Tuesday, July 31, 2007

DVAR TORAH S2: Vaetchanan/Tu B'Av (Show some love)

This past week we read Parashat Vaetchanan, one of the most liturgically important sections of the Torah. In addition to the Ten Commandments being restated, we also have the first paragraph of the Shema. Though this is probably the most well known passage in the entire Bible, the mitzvot described may be some of the most difficult to accomplish. Traditionally we number 613 mitzvot in the Torah. Very few mitzvot require special kavanah, a strict focus upon only the commandment which you are fulfilling. The Mitzvah here, not only requires kavanah but it asks for a feeling which is almost impossible to give freely. Let me illustrate with the lyrics to "What the world needs now" by Burt Bacharach

What the world needs now is love, sweet loveIt's the only thing that there'sjust
too little ofWhat the world needs now is love, sweet love,No, not just forsome
but for everyone.Lord, we don't need another mountain,There are mountainsand
hillsides enough to climbThere are oceans and rivers enough to cross,Enoughto
last till the end of time.What the world needs now is love, sweet loveNo,
notjust for some but for everyone.

The mitzvah here is the command to love the Lord your God with all yourheart(s), all your soul, and all your might. We recite this officially twice daily (We even recite in the liturgy "twice daily with love we recite the Shema"). Do we have to always love God as we say these words? If I am,God-forbid, sitting shiva, will I really be happy with God? If I had a bad day and I'm going to bed, is the last thing I say before I close my eyes to sleep going to be a lie? I don't have the answer to this question and it is one each of us have to come up with for ourselves.

However, there is another season of love, one which is celebrated in the most minor and unknown (but happiest) of festivals: Today's holiday of Tu B'Av. The full moon of Av, after getting out of the horrible Three Weeks season, we approach the High Holiday season of purity with celebrations of virility and fertility. Love and family are stressed on this holiday and was the happiest of days in the existence of the Temple, even if today it is only celebrated by omitting of Tachanun and all the Jewish Singles groups holding mixers.

Well, happy Love Day...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

DVAR TORAH S2: Tisha B'Av (The day the world was destroyed)

In Judaism we have a tradition called yahrzeit, that we commemorate the anniversary of a relative's death on the Hebrew calendar. Had we commemorated the all the bad things that have happened to the Jewish people on their proper yahrzeit, the entire year would be spent in mourning. Therefore, One day in 354 (or 353, 355, 383, 384, or 385 depending on the year) we aggregate all of the horrible things that have befallen the Jewish people (and there have been quite a few of them...) into a single 25 hour period. So many catastrophes beyond measure occured on this day itself: the sin of the 10 spies and the 40 years of the dying out of the slave generation, the destruction of the first and second temples, the destruction of Beitar and the proscription on the burial of the martyrs, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and the Spanish Inquisition, the dawn of World War I (events which led to the Holocaust), the expulsion from Gush Katif, and more.

On Rosh Hashannah we declare "Hayom Harat Olam", "Today the world was created". On Tisha B'Av we should say "Today the world was destroyed". Today was the day when the world lost its innocence, where the world lost the central place of worship, where the world lost its access to the Divine Presence of the Shechinah and the ability to bask in holiness and purity. Our happiest of occasions are diminished: On Pesach we are unable to observe the main mitzvah: to eat the Pesach lamb. We don't get the Avodah on Yom Kippur, we mourn Jerusalem even at the moment of highest joy at weddings.

But we may not mourn excessively! During the Nine Days we are forbidden to eat meat or imbibe wine. Soon after the Destruction, a group of people vowed not to eat meat or drink wine everyday until the Third Temple was built. The rabbis asked them why they vowed this and they responded that meat was offered and wine was libated in the Temple so why should they enjoy these things without a Temple in which to offer them. The rabbis then informed them that they shouldn't eat bread or drink water as these were waved and libated in the Temple. The people saw the point of the rabbis, that mourning excessively would cause them to starve to death, and they decided not to abstain from meat or wine year round.

But today we concentrate our mourning. We mourn for "the compassionate women who boiled their children and ate them at the destruction of the daughter of my people" (Lamentations 4:10). for this and all of the horrible things our people have been reduced to throughout history. "Pour out your heart like water before the Face of God" (2:19). Though the gates of heaven are closed shut, they soon burst open and the promise of redmption is strong. God who took us from slavery to freedom, from hopelessness to redemption, from grief to joy, from mourning to festivity. The last line was: meevel lYom Tov. Our Rabbis say that this day of mourning will be transformed into a Yom Tov when the Temple is rebuilt and that it may be that the Messiah will be born on this very day of Tisha B'Av. Scattered throughout the depravity of Eicha, there is scattered some hope (3:21, 3:56-66, 5:19-21). Today we mourn. Tomorrow may we be redeemed.

Friday, July 20, 2007

DVAR TORAH S2: Devarim (Actually about Harry Potter)

A blanket disclaimer of lehavdil between Judaism and Harry Potter lest I be suspected of blasphemy.

This week's Torah Portion is Devarim. "Devarim" and "Kedavra" (In "Avada Kedavra") come from the same root in Hebrew and Aramaic respectively. The sabbath before Tisha B'Av, it is also Shabbat Chazon, the Sabbath of the Vision. Harry Potter has been having visions. That having been said, let's proceed into nonsense.

I find many insane parallels between Judaism and Harry Potter. In the middle three books of the Torah we have our own trio: Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

As the only male infant to survive the genocide wrought by the Pharaoh, Moses was The Boy Who Lived. Pharaoh marked him as his equal when he became a Prince of Egypt. Pharaoh (Voldemort) faced a power that he knew not, the Power of God ("I know not your God, nor will I let your people go"). Moses also was known as The Chosen One, he who would lead the Jews out of bondage. Moses and Harry can both control snakes, but find out that their enemies (Pharaoh/Voldemort) also can control snakes.

AaRON was of a line of purebloods. That's all I got, but notice that Ron's name is in Aaron's... (see how ridiculous of a Dvar Torah this is shaping up to be...)

HerMiriam (Victor Krum might have pronounced it that way...) is the wise one. Known in the Bible as an Isha Nevona, a woman of great wisdom and Neviah, prophetess. Though she is wise, she also speaks the uncomfortable Truth and gets in trouble for it, such as when she points out that Moses' wife is a Kushite (possibly noting that elsewhere in the Torah it is forbidden to marry a Midianite), while Hermione is constantly pointing out that Harry and Ron are breaking the rules...

There are many occasions when Moses is not believed by his own people, as is Harry. It so frequently happens that society rebels against Moses and God and (noting the blanket l'havdil) Harry and Dumbledore, yet in the end they do believe them.

In this week's Torah portion, Moses asks "How can I do this alone?" Such a burden he has to shoulder, his brother and sister now gone. All of Harry's earthly guides and advisors are also gone. His parents, his godfather, and his teacher are all dead and the final duel might have to be alone. Harry, like Moses, leaves his relationship to keep her out of danger and to focus on the massive task ahead (According to Midrash, Moses wanted to be so close to God that he stopped seeing his wife, something which was not considered a wise move).

And as for the Haftarah, the Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed through hate and injustice but will be redeemed through love, justice, and righteousness. Maybe love will destroy evil as has been hinted in Harry Potter.

Harry Potter 6 Half-Blood Prince Analysis

pg 10 line 8: I think "site" is an error. should be "sight"

31. Dumby injured because reactions slower than they were.

Did Snape use any sort of trickery such as legilimency, veritaserum, wordless wandless magic

during this conversation?

34. "Failed to retreive the prophesy into the bargain?" what does that mean?

55. Which appalling damage have the dursleys inflicted upon dudley? We might automatically

assume the fact that he's in a gang or is portly, but perhaps it is supressing his magical


56. Why was Petunia oddly flushed?

62. I assume more will come of these Infiri in the final book... One of my early predictions

was that Dumbledore will come back as a powerful inferius that Harry will be forced to kill


65. The dragon blood might be reusable, huh? Perhaps to kill horcruxes?

Why was dumbledore wearing the horcrux ring and why did Horace frown at it?

Has Dumbledore ever killed anyone?

79. So does Harry not NEED Occlumency anymore? Will he learn Legilimency at some point?

82. Why is Tonks so glum now, though she was not at Kings Cross at the end of OOTP?

90. what was Hermione looking for in Harry?

97. What do Ron and Hermione think that they keep exchanging dark looks?

104. but he doesn't realize that the next book's the last one. Who is to say that it ends in

June at the end of the 7th school year though...

106. I discussed The disappearances of Fortescue and Olivander in earlier book analyses...

135. They even raided the stuff before the drawing room trap door which Harry found out

about in year 2?

137. Are some wands better than others? Is there only one wand for one wizard? If a wizard

destroys/misplaces their ideal wand, is the replacement not as good?

245. What is Mundungus doing with Aberforth Dumbledore? What shady transaction is going on?

Perhaps both are part of the order? Any Horcruxes in the collection?
==217 3 hours into it==
==258 3:35==

273: Could any of these things be Horcruxes?

275. He thinks that magic means never dying...

277. Never had a friend, never wanted one: Which might mean either a 1 on 1 final battle or

that Harry will have friends fighting with him and Voldy will be all alone

282. setting up ron and hermione 'ship...

286. That monster in Harry's stomach might be dangerous. Not "Aliens" dangerous, but

Voldemort at the end of his duel with Dumbledore in OOTP dangerous.

