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Pottermore: Goblet of Fire, chapter 21-end.

22 Aug

LOTEN:

This update covers most of the book for some reason (chapters 21-37), taking us right to the end of Goblet of Fire, which presumably means skipping over huge chunks and rushing through it since last time we ended on the first task and that was fairly close to the start of the year.

Hibernating Skrewts. Pretty pointless scene, but the Skrewts look kind of cool.

Hogwarts kitchens, lots of very ugly house elves standing around doing nothing, a couple washing some pots. Kitchen looks… very small considering it’s serving the whole school. No new info. But lots of very very very creepy noises when you hover over drunk Winky, who starts crying horrifically, and various spectating elves who moan oddly. That’s actually quite disturbing.

The Yule Ball. Pretty art, but not much else.

Care of Magical Creatures with Grubbly-Plank after Hagrid has his little tantrum crying fit or whatever. The artists can’t draw horses, the Beauxbatons palominos look weird, lol. Still no explanation for why only drinking whiskey hasn’t killed them. Huh, apparently unicorn hair can make bandages as well as wand cores… not sure why they need bandages since every injury seems to be healed instantly, but sure, whatever. Reading Skeeter’s article about how Hagrid shouldn’t be a teacher (she’s got a point) and I never noticed in the book but it says Hagrid became gamekeeper right after being expelled. In his third year. When he was fourteen. That’s not legal in Muggle Britain but apparently child labour laws don’t exist in the wizarding world, can’t say I’m surprised.

Ludo Bagman meeting goblins in the pub in full view of everyone. Pointless scene.

Harry taking a bath. No explanation for the existence of the prefect’s bathroom at all. It looks even more ridiculous than the description (there’s an actual diving board and the tub is lined with gold). No new info, but you can play with the taps. Mercifully we’re spared art of naked Harry.

Sudden jump to the lake task and meeting merpeople underwater. Yeah, we’re skipping a lot here. Finally some actual new content, about the Black Lake (here renamed to the Great Lake; not sure why it isn’t called Loch Something-or-other) – apparently the Hogwarts grounds are an actual nature reserve for magical creatures? That makes sense, though those parts really ought to be enforced as out of bounds to students… The merpeople are special Scottish merpeople and JK thinks regular giant squid are magical. The second task is JK’s favourite and originally in the first draft of CoS Harry and Ron were going to crash their car in the lake and meet the merpeople, who were actually going to be important in later books, and the lake itself would lead to other places. Pity she scrapped that, it might have been interesting.

Meeting Sirius in the cave. Why did he have to show up? At least the art is just of Padfoot, who’s much nicer (cancel that, you click him and he transforms, bugger). Amusingly, while Harry and Ron are pictured staring at him, Hermione has her back to him and is busy petting Buckbeak instead πŸ˜›

Hermione getting hate mail over things literally nobody in the world would care about. Unnecessary graphics of her hands being horribly burned. One of the owls menaces Harry, which is mildly amusing. Extra content about owls, even though I think she’s already talked about owls in an earlier book and I ranted about them a lot… There’s apparently an old British superstition that seeing owls during the day is unlucky, which I’ve never heard of, and this is because if wizards are sending messages by day then something bad is going on LOL WHAT wizards send messages at whatever time of day they damn well please because what is secrecy. Nobody knows how owls find people based on their names, including the people who train the owls in the first place… It’s also perfectly possible to block owls from finding you, which I suppose does at least explain why apparently nobody in the Ministry was bright enough to send an owl to Sirius and follow it when they were all trying to find him, but doesn’t explain why the Death Eaters didn’t do the same with Harry since there’s no way he would have worked out how to do it. JK admits she fucked up with Hedwig, since snowy owls fly by day and don’t make noises, and also admits she got a lot of letters about owl diets πŸ˜› I feel vindicated. Why on earth she didn’t spend thirty seconds researching this is beyond me, though.

