Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
How we cite our quotes:
Fascinated, Harry thumbed through the rest of the envelope's contents. Why on earth did Filch want a Kwikspell course? Did this mean he wasn't a proper wizard? Harry was just reading "Lesson One: Holding Your Wand (Some Useful Tips)" when shuffling footsteps outside told him Filch was coming back. Stuffing the parchment back into the envelope, Harry threw it back onto the desk just as the door opened. (8.35)
It's nice to know that wizards get junk mail the same way we do – this Kwikspell ad that Filch receives seems about on the level of the "get out of debt free!" and "lose weight now!" emails that fill our inboxes. The course promises "an all-new, fail-safe, quick-result, easy-learn course" (8.34) in magic for people who are dissatisfied with their own magical power. It's got plenty of buzzwords, but we doubt there's much in the way of results. This ad plays on Filch's insecurities as a man living in the wizarding world without magic – and it also gives us some insight into why Filch loathes the students of Hogwarts so much. No wonder he hates a bunch of twelve-year olds who are learning things that he is trying to master through a correspondence course in secret. It doesn't excuse his horrible behavior, but we can't imagine the bitterness of Filch struggling on his own to become a wizard while surrounded by kids who make it look easy to master magic.
Harry watched, amazed, as a portly ghost approached the table, crouched low, and walked through it, his mouth held wide so that it passed through one of the stinking salmon.
"Can you taste it if you walk through it?" Harry asked him.
"Almost," said the ghost sadly, and he drifted away.
"I expect they've let it rot to give it a stronger flavor," said Hermione knowledgeably, pinching her nose and leaning closer to look at the putrid haggis. (8.93-96)
One of the most notable things about the ghosts in Book 2 is how human they choose to be. Nick is hurt and angry that Sir Patrick won't let him join the Headless Hunt, and here we have this fat ghost who misses food so much that he tries to taste salmon by drifting through an empty plate of it. So it comes down to sports and food. These ghosts may have died, but they still want to play and eat the way they did when they were alive. If you were a ghost, would you try to continue your human life? Would you do something else?
As [the Gryffindor Quidditch team] walked out onto the pitch, a roar of noise greeted them; mainly cheers, because Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff were anxious to see Slytherin beaten, but the Slytherins in the crowd made their boos and hisses heard, too. (10.48)
The entire school hates Slytherin. All three of the other houses are cheering Gryffindor over Slytherin because they hate Slytherin house. Now, we're not saying that there aren't plenty of bad people in Slytherin, because there are (obviously). Still, we do feel kind of sorry for the house as a whole, since everybody hates them. They're not really being given much of an option except to turn bad. It's not exactly a joyous life, being a Slytherin, which seems a bit unfair – it is a Hogwarts House, after all, in the same way that Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and even Gryffindor are. Or does this logic not get very far with you? What do you think of the Slytherins? Are they all like Draco? What do you think the primary traits of Slytherin House are? Who are the good Slytherins in the Harry Potter novels? How do they differ from the bad ones?