289. Harry seems to have forgotten the number of occasions in OOTP where he suggested Ginny

go out with Harry

292. "Tea, Coffee, Pumpkin Juice?" I think that's verbatim what Umbridge offered Harry

whenshe was spiking drinks with Veritaserum...

319. Snape didn't even do as well as Harry on the Draught of the Living Dead? Is the reason

because Snape had to experiment to get the shortcuts right?

320. I really think Luna and the Quibbler are going to be right on the nail on something in

the last book... Like flu shots being used by the government for mind control on the Mr. X

episode of the Simpsons, even with the most insane theories you have to be right at some

point... My insane theory is that it will be about chocolate frog cards.

327: Note that Fred has very quick reflexes. Him and George are incredibly talented. Is

there any difference between the two talent-wise? How will they fare in the last book? Their

uncles Fabian and Gideon Prewett (also F & G) were killed in the last war; is history going

to repeat itself?

336: Lupin says Levicorpus was fashionable during his fifth year. Snape likely took NEWT

Potions during his sixth year, did he learn the spell after James used it on him during the

OWL period.

337. Thick gold chain? Could ultimately be a horcrux...

340. Andromeda Black, a pureblood, was in Slytherin but married a muggle, Ted Tonks. I don't

think I've seen other "good" slytherins. Her daughter Nymphadora (aka "Tonks" was in

Hufflepuff). Interesting... Also, why was Voldemort, a half-blood, and Snape, a half-blood,

in Slytherin. Don't they usually only accept purebloods? Were Snape and Voldy the only


362. I think a difference between Voldy and Snape is that Tom Riddle tried to shed his

half-muggle heritage when he created his nom de guerre, Voldemort, whereas Snape's nickname

at least admitted he was half-blood though he was ashamed of it, The Half-Blood Prince

370. Why did Slughorn even include the word horcrux in the memory, not cutting it off before

that point?

372. Is Phineas talking about talking to Slughorn or something else unnamed, such as

fighting Voldemort?

372. Will Fawkes help Harry in DH?

378. What would Lily Potter have done that Slughorn said that she too had nerve?

390. This seems similar to Dumbledore's watch from the first chapter of book one, with stars

instead of planets

405-6: Agreed to kill Dumbledore? Agreed to spy on Voldemort? Do snape and dumbledore

communicate telepathically while they are talking aloud?

415: this hit that cracked his skull... will anything change because of it in terms of his

scar or occlumency/legilimency? Additionally, any significance outside of quidditch to "A

blinding, sickening pain ... a flash of light ... distant screams... and the sensation of

falling down a long tunnel..."; is it just the injury here or is it also a vision of the


422: Would Dobby forget himself sometimes and think that Malfoy is still his master? Forget

loopholes with Kreacher (there can always still be loopholes as we saw in OOTP), Dobby

sometimes punishes himself for saying something bad about the Malfoys even after CoS. Might

he obey Draco for a while?

430: Can one harness a horcrux and force it to give information ("There isn't a soul alive,

apart from himself, that can give us a full account of his life since he left Hogwarts").

"Soul alive", huh?

435: Are either Borgin or Burke RAB?

444: Dumby thinks love is more powerful than Voldy's kind of magic...

445: Aberforth may be Albus Dumbledore's brother, but is there an even stronger connection,

maybe one's a horcrux...

446: Did Voldy come to hide Horcruxes?

449: hee hee hee... So blunt, Ron...

456: Another dream: Malfoy turns into slughorn who turns into snape... If this is a vision

of what happens at the end of HBP, where does Slughorn fit in...

462: Will Draco crack further under pressure in DH? More than he did at the Battle of

Hogwarts in HBP?

465: Why DID Tonks come to the seventh floor corridor? I am somewhat suspicious of Tonks and

sense a connection with Malfoy (474)

475: Did Lily and Snape have any sort of relationship?

476: 24 hour bottle? But on pg 188 it says it's a 12 hour bottle, from dawn till dusk...

479: "Most efficacious if picked at twilight"?

485: "Your poor friend Rupert"? Some professors say the wrong name of students (particularly

Binns), but Rupert Grint happens to be the actor who plays Ron, the very student to whom

Slughorn is referring to. Was this line intentional, coincidence, or gaffe?

488: Any significance of the ballad of Odo?

495: Why was this part of the memory originally censored by slughorn? He readily admits to

having excellent contacts and leverage.

501. The death eaters didn't understand? What about the warnings Dobby gave to Harry before

the school year in CoS? What did Lucius Malfoy know about the diary that Dobby knew Hogwarts

would be dangerous? --pg 508, ah...

502. What did the unicorn blood end up doing in the first book? How about Nagini's "milk" in

the fourth?

506: He used Nagini to kill Frank Bryce? Well, Nagini ratted on Frank but Voldy AKed him,


518: I think it would be very useful for Latin to be taught at Hogwarts. Then they will

understand the spells they are casting...

519: Has anyone else been taking Felix Felicis besides Harry?

526: Is there anything else in this cathedral-like room that will be vital besides the

vanishing cabinet?

532: In the midst of this nastiness, was Snape trying to send helpful hints to Harry with

accounts of his father's misdeeds?

539. Well at least continuing your detentions with Snape next year is one thing you don't

have to worry about...

543. Her Tarot Cards... besides the Lightning Struck Tower, are the earlier ones also


554. Who was Rosmerta kicking out?

560: Dumby to Harry: "Your blood is worth more than mine". Forboding...

562: Yeah, like Ron saying "Accio Brain" in the Brain Room? Not always the best idea...

563: Magic always leaves traces... finding them a skill Harry will undoubtedly have to learn...

564. Only one wizard can do it? Harry will shortly be of age... Perhaps Harry will have to search for Horcruxes alone...

572: What is dumbledore channelling?

575: Ah, so these are the Inferi

576: Could Dumbledore become an Inferius?

578: Just HOW important is Harry's blood? It gave rebirth to Voldemort, could it serve more use?

583: Was he muttering the incantations so the Death Eaters could escape?

592: Draco to be redeemed in DH?

594: Hey, that's the nickname I've been using for Dumbledore... Dumby...

596: Yes he AKed him, but the victim isn't usually thrown like that...

599: Is Harry capable of using the AK? Or is there something worse than death that Voldy doesn't realize...

601: Probably Snape taking some last minute points away from Gryffindor...

Snape gives Harry some last minute advice? Hmm... maybe snape isn't really evil? Rereading HBP, I feel that there is definitely many hints pointing to the fact that this was all planned out with the knowledge of Dumbledore. That was my original thought, which changed a couple of weeks ago to "Snape is Evil" and now it is back to "Trust Snape"

Also, RAB could be RABastan Lestrange, but is almost certainly Regulus Black.

612: "Gryffindor rubies glistened on the floor like drops of blood". Interesting simile, perhaps this observation is a nod at the UK Childrens Edition cover of Deathly Hallows? There are a lot of rubies there...

613: Will Bill attack them at the wedding? Would that be why their robes are in tatters?

617: Did Snape not know that it was happening that night?

618: Who purchased and snuck in the Weasley Wizarding Weazes products that Draco used?

619: Notice that snape didn't kill anyone else, though he easily could have.

620: A barrier that requires a dark mark to go through? Perhaps one of the horcruxes is behind such a barrier. Maybe Harry will need to employ the help of a relapsed Death Eater. Draco, perhaps?

626: Will Dumbledore's portrait be helpful in the next book (I still think Chocolate Frog Cards will have a role...)

627: Slughorn didn't recognize Harry's potions as Snape's?

632: But has Fawkes left Harry for good?

633. Is Zacharias Smith, a Hufflepuff a descendant of Hepzibah Smith?

636: Will Harry's dreams help him find Horcruxes?

639: Is it the fake horcrux that he is wearing in the scene on the cover of the US Edition

645: Was this white smoky phoenix Dumbledore's patronus?

649: "He will only be gone from the school when none here are loyal to him". Verbatim what Dumbledore said as he was being suspended in CoS...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter Book 5 Order of the Phoenix Curios

5. What happened that transferred the "electric shock" from Harry to Vernon?

Can dementors restore the souls they suck out?

18. Did Harry's worst fear change? Was Voldemort's rebirth scarier than his Mom's murder?

30. "All dark... Everything dark. And then I h-heard ...things. Inside my head...." -Dudley. I thought only wizards could hear their worst memory, that muggles couldn't experience that. Is there something about dudley, more than meets the eye?

34. Red and gold sparks? Gryffindor rage?

40. Did we learn who sent that howler to Petunia and what it meant?

47. Wait, won't the Ministry detect magic at a muggle home and suspect Harry? They DID when Dobby did magic in Book 2...

52. Will Tonk's ability come in useful in DH?

70. What kind of jobs are there for humans at Gringotts?

80. Does evanesco put things away, make them hide/vanish/disappear? The same spell used to put away the top secret parchments also disposes of the failed potions in Potions Class

95. Dumbledore doesn't care what they do to him as long as they don't take him off chocolate frog cards. This supports my theory that there is an important reason for him to be on there and that they are the key to the series...

106. A large opal set with What kind of blood? Dragon's?

Audio -- on a walk

Is a houseelf allowed to lie to their master?

