The Bribe

chapter eleven of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Lupin comes to Grimmauld Place, bringing news and offering to join the trio – until Harry realizes that he plans to leave Tonks and their unborn child to do so, and furiously drives Lupin out. Harry then reads an excerpt of Rita Skeeter’s Dumbledore biography until Kreacher shows up with Mundungus Fletcher – and Dung reveals that Slytherin’s locket was taken by Dolores Umbridge.

Waiting in Their Safehouse, Ron Grows Bored While Hermione Loses Patience, by Drew Graham

Ron had developed an annoying habit of playing with the Deluminator…. This particularly infuriated Hermione, who was whiling away the wait for Kreacher by studying The Tales of Beedle the Bard and did not appreciate the way the lights kept flashing on and off.


Lupin, by Caladan

“I am Remus John Lupin, werewolf, sometimes known as Moony, one of the four creators of the Marauder’s Map, married to Nymphadora, usually known as Tonks, and I taught you how to produce a Patronus, Harry, which takes the form of a stag.”

(by Caladan)


Lupin, by Sayurikemiko

“I’ll understand if you can’t confirm this, Harry, but the Order is under the impression that Dumbledore left you a mission.”


Remus, by Abigail Larson

“[Tonks will] be perfectly safe there, they’ll look after her,” said Lupin. He spoke with a finality bordering on indifference. “Harry, I’m sure James would have wanted me to stick with you.”
“Well,” said Harry slowly, “I’m not. I’m pretty sure my father would have wanted to know why you aren’t sticking with your own kid, actually.”


The Bribe, by Hannah-Dora

Harry… walked over to [the paper] and sat down, opened the paper at random, and pretended to read. He could not take in the words; his mind was still too full of the encounter with Lupin.


CLANG! by Marta T

There was the sound of pattering feet, a blaze of shining copper, an echoing clang, and a shriek of agony….

(by Marta T)


One More for Luck, by Cambryn

Kreacher’s thin arms trembled with the weight of the pan, still held aloft. “Perhaps just one more, Master Harry, for luck?”

(by Cambryn)


about the chapter


Something You May Not Have Noticed

Harry says plenty of things intended to hurt Lupin, in his disgust for Lupin’s willingness to leave his wife and child. But none of the things Harry says affect Lupin quite the way this line does:

“I’d never have believed this,” Harry said. “The man who taught me to fight dementors – a coward.”

“Coward” is a fairly powerful insult to hurl at a friend under any circumstances – and especially when that friend is volunteering to face all kinds of danger in the name of your protection. But for the people in this room (and the person writing the words), it’s also much more than that. Because Harry and Lupin, like Rowling, are both Gryffindors. And the most important attribute a Gryffindor can have, of course, is courage. J.K. Rowling summed it up nicely in a 2005 interview:

“The reason I would want to be in Gryffindor is because I do prize courage in all its various ramifications. I value it more highly than any other virtue and by that I mean not just physical courage and flashy courage, but moral courage.”

So when Harry calls Lupin a coward, he’s not wrong – but he’s also accusing Lupin of the absolute worst thing he can think of. That’s why Lupin reacts the way he does (which is cowardly in itself, in a way), and why everyone involved is left reeling from the moment. It’s pretty powerful.

Something Else You May Not Have Noticed

Something interesting about Mundungus Fletcher’s attempt to sell Slytherin’s locket in Diagon Alley is thinking about what might have happened if Caractacus Burke had walked by. Harry learned via his trips into the Pensieve with Dumbledore that Burke bought that very locket from Merope Gaunt for a pittance, and sold it to Hepzibah Smith for a small fortune. Burke would certainly recognize it, and given Dung’s ignorance of the locket’s value, Burke likely could have pulled off the same feat yet again with the same artifact! But there’s something else interesting here, too – because Burke also almost certainly knows that Tom Riddle stole that locket before going into hiding and eventually re-emerging as Lord Voldemort. Can you imagine his reaction, discovering that some random street thief has one of the most prized historical artifacts in the wizarding world, having (it seems) stolen it from the most powerful Dark wizard of all time? Talk about making your brain explode….

The Power of Magic

There’s something about Apparition that Harry (and for that matter, it seems Hermione) has never learned – and something that it seems would be fairly useful to them in their current quest to stay hidden. And that’s how one wizard can follow another when both are capable of apparating. It’s clear from this chapter that it can be done – Kreacher, for example, tails Mundungus Fletcher for three days before he succeeds in capturing him; meanwhile, Lupin says it took him that long as well to shake off the Death Eater who was apparently tailing him. This doesn’t really tally with what we’ve heard of Apparition so far; for example, when Harry cornered Mundungus in Hogsmeade last year, he simply Disapparated, and both Harry and Tonks quickly realized he was gone, and that was that. So how does this whole following thing work?

