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Introduction to Chapter 16

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  • Jayne
    A Very Thorough Synopsis of “A Very Frosty Christmas” Harry and Ron are in the Burrow kitchen, peeling sprouts, while discussing Harry having overheard
    Message 1 of 13 , Jul 26, 2006
      A Very Thorough Synopsis of “A Very Frosty Christmas”
       
      Harry and Ron are in the Burrow kitchen, peeling sprouts, while discussing Harry having overheard Professor Snape offering to help Draco carry out some type of mission that the Dark Lord has demanded of Draco.  Harry mentions to Ron that Snape informed Draco that he had promised Draco’s mom, via an unbreakable vow, to protect Draco in his mission.  When Harry asks Ron the meaning of making an unbreakable vow, Ron explains to Harry that the penalty for breaking an unbreakable vow is death.  He tells Harry about a time when he was about five years old and Fred and George tried to get Ron to make an unbreakable vow.  Ron says that his Dad stopped Fred and George before the vow could be made, and that Fred received a butt-whipping from their father as a result. 
       
      Fred and George enter the kitchen at this point and begin teasing Ron about having to peel sprouts with a knife, rather than by magic.  Ron responds to their teasing (cutting his finger in the process) by angrily stating that when he’s seventeen, he will be able to use his magic skills whenever he wants.  George changes the subject by telling Ron that Ginny told him that Ron has been using some newly found “skills” on one Miss Lavender Brown.  Ron blushes and tells them to mind their own business, although he doesn’t appear to be all that displeased at this topic of conversation.
       
      When Fred teases Ron, by asking him if Lavender is dating him because she’s suffered brain damage from an accident, Ron throws the sprout knife at Fred—just as Mrs. Weasley enters the kitchen.  She yells at Ron, and then proceeds to tell Fred and George that they will have to share a room because Remus (Professor Lupin) will be arriving that night.  She then tells everyone where they will be sleeping once all the Christmas guests have arrived.  Fred remarks that it’ll just make Ginny’s Christmas to have to share a room with Fleur, and then asks his mother if Percy will be coming home for Christmas.  Mrs. Weasley explains, sadly, that Percy will not be coming; maybe he’s too busy at the Ministry.  Mrs. Weasley leaves the kitchen, just before Fred calls Percy a prat, and then he and George tell Harry and Ron that they are going to the village.
       
      Ron asks them to help him and Harry finish peeling the sprouts, by using magic, so that he and Harry can accompany them into the village.  Fred refuses because, he says, peeling sprouts is character-building stuff, and then he and George leave the house.  Ron remarks to Harry that Fred and George should have helped them.  Harry then tells Ron that he couldn’t have gone into the village anyway, because he promised Professor Dumbledore that he would not leave the house while he was staying there.  Ron asks Harry if he is going to tell Dumbledore about the conversation that he overheard between Draco and Snape.  Harry says yes, and that maybe he will tell Ron’s Dad also.  Ron expresses doubts that anyone will believe that Snape is actually offering to help Draco.  He believes that Dumbledore will only tell Harry that Snape is working undercover for the Order of the Phoenix .
       
      Harry tells Ron that, if anyone doubts him that Snape is up to no good, it would only be because no one actually heard the way Snape was talking to Draco.  Ron seems a little doubtful, and Harry asks him if he believes him (Harry) regarding Snape.  Ron hastily tells Harry yes, but that everyone else is convinced that Snape is working for the Order.  Harry becomes pensive, and begins imagining what Hermione’s reaction might be.  He remembers that he had intended to tell Hermione what he had overheard.  He had not had the opportunity, however, because she had left Slughorn’s party before he had a chance to talk to her.  He remembers that he had barely had time in the common room to wish her a Happy Christmas.  He wondered if she had even heard him because, at the time, Ron and Lavender were, nonverbally, saying a very thorough goodbye to each other.
       
      On Christmas Eve night, everyone is sitting in the living room.  Harry takes note that the living room has been decorated lavishly by Ginny.  They are listening (or supposed to be listening) to Mrs. Weasley’s favorite singer, Celestina Warbeck, on the wooden wireless set.  Mrs. Weasley is irritated because she has to keep turning up the volume due to Fleur talking very loudly in a corner.  Fred, George and Ginny are playing a game of Exploding Snap, and Ron is trying to pick up on some make-out tips by watching Fleur and Bill.  Professor Lupin, looking even more thin and ragged, is sitting beside, and staring into, the fire. 
       
      When Mrs. Weasley remarks to Mr. Weasley that the song that is playing on the wireless, “A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love,” is a song that they danced to when they were eighteen, a weary Mr. Weasley makes an effort to sit up and listen to her, and then catches sight of Harry, who is sitting next to him. They begin conversing about the Ministry.  Mr. Weasley tells Harry that not much progress is being made in the hunt for Death Eaters.  He tells him that they have made only three arrests, and he does not think that any of them are Death Eaters.  Harry asks about Stan Shunpike, and Mr. Weasley tells Harry that the Ministry still has him under arrest, even though Dumbledore has spoken directly to Scrimgeour about Stan.  Mr. Weasley tells Harry that the Ministry may be holding onto Stan and the other two arrestees to give the appearance to the wizarding world that they are making some progress.  He says that this is all top secret, and to not tell anyone.  Harry asks Mr. Weasley if he has followed up on what Harry told him about the Malfoys possibly keeping some type of broken Dark Arts object in their home.  Mr. Weasley tells Harry that they searched the home and found no Dark Arts objects there.  Harry then tells Mr. Weasley about the conversation that he overheard between Draco and Snape.
       
      Harry notices that Prof Lupin seems to be listening to their conversation.  Mr. Weasley expresses doubt (as Harry thought that he would) that Snape is actually working to help Draco.  When Harry asks how anyone can be sure about this, Professor Lupin stops staring into the fire, turns to Harry, and states that it is no one’s business to know—no one except Dumbledore.  Harry says that Dumbledore could be wrong about Snape, because Dumbledore has admitted to being wrong about things before.  Lupin tells Harry that Dumbledore trusts Snape, even though no one knows why.  Dumbledore trusts him and, therefore, Lupin trusts him.  When queried by Harry, Lupin tells Harry that he neither likes nor dislikes Snape; Harry gives him a look of skepticism.  Lupin then reminds Harry that Snape made a perfect Wolfsbane potion for him every month when Lupin was working at Hogwarts, and that Lupin will not forget that.  Harry angrily reminds Lupin that Snape let it “slip” that he was a werewolf and, as a result, Lupin had to leave the school.  Lupin tells Harry that people would have found out anyway, and that Snape could have done more damage to Lupin by tampering with the potion.  Lupin says that he must be grateful to Snape. 
       
      When Harry continues to voice objection to Snape, by stating that maybe he didn’t dare tamper with the potion because Dumbledore was around, Lupin tells Harry that he seems determined to hate Snape.  However, Lupin also tells Harry that his feelings are understandable, as James was Harry’s father, and Sirius his godfather, and that Harry has inherited their prejudices.  Lupin then tells Harry to go ahead and tell Dumbledore what he has told him and Arthur, but to not expect Dumbledore to necessarily believe him.  He says that it may have been on Dumbledore’s orders that Snape questioned Draco.
       
