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Monday, December 26, 2011

This is getting to be old hat

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 11

I see the next chapter is titled "Professor Umbridge," but we already got a rude introduction to her. She seems rather self-important, not an entirely unprecedented trait for a professor of defense against the dark arts. Apparently we'll be learning more in Chapter 12 about this charming witch. Prof. Umbridge has certainly taken umbrage at the leadership of Dumbledore, good man that Dumbledore.

And IN CASE YOU MISSED the Umbridge speech, the ever-clever Hermione gave us an interpretation. She did tell us she works for Fudge, an interesting note.

Of course, before the Umbridge illumination, the sorting hat, as we know, purports to have a touch of omniscience. So the hat predicts a rough year ahead: Thanks for that insight. Didn't see that coming.  (OK, enough with the sarcasm. Don't want to be called a hater.)

Poor Harry (sorry for more sarcasm), always the reluctant hero/celebrity.. Everybody snickering at him and talking behind his back. It's just not fair. Do you suppose he was sucking his thumb behind those curtains around his bed? Sorry, sorry for that nasty remark. I know he's only 15.

OK, let's move on and see what the Order of the Phoenix has planned. I'm sure Harry will snap out of his self-pitying funk. He usually does enough to get the job done.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ready for a long winter's nap

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 10

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
People were stirring, watching "It's a Wonderful Life"
I was hanging out in a recliner in the next room
Reading about Harry Potter and his broom ...

Well, that's enough effort on my poetry skills, or lack thereof. After a long winter's drive and some soup to warm the tummy, I settled down in a comfy recliner and read Chapter 10.

About time those kids went off to school. There's nothing quite like the beginning of school. There are always changes, some welcome, but  most  not. Harry has to deal with his friends and Malfoy being prefects, no sight of Hagrid, somebody named Luna Lovegood, seeing those "horse things" for the first time, and still not knowing what his future holds.

It ought to be another interesting year full of trouble from all things Slytherin, more attempts on his life by Voldemort and probably girl trouble. Gotta throw some of that in there, I suppose.

Harry and his gang sprang to their carriage
And away they all flew off to the castle
And I heard them exclaim, 'ere the rode out of sight
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Monday, December 12, 2011

My promise

My plan for Christmas break is to rise from the ashes of not blogging and finish "The Order of the Phoenix." It's a long book, but I think I can do it. So be rooting for me.

I will have to go back and read my posts on this blog to remind me what this is all about. I seem to remember there is a character by the name of Harry Potter and he's trying to survive and defeat at the same time some arch-enemy whose name begins with V. I'm sure it will all come back to me once I dust off the book.

Should be a magical month of December.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Finale sets box-office record

If I could get through these books while "Deathly Hallows, Part 2" is still in the theater, I will be able to count myself as part of the final tally. But I'm not betting on it.

If you haven't seen this movie, my daughters say it is the best of the lot. And they recommend taking a box of tissues. Here's a story on the record-breaking weekend that took down Batman.

The postman rings twice

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 9

He got off, he did
Harry Potter is going to Hogwarts
More trouble ahead

So much to celebrate at the House of Black. The decontamination, of course, is forging ahead. Sounds like they could get some EPA galleons as a Superfund site, or, at the least, some hazmat suits.

There was little time to celebrate Harry’s innocence. The unexpected prefect news brought great joy to the Weasley household, and some humor from the underachieving twins. I’m not a big fan of Ron, but I agree that it was nice for him to catch a break. Yeah, he’s a good friend to Harry, but he does complain and whine and sulk quite often.

Hermione’s selection was certainly not surprising. She will be the perfect prefect. At least that’s what’s expected.

I’m wondering what being prefects will mean for Ron and Hermione. Will they be able to help Harry when helping Harry requires breaking a rule? Or maybe this is part of the Order’s plan. While they won’t tell state secrets, they have to know that our three amigos will somehow get involved, and having prefect badges might come in handy. After all, one of V’s top priorities is killing Harry. V has to save what face he has.

Meanwhile, Harry is working out his priorities. It’s good that he has realized that he “don’t need no stinking badges.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reading the book, not going to the movie

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapters 6, 7 and 8

I just dropped off my three daughters at the theater for the midnight showing of "The Deathly Hallows, Part 2." I was hoping to be all the way through the books so that I could watch with them, but I've been under a non-reading spell lately. I had to drop them off early because of the long line. I thought about just having them apparate there and back to save me the two trips, but I looked on my iPad and there wasn't an app for that.

