Gryffindor Tower #11: OotP Analysis — Chapters 1-5

by Dan

As promised, this week will start the reviews of OotP, as I will be dissecting those things in the book that could foreshadow certain events in the future books. I am also quite pleased to announce that this week will feature two new sections in Gryffindor Tower. They are the Gryffindor Tower Flick Pick, and Dan’s Book Review. But more on those later. Time to look ahead to books six and seven through the pages of OotP. I must apologize, however. I had promised chapters one-ten…but after starting this, I realize that doing ten chapters will make these columns unspeakably long, as well as put a burden on myself which I cannot currently meet. So instead, I offer chapters one to five. Enjoy!

Chapter One-Dudley Demented

We see Harry in the introductory chapter of OotP fretting over the current state of the wizarding world. Lord Voldemort, the most feared Dark Wizard of the last century, has regained a body, and can now recommence his merciless reign of terror. The first big thing I found came right after Harry readied himself to fight whatever it was he thought he heard while laying in Aunt Petunia’s flower garden. When Uncle Vernon wraps his hands around Harry’s neck, an “invisible force” went through Harry, causing a pain in his scar, and surging through his Uncle. At first, this might seem like nothing important…after all, while Harry’s at Privet Drive, he can’t be harmed, right? Wrong. He can’t be harmed by Voldemort while he’s there, but anyone else can hurt him. So what happened? Well, I’ll explain more in a minute.

We see Harry mentally begging Dudley and his friends to come over to him later in the chapter, hoping to pick a fight. Harry, picking a fight? Seems unreal, but many have just looked at it as Harry’s newfound angst. I disagree. I see this, as well as ALL of his anger, playing a very vital role in the future books. What role? I honestly don’t know, but don’t be surprised if Harry’s actions continue to become more reckless.

Next is the famous Mark Evans comment. Dudley beat up ten year old Mark Evans “two nights ago”, as Harry points out. Rowling NEVER does stuff like this without reason. Harry’s mom’s maiden name is Evans…so what does it mean? Well, since Mark is currently ten years old, Harry may be having a new friend (or relative?) at school next year.

This goes back to my first point, about the surge that went through Harry. I wonder, how many of you have seen The Matrix Reloaded? Don’t read the next lines if you haven’t. In Reloaded, Neo is able to do superhuman things inside the Matrix. However, when attacked by robots outside of the Matrix, Neo is able to stop them…with a power that he should have only had in the Matrix. Ok, how does this relate to Harry? Well, Harry’s wand is like the Matrix to Neo. Without it, he’s only normal. Or we thought, at least. We see Harry yell Lumos, and his wand, which is on the ground, not in his hand. Does this mean anything? One reader (unfortunately I can’t remember his/her name…sorry!) made a point to me…Harry may be “The One”, in a sense…what if the fact that Harry has done somewhat controlled magic without a wand will mean something in the future? After all, Harry and Voldemort can’t duel…Rowling has said that you need a wand to do strong spells, though…so who knows?

And finally, we are introduced to Arabella Figg and Mundungus Fletcher. Two kooky critters, they are.

Chapter Two-A Peck of Owls

Ok, Figg’s a Squib, Fletcher’s a crook, Harry’s mad, Dudley’s fat, Vernon has no neck, Petunia looks like a horse, the Stock Market is diving, my pet flobberworm has SARS, I’m constipated…err…wait a second. Forget that. Ok, so what’s important in chapter two? Well, for starters, Harry gets expelled. Then unexpelled. Why? Because the government is trying to encroach on the school system, something that had been impossible, yet Fudge tries to do so. Again, why? Because the tension between Dumbledore and Fudge is growing. Even though, in the end, Fudge accepts Dumbledore’s stance, it is clear that there will not be real progress until there is a new Minister of Magic…more importantly, and possibly one of the most important things about this book, is what we learn of Petunia, which seems like nothing significant at first, but will be. Petunia knows what dementors are. She claims to have heard James telling Lily about them before. Riiiggghhhttt…then she gets scared about Voldemort. Why? If it were up to Vernon, the police could just go arrest Voldemort. So why is Petunia so scared? Petunia then gets a Howler, and we don’t know who it is from or what it means. But it does show that she has some contact in the wizarding world. If any of you believe for one minute that there’s not something else here that we don’t know yet, you’re wrong.

Chapter Three-The Advance Guard

We meet alot of new people in chapter three-Nymphadora Tonks (one of my friends interpreted her first name in the horribly wrong way), Kingsley Shacklebolt, Mad-Eye Moody (the real one), Sturgis Podmore (who shares a name with the leader of the Headless Hunt, whose name eludes me, but I’m sure his last name was Podmore, and Nick called him Sir Properly-Decapitated Podmore), Dedalus Diggle (who we’ve met three times already), and a few other unimportant people.

