The U-Bend #28: By Reading This, You’re Not Reading the Half-Blood Prince

by Andrew Lee and Robert Lanto

“I’ve read that too, I’ve read the whole book.”
-Hermione Granger (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)


Okay so we’re reading Half-Blood Prince at this moment (and you should be too). We figure it’ll take us a bit of time to read through the entire book (and the juicy parts over and over) so instead of giving you weeks of nothing we’re going to print a series of special columns. This week we’ll address some more burning questions that have arrived in our inboxes.

Hail to the Weasley Baby!

This link is the/an original theory about how Dumbledore is Ron from the future.
-Sent in by Caitlin, Laura, Saral Kaushik, Louis, Juliane, Zubz, Austin and many more!

A huge thank you to all our readers who submitted (or posted) the link to the Dumbledore is Ron from the future theory.

Ah! Shark Boy!

Just to needle a point, y’all said, “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.”
Not necessarily. Keep in mind that no directions within the lake were given…it wasn’t a one-dimensional race so much as it was a treasure hunt. One may easily presume that Harry luckily stumbled upon the ‘captives’ by chance, with very little assistance from skill or speed.
Furthermore, underwater swimming is very different from that on the surface, and generally relies only on kicking for propulsion…and that’s a natural enough action to be instinctive, as opposed to any of the coordinated arm movements which would benefit the most from practice, to whatever degree they would be useful underwater.

Pretty much every school in Britain teaches swimming from about the age of 7 (sometimes younger), so Harry would have had 4 years of limited swimming lessons. Once a week, in place of PE (gym), pupils pile onto a coach, off to the local swimming baths, get changed, have a 30 minute lesson, changed again, then back on the bus to make the school smell of chlorine and the rest of the pupils jealous that they’ve had an afternoon off.
These lessons are usually only 1 afternoon per week, and usually only for half the year, but most schools teach swimming, I think it might even be part of the National Curriculum (the basics that the government says we should have learnt at school).

We didn’t know that was swimming was required in Britain. It’s better than being forced to climb a rope for no reason…lousy traumatic childhood. Getting back to the topic at hand, it’s easy to say that it all comes down to this: Harry got really lucky in the swimming competition and got to the merpeople village first, or a combination of events gave Harry the edge to “win,” yet lose the second challenge.

Ah! Snakes!

Hey I just read the new U Bend where people were downing your Basilisk notions of the shedding skin. Being someone who has actually raised pythons and boas , I have a few things to say. First, I think it is ok for your theory of the Basilisk having tough skin. What these people that wrote you don’t seem to realize, is that snakes only shed their skin when its necessary. There is no certain time they do this. Its a normal function of growth. If the snake eats a lot, it will shed more. However, we know the Basilisk said itself on page 137 or COS “sooo hungry…for soooo long.” This implies that the snake had not eaten in quite some time. Even if there were bones of small animals, the Basilisk is not getting enough sustenance to properly grow. Think about it. If it had lived there for 1000 years and was only 20 ft long, its not shedding much. Therefore, It WOULD INDEED have a tough skin. So I think that your theory is correct. I also think that people forget this is a FICTION novel. Some people over speculate things WAY TOO MUCH! I mean come on, if they want to get REAL about it, not only could the Brazilian python not have been able to WINK at Harry, since snakes have no eyelids, but also SNAKES ARE DEAF! Snakes go by heat sensors. They have no ears, which would make the whole idea of parseltongue go out the window and we wouldn’t even have book two. No one has seemed to think of this though since people are so intent on tearing apart everything and not just enjoy the books themselves. Im all for theory, dont get me wrong, I sit up late into the night and theorize things, but I also remind myself that the books are fiction and I just want to enjoy them for how they are. I love your articles, keep up the good work! And I would LOVE for you to print what I have written so that people will know the TRUTH about shedding;)

And print it, we did. Thus will end the talk about the basilisk forever…we hope.

Ah! That Picture’s Reacting!

What about Penny Clearwater’s photo in the beginning of POA? She was hiding behind the frame of the picture because “her nose has gone all blotchy” from Ron spilling tea on it! If a photo is “loop”, why would a new, exterior factor cause a change in the subject’s behavior?

What about when Penelope hid because her nose was splattered with ink, or when Mad-Eye Moody showed Harry the picture of the original Order of the Phoenix and got the people to move around so Harry could see all of them? I think instead of storing something as definitive as a continuous loop, a photograph also stores the surface feelings of the person, which would explain why in the Harry/Lockhart pics, Harry’s trying to get out of frame even though (I don’t recall) he didn’t try to yank himself free in real life. An extension of the ‘surface feelings’ captured thing would also explain why Penelope hides.
-Mara Roberts

Okay, okay. Some pictures do react to their surroundings. So how do we explain that? Hmm, perhaps the image can react to “surface feelings.” So either mood or anything on the photograph can affect how the photograph acts.

