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Harry got away with attempted manslaughter
- Harry used a curse on a fellow student that could have killed him if it wasn't for the intervention of Professor Snape. Sure, Harry didn't know what sort of spell he had cast, but still: if Draco died as a result Harry would have been guilty of manslaughter. And what punishment did he receive? Detention! I think he really got away with that one, because for such a felony he should have been suspended from school at least and also faced some repercussions from the Ministry. Of course, in that case the story would be over.
- Draco was trying to cast an Unforgivable curse on Harry at the time Harry hexed him. Under the law, Harry's actions would be self-defense.
- A) How is he supposed to prove Draco was trying that? B) Even if he somehow does, how does it justify using a lethal spell when he could've just as easily used a non-lethal one?
- Remember that this is a discussion of whether or not Harry is guilty of manslaughter/attempted manslaughter — i.e., whether or not Harry's actions, under the law, qualify as a crime. While this requires us to speculate about what exactly the law is, since we already know British magical law has at least some kind of provision for self-defense then using the self-defense standard of the Common Law (as well as most jurisdictions in the Western world) is the most reasonable speculation we can make. And under those provisions Harry's actions are entirely justified — he is in immediate danger from an attack intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm, therefore he may legally use any amount of force up to and including potentially lethal attacks to subdue his attacker. He is under no legal requirement to deliberately restrain himself to nonlethal attacks even if they are available, anymore than a man defending himself with a gun is required to try shooting for his attacker's legs as opposed to his head or chest. Regardless of one's own individual opinion re: the ethics of self-defense, which may vary, the law is of only one opinion on the matter, and it is the law we are analyzing here.
- Self-defense is a little bit trickier in England and Wales. Self-defense in English law is using reasonable force against an unjust threat. We can all agree that Draco was committing a wizard felony against Harry; two of them, in fact. The unlawful assault, and the attempted use of an Unforgiveable Curse. The entire legal case against Harry would hang on whether or not a jury or the Wizengamot accepted Harry's affirmative defense that Sectumsempra was a reasonable amount of force against Draco. However, it is relevant that Harry was under pressure from imminent attack. His legal argument would have been that he did not have had time to make entirely rational decisions, so the test must balance the objective standard of a reasonable person by attributing some of the subjective knowledge of Harry. There have been cases in English law of householders who have used lethal force against gun-wielding intruders and been imprisoned for unreasonable force, so it's not a slam-dunk. Fortunately for Harry, Lucius Malfoy had lost all political juice thanks to events in Order of the Pheonix, and Dumbledore was head of the Wizengamot, so it would have been unlikely that a legal action against Harry would have succeeded.
- As to how Harry can prove his actions were justified when it is essentially his word vs. Draco's, that is orthogonal to the question 'were Harry's actions justified'. It's like Harry's casting the Patronus Charm to keep himself and Dudley from being eaten by Dementors — the part where Harry had great difficulty demonstrating his innocence in court, due to lack of evidence, did not change the part where Harry actually was innocent.
- Snape was the one who covered it up; since if Harry got into more serious crap than detention for using a spell that was incredibly dangerous [granted, Harry didn't know what it did], then Snape would be exposed as the inventor of Sectumsempra. Snape let Harry get away to protect his own hide.
- "Attempted" manslaughter is an oxymoron. Manslaughter is defined as killing "without malice aforethought," i.e. without intending to kill. Harry didn't know that sectumsempra was potentially lethal at the time he used it on Malfoy. That could potentially knock the charge down from manslaughter to criminal negligence (using an untested spell without having any idea what its effects might have been), depending on how wizard laws compare to Muggle ones and how good Harry's lawyer was. That said, Harry got off pretty light not facing any formal criminal or civil charges whatsoever, considering that the Malfoys are known to be litigious types (e.g. suing to have Hagrid sacked and Buckbeak destroyed on frivolous grounds). Probably the Malfoys didn't want to face counter-charges or have the Ministry looking too deeply into their dealings right at that particular moment.
Charms or Transfiguration?
- In Chapter 24: Sectumsempra, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are in Charms class discussing what he and Dumbledore had talked about regarding Slughorn's memory and the Horcruxes. Flitwick comes over and scolds them for talking and tells them to get to work because "Hermione was the only one who had managed to turn vinegar into wine." It explicitly states they're in Charms class, and it's Flitwick who is teaching, so why exactly are they doing Transfiguration?
- Wine turns into vinegar when it goes sour. Perhaps they were studying some kind of rejuvenating or process-reversing charm.
- Fun fact: It's the ethanoic acid content (commonly called acetic acid). The higher the ethanoic acid content of wine, the closer it becomes to vinegar. Too much is considered a wine fault.
- So, it was an oenophile charm. "Oenophilicus Grigio!"
Love potions? More like "horrible sexual violation" potions!
- Love Potions: Pretty much the ultimate date rape drug. Exactly why are they treated like harmless fun for most of the series, even after we hear the story of Voldemort's mom? There are absolutely no repercussions for any of the people we see try to use them — like Romilda Vane, who tried to drug Harry but got Ron instead — except maybe disappointment, when they should be getting a week in Azkaban or something to scare 'em straight.
- Well, this is another culture we're dealing with. Maybe their stance on rape is totally different from ours; maybe they see rape as nothing more than harmless fun or even an act of love.
- It's rather notable that "Obliviate" is not an unforgivable curse.
- It's also worth noting that the Wizarding world seems to have a "no harm, no foul rule" in place. The things that wizards do to one another in the name of good fun would be considered monstrous in the real world, but since they have access to magic, they're mild nuisances at worst. It makes sense that this attitude would extend further into their culture. Note that the only person to successfully use a Love Potion as a date rape drug, Merope Gaunt, wasn't portrayed in a positive light. She was desperate and lonely and pitiful, but she wasn't excused for her crime. Moreover, Ron basically overdosed on an expired Love Potion; presumably, it doesn't normally consume the user entirely, and immediately after the Love Potion problem was rectified, Ron had more immediate issues to worry about.
- The 'no harm no foul' rule is a good point. Though, part of the message seems to be that the intention DOES matter, whether or not it is successful, at least in some cases: no one can argue that some of the things James and Sirius got up to weren't deliberately intended to be cruel, and as such, their youthful exploits are - aside from Sirius and Remus's personal romanticized memories of them - presented as stupid, dangerous, and in some cases downright cruel. Rowling seems to have intentionally drove this point home when it comes to Snape, in both 'Snape's Worst Memory' and the knowledge of the Werewolf/Shrieking Shack prank against Snape, in which case they are represented as being unquestionably the instigators/bullies/antagonists. Of course, Snape is a dickwad to the extreme as an adult, so there really isn't much extra sympathy for him before those particulars, but even HARRY is disgusted by these particular events. It seems a flaw in the wizard mentality that is presented AS a flaw, because it creates further problems for the people instigating these situations. It never once feels as if Rowling is making excuses for these things, even though the fans sometimes do.
- Maybe Rowling thinks that Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male. After all, only females ever show any interest in drugging people with love potions.
- Actually, perhaps this whole thing with Love Potions is meant to appear as a Double Standard, as a way of critiquing Muggle society's treatment of similar situations. It wouldn't be the first time Rowling did something like this, and if this is the case (and with the way in which she describes Merope Riddle, it certainly would seem so), it falls under Fridge Brilliance.
- It probably is meant to be a critique on the double standard. Dumbledore explicitly says that he believes that Voldemort's disposition (read: sociopathy) could be from being born of a loveless union. I don't even want to get into what that might or might not imply about being a child of rape and sociopathy, but looking at the broader point, that statement - "loveless union" - makes it pretty clear that what Merope did wasn't OK. Riddle's inability to call it what it was just draws even more attention to the stigma - Truth in Television, in that a lot of men aren't supported properly when they become victims of sexual assault. So he said he was "hoodwinked" and "taken in", and couldn't say straight out that he was raped via magic. Still, it might have been nice if the book had even more explicitly spelled out the wrongness of it. The greater focus seemed to be on Riddle's Asshole Victim status instead of on Merope's raping of him.
- There's already some magical Double Standards in play. The one that jumps to mind is that girls can walk into the boys' dormitories, but if a boy tries the reverse, Hogwarts magically prevents him from entering.
- I can't remember where exactly, but I do remember reading that the Hogwarts founders thought girls to be more trustworthy. I guess that was the way it was a thousand years ago.
- Except a thousand years ago, the dorms would've had chamber pots rather than bathrooms.
- I always took it (from the mentions in the early books of Molly Weasley, accounting an anecdote of brewing up a love potion - how would you react if your dad started laughingly talking about that one time he roofied a girl?) that Amortentia is the strongest love potion, but not the only one. You only jump right to the strongest if you're being really reckless or you really want someone in total uncontrollable lust with you.
- This seems to make the most sense, that there are a wide variety of love potions with varying strengths and effects. Presumably this can range from the Weasley's Wizard Wheezes brand, which would, presumably, be relatively short-lasting, with symptoms like uncontrollable blushing, grinning like an idiot, stammering, and heart-all-a-flutter (consult a Healer before administering to someone with a heart condition; contact St. Mungo's for details on possible side effects). On the other end of the scale are the (probably illegal) potions used by Merope Gaunt to completely subsume the drinker's own preferences and wishes, up to and including sexual activities and long-term relationships; i.e., an Imperius Curse powered by [false] love.
- Aside from intention and the random other discussions of Love Potions... it seems weird to me that they are TAUGHT how to make them in their Potions class with Slughorn. While I somehow doubt that Snape would ever teach them this particular potion (since he looks nearly homicidal when Lockhart suggests on Valentine's that people ask him about it), it is clearly a potentially dangerous drug. The fact that we only see women use it, in the narrative, doesn't mean men NEVER have. Both boys and girls brew it in Potions with Slughorn, and this is both bizarre and pretty repulsive that this happens. You don't learn how to make Roofies Of Your Very Own in Chemistry class, as the potential for abuse with this kind of potion is pretty much its entire purpose - there IS no morally sound reason to brew it. Yergh.
- I actually did learn how to make meth in my college chemistry class, although we didn't actually do it for a lab and I doubt it's the method that most meth labs use (as the reactants involved include strong acids that aren't exactly easy to get your hands on). Building on the "there are many different types of love potions" idea, I always figured that only Amortentia and the other really strong kinds of love potions are the magical equivalent of roofies; weaker love charms and love potions are the magical equivalent of "buying 4-5 drinks for a girl to loosen her up", which, rightly or wrongly, most people do consider to be acceptable behaviour and will laughingly talk about.
- Wait a second, love potions are not necessarily "rape" drugs, because even though they cause "infatuation", it's not impossible that they don't lead to sex — oh wait, Merope and Tom, right.
- Rowling was going back to her old writing style/tone from the first couple books where she was using juvenile hijinx with magic and potions for comedic effect (Rule of Funny). The rape aspect is only Fridge Horror: it most likely didn't occur to her that horny lovestruck students would figure the Power Perversion Potential inherent in love potions. But then as mentioned above, she put Merope's use of the potion in the book. So she's got some kind of dissonance going on: she acknowledges their potential for abuse, but thinks teenagers wouldn't abuse them enough to warrant the professors doing the sensible thing and not teaching them how to brew it.
- Just going by what was shown in Book 6, Professor Slughorn only showed the class what the love potion looks like, teaching them how to recognize its characteristics, scent, appearance, effects, etc. It doesn't specifically say that they were ever taught how to brew it themselves. Likely for the same reason they didn't learn how to make Felix Felicis: either it was way beyond their grade level, the ingredients are too expensive for a school course, or it takes so long to mature that it's infeasible for a classroom project.
- He also did mention that it was the most dangerous potion in a line that included some deadly ones. Obviously a love potion of that strength isn't legal.
- Possible Fridge Brilliance here; showing the students the common characteristics and effects of a love potion of this nature means they're, in theory, better equipped to identify if they or someone else is under the influence of one and take appropriate necessary action — kind of like how it's getting more common to publicise the possible characteristics and effects of date-rape drugs in order to help people identify whether their friends have been doped with one.
- Noted, with some of the arguments made here, in this Cracked article, at #5.
- Well, I don't want to say that I approve of dosing people with stuff like that, but as far as I see it it's that any product that can induce any sort of attraction is considered to be a "love potion". Amortentia? Yeah, hard stuff, it pretty much brain-washes people and is probably worse than roofies. The potions sold by the Weasley twins? Yeah, considering that the effect varies depending on the attractiveness of people, it's probably something like an aphrodisiac combined with something that makes the one more receptive to pheromones of the person who used it; in other words, something that can be resisted by those with strong enough will. Certainly questionable and certainly something that can be used to end up raping someone, but considering how the society of that time divided men into those who want sex regardless and those who can control themselves, the whole thing is no more illegal for them than wine, scented candles, and oils used to "enhance mood" are for us. That sort of thing would be the same to "love potions" as we know them, that a potion that makes one say what they want to say but stop themself from saying would be to a truth potion; in other words, not the most "correct" choice, but not exactly seen as bad.
Also, it's a different society. The fact that men can also be raped is something that wasn't really seen before the 20th century, and the wizarding world is somewhere at 17th or 18th century.
- I think the wizard equivalent for rape will be using the Imperious Curse (as in forcing someone to have sex with you againts his/her will) which is the only way I can think of a wizard can rape another wizard (that can defend him/herself with magic from coercion or violence). Love potions are more in the muggle equivalent of scam or feeding false information to receive a favor, as the potion is tricking the person’s mind into thinking he/she is in-love of the recipient. On the other hand, as said by other tropers above, yes, love potions not necessary leave to sex, a boy can use the love potion on a girl, that doesn’t mean the girl is gonna have sex with him no matter how in love she is. Now about Merope, call me crazy but, unless she was terribly ugly (and I think the book says she wasn’t) Tom as any normal man would probably be willing to have sex with a pretty girl, the unethical part of the Amorentia was to force him to fall in love with her, he might have sex with her willingly. But yes, as said before, the books were, at their core and originally intended, CHILDREN’s book, we as adults are the ones thinking in the Unfortunate Implications, the intended audience for the books are probably more innocent.
That Malfoy kid's being allowed to get away with murder...
- Does it bother anyone else that Dumbledore allows Malfoy enough of a leash to harm multiple students? Whether or not Dumbledore wants to keep Malfoy out of prison, it's sheer luck that Ron and Katie went into the hospital wing and not the morgue. The only step Dumbledore takes is to have Snape watch over him, and Snape already has a lot on his plate.
- 'its possible Dumbledore didn't know' — Nope. Snape, who is completely loyal to Dumbledore, knew exactly what Malfoy was up to; that's the entire point of the Spinner's End chapter. Snape later confirms in the Pensieve that he told Dumbledore. As for the dumb luck, Malfoy has openly espoused pure blood supremacy, threatened to kill Harry, supported Umbridge in opposing Dumbledore, has significant connections to the Death Eaters (father, mother, aunt), and is overheard threatening a black market dealer with the name of a notorious werewolf, and boasting to his friends about Voldemort's coming new world order. These are solid reasons to suspect Malfoy. Unfortunately, Harry is a failure in the espionage/detective skill set; his idea of eavesdropping is to hide in the luggage rack. It's only after he gets Dobby and Kreacher to help him that's he's able to accomplish anything.
- Dumbledore (and Harry) knew that Malfoy was doing something, and Harry doesn't have a solid enough understanding of either the Wizarding World or Dark Magic to suggest a way that Malfoy could have been responsible for the necklace; by the point of the poisoning, Harry's already effectively been discredited. Dumbledore, on the other hand, probably figured it had been Malfoy all along, but his attempts were so bad that he could be turned to the side of good, as Snape had been. Dumbledore's flaw was underestimating Malfoy's ingenuity and willingness to do whatever it took.
- That's another thing the bugs me. Malfoy is an attempted murderer, but he's so incompetent that we're going to let him hurt people and try to get him on our side? This after Malfoy has been at Hogwarts for 6 years, and Dumbledore (and Snape) pretty much turn a blind eye to the kid's Voldemort sympathies. Yeah, Malfoys don't know better, that's why you have teachers explain things like "Hanging out with racist terrorists is a Bad Idea."
- Did it bother anyone else that McGonagall didn't consider the possibility of Malfoy using an Imperius curse? Harry's an Idiot, but she (supposedly) isn't. Instead she just said "he was with me, so he has an alibi."
- Seemed to me that McGonagall simply didn't consider that a teenage boy was capable of the Imperius Curse. It's noted that the Unforgivable Curses need a lot of power and motivation behind them. Plus, look at the timing — all evidence was that Katie Bell (if that's the incident being referred to) was Imperius Cursed while in Hogsmeade. Malfoy wasn't in Hogsmeade, so logically he couldn't have cursed Katie personally. Imperius-by-Proxy via Rosmerta was never considered by anybody. Even Dumbledore didn't realize Malfoy's pawn until the end.
- Dumbledore overlooking (sort of) Malfoy's attempted murders seemed perfectly in character. Both attempts failed, and more importantly, Malfoy's targets were completely inadvertent. Dumbledore even criticizes him for taking such high-risk, low-probability measures, but he knew they were mistakes, born of desperation instead of malice. He was already forgiving Malfoy for being a teenage boy working out of stark terror for a seriously evil psychopath, so forgiving him for unfortunate near-accidents is plausible.
- The question isn't if Dumbledore could forgive Malfoy — the book makes it quite clear that Malfoy had a fair Freudian Excuse and was under some extreme circumstances. The question is, why did Dumbledore let this go on for so long? As mentioned, Malfoy's attempts did have a very low chance of success, but they were going to hurt plenty of people just to get to Dumbledore, and it was only sheer dumb luck that Katie and Ron didn't die. Letting Malfoy continue his ill-conceived assassination attempts while living in a school filled with innocent children is simply insane. Not to mention that Malfoy was obviously mentally unstable at the time (perfectly willing to use an Unforgivable Curse on someone who'd just seen him crying in a public restroom), and could snap and do even more damage. The very instant his botched attack hospitalized Katie, Dumbledore should've pulled him aside and talked him down, instead of waiting until Malfoy was nearly successful and had him at wand-point (great timing there, Albus). His willingness to let Malfoy possibly kill innocent students is just one more piece of evidence shown throughout the books — Dumbledore doesn't care about the safety or well-being of Hogwarts students.
- Huh. That last sentence pretty much means any counterargument is going to fall on deaf ears, but... eh, why not. Dumbledore was doing something about Malfoy, having Snape keep him under control (or try to). Engineering Malfoy's Heel–Face Turn (ironically waiting until Malfoy was at his weakest moment) was one of Albus "Everyone Deserves a Second Chance" Dumbledore's big projects (along with searching for the Horcruxes, teaching Harry to do so, and getting himself killed). He correctly assumed the assassination attempts were flukes, and he didn't really seem to know about Malfoy's actual "danger to himself and others" plan to smuggle in Death Eaters. Malfoy really wasn't mentally unstable, either, except that one moment (under stress, mortal enemy caught him in weak moment, already willing to use Unforgivable Curses anyway...). Until the plan ran away from him, Dumbledore letting Malfoy "win" was killing three birds with one stone: Malfoy would be most likely to concede when he wasn't backed into a corner, Malfoy's death could be faked, and Dumbledore's death could be accomplished, freeing Snape.
- The thing about Malfoy's plans, though, was that they were only incompetent as attempts to kill Dumbledore. As attempts to kill someone, they came very close to working. The necklace kills whoever touches it; odds are near 100% that someone is going to pick it up and get killed. Same thing with the poisoned mead: someone is going to drink it, even if that someone is unlikely to be Dumbledore. Malfoy is doing the equivalent of firing a gun into a crowd, and Dumbledore really needed to put a stop to it.
- The simplest explanation is that he overestimated Malfoy. Dumbledore is smart enough not to accept anonymous gifts. Those who actually got harmed by them did so when they weren't supposed to by Malfoy's plan.
- Also, worth noting is that Dumbledore's goal was never to keep Malfoy out of prison so much as it was to keep Malfoy alive. Any overt action on Dumbledore's part would have gotten Draco killed if Voldemort found out about it. That's why he had to work through Snape. Short of relying on Snape to try and keep Malfoy in check, there was nothing Dumbledore could do except watch, work Damage Control, and thank heavens nobody got killed (since he remarks Draco was lucky neither of his accidental victims died).
- He was also protecting Narcissa, as she probably would've gotten herself killed trying to protect Draco, had Voldemort judged her son a liability and sicced the other Death Eaters on him. Narcissa is probably the least evil person among Voldemort's supporters (barring the deceased Regulus), so Dumbledore wouldn't want her to suffer for her son's incompetence.
- Don't forget that he needed Snape to remain alive for part of his Gambit Roulette, and taking action against Malfoy based on the information Snape had given him could have lead to Snape being killed by the Unbreakable Vow.
- Seems in character for Dumbledore. Remember it was suggested in the first book that he knew what Quirrell was up to and let the trio take care of him on purpose.
- Also, don't forget that in book 7 Voldemort is trying to get the Elder Wand. If Dumbledore had confronted Draco before Draco disarmed him, then Voldemort would have gotten the wand and Harry might be dead.
- Moreover, so long as Draco is acting as a Death Eater agent at Hogwarts, whose plans have yet to run their course, it decreases the risk that Voldemort will send some other agent to infiltrate the school. The bad guys have done this repeatedly in the past, showing enough ingenuity that Dumbledore can't trust his defences to foil the next attempt. By leaving Draco in place — an incompetent whose clumsy assassination-attempts only endanger people by accident — Dumbledore is stalling for time, delaying Voldemort's next full-blown attack on the school and/or Harry because the Dark Lord is waiting for Draco to succeed or to blow it.
- Ok, I'd like to reiterate an aforementioned perfectly good point: Malfoy is doing the equivalent of firing a gun into a crowd. Period. His clumsy assassination-attempts do not endanger people by accident - they are bound to endanger people and the accidents (or miracles) were that nobody actually died. If that girl touched that necklace with her full palm, she would've died. If Slughorn drank that mead alone (and why not?), he would've died. And Snape did nothing to prevent both cases, so this excuse is lame. Seriously, it looks more and more as if Dumbledore was content with the situation where everybody in the school was in real danger except for him. What the heck?
- Dumbledore calls Snape out on that in the Pensieve episode in book 7, just before he reveals the secret of the Harry-Horcrux. "I thought you had agreed to keep an eye on our young Slytherin friend." Presumably, this was after Snape had failed to prevent the first two attempts, and afterward, Snape is able to convince Draco not to concoct any more hare-brained schemes and focus on the one that was working - even though Draco still doesn't tell him exactly what that is.
- Dumbledore knew the entire time what was going on. When Harry was looking through Snape's memories, it was revealed that Dumbledore wanted to keep Malfoy as ignorant as possible of the protection (otherwise Voldemort might use Legilimency to find out and kill Malfoy anyway). As a result, Dumbledore pretended to have no idea that Malfoy was really behind everything and thus had to basically gaslight Harry's suspicions. Harry even suspects at one point that Dumbledore was working on the issue but just wasn't confiding everything to him for some reason.
- For one thing, exposing Malfoy would force Snape's hand — once Draco was apprehended and rendered completely incapable of finishing his task, Snape would have to kill Dumbledore for any of their plans to work out, which would be even worse for everyone since Snape would then be stranded inside Hogwarts with no back up. Add to that the fact that Dumbledore has been spending all year trying to get Harry up to date, and it doesn't take much to realize that despite all the repercussions of having Malfoy continue plotting, outing him would be a much worse situation all around. It's horrible, but this is war we're talking about.
- Dumbledore is simply ready to potentially sacrifice innocent bystanders to get his master plan with Snape to work. That's all. Most important was to have the plan with Snape assassinating him work. Second was to keep Draco, potential murderer safe. And his family who were all potential or real murderers depending if Lucius had killed anyone. The least of importance was if someone innocent (like students) dies in the process. Dumbledore is all about greater good. If some kids get hurt or die then... well, crap happens. Albus would shed a tear and life goes on.
The digestive tract is not a disposal system!
- Why did Dumbledore have to drink the potion in Half-Blood Prince? Couldn't he have conjured a bucket and just dumped it in there? And for that matter, if he DID have to drink it, couldn't Harry have conjured another goblet to fill with water?
- Why use a bucket? "Now, I shall drink this potion, and - oops, I seem to have spilt it all." The potion seems to regenerate to a finite amount - it can be moved, but not destroyed, and so must be set aside. Pour the stuff into the lake, and nothing would happen.
- Probably some charm had been placed on the well that the potion has to be drunk in order to drain the well, otherwise it would automatically refill. As for Harry, clearly in his panic, he didn't consider all the options available to him, otherwise he'd simply conjure the water right into Dumbledore's mouth.
- What? Harry DID try to conjure water. And every time he brought it near Dumbledore's mouth, it disappeared. The potion was cursed so that it could only be relieved by the water of the lake. This, upon contact, would set the Inferi on whoever tried taking it.
- He conjured it into the goblet that had just held the potion; the paragraph above you seems to be suggesting... well, exactly what it said. How could you miss that?
- If the water disappeared by proximity, it's more than likely that if the water was conjured into his mouth, it would still disappear before Dumbledore could swallow it.
- That cave's layered curses, which restrict intruders' actions so they're forced to trigger the Inferi to attack, Just Bug Me. If I tried something like that in a role-playing game, my players would throw things at me for railroading them! True, Voldemort is a control freak, but did he have to require that many frustrated actions to set off an ambush, that would've faced better odds if the trespassers were already in the boat and trying to leave?
- Voldemort needed a way to restrict access to the Horcrux that would a) allow him access to it, b) forbid anyone else access to it, and c) (optionally) increase his power. So the potion tortures the drinker to the edge of insanity, meaning he has to have a sacrifice. Not too hard to accomplish. But Dumbledore is about the only person who would figure him out, have the skills to figure out all the traps, and get the Horcrux, and Dumbledore isn't likely to sacrifice anyone else or be accompanied by anyone who would sacrifice him. So they would have to go to the water. And then they would be dragged under, the Horcrux would (presumably) be returned to its resting place, the potion refilled, and he would have another Inferi. As for your tabletop group... well, if they see potentially animate corpses in the water and don't expect to be re-killing them at some point, they clearly haven't been rolling the dice for long enough.
- The key is a Role-Playing *Group*. The traps are specifically set up to isolate and weaken one person. If Dumbledore hadn't been with Harry, he'd have never finished the potion.
- Why would Voldemort expect just one person, though? Anyone with half a brain would have brought along a whole bunch of people, (and maybe a nice bottle of water, while they're at it) in case of incapacitating traps just like that potion. And yes, I know Dumbledore would be too noble to let anyone else drink the poison, but how about having along somebody useful who could apparate Harry out of there? Maybe Moody, Snape, or even a house-elf? Dumbledore couldn't have known that there was only the one trap and he would have enough time left to get Harry back to Hogwarts, so taking just an underage, pretty useless boy with him is pretty foolish.
- The boat was enchanted so that it would only carry one adult wizard without sinking, and was small enough so that no more than two people could fit into it, anyway. I suspect that it was also enchanted against making empty trips across the water (and so cannot be used to ferry people over in multiple trips).
- Unless Dumbledore had had the good sense to bring Fawkes along, which would have been the perfect Cutting the Knot solution to Voldemort's traps. The phoenix can fly without recourse to magic, so wouldn't take up space in the boat. He can neutralize poisons, which relieves the worst of the potion's effects. And he can carry any amount of weight, so could lift Dumbledore, Harry, the Horcrux, and possibly the entire boat up out of the Inferi's reach for the return trip.
- OK, you just won life, that is a brilliant solution. Dumbledore is an idiot for not thinking of that.
- Well, Dumbledore assumed that the same way you can only remove the potion by drinking it, you can only pass using the boat.
- Alternate solution: Step one, make a bowl out of a rock. Step two, transfigure another rock into a dog. Step three, use the goblet to scoop out the potion like you're supposed to, then pour it from the goblet into the bowl. Step four, use a Compulsion to make the dog drink the potion. Step five, turn the dog back into a rock. And step six, take the locket and be on your merry way.
- Voldy probably had a defence against that. and Phoenixes are so magically powerful, they'd probably register as more than a wizard. Awesome idea though.
- Voldy obviously didn't have a defence against house-elves, as per Kreacher's helping Regulus, so why should we assume any other magical critter was warded against? For that matter, why didn't our heroes think of using house-elf transport? God knows that Dobby would have been ecstatic to lend Harry a hand.
Overfilling the bowl
- If Moldy Shorts really wanted to stop anyone from getting to the Horcrux, why didn't he just fill the whole damn bowl with deadly poison?
- What, didn't you read carefully? He would want to interrogate the intruder, which is why he made the poison that only incapacitates the drinker and invokes terrible thirst, which can only be quenched with water from the lake, whereupon the Inferi would immediately drown the intruder...Wait.
- I assume that one person alone would have stopped taking the potion long before it invoked a thirst so terrible that they needed water from the lake to quench it. Harry has to force whole goblets full into Dumbledore, and the thirst only comes after everything's gone. No, what he wanted to do was incapacitate the person trying to take the Horcrux... in a place where he hasn't been at least since R.A.B. Uhm... no, I'm not following the reasoning here either...
- Well, if he wanted to interrogate the intruder, it means there had to be some alarm notifying him that there was an intruder to interrogate. Meaning that DD went to drinking the potion, when, by his own reasoning, V should've either been on his way to the cave or already waiting outside for the intruder to drink and fall down. And Harry went along with it. Wait...
- My best guess is that a) the boat was actually intended for one 'powerful wizard' (Dumbledore, Voldemort, possible Regulus) and one 'sacrifice' (a house-elf, an underage wizard) or b) whoever it might be that drank the potion would have been compelled to go to the water's edge anyway, saving Voldemort the trouble of having to actually kill them off and make them Inferi (how does that even happen, anyway?) Except... wait... Dumbledore thinks Voldemort would not want to immediately kill whoever was on the island. One day we'll get an answer...
- It may have been in case he wanted to revisit the Horcrux himself, either just to check on it or to move it to a safer location. Even if he brings a sacrifice to empty the basin of potion in his place, if it were a poison, he'd have to bring a large handful of them in order to fully empty it, as each cupful would kill the one who drank it.
- Yes, and, as we know, V would certainly balk from the prospective of killing several people for such a trivial reason.
It's only funny 'till the Main Characters get hurt...
- When they are learning apparition for the first time, when characters splinch themselves, it's kind of silly-looking and alarming, but they're physically fine... just not all together. In Deathly Hallows, when Ron splinches himself, there's blood everywhere and he's in terrible pain. Why the disconnect? They certainly never bring up 'oh, and there's a spell on the room to make splinching less painful, so Don't Try This At Home' or anything, which you'd think they would.
- Maybe there was a spell to keep them from being seriously hurt. Or the Death Eaters know how to disrupt apparitions.
- I would have thought that if the former point was true, that they would have said something. Also, in an early book, Arthur casually refers to people being splinched and needing to be set right - if it takes until some wizards happen to stop by and revert them, wouldn't they be worried about bleeding to death? It is true, though, maybe a Death Eater interrupted him somehow and caused the bad effects.
- In Half-Blood Prince, it does explicitly state that when the first girl splinches herself, she makes a shriek of pain. Maybe her splinching only hurt a little bit because her apparition power was weak in the first place, so she was only moving a few metres? Perhaps if a fully-grown wizard with full apparition powers splinches himself travelling a fairly long distance, the consequences are worse.
- Distance probably had something to do with it, too. In Hogwarts, the kids were apparating, what, 2 feet. In the last book, Hermione was apparating two other people from somewhere in London into the middle of nowhere, while under immense stress.
- It's simply one of many things in book six that does not fit in with what was written in the first five.
