Xenophilius Lovegood

chapter twenty of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry and Ron spend their days catching up on each others’ news, until Hermione requests that they visit Xenophilius Lovegood to ask about the sign he wore at Bill’s wedding. They find his bizarre house and after a bit he reluctantly agrees to talk to them – and says that the sign he was wearing was the sign of the Deathly Hallows.

Hermione, by briarthorn

Hermione… approached Harry. “We need to talk,” she said…. “I want to go and see Xenophilius Lovegood.”


Ottery St. Catchpole

The had an excellent view of the village of Ottery St. Catchpole from the breezy hillside to which they Disapparated next morning. From their high vantage point the village looked like a collection of toy houses in the great slanting shafts of sunlight stretching to earth in the breaks between clouds. They stood for a minute or two looking toward the Burrow….


Lovegoods Home, by VivalaVida

“Aha!” shouted Ron, as the wind whipped their hair and clothes… “That’s got to be Luna’s house, who else would live in a place like that?”


At Xenos, by glockgal

“Would it be okay if we come in?” asked Harry. “There’s something we’d like to ask you.”
“I… I’m not sure that’s advisable,” whispered Xenophilius.


Lovegood Kitchen, by gerre

They were standing in the most peculiar kitchen Harry had ever seen.

(by gerre)


Xenophilius Lovegood, by deeterhi

“May I offer you all an infusion of Gurdyroots?” said Xenophilius. “We make it ourselves.”


The Troubled Xenophilius Lovegood Manages to Keep Harry, Ron and Hermione at his Home by Telling Them About the Deathly Hallows, by Drew Graham

Xenophilius raised his eyebrows. “Are you referring to the sign of the Deathly Hallows?”


about the chapter


Something You May Not Have Noticed

Ron touches on a really sad, yet fascinating, off-screen moment when he mentions that he didn’t go home to the Burrow after he walked out on Harry and Hermione. Here’s what he says:

“I wasn’t at the Burrow! Do you think I was going to go back there and tell them all I’d walked out on you? Yeah, Fred and George would’ve been great about it. And Ginny, she’d have been really understanding….”
“[I went to] Bill and Fleur’s new place. Shell Cottage. Bill’s always been decent to me. He – he wasn’t impressed when he heard what I’d done, but he didn’t go on about it. He knew I was really sorry.”

It’s not hard to imagine Ron returning to the campsite, discovering that Harry and Hermione had gone, and simply standing there wondering what on earth to do next. And I have to believe that conversation he had with Bill had to be one of the hardest things he’s ever done. Can you imagine admitting to your family that you’d walked out on your best friend, who they view as part of the family and who also happens to be their best hope for saving the world, because of what basically amounts to a petty squabble? Yikes. And while we’re at it, do you suppose anybody else will ever find out what happened?

The Power of Magic

When Ron describes the Taboo to Harry, I always find it fascinating that Voldemort is able to cast a curse on his own name that allows him to know whenever it’s spoken. It raises all kinds of questions in my head, much the same way his cursing the Defense Against the Dark Arts position once did: how does that work? I mean, what does he point his wand at while casting the spell? And how does the spell somehow magically blanket the entire world, acting as a sensor to alert him whenever the name is spoken anywhere? It’s a brilliant idea, of course, and must be unbelievably advanced magic – in fact it’s quite possible Voldemort is the only one who’s ever achieved anything of the sort. But it just doesn’t seem to fit in with the other magical laws we know when I try to make sense of it.

The Boy Who Lived

It’s funny how Harry’s status in the wizarding world seems to fluctuate so wildly from one year to the next. When we first meet him, he’s clearly the hero of the wizarding world, and by his third year at Hogwarts the Minister of Magic is taking time out to see to his protection; his fourth year he’s portrayed as a mediocre attention-seeker; by his fifth year he’s looked upon with disdain by much of his community; his sixth year he’s the ultimate hero and “the Chosen One;” and now, here he is again with a 10,000-galleon reward on his head. The funny thing is that for all of the dramatic changes in the way people view him, Harry never feels all that different – after all, at the end of the day, what really affects him the most is simply the fact that he’s the center of attention, and like it or not, that’s about the one thing that’s never changed a bit.