The Boy Who Lived

We learned a few chapters ago, from Hermione, that there’s only one way to heal a soul once it has been ripped apart the way Voldemort’s has, and that’s through remorse. This is a deep emotion, of course, and much more powerful than the kind of remorse one might feel for, say, unwittingly insulting somebody. But it’s interesting nevertheless that since Hermione told us that, Harry has twice been described as feeling remorseful – once a “great wave of remorse” for the trouble he gave Mrs. Weasley while staying at the Burrow, and now here, a “sickening surge of remorse” for the way he treated Lupin. Rowling may not have done this intentionally, but it gives us another neat contrast between the evil of Voldemort and the good of Harry Potter – Voldemort will never feel remorse, but in much smaller morally ambiguous situations, Harry is feeling it all the time.

Something to Remember

It’s very odd that Death Eaters seem to be staked out outside of Grimmauld Place, and yet that Snape doesn’t seem to be making any attempt to get in and get at the trio. It’s possible, of course, that whatever the spells were that Moody set up against Snape actually worked, and somehow not only prevented him from telling anybody else about Grimmauld Place, but also prevented his re-entry. But no matter what explanation you subscribe to, it takes a couple of backbends to justify the fact that a Death Eater is capable of getting into the house, yet makes no attempt to as other Death Eaters are instead positioned to guard the exterior. It’s all very strange.

The Final Word

If you’d held a contest prior to the release of this book to guess which character would possess Slytherin’s locket, I doubt a single person would have suggested Dolores Umbridge as a possibility. Yet it’s clear from the end of this chapter that that’s where we’re headed. Here’s what Rowling had to say about it:
(Interviewer: “[Is Umbridge] still out and about in the world?”)
Rowling: “She’s still at the Ministry.”
(“Are we going to see more of her? You say that with an evil nod.”)
“Yeah, it’s too much fun to torture her not to have another little bit more before I finish.”–J.K. Rowling, July 2005

54 Responses to “The Bribe”

  1. I began to love Kreacher in this chapter. Now if you had told me I would feel like that during OotP I would have said you were bonkers. However, it just shows the strength of JKR’s writing. She has turned a character I hated into one I love. The one more time for luck line is one of my favourites. (BTW Josie you have a typo in the last quote “just mone more”. You’ve added an ‘m’).

    I hadn’t thought about Harry’s remorse and the comparison with Voldemort. Even if it wasn’t intentional, it was a great way of showing their different characters. Of course I had picked up on it subconsciously as it is part of what makes the characters but thanks for pointing it out and making it obvious.

    As for apparition, I think we can discard Kreacher. We already know that House Elves have their own magic, after all they can apparate in Hogwarts when humans can’t. This doesn’t explain Lupin. Am I right in thinking he was on the run for a few days before going to see Harry? Is it possible he met up with other wizards in that time? Maybe he said Voldemort’s name which broke the taboo and called the Death Eaters to him. He may have just muttered it to himself. I don’t think there is another way to track someone unless you grab hold of them (or are a House Elf). I would say that the encounter with Dung is what usually happens but because of the taboo the Death Eaters kept coming after Lupin.

  2. When Harry cornered Mundungus in Hogsmeade he could’nt tail Mundungus by two reasons: first, he did’nt know how to Apparate; second, even if he did he would be performing underage magic and get in trouble with the Ministry.

  3. Btw, there’s no entry for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in Harry Potter – Chapter by Chapter page.

  4. I have two questions: One, wy did Lupin feel the need to give so much information to the Trio when verifying his identity? He is assuming that the Trio have their wands on him, and not someone else or someone assuming their identities. This has bothered me since the beginning of this book, when the way the Order identifes themselves really gives away quite a lot of information.

    Two, I was under the impression that most non-Death Eater wizards didn’t really know the true origins of Lord Voldemort. They certainly knew him as evil once he surfaced the first time, but unless they were at school with him personally or became Death Eaters, why would they know him as Tom Riddle? So in the section SEYMNHN why would Burke know that the locket was possessed at one time by Voldemort? Burke would obviously suspect Riddle as the original thief, as he disappeared very soon after killing Smith and stealing the locket. But does Burke know that Riddle is Voldemort? If so, how does he know and why does he know? I think Burke would still be surprised to see the locket in the possession of Mundungus, and be suspicious, but I must have missed it if it is common knowledge that Riddle is Voldemort.

    I remember Harry even telling the Death Eaters about Riddle’s parents, saying that he (Voldemort) must have been telling them all that he was pure blood, when he is in fact half blood. That made me feel sure that Voldemort kept his part quite hidden, and unless you were in his “Inner Circle”, you didn’t know much more than he wanted you to know. And as far as I can tell, his Inner Circle is mostly people who would have known him before becoming Voldemort, and with all teh power he gave them they’d certainly keep quiet.

    What do you think?

  5. Jennifer C, it’s mentioned in the books that “very few” people knew that Tom Riddle was the same person as Voldemort… but I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that Borgin and Burke would be two of the ones who did know. The last thing Riddle did before he disappeared was work for them; Riddle had already been using the name “Voldemort” for years by the time he was working with them; they’re clearly not dumb people; working at a Dark Arts shop they certainly would have seen hints of his Dark side at some point; and they were certainly aware of his mysterious disappearance. I don’t think that lumping them in with the general public in terms of what they’d know about Voldemort makes sense, as they had more contact with him than virtually anybody else during his post-school days. It’s not common knowledge that Voldemort is Riddle, but Borgin and Burke would have to be pretty thick not to know this themselves. That’s my thought, anyway.

