A Sluggish Memory

chapter seventeen of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry returns to Hogwarts, where he updates Hermione and learns that Apparition lessons are forthcoming; then he meets with Dumbledore and talks about Tom Riddle while he was at Hogwarts. Together they also watch a memory of Tom Riddle meeting Morfin Gaunt and a memory of Riddle asking Slughorn about Horcruxes – but the latter memory has been tampered with, and Dumbledore asks Harry to obtain the full memory.

Percy's Mashed Parsnip, by reallycorking

Percy had stormed from the house on Christmas Day with his glasses splattered with mashed parsnip (for which Fred, George, and Ginny all claimed credit).


Jealousy, by gerre

At that moment there was a loud squeal of “Won-Won!” and Lavender Brown came hurtling out of nowhere and flung herself into Ron’s arms…. Harry turned to see Hermione stalking off.

(by gerre)


Slug Club Riddle, by Cambium

Harry recognized Voldemort at once. His was the most handsome face and he looked the most relaxed of all the boys.

(by Cambium)


Professor Slughorn, by Tealin Raintree

“Tom, Tom…” said Slughorn, “What with your uncanny ability to know things you shouldn’t, and your careful flattery of the people who matter – thank you for the pineapple, by the way, you’re quite right, it is my favorite -“


Tom Marvolo Riddle, by Elspethelf

“Sir, I wanted to ask you something…. I wondered what you know about… about Horcruxes?”


about the chapter


You have to feel at least a little bad for Tom Riddle Sr. when you read this chapter. He probably had never even seen Merope Gaunt, much less mistreated her, before she showed up on the side of the road one day to offer him a drink – which turned out to be a Love Potion. And once he stopped receiving the Potion, who can blame him for running away? Would any of us have even considered anything else? Especially given that there’s no evidence presented that he ever even knew he had fathered a child. But then his son shows up one day and kills Tom, and his parents, to avenge a crime that was not his fault and that he might not have even known about. Seems like rotten luck, no? Maybe it doesn’t pay to be good-looking after all.

Something You May Not Have Noticed

I’ve often skimmed through it without giving it much thought, but when you stop and pay attention to what he’s saying, this line of Dumbledore’s is fascinating:

“I have not been able to find many memories of Riddle at Hogwarts,” said Dumbledore, placing his withered hand on the Pensieve. “Few who knew him then are prepared to talk about him; they are too terrified. What I know, I found out after he had left Hogwarts, after much painstaking effort, after tracing those few who could be tricked into speaking, after searching old records and questioning Muggle and wizard witnesses alike.”

There’s a lot between the lines here. First of all, what “records” was Dumbledore searching? And what Muggle witnesses did Dumbledore question? Secondly, Dumbledore talks about how he “tricked” people into speaking, which sounds to me like a very un-Dumbledore way of operating. Was he using Veritaserum, or Legilimency (or Felix Felicis)? And finally, it’s rather striking how incredibly scared people had to be of Voldemort to be unwilling to confide in Dumbledore, long after Voldemort is widely presumed dead. Seems like a strange – and partially inexplicable – explanation, no?

And while we’re at it – how did Dumbledore specifically know about the maid who ran along in Little Hangleton, screaming that the Riddles were dead? We read about her, of course, in Goblet of Fire, but we received no indication that Dumbledore was involved in the scene in any way. Perhaps she was one of the Muggles he tricked into telling him about the Riddles?

Life at Hogwarts

It’s funny the number of times this year that various students are asked to deliver messages to Harry. It never happens a single time any of his other years at Hogwarts, but suddenly this year he’s receiving invitations from Slughorn, dates of classes from Dumbledore, and even a detention from Snape – all delivered to him by assorted fellow Gryffindors. What I wonder about, though, is what the other end of the messenger system looks like. Surely Luna, Ginny, Hermione, and Jack Sloper (each of whom delivers a message from Dumbledore to Harry) aren’t accustomed to one-on-one interactions with the headmaster? After all, it’s not as though they were chatting casually with him about something else, and then he asked them at the end of the conversation to take a letter. Hmm….


