So continuing on with the spoilery commentary from yesterday. Just one chapter today because am busy writing genfic, above fic as well as a post-HBP H/D and my slashfest fics. *collapses* :S Onward, then (do not forget the pedantry warning!) previous part. [spoilers in link]
Note that these are just my reactions to the book. My opinions, based on my views on canon (which I explain if the occasion calls for it), and bits of pedantry to liven things up a bit. I do not insist that you must agree with my views on the new canon. Please don't insist that I should agree with yours. I would love to discuss these things but as long as everyone involved understands the principle behind "agreeing to disagree" should it come to that.
Chapter 3 – Will and Won't
Harry snores and Harry is messy. These things are just cute, I'm sorry.
I love the words "fug" and "higgledy-piggledy". A lot.
There's mist on Harry's window which means that Dementors are breeding nearby, I guess. This is even more sinister knowing what Harry's Boggart is – until the time Harry woke up, I kept hyperventilating that he'd be woken by a Dementor at his window.
The Chosen One. Sigh. Joseph Campbell, I really hate you sometimes. And then this Chosen One thing keeps going through the whole book, like JKR got tired of the Boy Who Lived thing and had to invent a new thing to call him by. Wasn't the point of the Boy Who Lived that he was special and chosen and all that jazz? I don't get it, honestly – she used the phrase The Chosen One on her website when she addressed a question about Neville but I had really thought that she was just using it as a phrase, I had no idea it would make it into HBP. Didn't like this bit so much.
The Daily Prophet appears to be much better informed this time around than it had been in OotP. Could it be, perhaps, because Rita Skeeter is back in action? I'm actually surprised that JKR didn't even mention her in this book until the very end. I guess I got somewhat attached to Rita because she was such an important figure in GoF and a key character in OotP, that I sort of bristle that JKR didn't acknowledge that her promise to Hermione ran out in June or thereabouts.
This one actually made me almost headdesk. The Death Eaters are in Azkaban for, um, trespass and attempted theft? What about the whole, you know, Death Eater thing? Or is that an "innocent until proven guilty" dealio? Is there going to be an inquiry or trials or whatnot? It seems like either an overexposition on JKR's part (they're named as Death Eaters so it can't be that the Prophet has no clue who they really are) – like she wanted to make the article sound more important and inserted the trespass and attempted theft thing. Or it's an important detail – I mean, wtf? So far she's been pretty unequivocal that "being a Death Eater" constitutes a crime under wizarding law. So why are these people being held for trespass?
Instead of doing an inquiry into these Death Eaters until they're pissing Veritaserum, they're arresting Stan Shunpike and an assortment of nine-year-old boys? I mean, the Ministry have always been portrayed as ineffectual, but this seems a bit much. It's also a bit much that I'm obsessing over such a minor detail, but if there is one thing that JKR's books have taught me, it's that there is no such thing as a minor detail, unless its name is Mark Evans.
In other news, I so want a contest for "best continuation of a HBP article" – dude, there are three articles and all of them are cut off and I so want to know what the rest of them said, especially the one about Neville. There wasn't enough Neville in this book, not nearly.
I am scared of your anthropomorphic expectant-looking trunk, Harry.
Side-Along Apparition – why wasn't this used in GoF? Aside from "she needed to introduce travel by Portkey", that is? Arthur, Percy, Bill and Charlie were all going – so were Harry, Ron, Fred, George and Ginny. Those who could Apparate could have easily taken a boy each with them, and Arthur could have come back for Ginny – why didn't they? Someone explain this to me, please. Why wasn't Side-Along Apparition ever mentioned until this book? "JKR fails at consistency" is not an acceptable answer – I mean, it is, but it's too pat. I somehow doubt that she would have introduced Apparition in GoF and not bothered to explain Side-Along Apparition along with it, unless she had a good reason.
Speaking of Apparition – this has been inconsistent since GoF – page 63 of the Bloomsbury children's paperback edition (British) has Arthur saying Apparition, twice.) In OotP, Harry calls it an Apparation test, Level Six of the Ministry houses the "Portkey Office and Apparation Test Centre" and there's an Anti-Disapparation Jinx on the Death Chamber in the Department of Mysteries in the end. HBP has it consistently as Apparition straight through.