      At this point, Fleur loudly expresses delight when Celestina Warbeck’s high-pitched song ends.  Mrs. Weasley, also speaking loudly, interrupts her to ask if anyone wants eggnog.   Everyone begins conversing amongst themselves, with Harry and Lupin going to get eggnog.  Harry asks Lupin what he has been up to lately.  Lupin tells Harry that he has been underground, and this is why he has not been able to write to Harry lately.  He states, with a trace of bitterness, that he has been living amongst the werewolves, as a spy, on Dumbledore’s orders.  Harry thinks that Lupin realizes that he sounds a little bitter because, in a more warm tone, Lupin says that he is not complaining, but that it has been difficult to gain the werewolve’s trust.  The werewolves know that Lupin has been trying to live amongst wizards, while the other werewolves shun wizards and, instead, live on the margins, stealing and killing to eat.  He also states that the werewolves like Voldemort because, under his rule, they think that they will have a better life.  Lupin also mentions Fenrir Greyback.  When Harry asks who Fenrir Greyback is, Lupin expresses surprise that Harry has not heard of him.  He tenses up while explaining to Harry that Greyback is the most savage werewolf alive, and that he specializes in children.  He likes to bite them when they are young and then raise them to hate normal people.  He likes to do this so that he can create enough werewolves to overcome wizards.
       
      Lupin explains that Voldemort intimidates normal wizards by threatening to unleash Greyback upon their children.  He also tells Harry that it was Greyback who bit him, because Lupin’s father had offended him.  Lupin says that, for a long time, he didn’t know who had bitten him; he had even felt sorry for the culprit, as he figured that the werewolf had had no control over what he had done.  However, he said, Greyback is not like that.  He positions himself near his victims, and lies in wait for them.  Lupin also tells Harry that it’s hard to convince the other werewolves that his way of thinking is preferrable to Greyback’s methods.  Greyback feels that all werewolves should avenge themselves on normal people.  Harry strenuously reminds Lupin that he is normal, and that he only has a little problem.  Lupin cheerfully tells Harry that he reminds him of James because James also felt that Lupin only had a “little problem.” 
       
      This mention of James prompts Harry to ask Lupin if he has ever heard of someone called The Half-Blood Prince.  Lupin shows no sign of recognition at the mention of this name.  He tells Harry that there are no wizard princes, and teasingly asks Harry if this is a title which he is thinking of adopting, as Lupin thought “The Chosen One” would have been enough for Harry.  Harry tells Lupin that The Half-Blood Prince is someone who used to go to Hogwarts, and that he has his old potions book; it has spells written all over it--spells invented by The Half-Blood Prince--one of which is Levicorpus.  Lupin knows of this spell, and tells Harry that it was in wide use during his time at Hogwarts.  He states that a lot of people had sore ankles due to being hoisted into the air by them through use of the Levicorpus spell.  Harry then tells Lupin that he saw, in the pensieve, his dad use the spell.  He says that it seems like it was invented while his dad, Lupin and Sirius was at the school.  Lupin tells Harry that jinxes go in and out of fashion and assures him that neither he, James nor Sirius called himself The Half-Blood Prince.  Lupin tells Harry to find out how old the book is and, perhaps, that will give him a clue as to when the Prince was at Hogwarts. 
       
      When Fleur begins to imitate Celestina Warbeck’s singing, everyone decides to go to bed, as Mrs. Weasley is wearing a most displeased expression on her face.  While Ron is asleep, Harry examines a copy of his Potions book, and discovers that the book is nearly fifty years old.  Disappointed, because neither his father nor his friends was at the school then, he falls asleep, with thoughts of werewolves, Snape, Stan Shunpike, and The Half-Blood Prince on his mind. 
       
      He is dreaming of creepy shadows and crying, bitten children when he awakens to find a stocking filled with Christmas presents lying over his bed, and Ron sitting upright in bed, disgustedly examining what appears to be a thick gold chain.  Ron tells Harry that it is from Lavender.  Further examination reveals that large gold letters, spelling “My Sweetheart,” are dangling from the chain.  Harry laughs, and Ron shoves the chain underneath his pillow, while admonishing Harry to not tell Fred and George about it.   Ron expresses dismay that Lavender would think that he would wear such a thing.  They then discuss that maybe Lavender doesn’t know what Ron would or would not like, as they do not talk much—only snog.  Ron, hesitating slightly, asks Harry if Hermione is really going out with McLaggen.  Harry says that he doesn’t know—he only knows that they were at Slughorn’s party together, and that it did not seem to go that well.  Ron seems more cheerful at this information.  Harry’s presents reveal a hand-knitted sweater, with a large Golden Snitch on the front, from Mrs. Weasley; a box of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes products from the twins; and a damp moldy-smelling package from Kreacher.  Harry cautiously opens the package; it reveals a large number of maggots. 
       
      At breakfast the next day, when everyone is wearing new sweaters, except Mrs. Weasley and Fleur (who, apparently, was not given one by Mrs. Weasley), Ginny notices that Harry has a maggot in his hair.  When she reaches across the table to pick it out, Harry feels goose bumps on his neck. Ron knocks over the gravy as he’s offering some to Fleur.  Fleur tells Ron that he is as bad as Tonks, and then kisses Bill after he uses his wand to clean up the mess.  Fleur begins to say that Tonks is always knocking stuff over; however, Mrs. Weasley, irritated, interrupts Fleur by glaring at her and stating that she had invited “dear” Tonks to dinner, but she wouldn’t come.  She then asks Remus if he has spoken to Tonks lately.  Remus states that he has not spoken to her, or anyone else lately, and that he thinks that Tonks has her own family to go to.  Mrs. Weasley says that she got the impression that Tonks was spending Christmas alone, and then looks at Remus in annoyance. 
       
      As Fleur is using her fork to feed Bill bits of turkey, Harry tells Lupin that Tonks’s Patronus has changed.  He asks why a Patronus would change.  Lupin states that it could be due to a great shock or emotional upheaval.  Harry begins to say that it was big and had four legs.  He’s pondering what it could be, when he is suddenly interrupted by Mrs. Weasley who, hand over her heart, is looking out of the window and shouting to Mr. Weasley that she sees Percy.  Everyone looks around to see that Percy is coming across the yard, along with the Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour.  Harry notices that the Minister is limping slightly and has a mane of graying hair.  The Minister follows Percy into the back door.  Everyone stares from Percy, to the Minister, to each other, as Percy and the Minister stand in the doorway.  Percy stands stiffly and utters an emotionless “Merry Christmas, Mother,” as his mother excitedly throws her arms around him in greeting.  The minister explains that he and Percy were in the vicinity, and that Percy couldn’t resist seeing them all.  Percy, however, just stands there, stock-still, and does not greet anyone else.  Mr. Weasley, Fred and George are tense and stony-faced.
       
      Mrs. Weasley, very flustered, offers the Minister something to eat.  He politely declines, once again stating that they only dropped in because Percy had a strong desire to visit his family.  Mrs. Weasley becomes tearful at this news and reaches up to kiss Percy.  The Minister states that he will just stroll around the yard while the family visits with Percy, and then remarks that he wouldn’t mind if someone would join him in his stroll through the garden.  He looks around the table and notes that, because Harry has finished eating, he would like Harry to accompany him into the garden.  Ginny, Fleur and George have clean plates also; therefore, no one is fooled into thinking that the Minister has chosen Harry because he is the only one to be finished eating.  It is obvious to everyone that the Minister wants to speak with Harry alone. When Harry rises from his seat, Lupin begins to rise, and Mr. Weasley opens his mouth to speak, but Harry stops them, stating that it is all right.  He and the Minister then go into the garden.
       
