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Harry Potter Lexicon Minute

OP14: Visualizing Hogwarts

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OP14: Visualizing Hogwarts

Welcome to chapter fourteen. The sun is shining! As we’ve been noting the relationship between the weather and Harry’s experiences and mood, that means today should be a great day.

And sure enough, Harry’s Saturday starts out spectacularly well. He wakes up to the sun shining in the windows of the dormitory, heads down to the common room and writes a letter to Sirius, then goes off to the owlery. There he meets Cho and for the first time has a friendly, positive conversation with her. She even compliments him on his bravery for standing up to Umbridge.

He spends most of the day playing Quidditch, which doesn’t actually turn out to be entirely positive. He feels the pressure of the mounting backlog of homework he needs to finish and the afternoon practice is marred by Slytherins jeering from the stands and Katie Bell’s unstoppable nosebleed.

Still, it turns out to be a pretty good day, even with Percy’s ridiculous, sanctimonious letter, especially since late in the evening, Harry talks with Sirius in the common room fire.

I do want to note a simple comment part way through the chapter that is very easy to miss but speaks volumes about Rowling’s deep knowledge of her world. Here’s what I’m referring to:

As they approached the Quidditch pitch, Harry glanced over to his right to where the trees of the Forbidden Forest were swaying darkly. Nothing flew out of them; the sky was empty but for a few distant owls fluttering around the Owlery tower.

He “glanced over to his right” to see the Forbidden Forest as he was walking toward the Quidditch pitch. Those are the kind of comments which Rowling uses all through the books and which really show how well she visualizes the castle and grounds. If we look at the map she drew of the castle and which is shown on the Prisoner of Azkaban DVD extras, you’ll see that there is a path or road from the castle running north to the front gates. From that path, the Forbidden Forest is to the right, the east, and the Quidditch pitch is to the left, to the west. Anyone leaving the castle to go to the Quidditch pitch would naturally head north first, putting the Forest to the right, before turning and heading off toward the pitch.

The Lexicon features a lot of maps and charts of various places in the wizarding world which are based on these comments by Rowling. It’s amazing to see just how closely our maps match charts drawn by Rowling herself. Clearly she has visualized Harry’s world vividly in her mind.

Commentary

Notes

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.

Special thanks go to Felicia Cano who gave us permission to use her amazing artwork of Hermione reading a book for the logo, which was created by Kim B.

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Music: "Winter Chimes" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
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