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Deathly Hallows chapters 17-20 discussion

Hogwarts Express

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Jul 21, 2008, 8:33am Top

This week's chapters:

17: Bathilda's Secret
18: The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore
19: The Silver Doe
20: Xenophilius Lovegood

I have a busy morning, but will drop by with my comments this afternoon. Lots to talk about!

Edited: Jul 21, 2008, 8:45am Top

chap 17> would you have thought Bathilda's behavior strange? I mean more then just ancient old lady strange? When did any of you think something was up?

Can you imagine Voldemort's thoughts of victory? then turning to rage, I'm amazed that Hermione didn't get hurt in all that. That glimpse of Voldemorts memory of the night at the potters was quite ....bittersweet, I think for Harry, he saw his parents and how much they loved him and then of course he saw what happened, but also felt the agony V felt when the spell rebounded

when V saw the baby start to cry do you think maybe part of his feelings may have been smypathy for a child now lost and parentless as he had been?

Jul 21, 2008, 8:40am Top

I'll be back with some notes, but today is the 1 year anniversary of the release. Let's celebrate and remember what happened 1 year ago.

Jul 21, 2008, 8:46am Top

Oh what a celebration, we'll have today! (Anyone recognise this line from a musical?)

Jul 21, 2008, 9:22am Top

It's Wicked!

I didn't bring my notes. First day and all. I'll catch up tonight and post what I have then!

Jul 21, 2008, 9:47am Top

Chap. 17

I think it I was suspicious about her the whole time but I really started thinking...hmmm something is definately off after she pointed at her then harry then upstairs instead of saying something. add that to the smell of the place, and you know something bad is about to happen.

I don't know what Harry was thinking when even after hearing Voldermort being contacted and saying hold him there or whatever he still was like "do you have something for me?"
No harry you idiot unless by that you mean fangs.

I remember getting a little misty eyed during the memory of 10/31/81 But as of now (in my first read of the book) I hadn't cried yet.

That's all I can think of right now.

Jul 21, 2008, 11:16am Top

Ch 17

1. I love that the Potter's house is now a memorial. How great of people to write their support of Harry on the sign too!

2. Umm, yes, Harry is an idiot about the whole Bathilda thing. I thought it was weird the whole time, but, like Mandy, I knew for sure something was going on when she only wanted Harry to go with her and she wouldn't say anything.

3. It was interesting to see Voldemort's attack on the Potters from V's point of view. I especially like the phrasing of his attempt to kill Harry followed by "and then he broke."

4. Again we have a mention of the foolishness of having/trusting friends as V says how stupid James and Lily are for trusting in their friends.

#2, I doubt V felt any sort of sympathy. Such humanness is beyond his capabilities at this point in his evil career.

Jul 21, 2008, 11:34am Top

I have to agree that V is definately not feeling sympathy i think more complete and total annoyance.

Jul 21, 2008, 11:59am Top

I have to say the whole Nagini is inside Bathilda's body thing doesn't wash for me. The logistics just don't work. Was Nagini supposed to be there like that for months & months just waiting for Harry to show up? How did she manage to be at the Potters just when Harry showed up? How could you have a major predator living inside decaying flesh and not eating it? How does she actually move to that it looks like a person walking and not a snake? How do the arms work?

Did anyone else have a problem with this? Perhaps I am not understanding.

Jul 21, 2008, 12:07pm Top

btw, allow me to mention that I find Chpt 17 unbelievably creepy and suspenseful, and I never really thought about these logistics issues until this reading.

Jul 21, 2008, 12:21pm Top

#9 It's weird and I wonder that too. Maybe i'm being too generous in my answer of...it's magic. V has control of Nagini so I assume Nagini was told not to eat the body. Maybe Nagini was taped into the brain and telling it how to move...again magically, somehow.

I may be reaching but I buy it.

