Oh hey guys! This is my first post on this here re-read.
I have some feelings about this chapter and they’re not all positive. Just getting that out of the way. It’s not like I hate it, but we have some history.
Of all the blogs in all the internet…
The chapter opens in the great hall. A little disappointingly, we do not hear what any of the characters are eating for breakfast. Toast? Bacon? Cheeri Owls?! I’m genuinely curious! Schedules are passed out and Hermione is taking, like, a thousand classes. Ron and Harry question her, but she just brushes them off. I love her deflections here. They’re brilliant in their simplicity.
On their way to Divination Harry, Ron and Hermione encounter Sir Cadogan, who is a tiny delight. It’s hard not to love a miniature knight with a pudgy pony and too big sword. It’s like a Chihuahua that growls at a Great Dane, but can talk and show you the way to the North Tower. I hope you stick around, little guy. *wink*
So far, so good. Draco being a total dick? Check. Hermione making Ron so confused he just stops asking questions? Check. New part of the castle? Check. New character? CHECK.
It’s Divination time! *cue eerie soft jazz* It actually makes a lot of sense to me that Harry and Ron would sign up for this class, since Divination is the Hogwarts version of Film Studies. Jocks (and Harry is totally a jock) take it because they think it’ll be an easy O. (I was a film studies major; I’m allowed to say such things.) Hermione, you’re better than this and you know it. Think about your choices, boo.
Divination is a beautiful disaster. Trelawney tells Harry he’s going to die and just generally behaves like a game of Light As a Feather Stiff As a Board come to life. Hermione acts like kind of a prat, Lavender and Parvati are adorable and silly, and Neville Nevilles. It’s nice.
Transfiguration passes without incident save for Professor McGonagall throwing some major shade Trelawney’s way. They go to lunch where Ron and Hermione get in a fight (RECORD SCRATCH), then it’s time for Care of Magical Creatures. This is where I have to confront the fact that I have some unresolved feelings about this chapter.
Confession time! I don’t really care for Hagrid. I feel guilty even typing that. What kind of monster dislikes Hagrid? Me! Me and Draco Malfoy! Really keeping good company there, Hannah. I recognize that disliking Hagrid says more about me than it does about Hagrid. Hagrid is good intentions incarnate; he just makes a lot of mistakes. A lot of mistakes. Like, all the time. Just mistakes for days out of that guy. But he means well and he’s loyal, kind and fiercely protective. He just drives me up the wall sometimes.
Hagrid is teaching his very first Care of Magical Creatures class. This is a huge moment for him. He wants to make a splash as a new teacher. What better way to make splash than with the lethal cocktail of Hippogriffs (easily offended), thirteen year olds (known to be jerks) and limited adult supervision. Not so surprisingly things to not end well. It’s just so frustrating to watch it play out. It’s like watching someone slather themselves in chum before swimming in the ocean. Ah well, Draco did totally have it coming, and it’s not like those spiders actually ate Harry and Ron. Shine on Hagrid, you beautiful naïve diamond!
The thing is, all the things that bother me about this chapter are the things I love about the series. I love that Hermione is a hero, but she can also be kind of a jerk. I love that Hagrid is kind of a fuck up and Harry knows this, but he loves him anyway.
Unsurprisingly this chapter also opens with Draco being a complete nightmare, which only leads Snape into being even worse. It’s been a while since I’ve re-read one of the earlier books and it’s shocking what a bully Snape is. He tries to poison Neville’s toad. HE TRIES TO POISON TREVOR! What did Trevor ever do to you, Snape? That is just mega monstrous behavior, Severus.
Following Potions is Defense Against The Dark Arts. We already know Lupin knows his way around Dementor aftercare, but this is our first chance to really see him in action. We haven’t had the best luck with Defense Against The Dark Arts teachers, so you can forgive me (and the third years) for being a little apprehensive. Snape takes another opportunity to bully poor Neville, publicly calling him out in front of his new teacher. Snape, you are seriously the worst.
It’s time for a training montage! I always really loved the Boggart scene. I’m really fond of the other Gryffindors and it’s nice to see them be successful. Neville especially. Dude could use a mark in the win column, you know?
Snape, the vulture is maybe a bit much?
I also love Ron’s quip at Hermione at the end of the chapter. “What would it have been for you? A piece of homework that only got a nine out of ten?” Hermione’s relationship with Ron is often so fraught with tension, it’s nice to see some good natured ribbing.
- I always wonder about Hermione’s relationship with Lavender and Parvati. They’re the only three girls in their year, so they end up sharing a dorm room for 6 years. I always figured they had a casual friendship we never see because Harry either doesn’t notice or doesn’t care, but it’s entirely possible they hate each other. I prefer the former.
- What is the deal with Pansy Parkinson? Is she in love with Draco? Does she want the power that comes with being with him? What’s your deal Pansy?! I should look it up, I bet JK Rowling has talked about it.
- One thing that’s really struck me re-reading this book is how faithful the film actually was. I had this idea in my head that Alfonso Cuarón took a lot of liberties, but so much of what was on screen is right there on the page.
- Why is a spider without any legs funny? It seems kind of horrifying to me.
- We find out later why Lupin didn’t want Harry facing the Boggart, but I wonder why Hermione didn’t get a chance. What would it have turned into when it focused on her?
- This has no bearing on this chapter, but HUFFLEPUFF FOREVER.
- Is there any bigger divide than between Snape’s book hair versus his movie hair? I posit there is not