It has been my practice to write about each chapter, but I am leaving that path at least for this post. These three chapters could have been one long one leading up to Harry's hearing.

We learned lots about the House of Black how lots of magic people are related. All very interesting, but not much action other than Fred and George apparating and the cleaning of doxies out of the curtains.

Then we get a tour of the Ministry of Magic in the next chapter. I kept wondering what floor the sporting goods were on.

The hearing was peculiar. Fudge, of course, trying to keep the Voldemort thing quiet tried his best to run a kangaroo court and convict Harry. But Dumbledore is about 10 times smarter than Fudge, and the other members of the Wizengamot were obviously not intimidated by Fudge.

So Harry is free to return to Hogwarts and see what kind of trouble he can get into. Not sure what kind of showdown is coming with Voldemort or his minions in this book, but I'll keep trying to push ahead this next couple weeks and finish it up.

Meanwhile, I need to rest up to go get the moviegoers who are undoubtedly witnessing the magic world's version of "The Gunfight at the OK Corral."

Friday, June 3, 2011

After-dinner ghost stories

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 5

The meeting wasn't official
But Harry got the scoop on V
Danger surely lies ahead

I'm with Harry on this one. Make him a member of the OOTP. There is no doubt an egomaniac like Voldemort will devise a new way to finally kill the boy. What better way to stop Voldemort than to have Harry in the inner circle.

But what do I know? I'm just a muggle.

This little after-dinner chat has served to catch us up on what the OOTP and V have been up to for the past month while Harry has narrowly survived his Privet Drive sentence. Lots of peaking around corners, slithering up dark alleys, looking through keyholes, apparating to and fro and wand waving is sure to carry us through this 870-page book (I'm only on page 98).

Dumbledore appears to be firmly in control of the OOTP. And as strange things begin to happen, it seems that the OOTP will be able to convert more to their side.

Still, what was said about V trying to stay under the radar might keep this war from being front-page news. I think it will be more fun if the story continues to be one clandestine operation after another.

So let's all keep this to ourselves.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 4

I suppose Harry has cause for being angry. He has proven he can take care of himself. A bit of explanation about how the summer would go, etc., would have been in order from Dumbledore. Alas, it didn't happen that way and Harry got to speak in ALL CAPS. (By the way, when you get an email or text in ALL CAPS does it feel like the sender is shouting at you?)

So Harry's ANGRY and the Order of the Phoenix is meeting in this rather odd safe house that apparently hasn't been used since the last time Voldemort was on the loose. Funny how others still shudder at the mention of that name.

Percy's allegiance to all things Ministry isn't surprising. He goes where the prestige is and where his ambition will pay off. If the Order of the Phoenix ever gets to work above ground, his tune will change.

Now that Harry is reunited with Sirius, will his tune change as well? OR WILL HE STAY ANGRY AT DUMBLEDORE?

Sorry for the long break since my last post, BUT I'M TRYING.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Have broom, will travel

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 3

A chapter with another good-bye to the dreaded Dursleys and a slew of new characters with more funny names.

Except for Kingsley Shacklebolt ... let that name run through your mind in a British accent. It's what all British names should be made of. Can't you just hear the queen saying, "Kingsley dear, do pour me another cup of tea."


I do say it was interesting to meet the real Alastor Moody. This Mad-Eye acts a lot more like the Mad-Eye that was described in Goblet of Fire. This one is way more paranoid, eccentric and irritable. Tonks (I promise not to call her Nymphadora) is apparently along for the ride to provide balance to Mad-Eye. And Lupin is there to make Harry feel comfortable.

Note to self: If you are ever invited on a night-time broom ride, wear a coat, gloves and a ski mask.

This story might be getting a little TV-crime-drama-like with Harry being taken to a safe house in a London slum. I guess I will soon find out who and what this secret society called the Order of the Phoenix is.

Maybe they are about to rise again.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Not much private on Privet anymore

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 2

I couldn't remember what a Squib was so I Googled it. How crazy is it that I found a wiki that had the definition and an entire entry devoted to what a Squib is. I would say it's ridiculous for people to put this much work into fictional characters, but then look at me. I'm pretty sure some people think I'm crazy, and more would if they knew about this little blog.