Jul 21, 2008, 12:30pm Top

#2 -- Yeah, I thought she was acting oddly (not little-old-lady oddly either), and as others have said, was tipped off when she didn't want Hermione to come upstairs with them.

And I don't think Voldy felt anything like sympathy for Harry. I don't know that sympathy is an emotion he has ever experienced.

#3 -- We should be having a party! I'll start a thread in a little while, unless someone else wants to (or already has; I haven't checked).

#9 -- Yeah, this time through I was a little bothered by the logistics of that, too. Obviously, there's some sort of magical control going on, but I can't see how that would work. Then again, Nagini is a horcrux, so I guess it's more the piece of soul there controlling the body than the actual snake. But, as you say, it's a very creepy chapter.

Back in a little while with my notes!

Jul 21, 2008, 1:12pm Top

Harry's an idiot; he recognized parsletounge after they got out of Godric's Hollow, but not while they were there.
I loved the memorial at Godric's Hollow for the Potter's, as well as seeing the events from Voldy's mind.

Edited: Jul 21, 2008, 1:37pm Top

Chapter 17 notes:

1. I thought the graffiti was interesting. It reminded me of two places in my own life -- the camp store at a summer camp I once worked at, and the carpentry shop at my undergrad theatre. Both were places where graffiti was "allowed" (at least unofficially). I thought how that sort of graffiti tends to show up in places that are marked by some sort of unifying circumstance, which makes sense in the case of the Potter's house, as well.

2. There's a weird moment there at the end of the italicized section, where it's hard to tell who's Harry and who's Voldemort. (Edited to add, I'm not criticizing that, I'm applauding it -- we've seen that confusion from Harry's perspective more than once; it's interesting to see it from Voldy's.)

3. We've gotten bits and pieces of the 10/31/81 story before now, usually in flashbacks. I wonder if she wrote out this whole segment early, or whether she wrote this segment for this book, and had to fit in the bits and pieces that she had written for other books?

Jul 21, 2008, 1:39pm Top

Okay, sneaking in quickly while I can. I agree that Bathilda was way beyond normal crazy and wouldn't have stuck around after catching a wiff of her house, "I smell dead people!" ;)

I also was having issues with Nagini and trying to figure out how she was controlling Batty. I figured there must be some sort of mental link that allows her to "puppet" Batty.

I agree Harry is an idiot, but not necessarily about the Parseltongue. He's never been able to recognize when it was being spoken until someone else told him!

Jul 21, 2008, 1:45pm Top

I akways figured that Vol- I mean You-Know-Who had used magic to put the snake in Bathilda's body after Bathilda had been killed. I don't know how Voldy would have had the foresight to know that Harry would want to talk to Bathilda, ut it is an easy way to get someone on the inside at Godric's Hollow since he probably did know Harry would be there. It's just Harry's bad luck that he's decided DD gave Bathilda Griffindor's Sword.

Harry has never been able to tell when he was speaking parseltongue. I've always thought this must be what it is like for people who grow up speaking two languages, but they don't use one as much as the other. I don't speak two languages fluently (I'm doing good to be able to speak the one), so this could just be my imagination.

Jul 21, 2008, 1:55pm Top

With Bathilda, I suppose I'm happy enough just knowing it's "magic we've never imagined or encountered." Hermione has way more in a tiny handbag than should fit, why not a huge snake fitting into a body? Inferi are animated dead bodies -- a similar sort of spell could be applied here and then just stuff Nagini inside with something similar to what Hermione was using. And I don't think Nagini was doing anything V had not told her to do, ever. The only thing I don't like about that whole bit is that Nagini must have been there for at least a few weeks if not months. Whatever was V doing without her??

14.2 I also love that part when it's hard to tell Harry from Voldemort.

14.3 What bits she wrote before and what bits were worked in is a great source of wonderment for me too. I would bet she had that particular part written out early though.

