An Excess of Phlegm

chapter five of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Dumbledore drops Harry off at the Burrow, and after onion soup and a quick night’s sleep, he’s awakened by Ron and Hermione (and Fleur Delacour, now engaged to Bill). He tells Ron and Hermione about Dumbledore and the prophecy, and they then receive their O.W.L. results.

Motherly Advice, by lberghol

Harry looked around and saw that Mrs. Weasley was not alone, despite the lateness of the hour. A young witch with a pale, heart-shaped face and mousy brown hair was sitting at the table clutching a large mug between her hands.


Molly, by lberghol

“Are you hungry, Harry? … Sit down, dear, I’ll knock something up.”


Mollywobbles, by Sullen-Skrewt

“What do you like me to call you when we’re alone together?”
Even by the dim light of the lantern Harry could tell that Mrs. Weasley had turned bright red; he himself felt suddenly warm around the ears and neck, and hastily gulped soup, clattering his spoon as loudly as he could against the bowl.
“Mollywobbles,” whispered a mortified Mrs. Weasley into the crack at the edge of the door.


by Leela Starsky

Mr. Weasley dropped into the chair beside Harry as Mrs. Weasley set a bowl of soup in front of him, too.


Good Morning 'arry, by gerre

But his question was answered before he could finish it. The bedroom door flew open again, and Harry instinctively yanked the bedcovers up to his chin so hard that Hermione and Ginny slid off the bed onto the floor.

(by gerre)


Fleur, by Amanda Grazini

“‘Arry,” she said in a throaty voice. “Eet ‘as been too long!”


by Heather Campbell

“No, no, silly boy,” said Fleur with a tinkling laugh, “I mean next summer when we – but do you not know? … Bill and I are going to be married!”


Ginny's Impression of Fleur, by Cambryn

“She only wants me there so she doesn’t have to be alone with Phlegm!” said Ginny crossly. She swung her long red hair around in a very good imitation of Fleur and pranced across the room with her arms held aloft like a ballerina. “You lot had better come down quickly too,” she said as she left.

(by Cambryn)


Hermione, by Amanda Grazini

“Nobody knows what [the prophecy] said though,” said Hermione quickly. “It got smashed.”


Revelation, by Loleia

“The Prophet’s got it right,” said Harry, looking up at them both with a great effort: Hermione seemed frightened and Ron amazed.

(by Loleia)


Harry and Ron Try to Relax While Checking Their O.W.L. Results While Hermione's Positively Having Kittens in Her Anxiety, by Drew Graham

Harry looked back down at his results. They were as good as he could have hoped for. He felt just one tiny twinge of regret…. This was the end of his ambition to become an Auror.


about the chapter


I love the conversations Ron and Hermione have with Harry when they’ve clearly been talking about him beforehand, like when proposing the D.A. or, in this case, asking him about Sirius and the prophecy. Harry always realizes this is happening, of course, thanks to Ron’s indiscretion. But I’d love to hear what Ron and Hermione’s conversations are like when Harry isn’t around – after all, through seven years’ worth of books, we never once hear the two of them talking alone. From Harry’s perception in this particular conversation, I’d have to guess Hermione gives Ron a lot of stern instructions, wouldn’t you think?

Come to think of it, I bet the reason Hermione came to the Burrow when she did was so that she’d have a chance to talk to Ron before either of them saw Harry. After all, she showed up just after they all would have learned when Dumbledore was bringing Harry by.

Something You May Not Have Noticed

I love the fact that, as the trio anxiously awaits their O.W.L. results, Hermione casually mentions a conversation she had before school let out in the spring:

“Don’t, don’t, don’t! said Hermione, flapping her hands hysterically. “I know I’ve failed everything!”
“What happens if we fail?” Harry asked the room at large, but it was again Hermione who answered.
“We discuss our options with our Head of House, I asked Professor McGonagall at the end of last term.”

Really? Hermione asked McGonagall what would happen if she failed everything? Can you imagine McGonagall’s reaction? I’d want to laugh at the girl and cry for her all at the same time. I bet either way, McGonagall had a pretty good story to tell next time she was in the staffroom.

Life at Hogwarts

One thing that’s interesting about the O.W.L. scores themselves, once they arrive, is that Hermione didn’t manage an ‘O’ in Defense Against the Dark Arts. It makes sense, in a way, because the class did have five different teachers, only two of whom were really competent. But after practicing defensive spells for a year with the D.A., what would she have missed on the exam? Certainly not anything on the written part, I wouldn’t think. At any rate, Harry doesn’t think about it, but if Hermione didn’t manage an ‘O’, it’s certain nobody else did – meaning he was most likely the only student in his year to score so highly on the test. It might be the first time that’s ever happened for him (though it may not be the last)!

