Can’t you just picture it? And honestly, can’t you just imagine yourself NOT walking into that room?
Let’s just take a moment to talk about the richness of Rowling’s imagination. In chapter six of Order of the Phoenix, we’re introduced to the weird and wonderful drawing room of number twelve Grimmauld Place, with it’s curtains filled with Doxies, the nest of dead Puffskeins under the sofa, and the cabinets filled with strange and oddly menacing knickknacks. The Weasleys along with Harry and Hermione face the daunting task of cleaning up the room, and what a job that turns out to be!
Rowling’s creativity is working overtime as she describes the room and its contents:
Half an hour later Harry and Ron, who had dressed and breakfasted quickly, entered the drawing room, a long, high-ceilinged room on the first floor with olive green walls covered in dirty tapestries. The carpet exhaled little clouds of dust every time someone put their foot on it and the long, moss green velvet curtains were buzzing as though swarming with invisible bees.
Can’t you just picture it? And honestly, can’t you just imagine yourself NOT walking into that room? But Harry does and proceeds to spend the entire morning spraying the curtains with Doxycide. Note that, despite the name, that black spray doesn’t actually kill the Doxies. Why not? Did that seem a bit too violent for a Harry Potter book? That seems unlikely, considering the gruesome scene in the graveyard at the end of book four.
After lunch, during which Harry meets Kreacher, chats with Sirius about the Black Family Tree tapestry, and overhears Mrs Weasley chewing out Mundungus — leading to one of my favorite lines in the book, this from George:
The idiots are letting her get into her stride. You’ve got to head her off early otherwise she builds up a head of steam and goes on for hours.
They tackle the mysterious cabinets. And once again Rowling delights us with her vivid descriptions of the weird contents:
Harry tried his best not to think about the hearing while they emptied the glass-fronted cabinets that afternoon. Fortunately for him, it was a job that required a lot of concentration, as many of the objects in there seemed very reluctant to leave their dusty shelves.
There was a silver snuffbox filled with Wartcap powder, “an unpleasant-looking silver instrument, something like a many-legged pair of tweezers,” a musical box that played a strange tune that almost put them all to sleep, “a number of ancient seals; and, in a dusty box, an Order of Merlin, First Class, that had been awarded to Sirius’s grandfather for ‘services to the Ministry’.” Right in the middle of it all was “a heavy locket that none of them could open.” Ah, if only they had realized at that point what they had found.
The scene is memorable, creepy, and delightful. I for one would have loved to have seen it portrayed in the films.
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