- No, it does make kinda sense. Ron was missing a chunk out of his arm, meaning the skin broke. The other girl, Susan Bones, just lost her leg, which, I'm assuming, means that when she left her leg, the skin didn't break. There was no mention of blood, and really, when you lose a leg, there will be blood. It said she "was shaken" after that incident. If you were practicing magic and lost your leg, blood gushing, you wouldn't be shaken. I'd be scarred for life. And, wouldn't that elicit more than a shriek of pain?
- Probably two types of Splinch - least serious one, you lose something, but your magic screws up to the point where it actually changes your body, making it less painful. More serious, you simply leave a chunk behind without changing the rest. Also, the time in HBP, there were many very powerful and trained wizards and witches to glue them back together. Theoretically even if one splinched one's head, they could cast the rebuild spell before you are brain dead.
- The idea of two types of splinching makes sense. For my own part, I'm pretty sure they mentioned that splinching can do really bad things to you if you screw it up, hence even some adults not messing with it.
- Hermione mentions after the splinching that there are spells to put splinching right immediately- but she's so shaken up that she doesn't have the confidence to do it.
- Also, the teachers rushed in once the girl got splinched. Harry never saw the extent of the damage. He only heard her yell, then she was back to normal.
All right, who stuffed the plot into a Vanishing Cabinet?
- Malfoy explains that he discovered how the Vanishing Cabinet worked when a character was stuffed into it the previous year... and escaped by Apparating into an upstairs toilet at Hogwarts. When you go to that much trouble to establish that you cannot Apparate or Disapparate on school grounds, HOW CAN YOU MISS THAT PLOT HOLE?
- I always thought the stuffed-in-a-toilet thing WAS Hogwarts's defence system: sure you can Apparate, but only if you don't mind being stuffed into a toilet. Seems like the kind of thing Dumbledore would do. Note when the sixth years are learning, the teachers say if they try to Apparate further than the Great Hall they will not like the results, not that it's impossible.
- A vanishing cabinet is at least partially in one place, circumvents most of Hogwarts' defences, and that one was broken, remember? Not to mention that the character who managed to Apparate back in was nearly killed.
- If you can't Disapparate off Hogwarts grounds, and you can't Disapparate onto Hogwarts grounds, there's no reason to assume you should be able to Apparate from one part of the Hogwarts grounds to another. The vanishing cabinet being broken should have no effect at all on whether it's possible to Apparate out of it into a place that is reportedly impossible to Apparate into. And the text implies that he nearly died Apparating because he didn't know how to Apparate, not because of the enchantments.
- It seemed to me that he didn't successfully Apparate out of the cabinet. He tried to, but the enchantment caused a magical backlash which shunted him into a Hogwarts bathroom and nearly killed him in the process.
- The above would seem likely. If you recall the first Apparation lesson, the anti-Apparation wards have to be taken down in the great hall to let students Apparate even a few inches, and they are unable to practice outside of the scheduled lessons. Plus, if Apparation within the grounds was allowable, there would be many, many cases where it should have been used (medical emergencies, fights, etc.). It may not have been EXPLICITLY stated that the wards only prevented entering or leaving the grounds, but it's quite clear that any Apparation/Disapparation is guarded against. Though without at least a little "magical backlash from the attempt" handwave, it does appear to be a nasty little plothole...
- People seem to be assuming that the anti-Apparation wards stop people from starting to apparate. We have no evidence of that. Apparation is a process, not instant teleportation, so perhaps the wards just 'kick out' anyone they catch apparating through the space they cover. You try to apparate into Hogwarts, you drop out at the boundary, you try it inside Hogwarts, and you make it a few feet and pop back out. To put in science fiction terms, perhaps the wards mean you are 'immediately forced to drop out of FTL', not that you cannot enter it for a split second. (We do see anti-Apparation wards at the Malfoy's in Deathly Hallow apparently stopping Ron from starting Apparation, but those might be different wards, and he was 'trying to Apparate without his wand' which might indicate he's trying to do something completely impossible anyway.)
- If the cabinet hadn't been specially designed to circumvent security-spells, it's hard to explain why it would've been for sale in a Dark Arts store in the first place.
- The Room of Requirement might have played a role. Perhaps it worked if you needed a Room which was somehow unaffected by Hogwarts's security.
- The Movie actually adds some background info to this, which one suspects came straight from the author. Harry asks Mr. Weasley about Vanishing Cabinets, and he (Mr. Weasley) explains that they always come in pairs and basically act as two-way transit portals. The line was something like, "They were all the rage during You-Know-Who's first reign of terror, because you could shut yourself into the cabinet, pop out somewhere else, (IE safe) and then return home later." You're supposed to use Vanishing Cabinets to travel and, if evidence is to be believed, they do indeed trump Hogwarts's Anti-Apparition defences. Fridge Brilliance suggests that this interplay might have helped Montague make his (nominally) impossible Apparition escape.
- I was always incredibly amused by that line, because of the obvious logical fallacy involved. Think about it. You're running from someone, so you jump in a cabinet and reappear elsewhere in a matching cabinet. What's wrong with that? The Death Eater can follow you.'
- I'd assume it only works if both cabinets are closed. If you leave the one you escaped to open, they wouldn't be able to follow you.
- There's also a difference between having Death Eaters storming your house from all sides, and Death Eaters climbing out of a cabinet one at a time. Especially if the other cabinet is at a friend's house, so you have reinforcements.
- It would be ludicrously easy for the escapee - all they have to do is stand with their wand pointed at the vanishing cabinet entrance saying "Stupefy!" repeatedly.
- So, a character gets stuffed into a cabinet, disappears to somewhere, and escapes by Apparating into a toilet. From this, Draco deduces: 1) that it's a broken vanishing cabinet, and 2) that the other part of the pair of cabinets is in Borgin's & Burke's. Seems to me that that isn't enough information to figure out either of them, let alone both.
- First, everyone knew it was a broken vanishing cabinet, since Peeves broke it in Chamber of Secrets. That's why it's only ever referred to as "the broken vanishing cabinet", not "that presumably mundane cabinet that Montague mysteriously vanished in, yet we see no need for further investigation". Second, Montague was shaken up, but he apparently remembered enough to tell Draco about his experience (this is specifically stated in the book) of being trapped in a limbo between the cabinets where he could hear voices from both Hogwarts and Borgin & Burke's.
I'm just gonna act petrified for no reason!
- Okay, in the book, Harry had been hit by a Petrificus Totalus, but that bit was removed from the movie... so what's the in-universe reason for Harry to just stand there while Draco threatens to kill Dumbledore?
- Dumbledore told him to.
- He didn't think Malfoy had it in him. After that, the rest of the Death Eaters showed up, and fighting would've effectively been suicide. You could kinda see Harry raising his wand and questioning inside himself if he wanted to do it. Also, he trusted Snape, at least a little.
- At first, he probably underestimated the potion's lasting effects and thought the great Dumbledore was in no danger from Draco. After he gets disarmed, he might have reconsidered, but Draco was clearly hesitating and Dumbledore was trying to talk him out of it, and Harry might mess that up if he bursts out of nowhere and attacks Malfoy. When the rest of the Death Eaters arrive, Harry realizes Dumbledore is screwed if he doesn't do something (even though pretty much anything he might try would likely be insufficient to save Dumbledore and would get Harry killed as well, but he is known for having more guts than brains), so he takes out his wand, prepares to attack... and then Snape stops him. He tells him to shut up and goes upstairs. Now, Harry might have his doubts about Snape, but when the guy who you think is a Death Eater has a chance to take you out by surprise and instead warns you to keep quiet and doesn't even mention you to the Death Eater group upstairs, you start thinking maybe you were wrong about him, maybe he has a plan to save Dumbledore, and maybe, just maybe, you really should just shut up and stay quiet for once. Of course, then Snape kills Dumbledore. Harry is too freaking shocked by seeing one of the two greatest wizards of the present day, his friend and headmaster, die, and doesn't react fast enough when the Death Eaters make a fast exit, being forced to catch up to them once his senses have recovered enough for him to seek revenge.
- This makes a lot of sense. Thank you!
- Also, it should be mentioned that Harry had, by verbal contract, given Dumbledore's word that he would do whatever he was asked to do. Just a few minutes before, this deal had included him force-feeding Dumbledore a potion that made him suffer agonizing madness and nearly kill him. The likelihood of Harry having gone for Snape after that seems rather high — I mean, he was worried about his Headmaster in his weakened state, and Dumbledore was adamant about it, so Harry would do whatever needed to be done to try and save him. For all intents and purposes, however, screenplay writer Steve Kloves said in an interview that he wrote that in just to haunt Harry with the fact that he did nothing. Nice.
- You mean, right? :)
- He was hit with a confundus meant for Steve Kloves and thus did not notice that he could move.
As if Moody's mad eye wasn't enough!
- In the movie, Luna uses her magical glasses to detect Harry underneath his invisibility cloak. Her glasses detect whatever those strange, invisible creatures she believes in are called. Does this mean, in movie-verse at least, that all the whacky things Luna and her family believe in are real and true?
- They're called Wrackspurts, BTW.
- Actually, Luna was dead wrong. Her glasses actually detect Midichlorians, not Wrackspurts. Unless, of course, she just calls them Wrackspurts due to not knowing the original name.
- Maybe. Alternatively, they just pick up people or something and the Lovegoods have gotten the idea that it must be little creatures they detect.
- They're shown to be right about one thing. That does not confirm the Crumple-Horned Snorkack.
- You have no proof that Crumple-Horned Snorkacks don't exist!
- My point was that people can be very accurate in one area, yet talk a lot of utter codswallop in others. Look at Fred Hoyle; awesome astronomer, but never really got evolution. In this case, during Xenophilus Lovegood's voyage through Cloudcuckooland, he stumbled upon something that actually, verifiably exists; it seems fair to assume the nonexistence of Snorkacks until non-exploding evidence of their existence can be located (*cough*Erumpenthorn*cough*).
- JK Rowling has stated that Luna eventually learnt that Crumple Horned Snorkacks don't exist.
- Or maybe -- just maybe -- she discovered that they ''did'' but was sworn to secrecy because Snorkacks hide from wizards the same way wizards hide from Muggles?
- Her glasses are supposed to allow her to see invisible things. Harry was invisible because of the cloak, so the glasses allowed her to see him. The only thing this scene tells us is that the glasses work as advertised, and allow the viewer to see invisible things. We have no new evidence that Loony Lovegood's belief in the magical equivalent of cryptids is justified.
- But that makes no sense. Harry's invisibility cloak is THE cloak of invisibility, a Deathly Hallow, and can protect you and others from any but probably the strongest magic. I find it absolutely impossible that her spectrospecs have Voldemort-level powers of revealing and breaking down magical defences. Obviously just an in-movie mistake, but Deathly Hallows had already come out, so it is not excusable.
- Maybe that's just it — the Hallow Cloak beats all other cloaks, and then some otherwise useless nonsense, built out of plastic for ten sickles, beats the Hallow Cloak.
- The scene is question is mostly Rule of Funny. However we have seen that Mad Eye Moody's Eye can see through the cloak, and it can't be that much stronger than enchanted eyewear that also sees through walls.
- I completely forgot that Barty Crouch Jr. saw Harry under the Invisibility Cloak using the eye. What I think this means is that this is another nod to how truly powerful Alastor Moody was, to be able to create something that could see through the cloak, much more so than a nod to how ineffective the cloak was. After all, Moody was one of the top members of the old and new OotP, and caught a lot of Death Eaters, to the point that Dumbledore acknowledged his skill and it took Voldemort himself to finally kill him.
- Um, no. The glasses were advertised to see Wrackspurts, and in the movie, that's what they see. The tiny glowing balls of light are the Wrackspurts. She saw them congregating around Harry's head and used a spell to reveal whatever was there. She never actually saw Harry (glasses or no) until the cloak was off. However, that doesn't explain how the spell she used (I want to say it was a spell designed to reveal magic) affected the cloak, since we're told inDHthat charms and spells don't work on the Hallow.
- The spell was probably Homenum Revelio. It spreads out and causes a 'swooping feeling' when it hits people, even if they're invisible, and presumably indicates those people to the caster somehow, although we don't ever see what it does. It doesn't 'affect the cloak' as much as 'detects people in a way other than sight', which the cloak doesn't protect against. Word of God says that's how Dumbledore knows when people are there under the Cloak early in the series, and Hermione uses it at Grimmauld Place in the last book to make sure it's empty. (Which is why the Death Eaters are majorly stupid in Hogsmeade when they attempt to summon the cloak instead of using that spell, but they're probably idiots overspecialized in offensive magic.)
- For the record, the likelihood of the glasses having the ability to randomly reveal gnat-like creatures fluttering about a person's head (the gnats being a product of the glasses themselves, not reality) seems high. Kind of like the reliability of a lie detector — it can be accurate sometimes, but too sensitive other times to really trust.
- Maybe the glasses and the eye can detect something else, air currents eddying around the body or heat signatures? As far as I can deduce, the cloak did not stop your body from being solid.
- The movies screw everything up.
The Half-Climax Prince
- So, Harry throws a spell at Snape, one Snape made up, by the way, and Snape, in the movie, at least, just goes, "Yes, I'm the Half-Blood Prince". Okay... the audience is going, "How...?" the fans are going, "There's supposed to be more curiosity, not just a throwaway line at the end!"
- Thing is, that's more or less how it was in the book. Nobody could've known Snape was the Half-Blood Prince without being insanely savvy. There were no clues. Harry tried a bit harder to figure it out in the book, which is true. But did he ever get anywhere with that? Nope.
- Okay, but, even then, it's brought up twice in the movie, not counting the title at all, and, I SWEAR, I heard someone in the theatre at the midnight premiere say, "Who's Draco?" Hand to the sky, it was said. So, it's just a bookend with no clues during the movie... that's really what bugs me about it.
- What bugs me is, why was it made such a big deal in the book anyway who the Half-Blood Prince was? It seemed to be leading to something epic... and momentous... and fantastically revelatory... and then it was just like, meh. Also, what was Snape's old book doing in that store cupboard anyway? It's not like it belonged to the school and he had to give it back (it was his property after all) and he's hardly the kind of guy that would forget all about one of his books on his best subject, full of his own notes. If he had just lost it, he could have done a simple point me or summoning charm, so, what's the deal? Any ideas?
- It was in that classroom because Slughorn taught Potions in the same dungeon Snape did. Slughorn simply took possession of the place that morning and, clearly, Snape didn't do a good job cleaning up (possibly didn't bother). Personally, I do see Snape as having forgotten about his old textbook; he may be able to do a lot of it from memory by now. As to why Snape was the subtitular character, it was probably to underline the sheer ambiguity of his character and the fact that nobody can tell whether he's a good guy or not. Harry (and thus many of his readers) considers Snape an enemy and the Half-Blood Prince a friend. They're the same person. Hilarity Ensues.
- It did have his own notes in it, but even so, most people don't care all that strongly about their old textbooks. He probably donated it to the school when he graduated and didn't think again about it for years. And, point me? Uh... how would a magical compass help him find his lost textbook?
- Why did he make such a fuss about Harry having that book then? Harry already knew the Sectumsempra spell by then, so what did it matter if he held on to the book? If he donated it to the school, he should have expected a student to have it. And the point me spell points you towards people or things you are looking for, not North South East and West like compasses do.
- He doesn't make a fuss about Harry having the book, he asks Harry for the book so he has proof that the spell Sectumsempra was the one that was used. And no, point me does not point you towards people or things you are looking for. It points north. To quote directly from the two relevant sections (emphasis mine):
"...the Four-Point spell, a useful discovery of Hermione's which would make his wand point due north, therefore enabling him to check whether he was going in the right direction within the maze''.
"'Point me,' he whispered to his wand, holding it flat in his palm. The wand spun around once and pointed towards his right into solid hedge. That way was north, and he knew that he needed to go north-west for the centre of the maze."
- Since it would indeed be an extremely unlikely coincidence otherwise, the obvious answer is that the book was left there intentionally, both as a mean to provide the Trio with the Luck potion (surely Snape and Slughorn discussed the educational program, and Slughorn wouldn't help but brag about his clever idea with the contest), and as a test to see how Harry would deal with such a powerful artefact.
- Ok, my bad, must have been thinking of something else. But I still wonder about the potions book. Harry having the book with the Sectumsempra spell in it is no proof that Harry used it, its circumstantial evidence. Snape doesn't need proof, anyway, he knows fine well that's what was used. (He also could have done a priori incantatem on Harry's wand or legilimens him or give him Veritaserum.) It doesn't matter anyway what spell was used, Harry seriously hurt another student and the only punishment he got was being banned from Quidditch, which Harry even had the audacity to complain about.
- You probably got it from Fanon, which seems to insist that you say "Point Me _____" and it will point you to the object of your choosing. If nothing else, it's used in one of the video games to lead you to your objective.
- ...as his punishment, Harry got a weekly detention every week for the rest of term, including the day of the last Quidditch match, which he was also not permitted to attend. Snape also indicated that the weekly punishment might continue into the following school year (except Harry didn't show up the following year). Also, Snape DID use legilimency on him - Harry tried to close his mind but he couldn't help but have the book rise to the surface, remember? That's when Snape insisted he go retrieve the book.
- McGonagall also chews him out for fifteen minutes in the common room.
- Snape wanted the book because Harry was rocking potions that year and Slughorn wouldn't stop bragging about him. He wanted the book to expose Harry.
- This is all speculation, anyway, because it's never actually resolved how Snape's textbook came to be in the Potions classroom - we see in the earlier books that Luna's belongings are stolen because people consider her so strange and unpopular. It's not out of the question that this same thing occurred to Snape as a student. Another possibility is that he lost it when he was a student, someone found it and returned it to Slughorn, but Snape never thought to look for it there. It seems very unlikely that Snape would have put his own book somewhere for students to use for the very reason that the formulas in it are not what the book is trying to teach; the recipes in the textbooks are meant to teach specific skills to a student, not to find the easiest solution. Snape as a student was just so gifted at his subject that he already knew all the basic skills, and more than enough to find more efficient ways to brew the potions.
- On a related note, it Bugs Me that Harry's Potions class is still using the same textbook that his parents' generation used. A textbook, which the teacher knows for a fact is badly flawed, as he himself had to make substantial corrections to its recipes when he was a student. What, so Hogwarts hasn't updated its potion-making curriculum in the last twenty-odd years? Snape should've been publishing revised and corrected Potions textbooks himself: he'd have made a fortune, and not needed to spout Death Eater dogma to impress the snobs.
- Made worse by the fact that Snape's book was a hand-me-down from his mother. I don't think they update those books ever.
- Uh... guys, why so worried about the age of this book? Much fantasy fiction in general features wizards learning from "Ancient grimoires." Plus, there's another consideration: Slughorn hasn't taught this curriculum in decades since he's been retired. It's plausible (although it would be execrable teaching practice in real life) that when he returned to Hogwarts he also brought a curriculum he's familiar with, including the notes and textbooks he used during his twenty-odd years in the classroom. Teachers recycle lessons and even curriculums all the time. The fact that a teacher dragged out of retirement decided to mail it in with an out of date book he was familiar with rather than spending the time and energy to research an entirely new one is not that implausible... I could introduce you to some of my colleagues at the junior high I taught at two years ago if you want a specific example.
- "although it would be execrable teaching practice in real life" I disagree. There is no point in having new textbooks and curricula for the sake of having new textbooks and curricula, and many subjects (like elementary geometry and Newtonian physics) have not changed at all for centuries, let alone the last few decades. Whether this applies to Potions depends on whether anybody made significant changes to the subject during that time.
- On the other hand, I don't recall Snape ever actually using the textbook — I believe he wrote most of his notes on the board. I figure he assigned the textbook because the Ministry requires some sort of book, but ignored it and taught whatever he wanted.
- The issue is that the Harry Potter universe isn't about some wizards in a tower somewhere pouring over ancient texts searching for forgotten knowledge. It's about a thriving wizarding community that is supposedly coming up with new spells and potions all the time. In a shorter period of time than the textbooks changing the treatment for werewolfism went from "lock them up in a house so their frenzied rampage doesn't kill anyone" to "drink this once a month". Snape, as a student, came up with numerous significant improvements to existing potions, yet he doesn't seem to have told anyone. No one else appears to have made the same discoveries. None of the discoveries that appear to occur in the world outside the school seem to affect what's taught at all.
- Heck, if Snape hadn't been so busy playing triple agent all the time, he could've surely written the next generation of Potions textbooks.
- Guys, you keep forgetting: Snape was established as a repentant DEATH EATER. Yes, he is under Dumbledore's protection, but that only extends so far. Just think about how Fudge regards him in The Prisoner of Azkaban. While he is considered a BRILLIANT potions master, one of the best, he will forever be blacklisted because he's a Death Eater. There was no point in him showing the world his discoveries, as they don't trust it, or rather don't trust him. It's rarely shown how he's regarded outside of Hogwarts.
- I'll point out what someone else here said that seems to have been passed by: we never actually see Snape use this textbook in HIS classes, nor is it on any of the book lists for previous years. Knowing that Snape used that textbook for his FIFTH year and he isn't assigning it to his 5th or younger students as a teacher, it's entirely possible that Snape uses a different textbook for all his classes. They've had standard books they had to buy before then, though he does generally use the board for instructions and the books are more for their essays and independent study.
- It's utterly in character for Snape to knowingly use an out-of-date book, because he thinks that if the students are bright enough to pass his class, then they ought to be damn well bright enough to work out that the book is wrong and how to put it right. Plus, if he had to work it all out himself, why should this bunch of oafs and malcontents get it easy. He seems to be big on making students work things out themselves, teach them how to think critically on their own, and then the rest will follow. Unable to learn to think critically, well then, they deserve to learn the crap. Snape is kinda an Educational Darwinist.
- Another point that Snape may never have used this particular textbook to teach from - it is interesting that Ron also takes a spare book from the cupboard rather than getting a copy from one of his siblings. The twins surely dropped Potions as soon as they could, but from Percy upward, it seems likely enough that one of them continued the study. Yes, Snape is thoroughly unpleasant and has no fondness for the Weasleys, but it would really surprise me if not one of the three eldest continued with potions. Percy was extremely academically motivated, and we're told that Bill is noted for having achieved 12 OWLs as well as being Prefect and Head Boy. If neither of them had a leftover copy of this book, it's possible that Snape never did use this text for his own classes.
- However, Ron (and Harry) didn't know that they were eligible to take NEWT-level Potions until McGonagall was going over their schedules. Since it would take time for Ron to write home and have one of his brother's copies be delivered, he'd still have to borrow the spare from the cupboard for the first class.
- I had always assumed that the teacher assigned the textbooks, seeing as how Lockhart made all of his students buy his "textbooks" in Chamber of Secrets.
- back to the movie, what I find annoying is the fact that it didn't give enough attention to the fact that Sectumsempra came from the Prince's book. You get a blink and you'll miss it cameo and Ron muttering the spell among random plot unrelated stuff while looking at it. I was watching the movie with friends and they were very confused about why Harry had to get rid of the book among other things.
- I still say he could have rewritten the book under an alias, such as, say, The Half Blood Prince and donated his earnings to the Order of the Phoenix's emergency return of Dark Lord fund.
- Consider that the books are meant to teach potions to new students of varying talent. Unlike a potions manual, where you want to really optimize the recipe, for a lesson book, you might want to stick to a less efficient, but safer recipe, with not nearly as much risk of blowing up. Snape was talented enough that he could improve on these example potions on his own, but for his lessons, he focuses on following instructions closely and making students aware of their effects. Slughorn, on the other hand, seems to value free experimentation over adhering to a recipe, so he does not mind when Harry deviates from the book, something that Snape probably wouldn't have allowed, notes or not. As for why the book is there, he might have kept it for reference, as some students are apt to do (I know I do), and he simply forgot to retrieve it or only did it later. Remember that Harry switched the covers. Snape could have retrieved it without noticing the change, and only realized the switch when Harry used his own spell.
- In addition to the above, this is a UK boarding school, where teachers tend to, by tradition, keep their favorite text book near their desk. With Snape's reasons for sticking to the text book given a reasonable hypothesis, one also has to remember that, advancing or not, wizard Britain cares more about preserving ancient tradition than advancement. Even Albus Dumbledoor and Voldemort, two of the most brilliant inventors and two of the most influential men of their day, place high value in the ancient ways. New text books have to convince people such as Dolores Umbridge that they are not merely "innovation for innovation's sake", as she, a representative of the national democratic government so called it.
Who needs alarms, anyhow?
- Voldemort doesn't bother to put secrecy sensor spells all over either the cave or the Gaunt shack so that he would be alerted to somebody entering it. He would have Dumbledore dead by now and 2 of his Horcruxes safe and sound if he had made sure he could intercept anybody who came near the Gaunt shack.
- That's because Voldy believes no-one would even ever come close to finding any of his Horcruxes, and even if they did, he would still be convinced the protective curses would be sufficient to guard them.
- And, remember, he put all sorts of other traps on the cave. Dumbledore Took A Third Option to get through them, but, had they worked as intended (IE had Harry not been there), Dumbledore would've been dead and the Horcrux safe and sound. Furthermore, what makes you think that Lord Thingy didn't put all sorts of traps and stuff on the Gaunt shack? Dumbledore didn't say anything about that one way or the other, only that "it is a thrilling tale; I wish to do it justice." (Which, of course, he never got to tell.) Now, as to why You-Know-Who didn't put real-time alarm systems on the places, relying on his traps instead of doing the job right himself... Well, you got us there. But the point is, that's the only thing he forgot. And the rest was pretty competent.
- Overconfidence. First, he thought that no one knew that he had created a Horcrux, much less seven. Secondly, he thought that his numerous safeguards would be effective. The locket was in a bowl of poison surrounded by an army of the undead. The diadem wasn't warded, but Voldemort thought that he was the only one who'd ever found the Room of Requirement, and Hogwarts is the single most well-guarded place in the Wizarding World. The ring was hidden in a rundown shack and filled to the brim with curses. The cup and the book were given to his most trusted lieutenants, and Nagini was with him at all times.
- Really, who's to say he didn't have magical burglar alarms for those Horcruxes? We really don't know how much work Dumbledore did getting at them, so they might've been bypassed entirely.
- Regulus Black managed to go in and steal the locket uninterrupted, and Harry and Co. managed to steal both the cup and the diadem with V only learning of it from third people or not at all. It's like he's somehow opposed to the idea of learning about attempts at his most prized possessions.
- My theory is if he put a spell on a place that directly linked to him, any sufficiently powerful wizard would be able to spot that a mile away and all the authorities would know something serious was going on there. So Voldemort, believing that no one knew about his making Horcruxes and so wouldn't go looking for them, thought it safer to leave off the sensor spells so there wouldn't be a big flashing "Voldemort thinks this place is important" flag.
- He also believed that if one of his Horcruxes was destroyed, he would feel it. He honestly thought that they would act as his own burglar alarm, because it didn't occur to him that, if someone managed to get to the Horcruxes, that they wouldn't immediately just Fiendfyre it.
- An alarm that goes off only when the treasure is destroyed is a pretty shitty alarm in my book.
- But an alarm that goes off when one of six different objects, scattered around in various places across the country, is destroyed is not such a bad thing; it means you have been warned that the other five might be in danger too and that you should immediately take extra security measures to protect them. After all, Voldemort can survive just fine if only one or two Horcruxes are destroyed; it's only when all of them are destroyed he's vulnerable.
- But it doesn't allow him to capture the perpetrator or at least learn their identity, and that is a gaping flaw, because anyone who's able to learn about the Horcruxes, deduce the location of at least one of them and destroy it, is obviously a HUGE threat, whether or not they find the rest, since, as the Potter incident demonstrated, V is vulnerable even with them. DD himself, in a fleeting moment of lucidity, admitted that V would want to interrogate whoever broke into the cave. Too bad, Harry was too brainwashed to think for himself by that moment, or else he would've made the obvious conclusion that in that case V would have to have an alarm in the cave, and he was either on his way or already standing at the entrance, waiting for DD to drink the poison and keel over, meaning their plan, what a shock, made no goddamn sense.
- But there was no alarm, because Voldemort mistakenly thought he'd automatically know something happened to the Horcruxes. Presumably he didn't think any other warning system was necessary, and/or that the protection he'd placed would be enough — as well as the little fact that he thought nobody else knew the Horcruxes even existed. Now, perhaps Dumbledore suspected this and perhaps he didn't; but the plan might begin making a little more sense if we take into account that Dumbledore was planning to die. He'd already arranged for Snape to kill him, and though I doubt the way things played out was his preferred way (he didn't know that the Horcrux was a fake, for one thing), the goal might simply have been to weaken himself to make it easier on Snape to perform a mercy killing, and subsequently becoming both the master of the Elder Wand and gaining Voldemort's complete trust. In addition, the plan is no doubt a test of Harry; Harry has shown himself capable of big things, but is he truly up for the task of locating and dealing with the rest of the Horcruxes? Does he have what it takes to do what he has to do? Seems like Dumbledore, in the end, is convinced that the entire cave trip proved that yes, he does.
- No, sorry, it really might not. Because before all that you've mentioned even begins to come into play, they first need to get out of the cave alive, and by DD's own reasoning that is just not going to happen. He says that the potion would not be instantly lethal, because V would want to interrogate the thief. Fair enough. BUT. In order to interrogate someone, you need to know they are there to interrogate, don't you? And you obviously need to know it fast, otherwise the thief will either expire or be rescued, and the destruction of the Horcrux is not a suitable trigger, because by then it would be way too late to do anything. So, again, by DD's own logic, V has either already learned about the break in, or would learn once he drinks the potion (which is a good trigger, since it means that the thief will not go anyway anytime soon and is ripe for picking). Or he's just wrong, and the potion is lethal. And no, the fact that in the end there was no alarm is not a valid justification, because DD couldn't have known that in advance (unless he realises that he's a character of a book, whose author knows no way of resolving the hardships she puts her characters through, other than making antagonists arbitrarily terminally stupid). And no, you cannot say that there was an alarm, but DD disabled it, because Regulus Black had already performed the same insane trick before and all above applies to him as well.
- I wasn't going to say there was an alarm that Dumbledore disabled, because there clearly wasn't... Voldemort thought that there was no need for one because he mistakenly believed he'd know if something happened to the Horcruxes. So in his mind the Horcrux itself would have been the alarm (and the culprit would be helpless thanks to the potion), except he was wrong about that vital detail. As for Dumbledore's plan... I don't see why you insist it doesn't make sense. Seems straightforward enough to me. Dumbledore knows he's dying, and he hopes he's taught Harry all he needs to know in order to put the clues together. He thinks he's found the location of another Horcrux, he suspects that the security measures in place will be too much for one person alone, and while he knows it's dangerous he also knows Harry has survived dangerous things before and will need to survive more dangerous things since. So, he takes Harry and goes to find the Horcrux. It's clear when reading the chapter that Dumbledore doesn't know what he'll be up against, but he is fairly confident that he (thanks to an insight in how Voldemort's mind works) can manage to surpass everything, and he trusts Harry to be able to help him. And if worst comes to worst, well, he's planning to die anyway; if this place kills one of them through alarm or Death Eaters or whatever, he's going to make sure it's him who dies (or at least is sufficiently weakened) and not Harry — who is more important. When they come to the potion, Dumbledore admits he has no idea what it does, but he says he doubts it will kill him, just incapacitate him because Voldemort will want to interrogate intruders. So here's where he puts his trust in Harry and tells Harry to go through and force him to drink the entire potion — he also puts his trust in Harry to get them both (or at least himself) out. Which Harry does. With a weakened Dumbledore who can now easily be killed by Snape. Maybe I'm missing something here, but I'm not quite sure what part of this plan doesn't make sense? Especially taking into consideration, that it, y'know, worked?