      In the garden, Harry remembers that the Minister had been Head of the Auror office. He observes the Minister’s appearance to be tough and battle-scarred.  The Minister keeps remarking about how charming the Weasley’s garden is (even though it is snow-covered, over-grown and gnome-filled).  Harry just stands there in silence.  He can tell that the Minister is watching him.  The minister tells Harry that he has wanted to meet him for a long time, and asks Harry if he knew that.  When Harry says no, the Minister tells him that he has wanted to meet him for a very long time, but that Dumbledore has been protective of Harry, and has prevented this.  He tells Harry that this is understandable, considering the rumors of a prophecy and Harry being “The Chosen One.”  All the while, Harry is not responding, saying nothing.
       
      Scrimgeour asks Harry if Dumbledore has discussed these matters with him.  While watching a gnome wrestle with a Rhododendron, Harry tells him that they have discussed it.  The Minister asks Harry what Dumbledore has told him.  Not wanting to sound too unfriendly, but wanting to divulge nothing to the Minister, Harry tells the Minister that this is a matter between Dumbledore and Harry.  The Minister then tells Harry that he would not want him to divulge any confidences, and asks Harry whether or not it really matters if he is the Chosen One.  While still watching the gnome—it’s now digging for worms at the root of the Rhododendron--Harry tells the Minister that he does not know what he means.  The Minister tells Harry that it only matters what the people in the Wizarding community believe.  The Minister tells Harry that people believe him to be a hero who has defeated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named a number of times, and that they believe him to be a symbol of hope that is destined to destroy He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.  He says that this gives people a lift, and feels that once Harry realizes this, he might, perhaps, feel a duty to stand alongside the ministry. 
       
      Harry has been very silent the whole time that they have been in the garden, and becomes more silent still.  (The gnome has managed to get hold of a worm, trying very hard to get it out of the frozen ground)  Harry finally speaks to tell the minister that he does not understand what he wants.  The minister tells Harry that he wants him to be seen at the ministry from time to time; he also wants him to speak with with Gawain Robards, the successor as Head of the Auror Office.  The Minister tells Harry that Dolores Umbridge has told him that Harry has expressed a desire to become an Auror, and that this position can be easily arranged.  Of course, at the mention of Umbridge’s name, Harry gets angry.  He didn’t know that she was still at the Ministry.  When Harry asks the Minister if he wants Harry to give the impression that Harry is working for the Ministry, the Minister cheerfully states to Harry that, yes, it would give everyone hope to know that “The Chosen One” is working for the Ministry.  Harry tells the Minister that he doesn’t want to give the impression that he approves of what the Ministry is up to.  The Minister is frowning; Harry tells him that he doesn’t approve of some of the things that the Ministry has done, such as throwing Stan Shunpike into jail.  At the mention of Stan Shunpike, the Minister becomes visibly annoyed.  He tells Harry that these are dangerous times, and that he doesn’t expect him to understand, as he is only sixteen years old.  Harry states that Dumbledore is a lot older than sixteen, and that he also does not think that Stan Shunpike should be in jail. 
       
      Harry also tells the Minister that he (Harry) does not approve of the Ministry making Stan a scapegoat, or attempting to make Harry a mascot.  At this, the Minister stops any pretense at pleasantries and tells Harry that he sees that Harry prefers to disassociate himself from the Ministry, just as Harry’s hero, Dumbledore, prefers doing.  They then exchange a series of non-pleasantries:  Harry says he doesn’t want to be used; the Minister tells Harry that some wizards may feel it’s Harry’s duty to be used by the Ministry; Harry tells the Minister that some may feel that the Ministry has a duty to check that people are really Death Eaters before they throw them into jail. Harry tells the Minister that the Minister doesn’t care whether Harry lives or dies; he only cares that Harry helps him to convince people that the Ministry is winning the war against Voldemort.  Harry tells the Minister that he doesn’t remember the Ministry rushing to his defense last year, when he was telling everyone that Voldemort was back.  (The gnome has finally managed to get the worm)
       
      As they stand in icy silence for a minute, the Minister stiffly asks Harry what Dumbledore is up to, and where Dumbledore goes when he is absent from Hogwarts.  Harry replies that he doesn’t know; the Minister says to him, “You wouldn’t tell me if you knew, would you?”  Harry says no.  The Minister then tells him that they will find out through other means.  Harry tells Scrimgeour that he seems cleverer than Fudge, the previous Minister, and he would think that Scrimgeour would know better than to interfere at Hogwarts.  Harry states that Fudge interfered, and that he is no longer Minister, but that Dumbledore is still at Hogwarts.  The Minister stares at Harry, long and hard, before remarking that Dumbledore has done a good job on Harry; and that Harry is Dumbledore’s man through and through.  Harry says to him, “Yeah, I am.”  “Glad we straightened that out.”  Harry then turns his back on the Minister, and walks back towards the house.
       
      Jayne’s Impressions
       
      A Very Frosty Christmas, indeed!  There’s an awful lot of hostility in this chapter--anger, animosity, tension.  There seemed to be quite an air of iciness and chilliness, both indoors and outdoors.  There was definitely an icy chill between Mrs. Weasley and Fleur.  Actually, Mrs. Weasley, rather than Fleur, seemed to be the source of much of the animosity.  Also, in the beginning of the chapter, Fred mentions how having Fleur as a roommate will just “make” Ginny’s Christmas.  Obviously, Fred feels not much warmth emanating from Ginny towards Fleur.  Harry, in his conversations with Ron and Professor Lupin, exhibits much bitterness and animosity towards Professor Snape and Draco.  No surprise there.  Professor Lupin, although mostly reflective and pensive in this chapter, tenses up and, without really meaning to, exhibits his anger towards Greyback for having bitten him and made him a werewolf.  Fred, George and Mr. Weasley are, obviously, very annoyed at Percy upon his arrival to the Burrow.  They didn’t say anything; their body language said it all.  Percy, in turn, didn’t speak either (except for a chilly greeting to his mother) and stood stock-still throughout his visit, even when his mother hugged him.  Finally, the interchange between Harry and Scrimgeour in the snowy and frosted-over garden was the ultimate evidence of tension and animosity.  There was more frost between them than there was on the ground.  The temperature outside probably dropped twenty degrees during their conversation.
       
      In re-reading this chapter for this post discussion, I detected another, more subtle, theme from JKR.  She mentions peeling a few times:  the peeling of sprouts (potatoes?) by Harry and Ron, and the pealing, high-pitched singing of Celestina Warbeck.  I think JKR is hinting at the peeling away of the layers of oneself to get at the core of one’s being; in essence, removing, peeling away, getting rid of the surface stuff that we take on and wear during the course of our lives.
       
      Jan van Rijckenborgh, in The Coming New Man, describes the human being as a system of bodies enclosed by a microcosm.  The divine nucleus is located at the center of this microcosm, the atomic center of the original human being we once were.  I think that, to a certain degree, we all wear a mask.  Sometimes, we don’t want others to see who we truly are, or how we really feel.  Oftentimes, we don’t even want to acknowledge to ourselves who we are.  As adults, we forget how to let go and just be free--just be who we are, without fear of judgment.  That’s how children are.  They have no inhibitions; they just express themselves freely.  In growing up, we forget that.  We lose touch with ourselves--with the essence of our being.  So, we start piling on the layers of stuff; we cover up and put on our suit of armor. 
       
