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Week 1: Philosopher's Stone, Ch. 1 - 9

Discussion in 'Bookclub' started by Taure, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. Majube

    Majube Unspeakable

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    Wait, I thought normal British schools start earlier in August?
     
  2. FriedIce

    FriedIce Seventh Year

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    It was always first week of September for me.
     
  3. Knyght

    Knyght Alchemist

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    It varies between the last week of August or first week of September depending on the area/school.
     
  4. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I have never heard of any English school starting term before September 1st. August 31st is the age cut-off determining which year group you are in.

    Also, a lot of schools start later than the first week of September. Mine changed every year but it was frequently around 8th or 9th September.
     
  5. Alindrome

    Alindrome A bigger, darker mark Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Week 2's thread can be found here.
     
  6. Bill Door

    Bill Door The Chosen One DLP Supporter

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    In Northern Ireland, not England or Scotland, but there were a few years that we started on August 30th or 31st if it was a Monday.
     
  7. Majube

    Majube Unspeakable

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    Same in Canada, I guess I confused my British cousins.
     
  8. Xepheria

    Xepheria The Benefactor

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    First week of September is the usual for secondary schools, primary schools tend to start in the second.
     
  9. Atram Noctem

    Atram Noctem High Inquisitor

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    Yes, there is even a famous early drawing made by Rowling of that scene that confirms the bathrobes, with Dean Thomas added in.

    There was a previous Groundskeeper in Molly's days, who was called Ogg. Fun fact: Og is the name of the king of the giants in the Bible.

    Yes you are forgetting. One of the plants for Polyjuice has to be picked by the full moon, and the ritual - for lack of a better word - to cure spattergroit has to be done under the full moon as well. But I think that in general Rowling put Astronomy in because it's traditionally important in mysticism. Seemed to be useful for the centaurs, as well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2016
  10. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Whether they were abusive remains debatable as always, but I don't think this has anything to with commenting on how the Dursleys treated Harry. He simply misses talking.

    What was the split on the classlist, 20-40-40% Muggleborn/Halfbloods/Purebloods? I think. So with the usual 100 students/year, that actually does mean 20. I dunno, that could be "lots", relatively speaking?

    Also, yes, 20 students in Gryffindor and Slytherin was apparently was Rowling intended, but we lack a few names. Obviously, the usual contradictions when we try to determine the size of Hogwarts appear.
     
  11. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage ~ Prestige ~

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    That's not astronomy though, that's potions. Once again, you don't need to have extensively studied the stars to know to do certain stuff under the full moon. No need for a class if your potions or herbology book simply says "pick this plant when it's a full moon."

    Dunno, very thin justification. Would have rather spent the time in charms with another house.
    Sesc
    I don't think there is any doubting that the Dursleys were abusive. Now, I don't think they have excessively beaten Harry or anything but abuse is not only physical. They did treat him badly. Maybe not nearly as badly as some fanfics would like to believe, but still.


    Do we have any numbers for Wizarding Britain in general? And how many purebloods and stuff there are?
     
  12. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    You can get rough numbers off of Hogwarts. There are two ways of going about it.

    Book-only estimate:

    5 boys and 5 girls per house per year = 40 students/year

    That number is implied by the dorms and the 20 brooms for Slytherin and Gryffindor in their first flying lesson.

    Conservative estimate for average wizarding lifespan = 130 years

    That estimate being based on Dumbledore being somewhat sprightly at 120, as well as Madam Marchbanks being significantly older than Dumbledore and still working.

    40 wizards/year * 130 years of people in the population = 5200 wizards

    Interview based estimate:

    1000 students in Hogwarts / 7 years = 142 students/year

    This number is based on JKR in interview saying Hogwarts held around 1000 students.

    Conservative estimate for average wizarding lifespan = 130 years

    142 wizards/year * 130 years of people in the population = 18,460 wizards

    The problem with the interview based number is that there is no evidence at all that Hogwarts contains those students. Not only are they never even alluded to, there also aren't anywhere near enough teachers for that number of students. So you have to pretend that there's a whole unmentioned body of staff and students. The students you could get away with. You might even be able to say they were day students rather than boarders and that's why they're never really mentioned. But the books seem completely incompatible with the idea that there are additional staff.

    So I lean towards the lower estimate, which in any case I think I prefer for the sense of a small community it creates.

    In both cases, you have to remember that the population of magical Britain consists not just of wizards but also goblins, vampires, werewolves, hags, etc.

    Neither figure sits so well with the size of the wizarding world implied by the Quidditch World Cup final, but you can get around that by saying that the ease of international wizarding transportation via portkey combined with the popularity of the sport means that the World Cup final played host to a significant percentage of the world's total wizarding population.

