[02:44] furiosity: brains were made to be broken. *nods*
[02:45] imadra_blue: f is such a brain dominatrix.
And with that diversionary note, I return to: HBP commentary (previous parts).
Chapter 13 -- The Secret Riddle
In which Phineas Nigellus rocks as always.
I want to see the scene where Dumbledore ensures that Mundungus can do no more stealing. I wonder if whips were involved.
Dung is a half-blood, according to Phineas. I wonder how portraits know these things. Mrs Black also knew instantly what everyone's bloodline was. In general, Potterverse portraits fascinate me greatly -- it's either that JKR hasn't made up her mind about how they work, and so they conveniently can do anything she wants them to, or there's a point to all the vagueness.
At this point, Harry started to piss me off a little with the resentment of Dumbledore. But then again, I'm a Dumbledore fangirl through and through. ;)
I love that Harry is indignant on Merope's behalf. He's a good kid, really. >.>
Caractacus Burke was clearly a Slytherin. Is anyone surprised? Of course not.
Wait, what? Merope stopped using magic on purpose? Wasn't the idea that she couldn't do magic because she was too oppressed by her evil family? The whole idea of depression/despair sapping people of their magical powers seems a little wonky to me. Why use Unforgivable Curses when you can just defeat your enemy by casting a sufficiently strong depression-inducing charm on them, or feeding them the Despair Potion or whatever? Honestly, the more exposition JKR provides on her magic, the higher my eyebrows creep -- she's either not seeing the holes or choosing to ignore them.
I'm still waiting to hear a good, solid, workable reason for why Voldemort didn't ensure his followers' loyalty via Unbreakable Vows. In fact, why didn't he force his more reluctant followers into loyalty via Unbreakable Vows? Clearly they can be made even without knowing the consequences (cf. Fred and George trying one on Ron). I mean, if I were a dark lord with a severe case of paranoia, I'd simply cast the Imperius Curse on my followers and then have them take Unbreakable Vows to serve me or die. Of course, JKR can always come out with "well, they're not 100% Unbreakable, but then she'd be in direct contradiction of what she wrote in book 6. Which we're coming to in just two chapters. XD [/ramble off]
And of course, Merope, as a stinky Slytherin, never had Lily's courage. This, of course, wasn't exactly her fault -- she was just cowed into submission and despair by her bullying Slytherin relatives.
"Could you possibly be feeling sorry for Voldemort?" quoth Dumbledore
"No!" said Harry quickly.
I'm not sure if this is clumsy homage to Tolkien (the discussion of mercy Gandalf and Frodo have in FotR) or a poignant character moment. Harry either can't conceive of feeling sorry for Tom Riddle or he's horrified that someone might find out that he felt sorry for him for a brief moment. This is interesting, because I'm fairly certain this'll come up again in one fashion or another. Maybe Harry will defeat Volders by staring at him with soulful eyes and saying, "I pity you." (Voldemort: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO YOU HAVE FOUND THE SECRET WEAPON. I AM MELTING! MEEEELTTIIIIING!!!!11one)
Dumbledore's suit is so gay. And I mean that in the most fabulous sense of the word.
So where do we stand on the questionable morality of Dumbledore's Jedi mind-tricks on the orphanage lady? It seems like wizards blithely manipulate Muggle minds when it suits them, without any repercussions whatsoever -- is there an intrinsic statement about the superiority of wizards in there somewhere, or is it just a matter of "it's a children's book, and it's a cool Jedi mind trick, damn it!"? Discuss.
I wonder if the cave mentioned here is the same one Harry and Dumbledore visit at the end. And if so, are some of Tom Riddle's former orphanage playmates floating about in that lake? *snort*
When Harry is impressed to see Mrs Cole quite steady after 2/3rds of a gin bottle, is he speaking from experience? *g*
I found it curious that Harry never once identifies with the orphans. I wonder if seeing the orphanage has changed his perspective on his own upbringing even a little bit. As contemptible as the Dursleys are, I think that a family, no matter how neglectful, is better than an institution. I'd never say that Harry had it easy compared to Tom Riddle, but somehow I think growing up in a state orphanage is the most horrifying type of childhood. I mean, the utter lack of privacy, the forced companionship, the strict, regulated daily timetable... It might be all the post-Revolution Soviet novels I read as a child speaking, though.
Dumberton! Dunderbore! I now want sekrit-agent!Dumbledore crackfic where he uses one or both as his alias.
Bestial happiness. Wow, JKR pulls no punches, does she? You really can be evil at eleven. So evil that even your happiness is bestial. Of course, to top it all off, not only was Tom a bully, he was also a thief. Rotten to the core! But blood doesn't matter, really. You're just either born rotten or you're born a saint, see.
Love the fund for assisting poor students. I think it's a Dumbledore thing rather than a general Hogwarts thing, though.
It's funny that both Tom and Harry are obsessed with their heritage, except their motivations seem so starkly different. For Tom it's a path to status whereas for Harry it's a connection to a family he'll never know. Is that what marks the difference between your average Slytherin and your average Gryffindor?
Dumbledore the exposition fairy strikes again! But are we supposed to take his interpretation of Riddle and his actions at face value? Just how many eyes are we looking through when we watch the orphanage scene? When Dumbledore says that Lord Voldemort has never had nor wanted a friend, is he expressing a fact or an opinion? I really can't make up my mind, because I don't understand why one would be so concerned with loyalty, as Voldemort evidently is (see GoF ending), when one has never been loyal and has no idea what it's like.
Thoughts? Comments? Ideas? Random linkspam?