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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Of Sirius Black And That Firebolt

I'm rereading Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban. It is my favourite of the entire series, but I do have to wonder about some things.

Right now, I'm wondering about Harry's mysterious Christmas gift; that's what I'm up to. Hermione has just said something that will end in a quarrel between her and the boys. She believes - correctly, as it turns out - that it was sent by Sirius Black. Of course, we all know by now that Sirius had no evil intentions when he sent it. 

The question nobody in the novel asks is - how? And not just the Firebolt, but the Christmas gifts in general. The students left at school wake up to a pile of gifts. Probably they arrive by owl mail - there don't seem to be any wizard  posties - and maybe the house elves deliver them to the rooms. We haven't yet been told about house elves, though, yet neither of the Muggle-bred members of the trio asks about it. I assume Ron takes it for granted. 

And then there are the pitiful "gifts" from the Dursleys - how do they get to Hogwarts? Does Hedwig turn up and hoot loudly until she's given something? I can just see Uncle Vernon chasing off "that bloody bird!" But if it was Hedwig, assuming she wore Vernon down, she would have delivered the mail personally. 

But let's continue on to Sirius and the Firebolt. Of course he can't go to London, walk through the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley in his filthy - and recognisable - robes, so he sends Crookshanks to the Owl Office with his order. I assume he has stolen a copy of the Daily Prophet from somewhere to look at the ads and maybe stole some money for postage at the same time. But think about it. He sends an order for the broom, right? Presumably with his name on it because, while I suspect the goblins wouldn't care much whether the vault owner was on the run from Azkaban - Gringott's, I bet, is a bit like a Swiss bank - they would care if someone just turned up and said, "Hi, I'm from Quality Quidditch Supplies, can you let me into vault 711, the owner didn't give us his name." He would have to have given his name and signed it.

So, why didn't QQS report that they had received an order from somewhere near Hogsmeade, apparently from that crazy escaped convict Sirius Black?

Another thing. If McGonagall thought that the broom had arrived from Sirius, there would be more to worry about than whether it was hexed. Like - how did Sirius get into the castle and put it in Harry's dorm when last time he couldn't get past the portrait hole? And if he did, she should be asking, why is Harry still alive? But all she does is get the broom checked out for spells.  To do a spell on the broom, he would have had to get the broom directed to him, not to Hogwarts. If I'd been Minerva, I would at least have questioned whoever delivers Christmas gifts to students, whether it's the house elves or - shudder! - Argus Filch. Where did the broom come from - was it from QQS? In which case there might not be as much reason to worry that Black had got into the castle, though she should be contacting the shop for details. Did a couple of owls just drop a parcel with Harry's name on it to be delivered? Fine, time to check for spells.

As I've said, it's my favourite of the whole series. It's dark, but it's the last book in the series in which nobody dies. It's the most atmospheric of them all.

But I do have some nit picks with it! Which isn't going to stop me from rereading it.

Do you have some favourite glitches in this series?


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue - that is some 'investigating' into the book - I've never got into the books properly - got rather fed up with the hype - but can quite see how talented JK is ... and how she got Harry Potter right - regardless of the odd nits! I'd have never queried ...I'd have been reading the story ... cheers Hilary

Sue Bursztynski said...

And I've been reading the story too. But after you've read it a few times, as I have, you do notice things you might not have noticed the first time. Which doesn't put you off reading it again. I started reading these books BEFORE the hype. By the time it became big, I was already a fan. And I'll tell you something else. When the series was coming out, there were bookshop gatherings in Melbourne, where I live, bands playing, choirs singing, people sitting in the street and in coffee shops reading. Recently, at the Melbourne Writers Festival, people came in costume, parents and kids together - one prize went to a family of Dementors, with one child as a prisoner, complete with number tag. Another went to a young man who came as Snape, not only in costume, but in the way he moved, and afterwards children asked to get their photos taken with him and he knelt obligingly and kept a solemn face, because Snape would never grin.

And all this fuss was about a series of books! Tell me this EVER happened for an adult book. Oh, they get hyped, but never celebrated.This hype was well deserved, IMO.

Sue Purkiss said...

Goodness, you're a careful reader!

Sue Bursztynski said...

Really, just someone who has read the book several times!

Louise said...

Hi Sue- I've finally managed to find your blog, I've looked before, tried various links but couldn't somehow. Thanks for leaving a link to make it easy for me. Although you may not like it when I confess that I only ever read the first Harry Potter! I know. Shocking. I always figured that I would read them aloud with my son when he got to the appropriate age, but he decided when he was 4 (and knew nothing about them) that he didn't like them, and so it never happened. I'll get to them at some stage with my 1001 quest.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Louise! Glad you made it at last. I think four may be a bit young for Harry Potter anyway. My great-nephew is 8 and reading his way through the entire series, but he is way ahead in reading ability. Perhaps at some stage you can watch the first film with your son?

One of our students, a girl of about 16, is finally reading the series - and she has read about 34 books this year! More, she says, but those are the ones she recorded for the Premier's Reading Challenge. Her new best friend I a HUGE fan.

Sharon Himsl said...

Confession. I only read half way through book 2. My husband devoured them. In fact he read the series twice. It was at a busy time for me, so I let the movies and my husband fill me in. Now feel kind of bad about that. Thinking I should read someday.

Sue Bursztynski said...

You needn't feel bad about it - not everyone has read it or intends to. The films are pretty good. When you read do it because because you WANT to, not because you feel you ought to!