      I think JKR is saying, in this chapter, to take all of that stuff off.  Peel away those protective layers to get to the core of your being, to your divine nucleus.  Peeling away the surface layers can help us to see ourselves, as well as others, more clearly.  As we all know, from having read the book (and which we will discuss in the appropriate chapters), Fleur was not, on the surface, the type of person that Mrs. Weasley and Ginny perceived her to be.  Also, Professor Lupin’s subdued mood was not only because he had been living amongst the werewolves, but because he was also wrestling with his and Tonks’s feelings for each other.  So, what we see on the surface is not always an accurate indicator of what’s really lying beneath.
       
      Possible Group Topics
       
      There are other things mentioned in this chapter, such as:
       
      • The arrest of Stan Shunpike
      • Fenrir Greyback and the werewolves feelings towards normal people
      • The Half-Blood Prince and the Levicorpus spell
      • Emotionless Percy
      • Tonks’s Patronus
      • The Christmas gift of maggots from Kreacher
      • Harry in the garden with Scrimgeour watching a gnome wrestle a worm from the frozen roots of a Rhododendron.
       
      I’m not sure what JKR mentioning the maggots or the gnome and the Rhododendron signifies--maybe something, maybe nothing.  With JKR, you can never tell.  Perhaps the gnome and the worm are suggestive of the pull and tug going on between a persistent Scrimgeour and a more persistent and stubborn Harry.  In the end, though, the gnome gets the worm; but, Scrimgeour, the gnome in my theory, gets nothing from Harry.  So, my theory seems to fall a little flat.
       
      Well, that’s my impression of “A Very Frosty Christmas,” which could have been sub-titled “What Lies Beneath.”  Actually, I think that was the name of some weird movie with Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer.  Oh well—let the discussion begin!
       
      Jayne
       
       
       
    • Jayne
      ... wrote: a weary Mr. Weasley makes an effort to sit up and listen to her, and then catches sight of Harry, who is sitting next to him. They begin conversing
      Message 2 of 13 , Jul 29, 2006
        --- In harrypotterforseekers@yahoogroups.com, Jayne <naniejay@...>
        wrote:

        a weary Mr. Weasley makes an effort to sit up and listen to her, and
        then catches sight of Harry, who is sitting next to him. They begin
        conversing about the Ministry. Mr. Weasley tells Harry that not much
        progress is being made in the hunt for Death Eaters. He tells him that
        they have made only three arrests, and he does not think that any of
        them are Death Eaters. Harry asks about Stan Shunpike, and Mr. Weasley
        tells Harry that the Ministry still has him under arrest, even though
        Dumbledore has spoken directly to Scrimgeour about Stan. Mr. Weasley
        tells Harry that the Ministry may be holding onto Stan and the other two
        arrestees to give the appearance to the wizarding world that they are
        making some progress. He says that this is all top secret, and to not
        tell anyone.

        (Snip)

        The Mnister is frowining. Harry tells him that he doesn't approve
        of some of the things that the Ministry has done, such as throwing Stan
        Shunpike into jail. At the mention of Stan Shunpike, the Minister
        becomes visibly annoyed. He tells Harry that these are dangerous times,
        and that he doesn't expect him to understand, as he is only sixteen
        years old. Harry states that Dumbledore is a lot older than sixteen, and
        that he also does not think that Stan Shunpike should be in jail.

        (Snip)

        Harry also tells the Minister that he (Harry) does not approve of the
        Ministry making Stan a scapegoat, or attempting to make Harry a mascot.
        At this, the Minister stops any pretense at pleasantries and tells Harry
        that he sees that Harry prefers to disassociate himself from the
        Ministry, just as Harry's hero, Dumbledore, prefers doing.

        Jayne now:

        There doesn't seem to be much interest in this chapter, as no one wanted
        to introduce it. However, this chapter left me asking myself many
        questions, one of which is why the Ministry and Harry are so interested
        in Stan Shunpike. As far I know, Stan is only the conductor on the
        Knight Bus, and that Harry had only met him that one time that he rode
        the bus. Why, then, all the interest in Stan? Is he important in
        Harry's path to liberation and, if so, why?

        Does anyone in the group have any thoughts on this?
      • nancy aronson
        Jane: my response has been gobbled up by my computer--- I kid you not --- more than once. I am interested in what you have written. Jayne
        Message 3 of 13 , Jul 29, 2006
          Jane: my response has been gobbled up by my computer--- I kid you not --- more than once.
          I am interested in what you have written.

          Jayne <naniejay@...> wrote:

              A Very Thorough Synopsis of “A Very Frosty Christmas”
              Jayne’s Impressions
              A Very Frosty Christmas, indeed!  There’s an awful lot of hostility in this chapter--anger, animosity, tension.
               
              Nancy:
              Well and thoroughly done! A zillion points.
              
          Jayne:
              There seemed to be quite an air of iciness and chilliness, both indoors and outdoors.
               
              Nancy:
              This reminds me of John Granger's alchemical analysis of Book Six as the White Book. It seems as if the gang is detoxifying in the form of conflict and whitish snowy discharge.
              A few more examples of animosity:
          The chapter starts with Harry making a sprout-based threat to Ron (“If you ask that one more time, I’m going to take this sprout”)
          Ron flings a knife at a twin for teasing him.
          We learn about one of the most base and disgusting forms of aggression of all in the form of Fenrir Greyback, a werewolf whom the elegant Lupin was ready to forgive, had he not learned that his bite had been a planned act of revenge against Lupin's dad.
          Mrs. Weasley expresses subtle exasperation with Lupin for abandoning Tonks over the holidays.
          There are signs of defensiveness described when Scrimgeour and Percy crash the party: The atmosphere around the table changed perceptibly…”It’s fine,” he said quietly, as he passed Lupin, who had half risen from his chair. “Fine,” he added as, as Mr. Weasley opened his mouth to speak.
          In the course of his walk “Harry felt anger bubbling in the pit of his stomach.” Lines have been drawn. Harry’s on Team Dumbledore. Scrimgeour will stop at nothing to further his agenda, including sending an innocent to Azkaban.

           
          For me, the Shunpike storyline is pretty transparent. One is appalled by the thought of this simple guy being exposed to the horrors of Azkaban (but then, are the dementors even hanging out at Azkaban anymore?) Shunpike reminds us of the duplicity of those in formal power. The ministry, unlike Dumbledore, has little tolerance for those who stick out, the wacky individuals such as Harry in 5th year, Hagrid after the Chamber of Secrets, etc. The ministry has little respect for wizard life, and tends to regard wizards primarily in terms of how they can serve the ends of the regime.

          Again, I thought your analysis was great. Sorry it took so long to post.

          Nancy


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        • Jayne
          Nancy: Jane: my response has been gobbled up by my computer--- I kid you not ... I am interested in what you have written. Jayne here: Thank you for responding
          Message 4 of 13 , Jul 29, 2006

            Nancy:

            Jane: my response has been gobbled up by my computer--- I kid you not --- more than once.
            I am interested in what you have written.

            Jayne here:

            Thank you for responding Nancy.  And, I believe you about your response being gobbled up by the computer.  I have, on more than a few occasions, replied to a response on this message board, only to have it not even post--just disappear!

            (Regarding the hostility in Chapter 16)

            Nancy:

            This reminds me of John Granger's alchemical analysis of Book Six as the White Book. It seems as if the gang is detoxifying in the form of conflict and whitish snowy discharge.

