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Chamber of Secrets: Chapter 7, "Mudbloods and Murmurs&q

 
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Cameraman Jenn
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 3:38 am    Post subject: Chamber of Secrets: Chapter 7, "Mudbloods and Murmurs&q Reply with quote

[Mod Edit]Warning! The poster uses strong language here, usually considered despicable and objectionable in every way. But it is used to emphasize an extremely valid point, and this mod has determined to let it stand. Anyone who disagrees, contact me, not the poster.[/Mod Edit] ~M.

We start with a brief synopsis of Harry's week of dodging Lockhart and Colin and a brief description of Ron's wand backfiring in Flitwick's class. The weekend is coming. The trio is planning to visit Hagrid on Saturday but the plan is initially foiled by Harry's wee hour waking by Oliver Wood for Quiddich practice. He arrives and is subjected to lengthy wall chart plans by Wood and by the time the lecture is over and they approach the field it's completely sunlight and the Slytherin team is approaching. Slytherin has permission to train their new seeker whom we find out is Draco Malfoy. Ron and Hermione join the discussion between the teams and we find that Draco's dad has bought the Slytherin team new brooms. After some argumentation Hermione insults Draco by claiming he needed to buy his way on to the team. Draco retaliates by calling Hermione a mudblood. Pandemonium ensues and Ron tries to curse Draco and ends up with his wand backfiring causing him to vomit up slugs. Harry and Hermione rush him to Hagrid's hut and there Ron tells Harry and Hermione the actual meaning of mudblood.

Quote:
"It's about the most insulting thing he could think of," gasped Ron, coming back up. "Mudblood's a really foul name for someone who is Muggle-born -- you know, non-magic parents. There are some wizards -- like Malfoy's family -- who think they are better than everyone else because they're what people call pure-blood." He gave a small burp and a single slug fell into his outstretched hand. He threw it in to the basin and continued, "I mean, the rest of us know it doesn't make any difference at all. Look at Neville Longbottom --- he's pure-blood and he can hardly stand a cauldron the right way up."


This gives us one of our first glimpses into the darker sides of the wizarding world. It's not all magic and fun. The wizarding world has it's own form of racism and predjudice. After they discuss this, Hagrid takes them to show them his humongous pumpkins that he's growing and Harry thinks about his suspicions as to where Hagrid may have stashed his forbidden wand and as to the reasons why Hagrid was expelled and forbidden to do magic. Then the kids hurry back to the castle and upon entering both Ron and Harry are told by McGonnagall what and where their detentions are to be served. Harry has to go serve Lockhart and Ron is stuck with Filch. Harry reports for detention and is held there for over four hours by addressing Lockhart's fan mail responses. He is tired and vulnerable and suddenly hears a mysterious voice out of thin air which says, "come... come to me... let me rip you... let me tear you.... let me kill you." He asks Lockhart about it and Lockhart did not hear it. Harry tells Ron about it and Ron finds it weird that Lockhart couldn't hear the voice and that concludes the chapter.

Well, well well.... I pre-beg of you all to forgive me but I am going to use some extremely offensive words to get my point and emotional reaction across. Mudblood. It's the equivalent of "nigger, spic, kyke".... and the list goes on more than it should and in fact the concept and adherence to the beliefs that continue this concept should not even exist in our enlightened societyand yet they do. Horrible. Mortifying. Apalling. We have known about the dark wizards and were given a taste of Malfoy's snobbery in book one but the depth of the racism is finally revealed with the single use of and reaction to the word, mudblood. Even Hermione with all her book learning had not known the meaning of this word until Ron explained it. Wow. This is a whole new face to the world that Harry thought he was entering. I think for me this is the moment it stopped being a "kid's book" and became very adult.

Some very important things from this chapter, Harry expresses doubts about Hagrid in his contemplation of Hagrid hiding his wand in a pink umbrella and why he was expelled and why he avoids the issue. The learned racist behavior of Malfoy is also important. What a little prick. Ugh. Made me wanna smack the crap out of him. We also have two references to Ron's wand "backfiring." That is not a good sign.

I would call this a chapter of serious foreshadowing.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:28 am    Post subject: Re: Chamber of Secrets: Chapter 7, "Mudbloods and Murmu Reply with quote

Cameraman Jenn wrote:
I would call this a chapter of serious foreshadowing.


*whoa*

You ain't kidding, girlfriend.
And you cut straight to the heart of it.

The confrontation with Voldemort in the previous book showed a dark side of the Wizarding world. And we knew he had followers who helped him. Yet he is only one man, with what we believe are misguided adherants. But something as pervasive as prejudice; it hadn't really been shown to us so blatantly in Harry's world before.

