Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Seven Things: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second book in the series. This post is a little overdue, I finished reading it back in November, but here it is finally…

Seven things about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

One

The Implications of Polyjuice potion are terrifying

Imagine what people in our world would do with this capability. Actually don’t because I’m going to tell you and its… disturbing.

This comes to mind…

You wouldn’t need an invasive paparazzi trying to snap nude shots. Instead they’d just try and get hold of a few hairs, make up the potion, make some poor schlub in the office drink it, and then take photographs of them.

Not to mention what the porn industry would do. They’d acquire, which covers stealing or buying, hairs from celebrities and make sex tapes.

Now we know Hermione is an exceptional witch – but if the best at Hogwarts can make a successful polyjuice potion what does that mean for later life in the wizerding world.

I can imagine people giving gifts of their hair. You want to see someone naked? Well if you ask them nicely maybe they’ll give you a few hairs…

Have I thought too much about this? Quite possibly. And this is only covering Rule 34.

How would you guard against Polyjuice in banks and other secure places?

It is things like this that can be very interesting when reading a book or watching a film. The thinking of ‘if this then that’ – it can be easily missed. What I’m saying is that some things go hand in hand. Every technology we have has probably been misused at some point. It would surely be the same for magical spells. They are still human after all.

Two

Hogwarts Continues to be a Death Trap

I know I said this before but it needs repeating. In this book we have a massive snake in the castle!

This time its more forgivable, as nobody ‘good’ has brought this to the school. Nevertheless if I was a parent of a Hogwarts student I’d be considering another school.

Remember at the end of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone  it is mentioned that the whole school knows about the incident with the stone – for some reason the risks at Hogwarts are accepted by everyone.

Three

Why Gilderoy Lockhart?

It should be obvious to everyone that Lockhart is an idiot. Okay maybe not everyone but certainly to Dumbledore.

The fact that Dumbledore allows Lockhart to teach at Hogwarts almost makes you believe that he must have lost a bet or something.

Answers on a postcard please.

Four

How big are the Hogwart’s Pipes?

This might be down to how it was shown in the film but the idea that the snake travels through the school through the pipes has always bothered me. The snake looks far too big, to me at least, to be getting around through the pipes.

Five

Was the Chamber too big?

This chamber has remained hidden for over a thousand years. I’m not really sure how. How would it stay hidden?

I know that comparing technology and magic doesn’t really work but again I’m forced to wonder if technology could have found it. That’s why I wonder if it was too big. A smaller space could’ve been missed but missing such a large space seems a little strange.

Six

Magical Limitations

“Mr Weasley took Harry’s glasses, gave them a tap of his wand and returned them, good as new.” [Loc 720 – Kindle Edition]

Just think for a few seconds what that spell is doing. The smashed glass reconnecting. Couldn’t Harry have the magical equivalent of contact lenses? That’s got to be easier than some of the tings that magic does in these books – doesn’t it?

Seven

The Floo Network and Magical Mishaps?

This one is admittedly a little subjective and I maybe clutching at straws. Sometimes clutching at straws is interesting – with the exception of when you’re cleaning out the Guinea pig cage.

Harry has never used the Floo network before. He’s naturally scared and misspeaks so he ends up in Borgin and Burkes – [To conveniently overhear something important but that’s another matter.] and emerges bruised. Now as I’m writing this I’m actually reconsidering this point. This could be a case of GIGO but it seems strange to me that this could happen. That a mispronunciation could lead to injury. At least google asks you ‘Did you mean…? It makes me wonder what would happy if they’d been going to the leisure centre and had had an American visitor. The word is pronounced differently in America – in British English it rhymes with pleasure.

Since magic doesn’t exist it is up to each author to determine how it works in their universe. In Harry Potter, as said above in point six, it seems to have strange limitations. It makes me wonder how new spells are devised and developed. Technology is the only reasonable parallel we have – which is obviously not perfect.

Maybe magic isn’t that different from technology. Things can go wrong no matter who’s at the controls, or saying the spell, and sometimes strange things happen.

I once watched a DVD where the blue and red had been switched, it took a while to notice, and we all know about how to fix an N64 carriage.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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Seven Things: Harry Potter and the Philosoper’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone needs no introduction. So it’s not going to get one. There are however a few odd things about it that I wanted to discuss here.

Here are seven things about Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Why Seven?

Seven is a good number. It’s the only number that is also the name of a Star Trek character. Well there was One – but you wouldn’t come to a page titled one thing would you?

One

Harry has no muggle friends

Rowling states that because Dudley hates Harry, and has a group of bully friends, no one else at the school is prepared to be friends with him.

This to me seems unbelievable. How could a group of bullies be so pervasive at a school and it not be noticed? Wouldn’t the Dursley’s be receiving letters every other week? I’m not sure that Vernon or Petunia would care that Dudley was a bully but they might care that he was caught!

I’m bothered by Harry having no friends because I was bullied at school. It was never as bad as someone pinning my arms behind my back but I was quite miserable. I still had friends and was able to mostly enjoy school. Of course for Harry we’re talking about Primary School. My memories of primary school are a little vague but the high school bulling I still remember.

