The Chamber’s Secrets

1) “There is one major exception to the general magical aversion to Muggle technology, and that is the car (and, to a lesser extent, motorbikes and trains). Prior to the introduction of the International Statute of Secrecy, wizards and Muggles used the same kind of everyday transport: horse-drawn carts and sailing ships among them. The magical community was forced to abandon horse-drawn vehicles when they became glaringly outmoded. It is pointless to deny that wizardkind looked with great envy upon the speedy and comfortable automobiles that began filling the roads in the twentieth century, and eventually even the Ministry of Magic bought a fleet of cars, modifying them with various useful charms and enjoying them very much indeed. Many wizards love cars with a child-like passion, and there have been cases of pure-bloods who claim never to touch a Muggle artefact, and yet are discovered to have a flying Rolls Royce in their garage. However, the most extreme anti-Muggles eschew all motorised transport; Sirius Black’s love of motorbikes incensed his hard-line parents.”

That’s a quote from the Pottermore website. But wouldn’t all of this meddling with Muggle cars and motorbikes have come under the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts legislation? In Chamber of Secrets it specifically states that Arthur Weasley built a loophole into the law that would allow him to alter the Ford Anglia but, crucially, not use it:

“Imagine a wizard buying a rusty old car and telling his wife all he wanted to do was take it apart and see how  it worked, while really he was enchanting it to make it fly’

Mr Weasley blinked.

‘Well , dear, I think you’ll find that he would be quite within the law to do that, even if, er, he maybe would have done better to um, tell his wife the truth… There’s a loophole in the law, you’ll find … as long as he wasn’t intending to fly the car the fact that the car could fly wouldn’t-’’

So it seems odd that enchanted vehicles are everywhere if they aren’t really allowed. In Mrs Weasley’s howler she tells Ron that flying the car could have lost Mr Weasley his job. Let us assume then that it is legal to adapt a car but that flying is too severe a breach to be allowed. Well, the Rolls Royce comment is still a bit of a problem but let’s say it’s a commonly breached law. It’s not like someone ever talks about their possession of a  flying vehicle to the Minsiter of Magic and has it go completely unremarked. Oops nope that’s exactly what happens here in The Prisoner of Azkaban, ‘Told me ter take his motorbike ter get Harry there.’ Says Hagrid whilst talking about Black and having drinks with Fudge. Who apparently couldn’t care less. Presumably Hagrid still had the bike because it shows up again in book 7. So, flying vehicles, legal or illegal to use?

Maybe they just need a working invisibility booster.

2) Percy Takes Points from Gryffindor

Do you remember the inquisitorial squad? Of course you do. Malfoy docks points from Ron for having his shirt untucked and Ron says he can’t because Prefects can’t dock points, but he can because inquisitorial squad. Oh and Fred and George shove Montague in the Vanishing Cabinet. I can’t give you an exact quote because I’m sadly Order of the Pheonix-less at the current moment. But you remember, I know you do. Prefects can give out punishments (Ron wants to make Goyle write lines) but not dock points.

However here’s what Percy says when he catches Harry and Ron coming out of Moaning Myrtle’s Bathroom, “Five points from Gryffindor!’ Percy said, tersely, fingering his prefect badge. ‘And I hope it teaches you a lesson! No more detective work, or I’ll write to Mum!” Now you might say, Percy was Head Boy, perhaps Head Boys can dock points. Nope he wasn’t Head Boy till third year. Perhaps he would consult with a teacher and get them to dock the points? It seems unlikely, he was primarily angry with Harry and Ron for being near the scene of the attack on Mrs Norris when there were already murmurings about their involvement, ‘Don’t you care what this looks like? Coming back here while everyone’s at dinner…’ So it seems unlikely he’d go blabbing to McGonagall or someone about finding them there. So the only other explanation is that at sometime between Harry’s 2nd and 5th year they changed the rules. Prefects used to be able to take away points but by 5th year the power had been revoked. Not entirely satisfactory but good enough.

Some extra details on this one. Ernie McMillan suggests it’s other Prefects that Prefects can’t take.points from but Fred and George undermine this by saying that Montague tried to dock them. J.k. Rowling says thay Prefects can drop points and Ron simply wrong. But I actually hate that explination.

3) Ghost letters.

Ghosts can’t touch things. We’ve discussed that and the mystery of how Professor Binns marks essays in an earlier article. New problem. Ghost letters, Nicholas De Mimsy-Porpington carries out a correspondence with Patrick Delaney-Podmore regarding the subject of his joining the Headless-Hunt. Now how on earth does a ghost send letters? Perhaps they dictate? But no, it is a ‘transparent letter’ and Nearly-Headless Nick is holding it. So what, did a ghost monk die with a lifetime’s supply of ghost paper and ghost quills upon his person for use by the ghostly community? Do they get wizards to enchant paper, ink and other supplies for ghostly usage? Ghosts can also apparently play the musical saw, presumably special ghostly implements? Is there a whole world of special ghost items? It would explain how Binns manages to have notes. But it doesn’t work for food, well food is an exception to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration so perhaps food cannot be transfigured to provide a ghost form?

4) 1000 year old plumbing?

It is established that Hogwarts was built 1000 years ago as was Slytherin’s secret chamber. We also know that the Basilisk gets around the school by using the plumbing. So is the plumbing 1000 years old? Did wizards somehow guess the form our modern plumbing would take and just get there a lot earlier. The sign for the Chamber of Secrets is actually on the tap, is it the world’s oldest tap?

The possible explanation would be that Riddle changed the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets and came up with the idea of using the plumbing to attack students. But it says it took him to his sixth year just to open the Chamber, it certainly doesn’t say anything about undergoing a renovation. And if that was the case why did he need to change the original entrance? Why pick a girls’ bathroom of all places (did it, due to some renovation, end up covering the old entrance?) what was Slytherin’s original Basilisk delivery method? Just loose a dirty great snake in the castle? Not exactly subtle or cunning. So anyway, another mystery.

5) Lockhart and the Werewolves

Remember Wanderings With Werewolves? Yup, that’s one of Lockhart’s books and in the Chamber of Secrets he treats his class to a dramatic reading from it. ‘I then screwed up my remaining strength and performed the immensely complex Homorphus Charm – he let out a piteous moan – go on, Harry – higher than that – good – the fur vanished – the fangs shrank – and he turned back into a man. Simple, yet effective – and another village will remember me forever as the hero who delivered them from the monthly terror of werewolf attacks.’ In case you didn’t get that, that’s Lockhart saying you can cure werewolves, but then he always makes shit up, yes? Well in this case no, he later states ‘No one wants to read about some ugly old Armenian warlock, even if he did save a village from werewolves.’ So it did happen, he just didn’t do it. So maybe it can be done, it’s just really dangerous or difficult? Except in the Order of the Pheonix Mr Weasley flat out says there is no cure at all.

So explanations, possibly the Homorphus Charm is some sort of Quibbler-esque wizarding myth that the Armenian Warlock was lying about. Or the Homorphus Charm only transformed him temporarily and then the poor werewolf got appropriate treatment?

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