The Boy Who Lived

Molly mentions when Dumbledore and Harry arrive that Dumbledore had told her “not to expect [them] before morning,” to which Dumbledore replies that “Slughorn proved much more persuadable than I had expected.” This is one of those statements that just makes questions start firing off in my brain. First of all, had Dumbledore really planned to spend his entire night at Slughorn’s place, convincing him to take the job? And second, how did Dumbledore know when Slughorn had been persuaded? Was he simply listening in on Slughorn’s conversation with Harry while supposedly in the bathroom? Or did he perhaps use Legilimency on an unwitting Slughorn?

I think the most interesting thing about this comment, however, is how much Albus Dumbledore – again – underestimated Harry Potter. It can’t have taken Harry more than half an hour to persuade Slughorn to return, and he literally wasn’t even trying. To be fair, Dumbledore may have underestimated the draw that Harry would have for Slughorn, and his desire to “collect” famous people. But Dumbledore himself acknowledges that Harry ultimately convinced Slughorn to return by showing him “exactly how much he stands to gain by returning to Hogwarts.” Even with all his wisdom, and even with having seen Harry find the Philosopher’s Stone in the Mirror of Erised, defeat Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets, free Sirius, and make his way through the Triwizard Tournament and the Department of Mysteries, Dumbledore still doesn’t give Harry quite enough credit. He’s a pretty amazing kid.


The original edition of Half-Blood Prince had Hermione receiving eleven O.W.L.s – an interesting result considering we only knew her to be taking ten classes. It was updated for subsequent printings, but in the meantime made for some interesting conversations about what other class she might have been taking, or whether some exams might qualify someone for two O.W.L.s. Still, it’s a pretty impressive result: O’s in Potions, Herbology, Transfiguration, Charms, Astronomy (despite the interruptions!), History of Magic, Arithmancy, Care of Magical Creatures, and Ancient Runes, and an E in Defense Against the Dark Arts. The only two classes she didn’t take? Muggle Studies and, of course, Divination.

A few students have managed twelve O.W.L.s with the help of time-turners (including Percy Weasley and Barty Crouch Jr.), though given her perfectionism, that seemed a little much for Hermione. But we don’t know what Percy and Barty’s actual scores were – and it’s not hard to imagine that Hermione’s nine O’s may be just about unprecedented. It’s too bad she didn’t sit Muggle Studies, too. I bet she could have gotten an O on that one without even taking the class.

96 Responses to “An Excess of Phlegm”

  1. Hermione in Loleia’s picture… shame on you! Don’t you know you could lose a buttock if you store your wand there!

    I love all the art in this chapter, especially Molly and Fleur. I feel a bit bad for Fleur, though, because you come to see that her heart’s really in the right place. She DOES care about Bill, she’s living in another country, where everyone speaks a different language, and all the women in his life don’t like her one bit. That’s got to be hard on her–and on Bill.

  2. I just love this chapter so much! It’s hilarious! Especially that little scene between Mr and Mrs Weasely at the door (“Mollywobbles” LMAO) I always sort of imagine Harry choking on his soup as he hears this lol. The art is amazing as usual can’t wait til the next chapter

  3. Cambryns Ginny made me smile.

    I always assumed DD was listening in on the conversation between Harry and Slughorn.

    Oh, hey, I didn’t even spot the Oops with Hermione having achieved 12 O.W.L.s.

    Josie, I believe there’s one word too many in Life at Hogwarts: “… because the class did have had five different teachers.” You probably meant to exchange had with did have and forgot to take out the had (or the other way around).

  4. I always thought Hermione got a time-turner because she had two lessons at the same time, not because she had so many classes. It might be that Percy and Barty Jr.’s timetable was different and they didn’t need a time-turner at all.

  5. I always ache for Fleur in this book. Molly and Ginny are supposed to be kindly, generous characters, and usually they are, yet they don’t give her a chance. (Nor does Hermione, but of course Fleur doesn’t yet know that Hermione will be her sister-in-law too.) The other women prefer Tonks, but that’s no reason to reject Fleur. Whatever Mlle. Delacour’s faults, the family ought to give Bill some credit for taste; and they ought to welcome his fiancee because she’s his fiancee. It just doesn’t reflect well on Molly or Ginny that they take this attitude.