For American readers high school is quite different in the UK. It starts at age 12 and runs till 18.

I suppose there mightn’t have been room to introduce another character – but having a muggle touchstone for Harry might have been an interesting device rather than only having the Dursley’s.

Two

The Dursley’s are a little too cartoony

The Dursley’s are essentially abusive. They treat Harry very badly and I don’t recall any reason given why they didn’t put him up for adoption. I suppose there is the possibility that they feel some warped sense of duty even though they hate Harry’s parents. This, and some of the other points on this list, are included in this Cinema Sins Video.

Three

Hogwarts is a death trap

Okay maybe that’s a little overstated but it does seem like a dangerous place. The students are told not to go to certain parts of the school but the staircases move, at random apparently, meaning that they can accidentally find themselves in the wrong place. And that’s not even mentioning the other dangers that show themselves as the series progresses.

Four

Slytherin is evil

The comment <no witch or wizard bad not Slytherin> doesn’t bother me so much. Its like the statement ‘All thumbs are fingers but not all fingers are thumbs.’ However there also seems to be the assumption that being in Slytherin makes you a bad person.

In fact Slytherin is in general ostracised. This is shown predominantly in the film when all the other houses celebrate when Slytherin looses the house cup.

Although I partly understand this. I’m from Wales and a lot of Welsh people will tell you that they support two sports teams: Wales and whoever is playing England.

It would’ve been nice to have seen evidence of ‘good’ Slytherin students. Maybe a friend for the trio to show how those qualities could be used for good.

Five

Hogwarts has a class system

I’m not sure there is much to add other than what is in this SuperCarlinBrothers video. In primary school we had houses but they were done alphabetically. The main reason for them was for sports days and eisteddfods – basically it was an easy way of dividing the pupils up for teams.

As said in the video in Hogwarts it is problematic because the children are effectively instructed not to mix with people who are different.

Six

Technology vs. Magic

Magic in Harry Potter can do many wonderful things. Apparently pens and paper are not one of them. There is a reason why we no longer use quills and ink. This is seen (Can you say seen for a book?) throughout where, if not using magic, the technology that is used is very old fashioned.

Discovering the identity of Nicolas Flamel is an important plot point. I couldn’t help thinking how easy it would have been in our world. Just Google it.

Of course the book is set before Google existed. (How did we cope?)  Nevertheless given what magic can do I’m a bit surprised there isn’t a magical equivalent of a computer.

Seven

Keeping magic a secret

J.K Rowling has said that were a muggle to stumble on to Hogwarts they would see an abandoned castle. That’s fine but what do the muggle families tell the authorities.

Hermione’s parents are muggles. Before she got her letter she surely would have been set to go to a normal high school. When she was shown to be a witch that changed. What did her parents say to the school? What did Hermione tell her friends?

Hermione’s parents seem to know about magic. There must be many other muggles who do too. It would have been interesting to see more of how the secret is maintained when many must know about it.

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Some people think that a critique like this means hatred. Well I don’t hate the Harry Potter series. I think they are very enjoyable and well written and I am going to read the rest of the series over the next few months. Critiquing is something that I, and I’m sure many others, find enjoyable. Its interesting to notice the outright goofs and speculate on the unanswered questions.

I was nine when the first Harry Potter book was released. Although I didn’t become aware of them till later.

It was quite special when awaiting the release of the next book. I particularly remember the release of The Order of the Phenox. Children today will be able to read them all back to back. And some how, doing it that way, makes it feel as though… well… as though the magic is gone.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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Can an Author be Wrong about Their Own Work?

Last time I talked about what my characters know. I think this idea goes beyond this though into the very fabric of the universe they’ve created.

20140216_202500 J.K. Rowling has said that she regrets pairing Ron with Hermione. She says that Hermione and Harry should’ve ended up together. I actually think she’s wrong about that. Allow me to explain.

‘No there is too much let me sum up.’ Inago Montoya – The Princess Bride.

In my mind Harry and Hermione would never have worked. I’m reminded of a line from Babylon 5.

‘You see, in a relationship, you gotta take turns being in charge but we both wanted to be in charge all the time. We had arguments that could peel paint off the wall.’ Captain Lochley – Babylon 5

To me this would be the result of Harry and Hermione together. They both have  very strong personalities and would probably end up butting heads a lot.

To me Ron and Hermione are a much better fit. Hermione and Ron are quite different but they have complimentary personalities. I believe what one lacks the other has and so the relationship would actually work well. J.K Rowling has said that Ron and Hermione would require marriage counseling. Maybe that’s true but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t still get married. Just because its a work of fiction doesn’t mean they all live happily ever after. I’m also not saying Ron is a pushover. In closing I’m also going to float an idea that will annoy everyone. Maybe neither Harry nor Ron is the best person for Hermione.

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Next time Gene Roddenberry: Section 31 and the Perfect Human.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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One Hundred

This is my one hundredth post on this site. So I’ve been bringing you poorly edited stuff for quite a while now! In all seriousness I do edit and proofread but something is always missed. Its a lot easier to notice mistakes made by others than it is ones you’ve made.

