?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
Ah, the practical stuff - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Ah, the practical stuff
I loved the fan interview of JKR because of all the theme and plot questions, but as a fanfic writer, there seemed to be a lot of practical issues left unaddressed. I mean, it was good to know Ron's Patronus and eye-color, but it's Remus's Patronus that I need to know. Tonks's old one would be good as well.

Other stuff:

I have to work with Proudfoot and Savage, since they're stationed in Hogsmeade with Tonks. Do I use male or female pronouns for them? (Proudfoot and Savage: The new Blaise Zabinis)

The message-bearing Patronuses... what, do they talk? Break apart into light fragments and spell things in the air, a la Tom rearranging his name in the CoS movie? Feed thoughts and images into the receiver's mind? Do a mime routine? Play charades or Win, Lose, or Draw? How in the hell do they deliver specific messages like, "I'm coming up the road with Harry now"?

And what about long distance communication? Do they just saunter down from Hogwarts to London? This doesn't strike me as inconspicuous, or quicker than floo powder. If too many owls at Grimmauld Place would draw attention, then floating glowy things would be even weirder. Or can Muggles not see Patronuses? That would be interesting. At any rate, inquiring minds trying to write fanfic featuring the adult Order members want to know.

The portraits in multiple places--are the frames just empty in one place? I'd have thought so, except that Phineas is known to actually make noises when his frame appears to be empty, so I wonder if he, like, had his favorite invisibility cloak painted into the portrait, so he could put it on whenever he wanted to.

Who owns the Shrieking Shack? I've got Remus owning it (and most of what money he has swirling down its drains) after his parents left it to him, but really... it would be very useful information to actually have, and probably isn't a big plot point.

When, in school year time, did Sirius run away? End of fifth year? Summer? Sixth year? Could be a strongly birthday-related question. (My guess: Winter of sixth year, maybe over Christmas holidays. He looked too fat and happy in the Pensieve to be just out of a pretty big emotional upheaval. But that's just a guess.)

I'd also really very much like to know if Fenrir Greyback really killed the Montgomery boy, but if he didn't, I guess that's a plot point that wouldn't ever get an answer.

I guess I'm not really asking these things, unless JKR has time to peruse LiveJournal between baby-changings, just sort of musing on matters that just aren't deep enough to muse on, but which I keep tripping over.

Anyone else have these?
28 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
akilika From: akilika Date: August 25th, 2005 11:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have lots of them--just not generally for HP, 'cause I really only follow it passingly. ^^; But . . . yeah. Lots of stuff like this in my head.

Gets frustrating a lot of the time, but sometimes they're just the sort of thing to launch an idea. >_>
toastedcheese From: toastedcheese Date: August 25th, 2005 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I got the impression that Phineas was lurking just out of sight at the edge of his portrait when Harry heard him. The figures with multiple portraits seem to wander between portraits as they like, so that at any given time all but one of their portraits will be empty.

I can't say I have answers to any of your other questions, but they are very good ones.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: August 25th, 2005 11:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Figures in Hogwarts seem to be able to wander into each other's paintings, too, which is interesting. I'm not sure if the headmasters and headmistresses "mix" with the other portraits, though. Hmm.
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: August 25th, 2005 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Evidently portraits can wander around in other buildings, too, not just Hogwarts. In OotP, when Dumbledore sends Everard to check on Arthur Weasley at Christmas, he says, "said I'd heard something moving downstairs--they weren't sure whether to believe me but went down to check--you know there are no portraits down there to watch from." That seems to indicate that if there had been, he could have gone downstairs himself. So as long as the subject has a painting an any particular building, he has free reign of all the portraits in the building.
toastedcheese From: toastedcheese Date: August 26th, 2005 01:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it seems like portrait figures can wander though any of the paintings in a single building, but need multiple portraits in order to leave the building. I think the headmasters and headmistresses are no exception, since the headmaster who had a portrait in the Ministry was wandering through the other Ministry paintings looking for Mr. Weasley.
danaedark From: danaedark Date: August 25th, 2005 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
The message-bearing Patronuses... what, do they talk? Break apart into light fragments and spell things in the air, a la Tom rearranging his name in the CoS movie? Feed thoughts and images into the receiver's mind? Do a mime routine? Play charades or Win, Lose, or Draw? How in the hell do they deliver specific messages like, "I'm coming up the road with Harry now"?