"A Squib is someone who was born into a wizarding family but hasn’t got any magic powers. Kind of the opposite of Muggle-born wizards, but Squibs are quite unusual."
— Ron Weasley discussing Argus Filch

And I thought a squib was when you bounce a kickoff along the ground to prevent the dangerous return man from making a big play. Anyway, I'm sure we'll see more of Mrs. Figg if she doesn't get thrown into Azkaban for murder.

This episode of the Dursley's trying to uncover what happened to Dudley is comical. Vernon must have a strong heart, because he's not one to take things in stride. Harry, on the other hand, was just the opposite. He doesn't care what the Dursleys know and he tells them everything. What's the point in hiding it with owls in and out of the house and Dudley trying to blame him for everything?

Of course, when Petunia reveals that she knows what Dementors are, the whole scene changes. Harry finally gets some Privet Drive cred even though Vernon tries to throw him out. Then the Howler shows up and Petunia is shown to know even more about wizarding. "Are you in touch with wizards?" Harry asks. I would love to hear the answer to that one as well.

I want lots of answers, but I must be patient ... one chapter at a time (no wiki leaks please).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Talk about your dark alleys

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 1

I've started Year 5 on my quest. I must be demented.

Dudley must be on his way to a productive life. The Sweet Science has rescued many young boys from a life of crime. It's good to see him making something of himself. Yet, I do wonder if there is a spine inside that mass of flesh.

Perhaps I am being a bit judgmental of dear old Dudley. I suppose if my cousin waved a magic wand at me and I encountered Dementors completely unaware of what was going on, I'd be a little spineless too. Dudley is a spoiled brat and a bully, but I do feel some pity on him.

Voldemort's attack has apparently begun. But I think he sent some boys to do a man's job. A little Expecto Patronum! and the Dementors were defeated. And it was jolly of Harry to save Dudley from his first kiss.

Now here's something I should have realized. Old Mrs.Figg is a witch. Of course, she has lots of cats and she took an interest in Harry when no one else would. No doubt she works for Dumbledore. Can't wait to find out who or what Mundungus Fletcher is.

As cold as it is the spring, one has to wonder if the Dementors are lurking in alleys all over the Midwest.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Should I read the book, or wait for the movie?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Movie

If I hadn't read the book, I would have been lost watching the movie. At least that's the way it seems. Maybe I feel that way because I knew more of what was going on than the movie told me.

If I had only watched the movie, would I be happy knowing what I know and oblivious to what I don't know? Would I ask more questions? Or would it seem like a simple story? Would I realize from only watching the movie that Harry was entered into the tournament to get him to his graveyard duel with Voldemort? Hard to say.

I do know that when I watched Lord of the Rings movies I mostly knew what was happening, but didn't always know why. I had everyone else in the family to fill me in on that. So it would probably be similar.

That said, it was a pretty good movie, especially the second half. The first half seemed to jump a lot and lack flow. Overall, it introduces a lot of elements about halfway. It might have been better to introduce fewer elements and further develop the important ones. There is a balancing act between trying to be like the book and trying to be a movie. I say, be a movie. Be more explicit about the theme running through the movie of Harry heading for a showdown with Voldemort. In the movie, it was all of the sudden.

It's probably a good thing the final book is two movies. I expect a lot to happen in that one. But I've got two other books to read first. Maybe this summer I will finish what I started and was supposed to finish last summer.

I need to get one of those time turners. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

School's out for the summer

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapter 37

If chapter 37 is titled "The Beginning," we must be starting to get to the really good stuff. It would seem that way considering the events in the final chapters of this book, because the story is definitely at a turning point with the rise of Lord Voldemort and the parting of the ways.

Dumbledore, great man that Dumbledore, leaves no doubt of his intentions to part ways with the Fudge-filled Ministry after his speech at the Leaving Feast. You might wonder if Dumbledore has committed political suicide with his speech. But Fudge seems to be more like the kind of fudge that stays soft. He is full of fluff, but he won't take a hard stand, especially when in the back of his mind he has to wonder if Dumbledore is right. He has shown great trust in Dumbledore, so maybe Fudge will let Dumbledore do what he wants just in case Dumbledore is right. Then again, Fudge could be the kind of fudge that is full of nuts and fight this at every pointing of a wand.

It was interesting to find out that Rita Skeeter is an unregistered beetle animagus. It's people like Skeeter that give us journalists a bad name. She better hope there is no use for exterminators in the magic world.