One thing Rowling and her editors could probably have stood to put a bit more effort into is verifying the relative cost of things in the wizarding world. For example, when Harry bought his wand, it cost seven Galleons – and this is enough money that the Weasleys’ couldn’t afford to buy Ron his own wand, so he used a hand-me-down instead. Then, later, Harry notes that the Weasleys’ vault only contains a single Galleon, and of course Ron several times bemoans the fact that he doesn’t have a single Galleon to his name. Yet in this chapter, when Apparition lessons are announced, the price is twelve Galleons, and Ron writes his name on the list without a second thought. At twelve Galleons apiece, the Apparition instructor could likely make his entire salary just teaching the forty sixth-years a few Saturdays each spring. Who knows – maybe he does!

58 Responses to “A Sluggish Memory”

  1. Is one of the purposes of the OotP Horcruxes, though? I don’t Dumbledore told anyone about Horcruxes except Harry, who only tells Ron and Hermione. In fact, when Harry later asked about his meetings with Dumbledore by several Order members, he does not tell them anything. So I’m not sure the Order has anything to do with Horcruxes.
    I have always wondered about the messenger system in this book, too. For such a minor character as Jack Sloper, it must have been a thrill to do an errand for Dumbledore!

    I’m going to take a stab at the trivia question and guess Hermione.

  2. Cambium’s and Elspetelf’s pictures are amazing!!

  3. Arthur Weasley received a 700 Galleons prize 3 years before, I wonder if any of that money stills exists, probably not since they spend most of it on the trip to Egypt… On the other hand Arthur Weasley was promoted to head of the Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counteirfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects, maybe he’s winning a lot more money than before?
    Dumbledore was always well informed about Voldemort, I think he started his quest to know everything possible about Voldemort even before Voldemort’s fall.
    One thought about Tom Riddle and Horcruxes: at the time that Tom was making his efforts to achieve immortality, another dark wizard was gaining name and strenght, and it seems that none could stop him. I wonder how Tom dealed with this fact. Would he see Grindelwald as an obstacle that must be eliminated to clear his path to power, or as a possible first lieutenant that could be called to his cause, or even someone from who he could learn some new tricks before assuming power? If Grindelwald would prove to be a greater challenge, Voldemort’s Horcruxes would assure that he could survive in a direct confrontation, even if that goes wrong.

  4. Yeah, it’s pretty clear about JKR being bad at maths.

  5. I do agree that it was a bit strange of JKR to have Dumbledore “trick” all of those people into answered. It doesn’t seem like Dumbledore.

  6. I always thought that the school paid for the apperation lessons at least for students like Ron and eventually Ginny.

  7. Josie, I think your questions about records and the maid answer each other – there would have been police records and newspaper accounts that told about the maid running screaming into the village, and Dumbledore could have read them.

  8. Maybe he couldn’t get memories from people because they were so embarassed by the fact that they kind of agreed with his “pure blood” ultimatums.So, they couldn’t sift what the conversations they had with or about Voldemort from the image of them agreeing with him. I know several of my older relatives that are kind of embarassed by their actions during the 50’s and 60’s when the equal rights movement was gaining momentum (Yes, I live in the Southern USA). Although, I will give them credit in that they didn’t allow bigotted talk in their presence from us kids.

  9. My guess at the trivia question: Snape.

  10. For the trivia question, I’m guessing Hermione or Snape.

    Yeah, the money thing doesn’t seem to be equal throughout the story. The 1,000 Galleons grand prize of the Triwizard Tournament didn’t sound enough to me for Fred and George to get a joke shop business going. The costs also seem weird when you convert Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts into US currency, which can be done by the information given in the foreward of “Quidditch Through the Ages” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. One Knut is equal to about a penny and a half, a Sickle is forty-three cents, and a Galleon is $7.30.

    I kind of wish Hedwig had delivered Dumbledore’s messages to Harry instead of the students; it would’ve given her more screen time, especially since (SPOILER!) she is killed in the next book.

    This site is awesome, Josie! Will you be doing anything for “Quidditch Through the Ages”, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, or “The Tales of Beedle the Bard”? Just wondering? :-)

  11. Oh, by the way, is Rodolphus or Rabastan Lestrange really as old as Voldemort? Only Slughorn refers to a Lestrange in his memory.

  12. The trivia answer is Hermione (not the toughest question ever, I know). Snape is quite a ways down the list, I believe. I’ll be posting a link to my source in the next few days. :)

    Roonil Wazlib, the names of Death Eaters are bizarre in general. There are several places (including Avery, mentioned here in the same breath as Lestrange) where a simple last name is given to a Death Eater who is in an entirely different generation from another Death Eater that we know by that name. The implication is that there are loads of father-son Death Eater combos, but I think more likely Rowling just had a list of Death Eaters and grabbed names from it whenever she needed one. Avery, Lestrange, and Rosier are all this way.

