Chapter 7 Discussion: The Slug Club
Chapter 7: The Slug Club
This chapter can be summarised into two key points in this chapter:
- Harry’s obsession with Draco’s actions.
- Professor Slughorn introduces his ‘elite’ club.
Harry, Hermione and Ron witnessed the events at Burkes in Nocturn Alley. Out of the three of them Harry is the only character to pursue the meaning of the event and Malfoy’s actions. This leads him to conclude that Draco is now a Death Eater, something which Hermione, Ron as well as Arthur Weasely find a bit far fetched. While there is no hard evidence in the book (to my knowledge) to support the fact that Draco is now a Death Eater we do learn that Draco is carrying out Lord Voldemort’s orders. Harry’s obsession with learning what Draco leads him into rash actions and into ‘trouble’ towards the end of the chapter. During this adventure Draco hints that he might not be at Hogwarts for the final 7th year, mainly for attention. At the end of the book we learn that Harry, Hermione and Ron have any intention of finishing their last school year. Due to the circumstances in the Wizarding world will there be a 7th year at Hogwarts?
As the title suggests, professor Slughorn wastes no time in establishing his ‘elite’ club of favourite students. From his conversations with the pupils we learn the various reasons why they were invited, mainly due to family members the professor once taught. Neville was invited due to the sacrifice his parents made, whose importance eludes Draco. The only two characters that were invited to the club due to their own actions are Harry and Ginny. Harry was invited for his fame, while Ginny was invited due to her hexing skills.
Other points worthy of note and possible discussion points include:
Fleur’s monologue about the bridesmaid clothing being clothed in pale gold (pp. 126);
Fleur’s comment about Tonks letting herself go & Mrs. Weasley’s reaction.
Neville has a new Cherry & Unicorn hair wand (and the last wand sold by Olivander) (pp.132)
The enforcement of Harry’s friendship with true friends (as opposed to friends due to fame pp. 134);
- Hi Seekers,
Here are some comments about chapter 7:
"Harry's obsession with learning what Draco leads him into rash
actions and into `trouble' towards the end of the chapter."
"As the title suggests, professor Slughorn wastes no time in
establishing his `elite' club of favourite students."
"Slughorn offers pheasant to the students: that's interesting
because, traditionally, the pheasant is bound to the phoenix image.
In alchemy, the "Pheasant of Hermes" also represents the "mercury of
the wise", bound to the White Process, again..."
In this book, like in CoS, there are references to hunting. Several
characters try to corner others, and in a way, treat them like game.
In chapter 7, we find several examples.
Harry starts spying on Draco. He is in a way "hunting" Draco all
along the book. He spies on him, he tails him. He behaves towards
Draco like a hunter lying in wait for game.
Perhaps Harry being a "hunter" has to do with Alchemy.
And he is always hunting a vanishing game he would like to corner:
Draco, or Slughorn's memory. Actually, like an alchemist, he's
trying to fix a volatile element. What is Draco planning secretly?
If Harry could fix Draco, it would help keep Hogwarts safe. What is
Slughorn hiding in his mind? If Harry could reach it, it would give
a determinant information concerning Voldemort. What Harry is
hunting in HBP is something that could help him to protect the
Wizarding World. Maybe it is his "mercury of the wise".
On the other hand, we can say that in this chapter, Slughorn behaves
like a hunter too. He is hunting students like a spider waiting on
his web. He offers them pheasant, in other words, game. And he
considers them as if they were game too. JKR writes that he looks at
Harry "as though he were a particularly large and succulent piece of
Actually, the whole sequence presents references to hunting: Cormac
Mac Laglen hunted Nogtails with his uncle in Norfolk, Marcus Belby's
uncle invented the Wolfsbane Potion, i.e., the potion that chases
the wolf away from the man, and finally, what we are told about
Blaise Zabini's mother can lead us to think she's a like these black
spiders that kill their males (do you call them `black widows' too?
That's their name in French).
One last comment: Draco, Harry and Slughorn are at the same time
game and hunters.
Draco is hunted by Harry, but he's hunting Dumbledore. Harry is
hunted by Slughorn, but he'll hunt him in return when he tries to
reach his memory. Slughorn is hunting Harry, but before he was
hunted by the Death Eaters.
"At the beginning of the chapter, Harry "sees" better than Ron and
Hermione: he is right about Draco and they don't believe him. When
he is talking to them, it is said: "Harry broke off, his eyes fixed
on the window behind Hermione, his mouth open. A startling thought
had just occurend to him."
