Hey guys, are you sick of me yet? I just have to say, before I dive in, that I absolutely loved the amount of discussion that was generated in the comments section of my last post. It outstripped the post itself by a long shot. You guys are FREAKING AMAZING. I’m still conversing with people on that post, nearly a month later. It’s kind of funny, because I originally planned to incite the “what’s your Patronus?” discussion on this post, but it was already done for me! Since we will be discussing Harry’s first casting here, however, I will still talk about the awesomeness that is the Patronus charm. How could I not?
It is no secret that PoA is one of my favorites in the series. I was just floored by it the first time I read it. The twists! The turns! The Marauder’s Map! By the way, I totally want a “Mischief Managed” tattoo. I know that it has been done, but I want it so bad.
ON HARRY AND LUPIN, A MISMANAGED MOVIE RELATIONSHIP
I specifically requested a chapter where Lupin and Harry have one-on-one time so I could talk about how much I love their relationship in the books and how I thought the movie made it look downright creepy. I understand that it’s hard to show a caring mentor/mentee relationship between an older man and a young boy without it being misinterpreted. In this day and age, with priest abuse scandals and unfortunate celebrity molestation trials, it’s easy for our minds to go there. In the HP movies, however, I think they do a pretty good job of showing these relationships as they truly are. Sirius and Harry pull off a loving relationship with no weird vibes, no one thinks Dumbledore is being creepy when he has heart-to-hearts with Harry, and Snape’s favoritism toward Draco doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable in any way. Lupin and Harry, on the other hand… I don’t know if it is the way things are staged, with them always meeting in secret, walking the deserted grounds as if their relationship is forbidden, but it gives me the icks.
Now, before you all yell at me in the comments for being wrong, just consider other relationships that were a little off. For example, how affectionate Harry and Hermione are in the movies as compared to the books. They throw themselves into each other’s arms and exchange meaningful looks a lot. I bet that scene in Goblet when she comes down the stairs in her gown sent Harry/Hermione shippers into a frenzy of fanfictioning. My point is that sometimes the movies get it a bit wrong, portraying relationships differently than we picture them in our heads. For me, this is one of those instances.
That being said, let’s focus instead on the Harry/Lupin book relationship which, as I said, I love. I had no idea, when I requested a chapter with a heart-to-heart, I was going to get to talk about the chapter where Harry learns how to cast a Patronus. YAY!
CHAPTER 12: THE PATRONUS
Everyone’s mad at Hermione! Again! As she points out later, she was right about where the Firebolt came from, but we don’t know that yet, so we are mad at her for getting it taken away. I’ve always wondered how Sirius managed to use his Gringotts gold and no one wondered “hey, that escaped convict took gold out of his vault and ordered a broom via owl post that was subsequently delivered to Harry FREAKING Potter. MAYBE WE SHOULD CHECK INTO THAT!!” But alas, that would make sense. Ah magic, how you casually explain away my reasoning. IT WAS JUST MAGIC, JEN! GET OVER IT.
Speaking of which, the Patronus charm is probably my favorite piece of magic in the Potterverse. Harry’s little wispy hints at a true full-blown Patronus are so exiting on re-read. It is a truly beautiful and elegant piece of magic and I am on the edge of my seat, wanting Harry to figure it all out, to reach his true magical potential. Go Harry, go!
Several things are interesting to me about this lesson. First, Harry is facing a boggart, but it has the impact of a real dementor. Harry actually feels his happiness being sucked away. Does this mean that a boggart not only assumes the form of what scares you the most, but actually takes on very real characteristics? Could a boggart kill you, then, rather than just scare you? Also, what is its motivation? Why so scary, boggart? I’m just so curious about them. Now is the part where everyone comes in and tells me that on Pottermore, Rowling explains everything about them. I have never really explored the site, so I’m left with my musings, which I quite enjoy, but explain away.
As usual, I get a bit sad about Harry and his childhood. He doesn’t have a happy enough memory for a corporeal Patronus yet. I would think the moment he first arrived at Hogwarts, or found out he was a wizard, would be pretty good ones, but they don’t quite cut it. My happy Patronus memory would probably be the day I married Mike, or the time I went scuba diving in Kauai and I saw dozens of sea turtles. Those days were awesome. What would yours be?
I know we have discussed the “what would your patronus be?” question on a couple of different posts, but I think mine would be a Narwhal. This is for no reason other than they look like they should be some sort of mythical creature. I mean, a sea-dweller with a big horn on its forehead that basically swordfights (the term is actually “tusking”) with other narwhals? That’s so badass. I can see it charging down and happiness-impaling a dementor. Plus, I love the ocean, and always thought my patronus or animagus form would probably be a sea creature of some sort.
The thing I love about this chapter is Lupin is Harry’s teacher, his mentor, but he is still kind of a rebel, hearkening back to his Marauder days. What other professor would teach secretly teach Harry a Patronus charm and let a surrogate dementor attack him over and over again? Remus Lupin makes this book for me. Not only is he one of the few competent Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers we have ever seen, but he is so supportive of Harry. He treats him like his nephew before we realize that it’s practically true; we see all the little hints of the compassion he feels for Harry. This is why I was SO OUTRAGED on my first reading when I thought, just for a moment, that he had betrayed Harry to help the “evil” Sirius attempt to kill him. But that’s a subject for another chapter.