Harry’s first snooping-in-someone-else’s-Pensieve experience, Crouch Jr’s trial. More new stuff, about Pensieves. They’re rare and most people are scared of them. Only powerful wizards can use them for some reason, and only super-special wizards can use them the way Dumbles does to sort out thoughts and ideas. Most Pensieves are buried with their owners. Dumbles’ one doesn’t belong to him, it’s a school one for all the Heads to use; there’s a rumour the Founders discovered it half-buried in the ground where they were going to build the school.

The maze. The picture makes it look tiny, actually, you’d get to the middle in five minutes. Clicking takes you through the maze to meet various monsters, which is kind of neat.

Voldy rising. Looks pretty creepy and atmospheric, but nothing new.

The weird golden net deus-ex-machina thing. James’ ghost whispering in Harry’s ear looks amusingly sinister. That’s really all there is to say.

Fake Moody being discovered. No new info.

Snape showing his Dark Mark. Awkward camera angle, they never show any faces in these scenes, so instead his hair is just completely covering his face. Looks stupid, but I’m glad they did this scene. Even if we do have to suffer Padfoot sitting on Harry’s bed growling at Snape for no reason.

This is where the illness and disability stuff is awkwardly shoehorned in, annoyingly. Let’s see…

“I decided that, broadly speaking, wizards would have the power to override ‘mundane’ nature but not ‘magical’ nature. Therefore a wizard could catch anything a Muggle might catch, but he could cure all of it; he would also comfortably survive a scorpion sting that might kill a Muggle, whereas he might die if bitten by a Venomous Tentacula. Similarly, bones broken in non-magical accidents… can be mended by magic, but the consequences of curses or backfiring magic could be serious, permanent or life-threatening.”

Well, that just makes no sense, but okay, sure, have that handwave if you must; she lists a few examples, Lockhart’s permanent amnesia, the Longbottoms, and Bill’s scars. This also doesn’t cover hereditary illnesses, birth defects, cancer and other non-contagious problems.

She states yet again that Lupin being a werewolf was a conscious HIV reference, and the Wolfsbane is meant to be analogous to the antiretroviral that stops it turning into AIDS; all Lupin’s angst was meant to demonstrate the isolation and stigma experienced by those with HIV. Except that Lupin’s angst was entirely of his own making since he was surrounded by friends who didn’t give a shit and only avoided him for three nights a month. Totally the same situation.

“Meanwhile Moody is the toughest Auror of them all, and a man who was very much more than his significant disabilities.”

Er, what disabilities? His wooden leg has no impact on his life, his missing eye was replaced with a more awesome x-ray version, and his severe paranoia and PTSD is dismissed as an amusing character quirk. He has no disabilities.

Also we note yet again the complete absence of any reference to mental or psychological illnesses or disabilities.

Moving on, the leaving feast. Nicely atmospheric, it’s silent and if you click Dumbles he gives his little speech about Cedric. Pointless scene though.

Finally, King’s Cross. Pointless scene. The end.

So, very rushed, but more extra content than I expected even if most of it was pointless.


 

MITCHELL:

Mostly it sounds like this update just had a bunch of art, from what you’re telling me. The thing about drunk Winky is disturbing though, and seems like an extension of her wonderfully sensitive treatment of alcoholism in the text. Oh looky at the poor pathetic thing, isn’t that such fun to watch? (Massive sarcasm tags, obviously). This shit really isn’t funny, Rowling, and I don’t have the slightest idea how to interpret this charitably even if I wanted to do so.

Hagrid became gamekeeper at fourteen. Right. Because that makes sense. I actually went and checked the books to see whether this was canon, and the same thing was explicitly said in the books too (I did a search for the word ‘expelled’ in PS/SS, CoS, and GoF to see what mentions I could find of it, and every time it just says he was expelled and allowed to stay on as gamekeeper immediately afterward). I have no idea why nobody’s commented on that before – well, you and I probably haven’t just because we try to avoid thinking about Hagrid where possible, perhaps, but that doesn’t explain the rest of the (anti-)fandom’s silence on the matter. I’m not surprised the wizarding world doesn’t have child labour laws though, they don’t have any other sensible laws either πŸ˜›

Seriously, a diving board and a gold-lined tub? For prefects? The prefects’ bathroom never made any sense in canon either (I honestly think it might have been a spur-of-the-moment invention because she needed some way for Cedric to return Harry’s favour, now I’m thinking about it)…