    I suspect the O.W.L. curriculum was changed between Percy’s year and Harry’s (since this is fairly common in the Muggle world). Perhaps it used to be fairly standard for the best students to sit all 12 subjects, but in the end the exam board decided that taking fewer subjects in more depth was a better preparation for N.E.W.T.s. Perhaps the timetable used to allow three periods a week for each subject, but now allows four periods each for the seven core subjects.

    Now, the TEACHERS’ timetables… That’s a topic of despair that we can save for a later chapter…

  6. Yes, poor Fleur. But it does make for a nice literary device so when we DO learn her heart’s in the right place we are pleasantly surprised. Also, it took me until only a few months ago to “get” Mollywobbles. Not an expression I was familiar with.

  7. Love this chapter. I also love Makani/Heather Campbell’s .gif showing Hermione’s flailing arms as she says, “I know I’ve failed everything!” but I can see how that piece doesn’t necessarily match the tone of the rest of the artwork.

    I also love that Molly tries to help Hermione get rid of the bruise without really batting an eye–Fred and George really did run her through nearly everything in the book and it makes me wonder how early they started experimenting with their concoctions. :)

  8. hmm.. I don’t agree with the reactions people give on Ginny and Molly being mean to Fleur. I actually quite like the fact that they react the way they do: their flaws make them more realistic. Besides, I would get pretty annoyed if my brothers/husband/father would get under her spell (though it is never mentioned by fleur, it is said in book 7 that mr. weasley was under the veela-spell from Fleur’s mother)
    And isn’t it also a bit of empty-nest-syndrome from Molly? This is the first daughter-in-law she will have…

    i’m making this a bit long, but Josie, I don’t quuiite agree either with Dumbledore not giving Harry enough credit. Couldn’t it also be that Slughorn was just easier to pursuade than Dumbledore had calculated? Like you said, Harry didn’t do that much on purpose to get Slughorn to Hogwarts, so how can dumbledore underestimate him in that, when he didn’t do anything? I hope you get what I’m saying, that last sentence is a bit complicated :P

  9. As I read the epilogue to book 7, I wondered how Molly was dealing with life as an empty-nester.

  10. Billie, I’m sure Molly found plenty of good works to do in the community. Ever since Ginny was eleven, she’s lived nine months a year with no children at home, and a witch can’t have THAT much housework to do. Book IV mentions a Witches’ Institute (the wizarding version of the Women’s Institute, of course) so I expect the pure-blood matrons regularly gather to pool their knitting and casseroles to help the Less Fortunate.

  11. Grace has Victory, my assumption has always been that the O.W.L. system hasn’t changed, for two reasons. The first is that it’s simply more elegant this way – I don’t like having to “invent” magic that isn’t in the books to explain something, and I similarly don’t like having to “invent” a system of classes that we don’t really see evidence for. The second reason is this quote of Hagrid’s, from HBP:

    “Ar, I always knew yeh’d find it hard ter squeeze me inter yer timetables,” he said gruffly, pouring them more tea. “Even if yeh applied fer Time-Turners —”
    “We couldn’t have done,” said Hermione. “We smashed the entire stock of Ministry Time-Turners when we were there last summer. It was in the Daily Prophet.”
    “Ar, well then,” said Hagrid. “There’s no way yeh could’ve done it…”

    This has always made it sound to me like Time-Turners are a fairly commonplace solution for students wishing to take more classes, and I think it makes sense that Percy and Barty would have used them. It’s only been four years since Percy… why would things have changed since then?

  12. Do we definitely know that Percy Weasley and Barty Crouch Jr. used Time-Turners? I always found it odd that Hagrid mentioned Time-Turners so casually, because of all the secrecy surrounding them in the third book. It was such a huge secret and a special case just for Hermione, and she wasn’t allowed to tell anyone – even her best friends! That made me think it wasn’t such a commonplace solution.
    Also, this is a small quibble, but in the Something You May Not Have Noticed section, I’ve always interpreted that section as Hermione asking McGonagall what would happen if you fail a single or a few classes. Like how Crabbe and Goyle (I believe) had to retake OWL level DADA class. While Hermione is insecure, I can’t possibly imagine her and McGonagall having a serious conversation about her failing every single exam! :)

  13. I’m not sure about the frequency or rarity of time-turner usage, Anna, but either way Hagrid does have a tendency to casually mention very secret things.