So after Harry gives his tournament winnings to Fred and George, it's off the train and off to Privet Drive with Uncle Vernon. After this school year, maybe summer at home won't seem so bad. (But I'm not counting on it.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dumbledore rises; Fudge melts away

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapter 36

A lot to talk about in this chapter (I'll get to Fudge in due time).

Harry has to tell his tale again, but this time with no details left out because Dumbledore wants to hear it all. And he wants Sirius to hear it too. Dumbledore clearly isn't happy about Voldemort overcoming the barrier of being able to touch Harry. He doesn't elaborate on what it might ultimately mean, but it seems clear that this is a problem.

I was pleased to see that my guess about an ingredient in the wands had something to do with the standoff between Harry and Voldemort. I thought it was interesting that he heard a phoenix during the battle, and now we know why. Why did Harry's seem to be the stronger one?

Enter Fudge. With a Dementor. He's so sure he has all the answers. Strange that someone who has been doting on Harry now refuses to believe Harry's story of the rise of V? Not really. Fudge reveals his political hand when Harry begins to mention Death Eaters and Fudge talks of how they were cleared and that they have made donations to worthy causes. Fudge doesn't want to admit he was wrong, that his work to rebuild the magic world is threatened.

Dumbledore has an entire plan worked out for dealing with the Dementors and the Giants, but Fudge calls it madness because he doesn't want his approval ratings to drop. Then Dumbledore hits Fudge with his pride and the pure-blood argument. This is too much for Fudge. The dark mark on Snape's arm has no influence.

Dumbledore does what he must: part ways with the Fudge-led ministry. As soon as Fudge leaves, Dumbledore begins to take action. And Harry gets a well-deserved rest.

So where is V and what is he planning?

Monday, May 2, 2011

The truth comes out

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapter 35

I can't prove it, but I knew something was up when Mad-Eye Moody was suddenly a Death Eater. I know unexpected things happen in this story, but that just didn't fit. It's like I was channeling Dumbledore. Neither of us was surprised when he turned out to be an imposter.

Of course, I didn't know it was the junior Crouch. That was quite a tale he got to tell of how he escaped Azkaban and showed his loyalty to Lord Voldemort. He cursed Mad-Eye and took his place with the old Polyjuice Potion trick. (Drinking something with somebody's hair in it is not something I could do. Gag me with a spoon.) He incapacitated his father, later killed him, turned him into a bone and buried him like a dog would. Then he turned the Triwizard Cup into a portkey. That's one busy bad guy.

And poor Winky was made an accomplice. Dobby won't be happy.

I just had a thought. Because Harry saw all of those Death Eaters, will he have to go into witness protection?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ghost in the graveyard

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapter 34

Harry ran like a cat
He had to get away from V
The trophy was his prize

If the most evil thing on earth was chasing me around in the dark with a magic wand, I would hide behind gravestones, too. No shame in that, Harry. You have to survive this so we can have more books and movies. And nobody wants the bad guy to win, so keep running and hiding.

I didn't expect a wand battle that resembled an arm-wrestling match. Then again I didn't expect anything other than for Harry to get away. I should have known the portkey would be his salvation. Can't believe I missed that.

I really don't want to see V's so-called face because of the way it's described, but I would like to have seen his face the moment Harry disappeared. That scream of fury must have been good to leave behind. But something tells me we haven't left V behind. I don't think he's as strong as he thinks he is, or Harry wouldn't have out-wanded him. There might just be an ingredient in Harry's wand that is making a difference. Don't know if I'll take time to look back and see what he got that day long ago at the wand shop, but it's an interesting hypothesis nonetheless. Or maybe Dumbledore's put some kind of spell on it that V doesn't know about.

Time to read on and find out what happens when Harry lands back in Hogwarts.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Is this the last hurrah?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapter 33

The short-sighted, greedy bad guy rises again. "... give him back his wand," the Dark Lord demands. How foolish and how sociopathic of him. (Somebody call those dudes on "Criminal Minds," and they'll find Voldemort and put him away.)

Yes, Voldemort feels the need to prove to his minions (no surprise Lucius Malfoy is present) that he is indeed stronger than Harry Potter.

In a bit of an aside, it is interesting that V (getting tired of typing the whole name) is calling all of his allies together: death eaters, dementors, giants, an army of creatures, the Joker, Al Capone, Blackbeard and Attila the Hun. Does the Ministry of Magic stand a chance?