“You heard James?” said Lupin in a strange voice.
“Yeah…you didn’t know my dad, did you?”
“I – I did, as a matter of fact…We were friends at Hogwarts.”
“If you knew my dad, you must have known Sirius Black as well.”
“Yes I knew him… Or I thought I did.”
Tell him, Lupin! Tell him things! Tell him about his father!!! I know that Jo was saving this for the big reveal and to throw us off track even more, but I really want Lupin to stop being so cagey and explain things to Harry RIGHT NOW. I’m actually sort of surprised that Harry doesn’t push harder. It is Harry, after all. He’s pretty nosey, to say the least, and to get information about his parents, I would think he would jump at the chance. Unfortunately, Lupin distracts him by attacking him with the “dementor” again and then sending him back to the Gryffindor common room.
Every night, without fail, Hermione was to be seen in a corner of the common room, several tables spread with books, Arithmancy charts, rune dictionaries, diagrams of Muggles lifting heavy objects, and file upon file of extensive notes; she barely spoke to anybody and snapped when she was interrupted.
Yeah, that’s kind of how I feel every week of grad school. Also, wizards must not be very fit if they never lift anything. Think about it, their only sport involves flying on broomsticks. It’s really not the most athletic pursuit.
Ron, though pissed off at Hermione, is still constantly wondering how she is managing to get to multiple classes at once. IT’S MAGIC, RON! GET OVER IT! Harry, on the other hand, couldn’t care less. He treats Ron like every adult treats him when he is sticking his nose in it. He dismisses him as crazy and doesn’t even consider that he might have a point. Way to go, Harry. This reaction is perfectly reasonable, given that they are teenage boys, and Jo doesn’t want the reader thinking about all this too much, because we might figure out what’s up with Hermione. Having her narrator ignore it is the best way to throw us off the scent. It was the same thing when Ginny was acting all nutty in the last book.
“Bad news, Harry. I’ve just been to see Professor McGonagall about the Firebolt. She – er – got a bit shirty with me. Told me I’d got my priorities wrong…. Just because I told her I didn’t care if it threw you off, as long as you caught the Snitch first.”
Wood is so hilariously intense about Quidditch.
Lupin and Harry have another heart-to-heart, during which Harry STILL doesn’t press him for details about his parents. Instead, we find out what a dementor’s kiss is, and it is so not sexy. Instead, it’s incredibly disturbing. I remember being horrified by the concept when I first read this.
Then, OMG! Scabbers is missing and there are GINGER CAT HAIRS nearby. Ron assumes the worst.
CHAPTER 13: GRYFFINDOR VERSUS RAVENCLAW
Everyone’s even madder at Hermione! Well, Ron is anyway. The first time I read this, I completely empathized with Ron. Hermione is being a little nutty about Crookshanks. He did attack Scabbers at every opportunity, so it seems reasonable that he ate him. In my own experience, however, I can be a little nutty about my cats as well, and if I thought they were being unjustly accused, I’d probably be pretty pissed at the accuser.
But, who cares about “murdered” “rats”? It’s time for Quidditch!! McGonagall has given Harry back his Firebolt in the previous chapter so it’s party time. This is actually something that intrigues me about Quidditch. Broomstick superiority is obviously a big deal. A so-so player’s abilities are seriously enhanced by the quality of his or her broom. I’m not sure how, in a school sports team in particular, they get away with that. The richer students automatically have the advantage? Seems a little sketchy to me. I can see a gaggle of overprotective moms arguing that everyone should use the same brooms and protesting at the Quidditch pitch. Good thing parents seem to have absolutely no impact on their children’s lives while at Hogwarts. Shouldn’t they have a parents day or something? They never even come to Quidditch matches. I always found that intriguing, because my parents came to a LOT of football games and band competitions to support me, both in high school and college, I would think the same thing would happen here. I guess a big part of the appeal of Hogwarts for the reader is that it’s a parent-free zone.
So, despite inciting that little broom debate, there is not a lot going on this chapter until we hit the end. I know you’re very thankful for that, because I went on and on about the previous chapter. Let me hit you with some bullets.
- Everyone drools over the Firebolt, including Madam Hooch.
- Harry meets Ravenclaw’s sexy new seeker, Cho Chang. CRUSH ALERT!
- The d-bag squad from Slytherin show up, disguised as dementors, to try to freak out Harry and sabotage Gryffindor. Harry casually casts what we can assume to be a corporeal stag Patronus at them and then goes on to win the Quidditch game singlehandedly. He still doesn’t know how cool his Patronus is; he doesn’t pay attention because QUIDDITCH.
- Hermione is still completely overwhelmed with her schoolwork (for obvious reasons) and Ron hurts her feelings and she runs off crying. Poor Hermione. Harry is somewhat unsuccessfully diplomatic in trying to get Ron to lay off of her.
- Harry has a dream that he’s following his Patronus around in the woods. He almost sees it when he wakes up suddenly to Ron screaming. Ron! Come on!
- Sirius has broken into the dorms and gone after
RonPeter. At this point, we don’t know if Ron is crazy or what, but more pieces are falling into place.
- Turns out Sir Cadogan is the worst guardian ever. You would think he would recognize Sirius, but no, he lets him in with Neville’s password list. Poor Neville, he’s so unpopular all over again.
Thanks again, guys! See you in the comments section!