            Jayne here:

            Thanks for reminding me of this, Nancy.  I own both The Hidden Key to Harry Potter and Looking for God in Harry Potter.  It's been a long time since I've read The Hidden Key to Harry Potter, and I've only read certain chapters in Looking for God in Harry Potter.  I'll have to pull them off the shelves and read what John Granger says about Book Six as the White Book.  This chapter did, indeed, seem as if everyone was detoxifying themselves, as you describe above.   Everyone was annoyed or irritated at someone else about something.

            Nancy:

            For me, the Shunpike storyline is pretty transparent. One is appalled by the thought of this simple guy being exposed to the horrors of Azkaban (but then, are the dementors even hanging out at Azkaban anymore?) Shunpike reminds us of the duplicity of those in formal power. The ministry, unlike Dumbledore, has little tolerance for those who stick out, the wacky individuals such as Harry in 5th year, Hagrid after the Chamber of Secrets, etc. The ministry has little respect for wizard life, and tends to regard wizards primarily in terms of how they can serve the ends of the regime.
             
            Jayne here:

            I don't know, Nancy.  I'm always skeptical when JKR makes things seem too apparent.  Because she mentions Stan Shunpike, in particular, and Harry seems so interested in someone that, to my knowledge, he has met only one time, I'm thinking that there is more to Stan than just being a scapegoat for the Ministry.  However, as I said in my original post, maybe this means something; maybe, it doesn't.  For me, JKR's seemingly inconsequential information just leaves me asking more and more questions.

            Also, I'm wondering what's up with Fenrir Greyback?  I mean, ugh!  The werewolf that bit him and made him into a werewolf must have been really demented; it must have passed on all of the worst aspects of itself to Fenrir.  All of these characters, though, are aspects of the seeker himself.  They represent those parts of the seeker that he must confront on his path to liberation.  I suppose that Fenrir represents that really, really, negative aspect that the seeker must confront and abolish before he can become truly liberated.

             

          • nancy aronson
            Jayne wrote: Nancy: Jane: my response has been gobbled up by my computer--- I kid you not --- more than once. I am interested in what you
            Message 5 of 13 , Jul 30, 2006
              Jayne <naniejay@...> wrote:
              Nancy:
              Jane: my response has been gobbled up by my computer--- I kid you not --- more than once.
              I am interested in what you have written.

              Jayne here:
              Thank you for responding Nancy.  And, I believe you about your response being gobbled up by the computer.  I have, on more than a few occasions, replied to a response on this message board, only to have it not even post--just disappear!
              Nancy:
              It's true!
              (Regarding the hostility in Chapter 16)
              Nancy:
              This reminds me of John Granger's alchemical analysis of Book Six as the White Book. It seems as if the gang is detoxifying in the form of conflict and whitish snowy discharge.
              Jayne here:
              Thanks for reminding me of this, Nancy.  I own both The Hidden Key to Harry Potter and Looking for God in Harry Potter.  It's been a long time since I've read The Hidden Key to Harry Potter, and I've only read certain chapters in Looking for God in Harry Potter.
              Nancy:
              That seems to be the best course, short of raising your hand at Lumos, since the essays are no longer posted on his site.
              I'll have to pull them off the shelves and read what John Granger says about Book Six as the White Book.  This chapter did, indeed, seem as if everyone was detoxifying themselves, as you describe above.   Everyone was annoyed or irritated at someone else about something.
              Nancy:
              For me, the Shunpike storyline is pretty transparent. One is appalled by the thought of this simple guy being exposed to the horrors of Azkaban (but then, are the dementors even hanging out at Azkaban anymore?) Shunpike reminds us of the duplicity of those in formal power. The ministry, unlike Dumbledore, has little tolerance for those who stick out, the wacky individuals such as Harry in 5th year, Hagrid after the Chamber of Secrets, etc. The ministry has little respect for wizard life, and tends to regard wizards primarily in terms of how they can serve the ends of the regime.
               
              Jayne here:
              I don't know, Nancy.  I'm always skeptical when JKR makes things seem too apparent.  Because she mentions Stan Shunpike, in particular, and Harry seems so interested in someone that, to my knowledge, he has met only one time, I'm thinking that there is more to Stan than just being a scapegoat for the Ministry.  However, as I said in my original post, maybe this means something; maybe, it doesn't.  For me, JKR's seemingly inconsequential information just leaves me asking more and more questions.
              Nancy:
              Of course I can say nothing definitive: only an impression.
              Harry runs into Stan on the bus, overhears him at the Triwizard Tournament as well, no? Is there some time that the trio overhear him at a bar in Diagon Alley, or is that just the ministry?
              Anyhow, I thought your analysis of Six completely nailed the purpose of the chapter. I loved the arguments, the peelings, the hurling, the frostiness. Come to think of it, that poor gnome at the top of the tree characterizes things nicely. He may be all covered with glitter and stuffed in a tutu to be made Christmassy, but he's really a destructive pissed off little potatohead.
              Also, I'm wondering what's up with Fenrir Greyback?  I mean, ugh!  The werewolf that bit him and made him into a werewolf must have been really demented; it must have passed on all of the worst aspects of itself to Fenrir.  All of these characters, though, are aspects of the seeker himself.  They represent those parts of the seeker that he must confront on his path to liberation.  I suppose that Fenrir represents that really, really, negative aspect that the seeker must confront and abolish before he can become truly liberated.
               


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            • Hans Andréa
              Jayne wrote: There doesn t seem to be much interest in this chapter, as no one wanted to introduce it. However, this chapter left me
              Message 6 of 13 , Jul 30, 2006


                Jayne <naniejay@...> wrote:
                There doesn't seem to be much interest in this chapter, as no one wanted to introduce it. However, this chapter left me asking myself many questions, one of which is why the Ministry and Harry are so interested in Stan Shunpike. As far I know, Stan is only the conductor on the Knight Bus, and that Harry had only met him that one time that he rode the bus. Why, then, all the interest in Stan? Is he important in Harry's path to liberation and, if so, why?

                Hans:
                I don't think there's a lack of interest in this chapter in particular. I think most people have found that introducing a chapter is really hard work, and takes a lot of time and concentration. Even just participating in the chapter discussion is quite an effort. Several members have expressed disappointment at the response to their introduction. However I don't think this is any reason to stop. I think it's worth it because I personally find that the posts are helping me see a lot more depth in the chapters. We have a lot of people in this group who are really good at seeing symbols, parallels and metaphors that I haven't seen. If necessary I would be prepared to do all the chapters myself, but it's obviously far better if there's a wide cross section of views.
                 
                As for Stan Shunpike, I see this as an example of Harry's compassionate nature. I can't see Stan himself as a symbol of anything, but I see Harry's indignation as a symbol of the New Soul's suffering at seeing injustice, suffering, and political exploitation at the detriment of the innocent.
                 
                To put this in terms of everyday life: when the New Soul is born in your heart, the heart sanctuary becomes very sensitive. You find yourself constantly suffering at how cruel and heartless people can be to each other. When you see two people in conflict, you feel the pain of the person being abused, and yet you also feel the pain of the person who is shutting their heart to the inner source of love that is being asphyxiated.
                 
                It is true that final liberation is an inexpressible joy and ecstasy, but, as is shown so clearly in everything Harry has to go through, the way there actually intensifies suffering for a time.