    Regarding your first question… there’s a Catch-22 there. *Somebody* has to give away information first. But I don’t know that the information is really as valuable as it seems; after all, Lupin tells Harry a lot, but nothing he says would be useful for a Death Eater impersonating him if anyone other than Harry Potter tried to verify his identity. And in most cases when we see identities being verified, people begin by asking specific questions that no Death Eater could possibly know the answer to. Giving the information is a risk, but not a huge one I don’t think.

    Jose Lopes, you like finding things I need to update, don’t you? ;) I haven’t updated that page partly because i keep forgetting it exists, and partly because it’s very rarely used anyway and I’m planning to eliminate it soon (as it’s redundant with the links in the sidebar). But maybe when I’m back on my home computer I’ll get to it anyway.

  6. Jennifer C.: I have a similar issue with the way Order members identify themselves… Which is, really, the way the Ministry tells every witch and wizard to act in Book 6, after the Death Eaters are out of the closet (so to speak). But as Dumbledore comments at that point: “if I were impersonating myself, I’d make sure to research my own jam preferences first”.
    True, Death Eaters don’t seem to be the brightest of creatures, but it would take anyone in the wizarding world about 40 seconds to learn everything Lupin says in his introduction, except for the Marauders bit… Which makes everything save that bit redundant. And then again, that is precisely the one information the Trio should be particularly wary of, because, as far as they know, the only other person alive beside Lupin and the Trio who knows about the Marauders is Pettigrew!!

    I think the only (slightly more) efficient way of checking someone’s identity is asking them a specific question, like Lupin does to Harry after the Battle of the 7 Potters: that the asker should pose such a question is in itself a little assurance of their identity, and it should insure the answerer’s identity just because an impersonator shouldn’t have bene able to research each and every itty bitty info on their target, especially private stuff like what the asker should be asking.

  7. I laughed so hard after seeing Marta T’s drawing of Kreacher! It’s so good!
    I think this chapter is the perfect reason why we are all in awe of Jo – she just gives us one twist after another, and we never see them coming. Like you said, Josie, who on earth would guess that the locet would end up with Umbridge? For that matter, who could imagine, even in HBP, that we would be cheering Kreacher on in DH? Jo really is a master.
    Also, thanks for pointing out that coward bit, because now (thinking back on it) that does seem to be one of the worst insults in the books. Most memorably with Snape’s “DONT CALL ME COWARD!” line.

  8. Lupin identified himself this way because he knew the trio was staying at Grummauld Place. It you think about the way he announced himself, it almost seems funny. I don’t think he would have identified himself this way to anyone else but them. He was only trying to reassure them they weren’t in any danger.

  9. It was not common knowledge that Tom Riddle=Voldemort…isn’t there a quote from Dumbledore at the end of Chamber of Secrets like “very few people know that Voldemort was once Tom Riddle” or something like that? Caractacus Burke might have known, but as to the point of him recognizing the locket – is he still even around? It seems to me like Borgin & Burkes is run by Mr. Borgin. If Mr. Burke was middle-aged when Tom Riddle worked there, he would probably be fairly old by now…there’s a chance he still works at the shop, but there’s no mention of him still being around.

  10. Josie, I’m glad you brought up the point of Harry calling Lupin a coward in your comments. I always think of this in Harry’s perspective. It must have hurt him deeply to criticize Lupin the way he did. He loved Remus. He was one of his father’s best friends and Harry’s favorite teacher. But sometimes the truth has to be told, no matter how much it hurts. Harry knew that Reumus would really regret leaving Tonks and the baby. Maybe Tom Riddle, Sr. even colored Harry’s actions, remembering another man who abandoned his wife and son….and the consequences.

  11. In the book, I wasn’t at all too surprised Harry reacted to Lupin the way he did. But I was a bit surprised Lupin didn’t expect it. I mean, Harry’s lost every parent figure in his life. James, Lily, Sirius, Dumbledore. All dead. “Parent’s shouldn’t leave their kids unless they’ve got to.” This desire shows up again when the trio discuss which deathly hallow they would want. Harry wanted the stone that brought people back from the dead. I mean, come on lupin, leaving your wife and kid to go on a dangerous journey…don’t run away from your problems.

  12. Yes, I love the metamorphosis of Kreacher. And nice commentary on “coward.”

  13. @GinGin4 and Laura: Yeah… I think Harry’s own experiences have provided most of Harry’s feelings on the matter of losing parents!

    As for the courage note, this relates to one of the VERY few things that actually bother me about these books (sacrilege! I know.You can all excommunicate me)! But I want to bring up a point of friendly criticism because I wonder what you all think about this: What rankles is the way JKR structured the houses; they have always seemed very un-balanced to me! The way the Griffindors are given the trait that is tantamount to salvation in the moral world of the books just seems unfair. I don’t like the idea that one house is more “worthy.” It smacks of authorial favouritism, somehow.