And we find out later it is everywhere.

Spoiler:
House elves. Centaurs. Giants. Squibs. What have you.
If you are not a human pure blood Wizard or Witch, you're a second rate citizen in many of the Wizarding World's eyes. And Muggles are viewed with pity most of the time.


Jo handles the chapter adroitly. Lockhart's egotism and Ron's wand is badly needed inserted humor, well written to not be too strong. And they play an important role of foreshadowing future events, despite lightening up this chapter.

Tough, tough chapter to put a spin on. I'm impressed Jenn. Well done.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks. If you aint white, right, tight with the wizard world, emphasized by draco and lucious's blond blue eyed status then you aint right with the world.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmm...

I agree the blonde hair, blue eyed status of the Malfoys drives the point home even more, but that is one prejudice I think Jo left out of the Wizarding World. Lee Thomas may have had some difficulties being accepted by all because he was half-Muggle as well, right? But I don't think skin color ever came into play for him or Angelina...

Stupid question, but I don't know the answer...

Is Harry considered a "pure-blood?" His parents are both Wizard and Witch, although his mother was muggle-born. And Malfoy did initially extend the offer of an alliance, which Harry wisely turned down.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Evidently, Harry is considered a half-blood because not all four of his grandparents were wizards or witches. If this sounds ever-so-familiar to some history types, it should. The identical calculation was used by the SS to determine how Ayran someone might be.

Thus the Weaseleys, Dumbledore, Luna, Sirius, etc. are all Purebloods.

Harry, Voldemort and Snape are all half-bloods.

Hermione and Colin Greeley are Muggle-borns.

Jenn, I had the same reaction to this book and this appalling revelation about wizardkind. Enough to send a chill up one's spine. Certainly did me.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zahir wrote:
Evidently, Harry is considered a half-blood because not all four of his grandparents were wizards or witches. If this sounds ever-so-familiar to some history types, it should. The identical calculation was used by the SS to determine how Ayran someone might be.

Thus the Weaseleys, Dumbledore, Luna, Sirius, etc. are all Purebloods.

Harry, Voldemort and Snape are all half-bloods.

Hermione and Colin Greeley are Muggle-borns.

Jenn, I had the same reaction to this book and this appalling revelation about wizardkind. Enough to send a chill up one's spine. Certainly did me.

If I'm not mistaken Harry is "pure blood". His mother is like Hermione in that she's a full witch but muggle born thus any offspring from her would be pure blood (if she married a wizard) regardless of their ability to do magic. Half bloods are able to do magic because one parent was pure.
Spoiler:
remember also that Snape called Lilly a mudblood as well.

Racism has been around this planet for as long as man has recognized the differences between each other. Archeology is beginning to find evidence of racial hatred between Cro-Man and Neanderthals.
While today's societies are becoming better at eliminating racism or at least doing a damn good job of burying it... as Rowling pointed out it's still there and it's everywhere even in the wonderful magical world of Harry Potter.

What I've begun to see is a parallel between the good wizards/witches and the bad. The bad are showing remarkable similarities (especially in the later books) to personality and characteristics of late 1930 Nazis. Especially with their continual stressing on the "pure-blood" status quo. They view Muggles the same way that Jews were viewed.
Or is that just me?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great to see you, Seafoam! I, for one, have noticed your absence. I'm glad you're back.

Seafoam Understone wrote:

If I'm not mistaken Harry is "pure blood". His mother is like Hermione in that she's a full witch but muggle born thus any offspring from her would be pure blood (if she married a wizard) regardless of their ability to do magic. Half bloods are able to do magic because one parent was pure.
Spoiler:
remember also that Snape called Lilly a mudblood as well.


This thinking is what initially prompted my question. I may have forgotten the reference to grandparents though.

Seafoam Understone wrote:
Racism has been around this planet for as long as man has recognized the differences between each other. Archeology is beginning to find evidence of racial hatred between Cro-Man and Neanderthals.


*nodding*

Jean Auel plays upon this well in the Earth's Children series...

Seafoam Understone wrote:
While today's societies are becoming better at eliminating racism or at least doing a damn good job of burying it... as Rowling pointed out it's still there and it's everywhere even in the wonderful magical world of Harry Potter.

What I've begun to see is a parallel between the good wizards/witches and the bad. The bad are showing remarkable similarities (especially in the later books) to personality and characteristics of late 1930 Nazis. Especially with their continual stressing on the "pure-blood" status quo. They view Muggles the same way that Jews were viewed.
Or is that just me?


