methods of teaching students DADA, but the Governors were like "No, we want a traditional teacher. Get someone, we don't care who."
Perhaps the Board of Governors got a list of candidates from Dumbledore, but shot them all down in favor of Lockhart.
"Let's see...Mad-Eye Moody?! He's insane! And what's this..a fucking werewolf?! Dumbledore, are you out of your mind?!?! Hey, why don't we get that awesome wizard who's always defeating dark creatures and see if he'd be interested. What's his name? Lockhart, that's it!"
Or maybe Dumbledore had already tried every method he could think of to beg, bribe, or con people into taking the job, well before Harry began his studies. The DADA position's been cursed for a very long time; Lockhart may have been hired simply because there's literally nobody left who hasn't caught wise to the jinx. What's Dumbledore supposed to do, force people to teach for him?
Well from Pottermore it appears that Albus knew some of these 'monster-hunters' that Lockhart charmed. He put Lockhart into DADA position (by bribing him with HP) to 'expose' him as a fraud. The teachers who remembered him at the school did ask Albus what kids could learn from an arrogant person (He's was arrogant as a kid too. I mean come on he imagined a entrance to his school like what Harry experienced some years later). Albus said "They can learn what to be and what not to be". From Pottermore's site.
Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster during Lockhart's time, happened to have known two of the wizards whose memories Lockhart erased, and had a shrewd and accurate idea what was happening. He correctly believed that dragging Lockhart into a normal, school atmosphere would reveal his fradulence and, a vacancy in Defence Against the Dark Arts having opened up in June 1992, tracked down the author and, slyly hinting that teaching Harry Potter, who was a second-year student there at the time, would boost Lockhart's popularity beyond anything else, convinced Lockhart to return to Hogwarts (something Lockhart had not been too keen to do, as many of his teachers were still there and might have remembered his foolishness and ineptitude).
When Lockhart had erased the memories of two wizards, Dumbledore eventually found out and decided to track him down and make him pay for his crimes. Dumbledore offered Lockhart a position as the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, under the correct belief that school is the best location to expose the fraud for what he is. Lockhart was reluctant at first, as he was aware that his former educators remain vigilant of his incompetence, but was instantly swayed when Dumbledore mentioned Harry Potter's fame, which Lockhart would believe as a boost to his own. Whether the other professors knew of Dumbledore's ploy against Lockhart is unknown, but according to Hagrid, the main reason for Lockhart's appointment was that he was the only applicant for the cursed position.
Just Kill Him Already
Why doesn't Riddle try to kill Harry outright?
I mean, it'd been shown that at this age, Riddle was quite capable of mastering Avada Kedavra. Why did he not simply finish Harry off that way — you know, after he was done monologuing? Yes, I know the snake was hungry and Riddle felt more compassion towards snakes than perhaps any other living creature, but still, Voldemort's compassion is rather limited... Not to mention the way he freaks out when his plan goes awry — the guy, memory or not, had Harry's wand: why didn't he just finish it then and forget about the damn snake?
Is it ever even stated that Memory/Horcrux riddle can use magic until he has fully absorbed Ginny? I can't remember a single moment where he does any magic using Harry's wand. And even if he could, he probably didn't have true control over the wand to begin with, as he just picked it up off the ground, not actually defeating Harry to get it.
He spelled his name and rearranged the letters to form "I am Lord Voldemort". Obviously not high level magic, which is why it's stated below that he might not be able to do higher level magic. Harry's wand is also very similar to his own wand, and compatible enough since he did steal it from Harry.
That "true control" thing only seems to be a property of the Elder Wand.
No, the "true control" thing is a property of all wands, as explicitly stated and shown in Deathly Hallows. The Elder Wand is actually the most fickle wand, that most readily changes masters at the drop of a hat, of all.
I'd always thought he wasn't complete enough to use higher level magic at that point; after all, he hasn't completely drained Ginny, and we know the Unforgivables take a bit more magic than the others. Rather than risking complications with an Avada Kedavera, he takes the safer route by having a rather large basilisk that can kill Harry in multiple ways do it for him. Harry is, of course, unarmed and completely defenseless save for a phoenix and the Sorting Hat, so there was no rush, and if the basilisk failed, by that point, he would probably be solid enough to finish Harry off. It was a win-win, except he was caught off-guard when Harry stabbed the diary. Voldemort has always been known to have a flair for enjoying his enemy's fear and weakness, so it's not too much of a surprise he chose this route.
Still, he probably could've just Wingardium leviosa'd (or something) Harry to a great height (the Chamber is shown to have a pretty high ceiling in the movies at least, can't recall the exact description from the books), dropped him, at which point Harry would be pretty badly injured, and the snake could just eat him. It's cruel, bit humiliating maybe, and gets the job done. Or Tom could've just restrained Harry and either had the snake eat him or waited until he had finished draining Ginny. I assume that he was probably capable of that level of magic by this point. Plenty of ways to kill someone without Avada Kedavra, as I'm sure someone of Tom Riddle's supposed intellect could discern.
Remember, Neville got thrown down three stories when he was only a kid, and he bounced. I assume it's quite hard to kill wizards except with fancy spells.
What series have you been reading? Voldemort can't just kill people like Harry. Oh no, he has to make a huge show out of it.
Tom Riddle also knows what happened the last time Voldemort tried to just kill Harry and how his future self was all but killed. Maybe Power of Love, but who knows what would happen if he tried the spell again.
Then what was stopping Riddle from using Pertrificus Totalus? If Hermione can use that spell when she was just a first year, then it shouldn't require so much magic that Tom Riddle's memory couldn't use it. That way, with his sadistic nature, he could order the Basilisk to kill Harry slowly while Harry was frozen and unable to move or defend himself. It'd be satisfying because Harry would still have enough control of his consciousness to feel pain AND he'd be rid of Harry once and for all without allowing a chance for him to use a Deus ex Machina.
Why would he think he had to? His thought process was probably something like, "Hey, this kid is unarmed, I have his wand, and I have a huge fucking snake. How could this possibly go wrong?" Think of it this way: you have a stun gun and you have a bunch of well-trained, ferocious attack dogs that have killed or injured everyone you've ever sent them up against in the past. Are you going to bother running up to this guy to shock him, or are you going to say, "Chopper, sic balls?"
I thought Riddle was hedging his bets. Memory!Riddle is actually an imprint of a 17(?) year old pre-Dark-Lord who has no idea of the circumstances of his own death or what's happened in the magical world in the past 50 years. All he knows is what Harry's 11-year old fangirl told him: Voldemort tried to kill a baby, but the baby killed him back. In other words, Riddle's more experienced, better trained, better prepared, and fully alive future self was destroyed in an unexplained and mysterious way. If Harry did have some kind of innate death-reflecting characteristic, it would be better to test it out on the snake.
Which is why Riddle asked Harry how he survived. Harry told him it was The Power of Love and then Riddle basically said "I see, so there's nothing special about you after all. Now you die!"
Is there any indication that Riddle could use any proper magic at all at that point? The locket was able to make illusions without any access to a wand in DH. It's reasonable to assume that the diary could do the same. The wand waving might have just been for effect.
There is. After Fawkes saved Harry's life from the basilisk venom, Riddle realized what the phoenix was doing and casted spells at it, forcing it to fly off.
Why are people assuming Riddle is a moron? He knows Harry survived a killing curse that rebounded and killed Voldemort. It would be epically stupid for him to attempt to kill Harry with magic unless he understands exactly what the rules are. Luckily, he has a giant snake that he controls without any magic at all. He is thinking 'Hmm, if strange and mysterious old magic means I can't kill him with my magic, and attempting to do so almost killed me, so maybe I'll just forgo all the magic, and kill him with my death-gaze snake instead.'. This is the opposite of a Headscratcher. It's the only time Voldemort behaves sanely towards Harry!
I'm not so sure about that - at no other point has Voldemort ever hesitated to throw an AK or other Unforgivable at Harry.
Which is another reason why the story should've ended with "Prisoner", before it went and ruined Voldemort forefer, by making him a complete idiot.
As pointed out somewhere else, Horcrux creation might have intelligence-related side effects, and Volemort created his last Horcrux right at beginning of the Goblet of Fire.
I would just like to point out that everyone referring to the Diary Riddle as a memory is forgetting that this was just the way it was explained to everyone else. Diary Riddle is not a memory, he is a Horcrux.
He's more than a Horcrux, considering that none of the others behaved that way. A Horcrux by itself might make people jerkasses, but it alone wouldn't write to them or fully possess them. It's an enchanted Horcrux, a Horcrux plus some sort of spell.
Could be, though it seems just as likely that the locket Horcrux was trying to do the same to Harry, Ron, and Hermione in DH. It obviously couldn't get them to spill their darkest secrets the way a diary could, so it was doing it its own way.
I suspect Voldemort put different, special spells on each Horcrux that was out of his sight. We had one that had a deathly curse on it, one that wouldn't open until spoken to in Parseltongue, and one that had memories of how to open the Chamber of Secrets. We don't know about the others, but didn't see them for long, and no one did the obvious by drinking out of the cup (poison?) or wearing the diadem (outright mind control?).
The diary was years older than any of the other Horcruxes (except maybe the ring) and Voldemort charmed it specifically to have a copy of himself to lead another heir to the chamber. I'm not sure why Riddle didn't try to kill Harry directly, but I know why he couldn't: Riddle is still Voldemort and so Harry still has protection from his attacks. An Avada Kedavera would have bounced off him and petrificus totalus wouldn't have lasted (see Neville in DH for an example). That's why Quirrell tried to strangle Harry in Book 1, magic wouldn't have worked.
What Riddle did was smart, he wanted to meet Harry specifically to ask him how he survived, and how Voldemort lost his powers. It would be silly to Avada Kedavra him at that specific moment.
Diary-Riddle was only able to manifest because he'd drawn the energy to do so from Ginny; presumably, any spells he cast would tap into that same reservoir of power. He probably wanted to direct all of the energy he had towards completing that process and coming fully to life, not tossing high-powered magic to do a job his pet monster is apparently capable of handling. Only when the basilisk was blinded and Fawkes threatened to undo all his plans did he resort to such spells, when it was that or lose his chance entirely.
And there's the issue of Avada Kedavra being a rather unique magic requiring you to really mean it.The only reason Riddle was walking around is that he was borrowing Ginny's life at the time, so perhaps Avada Kedavra wouldn't have worked because it would have required that Ginny also 'really mean it', and obviously she wouldn't have. Or perhaps that's not true, but Riddle thought it might be.
Dumbledore's cancellation of all of the end of year exams.
You would think that the O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. students would need them to qualify for their N.E.W.T. course and get a job in the real world, respectively.
Always assumed that was exams that were capable of being canceled (professor-given exams). In hindsight, though, the whole school was about to be closed down before Harry saved the day, so I doubt many people were studying that didn't need it for job related tests.
Could be O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. exams were already over with for the year.
In British schools, end-of-year exams are different from GCSEs or A-levels (the equivalent to OW Ls and NEW Ts); they're just big tests used to gauge ability, not anything that would lead to a qualification, and students in their GCSE years don't tend to sit them anyway.
They would presumably be able to provide proof that the exams were canceled that year and rely on coursework, written reports from their teachers, etc. to cover for grades. (In real life, GCSEs and A levels you receive predicted grades from teachers and can apply for jobs/courses based on these - they're usually quite accurate.)
What about students like Colin who spent most of the year unconscious? Ron even partially Lampshaded this when he suggested that it might be kinder to wake Hermione after the exams were over since she hadn't studied. How can they get a free pass after missing out on most of that year's education? And they can't even spend the summer getting caught up because they're all Muggle-born. And Ginny's grades can't have been spectacular (unless Riddle was doing all her work for her or something).
Simply put, Hogwarts does the only thing it or any other school possibly CAN do in such a situation and passes them automatically. It's not like you can punish them for falling victim to a supernatural creature commanded by a bigoted madman being reborn and having the bad taste to survive, no more than a real life school could without it getting picketed to absolute HELL. In all due probability, they either send them home with reading assignments (a common way to make up lost ground in subjects you are behind in) or have them take extra courses, or maybe even go on the assumption that they will recover quickly enough while learning the 3rd year curriculum and do next to nothing at all save for some tutoring.
