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Chamber of Secrets: Chapter 4 "At Flourish and Blotts&a

 
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Zahir
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:49 pm    Post subject: Chamber of Secrets: Chapter 4 "At Flourish and Blotts&a Reply with quote

I noticed reading the other day that many of the chapters in Chamber of Secrets actually consist of places where Harry goes in them. Chapter Four is no exception. From the wonderfully homey Burrow we--and Harry Potter--are headed to the book store at Diagon Alley. With some detours along the way.

First, we get another glimpse of how Harry & company are spending the last weeks of summer holiday. Practicing at Quiddich. Getting fed to bursting by Mrs. Weasely. Harry getting pleasantly drilled about muggle life by Mr. Weasely. Ginny going all quiet and embarassed anywhere around Harry (gives us an entirely wrong impression of her character, as it turns out). Percy being officious but not really horrible, although justifiably proud of his scores (twelve OWLSs).

Then the parchments arrive via owl. School supply lists. Personal letter from Hermione (true to form, and to Ron's horror, she's been studying). And then we/Harry get introduced to another way for Wizarding kind to travel far from muggle eyes--floo powder. Wonderful plot device that, because of course the first time Harry ever uses it he gags a little on the powder and ends up somewhere...strange.

Strange and full of foreshadowing as the case may be. Harry doesn't know it yet, but he is actually tracing the steps (indirectly) of none other than Lord Voldemort! He is at Borgin and Burke's, a shop which is to the chapter's namesake rather like himself to YKW (You Know Who). A glory hand can be seen, as can a cursed necklace (and when first reading this chapter didn't those two seem like nothing more than background color?). More importantly, enter not only Draco Malfoy but his father, Lucius--the nicest and most humane of all Death Eaters. Well, that is setting the bar pretty low, don't you think? As soon as the Malfoys do their business with Mr. Borgin, and it seems as if the only bit of foreshadowing is the father's promise to buy his son a new broom, Harry manages to escape into one of the dark corners of the wizarding world. Knockturn Alley. Indeed, he is rescued by Hagrid from some very shady characters, then led back to Diagon Alley.

There, the Weasleys await, as does Hermione. So, too, her parents. We never really get to know them, and frankly one is left with the impression Dr. and Dr. Granger simply aren't close to their brilliant daughter. She doesn't exchange a word with them "on screen" (or should that be "on page"?) and of course we know that she'll be increasingly spending her summers with the Weaselys. Perhaps this is simply a matter of mismatching temperments between parents and child. Sad, when that happens, but not necessarily tragic. After all, there isn't a hint of abuse or even bad feeling. Not anywhere. But this does rather touch on one of the things that draws the Trinity of these books together. All three are in some sense out-of-sorts with their own families and homes. Harry is clearly a barely tolerated and often-abused relation at the Dursleys. Ron is the youngest son amid all kinds of dashing, brilliant older siblings and a treasured younger sister--in a house whose poverty he feels acutely. Hermione, meanwhile, seems simply not to fit in with her parents. She never pines for them, or tells humorous stories about their characters. Obey them? Yes. Respect, protect, listen to, etc.? Again, yes. But doesn't it sometimes seem that Harry is closer to his dead parents than Hermione is to her living ones? It is clear (albeit subtle) that even at this young age she has already found her "true" family--Ron and Harry. In time that circle will grow.

So once everyone is reunited, they trundle off to the book store. Herein they meet one of the most colorful, and infuriating, of all the characters J.K.Rowling created. I speak of course of Gilderoy Lockhart, the most conceited human being on the face of the earth (I hope). He is there signing copies of his best-selling autobiography Magical Me to a (mostly female) audience. Interestingly--and I'll admit this was something only spotted in retrospect--one lady present seems totally un-fascinated by Lockhart. Not, surprisingly, Hermione. She acts quite fan-girly around him, in the way of barely-teenagers everywhere. Years later she'll still have some of his books! Oh dear. But Ginny...! She is the one female (other than the Hogwarts staff) who doesn't react much to the man who (to the readers' horror and amusement) announces he'll be teaching the Defense Against the Dark Arts class at Hogwarts!

Meanwhile, there is a scuffle. Two, really. One involves the press (and Lockhart) simply grabbing the twelve-year-old Harry for use as a prop. Not for the last time. Second, there is now an encounter between the Weasely party and the venomous Lucius Malfoy, plus his son. Not the least of many insights into characters during this chapter (and there are many) is the fact that Lucius shows himself a hypocrite. Earlier he chided his son for openly disliking Harry Potter. Yet of course Malfoy the older shows no hesitation whatsoever in calling Arthur Weasely names, and making sneering comments about Hermione's parents.

Of course, that wasn't really hypocrasy at all, as we shall learn. Not that Lucius Malfoy isn't a hypocrite. He most certainly deserves that title. But in fact he goaded Ron's dad for a reason.

As Harry Potter makes to leave Flourish and Blotts, the plot (both Rowling's and Malfoy's) have been set into motion.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Zahir.

I read this chapter.
With the intent to dissect it.
And nothing came to me.

But I follow everything you said easily. And am impressed by everything you found in it.

