The Flaw in the Stone

This is a new thing, so I suppose I should take a second to explain the concept to anyone who hasn’t read the about page (probably everyone). When you read a book too many times you begin to notice all the little facets that don’t quite hang together. All the little contradictions. And if you brood on those little flaws it rots you from the inside out and you turn into the sort of dried up pedant who sits (metaphorically) before you.

There will be other things; there will be crafts and shiny Harry Potter related things but mostly this is a shrine to finding small errors and making a big deal out of them. Also, from a stylistic view, I use ‘also’ ‘so’ and ‘anyhow’ far too much -apologies if you find that off putting.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone:

1) James Potter, Head Boy? So you remember how in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Hagrid introduces Harry to the wizarding world and tells him the truth about his parents? If not I have no idea why you’re reading this, so I’ll assume that’s a yes. Do you remember this line ‘Now, yer mum an’ dad were as good a witch an’ wizard as I ever knew. Head Boy an’ Girl at Hogwarts in their day!’ but yet in Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix Sirius says, ‘No one would have made me prefect, I spent too much time in detention with James. Lupin was the good boy, he got the badge.’ and if that isn’t clear enough for you, two lines later, ‘Harry’s mood suddenly lifted. His father had not been a prefect either.’ So there we are, James Potter was somehow Head Boy without ever having made prefect.  I feel the need to try and explain these things so here goes:

Possible Explanations Well, Hagrid isn’t known for his intelligence, possibly his memory is just playing tricks on him and he’s confusing James with someone else. Quite possibly Lily was Head Girl and James was certainly very good at magic, so maybe Hagrid just slipped up when trying to emphasise the magical talent of Harry’s’ parents, maybe he meant something more like ‘they were the best in their year’.

2)The  Prefect Badge So we’re sticking with the prefect theme for the moment; there’s another little niggle that crops up here. If you remember in the Philosopher’s Stone Harry runs into the Weasleys at King’s Cross station including new prefect Percy. Percy is sporting a ‘shiny silver badge on his chest with the letter P on it.’ Then in the Order of the Phoenix Ron gets ‘A large ‘P’ … superimposed on the Gryffindor lion. He (Harry) had seen a badge just like this on Percy’s chest on his very first day at Hogwarts.’ Well that’s fine, you may think, it’s just a slightly more detailed description, except for George’s outburst ‘Get him red and gold to match his badge’. There’s also another red and gold moment on the previous page, so Percy’s silver badge has definitely changed to red and gold despite being ‘exactly’ like Ron’s.

Possible Explanations Well a simple ‘They changed the badge’ is out because of the reference back to Percy. Perhaps the ‘P’ on the badge could be silver and the background red and gold? It doesn’t completely work because the original reference is to the badge being silver not the ‘P’ but it’s sort of close enough. Alternately Harry is colour blind or the light shining off Percy’s badge made it look silver.

3) The Rat in the soup

Ok ‘soup’ in this context means ‘school’, I’m talking about Scabbers. Let’s take a look at Harry’s Hogwarts letter. Everyone got their books out? Good. Turn to page 53. ‘Students may also bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad’. Do you see rat anywhere on that list? Nope, so Ron’s smuggling in illegal animals. A bit like Lee and the tarantula. I guess a rat is a fairly easy animal to hide. Ginny has a puffskein at some point. Perhaps the animal policy is a bit lax. So why is this one on the list? Because of whose old rat it is. Whose rat? ‘Percy’s old rat.’ Ron gets the rat because Percy got Hermes. Can anyone here see Percy smuggling an illegal pet into Hogwarts? Percy ‘Cauldron-Bottoms’ Weasley?

Possible Explanations

Either young Percy was less incredibly boring or he didn’t take Scabbers with him to Hogwarts.

4) Charlie’s Old Wand

Let us linger for a moment on that speech of Ron’s in chapter six ‘I’ve got Bill’s old robes, Charlie’s old wand and Percy’s old rat.’ Why the hell does Ron have Charlie’s wand? Why would Charlie have changed wands? Presumably his wand chose him, his old wand still works, so why on Earth has Ron got it? Not to mention that Ron has a wand that probably won’t work terribly well for him because it didn’t choose him and, possibly, he does not have it’s allegiance (unless he wrestled it off Charlie).

Possible Explanations

The other strange thing is that this wand seems to be very old (the unicorn hair is almost poking through) which you would think implies a bit more use than a few years at Hogwarts. Therefore it seems to me the most likely explanation is that Charlie’s wand originally belonged to an old Weasley family member who is now dead, normally wands are burned or buried when their wizard dies but this one was passed on or kept and eventually found its way to Charlie. Charlie used it until there was enough gold for either him or his parents to buy him his own wand and it eventually found its way to Ron. Even so seems like their own wand should be like a priority if you want your kid to do well at magic school.

5) The Darkest House

Returning now to that error prone giant, Hagrid. If you remember in Diagon Alley Hagrid gives young Harry a short introduction to Hogwarts. Slytherin house gets a mention, “Better Hufflepuff than Slytherin’ said Hagrid darkly. ‘There’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin”, that’s very definite Slytherin = Dark wizard. But wait what about Sirius Black? The famous traitor, Hagrid’s least favourite Death Eater; wasn’t he in Gryffindor? Yes, you will say but Sirius was innocent. It was Pettigrew who was the traitor all along, and what house was he in? Gryffindor. Honestly the fact that Pettigrew was sorted into Gryffindor at all is pretty baffling. His defining characteristic seems to be enormous cowardice, all in all a bizarre decision by the hat and a definite misstatement by Hagrid.

Possible Explanation

Well Hagrid could just be overstating things. Everyone’s allowed a little hyperbole. Although that ‘not a single witch or wizard’ sounds pretty definite. Another possibility is that he didn’t want to go anywhere near the whole ‘Sirius traitor’ story with Harry. He certainly doesn’t want to tell him later on. As for the hat, perhaps Pettigrew sat under the hat whispering ‘not Slytherin, not Slytherin’ even then I’d have thought maybe Ravenclaw.

(You may find it interesting to note that Quirrell was another non-Slytherin bad guy, he was sorted into Ravenclaw)

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