15 Bib's right -- Harry never recognizes Parseltongue until later. Silly boy.

Jul 21, 2008, 3:29pm Top

Re the grafitti. What I love here is how JKR shows Hermione's and Harry's reactions to it. She's so skillful at rendering character, and she never misses an opportunity to do it well. It's her greatest strength as a novelist, and other writers should pay attention.

It's exactly what Hermione & Harry would think/say and it reinforces their characters in a natural, unforced way.

Cheers, Jo! *clink*

Jul 21, 2008, 6:00pm Top

Notes for Chapter 18:

1) Surprise, surprise . . . Harry is angry at Dumbledore. The thing is, he keeps thinking that DD had some sort of "plan" for Harry to follow -- he can't accept that DD had told him pretty much everything he knew (with the exception of that final revelation, that Harry would have to die in the end). I don't think DD knew that, for example, the cup was at Gringotts. I'm almost certain that he didn't know the diadem was at Hogwarts. Harry wants a scavenger hunt, with carefully-laid clues and "findable" objects -- this sort of thinking reminds me that Harry and Co. are still teenagers. I do think DD should have confided in some of the adults in the Order. Lupin, for example, or Arthur Weasley. But mainly Harry needs to accept that DD was not omniscient.

2) I can't believe that Rita admits to using Veritaserum on Bathilda! (I can believe that she uses it, I just can't believe that she admits to it in print.)

3) This chapter seemed to drag, for me. Rita is a bit wordy.

Jul 21, 2008, 6:11pm Top

19.1 I have a note that Harry's feelings re DD are practically identical to Ron's feelings about Harry. They're all looking for someone to be the grownup, and they haven't yet thought of a mirror. Teenage, indeed.

Jul 21, 2008, 6:21pm Top

19.2/3 I agree to both points. (Rita is always a bit wordy, isn't she?)

#18 & 20, good points, LG.

Ch 18
1. We go from Voldemort's opinion that friends are worthless right to Harry saying that without friends, he'd be dead. I love the contrast.

2. Really foggi said what I was thinking (in 19.1) better than I wrote it in my notes. I'll just second what she said.

Jul 21, 2008, 7:46pm Top

Here are my Chapter 17 notes:

1. I love the sign and the messages of support.

2. It was great to finally get the full story of exactly what happened that night and extra cool to get it from L.V.'s perspective.

3. Finally they put the Horcrux in the bag!

Jul 21, 2008, 7:46pm Top

But they don't keep it there! Are they daft!?

Jul 21, 2008, 7:49pm Top

19: I wouldn't say that DD told Harry everything. He told him nothing about the Hallows, though he intended Harry to know about them (hence the book) and never bothered to mention to Harry how one goes about destroying a Horcrux, which he had ample opportunity to do. But I've ranted about that elsewhere in the DH discussion.

BTW: Is anyone else feeling like the story is moving faster? I could have sworn Ron was gone for longer. Having the breaks between reading seems to make the endless camping....less so.

Jul 21, 2008, 8:17pm Top

I'll give you my Chap 18 notes as well:

1. The drawing at the head of this chapter is excellent, Harry definitely looks older!

2. I think Harry was more willing to believe Rita's book because of his state of mind. He wanted to be mad at DD and the book gave him fuel.

3. Did you read the "chapter" any differently knowing that Grindewald and DD were in love? I was looking for hints or clues, but there wasn't much. However, it did make me wonder about DD's real motivation. I remember being "in love" at 17/18 and being perfectly willing to subscribe to my boyfriends ideals. While it's painful to think of DD being so insecure, it could have been a factor.

Jul 21, 2008, 8:29pm Top

The endless camping was in the last set of chapters. It starts to really get good now.

Here's the rest of my notes, finally:

Chpt 17
1. I wonder how they will do all the polyjuice stuff in the movies. Between the Ministry and Godric's Hollow, Harry & co. never look like themselves. I'd rather have Dan & Rupert & Emma on screen.

2. More of my Harry is a horcrux musings: How can you say one incantation and get another? Especially if you're Voldemort. (OK, I'll stop now.)

