Monday, December 22, 2008

34. Riddle Me This

Dear reader,

The holidays have come. Both the Quill that authors this column (based on your suggestions) and I, its humble assistant, are in need of a bit of a break. The quill has been sent, by certified owl, to Scrivenshaft's for a much-needed tune-up (tip replacement, reservoir cleaning, polishing, brushing, etc.) while yours truly has a lot of broomstick hours ahead of him. So I hope you will bear with us as we replace two weeks' worth of columns with a bit of something different. Keep your ideas coming, though! Our tellers of "tales from the Hog's Head" have a big adventure ahead of them, and a lot of loose threads needing to be tied up. Do help!

In lieu of this week's column, I hope you will enjoy a few Harry Potter trivia riddles, which the Quill kindly jotted down before the owl took it off. There is no need to reply to me with the answers to the riddles, for I already know them! But you may discuss them amongst yourselves. Good luck!

Sincerely yours,
Robbie Fischer

RIDDLE #1: Contractual Magic

Some of the most powerful spells are "magical contracts." Very little has been said in Harry's tales about contractual magic. The most famous example is the magical contract that obligated Harry to take part in the Triwizard Tournament. But it could be argued that a magical contract saved Harry's life on the night his parents died. Perhaps Lord Voldemort did not realize he was entering into a magical contract when he agreed to the other party's terms. Can you find the exact book, chapter, and words in which that contract is spelled out?

RIDDLE #2: Wand-Free Magic

Occasionally, Harry accomplishes an unexpected, and usually unplanned, feat of wandless magic. Some of them took place before he knew he was a wizard, such as turning his teacher's wig blue, etc. One bit of wandless magic occurs twice in Order of the Phoenix, though the second time it happens, you might not have noticed the connection. I'll give you a hint, though. Harry does it the first time, and Dumbledore (I think) the second. What was it?

RIDDLE #3: Hagrid's Successor

JKR forbid that our beloved gamekeeper should die in one of the upcoming books! But if he does, I think there is a good candidate already lined up for the job. Someone who has shown, on at least two occasions, that he enjoys taking care of creatures that other people wouldn't want anything to do with. Of course, it may just be part of the teen rebellion that makes this character so dashing, dangerous, and cool. Who am I talking about, and what three (3) hard-to-handle creatures have we already seen him or her dealing with?

RIDDLE #4: Throw-Away Jokes

Hagrid gets so many of the funniest lines, it's hard to say which is our favorite--though it is probably somewhere in the chapter in which he says, "I don' want ter be rude, but who the ruddy hell are you?" Hagrid is such a delicious character, so often unconscious of the mirth his utterances might cause. But some of his funniest lines are so well hidden that you might be unconscious of them, too. One of them is, when you stop and think of it, an absolute howler about a female he admires. If you can spot it, I hope you will laugh with me!

RIDDLE #5: What Did Rigel Buy?

OK, this isn't canon, but I wonder if you can figure this out anyway. In TMQ #33, Rigel bought something from a black marketeer named Jude the Insecure. I'll give you a hint: it was a magical creature of some kind, which was afterward hidden in the pocket-universe storage locker. Another hint: it might come in handy in the maze Rigel & Merlin have been dropped into. If you suggest the beast I have in mind, I'll give you credit when Merlin gets to that part of his story!

RIDDLE #6: Irony Filings

Among the many ironies of Order of the Phoenix is an implied promise that Hermione did not keep. Oops! What was it, and what was the result?

RIDDLE #7: Clues You May Have Missed, Mark 1

Harry really should not have thought that Sirius was being tortured by Voldemort. He was not thinking very clearly, and the reasons are obvious. Still, if Harry had thought about previous instances when he witnessed Voldemort attacking people, he should have noticed that something was missing, something that should have been a cue that what Harry was seeing on that occasion was not for real. What was it?

RIDDLE #8: Clues You May Have Missed, Mark 2

I shouldn't wonder if Madam Umbridge gets worse than the sack after admitting, in front of a dozen students, that she set the dementors on Harry the summer before his fifth year. She could find herself on the wrong side of the courtroom Harry was tried in. Speaking of that courtroom, though, can you guess how Umbridge telegraphed her guilt in the very first scene in which she appeared? This one is so easy, it's a wonder we didn't notice it the first time we read it.

RIDDLE #9: Clues You May Have Missed, Mark 3

The first time we read Goblet of Fire, the fact that Professor Moody was actually a homicidal impostor came as a real shock. The next time through, we wondered how we could have missed all the numerous clues! One of the biggest giveaways should have been a lapse in the impostor's acting ability when he indulged in some of his favorite pastimes. Name a Moody line that, given the bogus teacher's evident relish in doing evil, must have sounded suspiciously insincere.

RIDDLE #10: A Loose Thread?

Here's a riddle that has been puzzling us since the first time we re-read Goblet of Fire. When Voldemort told Wormtail that only "one more murder" was needed before his plan could go forward, who did he mean? He couldn't have meant Alastor Moody, because he had to be kept alive for the impostor to interrogate & to provide hairs for the polyjuice potion. It couldn't have been Barty Crouch Sr., either, because they needed him keeping up appearances under the Imperius curse. I can't think of anyone whose death was required by the plan before Voldemort's faithful servant at Hogwarts could ensure that "Potter is as good as mine"--unless killing Frank Bryce was part of the plan--yet Voldemort did not seem to know that a Muggle was listening at that point. This one I DON'T know the answer to, so your suggestions are welcome....

[Originally Posted 12/24/04]

No comments: