Pottermore Moments Revisited: Three shades of red
We interrupt our regularly scheduled commentary for a special look at this morning’s most exciting news: J.K. Rowling has released an article written by Rita Skeeter in the Daily Prophet section of Pottermore – and it features Harry! Titled “Dumbledore’s Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final,” it is a delightful new look at our favorite boy wizard and his family and friends. It’s almost like meeting up with old friends you haven’t seen for a while and spending some time catching up. There are more stories to be told here, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who is thirsty for some more details! (Let’s face it, we’re never satisfied.)
It’s strange to think of Harry as going on 34, but of course, JKR reminds us that he still has his iconic glasses and scar. We get some classic Rita Skeeter jabs (oh, how she still rankles me), including one about Hermione’s hair, but through Rita’s nonsense, we still get some wonderful tidbits. We now know how long Ron stayed with the Auror Office; that Harry is still actively involved with fighting Dark wizards (please JKR, what is the new cut from???); that Hannah, who married Neville, may become the Matron of Hogwarts (cutest staff couple award, right there); and that Luna is still delightfully eccentric Luna – and her sons are twins (who knew?). We also get a glimpse of Teddy Lupin (sporting blue hair; his mother would be proud), whose relationship with Victoire Weasley seems to have just begun. Rita is also releasing one of her awfully titled books, this one on Dumbledore’s Army, on Harry’s birthday. Will it be available in the Florish and Blotts on Pottermore?
But back to today’s chapters! It’s time to head to Hogwarts for the first time.
Chapter 6: “The Journey from Platform Nine and Three Quarters”
This chapter sets up so much of what will become the basis of Harry’s story. Many of our favorite characters are introduced here, including the majority of the Weasley family, Hermione, Neville, and Lee Jordan. Some of my favorite moments include the Weasleys’ conversation just before they board the train (from which “we’ll send you a Hogwarts toilet seat!” comes from), Harry and Ron’s sharing of sweets, and of course, the first glimpse of Hogwarts.
Moment 1: The Hogwarts Express
The thing that dominates this scene is, of course, the scarlet steam engine that is the train to Hogwarts. There’s a sight of flaming red hair (obviously a Weasley – but which one?) and one quite annoying cat who incessantly meows. Though there’s some great detail in this scene (Lee’s tarantula pokes its legs out of a box), I still with the scene was a bit more specific. Are we looking at the train as Harry first comes through the barrier (in which case, it would have been nice to see Harry himself here), or is he already on the train (where I would have loved to have seen the Weasleys having their parting conversation)? These, of course, are just personal preferences; all in all, it’s a beautiful scene.
Moment 2: The Journey to Hogwarts
We know find ourselves inside of the train, and it looks like Harry and Ron just vacated this compartment, as it is covered in sweet wrappers and dripping Cauldron Cakes. The view from the window shows the English countryside rushing past. We get to collect the Chocolate Frog cards Harry gets in this chapter, including Dumbledore. Once again, though, the lack of characters from the story makes the scene seem oddly removed from the book. Was there really no other way to present this scene without showing the characters’ faces?
I wish they had added one more moment to this chapter: a first view of Hogwarts Castle in its entirety from the lake, similar to that in the movie. It’s a view we don’t see for the rest of the series, and one that I think could have been illustrated very beautifully.
Chapter 7: “The Sorting Hat”
Finally, we step into the castle, and JKR delights us with her intricate descriptions of this school. Like Harry, the reader cannot help but be awed. We meet Professor McGonagall, and learn just how clueless about magic Harry is (getting a rabbit out of the hat, Harry? Really? Perhaps it’s only in hindsight that this seems ridiculous). There are numerous name drops of Harry’s classmates that we will hear of again (Hannah Abbott, Susan Bones, Terry Boot, Millicent Bulstrode, Blaise Zabini, and more). And of course, poor Harry has an argument with a hat: “Not Slytherin!”
Moment 1: The Entrance Hall
Though perhaps not quite as grand as the one I imagined, the Entrance Hall illustrated here is certainly something to behold. It is a little dark, and again, it is void of students. The only character is an oddly lurking Professor McGonagall. However, the delight that comes from clicking on that character is one of my absolute favorite things about Pottermore. JKR’s genius is evident here in McGonagall’s back story. I was nearly in tears by the time I finished it for the first time. The in depth detail of this character that we all liked but hardly knew anything about is simply wonderful. This information has surely endeared Minerva even more to the fandom.
Moment 2: The Sorting Ceremony
This is another new moment; previously, you were taken right to your own sorting. It’s nice to have some students here at last. Amongst the students are the respective House ghosts as well, including Nearly Headless Nick, whose head wobbles.
We get some interesting new information here as well about the Sorting Hat and the Sorting process. The information about Hatstalls is great, but of course, in the book there is only indication about Neville’s Sorting taking a while; from the chapter, it would seem that Hermione’s was Gryffindor right off the bat (of course, we find out later from Hermione herself that the Hat was considering Ravenclaw). The other new bit describes how the Hat has made very few errors, though I’m sure many of us readers could name a few Sortings we disagree with!
With that, it’s time for me to put on the Sorting Hat!
Sorting is always a nerve-racking process for me. The questions are all so varied and hard to determine what house they correspond to (except for this time, there were two that I could tell). I shake each time I take this quiz. And this time, I was Sorted into…
For the second time, which now just confuses me entirely. The very first time I was sorted, I was put into Hufflepuff, which caused a complete identity crisis, followed by acceptance and embracing. The second time, it was Gryffindor (which, when I was growing up and reading the books, I always self-sorted into), which utterly confused me again. Now, I simply embrace both Houses and consider myself a member of both.
I’ve heard a lot of complaints that the Sorting process is flawed, that houses are selected to even out numbers, etc. Personally, I don’t think that’s entirely true. I honestly believe that this Sorting quiz is good at identifying the house you should be in within the limitations of the system. I fit in both Hufflepuff and Gryffindor; I’m a huge supporter of fairness and loyalty (my pet peeve is people who lack loyalty) as well as often laid back, but I also am not afraid to stand firmly for what I believe in, and I am extremely competitive. It really depends on the day and the situation. If the Sorting Hat was really on my head, I think I would be quite the Hatstall!
What we have to realize is that there’s no way these questions can completely accurately assess a person’s character the way the actual Hat could. There are some limitations to this system. However, if you’re answering honestly, I think that you have a pretty good shot at being Sorted into the House you most belong in. We all have a little bit of the prized qualities of each House in us, so it’s not surprising that so many fans feel like they belong in multiple Houses!
Well, it’s time to follow Harry up to the comfortable four poster beds in Gryffindor Tower. Tomorrow, our first lessons start!