This might be the reason why Hermione was allowed to use a time-turner to take extra classes in Prisoner of Azkaban. Presumably, she would be the only student to care about her studies enough to ask for such a drastic way to catch up.
My High School automatically cancelled and passed everyone on their exams during her Junior year just because we had a rain storm that knocked out power for the last week of school, and the School Board declared it an 'Act of God', so I don't find it hard to believe that Dumbledore would cancel exams, either.
Harry does say at the start of the third book that the teachers had given him a lot of work over the holidays. The school could have assigned them summer homework to help them catch up on anything they wouldn't have covered due to all the fear going on at Hogwarts. As for the fifth and seventh years, they could be given a continuous assessment of all the work they had done throughout the year. For seventh years, they could have given the option of repeating to those who wanted. Harry and Ron didn't repeat their seventh year while Hermione did.
As the O.W.L. and N.E.W.T tests are given by an outside agency, Dumbledore can't cancel those. Given when in the year Harry takes his, it is likely that hey occurred long before the finale. As Headmaster of Hogwarts, he is within his rights to adjust or even cancel the testing schedule, provided he can justify it to the governors.
It is also indicated through Word of God that many students don't take N.E.W.T exams and that a pass from the professor is enough to get students the jobs. But some students may be required to take the N.E.W.T exams and it is indicated that some students will take the exams over the summer or even come back at the start of the next year to take the exam if their desired job requires it. O.W.L.S take place around April.
Harry Finding the Chamber
How did Riddle know Harry would find the Chamber?
Riddle's stated plan at the end was to lure Harry into the Chamber of Secrets using Ginny as bait, but it's not like Harry wasn't plenty motivated to find the Chamber before Ginny was taken. What was Riddle thinking? "Well, I hope Harry just happens to stumble upon the hidden chamber no one but me has found for a thousand years sometime within the next twenty-four hours or my whole plan won't work?"
This is pure speculation, but Riddle might have thought Harry knew more than he actually did. He knew (at least in a roundabout way, thanks to Ginny's attempted diary flushing) that Harry had been in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, he knew that Harry was looking for the Chamber of Secrets... and with Riddle being Riddle, there's no way he would have brushed that off as a coincidence. To him, there would be only one logical reason for Harry being in a girl's bathroom — he knows, or at least suspects, where the entrance to the Chamber is. All right, all Riddle has to do then is to wait for Harry to make the first move... but then Harry doesn't make the first move. Months pass, and Harry does nothing. Finally, Riddle gets tired of waiting and decides that all right, if this Potter kid is too stubborn or cautious to do anything, then he needs a bit of extra motivation. And if this doesn't work — well, no matter, because he's almost drained Ginny by now anyway and will soon be strong enough to take on a corporeal form.
But he didn't know that the diary had been in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. Harry just said that the diary had been flushed down a toilet, he never said which one, and it's not like Ginny would have wrote in the diary where she was going to chuck it.
It's possible he found out when Ginny overheard Percy talking about Ron being found in the girl's bathroom and Ginny, panicking, wrote in the diary. Alternately, Possessed!Ginny had walked in on them once and jumped to that conclusion, but left to avoid being seen.
Have we all forgotten that Ginny got the diary back? He could have just asked her then where she got rid of it and how Harry ended up with it.
And it's possible that Riddle already knew, because it's possible he was possessing her (And in the bathroom doing something with the Chamber of Secrets) when Ginny got up enough willpower to overcome him and try to ditch the diary. It's even possible she'd done that before, but had been forced to go back and get it, except this time Harry recovered it first.
A more pressing question than why did Voldy think Harry would be able to find the chamber, is how did he ever get the idea that he would be able to open it? He seemed to have already come up with his plan to lure Harry before Ginny could have informed him (if she even would) that Harry could speak Parseltongue.
Well, as stated above, it's not like he loses much if Harry doesn't find or open the Chamber.
Most likely Ginny would have told Riddle about Harry being a Parselmouth as soon as the school found out. She write to him a lot, and she was completely smitten with Harry.
If Harry fails to find it or get in, Riddle could always just wait until he was finished with Ginny and come find Harry himself. He wanted to have a private conversation, so probably wouldn't have attacked him in Hogwarts... but he could just wait until the school was closed and Harry left. (Remember, he has no idea about the blood wards around Harry's house.)
Doesn't the entire school know Harry speaks Parseltongue? I can image Ginny writing that: "Dear Diary, today I learned my crush Harry Potter can talk to snakes."
This is stated outright in the book, actually: "Ginny had told me the whole school was buzzing because you could speak Parseltongue."
Of course, all this is assuming that Tom Riddle was telling the truth. Perhaps the message on the wall was just a boast to scare the Muggle-born, and Tom had no intent for Harry to find it. And when Harry shows up Tom was like, oh, crap, how the hell did Harry find the chamber? And so fast? It took me five years! And I'm not done being made corporeal yet. And have no wand. Stall! 'Ha, I have tricked you. I wanted you to find me. It was all part of my clever plan...' As was pointed out, he has no idea of the blood wards around Harry's house, so forcing Hogwarts to close, walking out a secret passage, and visiting Harry at home (Or even at the train platform) is an entirely reasonable plan.
How is it that Dobby can apparate in and out of Hogwarts?
He probably jinxed the bludger when Lucius came to the match to watch Draco, but then he suddenly appears in the hospital room to Harry, then magically snaps and vanishes. How can he just apparate in and out of the school? In the sixth book that's a huge plot point!
It's mentioned that house elf magic is different than wizard magic and can thus pass through the wards. It also makes more sense once you find out house elves are secretly cleaning the whole castle that they'd need to be able to apparate around easily.
In that case, why aren't there more House Elf Assasins?
We don't see any elves that operate under their own free will; even Dobby and Kreacher had to seize on loopholes to escape long enough to sabotage their masters' plans. Presumably, there are rules that govern how elves work, given that they're obligated to punish themselves even with the loophole in place.
That doesn't explain why people don't order their elves to kill. Maybe it's the one spell they can't do.
Probably one of the House Elf laws: Don't kill wizards. They don't seem to mind hurting wizards, but that's probably the most they can do.
Hogwarts was specifically enchanted against apparating. In tome 7, the Burrow is protected against any direct magic transportation. Sounds really different.
Partially agree with the troper above with the House-elf law thing. Think about how all magical creatures are considered in the wizarding world, though. With the Pure-bloods (using the Malfoy family as an example), they are considered the lowest of low and treated worse than animals. They're nothing more than servants, not assassins. And no one thinks about house elves. One would have to be freaking brilliant, AND think outside the box when it comes to social norms on how to put them to use. Honestly, who pays attention to house elves? If you think about it though, if the Golden Trio had used the house-elves effectively, about 80% of the plot would be gone. How much dirt does Winky have on all politicians besides her Master? Dobby would know every dark secret, etc., etc. It's Truth in Television that servants are considered the greatest sources of information because they're always overlooked. They hear and see everything. A lot of problems with house elves is their sense of duty/loyalty to the family they're bound to. We just don't know how powerful house elves are (it's sorta hinted at, though,) and I'm pretty sure all those creature rights laws keep them from in check.
Dealing with the Attacks
What was Dumbledore's plan to deal with the attacks besides "close the school down and I'm sure Harry Potter will solve this before anyone gets seriously hurt."?
As the "greatest wizard of all", you'd think Hogwarts was in good hands, but really, what was his game plan? The trio are the ones who figure out everything about the attacks; Hermione figures out the monster and Harry nails the culprit. Seriously; your students are dying and your pet pupil is getting blamed at every turn. Why wasn't Dumbledore the slightest bit involved in any sort of routine investigation into the attacks?
Just because Dumbledore is The Chessmaster doesn't mean he always has everything under control.
Yeah! It's not like he claims that he keeps everything under control despite the obvious... oh wait, that's exactly what he does in "Half-Blood Prince", right before the Death Eaters storm the school!
In addition, the same events happened 50 years ago, and no one was able to stop it then. What could Dumbledore do differently, even knowing the likely culprit? Also, no one died, they were only petrified, though the danger was present.
Again, it must be stated: Dumbledore is the greatest wizard of all and headmaster of the school. He does absolutely nothing to uncover the mystery behind the attacks. Hermione, Harry, & Ron are a trio of 2nd-year students who, at great personal risk to themselves, investigate the attacks, figure out everything about the identity of the monster, and then kill it, along with the Horcrux behind it all. Q: What could Dumbledore have done? A: Everything the trio did, only faster and earlier, before the next Basilisk victim wasn't so lucky to see it through a medium so they would only be petrified instead of dead.
The books aren't told from his point of view, so we can't say he did absolutely nothing. Hermione, Harry, and Ron... what exactly did they investigate again? Oh, that's right, they suspected Malfoy and used Polyjuice to sneak into the Slytherin Dorms only to find out what Dumbledore already knew, that the chamber was opened 50 years ago and someone died. The only reason they found out was because Hermione is a genius and had knowledge that Harry understood the monster, something Dumbledore wasn't told. I'm under the impression if Dumbledore was told Harry was hearing it he might have put two and two together like Hermione to get a Basilisk, but even then he'd be stuck on where or how to open the chamber, something Harry only finds because of asking Myrtle, and even then only because he's a parslemouth.
There was nothing stopping Dumbledore asking Myrtle, which he could have done as soon as he knew the Chamber was open! She'd have told him she heard a boy speaking a hissing language, looked into a pair of eyes, and died; Dumbledore would have remembered that he was suspicious of Tom Riddle at the time and that Tom was a parselmouth; put two and two together, and by keeping some sort of magical watch over the entrance (he's the headmaster and the greatest wizard in the world, this is totally within his power) he would have seen Ginny enter the next time Tom wanted an attack, solved the problem, and realized Voldemort had multiple Horcruxes far earlier than he did in canon!
Yet he never did ask Myrtle the past 50 years she's been a ghost (barring, of course, the time she haunted her bully). He knew Tom was a parselmouth and could make an educated guess that the monster was a snake of some sort, but he couldn't confirm it. Just because Tom was a parselmouth didn't mean Salazar didn't leave behind a completely new magical beast that could instantly petrify or (if lucky) kill on command. He also never knew where the opening of the chamber was or even if there was only one opening to the chamber. After all, in the books themselves, the Basilisk got around through the pipes and it was entirely possible for there to be multiple entrances as well.
It's clear that Dumbledore knows what the monster is and where it is, but does not yet know that Harry speaks the language that can get him in. Even so, I don't think Dumbledore was willing to risk Harry's life facing the Basilisk. His problem was figuring out how Voldemort was controlling the creature so he could stop it. His comments during the book seem to point this out:
Dumbledore: The question is not "Who?". The question is "how?" (after the second attack)
Dumbledore: What interests me is how Lord Voldemort managed to enchant Ginny, as he's in hiding in Albania. (After learning Ginny was behind it all)
Yes. I'm unsure as to why people assume Dumbledore doesn't know it's a basilisk. Where does he indicate this? He could easily already know it, it makes no difference to the plot. I know the Trio had their 'great mystery' of 'What is the monster?', but that was utterly irrelevant in actually finding where the Chamber was and who was opening it, the actual important question. Although, as above says, technically Dumbledore already knew 'who', but was baffled as to how he was managing it. (I'm imagining Dumbledore checking the back of everyone's head for Voldemort, and looking for secret passages that Voldemort could be using to sneak in.)
My guess is with Ginny's capture, Dumbledore would've had to risk Harry to stop the Basilisk. But by the time he got back, probably off looking for clues to solve the mystery, Harry had already gone. So we can assume he was working on the problem, but like Harry he didn't have all the pieces to solve it.
Given how, despite the alleged lethality of its gaze, nobody was actually killed by the basilisk on Dumbledore's watch, I suspect that he did do something: he invoked some kind of subtle warding magic that would ensure nobody in the castle would ever meet the creature's gaze directly. Having characters be shielded by a camera and a ghost seems like too wild a coincidence for it to actually be one; rather, Dumbledore might've used some sort of luck-based magic to protect everyone from lasting harm, then kept quiet about it because having everyone walk around the school using mirrors to peer around corners, ready to blast away at the creature with their eyes shut, would've caused more accidents than there were attacks.
