Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Chapter Six: The Ghoul in Pajamas

1)When you first read this chapter, did you really think that the Trio wouldn’t return for their last year at Hogwarts? Until this point, the book has been following a rather familiar pattern of Harry leaving the Dursley’s to spend the remainder of the summer at the Burrow.

I had thought that they would return when I started the book, but it was clear once I saw the Ghoul and the amount of work that had gone in to getting Ron ready to go, that they really were going to go on a Road Trip.

2)When discussing Voldemort and the Ministry, how are Ron and Harry treated by Bill and Mr. Weasley in this chapter compared to how they were treated in Order of the Phoenix? Do you think Bill and Mr. Weasley really feel that they are ready to discuss matters like adults or do they still want to protect them, like Mrs. Weasley?

I think it's clear the Bill and Mr. Weasley understand that Ron and Harry are of age. Mrs. Weasley is a mother hen who protects her children (as we seem demonstrated big time at the book's finale) and she shows her love for them by trying to convince them not to go. I think they understand that too.

3)Mrs. Weasley has seen Harry and her children encounter many dangers throughout their lives—did she really think that her ploy to keep them separated would work?

No, I don't. I think it's her "love language" - it's how she demonstrated her love to her children (and Harry in her mind and heart is now one of her kids). The kids seem to get that too and while they put up resistance it's clear that there is no bitterness or resentment (just frustration). And in fact, we see demonstrated that Mrs. Weasley does let her children go - if they get past her, then obviously they are ready for the world. I mean, we had Bill in Egypt and Charlie in Romania - and the twins never finished school but opened up their store. There are no "Mama's boys" (or girls even) in this family.

4)Ginny is surprised that Harry really is going to leave school and hunt down Voldemort; Harry lets it slip when the two of them are setting the table for dinner (pg. 89, American version). The idea that Ginny might come along is never discussed and Harry is determined to keep her in the dark regarding his plans. Considering how comfortable Harry and Ginny are together, what does this say about Harry’s relationship with Ginny compared to Harry’s relationship with Ron and Hermione?

First of all, Ginny is not of age, she is not an "adult" in the eyes of the Wizarding World, and so she doesn't have the authority (and Harry doesn't have the right to ask her either - then he'd feel the Wrath of Mrs. Weasley). Harry's relationship with Ginny is much more like a husband will be to his wife - he will want to protect her and that would over shadow anything else he'd do. He's in love with her and and he's still very young and inexperienced on how to handle romantic love. They haven't had a full year either in their relationship and so it hasn't gone through all the seasons to develop either, something Harry has had with Ron and Hermione. The have all literally grown up together.

5) Compare and contrast Ron’s plan with Hermione’s plan. Which one seems better thought out? Which one seems riskier? Why didn’t Hermione use a Fidelius Charm, like Harry’s parents used rather than risk not being able to reverse the Memory Charm? What would you have done if you were Ron or Hermione?

I think both plans seem thought-out in their own way, each with major risks. Ron has to figure out how to protect his family and the best way to do that is for Ron to appear to still be at home with a horrible disease. It's an excellent plan, as long as he is never identified anywhere else. Hermione is convinced that her parents will just blend in with everyone else in Australia and it's far enough away that no one will actually go looking for them. If something happens to her, her parents can still live a happy life. It's an extraordinary plan too - and took a great deal of humility on her part that she would be willing to have her parents not even know she exists. But that is also tragic in that they don't even know to think about her - and so outside the Weasleys and Harry, no one really else cares about Hermione. No wonder she took it so hard when Ron left. Both plans were creative and thoughtful. I think I would have asked for advice from Tonx.

6) This is the second time we’ve seen Hermione meddle with a person’s mind—the first being Cormac McLaggin, the second being her parents. Is what Hermione is doing unethical? Do you think she finds any part of Memory Modifying ethically sticky—or can she justify it? In what other instances have we seen a rather ruthless Hermione and were her actions justifiable or not? What do you feel about Memory Modification? Is it ever really a positive thing?

I think she thinks its extraordinarily humane - she really is thinking not of herself (except that she doesn't want her parents killed) but what would be best for her parents. I am sure her parents would think very differently - she did the thinking for them. An who wouldn't want to live in Australia for a while?

7) Just for fun—do you think Mr. Weasley ever got Sirius’s bike up and running? Do you think he ever took Mrs. Weasley for a moonlit ride on it?

Yes, yes! Of course he did! I am sure he did. My guess is that instead of taking Mrs. Weasley out, he may have loaned it to George for a while. That's what I would have done. And I can bet that George would have "improved" it before turning it over to Harry.

8) Several times in the past, Harry has tried to talk his friends out of coming with him on his adventures. Why is Harry so unable to accept help from people?

For his entire life he has had to be self-sufficient to survive. There is core to him that still believes all the things the Dursley's said to him when he was a child. He does not want to trouble others, he doesn't not want to be a bother, he feels that it's his responsibility to handle it. And he does have survivors guilt. His mother paid the ultimate price to save his life - that's a lot to live down. And I think it also - which of course, Voldemort figured out - gave him a sense of accomplishment when he could save others as he was saved. It was like making his mother's sacrifice worth it.

9)When you heard about the method used to destroy a Horcrux, what was your first thought? Did you think at some point the Trio would venture back to the Chamber of Secrets to see if there were any leftover basilisk fangs hanging around? What did you think were some of the other magical methods of destroying Horcruxes?

I did not think of the Chamber of Secrets because I assumed the snake was long gone and nothing was left. I could not figure out how they would destroy the horcruxes. That was one of the surprises of the book for me.

10) Many Death Eaters torture and kill just for fun and murder is part of the process of creating a Horcrux; are you surprised that none of them have at least one spare Horcrux around? Many of them come from old pureblood families that could potentially have access to this type of magic—are you surprised that Bellatrix or Lucius does not have a Horcrux “life insurance” policy? What does this tell you about Voldemort compared to his followers?

He did not value his soul as a whole. He was totally abandoned and unloved - he never knew love. Even the Death Eaters had known some love, even Bella. What bit of love they knew must have kept them from even considering such a vile act. But of course, this is also why the Death Eaters were so fascinated by Voldemort. He really was evil. He didn't just do evil things, there was something more corrupt about him, that evil possessed him. Even the Death Eaters seemed to have choices, though they most often made the wrong ones - sometimes, like Lucius and Narcissa and Draco Malfoy - their capacity to still love caused them to choose differently, even in spite of themselves.

11) Admit it—you gave a little (word that Cap'n Kathy hates) of joy when you saw Hermione pull out Hogwarts, A History! Did you think it would help play a role in the plot at all?

No, I didn't. But how could she leave home without it?

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