- Ok, first of all, if we are going to discuss this, the "it worked" argument is invalid by default. Of course, it "worked", it's a story, and things happen in it the way author wills it. The subject of this discussion is whether or not there was a good in-universe reason for them to happen that way, and if the characters the way they were presented would actually act that way in those circumstances, or if the author just pulled the resolution out of the ether. And unless I'm missing something (I'm always open to that possibility, which is why I bother doing this), there wasn't, they wouldn't, and she did. Repeatedly, throughout the narration (if you're fine with that, then there's nothing to discuss). Case in point. In "Deathly Hallows" V muses that he'd sense if a Horcrux was destroyed - not just if "if something happened to it" (Which is already a stretch, BTW, since there was no reason why he wouldn't simply test that assumption). And I see no reason why he would prefer to use the destruction of his treasure as an alarm trigger, rather than the break in or the consumption of the potion. Now, to DD's plan. Answering your question, this the exact part that makes no sense: "if this place kills one of them through alarm or Death Eaters or whatever, he's going to make sure it's him who dies and not Harry". You see, "Whatever", by his own reasoning, would be Voldemort, who would promptly arrive to interrogate the thief, before they are drowned by Inferi or somehow escape or are rescued. If you dismiss this outcome, then there's no reason left for the potion not to be lethal, the Horcrux is inaccessible (and was likewise for Regulus), the whole plan is null and void. If you accept this outcome, it means that neither of them will survive (because, well, Voldemort), the whole plan is even nuller and voider. Again, please restrain from saying "but there was no alarm", because it doesn't matter, since DD did not know that in advance.
- The only solution for "Voldemort wants to interrogate the would be thief" and "no alarm went off" would be that the alarm is set to go off ONLY if the potion is drunk from but not finished. He's arrogant enough to think that no-one would figure out how to bring a sacrifice for the potion to drink it all, so clearly if the potion is finished it's him there. And when Voldie is checking his Locket he doesn't want an alarm going off in his head.
- And yet he's humble enough to admit that someone might figure out where the cave in and how to get in. If you allow your enemies that fest you cannot then deny them something so simple. Also, what does he care if the alarm goes off on him or not if it keeps the thing safe?
- Probably because he doesn’t want to have an alarm ringing in his head every time a raccoon enters the cave. Besides such alarm was useless for a large amount of time as he was in ghost form like for 12 years unable to answer any disturbance in the Force.
- Does the other "unthinkable evil" that creates a Horcrux consist of the act of rape? And did Voldemort commit this at any point? He can't love but he can probably lust. Although one thinks that he probably didn't even boink Bellatrix when she was clearly interested.
- It's possible, but we won't know until Rowling reveals it. Also, how do we know he didn't bone Bellatrix?
- We don't know he didn't, but it doesn't seem very likely. We see the reason why in the Spinner's End chapter; Voldemort trusts Snape and has particular assignments for him, but Bellatrix's jealousy over him becoming favoured by Voldemort is enough for her to question everything he does in a way that may have actually sometimes included attempts to thwart Snape so that he will fall in Voldemort's esteem. She clearly wants to be with Voldemort in a sexual capacity, but him doing that would compromise the hold he has over her because she would probably take it as a definite sign that she is the second in command, the favourite, or even the PARTNER, and her efforts to assert herself over other Death Eaters would probably have become even more overt, to the point of getting in the way of things Voldemort wanted accomplished.
- Personally... I think its necrophilia, or something close to it.
- So Voldy hit postmortem dat with Myrtle, Bertha Jorkins, and his own father? Sweet.
- Might also be cannibalism, in which case calling his cronies Death Eaters is Voldemort's private sick joke.
- Y'all do realize that to create a Horcrux, you have to sever your soul in two, yank a chunk out of your body, and put it in a Soul Jar, right? That's plenty evil enough.
- Word of God is that there's an additional evil act involved, the details of which are secret, and that when she told someone about it they wanted to throw up.
- Voldemort's restored body isn't exactly human. It's possible that its snake-like features extend under the robes, in which case he might not be equipped for this sort of thing anymore.
- Let's just file this under: "Can't Have Sex, Ever"
- Fun fact: if Voldemort's a snake all the way down, he's better equipped than a normal guy. Snakes have two penises. Although since he clearly has legs, his human parts only have to extend a 'little' higher up to have a normal human one...
- Bellatrix is married. To a Lestrange.
- So? From everything we've seen she cared more about Voldemort.
Why don't the Muggles just shoot them?
- The Death Eaters should have suffered some casualties when they wiped out the Muggle town in the sixth book. While they had magic and maybe giants, Muggles there had what are known as guns. These (for those of you who aren't familiar with them) shoot lead/steel at a rate that no human, magical or otherwise, can react fast enough to stop the bullets from hitting them. You'd think that someone in the whole city would have tried shooting at the Death Eaters and killing them. They may be magical, but if a bullet goes through their head, they're as dead as anyone. And we already know that the Death Eaters don't put protective charms on themselves even when they face magical opponents, so they certainly wouldn't have done it when facing lowly Muggles.
- Oh, FFS! 1: The books are set in the UK, where most people go their entire lives without seeing a gun. Yes, people in the countryside have guns for pest and predator control, but this was a town that was attacked, not a village or a farmhouse. 2: It's a series of children's books, not The Adventures of Young Jack Ryan; the characters aren't going to go around shooting everything. 3: One of the big points of the stories is that killing damages the soul, so it would be bad writing to suddenly have the Designated Victims pull out guns and start killing the Mooks. 4: The books are set in the UK, where most people go their entire lives without seeing a gun. And yes, I realise that point 4 is the same as point 1, but it's such a big point that people keep ignoring, I thought I'd better mention it twice.
- Did it ever specify that the Death Eaters suffered no casualties? Now you're just reaching.
- The books take place in Britain, which has strict gun laws. Hell, there's been a crack down on knives.
- This is The West Country. Everyone and their mum is packing 'round here.
- This is Harry Potter we're talking about, and Rowling is not going to make the Death Eaters or Voldemort look less scary by getting hurt. There weren't any stories about any casualties for the same reason as there weren't many tales about DEs getting killed in hit-and-run tactics or any operation that went badly wrong: To add atmosphere and remind everyone that the Dark Lord is very scary and hard to beat. After all, which is worse: Death Eaters going through a town levelling everything, or Death Eaters levelling everything but the Ministry finding some Death Eater bodies in the wreckage and some of the suspected Death Eaters "disappearing" or dying under "mysterious circumstances" shortly after the rampage?
- Which is a good Doylian answer, but it still doesn't make sense from a Watsonian perspective. You COULD, by the same logic, have Voldemort take a stroll through Hogwarts, drop by Dumbledore's office for tea, then leave without anyone ever making a move against him, because he can't be defeated until the seventh book. But that wouldn't make any Watsonian sense either.
- First of all, wizards can conjure up shields in a second if they have to, or turn things like bullets to dust. Second of all, wizards can magically heal themselves in an instant if they were shot but didn't die immediately (like an armshot or something that would cause death from bleeding). Third of all, wizards can make themselves invisible and fly through spells and enchanted items, which gives them a good element of surprise. Fourth of all, wizards have spells that can stun, torture, brainwash, or kill a person with one word (nonverbal even), so all said wizard would have to do would be to cast the spell from behind something or while invisible. Finally, keep in mind that as far as Muggles know, there are no wizards. Thus, they won't be on alert for people who can kill with one word or turn invisible or fly or magically shield and heal themselves. Not to say that a gun couldn't hurt or stop a wizard, but since Voldemort only accepts his strongest and most loyal followers as Death Eaters, it's pretty unlikely that he would use someone who could be held off or killed by a non-magic weapon used by a non-magic and unprepared person.
- It takes longer to say, "Protego!" than it does for a bullet to fly through the air. Same for turning a bullet into dust; the bullet flies quicker than the human can react. You will not be able to cast a spell on something moving that fast before it hits you. And even if you could, dust moving at that velocity would still be incredibly painful if not outright lethal. And yes, Muggles don't know that wizards exist, but if a bunch of people in black cloaks walk into a town with magic wands throwing explosions and green flashes of death everywhere, they don't have to believe; they just have to kill it. As for instant healing, flying, and invisibility, I don't recall ever seeing any of those spells used. Flying on a broom and turning invisible with a unique Deadly Hallow, sure, but not by casting a spell. And if people could heal from any injury with a single casting, Hogwarts wouldn't need to have a medical area at all, would it? Being a wizard does not mean you're God. You can still die from a lethal injury, just like anyone else.
- Valid points, but I would like to clarify a few things. There are invisibility cloaks besides Harry's, Moody owns two and he also uses the Disillusionment spell on Harry in the 5th book to turn him almost invisible (it's described as a near-perfect camouflage). Also the only way a wizard can win against a gun is if they transfigure the gun itself or shield before the gun can fire.
- What's the OP's point anyway? That Muggles might try to retaliate and even succeed in killing some DE? Ok, unlikely but maybe, so?
- A wizard can't cast a spell faster than a bullet travels, but they have a decent chance of casting a Protego or gun-disabling spell faster than someone can draw their gun, aim, and shoot, and if the Muggle doesn't get an instant kill, a wizard can probably still kill them while bleeding profusely. This is even assuming that the muggle carries a gun on his person, which is unlikely in itself.
- May I point out that wizards don't know what guns are? In The Prisoner of Azkaban, the paper has to explain that "Sirius may have a gun (a metal wand used to kill people)", this in itself bugs me and is a massive wallbanger.
- The majority of civilian wizards don't. But a wizard that's very experienced in fighting and killing Muggles probably would have seen a gun at some point.
- Yes, yes, valid points all, but it stands to be reiterated again that this is BRITAIN! The only people in Britain who legally carry guns are the police and farmers, and even then it's special divisions of the police who aren't on constant patrol, even in the major cities. So potentially, in this scenario of an attack on a town, there might be some criminals who would be able to return fire, but even if there were, they would be so few in number that it's unlikely they would be a serious threat. And given how fast a group of wizards can attack, they'd be gone before the armed police ever showed up. Stop trying to apply American laws to a series which takes place in Britain. Gun control laws are much, much stricter.
- Except that it states they wiped out the entire town — including the police and "criminals" (as you put it). The police didn't have to arrive on the scene on time, the Death Eaters marched up to their door!
- FFS! Guns are SO RARE in Britain that even the rare divisions of the police that have them (and even that's a fairly recent innovation that a lot of British people aren't too keen on) are not going to be found in a small town. If a death eater goes up to a police station in even a large town, never mind them not reacting in time - there wouldn't even be armed officers there. I am British and I cannot emphasise enough that guns are so rare and so associated with "bad guys" that it simply would not occur to even a muggle-born to use one. They're not very high up in the collective consciousness. Like Rowling herself, most British people - like me - were never really bothered by the lack of guns in the book precisely because they're so hard to get hold of over here, even through criminal channels.
- Accidental magic, anyone? Grindelwald wouldn't have caused World War II if he could've been shot in the face. Plus, wizards are tougher than Muggles: Harry swims through heavy hot gold, Neville bounces when dropped on his head, Quidditch players are routinely smashed in the head with lead balls and so on. Also, I have a theory that subconscious magic is most effective against Muggles, ergo why Voldemort didn't shoot Lily and James. It's hard to shoot someone with a gun that has just become a haddock.
- If we're talking the wizarding world vs. Muggles in general, if the wizards were openly fighting against the Muggles, and they were obvious and visible, then the Muggles would win, hands down. Wizards don't have spells capable of the scale of destruction that Muggle weaponry does, and there are much fewer wizards in the world than there are Muggles. However, if we're talking defenceless Muggle villagers vs. Death Eaters, well, a) the Muggles weren't expecting any wizards to show up, b) guns are heavily restricted in Britain, so the likelihood of people having weapons to fight the DEs is also very low, c) theDEscould easily just Disapparate before anyone dangerous, like the Muggle military, decided to show up. While wizards are tough, they are definitely not bulletproof; Word of God says that if a wizard were to go up against a Muggle with a gun, the Muggle would win, though the wizard would probably just Disapparate before that happened.
- The existence of non verbal spells mean they should be able to cast as quickly as someone pulls a trigger. Bullets still hold the advantage, being too small to be seen at their speed, less likely to misfire and impossible to backfire, but it is very probable even armed muggles could be wiped out if they were caught with their pants down.
- Why do the characters think of Harry using the Half-Blood Prince's book as cheating? I thought the whole point of Potions class is to be able to successfully create different potions, so what difference does it make if someone uses different instructions? And why is Harry so desperate to hide the book from Snape at the end? If anything, the whole Sectumsempra incident was Snape's fault for leaving the damn book lying around where some student could pick it up!
- It's cheating because Harry was using a different formula, a better formula than the ones the rest of the class was using, giving him an unfair advantage. His potions weren't better than Hermione's because of his skill, it was because somebody wrote in the book. It's the equivalent of having all the equations worked out for you in a math book. Harry wanted to hide it because he wanted to excel at potions, and he knew that if it were discovered, a teacher would confiscate it, and he'd go back to sucking at Potions again. It'd also ruin his reputation just when he's starting to build it back up.
- Yeah, but in a subject like mathematics, the point is for the student to work it out for themselves, but in a class like potions, it's about following the instructions, pure and simple. It's not about beating other students in a contest, it's about learning how to make potions, and if Harry's found a set of instructions that work better, then really the only thing he's doing wrong is not telling Slughorn so that the rest of the class can benefit.
- I beg to differ: You only get so far by following the instructions. To fully understand potion making, you have to understand the properties of each ingredient and how they interact. There is a lesson when Slughorn gives the students different poisons to analyze and has them brew antidotes. Harry almost fails that because the book cannot help him with the problem. (He only succeeds by giving Slughorn a Bezoar, an all-round antidote, instead of really solving the problem.)
- The implication is that Harry is allowing Slughorn to believe that he's following the instructions he was given to better success, or that he understands the theory behind them so he doesn't need the instructions. Imagine a baking contest where two people are given the same ingredients but two different recipes to make bread. It's not fair that the person with a superior recipe that he didn't come up with or even understand got to win.
- Exactly. Harry is letting Slughorn believe that he is struck with inspiration and genius ideas to improve upon the recipe he's been given. He's getting better grades because he is being told better instructions. That's the dishonesty. If he'd said 'oh, yes, professor, I got the idea to add this from the annotations in this book' then he wouldn't get such lavish praise or be top of the class.
- Except that, despite Hermione's attitude to the contrary, Slughorn's class is not a contest to see who can make the best potions; it is supposed to be a learning environment where students can learn how to brew their own potions for when they need to do so after they have left the school. Harry is doing nothing wrong by using and practicing better techniques of potion making than what are written in the standard textbook; indeed, as the above paragraph says, the only thing Harry did wrong was not sharing his newly found repository of knowledge with the other students so that all his classmates could learn the better ways of making potions.
- Oh, get real! Of course it is a contest. Every lesson is a contest, anywhere, anytime. It's a chase after a better grade, after teachers' praise and classmates' envy. So, naturally, using better equipment that gives you better starting conditions is considered cheating. And cheating is only forgiven by other kids if you do not rub your fixed success into their faces - that is, do not boast about it and definitely are not approved for it explicitly by the teacher. In this case, you've fooled the System and you are cool. If you do boast or you are approved (that is pretty much the same), then you are a rat and will be hated. Which is exactly what we've witnessed. Besides, he offered the book to his friends, but Ron couldn't discern the writing and Hermione angrily rejected it. Which proves succinct: it's not about learning stuff, it's all about being number 1 and getting away with it.
- The comments in the previous paragraph show just how far modern educational policy has gone off the rails. Education should not be about racking up points as if it is a video game; the purpose of education is to give those learning a deeper understanding of the subject concerned. The tests and points involved were only ever supposed to be used as a yardstick to gauge the success (or lack thereof) of the understanding and see what needed to be improved upon. Somewhere along the way, the points have become the ends in and of themselves instead of the means to the ends.
- Remember, we're talking about this from the perspective of the students. As I know from experience, even without grades, kids will find a way to compete - they just make it easier to measure who wins. The teacher's goal is still to teach the student, even if the student just wants an A - or, in this case, an E or an O. Also, have you ever heard of the concept of "gamification"? One of the possible implementations is exactly that - giving points, ala a video game, for doing something praiseworthy in school.
- It explicitly is a contest; Slughorn hands out prizes (like the Felix Felices potion) to the winner.
- He hands out a prize ONCE. So ONE class, about making that specific potion, was a contest. Sometimes teachers in real life do that as well, to make things a bit more fun. But it isn't the raison d’être of the class - students don't sign up for it so they will be able to collect various valuable prizes throughout the year. They sign up either because they want to learn or because their intended professions require them to, and their professions will require them to because they need students to have the necessary potions knowledge in order to do certain tasks. So, yeah, the point of the class is still learning, not competing. That said, Hermione has actual grounds to be annoyed if she objects only to Harry winning the Felix Felices from his fellow classmates, since that actually was unfair. But she seems to be annoyed at him for using the book in general, and thinks he should get rid of it rather than share it with everyone else.
- Her annoyance at Harry beating her in potions was just nerd jealousy. But of course, she has an extremely valid reason for telling him to give it up: A student fucking with a book of powerful magic they don't understand was kind of the plot of Chamber of Secrets. Hermione even brings Ginny over to chastise him about it.
- If she is scared about things like that, she could have had him turn the book over to an adult, like Slughorn or Dumbledore, to check out. But instead, she wants him to throw away a source of knowledge that could potentially benefit all students.
- As a paragraph above noted, it isn't a contest, it's about learning the various ingredients and how they interact with one another. What Harry's doing isn't learning. It's equivalent to copying the answers to a homework sheet off someone else's homework; he doesn't know the material, and the only reason he's getting good grades is because he has a Cheat Sheet to give him all the answers he needs to get those grades. He'll walk away from the class having coasted through on someone else's hard work and learned nothing.
- If Harry isn't learning, neither are any of the other students. They are both just following (and probably memorizing) instructions that someone else wrote down; Harry's instructions just happen to be an improved version of everyone else's. We also saw that the book has theory sections, but any notes Snape could have written down about those would only be insights and aids to understanding the theory. Unless Snape had the exact same homework assignments and tests that Harry did all those years later, there is no way he could have written a "cheat sheet" for Harry to use. There is NO CHEATING, just a better textbook, with better formulas and better explanations for concepts.
- What really gets me about the whole thing is Hermione's massively OOC reaction, and I'm not referring to the nerd jealousy. I'm referring to the part where Hermione Granger saw a book filled with knowledge she didn't have yet and had ANY reaction other than nagging Harry day and night until he finally agreed to let her read it too.
- I'd say it's pretty in character, for the same reason she isn't a Ravenclaw and is so frustrated by Luna: her goal isn't learning, it's being the best at established paths where academia is concerned. A book scribbled in by a sketchy previous student is very different to Hermione than an updated, peer-reviewed book. If the scribblings are actually effective, it makes her angrier because it doesn't fit with her idea of how the world should work, and she doesn't trust it.
- Also, if I recall correctly, the only character to accuse Harry of cheating is Hermione, who is probably somewhat prissy at having been bested at potions and might have allowed that to cloud her judgment (Hermione isn't exactly known for being able to keep her emotions in check).
- Though one could still wonder why Harry couldn't see through that after all of these years. Indeed, something is very wrong if students are brought up to think the alternate ways to brew potions are the wrong ones, especially since everyone could benefit from it, both to see the recipe in a new light and understand why the alternative ways wouldn't work. Imagine a history class where students were afraid to bring up stuff they'd read in updated literature...
- Harry couldn't see because he is a moron most of the time...
- Although, I noticed while re-reading book 5 that Snape frequently puts his instructions for potions on the board; the students in his class are NOT learning from the book, but from his provided recipes. It is very likely that he has been teaching the alternative, more efficient formulas he has discovered, rather than the unrefined recipes from the book. (But it is still cheating for Harry to use a different formula - not one he found himself, but took from a more advanced potions maker, while the rest of the class is stuck with a more time-consuming recipe.)
- No need to imagine - I saw that. Prior to a Literature exam, our teacher said it in clear: just write a standard cut-and-dried paper - nobody cares about any smart ideas you might have. That's the way education works - you do what's expected from you.
- Not necessarily. Sure, there are a lot of extremely incompetent teachers in real life (protected by the combined blights of unions and teacher scarcity due to low pay, not to mention inefficient government bureaucracy in public schools), but there are a few good ones who care about truly smart ideas and individuals and would have realized not using updated literature was retarded.
- I sympathize with the ones who mentioned the literature teacher. And, in Harry's defence, he did offer his friends the opportunity to cheat with him.
- The reason for the literature teacher's instruction is probably that 99% of the time your smart ideas aren't nearly as smart as you think they are. You might think it's hilarious to do a Marxist critique of a Shakespeare play, but highschoolers and undergrads just do not have the intellectual tools to pull it off.
- Why is no one questioning that there's something suspicious about the contest in the first place? Slughorn gives them a simple potion to brew; it doesn't matter how hard it the potion is to make, it's still a simple set of instructions, and the winner just happens to receive a rare and powerful potion. No school board would let a textbook be printed if the instructions were clearly wrong, so obviously it was done DELIBERATELY. Yes, it's important to learn the material and memorize it, but there's more to it than that. Slughorn was teaching them that not everything is 100% correct, and if you want to be a potions master, you need to experiment with formulas. You think something can be improved, try another solution, you think something can be done another way, then test it. A chef isn't well praised for following the same recipe, he's always adding to it, and new formulas are tested in science and maths to learn new ones, otherwise technology would stop progressing. The class can learn the formulas, but they won't succeed if that's all they're doing. So the kids are given a terrible book where EVERY instruction is wrong, and Slughorn's expecting them to slip out of their regular routine as sheep following the herd and start questioning "why aren't the instructions working". Snape knew this and solved it, Harry didn't, he just continued doing what the instructions told him, the exact opposite of what Slughorn was trying to get across. I think the reason Hermione was so devastated wasn't because Harry bested her, it was because she figured out too late what was expected from her. She's always viewed her textbooks as the bible, thinking they're never wrong and she'll never question it. Realising that the reason she lost was because she failed to think outside the box was a huge blow. Yes she lost the contest, but as a result, she learned the lesson Harry failed to learn. Did Harry cheat? Hell yeah, but for the first time, potions actually made sense, which Snape, as a teacher, failed to do in the previous years. Does Hermione have a right to be jealous? Yes. Should the class have benefitted from Snape's book? Possibly, but then they'd be back at square one again.
- I find this idea extremely unlikely. It never comes up, and none of the people in charge strike me as the sort to appreciate this kind of thinking.
- A chef could not potentially blow everybody up by experimenting with recipes, and if they only have one class to make the potion and weren't told about it in advance, then how could they possibly be realistically expected to make a better potion? Every time the change in ingredients didn't work, they'd have to start over. They may not have enough ingredients and they certainly wouldn't have enough time. That kind of thing might be an okay homework assignment, but not a 'brew a potion in an hour starting now' assignment.
- It isn't cheating to use the book, but it is immoral. As others have said, the class is about the students learning how to make potions; by using a different set of instructions, Harry is theoretically learning better potion making than all the other kids in the class, and this gives Harry an advantage over everyone else in the class. The moral thing would have been for Harry to tell Slughorn about the book so the entire class can learn better ways to make potions; maybe even some of them could learn why certain ingredients make potions better and improve upon the potions themselves. Instead, Harry copies someone else's great ideas and claims that he came up with the ideas himself, which is plagiarism.
- There might not have been much of a problem with the earlier potions made with the Prince's instructions, but the antidote scene definitely crossed the line. Antidotes aren't made from cut-and-dried recipes; there's a genuine law they follow, and the "Just shove a bezoar down their throats" line reeks of "This shit ain't worth my time" — even more uncomfortable when you remember that, according to both Slughorn and Snape, they won't work on everything.
- Harry using the Prince's book isn't cheating; he's only following a different set of instructions from everyone else. That being said, the points about the class being a learning environment as well as a competitive environment are both quite valid. Why on earth, when faced with a better way of making potions, would Harry decide to use an inferior method? To give the other students a chance to catch up to him? Why? There is no actual benefit for him doing so. Best case scenario, he would lose the advantage he had over the other students, raise the level of difficulty for everyone else (if Slughorn gave everyone copies of the enhanced book) and find himself with poorer grades than before and lose his reputation as a star potion maker and be seen as a mediocre student. Worst case scenario, he loses the book (highly unlikely, since Slughorn wouldn't be enough of a Jerkass to take away a chance for his students to get better) and gets expelled for cheating (if, indeed, the teachers would even see it as cheating). Also, the view that the classroom was purely a learning environment was only nominally true, otherwise Hermione's reaction would have been one of her trademark curiosity, begging Harry to let her have a look at the book, rather than jealousy. Expecting Harry to give the book away, or to stop using it, would be like telling a star athlete to reveal a secret, cutting edge training program or stop using it altogether to give his opponents a chance, and since when do you see competitors trying to give their opponents the edge against them? Also, it isn't plagiarism, any more than the other students copying out of their textbooks was; Harry just managed to find a better set of instructions, luckily for him. There is no such thing as cheating, only thinking outside the box.
- This is definitely cheating. I might be wrong, but potions is NOT only about following instructions. It's about learning the properties of such and such ingredients and the law of magic to create a desired effect. In 4th year, harry mentions that they have to brood antidotes. In 5th year, harry had to write an essay about the property of whatever-magical-item-of-the-week(I think it was some kind of stone) and harry had a T. In this year, there is an assignment where they take a potion, and use magic to create an antidote. In order to do that, they have to use a spell that allows one to know what are the ingredients, and then to use and apply a complex(at the very least complex enough that harry and ron who are supposed to have been brilliant enough to take this class have absolutely no idea about what it is) magical theory in order to find the right ingredients and the right way to mix them in order to create an antidote from scratch. The goal of this lesson was actually to see if they had understood the magic law of whatever-his-name to use it in practice. That's exactly what Hermione did but harry simply found the answer to this problem written in his book. Really, it would be as if Slughorn had asked them about a complex mathematic problem, and they had to put it into am equation and then solve it, and harry just happens to find the solution at the end of the book. I fail to see how that would not be cheating. It's actually worse when you realize that at the end of the lesson, Harry still has no clue whatsoever about what was the magical property they were using...And this guy wants to be an auror.
- This is definitely NOT cheating. Allow me to illustrate why with a personal example. During my college years I always bought my textbooks used whenever possible. Many times these textbooks had notes written in them by previous students. And sure enough, more than one of those notes helped me to understand the material better than some of my classmates and led to me getting higher grades than I might otherwise have gotten. Does that mean I cheated my way through college? OF COURSE NOT. It only means that I found a slightly superior source of information. Just as Harry did. Granted, that one instance where Harry's class was challenged to suss out the answer to a problem and Harry just plucked it right out of the Half-Blood Prince's notes is an iffy situation, but Harry had been taught about the bezoar before that so it's plausible that he might have come up with that answer on his own. And frankly Slughorn was really the one at fault there. He himself admitted that, strictly speaking, Harry had not answered the question originally posed to the class. But instead he praised Harry for his "sheer cheek" and awarded 10 points to Gryffindor. A more competent teacher would have marked Harry down, or at least not rewarded him just for being a smartass. And even so, that was only one lesson. The other instances where Harry used the HBP text to get ahead were entirely different. In those cases Harry was essentially just given some helpful advice to brew potions better. It's hardly his fault that the textbook as it was written was full of glaring errors and poor instructions. To say that's cheating would be like saying a person who used a strategy he learned from a friend to help win a video game tournament was also cheating. Again, if anyone is at fault here it's Slughorn for forcing his class to learn from an outdated textbook full of bad advice.
- Above troper, your example doesn't work. By your own words the notes in your book helped you to understand the material better and that helped you do better. That's not what Harry was doing. Harry doesn't learn anything, the notes in the book simply give him the solutions, not an explanation for why they work. It's pointed out in the book that when it comes to actually understanding the material Harry is completely screwed when the Half-Blood Prince fails to hand him the answers because he hasn't learned anything. He's basically just copy and pasting somebody else's work, which IS cheating. THAT is a big part of why Hermione is mad. If Harry was doing better than her because he managed to do a better job that's one thing (he does it every year in Defense Against the Dark Arts and we never see any resentment) but he's not. He's skipping the entire process and just given the answers. Hermione herself isn't against experimenting with magic, but one needs to understand the magic before you start messing with things.
- I disagree. Granted, it does seem that Harry is simply copying and pasting someone else's work, but how do we know that the rest of the class isn't doing the same thing? We're never told that the students are required to understand the formula. Only Hermione tries to do the latter, and even she only does it on one occasion (when they were trying to make an antidote following Golpalott's third law). Therefore, I fail to see how Harry is cheating. Yes, he's using a superior book, but that's beside the point.
- I've read all the arguments and at heart I do think Harry is behaving immorally, though not necessarily cheating. The fact is, Harry wants to be an Auror. McGonagall states in Order of the Phoenix that Potions is absolutely essential for Aurors, and both she and Tonks do say that Aurors are required to undergo external testing to become an Auror. As someone said above, Harry is not learning anything in this class. On the occasions when he either doesn't have the Prince's book or he's undergoing a test where the book cannot help him, he does terribly. I do think there's more to Potions than simply memorizing formulas, because on many occasions Snape has demanded essays from the kids about the properties of such-and-such, has instructed them to make their own potions now and then, and I think there was one instance when Harry screwed up a potion and Snape forced him to write out an essay explaining where he went wrong and why that was bad. Although we don't see it, it seems likely that Slughorn demands a similar curriculum—but Harry's just using the Prince's work, and never comes up with any of his own ideas. So while he technically may be passing Potions, he doesn't understand them. Were it not for Shacklebolt making Harry an Auror straight off the bat, he would almost certainly not have passed those tests, because he doesn't know the concepts and he wouldn't have the book to help him. Heck, would he have even passed his NEW Ts? He'd have to develop a photographic memory to do so. So, to use a dreadfully clichéd line of my old teachers, the only one he's really cheating is himself.
- All that and, you know, using untested recipes which he doesn't understand, thus submitting his classmates to potential danger.
Burning the Burrow for shits and giggles
- Movie #6 only: Why did the Death Eaters attack the Burrow when Harry was staying there? What was the objective? Voldy wanted to kill Harry himself, so that couldn't have been it. And the Death Eaters made almost no attempt to subdue him to drag him before Voldy. And then they ran away after only a few minutes. What was the point of that?
- Off-universe explanation: compensate the battle at the ending being cut, and showing the Death Eaters are an omnipresent danger. On-universe... anyone?
- My guess is they just wanted to mess with Harry (even possibly doing so without Voldemort's orders). At this point, they aren't looking to take Harry to Voldemort, because he's trying to sort out the wand problem. That's the same reason why they didn't question Snape's order to leave him behind at the end. So they're attacking to remind Harry (and the Weasleys, who are known blood traitors) that as long as Harry is outside of Hogwarts, he is vulnerable. Nothing like a little fear to make your enemies less dangerous.
- Bellatrix was leading the attack. Since when does she need a reason to do evil things?
- My explanation for why the Death Eaters attacked the Burrow. Bellatrix is a BITCH.
- I don't know about anyone else, but everything about that scene screamed "Friday night after one too many butterbeers." Walk down Southend high street that time of night and you'll see about five dozen Bellas and Fenrises, stealing street signs for the LOL's.
