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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Spies Like Us

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsChapter 12

So Kreacher has become a good guy to have around. A pleasant surprise for everyone.

Death Eaters are loitering in the square. Don't they know they're supposed to sit in a paneled van with lettering on the side proclaiming them to be a plumber, a delivery service or something equally unsuspecting, looking at monitors, wearing headphones and eating fast food. They could at least wear Muggle clothing to blend in.

Harry, Hermione and Ron have much better spy craft. Sneaking in and out day after day to do recon on the Ministry of Magic under the noses of Death Eaters would not please Voldemort. Their next job will be checking employee badges at the Ministry entrance if he finds out.

They've also chosen rather ordinary Ministry workers to use to get inside. More good spy craft.

Presumably the next chapter will reveal just how good our young spies are. They've just come face to face with Umbridge. That could be tricky.

Somehow they have to get into her office and find the locket. At least that's where it looks like this mission is headed. Fooling everyone has gotten them this far. They are going to have to keep outsmarting the unsuspecting Ministry. I can't imagine they could overpower or outmagic them to get out with the goods.

Of course, getting the locket is only half the battle. Destroying the horcrux in it might be the real challenge.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Another complication

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsChapter 11

The Lupin thing was weird. Agree?

Harry, it seems, didn't want Lupin to be in any more danger. He already didn't want his BFFs along for the same reason. But they were harder to tell no. Make Lupin mad enough to leave. That was the strategy. But it was quite uncomfortable for everyone.

Too bad about Scrimgeour if the story is true about protecting Harry. I take back calling him Schemegeour if it's true.

Voldemort is connivingly brilliant with his puppet leadership and his propaganda and silent takeovers. There is fear throughout the land, and that only adds to his power to control. Wait. That's why Lupin came. Wouldn't get that news without someone showing up at 12 Grimmauld Place.

Back to Voldemort. There's this Harry Potter fella he knows is a problem and gives people hope. His failure to deal with Harry is consuming him. Usually that creates blindspots and leads to an overconfident downfall. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

What matters at the moment is that the locket with the horcrux has fallen into the hands of Umbridge, the High Instigator. Whose side is she on? With plot twists and surprises what they are, I won't attempt to guess. I'm keeping an open mind.

Right now Harry is convinced that destroying the horcruxes is the key to victory. But there are a lot of chapters left and lots of things we don't know yet. I would quit trying to figure it out, but what would I write about otherwise?

I'll keep blindly forging ahead much like Harry, Ron and Hermione are. No Lumos charm will help. Whatever class you learn that in at Hogwarts, I wasn't paying attention.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Horcrux Hunt

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsChapter 10

RAB. I had to think for a few paragraphs what that was from. My reading has drifted for a while, but I'm back hoping to be diligent for another 26 chapters and end this thing.

So RAB represents the initials of Sirius Black's brother Regulus. He's the one he swapped the horcrux locket with a fake locket. It all made sense as I kept reading. Harry is now on the trail of a horcrux he thought was gone forever. It's still gone, possibly forever, but there is hope.

Kreacher. What a pathetic existence. He's in the house all alone. Of course, no one has been ordering him around, but still. I'm not as empathetic as Hermione, but still.

Kreacher now has the important job of finding Mundungus Fletcher and retrieving the horcrux. Not sure how Harry will destroy it, but there's probably something in one of those ancient books in Hermione's go bag.

The letter. Does it mean anything? Does it hold clue? Does Mundungus have the rest of it? Will we find out what Harry's mum said about Dumbledore?

I don't have a house elf to help me find these answers, so I'll just keep reading. I'd like to say I'll be finished in 26 days. But my track record says it will take longer than that.

But not too much. I promise.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Great Escape

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsChapter 9

Suddenly the story is in action-movie mode.

Subbing for the car chase through tight European streets and alleys: A quick now-you-see-them-now-you-don't getaway thanks to Hermione's quick thinking and forward thinking to have the go bag of all go bags ready.

Subbing for the fight in a crowded street market: The cafe brawl with Death Eaters, and the "Men In Black" style memory wipes.

Subbing for the GPS tracker stealthily placed on someone's collar: The Death Eaters have a magical way of tracing Harry's movements. That mystery remains unsolved.

Subbing for the deserted warehouse or the cabin in the woods hideout: Grimmauld Place with the requisite amount of dust and creep factor.

Some good news comes through Arthur's patronus that all is well back at the Burrow. But Harry's scar is inflamed. He's seeing Draco being made to serve Voldemort's evil plans. More of these episodes to come.

What's next?

I can't see them sticking around the Black homestead for long. There are bad guys to stop and horcruxes to find. I don't think they'll all toddle around under the invisibility cloak together. But they do need to be able to move without being seen or traced.

Someone will figure something out. They always do.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The wedding crasher

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsChapter 8

The only part of this chapter I truly care about is the final italicized line. But to write something to which you are accustomed, I must acknowledge some of what comes before the final, plot-shifting moment.

As Captain Jack Sparrow once said, "Weddings? I love weddings." And I do. I enjoyed a wedding day with my lovely bride, and I walked two daughters down the aisle.

This wedding chapter, however, seems to exist to get everyone in one place for that big thing that happens at the end. And it gives us Barny Weasley, a k a Harry Potter. Playing the part of Barny, the cousin who is oddly there with no immediate family, Harry learns many things without even trying.