    I think the real problem for me is that the qualities that define the three aren’t exactly equivalent. Courage is something you find in yourself –it’s a personality trait, though I’d like to think it’s also a choice anyone could make. Loyalty (Hufflepuf) is a personality trait for sure. But smarts is *not* a personality trait (you never see “the smart one” on a myers-briggs type division of personalities… Smart people come in all personality types, b/c it’s an intellectual trait, not a character one). Ambition and guile could be personality traits, but what they boil down to in the cases of most Slytherins we’ve met –being self-serving –isn’t a valid personality trait either. No one’s born inherently self-serving, though I believe people might be born inherently loyal (as a core part of their personality, I mean). Or at least, to believe people are born inherently self serving seems wrong to *me*, and goes against the ideas about the importance of choices expressed elsewhere in the books (i.e. in Dumbledore’s dialogue :P).

    Don’t get me wrong, I love JKR to pieces. Maybe I just want things to be tidy, and I feel like these are unequal distinctions. Does anyone else feel the houses are apples and oranges?

  14. Dumbledore itself has some doubts about house sorting, later on we find out he says: “You know, I sometimes think we Sort too soon…”
    Pettigrew for instance, is a good example of someone that should been sorted into another house, not Gryffindor (not being smart, or loyal or brave, the only option would be Slytherin).

  15. About those missing updates: well, now that the page is updated we have a new drawing to see – the Silver Doe :)
    Talking about new pictures, does any of the artists included on this site has made moving pictures about some scene of the books? It would be interesting, since we know that pictures in the wizarding world are moving pictures…

  16. hazelwillow, I totally see what you’re saying about the house traits. I think the reason it doesn’t bother me too much (especially when you refer to the “moral world of the books”) is remembering that the books are written from Harry’s perspective. In some ways, it’s a genius move by Rowling – because it gives her an excuse for the biases that would probably come across in her writing anyway. :) But everything we hear about the houses is through a Harry-filter, hence why Slytherin sounds so awful and Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw so boring. If we were reading Cedric Diggory and the Goblet of Fire, the Gryffindors would all be brass and full of themselves and the loyal Hufflepuffs would be the heroes. Does that make sense?

    Intelligence is different from the others in one way, for sure. But I do think that the four houses divide the population very well, if you think of the traits not in terms of Meyers-Briggs but instead in terms of what the members of the houses value in a person above all else. I’m about 70% Ravenclaw and 30% Hufflepuff because I value intelligence most highly, but loyalty is also very important to me. If the books were written from a Ravenclaw’s perspective, I would probably look at Gryffindors and Slytherins both the way Harry views the Slytherins. Ugh. But it is easier to see the good in the Gryffindors when they’re the heroes.

    Not trying to be a Jo apologist here – you’ve been around long enough to know I take her to task on occasion. :) But that’s just how it strikes me, and why I’m not bothered by it.

    On a separate note, Jose Lopes, I’ve only found a couple of animated gifs but they’re very hard to include here because of my pixel maximum (the page layout only allows 500px widths, and animated gifs are *very* hard to resize if they originally came bigger). There is one that made it through, though, and it’s on this page:

  17. It’s interesting that the artists seem to have a real consensus on what some of the characters look like – everyone’s Dumbledore and McGonagall look very much like everyone else’s Dumbledore and McGonagall – while on some other characters there’s no consensus at all. Lupin, for instance. I think if you collected together all the different versions of Lupin that have appeared on this site, there wouldn’t be much that they’d all have in common. Light brown hair, sad eyes, shabby clothes – and not much else. Is there something about Lupin as a character that makes people see him so differently?

  18. GinGin4, that parallel to Tom Riddle Sr is genius I never picked up on it! But you’ve a very good point, this good have led to Teddy having abandonment issues and starting a genocide against werewolves.
    As to the Houses, what I find most annoying is that Gryffindor and Slytherin are given ALL the various traits, with Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff left to pick up the leftovers. Gryfindor is not only brave and noble, they also get loyalty lumped in there, leaving the Hufflepuffs with….nothing. Similarly, the Slytherins are not only bigoted and ambitious, they are also smart…again leaving the Ravenclaws with nothing.
    I identify as half-Ravenclaw-half-Huffepuff, so like Josie said, I have pretty much the reverse of Harry’s biases. I consider Gryffindors to be stupid and annoying. So it’s all about the perspective. Which is why my dearest wish is, if there is ever another HP book, it’ll be from the perspective of another House.

  19. I love the drawing of Kreacher hitting Mundungus! Hilarious! Josie, please don’t remove the Chapter by Chapter sidebar! I actually like using that because I haven’t gone through all of your chapters yet and that helps to keep me on track :)

  20. Chiyou, don’t worry, I won’t be removing the sidebar. I was talking earlier about the chapter by chapter *page* that isn’t used much. I made some edits to the sidebar last night but it won’t be going anywhere, and I haven’t decided yet what to do with that page… :)

  21. Hey, we lost the “recent update” link on the welcome page!

  22. Hey Mario – sorry about that! I’m in the midst of making over the home page. If you’re on a regular computer, the links will always be in the sidebar on the right side of the page; if the reason you needed the link was because you’re on a mobile device (and therefore can’t see the sidebar), then I realize that’s an issue and I’m working on getting it resolved right now. In the meantime I’ll throw a temporary link back up there.