3. Actually think it's brilliant that it's been established that Harry doesn't know when he's speaking parseltongue, but how do Nagini and Voldy know this? I always thought it was just a Harry thing, since he really isn't the one who can speak it, just the little bit of Voldy inside him.

4. Why is it significant that Voldy finds the photograph of Grindelwald? Is it just that Harry had it? Why would it put any pieces together for him? It's just a picture of the guy he saw in Gregorivich's mind. Why would it make it any easier to figure out who he is? (He should buy Rita Skeeter's book!)

Chpt 18
1. I find it amusing that DD wrote an article about transfiguration. He isn't that knowledgable, he never figured out the Marauders!

2. Harry shouts and the birds react. Doesn't Muffliato work on animals?

3. DD's story of being a jerk in his youth, but seeing the light kind of reminds me of Malcolm X.

4. DD's misspent youth explains a bit to me as to why he wants to believe in Snape. He wants to believe in redemption for himself as well.

Chpt 19
(Probably my favourite in the whole book.)
1. Why is Harry so quick to follow the patronus so soon after the Bathilda fiasco. Wouldn't you expect him to be more cautious?

2. Who thought that somehow it was Lily's patronus? (part of me was hoping)

3. How big is the Forest of Dean? Yes, Snape hears from Phineas Nigellus where they are (conveniently, he happens to be in the office right at that moment), but still, how does he manage to find Harry under the enchantments?

4. If only DD had left Snape a putter-outer!

5. Ron is King Arthur!

6. The horcrux torturing Ron scene is so uncomfortable, so teen angsty. Oh, it makes me squirm, but in a good way.

7. Hermione's just like Mrs. Weasley when she is angry, and I'm sure it's no coincidence. (More brilliant characterization stuff.)

chpt 20
1. The only thing is that they are so stupid that they don't figure out why Lovegood is so twitchy. It doesn't occur to them! More inexperience.

Jul 21, 2008, 8:30pm Top

25.3 I thought that the first time I read it. But I'm bi, so I notice that kind of stuff. And I don't think JKR was heavy-handed at all about the sexuality, even with the heteros!

Jul 21, 2008, 8:40pm Top

26 LG, 19.1 That was what I thought when I first read it.

19.2 I was thinking it was maybe Lily's.

19.4 I have a feeling the putter-outer leads you to where your heart is. Even though Harry is Lily's child, Snape's heart definately isn't there.

20.1 I noticed the obvious signs of Lovegood's nervousness this time, but the first time I think I thought she was just making him seem odd. I did get suspicious when it took so long for Luna to show.

Jul 21, 2008, 8:58pm Top

26.4 (ch 17): I think the photo had an inscription on the back. Maybe I'm mistaken, and the book is a good 6 feet away from me so I'll check later. ;)

26.7 (ch 19): Indeed!!

28.19.4: So the Diluminator works a bit like Jack Sparrow's Compass!

Luna not showing up is what tipped me to Xeno's weirdness too.

Jul 21, 2008, 9:00pm Top

yeah who would continue fishing when their best friends forever were at at her house? Not even Luna!

Jul 21, 2008, 9:09pm Top

Pretty good story Xeno had though, that she would have enough for all of them for dinner.

Jul 21, 2008, 9:31pm Top

28.19.4 I like that idea. It really isn't spelled out how it works. How does this application relate to the putting outing? Or did it only work for Ron? Maybe DD could have made Snape's putter outer go to his most annoying student.

Jul 21, 2008, 9:42pm Top

32. Neville?


Jul 21, 2008, 9:59pm Top

Notes on chapter 19:

1) I'm with Ron on this one -- jumping into the pool after the sword, wearing the horcrux (and very little else) -- mental!

2) As others have noted, Hermione's reaction is perfect.

3) The whole thing with the Deluminator seemed a little contrived to me (no worse than Ted and Dean ending up right next to their campsite, I guess) -- maybe it just wasn't defined well enough to suit me.

