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Dissection: SS/PS ~ Chapter 9 The Midnight Duel

 
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 4:17 am    Post subject: Dissection: SS/PS ~ Chapter 9 The Midnight Duel Reply with quote

...hoping I redeem myself somewhat with this attempt...

This chapter drives home the conflict between Harry and Draco Malfoy. Or between House Gryffindor and House Slytherin, to be more general. There are also some interesting points of Canon in this chapter. It opens with the comment

Quote:

Still, first-year Gryffindors only had Potions with the Slytherins…


Aren’t the Gryffindors and Slytherins in Transfiguration together as well? So they share the courses taught by each of their Head of House? *shrug* No matter I guess.

A notice is pinned up that the Gryffindors and Slytherins will be taking Madam Hooch’s flying lessons together. Harry, Hermione, and Neville all have cause to feel nervous regarding this, although Harry had been looking forward to fly.

At breakfast that morning, Neville receives a package from his grandmother which contains a Remembrall, a small glass ball filled with smoke that turns red when the bearer has forgotten something. Which it promptly does as soon as Neville handles it. Out of nowhere Draco appears at the Gryffindors table (why? Slytherins table is clear across the Great Hall) and snatches it up. Harry and Ron are itching for a fight anyway, but McGonagall must have noticed the three Slytherins being out of place and swoops down to interfere immediately.

Next we see Harry, Ron, and the other first-year Gryffindors approaching the grounds where the flying lessons would take place. We now learn the total number of first-years between the two houses, 20, as there are 20 brooms lying on the ground waiting for them. So we can assume each house has 10 students per year, unless Harry’s year was extremely small, which would make the total student population of Hogwarts around 280, with 70 students per House. And all of the first-year Gryffindor boys share the dormitory tower: Harry, Ron, Neville, Dean, and Seamus. Of the girls, I can remember Hermione, Lavender, and Parvati. Who are the other two? Anyone remember off hand?

Harry’s natural ability becomes apparent when the broom he uses jumps into his hand immediately, whereas both Hermione and Neville have difficulty. After being shown how to mount and grip the brooms, where Draco is humiliated by being told he has been doing it wrong for years, Madam Hooch prepares the students to take off, hover briefly, and land. Neville launches early and panics, rising twenty feet before sliding off his broom and smacking into the ground from that height. Yet all he does his break his wrist. Interesting.

As Madam Hooch escorts Neville to the hospital wing, Draco spies Neville’s Remembrall and scoops it up. Harry quietly tells him to hand it over, which spurs Draco to decide to put it out of reach in a tree. Harry, who has never flown before but who finds it comes naturally to him, pursues after him. Draco decides to throw the Remembrall as high and as far as he can. Harry chases after it…

…and thus a new Gryffindor Seeker is born…

As Harry lands gently with the Remembrall in his hand, any pride in his accomplishment is dashed by the immediate arrival of Professor McGonagall. She ushers Harry off the grounds, and silently stalks through Hogwarts corridors as Harry imagines himself soon to be expelled.

Yet instead of taking Harry to her office, or to Dumbledore for a reprimand, she stops at Professor Flitwick’s classroom and asks to borrow Oliver Wood, a 5th year Gryffindor who is the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Leading both of them to an empty classroom, she then informs them that she has found a new Seeker for the Gryffindor team, and she will personally ask Professor Dumbledore to bend the first year rule. No explanation is given as to why she thinks Professor Dumbledore would bend the rule, but Harry is given permission to become the youngest Hogwarts Quidditch player in a century.

As Harry and Ron are reveling in this turn of events, Fred and George come and congratulate Harry. After they leave, Draco comes around with Crabbe and Goyle. Draco gloats, asking when Harry will be leaving. But when Harry doesn’t cower, and instead accuses him of being braver now that his larger escort is with him, Draco challenges Harry to a Wizard’s Duel. Ron accepts the challenge for him, stating that he is Harry’s second. Draco chooses Crabbe as his second, and chooses to meet in the trophy room at midnight.

As Draco leaves, taking Crabbe and Goyle with him, Harry asks Ron to explain to him just what a Wizard’s Duel is. As Ron attempts to explain, Hermione shows up.

Quote:

“I couldn’t help overhearing what you and Malfoy were saying ---“
“Bet you could,” Ron muttered.
“--- and you mustn’t go wandering around the school at night, think of the points you’ll lose Gryffindor if you’re caught, and you’re bound to be. It’s really very selfish of you.”
“And it’s really none of your business,” said Harry.
“Good-bye,” said Ron.


*splutter*

…of all the self-rightious, moralistic drivel…

Of any points in the books, if there is a point where I dislike Hermione more than at this point, I can’t think of one.

As Ron and Harry attempt to sneak out of Gryffindor Tower at 11:30, a light snaps on and Hermione confronts them once again. She apparently kept her knowledge to herself, most likely thinking her mere presence and awareness of what they were up to would prompt the two boys to return to their dorm. When they choose to ignore her warnings, she follows them out of the portrait hole, continuing to hiss dire warnings after them. Eventually giving up, she turns back to the Fat Lady’s portrait to return to the Common Room, and finds herself locked out. So, after all of that…she decides to accompany Harry and Ron. Rolling Eyes

The trio becomes a quartet when they stumble upon Neville who had fallen asleep in the corridor when he returned from the hospital wing, having forgotten the password into Gryffindor Tower. As quietly as they can, the four of them make their way to the trophy room, where they await the pair of Draco and Crabbe, who conveniently never show up.