I think some one already pointed it out but this is ridiculous. DD was clearly worried that this odd luck they had been having would run out. I do have another theory though.
Tom Riddle was making the basilisk be cautious.
Voldemort was always very clear that he needn't spill magical blood. He only was interested in muggleborns. Later in the series we see that in order to not be arrested by the new ministry you only have to prove blood relation to one other wizard or witch not to a family just one example of a known magic user in the family. If the basilisk had just gone around carelessly killing everyone a "deserving" witch or wizard might die and he doesn't want that.
Lucius's Plan Worked!
Is it me, or did Lucius's plan actually work like a wonder?
Ok, so in the end, after Harry returns from the Chamber with Ginny, he tells the story, but is reluctant to mention her involvement, as with Riddle's diary destroyed she becomes the prime suspect, and then Dumbledore is all perceptive, and he blames Voldemort, and everyone is happy, and Lucius Malfoy is put to shame, since his plan to frame a Weasly for the attacks is failed...wait, what exactly do they have to back their case and expose him? All they've got is a burned empty diary and words of a 12-year old wizard. They have no proof that it was Lucius who gave the diary to Ginny, or that it had ever been anything but a humble diary, or that it had even belonged to Riddle in the first place! So why does Lucius behave like he was caught with his pants down and doesn't even try to question D's allegations?
A few possible explanations. One, Lucius isn't scared that he got caught (as he knows Dumbledore can't prove it), but is scared of Voldemort's vengeance on him for getting the Diary destroyed. The reason Lucius doesn't press the "I'm innocent, you've got no proof" thing is that nothing but more investigations and spotlight on his character will come of it. He doesn't need to say anything, and people will assume that it wasn't really his fault, and he was made a patsy so that Dumbledore could cover for those loyal to him. Besides, if he does protest and they do find evidence (for example where the Basilisk Fang/Venom stuck in the Diary came from, how could Ginny have opened the chamber, Pensieve Memories from Harry, etc.), then he's doubly screwed.
Actually, I think he was sacked purely for threatening to curse the board and that his involvement with the Chamber was considered unproven, hence why he got off so easily. Lucius did demand proof and Dumbledore casually responded that "Oh, no one will be able to do that. Not now that Riddle has vanished from the book. On the other hand, I would advise you, Lucius, not to go giving out any more of Lord Voldemort's old school things. If any more of them find their way into innocent hands, I think Arthur Weasley, for one, will make sure they are traced back to you..."
OP: That's not exactly my point. My point is that as far as I can see, Lucius won. His plan was to arrange it so that Ginny gets the blame for the attacks against Muggleborns, thus compromising Arthur Weasley and his pro-Muggle agenda. Well, isn't that exactly what happened? Without the working diary, the good guys are left with precisely zero proofs that Ginny was anything but a voluntary agent, and Dumbledore's accusations against Voldemort end up being completely ungrounded. Sure, they are good enough for the school staff who all eat out of D's hand, but why the hell does Lucius back off? All he needs to do is shout "tally-ho!", and Reeta Skeeter will tear both the Weasleys and Dumbledore apart.
Likewise, they have no proof that Ginny did anything but get kidnapped. After all, you don't suspect a female first year of being the heir of Slytherin when the message on the wall clearly says "her skeleton will remain in the chamber forever." If Lucius started to call for her to be arrested, what are the grounds? That she was secretly leading the monster around? Where's the proof in that?
Not necessarily arrested. A brand of a psychotic mass murderer in mass media would probably suffice. Remember, his main goal was to ruin Arthur. As for proofs, it's easy. If she wasn't the Heir, then surely she must've seen the real one, right? Well, who's he? A ghost of Tom Riddle rising from this so-obviously-ordinary diary? Riiiiiiight. Besides, why is she alive at all? Why would the monster or the Heir kidnap her instead of killing her like they "killed" the others? As for the message, gimme a break. What could be a better way to shake off suspicions than playing a victim?
The problem with all of that is then they'd get Harry involved in Ginny's defense, as he has answers for all of those questions. "Yes, there was a being controlling her through the diary and sucking the life out of her. That's why I stabbed it with a basilisk fang after I killed it. Don't believe me? I'll show you the Chamber of Secrets and the diary." All logical answers to his questions and brings up further questions of where the diary even came from. Which leads them back to Lucius who shoved her books into her cauldron way back in the summer. Ultimately, Lucius deemed it not worth the risk of pushing for his plan when it could easily backfire spectacularly on him.
Except that a) since the Horcrux is gone from it, the diary would prove nothing; b) a whole year later, it will be said by none other than D that "the words of two 13-year old wizards will not convince anybody" (mind you, the case it will be said about will not have Lucius pressing it); and c) D himself admitted they can't prove Lucius was behind the diary (as for D's threats that "next time I'll make sure blahblahblah", well, as one petty crook from The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed aptly put it: "drop the bluff and scare, fuzz").
They can't prove Lucius was behind what diary? That ruined book they're holding? That's no proof of anything at all! The actual facts: Ginny didn't confess to anything, she doesn't even remember. And Harry doesn't know she did it, he's just relating what Tom said. Either the courts disbelieve Harry, in which case they literally have no evidence Ginny was ever near the chamber of secrets, or they believe Harry, but disbelief what Tom Riddle said, in which case the obviously conclusion is a demented mad-man thought he was Voldemort and kidnapped her, or they believe Harry and Tom and it's clear she was possessed. There's no plausible way to believe Tom Riddle when he said Ginny opened the chamber, but to not believe him when he said he had possessed her to do so. That's just a crazy conclusion. (In fact, strictly speaking, asking Harry to relate what Tom said happened is hearsay anyway, and wouldn't be allowed in normal court. If 'Tom Riddle' claims to know who opened the chamber of secrets, 'Tom Riddle' needs be put on the stand to state that. People are not allowed to relate what someone else knows. Although who knows what stupid rules Wizards have..)
Now that I think of it further, the final scene in DD's office is even more baffling. To qoute DD: ""Because if Harry here and his friend Ron hadn't discovered this book, why — Ginny Weasley might have taken all the blame. No one would ever have been able to prove she hadn't acted of her own free will." Uhm, what? If Harry and his friend Ron hadn't discovered this book, Ginny Weasley would've been dead. Her skeleton would've lied in the Chamber forever, as Mr. Riddle'd astutely observed. And, unless I'm wrong, it's pretty hard to accuse a person of a crime if they'd become a victim of that very crime (aka "suspect elimination rule"). Hell, Ginny's death might've worked in favor of Arthur's agenda (please, don't get me wrong here) as she'd become a symbol of wanton cruelty pureblood supremacist's display. And the only way Lucius' cheme could work was if Ginny was still alive by the end to present the investigation with a prime suspect. Which, accidentally, means that in his heroics the Scarhead had played into the hands of the villains (again), who only lost because of that peculiar "sudden-fit-of-idiocy-on-the-verge-of-victory" syndrom they all apparently suffer from.
There's still no real evidence that Ginny ever did anything wrong. You might be able to brush aside evidence that she was innocent, but only if you had any evidence she'd done anything wrong to begin with.
Unfortunately, there is. She did remember some things, like being covered in rooster blood or having blackouts. She even confessed to Riddle that she suspected herself. It doesn't matter whom she did or didn't tell that. She knew she was guilty, meaning she would've cracked at an interrogation (it's hard to imagine a distressed 12-year old girl sucessfully lying her way out or staying in denial, especially with things like Veritaserum, isn't it). And she was a prime suspect, because her culpability was the only possible explanation for two otherwise nonsensical events: why the hell would the Heir bother to kidnap her instead of killing her and how the hell did she manage to survive. The only way it makes sense is if it was a cover-up, and she staged her own kidnapping to throw off suspicions. Then, after Harry discovered the Chamber and found out who the "Heir" was, DD decided to write the blame off on the most obvious and convinient scapegoat - Voldemort - to protect his friend Arthur Weasely. Thus he invented the story with the mind-controlling diary. Since they have no "demented mad-man who thought he was Voldemort" to present, they would have nothing to counter with, if Lucius had laid forth the aforementioned explanation. And seing how the judicial system in this wretched verse is two bits shy of a Kangaroo Court, I'd say, that, yeah, the girl is screwed.
If a serial killer is wandering around and stabbing people in certain way, and no one knows who it is, and then some random note is found stating he's kidnapped someone, and that person is later found half-conscious in a secret room without the killer nearby, the logical conclusion is not that the person who was kidnapped is the serial killer. Simply because the criminal did changed what they were doing does not, in any logical way, lead to the conclusion that the new victim is actually the criminal. Especially not in a world with magic, where Ginny's 'inability to remember who did it' could be explained by a trivial spell.
But the timing was not random at all. "Kidnapping" happened right after MG declared that they were about to revive the victims, some of whom might identify the culprit. Of course, she couldn't know that, and it was obviously a ruse to provoke the Heir. And whaddyouknow! The "Heir" suddenly and without any conceivable reason broke his MO, by a) attacking a pureblood and b) going all theatrical with the note and taking her to the Chamber. While, I admit, it could be explained otherwise (her father was a blood traitor, and Heir's record with killing people on spot was sub-par so far), it could also be seen as a cover-up attempt. Probably not enough to accuse Ginny outright, but quite enough to warrant an interrogation. And then, she's screwed - she all but confessed in the attacks, the part about Riddle would be easy to dismiss as shifting the blame on the usual scapegoat, and Harry would be dismissed as biased and a kid. As for memory spells - if they were really taken into account, then the whole approach to wintess testimony would've been completely different, and that pathetic excuse for a witness DD dragged before the court in "Order" would've been rejected even faster then she should've been otherwise.
Except that, as demonstrated last time (And would be demonstrated yet again.), the unpertrified people have no idea who did it or remember anything more than yellow eyes. So someone trying to 'cover their tracks' makes no sense...no one needs to cover any tracks. (Not that pretending to be kidnapped and showing back up would have actually helped with that.) And Ginny confess to what she did solely to Harry. And in front of her parents and DD, she confess to...writing in a diary. The conversations with her parents is a weird conversation, and at no point does Dumbledore or Harry state that it was Ginny who did anything. Now, people seem to think that DD spilled the beans at the end, but Lucius already knew all that, and that scene is actually DD threatening Lucius. (I.e, if you take this in front of the courts and insist on an investigation...you'll will indeed get a investigation, because I already know every single detail of this entire thing.)
Wel, yes, that "cover up" was stupid and sloppy... something you would expect from a crazed 12-year old rather then the brilliant mastermind like Riddle, don't you think? BTW it wouldn't be "pretend to be kidnapped and show back up" as much as "stage her own death and then abscond from the castle". Again, she's crazy, she doesn't have to make sense. As for whom she confessed what, it hardly matters. The immediate evidences might not have been enough to accuse her outright, but they would warrant a questioning, which she obviously would not have withstanded. Everything about Riddle could've been dismissed as scapegoating or being crazy, Harry's testimony could've been dismissed as coming from an interested party (and hey, a whole year later DD himself would say, that nobody was going to beleive children), and Fudge would definitely choose a crazy girl appropriating some random Dark artefact from her scatterbrained daddy, who'd aquired it from a random Death Eater in a raid, over the Dark Lord Voldemort still being at large and influencing people through notebooks. And DD was full of shift as usual. He admitted that they couldn't prove Lucius' connection to the diary, so they had nothing on him. Hell, Lucius'd betrayed Voldemort, who in their right mind would believe that he would let (basically) Voldemort with a deadly monster into the school where his own son is?
Although if Harry wasn't the Boy-Who-Lived, it's worth pointing out that some serious questions could be asked of him. He sure found that 'hidden for a thousand years' room fast, didn't he? And wasn't it lucky he could speak Parseltongue? And then he rescued that girl who is known to have a crush on him, so could have easily been convinced to go somewhere private with him? And didn't Harry skip classes 'to visit Hermoine' while Ginny was being kidnapped, a time when every single person in the school was under escort or in class? And one of the few people who could back up his story has complete memory loss right near the signs of a struggle. The sort of memory loss that you could get if, for example, a child screwed up an Obliviate. Harry's just really lucky that Ron can back up his story.