My novel, Rolling Shadows, is going well. This novel has been altered to within an inch of its life. If I was writing on paper I would have got through a small forest. Nothing has really been deleted in the processing of the novel but I am confused. I start to wonder if a particular fact was in the current draft or the previous draft.

The common wisdom is that on finishing a novel you should stick it in a draw for a few months. This enables you to forget all the story paths you didn’t take. You also need an editor who can point out all the story flaws. I try to be aware of these flaws because I like to nitpick. I try to think critically about what I’m writing. I want to find the flaws and fix them to deprive a review of saying how stupid I was.

One of the hardest potential flaws to detect is implication. This is when you give your character or star ship some ability and, without realising it, you imply another ability. An example of this would be Star Trek with its transporters and torpedoes. I assume you can see where I’m going with this. Yet it wasn’t until Dark Frontier that that was shown. Even then it didn’t become a standard tactic. It seems to me that that could, even should, be their standard tactic. Weaken the shields enough to beam a torpedo aboard and then boom.

This is even more difficult when dealing with magic. Where are the limits? In the Harry Potter series glasses can be fixed with a spell but not, apparently, eyes. Obviously eyes are far more complicated but couldn’t you conjure up something like contact lens?

There is no answer. My advice to anyone reading over their own work is to pretend its written by someone you don’t like. That way you might be more critical. I know that if Doctor Who does something stupid I’ll forgive it. Doctor Who is British, made in Cardiff no less, so I forgive its foibles. However if its a show I’m ambivalent towards, or even don’t like, I’ll use it as one more reason to hate it. I’m irrational that way.

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The Name of the Wind – A Review

Three days ago I finished The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I wanted to try to review this book. This is a difficult thing because I didn’t like it.

I think a negative review requires more than a positive review. If a friend tells us that a book is great we might just read it on their recommendation. If something is good we don’t want too much information – we don’t want spoilers.  On the other hand if we are told a book is bad we’ll want details.

Speaking of spoilers there will be some in this…

I read this book after seeing a review, of sorts, on You Tube.

While I would love to share Little Book Owl’s infectious smiling love of this book I just didn’t get on with it. I’m not going to tell you not to read it though. I would never say that. Actually that’s not true there are definitely books that I would tell people to avoid. In fact I’d encourage you to read The Name of the Wind so you can explain it to me!

The Name of the Wind is a fantasy novel that revolves around the character of Kvothe. Kvothe is telling his life story to a chronicler. The book switches between first and third person narrative. This was quite effective. Kvothe talks in first person when telling us his story – third person is used for the in between parts in the present.

The story takes a little while to get going. When the narrative begins proper it is well told. We start with Kvothe with his family and then disaster. I don’t think I’m using hyperbole when I say that my jaw dropped and I brought my kindle closer. This part of the story was great and really ratcheted up the tension.

From this incident Kvothe is on his own. Money is continually an issue for him; however I never really felt the struggle. He always seemed to land on his feet. He always seemed to find a way to get money.

When he arrives at the university he negotiates his entry. He actually gets the masters to pay him rather than the other way around. Although the story shows us repeatedly that he is so much poorer than the other students he never seems held back by it. Some might say this makes him even more the hero but to me it was tedious. Since Kvothe seemed unphased by his setbacks they didn’t interest me either.

After getting to the university the story reads like someone going to school. He has his friends and enemies but to me none of them felt like complete people. There is very little characterisation, with a couple of exceptions, and all the Masters at the university basically merge together. The only thing to tell them apart is if they generally like Kvothe or dislike him.

It is perhaps the first person narrative that hinders the novel. It means we are unable to get into the minds of the other characters. We don’t even get much of a feeling for Kvothe. Even when he is whipped he just shrugs it off.

While I hesitate to make references to Harry Potter – The Name of the Wind is like The Philosopher’s Stone without Voldemort. I’m not saying that The Name of the Wind needs to have a villain. It is actually quite refreshing to see a fantasy novel without that. What I’m saying is there needs to be a pay off. Just some small sign that something has come together for the character. Even if we just here that he won a large amount of money – even if he loses it in the first chapter of the next book it would give some closure. It could be said that this lack of an ending is to be expected as this is the first in a trilogy; but generally each part in a trilogy has a satisfactory ending in and of itself. In the end Kvothe stops his narrative, there is some inexplicable disagreement between the Chronicler and Kvothe’s assistant, Bast, and the characters make for bed.

Maybe, sometime is the future, I might read book two. For now though I was disappointed with The Name of the Wind and have started reading The Book Thief.

Addendum: As I only have my eyes and my brain I can only give my opinion. I will admit that there were times when I was confused by this book. I had to read over a couple of sections. I got characters mixed up and I got taverns mixed up. So some of this may be me. When book three comes out I might attempt Name of the Wind again. Perhaps as one story it will work better.

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Vila: I’m entitled to my opinion.
Avon: It is your assumption that we are entitled to it as well that is irritating.
Blake’s 7: “Bounty”

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