Instead, they hear Filch and Mrs.Norris enter and start searching for them! By Filch’s mutterings, it is obvious he knows someone is there. Harry leads them to a door, and they try to quietly creep down a long corridor, but Neville panics, runs, and along with Ron, crashes into a suit of armor.

At the resultant clamor, Harry tells them all to run. After much twisting and turning down corridors with no idea where they are, they wind up near the Charms classroom…

…and get caught by Peeves the Poltergeist…

Peeves is delighted to catch them out of bed at midnight, but I do not think he would have turned them in if Ron hadn’t become frustrated and had not tried to attack him. I think Peeves would have tried some sort of blackmail on the truants instead. But, Ron takes a swing at him, and Peeves raises the alarm for Filch.

Running at full pelt, the quartet comes to a locked door at the end of the corridor. Hermione, showing her giftedness, grabs Harry’s wand and unlocks the door with alohomora. They rush through, close the door, and listen to Filch question Peeves on where they went. Apparently Peeves, never one to let an opportunity to get Filch’s goat slip by, had decided to not betray them, and after teasing Filch for a bit floats out of sight. Harry realizes that Filch thinks the door they are behind is locked and thinks they had a clean getaway, when he feels a tugging on his robe from Neville. Turning around to snap at Neville and see what he wants, Harry finds himself looking face to face with…

…a huge, monstrous three headed dog…

The dog had been taken by surprise, so hadn’t attacked. Harry decided before the dog had the opportunity to do so, that he would rather take his chances with Filch, and he opened the door they had just come in through. Slamming the door behind them after they had all tumbled back through it, they started running again at full pelt for Gryffindor Tower on the seventh floor. Fortunately, Filch was nowhere to be seen. He must have gone to another part of the castle in search of them.

Collapsing into their Commons Room, Hermione in a rage reveals that she noticed the dog was standing on a trap door. That it was obviously there to guard something. …bright girl, that Hermione… And she stomps off to bed.

But Harry realizes something with these words.

Quote:

…What had Hagrid said? Gringotts was the safest place in the world for something you wanted to hide --- except perhaps for Hogwarts.

It looked as though Harry had found out where the grubby little package from vault seven hundred and thirteen was.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rowling obviously must've had the same type of fellow students/friends as Harry has, as we all have. To each I can probably (after thinking hard-enough and digging into my 7th grade school year book) find someone with the same qualities and personality as those Harry are meeting/knowing.
No, Hermione isn't too likable at this point. A nerdy, by the book, toe-the-line, anal retentive book worm makes it hard to like her. Spoiler:
But happily she redeems herself later in this book and in the rest. Because she turned out to be one of my personal favorites.

Ron, of course subconsciously looking for a chance to prove himself and to secure his friendship with Harry revels in the chance to show that snobby Slytherin Draco that he isn't what he makes himself up to be. Nice to see Draco get a bit of his from Madam Hooch's correction. But of course his humiliation in front of "the worst sort of wizards" only fuels his mean-ness.

A sneaky one that Draco, attempting to get Harry expelled by challenging him to a midnight duel and not show up. Gotta hate that kid.

A giant three headed dog. A greek mythological creature that is known to guard the gates of Hades named Cerberus, makes for a fine new addition to the wonderful world of magical creatures Rowling is creating for us. Apparently this particular one is an offspring from this creature. How they (the folks at Hogwarts) managed to get one is another question.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bit of trivia--I strongly suspect that Harry's year at Hogwarts is a bit on the small side. Quite simply, his parents' generation suffered severe casualties. And actually only a few wizarding families seem to have multiple children--the Dumbledores, Weasleys, Pavratis and a few others seeming to be something like exceptions. Interestingly, none of the Slytherins mention any siblings at all. Likewise, only three Death Eaters ever managed to have bred--Lucius Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle (although it seems likely Nott did as well).

Hmmmm...

Yeah, Hermione begins as a stuck-up know-it-all. She reminds me of myself at that age, save that even at this point she has a group to which she belongs and feels loyalty--Gryffindore House. Personally, I adore Emma Watson but do feel she was miscast as Hermione for one reason, namely her own natural good looks.

Draco is a coward, a sneak and a bully--but he is quite bright, isn't he? I find myself wondering how many OWLs he got.

Nice little analysis of Ron, there, btw. One of the most interesting things about the books to me is how Ron defines himself as the youngest of six brothers. Or tries to. In some ways he changes the most during the course of the series.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was wracking my brain for Slytherins with siblings and all I came up with was Sirius and Regulus Black. Cool Even though it isn't specified I would venture to guess that at least Narcissa and Bellatrix were both Slytherin and siblings although I am not sure which house Andromeda would have been in, perhaps Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. Those three were sisters.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having not read PS for a while, i forgot what an insufferable know-it-all Hermione was, they should have cursed her.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is interesting that Pavarti and Padma Patil are in different Houses though, considering how many family lines do seem to all wind up in the same House.

Also, I find it interesting that Pansy Parkinson calls Pavarti by her first name when she addresses her at the end of flying class. I think she refers to just about everyone else always by surname...
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I get the impression it's ultimately the kids who decide. The Weasley Twins would of course have wanted to be together, but other twins might jump at the chance for a little space.
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