Arithmancy

by Jenna Stottle 

I’m jumping on the bandwagon and looking into tedious details of the books in hopes to discover the One Truth. And perhaps even worthless of all, I’m doing it with Arithmancy.

What is arithmancy, you ask, if you haven’t already looked it up after Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? In short, it’s divination with numbers. Telling the future with math. Excruciatingly painful. I’m not going to get into details about how to do it. I’m just going to calculate some characters’ names (Harry, Hermione, and Remus – why them? because I have their middle names and they’re the only characters I’d put up with this arithmancy crap for) and discuss the results here.

Either we’ll wind up saying, “oh, how true” or, more likely, “arithmancy is a pair of dingo’s kidneys.” Which it is. However, I’m giving it a shot for Harry Potter characters. Why? JKR does a lot of stuff for her names, first of all. One’s parents cannot anticipate one’s personality and give them the arithmancial number accordingly, nor does one’s arithmancical number make one’s personality. But JK has foresight to the characters and their futures. Second of all, it’s mentioned in the books, so why not give it a shot? Hermione must take it for a reason – she hates divination. Maybe she continued taking Arithmancy rather than Divination because she likes working with numbers, it’s not Trelawney teaching, or she quit and I forgot.

Anyway, without further ado…

Harry James Potter

His character number is 5. It’s the number of instability. That’s our Harry! (I guess?)

  • adventurous (Harry’s more of an adventurer by force than free will)
  • clever (he can be, like with the Sphinx)
  • multi-talented (his grades are medium-high average, he’s good at Quidditch and at fighting evil dark lords)
  • afraid of failure
  • perfectionists (not very Harry)
  • can recover quickly from the heaviest blows of life (no, definitely not our angst-ridden Harry)
  • generous and helpful but don’t accept help for themselves (Harry is starting to do this on some occasions, but he still gets help from Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, and during the tournament, Cedric and Imposter Moody)
  • quick-tempered (which is Harry)
  • sarcastic and hurt people’s feelings (only when Harry’s in a pissy mood)
  • gamblers (not at all Harry).

Conclusion: We only get a handful of truly Harry descriptions, some that can vaguely apply and others which don’t fit at all. There were some other descriptions in my book which were either not Harry or vaguely Harry which I did not include in here. At this point, it is apparent that JK did not use arithmancy for the characters.

Rating: One dingo kidney (the less dingo kidneys it’s rated, the better).

However, let’s go onto…

Remus John Lupin

His character number is 6! Fun fact: he shares this number with me and George W. Bush. (It’s a disgrace, an outrage! Oh, well, at least Remus shares my number.)

  • romantically inclined (doesn’t sound like Remus)
  • pleasure from art, music and poetry (he does seem like the type to enjoy these things, but not be obsessed or dedicated to them)
  • are best at things that involve creative expression, like painters, musicians or writers (which is what I mean by obsessed or dedicated – he doesn’t seem the type)
  • arrogant and selfish, become absorbed with having a peaceful lifestyle that they become fussy and trivial (this isn’t very Remus – he accepts his hectic lifestyle and does not obsess over petty things, and he’s rather humble and definitely not selfish)
  • intelligent, peaceloving (Dingdingding! We got some. They apply to my idea of Remus greatly and at least vaguely apply to all other interpretations of the character that I’ve seen.)

Conclusion: Load of dingo’s kidneys. At least, to my interpretation, albeit a highly common interpretation, of Remus. It’s also a load of dingo kidneys for George W. Bush.

Hermione Jane Granger

  • interested in the occult, extra-sensory perception (the great Seer said it herself Hermione doesn’t have the gift of Seeing, and Hermione hates Divination. Whether she hates it because of the crazy teacher or because she really doesn’t believe it at all, or both, she apparently doesn’t like it.)
  • solitary, spend time alone to think, become very caught up in their thoughts (what does Hermione do besides think? I think we can all agree that this is Hermione by any one’s interpretation)
  • need to achieve a degree of success or else become disappointed with life (Book 3 is the best support of this – she takes every class and refuses to drop any until the end, or until she gets ticked at the insane nutter professor, Trelawney).

Conclusion: This is perhaps the most accurate meaning I’ve seen.

Rating: Half a dingo kidney.

In short:

Go analyze the symbolism that bacon has in the Harry Potter books – you’ll find more useful things in there than in Arithmancy.

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