Monday, August 13, 2012

Book 2 - Some thoughts 1

The cover pictures on the first and second Harry Potter books are a tribute to the ubiquitousness of technology. Never mind the magic.

Witches and wizards have unique means of transport. Magical creatures that fly, broomsticks, portkeys, floo powder, magic carpets (Arabian Nights?) and of course, Disapparition. Why, then, should they require cars, trains, buses and such? And if there is a reason for that, what did they use before these technological advances came to be?

In the world of Hogwarts, too, there is such a thing as being underage. There is also the concept of having to learn how to disapparate-apparate. So those who haven't yet mastered the art have to use other means.

All the other means listed above have the disadvantage of getting noticd by muggles, thus breaching the Statute of Secrecy. So, to be able to travel without standing out, as well as having means of mass transport, the said vehicles must have been adopted. How, then, could a car accomodate more than its capacity? Undetectable Extension Charm!

And before these came along? Why, I suppose the magical people simply used what the muggles did- carriages and stagecoaches!


In HP 2, we are introduced to one of the most loved characters of the whole series. Dobby. Children love him. My daughter does, so do I. He is the underdog, the enslaved house-elf of the Malfoys, who is serendipitously freed by Harry.

The book begins with Dobby getting Harry into trouble. Ostentatiously for his own good. For Dobby knows something due to his position in the Malfoys' household. The servant who is taken for granted, and who we never take into consideration when we openly speak about things. We take their loyalty for granted, and consider them less than human with no feelings of their own at the same time. This is a recurring refrain throughout the series. The house-elves Dobby, Winky, Kreacher, all with their different personalities, reacting differently to similar situations. A point to be discussed again later.

HP 1 was all about introducing us to the world of Hogwarts, a child's view of it. Things become more serious from HP 2. Here, JK Rowling plunges headlong into her message about discrimination on the basis of birth. The whole refrain of pure-bloods and mudbloods that continues to the end of the series comes forth here. We had just a glimpse into it in HP 1, through Draco Malfoy's comments and behaviour, but that was just a child parroting his elder's beliefs. Here, it comes into its own.

JK Rowling has very obviously alluded to the Holocaust. The idea is woven very intricately in the books. The ganging together, the name-calling, the hatred that further breeds hatred and distrust, the muggle hating, the degeneratin of the whole thing into segregating of magical folk into death-eaters and those who are not. The sheer force of destruction that such hatred can engender.

We have some interestingly named characters that come to our notice in this book.

Peeves: A peeve is something that irritates or causes vexation. Peeves, here, is a poltergeist who loves to play practical jokes, and is uncaring of people's feelings in the matter. He is the one character who is bold enough to be rude even to Dumbledore.

Argus Filch:  Argus, in Greek mythology, is a giant with one hundred eyes who was the watchman for the goddess Hera. Filch means 'to steal', usually in a sneaky manner.
So we have Argus Filch, who snoops around, steals around Hogwarts, patrolling its corridors, and trying to catch anyone breaking the rules. He is a squib, a non-magical person born into a wizarding family, and he is consequentially a disgruntled person. A passive-aggressive sort of personality, who comes fully into his own when assisting someone who is respectably evil, like Umbridge, in HP 5.

Gilderoy Lockhart: To gild means 'give a specious or false brilliance to'. Gilderoy is all words and no substance, the proverbial empty vessel. A show-off with no achievement of his own. The dandy who talks glibly, and takes complete advantage of the effect of his looks on gullible women!

1 comment:

  1. Very true.
    JKR is amazing at the naming part... we also have Diagon Alley (diagonally), Knockturn Alley (nocturnally, relating to the dark)and many many more...