Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
How we cite our quotes:
"I hope my son will amount to more than a thief or a plunderer, Borgin," said Mr. Malfoy coldly, and Mr. Borgin said quickly, "No offense, sir, no offense meant —"
"Though if his grades don't pick up," said Mr. Malfoy, more coldly still, "that may indeed be all he is fit for —"
"It's not my fault," retorted Draco. "The teachers all have favorites, that Hermione Granger "
"I would have thought you'd be ashamed that a girl of no wizard family beat you in every exam," snapped Mr. Malfoy. (4.83-86)
Obviously, this scene between Draco and Lucius Malfoy underlines the Malfoys' bigotry. Lucius is outraged that Draco's scores aren't as good as the marks of "a girl of no wizard family." Beyond that, though, we have here an extremely negative example of parenting (clearly). Lucius publicly shames Draco for his grades rather than, say, doing anything to help him improve. He offers Draco a racing broom – so he's willing to spoil Draco – but he doesn't encourage Draco to work for the broom. So Lucius gives Draco things that he hasn't earned but then mocks him for poor grades without assisting him to improve. This is very bad parenting technique – a lesson for us all to bear in mind!
Mrs. Weasley's yells, a hundred times louder than usual, made the plates and spoons rattle on the table, and echoed deafeningly off the stone walls. People throughout the hall were swiveling around to see who had received the Howler, and Ron sank so low in his chair that only his crimson forehead could be seen.
"— LETTER FROM DUMBLEDORE LAST NIGHT, I THOUGHT YOUR FATHER WOULD DIE OF SHAME, WE DIDN'T BRING YOU UP TO BEHAVE LIKE THIS, YOU AND HARRY COULD BOTH HAVE DIED —" (6.18-19)
Ron and Harry both felt really cool, arriving at school in a flying car, but Mrs. Weasley's Howler – and the news that Mr. Weasley is facing an investigation at work because of the whole Misuse of Muggle Artifacts thing – suddenly makes them realize that they were taking a huge risk that freaks out Ron's parents. Harry feels guilty for abusing the Weasleys' trust and Ron feels mortified. A Howler seems like a really humiliating thing to receive in the middle of a full dining hall, though. Does this seem like effective parental discipline? Or does it seem like overkill? If you had kids, would you be willing to send Howlers to their schools? Would your parents Howler you if they had the chance? What might their Howlers say?
"I don't really understand Quidditch," said Colin breathlessly. "Is it true there are four balls? And two of them fly around trying to knock people off their brooms?"
"Yes," said Harry heavily, resigned to explaining the complicated rules of Quidditch. "They're called Bludgers. There are two Beaters on each team who carry clubs to beat the Bludgers away from their side. Fred and George Weasley are the Gryffindor Beaters." (7.22-23)
Moments like this one between first year Colin Creevey and Harry remind us that this is the second book of the series. For her potential new readers, J.K. Rowling has to include some exposition of all of the things she's set up in Book 1, things like the wizarding world's moving photographs or Quidditch. Of course, later on in the series, Rowling can assume that her readers are familiar enough with Harry's world not to need instruction in Quidditch. By Book 2, though, it's still early days in the Harry Potter series and all of these things we take for granted now aren't as widely known or established as they will be by Book 7. With his endless questions, Colin becomes an excellent tool for Rowling to instruct her new readers in the basic rules of Hogwarts and Harry's life, since he's (a) obsessed with Harry, and (b) a first year, so, busily absorbing the amazing world around him. Colin is both a character and a mechanism of the narrative.