Thursday, April 26, 2007
Memories of Harry
The best thing about rereading the Harry Potter books is catching all details in the foreshadowing that were impossible to appreciate the first time around. J.K. Rowling provided some lovely second-reading treats.
During the third book, The Prisoner of Azkaban, it is Professor Lupin who teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts. During his first lesson, he teaches his students how to dispell a boggart. Boggarts like small, dark places, and have the ability to take on any shape, and they will choose to appear as the one thing that will scare the victim most. Lupin teaches his charges to be prepared for this by thinking up ways of making this image comical, then pointing their wands at the boggart and saying Ridikulus!
Neville Longbottom is most afraid of Professor Snape, and isn't too keen on seeing his grandmother, either. Lupin guides Longbottom into picturing Snape in his grandmother's clothes (including an old hat topped with a vulture and a big, red purse), and this works hilariously, of course. As the boggart makes its way around the classroom, Lupin calls on each student to try this exercise. At last, the boggart appears in front of Lupin in the form of a silvery-white orb, before Longbottom gets to finish off the boggart.
As the students left the class, one girl pondered, "I wonder why Professor Lupin is afraid of crystal balls?"
It's that kind of foreshadowing detail that I am enjoying immensely. Professor Lupin didn't see a crystal ball, but the moon. Full moons are a special problem, since he has the unfortunate condition of being a werewolf.
The first time Hermione, Harry, and Ron see Prof. Lupin is on the Hogwarts Express, and he is the first adult they've ever seen take their train. Lupin is also constantly dressed shabbily and there are other reminders that he is not socially accepted by everyone and having a hard time making a living. There are many such social lessons in Rowling's books.