V explains, at Malfoy's request, how Harry's mother protected her baby, and he admits to his own lack of foresight to anticipate the cleverness of Mrs. Potter. So his spell actually spelled defeat for himself. At least that's his story. He is telling his hooded horde that it wasn't Harry who defeated him. We'll see. I'm not buying that story yet.

The huge question addressed at the end of this chapter is who is V's mole at Hogwarts? My guess is that the first name that comes to every reader's mind is Snape. But is he just the obvious choice that every mystery writer wants us to assume? Could be. The information is withheld to either make us question that it's Snape or because it is someone else.

One thing I know for sure is that V's plans for Harry will be an epic fail in the next chapter. The list of good guys to escape these circumstances is long and distinguished. Plus, there are more books, so I know it can't end here. Hope I didn't spoil it for anybody who happened along this blog and is in the same place I am.

I have no clue how Harry will get out of this, but I'm pretty sure giving him back his wand was a mistake. Harry's spent a lot of time looking up spells in dusty books.

But I do plan to find out today.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The fourth task

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapter 32

OK, so maybe Voldemort didn't show up in the maze, but he's got somebody evil on the inside turning the trophy into a portkey. So I was mostly right. It would be nice if Cedric was only mostly dead, but I don't recall Miracle Max being on the cast list. I assume that Harry's diagnosis is correct.

Harry, of course, winds up in a creepy graveyard. (I think I am using the word creepy because I hear some form of it at least a dozen times a day being around high schoolers and college students.) And of course what followed was creepy, if not disgusting.

What's with Wormtail wanting to help? It seems that he would be better off dumping Voldemort in a ravine and leaving him to die. But I suppose there's a reason why that can't be done.

So Voldemort has risen. But how much power does he have? Obviously Harry will make it out of this scrape because I have more books to read. Maybe Sirius will come to the rescue, or maybe Harry will find his way out of what has become the fourth task.

Good luck Harry. And stay away from creepy, skeletal-looking Dark Lords.

Monday, February 14, 2011

That's what friends are for

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapter 31

I know it's a shock to you my faithful few, but not everything is clearly seen in my crystal ball. I was sure old Voldemort would meddle with the third task, but alas it does not appear that he did. I must have been looking through dark-colored glasses.

I must say I was a trifle disappointed with the third task. It seemed easier and much less terrifying than the first two tasks. Maybe I'm showing my ignorance of magic, but it just seemed too easy. Not enough hocus-pocus.

However, I did admire the way Harry and Cedric handled the end of the task after Krum decided to play dirty. Their unselfishness reminded me of a story I once covered many years ago, and it brings to mind the same song that it did back then.

During a 100-mile endurance run in the mountains of Virginia, two competitors helped each other get back on the course and ran together until they were the first ones to cross the finish line. The words of Bill Withers came to mind then, and they come to mind again.

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

The ending that day wasn't perfect. Race rules did not allow for ties, so race officials ruled that one of the runners crossed the finish line first. The runners were unhappy and wanted to share the victory.

I hope I don't start the next chapter and find that Bagman has done the same.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pensive about the pensieve

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapter 30

Dumbledore, great man that Dumbledore, has the most marvelous toys in his attic office.

The pensieve is far more interesting than a dream. Memories, at least, are real, even if they do come with the viewpoint of the person whose memory you are witnessing. Dreams, however, don't always come true.

No doubt that Crouch is the most vigilant of Voldemort's enemies. Not everyone would sentence family members to a date with the Dementors. I'm pretty sure Crouch is dead.

It's interesting to know that what has seemed obvious about Snape - that he has a dark side in him - is true. Dumbledore, though, prefers to keep a secret from Harry about Snape's past.  No doubt it has something to do with Harry that Dumbledore doesn't want Harry to know yet.

Bagman was a surprise at first, but after some thought it makes sense. He's way to eager about Harry and the tournament, which has suddenly caused a spike on my trust meter. Danger lurks in the third task. I haven't dreamed it or fallen into a pensieve, but my internal crystal ball keeps telling me so. Maybe Bagman is OK, but there's got to be an inside man somewhere.

Show yourself.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Don't wake me, I'm dreaming

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapter 29

Dream sequences are the most overused devices in books and movies. It worked the first time in "The Wizard of Oz." Every time since it's just copycatting. And y'all know how I feel about cats of any kind.