I hadn't put any deep thought into this, but I assumed when I read it was simply a matter of "Well, Harry's missing, but there's Tonk's Patronus, so she must not be far behind and there's obviously something important going on with her." It never occurred to me that the Patronus might actually be communicating in some way. Although, now that I think about it, Snape *did* recognize it as Tonks' *new* Patronus, so there must have been some way for him to tell. Maybe the Patronus gives off some sense of the wizard it belongs to, something other wizards instinctively recognize? Or maybe the Patronus really does communicate somehow. Or maybe, Snape was bluffing and didn't *know* it belonged to Tonks until he saw her himself. I'll be curious to see the other opinions you get on this.
sreya From: sreya Date: August 26th, 2005 12:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, gosh, I could come up with a whole long list of questions about the Longbottoms - I was a bit irritated at HBP for completely dropping that line after developing it so much in OotP.

But I don't tend to worry about details too much. I like making up my own details, so the gaps mean more play area. I'm more interested in just knowing whether what I'm playing with will turn out to be a major story point later on!
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: August 26th, 2005 12:08 am (UTC) (Link)
When, in school year time, did Sirius run away? End of fifth year? Summer? Sixth year? Could be a strongly birthday-related question. (My guess: Winter of sixth year, maybe over Christmas holidays. He looked too fat and happy in the Pensieve to be just out of a pretty big emotional upheaval. But that's just a guess.)

Actually, the scene would've been just before sixth year - it was OWLS.

And although canon never really states that Greyback killed that boy, it's definitely implied. And it's likely Greyback tells, too. (He's sick, after all, and Remus's parents knew who bit him). I can see him leavin a note...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 26th, 2005 12:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, the scene would've been just before sixth year - it was OWLS.

That's what I meant--that it probably happened in sixth year rather than fifth year, because he didn't look too upset at the end of fifth.

Canon implies it, but with the qualification both times it's mentioned that it's "rumored" that Greyback did it, and I have a horrible, horrible feeling that it's vaguely possible that...

No, no. Not going there. It's upsetting.
flutteringazure From: flutteringazure Date: August 26th, 2005 07:12 am (UTC) (Link)

here through daily_snitch

...and I have a horrible, horrible feeling that it's vaguely possible that...

No, no. Not going there. It's upsetting.


I hope you're not thinking what I think you're thinking because, yes, that would be upsetting *worryeyes*

The patronus-messaging-service boggled me too. I'm not sure how I imagine this to work. I have visions of patroni bursting into a cloud of sparkles and then zipping towards their destination to sort of take shape again when they get there. I guess Order members would know each other's patroni (patronuses??), I'm sure there's some defense training going on there as well (bit like the DA). As for delivering the message... I have a vague suspicion that it's something really strange like, you look at the patronus and somehow you know. Honestly, that's the only plausible thing I can come up with although I do fancy thoughts of a patronus playing charades. Imagine Harry's patronus trying to show the number of words in the message without fingers *cracks up* (Sorry, only got about two hours of sleep...)

Hmm, would it be possible to, I don't know, nudge www.hp-lexicon.org and ask them if there was any possible way to do a second letter to JKR with all these questions (and others perhaps, general inquiries about new-canon and all that). I know there is at least one list of questions on the Lex that she is steadily answering, perhaps the new-canon questions could be included?

Nine
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: August 26th, 2005 04:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've thouught of that, to be honest... that Remus was somehow tricked, or that the Wolfsbane didn't work for some reason, and it was when he was with the Wolves, so they weren't going to stop him.

Very disturbing. I don't think it's true anyway though; I think that if Remus ever actually bit someone, he'd never get close to anyone again.
(Deleted comment)
eir_de_scania From: eir_de_scania Date: August 26th, 2005 12:46 am (UTC) (Link)
In some interview JKR claimed that after Book VII we would have all the answers... Poor woman. Even if she gives us an appendix the size of ten OotP we will still have more questions for her!

I have several as well - about the MWPP-generation mostly, but also on the Wizworld in general. But we've better avoid all questions concerning timelines - she will never get them straight anyway! ;-)
idleleaves From: idleleaves Date: August 26th, 2005 01:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Gah, these are so the types of questions I want answers to, and I have some of the same ones, plus other randomness, in my head.

I drive myself crazy over the magical developing fluid bit with Colin's muggle camera, because it makes no sense in my head. Recalling the last spell a wand made, fine... turning a rat into a teacup... fine. Having pictures magically moving and expressing the proper emotions when the damn image was taken with something non-magical, well, that I take issue with.

