[DWJ] Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, part 1

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Thu Jul 12 14:47:34 EDT 2007

On Thu, 12 Jul 2007 14:11:32 +0100, Phil Boswell wrote:

>On 12/07/07, Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at proffitt.com> wrote:

>> One I don't like here also bugged me in the first
>> book, and that's the description of Ginny Weasley as a "small girl" (p. 35
>> here, also somewhere in _PS_ that I don't feel like looking up again).  My
>> impression from those words as well as her overall cringing behavior was of
>> a much younger child, certainly not someone just a year older than Harry and
>> his pals.
>She's only 10 or 11 years old at this point. That's a period when you
>see a huge variation in size between children. 

My point is that the phrase "small girl" is usually synonymous with "child"
or even "young child."  Ginny is certainly small for her age, but even at 10
her social and mental maturity would distinguish her from a younger girl. In
my 11-year-old daughter's school class, there are a few very tall kids (mine
included) and two (male and female) who are significantly smaller than the
rest, but no one would think of them as small; they might instead be called
"short."  I agree that in a literal sense "small" is accurate, but I seem to
associate that term with development rather than height.

>> Which, ironically, makes the revelation that she's the one who's been
>> working all the mischief (albeit under duress) almost chilling.  The girl
>> nobody takes seriously has actually killed creatures with her own hands
>> (Hagrid's roosters, and yes that's not much as far as death goes, but it's
>> still the first time in the series that actual death happens--p. 310).
>Quirrell died at the end of the first book, so this isn't actually the
>first time. Not quite as obviously as in the film, but just as dead.

Yes, this is true, and my comment should have indicated either "murder" or
"deliberate killing" rather than simple death.  (I read Quirrell's death as
either his own dumb fault or a fatal accident for which Harry is the
proximate cause.)  The reason I think it's important is that juvenile books
seem very strict on not letting sympathetic characters cause the death of
others, no matter how rotten and evil the others might be, no matter how
small a death.  So Ginny's actions are fairly unusual for a juvenile novel,
if that's what it is.

It's good to see people are actually reading these essays.  :)

Melissa Proffitt

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