The Sorting Hat (a sentient hat that can obviously observe its surroundings, as evidenced when it talked to Harry while sitting on the shelf in Dumbledore's office) was in the chamber with Harry as well. Granted, it wasn't there for the whole "I am Lord Voldemort" thing but it did see a 17 year old kid (and the Hat could probably recognise the kid as being Tom Riddle) sending a Basilisk after Harry and it would have also seen Harry stabbing the diary and "killing" 17 year old Tom Riddle. The Sorting Hat was the one who gave Harry the sword to help him kill the basilisk after all, so it had to have some idea what was going on. Even if the Hat was face down and only heard everything that went on, it could still corroborate the fact that some kid sent a Basilisk after Harry based on what it heard. Besides, doesn't Tom even say something like "I'm the only one who can control it" AFTER he sends it to kill Harry? The Sorting Hat would have heard that too. Unless the Hat can't legally testify. Then my explanation is useless.
Wait, now I'm confused. I thought Lucius didn't know anything about the diary. That he was just trying to get rid of it and that "if he knew how important it really he was he probably woulnd't have given it away to begin with" or something like that (didn't DD say something along those lines?) I was under the impression that he just thought it was a piece of dark magic that Voldy gave to him and that he was tired of having around the house and gave it to Ginny just to be done with it and the thought that "if it turns out to be dangerous, it'll be the blood-traitor's daughter who gets hurt so no loss there." I don't think Lucius had any idea that it would open the Chamber (did he even know of the Chamber's existance? That was a bit before his time and even Draco had no idea what it was, you'd think he'd give his son the heads up or something.) or bring back Riddle/Voldemort, otherwise, he probably would have given it to someone else, someone who knew of it's importance and actually wanted to see it come to fruition. I know Dobby knew he was up to something, but I was under the impression that even Dobby hadn't completely realized the Chamber was going to be opened. Pretty sure he just knew that something bad was going to happen and was trying to protect Harry Potter because his master was all excited about something bad happening at Hogwarts.
The School Board's inexplicable behavior
School boards are often crazy, but not this much.
I'm trying to reenact the train of thoughts of the boardsmen who voted Dumbledore back and... I just can't. "So, there've been a number of attacks that Dumbledore completely failed to prevent and that fell slightly short of being lethal thanks only to a bizzare sequence of extremely implausible lucky coincidences. Naturaly, we sacked Dumbledore, but we forgot to actually place someone competent in his place, so there was another attack. So what do we do now? I know! Let's call Dumbledore back!" Whaaaaa? It gets even better when you take into account that the terrible threat that left THE Dumbledore beaten cold, was neutralised... by a 12-year old boy and a bird. Seriously, the whole situation was just sprawling there before Lucius, waiting for him to gut it, he could've taken down Dumbledore, Weasley, AND the school board, and he just stepped down. What the hell?!
I can only assume they were acting out of fear because they were apparently claiming that Lucius threatened them to agree to sack him in the first place. They were then acting out of desperation in bringing him back.
And they didn't run to Dumbledore immediately after Lucius threatened them because...?
Either they're too afraid or Lucius's threats implied if they did that their families were in danger. That, or they're lying and they really are dumb enough to believe sacking Dumbledore and not replacing him until the crisis is over would be the best plan. Thus, they are just covering their incompetent backs by claiming Lucius threatened them.
Personally, I share the last assumption, yet it brings us back to the beginning. It all turns out so utterly ridiculous ("Let's sack Dumbledore! Crap, that didn't work - let's bring Dumbledore back!"), that I can't believe Lucius wouldn't grab at the chance to expose them all as the senile scatterbrains they are and bring them down together with DD (who, I'll reiterate, failed to deal with a problem that a twelve-year old dealt with). Hell, he could've probably even accused Dumbledore of bribing (or threatening, if he's in for some sweet irony) the board, and it wouldn't have looked too far-fetched at that point!
Actually, it's made pretty clear that Lucius did threaten the school board to make them get rid of Dumbledor to begin with. They wanted Dumbledor to take care of the problem, and expected him to, but Lucius wanted the monster to continue running unchecked. He threatened the school board into getting rid of Dumbledore. When they heard a student had been kidnapped, they realized that things were worse than they thought, and decided the school's safety was more important than their own, and thus, brought Dumbledore back, regardless of what Lucius would have done to them. It wasn't until Dumbledore was already back that Harry defeated the basilisk and got rid of Riddle.
Made pretty clear when? DD had proven unable to deal with the problem and hadn't shown any kind of progress by the time he was removed. Hell, less attacks happened after his removal than before it! And how did Ginny's kidnapping make things worse? It would make them more confusing, sure, leading to thoughts of "Why the hell would the monster or the Heir kidnap a girl instead of killing her", which leads to the previous headscratcher.
They stated it verbatim in the book. or close enough when Lucius shows up at Hogwarts and ask why DD is back when he was suppose to be suspended.
Nope, DD stated it verbatim. And he's an interested party, and as such, his testimony is invalid.
HARRY: Dobby! So this is your master! The family you serve is the Malfoys.
LUCIUS MALFOY: I’ll deal with you later. Out of my way, Potter! So, it’s
true— you have returned!
DUMBLEDORE: When the governors learned that Arthur Weasley’s daughter was
taken into the Chamber, they saw fit to summon me back.
LUCIUS MALFOY: Ridiculous!
DUMBLEDORE: Curiously, Lucius, several of them were under the impression that
you would curse their families, if they did not agree to suspend me in the
That was taken from a copy of the movie script.
So? All that was stated was that DD claimed it happened. And just because DD said somethin, doesn't mean it makes sense. In this case it doesn't. I'm totally behind Lucius' assessment of the situation - it is indeed ridiculous. He had no need to threaten anybody, and the school board had no reason to call DD back, since he had been unable to deal with the prior attacks.
You're being deliberately obtuse. "Just because a character said it, doesn't mean it happened!" He obviously did threaten people, or they wouldn't have sacked him as the governor. He had every reason to threaten them — to get rid of Dumbledore so there'd be more attacks. There's no reason in the book to disbelieve Dumbledore unless you have a major crush on Lucius Malfoy for some reason. In which case it's just total and complete denial.
Flaws in Lucius's Plan
What sort of crazy plan is Lucius trying to pull?
What really gets me about Lucius's plan is that either he has no idea what the Diary does (in which case he's an idiot for making it the linchpin of a plan) or else he does have some idea (in which case he's a stupendous idiot for letting it out of safekeeping; the Dark Lord is gonna be annoyed when he returns, and if you know he has Horcruxes, it's "when", not "if".) Especially when simply using the Imperius Curse on Ginny to do something illegal would have fulfilled the objective just as well! (Yes, the 'Imperius Curse defense' is a precedent that Lucius himself has set, but I think you need to pay for that particular service.)
"Has some idea" doesn't transcribe into "knows about horcruxes". Lucius knew that the diary contained... something, that could possess people and make them open the Chamber, that's it. As for Imperius, apparently using it in the long term is not that simple, not to mention where and when the hell Lucius was supposed to cast it on her without being exposed (you do remember that using it on people gets you a life term in Azkaban, don't you)? Besides, as I'm trying to reason above, his plan worked perfectly - he just backed off inexplicably at the last moment.
He's not much of a dark wizard if he can't figure out that it's a Horcrux simply from knowing what it does; after all, everybody else who'd ever heard the word "Horcrux" before did. Also, Draco showed in book 6 that it's actually pretty easy to get away with Imperius'ing people if you know what you're doing; Lucius is ten times the wizard his son is.
Draco had way more opportunities to find a sneaky way to Imperius someone. Lucius couldn't exactly curse Ginny in the middle of a crowded bookshop without someone noticing. And there's a cameraman from the local newspaper running around taking pictures of everything. The only way for the situation to be less suited for Imperiusing someone would be if he were on live television at the moment. As for the Horcrux bit, "everybody else who'd ever heard the word 'Horcrux'" is a very small number of people. It's entirely possible that Lucius had never even heard of one, let alone know what it is and how it works. All he knew was he had this diary with some weird powers, given to him by a guy he probably assumed was long dead (remember how he fled in terror when he saw the Dark Mark in Goblet of Fire). Why not try it out on some girl he cared nothing for anyway?
"All he knew was he had this diary with some weird powers, given to him by a guy he probably assumed was long dead. Why not try it out on some girl he cared nothing for anyway?" This! That's what I got from it. I don't think Lucius a)had much a plan to begin with (maybe something along the lines of "get rid of strange piece of dark majic. Oh look, there's the daughter of that guy I hate, I'll give it to her.") and b) knew of the diary's importance. Pretty sure they've even mentioned before that he didn't really want the Dark Lord to come back. His life is in a great place, and the return of the man who will bring back a war (a war they LOST the first time around and Lucius barely managed to get away clean from) is not high on his want list. That's not to say he didn't jump on the DE band-wagon when it pulled up, but that doesn't mean it's an outcome he really wanted.
Exactly. The Horcruxes were among the most obscure and well hidden pieces of Dark Lore, and V'd certainly make sure they'd be even more so. As for Lucius's alleged mastery of Dark Arts, we're talking about the guy who was pwned by his own house-elf (yes, I know about the special magic, still pathetic), and then managed to completely screw up the easiest and most well-laid out operation in the history of covert ops and failed to overcome five barely trained kids. So yeah, "not much of a dark wizard" indeed.
Voldemort vs. Horcrux!Riddle
A fully empowered diary Riddle?
Let's say that Riddle drains all the power from Ginny. And Then What?? Does he merge with Voldemort, work with him as an ally, as a subordinate, or do they go to war with each other? Rowling's FAQ says she can't answer this until all seven books are out, but "it would have strengthened the present-day Voldemort considerably." Well, all seven books have been out for some time now...
Strife is pretty senseless here, 'cause V cannot be killed untill all the horcruces are destroyed. On the other hand, if we follow the One Ring analogy, the Horcruxes should regard themselves as integral parts of Voldemort and be loyal to him. I like to think Riddle'd go to Albania and ressurect Voldemort.
I read a fanfic where diary Riddle succeeds, and Voldemort's disembodied spirit enters his body and they willingly merge into one consciousness. It could be something like that.
I figured Horcrux!Riddle would strike out on his own. Voldemort is not one to ignore weakness (such as being defeated by a baby), and the fact that it was himself it happened to would probably disgust him all the more.
Uh, Voldemort's the one who designed the diary Horcrux. Obviously, he wouldn't allow for such a rebellion to happen. I mean, he's not that stupid... right?
Presumably Vapormort flies over from Albania and kicks the Diary-soul-fragment right back into the diary.
The diary wasn't SUPPOSE to be used until after or during Voldy's take over. He wanted to have Dairy riddle rid the school of muggleborns and then possibly teach or govern the school while Main Voldy worried about keeping adult wizards in line.
The Dead Tell No Tales
Why was the chamber never found?
Ok, you can only open the chamber with Parseltongue. But there are hundreds of freakin' ghosts in the castle! As in: intangible creatures who don't need any chamber to be opened. So, many, many through-wall-walking creatures roam around Hogwarts aimlessly for more than 1000 years. Seriously, how small is the chance that none of them ever accidentally landed in the Chamber of Secrets? How improbable is that?
Perhaps Slytherin sealed it off from ghosts with some sort of magic.
Maybe some ghost did; remember that the Basilisk stare petrifies ghosts, so they probably assume Mortimer the Clumsy Wanderer just left the castle when the Basilisk actually got him.
Plus the chamber is deep deep underground, over perhaps Slytherin made it so that only a Parselmouth can literally find the chamber. Are there any anti-ghost hexes and jinxs? jinxii? jinxes?
Fanon has basilisk being a Fidelus secret-keeper. It told Riddle where the Chamber was, and he directed it to show Harry where the opening was. (Which also, by accident, showed Ron and Lockhart.) This explains the lack of ghosts and or teachers to locate it for 1000 years. No one can find it until the basilisk tells them where it is, and the first person it told was Riddle. And after it dies, no one can find it unless Ron or Harry or Lockhart or Voldemort tells them, as they're now the secret keepers, which neatly allows Ron to let Hermione in later. (How this applies with non-possessed Ginny is unknown. Technically, Ron or Harry may have 'showed' her the secret entrance as they flew out.)