The Final Word

(Question: “What prompted people to start referring to Voldemort as You-Know-Who and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?”)

“It happens many times in history — …having a taboo on a name is quite common in certain civilizations. In Africa there are tribes where the name is never used. Your name is a sacred part of yourself and you are referred to as the son of so-and-so, the brother of so-and-so, and you’re given these pseudonyms, because your name is something that can be used magically against you if it’s known. It’s like a part of your soul. That’s a powerful taboo in many cultures and across many folklores. On a more prosaic note, in the 1950s in London there were a pair of gangsters called the Kray Twins. The story goes that people didn’t speak the name Kray. You just didn’t mention it. You didn’t talk about them, because retribution was so brutal and bloody. I think this is an impressive demonstration of strength, that you can convince someone not to use your name. Impressive in the sense that demonstrates how deep the level of fear is that you can inspire. It’s not something to be admired.”
–J.K. Rowling, July 2005

51 Responses to “Xenophilius Lovegood”

  1. wow, I was all worried that I had missed this chapter somehow, but it’s good to see that you fixed the problems so soon, josie…
    I always wonder if Bill would have told the rest of the order that one-third of the Trio was staying for a while at his house. You would think as Order-member, he’s almost obliged to do so.

  2. The Taboo left me with a similar feeling. The word “magic” is a very broad concept, and Jo has never explicitly defined what magic in the HP universe can and can’t do, but from everything I’ve read in the books, I do get a good feel for what the nature of Jo’s magic is, (as opposed to what magic means in another series), and more importantly, the limits of her magic.

    One of the properties of HP magic is that spells are used to give properties to *physical things*. Enchantments, hexes, curses, charms etc all are aimed and fired at a physical target which imbues it with a new property. Potions are liquids which are physically drunk by people to give them some physical effect. Pretty much every piece of magic or magical concept in the series is to do with changing the physical properties of physical things by physically pointing a wand at them, you can’t just do abstract magic on abstract things.

    For instance, an evil witch can’t cast a curse on a village to make them have a bad harvest. She could cast a spell at the clouds to stop it raining, or a spell at the ground to take away its nutrients, or a spell on the seeds to make them die, but she can’t curse “the village” to give it a “bad harvest”. That’s just not how spells in Harry Potter are shown to work. Or put another way, we know magic doesn’t work this way through proof by contradiction. If it did, people could cast a spell on a quidditch match for their team to win, or cast a spell on carrots (not a specific set of carrots, but the platonic form “carrot” which will affect every carrot in existence) to change their properties or taste. Or in book 5, the ministry could have cast a spell (not at a person, but just in general) to detect if anyone had any thoughts of treason. And so on. Reductio ad absurdum. Magic just does not work like this.

    But there are a few times in the series where we do see things acting a bit like this, and it bothers me a bit. Things like the magical book which records the names of any magical children born in England… how does it detect them? How does it get their names? Does it effectively have similar properties of a giant Marauder’s map of England? And speaking of that, how the hell does the Marauder’s map work anyway? Especially of a building like Hogwarts!!! I mean, to make a map like that of a building you own must be hard, of a public space even harder, but of a building with such magical protection and defense? I thought Hogwarts was already unplottable? And how does it detect people without casting a spell at them or something of the sort? The only way I can think for it to work is if Hogwarts itself somehow gave “root access” and “administrator priviliges” of its system to the Marauders. Similarly, the ministry detecting Harry’s magic. Did someone somehow cast a spell for a huge magic radar? Surely all of England must be far too big for a hominem revelio type thing. And Felix Felicis… does it simply look at the world, calculate the optimal path, and get you to follow it? Or can it actually *change* other people’s actions? Even retroactively?! Did Harry know to go through the front entrance because Felix calculated that Filch accidentally left it unlocked and that he wouldn’t be noticed, or did Felix *cause* (retro-cause???) Filch to leave it unlocked?