  23. Nah forget it. I am too old. You just changes the name from “Recent Upates” to “Updates blog”…. As my wife says don’t move the furniture in my house, or I’ll get lost… Sorry about that…. I am a creature of habits..

  24. Hey Mario – you aren’t getting too old, I had actually removed it. I posted it back after I got your comment the other day, only apparently when I re-posted it I named it something different. My apologies! :)

  25. Josie –about the houses –what you say makes sense, of course, about Harry’ perspective. It’s a good way to make it less bothersome.
    and hpboy13, a book from another house’s pov would be great! I especially want to see something from a Slytherin perspective. It just occurred to me the other day that many of my favourite characters from other series (mostly from the Queen’s Thief series by Megan Turner or Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle) might well be Slytherins! :)

  26. My point about favoritism was influenced in small part from an essay I read by an author I do not much like, who wrote about “Calvinist” ideals in Harry Potter. If you google Harry Potter Calvinism you will probably find it, but we warned it doesn’t make for the most heartwarming reading. Has anyone else read it? I keep looking for rebuttals to the idea that HP is deterministic…. :P

  27. hazelwillow, I tried googling and came up with this: Not sure if it’s the one you were thinking of or not (it’s far from the only essay on the topic, though it seems the most put-together).

    The essay does bring up some points I agree with. Dumbledore’s line, “it is your choices that show who you truly are” irks at me every time I read the Pensieve scenes in HBP and learn that Voldemort was entirely unloved and basically a sociopath who had no choice but to be evil from the day he was born. But I probably disagree with about 90% of what the essay says. For example:

    So basically at the age of eleven, your fate is already sealed. Either you’re Gryffindor, or you’re evil, or you’re chattel. You can’t change, you can’t be redeemed (unless you’ve already had the good fortune to fall in love with a Gryffindor) you are either Good or you are Evil or you Just Don’t Matter and none of your decisions, none of your actions, mean a damned thing. No matter how much of a bullying little [jerk] James Potter was, we are never really asked to see him as anything but a hero. Lily treats Snape like dirt, but is still the byword for selfless love in the series. And of course Dumbledore, our epitome of goodness, is a manipulative self-serving bastard who plots world domination and raises Harry to be a sacrificial lamb. But in the end we are expected to view all of these people as heroes because they were Gryffindors and therefore virtuous by definition.

    There are so many problems with this. It ignores the Harry-filter I talked about earlier; James Potter is presented as deeply flawed from the moment Harry enters Snape’s Pensieve in OP28 (and we *certainly* aren’t asked to see him as a hero after that); Lily doesn’t treat Snape remotely like dirt; and it’s made pretty clear that Dumbledore’s flaws completely changed Harry’s opinions of him in the final book. We also see characters like Snape and Slughorn and Pettigrew and Regulus Black who grow up and change and choose to become something other than the house they were sorted into. There are some legitimate flaws in the series that the author points out, but they are taken to a ludicrous extreme that ignores all evidence contrary to the point of the essay.

    On a separate note, it’s always bothered me that Dumbledore is supposed to be a Gryffindor. I know Rowling thinks he’s a Gryffindor (because as we’ve said before, Rowling thinks anybody worthwhile is a Gryffindor)… but if you ask me he operates far, far more like a Ravenclaw. Has that bothered anybody else?

    (Moderated to edit quote for language)

  28. Josie, I agree that Dumbledore operates much more like a Ravenclaw than a Gryffindor. Perhaps in addition to JKR’s “bias” (for lack of a better word) towards Gryffindor House, she wanted Harry to have this specific family? Plus the students spend nearly all their time with members of their same houses, cross-house interaction is very small compared to the time spent with house mates-so from a writer’s POV it made sense to make most characters from the same house.

    I also agree that Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff (especially Hufflepuff!) needed some more traits attributed to them. In at least one of the Sorting Hat’s songs, it mentions that Hufflepuff “took the rest”…and I always took that to mean Hufflepuff House was for people who had more than one strong character trait and so didn’t “fit” into the quite narrow Gryffindor/brave, Slytherin/evil, and Ravenclaw/intelligent.

    As for what house I identify the most with, I have to say I really don’t. I mostly identify most with Luna, I just think she is awesome! ALthough, if I were to choose a specific house to be in, I’d choose Gryffindor simply to be in the same house as Ron. I just love him! Especially book 6-fantastic!

  29. Josie: THANK YOU. I’m so glad that others see Dumbledore as more of a Ravenclaw. I had to explain everything by saying that he had a similar experience as Harry or Hermione in that the Hat took a little time to sort him out and took his feelings into consideration.

    I’ve also always wondered why Percy Weasley was sorted into Gryffindor. He was always rather book-ish but really, really ambitious–I mean, he wanted to be Minister of Magic! So why not stick him in Ravenclaw of Slytherin, since he’d seem to fit better over there?