*headdesk* Yeah. Stuff like that.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: August 26th, 2005 02:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. That raises the question: would a Pensieve work on a Muggle memory? Like the camera, that would involve a nonmagical image-taking, but would apparently bring out details the remember-er didn't notice or even couldn't have seen. (Alternatively, it may also be worth considering -- the camera may not have been magical, but Colin is. Are magical Mandrakes a different species from the ones Muggles can see, about which there are legends of its cry -- or is it the same plant, but the presence of wizards, or perhaps magic from any source, causes it to turn into a baby, squirm, climb into other pots, and kill people with its yell? And if a Muggle were present at the same time, what would they perceive?)
idleleaves From: idleleaves Date: August 26th, 2005 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Mm, yes. If Colin develops it, it may in a sense be using his perceptions. And the Pensieve, OH, that's a very, very good question.

Mandrakes. *is pondering that, now*
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: August 26th, 2005 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
You mean some people don't?

Sad.
coralia13 From: coralia13 Date: August 26th, 2005 04:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I have definitely wondered about the paintings - all the old Headmasters and Headmistresses are always "sleeping" when Harry goes to Dumbledore's office; none of the portraits are ever described as "empty." So, if you hang a portrait of an ex-Headmaster or Headmistress somewhere other than the Head's office at Hogwarts, you can pretty much just hang an empty frame, for all the good it'll do you? Bzuh?

The Patronus thing has troubled me, as well. On her site, JKR commented that she was surprised the question about how Order members communicate won the FAQ poll, because she'd already answered it in her interview, but... she didn't answer it. Either time.

As for the Shrieking Shack, I always assumed it was a school-owned building. Dumbledore said that the school relocated ghosts there, so it would be a good idea for all the paperwork to agree with his story.

And I've always figured that Sirius ran away during X-mas of sixth year, too. Kind of a response, perhaps, to what he did to Snape? The way I wrote it in one of my fics was that the Whomping Willow incident made him realize how deeply his family had influenced him, even though he claimed to want no part of them, and so he left their poison behind.

*scans comment* Well, I don't think I've said anything useful, but there's my two cents, for whatever they're worth. :)
potionmistress5 From: potionmistress5 Date: August 26th, 2005 06:20 am (UTC) (Link)
However- there can be multiple portraits of the same person, all occupied at the same time. GAAAAA- I so had it, but his name has slipped my mind- the git of a DADA teacher in 2nd year- his office was covered with portraits of himself, all winking, smiling, etc at the same time. Or were they photgraphs?

Which raises my other question- is there a difference in the abilities of photographs and portraits? I'm actually trying to write an academic paper about wizarding photographs, and this is one of the difficulties I've run into. We know that portraits have their own consciousness, can make decisions, etc- are photographs forever frozen in the time/emotion in which they are taken? i.e.- the Sirius from the Potter's wedding picture can't turn around and be sad one day, right? But a portrait of the same event could change, the subjects could talk about something else than the wedding, etc.?

OOOO! I just remembered- Lockhart. Good, I'm not senile yet.
stvincent From: stvincent Date: August 26th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, they were photographs (or perhaps posters, come to think of it) in Lockhart's office. And I think you have it, with the difference between wizarding portraits and photographs. :D
potionmistress5 From: potionmistress5 Date: August 26th, 2005 03:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
...but if they are photographs, that proves my explanation wrong, because they did change. There is that one scene where they are startled awake, and some of them have their hair in curlers! lol :)

And the Wizard Cards- photos, or portraits?
coralia13 From: coralia13 Date: August 26th, 2005 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm... I would say that you've got it right on about the portraits, but the photos are tricky. I used to think that they were forever trapped displaying the mood of the people in the picture, for example in the picture Colin takes of Harry and Lockhart, Harry is trying to get out of the picture, and is being dragged back in by Lockhart. For another example, Lockhart's photos having their hair in curlers. Although they cannot talk, they do interact with what's going on the the real world - they all nod and smile when Lockhart talks, and Penelope Clearwater hides her face under her frame after tea is dripped on her nose. However, it is clear that they are not just images frozen in time, representing what that person was like at the time the photo was taken, because Harry sees a family portrait of the Weasleys during OotP and comments that Percy is absent. Following that logic, Sirius would one day turn around and look sad in his photos, but for some reason he doesn't. There could be a complicated explanation for this that I can't figure out, or JKR could have just wanted to put in the bit about Percy for emphasis and didn't really bother about the implications for us fans, who like to analyze every single thing.
Good luck with your essay - I'd love to read it!
stvincent From: stvincent Date: August 28th, 2005 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
(Sorry it took me so long to reply to this.)