- That actually sounds hilarious. "So, Fenrir, now that we blew up the bar because they kicked us out, what do you want to do now?" "Go fuck around with Potter?" "Okay! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!"
- This is my new personal canon.
- I have read somewhere that the actress for that Fleur is not planning to make a comeback in the last movie.
- How is that relevant?
- No actress for Fleur = no wedding scene for Bill in movie seven = no need for the Burrow to still be around.
- No need to fear. Clemence Poesy is set to be in Deathly Hallows.
- Just watched the movie today. The attack did two things; it set the house on fire and it separated some people from the group, making them easier to attack. Maybe their objective was to cause Order casualties. Not only was there a chance that somebody would be seriously wounded or killed by the spells used against the house, but the fire ring with a gap seemed suspiciously like a trap designed to let only a few people out into the grass/wheat/cornstalk/whatever the hell those fields were made of, which was a perfect ambush spot for the Death Eaters. Unfortunately for them, the four people who made it out of the ring managed to beat them off. They might have also done it as a vengeance strike on the Weasley family, several of which are members of the Order. Remember that the Death Eaters are terrorists; terrorizing their enemies by unexpectedly attacking their house and family is right up their alley. That would increase stress on the Weasleys, and if the Death Eaters are really lucky, it would cause them to decide it wasn't worth it to endanger their younger members like that and cause them to abandon the war to avoid being targets.
- YES. I was afraid that I'd have to say this myself, but let me just make it clearer; the Death Eaters are TERRORISTS. Scaring people out of their wits is their freaking modus operandi.
- For the record, did none of them even try the Aguamenti on The Burrow? I suppose I can buy that the spell was a darker magic that water wouldn't work for, but still, better to do something than stand around open-mouthed watching it burn.
- Off-universe: I believe the attack was supposed to create drama, confusion, and of course allow Harry and Ginny more time to bond. On-universe: they do it for the evulz. I have to agree that the scene was hard to take seriously; all I could think was: they're wizards. Surely a normal fire (if it was that) wouldn't be that hard to put out? And if not that, then wouldn't they be able to restore much of or the entire house with magic?
- Additionally, no one tried to put out the fire because it would have ruined the drama of the moment. It's the same reason why there was no battle scene at the end of the film. It would have been distracting.
- About Aguamenti: The Harry Potter wiki brings up the possibility that Bella had used Fiendfyre (it didn't kill her like what happened to Crabbe because Crabbe was incompetent). If that's true, then Aguamenti was explicitly stated not to work and Rowling doesn't elaborate on what else could be used against Fiendfyre.
- Same scene: When Ginny runs off after Harry, she gets nearly cornered by Fenrir. And then she just stands there staring at him until Harry shows up, and she doesn't start attacking until she does. So basically, Ginny can't do anything unless Harry, her man, is around to help her out. Um, anger? Um, confusion? In the books, Ginny wouldn't have hesitated; I hate what they've done with her character in this movie!
- The previews showed her wand getting knocked out of her hand. I can't remember but did they cut that part in the finished film?
- Apparently, not to mention that as soon as Harry shows up, she still has her wand.
- When Remus and Arthur arrive, Ginny can be seen bending down to pick up her wand. So originally Fenrir disarmed her but Harry got there before anything else could happen.
- That scene made no sense at all. At this point, Harry and the burrow are supposed to be protected by all the defensive spells the ministry and the order have to offer. Yet the Death eaters just came by and burned the house. That means that the order and Dumbledore are unskilled morons, and Voldemort is even worse.
- Is it ever said what the protection spells actually do? Perhaps the Ministry's spells weren't effective enough? Perhaps it only protected them from Death Eaters apparating inside it or from spying on them. Maybe the protection was focused on stopping the Death Eaters from getting inside the house. They just never thought to consider that the Death Eaters could attack the outside. If Fiendfyre was used, that's Failed a Spot Check right there. It's rarely used so perhaps there weren't any defences against it, hence why Bellatrix was able to use it. Also note that the Death Eaters attack the perimeter of the house. They don't attack the house itself until later. They're either trying to draw the Weasleys out of the house or trying to trap them in with the fire. And maybe Fiendfyre can penetrate protective enchantments. Maybe the ring of fire was there specifically to weaken the protection so Bellatrix could set the house on fire.
- In movie #6, why has the Burrow been transplanted to Iowa?
- They probably figured that would be the last place that Voldemort looked. Who looks in Iowa?
- They wanted a leg up against Star Trek at the box office.
- It's just a back-up. That's why it burns down in the movie, but will reappear in the seventh movie.
- The Burrow isn't in Surrey. In the second film Molly says "your sons flew that car to Surrey and back last night" - so presumably it's somewhere else.
- The Burrow is, canonically, on the outskirts of Ottery St. Catchpole, which is supposed to be a village in the county of Devon. Devon contains several thinly-populated farming districts so the terrain is hardly out of place.
Oh shit! Wizards with science!
- I remember when reading that a character, most likely Horace Slughorn, most likely in the book Half-blood Prince, uses the word "genetic" or some other derivation of "gene". The word was coined at the beginning of the 20th century, and has only become part of colloquial language in the last decade or two; where and how would any non-Muggle-oriented member of the magical world have ever learned it? Since I don't recall the word being ever used otherwise, even though blood purity is a major topic, I'm guessing this is just one that slipped past both Rowling and her editor...
- There's nothing to indicate wizards wouldn't understand the word "genetics." They do have Muggle Studies classes and branches of the Ministry designed to deal with Muggle relations, after all.
- I did a text-search of electronic copies of all seven books and turned up zero instances of the words "gene", "genetic", "genetics", or "heredity". Are you sure you weren't remembering a fanfic?
- What Slughorn says is that Harry's potion skills were "Lily's genes coming out in [him]".
- Slughorn hid in Muggle homes for quite a while before we meet him in HBP, and IIRC he mentions reading their magazines and such. HBP is set during the mid-90's, right around the height of the OJ Simpson trial which really put DNA into the public consciousness, so even an English wizard would have heard the term somewhere.
- It's incorrect that basic genetic knowledge only entered into the popular consciousness recently. Since the eugenicists of the 30s and 40s, of which Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were the most famous, it's not been unreasonable that the word "genes" would be used by a wizard as immersed in Muggle culture as Slughorn.
- The term "gene" goes back more than a century, and Mendel's discoveries about heredity are even older. Slughorn's had plenty of time to learn about these concepts, and he's sufficiently interested in the inheritance of traits to have looked into Muggles' views on the matter.
- There's nothing to indicate that genetic science isn't true in the Harry Potter universe. In fact, Rowling has even said that wizardry is genetically determined (see [http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Magic_genes here), which would indicate that muggles and wizards alike have DNA. So Slughorn could have known this without having to learn it from Muggle Studies or reading muggle magazines. (This does raise another question, though: if some branches of science work in the magical world in mostly the same was as the muggle world, how would wizards learn them, given the only science studied at Hogwarts is astronomy?)
- Hogwarts is a high school, you generally study science in college.
- Highschool starts at 13 or 14, generally, not 11. Hogwarts is a Boarding school.
Mass Teleport Trouble
- Side-Along Apparation bugs the crap out of me. A complete ass pull by Rowling so she could have Harry apparate around the country with Dumbledore in book six, despite forgetting the fact that there were many, many instances in the first five books where such an apparation technique would have been useful. We see parents struggling to get their kids to King's Cross in time for the train at the start of each book, travelling in magically remade cars, hurrying, etc. when they could have simply side-along apparated their children there in seconds. How about in book four, when at the beginning, we meet Diggory and his father, who say they had to get up at 2am to manage the walk to the Portkey as Cedric hadn't passed his test yet. Or for that matter, the fact that Harry and the rest had to walk there too; why not side along apparate them to the Portkey at the same time Percy and the others apparate? Or in book five, when they needed the Knight bus to get them safely back to Hogwarts after Christmas? A side along apparation would have sorted that out nice and quickly. There are many more, but the most obvious moment that the sudden invention of side along apparation later in the books renders stupid is when Voldemort attacks Harry's parents and kills them. James goes to head him off, telling Lily to "run" and escape with Harry. Seemingly both forgot they could have picked Harry up and side along apparated away. Stupid plot point, created because the author wanted something cool sounding for a later book without thinking the logic through. To make matters even worse, if she had not created the side along thing, and just had Dumbledore apparate Harry around, no one would have minded, as Dumbledore is a very talented and powerful wizard, so if he can apparate someone around with him, it is at least a wilful suspension of disbelief.
- First of all, forgive my memory, but I thought it was handwaved with the fact that only significantly powerful wizards could side-along apparate. And even then, they couldn't do it more than once in quick succession without suffering headaches or other ill effects, which isn't safe to combine with apparation. This covers the Weasleys, as there aren't enough people to side along apparate and it's probably not safe to do with so many people apparating into the event either (overlapping people might be cause for splinching). This theory would also explain the King's Cross instance for why there's no side-along apparation. The reason for James and Lily not side-along apparating was solved in book 7 when it's mentioned that they didn't have their wands with them when Voldemort attacked. It was late in the evening and the house was supposed to be perfectly safe, so it's somewhat understandable but really unprepared of them.
- It seems unlikely it is only something powerful wizards can do, since during book six, signs were put up in Hogsmeade that said basically "If a Dementor or Death Eater attacks, grab your kids and side-along apparate them out of there"; if the method is being given in general advice to the populace, you would think that it is something anyone can do relatively easily. As for the James and Lily not having their wands when attacked? Fine, though since the whole "not having their wands" thing isn't mentioned until a book later, you are left wondering why they didn't use it when it is first brought up, and yes, while I am sure there are possibilities of splinching and such, very few apparations themselves have that happen so long as the person doing it is somewhat competent, so the parents of the kids should have no real problem of possibly splinching their kids when they do it. The main problem I have with it all, is that it is a method created purely for the reason so Dumbledore could apparate Harry around in book six, without the author giving a moment's thought to all the incidents in the previous books that became retroactively stupid because the characters put a lot of effort into situations where a simple side-along apparation would work.
- Side-along apparation has the same problems that apparation does (splinching, ending up in the wrong place, etc). It seems to me that it would be a bit risky to do something like that to get kids to a train station, especially if the parents were stressed (look at what happened to Ron in the final book, and now imagine that happening with an eleven year old). Same with the World Cup. It was really early, everyone was tired, and if they did a big Side-Along apparation, there probably would have been the good chance that the apparators would have screwed up somehow and left a bit of family member behind. There's also the point that Muggleborns wouldn't be able to do this, as their parents could not do magic.
- The point, though, is more along the lines that side-along apparation was nothing more than an Ass Pull by Rowling in the sixth book that she thought sounded cool and was a way to have Harry zip around the country with Dumbledore, without realising, or simply not caring, that it retroactively made many moments in the previous books seem stupid when the characters didn't even contemplate the idea of side-along apparation as an alternative to what they were doing, even if they eventually dismissed it in that situation for the reasons you state.
- Keep in mind that none of the students in Harry's year had ever been taken on Side-Along Apparition, given their reaction when Ron tells them about it (they all flock around him and ask what it was like). So Side-Along is probably very rare and very risky to do, and probably only really powerful wizards (like Dumbledore) could do it safely. The fact that the Ministry pamphlets tell parents to Side-Along their children doesn't do anything to undermine this, because Side-Along is here presented as an alternative to certain death — yes, it's a risk, but a considerably smaller risk than facing Death Eaters.
- Perhaps characters did consider Side-Along, but dismissed it off-page. These things were planned well in advance of Harry arriving on the scene, so it's possible he (and, by extension, the readers) missed the planning stage altogether. Or, perhaps the idea simply never occurred to the characters making the plans for reasons they considered obvious. For example, it wouldn't be prudent to suddenly appear out of thin air, with an accompanying attention-attracting pop! in a station full of Muggles, as King's Cross was. It would probably unnecessarily risk violating the Statute of Secrecy (I'm aware that Hermione Apparated the Trio into Muggle London, but theirs was an emergency situation.) Also, I recall Moody mentioning inDHthat they didn't want to use Side-Along Apparation to move Harry because the Ministry is somehow connected with it (I assume a regulatory board or something). In OotP, the Order knows that Voldy has Ministry spies, and that these spies may be in the transportation department. So again, it's an example of "why risk it when a safer alternative is available?"
- Did anyone else think that it was, y'know, illegal to Side-Apparate because of being under 17 years old and everything? I mean, Dumbledore tells in OotP that the Ministry actually has no power to expel students from the school (giving warnings/advice/what have you doesn't count). I doubt its general knowledge how the Trace works (Molly doesn't seem to know), and anyway, you're still Apparating, which is completely illegal. That was just the Ministry giving an alternative to that underage = no magic bull rap.
- I would postulate that major events like the landing area for the Quidditch World Cup on the way to registration, and possibly the campsite itself, are covered with an anti-apparating/disapparating charm to prevent mass trouble if 30 groups tried to come at ones. The portkeys allowed for systematic entry to the cup so those Ministry individuals involved could keep control of things. The same magic charm could have been put on the house in Godric's Hollow so the person who enters must come through the door. This would ensure if something went wrong and Peter was captured and tortured, the enemy had only one way to get into the house.
- For getting to the train station, bear in mind that Arthur has great respect for Muggles and he works for the Ministry. So of course he's going to want to take the utmost precaution to make sure magic doesn't get exposed. Most of the scenarios mentioned involve transporting the children to places where there are Muggles around. King's Cross is always crowded so popping out of thin air with seven children isn't such a smart idea - especially when walking is easier. The World Cup is again on a Muggle campsite and it's organised by the Ministry, so there's bound to be plenty of precautions to prevent exposure. Presumably Side-Along is an option like for Luna and her father who were by themselves. But Arthur must have felt it safer to get a Portkey rather than the hassle of getting six children people to Side-Along with.
- Maybe Side-Along Apparition was a new Apparition technique that had only recently been innovated? Maybe it wasn't around during the first few books.
So... what about the Malfoys' Chamber of Secrets?
- There's something I never understood: in book two, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron use a polyjuice potion to gain Malfoy's trust. They learn that Malfoy's not Slytherin's heir, but what they DO learn is that there is a secret "chamber" in the Malfoys' drawing room full of Dark objects... Ron says he's going to write to his dad and tell Mr. Weasley about the Malfoys' chamber... but apparently he never does, because in book six, the Malfoys STILL haven't been caught... even that forgetfulness is permissible, except... why didn't Harry tell Mr. Weasley about the chamber in book six, when he pulls him aside to 'tip him off' after Harry and co. follow Malfoy to Borgin and Burke's and suspect something's up?
- The problem is, unfortunately, the timing. He'd just been raided, so calling in another raid would have been hard to pull when they'd turned up nothing the first time. It'd count as harassment as well if Mr. Weasley kept calling them. Also, just because they know there's a chamber under the drawing room floor doesn't mean they know how to get into it. It might have a password or be under various wards that make it impossible to open unless Mr. Malfoy wants it to be opened (and he could claim no knowledge and say it was his father's and doesn't know the password). Then there's always the case where it was found, and money exchanged hands, and Fudge "forgot" about it and the evidence was mysteriously lost. I honestly would have been more surprised if anything came from it myself.
- Didn't Malfoy figure out the ruse shortly after Harry and Ron left? I mean, a simple conversation with Crabbe and Goyle would resolve that: Malfoy: "Why were you acting so weird when I was talking to you?" Goyle: "Uh... we were shoved in a broom closet for the last hour." Then Malfoy has to just send an owl to his dad's house and they can move the artefacts before Weasley gets there.
- Uh, I think that those artefacts WERE recovered. After all, the final chapter of the book mentions that Lucius had been sacked from his position as School Governor. Perhaps the second raid was the reason, and Malfoy bought his way out of prison time?
- I thought that he was fired because half the board claimed he'd threatened to curse their families (which was really stupid to do openly) if they didn't fire Dumbledore. That was the only thing that could even remotely be proven, since he couldn't be linked to the Chamber. If Ron's tip had panned out, it probably would have been mentioned. Besides, even if wizards can do a second raid so soon after not finding anything based on nothing more than 'My twelve-year-old son claims to have knowledge of the inner workings of your house', would they really be able to do that with wizards like the Malfoys who have Fudge in their pockets? One raid is one thing, but repeated raids wouldn't be stood for.
- Oh, that would have been an interesting letter if Ron had done so! "Hey dad, I learned Malfoys have a hidden chamber under their drawing room. Sincerely, Ron" There probably would have been a letter in reply saying, "Dear Ron, How did you discover this?" and that would mean admitting to using Polyjuice Potion, and we know that's illegal. It could have gotten Ron (and maybe Harry) into serious trouble.
- Ron just could have said then "I overheard Malfoy brag about it." Which he did.
Burn, Burrow, Burn! Wicked inferno!
- Why did everybody just stand there and watch the Burrow burn down? They're wizards! They can at least try to put it out!
- They're also people. Who just got terrorized and their family home burnt down. With them powerless to stop it. Sorry they're not in combat mode right away, considering this attack on the Weasley house is a huge personal and familial blow, especially to Molly and Arthur.
- "Combat mode" would be if they'd actually tried to protect their home and repel the invaders. Putting out fire is damage control, something that should not be impeded by the damage itself.
- It is entirely possible that Bellatrix used Fiendfyre, at which point nobody there is going to have a spell that can extinguish it.
Slug Club Oddities: Sirius
- I think this was only in the movie, but something about the timeline is bugging me. Slughorn definitely had Lily as a student, but he also mentioned in an early scene that he never had Sirius. Lily and Sirius were in the same year and the same house. How could he have had one but not the other?
- He either meant having Sirius in Slytherin (like his brother) or in the Slug Club. He wasn't referring to teaching Potions, and at that point, Harry didn't know what he taught, just that he was retired.
- But Lily wasn't in Slytherin and he didn't complain about that, and since Slughorn picks who's in the Slug Club, it'd be a little odd to complain about someone not being in it.
- Sirius could have simply refused to become involved in the Slug Club for whatever reason.
- The Slug Club reeked of a sort of a fraternity air (a la Skulls and Bones) where the members are all destined to become pillars of the establishment, which probably would not have appealed to the more anarchic and rebellious Sirius.
- Maybe Hogwarts had two potions teachers at the time, and Slughorn only taught the advanced, elective classes?
- He is talking about Sirius not being in Slytherin, like the rest of his family, he was disappointed in that he did not get the whole Black "set" in his house, as it were. He also says that he always said that Lily should have been in his house - "and very cheeky answers I got, too".
Slug Club Oddities: Ron
- Another Slug Club oddity: this may have been only from the movie, but why was Ginny a member of the Slug Club and not Ron? Ron obviously wanted in, and despite the way the movies portray him he is not a complete imbecile, so it wouldn't be entirely accurate to say he wasn't qualified.
- Ron wasn't in the Slug Club in the book either. Slughorn didn't think much of him and constantly got his name wrong. Ginny was invited to join the Slug Club after Slughorn saw her doing the Bat-Bogey Hex on Zacharias Smith. The point is Ron may not be a total idiot, but that's Hidden Depths and Slughorn never looked beneath the surface.
- The idea behind the Slug Club is that it allows Slughorn to make contact with students he thinks will be important and influential in the future, either because of their magical power (like Ginny, demonstrated with her Bat-Bogey Hex), their intellect (Hermione), their familial ties (Marcus Belby, who ends up not being invited because he is not in contact with his famous relative) or, simply, because they are already famous (Harry). The Club allows him and them to make contacts, and Slughorn uses those contacts to get simple things and act as a behind-the-curtains advisor. Slughorn tried to get James and Sirius into the Club, because he knew the two of them were very popular and intelligent, but neither attended his parties because he snubbed Remus. Slughorn does not invite Ron because he does not see in him any of the characteristics that would make him "interesting" enough to have in his club.
I'm sure they can figure it out themselves...
- Although Dumbledore couldn't make it too easy for them to track down the Horcruxes, d'you realize he never even gave any of them that book that shows how to destroy them? I know, I know, he probably knew Hermione might think to Accio them and he made it easy to for them to be stolen from his office, but there was always the possibility that she might not have thought of it (and, neither Harry nor Ron did), wasn't there? Without that book, they were pretty much screwed.
- Hermione's deductive reasoning skills are pretty good. If they realized, for example, that Slytherin's locket was a Horcrux, and remembered that, against all odds, the fucker wouldn't open and they couldn't break it, she might assume that it required some magical way of destroying it, as with the diary. Dumbledore gave them all they needed, it's just that he left a couple of extra clues, just in case it came up. Besides, if Hermione hadn't found the books, Dumbledore's portrait might have just told Snape to mail her the things or something.
- Personally, I think that, while Dumbledore had made preparations for his death, he hadn't been planning on dying that exact night. I imagine his original plan was to go with Harry back to his office and he would have demonstrated right then and there how to use the sword to break the Horcrux. Unfortunately, the Death Eaters showed up, along with Snape, and there was no way to get out of it in his weakened state without blowing Snape's cover. Ultimately, he had to hope that Harry and his friends would be resourceful enough to compensate for being underequipped.
- Why didn't Dumbledore just tell Harry why he needed the memory from Slughorn? Dumbledore was supposed to be telling Harry "everything I know or suspect," so why the mysterious, "You must trust me" about the Horcruxes? If Dumbledore had just said, "Horcruxes are magical objects that make you invincible, Voldemort certainly made one, and I think something in that conversation with Slughorn holds the key to defeating him," Harry would have made a much higher priority of getting the memory.
- Dumbledore is teaching Harry to prioritize the Horcruxes in preparation for his death, as well as problem-solving skills.
- This one is, in my opinion, handled better in the movie. When we see the key memory, its gets all fuzzy just when young Riddle starts pronouncing the word "Horcrux". So it's reasonable that Dumbledore doesn't even know for sure that Horcruxes are what the memory's about.
- I was more annoyed at the fact that absolutely nothing useful was obtained from that memory. So, Riddle knew a bit about Horcruxes. This isn't even evidence that he made one (unlike, you know, TWO HAVING BEEN IDENTIFIED AND DESTROYED). This incredibly critical memory that we are lost without gave absolutely no information that wasn't already known.
- How can you say so, when the memory so very explicitly pointed to Riddle's overwhelming fascination with the number seven, which in turn obviously meant that he made (or intended to make) exactly seven Horcruxes.
- Dumbledore would give Encyclopedia Brown a run for his money in this movie.
- Something a bit more mundane: When Harry tells Ron about getting his nose broken, it is said that Ron not laughing was a 'mark of strength of their' friendship. Am I the only one that doesn't see why that is a mark of strength?
- It puzzled me too, becausebecause you would think the closer you get with a person the more you're allowed to laugh at them and get away with it. My guess is that the strength was that Ron understood this was Serious Business to Harry, and reacted accordingly.
- It's probably more that Harry would have understood if Ron had laughed, given that he thought it might have sounded amusing ("So then Malfoy sees my shoe, knocks me stiff, and then steps on my face.") but Ron instantly took it as seriously as Harry did.
- Harry had just seen Malfoy recounting the incident to his fellow Slytherins, who are all laughing about it. It helps Harry tremendously that his best friend doesn't laugh at him, even though he might be tempted to.
- It always got me as to why Draco did nothing else but stomp on his nose. Wouldn't you steal Harry's invisibility cloak? it would provide him with so many ridiculous advantages in his effort to invade Hogwarts. How would Harry prove it? or explain to a teacher as to why he was using it to spy on Draco's private business? if Draco hid it in the very back of the Room of Requirement good luck getting that back considering that (although no one knows this yet) you can't accio a Hallow. It’s not as if the plan to send Harry back to Kings Cross underneath it would have worked for more than a day anyway considering he is one Floo Powder/Knight Bus journey back to Hogsmeade. And why Harry's nose anyway? to put this as politely as possible another form of attack would be far more personal, far more painful and would show no visible evidence that Harry could show to a teacher. Strikes of the Idiot Ball to me.
- Malfoy wasn't thinking straight, as he had just found Potter spying on him in an area where he had been dropping hints that Voldemort had a special mission for him. His first instinct (other than causing Potter pain) was to dispose of him without getting in trouble himself. He left the Cloak on Harry in hopes that Harry wouldn't be able to return to Hogwarts from where ever the train goes. He failed to remember that A) the train has to be cleaned/restocked after it is used, B) there is at least one employee (the snack lady) on the train when it is in use, C) Harry could easily catch a Portkey/Side-Along Apparation/Broom/flying car to Hogwarts after he is found and explain the situation upon arrival.
- Harry always had Dumbledore's favour, intentionally or not, and it would it would take one word (assuming Dumbledore's wasn't keeping an eye on Harry) before Dumbledore to demand the Cloak back. Draco has enough to worry about withouybdrawing Dumbledore's attention. Beating Harry up stays between them due as a schoolyard brawl. Theft of a valuable magical device that has saved Harry'a life will not be ignored.
Harry the Dumb Detective
- Harry's "investigation" of Malfoy's plot, or specifically the stubborn and unimaginative way he's following up on one obviously wrong approach. He knows already that Malfoy is trying to fix something, so it's a pretty safe assumption that he turned the Room of Requirements into a workshop. So instead of making up the umpteenth variant of become-what-you-became-for-Draco, which clearly DOESN'T WORK, why not try to deduce Malfoy's request and repeat it? "I need a place to work on some complex magical device in absolute secrecy/hide something precious and dangerous"... hi, Draco, mind if I drop in? Stalin's moustache, professor Trelawney managed to do it!
- Idiot Ball aside, Trelawney managed to do it because she was looking for a place to hide her sherry bottles, which means that it's even worse. Draco only asked for a place to hide what he was doing from others.
- My point exactly. How hard was it to guess something like that?
- There is a "knack" to using the room, someone mentioned that while talking about Neville in Book 7. This isn't precluding Harry being in possession of the Idiot Ball, but does at least account for the oddities of the room somewhat.
- Even worse, all he needs to prove Malfoy guilty is to confirm that he had the Dark Mark. Well, ambush the weasel under the cloak, stun him, and roll up his sleeve. Done. Everybody goes home/to Azkaban.
- Now, this part isn't necessarily going to work. Voldemort might not have marked Draco because he's doing an undercover operation. You don't send in a new spy in a delicate location with your mark.
- Well, he did show something to Mr. Burge in the shop and anyway, it's not about him having the mark or not - it's about Harry not bothering to check.
- How would he get out of trouble if he falsely accused a student of being a Death Eater and carrying the Dark Mark? I think even Harry had some doubts about what exactly Draco showed Mr. Burge enough that he didn't want to be thought as a raving attention seeker again.
- That's exactly the reason for the prudent omission of the "accuse" part in the purposed plan and its replacement with "ambush the weasel while under the cloak, stun him, and roll up his sleeve". Even if Harry got caught, what's the worst he could get - a detention? Yeah, right, like that's supposed to scare him. Oh, and let's not forget that as far as Voldemort cared, Draco's mission wasn't "undercover" as much as "suicide". Marking him and increasing his chances of failure would fit in perfectly.
- Even if he exposed Malfoy's Dark Mark, could Harry necessarily prove it's the genuine article? Most people don't have scars with Spidey-sense that indicate when a legitimate Dark Mark is nearby. Draco could claim it's a mundane tattoo he got because it looks badass; he's never made his anti-Muggleborn politics a secret, but those beliefs don't prove he's a spy. Not every real-life jerkwad with a swastika tattoo was a member of the Gestapo, either.
- Yep, because there is no way high-profile wizards could distinguish a mundane tattoo from a Beast Mark-equivalent inflicted by the Dark Wizard they've spent years hunting for. And because the wizard court was so renowned for its impeccable commitment to justice and its absolute abhorrence to the idea of convicting an innocent - Sirius testifies for that last one - and thus would readily dismiss a son of a known convicted Death Eater bearing the mark of a Death Eater in time of war with Death Eaters as a mere coincidence and boyish recklessness.
- I wish to point out that Sirius WAS framed, rather thoroughly.
- Seconded. And even if for some stupid reason they couldn't tell if it was an actual mark, there is enough precedence in the modern world about these things that when you are dealing with this, you don't Fucking CARE about whether it is an actual mark or not, because you are guilty until proven innocent.
- Is the fact that Death Eaters have the Mark widely known? Sirius didn't know it in the fourth book; he had no idea what Karkaroff was showing Snape. Of course, it seems that every time Harry learns something, it becomes common knowledge, and it's possible that Sirius just didn't know it because he didn't work in that line, but it might be a secret. It still looks bad that Draco has the Dark Mark tattooed on his arm, but they might not have any reason to check whether or not it could be magical.
- Even if it is not, the fact the Dark Mark is theDEmascot is - they summon it every time they kill someone.
- The final confrontation with Dumbledore on the matter. "Professor, Malfoy was acting highly suspiciously the whole year, his little talks with Snape strongly imply that he's an enemy agent, he nearly used a Cruciatus spell on me, and now he's jubilant after completing whatever he was working on so hard. What're we going to do?" "We're going after the Horcrux right now because... well, because and leave Malfoy to his devices, for I have the situation fully under my control." Hold the phone. An undercoverDEin the school, concocting something sinister right under Dumbledore's nose... why does it sound familiar? Oh, yes, that's exactly what happened in the fourth book! And we all know how perfectly fine it worked out that time. Are you seriously telling me that Harry could forget that or failed to make a connection?
- The best part is that Dumbledore pretty much knew from the beginning what Draco's mission was. He knew the end result was to kill him at least and had planned for it. He did have Order members stationed at Hogwarts and Harry had given his friends and remaining members of the DA that showed up the remains of the luck potion. If nothing else, his friends would be safe until he returned, he thought. However, it ended up being a wild goose chase and an ultimately pointless mission, but Dumbledore wanted to die anyway.
- Ooookey, and how does all that accounts for Harry not putting two and two together and not calling the old intriguer out on it?
- I reread the instance in the book. Harry actually questions Dumbledore on his leaving while who knows what Draco is doing occurs and Dumbledore asks him if he hasn't left the school prior to this occasion without precautions. Dumbledore is very vague on these precautions, and Harry simply assumes that he's got the situation in hand. Plus, he's distracted by the prospect of actually doing something by finding one of Voldemort's Horcruxes — in his mind, a way of actually doing something for the war effort.
- So did I. The point is not that Harry doesn't question Dumbledore - it's that he misses a perfect argument that would've shut the old control freak up and pressed him to the wall, that is, Cedric Diggory's take on the conjectural complete safety and control maintained by Dumbledore, which he could've given if he hadn't been killed precisely because of a spy that Dumbledore allowed to prance around the school for a whole year. I agree, however with the notion of the Horcrux distraction, and moreover, I got an impression that Dumbledore used it to get the boy off a tangent that would've otherwise let to some very awkward questions. Still, I sense a strong reek of Plot-Induced Stupidity coming from Harry.
- Dumbledore didn't LET Crouch Jr. waltz around campus, he legitimately didn't KNOW who the mole was until Crouch tried to square the circle by knocking off Harry. That is not the case here, and whereas Crouch was a veteran cohort of Voldemort's who was entirely committed to the cause and could not be redeemed, Draco is an inexperienced, scared teen way in over his head. It's not a GREAT plan, but Dumbledore has reason to believe that he can keep a hold of the damage. And he was not entirely wrong.
- Whether he knew or not, an enemy spy operated under his nose for a year and caused a catastrophe. So his assurances of total control over the situation are invalid. And he had no reasons to believe anything like that since, I'll reiterate, TWO PEOPLE NEARLY FUCKING DIED ALREADY, saved only by luck and without ANY intervention from D or Snape.
- Dumbledore thought he had it taken care of: He ordered Snape to watch over Draco and assumed he would interfere if things got really nasty. Obviously, the books show that Dumbledore was putting too much faith in Snape, but the other characters called him out on that all the time, so at least it was addressed.
