Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I've joined a book club at SugarQuill that's studying Deathly Hallows. I've come in at Chapter Five. I'll post future answers here as well. Here are my answers to the questions asked for Chapter Five:

1) The chapter is full of teases about character deaths before the final reveal of Mad-Eye's death. When everyone is waiting at the Burrow for the others to arrive, did you think anyone had not survived? If so, who do you think died?

I worried most for those I had thought would die in this novel. I worried about all the Weasleys so breathed a sigh of relief when they all showed up. I worried about Ron through the entire book. in particular. So that was a constant tension. I worried about Tonx, too - and felt relieved when she arrived, actually crossed her off my target list (oh well). I did not expect that Moody would die so early, though. He did go out in a blaze of glory, though - and now what had seemed to be his paranoia in Order of the Phoenix when he and the other members of Harry's Guard came for Harry at Privet Drive turned out to be accurate after all.

2) Ted and Andromeda try to reassure themselves that Tonx is OK. How did you feel about their reaction, and what is shows about being a parent to an auror? Are they too confident in Tonx' abilities?

As anyone who has family in the armed forces or is a police officer or fire fighter, this is how one has to cope. Each time the family member goes out to sea, or goes to work, or answers the phone - there is always the opportunity that they may not come back. What family members rely on, beside prayer, is knowing that their loved ones are trained well in what they do and that they love what they do. For Tonx's parents, they know that she is well-trained and she loves what she does.

3) Lupin argues that Harry should have killed Stan or stunned him off the broom, but Harry insists it would be wrong to kill someone who was under Imperius. Who do you think is right? What should Harry have done to fend off Stan, now that we know the Disarming Spell alerted Voldemort to his presence? What about the morality of killing the other Death Eaters by stunning them off the brooms? If it's wrong to kill Stan, why is it OK to kill the other Death Eaters, if there are spells to fend them off?

Lupin is right - it was naive of Harry to think that his "childhood" spells should do the trick. But at the same time, war is not just knowing what weapons to use, but how to use them. Harry is engaging (unintentionally though it may be) in psychological warfare - he continually does not do what is expected and that "disarms" his opponents. Harry also shows that he is guided by moral principles in his decision-making processes, rather than his own self-preservation. Lupin is playing the parent-role here, desiring Harry to survive and so to employ tactics that will ensure his survival ("kill before being killed"). But Harry continues to be guided by his heart - and that wins him allies in some of the most unforeseen places as the story unfolds. It is one of Harry's strengths, though it is also obvious that since this is his strength, he will need the help of his friends to succeed since his own self-preservation is not high on his list.

4) It's implied that Ron has killed indirectly, as he stunned Death Eaters off their brooms. Were you surprised that any one of the trio would end up killing in this book? Were you OK with Ron's casualness in dealing with his first kill?

This is an excellent question. I do remember pausing a moment when I read this and thinking, oh my goodness, that Death Eater probably died. We don't really know what Ron must have thought about that - we can only observe what Harry observes about it and Harry doesn't pay that much attention to it, as I recall. The point was not so much over the possible killing of a Death Eater as much as it was defense against someone who wanted to kill all of them. Ron was acting defensively, but it showed that this was the real deal and Ron was facing what aurors face. But yes, I was surprised by the little introspection over the death of even a Death Eater. The circumstances though may have overwhelmed what would happen in a normal situation - and of course, this is not a normal night at the Burrow.

5) As George makes his ear pun, Fred remarks, "Pathetic. With the whole wide world of ear-related humor before you, you go for holey?" For fun, come up with a good ear-related joke you'd have used in that situation.


6) Why is Lupin so tense and ear-ritable in this chapter? He is normally the one to restrain himself and control his emotions, even during similarly intense moments (like the DOM battle).

He all ready knows that Tonx is pregnant.

7) What was your reaction to the news of Mad Eye Moody's death? Were you more sad or just shell-shocked?

I was very surprised - he was one guy who could take care of himself and he was one person who understood the danger present. He had sometimes seemed paranoid in the past and it turned out he was right. I knew he'd had a long life and had gone out in a blaze of glory, but I was shocked it happened so soon and so fast.

8) Harry and Lupin argue over whether or not Harry is too trusting. Who do you think is right? Is Harry being too naive to assume no one sold the Order out? Should someone have investigated the matter more fully?

Organizations can become dangerously unhealthy when they start turning inward to root out who is loyal and who is not. Lupin has been betrayed before and so is very sensitive to that happening again, but Harry knows that they can't take valuable time figuring out who might have betrayed them. He is also protecting Hagrid who he knows could have said something without thinking and that is probably consuming his thoughts as well. But Harry isn't going to spend time thinking who may be out to get him. He knows he can trust Ron and Hermione and he knows what his mission is.

9) Why do you think Harry is so trusting of everyone in the Order? After numerous betrayals over the years by people he thought were friends/allies (Quirrell, Tom Riddle, fake Moody, Snape), you would think he'd be just a tiny bit more cynical, wouldn't he?

I think most of his rage is pointed at Snape as being the one who betrayed them all. Later he would doubt Dumbledore's integrity, but in many ways Harry is his mother's son, he looks for the best in everyone, except Snape (with reason) and Snape is the focus of all his feelings about betrayal.

10) Did you think anyone had betrayed the Order? If so, who did you think was the traitor? If not, how do you suppose the Death Eaters found out the correct date?

Yes I was very concerned that there was a snitch in their midst. Throughout the book I kept going over in my mind who it might be. I had found it hard to believe that Mundungas could have cooked up the plan himself and wondered about him, but then we never saw him again and so I forgot about him. I kept expecting another person from the Order or Percy to show up at the Mafoy's but it never happened.

11) Did you think Harry had performed the magic against Voldemort, or did you think the wand itself had fended off Voldemort?

I did think his wand was doing it, but I couldn't fathom why. I thought perhaps another wizard was controlling it, rather than Harry (like Snape, for example, if he was good).

12) What was your reaction to finding out about Ollivander. Surprised, or were you expecting it?

I had thought that Ollivander was taken by the Death Eaters because they needed him in regards to Voldemort's wand. I did not expect him to be still alive or that he would show up in his book. That was a surprise.

13) Harry has his first vision into Voldemort's mind since his visions in OotP. Yet, Dumbledore had told Harry in HBP that Voldemort was using occlumency against Harry, and Harry would no longer need to practice Occlumency himself. How did you react to the discovery that Harry still could connect to Voldemort's mind, after the complete absense of this in HBP? In light of this, do you think Dumbledore should have have trained Harry to learn occlumency in HBP? Is Hermione right to tell Harry to let Voldemort out of his mind?

I had thought that Harry's scar was like a "Scar Cam" and that Dumbledore was performing in front of the "scar cam" for Voldemort's benefit, showing not only Harry scenes from Voldemort's past, but Voldemort himself. I thought it was a bit of "psychological" warfare and that you could read Half Blood Prince as a play set up for Voldemort, and not just an education exhibition for Harry. I had thought that Voldemort was present throughout Half Blood Prince but hidden behind Harry's scar. So I thought that it was Voldemort who did not want Harry to know that he was watching rather than closing the "scar cam" down. Voldemort though must not have been doing this because then he would have been tipped off about the Horcrux Hunt and done more to secure his horcruxes. As it was, Voldemort was becoming obsessed about the wand issue. It appears that Voldemort was still not aware throughout Deathly Hallows that Harry was infiltrating his mind - again, a serious mistake for Voldemort.

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