  14. We do see conversations between Hermione and Ron, in the first book, quidditch matches were partially told from their perspectives; these conversations aren’t particulary interesting but they do stand out as one of those rare occassions in which we are not looking at everything from Harry’s perspective.

    When I first read this chapter, I felt the Weasleys were being unfair to Fleur, but after having to live with my sister’s boyfriend, I understand their attitudes better. It’s not easy living with someone you don’t know; specially since Fleur, as a foreigner, doesn’t share their culture which would make it difficult to find topics to start a conversation.

  15. Well, with this chapter I had to go to the dictionary to see what the heck was “phlegm” (argh, is not a nice name to call someone) but I did’nt catch until now that was also a second meaning to Mollywobbles, thanks for mentioning it :)

  16. Grace has Victory, thanks for pointing this out. Molly’s already had experience with an empty nest. And I’m sure that her nest wouldn’t have been any emptier when the last child left home than it was during the school year – visits from children and grandchildren must have been a regular part of life.

  17. Anna/Inky Squirrel – I guess my thinking was that the time-turners wouldn’t be commonly known among students – think how they could/would be misused! So Hermione was instructed not to tell Harry or Ron, and the penalty for misuse would likely be having to hand it in. But among the teachers, it would have to be commonly known. It wouldn’t take them long to figure out that Hermione was attending incompatible classes, and they’d know enough to know how. Plus, Dumbledore would want the staff to help him keep an eye out in case the student with a Time-Turner gets into trouble, or does show signs of misusing it. In other words, just because students don’t know about them doesn’t mean they aren’t given out semi-routinely (like once every few years or so). And like Inky Squirrel says, Hagrid trusts the trio more than he should – he’d know Hermione was aware of the Time-Turners, but from his perspective Harry and Ron still shouldn’t.

    Besides – Hogwarts has existed for 1000+ years. It’s hard to imagine Hermione Granger in 1993 would be the first time this problem has ever come up.

  18. I really think that we need to cut both Fleur and Molly/Ginny some slack Truth is, they’re just very different women, and I would’ve been shocked if they had gotten along. Fleur makes no attempt to gain the favor of her future female relatives, but Molly doesn’t exactly welcome her with open arms. My cousin just got married a few months ago, and I’m seeing first-hand what kind of mother-in-law issues always abound. The Weasley situation doesn’t really get bad until Christmas, which is when Fleur just turns rather obnoxious.

  19. Okay, what is the second meaning to Mollywobbles? I thought it was just a cute little name Arthur calls Molly, does it mean something in the UK? I am missing something I think!

  20. Parental Guidance for this one, I think, Jennifer C!

    Well, Molly is plump and after all those pregnancies her muscles would be slack as well … so when she moves, she does more than just wiggle – she wobbles. All credit to her and Arthur for still finding her middle-aged body attractive in the bedroom; and Harry would naturally be embarrassed, not just because Molly was as well, but because they are the closest to parents he’s got and his feelings are those of any child contemplating the on-going sex life of its mum and dad.

  21. I found this at the nine muses:
    “Mollywobbles”: Pun on “collywobbles”, meaning “a state of nervousness, usually accompanied by a rumbling stomach.” — The Phrase Finder. Also most likely a reference to Molly’s figure.

  22. Deborah Hubbard-LOL! I am 37, and guess I have the mollywobbles myself a bit! JKR has used “collywobbles” before, I think it was Stan Shunpike who says it, but couldn’t think why Molly would like a reference to herself like mollywobbles. Arthur says it’s what she likes to be called. Good for her for not caring so much about her figure to accept that nickname, of course, but I wouldn’t like it for me! After all the comments on the name I thought it must mean something more than a bedroom nickname!!

  23. Oh, so that’s the second meaning of Mollywobbles.

    I can just see McGonagall rolling her eyes as a hyperventialing Hermione leaves her office after asking what happens when someone fails their O. W. L.s. Ha, ha!

  24. Oh damn, THAT’s the meaning of Mollywobbles? Dear Merlin, I can just imagine what poor Harry must have felt like! I wonder if any wizard rockers have caught on to the name yet?

  25. hpboy 13, you mean something like:

    From the early, early morning to the early, early night
    You can see Ms Molly wobblin’ in the House of Blue Light …

    Hermione could provide the blue light at the swishy flick of a wand!

  26. Are you guys sure Mollywobbles isn’t just a nickname?
    As for the issue of Fleur, I agree with hpboy13. They’re just different people. I think they could try to be a bit nicer, even if they didn’t get along, though.

