Chapter twelve of Order of the Phoenix starts with Harry and Ron racing downstairs for the Great Hall on the first day of classes. It’s the start of the 1995-1996 school year and, as I mentioned in previous podcasts, Harry is already feeling separated and alone. To add to his frustration, first Hermione tells him that Lavender Brown shares the sentiment expressed by Seamus, that Harry is a dangerous liar, and then a group of fourth year Ravenclaws … well, here’s how Rowling describes it:
They had reached the foot of the marble staircase. A line of fourth-year Ravenclaws was crossing the Entrance Hall; they caught sight of Harry and hurried to form a tighter group, as though frightened he might attack stragglers.
Rowling is really twisting the knife here. It would be incredibly hard for anyone to endure this kind of emotional abuse. I guess Harry’s experience of living for eleven years with a family which treated him like something smelly on the bottom of their shoe helps him survive.
But a few pages further on, we encounter a very interesting little tidbit: it’s Monday. Here’s what Ron says to Fred and George:
‘Look what we’ve got today,’ said Ron grumpily, shoving his timetable under Fred’s nose. ‘That’s the worst Monday I’ve ever seen.’
Why is this remotely interesting? Because last year, in Goblet of Fire, the first day of classes was also a Monday. Rowling wrote:
“Today’s not bad.. . outside all morning,” said Ron, who was running his finger down the Monday column of his schedule. “Herbology with the Hufflepuffs and Care of Magical Creatures… damn it, we’re still with the Slytherins. . . .“ (GF13)
Now before you grab your books and try to find this error, it’s very possible that you won’t find it at all. This is a “flint” — a genuine error — that fans discovered after book five came out. As a result, the text of book four was corrected a year later to remove the word ‘Monday’ from Ron’s grumpy statement to Fred. So if your copy includes the 2004 corrections, your copy of Goblet of Fire will say:
“Today’s not bad.. . outside all morning,” said Ron, who was running his finger down his schedule.
So it wasn’t Monday after all. And all’s right with the world.
In the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute podcast you’ll hear the voices of our editors sharing some of the many little things which delight us about the Wizarding World. In each podcast, just a couple of minutes in length, we’ll talk about anything from cool trivia and interesting canon passages to the latest Wizarding World news. We hope you’ll join us! And we’d love to hear from you as well. Feel free to use the comment section on the blogpost for each podcast to post your thoughts.
Music: "Winter Chimes" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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