Harry also meets a lot of strange people (that happens a lot at weddings) like Xenophilius Lovegood and Auntie Muriel. They are both people to avoid for different reasons before the ceremony and especially during the reception. After the tufty-haired wizard (would never want to be described as tufty-haired) performs the ceremony, dancing and talking ensues.

Viktor Krum informs Barny/Harry that XL is sporting a Grindelvald sign, apparently paying homage to the dark wizard that Dumbledore defeated. Does it mean anything? Most things do.

Then the name Gregorovitch suddenly hits Harry. He remembers it now and that Gregorovitch is a wand maker of excellent reputation because Voldemort was searching for him. Thoughts race through Harry's mind. Harry, it seems, must find Gregorovitch.

Harry mingles as all good wedding guests do and stumbles upon Elphias Doge and tells him he's not really Barny Weasley. Doge assures Harry that Dumbledore never experimented with the Dark Arts. Of course the hundred-and-seven-year-old Auntie Muriel shows up and can't shut up.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I truly hope all of her talk about Dumbledore and his sister, etc., is pure nonsense. The rumors are there and may need to be dealt with. Still, I hope she isn't credible. It would be like Rita Skeeter being credible.

But there is a bombshell in the end for Harry: The Dumbledores live in Godric's Hollow where the Potters lived. But before this news flash can be discussed, the thing at the end of the chapter happens.

Kingsley Shacklebot's Patronus in the shape of a lynx lands on the dance floor to announce that the ministry has fallen into the hands of the Death Eaters, that Scrimgeour has been killed and that the Death Eaters are coming.

What a party-pooper Kingsley is. But his announcement does beg the question: Are the Death Eaters coming in a general sort of way like taking over the world kind of thing or are they literally coming to the wedding reception?

In either case, the honeymoon is over.

Monday, May 18, 2020

What's it all mean?

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsChapter 7

Dumbledore never did anything on a lark. His actions had purpose. No doubt these odd objects he bequeathed to Harry, Ron and Hermione will come in handy some day. And it won't be until they need them that they will understand the purpose.

That's my prediction anyway.

Schemegour sure knows how to crash a party.

"May I see your invitation?" I would've said.

"Do you know who I am?" Schemegour would've said in his most offended voice possible.

"Yes," I would've gladly admitted. "That's why I'm asking."

The matter of the sword of Godric Gryffindor is interesting. Harry, I'm guessing, will get his hands on it at some point.

Quite the back and forth between Harry and Schemegour about the sword. When Harry fires back about the minister earning some respect, well, that was exciting. Then Harry tells the minister he doesn't like his methods. The gloves are off.

This guy should to go back to the ministry and hang out with Umbridge. Schemegour and the High Instigator ought to just do a puzzle or something and stay out of everyone else's business. Hope they fight over who gets to place the last piece.

I don't recall any gifts I received on my 17th birthday. That was 1981. It was a Friday, so I probably played in a basketball game that night. The next night, if there wasn't a game, we probably went out to eat.

I certainly didn't open a Deluminator, The Tales of Beedle the Bard or an old Snitch. Can't say I feel cheated. For now, they can make it dark, try to figure out what "I open at the close" means that was written on the Snitch and catch up on some missed childhood reading.

Lights out. There's a wedding tomorrow.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Listening and watching along with Harry

I wrote the other day about the new Harry Potter read-along on Today I listened and watch along for 28 minutes about The Boy Who Lived, read by Daniel Radcliffe.

Before I did the #HarryPotterAtHome thing as it's being tagged on social media, I looked back at the post I wrote about Chapter 1 of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." I got so caught up in the cat thing, because of my feline phobia, that I missed all sorts of important things in my introduction to Harry Potter. Things that I now realize are important as I have progressed through the opening chapters of "Deathly Hallows."

I started jotting things down as I listened to the perfect British voice of Harry:

  • The Dursleys are perfectly cast characters to be Harry's kin. Yes, they are annoying and mean, but as we came to learn book after book they are exactly what Muggle relatives of Harry should be like.
  • All of things Uncle Vernon noticed that day fueled his dislike for "that lot" as he often referred to magical folk.
  • The owls were flying everywhere. I had forgotten all about that.
  • The mention of Godric's Hollow. I had not remembered that name even when it came up in recent chapters I have read. Now, it appears, Harry will be returning to the scene of the crime that made him a hero.
  • Completely forgot that McGonagall didn't want Harry left with the Dursleys. Can't say I blame her, but Dumbledore was ever the wise one. He remained safe on ye olde Privet Drive.
  • I had no recollection that Hagrid made such an early appearance. And how appropriate it was for that noisy motorbike (borrowed from Sirius, a name we knew nothing about then) to be the vehicle for Harry's arrival at Privet Drive and for his final getaway. How many of you remembered that when you read the "Seven Potters" chapter? It's been 10 years, so I, of course, didn't remember anything about Harry's arrival.
  • No wonder Hagrid has been so protective of Harry. Hadn't considered why until just now.
  • Finally, this was our introduction to the scar, which didn't seem important at the time.

The Chapter 2 reading is live. "The Vanishing Glass" reading is by Noma Dumezweni. She portrayed Hermione in the original cast of "The Cursed Child" in London and on Broadway.

On the Wizarding World website you can sign up for alerts and such. I figured I would sign up so I will know when a new chapter reading is posted. During the signup process, the Sorting Hat appeared and there were a series of questions designed to put you in a house.

I paused.

Do I really want to do this?

Might as well.

I came out a Hufflepuff.

Nerdiest thing I've ever done.

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash