Rereading Harry Potter – Week 6
Hello my lovely fellow bookworms! It’s time for week 6 of rereading Harry Potter as an adult. I hope you’ve all been having a wonderful week. I got tested positive for COVID this week, so I’ve been a little under the weather, which is also why this week’s blog posts have been a little late. But I’m just going to make the most of it!
We left off last week at Professor Binns telling the class the “myth” of the Chamber of Secrets. Salazar Slytherin had a falling out with the other founders, but he had already built a secret chamber somewhere in Hogwarts that his heir could open and use to purge Hogwarts of Mudbloods. Of course Harry, Ron and Hermione are convinced that Draco is the heir, so this week they’re going to try to find out if they’re right.
Harry vs Draco
We’re starting off this week’s pages in another one of Lockhart’s classes, where Lockhart has Harry roleplaying a Werewolf in a reenactment of Lockhart’s heroics (add that one to the list we made last week of annoying things Lockhart has done so far). Naturally the homework is to write a poem about Lockhart’s heroics. This might be because I just read the Trials of Apollo series by Rick Riordan, but Lockhart really reminds me of Apollo in the first 2 books. If you’ve read it, you probably know what I mean.
Harry, Ron and Hermione wait for the rest of the class to leave before they ask Lockhart to sign the permission slip to get a book from the Restricted Section. This is the book that the instructions for making the Polyjuice Potion are in. Lockhart signs it and, of course, tells Harry that if he ever needs any private Quidditch practice with him, he is always happy to pass on his expertise to less able players (he was asked to try out for the National Squad, but he preferred to dedicate his life to the eradication of the Dark Forces. Well, you shouldn’t have.). The golden trio goes to the library to retrieve the book and Hermione asks Madam Pince (I keep forgetting that she is the librarian. I remembered the name, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember who she was) if she can keep the note with Lockhart’s autograph.
The next Quidditch match is Gryffindor against Slytherin, with Harry and Draco competing against each other as seekers. Harry spends the whole match being attacked by a rogue Bludger. They ask for a time-out but don’t say anything to Madam Hooch about the Bludger. I thought it was kind of strange that they didn’t. I mean, when someone has tampered with the ball in a football game, the referee is notified and deals with it accordingly. Even if your opponent is wearing the wrong socks or something, they may get a yellow card, but apparently in Quidditch, when someone has jinxed a Bludger to try and kill a student, that’s perfectly alright. I think Quidditch could do with the introduction of a VAR..
The Bludger breaks Harry’s arm, but he manages to catch the Snitch (which was flying right next to Draco’s head. Some seeker.) with his other arm and win the game, before collapsing onto the Quidditch pitch. Of course within a split second, Lockhart is there to save the day! And by save the day, I mean turn Harry’s arm to jelly. Harry is taken to Madam Pomfrey, who gives him a bunch of Skele-Grow and makes him stay the night. This is when Dobby decides to pay Harry a visit. I have to say, when I was younger I never really thought twice about all Dobby’s actions. I just thought, “yeah, okay that makes sense”. Though now that I’m older and (slightly) wiser, I can’t help but think WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM? Dobby almost killing Harry time after time kind of gets on my nerves, so how did Dobby get from this to being one of my favourite characters in the Harry Potter series? Is it because he dies? Does that make him more likeable? That certainly seemed to help quite a lot of artists. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.
So this is probably a sign that I need to get out of the house, but I can’t help but wonder who does the laundry in Malfoy’s house. Or any household that has a house-elf, for that matter. Since house-elfs will be free when they are given a piece of clothing by their owners, so letting the house-elf do the laundry seems like kind of a risk (“oh, hey Dobby, can you throw this in with the white laundry?” “A pair of tighty-whities? Dobby is free!”). After Dobby explains the whole Chamber of Secrets thing to Harry without actually saying anything useful, he vanishes and Dumbledore and McGonagall carry in a petrified (in the literal sense) Colin Creevey.