- Snape had already failed to prevent the previous two assassination attempts, and two people nearly got it. What makes Dumbledore think that the third time would be any different except for that "saved in the last moment by Harry Potter" part, since Harry wouldn't be there?
- Because Dumbledore had faith in Snape. Probably too much faith. The other characters repeatedly called Dumbledore out over it.
- This has nothing to do with faith. Snape was loyal to D, no argument here, but he simply couldn't possibly tail Draco 24/7 and the two previous assassination attempts proved it (not that it was not painfully obvious to any sane person in the first place).
- Agreeing that it wouldn't be possible for Snape to tail Draco all the time, and when it comes to the near-deaths of others, Dumbledore was never the one curing them of their situation; the other faculty in the school are more than able to handle anything that isn't ACTUALLY death, they have the skills to deal with that potential problem. When it comes to what Draco actually did, I don't know that they realized the extent of that plan or didn't anticipate Draco's creativity/intelligence in that area. Additionally, I don't think we're ever given information that suggests Snape knows where the Room of Requirement is or how to get into it. It's perfectly possible that he did, especially after Umbridge's year, but it's also possible that he simply couldn't do anything about Draco when Draco was in that room.
- As for Harry's Idiot Ball behaviour on this topic, I think people ARE underestimating the amount of emotional/psychological control Dumbledore has over Harry. Yes, Harry is defiant toward other authority figures, but the only time we see him react this way to Dumbledore is after Sirius's death. Aside from that, he's been trained up from the start to follow Dumbledore's instructions without question, and Dumbledore has very skilfully shaped that relationship so that Harry will not question what he's doing. In Harry's mind, Dumbledore is always right, and he will fight for Dumbledore more readily than anyone else because he's Dumbledore's man "through and through", etc. Dumbledore supports this because his plans for Harry have always been put forth by subtle manipulations. On top of which, while people suggest Dumbledore maybe didn't know the attack would happen THAT NIGHT, it seems more likely that he DID suspect it would be this night that the attack would happen. Him knowing makes more sense than otherwise, because otherwise the potion he drank could easily have killed him before either Snape or Draco could confront him, leading to Draco's punishment by Voldemort and Snape's punishment by the Unbreakable Vow. Harry follows Dumbledore without question and Dumbledore uses this to orchestrate his own death in such a way that Draco finally understands that he's not capable of being a 'true' Death Eater (or something to that effect?) and so that Snape can kill Dumbledore, stay alive, and have his cover cemented in the eyes of Voldemort. There are uncountable ways this plan could have gone wrong and spectacularly backfired, of course, but Dumbledore takes those risks in spite of the odds more than once through the series - most notably in the 'hunch' that Harry is a horcrux and must die in order to kill Voldemort. He did not know for certain, but he sent Harry to his death anyway. That's no different than what happens here, and Harry follows blindly here as well because he believes that Dumbledore knows everything.
- I'd hardly say that Harry was trained to obey Dumbledore without question. Just because Harry trusts him, it doesn't mean that Harry's some kind of mindless minion. Also, Dumbledore's 'hunch' about Harry was backed up with a lot of proof and Dumbledore did realize that it was possible for Harry to survive.
- I think Dumbledore did believe he had in undercontrol. He probably didn't put Snape on Malfoy watch until after Katie Bell was attacked. And DD might have known about the bottle of poisoned wine all along and was just waiting for Slughorn to give it to him so he could dispose of it. It is rather random that a student would drink an old and therefore strong love potion, that student's friend would decide to go to Proffessor Slughorn for a cure and then they'd all decide to have a glass of wine (that Slughorn had been spelled into wanting to give to DD) after to celebrate. What are the odds?
- Yes he did put Snape on watch before that - they'd been dicussing the whole deal while Sev was healing his arm, i.e. before the school year began. Slughorn was never "spelled" into wanting anything, and why in the bloody rainbow hell would DD wait for something like that?
Squire circa what now?
- Okay, Brits should probably know this one: what exactly is the cultural significance of a squire circa 1925?
- By the 1900s (and possibly as early as the 1700s) 'Squire' was a completely informal term that simply means 'the richest man in town'.
- My mother defined 'squire' as someone who owns quite a lot of land.
- It, or at least a word derived from it, is often used to refer to the Gentry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esquire
- Generally, a squire would be the largest, or even the sole, landowner, in a village (the Riddles seem to be the latter: the Gaunts' cottage is the only patch of land in the area that they don't own). Sometimes, they could be rather richer. Take Pride and Prejudice, for example: Mr. Bennet would definitely be classed as a squire, but he only appears to own the village of Longbourn and the farms associated with it. Mr. Darcy, on the other hand, appears to own much more land, but would also be classed as a squire, as he has no peerage (although he is just about rich enough to qualify for one if he plays his cards politically). In the past, squires had a huge amount of sway - as well as being the biggest landowner, they would frequently be the local magistrate, and appoint the local parish priest. While these privileges were already dying out by the 1920s and 1930s, they were still stronger than they are today - and the squire's son running off with the ugly girl from the poorest cottage in the area would still have been a major local scandal. Even today, a few eyebrows would be raised.
More griping over Voldemort's cave...
- The potion can't be penetrated by hand, ok. But a cup can penetrate it, which Dumbledore did in order to drink it. But why didn't he then just simply scoop up the locket at the bottom of the basin using the cup?
- Either the locket wouldn't fit in the cup, or more likely the cup couldn't reach the bottom of the basin where the locket was. He did drink quite a lot of it before they could reach the locket.
- Make a bigger cup?
- It was an enchanted cup, basin, and locket. There was assuredly some counter to prevent someone from just side-stepping the entire trap.
- The cup was created by Dumbledore. As for counters, if Voldemort put any real thought into designing the cave, he'd have installed an alarm.
- It's magic. Maybe you can't penetrate the surface of the liquid if you're going for the locket, but you can if you're going for the potion.
- It's common sense. Make a cup big enough to scoop all the potion in one draw.
- As Dumbledore says when examining the potion, "This potion cannot be penetrated by hand, Vanished, parted, scooped up, or siphoned away, nor can it be Transfigured, Charmed, or otherwise made to change its nature. I can only conclude that this potion is supposed to be drunk." It can be inferred that simply drawing the entire potion out and dumping it would make it reappear in the basin. And even if you could scoop all the way to the bottom, the locket was probably charmed to stay there unless the entire potion had been drunk.
- Speaking of which, why didn't Voldemort simply make the potion kill whoever drank it? That way, nobody who discovered the cave could get the Horcrux out without killing themselves. It's unlikely that Voldemort would have had to drink the potion in the first place to get the locket out, since he was willing to visit the cave alone in Book 7 to see if the Horcrux was missing. He was perfectly willing to kill whoever drank the potion anyways, since he was going to have them killed by the Inferi in the lake, and if he wanted to kill anyone else who might have come along on the boat, he could have enchanted the Inferi to attack anyone who sailed across the lake with the Horcrux, except himself, of course. This would also have the advantage of protecting the Horcrux even more, since I doubt even Dumbledore would have leapt into a lake full of Inferi to grab the Horcrux.
- Addressed in book by Dumbledore. I don't recall the exact wording but effectively 'Voldemort would not want to kill whoever came to this island, he would want to know who it was who had discerned its location, fooled his barriers, and managed to get so close to stealing it. Presumably without a second person foolish enough to break the water's surface the poisoned would just lie there in agony until Voldemort came to check on his Horcrux. Also, potentially when he was pre-resurrection Voldemort might have checked up on his Horcruxes more often, but after getting resurrected he forgot about it because his soul and body were now so ravaged he had lost almost all tactically or strategic thought.
- Repeat after me: just because DD says something doesn't mean it's true or makes the tiniest bit of sense for that matter. What does it matter how the intruders got there (with magic, motherfucker!) if they cannot reach the locket? "he had lost almost all tactical or strategic thought" - no. His plan to lure Harry to the Ministry in OotP was brilliant (not his fault Lucius fucked it up), and his decision to stay behind the scenes inDHand to use the Taboo showed quite an insight.
- The fact is, despite what Dumbledore said, Voldemort WAS trying to kill whoever made it to the island, since the Mind Rape potion made whoever drank it need to take a drink from the lake, (as seen in DH, when we hear about Regulus and Kreacher's experience with the cave) which was full of Inferi that would immediately swarm the island and pull the drinker down under, which is fatal. If anything, making the potion fatal would be better for gaining any information, since it would avoid the problem of having to sort through countless Inferi to find the body, instead of seeing the body on the island itself and knowing who had broken in. Of course, either way, dead men tell no tales, so Voldemort couldn't have gotten the information from the person post-mortem anyways.
- The Inferi may have been a backup defence, which would attack only if multiple intruders penetrated the cave. A single trespasser would be incapacitated by the poison, and left alive for interrogation; only one who'd brought a companion, who did not drink and remained mobile enough to potentially threaten the Horcrux, would incite a lethal assault rather than a capture.
- Sorry, doesn't work. The Inferi aren't "lethal" - they are shit and can be repelled by fire, something a firstgrader can conjure up. If DD used another person as a drinker, they would've done fuck all. Next, they only stirred up once Harry touched the water. If he'd ignored DD's pleads, they would've done even fuck aller. And the poison didn't incapacitate either - both Kreacher and Regulus had enough strength to crawl to the lake shore and drink from it by themselves. This also kills the whole “leave alive for interrogation” idea.
Pouring out potion
- Why, why, why didn't they just scoop out a cup and pour it out instead of drinking it? I'll probably get some response that it would teleport back or something, but even then, it would have been worth a try.
- Because DD probably learned about the exact extent of the potion's effect from Kreacher (otherwise he'd be an idiot to even attempt drinking it), and was fine with it, since him being so weakened would make it look more plausible for Snape to overpower and kill him.
- Nope, there's no way Dumbledore knew that Kreacher had drunk the potion, because if he had he would have known that Regulus replaced the real locket and there was no point going to the cave. (And he probably would have gotten the locket from Kreacher/Mundungus/Umbridge.) While he may be a high-order Chessmaster, I just don't see him putting Harry in that kind of danger for no good reason. And as someone said above, there's no indication that Dumbledore was planning on dying that very night—he had no clue that Malfoy would invade the school, and indeed probably wanted to show Harry exactly how to destroy a Horcrux.
- *Shrug* Then he's an idiot to even attempt drinking it. I'm more then happy to accept this default answer.
- While it wasn't stated in the book I'd be surprised if there wasn't something to prevent them just dumping it out and Dumbledore just didn't bother with it because it would be a waste of time. After all, when Harry tried to conjure up water into the cup it just evaporated. Whather or not that was the potions doing or just some spell over the area isn't as important as is the fact that this base was covered and likely other ones, spilling the potion included, would have been covered as well.
The cursed arm... not THAT hopeless!
- If Snape managed to contain the baneful magic of the ring inside Dumbledore's arm, why didn't they just amputate it?
- And wouldn't that be sending up a massive red flare to anybody looking that something is going on?
- Having his hand burned beyond cure already sent it. Besides, if V could create prosthetic limbs, surely D also could.
- I think it was more the moral of the thing. Dumbledore knew Harry would have to defeat Voldemort, and he's helped him a lot. I mean, come on! The guy's a 150! I think D knew it was his time, but I'm wondering if he knew that he would die THAT NIGHT. I think he might have told Harry a tad more...
- Dumbledore's behaviour has never implied that he cared much for the opinions of others (at least not those he considers wrong-minded), so I don't think his choice to keep his arm attached had to do with how things looked. He has, however, demonstrated a tendency toward reminding himself of his own weaknesses. It makes more sense that Dumbledore kept the withered arm as a reminder to himself of the temptations he has failed to resist, even knowing he probably only had a year to live.
- Knowing all the Dark things that happened before the prosthetic hand (taking blood from the unwilling, severing limbs, and destroying bits of the dead), means it may easily have been a Dark spell that Dumbledore would be unwilling to cast. A 'light' method of amputation and healing may have taken him out of commission for a period of time he didn't want to spend on recovering. Dumbles knew he was to die in a year, but the pain (if he had any) was probably not such to warrant amputation while he was busy doing things like tracking down other Horcruxes and trying to destroy them. Doing things for cosmetic purposes is not Dumbledore's style, in particular since amputation would not be a significantly less noticeable change than the withered arm.
- The taking blood from the unwilling, severing limbs, and destroying bits of the dead were just to give Voldemort a new body. Why would the ritual be designed to give a disembodied spirit a new body AND grant said spirit the ability to create limbs? He probably just knew or created a spell to do it.
- I assume that you can contain the dark magic in one part of your body, but not separate it. So, if you try to amputate it, the magic comes back in your arm, and so on.
- A Ranma ½ fanfic I once read featured a magic ring that was similarly irremovable; if the hand was amputated, then the wound would never stop bleeding, and neither would any other wound, until one was dead. Perhaps this ring works on a similar basis?
- That amputation would only accelerate the curse was my assumption. I also remember a fan theory that stated using powerful magic would accelerate the curse, hence the significance of it being his wand arm. This was purportedly why he scheduled the horcrux excursion on the night he knew shit was about to hit the fan, as a "last hurrah" of sorts. Didn't make total sense afterDHbut was an interesting idea.
- Dumbledore was reluctant to approach or actively impede Malfoy out of fear that V would kill the boy. How exactly was he supposed to do that while Malfoy was in Hogwarts and, moreover, how was he supposed to know? It's not as if he can control or scan people remotely, is it (he never knew that Snape betrayed him)? So, as I see it, talk to the boy, persuade him to reform (or just force him, it's for his own good), hide him somewhere, retrieve and hide Narcissa. Then have Snape kill you. Done. No collateral victims.
- I get the feeling that it was a problem of too much to do, too little time to do it in. He had to chase down leads on Horcruxes, teach Harry about them, try to train (and/or manipulate) Harry so that he would have just the right mindset when it came time for him to take over the hunt, maintain the Order of the Phoenix, try to keep the Minister of Magic off his tail... He underestimated how creative and desperate Draco was, and thus allowed him to slip under his radar. And a good part of it was just terrible luck, really; what are the odds that Draco would finish his little project on the exact day that Dumbledore is weakened from Horcrux retrieval? I mean, yes, he was cursed to die at the end of the year and this might be how the curse manifested itself, but still.
- Uhm, he was so over his head that he couldn't spare an evening to deal with a problem that threatens his students? However, it's not the issue. What's bugging me is why Dumbledore was reluctant to approach Draco to persuade or arrest him and hide him somewhere safe. How was Voldemort supposed to find out and kill Draco?
- The problem is that if Dumbledore stops Draco, then Snape has to fulfil his part of the unbreakable vow of killing Dumbledore since Draco failed. Doing that early in the year would be disastrous to both his plans and the wizarding world.
- The Vow obviously allows you to Take Your Time as long as you are determined to uphold it, so no.
- We only see one Vow, and the way it's worded, we can't be sure of that. Snape doesn't only Vow to kill Dumbledore with no timeline specified. He Vows to watch and protect Draco as long as he's scheming to kill Dumbledore, and to do so himself when it appears Draco is about to fail. If Dumbledore had confronted Draco before the tower scene, the scheming would be over, Draco would have failed, and, likely, the Vow would have triggered. Dumbledore trusted Snape to keep Draco out of trouble in the meantime, and as discussed near the top of this page, he didn't do as good a job as hoped. But, to keep both Dumbledore and Snape alive, not to mention Draco himself, they had to let Draco keep trying.
- I agree that it seems extremely likely that the Vow (which Snape probably informed Dumbledore of right away) had a big influence on how Dumbledore treated the situation. But aside from that:
- The argument about legilimency/occlumency is not valid. Snape is identified from the first time these terms are brought up as being a superb occlumens, according to Lupin, and Dumbledore even wants Snape to teach Harry - the most likely victim of Vold's legilimency - because of Snape's skill. He has managed to be undiscovered because of his skill. There is no evidence that Draco's ability with occlumency is as good as Snape's, much less enough to withstand Voldemort's efforts.
- As Snape explains it, legilimency is not plain-and-simple 'mind reading', either; one has to know how to find what they're looking for. This suggests that a huge part of Snape's success is misleading the legilimens into finding feelings and memories that only defend their desired position, rather than just putting up a wall between them, which would be much more suspicious. As it is, Voldemort is suspicious of Snape's loyalties during this time period anyway (and isn't convinced until Snape kills Dumbledore).
- We don't see Snape's legilimency skills from anyone but Harry, who is fuelled by the pride that forces him to keep eye contact as well as his complete hopelessness at occlumency, and as such we can't trust Harry's skills as the 'norm'. Snape's legilimency skills may be sorely lacking compared to his occlumency skills.
- Even if Snape's legilimency skills aren't lacking, Draco is able to immediately detect that Snape is using legilimency on him. If Draco's occlumency skills are enough to prevent Snape from breaking OR if Voldemort's are such that they would detect Snape's unusual determination to find out what Draco was up to, it would be counter-productive to keep pushing. He may 'find out' Draco's secrets by legilimency but Vold may catch him, and if he can't break Draco's defences, Draco would be even less willing to share his information with Snape after Snape tried to use force on him.
- Aside from all this, it's very unlikely that Snape knew everything if he resorted to attempting legilimency in the first place. He probably knew Draco's mission but nothing else, and had trouble getting the details he felt he needed in order to fulfil the Vow as well as Dumbledore's wishes.
- What's really annoying is that the entire plot would have been avoided if somebody had simply tied Draco to a chair, fed him Veritaserum, then Obliviated him of the interrogation afterwards. And while Snape can't do this himself due to the Unbreakable Vow (part of which was swearing to 'protect Draco from harm to the best of his ability', and while legilimency apparently isn't harm, this probably would be), nobody else has this problem, Christ, it’s not like Snape can't just happen to speak up in an Order meeting with "Damn, I sure hope some ruthless paranoid git *Mad-Eye coughs* does anything like this while my back is turned. Apropos of nothing whatsoever, I'm going to be spending next weekend in France on a purchasing trip for rare ingredients and won't be near a floo."
- But then again, if the Vow is for Snape to kill Dumbledore if Malfoy can’t, then in the moment Moody does all that Snape has to cancel his vacations on France and go back and kill Dumbledore… or die (as that seems to be the consequence of not accomplish the Vow)
Oh Voldemort, you're such an idiot...
- I understand why the Death Eaters didn't kill Potter when they retreated from the school in the end. BUT WHY THE HELL DIDN'T THEY TAKE HIM WITH THEM TO VOLDEMORT?!! He was right there alone and utterly defenceless, it would only take them a second to grab him — which they had since they stopped to Cruciate him, and, before you say, Snape's excuse is lame: "he belongs to the Dark Lord - leave him"... whaaa? A little consistency here, Sevy? And no, the fact that he'd just killed Dumbledore wouldn't bring much weight to his words, since Dumbledore was already nearly dead and Snape simply stepped in for Draco. And before you say more, for Voldemort to order them to leave Potter in the first place is nonsensical even for him. Even if he can't kill him, surely it's better to have Potter chained in his dungeon than to have him roam free, isn't it? And in book 7, he was perfectly fine withDEcatching Potter, so why not then?
- It's mostly Snape interpreting Voldemort's orders to Harry's advantage. Voldemort didn't order anyone to capture, hurt, or otherwise impede him (possibly not expecting Harry to show up during Draco's mission), so Snape assumes the orders say From a Certain Point of View to leave him alone for Voldemort to have a worthy opponent. At this time, Voldemort wants Dumbledore dead, is working out the wand issue, and anything he hasn't realised about any powers Harry really has due to the protection his mother gave him. Just because he's immune to it because of the stolen blood doesn't mean his Death Eaters are, so he waits until they wear off when Harry leaves the protection of the house in book 7. There's also that nagging thought in the back of his head about the prophecy and how he doesn't know what it says entirely.
- Uhuh, except that V is clearly not the type who cares about worthy opponents, so there is no reason he wouldn't order his goons to capture Potter at the first opportunity. Not just in that particular operation but by default, like "you see ‘em, you grab ‘em, you bring ‘em to me". And the wand issue has nothing to do with this, and Harry's "powers" can do squat as some Death Eater Cruciated him right before Snape told them to leave, and missing the prophecy didn't stop V from AKing Potter in the end of book 5.
- Incorrect. Voldemort gave Harry back his wand in book 4. If he just wanted to kill him, why would he do such a thing? Yes, it could be to humiliate him, but he also wanted to show his followers that Harry was no match even when he had a wand. This is why Snape can get away with saying this, not that it's a standing order, but that it's vague enough to work. Again, the idea is that he was distracted by the wand problem and Dumbledore and thus didn't think anyone would run into Harry to capture him, so he left no orders to capture Harry. Harry's powers might be able to do squat when he's being hit by a spell, but try and grab him and take him back to Voldemort and who knows what his protection magic might do before he turns 17 (unless it's only targeted to Voldemort, then I'd concede that point).
- Voldemort didn’t give Harry his wand back to humiliate him. He wanted to show to his Death Eaters that Harry was not a threat. He wanted them to see that even with his wand and ability to fight, Voldemort was his better and would kill him. He feared that having once tried to kill Harry and failed, that people might not think of him as the most powerful. Now it didn’t work out well, but that was the intention, to quell any mutinous thoughts...
- "why would he do such a thing?" Because he'd just resurrected and needed to re-establish himself as the baddest ass around in the eyes of his cronies. In book 5, he overgrew that stupid superstition and AKed Harry right away having first incapacitated him. No Worthy Opponent bullshit even then. In book 7, theDEtry to capture Potter all the time even though V is still distracted by the wand problem (even more so), so why not a little earlier? Oh, and Dumbledore wasn't his problem - he was Draco's (and by extension, Snape's) one. As for the protection, give me a break. Protection that cannot protect its client against being tortured to death (or against sharp objects, or having his soul sucked out, or Basilisk's bites) but is supposed to protect him against being kidnapped sounds ridiculous.
- Perhaps they assumed Snape has been given more explicit/different orders than they had? I think we know enough of Voldemort to assume that he wouldn't tell the entirety of his plan to every single Death Eater, so they might have been wary of going against what Snape said in case it was an order from Voldemort. If your boss was Voldemort, and there was a chance he could remotely disapprove of something you're about to do, would you still do it?
- Snape specifically says that Voldemort doesn't want them to touch Harry because Harry is Voldemort's to kill. It does not really matter why Voldemort would do this, and something tells me that Death Eaters questioning orders will not go well for them, so they don't even have to know what Voldemort's supposed rationale for this is. If Voldemort said "don't touch Harry", they had better not touch him. They believe Snape when he says this, as the only reason he could possibly have for lying is if he's secretly on the side of the light. If Snape had tried claiming that Harry was Voldemort's to kill in book five, then it might not have flown, but since Snape had finally firmly declared his allegiance (or so it seemed) by killing Dumbledore only minutes before, why would they doubt him? And the fact that Dumbledore wouldn't be getting off that roof alive doesn't really matter, as it's still a very unlikely thing for someone on Dumbledore's side to have stepped up to kill him. Possible, yes, but it's not like they have time to ponder any of these questions in great detail. Someone stopped to attack Harry on their way out of the Hogwarts grounds, Snape said Voldemort wouldn't approve, Voldemort wasn't to be questioned, and Snape just proved that he was on their side, so the Death Eater stopped.
- This is even more ridiculous. So V is getting the strike team ready to go to Hogwarts, you know, the place where Harry Potter resides without blood protection, and he doesn't tell them "Oh yeah, before I forget, if somebody sees the brat, stun him and bring him along, alive"? That's improbably stupid even for V.
- Was Voldemort ever directly involved in this plan? Unlikely, I know, but if he wasn't, that might explain why they didn't just take the Castle then.
- They didn't take it because the Ministry was still operating. Apparently, despite its glaring incompetence, it was still a force to reckon with in a frontal confrontation. Hence their cautious actions the next year. As for the first part, are you kidding me? A plan to assassinate the Big Good proceeding without direct supervision from the Big Bad? Again, it doesn't necessary have to relate to this particular plan - "Get me Harry Potter" should've by all means been an integral part of an everyday Death Eater morning briefing, right before the "...and I'll cruciate the f* out of you, if you, elf-spawn, f* up again" part.
- "A plan to assassinate the Big Good proceeding without direct supervision from the Big Bad?". What plan? There was no plan, he sent Draco on a goose chase hoping he'd get killed just to mess with Lucius. He gave him no instructions besides "kill Dumbledore". Bellatrix followed Narcissa's whims and Narcissa was horribly worried for her son, that's why he got any backup at all, and rather lousy backup at that. There were less Death Eaters in the raid than the amount Dumbledore casually asswhooped in the Department of Mysteries. Voldemort never expected him to succeed, the whole thing was a crapshoot because Dumbledore would be dead in weeks anyhow and decided to play along to fortify Snape's cover. You are all making an enormous deal out of something Snape barked at one random Death Eater while they were running the fuck away from the castle before backup arrived.
- The plan to kill DD, of course. I hope you will agree that V needed to remove him before he could make his grand move. Sure, he expected Draco to fail, (not get killed, who the hell was supposed to kill him, DD?), but messing with Lucius was only an added bonus - the objective to kill DD 'was there. Besides, Draco's efforts didn't cost V anything, so he could allow not caring much about them, but a squad of his Elite Mooks infiltrating the enemy HQ? No way would a control freak like him take no interest in such an endeavour (neither would they dare to undertake it without his leave, for that matter). Not to mention that Bella had no reasons to "follow Narcissa's whim", when she so clearly despised her for fretting over Draco, and, again, grabbing Potter he moment they see him should've by all means be the standing order for all Death Eaters.
- The naysayers in this argument have good and valid points, but they need to balance their views in the knowledge of the situation and it's context. This was a strike mission to remove the Big Good and therefore set up the end game for conquering the UK. Snape handily does that and proves to all present, not least of all Bellatrix, that he's Voldermort's man through and through. So Snape becomes the de facto leader of the group, making his word law. They are unable to disapparate from Hogwarts grounds. They have Malfoy with them and several of them do have a vested interest in his wellbeing. Bella did not despise Narcissa or her love for her son, her sister is one of the few she can have anything even like affection and love for. No, she's initially disdainful for her concern for her son and unwillingness for him to give himself up to the cause, but now that Snape did the deed for him, she wants to protect him and get him out of the grounds. And even in this high-profile assassination mission, they don't want to spend a moment longer there than necessary, because of the magical protections, Aurors and Order members who are going to open a can of ass beatings on them for killing Dumbledore. So they need to run like hell. Furthermore, the panic and adrenaline surge they're feeling is mixed in with a sheer evil joy at accomplishing the mission, making them unlikely to make major cognitive decisions on the run and go outside the defined mission parameters. Then, look forward only a few weeks to the first chapter of Deathly Hallows, where Voldemort sets in motion the plan to capture or kill Harry while he's being moved from the Dursleys to the Burrow. He obviously thinks it's safer to abduct the boy there rather than at the castle where you'd have to drag him through it and under attack from all the forces of good. He also clearly enjoys the thrill of the hunt and being able to lead it. He wants the Dursleys' magical protection over Harry to expire once he comes of age, eliminating one more means of shielding for the boy. Moreover, he's all too aware of the wand problem now, and he needs a substitute before he's ready to engage in the hunt. He surely knew all of this during the assassination mission against Dumbledore, so he very likely didn't want them to bring him Potter, not yet, not before he chose to. So this alone means they daren't go against his will. Add up all of these factors and the ones other tropers have mentioned and it becomes totally, utterly, 110% justified as to why they let Harry go free on this occasion.
Merope Gaunt Fails Naming Forever
- Why did Merope name her son after her sucky husband and sucky father, both of whom treated her like crap?
- Even so, they were, apparently, the only people sans her insane brother she ever connected with. Sad.
- Uh, right. Lmao the 'sucky' husband that spent their entire relationship under Mind Control via a love potion? It's probable that he was a dick anyway, the narrative sure represents him that way, but the fact is that she was willing to force him to be her lover without caring a whit about his consent. The fact that people are so harsh toward Tom Sr. continues to surprise me, since Rowling's obvious intent was to show that this relationship was an immoral abuse on Merope's part (a loveless union... coercion... couldn't be a more prejudicial way to enter the world...). She named her son after the man she had "loved", who was not a sucky husband because he was being controlled via chemicals. He left her after she stopped using it on him and he was able to exert free will again. Obviously her father was an abusive prick, so I see what you mean there, but when it comes to the fact that she named her son after Tom Sr., I find it completely unsurprising, because her obsession with him was such that she would do anything to possess him. It was pretty clear that this was supposed to be (at least by authorial intent) the opposite of a 'virtuous' love like Snape's, which may have been obsessive but which did not include any sort of force or coercion, and included the respect and genuine affection necessary for him to stand aside when she chose a life that excluded him, something Merope was unwilling to do.
- Oh my, a rape victim isn't particularly fond of their rapist? Shocker that.
- More simply, by the time Tom was born Merope Gaunt and sanity hadn't been speaking to each other for months. If not years.
- More concretely, if Merope knew that she was going to die (or had willed herself to), then the best thing she could do for her boy was give him a way to find his family — name him after his Muggle father, in case one wants to look for the other, and give him the Marvolo name so that he could find the other branch of his family. Also, her father drummed pure-blood pride and the glory of being descendants of Slytherin into her head all her life, something clearly stuck.
Has Snape lowered his standards?!?
- A more dull example, but why is it that Snape accepts E students into this DADA class when he only accepted O students for Potions?
- Because he wasn't in charge of it the year prior, and couldn't really blame the students with Umbridge teaching the class. It was more his ego saying "here's how to teach it correctly", and the best way to do that would be to teach as many students as possible.
- Because Britain is being threatened with domination by a genocidal Dark wizard, and it's kind of important for as many people as possible to learn as much as possible about defending themselves against him?
- And an admitted ex-Death Eater refusing to teach DADA to the majority of students would be politically unwise at a time when the Ministry has finally acknowledged the threat.
- Because it's possible, if not probable, that Harry was the only person to get an "O". Hermione didn't even pull it off.
- Picture it: Snape finally getting the job of his dream only to be stuck with a class where the only student would be harry. XD I think I understood why he lowered his standards...
- Because Snape really is the best person to teach kids how to defend themselves against the Dark Arts (being well-versed in them, and almost certainly having used many of them himself), and if Dumbledore is telling him to give as many students as possible the knowledge they'll need to protect themselves, he's not going to say "Only if they get an Outstanding". To do so could have cost him his job and Dumbledore's protection.
- Well, he could have tried, but Dumbledore would basically have said, "Get that Dark Arts elitism shit out of my house. This is HOGWARTS, son." Only, y'know. Dumbledorey.
- Since he wasn't the teacher the year before, he couldn't suddenly up the requirements for students to get in, seeing as several had likely already registered for the class. Potions, however, Slughorn was allowed to lower the standard to an E, since that would allow more people to take the class.
Force-Feeding Time! :D
- Returning to the matter of V's potion, it's said that it had to be drunk, but it's not specified who or what had to drink it. What about an animal? A sacrificial lamb, so to say. Surely Dumbledore wasn't THAT big of a Friend to All Living Things, was he? And please, don't rush to handwave with something like "V would've foreseen that", because with the amount of things he didn't foresee, this argument is invalid by default.
- Or, alternatively, Dumbledore is not completely retarded, and it had to be drunk by a human. We already know that it has to be drunk just to get it out of the bowl, so if we assume that Dumbledore knows even slightly — even slightly — what he's doing, that he really is the most intelligent and gifted wizard of his age, and that a sensible reader does not need every potential loophole spelled out and dismissed before accepting the gravity of a situation, then we can also assume that there is a reason a person has to drink it.