    But the two thing that you mentioned, Voldemort’s cursing a word and cursing a job, are the two most ill-defined, abstract and question-raising pieces of magic seen in the entire series. Did Voldemort choose to put a curse on his own name to increase fear of him, or did he have the ability to put a curse on any word? If he can make a curse that could destroy ALL of Hermione’s protections in one hit, then why doesn’t he make it that whenever anyone says the word “the”, all protections of any sort around them are destroyed, but they are none-the-wiser of this happening. That way, they can just search for the Trio, who have no idea that their protections are useless. Or even better, why don’t they use whatever the ministry used to track student’s doing magic!!! That way, they can see all the pieces of magic occuring all over England (the world?), and if they happen to see a bit of magic occuring in some isolated forest or something, they’ll know they’ve found something. (This goes back to the question about the nature of “The Trace”, another dodgy concept). If he can curse someone from afar, couldn’t he just curse anyone who is Harry Potter to die? Or anyone who tries to betray voldemort to be instantly apparated against their will to him? (He made a silver hand to detect thoughts, why can’t he combine that “technology” with his “spooky action at a distance” magic?)

    And what about the job? That’s even more absurd than a word!!!!!!!!!! At least it makes some physical sense to say that anyone who utters this sequences of phonemes is doing something physical that could be detected. But to be in a certain “job”, that’s the height of abstractness. Like you said, what would Voldemort have cursed? And what would the curse do? These sorts of curses are practically invocational magic (like invoking gods or demons to kill someone) far more than the rest of the series and its incantational magic (which is far more just like an undiscovered technology). What if Dumbledore decided to change the name of the job? What if that job split, or combined, or the curriculum got redone? Could he do this for one year so that the curse has nowhere to live, and then change it back the next year after the curse has died? Or will it return to the “same job”? And how does the curse cause people to leave? This is the invocational bit… is it messing with free will? Did Voldemorts curse somehow *cause* Quirrell/Lockhart/Lupin… etc etc to leave in every book? Did it somehow affect Harry’s adventure in some way to cause the teacher to leave? And if Voldemort always had the power to do that, why the hell did he not simply make a curse to kill every headmaster of Hogwarts?!

    Anyway, I love the series and I especially love your work Josie :P. I may seem really nitpicky, especially in this comment, but that’s only because Jo paints this beautiful rich universe and draws me in to the point where I’m practically there, but I have an extremely mathematical mind that will point out any little inconsistency :P. Things like “Flint” errors or number of student errors really bug me, as I’m trying to hold this consistent universe running in my head, and these little things just bug it up.

  3. I’ve spent ages wondering what happened to Ginny during Deathly Hallows. Does anyone know of a good fanfiction telling her story?

  4. Glockgal’s picture makes the trio and Xenophilius look like a bunch of hippies :)

  5. About the taboo name: in the Western spoof movie Cat Ballou, set in the 1890s, Cat and her young gang meet the now elderly Hole in the Wall Gang. Disappointed in their present timidity, she says, “We used to whisper your names when we were kids. Afraid to say them out loud.”

    Amy: I don’t know about any fanfic about Ginny during Deathly Hallows, but from what I gather from the novel, she returns to Hogwarts during her sixth year (what would have been Harry’s seventh), tries with Neville and Luna to steal the Sword of Gryffindor from Snape’s office, gets “severely punished” by Snape (which turns out to be a night in the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid). Ginny is home for the Easter holidays during the Malfoy Manor incident, and subsequently doesn’t return to Hogwarts, but goes into hiding with her family. She returns with her family to Hogwarts for the battle.

  6. Regarding AndreHrineDavis’ thoughts, I’ve always thought that Voldemort had put a curse on the DADA office itself, at the same time as he hid the tiara in the Room of Requirements. That gives him a physical thing to point his wand at. He just would have had to make sure the office wasn’t moved. As for cursing his name, could he have put the curse on himself?

  7. Didn’t Neville also say that he, Luna and Ginny were the leaders of the resistance that was going on at Hogwarts? It wasn’t just planning to steal the sword of Gryffindor that they did.

  8. Interesting thoughts about the abstractness of spells, everyone. I don’t have anything to add at this point but I like the conversation. :)

    Jose Lopes, there are more hippie pictures coming. There were a couple of hints in the book that the trio didn’t cut their hair while on the run, so Harry and Ron have long hair in more and more drawings as the book progresses. And Xeno… well, it does fit with his general appearance, doesn’t it?

