Potter Profile - Ellen
July 4, 2004
How and when did you get in to Harry Potter?
Four of the Harry Potter books were already in print before I was to open the first one. A former student (6th grader) lent me the first three books. When I was ready for the Goblet of Fire he informed me he'd already reserved it for me at the library. I loved the books from beginning. I had always loved fantasy as a child and these were about the best I'd ever read. It wasn't long before I had second graders wanting to read the books. Each year two or three students would struggle through the books (improving their reading skills as they read). Since the first reading I have purchased a set of the US editions as well as two sets of the Bloomsbury editions.
Which Harry Potter book is your favorite?
This is a difficult question. Every one of these books was my favorite when I was reading it. I loved them all. If I have to choose I guess it would be book 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It got so complicated for Harry and friends. This was a book that was hard to put down. I've read it three times and each time it seems fresh and new as I am looking at it from another angle.I think that I probably need to read it a few more times to really understand what is going on.
What character can you relate to most?
There are so many interesting characters in this story it is difficult to choose also. There is one character I worry about and I am hopeful about...Snape. I want Harry to see him differently. I think that he's a much nicer guy than Harry thinks. He's just very worried about Hogwarts and Dumbledore and wants to protect the school and the Headmaster. He's afraid that Harry like his father will get in the way. Also,I think that he is not happy with Dumbledore because he wants to be the Dark Arts teacher. In other words the man is just not happy with
his job which doesn't make anyone a "happy camper." I want to see Harry and Snape to come to terms with past and together protect everything that's good about the school. I think that Snape
could end up being a great wizard who is the champion of a greater wizard who I expect would be Harry Potter. Hopefully, in future books I will be able to understand this character a little better.
Are you satisfied with the handling of the "boy/girl stuff" in book 5?
Harry is growing up. I think adolescence issues had to be addressed when you are dealing characters of this age. I think it was handled well. It sounded so much like teenagers I have known(except for the wizard part, of course).
What did you think was the most exciting thing that happened in book 5? What was the most disturbing? What left the biggest impression on you?
When Professor Dolores Umbridge came on the scene at the beginning of the book at the Ministry of Magic I just knew she was going to be a problem (If this character ever ends up on film it will be very interesting to see who plays this "toadlike" part). It wasn't long before Harry finds out that Umbridge will be his Defense Against Dark Arts teacher. Umbridge is deliciously nasty and made me really anxious about what she would do next. Then when I learned that she wasn't really going to empower her students and was going to waste their time I really became concerned. I began to have hope when Harry started teaching spells to his classmates but I was concerned when students from other houses are taking lessons from Harry. Nothing remains secret at Hogwarts for very long. The powers that be were bound to find out.
One of my biggest concerns is that the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts will never be on the same page. And I have no idea who should be trusted. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be doing a careful reread more than once. I also want to compare the UK versions with the US versions to see if there are clues in one or the books that I am totally missing. It is a very good read so I am going to enjoy the jouney.
Was the character that died the one you thought it would be? (Be honest now!)
I hadn't a clue. I did have concerns that it might be one of the students.
Which house would you like to be in and why? Do you think the Sorting Hat would place you in that house?
I think all the action is in Gryffindor and Slytherin. I have been sorted by computer twice. Both times Gryffindor was picked (I was happy about that). However, I'm not all that brave and I am not very cunning so I don't think the Sorting Hat would have put me in either of those houses. I am not known for my wisdom but I am a loyal person so I guess the Sorting Hat would
pick Hufflepuff. I would be happy to be at Hogwarts no matter what house I was in. P.S. I was just sorted again. Gryffindor is again my house. I'm sticking to it. Maybe I'm braver than I thought.
Do you have any interesting HP stories to share?
I am now retired from teaching in my own classroom. I am a volunteer teacher at my former school for some 5th grade students. These same students at one time were in my second grade classroom. We are presently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban. We took pictures in our Hogwart's student uniforms. We actually only had two sets of uniforms but with some creative cutting and pasting on the computer we were able to put everyone in the same picture. We look like we have all the uniforms we need. Our pictures were in a library display of Harry
Potter books and other collectables during a tribute to reading month.
I am certain that there would be those muggles out there in their world that would think than an old retired lady should keep her nose out of books published for children. I leave them to debate that point but the truth is I think that it was destiny that I enjoy these wonderful stories in my retirement years. First of all, I spent some time in a boarding school. The descriptions of Hogwarts reminded of my old boarding school. It too, had restricted areas but alas I was not brave enough to explore them. Since reading J.K. Rowling's books I wish I had done some exploring. Any kid attending an old boarding school today has just got to love these books and feel apart of the story.
My first car was an English Ford Anglia. When I saw the film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and saw my first car flying to Hogwarts it was a thrill. I drove what looked exactly like the Weasley car. I had a 1960 white Anglia. When I arrived home after that film I could not rest until I located a picture of my first car. Later on when I started my volunteering I scanned that picture of my car into a picture of Hogwarts. When I showed the picture to my students I asked them who was in that car. Of course they said Harry and Ron. I told them if they would look closer they would see that their teacher was driving that car. They were very impressed.
Do you have anything else you'd like to add? Maybe a theory you've concocted, a shout-out?
I don't have any real theories about the books. I just sitting back waiting for what happens next. Perhaps with another read or two I will pick up on some clues I could have missed. I am just hopeful that I am still around when that last books comes off the presses. It is also my dream to one day take a ride on the Hogwarts Express.