The only note I have about chapter 20 is: Finally, a mention of the "Deathly Hallows." More about that in next week's discussion, I'm sure.

Jul 21, 2008, 10:04pm Top

I also felt "finally" when Ron kills the horcrux. It takes them long enough to get one down.

I agree that the putter outer is weak.

Jul 21, 2008, 10:17pm Top

Ch 19

1. This was my mom's favorite chapter in the whole series.

2. I like Ron's admission of how the locket affects him particularly strongly. It made me think of the One Ring -- the way it feeds on one's negative thoughts and desires and makes those feelings stronger. This also shows in a round-about way the strength of Harry's and Hermione's characters for them not to be strongly affected by the Horcrux.

4. The moment Ron raises the sword, red flashing in his eyes, is wonderfully tense. You see that bit of bad that lives in all of us. The difference between good and evil is just a choice.

5. The exchange between Ron and Harry ("That makes me sound a lot cooler than I was") is just perfect. How often we've seen this -- Harry always reminding everyone that he had help, that it didn't go as well as it sounded and Ron always being jealous.

6. Hermione's reaction to seeing Ron again is perfect for her. Again the Mrs. Weasley-ish temper. "Rack your brains, that should only take a couple of seconds!" :)

Jul 21, 2008, 10:20pm Top

Just to finish it off -- Ch 20

1. "No, he must've known you'd always want to come back." This is so great of Harry to say and a good point about Ron's character. He can be so impulsive, and then regret it later.

2. Everything about the Lovegoods' house is more perfect characterization.

3. A bit of a cliffhanger again -- finally hearing that the Deathly Hallows is something, but the explanation comes next time!

Jul 22, 2008, 8:45am Top

Just wanted to pop in and say hi! I have a bunch of tutorials I get to start watching today to learn some new (to me) database software so I don't think I'll be around much until I get home. I'll be back with my last two chapters notes then.

(*sniff* I feel like I'm missing out. The discussion is moving so fast!)

Jul 22, 2008, 9:09am Top

I did want to add that, like bib in post #24, the "endless camping" seemed to go by more quickly than I remembered, this time through -- probably because of the way we broke it up into sections.

Jul 22, 2008, 9:34am Top

Of course with bunks and armchairs and a complete kitchen it doesn't seem like real camping!

Jul 22, 2008, 12:25pm Top

34.1 Yeah, he takes off everything else he is wearing, why not the locket? I like the reverse reaction of the locket from when it got near the snake. Harry thought then it was reacting because it was near what would destroy it, but it was near another horcux. As it gets near the sword, it panics and fights for its life. Of course, Harry is another horcrux and it doesn't seem to effect the locket.

34.end Yes, we are about half way through and it is the first we hear of the Deathly Hallows!

Jul 22, 2008, 2:51pm Top

36.5 Lefty. I am glad Ron finally got to see this from Harry's usual view. Now, if it would just sink it!

39 FD I think the sections helped and just that we know that the camping will end. I was probably worried reading it for the first time that it would go on for the entire book.

40 Polly, I don't camp, and unless that tent had a bathroom, I would still say they were camping :) Of course, imagine how fast Ron would have left if they were just in a normal muggle tent!

Jul 22, 2008, 2:56pm Top

I'm pretty sure the tent has a bathroom.

Jul 22, 2008, 5:44pm Top

I agree, I think it was mentioned in GoF. Anyway, here are my Chapter 19 notes:

1. That's a long watch! Dawn to midnight?! On Xmas that would be 16 or 17 hours!

2. I was so excited knowing that Ron's coming back in this chapter I couldn't seem to get through the first paragraph, I wanted to skip ahead to Ron the Hero! I forced myself to read it correctly though. I love this chapter!

