Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
Chapter Ten Halloween
(Harry learns how to play Quidditch and rescues Hermione from a troll someone let in on Halloween.)
Harry and Ron are both trying to figure out what the three- headed dog is guarding when a package arrives for Harry: a Nimbus Two Thousand from Professor McGonagall. Harry takes his new broom and meets with Oliver Wood, who teaches Harry how to play Quidditch.
After a Charms class in which Hermione shows up Ron, Ron tells Harry that Hermione’s an unbearable know it all. Hermione overhears Ron saying this and runs off to cry in the girls’ bathroom. That evening, the Halloween feast is disrupted when Quirrell runs into the great hall screaming about a troll having snuck in. All students are led off to their dormitories, but Harry and Ron sneak off to find and warn Hermione, who is still in the girls’ bathroom. On their way to find Hermione, Harry and Ron see Snape sneaking up to the third floor. Harry and Ron then run into troll itself, locking the beast into some room to save themselves. Once the boys realize that they’ve accidentally locked the troll into girls’ bathroom with Hermione, they run in to save her. Harry jumps on the troll’s back, and Ron levitates the trolls club and drops it on the monster’s head. McGonagall, Snape, and Quirrell run into the room to find the trio alongside the knocked out troll. Hermione lies to McGonagall to protect Harry and Ron, and the three grow closer because of the experience.
Rowling’s broomsticks have astronomical and meteorological names. For example, Nimbus clouds (Nimbus 2000) are rain clouds.
Flying broomstick mythology: “According to lore, witches flew their brooms as a form of transportation to midnight witchcraft meetings. If the witch was inside a house at the time, she would rise through the chimney. Ringing church bells had the power to ground broomsticks and knock witches off of them. The twig end of the broom was originally pointed behind and downward; at the end of the 17th century, it was in front; and now it's popular to think of them back in the original position. Unfortunately, this was not really a fantastic magical ability, but a pleasant form of dreaming. ‘With an ointment they anointed a wooden rod which was but small, and their palms and their whole hands likewise; and so, putting this rod between their legs, straightway they flew to where they wished to be...’ The ointment typically consisted of toxic ingredients, and was applied between the legs and on other sensitive skin, such as the wrists, to induce hallucinations of flight.”
“Bludger” comes from bludgeon, a short stick used as a weapon. To “bludgeon” also means to hit. Where Rowling got the word Quaffle is a mystery, because to “quaff” is to drink. To “snitch” is to steal.
Wingardium Leviosa mashes together the word wing with the Latin words ardus (high) and levo (raise up)
Trolls originated in Norse mythology: “Originally, trolls were elemental giants. In Norse mythology, trolls were known as dim-witted gigantic man eating creatures who lived in caverns in the mountain and hollow hills. They were ugly and quite evil. Fighting along side the giants in the battle of Ragnorok. These Trolls would be turned to stone if they were hit by the sun. They guarded treasure and were good a metal-working. They eventually evolved into dwarf-like beings who lived in subterranean caverns and were not as strong or bloodthirsty as their predecessors. They are still a threat however as they still like to steal women and children, and are now more intelligent than their ancestors.”
More troll facts: “According to one recent theory the trolls of Scandinavia are the descendants of a small group of neanderthals which became isolated between the ice masses of Northern Europe at the end of the last ice age and gradually developed very special characteristics and abilities to survive under such extremely harsh conditions. And, however convincing this theory sounds, there is simply no evidence to prove it - nor any indication that trolls are related to the so- called Homo Sapiens Ferus (Forest Man)--i.e. Big Foot in North America or the Yeti in the Himalayas.”
After the troll encounter in the bathroom, Hermione lies to Professor McGonagall in order to protect Harry and Ron. This brave and self-sacrificing move is another step in Hermione’s transformation from teacher’s pet to adventuress.