Book Club

Persephone Book Club: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (or Philosopher’s) Stone Pt 4

It’s the last week of our Harry Potter discussion, and I’m a little sad to not be writing about The Boy Who Lived anymore after today. It’s been a real treat to read along with all of you, and you’ll all be happy to know I’ve got all seven of the books now. I’m waiting for a nice block of free time (ha!) to sit down and get lost in the Potter world from start to finish.

Last week I gave you all a challenge, and RudeAndNotGinger stepped up and sent in the following for challenge B:

Looking into the mirror was foolish and out of character for such a logical young witch. But Hermione Granger was also an 11-year-old girl. And lately, the insecurity of being 11 was stronger than the pride of being the most talented student in her class. Hermione had a lot to be happy about, she thought: two great friends in Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, not to mention the consistently fascinating pleasure of belonging to the magical world. But Hermione wasn’t happy, which was why she stood in front of the Mirror of Erised. She lifted her eyes towards the glass, where her parents stood behind her. This was odd. Harry’s parents had appeared in the mirror because his greatest desire was to know them. Hermione had seen her parents just a few weeks ago. Why were they appearing before her now?

As her eyes moved from her mother’s kind face, Hermione realized why the mirror displayed the images of Dr. and Dr. Granger. In her mother’s hand was a long, slender object. A wand. Her father had one, too. She began to imagine what it would be like to grow up with a witch and wizard as her mother and father like so many of her classmates. They knew the rules of Quidditch, remembered the day Voldemort vanished, and revered the great Albus Dumbledore. Hermione knew she was an exceptionally smart young woman, but still couldn’t shake the feeling that she was 11 years behind everyone else.

Yes, Professor McGonagall had awarded her 10 points for knowing about Switching Spells. On the same day, however, Lavender Brown had laughed when Hermione explained why the photo of her parents by her bed always looked the same. “The Muggle world must be awfully dull if their pictures can’t even move,” Lavender giggled. Hermione glanced up at the mirror again, and her father flicked his wand, sending sparks flying from the tip. Hermione loved her parents more than anything in the world, Muggle or magical, and that would never change. But if she had grown up immersed in this universe, maybe she would feel better. She had read Hogwarts, A History for fun, but also because she felt that she had something to prove. Hermione had surrounded herself with books before she even knew that wizards existed, but now she clung to them even more strongly.

She looked at the smiling reflection of her magical mother and felt sad that her parents could never know her world. Even if Hermione became the most famous witch of her generation, her mum and dad couldn’t fully understand what that meant. Hermione’s greatest desire was to share magic with her parents, and not just because of her own adolescent insecurities. She realized why the Mirror displayed this image. Hermione was now fundamentally different from the man and woman who raised her. They were intelligent, educated, loving people, but they had begun to exist in a different world the instant Hermione received her Hogwarts letter. Her parents were proud of her magical accomplishments (of which she already had many), but they could never really comprehend them. Hermione was beginning to leave her parents behind, and she was terrified. She was an exceptional child, but a child nonetheless. And a child never wants to be taken away from her parents.

Hermione took a deep breath and looked into the glass one last time. She smiled at the reflection and turned away. Surely it was possible for the Mirror or Erised to be wrong. Her life was wonderful the way it was, and she would soon be more comfortable in her new home. But she would also continue to do her best to make her parents proud. Hermione Granger would embrace being a Muggleborn. She decided never to look into the Mirror of Erised again, but knew that if she did, she could feel better about what she saw.

You should all go friend her right now, because that was awesome, and a fitting way to tribute Ms. Bookish and Clever 2011, Hermione Granger.

I’m reposting the challenge questions here, minus the Venn diagram one, because as someone on Tumblr pointed out, a four circle Venn diagram is impossible to make overlap correctly. Math = not Selena’s forte. Feel free to tackle ’em in the comments or come up with your own ways of taking HP beyond the page and demonstrate all those higher-level thinking skills I know you have.

A. Write the opening scenes in the Dursley house from the perspective of Petunia or Dudley Dursley.

B. Write about what either Snape, Hermione, Hagrid, Ron, or Dudley would see if they looked in the Mirror of Erised.

C. Compare and contrast the four houses at Hogwarts.

D. Compare and contrast the relationship between Dumbledore and Voldemort with other, similar relationships from other examples. (e.g. Gandolf/Sauron, Xavier/Magneto, Krystal/Alexis, Holmes/Moriarty, Maggie/Baby with one eyebrow, etc.)

E. The entire staff of Hogwart’s worked together to create a series of traps to protect The Elixir of Life. Turn your imagination to 11 and create your own maze of traps to protect something precious to you.

BONUS QUESTION! Prize will be vague promises of your own unicorn. Which of the higher-level thinking skills (as defined by Bloom’s) are represented in each of the challenges above?

Next week, we’re starting a new book, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. That’s an Amazon affiliate link, so if you buy the book after you click it, we get a little bit of server food. After reading it, you’ll all want to join me on Team Turtle for next year’s Middlemarch Madness.

Want to catch up on the book club?

Persephone Book Club: Introduction

Persephone Book Club: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone pt 2

Persephone Book Club: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone pt 3

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

3 replies on “Persephone Book Club: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (or Philosopher’s) Stone Pt 4”

Thanks for the shout-out, Selena! I can’t resist Harry Potter-related activities. I tried to do the Venn Diagram first, until my math-challenged brain couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working and sent me running to Wikipedia.

I haven’t read The Westing Game. I remember seeing it in the library when I was younger and just never getting around to it. It sounds like something I would really like.

C: I’ve always thought of the four houses as the general sub groups of a society. Gryffindors are the military, law enforcement and ethicists or clergy-types (courage, nerve, and chivalry taken as a kind of moral code here); Ravenclaws are the scientists, teachers and artists (intelligence, wit and creativity); Slytherins are the politicians, lawyers, and various businesspeople (cunning, ambition, leadership and resourcefulness); Hufflepuffs are the blue collar workers – the everyman of sorts – and the judges (hard work, tolerance, fair play). Of course there’s lots of room to argue exceptions (the Hufflepuffs have a friar for a ghost, after all). But you need people from all four groups in order for a society to function well. That’s why it bothers me when people try to argue that one house is inherently better than another…you need everyone.

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