Zahir wrote:
More importantly, enter not only Draco Malfoy but his father, Lucius--the nicest and most humane of all Death Eaters. Well, that is setting the bar pretty low, don't you think?


Of the Death Eaters we meet, and know are Death Eaters. Yet, is Narcissa a Death Eater? We haven't met her yet, of course. But I wouldn't hesitate for a second to say she was. And I think she retains her humanity more than her husband in the long run.

Zahir wrote:
There, the Weasleys await, as does Hermione. So, too, her parents. We never really get to know them, and frankly one is left with the impression Dr. and Dr. Granger simply aren't close to their brilliant daughter.


*nodding*

It is probable that, as seems to be often the case with gifted students, her parents are brilliant themselves, for Muggles, and were constantly working or otherwise preoccupied. Perhaps Hermione turned to school work and books for "company," before she went to school away from home. Ron had his siblings. Harry, for better and worse, had Dudley. Hermione was alone. We never hear of friends of Hermione's in the Muggle world.

Zahir wrote:
Hermione, meanwhile, seems simply not to fit in with her parents. She never pines for them, or tells humorous stories about their characters. Obey them? Yes. Respect, protect, listen to, etc.? Again, yes. But doesn't it sometimes seem that Harry is closer to his dead parents than Hermione is to her living ones?


Yes, but not having them in his life would cause Harry to cherish any aspect of them most likely. Yet, it seems Hermione makes the choice regarding "protecting" her parents in the last book "intellectually." I am unsure if she could have let them go so completely, for she had no idea if she would have ever been given the chance to reverse what she did at the time she did it, if she had been very close to them.

Zahir wrote:
But Ginny...! She is the one female (other than the Hogwarts staff) who doesn't react much to the man who (to the readers' horror and amusement) announces he'll be teaching the Defense Against the Dark Arts class at Hogwarts!


Hmm...

This may have been age related as well.
At 11, Ginny may not have read anything by Lockhart, even though she may have used methods espoused by him to do chores per her mother's instructions. Whereas she heard about Harry all her life. Although Hermione is only a year older, she obviously researched Lockhart as soon as the book list came out, so she was unduly impressed for her age. And once at Hogwarts, Lockart's flamboyance would easily sway other females in that age group.

Zahir wrote:
As Harry Potter makes to leave Flourish and Blotts, the plot (both Rowling's and Malfoy's) have been set into motion.


Fantastic conclusion.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Chamber of Secrets: Chapter 4 "At Flourish and Blot Reply with quote

Good dissection Zahir
Zahir wrote:

More importantly, enter not only Draco Malfoy but his father, Lucius--the nicest and most humane of all Death Eaters.




Of course, that wasn't really hypocrasy at all, as we shall learn. Not that Lucius Malfoy isn't a hypocrite. He most certainly deserves that title. But in fact he goaded Ron's dad for a reason.

As Harry Potter makes to leave Flourish and Blotts, the plot (both Rowling's and Malfoy's) have been set into motion.
Lucius I agree is one of the most humane Death Eaters and a strong caracter played by(cant remember his name) Confused:As for goading Ron,s dad at first you could put it down to their class ie upper class compared to lower class of person but we know that they are both on the different sides of the fence concering good and evil Exclamation As for being a hyprocrite , in what way do you find that Lucius is a hyprocite Zahir Question
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Chamber of Secrets: Chapter 4 "At Flourish and Blot Reply with quote

Cleburne wrote:
As for being a hyprocrite , in what way do you find that Lucius is a hyprocite Zahir Question


Zahir wrote:
Earlier he chided his son for openly disliking Harry Potter. Yet of course Malfoy the older shows no hesitation whatsoever in calling Arthur Weasely names, and making sneering comments about Hermione's parents.


Although his comment shows his reasoning in chiding Draco...

Quote:
"And I would remind you that it is not -- prudent --to appear less than fond of Harry Potter, not when most of our kind regard him as the hero who made the Dark L-rd disappear -- ah, Mr. Borgin."


...whereas his own snide comments toward Arthur Weasley and Hermione's Muggle parents could be seen as alternative views of the Wizarding world...
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not to mention that while he sneers at Muggles and Muggle-borns, he has dedicated himself to absolute loyalty to a half-breed (Voldemort). Likewise, all that nonsense about caring for the students at Hogwarts.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lucius is an opportunist. He says and does what he needs to to get what he needs done. He's also a bigot. On a technicality, YKW is not a halfbreed since he is full human, he's one step from mudblood. Witch mother, muggle father. Harry is actually the product of witch mother and wizard father. Harry is more full blood wizard than YKW regardless of the fact that his mom was muggleborn like Hermione. It is interesting that we don't meet Hermione's parents that much. In fact, she seems to spend a lot more time away from them during what would be deemed important holidays etc. I would venture to guess that Hermoine has always felt different from normal human society and was probably very reclusive especially since knowlege and magic come very naturally and easily to her. She certainly shows this in the first book when she has a sort of "superiority" complex when first we meet her. She's probably spent her whole life feeling outside the norm and when she finds out why she's overwhelmed and so compensates with classic defensive techniques.
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