    Roonil Wazlib (also), I wish I could do this for Quidditch/Fantastic Beasts/Beedle, but there just isn’t enough fan art out there. I’ve been collecting what I’ve found but I only have a half dozen or so good drawings per book, so it’s probably not worth it. Plus for QA and FB there isn’t really a story for the pictures to help tell. So I think I’ll call it quits after seven.

  13. I never thought about the apparation fee before. It does seem like a lot compared to the wands. Though perhaps that really is what the lessons would cost in the Wizarding world. I remember my driving lessons and test were quite expensive…
    But I shouldn’t even be pondering this. I’m sure I make Rowling look good at math. XP

    I love Cambium’s artwork, by the way. :)

  14. Josie,HBP states that Riddle Sr. knew Merope was pregnant and never troubled himself to find out what became of his son. Even if she tricked him with a love potion, he was still responsible for his own actions. Even Merope thought he would stay for the baby’s sake. Sorry, but I don’t feel sorry for Tom Riddle, at all. It is not hard for me to imagine that the spoiled son of a squire could just turn his back on Merope and his child. He could have at least inquired about him at the orphanage and offered some kind of support for his son.

  15. That whole math thing is frustrating…but what ‘cha gonna do?

    I definitely have mixed feelings about T.R. Sr. Agree he was under a potion and thus not 100% responsible; but when he realized there was a baby he should have stepped up even a little.

  16. Tom Riddle Sr was effectively raped, so I don’t blame him for abandoning Merope. However sorry for her I might feel, her actions were despicable. But abandoning the baby was another matter altogether. At a minimum, Mr Riddle should have supported his son financially, which he could easily afford. A decent person would have acknowledged the son, since he was now the only surviving parent.

    Mr Riddle never remarried, which is perhaps a clue that he was not interested in family life. He was handsome and rich and the male population had been depleted by the First World War, so some girl should have been silly enough to marry him. If he didn’t commit to any of them, he probably liked being an irresponsible bachelor.

    Josie, I agree that Death Eater names are full of Flints, but (like the original Flint) it’s surely easy enough to claim that Voldemort recruited family groups? The fact that he collected TWO Lestrange brothers automatically makes it more plausible that he also collected their father, whom I assume to be Slughorn’s Lestrange. If there were two Averys, it’s easy enough to assume a father and son, the elder of whom died sometime during the war.

    A similar almost-Flint occurs when JKR refers to the deaths of various Boneses and McKinnons. At one time it’s Susan’s grandparents who are killed; another time it’s her uncle’s family. Did JKR change her mind or make a mistake? Probably; but I feel it would have been perfectly in character for Voldemort to kill ALL of these Boneses. At one time Marlene McKinnon’s family is killed soon after the group photograph, several months before Harry’s birth; at another time they die around his first birthday. This is not a problem if there are two McKinnon households who are murdered at different times.

  17. it doesn’t always have to be a father and son though he could still be related to the lestrange brothers more then one family can attend hogwarts lestrange from tom riddle’s time at hogwarts could be a different family member he could be their uncle
    as for the bones it’s been said that they were two different bones families susan’s grandparents and her uncle’s family were all murdered and this was during the first war but i’m not sure about the mckinnons

  18. On the subject of the currency inconsistency, maybe the wizarding world has been gripped by hyperinflation?

  19. I had forgotten that Riddle knew about the baby. That definitely is more morally questionable, especially given his financial means. Though to be fair, it’s also likely he doesn’t know his son is an orphan. He ran away from Merope while she was still pregnant, and it’s not hard to see from his perspective that supporting his son would also mean supporting the person who raped him (presuming that she is still alive and bringing him up; why would it even occur to him that she wouldn’t be?). Still, an inquiry into the whole situation would have been the right thing to do, but to me it’s a lot closer to being morally ambiguous than it is to being despicable.

    Re: Lestranges – the situation is definitely easily explained by fathers/sons, or by Susan Bones merely having two different sets of relatives who were murdered by Voldemort. Websites like the Lexicon treat it as such. The reason I bring it up isn’t because it’s inexplicable so much as because it strikes me (after working with these books for 6+ years) as the type of mistake that Rowling would be likely to make. My guess is that these were errors on her part – the Avery/Lestrange thing and also the Bones family thing – and that she lucked out and that they’re errors that are easily explained away. She just doesn’t think in terms of things like time and generations.