RAB: My original thought has been Regulus Black, that which I had the day the sixth book came out, and just realized he died the year Harry was born, the year before the events at Godrics Hollow. If it is not Regulus, I'm pretty confident that it is someone in the Black family. After all, in the foreign versions the B in RAB is replaced with whatever letter begins the translated Black last name (ie: Zwarts, RAZ)

How does the fidelius charm work? Can someone who knows about a place before the charm is cast find it once cast?

Heavy locket a horcrux? Another day-of theory

Why odn't other wizards emply side-apparition like Dumbledore does for Harry in Book 6?

Any significance to any of Dumbledore's five names?

166: Perhaps the Sorting Hat was right about Harry in the first year that he should have been in Slytherin for another reason besides his connection to Voldy: Jealosy and aspiring for greatness, green with envy...

189: Glad to see a Jew have some prominent role at Hogwarts as Anthony Goldstein is the Prefect of Ravenclaw...

255: Will having a house elf that doesn't belong to you pick up your own clothing set it free? It's not like Dumbledore is handing the hat to them...

275: What was this phenomenon around his midriff? Did he have the hots for teacher? No, seriously. What was going on with that and his head scar when Umbridge touched his arm?

336: Aberforth Dumbledore is the Bartender here.

342: I wonder what Neville said in the British edition. Here he is corrected after he says Sorcerous Stone.

344: "As though waiting for people to cry 'Surely not!'" Really? Who talks like that?

391: Can dark detectors be fooled? What exactly happened to the foe glass that was "owned" by the FAKE Moody in 4th year?

399: So Hermione WAS almost in Ravenclaw... Why did it decide on Gryffindor in the end. Will she show her self braver than smart IN THE END (book 7)?

422: One of the 12 uses of dragons blood is to clot giant attacks that don't seem to congeal on their own? Also notable that this dragon's blood is described as green, whereas I don't think we get that description from any other occasion we see dragon blood...

428: Gubraithian fire? An everlasting fire does sound useful...

429: Indestructible goblin wrought helmet? Wasn't one of those on the UK Childrens Edition cover of DH?

443: Thestrals prefer the dark but at the end of the school year they pull the wagons during the day...

458: Ron gets one of the best lines of the series in response to Harry saying that Cho was crying: "Are you that bad at kissing?"

470: What is that silver instrument and what is it telling Dumbledore?

478: That's a conveniently rapid way to send a message, but won't fawkes run out of feathers on a particularly busy day?

482: He HAS predicted things with dreams before, though. He had a vision of snape using the AK, replacing Draco in book 1, something that actually happened in book 6

486: Who was the old stooped wizard there and was he the one who later gave Bode the deadly plant?

488: Unusual kind of poison in the snakes fangs? Could it kill horcruxes, perhaps?

489: Willy Widdershins sounds suspicious. Why is he trying to constantly harm muggles?

503: Ron bought Hermione perfume? It's obvious that they will 'ship in book 7...

510: It's surprising that Lockhart, who used to get so much fanmail, has never had visitors. Was it revealed to anyone outside the trio and Dumbledore that he was a fraud? They write but they don't visit...

510: I wonder who sent the potted plant, but how about the hippogriff calendar

523: Is that mirror still going to come in handy? Did Harry forget about it and would its use have prevented the affair in the Department of Mysteries?

525: The shopping bag... did it contain custard creams purchased via mail order from the Weasley Twins?

527: Will harry ever employ Legilimency against a death eater, maybe even Voldemort? Will he ever use Occlumency again?

529: Why does snape have to take those memories out? He still hates harry. Does he just want to avoid the Protego shield causing Harry to have access to those memories?

531: Does Snape employ occlumency against Voldemort?

534: Was that a compliment from Snape? Harry shows aptitude at something? That's a first...

552: JK Rowling (as well as the movie version of this book) show that Ron's patronus is a Jack Russell Terrier. Could it actually be a Crup?

553: Was Occlumency more beneficial or detrimental? Did snape have alterior, sinister motives to perform legilimency on him?

558: Had the dementors defected at this point (is it how the death eaters escaped?)?

563: A galleon for two coffees? Where were they? Starbucks?

593: Another interesting cut-off question. Why DOES Snape keep calling Voldy the Dark Lord. Doesn't really support the "Trust Snape" camp...

613: Ah, Willy Widdershins... if he's been attacking muggles why is he also working with the ministry?

614: Headmaster Fortescue? Any relation to Florean Fortesque and does the former headmaster have to do with the ice cream salesman's abduction in the summer before HBP?

617: That was pretty dumb of Hermione not to enchant it with the spell that other students used to hide the quibbler that wiped it clean if the reader was not the owner of the magazine... She should know better...

626: Prefects can't dock points? But way back when Percy threatened to take points...

657: Arithmancy to break curses??? Okay... that's interesting...

658: Harry remembers the knife from Christmas two years ago but not the mirror from the past Christmas?

665: Is it bad tidings that DH is the last book and there won't be three more books: Auror School Years 1-3

698: Is this parting of the ways with the Centaurs final or will the centaurs finally take a side in the war

705: I've noticed a trend in Transfiguration. Do things transfigured in class have to be alliterations: porcupine into pincushion, owl into operaglasses, etc...

I've just thought of something: What's Black and White and Red all over? Answer: Yes. This is the order of deaths in the latter HP books, the last one is a prediction. Sirius BLACK, ALBUS Dumbledore (Albus means White), RUBEUS Hagrid (Rubeus means red). I predict it is all over for these three.

768: 6-2-4-4-2 = M-A-G-I-C on a touchtone phone...

769: Why was it completely empty and why was the visitors entrance open if nobody was there?

Some of the more obvious questions here:
772: What's with the brains
773: What's with that veil
774: Why can only Luna and Harry hear voices from beyond the veil. Does it have something to do with the fact that only they can see thestrals, that only they have witnessed death?
775: The very-locked room? is it filled with love?
784: How do the Death Eaters take this information that Voldy's a half-blood (784, by the way, is the number of pages in DH)
790: are all the time turners gone, or are they going to play a role in DH?
794: If the cabinet no longer had time turners, why did it keep regenerating itself?
795: Has Pluto since been removed from the planet room? I guess since this book takes place in 1995 and the last one takes place in 1997, then it is still a planet...
796: I guess Pluto's gone anyway...
799: What do the Death Eaters know about that veil? They all stop when Harry is near it.
805: I had always thought that the second jet of light was red, another stunning curse and that Sirius was stunned when he toppled into the veil. The movie makes it quite clear that he is hit by Avada Kedavra which leaves no doubt that he is dead. Why he is absorbed into the veil is anyone's guess, I think it is where you go when you die, which is why Luna and Harry can hear it.

812: High cold voice? Hmm... I think I have been looking at the "Snape Kills Dumbledore" thing all wrong. Might Voldemort been disguised as snape in book 6. Probably not, but just an idea...

813: What spell did Dumbledore send at Voldemort that caused the gong reverberation?

816: Did love cause Voldy to disappear, or was it the sudden appearance of the peanut gallery? Also Harry's eyes turned green in the movie... I know... But they're normally blue in the movie, even though they are always Lily-green in the book.

817 The elf and goblin statues applauded Dumbledore? How inappropriate...

839: In which ways have Dumbledore watched Harry more than he can imagine?

780: On the prophesy glass is inscribed "Dark Lord". DOn't only death eaters refer to Voldy as such? Who encapsulated the prophesy?

863: The veil... do people visit the dead? How does it work?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Harry Potter 4 Goblet of Fire Analysis

1. Where is little Hangleton? Is it in the UK or is in Eastern Europe (like Albania)? Where is the Graveyard at the end of the book?

5. If Frank Bryce was so deaf, how did he hear all of Babymort's conversation with Wormtail?

7. Milking Nagini... this supports my theory that bodily functions of snakes replace those of humans for voldemort: Mother's milk brings life to infants, whereas the "milk" of Nagini the snake brings life to Babymort. Shedding blood will kill a human, Voldemort's horcruxes can be destroyed by shedding a flying snake (dragon)'s blood.

8. Harry Potter doesn't matter to wormtail. I think that the lifedebt will be paid involuntarilly because of this statement.

10. "One more death"? Whose death? Isn't Bertha already dead? Is the one more death Dumbledore's?

20. Voldy was the most powerful Dark Wizard in a century? That eliminates Grindelwald (defeated 1945) but who was more powerful than Voldy in the 19th century?

54. You'd think a girl with dentists for parents would have something done about her buck teeth...

57. Anything particularly sinister about gnomes? Crookshanks seems to eschew rule-breaking and evil.

61. Any relatives of Ludo Bagman with the initials RAB? Just wondering...

62. Seriously... what DOES Bill do? Is he a Tombraider?

73. Luna likes Quidditch? "Lovegoods" is plural and her mom's dead so I assume they are talking about Luna and her father.

84. Sigh. Oh Archie...

98: Do goblins get in trouble with the law frequently?

The Following I listened to on audio book and don't have the page numbers

ch 9: Another accurate dream from Harry...

Why would death eaters want to make a ruckus without an active Voldemort?

Why was Draco alone and was he forewarned? Was Lucius involved?

Does Winky have to obey Barty Crouch Jr. or is Winky in charge?

Where are Goblins allegiences? With money?

Why isn't Harry affected by Veela, neither here at the Quidditch World Cup or with Fleur?

Why do Winky and Dobby react differently to their being set free?