  30. Great discussion on the houses; absolutely agree with Dumbledore/Ravenclaw, and Natalia, I have always wondered the same about Percy! To me, from GoF onward, he seemed a Slytherin to a T. It would’ve added an interesting subplot in the earlier books if there was the one wayward Weasley not placed in Gryffindor (their generation’s version of the Sirius Black ‘scandal’?).

  31. It’s always bothered me that Dumbledore was placed in Gryffindor! Sure, he’s had his brave moments, but hasn’t everyone? He’s far smarter (Ravenclaw) and cunning (Slytherin). But wouldn’t it have been incredibly weird if, way back in the first book- where we don’t know much except Slytherin is evil and Gryffindor is good -we’re told Dumbledore was in Slytherin. Now wouldn’t that have completely changed our thoughts on Dumbledore from the very beginning?

  32. About the Houses.
    The sorting hat takes your desire into account,which comes from your choice of what sort of people you want to associate with,or comes from what you would like to be or think about yourself,at the age of 11.But you evolve and change according to your experiences, while you are growing up.
    Rowling shows us that we all have,more or less,all the features of the Houses .The important thing is,which of these features we choose to be and if we have the strength to support our choice,depending on how we have grown.
    Think of Peter Pettigrew or Snape and Regulus Black. All the important and brave characters don’t belong only to Gryffindor.
    All we have flaws, regardless of our forces and our good elements.
    James Potter was an arrogant teenager but he matured and had the courage to fight till the end.
    Dumbledore had the courage to realize that the power is his weakness.That’s why I think Dumbledore belongs to Gryffindor.Because of the force he showed by changing for the better. I don’t mean that his intelligence is less important but in his case,this change made him a great wizard.

    Sorry,I hope my comment makes sense with my english.
    I love your site!

  33. Here’s another thought about the sorting: perhaps the sorting hat is responsible for dividing up the first years evenly among the four houses. Most people have the qualities of more than one house, and some characters don’t seem to be especially well-suited for any house. The hat might make some decisions just to make the numbers come out even, especially toward the end of the alphabet. This could be how that most disloyal of Hufflepuffs, Zacharias Smith, ended up where he did.

  34. A word to Caractacus Burke!

    It’s been more than 70 years before, since Merope Gaunt had sold the locket to Burke, so he might be already dead by the late 90s or at least out of business. As one year before Draco Malfoy visited Borgin & Burke in order to get the Vanishing Cabinet repaired, it was Mr. Borgin, who had served Draco, and no Burke was arround.

  35. I really enjoyed reading all the discussion about sorting and the four Hogwarts houses! The books are all about the journey of growth & self-discovery, and it’s interesting to see how the house divisions that seem so rigid at the start of the series become blurred as the books go on. In the first novels, Harry only hangs out with other members of Gryffindor house, but as the books progress he has more and more connection to members of other houses: Justin Finch-Fletchley, Cedric Diggory, Cho Chang, Luna, several members of Ravenclaw & Hufflepuff who join the DA, etc.

    It makes me sad that Hufflepuff always gets sold short when comparing the four houses. This house isn’t just for the loyal, but also the hardworking as the Sorting Hat sings in GoF “…Hufflepuff, hardworkers were most worthy of admission.” Hufflepuff is also known for tolerance and fair play (“Said Hufflepuff, ‘I’ll teach the lot and treat them all the same'” -The Sorting Hat’s New Song, OoTP). I think the character traits of tolerance and fair play require an element of courage, discipline and confidence to stand up for the right. It’s also significant that the true Hogwarts Champion chosen by the Goblet of Fire was Cedric Diggory from Hufflepuff house.

    However, being sorted into one house or another doesn’t exclude someone from possessing character traits valued by another house. Hermione is hardworking like a Hufflepuff and smart like a Ravenclaw. Luna is brave like a Gryffindor and accepting like a Hufflepuff. Cedric Diggory is smart like a Ravenclaw and courageous like a Gryffindor. The only house that no one really wants a part of at all is Slytherin. Undoubtedly, like Josie says, this is because we see the wizarding world from Harry’s point of view. Only when Harry achieves the ability to see Slytherins as multi-dimensional people, do we get to appreciate the positive qualities possessed by those in Slytherin house. The one moment Slytherin house seems to be truly redeemed is in the Epilogue of DH when Harry tells Albus that it won’t matter to him if he is sorted into Slytherin. Of course, maybe Harry says this because he knows that it is unlikely the Sorting Hat would place his son in Slytherin because it will take his choice into account. At any rate, it seems Harry has grown past his intense prejudice against all things Slytherin at this point in his life.

  36. Andrea, I loved your comment – very thoughtful! My favorite redemptive Slytherin moment, though, was Slughorn showing up at the battle with reinforcements. All the brave Gryffindors were just fighting, but it was very cunning of Slughorn to head for Hogsmeade and bring help. A Slytherin using a Slytherin trait for the ultimate good!

  37. Josie, that is a great moment with Slughorn leading the way to battle in his emerald green pyjamas! I really like Slughorn as a character, and it’s great to see a positive Slytherin trait in action!

  38. Don’t forget that in OotP it is revealed by Hermione at a DA meeting that the Sorting Hat did consider her for Ravenclaw.

