Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
How we cite our quotes:
"Well, if you two are going to chicken out, fine," [Hermione] said. There were bright pink patches on her cheeks and her eyes were brighter than usual. "I don't want to break rules, you know. I think threatening Muggle-borns is far worse than brewing up a difficult potion. But you don't want to find out if it's Malfoy, I'll go straight to Madam Pince now and hand the book back in —"
"I never thought I'd see the day when you'd be persuading us to break rules," said Ron. (10.36-37)
Hermione believes in school rules. She's much more hard core about being obedient and following the rules in Book 1; as the series continues, Hermione relaxes more and more (under the influence of Harry and Ron). She comes to see that Truth and Justice are more important than following the rules at every turn – it's what keeps Hermione from turning into another Percy Weasley. At the same time, Hermione is generally obedient, more so than her best friends. When does she decide it's OK to break the rules? What will she break the rules to achieve? What does Hermione's rule-breaking tell us about her principles?
Malfoy started taking pictures with an imaginary camera and did a cruel but accurate impression of Colin: "'Potter, can I have your picture, Potter? Can I have your autograph? Can I lick your shoes, please, Potter? [...] Saint Potter, the Mudbloods' friend," said Malfoy slowly. "He's another one with no proper wizard feeling, or he wouldn't go around with that jumped-up Granger Mudblood. And people think he's Slytherin's heir!" (12.171-175)
Clearly, Draco's family represents the worst of wizarding prejudice. Lucius Malfoy believes absolutely in anti-Muggle-born claptrap, and Draco also buys right into it. Yet a lot of Draco's principles seem tied to jealousy. He's jealous of Harry for his fame and of Hermione for her genius. He uses the insults he's been taught by his father to try and shame them, but what really seems to bother him is that they do better at everything than he does. How much of Draco's conflict with Harry and his friends is because Draco really believes all of this pureblood stuff, and how much is because he is jealous and resentful? How much faith do you think Draco has in the belief system of the Death Eaters (Voldemort's supporters) or Voldemort himself?
Professor Sprout set them all to work pruning the Abyssinian Shrivelfigs. Harry went to tip an armful of withered stalks onto the compost heap and found himself face-to-face with Ernie Macmillan. Ernie took a deep breath and said, very formally, "I just want to say, Harry, that I'm sorry I ever suspected you. I know you'd never attack Hermione Granger, and I apologize for all the stuff I said. We're all in the same boat now, and, well —"
He held out a pudgy hand, and Harry shook it.
Ernie and his friend Hannah came to work at the same Shrivelfig as Harry and Ron.
"That Draco Malfoy character," said Ernie, breaking off dead twigs, "he seems very pleased about all this, doesn't he? D'you know, I think he might be Slytherin's heir." (15.19-22)
Honestly, we do have to admire Ernie's willingness to admit that he's wrong under such stressful circumstances. No wonder he and Harry manage to get along so well during the Defense Association/Dumbledore's Army portion of Book 5. Hufflepuff is probably the least immediately distinguishable or recognizable House of the four, but Ernie provides a pretty good model for the House trait of fair play. That said, even though he does have some excellent qualities, why does he immediately jump to blame someone else without direct evidence? Does Ernie learn a lesson from this whole episode with Harry? Why or why not? What lesson is there to learn?