“It means,’ said Dumbledore, ‘that the Chamber of Secrets is indeed open again.”
Harry the Parselmouth
It’s time for the duelling club, with its organiser Gilderoy Lockhart and his.. assistant.. Severus Snape (“He tells me he knows a tiny little bit about duelling himself”). This is probably the first time I’ve ever rooted for professor Snape, him disarming Lockhart and knocking him to the ground. Of course that faded quickly when he paired Harry with Malfoy and Hermione with Millicent Bullstrode. Malfoy conjures a snake and Harry tries to talk it out of attacking Justin Finch-Fletchley. This is when they discover that Harry is a Parselmouth, the very thing Salazar Slytherin was famous for. This is also when I discovered (again) that the golden trio isn’t very bright, otherwise their first thought should probably have been that maybe the voice that Harry (and only Harry) has been hearing could be a snake too!
Harry the heir of Slytherin
Harry tries to find Justin Finch-Fletchley the next day to explain to him that he wasn’t trying to set the snake on him, he was trying to save him. What he didn’t realise (and neither did I) is that Justin is a Mudblood, so now everyone thinks that Harry is the heir of Slytherin and is getting rid of Mudbloods one by one. Of course it didn’t help that Colin Creevey was also a Mudblood and everyone saw how annoyed Harry was by his stalking him. Also, Harry was found with a petrified Mrs. Norris. The cat that just happens to belong to Mr. Filch, a squib. After (literally) running into Hagrid, Harry finally finds Justin, lying on the floor, frozen. Nearly Headless Nick is hovering next to him, also petrified.
McGonagall takes Harry to Dumbledore’s office, on top of the spiral staircase behind the gargoyle. This is the first time Harry sees Dumbledore’s office. It is also the first time he (and we) meet(s) Fawkes the Phoenix. I distinctly remember him being called Felix, but I guess that’s the Dutch version (I looked it up, it is indeed the Fawkes’ Dutch name). I was wondering if Fawkes was named after Guy Fawkes, so I looked it up. Rowling did indeed name him after Guy Fawkes, because he periodically explodes. Rowling’s creativity keeps amazing me.
After Fawkes bursts into flames and is reborn from the ashes, Hagrid barges in to defend Harry. He is so absolutely adorable, I don’t think there is anyone with a kinder heart in the entire Harry Potter-series. Dumbledore lets Harry off the hook and Harry walks straight towards the girl’s bathroom to see how his illegal Polyjuice Potion is doing. They had gotten the ingredients during class by throwing some fireworks into Crabbe’s cauldron for a diversion. I don’t know why, but this seems very out of character for them. Maybe that’s why they left it out of the movie. They got Crabbe’s and Goyle’s hair by feeding them a sleep draught inside a cupcake.
It’s time to take the Polyjuice Potion. What I did not understand about this, is that they know that they only have an hour before the potion wears off. Hermione tells them so before they take the potion. Also, they know that their clothes are going to be too small for them when they turn into Crabbe and Goyle. And STILL they wait to change into their Slytherin robes until they have already taken the potion. So they deliberately waste much-needed minutes on changing their clothes AND they unnecessarily rip their own clothes. And it gets worse: they haven’t figured out where the Slytherin common room is yet. That kind of seems like quite an important part of the plan.. Are these boys dumb, or what?
They find the common room and run into Malfoy, who knows the password. Malfoy shows them a newspaper clipping about Arthur Weasley receiving a fine for bewitching a Muggle car. He tells them where to find all of the illegal stuff the Malfoys have at home, which may come in handy. He also tells them that he has no idea who Slytherin’s heir is, so there goes their entire theory. When they get back to the girl’s bathroom, Hermione has partly turned into a cat.
And that concludes this week’s update. As always, thank you so much for reading! Subscribe if you want to be kept up to date on this series and/or other book-related content. I’ll see you next week for week 7 of rereading Harry Potter.