But the Weasleys gave a gigantic tug and Harry's leg slid out of Uncle Vernon's grasp – Harry was in the car – he'd slammed the door shut – (3.40-41)
Perseverance – the ability to follow through on something even when it
gets difficult – is a virtue. Arguably, Uncle Vernon has perseverance in
his efforts to (a) make Harry's life miserable, and (b) squash the
magic out of Harry. Of course, much though we may admire the idea of
dedication, Uncle Vernon's goals are obviously insane. Why do you think
he's so mad that Harry is getting away? Why does Uncle Vernon want to keep Harry at home when he hates him so much?
"Dunno how Mum and Dad are going to afford all our school stuff this year," said George after a while. "Five sets of Lockhart books! And Ginny needs robes and a wand and everything..."
Harry said nothing. He felt a bit awkward. Stored in an underground vault at Gringotts in London was a small fortune that his parents had left him. (4.28-29)
The Weasleys are poor and Harry is rich, which creates some tension
between Harry and Ron (tension that really explodes around Book 4).
Despite their poverty, the Weasleys accept Harry into their home with
open arms, never making him feel like a burden (unlike the Dursleys).
They make do with what they have. Yet their poverty is also important as
an illustration of one of the rules of Harry Potter's world. You can't
just conjure stuff out of nothing. Even though magic can make your life a
lot easier, it can't make problems like poverty go away. The Weasleys
may be accomplished wizards, but they can't just create gold – magic doesn't work like that in this series. So social problems like poverty persist.
Mr. Malfoy's lip curled.
"I have not been visited yet. The name Malfoy still commands a certain respect, yet the Ministry grows ever more meddlesome. There are rumors about a new Muggle Protection Act – no doubt that flea-bitten, Muggle-loving fool Arthur Weasley is behind it —" (4.76-77)
Perhaps this quote is an example of persistence rather than the more
positive virtue of perseverance. We're going to include it here anyway
because this category is about things that go on, negative or
positive. Lucius Malfoy's conversation with Mr. Borgin in Knockturn
Alley indicates how little respect he has for Arthur Weasley. We find it
interesting that Lucius's hatred for Arthur carries over to the next
generation. Obviously, Draco despises Ron. The Harry Potter
series often focuses on how the past continues to influence the present.
Here is our first inkling that the resentments of prior generations are
influencing events happening right now in the novels. For a clearer
example of this kind of persistence, check out Professor Snape's
relation to Sirius Black in Book 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
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?
Harry couldn't take anymore. Clearing his throat loudly, he stepped out from behind the bookshelves. If he hadn't been feeling so angry, he would have found the sight that greeted him funny: Every one of the Hufflepuffs looked as though they had been Petrified by the sight of him, and the color was draining out of Ernie's face.
"Hello," said harry. "I'm looking for Justin Finch-Fletchley."
The Hufflepuffs' worst fears had clearly been confirmed. They all looked fearfully at Ernie. (11.143-145)
Harry overhears the Hufflepuff second years accusing him of trying to
kill Justin Finch-Fletchley with a snake. They even think that he is
rising to be the next Dark Lord. Instead of continuing to hide or
sneaking off, though, Harry chooses to confront the Hufflepuffs openly
about their assumptions. He's a Gryffindor, and their main quality is
supposed to be courage; we imagine it would take a lot of bravery to go
and talk normally to a bunch of people who think you're a crazed killer
on the loose.
"My friendly, card-carrying cupids!" beamed Lockhart. "They will be roving around the school today delivering your valentines! And the fun doesn't stop here! I'm sure my colleagues will want to enter into the spirit of the occasion! Why not ask Professor Snape to show you how to whip up a Love Potion! And while you're at it, Professor Flitwick knows more about Entrancing Enchantments than any wizard I've ever met, the sly old dog!"
Professor Flitwick buried his face in his hands. Snape was looking as though the first person to ask him for a Love Potion would be force-fed poison. (13.87-88)
As with the Dueling Club, we have to be impressed at Professor
Lockhart's complete and utter lack of self-consciousness. He really does
not seem to notice (or care) that he is making the other professors
loathe him with his horrible behavior. Why does Professor Lockhart
persist in these stunts? Does he think it will win him popularity at the
school? Is he really just that stupid, that he doesn't realize most of
Hogwarts thinks he's a laughing stock? Or could it be more sinister?
Maybe Professor Lockhart is trying to use these ridiculous stunts to
distract people from wondering too much about the truth of his books.
What do you think Professor Lockhart's motivations are?
Harry couldn't explain, even to himself, why he didn't just throw Tom Riddle's diary away. The fact was that even though he knew the diary was blank, he kept absentmindedly picking it up and turning the pages, as though it were a story he wanted to finish. And while Harry was sure he had never heard the name T.M. Riddle before, it still seemed to mean something to him, almost as though Riddle was a friend he'd had when he was very small, and had half-forgotten. But this was absurd. He'd never had friends before Hogwarts, Dudley had made sure of that. (13.69)
While the diary still appears blank to Harry, he keeps flipping through
it as though it means something to him. What do you think is prompting
this curiosity? Is the diary beginning to work its possessing magic? Is
Harry working on his own personal instincts (which have led him to
battle Voldemort successfully before)? How lucky is Harry that he was in
the right place to find this diary in the first place? In some way,
Harry seems to be fated to be in the right place at the right time to
find the diary and discover Tom Riddle. What if someone else had picked
up Riddle's diary in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom?
"The diary," said Riddle. "My diary. Little Ginny's been writing in it for months and months, telling me all her pitiful worries and woes – how her brothers tease her, how she had to come to school with secondhand robes and books, how" – Riddle's eyes glinted – "how she didn't think famous, good, great Harry Potter would ever like her."
All the time he spoke, Riddle's eyes never left Harry's face. There was an almost hungry look in them.
"It's very boring, having to listen to the silly little troubles of an eleven-year-old girl," he went on. "But I was patient. I wrote back. I was sympathetic. I was kind. Ginny simply loved me. No one's ever understood me like you, Tom…I'm so glad I've got this diary to confide in…It's like having a friend I can carry around in my pocket…"
Riddle laughed, a high, cold, laugh that didn't suit him. It made the hairs stand up on the back of Harry's neck.
"If I say so myself, Harry, I've always been able to charm the people I needed. So Ginny poured out her soul to me, and her soul happened to be exactly what I wanted…I grew stronger and stronger on a diet of her deepest fears, her darkest secrets." (17.41-45)
This is a terrible violation, as Tom Riddle exposes Ginny's deepest
secrets to Harry. Tom Riddle's strategy for Ginny's possession involves
lies and deceit, so we could certainly put this quote under that theme.
Still, we also have to remark on how long it takes for Tom Riddle to
gain greater control over Ginny's soul. We have very little sense of who
Ginny is at this point of the series – she doesn't really begin to come
into her own until Book 5 and later. Yet the fact that she could resist
the complete domination of Voldemort for such a long time speaks to the
strength of her character. We know Ginny is going to be important to
Harry, not just because she's a Weasley or Ron's little sister, but
because she shows the same kind of resilience that Harry did when he was
eleven and facing down Voldemort. She may make bad choices – she really
should have told someone about the diary earlier, and she doesn't
actually succeed in throwing off Riddle's influence – but she perseveres
as best she can against his powers. As well, she does try to protect
Harry from Riddle's diary. We don't think we were so tough at eleven. So
we're pretty impressed with Ginny Weasley.