But Where Do They Get It From?

I would like to let you know an interesting fact about a painting I own. In order to verify it is authentic they put a small amount of the artist’s DNA into the paint used for the signature. I hate to think what the exact source of the DNA is. (This DNA signing actually added $200 in value to the painting.) Portraits usually require you to get permission from the subject to paint them. I think in the case of wizards that by agreeing to sit for a portrait you agree to leave behind an imprint of yourself. It may not be perfectly accurate but if done right it shows a general view of who you are.

That’s pretty interesting. But is it composed of…

She Said It, Not Us

This is sort of irrelevant, but maybe the artist being painted provides urine for the paint. Gross, I know, but all the old artists used to use urine in their paint to brighten the colors and to provide a sort of preservative. Maybe it’s a good thing we don’t know, huh?

Uh, yeah, it’s probably better that we didn’t print that. But the theory’s out there now. Personally we were going for hair or blood, but hey, maybe that could work.

Hey Look Over There!

I have a question regarding the editorial on why portraits can interact with wizards and have intelligence whereas photographs can not. The editorial explained that a piece of a person was mixed with the paint to bring life to the painting. But what about portraits of people who never existed?  Are we to assume that all of the paintings of people in Hogwarts depict someone who actually lived?

Hmm, interesting question. We could say that the portrait would most likely resemble the artist (or artist’s mood) if it wasn’t based off a living person. Meaning that the portrait is an extension of the artist’s mood at the time.

Correction Corner: Time to Beat the Quote Man (Again)

Hi. Just noticed a little mistake in 1 Minute 19 Seconds Of Trailer Fun (U-Bend #22). The bookquote’s from OotP, not GoF.
-Mathilde Bol

Andrew says: D’oh! I knew something didn’t look right. Back to the Potter Reeducation Center for me.

In Soviet Mugglenet, Forums Pay You

We received this letter during our Public Service Announcement: CoS Forums Pledge Break a while back. Besides some editing for spelling and grammar, we present it to you in it’s entirety. And people say we’re disturbed…

Your last U-bend about CoS daring needs of donations was very appealing.
I almost made a donation, when I stopped shortly before it was done.
Then one thing written in the form (the purpose) made me realize that a lot of people enjoy the forum (and I wanted to support them – and me! – to continue doing so), and some few enjoy it double by also making real money – The same people that ended in Galadrial Waters and other profitable enterprises. Some (many? all?) people that wrote published articles had a lot of joint thinking added by CoS’s all around the internet. We should ask the publishers for the funding money, since they got The shinny share of the fun (got the drift?) we all get from the theories discussions all over. So about the logic: a lot of people talk/chat about the books and JKR, some issues crystallize into theories which, again, are probed in the forum; entrepreneurs pick a few good people, get their articles published and! make money; money will come from people who like to read about this kind of stuff – I bet the majority frequent Mugglenet’s. It makes more sense to get Mugglenet staff sit with those publishers and explain that their open-hearted sharing could well be funding their next Quidditch Worldcup tickets (or a new Rollex – arghh). The Socialists among you (Self-Sustained Economy Capitalists, if you prefer) could even remind that it’s time to pay back Matt & Cia (not only Mugglenet-afiliated people) for their hard work and non-profit personal investments. (I’m a new in this literary analysis stuff and I’m thinking about buying the Plot, and wonder if the sleuths are really receiving money …)

Our paths they did cross, though I cannot say just why,
We met, we laughed, we held on fast, and then we said goodbye…

Robert keeps reminding me that we didn’t include this.
Us: Everybody, this is Sara.
You: Hello, Sara.
Sara: *waves*
Us: Sara is the new editor for The U-Bend.
You: What happened to Jaymz?
Us: Jaymz has retired to greener pastures and we wish him well. Without him in the early days, we surely wouldn’t be the column we are today. Thank you, Jaymz.
You: Thank you, Jaymz.
Us: This brings us to Sara. She is our new editor (or she has been for a while now, actually) so let’s all welcome her to The U-Bend team. Thank you, Sara.
You: Thank you, Sara.
Sara: *waves*
Us: So to recap, Sara new, Jaymz retired, and see you next time. Don’t spoil the HBP for us!