- That's all very nice, except that Voldemort successfully tested the potion on a house-elf, so the drinker definitely didn't need to be human.
- Sentient, then. And Dumbledore is enough of a Friend to All Living Things not to torture a house-elf into insanity. Given the pain we see him going through as he's being fed the potion, and we know that he's hallucinating about his innumerable past sins, it would make sense for the potion to rely on some kind of pain beyond which a non-intelligent animal can fathom.
- Sentience is a rather elastic notion in Potterverse. Kneazles (like Hermione's cat) are at least semi-sentient, owls too, maybe others as well. And again, seeing how unimaginative and shortsighted V was in his arrangements (the bloke didn't even install an alarm in that cave, for Khorne's sake!), it stretches the bounds of plausible to think he'd foreseen something so exquisite.
- Why? He doesn't have to foresee it. "Being" has a specific definition in the Potterverse; all he would have to do is tie the potion to that, so that something had to suffer immensely to get the potion out. House-elves clearly count. One imagines a goblin would as well. Vampires too. Veela. A big long list of things can suck down the pain juice with minimal thinking on his part. Also, failing to foresee one thing doesn't mean he's completely and utterly incompetent. Voldemort is a malicious and sadistic little bastard, but he was also one of the most accomplished and brilliant wizards of his age. He could very easily have the potion only drain if feeding it to someone who would really suffer for it.
- So Confound yourself with the delusion that this potion is really tasty and the burning sensation in your brain is actually happiness leaving your body, then chug chug chug. The problem with magic traps based on the victim's state of mind is that magic exists to fuck with a person's state of mind pretty much to whatever degree you feel like.
- Okay, people, here's another point to consider: Dumbledore has probably the best grasp on What Measure Is a Non-Human? out of all the characters in the series (yes, including Hermione, whose insistence on starting and furthering SPEW gave house-elves no credit for being intelligent enough to choose the lifestyle that made them happy). With this in mind, why on earth would he have forced a house-elf, Kneazle, or any other semi-sentient, non-human creature to drink that potion and go through that awfulness? And why are so many of the people replying to this insistent that he should have? I know some of you consider Dumbledore a manipulative bastard, and to a degree he was, but he wasn't wantonly cruel as well.
- Because that way he could've stayed in control of the situation and then taken the victim back to Hogwarts where it could be nurtured back to health, since the potion was not lethal. The way it did happen, he put all his hopes on one lame adolescent wizard (who failed miserably) and a wild chance that even poisoned D would still be able to save their collective butts (arbitrary whim of the author).
- You don't think Dumbledore, who had a fully-formed plan to take over the world that inadvertently resulted in the death of his sister, who sat idly by while his former partner committed wanton acts of evil because he was afraid of what he might discover if he went after him, who is arguably the one wizard most aware of his own darkness and the limits to which he will go if he allows himself, might have a reason to hesitate at the idea of that kind of act? Even if you could just use a cow to get the potion out, it's still animal sacrifice. That's pretty dark magic for someone who knows how easy it'd be to go bad.
- Sure, he'd be hesitant. But hesitance can (and should) be overcome with determination. I'll reiterate: the plan D used was INSANE. He didn't know if the potion wouldn't kill him outright (he only had speculations on that part), or if there were no other wards revealing themselves once the thief touched the locket (the fact that there were not further reinforces my point that V was an idiot and thus would hardly think of something as sophisticated as sentience-discriminating poison). UNLESS, of course, he did know in detail how the cave worked, having either questioned Kreacher or done exactly as I suggested and tested the potion on someone else. In either case, he would've already known that the Horcrux was a fake and the whole endeavour would've been just a ruse to distract Potter from pursuing Draco's case, to give Potter a training in ruthlessness and to get himself (Dumbledore that is) an excuse to force Snape into killing him. And that would've been freaking awesome.
- "He's brilliant! But yes, he is mad."
- Aren't Phoenixes immortal and have tears that can heal just about anything? Let’s see: Summon Fawkes - Let him die - Everyone lives. Or alternatively: Summon Fawkes - Use magical healing tears to strengthen Dumbledore during/after drinking the potion - Everyone lives. And Phoenixes are at least as smart as Kneazles and Elves so don't say that it wouldn't have worked. A classic case of a Senseless Sacrifice in all but the fact that DD didn't actually parish directly from this action.
- New plan: Just don't remove the locket at all. Simply destroy it in the potion! If you can't stab the thing through the potion, Fiendfyre the whole thing! Or, just mix Basilisk venom into the potion and watch as the Horcrux is destroyed by its own protection. (Granted, it wasn't the Horcrux, but still.)
- No can do. The potion blocked everything. As for alarms, D probably deactivated them; they have to be a pretty obvious spell, right? Also, considering D learning all about the cave just by touching it and the fact he spent large amounts of time out of Hogwarts it's safe to say he did enough research to ascertain that only Beings could cross the lake. Actually, come to think of it, that would fit with why D didn't bring Fawkes to heal him. V is hugely powerful and smart, if insane, and probably took precautions. Also if the potion was immediately lethal, V couldn't question the thief; the Inferi were a back-up for if someone brought an assistant with them.
- "As for alarms, D probably deactivated them" - uhuh, then I guess Regulus deactivated them too. "only Beings could cross the lake" - how were Inferi supposed to stop a flying bird? "V couldn't question the thief" - thief drinks the potion, thief gets thirsty, thief drinks from the lake, thief gets drowned by Inferi. Again, as we saw with Regulus, it happens even when the thief is alone. Where does questioning come into the equation again? 'Inferi were a back-up" - a rather shitty backup as DD pwned them even when poisoned. If he did as I suggested and used someone else as a drinker, they would've done jack squat at all.
- "how were Inferi supposed to stop a flying bird?" They weren't. There were wards for that. Just trying to summon something or tossing a ball of light over the water caused the water itself to lurch up and swallow the spell. Remember, Voldemort himself uses the boat while checking on the basin in the seventh book, and he can fly. It's unlikely that he'd forgotten he could do that just then, he had bloody flown to the cave to begin with.
- Phoenixes can teleport through anything, even places specifically warded against teleporting like Hogwarts. And they can carry passengers while they do it. Dumbledore shouldn't even have needed the boat.
- "a rather shitty backup as DD pwned them even when poisoned" Dumbledore had already drunk the water and regained some of his sanity, and Harry held them off at bay for a few moments longer. You are also seemingly going by the movie version in saying he fought them off. In the book, he barely manages to summon a much smaller ring of fire to hold them at bay while Harry carries him out the cave. Forget defeating the Inferi en masse, he couldn't even walk for long on his own and would have been dragged underwater once he lost his strength.
- "If he did as I suggested and used someone else as a drinker, they would've done jack squat at all."
- Who said the potions itself couldn't only being drunk by a "being?" I didn't get the impression that Voldermort created the potion, just that he used one already in existance. If he got one that he heard about, a dark potion meant to protect an object sitting in it, than the properties of the potion may have already been set to only work on sentient beings.
- Why am I under the impression that if Dumbledore did exactly that and gives the potion to an animal/house elf/other person, then probably the same tropers would be saying how incredible evil bastard Dumbledore is for doing that?
Ignoring the awful argument of “let’s commit animal cruelty and torture an animal with a potion that cause pain in order to save my ass”, we have a saying in Spanish: “No le busques cinco patas al gato” [Don’t look for a fifth paw of the cat] does a book really need to have every single possible outcome that any human mind can think about, any plausible way in the existence of the cosmos on how the events could happen in other way? In which case, wouldn’t that book be terribly boring like a very long essay with no action and hundreds and hundreds of pages? Yes, there are many ways how that scene could happen, he could give the potion to an animal, or a sentient non-human creature (no matter how unethical that is), he also could have a hadrons-collider and make a wormhole to send the potion into another dimension and not having to drink it, or he also could make himself an exact replica of an android that would drink the potion with no danger. I mean, possibilities are endless, the entire chapter could be 1000 pages.
Oh, Malfoy, how the tables have turned...
- In the movies, the Gryffindor boys are shown to be sleeping in a luxurious room in comfy four-poster beds with curtains. Here, we see Malfoy (presumably in the Slytherin bedchambers) and he's sleeping on a metal cot in a very bland looking room? I would've thought that the Slytherins had better taste than that?
- If you look carefully, it's actually the sick bay he's sleeping in, presumably still recovering from the Sectumsempra incident.
- In the films the trip to the cave and the Sectumsempra incident happen in the same day. Malfoy is still in the hospital wing.
The Blades of Vague Darkness
- Why exactly is Sectumsempra treated as something horrible and Dark? It's practically just a combat version of Diffindo. In comparison to, say, an exploding spell, you'd think it'd be no big deal.
- It's more the way he used it (not even knowing what it did), but Sectumsempra is a Dark curse that has to have a specific countercurse to repair or stop the damage. For Diffindo, the nurse could heal the damage relatively quickly so long as they're not hit in anywhere too vital.
- I find that a general problem in settings which make a distinction between "light" magic and "dark" magic is that the distinction often seems arbitrary, with nobody ever bothering to explain just what common characteristic is shared among the "dark" magics and why that characteristic is bad. I think that is the case in the Harry Potter setting, too. It was particularly noticeable when Lily and Snape where arguing about somebody's character and Lily saying that he used "Dark magic" as if that settled the issue beyond any doubt.
- It's the ''Man'', man! The Ministry tells you what to cast, what not to brew, and if Umbridge had had her way, they'd be telling you what socks to wear and making Cheering Charms illegal! The Man is telling us that certain spells are "Dark magic", even spells that have never been in clinical trials, with no more reason than that they're "bad", when Sectumsempra is no worse than Diffindo, and many "Dark" spells and illegal potions are either harmless or have perfectly reasonable non-recreational uses. Now if you'll excuse me, my buzz is wearing off, so I need to go treat my nearsightedness.note
- I imagine that injuries caused by Sectumsempra are more likely to be permanent. When Snape used it on George and cut his ear off, it couldn't be regrown. Had he used Diffindo, I imagine the damage could have been repaired. So there you go. Sectumsempra accomplishes nothing Diffindo couldn't, unless you're some kind of sicko who wants to permanently harm someone. So what is Sectumsempra needed for?
- Sectumsempra is considered dark and frightening because it's a rogue spell. Diffindo is a common spell that could be looked up in a book. Sectumsempra has mysterious origins and can cause serious, irreparable harm. Nobody knows exactly what it does or how to counteract it. Sectumsempra could even be comparable to the Cruciatus Curse in terms of lasting damage. If the spell had hit George in the back instead of the ear, he might have died. It isn't really needed; I think Snape created Sectumsempra as a weapon against the Marauders. Snape could seriously injure "enemies" and have them at his mercy, since he is the only one who knows the counter-curse. Snape could have just as easily used an existing spell, but opted to make one of his own to give himself the ultimate advantage.
- Diffindo is a simple cutting spell that's not made for combat, it's akin to being cut with a knife while Sectumsempra is like being slashed with a sword, that and the wounds made by Sectumsempra can't be healed without the appropriate counterspell.
- Maybe Sectumsempra only cuts flesh, which would pretty much eliminate any "good" uses for it. This is supported by the film, where the spell left Malfoy's shirt intact while slashing the skin underneath.
- It makes sense to me that the real danger with Sectumsempra is, like said a bit before, because it's a rogue spell that wizards don't know how to combat (likely because they don't know the theory behind spell-making, much less behind Dark Arts spells which may potentially work in a different way). Obviously the proper countercurse is needed to heal the injuries, but it's not as if these things are just assigned somehow - Snape would have had to discover the countercurse in the same way he had to discover the spell itself. It's invention based on existing magical law, which means that people who knew how to craft new magic spells would probably be able to discover the appropriate counter-curse, too.
- When it comes to the idea of combat uses making it a Dark spell, and Snape's use of the spell - obviously it is POSSIBLE to very seriously injure someone with this spell. We see Harry do this accidentally, and in the case of George's ear, it was also accidental (but Snape's intended target would have suffered a more debilitating injury), but the way we see him use the spell does end in very different results than what Harry did accidentally. There's a great potential for damage with the spell, but given that Snape was using this when he was a student, even, it's unlikely he ever intended to hurt someone THAT badly with it. Someone below said that maybe it only cut James' cheek because he missed a target at James' head, which is crazy to me. Snape was not trying to decapitate his classmates. It seems that he used the spell as he had originally intended, for small-to-moderate injury to 'enemies', namely those people that attacked him on a regular basis. When Harry uses it, he is panicked and doesn't know what the spell is, he wildly casts it with a huge emotional fuelling to it, and Draco just collapses in a shower of blood because of that passion. The spell is probably considered Dark more because of the fact that it requires a certain amount of control to wield and because it is an unknown 'rogue' spell, not because it was intended to slice people's chests open or heads off. Something that can damage that greatly without the caster even knowing what the spell does is dangerous and rightfully considered 'Dark'.
- In principle, by those same lines, Fred and George's stuff is Dark. Which, in fact, it does overlap with (they often trade in a number of items that many folks consider Dark).
- But it still comes down to the intent of the caster, as seems to be the case with all Dark magic. Obviously in a combat situation, it's useful, and his intent to cut off the hand of the other Death Eater is a nonlethal (thus not soul-damaging) but perfectly efficient use of magic in a violent situation to protect the Order. It's a war, it's just as moral as any other weapon. However, the common mentality about Dark magic is that it's unequivocally evil and that everyone who uses it is evil, which seems to be part of the problem with the labelling - Rowling shows how that mentality makes it easy for young people like Snape, who doesn't display the same sort of racism that fuels the Death Eater movement, to get sucked into it because he was ostracized for his interest in a topic which isn't innately evil, but which can be used for evil purposes (as most magic probably can). The Death Eaters play on that because it attracts loners that can suddenly feel part of a community that values them and their skills, which is common practice with radical terrorist organizations. I think the characters in the books do tend to confuse The Dark Side with 'Dark Magic' because of semantic reasons and the fact that Voldemort employs Dark Magic to do his genocide and world domination plots, which is actually pretty realistic. But the fact remains that the use of 'Dark Magic' does not a Death Eater make (Harry uses it a few times, including Unforgivable curses), and the definition of Dark Magic is ambiguous because people don't really understand it anyway and are misled because of it. Snape's interest in Dark Magic has always been one of the biggest reasons he's mistrusted, even though his use of Dark Magic has basically always been beneficial to the Order as a whole, excepting accidental situations.
- Thank you so much! Yay! The concept of Dark Magic vs. Light Magic always seemed oddly vague - kind of like the warrior code from Warrior Cats. "Dark Magic" can be used for good as well as evil, it's how it's used that counts, not what you use. It does kinda bug me how Lily is able to brush off Snape by essentially saying "you used Dark Magic, so you're in the wrong; James and Sirius only use light magic, so they're not doing anything evil." Can't you use Light Magic for just as much evilness as Dark Magic? From Snape's commentary on the Dark Arts in book six, it seems that Dark Magic is more wild than evil: it can only be 'tamed,' while Light Magic is 'domesticated.'
- Ermmm, the last two answers aren't quite on the money. "His intent to cut off the hand is a nonlethal... use of magic". Nope. Not at all. That kind of injury would cause shock and a MASSIVE amount of blood loss, more than likely enough for the victim to bleed out and die. There's a reason that cutting a hand off is used as punishment in Sharia law countries after all- either the condemned dies outright or they can narrowly staunch the bleeding in time and they live out a pitiful existence without one of his/her primary means of interacting with the tactile world. And the latter outcome is pretty improbable in these real life Muggle countries (some of which admittedly aren't at the cutting edge of healthcare) showing that this sort of wound is life-threatening to begin with. In the wizarding world? This curse causes a never (naturally) healing cut, it's right there in the name. Unless you're a masterclass healer, i.e. the inventor of the curse himself Snape, you won't be able to perform the counter-curse and administer Dittany fast enough. And in the situation in question? That Death Eater was flying a broom at top speed, needed both hands to fly and no way would he or his friends be able to staunch the wound in time. So sorry guys, but no "yay" for this curse- it's a dangerous weapon and no wonder it comes under the Dark Magic category. Even if Snape's intentions in the chase were noble (to protect the innocent), he was still utterly willing to cause a deadly injury.
Dark Magic potions
- We see Levicorpus being used in the fifth book by James during his fifth year, and most people seem to think that the curse Snape used on James at the time to make him bleed was Sectumsempra (which wouldn't make sense since James didn't seem too hurt by it, but just saying). But Snape writes about these spells in his sixth year book? Why? And for that matter, why in his Potions book? Why not in his DADA book? That was his best subject, after all.
- I'm going to put on my Watsonian hat and guess that he started making notes in his potions book because that was the subject with the largest amount of easily-fixable flaws he took, and by the time he wrote down Sectumsempra, he was already using the book as a general notebook of sorts.
- About Snape cursing James, I always thought Snape used an "early" version of Sectumsempra. Or, even more simply, Snape was so worked up that his spell missed and only grazed James's cheek instead of hitting him in the head.
- As to the question of it being a sixth year book, there are a number of possible explanations. For instance, Snape could have ordered it ahead of time, being that Potions is his best subject (clearly to the point of genius), for personal reading. Or Slughorn might have assigned it in fifth year. It would make sense to use an advanced textbook to make sure students are not only adequately prepared for their OWLS, but ready to pwn them into the ground.
- And about it not hurting James much, Snape could have mastered the use of Sectumsempra enough so that he could control how much damage it did. I always assumed that he'd meant to just cut him a little. As a bully victim I know that when I did fight back, I did so rather timidly, with great control, and usually failed, so this explanation made the most sense to me.
- "There is no light or dark, merely righteous and evil intentions". I think Harry's big mistake was using a spell which, as far as he knew, could blow up the building. NEVER use a reality-altering weapon if you don't know what it does! Now imagine that scene if the spell had done something useless and Malfoy could keep fighting.
- Snape didn't order that book, it was his mothers book, it had been purchased years before he ever got to school. Snape in his first year knew more curses than most seventh years, put it all together. As for dark magic, the magic system in Harry Potter is pretty vague, but when it comes to spell casting there are two ways to interpret dark magic. There are either seven types of spells, three of which(jinxes, hexes and curses) are dark, almost half! The other way is that there are four types of spells, and the dark arts a modifications of three(transfiguration, charms and counters) that are frowned upon. Either way, almost everyone in the books uses dark magic to some extent in the form of jinxes, it's hexes and curses that get complained about and are presumably delving deeper than advised into the dark arts. It's not a matter of light versus dark, it's a matter of any dark spell that's not a jinx being dangerous, or requiring questionable ethics to make work. The light is almost never talked about, just the danger of the dark.
ZOMG HE'S BLACK!!!
- Because Fan Dumb so fiercely debates a black actor being cast as Blaise Zabini (who was only described as having "dark skin" in the book), I've decided to Take a Third Option: Since he has an Italian surname, is it possible that Blaise is mixed race?
- I'm thinking he is.
- Well, Blaise's mother is said to have married 7 times already, with most of her husbands dying in mysterious circumstances. She could have been an Italian witch who got married to a rich Italian wizard, got pregnant with Blaise before the "mysterious" death of the first husband, and then moved to England with her second husband. Maybe Blaise's parents were either both mixed race or one of them could have been white-skinned and the other dark-skinned. Also, in England, a country where most people (I'm not 100% sure about this) are fair-skinned, someone like Blaise would be thought to be dark-skinned. Remember that some Kenyan people said that, had Barack Obama been born and lived in Kenya, he could have become the first white President of Kenya.
- I don't know about the British edition, but the U.S. edition describes Zabini as "a tall black boy with high cheekbones and long, slanting eyes" on page 143, not just as having dark skin.
- Also, Italian does not equal "dark skin". Italians at least in Europe are considered just as Caucasian/White as any Swede or French or British guy. Could be that the U.S. has different ways to distinguish, but Rowling is British, so European. And no European would claim Italians or Spainiards to be of a different race.
Voldemort's awesome social skills
- About Voldemort's backstory, it's been established that he was highly charismatic and polite, being viewed as an upstanding young man by all of his teachers sans Dumbledore; why wasn't he adopted? I hardly think he could or would reject any offers, as anybody who would want to adopt must have the resources for a better lifestyle than the orphanage. Also, if his social skills were something he trained for, thus he didn't have them before Hogwarts, why didn't he get some rich foster parents later, at least to make his last summers, when he couldn't stay at the school, more comfortable? I don't see anything in Lord Voldemort's personality that leads to a frugal lifestyle if he could avoid it easily via manipulation or magic, especially at the cost of some Muggles.
- It's likely because he's in a Muggle orphanage. Most people adopting wouldn't know about his good reputation at Hogwarts, and those that know he's got a good reputation at Hogwarts know he's in a Muggle orphanage and wouldn't want to adopt him because of the fact he's probably Muggleborn. Another problem is probably the fact that he's in a boarding school for about three-fourths of the year and wouldn't be able to get to know his adopted family well in the other fourth of the year.
- Maybe the Wizarding laws forbade that? After all, he'd have to come out to his foster parents, and every extra Muggle aware of the wizarding world is the headache the Ministry would definitely want to avoid. And he couldn't bewitch them because, as an under-age wizard, he couldn't use magic outside Hogwarts.
- There's also that Tom is attending Hogwarts during World War II. I don't think an orphanage in London would be seeing a lot of parents wanting to adopt at such a time.
- Alternatively, he hated the orphanage, but he hated the prospect of adoption more. To Voldemort, Hogwarts was his home, and some rich Muggle with a do-gooder complex was no better than the spartan room that he lived in until summer passed. Besides, it's Truth in Television that older children have a harder time getting adopted, no matter how charming they are.
- So why wasn't he adopted before age 11, then? He must have had at least the beginnings of his great charisma and social skills, otherwise the orphanage staff would have taken firmer action against him for being a bully (which some of them, at least, possibly knew and certainly suspected he was).
- He had a bad reputation and, even if he was charismatic enough, potential parents would probably hear bad things about him from the staff and children. It's unlikely that he'd get a deeper look if he was quiet all the time too. Assuming he got interest before his 'weird' stage, occurred it's impossible to tell what turned them off from adopting him.
- It can't be ignored that Tom's childhood took place during the Great Depression. In a time where most people were struggling to feed themselves and their biological children, adoption was probably not at an all-time high. I'd be surprised if anyone there got adopted.
Dumbledore's Information Withholding Complex
- Nobody seems to have asked this, so I will: WHY, in the name of flying fruitcake, does Dumbledore NOT TELL the Order that he's asked Snape to kill him? The seventh book would have been many orders of magnitude simpler had Dumbledore even once mentioned to McGonagall, "Just so you know, I'm dying, and I've asked Snape to kill me, so if/when he does, don't worry, he's still on our side." WHY?
- Two possible reasons. One, he wants it to be believed that Snape really was on Voldemort's side and that he has betrayed the Order so Voldemort and his followers don't figure out he's still a spy and traitor. Two, he realizes that if anyone knows that he planned his death that isn't under heavy Occlumency shields, they're subject to breaking Snape's cover. Either way, it ultimately was the best plan of action as if he'd told them then, the Order might try and contact Snape, which would put his cover in jeopardy.
- But there is a person Dumbledore could have trusted the knowledge of Snape's last mission with; Harry Potter. Because if Voldemort ever kills or mindrapes Harry then the situation is irretrievably fucked anyway.
- It bothers me less that he didn't tell the Order his plan than that he apparently didn't leave any evidence of this situation anywhere. Yes, it was unlikely that Snape would survive the war, but he DID survive the first one as a spy, and with far less experience. On the off chance that he did live to the end, he would have end up imprisoned for life if not have his soul sucked out.
- What, the Pensieve memories that Harry found aren't good enough evidence for ya? What about the Dumbledore portrait?
- Given the track record of the Wizarding World in using Pensieves, truth serum, or any of the other ways to find the absolute truth and tell the innocent from the guilty (re: 0 for infinity), it's doubtful anyone would have thought of it.
- If D told the Order he had to die, it would have been a ton easier for V to get the information which would have sent the whole plan sky-high. Yup, Snape's a hero all right: prepared to have his soul sucked out to save the world.
- Honestly, I can't imagine Snape living for anything else but to protect Lily's son. Even if he was still alive after Harry killed Voldemort, I'm sure he would've been like, "Well, Lily, I've protected your son, and he's finally killed Voldemort. I don't have any reason to live anymore."
The best way to get something done is to be a panicking mother
- Snape supposedly made those Unbreakable Vows to Narcissa in order to keep his cover as a Death Eater. Why not just say something like "I'm not going to muck about with the Dark Lord's plans. If the Dark Lord tells me to help Draco, then I'll do it"?
- Because Narcissa wants him to protect Draco even if Voldemort plans Draco to die. Snape sincerely likes Narcissa, so he agrees to. It perfectly fits into Dumby's plan: Snape was not expected to kill Dumbledore, but he did it. So Snape became the most trusted Death Eater.
- Also, perhaps he wanted to burn the bridges. He was reluctant to kill D, but that way he left himself no choice.
- I'm pretty sure that Snape didn't make this vow until after his conversation with D where D asks Snape to kill him. Given that, why not make the Unbreakable Vow? It wins you points with Narcissa, helps convince Bellatrix that you really are on Team Dark, and doesn't oblige you to do anything you weren't going to do anyway?
- Points with Narcissa, huh? Once you go pale, you never get stale?
Hermione Granger and the Classes from Nowhere
- Ron steals Hermione's OWL results and says she got "ten 'Outstandings' and one 'Exceeds Expectations'". But... doesn't Hermione only take ten classes after having dropped Divination and Muggle Studies in Prisoner of Azkaban? (She takes eight of the same classes Harry takes - all but Divination - as well as Arithmancy and Ancient Runes. You can count up Harry's nine OWLs on the page prior.) I know Rowling fails at math, but this is basic counting!
- Perhaps she took an exam for a subject she didn't attend a class for. I know I took the AP test for human geography and got a 4 out of 5 despite the course not being available and not knowing any of the theories named after people.
- I concur, having taken an AP English exam without taking the class. (I got a 5 out of 5, but then again, English is a subject that I tend to make seriously. Since I'm [[Tropers/Luigifan the guy]] who has a knack for going around TV Tropes and ruthlessly fixing grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, that's probably a good indication that I'm not kidding.)
- JKR is no good at math. She's said it multiple times, so I would chalk this up as a mathematical error. She's made other egregious math mistakes before, like telling people Dumbledore was 150 years old, but having him die at the age of around 115 at the end of this book.
- My guess is she was allowed to take the Muggle Studies exam based on doing it in third year.
- Or, you know, because she was muggleborn.
- This appears to be fixed in the Kindle edition
And we're supposed to call Dumbledore a genius?
- Remember how Hermione created a fake locket when they stole the real one from Umbridge? Pretty smart, huh? Remember how Regulus placed a fake locket into the bowl after he stole the real one from the cave? Ok, maybe not too smart, since Voldy would likely sense the difference, but still smart. Now remember how Dumbledore didn't even try to do anything like that? How planet-shatteringly stupid do you have to be to make a blunder like that?!!! No, it's official now: Voldemort and Dumbledore attended the same self-delusion sessions.
- Remember how it's revealed that Dumbledore lost his head, as revealed in the final book, and put on the ring? He was highly distracted by the fact that he was dying to do anything of the sort. Once he found out his death was inevitable he took to wearing the ring around. I believe he decided to make it appear to Voldemort that Dumbledore found a Horcrux and assumed it was his only one and showed it off. If Voldemort ever found out about it after the fact, he might be vain enough to believe that Dumbledore would think that would be the only Horcrux.
- Yep, that's exactly what I mean by self-delusion sessions. For V it's "nobody is gonna find me Horcruxes EVAH", and for D it's "V is vain enough to do the next criminally stupid thing needed for my insane plan to work". As for D's ostensible "distraction", I don't recall anything in the book that backs this idea. Sure, he "lost his head", when he put on the ring, but afterwards he seemed just as imperturbable and cool-headed as ever and completely unruffled by the prospect of his death. As for wearing the ring, give me a break. He didn't plan to face V, and who else was supposed to notice it and report to V? Obviously it was just a trophy or a reminder of his moment of obfuscation.
- We know why Dumbledore wore the ring — I don't have my book in front of me, but IIRC, he wore it BECAUSE he'd made such a stupid mistake, and he wanted to keep reminding himself that no matter how brilliant he knew he was, he could still make monstrous mistakes. As for why he didn't make a fake ring to leave in place of the real one... why, exactly, would he bother? IIRC, the ring was in the old Gaunt house when he found it, which probably hadn't seen the light of day in half a century. Voldemort was no more likely to check that old, run-down shack to see if his ring was safe than he was to check the cave for his locket — because if he'd checked for the latter, I doubt he would have left the fake in place quite undisturbed. Furthermore, we already know Voldemort is incredibly arrogant — he probably never intended to check on at least those two horcruxes, because he had total faith in his own abilities that his curses would be insurmountable. Besides that, I highly doubt he would have been able to make a passable fake of the Deathly Hallow stone, so I still don't see why he should have bothered. It clearly wasn't something that would be missed any time soon, so why should he have left a fake in its place?
- 1. WE know with the benefit of hindsight, that V was a self-deluded idiot who never checked on the Horcruxes. Dumbledore couldn't possibly know that for sure and couldn't rely on that. 2. As I've said a thousand times before, "it might not work" or "it might not be necessary" are NOT valid excuses not to try, especially if it costs you so little. Because any precaution is better than none, and a fake Horcrux is less probable to raise V's alert than no Horcrux at all. Some whelp understood that, but not the all-sage Dumbledore? As for faking the Resurrection Stone, V didn't know or didn't care what it was when he Horcrux...sifed it, and THAT was something D legitimately knew.
- I think you're giving Regulus too little credit. A fake Horcrux that would fool Voldemort? Yeah, just getting something that he could stand in the same room with without telling the difference would be quite a feat (actually my guess is he hoped for Voldy to never visit the cave until it was too late to act on the switching, since he was helping set up the traps, but whatever). And Regulus had the advantage of having probably been able to examine the Horcrux in advance of making his fake, and of knowing that there wasn't an alarm (or that if there was it wouldn't alert Voldy to a switch before the trap was set). If Rowling wanted Dumbledore to be able to conjure up a compelling fake on the spot I wouldn't have faulted her, but the fact that he couldn't doesn't bother me. As for Hermione, she was just fooling someone who bought the thing a few days ago because it seemed like an interesting knick knack. Not the same level of difficulty at all, and she probably got the idea from Regulus anyways.
- I'm not sure why you think not leaving a fake locket behind is any kind of intellectual failure on Dumbledore's part. For one thing, the locket Regulus left behind didn't even seem to have been put there with the intention of actually fooling Voldemort: It lacked the "S" insignia, and, y'know, contained a note that freely admitted it wasn't the real deal anyway. In any case, doesn't it seem likely that Voldemort can tell whether or not a locket contains a piece of his soul or not?
- Maybe or maybe not. It is still less conspicuous than no locket at all. Of course it would have to look the part and not contain the note.
- Why don't they teach Latin as a language in Hogwarts? I know, Latin and languages in general are a profane "Muggle" topic, but since many spells' names and wordings are based on Latin, it's just stupid not to teach that language. If Harry had been taught Latin, he would never have used Sectumsempra against Draco.
- Because you're only supposed to cast spells that you've been taught in class, and you don't need to know what the incantations mean - you just have to say them right. Apparently, they do study Latin if they want to make new spells. As for Sectumsempra, Harry wouldn't have used it if he wasn't a complete idiot, and as OotP demonstrates, an idiot will always find a way to get himself and those around him in troubles, no matter what you teach or do not teach him.
- You may be right with all of that, but it's still stupid not to teach Latin when nearly all spell incantations are based on that language.
