The post Unlucky Number Four appeared first on The Harry Potter Lexicon.

]]>Four is sometimes seen as a source of stability and strength, as in the four sturdy legs of a table. But if one of those legs is weak, the whole structure is in danger. We see this mirrored in the four houses of Hogwarts, a system that should provide strength. But with the breaking away of Salazar Slytherin, the house system becomes a source of disunity and conflict.

Unlike our main trio, there are four Marauders, and that doesn’t end well for any of them, with Pettigrew being their weak link. Pettigrew betrays James, who is murdered by Voldemort; Sirius is murdered by Bellatrix; Pettigrew literally dies by his own hand; and Lupin is killed at the Battle of Hogwarts. That’s enough death to launch a Chinese superstition right there.

The Potters and the Longbottoms had both thrice defied Voldemort and the Death Eaters. It was their fateful fourth encounter that proved to be their downfall.

Harry lives with the Dursleys at number 4, Privet Drive, and we all know how unhappy Harry was there. He becomes the fourth Triwizard Champion, an event that almost ends in his death.

Multiply four by the friendlier number three, and you get 12, a much more auspicious number.

The post Unlucky Number Four appeared first on The Harry Potter Lexicon.

]]>Unlike our main trio, there are four Marauders, and that doesn’t end well for any of them, with Pettigrew being their weak link. Pettigrew betrays James, who is murdered by Voldemort; Sirius is murdered by Bellatrix; Pettigrew literally dies by his own hand; and Lupin is killed at the Battle of Hogwarts. That’s enough death to launch a Chinese superstition right there.

The Potters and the Longbottoms had both thrice defied Voldemort and the Death Eaters. It was their fateful fourth encounter that proved to be their downfall.

Harry lives with the Dursleys at number 4, Privet Drive, and we all know how unhappy Harry was there. He becomes the fourth Triwizard Champion, an event that almost ends in his death.

Multiply four by the friendlier number three, and you get 12, a much more auspicious number.

]]>

The post Number Twelve appeared first on The Harry Potter Lexicon.

]]>12 Grimmauld Place might be the first one that springs to mind, but we also have 12 uses of dragon’s blood; Dumbledore’s unusual watch with 12 hands; the 12 Christmas trees that decorate the Great Hall every Christmas; there are 12 governors of Hogwarts; Sirius Black spent 12 years in Azkaban; and there were 12 doors leading into the Department of Mysteries, to give just a few examples.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that the number 12 comes up so much, since it is considered to be a symbol of perfection and completion. Think how ingrained it is in our everyday lives. Our entire system of time is based on the number 12. 24 hours in a day, divided into two halves of 12 hours each, and 12 months in a year. The basic units of time – 60 seconds, 60 minutes – can be perfectly divided by 12. Because of our calendar, we also have 12 signs of the zodiac, but the Chinese zodiac, which is organised differently, also has 12 symbols.

12 has been a significant number in every major religion, and crops up frequently in ancient mythology too. Think about the 12 Labours of Hercules, or the 12 days of Christmas.

12 is the product of four multiplied by three. Four is the number of elements and of cardinal points. Three is the sacred number of god, the holy trinity. Multiplied, you have 12, the perfect number. The flag of the European Union contains 12 stars on a blue background. The number of stars has nothing to do with the number of countries; it was selected as being symbolic of perfection and completion.

So, when Mr Crouch’s grandfather was buying his Axminster flying carpet that seated 12, do you think he realised the significance?

The post Number Twelve appeared first on The Harry Potter Lexicon.

]]>12 Grimmauld Place might be the first one that springs to mind, but we also have 12 uses of dragon’s blood; Dumbledore’s unusual watch with 12 hands; the 12 Christmas trees that decorate the Great Hall every Christmas; there are 12 governors of Hogwarts; Sirius Black spent 12 years in Azkaban; and there were 12 doors leading into the Department of Mysteries, to give just a few examples.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that the number 12 comes up so much, since it is considered to be a symbol of perfection and completion. Think how ingrained it is in our everyday lives. Our entire system of time is based on the number 12. 24 hours in a day, divided into two halves of 12 hours each, and 12 months in a year. The basic units of time – 60 seconds, 60 minutes – can be perfectly divided by 12. Because of our calendar, we also have 12 signs of the zodiac, but the Chinese zodiac, which is organised differently, also has 12 symbols.

12 has been a significant number in every major religion, and crops up frequently in ancient mythology too. Think about the 12 Labours of Hercules, or the 12 days of Christmas.

12 is the product of four multiplied by three. Four is the number of elements and of cardinal points. Three is the sacred number of god, the holy trinity. Multiplied, you have 12, the perfect number. The flag of the European Union contains 12 stars on a blue background. The number of stars has nothing to do with the number of countries; it was selected as being symbolic of perfection and completion.

So, when Mr Crouch’s grandfather was buying his Axminster flying carpet that seated 12, do you think he realised the significance?

]]>

The post Arithmancy appeared first on The Harry Potter Lexicon.

]]>By assigning values to letters of the alphabet we can compare the arithmancy numbers for some of the main characters and that’s when things start to get interesting.

For example, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley are both 2’s. Sharing the same number generally indicates compatibility and indeed, they become instant best friends from the moment they meet. A generation earlier, James Potter, and his best friend, Sirius Black, were both 7’s.

We can also see some interesting parallels when we consider the meanings ascribed to the numbers. For example, Albus Dumbledore is a 1, and arithmancy tells us 1’s are leaders. Gilderoy Lockhart is a 3, who are described as being unfocused and superficial. Severus Snape is a 2, and 2’s are known to be of two minds, containing opposing forces, both good and evil. Snape is a classic 2, but remember Harry is also a 2, perhaps reflecting the battle between Harry’s good nature and the piece of Voldemort’s soul lodged in him.