One big thing I see in this chapter is Moody’s caution. Tonks reprimands him a few times for it, but I have a feeling that Moody’s unfaltering hesitation in all situations will prove most useful in the future.

Umm..yea…so that’s all I see there…wow…if you’re still reading this, I give you credit…

Chapter Four-Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place

I loved this chapter. It was nice to see Harry vent. Ok, so maybe he was a tad bit scary, and if he were my friend yelling at me like that, I would have told him to “curse this!” and shoved his wand up his…nevermind. Anyway, Harry explodes on Ron and Hermione, which proves useful, as they, along with Fred and George, tell them the little bit that they know about what has been going on.

Something that Fred said really caught me. “Time is Galleons, little brother” (pg 68 American). Having worked in the business realm for the past five years, the “time is money” cliche told me that these guys had some kind of really big plans in the retail world. Just what it was, I wasn’t sure.

Ginny pointed out that Bill didn’t like Snape. Why? Again, Rowling doesn’t just throw things in for fun. Why say that?

Speaking of Bill, I wonder how Fleur is doing…I’m sure he’s helping her with her English…maybe she’s helping him on some of the more fine French customs…

And then we find out about Percy. I’ll tell you, what a class act. Really did the right thing, turning his back on his family to push his own career. Or he’s just a git. But this makes one wonder…now that the Ministry is aware of Voldemort’s return, what will Percy do? Seeing Percy apologize is about as believable as seeing Snape and Draco singing in a Christmas pageant.

And as the chapter closes, Harry sees his godfather for the first time in a year. Ahh, happy day, it’s so nice to know that Sirius and Harry will be able to be happy together forever…err…

Sirius’s mom is dead, but there’s a portrait of her at the OotP HQ. Hmm…there seems to be portraits of all the Blacks…maybe there’s even one of Sirius himself…

The rest of chapter five is Harry asking questions about Voldemort, and the only foreshadowing in that is about Fudge’s irrational Ministry and the need to shift power to someone more friendly to the Order.

As I have said, this week I am starting two new features. They will not always be weekly, because I may not go to the movies and/or read a book every week. But as I’ve done both more than once this week, allow me to offer these new parts of Gryffindor Tower.

The Gryffindor Tower Flick Pick this week is the new Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom adventure/comedy Pirates of the Caribbean-The Curse of the Black Pearl. I happened to go see this tonight, and I must say, what a wonderful movie. Johnny Depp plays the pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, a swashbuckler trying to get back on the ship that was stolen from him by Captain Barbossa (the always-enlightening Geoffrey Rush). But the real star of this movie is everyone’s favorite elf, Orlando Bloom (Legolas from the LotR films) who plays William Turner, the orphaned son of a pirate who is the key to breaking the curse of the Black Pearl. Depp and Bloom make a hell of a team, and they play off each other quite well. The humor really surprised me; it was much funnier than I thought it would be. The action was superb. It’s nice to see an adventure movie without kung fu once in a while, and seeing some old-fashioned swordfights really made the movie complete. Throw in the gorgeous Keira Knightley as the damsel in distress, and you have yourself one great movie. I was worried about going to see this. For one, I’ve been on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World about three hundred times, and I cannot see how anyone can make a movie out of it, but they sure as hell did. This is one of those flicks that really could have sucked majorly, but it is, at the least, a fun, exciting movie. And it is, at the most, the film that made me realize that I want to marry Keira Knightley.

The first Dan’s Book Review is dedicated to a new bestseller, The Devil Wears Prada, by Laura Weisberger. I noticed an article in my local paper about a book written by a girl from the Northeastern Pennsylvania, which is where I am from. Apparently, it’s number four on the New York Times Bestseller List, and is already being made into a movie. I decided that I should give it a try. The Devil Wears Pradais about Andrea Sachs, a right-out-of-college woman who wants to write for the New Yorker. She gets a job as the personal assistant to the most powerful woman in the fashion world, Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of Runway magazine. Although it’s not exactly a job in writing, Andrea learns that one year with Miranda is a one-way ticket into any single profession a person could want. Miranda is looked at as a deity in the fashion world, and Andrea decides to take the chance. What she doesn’t know is that Miranda is the boss from hell, and that the only way to get that recommendation is to survive a whole year under Miranda’s thumb. The novel is an exquisite look at life in early adulthood: searching for a career; making the transition between college and the “real world”; relationships; friendships. This book is one of the funniest I’ve ever read, and the humor only adds to the rich quality of the story. I must warn you all: THIS BOOK IS NOT INTENDED FOR ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF SEVENTEEN. It is not a kids’ book, and trust me, if any of you thirteen year olds bring this book home, your parents will be knocking on my door in the middle of the night with a baseball bat.

While you’re reading this, I’m lying on the sunny beaches of Fenwick Island, Delaware (although I can guarantee you that, with my luck, it’s probably raining). You guys all have a great week, and I’ll see ya when I get back next Saturday. Peace!