  27. Of course Mollywobbles is a nickname! We’re trying to work out how it arose. OK, it rhymes with Collywobbles, but so what – there’s no other connection; she’s a good cook in good health. But the meaning of both parts work together to make a meaningful and mildly funny unit.

  28. I just wanted to comment on Dumbledore finding out about how Harry and Slughorn’s conversation turned out. I’m absolutely convinced Dumbledore listened in on them. Using a Weasley Wizard Wheezes’ Extendable Ear :)

  29. I’m afraid I can’t spare much sympathy for Fleur. She doesn’t wait until Christmas to put down her hosts – in this chapter, she says she was glad to hear Harry was coming because there wasn’t much to do at the Burrow unless you liked cooking and chickens. With one sentence, she dismisses all the other inhabitants of the Burrow as not interesting enough to make her visit endurable, and throws contempt on Molly’s domestic responsibilities.

  30. this web site is so amazing the effort put into these pieces of art is mind blowing

  31. Billie, she’s just saying she’s bored by chickens and cooking – I dn’t blame her, that wuld bore me to tears as well. She acknowledges that she doesn’t find the Weasleys’ lifestyle interesting, what’s so wrong about that? It may nt be too PC, but I don’t find it that offensive.

  32. hm, hpboy 13, I don’t know, but when someone invades my household and then has the nerve to dismiss it, I wouldn’t get along with this person either.
    Besides, Fleur is from France. As in: the arch-nemesis of England.there hasn’t been a single century without those two countries fighting. I liked the symbolism behind that :) (though it could also mean that I, as an historian, search to much behind it…)

    BTW, Josie, when’s the next update?

  33. I like the England/France thought, kim, and I echo your question.

    Hope all is well, and we can have the next post pretty soon!

  34. Hmm.. I got curious after reading the Oops section and decided to check my books, since my HBP (reading copy) was an original and my decoration copy is brand new (as of December), but I was shocked to find that both are the same and have the mistake. I wonder how that happened? Has anyone else checked their books?

  35. I like this chapter since we’re introduced to the fleur/molly relationship and learn of fleaur’s engagement with bill it’s been a while since we hear of flear but it was a good way to bring her back anyone want to bet she and bill met during the tournament yrt
    josie if you can read this update the site some more i want to see some more chapters y

  36. “France. As in: the arch-nemesis of England. There hasn’t been a single century without those two countries fighting”

    Actually, we’ve been very good and not fought against each other at all in either the 20th or (so far!) 21st Centuries – in fact not since the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

  37. Anyone else bored out of their minds? Waiting really sucks!

  38. I agree Lilly, it’s like waiting for an update on the Lexicon (except hopefully this site will stay active for a long time to come!)

  39. We’re all addicts, waiting for our fix! But I can’t imagine Josie is just sitting under a palm tree on a tropical island … she’ll be back as soon as she can, and I hope nothing has gone wrong in her life, apart from ordinary human things like being busy.

  40. Well said Deborah Hubbard. Josie might have just gotten really busy since she posted this chapter.

  41. Homenum Revelio? ;-)

  42. Trying not to be too antsy for updates…we know you have a life… :)

  43. What is this “life” you folks speak of?

  44. I hope everything’s alright, and that it’s just some triviality (like the above-mentioned life) that’s keeping you away.

  45. Josie, I wish you well in your endeavors right now. I’m going to use this interval between chapters to return to the first book and enjoy everything again from the beginning.

  46. Josie, I hope all is well. I’m beginning to get concerned, especially given that you’ve got a newborn at home… I know how crazy the first year can be! So, I hope there’s nothing seriously wrong. I’ll just keep sending positive energy in my thoughts.

  47. …and prayers.

  48. Accio Josie?

  49. Like a lot of other people, I’m starting to get a little worried over here. I hope you’re doing OK.

  50. I hope all is well for you, Josie. We all miss you and your updates. I hope to see you back soon.

  51. I really am getting curious, but I’m sure you’ll have your reasons, Josie. But I’ll keep waiting till you come back~^^

  52. Josie, we love you and your wonderful site! hope everything’s okay! please come back soon!

  53. Josie, im starting to wonder, are you like in the hospital dying or something? its hard waiting for an update. should we like start a fund to get you out?