  9. @ Melanie Lee, all that information is why I want a Ginny and the DH story. Going from the tiny snippets we get from the book I think it would be a great story.

  10. Amy: thanks for explaining. If you don’t find such a story online, maybe you can try writing it yourself!

  11. Love Andre’s “essay” about abstract magic. Magic is such a general and vague notion that there always seem to be loopholes (even with genie wishes, you can just keep saying “and” to include multiple clauses to your one statement or (my favorite way to get around the “only three wishes” clause) wish for more genies).

    And thanks for bringing up the magical book that records children. While I had no problem with such an item existing, I always wondered what happened to children that moved to and away from England after birth. If it only records births, how does Hogwarts find out about magical kids that immigrate from France, America, etc.? Does each country have one of these objects and are there offices that collaborate information? It doesn’t seem likely, since the Ministry was doing it’s little Muggle-search in the seventh book. And, while I’m speculating/venting, why didn’t the book just go ahead and make the record a little more thorough? I mean, would “Harry James Potter, born October 31, 1980, son of James and Lily Potter” have been so difficult? Then people like Dean and Tom Riddle wouldn’t have had such mysterious backgrounds and at least had a name to go off of when trying to find out more about their ancestry. And who has access to the magical book to send out invitations anyway? Just the headmaster? Someone at the Ministry (once again, not my first thought due to the events of book 7)? I mean, it’s not like that information needs to be kept really secret, that stuff can be found on any regular birth certificate.

    Lol, well, now that I’ve gotten carried away, my original note for this post was about Glockgal’s picture: I love Xenophilius in it, and I appreciate that she had Ron and Harry look a little scruffy since, as 17/18 year old boys, I doubt they’d’ve bothered to shave every day while on the lam. :)

  12. Josie, The picture by Martin Tenbones should start with “They had”.

  13. Interesting thoughts on abstract magic. The Taboo never made much sense to me. I always wondered how it worked for the people on the receiving end of it…what kind of alarm went off? Did Voldemort have some kind of map with flashing red dots? My best guess about why they didn’t Taboo the word “the” just to break the protective enchantments is that they did not have any kind of map to watch. My guess is it worked that whenever someone spoke “Voldemort,” the DEs were alerted and could Apparate to that place, without knowing where that place was until they got there. They would never know where to go with millions of people saying “the.”

    Thoughts on the DADA job curse: This probably makes no sense, but I never thought of it as a jinx that had words and pointing a wand at something. It doesn’t make sense that the office would be cursed…then the office could simply be moved. When Voldemort was refused the Dark Arts job, he might have evoked some kind of abstract magic with his anger, somewhat even like how Lily’s sacrifice evoked Harry’s protection, except this wouldn’t be some powerful ancient magic, but some type of triggered Dark magic that Tom Riddle had dabbled in that cursed the DADA job. Not sure if that makes any sense, but just a thought.

  14. Glockgal, wonderful work as always.

  15. About the Taboo I wonder what was the geographical range of the spell. Was it confined to Great Britain (also Ireland) or did it work outside that border as well? Let us suppose that the trio decided to go camp in Calais, France, just a few miles across the channel, would they be detected if someone said “Voldemort”?
    About Andre’s idea: that would be something, to apparate beside Voldemort after saying his name, brr…

  16. Also if the Order of the Phoenix had more members one interesting idea, after understanding how did the Taboo worked, was to gather (imagine) 20 members in one place and deliberatedly saying Voldemort’s name, capture the DE’s that apparated to that location, move to another place and repeat that strategy (and so on). Eventually the DE’s would had to realize that something was wrong and either they stopped to respond or they had to sent an army to investigate… But, like I said, the Order had to have more members…