I don't think only dark wizards/witches have that attitude. As I mentioned earlier, even non-dark wizards and witches have an attitude of at least pity towards Muggles. And the majority seem to feel superior towards house Elves, Centaurs, and merefolk, not to mention Giants, trolls, and other seemingly less intelligent races.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I double-checked. First, from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter_universe
Quote:
Pure-blood is the term applied to wizards who claim to have no "Muggle blood" at all in their genealogical pedigree. To be a pure-blood, all of a wizard's grandparents (or further more generations) must have been wizards...

Half-blood is the term applied to wizards who come from "Muggle & magical", "Muggle-Born & Half- or Pure-blood", or "Half & Half-blood" parents (all including part-Muggle ancestry).... Harry Potter is a Half-Blood as his father James, is Pure-blood and his mother, Lily is a Muggle-Born. Voldemort is also, ironically, a Half-blood, as his father, Tom Riddle Sr. was a Muggle.


Then the Harry Potter Wiki:
http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Pure-blood
Quote:
Usually, a witch or wizard who has all magical grandparents would be considered pure-blood. Some of the more severe schools of thought, however, require several more generations of wizards to be considered pure-blood. Thus, the children of Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley would be considered pure-blood by some because all four of their grandparents were magical, but not by extremists, because their paternal grandmother was a Muggle-born witch, thus they have known Muggle heritage through their great-grandparents.


And a quote from Ms. Rowling herself:
http://www.religionnewsblog.com/8042
Quote:
Ms Rowling was asked by a fan to explain why some people in the stories - including the hero Harry Potter - are referred to as “half-blood” wizards.

She replied that the terms “half-blood” and “pure-blood” were used by prejudiced characters such as the evil Lucius Malfoy and the Death Eaters, servants of arch-villain Lord Voldemort....

Ms Rowling, writing on the website she set up as a way of responding to the thousands of questions and requests she receives from all over the world, said she had been asked why people such as Harry Potter were called half-blood “even though both their parents were magical”.

She replied: “The expressions pure-blood, half-blood and muggle-born have been coined by people to whom these distinctions matter and express their originators prejudices.

“As far as somebody like Lucius Malfoy is concerned, for instance, a muggle-born wizard is as bad as a muggle. Therefore Harry would be considered only half-wizard because of his mother's grandparents.”


I've written stories about genuinely evil people and beliefs. One type of feedback I often get is questioning about the logic of a specific, often vicious ideology. Someone will say how illogical it is, which to some extent is the point. Fundamentally ideas like this are excuses for hatred, imho. Like Nazi philosophy or any form of racism, the believers start with their prejudices and try to justify them. Giving up such notions after a thorough examination of the facts is simply not part of the agenda. They aren't looking for the truth, believing they already have it (fueled by their own bigotry) but "proving" they are right by coming up with some bizarre series of arguments.

Methinks that is what is happening here. The whole prejudice against Half-Bloods or Muggle-Borns makes no real sense but good, nice people simply assume there must be at least some logic behind the idea, however twisted. But no. It isn't about logic. It is about special pleading, straw men, ad hominen attacks, untested assumptions, etc.--all the tools of those who pretend to be logical and objective when they're simply trying to come across as something other than fanatics. In other words, liars as well as bigots. Even to themselves.

After all, according to Death Eater philosophy, Voldemort should have acknowledged that Lucius Malfoy was his superior. Yeah, right--like that was ever going to happen (ironically enough, Malfoy turns out to be Voldemort's moral superior, in a nice twist).

One thing I was very impressed by with Rowling was how she realistically portrayed evil as it genuinely is--often cushioned, existing in different degrees, carried around by otherwise-okay people who have no notion that they are promoting evil, and at its heart deceitful as well as vicious.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Zahir. I really haven't done much reading outside of canon, so these insights are helpful.

Zahir wrote:
One thing I was very impressed by with Rowling was how she realistically portrayed evil as it genuinely is--often cushioned, existing in different degrees, carried around by otherwise-okay people who have no notion that they are promoting evil, and at its heart deceitful as well as vicious.


And is one of the things that raised these books out of literature for juveniles, IMO.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Menolly wrote:
Thank you, Zahir. I really haven't done much reading outside of canon, so these insights are helpful.

Zahir wrote:
One thing I was very impressed by with Rowling was how she realistically portrayed evil as it genuinely is--often cushioned, existing in different degrees, carried around by otherwise-okay people who have no notion that they are promoting evil, and at its heart deceitful as well as vicious.


And is one of the things that raised these books out of literature for juveniles, IMO.

Agreed, by GOF it stopped being a kid's book... but then again our trio of heroes stopped being kids too... teenagers yes, but no longer actually qualified (IMO) as "kids". They've (particularly Harry) have gone through too much and are maturing fast.
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