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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Fantastical Facts

Errors or Not? Some supposed mistakes in OP...

We here at the Lexicon are working overtime to add all the new facts into the pages of the site. It's going to take a long, long time to edit what's there and create new pages for everything from Tonks and Mundungus Fletcher to St. Mungo's and Dumbledore's Army. In the meantime, this page will serve as a place for us to post some of the more intriguing new bits of information we and many of you have noticed.

  • This is just one of those phrases that jumped out at me as I worked my way through chapter 15, taking notes. I'm not sure why it struck me odd, but it did. Why did a breeze blow by at that exact moment and affect the fire? With what we know of fires as communication tools, is it possible that someone was listening, maybe Dumbledore? Here's the quote. What do you make of it?
    'Isn't it obvious?' she said. 'I'm talking about you, Harry.'
    There was a moment's silence. A light night breeze rattled the windowpanes behind Ron, and the fire guttered.
    'About me what?' said Harry.
    'I'm talking about you teaching us Defence Against the Dark Arts.'
    (page 326 US version)
  • James was NOT made a Prefect in his fifth year. Hagrid tells us that both James and Lily were Head Boy and Girl, so James must have become a Prefect in his sixth year or possibly been made Head Boy without ever being a Prefect. We don't know how the system works, after all.
  • More interesting information about James:
    • While JKR has stated that James was a Chaser, he is shown as a Seeker in the film and in this book he plays with a Snitch he stole, which suggests that he might have been a Seeker. Of course, there's nothing to say that he couldn't have played both positions at one time or another, and even if he wasn't a Seeker he could have been showing off with a Snitch, which is much more impressive than playing around with a Quaffle. (OP28)
    • James is apparently the only son in his family. Sirius says that when he ran away from home, he hung out at James' house, where his parents took Sirius in as "a second son." (OP6)
    • James' casual cruelty to Snape is strongly suggestive of both the Death Eaters' cruelty to the Muggles at the Quidditch World Cup and also of Dudley's gang beating up smaller children in Little Whinging (OP1).
  • The names of many of Sirius' family members are the names of stars or constellations: Sirius, Regulus, Bellatrix, Andromeda. Narcissa would seem to be the exception.
  • The small boy Dudley beat up in OP1 was named Mark Evans. Evans, of course, was Lily's maiden name. No idea what connection there could be, but it certainly is suggestive...
  • Somehow, Harry got his Marauder's Map back. The last we saw of it, Barty Crouch Jr. had taken it in the guise of Moody. There is no indication of how it was returned to Harry.
  • The number you ring on the telephone to enter the Misistry of Magic, 62442, spells M-A-G-I-C (thanks to James Greenfield for this one!)
  • Hermione's Patronus turns out to be an otter. In both the AOL chat and Scholastic interview, Rowling said that if she were an Animagus, she'd like to turn into an otter, because it's her favorite animal.
  • Harry has never seen the Thestrals pulling the school carriages before, but he has witnessed death several times: his mother and Cedric. Why didn't he see the Thestrals before? Rowling has answered that question in the Royal Albert Hall interview (RAH) Thursday June 26, 2003. She said that it takes a while for a death to be processed, to be accepted. Harry hadn't yet come to that point with Cedric's death at the end of the last school year. He was too young to understand his mother's death and so that never registered in the same way.
  • The Wizengamot gets its name from the Witan, also known as the Witenagemot, from Anglo-Saxon England. Witan is defined as "an assembly of higher ecclesiastics and important laymen, including king's thegns, that met to counsel the king on matters such as judicial problems." Thanks to Tom Stermitz for reminding me of this reference from my History of Britain classes.
  • Just to show you how sometimes we can get a little TOO intense in our search for clues and hidden meanings:
    • I was reading the fourth chapter out loud to my son. When I was done, I told him excitedly that I was going to figure out what "Grimmauld" meant, that I was going to search the web and look it up in my French dictionary and so on. He gave me a rather patronizing look and said, "Dad, it means 'grim old place.'" He's right of course.
  • Errors or Not? Fans have come up with a list of supposed errors in the book. Some of them are errors by Rowling, that's true, but some are misunderstandings by fans. Here's the list and some comments:
    • Harry sees Thestrals, beasts visible to those who have seen a death, for the first time - yet baby Harry saw his mum being killed.
      • We don't know that baby Harry actually saw his mother killed. He was there, but that doesn't mean he saw it happen. So it's perfectly reasonable to say that he hasn't seen someone actually die until Cedric. In fact, since Harry doesn't see the thestrals before book five, we can say for sure that whatever he saw as a baby doesn't fulfill the requirements for seeing thestrals.
      • However, Rowling was asked about this and did give her explanation at the RAH event. Here's what she said:
        Email: Harry saw his parents die so why hasn’t he been able to see the Thestrals before?
             JK Rowling:  I knew I was going to get that one…that is an excellent question. And here is the truth. At the end of Goblet of Fire we sent Harry home more depressed than he had ever been leaving Howarts.  I knew that Thestrals were coming, and I can prove that because they’re in the book I’d produced for Comic Relief (UK) Fantastic Beaststs and Where to Find Them.
