06 September 2007
I've been reading it in bits and pieces, and estimate I'm now about 2/5ths of the way through.
A couple of nice bits of plotting strike me. A throwaway detail from the first book comes back to us in the golden snitch that Harry caught to win the first game of Quidditch he ever played.
Dumbledore left that snitch to Harry in his will. The in turn causes the new head of the Ministry of Magic to believe that Harry's touch will open the snitch and reveal a secret. So he, the Minister, insists that Harry touch it -- and Hermione informs them both that the snitch has a flesh memory -- it will remember who first touched it.
Harry does take hold of the snitch with his hand and ... nothing happens. Later Harry reminds us that he didn't "catch" the snitch in the first game as a Seeker. Rather, he nearly swallowed it, the coughed it up. So the snitch's flesh memory would presumably respond to his mouth, not his hand. We're delighted to see the Minister outsmarted by a detail that we, the reader, likely remembered.
A more central theme of the book at least in its early stages is the relation of wizards to their house elves. You'll recall that Hermione has long sought to liberate the elves, it an apparently ineffacacious crusade that has earned her a good deal of ridicule from other witches and wizards. But in this book, she gets her vindication on that point. Even the nasty-seeming house elf of the Black family has a sympathetic and important back story, and when Potter and Ron come to join Hermione in seeing him as a ... how shall I put it? ... as a fellow sufferer in this veil of tears ... they discover that he has powerful magic, which Voldemort has already at least once underestimated.
Bravo. I'll keep reading.
Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.