    (If the ratio of British wizards:global wizards is the same as British Muggles:Global Muggles then it's about 1:100, implying a global wizarding population of 520,000. That feels like a good number to me, but it does mean that over 20% of the world's wizards were at the Quidditch World Cup final.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2016
  13. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    No hard numbers, no. Over time, I came up with various ways to estimate population size -- by looking at the Ministry as a reasonable fraction of the population size, by considering the size of the world cup stadium in GoF, by extrapolating from the number of people we see using the portkey to the World Cup and the number of portkeys distributed in Britain, and of course by considering a demographic model and the numbers Rowling gave out for Hogwarts, assuming what we see there is all of the years 11-18.

    The TL;DR is that the numbers contradict, but the one that I prefer and that fits most parameters (but not Hogwarts, as determined by the size of Harry's year = 40 students) is the size of a small town -- around some 10k. And the best guess regarding the splits really is the classlist, as we can assume Rowling drew it up as representative sample of her world, and indeed it was 20-40-40.

    This means 2,000 Muggleborns, and this split has been a point regarding the support Voldemort got: 40% of purebloods leave a lot of room for the support of an ideology that promotes the supremacy of the selfsame. Muggleborns, conversely, are the minority, and will find it hard to promote their ideas.
     
  14. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Minister of Magic DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    So not hugely text related: I was on holiday when this started so I've just started reading and I'll try to catch up before too too long. This is my first time reading the illustrated edition and it's just lovely. I'm definitely going to buy the second and it'll be a shame to switch back to plain text. I did find I particularly appreciated the introductions of the Dursleys, and I have noticed the simplicity of the language, in how markedly it's aimed at kids, how certain caricatures are put across in an almost Roald Dahl-ish way.
     
  15. Majube

    Majube Unspeakable

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    So it's pretty much accepted by most that they were say a bit neglectful (In that cupboard is no question awful but that he mostly got food) and mostly mentally abusive?
    I always figure astronomy is one of those useless classes that used to be important like a hundred years ago but is still included just because (like say divination-type magic used to be a big fad and some new progressive haedmaster who believed in mystic magic added it in). Just like etiquette irl 1950's and well personally it was required to learn a bit about dining rules and such in family studies as a little kid.
     
  16. Rayndeon

    Rayndeon Professor

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    Eh, I'd put them as significantly more than a bit neglectful. And don't underestimate what prolonged emotional abuse can do.

    That said, the Dursleys are a Dahlian device in that while they did subject Harry to emotional abuse and perhaps physical abuse considering his living conditions with the cupboard and other factors (such as turning a blind eye whenever Dudley does his thing), it's largely played for humor in the series.

    Fanfiction which takes the Dursleys seriously or plays up the abuse angle (specifically physical abuse, as it seems to be a favorite staple) is generally missing both the point of the role of the Dursleys in the story as well as the overall tone of Rowling's work.

    (For what it's worth though, in reality, any guardian that actually locks up their ward in a cupboard, raises them in a cupboard, and does and says the things the Dursleys do on a regular basis would probably deserve to be locked up.)
     
  17. Majube

    Majube Unspeakable

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    So Dursley-Harry interaction should be played up but still kept up as neglectful/emotion abuse environment. Still dead curious about how they apparently called him by his name. Fanon has made me think of boy as Harry's second name.
     
  18. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    ... no they wouldn't o_O

    This "cupboard under the stairs" is literally all the space under the stairs, in other words, a small room. And we pointed out that the "locking up" part is supposed to mean the typical "grounding" -- i.e. a commonly accepted form of punishment if a child misbehaves.

    We are agreed that the Dursleys are horrible people, that making a point of giving Harry the "cupboard" as his sleeping place when there is another bedroom available is a veritable dickmove, and that they treat him badly, but there is a difference between "treat badly" and neglect and abuse.

    We know of no physical abuse, and emotional abuse is dependent on how it is received -- and Harry seems to be quite able to hold his own. The worst, in fact, will be Dudley and his friends playing "Harry-Hunting" and, presumably, trying to beat him up when they catch him, not Vernon and Petunia. That is iffy, but obviously Dudley can't be held responsible in a legal way.
     
  19. chaosattractor

    chaosattractor Groundskeeper

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    Petunia does try to hit him with a frying pan, and Vernon will later attempt to strangle him.
     
  20. Majube

    Majube Unspeakable

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    The frying pan thing seems like she was trying on purpose to miss, an Vernon may have done that in anger but likely would've let go, no?
    Those two examples are generally the exceptions right what with Harry himself thinking in story that they rarely hit him and by many in that time being hit upside the head every once in a while wouldn't be a big thing.
    It isn't exactly a big thing right now either.
     
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