  17. Kim, I think children who left Britain would have remained on the book and received the Hogwarts letter. Of course, such families would be more likely to receive the invitation, but if the children are born British, they remain British, even if they also acquire a second nationality.
    I think immigrants would have to register at the Ministry of magic, who would as part of a routine duty forward the information to Hogwarts. By this theory, a few illegal immigrants might miss out on their Hogwarts invitation, but that would be an infinitesimally small number of children.
    I don’t know how the Book works, but perhaps some kind of magical trace is created every time a wizard is born. There could be a spell to draw these traces to Hogwarts and convert them to a written message of birthdate and gender in the book. The name would be more difficult to capture, but remember that in the Potterverse, a person’s name always captures the personality or destiny of the person (Sirius Black was not born a black dog and nor was Remus Lupin born a werewolf) so perhaps the trace of the baby’s personality would be enough to translate to an actual name. Fortunately, no Harry Potter character has the smallest clue about etymology! They never work out how their own names doom them to an inexorable course of action.
    It seems odd that there isn’t a master-registry of births, deaths and marriages at the MoM that would allow the Death Eaters to track Muggle-borns very quickly. It’s possible that these records were destroyed in the first Voldemort war in order to protect the vulnerable, which explains why people born before 1982 just don’t have records any more. But it doesn’t really explain why the records hadn’t started up again by 1997: the Death Eaters shouldn’t have had much trouble identifying any Muggle-borns born in the interim. Perhaps some insider who could read the signs of the times (e.g., Kingsley) managed to learn from history and destroy the new records before Thicknesse or Umbridge could access them. Fanfiction, anyone?
    Empirexstate, I’ve always assumed that spells must have some kind of geographical range. For example, Apparition is more difficult over long distances. I would think wizarding politics would have long since caused magical barriers to be erected around the regions controlled by one MoM. In JKR’s universe, Britain seems to include Ireland. It makes sense that the wizards wouldn’t necessarily break down their system just because the Muggle politicians did. (I once wrote a controversial fanfic in which wizarding Transylvania was still part of Hungary, which caused trouble for the British wizards who didn’t realise that Muggle Transylvania is now in Romania.) So I doubt the curse on Voldemort’s name extends beyond the British Isles.
    I really like Shauna’s idea about the DADA curse lying on the DADA office. It could be similar to the spells on the Headmaster’s office, which can recognise its true owner. Anyone who owns the DADA office will be disowned by it within a year, and the office obviously has some way of detecting the teacher’s guilty secret and ensuring it will be exposed eventually. I think Voldy could have easily placed a spell similar to a Muggle-repelling spell so that anyone who thought about changing the location of the office would forget about it as they approached the office door.

  18. I agree Harry & Ron probably didn’t cut their hair while on the run; but they might have shaved before going to interview Xenophilius.

    Or maybe not…since a “neat impression” would not really be necessary for the Lovegoods to take you seriously.

  19. Xenophilius is definitely a hippie! And though I wonder exactly how long the boys’ hair is supposed to get during this book, I think Glockgal’s picture must be about right. During the (SPOILERS!) Malfoy Manor sequence Harry looks in a mirror for the first time since leaving and realizes his hair is “shoulder length”… he describes it when he’s describing the effects of the stinging hex, but I am not sure his hair was effected by that as the hex hit his face. :P

    Re: magic and intangible things. Some good points have been raised. I guess my only addition is to try thinking of it in a less scientific way… rather than making the distinction between “physical” and “non-physical,” magic is concerned with the “meanings” or symbolic (non-physical) properties of things, (for instance, in the “flesh, blood and bone” potion each element symbolizes different aspects of the body that is being created. You could say it’s the “symbolic properties” of the ingredients that “fuels” the result, just like it’s the physical properties of the ingredients that fuels the transformation of flour, yeast etc into bread). Intangible things such as titles and names can have symbolic power just like physical objects can. In terms of Voldemort’s name, that symbolic fuel is already there in the frightening aura the name has already picked up. This power effects the world in a very real (and sometimes physical –think Neville falling off his chair when Harry says “Voldemort”) way. Similarly, in refusing Lord Voldemort’s job request, Dumbledore was using the job post as a symbol in his ideological stance against Voldemort, making the title vulnerable to retaliation.