    !, hyperinflation is an idea, but the money errors are all the heck over the place, so the wizarding world would have had to have alternating hyperinflation and deflation on a fairly random basis over these six years. Makes sense for this year, perhaps, but not really for the previous five…. ;)

  20. I always thought that when Dumbledore said he “tricked” people into talking, he meant he sort of coerced them without magic. I can imagine him getting someone to talk just by using his own wits.

  21. Don’t forget that Dumbledore tricked information about Tom Riddle out of Mrs. Cole when he visited the orphanage, by getting her drunk.

  22. I suppose if it’s something as important as finding out about Voldemort, than Dumbledore WOULD resort to tricking. Anyone would if it was so significant.

  23. I don’t know about Tom Sr. being dispicable for not supporting Tom Jr, at least. I don’t think people who are raped should be forced to financially support children born of the rape, regardless of whether they are rich or poor. Tom Jr was, of course, a victim of a string of terrible crimes, but so was Tom Sr.

    But we’re talking about 1927(?) here? He couldn’t turn her into the police, even if he had a better story than “she’s a witch”. I’m guesing to the best of his knowledge, there was a woman somewhere in the world raising his unwanted child–or not, as in 1927 a waif of a girl might not even have survived labor.

    I don’t think it’s all right morally force someone to take the financial burden of a child when it was so completely out of that person’s control that the child was concieved and born. This is my two cents, anyway.

  24. I always figured that by the time Ron hit his sixth year, Mr. Weasley had been promoted (as mentioned above) AND they only had two children in school (rather than four or five all at once) which would cut down on their finances and, therefore, make it easier for Ron to afford the 12 Galleon fee for Apparition.

  25. Josie, you mentioned that it was hard for Dumbledore to find records about Voldemort in his Hogwarts-years. Maybe that’s because no one actually knew that he was Voldemort and the ones that do know (like slughorn) are incredibly terrified. Also, do all withces and wizards get as old as Dumbledore? Maybe there simply weren’t that much people left to talk to Dumbledore about Voldemort.
    Funny you mentioned the Apparation lessons. I’m not sure how it is in other countries, but here in the Netherlands, driving lessons (and the exam itself) are insanely expensive. And once we see in DH what happens when you’re doing it wrong, I figure that safetymeasures are probably pretty costly: When Hannah splinched herself in the great Hall, there wasn’t any blood, as with Ron in DH, so maybe they are taught in a safety zone?
    just thinking…

  26. Probably only some students from Slytherin and others that were part of the Slug Club at the time will know that Tom Riddle is Lord Voldemort and I suppose that a portion of them have been converted to Death Eaters and will not speak. Only two other students from that time are present this day: Hagrid (and we know about his experience with Tom Riddle) and Minerva McGonagall (at least from the timeline in Lexicon and since she was from another House and another year there was probably almost no contact between them).

  27. Harry is being asked by the other students about his Side-Along Apparition experience. Maybe that’s JKRs way of telling us how uncommon it is?

  28. The apparation instructor has surely otherwise than Muggle driving instructors another job. After all he gives apparation lessons just once a year.

    As for the Weasleys, they are surely in a better financial situation with only 2 mouths left to feed, but the older siblings all had attended apparation lessons too, when the financial situation was not that good. George and Fred might have paid it theirselves, since they had already earned their own money in Hogwarts by selling their joke-products.

  29. I’ve searched the page twice and can’t find this “trivia question” the earlier comments refer to. Driving me nuts! Any help?

    Very good points made by RaytheforgottenWeasley. It’s not too hard to imagine that, after graduation, Voldemort only interacted either with those loyal to him, or those he knew he could manipulate β€” both groups that would be unwilling to confide in Dumbledore. Slughorn himself not only belongs to the second group, but even in the present day of the book, also demonstrates some degree of anti-Muggle bias (can’t quote chapter and verse, but I recall Harry defending Hermione, or somesuch).

    Something I absolutely must say regarding the chapter’s title event: much better done, IMO, in the movie. In the film, the memory starts getting “sluggish” right when Riddle is beginning to say the word “Horcrux”, so we don’t really hear the word at all. Thus, Harry’s challenge is to find out exactly what sort of dark magic Riddle found out about.

