sarnath: Harry Potter riding a Thestral (Harry Potter on Thestral)
[personal profile] sarnath
I'm really excited about this chapter, because it's one of the points in the series where Harry's world opens up; not in the way it did when he came to the wizarding world, but it still has a lot of impact: he makes friends outside his Hogwarts House. Well, she's still an acquaintance at this point, but she's introduced here, and one of the things she represents is the widening of Harry's world.

It's a theme of this book, I think; not only breaking down, but opening up.

yet again Harry found himself walking down a corridor ending in a locked door.

Amongst all the other dream images this is easy to miss. And it's started early, even before the school year. Damn.

This is the day they leave for school, and a whole bunch of people are involved - Harry needs guards, as Hermione points out to him - but interestingly someone is still missing.

‘I’ll still be reporting Sturgis to Dumbledore,’ said Moody, ‘that’s the second time he’s not turned up in a week. Getting as unreliable as Mundungus.’


Another new thing: Harry can't sit with Ron and Hermione since they have prefect duties already and there's a prefect carriage. He and Ginny runs into Neville, who is also looking for somewhere to sit.

‘What are you talking about?’ said Ginny, who had squeezed past Neville to peer into the compartment behind him. ‘There’s room in this one, there’s only Loony Lovegood in here –’

Luna! Seems Ginny knows of her, though they're obviously not friends (don't think she'd call her "Loony" if they were").

‘Had a good summer, Luna?’ Ginny asked.

‘Yes,’ said Luna dreamily, without taking her eyes off Harry. ‘Yes, it was quite enjoyable, you know. You’re Harry Potter,’ she added.

‘I know I am,’ said Harry.

Neville chuckled. Luna turned her pale eyes on him instead.

‘And I don’t know who you are.’

‘I’m nobody,’ said Neville hurriedly.

‘No you’re not,’ said Ginny sharply. ‘Neville Longbottom – Luna Lovegood. Luna’s in my year, but in Ravenclaw.’

I wonder if Ginny and Neville are friends, though? They did go to the Yule ball together and I like how she defends him.

Neville shows off his new plant, and we're told that Herbology is his favourite subject. Harry is not very impressed with the thing, though...

Liquid squirted from every boil on the plant; thick, stinking, dark green jets of it. They hit the ceiling, the windows, and spattered Luna Lovegood’s magazine; Ginny, who had flung her arms up in front of her face just in time, merely looked as though she was wearing a slimy green hat, but Harry, whose hands had been busy preventing Trevor’s escape, received a faceful. It smelled like rancid manure.

Luckily Stinksap isn't poisonous! Harry could be happier, and with perfect timing Cho decides to stop by to say "hi".

He would have liked Cho to discover him sitting with a group of very cool people laughing their heads off at a joke he had just told;

Of course, of course. This scene is amazing juxtaposed with the similar one in, if I recall correctly, the beginning of HBP. But here Harry just wants to look good in front of his crush (and I actually love how this one plays out, it's one of the funniest parts of this otherwise rather dark book).

Shortly thereafter Ron and Hermione shows up, and seriously, did Luna have a crush on Ron or were she taking the mickey? Hm, perhaps it's both.

And Harry finally gets a look at The Quibbler, which I really wonder if it's an in-canon joke on the reliability on newspapers or if we're supposed to see something else there.

Harry did not read any further. Fudge might have many faults but Harry found it extremely hard to imagine him ordering goblins to be cooked in pies.

You and me both, Harry. But I love it all the same. Stubby Boardman!

And then Draco Malfoy shows up, which, as a H/D shipper, is something that always makes me happy, of curse, but Harry is sadly not with me on this.

Harry looked around; he had expected this, but that did not make the sight of Draco Malfoy smirking at him from between his cronies Crabbe and Goyle any more enjoyable.

Unfortunately, he implies that he has seen Sirius at the platform (dogging your steps).

Hermione slammed the compartment door behind them and turned to look at Harry, who knew at once that she, like him, had registered what Malfoy had said and been just as unnerved by it.

‘Chuck us another Frog,’ said Ron, who had clearly noticed nothing.

Harry could not talk freely in front of Neville and Luna. He exchanged another nervous look with Hermione, then stared out of the window.

I'm a big fan of Harry and Hermione's friendship, and in many ways they have more in common than Harry and Ron, I think.

I had forgotten that it takes all day for the train to reach Hogwarts, and I think it's a really nice touch; it gives the kids a chance to make friends or catch up with new ones on the way.

Harry was sitting with his forehead pressed against the train window, trying to get a first distant glimpse of Hogwarts

He's nearly home.

But he's in for even more surprises: Hagrid is not there, and the horseless carriages are no longer horseless.

There were creatures standing between the carriage shafts. If he had had to give them a name, he supposed he would have called them horses, though there was something reptilian about them, too. They were completely fleshless, their black coats clinging to their skeletons, of which every bone was visible. Their heads were dragonish, and their pupil-less eyes white and staring. Wings sprouted from each wither – vast, black leathery wings that looked as though they ought to belong to giant bats. Standing still and quiet in the gloom, the creatures looked eerie and sinister. Harry could not understand why the coaches were being pulled by these horrible horses when they were quite capable of moving along by themselves.

Things are not what they seem, Harry, not at all. I really like the way the Thestrals are depicted on the cover of the Swedish edition of OotP, I think it conveys the wildness and strangeness really well.

 photo HarryPotterampTheOrderOfThePhoenixbyAlvaroTapia_zpsdd6ab3af.jpg

Draco is predictably being a bully to the first and second years, but I would love to know more about him and his gang. Only the ones we already know are mentioned by name, annoyingly!

And now Harry notices that Ron can't see the "horse things". But Luna is there to the rescue:

‘Oh, yes,’ said Luna, ‘I’ve been able to see them ever since my first day here. They’ve always pulled the carriages. Don’t worry. You’re just as sane as I am.’

Smiling faintly, she climbed into the musty interior of the carriage after Ron. Not altogether reassured, Harry followed her.

I really love how Harry throughout this chapter is really like a ship without an anchor, going where he's pushed and dragged by other people, and generally confused; everything speaks of things not remaining as they've always been, represented perhaps strongest in how Hagrid, the first person from the magical world Harry met, being gone. Familiar things are gone or changed. Sort of what the whole book is about: loss and breaking and opening things up.

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