    I agree there is a friction in Jo’s world between “mundane” and “higher” magic. The “mundane” magic works a lot like a technology, as you say, AndreRhineDavis. As such it has a logic to it that makes it almost un-magical (and makes for a lot of the charm and humour of the books, in that magic is not depicted as “grand”… it’s normal and even a little boring!). This tricks us into thinking that’s all there is to magic BUT but but there IS a higher magic going on all the time. I think Rowling is better at writing the mundane, but nevertheless, even higher magic seems to obey rules and I think the “symbolic power” concept is the only framework that applies and limits it (in my mind). Voldemore couldn’t have cursed one of the other jobs, because none of the other jobs were used against him like that. He couldn’t make any meaningless word like “the” into a weapon because the word “the” doesn’t have any symbolic “potential energy” to it.

    Some of that boils down to “a wizard did it!”, I know.

    About the Marauder’s Map, that is a very good point about Hogwarts beings supposedly unplottable and I think that must be an accidental inconsistency in the text. Maybe it’s externally unplottable (i.e. you can’t pinpoint its location in Scotland –information the Marauder’s Map doesn’t show explicitly, though it does suggest its near Hogsmeade). Odd.

  20. I don’t think Hogwarts is unplottable. In GoF where they discuss the whole unplottable thing on the train, Hermione says that “Durmstrang and Beauxbatons like to conceal their whereabouts so nobody can steal their secrets”, and about Durmstrang she says: “to keep foreign wizards from finding it, they’ll have made it Unplottable”. About Hogwarts she only says that it is hidden from Muggles, as to them it looks like a ruin. I think Hogwarts can’t be unplottable, because it lies near a wizarding village, so every wizard would have to be able to find it.

  21. Actually, I was thinking that maybe there are spells that can be done but people just don’t know how to do them. Like the spell for the magical quill thing. Somebody powerful might have done that spell ages ago, either he didn’t share how it was done or it was lost with history.
    There are also lots of spells that are considered “dark” but not necessarily “evil”. And we know not everyone has access to them,the capability to do them.
    I have always thought that maybe LV was just naturally gifted. I mean, he DID make a hocrux when he was just a teenager. He might have had a lot of access to dark arts book or just good at inventing spells (think Snape).
    Regarding the spell to curse his name, I’ve never thought about him being able to curse a word. But I guess cursing a word is child’s play considering he found a way to bring himself back from the “dead.”

    Sorry for the incoherent post. I was thinking on my head. I don’t even know if I made any sense or what I was trying to say in the first place.

  22. The reason they cursed the name “Voldemort” and not the word “the” is because only Order members said it, so it was a great way to find Order members. Cursing “the” would have accomplished nothing, as the DEs can’t zero in on specific Order members: they zero in on users of the word Voldemort and assume they’re Order members. I like the “higher magic” concept very much, but an alternative or perhaps corollary to that is that Voldemort could have cursed the ink used to sign a DADA teacher contract, or the forms themselves, if he needed something physical to do it.

  23. Interesting comment on the personal hygiene of the trio. We know they had a bathroom in the tent as it is mentioned that Harry washed a couple chapters ago, so they did bathe. The fact that there hair grew demonstrates how cut off they were from civilization when they were on the run. They probably didn’t care how they looked. Then too, if they didn’t shave or cut their hair they might not be as easily recognized if they were caught.

  24. One would think Ron would’ve shaved or cut his hair at Bill’s, so he’d be a little less hairy than Harry…

  25. A word to the Erumpent horn at the Lovegoods:

    Xenophilius had said, that he had purchased it from a young wizard. From what young wizard? Was this young wizard perhaps a Death-eater, who wanted to blow Xenos house up?

  26. Didn’t Snape keep his office in the dungeons when he became DADA-teacher?

  27. One thought: was that young wizard perhaps Draco Malfoy?

  28. @Jose Lopez

    As HRH had showed up at the Lovegoogs, it was Chrismas holidays. But Xenophilius had purchased the Erumpenthorn two weeks ago, so it might have been still schooltime. So the wizard, who had sold that horn, was probably no Hogwarts student.

  29. @Ragmar: Considering Bill’s own preference on hair length, I doubt even hints of a haircut were mentioned while Ron stayed there. :)

  30. Jose and hazelwillow, Xenophilius is a Westcountryman, straight out of a Thomas Hardy novel. He was perfectly cast in the movie – all the Weasleys should have had that accent!