  54. Hi Josie, I hope you’re ok. Please give us an indication that you are.

  55. Josie, SPEAK TO US, please! I’m really worried now, it’s been a long time!

  56. Agreed! As much as we’d love one, we don’t need a whole chapter…just a sign of life…

  57. If any of Josie’s real life friends or family are reading this, could you please let us know what’s happened to her? Is she all right?

    I hope you’re just really busy Josie. We’re worried now!

  58. Adding my well-wishes Josie, wherever you are.

  59. I’m not on very often, but I’m also adding my voice into the “I hope you’re all right” camp. =/

  60. I only know Josie through this web site but it seems quite out of character for her not to respond. This is getting scary.

  61. I join the chorus and hope that everything is alright with you Josie.

  62. By the way, about any Josie’s friend or relatives, she was a former staff member at the Lexicon: maybe Steve Vander Ark has any mean to contact her other than e-mail, do you think we should send an e-mail to Steve requesting that he tries to find out whats happened to Josie, or do you think this is pushing things a bit too far?

  63. I think it might be an idea at this point. This doesn’t seem right, I mean, she’s put a heck of a lot of effort into this site, she wouldn’t just abandon it or forget about it unless she had a really good reason. And pretty much the whole readership is worrying about her.

  64. I know that I am worried…

  65. It’s been well over a month since the last post. I know that there are life situations that come up and she has a new baby at home, but I agree with Jose–she put a lot of effort into this site and if he left us hanging for more than a few days, she’d at least post a quick update saying something was coming. I’m worried, too. I say go for contacting anyone we may knows that is may be in contact with her.

    And Josie, the next time you are able to check this site, know that you’ve bonded a lot of “strangers” together with this beautiful site and we’re all hoping for the best for you and your family.

  66. Jose, are you going to email Steve? I think it’s a good idea.

  67. I don’t think it’s going to far, at this point, to send the email requesting Steve to contact Josie. I think it’s a good idea. Worry seems legitimate, and if it were me, I wouldn’t be offended by the viewers of my website trying to find out what’s going on in real life under these circumstances. I can’t see requesting communication after a month of unprecedented silence as an invasion of privacy.

  68. I’ve just emailed Steve, now is a question of waiting for answer.

  69. I emailed Steve yesterday as well. HOping we can get an idea as to whether Josie is okay. I’m glad someone else emailed too, maybe Steve will be able to contact Josie and let us know if she’s okay.

  70. Awesome, thanks Jose!

  71. Yes, thanks. Now we wait.

  72. No reply yet to my email to Steve. I hope he replies soon. This is really strange.

  73. I really hope she’s just really busy but otherwise doing well.

  74. Does Josie have a Facebook page by any chance? People might have left comments there… I can’t access FB from here ^_^

  75. Hey everyone – I’m soooo sorry to have disappeared! Reading all the comments makes me feel really guilty for letting you all down. But I really appreciate the concern, and yes, everything’s okay – just busy and a little burnt out. Regardless, THANK YOU for the well-wishes – hope to be back posting chapters very soon. :)

  76. Glad you’re alright, Josie!

  77. Why couldn’t she have sat the Muggle Studies exam and that be her 11th OWL? That’s what I always assumed.

  78. Yay, Josie is back! I hope you don’t feel too guilty =)

  79. For some reason I have always assumed that Hermione was the only student to use a timeturner. My reasons are thus: The letters McGonagall had to write to get one for her, the secrecy, and something about the chapter I can’t quite explain. It seems several students in the past got 12 owls, so I agree with others that Hermione had too many classes at the same time, so she needed one, but the others just took more subjects.

    I hate to say it, but I really think the whole “how many owls” one got is another example of JKR’s problem with numbers. Sometimes I think we all (me included) try too hard to fit everything into ‘perfect’ package, and sometimes we just need to accept the fact that some things just ARE.

  80. Pam, I might agree with you except for one comment made by Hagrid in HBP:

    “Ar, I always knew yeh’d find it hard ter squeeze me inter yer timetables,” he said gruffly, pouring them more tea. “Even if yeh applied fer Time-Turners —”
    “We couldn’t have done,” said Hermione. “We smashed the entire stock of Ministry Time-Turners when we were there last summer. It was in the Daily Prophet.”
    “Ar, well then,” said Hagrid. “There’s no way yeh could’ve done it. “

    This just sounds to me like something that’s been done more often than just once. Like you, I can’t put my finger precisely on why, but something about the way he says it… I don’t know, I just immediately think, aha, Percy and Barty must have done it, too.

