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flower symbolism in Harry Potter books

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  • Kristen Brennan
    At the September Khazad-dum meeting the subject of flower symbolism in the Harry Potter books came up. Some of the secrets of Harry Potter books by authors
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 14, 2004
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      At the September Khazad-dum meeting the subject of flower symbolism in the
      Harry Potter books came up. Some of the "secrets of Harry Potter" books by
      authors other than Rowling have suggested that Rowling uses the Victorian
      era's "secret language of flowers," associating characters with flowers to
      give us clues about their personalities.

      the original website where I read about this is currently down:
      http://charming-maiden.net/ravenclaw/flowersymbolism.html

      ...but here's some of the info as originally posted:

      Flower symbolism is particularly prevalent throughout the 'Harry Potter'
      series. As you may have observed, many characters and places are named after
      flowers, and even Fleur Delacour's French name is roughly translated to
      "Flower of the Court." Other examples of flower symbolism...

      [Arabella] Figg - The fig tree is a symbol of knowledge and balance. Though
      she is a squib, Mrs. Figg seems very knowledgeable about the wizarding
      world, as evidenced by her large role in protecting Harry during his time at
      the Dursleys.

      Lily [Evans/Potter] - The lily is a symbol of devotion, sweetness, and
      purity of heart. Nowadays there are many rumours circling regarding Lily's
      devotion [or lack thereof] to her husband, but I think JK named the
      character very carefully. This bit of symbolism proves that Lily was quite
      in love with James.

      [Remus] Lupin - The lupine is a symbol of imagination. Perhaps it is Lupin's
      imaginative teaching methods that make him the best Defense Against The Dark
      Arts teacher that Hogwarts has ever had.

      [Moaning] Myrtle - The myrtle is a symbol of virginity particularly
      prevalent in Christian lore. The Virgin Mary was sometimes represented by a
      myrtle. In her life, Moaning Myrtle was taunted by countless boys, so it is
      almost guaranteed that she died a virgin.

      Narcissa [Malfoy] - The narcissus is a plant that symbolizes egotism,
      formality, and vanity. These characteristics perfectly fit Draco's mother,
      who always seem to wear a snotty expression on her pretty face.

      Pansy [Parkinson] - The pansy is a symbol of thoughtfulness and trinity.
      Pansy does seem particularly obsessed with Draco Malfoy.

      Petunia [Evans/Dursley] - The petunia represents resentment and anger. It is
      also interesting to note that petunias emit a very foul odor. This seems to
      perfectly characterize Aunt Petunia, who, by many accounts, was highly
      jealous of her sister, Lily.

      Poppy [Pomfrey] - The poppy is a symbol of consolation. As the school nurse,
      Mme. Pomfrey offers kind words and consolation to all of her patients.
      [Except, of course, for Draco Malfoy!]


      ___________________________________________________________
      Kristen Brennan kristenb@...
      +1 (510) 717-4673 http://www.jitterbug.com
    • juliet@firinn.org
      ... I guess petunia odor is a matter of opinion. The flowers of especially old-fashioned varieties are supposed to be pleasantly fragrant. However, the
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 19, 2004
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        On Tue, Sep 14, 2004 at 03:51:52PM -0700, Kristen Brennan wrote:
        > Petunia [Evans/Dursley] - The petunia represents resentment and anger. It is
        > also interesting to note that petunias emit a very foul odor. This seems to
        > perfectly characterize Aunt Petunia, who, by many accounts, was highly
        > jealous of her sister, Lily.

        I guess petunia odor is a matter of opinion. The flowers of especially
        old-fashioned varieties are supposed to be pleasantly fragrant. However,
        the foliage, when crushed, does have more of a foul odor.

        And I have yet to read any HP to comment on the aptness of the name :)

        Julie
      • dbltall42
        ... Surely she was referring to lupine meaning like a wolf? Remus is also a wolf reference (as in Romulus and Remus) ... It s also a medicine that relieves
        Message 3 of 5 , Sep 20, 2004
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          > [Remus] Lupin - The lupine is a symbol of imagination. Perhaps it is Lupin's
          > imaginative teaching methods that make him the best Defense Against The Dark
          > Arts teacher that Hogwarts has ever had.

          Surely she was referring to "lupine" meaning like a wolf? Remus is also a wolf reference (as
          in Romulus and Remus)

          > Poppy [Pomfrey] - The poppy is a symbol of consolation. As the school nurse,
          > Mme. Pomfrey offers kind words and consolation to all of her patients.
          > [Except, of course, for Draco Malfoy!]

          It's also a medicine that relieves pain, which is probably why it has that symbolism.
          Comfrey is also a healing plant.

          Rowling is very clever is giving names that reflect something about the character.

          Mariette
        • Berni Phillips
          From: Kristen Brennan ... by ... Thanks for posting this, Kristen. I couldn t reach the web site when I tried it just now, but
          Message 4 of 5 , Sep 20, 2004
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            From: "Kristen Brennan" <mirror@...>


            > At the September Khazad-dum meeting the subject of flower symbolism in the
            > Harry Potter books came up. Some of the "secrets of Harry Potter" books
            by
            > authors other than Rowling have suggested that Rowling uses the Victorian
            > era's "secret language of flowers," associating characters with flowers to
            > give us clues about their personalities.
            >
            > the original website where I read about this is currently down:
            > http://charming-maiden.net/ravenclaw/flowersymbolism.html

            Thanks for posting this, Kristen. I couldn't reach the web site when I
            tried it just now, but perhaps it's down for maintenance or something. It
            was good to meet you!

            Berni
          • Stolzi
            Grace Walker Monk and I were in Oxford this past weekend for the Tolkien Society s Oxonmoot. We went to the Botanical Gardens to see the tree reputed as
            Message 5 of 5 , Sep 20, 2004
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              Grace Walker Monk and I were in Oxford this past weekend for the Tolkien
              Society's Oxonmoot.

              We went to the Botanical Gardens to see the tree reputed as Tolkien's
              Favorite (a 200-year-old Pinus Nigra, though it wasn't 200 when he died) and
              rejoiced to see in the herbaceous borders a label for "Lobelia."

              Diamond Proudbrook
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