He looks behind Hermione, beyond her somehow. I think it is a
metaphor telling us that, in the first 5 books, Harry has moved on a
lot on his "path" that leads him to symbolical gold but Ron and
Hermione are still "behind" him on that path, they have to grow up
and learn a lot before catching up with him, so to be able to play
their part in the final stage. And they will grow up emotionally in
this book indeed. Hmmm... Something tells me we'll find other
details sprinkled in the book about their own journey, let's keep
our eyes opened!"
There's another reference to that difference between Harry and
Ron/Hermione in chapter 8. But you'll have to wait for the chapter
discussion, I won't tell you here.<g>
"Blaise Zabini: I found out that Blaise comes from the
Latin "blaesus" that means "lisping", "stammerer", which I found
hilarious since Zabini seems to think very highly of himself: maybe
he has a hidden Achilles' heel we'll find out later. Besides, Blaise
was the name of a famous mathematician, Blaise Pascal, which fits
well a person I see as very calculating, at least very careful about
what he shows of himself. And Blaise/blaze can be another fire
Temple Richmond wrote:
"Blaise Zabini: the name makes me think of the French word now used
as a standard English word which is a near homonym for his first
name. It means to be rather bored and contemptuous of others, and
to perceive others as beneath one's status, which is the way Zabini
carries himself. He is cool and distant, not impressed with any
proceedings. That would be: blase, with the acute mark on the
final e, so pronounce blah ZAY. "
I agree with what you say, and I add my two knuts. In French classic
literature, Blaise is also a traditional name for valets. It's even
a kind of cliché in our 19th century's literature. For example, you
find it in Victor Hugo's famous play "Ruy Blas". "Blas" is the
Spanish version of "Blaise". Hugo used it in combination with "Ruy",
that comes from "Rodrigo", to name the main character of the play, a
servant who becomes minister, and to show the hiatus between his
humble condition (Blas the servant) and his noble soul (Rodrigo is
traditionally a noble first name; in Spain it was the name of the
Cid). Our Blaise behaves like an aristocrat, but he is also one of
From a phonetic perspective, Blaise Zabini is a very nice name for a
Slytherin boy. There's in "Blaise Zabini" a nice lisping
alliteration: "ZZZZZ", and it's a very snake- like sound.
And finally, Italian patronymics were also clichés in our 19th
century' literature. You can't imagine how many traitors,
conspirators, poisoners, swordmen have Italian patronymics in the
novels by Alexandre Dumas and other romantic authors. It bothers me,
as I'm myself half Venetian, but that's the way it is.
Blaise's mother had seven husbands, all dead in strange
circumstances. We can imagine that she, like Catarina di Medici, a
poisoner. In that case, Blaise Zabini could be connected to another
important theme: potions.
End of the post. I wish you all a very happy and peaceful New Year.
OT post scriptum
"I don't know why people find Daniel's acting poor. I would rather
say his acting is very subtle. He acts with his eyes more than
anything. Have you noticed how expressive they are? This is exactly
what made David Heyman want Daniel for the role. Once again a small
act can have great consequences. If he and Steve Kloves hadn't gone
to a play all those years ago and seen Daniel sitting in the
audience we'd have had a different Harry Potter. Sounds like Fate to
I totally agree with you, Captain!
- --- In email@example.com, "iris_ft"
> Hi Seekers,
> Here are some comments about chapter 7:
> Aldo wrote:
> "Harry's obsession with learning what Draco leads him into rash
> actions and into `trouble' towards the end of the chapter."
> "As the title suggests, professor Slughorn wastes no time in
> establishing his `elite' club of favourite students."
> Audrey wrote:
> "Slughorn offers pheasant to the students: that's interesting
> because, traditionally, the pheasant is bound to the phoenix
> In alchemy, the "Pheasant of Hermes" also represents the "mercuryof
> the wise", bound to the White Process, again..."Several
> In this book, like in CoS, there are references to hunting.
> characters try to corner others, and in a way, treat them likegame. (massive snipping, sorry)
So many interesting posts, so little free time! I am very quickly
replying to Iris' post, because it was something I hadn't 'caught',
but which immediately made sense. I just wanted to add that the
hunting theme is introduced at the end of OOTP, when Luna and her
father go to hunt for Crumple-horned Snorkacks, and is reintroduced
almost at the beginning of HBP, when Bellatrix pursues Narcissa
through the maze of streets to Snape. The book's climax is Harry's
hunt of Snape and Draco through the Forest. The hunt can be general
spiritual metaphor, I think: "As pants the hart for cooling
streams", and the 'Hound of Heaven' by Francis Thompson come to
mind. I will try and find out more, but no doubt there are people
out there who might be able to add to this. Finally, hunting was
traditionally a 'princely' pursuit. Happy New Year to everyone.