For once, something I actually like – Hogwarts’ grounds as a preserve for magical creatures makes perfect sense, and is a better explanation for why the fuck there’s a monster-infested ‘Forbidden Forest’ at a school among other things πŸ˜› (Still not a great one, because there’s absolutely no reason for the security to be so lax, but you know what I mean.) I assume the lake isn’t called Loch Something because then she’d have to either associate it with a real Scottish lake or else explicitly admit it’s completely imaginary; if she keeps it nameless she can keep up the atmosphere of mysterious plausibility (I’m not sure if that turn of phrase makes sense, but what I mean by it is the way the books were structured in such a way as to make it theoretically possible for the reader to believe the wizarding world was actually real and just hidden from them because they were Muggles; I think this actually might account for a lot of the books’ popularity, when you consider children younger than 11 being able to fantasise about receiving Hogwarts letters on their birthdays and so on). More content related to the merpeople could have been interesting, I suppose; that said, I wonder if she scrapped the car crashing in the lake because she couldn’t come up with an excuse for Harry and Ron to have survived it? Pity.

Oh, lovely, of course we needed more about the “Hermione gets misogynistic hate mail because of the tabloids” plot. Admittedly, thinking about it, that plotline didn’t have to be problematic and could have been used to make a really good point about the really awful things purity culture makes people do (especially in how it intersects with celebrity culture and gossip etc), but I don’t recall the book making any statements about it beyond something along the lines of ‘but Hermione didn’t even do what they’re trying to punish her for!’ rather than ‘even if she had, why the fuck should it matter?’.

The owl nonsense is vaguely amusing – I like that you point out that wizards are sending owls out by day constantly, so the connection to whatever superstition she’s thinking of (I’ve never heard of it either, but I suppose that could be a generational thing?) doesn’t actually work even if that was what her original inspiration was. And of course nobody knows how they find people – fuck it, it’s magic! (Too bad they were supposed to be children’s books or I would happily suggest ‘Harry Potter and the – Fuck it, It’s Magic!’ as an overarching title for an omnibus edition of the books.) Good point about the plot hole regarding blocking the owls – I suppose you can probably work around that, though; we could always assume something like adult wizards (e.g. Death Eaters, Ministry people, etc) just naturally assume everyone knows how to block unwanted owls, so they wouldn’t bother trying even if Harry never had a chance to learn? At least she admitted the mistake re: snowy owls and owl diets, that’s something at least πŸ™‚

Wonderful. So Pensieves (…I mistyped that as Peniseves and was tempted to leave it, take that for whatever you will) are super-special super-rare things that you need Su(e)per-powers to use, but everyone in the story who ever came into contact with one conveniently met that threshold?

On the illness/disability thing: I’m really not sure what to say about it, honestly. It seems kind of pointless to me, except that she’s done the same thing with everything else in the wizarding world so why not with injury and disease too? Basically she seems to have thought that the magical world couldn’t possibly use anything the non-magical world does, but has to instead have a magical counterpart (or in some cases, just antiquated counterpart, like the quills and parchment etc) that serves the same functional role but is more… er, magically whimsical or goofy etc. So of course wizards are immune to the diseases and injuries etc that non-magical people can get; they’re Better Than Us, after all! but they have their own diseases that are even worse because their lives couldn’t possibly be that different because of it. (I also notice that nothing is ever said, either in Pottermore or in the books themselves, about whether Muggles are susceptible to magical diseases…)

I agree with you completely about Lupin and Moody, naturally.


 

LOTEN:

Yes, this update was mostly pretty art and useless collectables πŸ˜› But there was more content than I was expecting, especially compared to last time, though they’re still skipping through it much faster than they did in the earlier books. Anyway, the crying-Winky sound file really was disturbing.

For my own sanity I’m going to assume Hagrid was apprenticed to the existing gamekeeper at fourteen, and took over the actual job later. That’s certainly not what really happened, but whatever. I assume that’s what the fans believe too, or they’ve never stopped to think about Dumbles making a teenage boy work for him illegally… though actually Dumbles wasn’t even Headmaster then. So why the hell does Hagrid worship him so much? Dippet was Headmaster when it all went down. Dumbles took over shortly afterwards because Dippet resigned over it, or something. Sense, this makes none.