  39. Oh, just want to mention, I love the silent communication between Ron and Hermione. I wonder, with all the years of practice they have had, what gets understood, and do they even realize Harry notices, because he never mentions it out loud.

  40. I completely lost the point that Rowling was trying to make about Umbridge and ‘torture her’. I would have never guessed myself that she would be the one with the Slytherin locket.
    I actually liked reading about her. The way in which she tortured Harry in a way that brings out instant anger. The way she is this dispicable human being with cats in her office decoration (makes you want to hate her more that she has these beautiful cats associated with her). She is one of the characters i remember most from the older Harry Potters, which i have not read in a while. I’m sure what it was, was that it surprised me that someone could be that evil:)

  41. Brief question, and it might have already been answered.

    If Dumbledore’s spell on Harry at the top of the astronomy tower broke when Snape killed him, how are Moody’s protective spells still intact after he was killed in the beginning of the book? Wouldn’t the enchantments on Grimmauld Place break just like the one on Harry?

  42. @ CaptMcCool – Hmmm… that’s a good question. We know that when the Secret Keeper of a Fidelius Charm dies, the Fidelius Charm stays intact but anyone who they’ve shared the location with becomes a new Secret Keeper. Maybe the protective enchantment at Grimmauld Place behaves in a similar way? I can’t think of other situations where we see enchantments persisting after the creator dies.

  43. Regarding Moody’s protective spells, they always seemed more like curses than ordinary spells, and it appears curses can remain after someone dies, if one thinks about the cursed necklace in Borgin & Burkes or the robes that tried to attack Ron, then there are the permanent sticking charms…

  44. Yes, it is not as though all magic anyone has ever performed is reversed at the moment of their death. I would think because Dumbledore’s spell on Harry is keeping him held in a particular state against his will (i.e. frozen) and is meant to be temporary, this would break at the moment Dumbledore died and Harry would regain his own free will. However, if this was true of all spells, something like the healing enchantments Snape put on Malfoy’s wounds after Sectumsempra would be lifted as soon as Snape died and Malfoy would begin gushing blood. When a spell is of a permanent nature I doubt it matters much whether or not the caster is still alive. Moody’s spells on Grimmauld Place, then, are more than capable of existing even without Moody being alive, just as the enchantments placed on the house by the Black family still exist, or a building that is made unplottable continues to be unplottable after the person who originally enchanted it to be so is deceased.

  45. JKR has said (and I’m fairly certain the quote I’m thinking of is on this site somewhere) something to the effect of the sorting hat’s voice speaking to you is really just you and your own perceptions about yourself. There is a good case, after the fact, for placing Dumbledore in almost any house in Hogwarts. His courage to face the dark parts of others, and himself, make him a Gryffindor, yes, but he’s brilliant like a Ravenclaw, cunning and scheming like a Slytherin, and loyal and accepting like a Hufflepuff.

    But, consider:
    At the time of his Sorting, he was eleven and probably didn’t know that his weakness was power, nor just how conniving he could be, so Slytherin is out.

    He may have viewed his wish to leave home and go to Hogwarts, instead of staying to help take care of his sister as disloyalty to his family. His willingness to offer friendship to a strange little boy with dragonpox may have been viewed (by Dumbledore) as more courage than valuing friendship, so Hufflepuff is gone.

    And, Dumbledore may have viewed (and I believe the interview on this site between JKR and…the fellow who read the Brit versions shows this) that his intelligence was not something he felt was to be desired, but only something that made him different, separate, and alone from all the others, so that’s Ravenclaw done.

    In the end, for Dumbledore, it was Gryffindor or nothing.

  46. First of all a big thank you for this great website, I enjoy it immensly.

    I’m a bit confused though. I’m rereading my books at the moment and concurrently the chapter by chapter pages here and I stumpled upon something.

    You’re commenting on how it is odd that the trio had never learned how to follow another wizard who’s apparating. In my book (German first Printing) Lupin explains, after the trio told him of the deatheaters in Tottenham Court Road, that it is impossible to trace someone unless you grip them, when they disapparate (Chapter 11 Page 212 in my book).

    Is this sentence not in the english edition, which I read but don’t have at hand right now?

  47. stonefrog, you’re definitely right about Lupin saying that – I’d forgotten about it. Makes his statement a half page earlier that it took him three days to “shake off the Death Eater tailing” him kind of crazy, doesn’t it? Was the Death Eater literally holding onto him for three days? Or could he not Apparate for some reason? Very strange.

  48. I always thought you had to touch or cling to a part of someone who’s Apparating, in order to tail them, yourself. Something like Side-along Apparition, I suppose. Of course, as Amy said, we CAN discard Kreacher in this notion because house-elves do have their own sort of magic. As for Lupin, I supposed he was on the run from a Death Eater and luckily had the chance to Apparate to Grimmauld Place without the Death Eater’s knowledge (the Death Eater failed to keep him at bay or within sight). Harry and Tonks, of course, weren’t expecting Mundungus to immediately Disapparate, plus they weren’t touching or clinging to him in any way. I could only hope what I’m saying makes sense. :)

  49. Interesting discussion about the houses! I’m of the opinion that the houses to more harm than good really… Hermione mentions it, as does Dumbledore, but it’s never discussed much further. But I guess Hogwarts is an old-fashioned school in that way.