I checked, and Lockhart had both photographs and posters. Um ... my best guess as to why they changed is that they were different from ordinary photos, because they were for promotional purposes? Because a photo of Lily, James, and Harry doesn't react to outside stimuli, whereas the Lockhart photos aren't of any specific "scene," so they act like portraits? I don't know, something like that. :D (Though, doesn't Penelope hide behind the frame because someone spilled tea on her nose? *sigh* Very confusing.)

Wizard Cards ... photos, I'd say, because if they were portraits they'd hardly ever be there, you know? They'd have to constantly go between the thousands of wizard cards all over the world. (Unless they weren't connected ... but we've never heard of wizard cards interacting with anyone, right?)

Ohh, wait, maybe it's this - photographs sometimes interact with the people viewing them (or are at least aware of who's viewing them), but they can't talk, whereas portraits are always aware of who's around them, can move through other portraits in a building, and can talk to living people. :D (Really, I just made all that up, but it sort of works, right?)
alkari From: alkari Date: August 26th, 2005 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
And I've always figured that Sirius ran away during X-mas of sixth year, too. Kind of a response, perhaps, to what he did to Snape? The way I wrote it in one of my fics was that the Whomping Willow incident made him realize how deeply his family had influenced him, even though he claimed to want no part of them, and so he left their poison behind.

I've structured my fic like that too ... The Prank occurs in early 6th year; Sirius comes to grip with what he nearly did, following his subsequent 'discusssion' with DD; he makes a few critical decisions and finally storms out of GP at Christmas. OotP says he left home at 16, camped out in the holidays at the Potters' place, and got his own place at seventeen. Which seems to imply he got his own place over the summer between 6th and 7th year.

Patronuses? All JKR said is that DD taught the order members to use them in that way, so I am wondering if there is some secondary non-verbal spell that is used when sending a Patronus on an errand ... perhaps it transforms into a representation of the originating person, perhaps it merely has some way of passing a simple written message that appears like a hologram?

Portraits. I wonder whether there is one 'key' portrait of a person, where that person 'lives'. My vague idea (which I used in 'Toast') is that although there can be many portraits of a person, so he/she can move between them, but that one portrait is their 'home' one. If that is destroyed, then the person can't 'live' in any others, which just become plain pictures. (In Mrs Black's case in Toast, it was the only portrait of her anywhere, so she basically 'died'.) It would sort of make sense that the 'home' portraits of the Headmasters and Headmistresses are in the Headmaster's office at school.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 26th, 2005 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's my structure as well, though I don't link them exactly that directly--the prank occurs October-ish (I have it in response to an escalation of several things, including what Sirius sees as Snape's "grooming" of Regulus... Sirius actually "accidentally" passes the info about the Willow to Regulus, because Snape has been prodding Regulus for such things), and his friends have a couple of bad months with him, leaving him really crazed by the time he goes home for Christmas. Fight with the maternal unit, followed by fleeing the premises and hoping against hope that James isn't still mad. (Of course, James knows what's going on and lets him in, and the rest is history.) But it would be useful before writing that story to know if it's going to be flatly contradicted!
alkari From: alkari Date: August 26th, 2005 11:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't link them TOO directly, but I do certainly think there was a connection. I have the boys reconciling before Christmas: the main one who is hurt is Remus of course, as James understands 'why' Sirius did what he did, and can't remain angry with his best friend for very long. Especially as they remain united against Snape and his cronies. james has invited Sirius to stay with him as from Boxing Day (and tells Sirius that he'll save some of his Mum's special pudding!) but Sirius runs away on Christmas Eve and hopes the Potters won't mind him getting there a bit early.
merlinssister12 From: merlinssister12 Date: August 26th, 2005 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are always things in books to muse on. Imagine if an author put every little bit of information he had about his world into his novels. You would wind up with tomes like that of Robert Jordan, who I have just gotten fed up with his central character is just so dull for someone who is going slowly insane and he can't seem to write female characters to save his life, or great series of stories about the same world like Raymond E. Feist does, by the time he is done with Midkemia it will have probably been explored more thoroughly than our own real world.
I am beginning to think though that JKR is beginning to sacrifice details for brevity though. I too would like to know more about the Marauders past,
what Remus' patronus is, what Tonks' old patronus was and how long Remus and Tonks actually have known each other for. I can believe they have known each other since she was a child and he was in school, but it would be nice to know for sure.
As an aside, I did read the interview but I don't remember mention of Ron's eyecolour. What was it?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 26th, 2005 03:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it was the Melissa/Emerson interview (part 1?)... she said, basically, "Oh! I can't believe I haven't said that! Ron has blue eyes."
28 comments or Leave a comment