The U-Bend #18: Corrections, Corrections, and Some Letters, Too

by Andrew Lee and Robert Lanto

“Have you been stopping my letters?”
– Harry Potter (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

That’s right, you’re reading the U-Bend, the only column on Mugglenet that contains absolute substance or informative content. Real life priorities are piling up, our column is behind schedule, unanswered emails are filling our inboxes and exams are right around the corner. So what are some semi-competent (or incompetent) authors to do? Take the lazy way out! That’s right, it’s time for some good old questions and answers.

The Last Time We’ll Ever Talk About Mars Bars

Why a Mars Bar? In England it is just the most ‘normal’ brand of chocolate bar that we have all grown up knowing. Advertisements for it are common and it is just there in shops. The majority of English people would probably think instantly of a Mars Bar if asked to name the first chocolate bar to enter their mind.
I firmly believe the reason JKR used Mars Bars as a reference for candy is, aside from the fact that they are popular in the UK. They are popular in the extreme in Scotland, you are able to buy them both plain AND deep fried, (my idea of heaven would be 2 fried bars and book six). Being a resident of Scotland, I’m sure JKR is quite aware of the Mars Bar, pro and con. I’m sure the American publishers would have preferred Hershey bars.

There are also many more emails like this, but that’s just a sampler. As everyone knows, Mars Is Also A Planet (U-Bend #9) had absolutely nothing to do with the planet Mars, but everything to do with the Mars bar. Unfortunately (for us), this has been a very “popular” email topic. So, the time has finally come to close the issue once and for all. Further investigation by Andrew has revealed that the Mars Bar is the most popular candy bar in the UK. So popular, in fact, that one person purchased over 10,000 bars in one outing! Also, there are differences between the United States and British bars that can be seen atThe Visible Mars Bar Project (see, we didn’t make that part up). We’d like to thank everyone for writing in, and no, we never did receive a case of Mars bars.

Okay, We Lied

I thought you might like to know that the planet Mars, as it is said by Firenze in Order of the Phoenix, is the bringer of battle, and it is also noted by the Centaurs in Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone (I think) that “Mars is very bright tonight.” Do you think that maybe the reference to Mars Bars by Harry on the Hogwarts Express may have been used due to the importance of the planet Mars in the predictions made by Firenze about the calm between the two wars in Phoenix?
-Joel Hunt

In OotP we learn that the centaurs are the masters of astronomy and use it for divination. We also learn that the centaur’s comments about “Mars is bright tonight” were all hinting of the coming of the “Second War.” Now, can the Mars Bar which Harry enjoys so much be linked to the prediction by the centaurs, using Mars (the planet), that war was coming? About the thought of Harry’s chocolate craving being the first hint to the larger role of Mars…we’re going to say no, unless Mars Bars appear in any of the books again, in which case we will probably eat our words.

The Easy Way Out

How come Voldemort can’t just be shot with a gun or stabbed or something?
– Ash

It probably goes without saying that we can safely assume that Voldemort is probably the second most powerful wizard (that the reader has seen) in the world. Does that make Voldemort invulnerable to traditional attacks? No. But, setting the prophecy aside, could these attacks be used to kill Voldemort? Possibly. Now, it could happen that any final showdown were to include multiple participants anyone could gang up or get a lucky shot on Voldemort. If (by a bizarre series of events) the Harry/Voldemort were a proper duel then Harry’s second (you all remember the notion of the second right?) could possibly kill Voldemort (if the duel left him in a weakened state). For all we know if Voldemort were to stage a daring daylight raid on Hogwarts the giant squid could kill him (Burrow readers know what I’m talking about)! But, with the prophecy (and the fact that Voldemort isn’t that reckless) it’s probably safe to assume that if it can kill Harry, it can kill Voldemort. However, seeing how Dumbledore can disable four other wizards in the blink of an eye, Voldemort (as the second best) could probably do the same quite easily. So, traditional non-magic-based attacks are probably not the way Voldemort is going to be defeated.

Time Paradox, Fission Mailed

If Lupin saw Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Marauder’s map in the Prisoner of Azkaban, I’m wondering why he didn’t see two of Harry and Hermione. Or maybe he did but didn’t mention it for some reason.

Ah, the good ol’ time paradox. Along with the “missing day,” nothing created a greater time paradox than the events of PoA. Because of the nature of time travel, it could be possible to break the Marauder’s Map for whatever reason. Much like how some computer programs cannot accept duplicate entries, it could be possible that the map can only display a person once and gets confused if it finds the same person in two locations. Now could a magical item break like this? We see it as unlikely, however it’s best to wait until an official answer arrives… or something.


Harry Potter, Come With Me if You Want to Live

Is Ron really Dumbledore from the future?! Please write an editorial on the subject. You can’t ignore it forever.

Several people have been asking if we made up this whole “Ron is Dumbledore” thing. Surprisingly we did not make this up. This is an actual theory. Andrew looked it up, however he lost the link (Beat Andrew later – Robert). So this is where you (the fans) come in. In the comments for this article, if someone could post the link to any article (or the original theory) on “Dumbledore is Ron from the future,” it would be very appreciated.

