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Aug 16, 2010

Burning Questions: the Harry Potter series

Note: I haven't read the books, so I'm sure I've left out many, many things from this post. Just so you don't have to say "You forgot about all of X that happened in the 3rd, 5th, and X books!" Thanks.

Let's go on a mystical journey together. On this trip down memory lane, I will recount some of the many, many things that have taken place over the years spanned in the Harry Potter series. Having not read the books, events from Book Seven will not be included. Away we go...(many spoilers abound, as if you care if you haven't seen the flicks by now):

Sorcerer's Stone
* A (giant) troll is let loose onto the grounds during Halloween, endangering the lives of untold students, but specifically three.

* The Defense of the Dark Arts teacher turns out to be hiding a mass-murderer in the back of his head.

Chamber of Secrets
* Several students (and even a ghost) are found to be "petrified" (turned to stone) by a large snake roaming the grounds of Hogwarts.

Prisoner of Azkaban
* A student is attacked (albeit deservedly so) by a giant bird/horse thing.

Goblet of Fire
* Enemies of the protagonists attack and terrorize many a Hogwarts student (and their families) at a Quidditch World Cup thing.

* Barty Crouch, Sr. is killed during his stay at Hogwarts.

* A student is killed in the midst of a school-sanctioned scavenger hunt (of sorts).

Order of the Phoenix
* Corporal punishment is introduced at Hogwarts as a reasonable means of discipline.

Okay, I think you get the point. My question is quite simple: How in the hell are there any remaining students at Hogwarts (parentless Harry notwithstanding)? What kind of awful people would send their kids to this dungeon of pain and, quite possibly, death?

4 people have chosen wisely: on "Burning Questions: the Harry Potter series"

Nick said...

That is addressed in the books, primarily the final three. There are students being constantly pulled out of school for various reasons. Some students weren't going to return in the final book due to the events at the end of Half-Blood Prince, but... well, let's just say they have to.

The biggest answer is, basically, everybody feels their children are ultimately safe because Dumbledore is there. When Dumbeldore starts losing control, starting around Order of the Phoenix when Umbridge shows up and the Ministry starts taking control, the parents did not like having their kids at the school.

By the end of one of the books (I think HBP), I believe over half the population of students had been withdrawn.

In Sorcerer's Stone, the troll wasn't really a big deal, and the Quirrell thing was never a sure bet. It was given up to rumors.

In Chamber of Secrets, they were going to close down the school before Harry and friends saved the day. But they took precautions with curfews and self defense courses before it reached that point.

In Prisoner of Azkaban, they had the Dementors, the guards of the supposedly inescapable Azkaban prison guarding the students. And the Hippogriff wasn't a big deal, since Malfoy taunted him and they decided to put him to death.

In Goblet of Fire, the Quidditch World Cup has nothing to do with Hogwarts. That's its own thing. Barty Crouch Sr.'s death is handled much differently in the book than in the movie... it's a bit more complicated to get into, but let's just say it's better explained in the book. Now, Cedric's death was chalked up to a terrible accident as part of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, which has been known for deaths in the past (hence the age limit and serious warnings prior to entry). But nobody believed Harry or Dumbledore that Voldemort really killed Cedric...

...which leads into Order of the Phoenix, where the Ministry is sent to keep Hogwarts under a close eye via Delores Umbridge. But as this is a government official, not a school official, it's pretty different. With the government controlling things, the parents really can't complain or do much about it school-wise, especially after Dumbledore is removed as Headmaster. And at the end, it is revealed that Voldemort has, indeed, returned.

And that brings us to Half-Blood Prince, where (as I said) parents actually do start pulling their students out of school, noting the real danger.

Did any of this help answer your question?

Fletch said...

You're no fun at all, Nick.

Then again, I 100% knew that you'd be the one to come through with a book full of answers about stuff from the books, so this post was more or less for you.

This shit ain't covered at all in the movies, and damnit, this question was about the movies. Fail!

A few key rebuttals:

* "The troll was never a big deal?" When a 20-foot tall THING comes marauding through your school, be sure to let me know if and when it's not a big deal for the parents.

* "the Quidditch World Cup has nothing to do with Hogwarts" Well, it does and it doesn't. It may not be officially tied to it, but everything is all kinda tied together with Hogwarts/Dumble/Harry, so I say it is.

* "With the government controlling things, the parents really can't complain or do much about it school-wise" - Uh, why not? Wouldn't keep them from pulling their kids - the so-called magic gov't can't mandate that those kids have to go there. They no doubt have to pay tuition...

"Did any of this help answer your question?"

This would have sufficed: "By the end of one of the books (I think HBP), I believe over half the population of students had been withdrawn."

I appreciate the time you took to answer this according to Harry Potter protocol, though. ;)

Nick said...

To rebutt your rebuttals...

- Again, this isn't handled in the movie, but the troll was there to protect the Sorcerer's Stone. There were a few extra protections in the book that weren't in the movie. The troll was one of them. Also, I believe the books state that trolls live in the surrounding mountains... if that helps any. But nobody was hurt and there was no major damage that couldn't easily be fixed. And with the troll there to protect the stone, this could easily have been something the Ministry could have helped cover up or push aside.

- I'll fight to the death that the World Cup has nothing to do with Hogwarts. I'll even give you the troll thing before I'd say the World Cup and Hogwarts are related. That's like saying the Superbowl and a local high school are connected because both play football. Quidditch is a world-wide sport with professional teams, and the Cup is the big game. The only reason Viktor Krum was both a student of Durmstrang and a member of the official Bulgarian Quidditch team is because he was of age and was highly talented. You can't say "I won't let my son go to school in Washington because there was a Nazi invasion in Florida."

Um... as a matter of fact, they can mandate (and they do, in Deathly Hallows). I forget the consequences behind not sending them, but if there are any underage students, they have to go. There's another detail here that I'm trying not to spoil, though.

Fitz said...

I don't think anyone has put a serious amount of thought into that, but you have a valid point: are these parents dumb?