Hmm... I think a different weasley clock was described in BOOK 2 (as opposed to Movie 2 in which the clock mentioned here is displayed)

JK'd better explain what Bill does for a living...

Do they have homework during the summer or not? So far the contradiction score is 2 to 2 in the series.

Why was Dumbledore staring at the ceiling in the Great Hall?

Should we take literally that the Sorting Hat has brains? Are they from the Brain Room at the Department of Mysteries?

Something in the lake pushed Dennis Creevey back into the boat? The giant squid? Is the squid a good guy?

What is Peeves' backstory?

Are any of the ghosts going to play a role in DH?


193: If Harry was allowed to pick these electives, as mentioned at the end of book 2, why does he stick with it? Why doesn't he take another class instead of his least favorite, Divination? There's a reason he needs to be in this class...

196: Likewise Care of Magical Creatures. Why is Draco still in it? Isn't it an elective?

197: Hermione: "dragon blood's amazingly magical, but you wouldn't want a dragon for a pet, would you?"

201: "'Can I have a look at Uranus too, Lavender?' said Ron". Wait until sixth year. Hoo boy...

203: The events don't seem very unusual... They have to modify muggle memories quite often.

219: Why does the fake Moody give Harry this information of how to defend himself with Unforgivable Curses? Why does he attack Malfoy earlier?

227: Why was Neville awake (strange way to end an HP chapter...)?

229: Could someone address a letter to Sirius Black or Voldemort, send it by owl, and have the owl followed in order to find the quarry? That would be genius!

232: How did Harry fight Imperio so well on his first try?

236-7: Yeah, Neville will have his day in Book 7 and prove 'em all wrong.

252: why is Harry not affected by the Veela? Is it the same reason he can fight Imperio?

278: What is this binding magical contract? Is it like the Unbreakable Vow in book 6, that you die if you don't compete?

301: Isn't Colin supposed to be in a class at that time? Why is he an errand boy?

339: Blank buzzing?

Portkeys: On demand or predetermined time? The one for the quidditch world cup was set for 5:07 AM, the Triwizard Cup was presumably set for the first one to touch it. Did it have to be set for round trip?

367: "Hagrid had a point... they were all right, really, dragons..." My elipsis trail-off theory! Plus it gives credence to my theory that Harry will embrace dragons in book 7

376: Um, if the outfit has a hogwarts crest, didn't someone have to give them clothes? Aren't they technically free. Winky didn't have that uniform earlier... Also, How can Hermione set the house-elves free by knitting them hats? Is she in a position of ownership to set them free?

381: How do House-Elves reproduce... on second thought, I don't think I want to know. I don't want to envision some hot house-elf sex...

413: You'd think they'd change it to Santa Claus in the American Edition. They did that in the second book in reference to the Burrow's Garden Gnomes... Here it's Father Christmas

How would a human mate with a giant? Alright, I'm done with these questions about the birds and the bees.

453: why does Dumbledore keep staring at the ceiling and did he actually cause himself to go "deaf"?

454: I feel Aberforth (Albus Dumbledore's Brother), who is also the bartender at the Hogshead, will have a role in the final book.

Voldemort is the product of a muggle father and a woman who is practically a squib. Yet he is the progenetor of Aryan - ahem - Pureblood eugenics? Interesting...

482: again, why not americanize the terms in the US edition? Aqua lungs should become SCUBA gear or something...

506: It's obvious a set up for a Ron/Hermione 'ship


555: I don't know if this means that the Fudges are going to die (as Crouch says he will soon be joining his wife and son.

558: Why does Snape say that Dumbledore is busy? Is he just being a jerk to Harry or is there a legitimate reason or is he Voldy's man and this is part of the plan.

575: This book is dated... NINE Planets? Now there are only eight... I wonder if that is going to mess with the predictions of Trelawney and Firenze...

576: What did Astronomy teach that was different from this lesson on Astrology?

576: They're talking about Barty Sr., right? Will anything come of the Giant Owl? Will it come, instead, in the form of a dragon?

582: Fawkes doesn't seem to feel especially emotional at the sight of Harry. Do new incarnations of phoenixes retain the memories after the previous one burns up?

Any etymology of the pensieve from pensive (musingly or dreamily thoughtful, from the root, to think)?

588: Where does one get a magical eye like moody's?

591: Did Voldy know about Dumby's speech here, that Snape defected and turned spy for Dumbledore?

595: exiled? At what point did these trials take place? After Voldemort's "death"? But the Ministry didn't think Voldy was coming back... Or was Voldemort kept at bay for awhile during his lifetime? Did they dare attack the Longbottoms after Voldemort met his demise in Godric's Hollow?

602: I thought JK said that the Pensieve did not play out memories how people remember them but rather as they actually happened. Why did Dumbledore say that some trials come back to him "more clearly than others... particularly now..."?

612: Notice how she refers to Voldemort in the present tense...

617: Ogg? Interesting name for a giant, seeing as there is a man in the Bible named Ogg, king of Bashan, who is considered to be the last of the antediluvean giants that survived the Flood, finally defeated by Moses...

636: Yew tree? Is this an important detail, such as the fact that it is the wood from which Voldy's wand is composed? How about why Harry's is from Holly?

647: "Your powers intact"? Can one lose their powers? Will this play a role in DH?

648: They KNEW of the Horcruxes? They knew of the steps he took for immortality? Long ago, by the way?

649: Will the silver hand have anything to do with trying to kill werewolves, either for bad (killing lupin) or perhaps for good (killing Fenrir Greyback)?

653: His stated goal is to conquer death...

654: So Quirrell was just always that nervous...

654: Did Voldemort know of what happened in Year 2 in the Chamber of Secrets and that one of his horcruxes was destroyed? It is conspicuously absent from Voldy's narration....

655: Which death eater? Crouch Jr? How would she know?

662: Is it unusual that Harry can successfully fight imperio, especially Voldy's?

Did people actually see what was happening in the maze during the task from the bleachers?

664: Music is stronger than magic... Why the phoenix song?
-- The latter is probably because both tail-feathers come from Fawkes, pg 697
679: If Snape appeared in the foe-glass maybe it means he is actually good

696: Why did Dumbledore exhibit a gleam of triumph when Harry said that Voldemort can now touch him without getting hurt?

707: Were the dementors under voldy's comand last time 14 years before?

710: What were voldy's opinions of snape at that time? Was he the one to be killed for leaving him forever? Is Voldy one to deviate from his word?

713: What was Dumbledore asking Snape to do? Was this a long term plan that included Dumby's death?

723: Any symbolism to the fact that the Durmstrang students gravitated toward the Slytherin table? Particularly notable as Malfoy said early in the book that he would have gone to Durmstrang as they only allow purebloods there. Are there any non-Purebloods in Slytherin or have there ever been, besides Voldemort?

724: Didn't notice the thestrals?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Harry Potter Book 3: Prizoner of Azkaban Analysis

Book 3 stuff

I can see that they had summer homework, as can be seen at the beginning of PoA. Why then in book 2 did Ron ask incredulously why Hermione was doing homework during the summer?

Why does Hermione do magic in each of the first two movies ("Occulus Reparo") and not get into trouble for doing magic outside of school?

Pg 2: If wizards are so friggin' awesome, why do they use quills? Jews do too... the only way to write a Torah...

Pg 10: What does a cursebreaker do for Gringotts (Bill in Egypt)? What would a bank need with Egyptian tombs?

Will Harry have any use for a sneakascope?

44: What caused Stan Shunpike to be a suspect in book 6?

48: What did Wormtail do to kill 13 people with a single curse? He wasn't that clever to plan such a cunning escape, right? In book 5 we see him to be such a lackey to the other three Marauders.

50: Why did Sirius laugh?

52: How did Fudge know Harry was coming to the Leaky Cauldron?

55: What does Fudge know about the Magic on his aunt and uncle's house?
--57: Oh, Sirius, right... never mind...

57: Why DID Fudge get involved and not an underling? And why did he come to arrest Hagrid himself in CoS? These both seem too mundane for the head of the wizarding world in Britain...

60: How did Hedwig know he was there? There is something about many of the animals in this series that I feel we are going to learn more about...

62: How would Hagrid have gotten into Diagon Alley in Book 1 without a wand? He used his "umbrella", surely someone realized he had to get in someway, so he had a wand...

62: Why was Florean Fortesque kidnapped in book 6? He knew a lot about Medieval witch burnings and was generous with free sundaes. Did Voldemort want a history buff or free ice cream whenever he wanted it? (The irony is that Rupert Grint, the actor that plays Ron in the movies, just bought himself an ice cream truck)

67: Bird entrails? Whenever I see an elipsis (...) in HP, I find the point of trailing off to be vital information. We haven't seen bird entrails yet used for divination but would this come in handy?

71: Will Arithmancy or Ancient Runes come in handy? Will Hermione's taking so many classes pay off? Which classes did she drop when she gave up the time-turner?

74: What is Crookshanks' deal? Is s/he a Kneazle? How old can these things live ("He'd been in there for ages. Nobody wanted him" -Hermy p76.)?

Why hasn't Scabbers run away to Voldemort yet? Why does he wait until the end of year 3 to seek him out? Why only once the jig is up and Sirius and Lupin discover him to be Petegrew?

82: How did Sirius know Wormtail was at Hogwarts?

84: Were the twins doing magic outside hogwarts?

93: Lupin was quite young? He had to be at least in his mid thirties, right? How old were Harry's parents when they had him?