                "Rowling said she couldn't answer the questions about the book's religious content until the conclusion of book seven." CST 99
                "If I talk too freely about whether I believe in God I think the intelligent reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess what's coming in the books." JKR
                 


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              • ornadv
                ... hostility in this chapter--anger, animosity, tension. There seemed to be quite an air of iciness and chilliness, both indoors and outdoors. Orna:
                Message 7 of 13 , Jul 30, 2006
                  --- In harrypotterforseekers@yahoogroups.com, Jayne <naniejay@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > Jayne’s Impressions
                  >A Very Frosty Christmas, indeed! There’s an awful lot of
                  hostility >in this chapter--anger, animosity, tension. There seemed
                  to be >quite an air of iciness and chilliness, both indoors and
                  outdoors.

                  Orna:

                  Couldn't agree more. Perhaps that's also why people didn't volunteer
                  for this chapter - just feels uneasy dwelling in those feelings. So
                  thanks a lot for doing it.

                  >Jayne
                  >As adults, we forget how to let go and just be free--just be who we
                  >are, without fear of judgment. That’s how children are. They have
                  >no inhibitions; they just express themselves freely. <snip>
                  >I think JKR is saying, in this chapter, to take all of that stuff
                  >off. Peel away those protective layers to get to the core of your
                  >being, to your divine nucleus. Peeling away the surface layers can
                  >help us to see ourselves, as well as others, more clearly.

                  Orna:
                  That's interesting. Because "peeling" on one hand it has to do with
                  getting to the core – like children, but also growing up, I think.
                  I thought that this chapter shows Harry growing up, in many ways,
                  without loosing contact to his inner core. He reminds Ron that he
                  couldn't go to the village, because he promised Dumbledore (Is this
                  the same Harry who stole away to Hogwarts in PoA?). He can hear
                  Arthur's reply, without loosing his temper, or loosing his faith in
                  his own judgment. And when Scrimgeour invites him for a talk – he
                  doesn't seem intimidated, he accepts the challenge. Lupin is a bit
                  afraid – wants to accompany him, but Harry reassures him. Now his
                  talk with Scrimgeour is very interesting, especially if we compare
                  it to his interaction with Umbridge, the previous year. He gets
                  behind those lies, political manipulations, and he does get angry on
                  behalf of what the ministry does (especially scapegouting Stan). But
                  he doesn't loose his temper, or his clearness of thought. I thought
                  to myself while reading – it's quite an accomplishment to be able to
                  figure out that the ministry is trying to use him as a mascot. I
                  mean it shows a clear truthful view upon what he us told, and more –
                  it shows how Harry can't be tempted by power motives (like fame,
                  admiration – which he would surely get, or just by being near people
                  of importance). How many teenagers would be able to resist this,
                  without giving away in a temper tantrum? Just look at Percy –exactly
                  the opposite. Harry manages to see what he is being tempted to do,
                  resist it, and telling loud and clearly – but not impertinently -
                  what kind of offer he has been given – which peels Scrimgeour's
                  pretenses. (And he is able to refuse in a way projecting strength,
                  which Scrimgeour can't fight – he has to accept it. Harry is helped
                  by having evilness marked on his flesh – Voldmort's scar, and
                  Umbridge's, as well It is very true, what Scrimgeour says –
                  Dumbledore has done a very good job on Harry – he has grown up,
                  takes responsibility, doesn't (so much…) give in to temper battles,
                  and is proud of it. He can acknowledge being Dumbledore's man –
                  again a sign of him being grown up, and paradoxically being able to
                  go on without Dumbledore.

                  Bye,

                  Orna
                • Deborah
                  ... wrote: Scapegoats? I wrote an essay on Leaky Cauldron about Bibilical Markings which touched upon scapegoats. Here is the excerpt: We use the term,
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jul 30, 2006
                    --- In harrypotterforseekers@yahoogroups.com, Jayne <naniejay@...>
                    wrote: Scapegoats?

                    I wrote an essay on Leaky Cauldron about Bibilical Markings which
                    touched upon scapegoats. Here is the excerpt:

                    "We use the term, scapegoat, for a person, group, or thing held
                    responsible for problems. The scapegoat bears the blame, yet had
                    absolutely nothing to do with the problems. In the wizard world, we
                    have `speckled' Stan Shunpike locked up as a scapegoat.

                    In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Marietta Edgecombe
                    started her school year unspotted. When she did something quite wrong
                    by turning traitor on Harry and his Dumbledore's Army friends,
                    Hermione saw to it that Marietta came down with a bad case of
                    speckles.

                    The goat is a source of bezoars, which provides a protective barrier
                    from poisoned death. In Sorcerer's Stone, in the very first potion
                    class, Snape asks Harry how to find a bezoar. However, before the
                    bezoar ended up in Slughorn's possession, it was found in the
                    intestinal track of a goat.

                    A speckled speculation: It also makes one wonder if a well-"bezoared"
                    and well-spotted Weasley is going to become a scapegoat?"

                    Hagrid was a scapegoat.
                    Sirius Black was a scapegoat.
                    Stan is a scapegoat.
                    Any more on the way?

                    So I wonder if the Weasleys, and Ron in particular, will become
                    scapegoats in the final book? If the pure-blood Nazis get into
                    power, won't the blood traitors be in big trouble?

                    Necklace Observations:
                    1. Ron receives a golden necklace with words, "My sweetheart."
                    2. A black opal necklace was supposed to have killed Dumbledore.
                    3. Harry ends up at the end of book six with an empty locket on a
                    chain.

                    Of course, once upon a time we had a teacher called Lockheart.

                    The Weasley's clock, in book two, has a category for "Prison."

                    Lock - heart...does a Weasley get scapegoated and put in prison in
                    the last book? Will he be taken hostage and Harry has to rescue him?
                    Task two, again?

                    And what about the song lyrics...

                    "You have charmed the heart out of me.
                    My poor heart, where has it gone.
                    You've torn it apart.
                    Give back my heart."
                  • Christina Nihill
                    ... wanted ... interested ... the ... rode ... Chris: Your introduction was great, Jayne, and I have been working on a reply to it. But first I accidentally
                    Message 9 of 13 , Aug 1, 2006
                      > Jayne now:
                      >
                      > There doesn't seem to be much interest in this chapter, as no one
                      wanted
                      > to introduce it. However, this chapter left me asking myself many
                      > questions, one of which is why the Ministry and Harry are so
                      interested
                      > in Stan Shunpike. As far I know, Stan is only the conductor on
                      the
                      > Knight Bus, and that Harry had only met him that one time that he
                      rode
                      > the bus. Why, then, all the interest in Stan? Is he important in
                      > Harry's path to liberation and, if so, why?
                      >
                      > Does anyone in the group have any thoughts on this?
                      >

                      Chris:
                      Your introduction was great, Jayne, and I have been working on a
                      reply to it. But first I accidentally deleted all my chapter notes
                      in a fit of enthusiatic PC housekeeping, and just now when about to
                      post, I changed my mind about my main argument and need to start
                      working it all out again from the beginning. This is a challenging
                      chapter!

                      But I can comment on the Stan Shunpike episode.

                      It seems to me that in describing Scrimgeour's treatment of Stan
                      Shunpike and the other innocents, Jo is intentionally paralleling
                      the British, and therefore the US, government's policy on and
                      treatment of suspected terrorists. And that's one of the reasons why
                      she chose to portray Tony Blair in the opening chapter of The Half-
                      Blood Prince.