Are we going to wake up tomorrow and realize that the Packers winning the Super Bowl was just a dream?  No.

Are we going to wake up tomorrow and realize that all the snow we've had in Ohio this winter was just a dream? I wish I could say yes.

OK, now that you know how I feel about the cliche dream sequence, let's look at what this dream means. Who is dead? I suppose Crouch is the answer to that question, but it could be a much-unexpected someone else.

And how does this happen? What is it that gives Harry these visions of Voldemort and what his enemy is up to. I hope that question is answered. Does Harry have a special power? That's my guess.

And it looks like my prediction that Voldemort will make an appearance during the third task is setting up nicely. I think I would get good grades in Professor Trelawney's class.

Hey, I can dream.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

He's gaining strength ...

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapter 28

Now we might be getting somewhere. Mr. Crouch's revelation about Voldemort gaining strength feels like the first big plot advancement in a good while. Of course, Crouch has disappeared, so we can't ask him any more questions. But there are only about another 150 pages, so I will exercise patience.

We also find out that the third task will be a maze. It's an idea that certainly has potential for all kinds of twists and turns to the plot. I have been wondering what the Triwizard Tournament had to do with the central plot of Voldemort vs. Harry, and my crystal ball is showing me that the Dark Lord will make an appearance during the third task. I could be wrong, but I'll bet for sure that Pettigrew will rear his ugly head.

Crouch's mumblings will be news that Sirius will be eager to hear. For his sake, it would be nice if he could clear his name soon and leave the dog days behind.

The crystal ball also shows me that lots more relationship drama is in my reading future. I suppose it will relate somehow, but sometimes I'd rather read about the Dursleys. At least their ridonkulousness is funny.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Feeling a little tetchy?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapter 27

Some of the unfamiliar British words and phrases that turn up are worth noting. I am usually able to discern their meaning from the context, and there are two in the beginning of this chapter. Hermione is said to be tetchy because of the teasing she has been getting as the thing Krum would miss the most. I assume that word means something similar to being touchy. So in reality, she would probably be more accurately described as more tetchy than usual.

The one I can really relate to now is the description of how the cruel winds skinned their hands and faces every time they ventured outside. Because Ohio (and many neighboring states) feel like Alaska these days, I understand what the word skinned means. That's what it feels like. I hope I have some skin left when summer comes. I'd like to get some tan on the old epidermis.

Meanwhile, back at the cave where we get a history lesson on the mysterious Mr. Crouch. Everyone, it seems, in this story is playing detective without much success.

What is Crouch up to? Is Snape a threat or not? Is Dumbledore, great man that Dumbledore, too trusting? Are Rita Skeeter's gossip-filled reports important, or just an annoying sidebar? Will Sirius be a hero and be able live in the light and out of the shadows?

Well, if you've read all the books or seen all the movies, then you know the answers. I will continue to stumble along in the dark and be grateful it's a figurative dark and not one that requires me to live like a dog and eat rats.

Now cold chicken legs ... those are a true treat. Maybe the best leftover you can discover in the fridge.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Voyage to The Bottom of The Lake

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapter 26

If Neville ever learns to properly use his wand, he just might be dangerous. The notion of Professor Flitwick flitting about the classroom is a humorous one.

But the levitating levity lasts only so long. Then it's on to Harry worrying and worrying about how to breathe underwater for the second task. Doesn't he know he's the hero of the story and things always work out for the hero?

We are told that that Harry is getting help preparing for his tasks, but I'm quite sure that our other champions have made this a team effort as well. There's too much pride at stake for the schools for heads of schools and others not to help ... or cheat.

I believe I once said that I figured Dobby would one day serve a greater purpose. What I don't get, though, is this: Is there not one book in the Hogwarts library on the subject of gillyweed? And how did Harry and friends not unearth something about the Bubble-Head Charm from the dust of the library? Herm-own-ninny will no doubt be disgusted with herself for not knowing about gillyweed or the Bubble-Head Charm.

I admit, that as Harry was striving to reach the surface, I caught myself holding my breath. Kind of silly don't you think?

And I quite agree with Ron that Harry was a bit thick to think Dumbledore would really let the hostages die. But in frantic times, thoughts can be as frantically unclear as the depths of a lake.

So what will the third task be and what evil lurks between now and the 24th of June? Harry doesn't care right now. He's happy to be tied for first, and he's looking forward to a Sirius conversation soon at Hogsmeade.