So those of you I've seen complain about Apparation/Apparition, I'm not sure what you're on about. Obviously HBP sort of drills it home that it's Apparition but if you prefer Apparation you can just keep using it as it was used in a whole instalment of canon. (Incidentally, dictionary.com's word of the day on July 16th was apparition. Funny, that.) mrs_muggle has an exhaustive canon spelling guide just so no one suffers such anguish in the future.
Inferi. I love the way she introduces stuff sometimes. I thought it was a cool mention to make Harry wonder about them, without any dramatics or anything. Just a word in a pamphlet, and it's an odd reminder of how new Harry is to the wizarding world still.
Harry grunting is so cute.
Erm. Harry can repair alarm clocks? Since when?
ETA: conuly: Since book 1, where he repaired this very same alarm clock in order to sneak out and get the mail before it was actually delivered to the house. Unfortunately, Vernon was sleeping in the doorway, trying to prevent Harry from doing exactly what he was trying to do.
For someone who used to always get so excited to leave Privet Drive, Harry is weirdly insecure. This was one serious WTF moment for me – there's no precedent for Harry to feel this strange about being fetched from Privet Drive and while I understand that he feels it's "too good to be true" I don't understand why he feels this way. Thoughts?
I kept waiting for Harry to use the Pack! spell Tonks showed him in OotP but he never did. Weird.
ETA: He's underage and he's not allowed to use magic. Duh, f. *headdesk*
Dumbledore reminds me of Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Jedi-Fu here, when he's all "we'll assume you did this".
Agapanthuses! I laughed, I cried, I looked it up. To wit: any of various plants of the genus Agapanthus having umbels of showy blue to purple flowers. See also: African lily. AFRICAN. LILY. A South African rhizomatous plant (Agapanthus africanus) having violet funnel-shaped flowers grouped in umbels. Also known as Lily of the Nile. Also called – wait for it – THE FLOWER OF LOVE. Dude, how fucking cool is that? No, seriously. How cool? Pic and more information here.
A real treat in this book was the absence of the usual "Harry Potter was a wizard who avoided an ignominious death at the hands of the Most Evil Wizard Ever Who Was Also Voted Most Likely To Split His Soul Up Into Little Pieces, AKA Lord Voldemort blah blah blah" department of backstory.
Petunia has a horsy face. Vernon is piggish and wearing a puce dressing gown. Dudley skulks and has no neck. Ah, Dursleys, don't ever change.
"We have corresponded," says Dumbledore. "Ah, he means the Howler," thinks Harry. I think, Harry my boy, that you are really rather wrong about that. I am very intrigued about Petunia and Dumbledore's correspondence. Aside from the occasional bit of showing off, JKR does pick her words carefully, especially when she's writing character dialogue, so I am pretty sure this is a very deliberate verb usage. My prediction for the beginning of book 7 is that Petunia finds out that Dumbledore is ded from Snape and she will break down and tell Harry everything. It's either that or Harry's going to unceremoniously bully her into telling all, somehow.
More Jedi!Dumbledore, who looks out of place in the Dursleys' sitting room. Because Muggle sitting rooms are so different from wizarding ones, don't forget.
Enter the adverb abuse. Come on, Jo. Keep them to one a page, really, it isn't difficult. I'm speaking from experience here. titti makes a good point about adverbs in her post on beta stuff, but JKR doesn't just overuse adverbs. She abuses them. She weakens otherwise strong verbs with adverbs frequently; she uses adverbs where none are appropriate. Adverb abuse doesn't necessarily mean "many adverbs". It's not what you do with them, it's how you do it.
Dumbledore is gravely injured but still very powerful and fearsome.
Enter Rosmerta's mead! I love it when JKR does this. The mead will be very important later on but here it just seems like a little bit of the wizarding world in liquid form, so innocuous-looking.
Of course, Vernon asks things "greedily". I've already mentioned the adverb abuse and this is a stark example of it – can you say something greedily? No, you really can't. There's no way to make your voice sound greedy, you can only say things that imply greed, or you can make motions with your hands that indicate that you've got grabby hands (or something). Things are not said greedily, Jo. Stop slacking off – adverbs used this way are such a fucking cop-out and they insult the reader's intelligence.
Harry says he doesn't want Grimmauld Place but notice how he didn't say anything about the gold that would be added to his Gringotts account (by the way, I do think this is the first canon use of the word "account" rather than "vault" in reference to Gringotts. I'd search around but I'm too lazy. At any rate, I think Harry's got some business sense after all.
So. Sirius left a will. Would anyone, knowing canon!Sirius, have thought that? I wouldn't have. This actually sheds light on Sirius's character, considerable light – despite the fact that he was almost like a teenager, volatile and angsty, he still had the presence of mind to realise that he was in mortal peril and he could die any minute. So he left Harry a will. I wonder about the legal logistics behind that – I'm guessing a magical will or a contract doesn't need to be approved by lawyers or the Wizengamot; especially the discussion of family enchantments made me think that it's a very personal, magical-document kind of thing rather than anything legal like we have in the Muggle world.
"as though Uncle Vernon had not uttered"
The verb "utter" when used in this context requires a noun in the accusative case, that is, a direct object. Otherwise, that sentence can only be rephrased to "as though Uncle Vernon had not sent forth with the voice". Sent what forth? A word? A phrase? A freak hurricane that eventually reached Andorra and destroyed a countryside toilet, while an old lady was taking a piss inside? You cannot simply utter – you have to utter *something*. Gah, Jo. Gah. Fire your editor, please? We're only on chapter three, and I've got adverb abuse, improper use of a transitive verb, a word order error, and a missing comma. That's not a very good track record, all things considered. I'm merely a hack amateur writer, yet I know these things and you and your editor don't?
Kreacher calls Bella Miss Bellatrix. Is he just brain-addled or did Rodolphus die while we weren't looking? Dumbledore calls her Bellatrix Lestrange so clearly she's not a Miss. Is Kreacher living in the past? Does he have trouble telling past from present? Could this be significant in the future, somehow?
ETA: conuly: When refering to somebody as Title Firstname, it's just Miss and Mister, never Missus.
I want to know what Harry was doing with that Colour-Change Ink.
Dumbledore admonishes the Dursleys for their treatment of Harry. I just. This failed utterly to make an impact. It was clearly a lecture delivered by the author herself, to characters who, in the hands of – excuse me – a better author, could have actually learned their lesson. I mean, it was really obvious that this is just JKR's opinion of the Dursleys and people like them; it was author-meta delivered by a character. She even trotted out the old "Dudley is an abused child" thing, for the love of Dumbledore's roboclaw (and marksykins called that first, btw. *g*). I really didn't like this part.
Aunt Petunia is oddly flushed after Dumbledore's little speech. This harkens back to the whole "correspondence" thing and I'm really wondering about Petunia even more now. I do hope JKR resolves this mystery around Aunt Petunia because it's starting to get annoying. There's obviously something there, but she's just not. Telling! Ack!
Harry is ever so polite – he says "Bye" to the Dursleys even after the Dumbledore!Smackdown o' Doom that basically lets Harry know that he could slap them silly for all the mistreatment they put him through over the years if he was so inclined. He's always been such a polite boy – surely those Dursleys did something right? I mean, look at Tom Riddle later in the book – he was so terribly rude to Dumbledore, even after Dumbledore turned from suspected-loonybin-dude to saviour-dude. Or perhaps Tom Riddle was genetically predisposed to evil and therefore rude and Harry is genetically predisposed to goodness and therefore he's so polite. I'm speaking tongue-in-cheek here, obviously, but one wonders.
You know, I started crying, just a little, here on second re-read. Because Dumbledore says to the Dursleys, "Until we meet again" and they look like they hope it'll never happen and I'm just like… IT ACTUALLY WILL NEVER HAPPEN. WAH. I wonder if the Dursleys will even agree to take Harry in now – but I suppose this is the last thing Dumbledore requests of them and they seem to agree (to keep Harry until his seventeenth birthday). So it's kind of like Dumbledore's dying wish and if there is serious magic tied to saving lives, maybe there is magic connected to dying wishes? I know, I'm reaching, and I still can't believe he's gone.
And we conclude with Harry being embarrassed because he is so messy, in front of Dumbledore (he tries to hide his messiness as he gets his Invisibility Cloak). So adorable. Mua.
ETA: Comments are being weird. WTF, LJ.
ETA2: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, equustel! Hope you have a wonderful day. ♥