                      He may have taken it as a compliment, but I don't think it was. The
                      only compliment implied was that she thought both that the
                      government's policy was worth highlighting, and that she might make
                      a difference by doing so, that they might listen: if the opposition
                      party had been in power instead, I don't think she'd have thought it
                      worth bothering.

                      To Tony Blair: I hope you're listening, because Harry's right!

                      Chris
                    • Aldo Cauchi Savona
                      While watching a gnome wrestle with a Rhododendron... While still watching the gnome—it s now digging for worms at the root of the
                      Message 10 of 13 , Aug 7, 2006
                        <chop>
                        <snip>
                        While watching a gnome wrestle with a Rhododendron...
                        <snip>
                        While still watching the gnome—it's now digging for worms at the root
                        of the Rhododendron--...
                        <snip> (The gnome has managed to get hold of a worm, trying very hard
                        to get it out of the frozen ground) <snip>
                        (The gnome has finally managed to get the worm)

                        Aldo:
                        the fight between the gnome and the worm seems to be an interesting
                        parallel to the conversational battle between Harry and Mr. Minister...

                        With regards to the Ministry i see that as a parallel to the way
                        spritiual matters are treated in earthly life. To be used as far as
                        they help the people in power get more power/retain their power. (as
                        Harry said, it does not matter for the ministry if he (Harry) is alive
                        or dead...)
                      • Christina Nihill
                        ... them. Harry then tells Ron that he couldn t have gone into the village anyway, because he promised Professor Dumbledore that he would not leave the house
                        Message 11 of 13 , Aug 14, 2006
                          --- In harrypotterforseekers@yahoogroups.com, Jayne <naniejay@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > A Very Thorough Synopsis of "A Very Frosty Christmas"

                          Jayne:
                          >>Ron remarks to Harry that Fred and George should have helped
                          them. Harry then tells Ron that he couldn't have gone into the
                          village anyway, because he promised Professor Dumbledore that he
                          would not leave the house while he was staying there.<<

                          Chris:
                          Dumbledore has arranged for Harry to spend Christmas at the
                          Weasleys'. Harry ( the New Soul ) is being protected by the Weasleys
                          (the chakras). Except for Percy.

                          Arthur is still working for the Ministry. This means Molly as his
                          wife is supporting the Ministry too. Percy is of course a Ministry
                          employee. I'm just wondering whether Jo might show the chakras
                          rotating in the opposite direction in Book 7 by either ending their
                          work for the Ministry or by putting the Ministry in the control of
                          someone who is 100 per cent Harry's man. The twins and Ron show
                          Harry some support at the moment, but surely they need to be more
                          strongly behind him in Book 7 too. They all play their part in
                          hindering him in Book 6 (e.g. Ron and Hermione not being prepared to
                          believe that Malfoy might be up to something, the twins with their
                          love potions and peruvian darkness powder) and I think this needs
                          to be resolved somehow.


                          Jayne:
                          >>Percy, in turn, didn't speak either (except for a chilly greeting
                          to his mother) and stood >stock-still throughout his visit, even
                          when his mother hugged him. <<

                          Chris:
                          Of all of them, Percy is the one who really seems to be frozen.
                          Scrimgeour is putting him in an intolerable position, isn't he?
                          Perhaps this chakra has stopped rotating altogether


                          Chris:
                          `Malfoy was up to something and Snape knew it.'
                          All the emphasis at the beginning of the chapter on Snape helping
                          Malfoy has me thinking that Harry has missed some key point or
                          other. Is it just that Malfoy has other people helping him, better
                          people than Crabbe and Goyle? Because presumably we meet all these
                          other people at the end of the book and there are no further
                          surprises about that to come in Book 7?


                          Jayne:
                          >>Harry becomes pensive, and begins imagining what Hermione's
                          reaction might be. He remembers that he had intended to tell
                          Hermione what he had overheard. <<

                          Chris:
                          `Obviously, Harry, he was pretending to offer to help so he could
                          trick Malfoy into telling him what he's doing.' Harry has
                          internalized Hermione's voice, it's now part of his personality. Is
                          he right? Is this really what Hermione would have said?


                          Jayne:
                          >>I'm not sure what JKR mentioning the maggots or the gnome and the
                          Rhododendron signifies--maybe something, maybe nothing. With JKR,
                          you can never tell. Perhaps the gnome and the worm are suggestive
                          of the pull and tug going on between a persistent Scrimgeour and a
                          more persistent and stubborn Harry. In the end, though, the gnome
                          gets the worm; but, Scrimgeour, the gnome in my theory, gets nothing
                          from Harry. So, my theory seems to fall a little flat.<<

                          Chris:
                          I'm still stuck for ideas on the maggots – there were some in
                          Hagrid's hut for Aragog, weren't there? Perhaps they relate to
                          Aragog in some way, or perhaps we'll see some more of them in Book
                          7, Jo has a habit of planting references to later topics in earlier
                          books.

                          But I have a few thoughts on the gnome.

                          `Fred, George, Harry and Ron were the only ones who knew that the
                          angel at the top of the Christmas Tree was actually a garden gnome
                          that had bitten Fred on the ankle as he pulled up carrots for
                          Christmas dinner. Stupefied, painted gold, stuffed into a miniature
                          tutu and with small wings glued to its back, it glowered down at
                          them all, the ugliest angel Harry had ever seen, with a large bald
                          head like a potato and rather hairy feet.'

                          The gnome is an angel symbol. But didn't really have the appearance
                          of one
                          It doesn't really look the way you'd traditionally expect an angel
                          to look. A signature of Jo's.

                          I think this gnome description ties up with the worm-sucking gnome
                          in the rhododendrons. Scrimgeour wants Harry as a pet gnome, a
                          mascot. He's not looking for Harry to defeat Voldemort, to become
                          the Philosopher's Stone and produce spiritual gold, he just wants a
                          fake Chosen One, decorated to look like a saviour, that he can pose
                          on the peak of his governmental Christmas tree organizational
                          structure, and then stand back while his efforts are admired.

                          Jayne:
                          >>Professor Lupin, looking even more thin and ragged, is sitting
                          beside, and staring into, the fire. <<

                          Lupin staring into the depths of the fire - an image of self-
                          surrender. Lupin's work with the werewolves is his sacrifice for
                          Dumbledore. This is what Dumbledore wanted him to do, and he has
                          surrendered his will for Dumbledore's.

                          'It isn't our business to know' said Lupin unexpectedly. He had
                          turned his back on the fire now and faced Harry across Mr
                          Weasley. 'It's Dumbledore's business. Dumbledore trusts Severus, and
                          that ought to be good enough for all of us. ' ... 'People have said
                          it, many times. It comes down to whether you trust Dumbledore's
                          judgement. I do, therefore I trust Severus.'. ... ' Dumbledore
                          trusts Severus, and that is good enough for me.' ...

                          Is he sincere? He's honest enough, further on in his conversation
                          with Harry, to say about Snape's brewing of the werewolf suppression
                          potion, 'I must be grateful' rather than 'I am grateful'. Well,
                          clearly, he'd like to think he trusts Dumbledore, and therefore
                          Severus. However, in Chapter 29, The Phoenix Lament, when they are
                          told by Harry that Snape has killed Dumbledore, instead of
                          contradicting Harry, he first says `Snape was a highly accomplished
                          Occlumens' and later goes on to say to Hermione ` had you not obeyed
                          Snape and got out of the way, he would probably have killed you and
                          Luna'. He shows he hasn't been fully able to take that leap of
                          faith.