- Since there are English spells (stupefy), you obviously don't need to know Latin to craft them. Snape didn't want people to know his spells(he failed) and in the case they were discovered, didn't want people to know he had invented them(he succeeded. Remus Lupin even knew about Sectumsempra but didn't know who invented it or how to repair it's damage, for that matter).
- I've just had a crazy idea that, maybe, "Ancient Runes" is Latin, and Harry never took it, because he had better things to do, like train how to catch a golden mosquito.
- Except Hermione's studies in Ancient Runes came in handy in book seven, when she deciphered the Tales of Beedle the Bard. Probably Latin is an elective class available third-year and onward, and because (according to The Prisoner of Azkaban) Harry signed up for the elective classes Ron signed up for, he didn't take Latin. So he wouldn't know it.
- I think we agreed somewhere here that the hogwarts curriculum is extremely slimmed down to bare neccessities due to it being relatively short after the first Wizarding war. Could be very possible that, along with Arts, Music and such Latin or Ancient Greek - or whatever old language you can think of was taken down because a) there were no teachers b) prepare the kids for survival. Fine Arts can wait. Since they DID need to offer something though for an at least somewhat balanced Curriculum, Runes stayed.
- In the same vein it's possible that outside of war times Hogwarts offers you several old languages (Latin, Greek, Old Arab, Aramaic, Middle English?) as choice course but had to drop this for the time being. Ancient Runes stayed but was a choice course now by itself.
Wormtail the Butt Monkey... wait, why?
- Why is Pettigrew/Wormtail treated like a pathetic loser by the Death Eaters? After all, he brought Voldemort back to life and was his only loyal supporter when he was semi-alive. I get the impression that the author dislikes him and so gives him a subordinate position that makes no sense.
- As V correctly puts it, Wormtail wasn't loyal - he simply had nowhere else to go. Second, apart from V, the only one who is shown actively interacting with him is Snape, who hates him with a passion for obvious reasons. Third, he's still weak, cowardly, and useless (when Snape mockingly offers to seek more dangerous tasks for him, Peter backs off).
- While they were sitting in Azkaban for 12 years and professing loyalty to the Dark Lord, he was disguised as a rat and being petted by the Weasleys. Of course they'd look down on him.
- Not to mention that, apart from cuckoos like Bella, fewDEwere exactly happy about the return of their beloved leader.
- Two points worth considering — one, Voldemort himself plainly considers Pettigrew to be a pathetic loser, and in a group like the Death Eaters, you'd better follow the boss's lead if you have any wish to maintain your health. Two, the Death Eaters are mostly composed of ruthless political opportunists (like Lucius), deranged fanatics (like Bellatrix), and bloodthirsty psychos (like Greyback) — none of those groups are liable to have any respect for a snivelling Dirty Coward.
- As for Snape, of course he hates Wormtail: First, he was part of the group that tormented him during school. Second, he is responsible for Lily's death. (Of course Snape is too, but without Wormtail Voldemort wouldn't have found her.)
- I for one don't remember any Death Eaters ever showing any issue toward Wormtail other than Snape. Where is this idea even coming from? Bellatrix and Narcissa neither show hostility, sympathy, or friendliness towards him (though both had other things on their minds). Also Barty Crouch Jr. never showed any problems with working with him behind the scenes in Goblet of Fire. If you ask me, the idea that the Death Eaters all treat him with distain seems to be more of a fanon idea.
Epic dueling fail
- When Harry confronted Draco in the bathroom, Draco attacks with Crucio. Harry counters with Sectumsempra, a spell he has never used and has no knowledge of. Why? Even while holding the Idiot Ball, no sane person would do such a thing. He doesn't know what it could do! It's as crazy as "This guy bullies me, so I'm going to steal a random chemical from Chemistry and sneak it in his milk!" It could make his brains fall out or something. It seems that logically, he would use Expelliarmus, his Signature Move. I suppose it's a case of Plot-Induced Stupidity, but seriously?
- "Sectumsempra: For your enemies." Harry has been ruminating on this for a while, and it seems a more likely thing to fall back on ("for your enemies") when a political bully who has hated him for six years starts using the illegal equivalent of a mega-Taser on him. Expelliarmus is for anyone who should be disarmed; right then, Draco deserved whatever Harry expected... It's just that Harry probably didn't expect cursed, unhealing wounds. If I didn't know any Latin, I would expect it to be like Rictusempra (the laughter jinx), but probably more painful, and somehow sssnakey. If I really must find a mundane analogue, it's really more like finding a cabinet of martial arts books and defensive weapons, then using something from the cabinet that looks kind of like a homemade pocket Taser without realizing that it's actually just an exotic delivery mechanism for box jellyfish toxin.
- That's not the case though. In your example it at least looks like a tazer, with what's actually happening Harry has NO idea what it does other than it is for enemies. What if it wasn't even offensive? What if it made his hair fall out or dropped his pants? Lethality aside, in a crucial situation rather than using a spell he was familiar with, he essentially decided to roll some dice.
- While Draco's attempted use of an Unforgivable meant that Harry was entirely justified in using any amount of force in return, up to and including killing him on the spot, it is still very stupid to rely an unknown spell when you have several known ones more than up to the job of disabling Draco or knocking him flat on his ass. At least two of which, "stupefy" and "expulso", are actually faster to cast than "sectumsempra" (three syllables vs. four).
- Don't forget that he had Sectumsempra from his potions book and that the Spell was written into that by a 16 years old teenager. The suggestions for potions where all correct and helpful and the other spells in the book where harmless pranks or holding spells at worst, nothing you could kill anybody with. Nobody could have expected Sectumsempra to be that bad. As pointed out, you would think that it would be something very mean, maybe even somewhat painful but not almost incurable wounds.
- I just went and reread that scene, and what I got from it was that Harry was in a reasonably clear-headed, "dueling" mood - the spells he tries to use are Levicorpus and the Leg-Locker Curse, which are merely "holding spells", you might say - until Malfoy pulls out "Crucio". Remember, Harry's had Crucio used on him before, in one of the most horrendous experiences of his life. He doesn't want to have it used on him again. So he panics and uses a spell that's been at the back of his mind to use on Malfoy for quite some time - and yes, it was stupid, and everyone including Harry thinks so, but he panicked and said the first thing which came to mind, which unfortunately happened to be lethal.
- Draco and Harry falling on crucio and sectumsempra was stupid on both their parts, what everyone forgets is that Myrtle was in the bathroom, which means the floor was wet, they were in a fight and slipping around, causing them to panic a little. If Draco hadn't decided to attack Potter, who hadn't drawn his wand until then, it could have all been avoided.
Casting the spell with no training
- Not just why did Harry cast Sectumsempra when he confronted Draco in the bathroom, but how did he cast it? He had only seen the spell written before then, and had never cast it before and only seen the magic word to cast it, not the accompanying wand movements. Remember how hilariously it went wrong when he mispronounced "Diagon Alley" in the Chamber of Secrets? Remember how Ron couldn't levitate a feather without the proper swish and flick wand motion in Sorcerer's Stone? How was Harry able to cast the spell properly the first time without knowing exactly how to pronounce it or how to move his wand?
- Not all spells require specific wand motions. The entry in Sectumsempra didn't mention any wand motions, unlike Levicorpus, so likely it didn't need any specific one.
- So a spell that causes massive physical damage and injury requires fewer somatic components than a spell to levitate small objects? Then my question is "why"?
- Because, as a combat spell it must be as easily and quickly executable as possible. Like firing a gun. Also, it was created by Severus Snape, pretty much the only adult in that universe who is not a raging idiot and has a non-wizard upbringing. Stands to reason he understands the notion of effectiveness and perfected the spell accordingly.
- If combat spells were easier and simpler to learn, then the entire Dumbledore's Army subplot from the previous book should have lasted for about two weeks. Demonstrate the spells, everyone pulls it off instantly and flawlessly because the spells are so easy, and they're fully prepped to defend themselves against the dark arts.
- It's very easy to fire a gun. It's much harder to hit your mark, especially in combat, and avoid being shot in return. So they were learning not just to cast spells, but to use them. And again, this particular spell was made by Snape, who, unlike most other wizards, is smart.
Problems with the "other Minister"
- In the first chapter, we get confirmation that the Muggle government of the U.K is in fact (at least at the level of Prime Minister) aware of the magical world. Are they just okay with this? Have none of them decided that the idea of letting another government administer on U.K. soil is ludicrous? In all the nameless Prime Minister's time, he never made any effort to investigate at all? Even if the intelligence agency might call him crazy, it should be possible for anyone who got to the position of Prime Minister to think of some way to prove that a group of individuals managed to enter and leave his office totally undetected. For that matter, the Prime Minister doesn't feel any pressing need to confront Shacklebolt on his divided loyalties?
- Didn't you get an impression that the UK Prime Minister was a huge coward who nearly wet himself every time his "guests" arrived? Not that it was entirely unfounded, of course.
- Fudge says it himself - he could tell the rest of the government (or the general population) about it, but he'd just be seen as insane. (Need exact quote from Fudge, which I don't recall ATM.)
- Something along the lines of the Daily Prophet article describing Fudge as saying that there's no real risk of the PM telling anyone, followed by the quote, "and besides, if he did, who'd believe him?"
- There's the above one then:
"But then," bleated the Prime Minister, "why hasn't a former Prime Minister warned me - ?"
At this, Fudge had actually laughed.
"My dear Prime Minister, are you ever going to tell anybody?"
[...] The Prime Minister had stood there, quite motionless, and realized that he would never, as long as he lived, dare mention this encounter to a living soul, for who in the wide world would believe him?
- A Prime Minster keeping quiet about what he'd seen is plausible. A Prime Minister being able to launch a nation-wide manhunt for a dangerous fugitive nobody else has heard of — not the police, not the press, not the Home Office, not the tax bureau — whose supposed "crime" is listed as an accidental explosion in Muggle records, without anyone asking him why? Not unless Britain forgot about due process.
- Strategically applied Memory Charms and magically forged paperwork would solve all of that. All they have to do is keep an ear open for any muggles asking too many questions about this Sirius Black character and dispatch an Obliviator to make the necessary memory alterations.
What was Snape attempting to do?
- So. Flitwick shows up to tell Snape there are Death Eaters in the school, and that Snape must come with him. At this point Snape presumably figures out what 'plan' Draco had been working on all year. So Snape...stuns Flitwick? Uh, why? What did that accomplish?
- Uhm, it accomplished the plan's successful completion, which Flitwick could've interfered with, as well as cemented Snape's image of a loyal DE, which he obviously had to uphold.
- Then, on top of that, he basically gets caught doing that by Hermione and Luna, who have been specifically tasked to watch him. Luckily, they have been handed the most epic Idiot Ball in history, so they believe him.
- For that matter, as long as he's stunning people for no reason, why doesn't he stun Hermione and Luna?
- Because they can help repel the attack, and, unlike Flitwick, letting them go wouldn't look too suspicious.
- A theory here might be that the Felix Felicis they took just saved their lives by making them complete morons who didn't challenge Snape. Doesn't help Snape's inane behaviour, though.
- OTOH, it's unlikely Snape would have killed them away. He might have stunned them, but it seems odd that the Felix Felicis would have cared. Surely them lying stunned in the dungeon is safer then participating in the battle upstairs.
- On the third hand, Flitwick does eventually help save the day, and perhaps the Felix Felicis can see far enough into the future to know that, and his life was in danger, so it got Luna and Hermione to actually save his life, and no one realized. (He is very small and elderly, perhaps Snape's stun was a little too strong. Or perhaps he really did have some sort of attack and pass out.)
- Felics doesn't see into the future. All it does is make a person aware of which actions they will take will bring luck to the goal they wish the accomplish as they think over their potential options. It doesn't tell how, nor does it alter probability in of itself.
- Of course, memory modification does exist, so there's the possibility they very quickly lost a duel against Snape, and just remember thinking they had let Snape run off. It seems a little irrational for Snape to do that when he was on the way to kill DD, but it's possible he thought he could kill DD secretly, and he needed to keep his reputation intact.
What was Draco attempting to do?
- Draco's master plan was to sneak a handful of DE's into Hogwarts and...then what? We've already seen in OotP, that Dumbledore could curbstomp a dozen of them without breaking a sweat, and now they are coming to his castle, where there will be at least three more powerful wizards (McGonagall, Flitwick and Slughorn), not to mention the Aurors and the Order who could arrive later, and where the very walls might literally be friends and helping hands to the defenders (it's an enchanted castle after all). I guess they relied on Snape as their "fifth column" and to an extent it worked as he stunned Flitwick, but still, were they really hoping to overpower DD on his home turf? I doubt Draco or even Snape could predict that DD would be in such a debilitated state. It would make sense if the DEs attempted to take the students hostage, but they didn't.
- I always presumed he'd been monitoring security at Hogwarts and found it was either just the teachers, or occasionally the Order. He wants to get DD on his own so he brings in a load of DEs to cut off any back-up and/or prevent him and DD from being interrupted. Also Draco doesn't know that DD knows that Draco's the one trying to kill him so he assumes he has the element of surprise and DD wouldn't expect a 16-year-old to try and kill him. Or the fight lures DD out and while he's distracted by DEs Draco jumps him.
- His plan was to wait for Dumbledore to leave, send up the dark mark when he's coming back and then call a bunch of Death Eater to keep anyone besides Dumbledore from getting to where the mark was. Besides Dumbledore genuinely not seeing it coming though, it wasn't a good plan that only worked because Dumbledore let it. Other things gone better Dumbledore would have stomped all the death eater and then patched the hole in security that let them in.
Good luck With That!
- OK, I can think of a lot of reasons why Felix Felicis isn't used in everyday life. It might be very, very expensive, might take quite a while, might be very difficult, needing a very good potionmaster to prepare it etc. I get all this. But Dumbledore is searching for the horcruxes. AS in, he's doing the most important thing that can be done against fighting the Dark Lord, something he should put all effort he can in. So, why not use the Felix Felicis? Expensive? He's the freaking headmaster, he can afford it. Time? He's been searching for horcruxes for YEARS, he had time. Difficulty? He's got THE (or one of the) Best Potionmasters in his school, who's able to brew several of the most difficult potions (Wolfsbane potion, for example). So, why in pluperfect hell would he not make Snape prepare it for him, so he could find and get his hands on the horcruxes? The thing is, Felix Felicis is a Deus-ex-machinaesque Gamebreaker which Rowling shouldn't have used - it creates too much Fridge Logic.
- What's to say he didn't use it to find the Ring and the Locket? As for the Cup and the Diadem, well, FF doesn't actually warp reality (I think) - it only guides the drinker in the direction where he'd be able to capitalize on the events that happen anyway (like Aragog dying). In other words, everything you've done under the potion, you should, in theory, be able to do without it. Thus if there was no conceivable way for DD to learn about those two Horcruxes, then FF couldn't help. As for why he didn't do it earlier, perhaps the magic of FF stretches back in time, proactively urging you to drink the stuff when the vantage opportunity is about to present itself.
- They went on a mission to retrieve a horcrux. He was damn sure there wouldin be a lot of danger and a lot of things to go wrong, so why not drink some FF and give some to Harry?
- How do you know he didn't drink it? After all, his insane plan worked, didn't it? As for Harry, well that stuff was some mighty strong mojo, maybe you can only drink it once a year or something, or else you become addicted. Alternatively, it was in line with DD's Modus Operandi "Make Harry rely on me as little as possible, so when I'm gone, he doesn't become lost and has at least a measly chance of succeeding by himself".
- His performance during that night didn't seem quite lucky to me. He got pretty much fucked up.
- Why? Ultimately everything he had in mind worked out: he died as planned, Severus escaped, Harry survived, and they got the Horcrux and didn't get killed in the process. It wasn't FF's fault the locket was fake.
- He relived his worst memories, lost blood and had his Castle invaded by Death Eaters. He lost against Malfoy and he lost the ownership of the Elder Wand. He wanted and needed Snape to kill him, but not a horde ofDEsin Hogwarts. And he wanted the wand to remain ownerless, not to go to an unstable scared teenager.
- Well, the Potion's effect is temporary. Perhaps it wore off by the time they returned to the Castle. And worst memories and blood thing were pretty much unavoidable even with the best of luck.
- Moreover, they were self-inflicted, not chance at all. The potion only influences the odds in one's favour, it can't subvert things that were never a matter of luck in the first place.
- Slughorn explains why Felix Felicis is not a practical tool when he’s introducing the potion in class. Other than taking half a year to brew a tiny vial that's deadly poisonous if not made correctly, he says it’s horribly toxic in anything but minuscule, very-spaced-out doses (remember, Harry only takes a small sip from the already small vial and he has enough left to share between 5 people) and that repeated doses eventually leave you with the suicidal overconfidence bit even after the luck boost vanishes, which basically amounts to permanent mental damage. According to himself, even being a potions master capable of brewing it at will, he’s only dared take about two spoonfuls his whole life.
- Quibble: He doesn't say "deadly poisonous," he says "disastrous." Considering that a potion to cure boils, when brewed incorrectly, covers a person in boils (book 1, Harry's first potion lesson) it only takes a little imagination to see how brewing a good-luck potion incorrectly would leave things utterly and irrevocably fucked up.
- Also, take a step back and look at what you're saying. You're saying he should have used the potion when searching for all seven Horcruxes (not that he knew how many there were until near the end), and when going to retrieve each Horcrux, and... basically if he followed your logic he'd be chugging luck potions all the damn time. Which he can't do. There's LOTS of important things which he had to succeed at in order to have a prayer of beating Voldemort, and if he can't do each of those things without the help of a potion which is pretty much safe to use for a couple hours a year, he's not gonna win. The luck potion is officially Too Awesome to Use.
- Felix Felicis is like the magical version of morphine. Mighty lovely, yes, but any benefits go out the window if you become dependent on the stuff.
- Dumbledore was dying a slow death at the time, and Felix Felicis works by bringing about the best outcome for its drinker, not necessarily what's best for others. He might have feared that it would try and break the curse, leading him off on some wild-goose chase for a cure, rather than advancing his larger agenda of stopping Voldemort.
- But it wouldn't, because it is clearly noted that FF helps to accomplish whatever you wish to do. If finding a cure along that was possible at all, it might have helped there too, but not to the detriment of a determined goal. Harry accidentally breaking up Ginny and Dean as a side effect, because that's what he subconsciously wants, but it does not interfere with his main objective. Had it interfered, it likely wouldn't have happened.
- The side effects of FF are feelings that the taker can do no wrong, they become arrogant and assured that they are always right. Dumbledore already had those problems in his normal everyday life, to the point where he spent a couple months planning to take over the world for it's own good in his early adulthood. He himself admits he tends to be arrogant and when he makes mistakes they tend to be huge simply due to the power and scale he's working on. Quite frankly, he can't risk experiencing FF because it would bring out the worst in him. Plus he's got the brains and power to not need help.
- Speaking of Felix...why is the first time that it's ever been mentioned or used in the Harry Potter universe? Haven't there been times and places where it would have been beneficial for someone attempting a crazy or dangerous scheme to have the benefit of good luck? For example: during the Sorcerer's Stone, why wouldn't Quirrell have made a batch to guarantee success when he attempted to retrieve the Stone? Maybe he was too poor a wizard to have made it, but why wouldn't Voldemort have instructed him to brew some in preparation for his assault on the Stone's protection? Or what about during the two periods of time when the Chamber of Secrets was opened and students were dying? Why wouldn't the staff at Hogwarts have a small cache of Felix potions for use in just such an occurrence? "McGonagall, since Flitwick drank the potion last time, you need to do it this time to find the Chamber so that our kids don't die." Why didn't Sirius Black brew himself up some in order to infiltrate the school in order to capture Wormtail? Why didn't Not!Moody make himself some in order to influence the outcome of the Tri-Wizard tournament without having to overtly cheat to rig the game in Harry's favor...or even just drink some with the goal of spiriting Harry undetected out of the castle? Why didn't a Death Eater or someone on Voldey's team drink some Felix before attempting to infiltrate the Ministry of Magic...even if they weren't expecting to do battle with the Order of the Pheonix or Dumbledore's Army, this is one of the most secure magical fortresses in Britain, and if anything went wrong it might have tipped off the Ministry to the continued activities of the Death Eaters. Why didn't Voldemort himself drink some Felix before setting up the defenses around his Horcruxes so that there was no way that anyone ever could have gotten at them? I will not buy "it's too tricky to make" as a justification, since the same thing was said about Polyjuice and it becomes a regular plot point in three separate Harry Potter books. Something so insanely useful as liquid luck would have been mass produced by now.
- Slughorn claims that liquid luck is a highly regulated substance for this exact reason, and that taking the potion in regular doses leads to overconfidence and reckless behavior, hence why it would be too dangerous to be mass-produced. (Harry looks up the recipe in his textbook later in the book, noting the long and complicated list of ingredients and the six-month-long brewing time required to make it.)
- To the Question why Coldemort hadn't any Felix for the Philosophers Stone: Quirrel was originally the Muggel Studies Teacher who just got into teaching Defense aginst the Dark arts, he was most likely simply not the master level Potions Master it would had needed to make some of it plus he would have toget the substances, wich would have been very very difficult and he could hardly steal from snape as snape would have suspected him right away and to have to potion ready by June it had to be started in December and Voldemort wouldn't want his Host to die. Not because he cared but because he had to find a new one in that case, one that had acess to Hogwarts.
Felix vs Felix
- What if Voldemort and Dumbledore each drank an equal measure of Felix before going into battle with each other? Who would luck favor then?
- Both of them. They'd both get an equal amount of good luck, which would effectively cancel out against each other.
Let It Snow, Let It Snow
- In the movie after Ron breaks up with Lavender there is a scene in the dining hall in which Ron is very mopey, and Hermione tells him to stop and that he's making it snow. I don't have the book handy so I can't confirm whether this is present there, too, but I can't recall anything like this happening before or after this particular incident. Is there actual evidence and precedence for this, or is it just a huge Big Lipped Alligator Moment?
- Well, there's a definite precedent for wizards accidentally causing magic with their emotions, such as Harry blowing up Aunt Marge. I always assumed Ron making it snow was supposed to be the same kind of thing.
- That's true, but you'd think that if a wizard could control the weather, or at least the ceiling-simulated weather, with their emotions then it would always be pretty crazy. But it seemed like that instance was the only time it occurred. Harry's pretty angsty, he should have changed the weather at least once or twice.
- Well, making it snow in a two-foot-by-two-foot space isn't exactly the same thing as changing the weather.
- the "Ron you're making it snow" scene happens in the book too. But it's either in the common room, or Charms classroom
- Adaptation Decay. The scene in the book has Ron completely distracted from what he's doing by the fact Harry's just told him and Hermione about the Horcruxes, as a result making it snow. Ron breaks up with Lavender at an earlier point in the film, which makes less sense. Why is Ron moping about Lavender anyway?
- Ron's insensitive, but he isn't cruel. He probably feels bad for hurting Lavender's feelings.
- IIRC, it was in the Great Hall, where the ceiling is already enchanted to mimic weather anyway, and he did have his wand directed at the ceiling, so he was probably performing accidental magic due to his emotions.
I will be very sad, but God forbid I do something about it!
- When, in the flashback, Riddle comes to DD to apply for the DADA position, the latter says that "if half the things I've heard about you were true, I'd be very sad." So, DD is aware that Riddle is likely involved in some gruesome stuff, and it's hardly loitering or puppy-kicking. Hell, Riddle's very appearance strongly implies participation in Dark Arts. Well, in that case...why didn't he detain Riddle for investigation?
- DD has ''rumours’' of bad stuff, not evidence. And in any case, he's a school headmaster, not a cop. He wouldn't even have authority to "detain" Riddle and if he tried it would have come to a fight.
- 1) Which is why I used the word "detain", not "arrest". 2) An inconvenient fact is that DD is also the Head of the Wizengamot. He's the freaking Supreme Judge! I'm not that well-versed in the legal department and don't know if they officially have authority to seize suspects, but come on! Do you honestly think anybody would object? Hell, even if DD hadn't been appointed by that moment, he's first and foremost the goddamn Dumbledore! The one thrice offered the post of the Minister of Magic. He is the authority. 3) Yes, Riddle would've most likely resisted, so what? DD was much stronger than he'd ever been. If he was concerned about starting a fight inside the school, he could've let him leave and then engage him on the grounds.
- "Do you honestly think anybody would object?" Uh, yeah, they probably would. If the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court performed a citizen's arrest based on a suspicion of some shady dealings I don't see that going over well. Especially if the person in question is smart enough to cover their tracks and not leave verifiable evidence behind. Plus, Dumbledore at that point was still holding out hope that Riddle can redeem himself, which is why he made that little speech instead of just refusing his application. He's essentially saying "I'm not mad, I'm just very disappointed" in the hope that it will shame him into turning his back on the Dark Arts. Trying to "detain" him would only have cemented Riddle's resolve to continue his Dark Arts studies.
- Well then, good thing the story took place not in US, but in that wretched stuck-in-the-Dark-Ages pocket dimension, where legal procedures do not exist (I'll let pass your claim that they do in US), and people are extremely apathetic. Nobody cared about Sirius, or Hagrid , or Stan Shunpike, when they were thrown behind bars. As for the rest, by the end of their talk it was pretty clear that V was not going to repent, not that I see a reason for him to do so, since DD is not a paragon of any kind for him. So, let him continue his studies in the cell - he'd need a hobby to pass time.
- Hagrid was a half-giant, part of a discriminated minority and even so he wasn’t put in jail (if you’re referring to him been blame for the deaths of student in Chamber of Secrets), the second time he was in jail probably in preventive custody he does was release once charges where cleared, Sirius and Shunpike situations happened during the war (or very soon after it ends) and even in real life due process is generally omitted when a country is at war. In Sirius case, besides, he was considered mad and, again, in real life a person can end up in a mental institution without trial (and wizards doesn’t seem to have a place for the criminally insane), but yes, let’s say Sirius case is truly irregular. Is there another case in-universe that make you think it will be socially accepted and legal for a person, even the equivalent of Chief Justice of a country, to arrest and convict a teenager base only in rumors? And if that’s the case, what stopped the Ministry to do exactly that with Harry during Book Five?
- Harry had tryouts for Quidditch. Fair enough, most of the last Team had finished the School. but Why the hell did he have to hold tryouts for the players he already had? He had Ron as goalkeeper. Why should McLaggen be tried out as goalkeeper, when he already had one? In Book V it's stated that there are tryouts for goalkeeper, as Wood left, and the rest of the team should just be there to see how the new one fits in. So, why?
- So that nobody could accuse Harry of being nepotistic and keeping an inferior player just because they are friends.
- Because there might be someone out there who is better than Ron. When he told Katie that he wouldn't be holding tryouts for her position and just keep her, she reprimanded him for this reason.
- But there were no tryouts to replace Harry or Someone else till then. They had Tryouts only for a goalkeeper in the V book, not for the players they already had.
- Harry has a different coaching style.
- Harry was originally going to hold tryouts only for the players he lacked. Katie Bell, the only one of the original team left, who was going to automatically get a spot, basically convinced him to have tryouts for all the players, in the name of fairness and of having the best possible team, saying that "Good teams have been ruined before now because Captains just kept playing the old faces, or letting in their friends."
- The Head of House chooses the Captain of the team, so Harry was automatically on the team (and what position would he play other than Seeker?). In V Book, he replaeced the Keeper because Wood had graduated, but the team was otherwise intact. In VI, it was only him and Katie left, so he had to rebuild from the ground up. Katie likely didn't call him on this in the previous book because he was new to coaching, so she figured the less stress he was under, the better (plus they DID have a really good team). With him having settled into the job and now having the chance to do it right, she insisted he hold her to the same standard.
- Nitpick, but in Book Five, Angelina Johnson was Captain, not Harry. So Katie didn't reprimand him then because he wasn't calling the shots at that point.
The Unforgiveable Curses
- It has been mentioned in earlier books that the Unforgiveable Curses are very powerful, but in particular the Killing Curse requires a fair amount of hate behind it (which is hand-waved as the reason Harry wasn't able to use it against Bellatrix in Book 5. However, Snape is able to use the Killing Curse against Dumbledore, to whom he is later revealed to be loyal. This raises a few questions:
- Is the Killing Curse considered "okay" if it's a mercy kill?
- It is clear in the next book that Snape didn't hate Dumbledore, so where did the hate-mojo come from, and would it still work if he drew on, say, his hate for Voldemort, or even his own self-loathing?
- If the Killing Curse were to be used as a mercy kill, likely the person who cast it would need indisputable proof that the killed person wanted/had to die. They would need witnesses, the circumstances for why they needed a mercy kill, etc. Otherwise it could be mistaken for a straight up murder, so it's probably not used a mercy kill very often, because it'd be easy to assume murder.
- Snape is a former Death Eater, so likely he's had practice *shudder* with casting the Killing Curse and knows how to channel hatred whether for the victim or overall. And likely there was at least some amount of hatred directed at Dumbledore, after all, he did sound pretty angry about 1. being ordered to kill him in the first place 2. Albus's plans for letting Harry die.
- ^This. Dumbledore had already told Snape that he intended for Harry, the boy who Snape had spent a large part of his life risking death to protect, who was the last living reminder of the woman he loved, who (for all his flaws) was a teenage boy, to die a horrible death in the hope that maybe, maybe it would be enough to weaken Voldemort to allow the Dark Lord to be killed. I'm pretty sure that Snape didn't have to dig deep for some hatred of the man.
- Yeah, being loyal to DD isn't the same thing as liking the guy. Snape only joined him for Lily's sake and deeply resented him for some of his plans, not to mention the sheer levels of anger he showed at DD for giving Harry special preference and for being fool enough to try on the ring.
- Well, it's never said that your hatred has to specifically be for the person that the curse is directed at. I don't see any reason why Snape couldn't just picture Voldemort or James Potter and say the words to get the same result. Otherwise, how could Crouch Jr. have cast the killing curse on a spider? Crouch wasn't exactly playing with a full deck, but I seriously doubt that he had a deep personal hatred for that one particular spider.
- Not even an issue. "Professor Moody" states in Book 4 that the Killing Curse requires a strong amount of magic behind it, not hatred (it's about experience and power, not the emotion you're feeling at the time). Bellatrix states in Book 5 that the Cruciatus Curse requires a strong amount of hatred and genuine desire to cause pain behind it. Nowhere does anyone say that the Killing Curse requires a strong amount of hatred behind it.
- ^Exactly. You’re confusing Crucio with Aveda Kadabra. It is establish, though, that in order to work AK requires that you do mean it, e.i., you do want the person to die, which not necessary mean you hate the person, in Snape’s case he could just want DD to die whether out of pity or for the plan in general to work
Sybill Trelawny and the chamber of bevvy
- Trelawny crashed on Draco in the Room of Requirements, when she was trying to hide her liquor. Why would she do that? I'd understand if it was the previous year under Umbridge, but everybody in Hogwarts already knew that she's an alcoholic, and DD was not going to fire her because of that. Hell, who was she hiding it from? Does Hogwarts conduct booze raids on the faculty?
- She was probably ashamed of it and/or had convinced herself that nobody knew she was drinking. "I'm not an alcoholic, I just need a drink every now and then, but I'd better just hide these so nobody'll find them and get the wrong idea." Sadly, it's pretty common for real-life alcoholics to use similar tactics and justifications for them.
