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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by J.K. Rowling

Language and Communication Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"You understand him, I'm sure, Harry?" said Dumbledore quietly.

"Yes, of course," said Harry, slightly nonplussed. "Why can't Ogden--?"

But as his eyes found the dead snake on the door again, he suddenly understood.

"He's speaking Parseltongue?"

"Very good," said Dumbledore, nodding and smiling. (10.65-69)

Parseltongue is the language that snakes speak. One of the original founders of Hogwarts, Salazar Slytherin, was a powerful and power-hungry wizard who could speak Parseltongue. He handpicked students for Slytherin house way back in the day, favoring those who could speak to snakes. Both Voldemort and Harry are Parselmouths.

Quote #2

The post owls arrived, swooping down through rain-flecked windows, scattering everyone with droplets of water. Most people were receiving more post than usual; anxious parents were keen to hear from their children and to reassure them, in turn, that all was well at home. (11.8)

There is no e-mail, no TV, no text messaging, and no Tweeting going on at Hogwarts. The students communicate with the outside world via owls, and they hear about what is going on outside castle walls via the Daily Prophet, a newspaper.

Quote #3

Hermione pressed her lips together, looking angry and disapproving, but was distracted by a third owl landing in front of her carrying that day's copy of the Daily Prophet. She unfolded it hastily and scanned the front page. (11.25)

Hermione is very aware of what is going on in the world. She takes it upon herself to be informed. Everyone at Hogwarts is pretty isolated from the outside world, and the Daily Prophet helps them stay connected. As the wizards and witches in Harry's year get closer and closer to graduation and to the knowledge that they will be released into the outside world, they begin to understand that their education is teaching them how to survive in the real world, how to use their magic to the best of their abilities.

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