Except that it didn't. They deduced where it should be. And how could it tell Riddle where the Chamber was before he opened the Chamber?
The idea is that basilisk judges students, and if they are the Heir and track down where the Chamber is, it makes the snake appear on the faucet so they can open it, and seeing that snake is akin to the person reading a piece of paper stating where the Order of the Phoenix is. And they can't tell others, until the basilisk died and they became the secret keeper. (What would people in the bathroom who hadn't see the snake faucet seen? Whatever people who watched people walk into 12 Grimwald place would have seen.)
There's no light in the long chute that connects Myrtle's bathroom to the Chamber. A ghost would see... a sewer pipe. You'd have to be one bored ghost to decide you wanted to find out where a sewer pipe (even an unusually large one) goes.
So... why did they wait until the end of the year to cure the students? Are Mandrakes just that rare? Do the Hogwarts greenhouses have the entire world's supply of mandrakes? St. Mungo's doesn't carry any for, you know, emergencies? Or is Hogwarts so broke that it was considered acceptable for Colin to lose 7 months of education instead of buying some medical potions for him right away?
Maybe Mandrakes are only "in season" during June, and if you tried to stock them past that month, they would just "spoil" and become useless.
It's a reasonable possibility, but if muggles can buy strawberries in the winter, I expect that wizards could have worked out something with magic. I mean, they're grown in greenhouses anyways. Wizards love making their own lives more convenient via magic, don't they?
A fanfic explanation I read was that the mandrakes need to be added in the potion during certain periods of the year (in this case during the summer) which didn't happen until near the end of the school year. It also stated that the potion loses its effectiveness after a few days making stockpiling impossible.
Prof. Sprout explains to Harry that they need to grow into adulthood before they can be used in the potion, and as they're very rare they can't just go and buy others.
This still does not address the fact that major hospitals like St. Mungo's would have no method of treating anyone in the country for petrification accidents. For months. Is that honestly the state of healthcare in the Wizarding world?
It's even worse than that: we know from one of Snape's lessons that there are potions that can instantly turn a toad back into a tadpole. Why aren't there also potions that could artificially grow the Mandrakes to maturity in minutes? Granted, it could be that such forced growth would ruin their curative properties, but it would've been nice to see the idea mentioned and shot down at least.
Who is to say the teachers didn't try to get Mandrakes from elsewhere? It's mentioned that the things have to grow and mature before they can be used. If Hogwarts is the only wizarding school in the UK, it's possible that they were the only place that had them. Hermione tells us that Mandrakes are mainly used to cure people that have been cursed or petrified. We never hear of anyone else being petrified in the series, implying that it's a very rare thing. Maybe St Mungo's doesn't have a stock because the condition they're used to cure is so rare.
Since the people petrified are basically in suspended animation, and wizarding society on the whole isn't exactly full of what you might call person centred caring, they probably just grow to demand because it is easier and call "no harm, no foul" when someone gets reanimated months later but still physically intact. If there is one thing we learn in this series it is that wizards tend to be both lazy and thoughtless when it comes to health and safety concerns; chalk this up to yet another sign of the wizarding world's stagnation and corruption.
No leads, no suspect, no danger!
Why didn't Dumbledore shut down the school to hunt down the monster? Let's start with a few facts. As of Colin Creevy's petrification, sometime between Halloween and Christmas:
50 years ago, one student died.
one animal and one student has been petrified.
There is a written threat that claims that the same threat that killed the student 50 years ago is the cause of the current attacks.
What is at stake if Dumbledore doesn't close down the school? Further petrifications or deaths. What is at stake if Dumbledore does close the school? ...his reputation? Every student is equally set back a few months (or a year)?
The exact opposite could be argued. What can shutting the school down solve? As you've said he's had 50 years to figure out where the monster came from and has come up with nothing. Shutting it down would just be giving into the demands of the instigator. Besides even though he's headmaster I don't believe he has the authority to shut down the school on the fly like that. He'd need the Governors' approval and they'd much rather think him being Headmaster would protect everyone until Lucius Malfoy says otherwise.
The demands of the instigator are "Enemies of the Heir, Beware." That's it. Presumably they meant muggleborns, but shutting down the whole school is not the same as just sending Muggleborns home. Trying to take the moral high ground like "that would be giving into their demands!" is the kind of speech you give to soldiers and their funerals, not to schoolchildren or when making safety policies. He knew the culprit was Tom Riddle last time, and he presumed that as long as Riddle never returned, the monster wouldn't return. This time he doesn't know and he needs to clear the school to search for the beast. I'm going to pull a case of Muggles Do It Better here: when a school receives a bomb threat (or any other kind of threat) the schools IMMEDIATELY go into lockdown, police are called, and a thorough search and investigation is performed to ensure safety before classes resume. And yes, he does have the authority to shut down the school: McGonagall, even as acting Headmistress, could shut down the school within a day of Ginny's disappearance.
I'm still under the opinion that even if Dumbledore knew for certain the beast was let out by Tom Riddle that he'd have made a search of the school when he was made Headmaster at some point. There's no reason that another Tom Riddle couldn't come along or a descendant of his couldn't come back and cause trouble again so he'd want to find out where the beast resided in the castle. I believe he had plenty of summers and endless possibilities to search and simply gave up at some point that he wouldn't be able to find it. Besides shutting down the school at that point would have stalled the plot because as stated no one (but a parselmouth) had ever found the Chamber of Secrets after many searches of the school.
The last time the school was almost closed, an innocent person was framed and the killer got off with a medal for his efforts. Dumbledore really couldn't risk that happening again, especially when it suggests that a nearly-dead Voldemort is somehow trying to kill people from hundreds of miles away. Given that Voldemort himself was in the school just months ago, there would be far too much at stake if he slipped away again (in Ginny Weasley's schoolbag, for example). Even if he somehow found the Chamber and the monster (which he must have been at least keeping an eye out for all these years, to no avail), what then? It tells him nothing about how Voldemort is doing what he's doing, or whether or not he can keep doing it.
Ok, I know I kinda abuse this idea, but it's not my fault JR introduced that kind of Game Breaker and then never bothered to set any constraints on its use beyond some vague, pointless, scary tales. I'm refering, of course, to the Time Turners. There was no need to lock down the school, and there should never have been more than one attack. Because after it'd happened somebody should've travelled back to before it happened, turned themself imperceptible, go the site of the attack, witness it, expose the culprit and then act accordingly - maybe kill/detain it on spot, maybe follow it to its lair - that's details. Any ideas why that wasn't done (and no, the default answer is not valid)?
The possibility of getting petrified on accident in this case. The rules of time wouldn't be happy if you wind up running into your invisible petrified self. This is of course assuming that this didn't end up happening and the person with the time turner ended up dead causing a coverup of that incident.
Technicalities. Once you really start Thinking with Time-Turners, such things shouldn't deter you. Have the first Time Traveller set up some hidden magic survelliance camera at the site of the attack, so that people in the future could see the whole event and prepare accordingly. Like take Fawkes with them and have him pluck Basie's eyes out like exactly he did. Or use some spell that grants you echo-location and thus allows you to fight blind-folded. We're talking professionals here, who, thanks to the TT, have all the time in the world to prepare. Again, they already had Colin Creevy's body to study, so in conjunction with the information about the attacks 50 years ago, I think they had a pretty good idea of what they were against (Just how many magical creatures can petrify their victims anyway?).
Although it would be interesting if Omnioculours (the binoculars that they use to record the World Cup in Book 4) would work on a Basilisk or petrify anyone that views it, it could be a good idea. Again they have a good idea what the creature is but they don't know it's a basilisk otherwise they just have roosters patrolling the hallway ready to crow at a second's notice and kill it. Also either I'm underestimating time travel in HP-verse or you're overestimating it. I still think that it has to have some sort of cause and effect otherwise there would be no need to use it in the first place. So say they found a dead basilisk... why would they go back in time to kill it? It has to be done well enough that the person that goes back in time decides to go back in time in the first place.
Vanish the corpse, or make it invisible, or transfigure into something untill the time is right, or put a note on it saying "DD, go to the past and kill this thing. Sincerely yours, DD", or do I need to spell everything out? Of course it has to be done well, but we are talking experienced adults here, who are expected to actually plan their actions instead of throwing themselves into the thicket without the slightest idea about what they are doing. But even if they do find the Basie's corpse, so what? It would just be the "Harry saved by the stranger's Patronus in PoA" again (or before). DD would either figure out that it was him who'd killed the beast, because who else could it be, or go back to witness the attack at Colin and reveal the culprit and its slayer and then realise that it should be him.
At what point do you draw the line at fixing everything with time travel? Why not just jump back a thousand years and kill Salazar Slytherin as a baby while you're at it?
Because it's overly complicated, probably to the point of unfeasibility, it's, to put it mildly, overkill, and it's downright unethical.
So on the sliding scale between stopping the first attack and killing Salazar Slytherin, at what point does fixing everything with time travel become wrong? How about stopping Tom Riddle from creating the diary in the first place? Is there a time limit to how far you can go back before it's wrong?
What I know for sure is that what I suggest is far less drastic and time-ingressive than what the "heroes" actually pulled off in PoA. So here's your precious limit, if that's what it all about - established by none other than His Infallible Eminence Albus Percival Wulfric Brian DeeDee himself.
Like it or not, Stable Time Loop is the reason why, again using Po A for example. Everything Harry and Hermione did when they went back had already happened, because they'd already gone back and done it. That's the definition of a Stable Time Loop! You also have to live through however much time you went back for. That's why Harry and Hermione had to be back in the hospital wing at nearly the same time as they went back in the first place, or they would have broken the time loop. There's no way to go back thousands of years anyway, you'd be dead before you got back and that would break the time loop.
"You also have to live through however much time you went back for." BTW, this is just plain not true. Kids had to be back in the hospital because that's where they were expected to be at that moment, and if they were found missing, the sharade would've been exposed. Remember, group2 returns to the ward after group1 already departs from it to the past. Their safe return didn't mean a thing - they could've died on the way back and nothing would've changed for the time travel. So if the TT technically allows for a thousand-year back trip, then it's possible, even though the travellers wouldn't live through to the departure point.
... ... ... and? How does any of this prevent DD from going back and killing Basie after it petrifies Collin (or maybe even before, in which case the events would've gone differently and would've always gone differently so again, no loop-breaking)? As for the second part, I wasn't the one who came up with the whole "go back a thousand years and kill Slytherin/Riddle/whoever as a baby" nonsense because they've apparently run out of valid arguments. I'm fine with a several-hour limit - in all the cases in question it would've been quite enough.
....Because they know they didn't go back in time to begin with, otherwise the problem would have already been solved. I love how quick you are to finger others as being unable to counteract arguments.
Well, they kinda are, sorry. What you typed is yet another piece of circular logic and it's not valid with billateral cause and effect. Time-Travel shapes the past. If they didn't go back, there has to be a reason why they wouldn't want to go back other than "they didn't go" because that fact by itself is dependable. It's like you have a genie who can see the future and grants your wish that you're going to make in a few hours. By the moment of the wish-making you already experience its effect, but that's because you're going to make it. If you don't then you shouldn't have experienced it, but genie already knew back then if you were going to. Hence the choice in the present is the cause for the past (and the present). And even if the past doesn't look like it was interfered with, that still doesn't mean anything. As I wrote above it would be easy for a wizard to disguise the results of their interferance, so that their future self could act "from a clean slate", especially if they agree in advance to proceed this way. After all, they always have an option to go back and not interfere, just witness the events.
Time Turners probably have a limit on how long they can take you back, even if that limit is just human exhaustion. One turn of the hourglass = one hour back in time. That's an awful lot of turns to go back a decent amount of time. I'm fairly sure it would have taken even Dumbledore more than a day to get his hands on rare, powerful magical devices which are usually kept in the Department of Mysteries. Even if he just happened to have one on his person at the exact moment he realised Colin had been petrified, it would take a few hours more to work out a foolproof plan - because you cannot let anyone else see you, touch you, suspect you are there or you break the time loop.