95: Why did the sneakascope go crazy when he attached it to Errol? Is there something wrong with Errol or something rotten in Egypt?

104: Dementor described as "like something dead that had decayed in water". This sounds like the inferi in The Cave in book 6...

110: Why would Neville tell Malfoy what happened to Harry?

116: Why did Snape hate Lupin, the voice of reason in the Marauders? Did Snape want to be a marauder?

Prof Trelawney does seem to get a lot right, even if her death omens never come true...

163: What does the spell waddiwasi do? It caused the gum to shoot like a gun at Peeves. What is the etymology of the word? Arabic? (Wadi means river in Arabic)

Anything going to come of any of the greatest fears of the then-third years of Hogwarts?

Snape and Dumbledore's eyes often flash. Any reason??

182: Can Crookshanks understand human languages?

184: On what occasion would a pet rabbit come into contact with a fox and why would one dread a pet getting killed?

187: McGonagall "turned to look at him, with an odd expression on her face. Was it pity?" What was it? Legilimency?

193: Why wasn't Lupin afraid to say Voldemort's name? Plus he HAS heard others say the name, albeit hesitantly (ie: Hermione, who, by the way, didn't grow up hearing or fearing the name so why is she so scared of using it?)

193: What you fear most is fear? How do you arrive at that, changing your greatest fear from Voldy to Dementors?

195: Why DOES Snape make the potion for Lupin? I know what it does, but why does Snape ascede to doing it?

The full moon is supposed to be around Halloween? However, according to my Hebrew Calendar, the 15th of Cheshvan was on 30 October 1993. Missed it by a day... How does the potion work?

202: What is with dumbledore and squashy purple things (Sleeping bags, chairs at Harry's trial in book 5...)?

206: Can one talk to a Dementor? Is it just one of those languages that Dumbledore knows, like Mermish?

211: What was the date of this class that it was the day after the full moon?

216: Harry has an alarm clock? An electronic device at Hogwarts? How does it work?

222: why are the dementors going for Harry and trying to deliver the kiss of death? Perhaps the piece of Voldemort he has in him?

--Pg 228--

231: Are Hinky-punks going to be important? They lure travellers into bogs and I think I remember that there are bogs in Godric's Hollow.

233: Muggles feel the presence of Dementors though they can't see them. What was Dudley's experience with dementors in Book 5. Did he see them?

256: Why WASN'T Dumbledore the secretkeeper?

259: As to an earlier comment, McGonagall did teach something to James and Sirius. Was it transfiguration or something else?

267: Did Malfoy also know that Sirius was framed by Pettigrew?

275: Why was Hagrid affected by the dementors but Sirius was not? Both were innocent. How was Sirius immune from the dementing of the dementors?

Was James Potter a pureblood? I don't remember seeing him on the Black Family Tree; Nor Voldemort (though I'm not looking at it now)...

282: Why is Scabbers' name Scabbers?

286: December 25, 1993 is the 11th of Tevet, definitely NOT a full moon

290: How exactly did Sirius buy a firebolt? Did he just walk into the Quidditch store with everyone looking for him?
--293: Exactly, Oliver Wood (Olive Wood? Is that what his broom is made of? Ha!)

296: Does this description of Patronuses mean that there are reasons that the patronuses come in the forms they do for specific people (like why Hermione's is an otter and Ron's is a Yorkshire Terrier, and why Luna's is a Rabbit (all canon from Jo or from the fifth movie))
299 (after the Dementor-Boggart caused Harry to faint) "Lupin handed him a chocolate frog". Aha! My ultimate theory for book seven seems plausible! After being attacked by dementors the chocolate frog cards will come in handy...

300: What did James and Lily know about the Prophesy and if not, why did they think Voldemort was after them? Also, who stumbled from a room?

305: C'mon Vector teaching a math class!! The name fits the wizard!

309: So the dementor's kiss doesn't "kill you" per se? Then why couldn't they continue to interview Barty Crouch Jr. at the end of GoF?

314: Arithmancy is Hermione's favorite subject?! Why?! What would the point of a math subject be in the Wizarding world?

333: A strange dream which I don't think has come into fruition yet, according to my Harry-is-Joseph theory (that Harry, like Joseph in the Bible, has dreams that are somewhat portents of the future): "He had a very strange dream. He was walking through a forest, his Firebolt over his shoulder, following something silvery-white (a patronus?). It was winding its way through the trees ahead, and he could only catch glimses of it between the leaves. Anxious to catch up with it, he sped up, but as he moved faster, so did his quarry. Harry broke into a run, and ahead he heard hooves gathering speed. Now he was running flat out and ahead he could hear galloping (Centaurs?). Then he turned a corner into a clearing and -- (at this point he is awoken by the attack of Padfoot). Will something come of this in book 7?

336, 339: Aww... Poor Neville... He's going to kick some major ass in Book 7!

346-7: But Harry never closed the passage way, did he? He already said "dissendium!" (actually, how do you reverse that?)

349: Would Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes (what an alliteration!) do well in Hogsmeade as the twins suggest in book six, seeing as there already is Zonkos there?

355: Is snape employing legilimency? Can it be done wordlessly?

359: "Professor Severus Snape, Master of this School"? That's a little pompous and false...

359-60: remember the handwriting here. Anonymous letters in the seventh book might take on any of these scripts.

369: Any deepermeaning to any of the passwords. flibbertigibbet is in Wikipedia, for example

370: Did Hermione make up that class she missed by going back in time? What are the parameters and limitations of time-turners. Can one go, say, to the night Lily and James were killed?

379: More dreams: Neville replaces Harry as seeker. Eh... Maybe, seeing as Harry might not go back to Hogwarts next year. As for the other dream, Malfoy and cronies are riding dragons while Harry is riding nothing... We know from the Deluxe Edition artwork that the trio will be riding a dragon!

382: 200 people wearing Slytherin green. For the population of Hogwarts, grades, etc. do the math using this information

393: What's with this giant squid? It's been thrown in so many times I feel it's important...

394: The result of taking literally Snape demanding the class turn to page 394 NOW! back when he substituted DADA. Nothing really interesting. Just Hermione's weird schedule...

398: A Hinkypink gives misleading directions? I really need to reread Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them...

404: Harry's right with his prediction. The Hippogrif does fly away. Harry is a sooth-sayer, like Joseph...

==Pg 416==

421: No cat's that clever... gotta be a kneazle or something...

425: Why does he have to beat around the bush...

425: This is another reason I think Ron will be willing to sacrifice himself in Book 7.

428: "I don't deny it"?! Dude, don't tell him that...

433: We don't need lunar charts; we need the 15th of the Hebrew month...

442: "As long as I take [the potion] in the week preceding the full moon, I keep my mind when I transform.. I am able to curl up in my office, a harmless wolf, and wait for the moon to wane again". He didn't take the potion in the past week?! Why?!

445: "A werewolf is only a danger to people". Animagi are people too!

446: Okay, Dumbledore WAS Headmaster then and not the Transfiguration professor.

472: Is that a life-debt? It seems that Harry's handing him over to be killed in Azkaban...

473: Why don't they at least stun Pettegrew like they did Snape to prevent him from transforming?

483: wait, this isn't the realization of the dream on 333, is it (or more specifically what Time-Turner-Harry does)?

529: Why did they try to Kiss Harry?

536: Do students pay tuition to Hogwarts or is it like a wizard public school? Is there a wizard tax? What about the fund Hogwarts has set up for Tom Riddle in book 6?

537: Dumbledore: "Trust me... the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettegrew's life".

538: So appropriate to this week: "As the end of term approached, Harry heard many different theories about what really had happened, but none of them came close to the truth."

540: How did they find out about OWLS and NEWTS already? Harry and the trio found out midsummer book 6! Also I thought Gred & Forge were smarter and studied. I thought they got great grades

541: Didn't Hermione have to drop other courses too?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Harry Potter Book 2 (Chamber of Secrets) Curios

Shavuah Tov and Happy Bastille Day. Upon reading HP2:COS this Shabbos I came up with the following questions or things that somehow interested me (less than the more pertinent, IMHO, book 1):

Ch6: Gilderoy Lockhart
Pg 94: Why was Justin Fletch-Finley or whatever his name was (Justin Finch-Fletchley... close enough...) scheduled to go to Eton. That would have been two years after he started Hogwarts...

Pg 96: How did this muggle-born wizard Colin Creevey and his muggle milkman father know of Harry Potter prior to coming to Hogwarts?

Pg 124: Sir Properly Decapitated-Podmore... Great name, but is he related to Sturgis Podmore?

Pg 130: "Why would anyone want to celebrate the day they die"... (Hasn't Ron ever heard of a Yahrzeit Kiddush?)

Pg 133: The ghosts can't eat, yet they have food. This is the 500th deathday party of Nearly-Headless Nick but he said he hasn't eaten in nearly 400 years in the previous book. How is this possible. Also, did Nick die in the Spanish Inquisition or during Columbus' exploration. Interesting to find out as he died in October 1492.

Pg 155: Did Fred perform wandless magic when he was five years old by turning Ron's teddy bear into a giant spider? Who can perform wandless magic?

Pg 158: How can Percy take points away? According to HP5:OOTP Prefects don't have that power, only inquisitor squad members.

