This has been a gooood chapter, and I looooove that opening scene! I love that Gaunt’s flagrant murders of his neighbors have finally caught up to him, and in a way that can’t just be obliviated away, now that the protests have been broadcast to at least local news stations. And, more generally, the man just deserves to be protested, and his own culture is too cowed and afraid of change to do it. Is that “young man” Ali from ch. 1?
I see Madam Skeeter couldn’t be bothered to identify proper song titles from the Yule Ball! I’m a little shocked the Prophet allowed her to print that “Hermit” title, though at least she’s getting a head start on the homophobic fear-mongering she’ll no doubt engage with in the following decades. I’m afraid I’ve developed a conspiracy theory of my own regarding her, though! During her showdown with Hermione in the Broomsticks, she says she has dirt on a bunch of Ministry officials, which . . . doesn’t really threaten or affect Hermione in any way? Unless Skeeter didn’t mean it as “I have leverage,” but rather as, “these people are more dangerous than you know, so don’t risk rocking the boat.” So: does Skeeter actually want to be elevating Gaunt and tearing down Dumbledore, or is she being blackmailed or otherwise forced to, for fear of what Gaunt might do to her otherwise? I also can’t help but notice that, even though she was present at both the ball and for Harry’s conversation with Dumbledore, she’s only covered the ball itself in this article, despite the fact that bringing Rose to Hogwarts would be much more scandalous. Did she prioritize the ball because it's a current, publicly known event, and is saving the “Harry tried to bring a Muggle to a society ball” for later? Or did she actually choose to protect Harry there? Hm . . .
Perfect immigration metaphor for Muggleborns becoming New Bloods! Immigrants don’t have to give up their language, their skin or hair, or indeed, their family members to move to a new country, so why should Muggleborn kids have to give up their family and hair to be accepted?
On a much more puerile level, perfect portraits fighting metaphor for Harry to explain Mortal Kombat to Ron. ♪Portrait Kombat! Dun dun, dun dun, dun dun dun dun dun dun♪
I never noticed it reading the original series, or watching the film adaptations, but uh. Wow, the prefect bathrooms are basically designed to encourage wasting water, aren’t they? Like, not even a normally sized bathtub, but a whole jacuzzi? Unless Hogwarts is just freakishly dusty, there’s no reason for anyone to use an entire jacuzzi’s worth of water to get clean! Wasteful
Oh, Flutterby pollen smells to Ron like parchment and ink, tee hee? Like, the sorts of things one would find in a library, tee hee, or being used by a person who often frequents libraries, tee hee? I wonder why that would be, tee hee?
Oho, the twins aren’t just suing Bagman, but blackmailing him? I love it! I also love that the Sneakoscopes didn’t activate until after Bagman’s conversation with Crouch, which I take to mean that even though Junior is masquerading as Senior all the time, his responses to Bagman’s wheedling during that conversation were so reasonable and in-character for Senior that the Sneakoscopes couldn’t detect anything wrong there!
Other miscellaneous things I enjoyed:
-Ginny looking at the Scandinavian girls’ Scandinavian arms and thinking, “Yeah, I’ma rassle those, I feel no fear of failure.”
-Skeeter being so prejudiced that she mistook the Goblins Bagman was talking to for students, because Goblins couldn’t possibly be involved with anything of importance, right?
-But most of all, the reconciliation at the end, and the five students all returning to Hogwarts together, including Krum! Everyone can be friends!
—doctorlit would probably get a similar smell to Ron’s from Flutterby pollen, but for a rather different reason