    The stereotype of a Westcountryman is that he’s a “bumpkin”, with no understanding of life outside his farm and no need for grooming (as the farmwork is only going to make him dirty again). The stereotype refers to people who lived at least 150 years ago and is not, even as a joke, applied to people who live there now. But wizards are old-fashioned, so why not write one to the stereotype?

    Xeno is not a farmer, so instead of being attuned to ploughing and milking, his head is full of fantastic beasts and artefacts. But the cluttered cottage, the unshaven face and the naivety about everything outside his own field of expertise… He’s definitely a “type” of a certain kind of Englishman, much as Augusta Longbottom is the type of a mill-town Yorkshirewoman and Hagrid is the type of a bikie.

  31. Neville’s point of view is pretty well played out in the Fanfiction: Dumbledores’ Army and the Year of Darkness. You should check it out!

  32. Alex, there was a line in HBP, in the ‘Half-blood prince’ chapter, that Harry was ‘making his way down to the dungeons, that have been, for so long, been Snape’s’.
    When he was going to Potions. I believe the dungeons were designed for potions – for cauldron fumes and flammability and possibly ingredient storage. Of course, this may be set up with magic, but i believe each subject had a specific magically engineered classroom for it.

  33. Grace has victory, thank you for that! Once you mentioned the Xeno = Hardy connection, it came into focus beautifully. He’s also always reminded me of the kind of 17th century antiquarian that John Aubrey might have written about (or might even have been!): fascinated by just about anything that the rest of the population (wizarding, in his case) weren’t bothered with at all.

    And, yeah, Hagrid … my one disappointment with Hagrid is how badly he cooks, considering he’s such a very Hairy Biker.

  34. Grace has Victory: that was a well-thought-out analysis, well done, except, if I may nitpick, for one thing: Longbottom is a much more typically Lancastrian name, so it’s more likely, especially given the actor’s accent in the films, that Neville is from Lancashire rather than Yorkshire.

  35. I though JR had stated that Hogwarts was un-plottable somewhere, does anyone remember where?

    If Hogwarts is un-plottable, that may just mean it can’t be found on a map (like a road map) but an interior layout including the grounds is different from a locational map, and more like a floor plan or blue print from an architect; so it would essentially bedifferent.

  36. Sorry, I mean thought not though.

  37. rtozier, I took my statistics from Ancestry.com, which was based on the 1901 census. Back then, 7% of all Longbottoms lived in Lancashire, 84% in Yorkshire and the rest elsewhere. Unfortunately, I think that section of the site has since been dismantled, so I’m not in a position to prove my reference.

    I don’t know how many Longbottoms have crossed the border in the century since then. However, the industrialised areas of Lancashire and Yorkshire are culturally quite similar.

  38. I always thought the Taboo worked in the same way as the Trace, they’re able to detect underage magic, apparently even in wizarding households so why wold it be difficult to set up something on a name. especially when there’s a magic book that notes down the birth of all magical children. Voldemort takes a book, he writes down his name and has magic itself, (which can detect when someone breaks a magical vow) trace people who say the name. It might be through their wands which as we see on Harry’s first trip to the ministry are all registered, (the welcome wizard proves this when he checks it. or did i read more into that ‘been in use four years, is that correct?’ question)

  39. just wanted to point out this art piece, someone’s interpretation of Luna’s ceiling, though the best one is in the movie; that image was amazing!


  40. If Voldemort were to put the DADA job curse on the room wouldn’t the room be moved because of Hogwarts rooms changing places every year? I’d have to agree with Leah that it seems more like abstract magic that happened when he was extremely angry.

  41. Josie,
    Really missing your updates. I hope all is well and you’ll be posting again soon!

  42. I don’t have an explanation for the DADA curse, but the name thing never struck me as strange. A house-elf comes when their name is called, even from miles away. And just last chapter we learned that Ron was able to find Harry and Hermione when they said his name. I didn’t think it was a “curse” so much as a tracing spell.