Pg 186: "Deliberately causing mayhem in Snape's Potions class was about as safe as poking a sleeping dragon in the Eye". Hogwarts Motto: Draco Dormiens Nunquam Tittilandus (Latin: "Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon")

Pg 194: In the book the snake instantly listens to Harry but in the movie it does not listen and rounds on JFF even after Harry starts talking to it in Parseltongue

Pg 206: The Sorting Hat: "I stand by what I said before... you would have done well in Slytherin." What is the power of the sorting hat and what does it know. Is it enchanted with Legilimency and can/has one learned the art of legilimancy from it. Also, would Harry really have done well in Slytherin? For one, he's not a pure-blood. Then again, neither is Voldemort...

Pg 224: Anything come of the floorboard stuff. Did Ron write home about it or tell his dad about what Harry saw in Borgin and Burkes?

Pg 233-4: "Harry was sure he had never heard the name T. M. Riddle before, it still seemed to mean something to him, almost as though Riddle was a friend he'd had when he was very small, and had half forgotten." Firstly, I don't think Riddle would have been his friend, but anyway, how would he have known this name even with his remarkable flashbacks of his childhood (parents' death scene, sirius' motorbike) as Dumbledore mentions later that very few people knew Voldemort's real name.

Pg 263: How did Lucius Malfoy know that Hagrid was headed for Azkaban. Nobody mentioned it when he showed up to Hagrid's hut (unless he had possibly asked Fudge to send him there...)

Pg 263-4: "You will find that I will only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me. You will also find that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it". -Dumby. Ok, explain and does this apply posthumously as well? Also how does Dumbledore see them under their invisibility cloak (Legilimency? Chocolate Frog Cards?)

Pg 264: "Prevent any - ah - killins" -Mr. Malfoy. WTF? Is this some sort of british slang for Killings? A typo?

Pg 271: They feed the dog fudge? Are they crazy or trying to kill the dog? That'll shut Fang up... killing him...

Pg 277: Aragog: "A traveller gave me to hagrid when I was an egg". Sound familiar? Norbert? Also, who gave it to him? And who gave him Norbert?

Pg 283: A typo I remember from the first time I read it: "Professorr".

Pg 286: Percy: "Well, er, if you must know, Ginny, er, walked in on me the other day when I was -- well -- polishing my 11 1/2 inch wand". Okay he doesn't say that, but up to the "well" is direct from the text. The scene goes on to more graphic ambiguities. It turns out that he was making out with Penelope Clearwater, but still...

Pg 290: Basilisks can live hundreds of years? But Salazar left over 1000 years ago! Did he put the basilisk there or did someone later?

Pg 293: Pr. McG: "This is the end of Hogwarts. Dumbledore always said..." What? What did Dumbledore always say?

Pg 310: "Riddle laughed a high cold laugh that didn't suit him". See my comments on Snape in book one. This has been used to describe both snape and voldemort...

Pg 310: "Powerful enough to start feeding Miss Weasley a few of my secrets, to start pouring a little of my soul back into her..." IS GINNY A HORCRUX?!

Pg 311: Tom describes himself as brilliant and brave. Why is he not a Ravenclaw or Gryffindor? Perhaps the Sorting Hat suggested it, opposite of what happened to Harry... Also, why was he made a prefect? I guess you need two in each house...

Pg 312: Dumbledore taught transfiguration... I mentioned that Lily transfigured stuff at home in the last book. Was Dumbledore her Transfiguration teacher or was McGonagall her teacher? Also, what methods did Dumbledore use to keep his eye on Riddle?

Pg 313: Music! Dumbledore claims that music is more powerful than any magic (1st year sorting ceremony)! Hmm...

Pg 315: Similarities between riddle and potter. Also black hair. Perhaps Voldemort is Harry's biological father, Darth Vader style!

Pg 320: What is it with that friggin' sword? Why does a wizard need a sword?

Pg 328: What sources tell Dumbledore that Voldy is hiding in the forests of Albania and to what capacity can they do anything about it?

Pg 330: How can a good man like Dumbledore advocate the persecution of house-elves? SPEW Forever!

Pg 333: "Voldemort put a bit of himself into me" -Harry; "It certainly seems so"-Dumby. HARRY'S A HORCRUX TOO?!

Movie version: Is Lucius Malfoy about to use Avada Kedavra on Harry after he frees Dobby? I hear him choke "AVADA..." before Dobby uses elvish magic against Malfoy.

Ze-oo. For now.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

DVAR TORAH S2: Matot-Masei (Crapfest '07)

Well, we have entered week two of Crapfest 5767, otherwise known as the Three Weeks and wouldn't you know that it is also Friday the Thirteenth. Though this has no significance to Jews, it is the sixth day of the week and the thirteenth day of the month, taking both those numbers we arrive at 613, the number of Mitzvot in the Torah. Speaking of "arriving" and "613", we arrive at the Jordan River in this week's double parasha. This could be considered the actual end of the Torah. The next book, Deuteronomy, is just what it means in Greek, a "second telling" of the events of the Torah. It is also known as Mishnah Torah (not to be confused with the magnum opus of Rambam), in Hebrew meaning the repetition of the Torah. So this week we arrive at the crossroads. Moses has just prepped his servant Joshua and his nephew Eliezer son of Aaron to take the Jews the rest of the way there and from now until the end of Sukkot next year (Hebrew calendar) we will be listening to Moses kvetch to the people about the people.

Gotta go,

Shabbat Shalom and Chazak Chazak V'Nitchazek.

Next week: Harold Potterstein.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Harry Potter Theory #1 Redux

I updated and rewrote my theory as posted to the leakylounge:

Chocolate Frog Cards and why they're the key to the whole series
I've had this theory for a number of months and am more and more convinced of the plausibility as things are released. From a comment a couple of months ago on Pottercast about wallet-sized Dumbledore (and the subsequent dismissal of a possibility that it would work), I realized that there has been a red-herring that has continued from book one: Chocolate Frog Cards. Some of the theory is whimsical but I like it. Here's my theory:

Ron and Harry are attacked by dementors and successfully fight them off. Weakened by the experience, they eat a stockpile of chocolate frogs. Getting yet another Dumbledore card they give it to Luna. Ms. Lovegood, using some nonsense she read in the Quibbler manages to unlock the secret of the chocolate frog card (hey, the tabloids have to be right sometimes...) and communicates with Dumbledore who explains the information on the other side of the card, about his defeat of the Dark Wizard Grindelwald in 1945, about his relationship with Nicolas Flamel, and, most importantly, the 12 uses of dragon's blood. Hermione is reminded of her studies of the uses of dragon's blood in a way identical to the time when she looked at the Dumbledore card there and is reminded about her "light reading" about Nicolas Flamel all the way back in Book 1.

They ask wallet-sized Dumbledore about the other side of the card. Learning that one of the twelve uses of Dragon’s Blood is to destroy Horcruxes, Hermione points out the the only Horcrux any of them actually saw being destroyed, was Tom Riddle’s diary that was obliterated by a bloody basilisk fang (both basilisks and dragons are serpents according to Wikipedia, which I’m sure Hermione has memorized). Failing to coax the dusty vial of Dragon’s blood from Professor Slughorn, Harry asks the only other people who know dragons: Charlie Weasley who lends him a dragon (seemingly an Antipodean Opaleye hybrid according to current discussion) whom he coaxes in parseltongue to act as his steed and convenient source of horcrux-be-gone, which he then hangs from a leather pouch in the final battle.

Harry Potter Insane Theories #4: Sirius is dead and other clarifications upon exiting the OOTP movie

As I predicted, the fifth movie answered questions that will be vital to the final book.

In the book, Sirius dodges green sparks (Avada Kedavra) from Bellatrix but is hit by red sparks (stunning spell) and crumples down the stairs through the veil, leaving a possibility that he is somehow alive. In the movie, however, she hits him with an Avada Kedavra and is assimilated into the archway. Ergo, Sirius is dead. No mirror was mentioned.

Other deviations that will possibly tighten the bounds of the final book: Ron and Hermione are not mentioned as prefects, there are only two rooms known in the Department of Mysteries: The Hall of Prophesy and the Veil Room (ergo the locked "love room" might not have a vital role in 7). We don't know that the death eaters were captured, Nothing came of the Quibbler, no Bat Bogey Hex from Ginny, we don't know where Fred & George got the money to fund their Wheezes (as it was excluded from the last film), Cho is redeemed through veritaserum, Snape is not redeemed. I wish we had the St. Mungo's Hospital scene (though the question of what happened to the Longbottoms is answered by Neville directly to Harry, allowing him to maintain some dignity.

Interestingly, Harry's (Dan Radcliffe's) blue eyes turn green when possessed by Voldemort in the end. Harry's eyes are supposed to be green like her mother's. Voldemort's eyes in the book are red; in the movie pale blue. Weird.