I do wonder what ‘prefect’ meant at JK’s school. Because I was actually a prefect one year and it meant absolutely nothing and I certainly didn’t get any perks like a private swimming pool spa thing.

Yeah, I liked that idea too. So naturally it’s never mentioned in the books themselves and plays no part in the story. Good point about the lake name but she could always just have said offhand that Muggles call it something else and left that part vague. As for Harry and Ron’s survival, they’re more likely to survive crashing into a lake full of helpful magic creatures than they are crashing into a tree that wants to kill them πŸ˜› The impact would have about the same force regardless. She did say the tree crash was less dramatic than the lake one… I’m not sure it is, but okay.

Oh yes, the narrative never at any point says that it’s fucked up to hate a girl for dating someone. It’s too busy ignoring people sending dangerous substances to teenage girls (I wonder if Rowling realises it’s analogous to acid attacks?) and egging on the Weasleys slut-shaming their own baby sister for daring to go out with non-protagonist boys. Still, I’d rather they include the scene here than pretend it didn’t happen even if most people don’t realise how terrible it is.

I’m pretty sure no character at any point shows any concern for making their owls fly by day, whether for secrecy or for the birds’ welfare. Harry uses Pig at one point because Hedwig’s ‘too noticeable’ so that was obviously a daytime flight anyway and it’s never been said that the post is meant to be done overnight. Hell, the first book has owls stalking the Dursleys in broad daylight for days in the second chapter of the series. I like your title, haha. As for that handwave, I guess that works, if we also assume all these adult wizards forget that Hogwarts actually teaches you bugger-all πŸ˜›

Yep. Just like Patronuses and various other plot devices. At least she’s consistent?

Yes, that’s the basic summary of it. She does explicitly say in this entry that Muggles can’t catch dragon pox or spattergroit, and those are the only two magical diseases she bothered inventing. And IIRC Muggles can theoretically catch lycanthropy but they don’t taste as nice as wizards so they don’t get bitten, or something stupid like that. So they can get at least one magical disease, but not at least two others. I take back what I just said about consistency…


 

MITCHELL:

Fair enough πŸ˜› I’m never really sure how reasonable my expectations are, considering I’ve never seen the content firsthand…

That’s why I went and checked the actual text, because that was the version I’d had in my head as well (I think I’ve come across some fanfics that explicitly said he’d been made an apprentice then, also, so I knew I’d read it at one point; I didn’t want to confuse that with canon). So I think it’s entirely likely that most fans are operating on a similar assumption as well. You have a very good point raising the question about Dumbledore’s involvement, too – I suppose he could have become headmaster immediately following the incident, if that’s why Dippet resigned, and one of his first actions after assuming office was to offer Hagrid the job? That still doesn’t make a lot of sense, though, because one wonders how on earth he could have got away with it – his predecessor steps down because of a murder in the school, then his first act is to hire the student who was EXPELLED FOR (essentially) BEING THE MURDER SUSPECT? Considering it’s also strongly implied Dumbledore was the only person who believed Hagrid innocent, I can’t see how on earth he managed that.

Haha, yes.

Good point about the force of crashing into the lake; I’d mostly been thinking about the fact that it’s difficult to escape from a car underwater and that they would probably have suffocated… (I did take a look at the text to see if it said whether they’d had the windows rolled down but it doesn’t specify; if not, it’s very difficult to open car doors/windows/etc underwater due to the pressure. I suppose the presumably-helpful merfolk would make a difference there, though, so never mind.)

I hadn’t even considered the comparison to acid attacks; that’s very interesting (and disturbing, not that it tells us anything we didn’t already know about the awfulness of Potterverse wizard society), and I’m sure she didn’t intend that.

Good point. (Though I suppose the owls stalking the Dursleys in daylight could be written off as one of the sort of unusual events that inspired the superstition; that was early enough that she hadn’t established a pattern yet of wizards not caring what time of day the owls are out…)

Good point, heh πŸ˜›

Oh yes, consistency; what is that? πŸ˜‰ And just when we were prepared to give her credit for a bit of it, too…


 

LOTEN:

You’re not missing much πŸ˜› Though some of the art is neat, I suppose.