             These are lucky Black Winged Horses. However, if Harry had seen them and it had not been explained then it would cheat the reader.  So, to explain that to myself, I decided you had to have seen the death and allowed it to sink in a bit… slowly…these creatures became solid in front of you. So that’s how I’m going to sneak past that one.
      • Others have wondered why Harry couldn't see the Thestrals already in his second year, since he'd seen Quirrell die. That's movie contamination, folks. Harry didn't see Quirrell die in the book, just in the film. In the book, Harry has no idea what happened to Quirrell; Dumbledore tells him later in the hospital wing.
      • Some folks have said that they don't buy it, that this explanation doesn't work for them. Hey, folks, it's her world! It's her story! If she says that it takes some time before the thestrals become visible, it does. And it makes perfect sense, if you think about it. The kind of grappling with reality that Harry was going through at the end of GF is definitely something that would take time to work through, and it makes sense that he would gradually come to terms with what he experienced and would gradually begin to see things in a new way, including seeing thestrals.
    • Harry uses the Marauders Map - which was confiscated in the last book.
      • This isn't an error. True, we don't know how he got the map back, but obviously he did or he wouldn't be using it. I would have liked to have been told how that happened, but the fact that Rowling didn't bother to mention it doesn't make it an error. I suspect that the map was sitting on Moody/Crouch's desk and Harry just pocketed it. It's also possible that Dumbledore quietly gave it back to him.
    • Second-year Dennis Creevey goes to the Hogs Head - but pupils younger than third year are not allowed out of school in term time.
      • This one is an actual error. Rowling will have to think up something clever for this one. Actual errors like this are called Flints, by the way, named after the character in the first books who somehow attended Hogwarts for an extra year due to an error by Rowling. She acknowledged that error and said that "he had to do a year over" to cover.
      • On the other hand, rules can be changed. Just because it isn't mentioned to us doesn't mean that for some reason having to do with things we know nothing about they didn't allow certain Second Years to go to Hogsmeade that day. In fact, we could say that, since Dennis was there, they MUST have changed the rules for that day. It's all in how you look at it.
    • Before a Quidditch match, Harry is relieved it is cloudy as he won't have the sun in his eyes - but moments later the stadium is in "dazzling sunlight".
      • This is not an error. The sky is not described as heavily overcast, but rather sort of hazy, so that it's a uniform color. It's still bright, especially when coming out of a dark changing room. So it's perfectly reasonable to say that the players stepping out onto the pitch squint at the brilliant sunlight.
    • Sirius says Harry's dad, James, was never a prefect - but in an earlier book, Hagrid told Harry his father was head boy.
      • Again, this isn't an error. We don't know how the system works. We have all been making assumptions about it--myself included, since I put down in the timeline that James was made a prefect in his fifth year. That was an assumption, and if it turns out to be wrong, it's not an error in the books, it's an error on my part for assuming. Another thing I assumed was that the fifth year Prefects keep the job in sixth and seventh years, but maybe they don't. (Yes, there ARE sixth year Prefects, as many of you pointed out to me, since Percy was one, for example). Any way you look at it, though, we can't assume that James can't become Head Boy just because he didn't make Prefect. It doesn't say anywhere that you have to be a Prefect to become Head Boy. We'll see what happens in the next book.
    • I think this one is a real, live error. Everard, the former Headmaster who left his portrait in Dumbledore's office to alert folks about Arthur being attacked, said that he traveled to the portrait of "Elfrida Cragg" so he could get a better look. The name on the Famous Wizards card and in Quidditch Through The Ages is  Elfrida Clagg. She was a Chiefteness of the Wizard's Council back in the 1300s; her ban on using a real live bird in Quidditch led to the invention of the Golden Snitch. I suppose their could have been another famous Wizard named Elfrida Cragg, but I think it's much more likely that it's an error.
    • This is another actual error. When Ron's shiny new Prefect's badge arrives, it is described as being scarlet and gold. It was "(a) large P...superimposed on the Gryffindor lion." According to the text from OP9, Harry "had seen a badge just like this on Percy's chest on his very first day at Hogwarts." But the badge Harry saw Percy wearing wasn't scarlet and gold. It was silver. Here's the description from book one: "He (Percy) had already changed into his billowing black Hogwarts robes, and Harry noticed a shiny silver badge on his chest with the letter P in it." This is an error, no way around it.
    • This is NOT an error, although judging from the email I've received, a lot of people think it is. The question people are asking is how Harry and Hermione got their wands back after the scene in Umbridge's office and before the flight to the Ministry of Magic. There's no error here. Umbridge never had the wands. Malfoy is described as pocketing Harry's and another Inquisitorial Squad member, probably Millicent Bulstrode, took Hermione's. When Neville, Ron, Ginny, and Luna meet Harry and Hermione in the Forest, the book says that they hand them back to Harry and Hermione. It's right in there. Go reread that chapter if you're not sure.
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