  81. Below are some of my thoughts on possible student and teacher timetables.

    Harry/Ron 1994-6 1994-5
    Hermione 1994-5

    Professor Lupin teaches 6 NEWT classes a week, as well as 4 classes for Y3 & 2 classes for Y1-2 & 4-5. He gets 2 free periods.
    Shown below NEWTs

    MON G&S1 H&R1A-F/5 7N G&S3A-F
    TUE H&R3A-F 2 G&S1 4A-F/5
    WED H&R1 H&R3 G&S3 2
    THUR 2A-F 4 H&R3 H&R1
    FRI G&S1A-F/5A-F 4 6N G&S3
    3 free periods a week for Snape

    M Y1H&S Y4G&R Y1G&R 7N
    T 7N Y3G Y5H&S FREE
    W Y2H&S Y4H&S Y3H FREE
    T Y3R 6N Y2G&R 6N
    F 6N Y3S Y5G&R 7N

  82. At the top where it says “4” it should say “MONDAY”. Sorry. Don’t know what happened there.

  83. One of the things I find interesting is how much more affected by veela Ron is than Harry. The only time Harry was affected by Veela charms was when there were lots of them at the quidditch world cup. After that there was the Veela in forest from whom Harry and Hermione had to pull Ron away. Then of course all of Fluers scenes as well, especially notable when Fluer kisses Harry for “saving” her sister and he clearly doesn’t enjoy it (because it turns out that Fleurs sister wasn’t in real danger anyway and that Harry didn’t really do anything), but when Ron’s turn who really didn’t do anything he seizes his chance instantly (which made Hermione look furious). This chapter too you can see the obvious differences.

  84. CJ: Maybe it’s because Harry didn’t grow up being overshadowed by a lot of brothers (Dudley was favoured, but Harry didn’t look up to him like Ron does to his brothers) and thus Harry doesn’t feel the need to prove himself quite so keenly as Ron. I didn’t get where I am today by looking up to Dudley.

  85. Regarding TBWL and Dumbledore’s plan for convincing Slughorn – perhaps Dumbledore was going to let Slughorn stew on the idea for the rest of the night, then bring Harry back in the morning to “close the deal”, before going to the Burrow. (Of course, then I wonder where AD & HP would have gone in the meantime!) It’s a good thing Molly was waiting up for Arthur.

  86. I love Mollywobbles! To get the collywobbles means to get the shivers, and I suppose Molly gives Arthur the shivers too, but in a good way, so he says she gives him the Mollywobbles. :D

    I’m not surprised the women didn’t get along with Fleur, she comes across as very superficial and arrogant. Everything is better where she is from. She’s always criticising things – Hogwarts, Britain, the Weasleys’ lifestyle… That would grate on their nerves.

  87. Sorry for the double post. I just wanted to add that despite the above, Mrs Weasley did try to be nice to her. And they did get along better after the scene at the end of the book, when Fleur showed another side to herself.

  88. To me, the big Oops would be if the number of Hermione’s O.W.L.s were changed to ten.
    Something similar happened, when the colour of Percy’s prefect badge in PS/SS was changed from silver to red-and-gold to “correct” the error in OotP: Now we have to wonder why Harry, after visiting Tom Riddles memory in the diary, still didn’t know that Tom Riddle was a Slytherin, or how Harry and Ron could mistake Ravenclaw prefect Penelope Clearwater for a Slytherin. Didn’t Tom and Penelope wear their house-coloured prefect badges in CS?

    Sorry, Josie, I have to disagree again. Hermione just had to tell Hagrid what had happened to Buckbeak, so it isn’t surprising that Hagrid knew about one student using a time turner, and this doesn’t imply that Hagrid knew about other students using time turners and that this was a fairly commonplace solution (to a not very commonplace problem).

    “We couldn’t have done,” said Hermione. “We smashed the entire stock of Ministry Time-Turners when we were there last summer. It was in the Daily Prophet.”

    “Ar, well then,” said Hagrid. “There’s no way yeh could’ve done it…”

    To me, this confirmed that it was (and, with the one known exception in Hermione’s third year, probably always had been) impossible to find a time turner outside of the DOM. Why else would Hagrid give in so fast?