- As for the booze raids, well, maybe they do. It's not unheard of for schools to have a strict ethical code that holds their teachers to a higher standard than the rest of society. I'd imagine it's especially necessary in a boarding school like Hogwarts where all the school employees are essentially "on duty" at all times. A little bit of alcohol kept in a locked cabinet in the professor's personal chambers might be okay, but hoarding large amounts of booze is highly unprofessional. Dumbledore still probably wouldn't fire her, but he would probably insist that she take a leave of absence from teaching, and Trelawney was already ashamed at having to share her students with Firenze.
Errr... "freak hurricane"?
- Maybe it's just because I live in the very hurricane-prone southern US, but a hurricane in the West Country? How the hell did the Ministry, and the Muggle UK government, pull off telling everyone the giant attack in the West Country was a hurricane? Hurricanes are pretty large, the rest of England (never mind Ireland) would have been affected in some way. Granted, having lived in England I'm well aware that the very outer bands might not make much of a difference weather-wise, but the winds and rain get worse the closer you are to the centre. And "freak"? Surely in the 1990s the UK government would have been able to track hurricanes all the way from their initial formation in the Caribbean Sea and transformation into an extratropical cyclone headed for the British Isles via the Gulf Stream? The UK and Ireland are much too far north for hurricanes to spontaneously form just off the coast; even with the Gulf Stream the water is too cold. Note that the "hurricane" likely hit in June or early July; that's not unheard of, but quite unusual even in the US states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. So how the hell did the Ministry of Magic, plus the Muggle UK government, pass off attacks by magical creatures as a very unusual weather event that surely would have attracted attention from weather scientists around the world? Perhaps a more accurate term would have been 'derecho' which can certainly have hurricane-like effects, but is a series of very strong thunderstorms that moves quickly and produces numerous tornadoes.
- Two words: Michael Fish. I'm guessing JK was probably riffing off his most famous mistake, and ever reliable appearance on BBC blooper shows making it.
Middle name "Marvolo"?
- Why does Merope Gaunt give her son the middle name “Marvolo” after her father—the father who abused and tortured her for eighteen years, called her a “Squib” regularly, had no problem dragging her by the throat, hunted down the man she loved, terrorized her to the point she couldn’t even do simple spells such as Reparo, and she abandoned without a second thought the moment he was carted off to prison?
- Major Stockholm Syndrome, combined with Merope wanting her son's name to reflect his magical heritage somehow.
- This is also a 19-year-old who's just been left freezing, pregnant, and heartbroken in London after being..."abandoned" by a man she loved - of course she's not going to be thinking at all rationally. Chances are she was facing a lot of regrets during this time - "I shouldn't have ever left home, I wish I could just have my father and brother back," and so on and so forth, and if she were in a state of mind to have realized how bad an idea this was in hindsight, then my question would've been why she still ended up dying
Hey. Hey Snape! You can take points!
- After Harry Sectumsempras Draco in the bathroom, Snape chews him out, dumps a load of detentions on his ass, gloats about "fourth place Gryffindor"...and then walks off. If he really wanted Gryffindor in 4th place, why didn't he just take some 500 points off of Harry, especially since he has a very good excuse and first years can lose 150 points between them just for being out of bed after lights out?
- Fourth place in the Quidditch league, not the House Cup.
- Because he didn't want Gryffindor in the 4th place, or rather he couldn't care less about all that juvenile bullshift with so much bigger things at stake.
Shouldn't wordless magic be a separate course?
- Why are they first being trained in wordless magic only in DADA? Shouldn't this be something they cover in all their classes, starting off with simple magic they learned first year?
- Because DATDA is the only subject where casting silently actually means life and death for certain? Sure, being able to fetch things from across the room without having to speak latin is nice, but it's hardly essential, most adult wizards don't seem to bother with non-verbal spells the majority of the time anyway. And remember, Snape was in the position in order to train Harry as much as he could before the end of the year when everything would hit the fan regardless of what else happened (Dumbledore was already dying so Voldemort would naturally become more bold once the only person he feared was dead). Non-verbal spells may actually be seventh year material and Snape just bumped it up for convenience to his overall goals, the teachers make their own curriculums after all.
- Actually it was said that shorty after Snape, McGonagall and Flitwik started demanding non-verbal magic in their classes as well, so it's not something exclusive to DADA. The point is, I think, that such a difficult but usefull technique should've been taught gradually from the first yerar.
At least Bella's afterlife will be screwed up.
- Slughorn states that one splits the soul by committing murder. So what happens to wizards and witches who have murdered but didn't make Horcruxes, like Bella? Are their souls split too? Do they get trapped as hellish babies in King's Cross like Voldemort?
- Their soul has been split, but the fragmented part has not been removed from their body, ergo their soul is technically still together. Voldemort got trapped as the baby-thing because he had too little soul left, the parts having been destroyed. If the murderer has not made a Horcrux, he still has all his soul, and will still have all of it in the afterlife once he/she dies. Whether there's a further effect on their afterlife state based on if their soul is split or without splits can not be known without more canon information.
How dare you not break the prophecy Lucius!
- So why exactly is Lucius Malfoy blamed for losing the prophecy by Lord Voldemort? I know he was the leader of the dozen Death Eaters, but he wasn't even in possession of it when it broke. Neville was the one who accidentally dropped it and he only did due to the dancing jinx placed on him by Dolohov. Yet Lucius seems to receive all the blame from Voldemort and is promptly demoted when he returns from Azkaban, yet Antonin Dolohov gets off scot free. What gives?
- Because it never should've reached that point. It was supposed to be the easiest operation ever - wait for the kids, ambush them in the atrium, overwhelm, take hostage, walk Harry to the hall, make him take the prophecy. And yet Lucius managed to fuck it up by doing it backwards.
- Also, letting the prophecy be destroyed was just one reason for his disgrace. The other was trying to use the diary horcrux as a tool for his own political agenda, getting it destroyed.
Forgetting About Memory Modification
- So not only did poor Gilderoy Lockhart lose his memory due to Ron's faulty wand, but there are entire teams of wizards ready to work memory charms on Muggles at a moment's notice. And presumably, those memory modifications can be selective and surgical and not leave the recipient of the spell a gibbering moron. So why is it that Slughorn, having a memory of giving Tom Riddle information about Horcruxes, supplies Dumbledore with an obviously fake and edited memory rather than erasing his own memory? Or if for some reason you can't erase your own memory, have one of his former Slug Club members do it for him? When Dumbledore asks, he could have been like, "Tell You-Know-Who about Horcruxes? Are you mad, Dumbledore?! I would never do such a thing."
- Remeber that Slughorn is constantly on the run from V. I guess it is precisely because of that very talk - he's afraid V would want to silence him. But if he's going to be on the run, he needs to remeber the reason WHY he's on the run to keep him motivated.
Guess They Don't Teach Handwriting Recognition At Hogwarts
- Harry and Hermione have both spent 5 years as Professor Snape's students, during which time they have seen his handwriting hundreds of times on the blackboard, on letters he's sent Harry summoning him to his chambers for detentions and on papers they've submitted and had returned graded and on vials he's labeled in his classroom. Rowling even describes the letter "D" on one of Harry's returned papers with amusing detail. And yet, during sixth year, Harry spends hours reading the Half-Blood Prince's potions book without once recognizing Snape's handwriting. Why not?
- Handwriting changes with age and after strong psychological stress, which Snape had suffered a ton of after he graduated. The notes were barely readable, and only Harry was studying them for any considerable length - Hermie refused to. And Harry, who's not the sharpest tool in the box at the best of times, was under constant stress himself.
- I'm a packrat, and I have my old college notes from 20 years ago in a box in my basement. My handwriting is not noticeably different after that span of time.
- It still happens to some people.
- Not everyone has distinctive handwriting, it could simply be that Snape has a relatively generic writing style and that without proper training in handwriting analysis it is not terribly distinctive. Or it could be, as pointed out above, that Snape's handwriting has changed over the years. It would certainly make sense that when he became a teacher that he'd made his writing more elaborate and neater, to avoid students making fun of him or to stop students asking him what the instructions were.
- Snape has distinctive handwriting. The handwriting of the nasty comments he puts on some of Harry's papers in Goblet and Phoenix is given more description than some characters. And Harry has also seen another example of Snape's handwriting from the time period when he was making his notes in the Potions textbook; in "Snape's Worst Memory," the memory actually begins with Snape taking his OWL exam, and Harry looks right at Snape's face, which is less than an inch from his test paper, which Harry specifically notices was filled very, very full of tiny writing. He saw Snape's face directly next to the same handwriting which he noticed enough to specifically observe how much of it there was, and he's been obsessively studying that same handwriting all year. Shoulda made a connection.
- I have very distinctive handwriting, as well - very rounded letters with stars dotting the 'i's - but I didn't start writing that way until just a couple years ago in high school.
- Given the plethora of magical ways to rob someone of free will in the Harry Potter series — the Imperius Curse, love potions, magical artifacts entering underaged wizards into binding contracts to compete in a lethal competition without their knowledge or consent — can you use the Imperius Curse to force someone to swear an Unbreakable Vow? And if so, why not use forced Unbreakable Vows as an alternative to the expense of running a magical prison? "I vow to never use an Unforgiveable Curse again for as long as I live." Have a nice day, Ms. Lestrange. "I vow never to steal again." Goodbye, Mr. Fletcher. "I vow to renounce my allegiance to the Dark Lord and attack him on sight if I ever see him again." You take care of yourself, Mr. Malfoy.
- If it's possible, then it's probably not done for the same reason captured Death Eaters don't have all their murderous memories Oblivated out of them to make them super-nice: because it's highly unethical. At least the Dementor's Kiss is all or nothing.
- And that makes the Kiss (or Azkhaban) better... how? Don't you think most of the captured criminals would prefer such treatment to either of those alternatives? Maybe not Bellatrix, but she's crazy.
- It doesn't really make it better, more like less worse, if one views the Kiss as the death penalty, long term memory-Oblivation as forceful lobotomy, and a forced Vow as, say, The Ludovico Technique, but that's besides the point (and gets political). From in-canon knowledge, it's known an Imperius Curse can be fought off, even if it takes the subject some time, maybe even years. It could be possible that overcoming the Imperius Curse might take the Vow with it, since it's enough of a change of mentality that the spell can't keep it binding. Or it might require a sound mind to be cast in the first place. Or, as initially suggested, it's possible but not allowed for the same reason the Imperius Curse is banned.
- One would be wrong, I'm afraid. "...by that time Sirius will be worse than dead." (DD, about Black's impendind Kiss in The Prisoner of Azkaban). And since this world has a confirmed afterlife, the Kiss is definitely much worse than death penalty, rendering the victim Deader Than Dead. Obliviation, even profound, doesn't seem to impar on one's mental capacities, if it's done right, as proven by Lockheart (such as they were) or Hermie's parents (hopefully) - it's amnesia, not lobotomy (I invite tropers with experties in psychology to advise on detrimental effects of amnesia, but I doubt they can be worse than dementor exposure). And the Vow would be more akin to an Explosive Leash - harsh, sure, but again, much more humane than what they already use. I'm not sure, why the OP thought the use of Imperius was necessary - I would just offer the treatment as an alternative to life imprisonment or death penalty.
- I thought Hermione used Confundo on her parents, not Obliviate, hence why their memories could be returned?
- Whenever the question about why so and so didn't Imperius/Veritaserum someone in order to accomplish their goals is brought up, the standard defense is that the method in question can be resisted or is strictly short term or something. But if you can Imperius someone into making an Unbreakable, then it opens up a whole new set of questions and Fridge Horror. What about making someone your slave for all time by Imperius-ing them into Vowing to obey you forever to the best of their ability?
- Since Imperio gives the caster complete domination over the victim, and the Imperio Defence is legit, apparently the victim's actions while under the spell no longer count as their own any more than a puppet's ones. So if you try that trick it would be you who's making the Vow.
- Also, I asked this specifically about the government wanting to eliminate the expense of running a magical prison that needs to be populated by dangerous and frightening guards. Whether or not a criminal WANTED to Vow not to commit the crime that landed them in hot water, it would save the government hassle by forcing them to do it, if they were able. Not all prisoners at Azkaban are lifers, after all. Morfin Gaunt was let out after he'd served his sentence. Recidivism is a thing, but not if you can force your criminals to Vow never to do their crimes again.
- You'd be basically saddling them with a death sentence for a repeat offence, and without a trial at that. If their crime is not punishable by death in the first place, this would violate the spirit of the law. Hence why I can only see it as a voluntary alternative to an already issued death sentence.
- If used at all such a technique should be used only on the lifers, not on those who will eventually be released. Some people commit crimes out of impulse, and putting a forced Vow on someone with questionable control of their actions wouldn't prevent a repeat crime if they honestly forget about their Vow. Repeatedly jailing them is a hassle, but far more humane than killing someone for shoplifting a second time.
- And has the Ministry done anything over the course of seven books to make you think they wouldn't do such a thing?
- Pre-OOTP they gave Harry a reprieve for accidentally inflating his aunt, despite having said before a repeat offense would mean losing his wand. Even post-OOTP most of them voted against him being punished for his in-Muggle-territory Patronus.
- I know you HAVE to fulfill your Unbreakable Vow. But can you be released from it? Suppose the Dark Lord had recalled Draco for whatever reason. Could Narcissa have let Snape out of his vow to kill Dumbledore?
Cursed Jobs and Teacher Turnover
- It's confirmed in this book that Voldemort applied for the open position of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and was rejected by Dumbledore. Voldemort then cursed the job so that no one could hold onto it for more than a year without meeting some mishap or at least getting fired or resigning. According to this timeline, that was in 1957. Events The Deathly Hollows occurred in the year 1997, at which point Voldemort was killed and the curse on the DADA job broken. Does that mean that in the 40 years between Voldemort's cursing the job and the breaking of the curse, Hogwarts went through one DADA teacher every single year without anyone on the staff researching how to break the curse? Even if that meant, after Voldemort's death, that it would take Dumbledore himself stepping down as Headmaster and teaching at the position for two years running? What about just having the Ministry change the name of the course and eliminate the DADA position? Call it Abjuration or something. It seems to me that losing a wizard each and every year is not the kind of thing a school wants to have on its track record.
Also, if Voldemort is capable of cursing a job and anyone who has it with bad luck and dying/being fired/resigning, why not curse the Headmaster position at Hogwarts? Dumbledore is out on his ear in less than a year and Voldy can reapply? If he can't curse the Headmaster position because Dumbledore is more powerful than Voldy, then see my above question about Dumbledore taking the DADA position for two years.
- Perhaps it was of those rare occasions when magic in HP was treated less like a voice-activated multitool and more like, you know, magic - something irrational, arcane, only semi-manageable and emotion-driven. V strived to be the DADA teacher, he saw the position as an important mean to an end. So when DD refused him, his most prime desire, fuelled by envious rage, was to deny anyone else that what he couldn't have for himself, and that desire manifested itself as the curse.
Ownership of Buckbeak
- Even if Harry had wanted him, how could Sirius have been able to bequeath to him ownership of Buckbeak? Wouldn't Buckbeak still legally belong to Hagrid? No one specifically passed ownership of him onto Sirius - Harry and Hermione only brought the two of them together to allow Sirius to escape, it was against Hagrid's knowledge, and they were trying to save Buckbeak's life as well.
- After Hagrid and Sirius joined the Order of the Phoenix, I'm sure Dumbledore would've explained the matter to him so Hagrid wouldn't think Sirius was a murderer and then let him keep Buckbeak.
- I've just finished reading this book, and was wondering...Why does Harry spend five of the first six books in this series suspecting someone of doing something, even when he has little to no proof, and oftentimes ends up being wrong? Really, in short order...
- In Sorcerer's Stone, we have him suspecting Snape of trying to steal the eponymous stone, for himself and later for Voldemort. He ends up being wrong, as Quirrell ended up being behind it all along.
- In Chamber of Secrets, he suspects himself Malfoy, and even Hagrid, one of his cloest friends, of opening the Chamber of Secrets. It turns out to be Ginny Weasley, being controlled by a memory of Tom Riddle.
- In Prisoner of Azkaban (admittedly, this one's a bit more understandable), he thinks Sirius Black was responsible for betraying his parents to Voldemort, but also goes out of his way to involve himself in the situation and try and confront Black on his own, instead of leaving it to more highly-trained adults to track him down and get him back in prison. Yet again, he winds up being wrong, with Peter Pettigrew being the wrongdoer instead of Black.
- In Goblet of Fire, he suspects many different characters of being Death Eaters, for no real reason, once again does some investigative work on his own and just like before, the culprit ends up being someone no one would ever have suspected.
- Finally, in Half-Blood Prince, he thinks Malfoy has become a Death Eater and is planning something dark and ominous, but he only begins to house this suspicion after he sees Malfoy walking alone down a street in Diagon Alley, which for some reason tells Harry that he should be followed and eavesdropped upon. Yes, he turns out being right about Malfoy, but in this case, it still doesn't make much sense why he got involved in the first place, all due to seeing Malfoy walking down a street by himself.
- And I know it could be argued that Harry has sort of a right to be involved in these affairs, seeing as they all concern Voldemort in some way or another, but he goes about involving himself against the wishes of many others and rarely, if ever, thinks of going to a trusted adult with his suspicion, to the point where I'm surprised he expected Dumbledore to believe him at all about Malfoy in Half-Blood Prince, even without the underlying reasons for it.
- Harry being suspicious is part character trait (like Hermione being smart or Ron being lazy), part Properly Paranoid, and part story tradition. He's often not wrong that there is something villainous going on at the school, and since each year ends with him get trapped with the culprit somehow, it might pay for him to try to figure out who the culprit is ahead of time. And from a real life stand point, Rowling likes having twists about who the villain is. It's rather difficult to have a villain twist without setting up a red herring suspect first.
Want to keep the kid out of trouble? Keep a good eye on him!
- It's clear that Dumbledore saw something in Tom that he didn't like when he first saw him...Of course, no one would've been able to guess what he'd ultimately grow into, but if Dumbledore really wants this boy to stay on the right path, why does he still treat him like they're sworn enemies after they first meet? Tom was just a little kid at this point, and a good deal of the things he'd done had happened because of where he was raised. Instead of keeping watch over him suspiciously, ever trusting him, and giving him ominous warnings like he'd already branded him a criminal, why didn't Dumbledore give Tom some actual good advice on how to behave better? Do something to show him some compassion? Not let him go to visit Diagon Alley himself for the first time? Just because someone's bad as a kid doesn't mean they can't grow up to be a better person, yet Dumbledore constantly seemed to treat Riddle with distrust and dislike instead of showing him how to act differently.
Tom Riddle and underage magic
- The murder of his father and grandparents was covered perfectly thanks to crappy magic detection system that apparently allows underage wizards to cast murder spells as long as they do with a wand that belongs to an adult. Tom even brainwashed his uncle to make him think he murdered the Riddles and all, but it's stated that in order to loot and charm him, Tom first had to Stupify him using his own wand, an action that was done obviously outside of Hogwarts on a summer vacation. It is unclear which wand was used to tamper with Morfin's memories, but the fact stays: at least one spell was casted by a sixteen year old wizard using his wand. Wasn't that supposed to alert the underage detection system? Double alarming if the brainwashing was also performed with Tom's own wand, or even if it was done with Morfin's. If anybody bothered to check the last spells used by Morfin's wand, the VERY LAST ONE in that case would be the false memory charm. If Tom still used his own wand for that, then that would be two suspicious spells casted by underage wizard(s) in a roughly the same area, depending on how good the location detection works. Of course people like Dumbledore would figure everything out even without that information available, but didn't anybody in the ministry bother at all? One little area, triple homicide, at least one spell casted by an underage wizard, false memory charm being the last spell casted either by Morfin's wand or someone underage, and all in one day? Did the ministry just brush that off?
- The Trace detects magic cast in the area, not who did the casting. They would've caught a whiff of magic being cast in the Little Hangleton area (if the Trace even followed Riddle), but reading Morfin's wand would probably only come up with the three murders. This might be a little early in the timeline to say this, but there definitely was more the Ministry could've done but didn't.
- Dumbledore seems to think that due to Morfin's confession as well as the fact that he had previously attacked the same muggle the ministry didn't investigate further. They probably did find it odd that underage magic was detected in the area, but the evidence and Morfin's record were against him. Also it doesn't seem like the Gaunts were very well respected, even among other pure-blood supremacists. The wizarding world as a whole were probably eager to get rid of him.
Proof that Malfoy is a Death Eater
- Why didn't Harry try and get proof that Malfoy's a Death Eater? Was it so hard to stun Malfoy with a nonverbal spell and pull up his left sleeve to find the Dark Mark? He (Harry) knows that every Death Eater has the Dark Mark on their left forearm, he saw Snape show his Dark Mark to Fudge back in the fourth book.
- Harry doesn't get the hang of nonverbal spells until he discovers Levicorpus, and even after that he's still rusty with them and prefers speaking out loud. As for Stunning Malfoy, Draco has been spending most of his free time in the Room of Requirement (which Harry doesn't learn he is until halfway through the book) and until the restroom incident he hadn't managed to find Draco alone and unprotected.
- He still didn't try and get proof that Malfoy was a Death Eater. Guess he hadn't learned that his word doesn't mean that people are going to believe him, due to all the negative press he received due to barely anyone believing that Voldemort had returned in the previous book.
- ...Did you not read what was posted above? He was trying to find proof the entire year. He couldn't stun Malfoy because they were only around each other with other people nearby, and Harry couldn't find him otherwise because he was in the Room of Requirement. The only time he did manage to corner Draco alone, he went and used Sectumsempra on him, and look how that turned out.
The Dursleys "Mistreatment"
- During Dumbledore's visit to the Dursley residence, he makes a comment about "the appalling damage you have inflicted upon the unfortunate boy (Dudley) sitting between you". What's he mean by this? Is it a comment on the kid's weight, or something beyond that? And how would it be worse than the treatment of Harry? Bearing in mind, it's only luck that poor Harry isn't left as an emotional wreck from his Aunt and Uncle's (and also Dudley's) abuse.
- Not just overfeeding him, but also spoiling him and encouraging his bullying. Dudley's abuse toward Harry was treated as acceptable by them, and they also enrolled him in a school where the students are given clubbed sticks to whack each other with. In fact, a few times they asked Dudley to hit Harry with it. So half the reason why Dudley became just a jerk was because of them, but thankfully he began to grow mature enough on his own.
The whole Slughorn plot makes little sense.
All I know is based on the movies and other bits I've read, but not by the books themselves. The whole Slughorn memory plot just makes no sense to me - there's a whole list of issues I'm having with it:
- Why did Slughorn manipulate his memories? If he wanted to hide that he answered Tom's question about how to create a horcrux, why didn't he manipulate his memory to hide the whole question to begin with?
- Is it illegal to know such things? If not, why did he go to such lengths to hide them, anyways? Dumbledore seems to know about them, Slughorn knows, it's documented in at least one book and Dumbledore had no problem explaining what a horcrux was to Harry. So what's the point in hiding the memory?
- How did he manipulate the memory in the first place?
- How did anyone know to extract that specific memory? Did they make a 'brain-google-search' for "horcrux" and the result 'Slughorn tells Riddle about horcruxes' showed up? But did anyone even think about horcruxes back when the memory was retrieved?
- Was it taken by force? If not, why would Slughorn ever go to all the trouble to alter the memory, and then deliver a false memory, instead of just saying "I don't know, he never mentioned anything to me"? Or just give them an irrelevant, different memory with Tom? If he gave it away freely, he just called attention to something he tried to keep secret...
- What did Dumbledore even hope to get out of this memory hunt? He already must've known that Voldemort used at least one horcrux, but he couldn't have possibly believed that Tom would mention the actual number or that the number was the reason for Slughorn's memory manipulation: First of all, if Dumbledore truly believed Tom to have any ounce of intelligence, Tom would never have mentioned a number. Even if, he'ld have given a false number to mislead Slughorn - after all, Slughorn was a witness! It'ld endanger his immortality to leave Slughorn with that knowledge! (Wouldn't it be an interesting twist if Voldemort actually had 2-3 more hocruxes, and everything was just a gambit?). No, Dumbledore should've realized that Slughorn just wanted to hide that he told Tom about horcruxes, that's all he could possibly expect from that hidden memory. But of course, Tom is stupid enough to actually mention how many he wanted to make... good job, Voldemort.
- Why such an elaborate, prone-to-failure plan with Harry? I'ld have invited Slughorn to a cup of tea: "Horace, I know that you told Tom about horcruxes. He's back and will kill us all soon - ESPECIALLY you - because he knows that you know about his horcruxes. Do us and yourself a favor and tell us everything that he told you, so that we can kill him off. I won't mention that you informed us to anyone - promise."
- Slughorn: "I don't know anything."
- Dumbledore: "Oh? Well we'll find out. That tea you just drank had a few drops of a certain serum..." - instead, he just hoped that Harry would get the information, even if he actually wouldn't have and only did because of the liquid luck. His plan would've failed.
- Why did Dumbledore ever believe that whatever Tom said wasn't a lie/trick? Would anyone really believe that he only had 7? Going with the assumption that Tom was clever enough to NOT reveal his plans (he was not), I'ld assume that he was lying to Slughorn and expect a few horcruxes more than the number mentioned.
- Tom Riddle
- You are planing to become immortal - so, horcruxes seem like a good way. What's the only weakness of a horcrux? Being destroyed. But how can someone destroy something he doesn't know about? So, why would Voldemort ever tell Slughorn the actual number of horcruxes he planned? To make sure it'ld work? But Slughorn couldn't possibly know if it worked or not, and only had to guess.
- You did it. A handful of horcruxes, coming back from the almost-dead... and yet Slughorn still lives. Literally the one person who knows how many aces you have in your sleeve, that could ruin everything for you - the only relevant witness - isn't on top of your people-to-get-rid-of list?
- You know, if you're going to state at the beginning that you haven't read the books, then you really shouldn't post such a long and detailed entry, anyway, because a lot of this was explained there, as well as in the movie itself. The point of Slughorn altering and hiding the memory was because he felt ashamed of what it had led Voldemort to do. That's the kind of person Slughorn is, and Tom knew it - very meek and unassuming, helping those he thinks would return the favor in the end. We're never shown how Dumbledore found out about this memory in the first place, but he mentions in the film that during his time at school, Tom was very close to Slughorn in particular, so after doing some research with other memories, he went to Slughorn and asked if Tom had ever asked him anything about Horcruxes. To hopefully throw suspicion off of him, Slughorn used magic to alter the memory and make it look as though he didn't know anything more about it, then gave it to Dumbledore willingly. And, well, in the film, Slughorn states that the Death Eaters have been trying to recruit him frequently as of later, which was why he had gone into hiding in the first place, "never staying anywhere more than a week".
Why did they cut so much?
- I can understand in the other films, because a lot of the things missing from those were comparatively minor details that could be figured out with a little thinking, like James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter being the Marauders, but why did they choose to leave so much out of this one? Like most of the memories Dumbledore showed Harry in the book? We get sort of a passing mention of Voldemort's mother with the ring, but the entire point of this story was about Harry learning about the person who became Lord Voldemort - the memory from the orphanage is almost entirely pointless without Merope's story to serve as context, and in taking out everything else, the film completely fails to convey the point of why Voldemort can't feel love or affection, of why Harry even has a chance of beating him, his constant need to feel special, his feelings towards Hogwarts of being his true home, why he's such a wizarding supremacist, where he got a lot of the items he used to make his Horcruxes and why he wanted them...It just doesn't seem right that they wouldn't just film those memories and put them in.
- When talking to Snape and Narcissa, Bellatrix says that if she had sons, she would have been proud to have them serving Voldemort. Does this mean that she wouldn't have wanted a daughter to join the Death Eaters? Or is it just that she's saying "sons" because Draco's a boy?
- Maybe sons are more valued than daughters by purebloods, especially families like the Blacks or Malfoys, since males the ones who are going to carry on the family name. Or, yes, Bellatrix simply used the term "sons" to make it sound more applicable to Narcissa's situation.
Voldemort not being pragmatic
- What did Voldemort have to gain by sending Draco on a suicide mission to off Dumbledore, other than petty revenge against Lucius in the likely event that Draco died in the attempt? Killing the only wizard he ever feared was a crucial step for Voldemort in his quest for world domination, and if he fucked it up, Dumbledore and the rest of the wizarding world would've been on even higher alert. Why didn't he go for a plan that had less chance of failure? And slightly on topic, how did Voldemort communicate with Draco while he was at Hogwarts, threatening to kill him and his family if he failed, etc.?
- Voldemort probably figured that if Draco failed to do the job, one of the Death Eaters he helped into the school would do it for him, and that he would find out sooner or later if this happened. And considering Draco wasn't killed when Voldemort found out Snape did it, the proposition made was probably something like "If the plan to smuggle some Death Eaters into Hogwarts to kill Dumbledore fails, then I'll kill your family because YOU were the stakeholder," rather than outright telling him, "You yourself need to personally kill Dumbledore, and I'll kill you and your family if you don't."
- The plan actually makes a lot of sense. DD is the world's most powerful wizard and living in a place where entering is near to impossible, having him killed by a student (something that DD may not expect) is logic, more than sending some sort of attack force or an undercover Death Eater. On the other hand, he did had a Plan B as we see that, actually, Draco did fail and did not kill DD (Snape did).
- I think the OP was asking why Voldemort would've put it on Draco specifically, as his heart clearly wasn't in it, which is answered by what's posted above, along with giving him some emotional torment and a punishment for his father's failure to retrieve the prophecy in the last book. His orders weren't "You need to be the one to kill Dumbledore," just something like "You need to get some of my followers into the school and ensure that Dumbledore dies at some point, or else you're responsible."
- So...In this book, Dumbledore explains to Harry that the prophecy doesn't actually matter, since (from what I understand), the prophecy isn't what's making the conflict of the series happen - Voldemort will never stop trying to prove that only he can kill Harry Potter, and Harry will never stop trying to kill Voldemort because of an innate sense of justice. How does that make sense at all, though, when the only reason the conflict got started at all was because of the prophecy? Yes, Harry and Voldemort both have their own reasons for going after each other, but Voldemort wouldn't have gone after Harry as a baby unless he'd heard about the prophecy in the first place, and Harry probably wouldn't have had such a personal desire to defeat him if Voldemort hadn't been responsible for the deaths of his parents. So how is the book supposed to convey a sort of Screw Destiny message when it's more of a self-fulfilling prophecy type of thing?
- It doesn't matter in the sense that Harry shouldn't allow it to govern his actions. Remember, Harry has to die before V can be defeated. He must accept his fate as The Unchosen One meaning he has to discard the prophecy. On the other hand, latching to it was V's greatest weakness - his stubborn insistence that he must be the one to kill the boy largerly ensured Harry's survival. DD wanted Harry to avoid the same trap.
- So it's like a placebo, then? Dumbledore wasn't saying the prophecy didn't matter, just that Harry should focus on his personal motivations instead of just acting like it was the only thing that did?
That Didn't Take Long...
- At the start of the book, Dumbledore takes Harry to Slughorn's to convince him to come to Hogwarts. They arrive at midnight, and take around ten-twenty minutes to persuade him (ending with "I think we've done all that we can do."), and arrive at the Burrow... where Molly, Arthur and Hermione all state they didn't expect Harry to arrive until morning. Did Dumbledore seriously expect to be spending six hours trying to convince Slughorn such that he told the Weasleys Harry would be there by morning?
Voldemort's secret fear
- During their trip to retrieve the Horcrux from the cave, Dumbledore at one point tells Harry that "there is nothing to fear from darkness, no more than there is to fear from a body," roughly paraphrased, and goes on to say that, secretly, Voldemort himself fears both. Am I mistaken, or was Dumbledore really suggesting that Voldemort, the Dark Lord himself, is secretly afraid of the dark? And if so, what would even give Dumbledore that idea?