Maybe I'm not giving this movie enough credit right now. It's a different experience going to the midnight showing that doesn't allow me to accurately gauge how I feel about it now. Perhaps I will warm to it, but I feel that a lot of the "good parts" were omitted, much like in the last movie, much to my chagrin. Maybe they weren't strictly necessary, but they were the heart of the book. If you will join me in a rousing round of Weasley is Our King, for it was not mentioned in the movie, nor was quidditch at all. The fun and the suspense was removed from this magical world. Yes, the book is in the 1100s of pages and the audiobook is 27 hours long, but you can expand it a little more than 2-1/4 hours to appease the book fans. For now I sleep, hoping I don't inhabit Nagini and attack Mr. Weasley in my dreams.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Harry Potter Cuckoo Theories #3: Questions about book ONE

I like the idea that Harry Potter is told in a story arc and that the second book corresponds with the sixth and the third with the fifth. Assumably the first book, The Sorcerer's/Philospher's Stone will correspond with Deathly Hallows. I therefore am listening to the audiobook version of the first Harry Potter book and jotting down notes and questions that spontaneously come to my mind, devoid of grammatical construct or logical consideration. This will be an ongoing process which will be updated as I go along. Note that this is all from the audio recordings as presented by Jim Dale and I have none of the books in front of me so for the most part I am working with intuition

Ch1: The Boy Who Lived

-Why does Dumbledore need a put-outer? Can’t he just do this with a spell?

-Dadelus Diggle and the Shooting Stars… Important?

-Professor McGonagall finally says “Voldemort” to Dumbledore. Why does she then recoil when she hears the name and avoids using it in the future.

-Can someone lose their power as Pr. McG (I’m going to write names in shorthand) suggests “Voldy’s power broke”? Will someone stop being a wizard or be sapped of their power in Deathly Hallows?

-What’s with Dumb’s wristwatch with 12 hands and planets on it? How can he tell from it that Hagrid is late?

-Bristol (over which Harry falls asleep) is apparently on the way to Surrey from Godric’s Hollow (unless Hagrid didn’t take a direct path). Is Godric’s Hollow therefore in Ireland?

-What became of Sirius’ bike

Ch2: The Vanishing Glass

-Is there a reason Harry’s (and James’) hair was untamable

-How did his hair go back to normal after Petunia shaved it off?

-How does wandless magic work?

-“Thankssssssss, Amigo!” Why does the snake speak Spanish? As Lisa Simpson points out to Bart in "Blame it on Lisa", in Brazil they don't speak Spanish, they speak Portuguese.

-It should be noted that the Avada Kedavra (aka: AK) did hurt baby Harry

Ch3: Letters from No One

-Why did spiders fall from the ceiling when Vernon yells at Harry under the cupboard. Is it because it is a cupboard or is there a reason more... magical...?

-Who was the toothless old man with the mischevious grin? Hey! How does a toothless old man grin?

Ch4: Keeper of the Keys

-Did Petunia ever show Vernon Dumb[ledore]'s original letter (Whatever was referenced in the Howler in HP5:OOTP as "Remember my last!"), yet Hagrid asks Vernon about the letter, though Petunia is the one who discovers it and Harry when fetching the milk bottles.

-Petunia says in muggle terminology that Lily did transfiguration during vacations. ("and came home every vacation with her pockets full of frog spawn, turning teacups into rats" -pg 53) This raises a few questions:

--Shouldn't Lily have been punished for violating the underage wizard statute as well as for violating the secrecy statute?
--Was Transfiguration Lily's specialty?

--What did Lily do for a living?

-Harry remembers a high cruel cold laugh when his parents were killed. Was this Voldy... or Snape? I don't have Half-Blood Prince in front of me, but wasn't Snape described as such when he AKed Dumbledore?

-Why is Vernon's insult of Dumbledore the straw that breaks the Hagrid's back?
--Why does he go after Dudley and not Vernon (answered in the movie as he is stealing Harry's cake but not mentioned in the book)

-I think, at this point, that Hagrid will die in the last book

Ch5: Diagon Alley
-Harry is told to pay the owl 5 knuts. Doesn't Hermione, who later subscribes to the Daily Prophet, pay the owl 1 knut? I could be wrong. Perhaps it is a student discount.
-As for banks in the wizard world, there is "just the one -- Gringotts"
-What other stuff has Dumbledore stashed in Gringotts, as Hagrid said he is frequently sent on Gringotts errands for Dumbledore.
-What's the deal with Hagrid's umbrella. I know there is obviously a wand concealed, but how is his magic undetected
-For that matter, how are the unforgivable curses of death-eaters undetected?
-"Some say the high-security vaults are guarded by dragons", "Gringotts is hundreds of miles under London."
-Hearing the schoolbook authors' names as well as thinking about the names of the professors, it seems that many wizards have professions or specialties that suit their names. Too convenient. -Is there a reason? Harry Potter? Will he become a gardener/professor of Herbology (or perhaps a hippie who's high)?
-Mice and rats are not mentioned on list of permissible pets. Sorry Scabbers!
-Would a muggle ever step foot into the Leaky Cauldron (I'm not referring to the Mugglenet boys guesthosting Pottercast). Wouldn't they suspect something's up?
-How does Quirrell shake Harry's hand? Is he wearing his turban at this point? (he is wearing it in the movie, but nothing special is mentioned in the book except that his eye twitches and stutters nervously). Harry's scar doesn't hurt here, by the way.
-Three right, two across: The movement of a knight in chess. Any significance?
-Are goblins Jewish? Sorry, it seems a stereotype of Jews
-What is the meaning of the Gringotts "motto"? Is the wording important?
-The goblins know, off-hand, what the "you-know-what" is in Vault 713?
-Griphook? Important name?
-The rattling car knew its own way? Could that come in useful in book 7, asceding to the whim of someone like the room of requirement? Underground lake? The stalagmite/stalagtite comment seems to be exactly the same as in Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis video game. This time, classic Hagrid, he misses the point. But why is he angry? How does Hagrid get "carsick" if this doesn't happen on any other occasion we know of?
-Why does green smoke emerge from the Potter vault? Does this have anything to do with the orange "smoke" that we see on the UK Children's cover of book 7
-Why do all goblins sound alike? (Have to listen to audiobook to see the phenomenon)
-Underground ravine?
-Sucked through the door? Why does Griphook make this unrequested comment when he seems to be short of words?
-Where did the Potters get their money?
-Wouldn't Draco Malfoy automatically hate Harry? Why does he talk to him and try to befriend him and confide him with his illicit plans? Does Lucious confide his love of the Dark Lord to Draco?
-Draco might settle for anything but Hufflepuff?
-How does Draco not recognize Potter if everyone else automatically does just by face?
-I thought of this a few months ago: I understand why they would abduct Olivander as he would make them wands but why Florean Fortescue? Does nothing satiate the appetite Death Eaters after a long day of murdering and pillaging than ice cream? Perhaps it is what Florean helps Harry with in the third book that makes him so important to the death eaters in book six.
-"There ain't a single which or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin!" Did Hagrid believe that Sirius Black, a Gryffindor, was innocent?
-Hagrid's allergic to cats?
-Any reason that the owl emporium is called Eyelops? Doesn't seem to conform to my theory of names that have something to do with the specialty. It sounds like cyclops.
-382 BCE seems to be an important year in Thebes, according to Wikipedia. I wonder if there is any significance to this or just a shot in the dark.
-Did Olivanders predate Hogwarts? We only know of some wizarding History starting at around 1000 CE. Is Olivander really ancient or is he the descendant of the founder of the shop or francise?
-Couldn't they afford better digs? I feel that wands are expensive.
-Lily had a willow wand that was nice for charm work. James had a mahogany wand good for transfiguration. Perhaps the wand also chooses the mate? Methinks wand endogamy is afoot
-Voldy has yew.
-Dragons, Phoenixes, Unicorns. No two Olivander wands are the same. Important, methinks.
-Why Holly and Phoenix feather? 11 inches, same size as his father. Red and Gold sparks? Yeah, Harry's a Gryffindor. Maybe you don't need the sorting hat; the sparks know.
-Do all wands cost the same? 7 Galleons?

Ad Kan, 2:19:49

7/10 Update: I read from the text on Shabbos and found some more stuff. Here I transcribe lines that I have placed post-its on lines I found somewhat interesting or intriguing, though for some I have forgotten the reason I had done so seeing as I don't write on Shabbos, but have included still included many of these lines in case I or someone else figures out what I was thinking of. Here goes:

ch6: Journey from Platform 9 3/4

-pg 90: why did the Dursleys wait a month to have Dudley's tail looked at by a doctor?

-pg 99: Ron talking about his big bros: Bill was Head Boy, Charlie was captain of quidditch, Percy's a prefect. Important: "Fred and George mess around a lot, but they still get really good marks and everyone thinks they're really funny". Why do they then get only 3 OWLS, which is pretty dismal? Have they shirked school work preparing their wheezes? When did they begin to create this stuff, like the ton-tongue toffee?

Chocolate Frog Card
-102-103: Albus Dumbledore Frog Card: Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon's blood [which Hermione learns herself during the course of this book] and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas Flamel. Professor Dumbledore enjoys chamber music and tenpin bowling.
---I am confident that we will hear more about Grindelwald and the twelve uses of dragon's blood in this book, some more on his relationship with Flamel (though maybe not about the bowling or chamber music, but maybe so)
"Dumbledore's face had disappeared" (ibid)- I think this works in some way like wizarding portraits, and we know from later on that Dumbledore has been closely watching Harry in some way, perhaps by cards. ("Dumbledore sidled back into the picture and gave him a small smile)
Will the other wizards named here have an importance as well?

-105: Ron's spell does not sound like any spell we've ever heard in Harry Potter, but rather was a rhyming couplet like the witches in MacBeth. Did he not live around wizards for 11 years that he would know what a spell sounded like?

-106: Why does Hermione hope she's in Gryffindor as it is by far the best and that Ravenclaw is only a far secondary? Wouldn't she fit in better in Ravenclaw?