Taking more than a day just explains why it's not usable on the first victim. It doesn't explain why it's not usable on the second. A time turner used to set up the wizarding equivalent of a disillusioned video camera would have revealed what was doing it. Of course, this pretends the big mystery was what was doing it, whereas I am convinced that DD already knew it was a basilisk..he just didn't know how Voldemort was letting it out or where the Chamber was. However, recording the attack might still revealed something relevant, either Ginny giving orders or the direction the basilisk came from. And there's always the option of killing it after it after the attack, and running off with the dead body to keep from causing a paradox.
Who. Who in the name of fuck was supposed to see or touch him in the middle of the night in his own school that he wouldn't be able to conceal himself from and how exactly was that supposed to break anything. No, seriously, I'd really like to see at least some semblance of a plausible scenario. As for the first part, yeah, maybe, that is why my chief point was that using T Ts to establish the circumstances of important events should've by all means been an adopted and widespread practice, and I still see no reason why it wasn't. And before somebody winds up that worn out "Time Travel is dangerous because Stable Time Loop" song again, please bother to answer my first question.
The point of a stable time loop is that, if you change it at all, it means bad things. Exactly what bad things this would mean depends on who's telling the story, but, like it or not, if Dumbledore or anyone else had gone back in time to stop these events from occuring, it would have broken the stable time loop. There is no "creating another loop," because doing so would entail the breaking of the old one, which means bad things. Sorry if I seem a bit repetitive, but that's basically what it boils down to. Whether or not the Stable Time Loop explanation is worn out or not is irrelevant, just because you keep insisting it's not a valid answer doesn't make it so.
It is not a valid answer because it doesn't mean what you think it means. The STL can only occur after you go back in time, hence the TIME LOOP. Before you go back, there's no loop to break or change. The point of STL is that the altered timeline should still contain an incentive for the time travel that had led to alteration to happen. That's it. As I've already stated above, that's not a problem for competent adults who know what they are doing.
Moaning Myrtle's ghost
Why did Myrtle become a ghost in the first place? Doesn't Nearly-Headless Nick mention at some point that you need to prepare some kind of spell ahead of time to become a ghost after death?
No. Have you been reading too much fan fiction? Here's what he says:
"Wizards can leave an imprint of themselves upon the earth, to walk palely where their living selves once trod," said Nick miserably. "But very few wizards choose that path." "Why not?" said Harry. "Anyway - it doesn't matter - Sirius won't care if it's unusual, he'll come back, I know he will!" And so strong was his belief, Harry actually turned his head to check the door, sure, for a split second, that he was going to see Sirius, pearly-white and transparent but beaming, walking through it towards him. "He will not come back," repeated Nick. "He will have... gone on." "What d'you mean, 'gone on'?" said Harry quickly "Gone on where? Listen - what happens when you die, anyway? Where do you go? Why doesn't everyone come back? Why isn't this place full of ghosts? Why -?" "I cannot answer," said Nick. "You're dead, aren't you?" said Harry exasperatedly. "Who can answer better than you?" "I was afraid of death," said Nick softly. "I chose to remain behind. I sometimes wonder whether I oughtn't to have… well, that is neither here nor there… in fact, I am neither here nor there..."
Also, didn't Myrtle say she wanted to haunt that girl, Olive or something, who made her cry and make Olive's remaining years at school horrible? Basically she became a ghost out of spite.
How did Dobby know at the beginning that Harry was in danger? It seems that Lucius's whole plan was just to dump the diary on Ginny, without knowing much about what it was or what it could do. Did Dobby somehow figure out that the diary was a horcrux of Voldemort and that it would specifically target Harry?
Dobby just saw Harry as a symbol of the Light and didn't want him to be in the middle of a danger zone. That's it, basically.
Lucius talks in his sleep? "Mmm...zzz...kill Potter....zzz...haunted diary...zzz...more marmalade, please..."
Or alternatively, he knew one of Harry's best friends was a Muggle-born, and thought that if she got attacked he would go off on some half-baked plan to rescue or avenge her. Which, with Harry Potter, is a pretty reasonable assumption.
Or he overheard Draco whining about Potter again, and Lucius saying that Potter wouldn't be a problem anymore soon.
Dobby must've known a fair bit about what the diary could do, else he wouldn't have dropped his spectacularly-ineffective hint that it was not He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named who was involved. Presumably, Lucius was so indifferent to Dobby's presence or welfare that he didn't care whether the house-elf was eavesdropping when he discussed his plan with his wife, or looking over his shoulder when he wrote it into the diary, letting it know his intentions.
It's still not making sense unless Dobby somehow knows the diary is intelligent. Lucius knows that Voldemort opened the Chamber of Secrets a long time, and somehow the diary can open it again. And he also knows that the diary, being created decades before Harry Potter was born, can have no malice towards or even knowledge of Harry. The only way that anyone could conclude the diary might make things dangerous for Harry is if they know it can communicate with people. (Just knowing he could communicate with it doesn't mean he'd know it was a Horcrux. Wizard paintings, for example, have memories but not souls.) But Lucius did not know that, because he failed to communicate with it. So how did Dobby know that?
What gave you an impression he didn't communicate with it? Most likely he did, and Dobbi indeed snooped on him.
Why not just tell McGonagall?
When Harry managed to open the Chamber, why didn't he immediately go inform McGonagall or some other trustworthy authority figure, instead of going and trying to kill the basilisk and rescue Ginny himself? It would have been a much smarter and more responsible thing to do.
If Harry always did the smart, responsible thing, he would be a different character. That character would be named "Hermione".
Except that he was going to tell McGonagall about the Chamber, and they even went to the teachers' room to do so and then, for some inexplicable reason, they didn't. They had both time and opportunity, the idea itself occured to them, since they went to Lockhart, so...what went wrong, why did they go to him of all people, or didn't go to MG after they exposed him as a total fraud?
They didn't have time to go to McGonagall after they realised Lockhart was a fraud.
Right. Because after they'd spend an entire effing day doing absolutly nothing, those twenty minutes would've been downright crucial! Mind you I'm not talking about how it turned out, but about what they could surmise from their POV.
Snape was in the teacher's lounge. It's possible that if they had revealed their presence, he'd have pounced on the opportunity to have them both expelled on the spot for breaking school rules again, even in the middle of a crisis. He'd only have to remind the other faculty that Dumbledore'd laid down a one-strike stricture on the pair of them after the flying-car incident, and McGonagall would've had no choice but to suspend them both — probably without stopping to listen to their story first; that's how Harry's luck always runs — pending Dumbledore's return and co-signing of their expulsion order.
*Sigh* Suspend them from what? They were talking about closing the school. Even if I concede the Snape actually wanted to get Harry expelled (which I normally don't believe for a second), at that moment all he would've got would be some incredulous looks and an advise to get his priorities straight. Not that it matters in the slightest. After the lounge the boys had an entire day to approach MG legitimately.
My best guess is the same reason he chucks away his wand when he finds Ginny. Kidding aside, he probably was too shocked after hearing that Ginny was kidnapped that he didn't think of anything else. That still doesn't explain why he didn't call for any teacher after they went to find Lockhart. He probably though it was a good idea to go and fight a gigantic serpent that can kill with only looking at you with a useless professor WITHOUT a wand and Ron.
Had it happened in a span of moments, like with the wand, then sure. The problem is, just as in the previous book, they spend an entire day after they hear the shocking news, sitting around their living room, doing absolutely nothing. Sure, there'd be initial shock, but they'd have to be in a fucking trance not to think at some point in all that time: "Hey, weren't we going to tell McGonagall about the Chamber and everything?"
Please remember in the last book they DID tell Minvera but she didn't believe them. And then Ron&Harry tried to stand guard outside the third-floor cooridor and that didn't work since Minvera showed up again and said "You think you're harder to get past then a pack of protections" and Hermione was suppose to be trailing Snape..but that didn't work either.
Yes, but, again, they were going to tell her, apparently having realised that the last year events would've bought them some credibility. And besides, MG didn't disbelieve them - she dismissed them on the claim that the Stone was perfectly safenote which, by the way, it totally was. This time was different, she had no reasons to dismiss them.
And last year they were meddling in something they had no business to be meddling in. This year they were meddling in Ron's missing sister. At the very least McGonagall has to politely stand there and listen to Ron's theory about what happened to her.
Which is still no guarantee that she'd actually do it. And given her past history of almost never taking time to actually hear a student's story before handing out a snap judgement (just check out all the other Headscratchers along that vein), I can entirely understand why neither Harry nor Ron thought she'd listen. After all, at this point in the timeline their two main experiences with McGonagall are her refusing to let them finish saying why they think someone is going after the Philosopher's Stone before she adamantly insists on having her own way, and her handing them a 150 point deduction based on a 'You tried to set up Draco!' theory that was all made up in her own mind, didn't even make any sense given the circumstances, and most importantly, was handed down by her before they could even finish their first sentence re: what they were actually doing. Its not about whether she's right or wrong in those cases, its about whether she actually lets a student finish talking before already making up her mind — and she never does.
*sigh*. They were going to tell her. What, did they suddenly remember in the middle of it: "Oh yeah, it's McGonagal, she's a bitch and probably won't listen to us!" Even if so, how that excuses not even trying, when Giny's life is at stake?! Besides, this occurence was nothing like the previous ones. With the stone, MG (seemingly) dismissed them because she believed that there was no dangernote On the surface. She actually did it because they were supposed to go after the stone themselves. Also explains her harshness - she's distraught and afraid for them, but cannot show it.. On the other hand, this time it's a (seemingly) legitimate emergency, and MG loudly aknowledged that she's out of ideas, and they'd have to close the school. There's no reason why the kids would think she wouldn't grasp at the straw and listen to them.
You're probably forgetting that they get shocked out of their plan when they discover it's Ginny who has been taken. They spend ages in the common room - then Harry remembers that Lockhart is meant to be trying to get down into the Chamber. They're intending to go to a teacher about it, one they don't like but is still meant to be a famous monster hunter. When they go to him, they discover he's a fraud and he attacks them sort of. It'd be perfectly in character for Harry not to think of telling McGonagall until after they'd already gone down into the Chamber. Hell they might have meant to go and tell McGonagall after telling Lockhart what they knew - but forgot because Lockhart was exposed and they wanted to save Ginny straight away.
Let's Crash at Borgin and Burkes!
Harry accidentally floos into said shop and then quitely leaves with none the wiser. Wait, so a shady shop that deals in Dark artifacts, has no security against such intrusions and possible eavesdroppers that could crash in, accidentally or not, while the owner is conducting sensible business? Like a separate antechamber, or an alarm, or some magical lock on the fireplace? Nothing? Really?
Since Lucius is trying to uphold his image as a 'fine upstanding citizen', odds are that he Floo'd in and Borgin and/or Burke simply forgot to relock the Floo afterwards, or else left it open so as not to convince the unrepentant Death Eater (arriving with a Dark Object so unholy that Grindelwald is never once mentioned as considering their use) that they are trying to delay his departure.
Or maybe it's the emergency Floo for when the Ministry raids the place and they didn't think about somone arriving via their emergency exit.
What is Moaning Myrtle's first name? (Or surname, if Myrtle is her first?) It seems absurd to me that the mythos is simply missing this piece of information, but I can't seem to find it anywhere...
If Moaning was her first name, that would explain the bullying. Although the same would be if it were her nickname.
There's actually quite a lot of bits of information we don't know. For example, the first names of Hermione's parents have never been mentioned.
Myrtle would be her first name. A lot of the other ghosts are only known by their nicknames. She must have just forgotten it over the years.
Nobody will know about my past unless I personally tell everybody about it!
In regard of the hidding place for the Ring Horcrux in the Gaunts' shack. V rationalizes that nobody would look there because nobody was supposed to know about his heritage. Except, of course, that the Diary!Riddle identified himself as both the Heir of Slytherin and as Voldemort, which DD was kind enough to relay to Lucius, meaning V couldn't not know that his heritage was known to the enemy. And knowing Gaunts, they most likely flaunted their lineage on every corner. So how could V be still assured that the Shack was safe and why the hell didn't he re-hide the Ring?