    However, I did want to write about the scene with Lupin and Harry. I think it shows how much Harry has matured that he stands his ground here. We’ve seen him do this with Scrimgeour before, but here he is facing one of his friends, almost a father figure. It does take courage to stand up to him, especially since he is tempted to accept the protection Lupin offers.
    I feel sorry for Lupin here, but he is running away from his problems and I always feel a bit proud to see Harry react the way he does.

    And Kreacher is just brilliant :)

  50. I think this is the first time that Ron says “Voldemort” when he asks Lupin why Voldemort didn’t declare himself Minister of Magic. Also, when Harry was getting angry at Lupin for abandoning Tonks and the baby the book says that Harry didn’t know where the rage was coming from. He probably didn’t realized when it came from until he said “Parents shouldn’t leave thier kinds unless – unless they’ve got to.”

  51. I have to agree with others who have posted that Caractacus Burke is probably long gone and the store remains named after him. And even Mr. Borgin might be the son of the founder, and not the original owner.

    Can we please finally surmise that Umbridge is a Slytherin? I know there’s been no official word, but why else would she act as she does and be attracted to her founder’s locket!??!

  52. It is interesting that Rowling says she values “moral courage.” In the 2008 US elections for president, she supported 2 candidates, including the one who won the election, and neither has any moral courage. Maybe the Hollywood crowd is rubbing off on her too much.

  53. NO! It is not right for Harry to call Lupin a coward. When Neville stood up against Harry, Ron and Hermione in the first year, that kind of courage is the proper kind of courage. Harry Potter is a angst-filled and quite plainly, is not the brightest teenager of his age.

    You see, what Lupin is doing, trying to stay away from his wife and unborn child in an ATTEMPT to save them from prosecution, it is the SAME kind of thing Harry Potter himself tries to do when he talks about leaving everybody and going alone. In fact, Harry is the emotional kind of Hero who often contradicts his own judgment. Mere minutes after Moody died, George lost his ear, and the Order went through so much difficulty to safely get him from Privet Drive to The Burrow, Harry immediately wants to leave them and go away, alone. Yes, he thinks in the sense of wanting to save them. But, just two days later, when the Death Eaters attack during the wedding, and the Trio have only just escaped, he wants to go back immediately, to try to help and fight. You see, this is a contradiction of his own decision-making ability.

    Harry Potter is the kind of Hero who wears his heart on his sleeve, he is the uniter, the symbol around which people gather. But he is not the strategic and multitasking leader. He is not like Dumbledore, or Kingsley. Hereby, he is pure-of-heart, undoubtedly, but he is not a man-manager. He is not a General, but rather a victim-turned-warrior. Therefore, it is fair to say that wiser people than him well definitely have other ways to lead and influence people. For instance, Dumbledore would no doubt have been able to give excellent moral advise to Lupin at a time like this. But Harry Potter is nowhere as wise as Dumbledore. Shouting down a friend and telling him that he is a coward to wrong! There are other ways, wiser and more constructive ways to do that. It is simply a lack of wisdom, (not a lack of good intentions or character), just lack of leadership skills, to accuse a friend of cowardice. That Lupin eventually forgives Harry Potter is down to Lupin’s own good heart, but not that Harry deserved it. Harry himself never apologized to Lupin (never got the chance to when he was alive/never did so when he was resurrected).

    Harry Potter has had many moments like this, such as yelling at Dumbledore and throwing around things in Dumbledore’s office, and often letting his anger cloud his judgment and perception of people in general. He was never able to understand Snape, who always protected him (no argument). He was never able to understand Scrimgeour’s predicament, who was tortured and killed but still did not give away Harry’s location. He was never able to understand Aberforth too, who saved his life twice. And the list goes on.

    Anger is NOT a virtue. There is no way in glorifying it. Anger simply just blinds the eyes and fogs the mind. Do not confuse it with bravery, motivation and courage.

  54. Jennifer C., Andrea and lescharo, interesting points. Good stuff as always Josie. Sethisuwan…. Harry has “bravery, motivation and courage” as well as anger. He’s a seventeen-year-old doing a much older man’s job – as you said, a “victim-turned-warrior”. I think you are a bit harsh on him. And that’s all I’ll say… I don’t want to get into an argument.
    I was going to discuss Remus anyway!
    Remus Lupin is such a tragic character. I’ve waxed lyrical about him a couple of times before on here.
    The way I see this scene is that Remus was always a very pessimistic person. Glass-half-empty and all that. Seth, you have a point in your first paragraph; Remus is similar to Harry here. Both of them are a bit pessimistic and see the only way to protect them is to leave them.
    When he was younger, Remus could turn to James & Sirius and get advice, even if it was to be told he was stupid about his “furry little problem” once again, this time, Remus only has Harry.
    One way to describe what I think is this: it is one thing to run out on your wife & child because you’re scared. It’s quite another to force yourself to *walk* away because you think it will be better for them; then to realise your mistake and come running back.

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