Different numbers can also be compatible and fit together in many interesting ways. Take, for example, the Weasley twins Fred and George, who get along so well and and complete each other’s sentences. Fred is a 6 and George is a 3. The number 6 represents harmony, and 3 represents completeness, two becoming one. In addition, they both add up to 9, which signifies completion to its fullest degree. Together, Fred and George are a formidable force.

Compare them to another pair of twins Parvati and Padma Patil. Padma is a 3, which represents completeness, but Parvati is a 1, a loner. The Sorting Hat obviously recognized this innate incompatibility when it sorted Parvati into Gryffindor and Padma into Ravenclaw, even though siblings are usually sorted into the same houses.

These are just a small sample of the insights Arithmancy can provide; no wonder it was Hermione’s favourite subject. Are these connections all coincidences? Or just magic!

The post Arithmancy appeared first on The Harry Potter Lexicon.

]]>For example, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley are both 2’s. Sharing the same number generally indicates compatibility and indeed, they become instant best friends from the moment they meet. A generation earlier, James Potter, and his best friend, Sirius Black, were both 7’s.

We can also see some interesting parallels when we consider the meanings ascribed to the numbers. For example, Albus Dumbledore is a 1, and arithmancy tells us 1’s are leaders. Gilderoy Lockhart is a 3, who are described as being unfocused and superficial. Severus Snape is a 2, and 2’s are known to be of two minds, containing opposing forces, both good and evil. Snape is a classic 2, but remember Harry is also a 2, perhaps reflecting the battle between Harry’s good nature and the piece of Voldemort’s soul lodged in him.

Different numbers can also be compatible and fit together in many interesting ways. Take, for example, the Weasley twins Fred and George, who get along so well and and complete each other’s sentences. Fred is a 6 and George is a 3. The number 6 represents harmony, and 3 represents completeness, two becoming one. In addition, they both add up to 9, which signifies completion to its fullest degree. Together, Fred and George are a formidable force.

Compare them to another pair of twins Parvati and Padma Patil. Padma is a 3, which represents completeness, but Parvati is a 1, a loner. The Sorting Hat obviously recognized this innate incompatibility when it sorted Parvati into Gryffindor and Padma into Ravenclaw, even though siblings are usually sorted into the same houses.

These are just a small sample of the insights Arithmancy can provide; no wonder it was Hermione’s favourite subject. Are these connections all coincidences? Or just magic!

]]>

The post Prime Numbers appeared first on The Harry Potter Lexicon.

]]>Three is another prime number which features extensively – the trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione, three Hallows, three types of wand core, three Unforgivable Curses.

Students receive their Hogwarts letter on their eleventh birthday, and the Hogwarts Express leaves at 11 o’clock – another prime number.

Wizards come of age on their 17th birthday, and the Epilogue is set 19 years later – yet more prime numbers.

Could this preponderance of prime numbers be a coincidence? I doubt it.

The post Prime Numbers appeared first on The Harry Potter Lexicon.

]]>Three is another prime number which features extensively – the trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione, three Hallows, three types of wand core, three Unforgivable Curses.

Students receive their Hogwarts letter on their eleventh birthday, and the Hogwarts Express leaves at 11 o’clock – another prime number.

Wizards come of age on their 17th birthday, and the Epilogue is set 19 years later – yet more prime numbers.

Could this preponderance of prime numbers be a coincidence? I doubt it.

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The post Wizard Currency appeared first on The Harry Potter Lexicon.

]]>There are a couple of possibilities. J.K. Rowling has confessed many times that math is not a strength of hers (TLC, JKR). If Muggle math is confusing to her, perhaps she developed this confusing system of wizard currency to illustrate that feeling of being confused by something other people seem to find ‘easy enough.’ However, Jo has also said that keeping the Imperial system in the book was a deliberate decision, even though the editor wanted to change all the weights and measures to metric (Pm), and that was because she found the old Imperial system to be much more picturesque and quirky and therefore more appropriate for the society she was creating. So it’s likely that she was influenced by the old English system of money where there were 12 pennies in a shilling and 20 shillings to a pound.

Still, 12 and 20 are friendlier numbers to work with than 17 and 29, which you’ll probably recognise are both prime numbers. Prime numbers are thought to have mystical properties, making them an appropriate choice for the wizarding currency, and other prime numbers pop up throughout the books too. More on those in a future episode. So perhaps J.K. Rowling is mathematically challenged in some areas, but she’s certainly no stranger to the magical properties of numbers.

The post Wizard Currency appeared first on The Harry Potter Lexicon.

]]>There are a couple of possibilities. J.K. Rowling has confessed many times that math is not a strength of hers (TLC, JKR). If Muggle math is confusing to her, perhaps she developed this confusing system of wizard currency to illustrate that feeling of being confused by something other people seem to find ‘easy enough.’ However, Jo has also said that keeping the Imperial system in the book was a deliberate decision, even though the editor wanted to change all the weights and measures to metric (Pm), and that was because she found the old Imperial system to be much more picturesque and quirky and therefore more appropriate for the society she was creating. So it’s likely that she was influenced by the old English system of money where there were 12 pennies in a shilling and 20 shillings to a pound.

Still, 12 and 20 are friendlier numbers to work with than 17 and 29, which you’ll probably recognise are both prime numbers. Prime numbers are thought to have mystical properties, making them an appropriate choice for the wizarding currency, and other prime numbers pop up throughout the books too. More on those in a future episode. So perhaps J.K. Rowling is mathematically challenged in some areas, but she’s certainly no stranger to the magical properties of numbers.

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