I don't get the impression that the Gaunts were exactly well-known. Yes, they were vocal about their lineage, but they were also just a few unlikable freaks living out in the middle of nowhere, and they didn't exactly associate with visitors if the one we see in Half-Blood Prince is any indication at all.
They are still the last descendants of noble house, and the one of Slytherin at that. You'd think that their backstory would be recorded somewhere in the archives, and all the wizards apparently have to record their whereabouth with the Ministery as well.
They talk about in through out the books, V is arrogant and maybe he thought that DD didn't know who his mother was that would have made it harder to track down the Gaunts. Or even more plausibly it may have been nearly impossible to track down records of the Gaunts house since they rarely interacted with anyone.
Voldemort was the first dark wizard ever to try using multiple horcruxes, so he probably wouldn't have expected Dumbledore to go looking for more than one of them. Indeed, the fact that the headmaster had heard about the diary's properties from Ginny and Harry, and knew that it had already been destroyed, means that he might well have assumed it was Voldemort's only horcrux.
Closing the Chamber
Why is it seen as such a problem that the Chamber of Secrets is open? When it was last open c.50 years previously (when Tom was a student) it was presumably closed later and many of the teachers were there then (we know DD was). So how come nobody knows where the Chamber is or how to close it? It wasn't open the whole time (Possessed!Ginny opened it this time) so somebody must have shut it 50 years ago (unless it shuts itself after a while, but that seems highly unlikely).
Um, Riddle closed it to frame Hagrid.
But how would closing it frame Hagrid? Although that may be supported by the text (or Word of God) it makes more sense for Tom to go "Who unleashed the monster? How about that Halfbreed kid who seems to have an unhealthy fascination with dangerous creatures?" Shutting the Chamber doesn't really help unless he does it publicly ("Look, it obviously isn't me that caused this problem because here's me solving it!") and he's psycho enough to not care that it randomly kills people (it won't kill him as he's Slytherin's heir).
Okay, perhaps I wasn't clear. Riddle closed the Chamber after Hagrid was caught so that it would look like catching Hagrid had stopped the attacks.
Riddle knew Hogwarts would be shut down if the attacks continued, which meant he'd go back to the orphanage. That's why he decided to frame Hagrid in the first place: so no one get curious why the attacks stopped.
Thanks and having re-read Chamber of Secrets, you are correct — though it really highlights just how much Wizard justice sucks. "It was Hagrid! Let's expel him! And even though he's still living on castle grounds we're sure the Monster will stop attacking!"
Um doesn't anyone realize that the ONLY reason Hagrid is a gameskeeper is because DD KNOWS that Hagrid didn't open the Chamber?
Why wasn't the other horcrux destroyed?
You know, the one inside Harry. Basilisk fang + venom kills horcruxes, demonstrated twice in the series. Harry is one of the horcruxes, and he was stabbed by the fang. So why isn't the horcrux gone?
Because Fawkes saved him? Maybe if Fawkes had let him die, the horcrux in Harry would have been destroyed.
And since Voldemort hadn't used Harry's blood to resurrect yet, Harry would have just stayed dead. Killing one more horcrux for the price of Voldemort winning.
Also, that horcrux was in his forehead, not his arm. I assume the vemon didn't have time to reach there before Fawkes nuetralised it with his tears.
if the horcrux was specific to his forehead, why couldn't he have just amputated the part of forehead that was affected? And before you say that's impossible, muggle surgery has already figured out how to do things like that.
Because it is a piece of soul, not just a kind of tattoo that you could simply cut off. It likely was connected to Harry's mind/soul in some way. And this is not exactly known territory for wizards.
The horcrux inside Harry likely wasn't destroyed because Harry didn't die. Remember that a horcrux can only be destroyed by damaging its container beyond magical repair. Harry could still be healed, so the horcrux survived. But when he died, he was beyond healing or any sort of normal wizard magic. He only survives because of some kind of higher magic that seems to govern how souls, ghosts and death work, and by extension, horcruxes.
Powered By a Forsaken Mandrake?
So, the Mandrakes can become "moody and secretive", they throw parties and even demonstrate romantic interest in each other. That pretty much speaks of intelligence to me. And then the good doctor Pomphrey hacks them all into pieces and makes them into a potion. And nobody has any problems with this... why?
Mandrakes might just be a plant equivalent to a higher intelligence animal, like a monkey or pig. Sometimes those get chopped up.
I don't know. Have you ever seen even a monkey or a dolphine described as secretive or doing something that might be interpreted as a party?
Wizards are notorious for treating non-wizards very poorly, even if they have some sort of "intelligence" (goblins, house-elves, Muggles, etc.), with no qualms. So their treatment of Mandrakes, something they could easily say is just a plant is not surprising in the least (especially since they use Mandrakes in various potions/antidotes and don't just slaughter them for no reason).
Ginny Weasley Feels Pretty Good Now, Thank You Very Much
Honestly, I'm amazed that no one else brought this up until now. Because after rereading Chamber (which I feel is a terribly underrated installment in the series), I began to wonder: why is Ginny Weasley, age twelve, totally fine at the end of the book? This is her first year of school, and she spent it being demonically possessed and having her emotions devoured by an Evil Overlord who made her into his own personal tool for ethnic cleansing at Hogwarts. And she's totally fine by the end of the book. Uh, no. No, that's not how people work. All that I've seen this year while rereading the books is Ginny conveniently being around in Order of the Phoenix to tell Harry that he probably isn't possessed by Voldemort. So let's review:
Her very first year at school, gets possessed by the spirit of Wizard Hitler.
It makes her try to help the Basilisk kill people.
She suffers no psychological consequences for any of this.
I don't care how strong or brave you are, and I'm not asking that Ginny be a mess for the rest of her life. But she sure as hell wouldn't recover that quickly after being made into Tom Riddle's Apocalypse Maiden for the better part of a year.
This is partially explained in Book 5. Ginny didn't suffer any psychological trauma because she didn't remember much about her time under Riddle's control. There were just blank spaces in her memory during those times, which is why it took her several months to figure out what was going on with the book in the first place. So while she might have had a bit of a My God, What Have I Done? moment after finding out what happened, it's not really the same as watching someone else controlling your body.
It also helps that nobody was actually killed, aside from some roosters.
What made you think she didn't suffer consequences in the first place? In the end of "Chamber" she's clearly shocked and dismayed, but the full realisation probably hasn't hit her yet, and the next time she plays a prominent role is in "Order", which is two years later. Plenty of time to both have a breakdown and get herself together off-screen with help of her family and/or professionals (provided that wretched verse has them).
Draco's Exam Scores
When Harry sees Malfoy Senior and Malfoy Junior, the former is berating the latter for not scoring higher than Hermione on the first year exams. Is this an indicator that while Hermione was the top student of her year, Draco was in second place? I suppose it could mean that Lucius Malfoy is so obsessed with blood purity that he only cares that a Muggleborn beat Draco, and excuses Draco for coming in behind kids from wizarding families, but the wording implies Hermione was the only one to beat Draco. Any ideas?
Pure conjecture here, but I have always thought that Draco was smart and did well on his exams. Probably he did exceptionally well in Potions, considering that Snape plays favorites, but still, he couldn't give Draco good marks unless the work was there to back it up. That said, I doubt that exam scores were published or that Lucius knew exactly where Draco fell on the class list, but Hermione has already made a name for herself as "the cleverest witch of our year" as Harry says later in HBP. That is probably what Lucius has heard, and like you said, he is frustrated that a Muggle-born has that title and not his son or another pureblood (who are probably all his nephews or second cousins or something anyway). So I don't think that Draco is necessarily second, but I do think that he is academically successful. Again, just theories.
Draco comes from a family which is obsessed with status and prestige, given that he is their only son, and possibly the only male Malfoy heir in existence, he probably has a lot riding on his shoulders. It's reasonable to assume that the Malfoy's invested a lot of time and money into Draco's education before Hogwarts, including private tuition. Draco's parents are probably the pushiest parents in the wizarding world, and so Lucuis would be understandably livid when he learnt that a muggle-born student with no prior magical education was beating his son academically. He would consider Draco to be wasting his potential, and un-confirming the Malfoy's thinly veiled prejudice against muggle-born wizards. So it actually makes a lot of sense that Draco was the second best in the year, since he had lots of prior education, and constantly had his parents pushing him to meet their incredibly high standards.
From the scene in Borgin & Burkes I got the impression that Draco's grades were bad. His dad's first complaint is that if Draco doesn't do better then he may not be suited for any decent job in the future. Draco then tries to make excuses for his grades, claiming all the teachers have favorites, which is when he specifically brings up Hermione. Mr. Malfoy's response struck me as "you should be embarrassed to talk about a muggle-born girl doing so much better than you. stop making excuses". To me, Draco seems like the kind of kid who is arrogant and thinks studying and homework are beneath him and who wouldnt put in much actual effort.
What on earth possessed Lockhart to teach?
The series has demonstrated that if it is nothing else, Hogwarts is an extremely hands-on school. So why would a professional fraud put himself in a situation where he would be repeatedly called on to perform acts he is fully aware he can't do? He can't even handle a second-year class on pixie management, one shudders to think how some of the higher-year classes went. For that matter Lockhart probably went to Hogwarts as a boy, which means the school would have some memory of his actual wizarding talent, unless his career as a liar started early.
Regardless of his actual skill level, Lockhart is an arrogant dick. Much of the time, Narcissists like him can't actually see their own flaws despite mounting evidence like what he has to do to keep his charade going. So he assumes he's competent while he's really anything but. If anyone else wanted the job, he probably would have been out the door long before the Basilisk even started attacking people.
Besides, some of the HR choices Hogwarts had made strongly clash with its definition as "hands-on". Lockhart apparently decided, that if Snape, Trelawney and Binns were kept on payroll, bamboozling his way in would be a breeze.
How could a narcissist like him resist getting paid to be the center of attention for several young, impressionable wizards and witches?
Moreover, impressionable wizards and witches who might just be young and naive enough to actually believe his B.S.
Let's not forget the most obvious motivation - every single student he taught was required to buy all of his crappy books as required reading.
Well what would you do if you were in DD's shoes. Cancel DA for the entire year or choose the only willing person to do the job no matter how incompent they were?
Its another title for him. One that he can not gain any other way, carries an incredible amount of prestige and probably would net him another book; one where he more than likely becomes the mentor to the Boy Who Lived, spends the entire year doing one heroic thing after another and where every teacher (and one suspects Dumbledore and Snape in particular) was in awe of him. Its actually a pretty sweet deal from his perspective, pity Voldemort has to chose that exact year to open the Chamber.
Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster during Lockhart's time, happened to have known two of the wizards whose memories Lockhart erased, and had a shrewd and accurate idea what was happening. He correctly believed that dragging Lockhart into a normal, school atmosphere would reveal his fradulence and, a vacancy in Defence Against the Dark Arts having opened up in June 1992, tracked down the author and, slyly hinting that teaching Harry Potter, who was a second-year student there at the time, would boost Lockhart's popularity beyond anything else, convinced Lockhart to return to Hogwarts (something Lockhart had not been too keen to do, as many of his teachers were still there and might have remembered his foolishness and ineptitude)
When Lockhart had erased the memories of two wizards, Dumbledore eventually found out and decided to track him down and make him pay for his crimes. Dumbledore offered Lockhart a position as the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, under the correct belief that school is the best location to expose the fraud for what he is. Lockhart was reluctant at first, as he was aware that his former educators remain vigilant of his incompetence, but was instantly swayed when Dumbledore mentioned Harry Potter's fame, which Lockhart would believe as a boost to his own. Whether the other professors knew of Dumbledore's ploy against Lockhart is unknown, but according to Hagrid, the main reason for Lockhart's appointment was that he was the only applicant for the cursed position.
So, who did send Harry that singing Valentine?
Draco assumes it was Ginny because of how upset she looks, but we know that's actually because she just saw Riddle's diary fall out of Harry's bag. So, if it wasn't Ginny, who was it? How many secret admirers does 12-year-old Harry have at this point?
No idea. Apparently there's a theory that Fred and George sent it to him, just to wind him up.