                          Lupin is quite right, though. Dumbledore, symbolizing the gnosis or
                          the will of God, sees the big picture, and his judgement is to be
                          relied on. Our human understanding, represented here by Lupin's, is
                          imperfect because we see only part of the picture: we need to follow
                          the will of God / Dumbledore's direction.

                          Sirius summed it up when he said 'Brilliant, Snape. Once again, you
                          put your keen and penetrating mind to the task and as usual come to
                          the wrong conclusion' in the Shrieking Shack in the film of The
                          Prisoner of Azkaban. We tend to see this is a sarcastic and
                          foolhardy crack made at Snape's expense by Sirius, and laugh with
                          him while deprecating that he says it. But, in fact, it is a
                          sweeping condemnation of all of us, of how we use our will rather
                          than following God's will. Francis Bridger touched on this topic in
                          his presentation at Lumos 2006, and Hans mentioned it in passing in
                          post 2092.

                          Lupin's trust in Dumbledore, despite his efforts, is also imperfect.
                          But the werewolves are right to trust him, because he trusts in
                          Dumbledore, and Dumbledore works with them through him.

                          Harry's trust in Dumbledore is imperfect too: he's Dumbledore's man
                          through and through, except, as yet, when it relates to Dumbledore's
                          judgement of Snape

                          Harry is being a bit more honest with himself than Lupin is, and one
                          would therefore expect a better outcome for him from the resolution
                          of this issue than one would for Lupin. Being honest with yourself
                          and with others is absolutely critical in order to be sure that you
                          take the right future direction: Harry spends some time emphasizing
                          this to Ministry representative Scrimgeour later in the chapter.
                          Tony Blair take note!

                          By the way, before you all tell me that the films aren't canon, that
                          quote from the film of The Prisoner of Azkaban comes from the scene
                          in which Lupin says `Severus … please …` :-D


                          Jayne:
                          >>They are listening (or supposed to be listening) to Mrs. Weasley's
                          favorite singer, Celestina Warbeck, on the wooden wireless set. <<

                          `Oh my poor heart where has it gone? It's left me for a spell'

                          `You charmed the heart right out of me.'

                          `And now you've torn it quite apart, I'll thank you to give back my
                          heart.'

                          Are the lines from Celestina Warbeck's songs there purely to
                          underline the relationship difficulties between Tonks and Lupin?
                          I've got a feeling that there's a lot more to it than that, but I
                          haven't worked it out yet. They seem to reflect Lupin's sacrifice
                          for Dumbledore in going to work with the werewolves, and they are
                          also suggestive of Snape's sacrifice on the Astronomy Tower.

                          I also wonder whether Jo is giving us clues here about what happened
                          at Godric's Hollow?


                          Jayne:
                          >>Lupin explains that Voldemort intimidates normal wizards by
                          threatening to unleash Greyback upon their children. <<

                          Chris:
                          When Lupin talks about feeling pity for Fenrir, he says `knowing by
                          then' what it was like to transform – this suggests that he did not
                          become a werewolf overnight as an immediate result of the bite, but
                          that it was something that happened after time had elapsed.
                          Interesting, it fits in with Hans' lycanthropy/sexuality theory.

                          Any explanation of the significance of the symbol Fenrir Greyback
                          has to take into account his wish and his ability to contaminate
                          others, especially children or whatever it is that children
                          symbolise here. And it's something you can't speak about openly in
                          company. And that suggests to me that all the marauding activity
                          indulged in by Lupin and friends at school requires some explanation
                          in the same context. Ideas, anyone?


                          Orna:
                          >>I thought to myself while reading – it's quite an accomplishment
                          to be able to figure out that the ministry is trying to use him as a
                          mascot. I mean it shows a clear truthful view upon what he us told,
                          and more – it shows how Harry can't be tempted by power motives
                          (like fame, admiration – which he would surely get, or just by being
                          near people of importance). How many teenagers would be able to
                          resist this, without giving way in a temper tantrum? Just look at
                          Percy – exactly the opposite. Harry manages to see what he is being
                          tempted to do, resist it, and telling loud and clearly – but not
                          impertinently - what kind of offer he has been given – which peels
                          Scrimgeour's pretenses.<<

                          Chris:
                          Scrimgeour is apparently offering Harry a lot of power – are we
                          looking at Jesus' third temptation in the desert? The power that
                          Dumbledore represents cannot be used for the purpose of achieving
                          wordly goals but that doesn't prevent one from being tempted to try
                          and use it in this way. Scrimgeour is playing devil's advocate. In
                          Matthew's gospel, Jesus replies `You shall worship the Lord your
                          God, and Him only shall you serve.' Harry says it in his own,
                          rather awe-inspiring, inimitable way.

                          This scene also reminds me of Jesus before Pontius Pilate: Are you
                          the king of the Jews? Pontius Pilate doesn't quite believe it
                          either, but is hedging his bets.


                          There are a lot of undercurrents in this chapter, and it develops a
                          number of the book's themes. I've followed up a few threads but I
                          think it contains a lot more...


                          Chris
                        • Jayne
                          ... wrote: But I have a few thoughts on the gnome. ... The gnome is an angel symbol. But didn t really have the appearance of one It
                          Message 12 of 13 , Aug 14, 2006
                            --- In harrypotterforseekers@yahoogroups.com, "Christina Nihill"
                            <christinanihill@...> wrote:

                            But I have a few thoughts on the gnome.
                            >
                            The gnome is an angel symbol. But didn't really have the appearance
                            of one
                            It doesn't really look the way you'd traditionally expect an angel
                            to look. A signature of Jo's.
                            >
                            I think this gnome description ties up with the worm-sucking gnome
                            in the rhododendrons. Scrimgeour wants Harry as a pet gnome, a
                            mascot. He's not looking for Harry to defeat Voldemort, to become
                            the Philosopher's Stone and produce spiritual gold, he just wants a
                            fake Chosen One, decorated to look like a saviour, that he can pose
                            on the peak of his governmental Christmas tree organizational
                            structure, and then stand back while his efforts are admired.

                            > Jayne here:

                            That's very good, Chris. In reading this chapter, I kept wondering to
                            myself what was up with the repeated references to gnomes. But, your
                            analogy makes a lot of sense. The Minister wants a "fake Chosen One,
                            decorated to look like a saviour." Very good analysis. Once again,
                            with JKR, the seemingly most unimportant "so-what" things--like
                            gnomes--often turn out to be very important in Harry's journey. I am
                            really looking forward to reading Book 7.
                          • chris
                            Jayne said: «your analogy makes a lot of sense. Once again, with JKR, the seemingly most unimportant so-what things--like gnomes--often turn out to be very
                            Message 13 of 13 , Aug 14, 2006
                              Jayne said:
                              «your analogy makes a lot of sense. Once again, with JKR, the seemingly most unimportant "so-what" things--like
                              gnomes--often turn out to be very important in Harry's journey.»

                              Chris:
                              Thanks, Jayne, for those kind words.

                              You can take the analogy a bit further. Srimgeour's Christmas Tree is a temporary affair, a dead thing, decorated with tinsel, thrown on the rubbish heap after a few days as the karmic wheel turns. Harry, on the other hand, is self-dedicated to truth: he's working to resurrect the eternal Tree of Life. His angel, when Harry finds him, is going to look a lot more like the angel of the biblical Book of Revelation.

                              .
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