    In the book, on the other hand, it seems that part of the puzzle is figuring out what “Horcuxes” are, which I thought was a little lame (how couldn’t Dumbledore know?) and even lamer once it became clear, both later in this book and much more so in Book 7, that indeed, Dumbledore did know. Without, for some reason, telling Harry. Hmmph.

  30. Lenoxus: it was listed on the recent updates post for this chapter–it took me a minute, too. :D

  31. Thanks, Natalia!

    I’ve been wondering that very thing myself (which characters are mentioned most?) and realized that if you wanted to do that with an electronic file of the text, you would need to make the right steps in the right order. Just counting the number of “Harry”s doesn’t tell you how much he’s mentioned, because of the characters who simply call him “Potter”. Likewise with Albus Periwinkle Gryphon Francis Dumbledore.

    So, is there an available list of character mentions in the whole series, and/or book-by-book?

  32. i noticed another thing that doesn’t seem right in this chapter. Hermione signs up for apparition lessons, but in the 3rd book she says that her birthday is in September. It’s the reason she gets money to buy Crookshanks!

  33. Thanks for bringing up the currency issues – it’s always bugged me, but I never researched it, so I thought I might be wrong in thinking it was crazy of Harry leave one Galleon for Madam Puddifoot in OoTP. (I don’t have the book with me, but I’m pretty certain that’s what he leaves after the disastrous date.)

  34. Lenoxus, the only list I’ve found is actually in the form of a trivia page on Sporcle. I have no idea how this person counted the number of references – as you mention, doing a search-and-find on an electronic copy of the books is problematic for a number of reasons. But I’ve taken all of the person’s quizzes, and from what I can tell their numbers seem to be fairly accurate. Here’s the link to the full one:

  35. One possible answer to the money problem has a couple of possible answers. One is that Ron’s father was promoted before Half Blood Prince began and so there is more money available for the family. Another thing to consider is that since Ron was part of a large family, the same income had to support 9 people in previous years that now that all of his older siblings are out on their own only has to support 4, I noticed this because I am in the same situation as Ron, the second youngest of 7 siblings, and when the rest of my siblings moved out of the house, there was more money available for my parents to spend on me and my younger sibling.

  36. @Tom Riddle. I feel really sorry for Riddle Sr. I don’t think he was a nice person per say. I’m sure he was a bit of a spoiled arse and probally didn’t treat people with respect. But what happened to him was awful. I think anybody would have ran away from that situation. Espically when you see how Ron acts when he gets the love potion. It is some very strong stuff. And it completely changes him. And you have to look at it from Tom’s POV. He wakes up out of a year(s) long trance and he sees a women is holding him captive who is a WITCH. He has only heard about Witches in stories. He probally thought he was insane. Re-Read chapter one of this very book. The Prime Minister says Fudge wasn’t real.

    @Life At Hogwarts: I disagree with this. I think Dumblodore talks to many of his students on a regular basis. I do believe that he speaks to Harry the most because of the speical circumstances but I always figuered Ginny, Hermoine, Lune and Jack were probally talking to the Headmaster about something and be asked them to deliver a message. We only see the story from Harry’s POV so we are biasis in thinking he is the only one Dumblodre talks to.

    @The Money Situation. This is very odd espically since Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred and George all can apperate and therefore had to pay 12 Gallons each time. Espically during Fred and Georges’s 6th year. The Weasly’s had to pay for Fred, George, Ron and Ginny’s school things (Books, Clothes, Supplies ect), they had to get Ron dress robes, they got Ron his owl* and they had to pay 24 galleons for Fred and George to apperate. That had to cost quite a bit of cash.

    *Speaking of Ron’s owl, Pig, what happened to him?

  37. @Austen: I am sure that the weasleys qualified for the financial help that Hogwarts offers as seen in HBP ch13. They probably didn’t talk about having financial assistance because it is embarrassing to be thought of as incapable of supporting yourself and your family.

  38. Austen, I think there are two reasons Dumbledore speaking to students seems unlikely to me. The first is that we never once see him speak to Harry in a casual way – it is always because Harry is either taking lessons from him, or somehow involved in something Voldemort-related, or else in serious trouble. In fact we only see him speak casually to a student once, ever, and the student is terrified that Dumbledore would address him that way (over Christmas dinner Harry’s third year). Granted he’s a first year, but still… I just don’t think it can be that common.

