Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book 5- Some thoughts 2

Sirius Black.

Came from a long line of dark wizards, and was the first to be sorted into Gryffindor. His family disowned him after he broke away to stay with the Potters.

The animosity between him and Snape is an example of childhood resentments carried over into adulthood. Both strong personalities, both hot headed, sworn enemies. It was probably only their loyalty towards Dumbledore and his instructions, and a bit of Remus Lupin's levelheadedness that kept them at bay against each other.

Even after his death, some of his bequests to Harry were instrumental in keeping him safe. His London house, Kreacher, the 2-way mirror are some of those things.

Sirius is named after the brightest star seen from earth- the main star in the Canis Major constellation. It is also called the dog-star, and is characterised as sparkling and scorching. Fits well with our character who is brave, hot tempered but loyal to his friends, with a ferocious dog as his animagous.


There are many old magical artefacts in the House of Black. Molly Weasley's efforts to clean and de-clutter the house, to make it more habitable after years of disuse throws up a lot of curious things. Among a long list that is recounted somewhere in the middle of page 108 is 'a heavy locket that none of them could open'. I had to open this chapter to re-read and locate it after reading the chapter in HP 7 where the trio are interrogating Kreacher about the locket Horcrux.

Luna Lovegood. We encounter her for the first time in HP 5. The complete antithesis of the pragmatic, competant, logical, scientific tempered Hermione.

"She had straggly, waist-length, dirty blonde hair, very pale eyebrows, and protuberant eyes that gave her a permanently surprised look. Harry knew at once why Neville had chosen to pass this compartment by. The girl gave off an aura of distinct dottiness. Perhaps it was the fact that she had stuck her wand behind her left ear for safekeeping, or that she had chosen to wear a necklace of Butterbeer caps, or that she was reading a magazine upside down."

Named after the moon goddess, Luna is airy, slightly incomprehensible with a tendency to go off on a tangent, Luna nevertheless had the uncanny ability to cut straight to the heart of the matter, and an eerie sixth sense about other people's perceptions. Considered uncool, she is often picked upon by people, but remains unfazed by it all.

Harry's connection to Voldemort's mind gets stronger now, and even worse, Voldemort is now aware of it, and tries to use it to Harry's detriment. If only he had persisted at Occlumency, Voldemort would not have been able to lure him to the Department of Mysteries and Sirius would have been alive. If only Sirius had been kinder to Kreacher, he would not have acted against Sirius' interests, and Sirius would have been alive.

So many if onlys...

Dumbledore's Army- In  the earlier war against Voldemort, the Order of the Phoenix had been formed. DA was the junior, students' version of it. Both are forms of underground resistance. It is finally the unfair sanctions put in place by Umbridge that spawn the DA.

Umbridge, her saccharine sweet unpleasantness, and the increasing sanctions are reminiscent, again, of the Holocaust, with its increasingly intolerable laws against the Jews, denying them their basic humanity. The connection Rowling has tried to make to the Holocaust is underlined by Hermione's comment in HP 7 on the statue in the ministry- the powerful witch and wizard sit on a throne which seem to have carvings on it. Only they are not a design. They are bodies, dead, dying, emaciated bodies of Muggles piled together.

The battle at the ministry has one positive effect. Cornelius Fudge can no longer deny the existence of a resurrected Voldemort!

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