  43. I’m surprised no one has pointed out a connection between how the Deluminator works and the Taboo. In both instances, a name was mentioned and the person listening was able to Apparate to the precise point. I think these two magics are very much related! (And shows how Voldemort often perverts others’ work and doesn’t create his own.)
    Not that it makes the magic any more explainable! :)

    And AndreRhineDavis, I have to say that as another developer, I loved your ‘essay’! I don’t think that magic has the same algorithms or permissions as computer programs (optimal path, root access) but it certainly is fun to think about how they could relate! Maybe while average wizards are merely ‘users’, wizards like Voldemort and Dumbledore are hackers or even programmers themselves, and have the ability to rewrite the ‘program’ within the constraints of the system architecture. Similar to how computers have untapped potential, perhaps magic is always being redefined by those who can push the boundaries.

  44. Pax: I agree. I attribute Voldemort’s curse of the DADA job to be a really abstract, perhaps wandless magic rather than a specific curse. It reminds me of J.R.R Tolkien’s Silmarilion. In the Lord of the Rings universe, there was a god called Morgoth, who after being defeated lingered on Earth as corruption. Of course, that magic is quite different than Harry Potter magic.

    Emma: How did you see it in the movie? It wasn’t in the movie in American theaters or on the DVD. Was it a deleted scene?

    The etymology of Xeno’s name is great. Xenophilia: the affection for unknown (or rather unprovable) objects and humans.

  45. @ toshella

    I completely agree with what you said about the connection between the adjustment Dumbledore made to the deluminator and the taboo. A device that listens to a group of people (Harry&Hermione / All UK magic users) for a particular word and creates a semi-portkey so people can apparate without knowing the destination. Perhaps at the MoM there was an office in the Magical Law department with a device listening to all wizards in the UK (ministry would have this information) for the word Voldemort. Voldemort must have been planning this before they took over the ministry as the Death Eaters enacted it almost immediately, though I don’t know how it removes protective charms unless it is capable of casting a spell on the speaker removing all the magic they cast recently? Obviously Dumbledore would not have included that feature in the deluminator for fear of revealing Harry

  46. @David
    I don’t believe it removes protective charms, I think the trio was just unlucky! It seems to me that they had taken the protective charms down to try and find the Potterwatch station – maybe the charms were interfering with the radio signal? In any case, right after Harry breaks the Taboo, Ron says, “I told you, Harry, I told you, we can’t say it anymore—we’ve got to put the protection back around us—quickly—it’s how they find—”
    I think they would have stood a better chance against the snatchers if they hadn’t taken their shields down.

  47. @toshella, I disagree. I think it does remove the protective charms. I definitely remember reading somewhere that it broke any enchantments. Also, there was nothing in the book to suggest the trio took down the protective charms to listen to the radio. I took Ron’s line to mean that Harry saying “Voldemort” broke the protective spells and Ron wanted to put them back up before the Snatchers came. If they had done that before the Snatchers arrived then they would have been safe. So the trio didn’t take the shields down, the taboo broke the enchantments and the trio didn’t have time to reapply them :)

  48. @Amy, Ah, good point! I hadn’t thought about it that way. Do you happen to have the quote where it says that the Taboo breaks enchantments? I googled around and found lots of people mentioning it, but no source for the info. Is it a quote in the books, or something that JK said?

  49. Nevermind, I found it! From earlier in chapter 20:
    “Sorry,” said Ron, wrenching Harry back out of the brambles, “but the name’s been jinxed, Harry, that’s how they track
    people! Using his name breaks protective enchantments, it
    causes some kind of magical disturbance—it’s how they found
    us in Tottenham Court Road!”
    Thanks for the explanation, Amy!

    (oops, forgot to sign out of my WP account… the above comment is from me too!)

  50. You’re welcome. I’m glad to have helped :)

  51. Emma, the Trace doesnt detect the underage witch or wizard using magic, but merely detects the use of magic in the vacinity of the underage witch or wizard. The ministry relies on wizarding families to ensure their kids dont do magic at home (although it seems kids are still allowed to do minor magic, as Hermione mentioned during their first encounter on the Hogwarts Express that she had practiced simple spells already. Also, I think I recall in 1 of the books, Ginny magically unlocking the Burrow door 1 morning.) This is the reason why the Order couldnt use magic to remove Harry from Privit Drive, as the use of that magic would be detected through the Trace, even if it wasnt cast by Harry himself.

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