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Quotes

Quote #4

I sort you into houses
Because that is what I'm for,
But this year I'll go further,
Listen closely to my song:
Though condemned I am to split you
Still I worry that it's wrong,
Though I must fulfill my duty
And must quarter every year
Still I wonder whether Sorting
May not bring the end I fear.
Oh, know the perils, read the signs,
The warning history shows,
For our Hogwarts is in danger
From external, deadly foes
And we must unite inside her
Or we'll crumble from within
I have told you, I have warned you ...
Let the Sorting now begin
. (11.39)

The Sorting Hat branches out this year. Usually, before sorting the first years into the four Hogwarts Houses, it just explains the major House traits – Gryffindor = bravery, Hufflepuff = loyalty, Ravenclaw = smarts, and Slytherin = ambition. But this year, the Sorting Hat admits to some guilt about the whole process. By Sorting Hogwarts students according to their basic characteristics, doesn't the Sorting Hat encourage them to compete against each other? As times get hard and Voldemort grows more powerful, Hogwarts students need to stand together, and not allow themselves to be divided by House loyalties. Clearly, the biggest problem in the Sorting system is Slytherin House, which all of the other Houses distrust. If you're Sorted into Slytherin, it seems almost like a foregone conclusion that you'll be a bad person. On the other hand, it might be a self-fulfilling prophecy: by becoming Slytherin, perhaps you have no choice but to live down to the expectations of the other three houses. So, we agree with the Sorting Hat: the Hogwarts House system does seem divisive and potentially damaging, since it separates kids according to their personalities when they are only eleven years old. What do you think of the Hogwarts Sorting system? Does it seem ethical to you? What House would you most like to join?

Quote #5

There was a pause in which Sirius looked out at Harry, a crease between his sunken eyes.

"You're less like your father than I thought," he said finally, a definite coolness in his voice. The risk would've been what made it fun for James." (14.272-273)

When Sirius suggests coming to Hogsmeade in his dog form to visit Harry, Harry says no. He knows that Draco recognized Sirius on the train platform in London, so he fears that it won't be safe for Sirius to go out in the open, no matter what form he's in. But Sirius is so cabin-feverish that he lashes out at Harry for not taking him up on his offer. Sirius is being unfair to Harry in two ways: first, and most obviously, he's sneering at Harry for being "less like" James Potter than he had thought. But the situations are completely different: it's not like Sirius wants to leave school grounds without permission. He wants to go out in public as a convicted Death Eater when he knows that the Malfoys at least can recognize him. Sirius's plan is insanely dangerous, a point that he refuses to acknowledge. Second, Sirius wants Harry to be a chum, a partner in crime. But Harry is actually more mature than Sirius in this case. Harry looks up to Sirius, but Sirius is forcing Harry to be the responsible adult in this pairing. Since Harry is the one who is fifteen, this is really unfair.

Quote #6

"You don't think he has become ... sort of ... reckless since he's been cooped up in Grimmauld Place? You don't think he's ... kind of ... living through us?"

"What d'you mean, 'living through us'?" Harry retorted.

"I mean ... well, I think he'd love to be forming secret Defense societies right under the nose of someone from the Ministry ... I think he's really frustrated at how little he can do where he is ... so I think he's keen to kind of ... egg us on." (18.50-52)

This piece of dialogue is just one among many when Hermione takes a second to suggest that they be careful. In this case, she's wondering if the D.A. is really such a good idea if Sirius is so excited about it. After all, he's not the most reliable of supporters right now. He is trying to live vicariously through Harry, Ron, and Hermione. If the project of Book 5 is to humanize characters like Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape, then what about Hermione? What faults does she demonstrate in the novel? Does Hermione get any additional character development in Book 5? How is Book 5 Hermione different from Book 1 Hermione? Or Book 4 Hermione?

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