Fair enough then. I’m sticking with the apprentice theory anyway, I don’t need more ways in which canon is broken, lol. It’s not like I care about Hagrid enough to have an opinion anyway. You’re right that it’s not very plausible Dumbles could get away with hiring a disgraced murder suspect, but it’s probable nobody actually cared since the post of Hogwarts gamekeeper is completely pointless 99% of the time πŸ˜› In seven years Hagrid’s duties are looking for something that was attacking unicorns, which he failed at; growing pumpkins for Halloween which could be Transfigured; keeping roosters so they could die Because Plot; claiming to grow cabbages at one point because buying slug repellant was a cover story; breeding random monsters for his own amusement. Pretty sure that’s all he does. Nothing on the grounds is at risk from predators or poachers and nothing needs to be maintained for hunting, so a gamekeeper is useless, and the grounds presumably maintain themselves by magic. So the job is pointless and murder never matters in the wizarding world, it’s depressingly plausible Hagrid could get the job easily πŸ˜›

You’re forgetting this is a magic car that can open its own doors and kick its passengers out. Somehow. Because… adding something to make it fly gave it a brain? (And actually how did Arthur do it? He’s portrayed as a hapless idiot so scattered he can barely dress himself who knows nothing about machinery, but the flying and invisibility things are mechanical and done with buttons and so on, they were built not enchanted…) Anyway, it’s pretty academic since JK changed her mind about the random merpeople. Not sure what role she was expecting them to play later on anyway given that they can’t leave the water…

No, she probably didn’t; it only occurred to me as I was writing that part to you. But this is a girl in the public eye who is then maliciously exposed to a toxic liquid that causes serious injuries, for literally no reason except spite. Also can we just note this happened in front of the entire school at breakfast and not only did nobody investigate what must be a highly illegal assault, but her Head of House couldn’t even be arsed to follow the girl out of the room to see how badly she was hurt. (Nor could her friends, but we already knew they were selfish little bastards.)

I’m willing to accept that explanation, because it implies that Harry going to school was an awful thing necessitating the urgency of owls flying by day πŸ˜›

She does seem determined to avoid us cutting her any slack at all, doesn’t she?


 

MITCHELL:

I certainly didn’t think I was missing much, judging by what you keep telling me! πŸ˜›

Oh, agreed πŸ˜› It’s a bit weird Hagrid doesn’t appear to have any actual duties, though, if Hogwarts is actually a reserve for magical creatures (how many of those could there be, also? I think the only other one that ever gets mentioned is the dragon compound in Romania where Charlie Weasley works). And everything on the grounds is at risk from predators, but that’s Hagrid’s own bloody fault for introducing an invasive species of gigantic sapient spiders… does that count? πŸ˜› I suppose you do have a point that nobody seems to care about murder in the wizarding world, though if that’s true it raises the question as to why Dippet felt the need to resign (I suppose that’s depressingly realistic in a way though – everyone gives lip service to caring about things like murder even if they don’t in actuality, so somebody has to take the fall even if it won’t change anything to make it look like something’s being done…).

Bleh. Good point. I’m not sure what to say about the car’s wacky properties either, that always struck me as absurd too (but it’s really rather typical of Potterverse magic, isn’t it? Add magic to something and it gains +100 absurdity points as a byproduct, with no guarantee as to how those points will manifest). As for how Arthur did it… yeah, I don’t know either. Unless the idiocy is an act to try to avoid suspicion, but that’s really not supported by the text. Maybe he just installed various parts he stole while on the job, and didn’t create them himself; I seem to recall it having been established explicitly in the text that he did things like that from time to time, so I’m not sure that would be much more of a stretch.

That is a very good point. And people wonder why we go on so much about the abysmal safety standards at Hogwarts? Who in their right mind would want to go to a school like this? More to the point, how is it that things like this fail to make an impression on readers enough that they can seriously fantasise about how wonderful it would be to go there?