Correction Corner, Part 1, for Year in Review 2004:

Just wanted to point out you missed something in your recent 2004 summary. You wrote “Nothing happens in August,” however, from August 16th – 26th, JKs door opened for the 2nd time to reveal a passage from the new book! Pretty big news I think:)

D’oh. Well, now we know something happened in August 2004. As for August 2005…

Correction Corner, Part 2, for Poor Dudley:

I was reading your U-bend post “Poor Dudley” and had a couple of questions about your back up for your theory on Dudley.1. You stated in the second paragraph that “Considering the Dursleys’ rather anti-magic stance (plus his upbringing as a wizard-hater), Dudley’s natural reaction would be to fear wizards.”
Dudley would not have known that Harry was a wizard or even that wizards existed. This was Petunia and Vernon’s closest kept secret, and from what we can imply, they didn’t even discuss it much between themselves.
“Mr Dursley came into the living room carrying two cups of tea. It was no good. He’d have to say something to her. He cleared his throat nervously. “Er — Petunia, dear — you haven’t heard from you sister lately , have you?”
As he had expected, Mrs Dursley looked shooked and angry. After all, they normally pretended she didn’t have a sister.” (pg. 7 SS)

2.You say in your fourth paragraph, “Don’t forget that the basilisk’s hide is probably very tough from years of living in the caverns (there are probably sharp pointy rocks everywhere) and traveling in the pipes.”
The basilisk sheds its skin, as all snakes do. In fact, Harry, Ron, and Lockhart run into the large snake’s old skin.
“The light slid over a gigantic snake skin, of a vivid, poisonous green, lying curled and empty across the tunnel floor. The creature that had shed it must have been twenty feet long at least” (p. 303 CoS). If the snake is periodically sheding its skin, then the snake’s hide really will not have much time to get tough.

3.You say in your third to last paragraph, “As for swimming (second Tri-Wizard challenge), this trait remains more of a mystery. After all, would the Dursleys ever take Harry to the beach? Are there really deep enough ponds for Dudley to throw Harry into?”(talking about Harry).
We learn in the fourth book, right when he figures out the egg clue, when he is still in the bathroom that Harry can’t swim at all, and this is the Dursley’s fault.
“He [Harry] wasn’t a very good swimmer; he’d never had much practice. Dudley had had lessons in his youth, but Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, no doubt hoping that Harry would drown one day, hadn’t bothered to give him any.” (pg. 464 GoF)
Dudley certainly did not help Harry learn how to swim at all. My best guess on why Harry could swim then is that the gillyweed gave him some fish like instincts along with webbed fingers and toes and gills. Harry was especially worried about this test because he didn’t know how to swim.

Please check your references carefully, before you come up with some theory.

In our defense for point 2 (the Basilisk one), even with the shedding of skin, we assumed a natural building up of skin strength. Humans shed an entire layer of “skin” (in this case, cells) in about three to five weeks, but it’s still possible for a person to build up skin toughness. For point 3 (the swimming one) Harry was still the first person to reach the “captives.” Even being a “fish” wouldn’t mean a thing if he couldn’t actually get a good swimming rhythm to be fast enough to get there first. After all, half-shark boy was practicing for a long time and still took a long time to catch up to Harry.

Correction Corner, Part 3, for The Relation(shipping) News:

You guys should be more careful in checking over your spelling. You say Madam Puddlefoot’s instead of Madam Puddifoot’s. Also, the car should be called the Ford Anglia and not Ford Angelina.
-Name Lost Due To Bad Filing

For non-compliance with the “What Kind of Potter Fan Are You” ruling of Voldymort vs. Voldemort, both U-Bend authors are to be punished by being forced to watch the PoA Knight Bus scene 50 times in a row.

A Good Question.. A Poor Answer

Are you capable of writing serious editorials? However much I favour your joke essays over the other editorial categories, it would be nice to see you guys writing something that actually (realistically!) concerns the future of Harry Potter and the HBP. It also might help you guys to decrease your hate mail from the more pessimistic fans!

In all honesty, we’ve designed the U-Bend to be a comedy/strangeness editorial so don’t expect any serious editorials to be found here in the U-Bend. This doesn’t mean that we will never write a North Tower-esque article in the future. However, if we do write a serious article it will probably be posted in the regular editorials (much like Robbie “The Writing Machine” Fischer does).

Closing Comments

One question that comes up often is if we post on the CoS boards. Sorry to disappoint, but the answer is no. We do read the boards from time to time to see what’s going on, but we don’t post (to prevent any incidents). If we do post on the boards, we will tell everyone in the column so they know what our screen names are to prevent impersonators. Also, due to time constraints, we don’t have the time to read every single editorial posted. If we did, then you’d see these U-Bends posted at a proper rate and not in waves. So from time to time, we may repeat something that has already been talked about but we hope that we provide a new look on the topic.

Well, we hope this answers some of your questions. As always, keep the letters coming and someday we might post yours.