3. Oh how I hope they do it right in the movie, I want Rupert to do the "Are-you-mental?" line!

4. Eww...are we going to see Dan & Emma kiss? That just seems wrong somehow!

5. I'm so glad Jo had Hermione react that way to Ron's return, it's perfect!

6. What an interesting item the Deluminator is!

It seems I had many of the same thoughts as others!

Jul 22, 2008, 6:20pm Top

#44.4 -- I had the same thought as I was reading! That will be really weird and uncomfortable to watch -- but that was the point, wasn't it?

Jul 22, 2008, 9:18pm Top

I suppose. I still really don't want to see it! Chapter 20:

1. One of the many reasons I love being a woman:
Maybe...maybe it's something you need to find out for yourself," said Hermione with a faint air of clutching at straws"
"Yeah," said Ron syncophantically, "that makes sense."
"No, it doesn't," snapped Hermione.

2. Poor Mr. Lovegood. Who should play him? I think Jim Broadbent would have been good, but he's already Slughorn.

3. I suppose for a first-time reader that could be cliffhanger-like, finally about to discover what the Deathly Hallows are!

Jul 22, 2008, 9:36pm Top

46.2- Jo said in an interview last summer that she had a role picked out for Bob Hoskins in book/movie 7. I think this might be it. I wonder how much power she has with the movies and casting....

Jul 22, 2008, 9:40pm Top

I had to imdb to remind myself who he was. He certainly wouldn't be who I would picture, I could see him as Aberforth though.

Jul 22, 2008, 9:45pm Top

But then I'd have to come to terms with Mr. Smee as Xeno... wait... that might work.

Jul 23, 2008, 10:25am Top

I keep seeing John Hurt as Lovegood, but he's already playing Olivander. Bob Hoskins can play anything. He'd be great.

Jul 23, 2008, 10:28am Top

Why can't Michael Gambon play Aberforth as well?

Jul 23, 2008, 10:32am Top

I think Bill Nighy has got to play Scrimgeour.

Jul 23, 2008, 2:51pm Top

I'm amazed that no one has asked us to step in as casting directors.

Jul 23, 2008, 5:02pm Top

#51 -- Actually, I think I'd like Gambon much better as Aberforth than as Dumbledore!

Jul 23, 2008, 11:13pm Top

#54 — Is that just because you can see Gambon doing weird spells involving goats?

Jul 23, 2008, 11:35pm Top

Gambon, didn't he do the little cameo of Aberforth in the Hogs Head in OotP?

Jul 25, 2008, 1:49am Top

For some reason I didn't say this from chapter 20, but was Xeno's acquiring the Erumpet Horn resoundingly familiar or what? I am assuming we are to believe he did not get it by accident, as Hagrid did not accidentally come across a stranger with a dragon's egg. So was it to be an assassination?

Jul 25, 2008, 7:05am Top

Good question! I have to admit that never occurred to me. I'll think about it more as we read the next section!

Jul 25, 2008, 9:04am Top

hmmm, that is interesting, I always assumed that Xeno found it in his "Travels" but now I have to rethink it!

Jul 25, 2008, 10:10am Top

I always assumed it was staged, like the Hagrid thing. I guess I'm supicious by nature.

Jul 25, 2008, 10:11am Top

I wondered because he says he bought it only two weeks ago off a wizard who knew of his interest in Snorkacks. So he just happened across someone who had a "Snorkack horn" and knew Xeno would want it? As Hermione says, an Erumpet horn is Class B Tradeable Material, so just anyone probably wouldn't have had it.

Jul 25, 2008, 7:54pm Top

At the same time it could have been someone like Mundungus who had it and just needed to get rid of it, so he made up a story to get rid of the horn. Unfortunately there no "behind the scenes" button when you're reading Harry Potter…

Jul 26, 2008, 8:50am Top

ya gotta feel a bit sorry for Xeno tho, yes he turned them in and nearly got them killed but , he did love Luna!

Jul 26, 2008, 9:05am Top

Remember, everyone -- discussion of chapters 21-24 starts Monday! Don't forget to read!

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