-107: "Charlie's in Romania studying dragons, and Bill's in Africa doing something for Gringotts" -Ron. I tend to accidentially combine their jobs that one is training dragons for Gringotts. One or both of these jobs will be important, perhaps vital, for the final book.

-107: as to the person who broke into a Gringotts high security vault 713: "They haven't been caught". But Griphook said that nobody but a goblin could get in and that anyone who tried would be sucked in. Do we need to assume that there is a rogue goblin helping the dark side? It should be a given that one cannot apparate into or out of a bank vault, much like Hogwarts I'm sure it has security magic that prevents it.

-109: Draco to Harry (I don't remember why I tagged this) :"I'd be careful if I were you... Unless you're a bit politer you'll go the same way as your parents. They didn't know what was good for them, either. You hang around with riffraff like the Weasleys and that Hagrid and it'll rub off on you". Just what does Draco know and how much have his parents told him.

-109: Scabbers attacks Goyle when Goyle tries to steal Ron's chocolate frogs. Why does Scabbers, aka Wormtail/Peter Pettigrew attack the son of a death eater? Voldemort in book 4, Goblet of Fire says he hopes the fathers of Crabbe and Goyle will do better in the future. Is Wormtail taking revenge on people he thinks should be punished by Voldemort? Or is he legitimately helping Ron, either a symptom of Stockholm Syndrome or legitimately.

Ch 7: The sorting hat
pg 115: About 20 ghosts? Besides the four house ghosts, what roles do the other ones have and what power do they have over peeves (besides the Bloody Baron)

pg 117: "There's nothing hidden in your head the sorting hat can't see, so try me on and I will tell you where you ought to be" -The Sorting Hat. Will the hat be helpful in book 7, perhaps telling Harry where he should go to find horcruxes, or perhaps used as a tool for oclumency/legilimency? And what is the significance of Harry pulling Gryffindor's sword from the hat in book 2:CoS?

pg 121: Yet the Sorting hat hesitates on Harry. Does it do it quickly to everyone? Why does it originally suggest Slytherin for Harry? Is it because he is a parselmouth or has a mark of Voldemort? Greatness is in Harry's head according to the hat...

pg 122: Quirrell now had the turban. Why wasn't he noted as wearing it before in the Leaky Cauldron. Did Voldemort possess him between then and the sorting feast?

pg 122: mistake: the book said only three were left to be sorted. But four are sorted after this statement!

pg 123: Any significance of Dumbledore's few words: "Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank You!"? I should note that all of these passed the Firefox spellcheck.

pg 123: Nearly Headless Nick says he hasn't eaten in nearly 400 years; "I don't need to, of course, but one does miss it" But he died 500 years before (well, 499 at that point)! Is there a reason for this seemingly mistake. There is food at his 500th deathday party the next year. Can ghosts have any effect on solid objects and can they eat?

pg 125: Neville nearly drowned as a kid but when eight he was accidentally defenestrated by his Great Uncle Algie and bounced to the garden. Can wizards survive such things and will this be important?

127: What did the Weasley Twins do in the past in the Forbidden Forest that made Dumbledore's eyes twinkle?

128: Dumbledore: "'Ah music', he said wiping his eyes, 'A magic beyond all we do here'". Significant? Magical? A hint for the only way to put fluffy to sleep?

130: Very important: Harry's dream about being stuck in quirrel's turban in which malfoy laughed, and snape had a high cold laugh followed by a green burst of light. Same words as his dream about the death of his parents, a "high cold laugh" and burst of green light (see page 56)

ch8: The potions master

136: who is "us" that Hagrid refers to? is it the royal we? Fang?

137: significance of the potion objects which snape refers to: "the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses... I can teach you to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death". Drought of Living Death, bezoar, werewolf potion, all important in the books.

ch10: Halloween: pg 177: What was Snape's relationship with Quirrell. Was he trying to prevent Quirrell from doing stuff? Did he know that Voldemort possessed Quirrell? Whose side was snape on at this time?

pg 184: Potter for President? There is no "President" in Great Britain... Or the Ministry of Magic. Was this an attempt to Americanize the book, like the switched title: Sorcerer's Stone instead of Philosopher's Stone?

190: What kind of countercurse requires constantly to chant nonstop?

Ch12:mirror of erised:
194: interesting that Fred and George bewitched snowballs to constantly bounce off of back of Quirrell's turban... Exactly where Voldemort was hiding...

200: What message did Harry send to the Dursleys?

202: This is Dumbledore's handwriting as seen in his signature in a later book. We kind of know this though as Dumbledore all but admits it in the end of this book.

203: Do prefects usually sit apart from the others at meals with prefects from other houses (prefects is plural here), because Ron and Hermione sat with Harry in books 5 and 6, right?

209: any significance to other members of Harry's family? The green eyes of members of his family besides his mother?

213: Dumbledore: "I don't need a cloak to become invisible"

214: What does Dumbledore actually see when he looks in the mirror of erised? Actually thick woolen socks?

ch13: Nicolas Flamel

215; same dreams
218-9: Chocolate frog as gift to neville, the frog card gives them the answer to flamel's relationship, but they also mention again Grindelwald and Dragon's blood.
220: is flamel actually 665 at this time; does the book update itself. Any significance to the fact that he is about to celebrate his 666th birthday? Is being eternal beastly?
221: Harry had the horrible feeling that Snape could read minds
226: Snape to Quirrell: "We'll have another chat soon when you've had time to think things over and decided where your loyalties lie". Is this double reverse psychology to the reader? Where should Quirrell's loyalties lie and what did Snape tell him, making him petrified?

ch14:Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback
229: "It was hard to relax with Hermione next to you reciting the twelve uses of dragon's blood or practicing wand movements". Hermione knows the uses, much like she knows where to find flamel once she is reminded of it on Dumbledore's Chocolate Frog Card!

ch15:Forbidden Forest:
257: "Remember Firenze, we are sworn not to set ourselves against the heavens. Have we not read what is to come in the movements of the planets?" What is foretold and what is the significance of Mars, the god of war, being unusually bright?

258: Death's better than being cursed. Voldemort doesn't realize that something is worse than death. Could it be being cursed?
260: Ron seems to think that Voldemort can hear them. Can saying Voldemort's name cause him to hear them, like someone saying "Beetlejuice! Beatlejuice! Beatlejuice"?

261: Dumbledore's handwriting again. He sends back the cloak to harry, and "Just in case" seems to imply he knows something is going to happen and encourages Harry to undertake this difficult task, without Dumbledore there to protect him. This time out of town, in book 7, dead.

Ch 16:Through the trapdoor
262:"In years to come, Harry would never quite remember how he had managed to get through his exams when he half expected Voldemort to come bursting through the door at any moment.
How many years to come? Does this mean Harry survives book 7?

267: Dumbledore flew to London? On a broom?
268: Why did Snape seem unusually... chipper...? (Good afternoon, odd twisted smile. Good day to you...")

270:"He'll turn it into a school for the dark arts!" (Voldemort wanted to be a professor of DADA!)
282: In the movie there were three chess pieces missing for the trio to take over. In the book, the pieces only went away when Ron told them to. The board was complete. Could he have just stood on the side and told the pieces what to do a la History of the World Part One? Or perhaps it needed that initiation to get the white pieces to open? Did Ron really need to "sacrifice" himself?

ch17: Man with two faces
289:Why is Quirrell telling Potter about his whole plan and about Snape wanting to referee the match? Was telling Harry this according to plan, making him think that Snape was good? How would Snape referreeing help, besides reinforcing the appearance that Snape is biased and hates Gryffindor and Harry.
294: Legilimency?
295: Did one of the horcruxes die here? Was "Babymort" from another horcrux?
298: My question is why did Voldemort give Lily the choice to step aside and live?
302: "Instead of stopping us, he just taught us enough to help. I don't think it is an accident he let me find out how the mirror worked. It's almost like he thought I could face Voldemort if I could...."
307: "It was the best evening of Harry's life, better than winning at Quidditch, or Christmas, or knocking out mountain trolls... he would never, ever forget tonight." Again, does he survive book 7?

Dvar Torah S2: Pinchas (Once in a Blue Moon)

The irony of the subtitle is that this is the most often read portion in the entire Torah, read every new moon (16-18 days a year), as well as every day of all of the festivals (25 days in the Diaspora, 22 in Israel), the High Holidays (3 days a year), as well as this week four times on the market days. You might be reading this portion for as many times as there are Shabbatot in the year.

So why the blue moon? Well, the moon is sad. The reason for this can be seen in a midrash based on an anomaly in one of the readings in Pinchas. As mentioned before, this parasha is read on all of the festive days of the year besides Purim and Chanukkah and the reading contains the sacrifices of the day. One of the final offerings listed on each and every occasion is a goat for a sin offering. This is pretty uniform except for the reading for Rosh Chodesh in which God's name is added. Commentators (at least according to one of my college professors) have said that God asks us to sacrifice a chatat offering from him to the moon. Why? Because God ordained the laws of nature, including that the moon is diminished from the sun, and yet, once a month the sun trespasses on the territory of the moon, causing it to temporarily disappear. To appease the moon, God orders a sin offering on His behalf to the moon. I know it sounds pagan.

The Moon: Don't trespass! Beware of Dog! Don't Tread on Me!

Shabbat Shalom, and stay of my danged lawn...