Who says she didn't send it? Just because she was alarmed by the presence of the diary doesn't mean that she didn't send the card. After all, she might've thought that flushing it was the end of the problem, and returned to other pressing matters, like "Famous Harry Potter is so dreamy, but he doesn't even know I exist". It wasn't until after the card was sent that she realized that it was still around.
Melissa Anelli: Did Ginny send Harry the valentine? J. K. Rowling: Yeah, bless her. Melissa Anelli: Was it a Tom Riddle thing, or Ginny Weasley? J.K. Rowling: No, Ginny Weasley.
The Perilous Polyjuice Potion Plan
The book itself lampshades the Power Trio's scheme to get info out of Malfoy by having Ron ask, "Have you ever heard of a plan where so many things could go wrong?" But one potential pitfall could've easily been avoided — finding the location of the Slytherin common room. Did they really have to wait until the last minute, when they were already transformed into Crabbe and Goyle? They had at least a month to learn its location, and while Harry and Ron might procrastinate that much, Hermione would not. Surely they could've asked somebody knowledgeable like Percy the Prefect in a way that would've aroused less suspicion than two Slytherins asking where their own common room was.
I don't think it'd be all that surprising. It's made clear in the first book that the layout of the castle can change significantly from day to day. In a place like that, it'd probably be more surprising if you didn't get lost from time to time. Especially if you're Crabbe or Goyle.
They aren't master tacticians, they are twelve year old children. Realising at the last gasp that a major part of their masterplan is missing a bit of crucial info, especially when they have been feeling all cool and mature about coming up with a masterplan and doing something as complicated as brewing polyjuice, is well within character for twelve year olds. Arguably even moreso in character for Hermione who does overlook details when she gets carried away with big plans.
It's always possible Hermione did figure out they needed to know the location, and learned it herself, and then just forgot to tell them when she couldn't go. Or she did tell them, a month previous, and they just didn't listen.
Why is it Muggles can give birth to Wizards, but Wizards can't give birth to Muggles, only squibs?
The definition of the term "squib" is "a non-magical person born to magical parents", hence why they're included in the trope page for Muggle Born of Mages.
It's probably just a wizarding pride thing. No self-respecting pure-blood would admit to having a Muggle in their family, so they invented a term to make it sound different than it is.
It's also useful disambiguation from the term "muggle-born", which in the absence of the term 'squib' might be confused for 'born as a muggle' instead of 'born as the child of muggles'.
Why not ask Snape to whip up a Love Potion! The kind very explicitly banned at this school!
In the Valentine's Day scene, Lockhart suggests that the students ask Snape for help in making Love Potions (much to Snape's displeasure). Love Potions are banned at Hogwarts. Now, I know Lockhart's the kind of moron who thinks they know everything, but you'd think a newly-hired Hogwarts professor would have been debriefed on what was banned and what wasn't.
He probably forgot after being briefed in the beginning of the year.
More likely that he didn't even pay attention. He also didn't listen to the bit about where teachers actually had to teach.
Or maybe Lockhart was more ticked off about how Snape creamed him in the dueling-club demonstration than he was willing to openly admit, and he told the students that just so they'd pester the Potions Master with obnoxious requests.
Trace is selective?
If the Ministry detected when Dobby levitated the cake, then how could they not detect Dobby apparating away and thus realise that it clearly wasn't Harry who was using magic? Did they just ignore that event?
House-Elf apparation works differently from human apparaton, since they can apparate in places where humans can't like Hogwarts. Perhaps being indetectable is part of that unique apparation property.
So, part of their magic is detectable, but another part isn't?
Considering Dobby was quite deliberately trying to get Harry into trouble, I would think he just made the spell detectable to whatever system the Ministry uses.
To me, the way the trace works that is most consistent with canon is that it's simply set up near muggleborn homes and detects any magic cast, then just assumes the magic came from the muggleborn kid. They set it up for Harry because he was being raised by muggles. It can't actually differentiate between Harry's magic and house-elf magic, nor is it very accurate at guessing the type of magic used. There were lots of other instances of underage magic mentioned, but all of those would have happened far from a muggleborn household (like Riddle murdering the Gaunts, Harry duelling Voldemort in a graveyard, the Weasley household in general) or when there's adults nearby who could have informed the ministry that there would be false alarms.
Actually they identified both the levitation spell here and the Patronus spell in "Order" accurately.
We have no evidence that real human apparaton is detectable in the first place. The Trace appears to detect named spells. Apparaton might technically be something besides a spell, considering it has no incantation or wand movements, and not detected at all.
Alternately, magic without incantation or wand movements might still be detected, just unlabeled. And non-incantation wandless magic with a kid looks like accidental magic. So in these circumstances, the Ministry would have detected Harry doing a standard levitation spell, and then some unnamed, probably accidental, magic a bit later. (In fact, Harry has actually accidental-magic apparated before, to the roof of his school when he was young. So even if they knew it was apparation, it would still look like accidental magic.)
Awesome. In this case they bothered with the whole doppelgangers sharade in "Hallows" rather then just apparating away... because? And the Death Eaters bothered prohibiting apparition in Harry's house, which they wouldn't be able to enforce anyway... because?
Presumably, Thickness cast an anti-apparation and anti-portkey spell on the area (We know such spells exist.) and redirected people to prison if they try, which we've never actually seen a spell do but there's no logical reason it couldn't. Mad-Eye didn't mean it was an 'imprisonable offense' as in 'they would track you down and arrest you', which is a pretty silly interpretation anyway (Surely at least one of Order would be willing to go on the run.), he meant it was an imprisonable offense as in, if you did it, you end up in prison, directly. (This isn't to justify the dumbness of the exit plan, but the dumbness is in other parts.)
If Aragog was the only Acromantula that Hagrid had, where'd his children come from?
Spiders cannot reproduce asexually, and it's highly doubtful that Acromantulas can cross-breed with more mundane spiders to produce more Acromantulas. So how did Aragog breed?
Hagrid later procured a bride for him.
Who the hell keeps selling the dangerous horse-sized man-eating magical spiders via owl post, already?
Hagrid'd mindboggling misadventures
Regarding Hagrid's expulsion 50 years prior to the events of the books and his incarceration during the 2nd year. So, Riddle blamed him for Myrtle's death. Ok, what exactly did he tell then? That Hagrid was the Heir of Slytherin, opened the Chamber of Secrets and conspired to murder the non-wizborns with the Slytherin's Monster? But surely the authorities would've questioned Hagrid about the location of the Chamber, and the identity of the monster and such, which he, of course, wouldn't be able to give them? Riddle could be as charming and popular as he wanted, that doesn't mean squat when the accused doesn't posses the knowledge he would need to commit the crime he's accused of. And if they believed Riddle none the less, then how in the hell could Hagrid get away with a mere expulsion rather than landing in Azkhaban right away?
On the other hand, let's say Riddle only told them that Hagrid had a pet monster, it got away and killed Myrtle. Ok, then what about that monster? Why wasn't it found and killed, and if it wasn't then what difference did Hargid's "exposure" make? The monster was still on the loose, students were still in danger, school still should've been closed. How come no one seems to know about the acromantula in the forest, and if they do, why weren't the damned things exterminated? Moreover, if Hagrid wasn't tied in with the Chamber back then, then what sense does it make to put him in Azkhaban now, when the attacks are clearly associated with the Chamber?
Riddle passed off Hagrid and Aragog as being responsible for Myrtle's death, as an accident. Aragog ran into the forest where the Ministry couldn't find him and stayed there, eventually breeding until there were too many giant spiders for the Ministry to do anything about. They just became another dangerous thing in the forest. Hagrid was allowed to stick around after his stint in Azkaban because the death was ruled as an accident. He still got punished because he shouldn't have had Aragog in the first place. Illegal pet plus accidental death equals short term in prison, expulsion and a broken wand but no lingering stigma.
Hell, what sense does it make to put him there at all? Yeah, sure, Fudge is stupid and wants to make an appearence of being in control and taking actions, yadda, yadda, but even stupidity must have some reason to it, even if flawed. They are putting Hagrid away "as a precaution". Uhm, what? He's either guilty or not. If he's guilty, then he should be put away for good, if not, then he shouldn't. So, again, are they going to question him to find one way or another? And how's his incarceration supposed to assure anyone? A monster is attacking people. And it will still be there. Hell, for all they know Hagrid was all that kept it in check and now it's going to rampage through the school killing everyone, mudblood or not.
On top of that, if they think someone might be guilty of releasing the monster, and have some slight vague circumstantial evidence that he might have done it last time, wouldn't a more reasonable precaution be to simply remove him from the school? Heck, Fudge or someone else should have said to DD 'You know, you have a groundskeeper that was under suspicion there the last time this happened, and considering that he is one of the few people who were here both then and now, perhaps you should send him home with paid leave until this blows over, just in case.' and he would had nodded sadly and asked Hagrid to take a vacation for a few months, if only for his own protection from accusations. Or, failing that, Fudge could just order him to leave.
The wizards have a very screwy legal system, but it completely boggles the mind that Hagrid can get locked up for something with absolutely no evidence at all as a 'precaution', when there is a perfectly good precaution that doesn't involve prison. It seems roughly akin to a local store thinking someone is constantly shoplifting from them but, unable to catch them, somehow get the police to imprison that person as a 'precaution'. That's...not how that any reasonable legal system works, and there was a rather more obvious solution of just barring them from the store.
The Ministry wanted to look like they'd been doing something. Hagrid was convicted in the past of Myrtle's murder (but NOT opening the Chamber of Secrets) by way of the monster he'd been raising in the castle. So they boost everyone's morale by taking in someone who might be connected to the attacks. If someone else is caught then they say "no harm done" and let him go. Which they did.
Spare Wands and Molly's Vindictiveness
1) So why doesn't the school keep spare wands? Ron effectively loses an entire year of education involving anything that requires wandwork such as charms and transfiguration. Surely to god someone somewhere has lost their wand from time to time or broken it; especially in a place like Hogwarts where staircases change shape, poltergeists roam the halls and things explode on a daily basis. We know that anyone can use a wand so no problem there and please don't say that the students in question should be more careful with their wands when we are a) talking about young children and as such are naturally careless and b) even the best of us have accidents. Do you really have to wait until someone sends you a replacement or until the school holidays? what if your OWLS are approaching?
2) Molly is apparently being extremely spiteful by not sending Ron a replacement. I can understand her being pissed for a couple of months, especially since Arthur was going through a tribunal, but most people probably would have calmed down by Christmas and sent him one as a present. Like I said above Ron is harming his education by not having a wand and Molly will go on to claim many times (particularly involving Weasleys Wizard Wheezes) that the education of her children is very important to her. I refuse to believe that they couldn't afford one as all their kids would be at school which means they should have extra money from not having to feed them and Harry's wand only cost seven galleons.
In regard to the latter, Mrs. Weasley didn't know Ron had broken his wand. Harry even tells Ron he should ask her for a new one, but Ron thinks he'll just get yelled at again for breaking it.
^This. I don't believe Ron actually goes home for the Christmas or Easter holidays this year, so his family might not have known until the summer. Alternately they weren't able to afford a new one, considering Ron was using Charlie's old one. We could assume that he simply used someone else's (Hermione's or Harry's) in class if he needed to practice spells. The teachers tell him his wand needs to be replaced but it's not their responsibility to replace it.
It has to hurt because magic
Was there any indication why Harry couldn't take some painkillers or anesthesia during the bone-regrow? Or did those not exist in that wretched universe either?
They probably don't exist. Since most wounds can be healed in an instant, there probably isn't any need for magical painkillers. And most wizard society seems to be pretty archaic (they still use candles and quills rather than modern conveniences). They might not even know about Muggle medicine.
Are roosters more rare than Mandrakes?
So, Ginny kills all the Hagrid's roosters. Ok. Why doesn't he buy new ones? Even setting aside the fact that they cannot possible not know or at least suspect what the monster is, which alone would warrant buying every last one in the country, perching them all around the school and ending that nonsense, doesn't Hagrid need the roosters (otherwise why have them)?
He could just keep them on his own land for the eggs. From what I remember, Hogsmeade isn't an agricultural village so he might not be able to get replacements. Alternately he might have realised he could make do with his three meals a day at Hogwarts and not bothered.