    And Pig sticks around. Molly mentions him in book 7 after Harry arrives at the Burrow.

  39. I am noticing a huge flaw: WHY is Slughorn’s memory so important?

    First, consider the diary. Harry describes its effects to Dumbledore, and I am pretty sure he realizes it’s a Horcrux because he is worried about Voldemort’s use of it as a weapon. But, I think he assumes that this is Voldemort’s only Horcrux until he gets more evidence.

    But then, if all the discussion from Order of the Phoenix holds true, and “In Essence Divided” alerted Dumbledore to multiple Horcruxes, then he ALREADY KNOWS that Voldemort has made more than one. This is confirmed because Dumbledore has already found and destroyed Gaunt’s ring!

    So what new information does this memory hold? None. I will explain Dumbledore’s reaction to the memory in Chapter 23…

  40. Actually, Dumbledore could have found out about the maid running out of the riddle house by reading the papers. Remember in the Goblet of Fire that was how he knew that Frank Bryce had been killed. So it is not implausible for him to have simply got the information from a muggle newspaper.

  41. @JPM: I believe the memory is important for 2 reasons. 1: Because it told Dumblodre that The-Wizard-Formally-Known-As-Tom split his soul into 7 parts. I don’t see how he could have possibly known this. 2: It gave Harry a chance to learn how to persuade people as he would need to do this in DH. (I can not take credit for statement 2. I wish I could remember who said it but alas I can not)

  42. This has nothing to do with the current conversation and is probably a bit odd, but is something I was curious about… Do wine glasses in paintings get refilled? I ask because in this chapter Hermione says the fat lady drank all the wine in the portrait of the drunk monks, which is why she’s a bit hung-over when Harry and Ron get back. Assuming these paintings are hung for decades (or even centuries), does that mean from now until forever those poor monks in the portrait will never have any more wine? I like to think there’s some art restorer, perhaps Filch, who gets out his red paint and refills the empty jugs and glasses in the portraits so the occupants may continue drinking!

  43. A third reason could be, that Dumbledore needed to know exactly, how many horcruxes LV could have made. I dont think he couldve found out any other way.

  44. There is a refilling charm that we learn about in just a few chapters. I imagine that it works automatically in the paintings. No wonder the fat lady was ill!

  45. Perhaps some or all of the elder Weasleys didn’t learn to Apparate until they had their own jobs. Percy doesn’t in any evidenced way pass his test until the GoF summer, by which time he’s close to if not actually 18, a year older than when he could have done it, and has his own job. Similarly, there’s no evidence as far as I recall that Bill or Charlie took their tests immediately, and both of them have highly dangerous jobs, so might get paid a lot of hazard pay. Speaking as a 22-year-old who has very little interest in unnecessary driving, no licence and no more than 4 lessons in 5+ years of their possibility, I can see why they might have waited, even aside from the money issue the Weasleys probably had. Then there’s the fact that Apparition is far from universally employed or favoured in the wizarding world. I agree that there’s no evidence TRS knew Merope was pregnant, none that I recall, anyway.

  46. With regard to the Splinching, perhaps the (magical) nature of the injury means that, while it can be fatal, it takes a lot longer to bleed out than Muggle injuries or wizard ones that don’t involve Apparition. Perhaps Susan’s leg is still in some way connected to her body, but separated from it by space. As Splinching is the result of faulty magic, perhaps it’s comparable to a slow-moving computer screen, which still obeys instructions though slowly and you can only see odd bits of it at a time. After all, in the Goblet of Fire, two witchards survived Splinching themselves in public, leaving “body parts” behind, suggesting that their injuries were more severe than simply losing a bit of skin or hair or fingernails.

  47. In one of the early books (1 or 2, or maybe 3, I can’t remember which), Dumbledore says that few people know that Tom Riddle eventually became Voldemort. I’m sorry I’m not sure about where it was, but I remember it clearly as I was really surprised.

    So people shouldn’t have been scared to talk about him, should they?

  48. @Kat: Hermione is older than both Ron and Harry. That’s why she could sign up for the Apparation classes. :)

  49. What I always wonder is – why are MUGGLE-BORN kids afraid to say Voldies name? Yeah, for Ron this is obvious, but why would Hermione or Dean be scared? They first heard of him in their first year. Is it just because everyone else is too scared? Harry can’t be THAT amazingly special, can he?