 

LOTEN:

Haha, true. Though I’m not sure they are at risk – the giant spiders make no sense because there’s nothing for them to eat. The only large animals and creatures we know of in there are unicorns that nothing kills, Thestrals that are probably more likely to kill the spiders, and centaurs that can probably outrun or avoid them. The spiders themselves only mention eating people, and there aren’t many of those wandering around the forest πŸ˜› I assume there must be non-magical things like deer and so on in there, the Thestrals need to eat too, so I suppose Hagrid might look after those. As for Dippet, maybe he just wanted an excuse to leave the crazy murdercastle πŸ˜›

Yeah, I think the car needs to go on the Fuck It, It’s Magic list of things we just give up trying to explain πŸ˜› Theft will do as a handwave.

Well, Hogwarts is mostly safe enough as long as you’re not a main character or a Slytherin, nobody cares enough to want to hurt you πŸ˜› But yes, that’s not really a great selling point, is it…

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3 Comments

Posted by on August 22, 2014 in loten, mitchell

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

3 responses to “Pottermore: Goblet of Fire, chapter 21-end.

  1. janach

    August 23, 2014 at 3:33 am

    Before Google, it took more than thirty seconds to research things. That doesn’t mean JKR couldn’t have done some owl research (one book from the public library would have sufficed), but it wasn’t quite as effortless in the olden days as it is now.

    By the way, in the early books Hagrid is referred to as groundskeeper, not gamekeeper. Does anyone remember at what point this changed? Probably in Book Three when he became a thoroughly incompetent professor. I trust Headmaster Snape demoted him back to groundskeeper and he stayed demoted. That would not be nastiness on Snape’s part; Snape cared more about student safety than anyone else at that school, and Hagrid cared only about his darling beasts.

     
  2. All-I-need

    August 23, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    “Harry uses Pig at one point because Hedwig’s β€˜too noticeable’ so that was obviously a daytime flight anyway” – actually, I think being too noticeable here means that she’s a snow owl and obviously Harry is the only person to own such an owl, therefore anyone would immediately recognise her as being his owl. Anything else wouldn’t make much sense because Pig is about as far from inconspicious as he can possibly get without turning neon green and flashing.

    I don’t understand that thing about Hagrid either, but since the Ministry is one collective failure and Hagrid is a half giant, I suppose he looked older than he was and they didn’t classify him as a child, nevermind his actual age. Dumbledore probably simply told them this was his new halfgiant gamekeeper whom he had found in a pub by coincidence and yes, he may look a bit like that student who just got expelled, but weirder stuff has happened.. and they would’ve believed that.
    As for what he actually does, I always assumed he was kind of the messenger between the creatures on the grounds and the headmaster, meaning the centaurs/merepeople/whoever might tell him things and he’d then tell Dumbledore and vice versa, for instance if there is anything important going on like students getting lost in the forest/falling into the lake. Also, isn’t it mentioned in the books somewhere that he spends half his time chasing Fred and George out of the forest? So that’s probably part of his job as well.

    You’ve already mentioned everything I could possibly have to say about Hermione and the letters – it’s just despicable and McGonagall’s uncaring attitude is really pissing me off. Has she ever actually listened to one of her students’ complaints without cutting them off and giving them detention or something? I honestly can’t remember. As far as being Head of House goes, she failed.

    Question: If Rowling had indeed written the crash into the lake, would the car then have haunted the bottom of the lake instead? And if so, how on earth were Ron and Harry supposed to escape the spiders in the forest? I can’t imagine the centaurs coming to their rescue, they don’t care, so I can see why she changed that part.

     
  3. Grape Order

    October 14, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    About the magical car crashing scene, I couldn’t help but think of this snarry fanfiction: The Boy Who Died A Lot by starcrossedgirl (http://snape-potter.dreamwidth.org/312641.html). It was quite interesting to see how the author let Snape rescue Harry millions of times using a Time Turner. Amongst the countless deaths of Harry, one was the car crash accident. Obviously Arthur only made the car fly, and Snape had to re-do all the protection spells on the car so that it could vomit Harry and Ron out before real damage happened.

     

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