    British readers tell us that it is unusual, but not impossible, to study twelve topics in british Muggle schools (I’m sure you know the essay on Steve’s lexicon). So there is no reason to assume that students would need a time turner to get twelve O.W.L.s, there is no indication that other students ever used a time turner, JKR carefully avoided to tell us how many topics can be studied at Hogwarts or were studied by Hermione (obviously she couldn’t come up with something else that would sound plausible, but she never said that our list of twelve known topics is complete). All this doesn’t make much sense if Hermione didn’t try to do something unique and impossible: study more than twelve topics. And than there is this miraculous scene at the last day of the O.W.L.s:

    Their final exam, History of Magic, was not to take place until that afternoon. Harry would very much have liked to go back to bed after breakfast, but he had been counting on the morning for a spot of last-minute revision, so instead he sat with his head in his hands by the common-room window, trying hard not to doze off as he read through some of the three-and-a-half-feet-high stack of notes that Hermione had lent him.

    Ron probably slept long (last night had been astronomy examinations), but this would be out of character for Hermione. Shouldn’t she be there with Harry, because she would need her notes to prepare for the final exam? Where is Hermione, if she isn’t sitting an examination for her “unknown topic”?

    Some readers are confused by not knowing all of Hermione’s topics, but changing her number of O.W.L.s to ten doesn’t really solve the problem, because this would demand for accomodations and stretches at least in PoA and OotP. So I’m glad to own the old editions of the books, and in my imagination, Harry didn’t dare to ask what Hermione’s eleventh O.W.L. is about, because it would be too embarassing to admit that he still couldn’t figure this out. But since Lilly’s “brand new decoration copy” (December 2009) still doesn’t have the new mistake, maybe sombody came to reason and this change was only announced, but never performed?

    Oh, BTW, why would anybody let Hermione have a time turner if this wasn’t a commonplace solution? Maybe to teach her a special lesson nobody else needed to learn: It’s impossible to learn everything even if you can travel back in time to take all lessons you want to take.

  89. THE BOY WHO LIVED- I don’t think Dumbledore so much doubted Harrys ability as he just hasn’t quite realized how unwaveringly loyal he is to Dumbledore, He is after all slightly surprised and very touched that Harry told the Minister of Magic that He was Dumbledores man, through and through. He probably also didn’t expect that Harrys very first reaction to someone not want to be at Hogwarts was to think it was silly not to want to be in pretty much the most guarded place in the world at that point.

  90. I know I’m commenting on an old topic here… the one of Molly’s nickname. Learning what it could mean, I am simply MAD at the Swedish translator for translating it into “Molly-Polly”.

  91. I found it interesting that Mr. Weasley is a sticker for following Ministry guidelines and making Mrs. Weasley ask and answer the questions. He will not be such a stickler in a later chapter when one of his children is injured… even though there would be more cause to actually require the question!

    I think JK putting in little details about Ginny swishing her long red hair is just another hint – the readers begin to notice her more just as Harry is starting to notice her more. We can complain that we didn’t pick up on Harry’s blossoming feelings, but he was just as clueless – sometimes you don’t realize you’re falling in love until you are deep in it.

  92. I always thought Mollywobbles came from it being similar to Mollycoddle, which is to look after someone a bit too much, be protective etc, which molly is, and she does wobble a bit and her names Molly.Thats always how I assumed she got the name anyway

  93. According to, Mollywobbles is “a red headed middle aged woman with a substantial amount of children and a large amount of junk in the trunk.” Of course, what’s to say that definition didn’t originate from this book? :)

    I was glad to see your thoughts about it “not taking as long as expected” – that caused a lot of questions in my mind too!

  94. I like the contrast between a prior chapter where we see Dumbledore responding to the Dursley’s rudeness head on to their faces but with politeness (we see this often with Dumbledore, killing with kindness), and here where everyone responds to Fleur’s rudeness with overt insults behind her back. I think that Fleur’s rudeness is different to the Dursley’s – being somewhat unconscious/unintentional. Nevertheless, she is rude.

    I also love Ron’s line about Dumbledore’s advice on the difficulty for Percy forgiving his family for being right being the sort of “mental” thing he would say. Typical throwaway Ron line, and as so often when he’s jokingly offhand, surprisingly insightful . It was a very Dumbledoreish thing to say – wise and true but a bit leftfield.

  95. Actually, I guess you could see the contrast from another point of view:
    Dumbledore as an uninvited house guest is (politely) rude but with deliberate reason and purpose. Fleur as an invited house guest is unintentionally rude with utter lack of awareness or purpose. Both are most unwelcome and both are seen as something of a threat by the hosts.

  96. Just a nitpick, but harry did beat hermione in defence against the dark arts end of year exam before, in his third year.

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