  50. Wevi, think about where Muggle-born kids are first *hearing* Voldemort’s name. Most of them have probably never heard or read the actual name in their lives. They’re first coming across it either in books or in meeting other wizarding kids, so just like everyone else they would learn that the name is something that simply isn’t spoken aloud. Look at the reaction Harry gets from his friends whenever he says it! That’s a pretty powerful social taboo. I think it would be wildly out of place for some random Muggle-born kid to start saying the name.

    And Harry really is that special, after all. I mean, he’s the Chosen One, and he’s the person who Dumbledore (the only one Voldemort ever feared) tells the Order is “the best hope we’ve got.” Hard to get more special than that.

  51. Even apart from any inherent “specialness” of his, Harry first heard LV’s name in a different context than other Muggle-raised wizards β€” as the man who killed his parents, specifically. It’s almost like being introduced to him in person. Whereas other Muggle-raised folks would hear a lot of “You-Know-Whos” first before eventually finding out the “real” name, if ever. (If Dumbledore or McGonagall were taking a new Hogwarts student to Diagon Alley, they would have no reason to mention LV. For Harry, on the other hand, LV is part and parcel with his introduction to the world of magic.)

    The real mystery, then, is why Hermione didn’t start out by using the sort of terms that scholarly texts would be likely to use, like “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”, rather than “You-Know-Who”. But that’s an angle Rowling probably never approached (if she even considered the possibility I gave in my previous paragraph).

  52. The mention of Frank Bryce above makes me wonder about wizard involvement when a Muggle is implicated in a magic crime. As far as the Muggles are concerned, the killing of the Riddles is an unsolved crime, and Bryce always remained the prime suspect. To wizards, it was an open-and-shut case with Gaunt going to prison. (Of course, everybody was wrong.)

    But what if the Muggle authorities had convicted Bryce for the crime? Would wizards have done anything to intervene, or would they have even known that a Muggle would be punished for a
    murder in their realm of authority?

  53. Re Dr. Triffid: I’m pretty sure there’d be no way for the wizards to do that without exposing themselves. In any case, it’s pretty clear the wizarding government and society have no interest in using their power to preserve justice for Muggles β€” preserving their secrecy is priority number one, and if the odd person gets falsely jailed, oh well.

  54. About the apparition fee: at this point, only Ron and Ginny would be at home, so it would probably be easier for the Weasleys’ to set money aside as they didn’t have as many expenses. On top of that, this is during the school year, so at the time the Weasleys’ probably don’t have many expenses as none of their children are living at home. Not to mention that Arthur did get a promotion.

    Also, I’m fairly sure that most of the Weasley children would have known or been told when the lessons were. At that point, maybe they decided to save up for the fee.

  55. Upon reading this book for the nth time I came across another discrepancy which has been touched upon in prior discussions but is really easy to miss in this chapter: Underage Magic!

    In CS a house-elf causes Harry to get a warning. In this chapter we learn that underage magic can be detected, but not the perpetrator of it. DD states that the ministry could not detect when Tom preformed magic in Gaunt’s house because a wizard (Morfin) lived there. But why could the ministry not detect the magic used to kill the Riddles? Surely they should have been able to detect it if it was done by an underage wizard?

    I have always assumed magic done by an adult wizard is either untraceable or undetectable, and only that done by someone underage would register. Any ideas?

  56. The ministry can only detect magic in general, not whether or not the perpetrator is underage (or even human, as with Dobby). DD explains to Harry that becuase there’s no way to make this distinction when the location is one where you’d expect a lot of magic, the ministry simply relies on wizard families to maintain obedience (he smiles at Harry’s indignation over this unfairness).

  57. So, if the ministry can detect magic done by an adult, would they not pick up on the spells used around Harry by the Order when they went to pick him up and take him to Grimmauld Place in OoP? Tonks packs his trunk using her wand and Mad-eye casts a disillusionment charm on him. My thoughts as to why the ministry did not try to charge Harry for using magic was that it was cast by adults, who could not be traced…

    Any thoughts? Or do you think it is just a discrepancy in the books?

  58. The idea that Dumbledore is tricking people into giving memories might seem out of character, but I believe that is only because we are seeing Dumbledore through Harry’s eyes, which have not yet become disillusioned. We learn in the next book that even Dumbledore had his character flaws – and Harry needs to learn that, too.

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