Thursday, October 10, 2013

Basilisks and other Delights

 I have plenty to say about chapter 16..but first, I just want to brag a bit.

 My potions are ready:

Both recipes:

Our Love Potion (otherwise know as the Elixir for Reduced Internal Chatter and Lowered Inhibitions) is deliciously complete and ready for shipping to those in need. Unless I drink it all and wind up reliving A Midsummer Night’s Dream in my magical-haze, in which case, you’ll need to brew your own. Gather a handful dried Siberian Ginseng, 4 pieces candied ginger, a stick of cinnamon, a split vanilla bean, and five cardamom pods (peel then and drop the seeds on by one into a quart jar with the rest of the herbs and spices. Four dried apricots and an optional three dried cherries are then added to the jar. Pour a cup of good vodka (or cheap, if you like that extra ‘bite’) and a cup of brandy (never use flavored brandy of any sort - especially coffee-flavored brandy!) and a half cup of raw honey. You can also add up to a half cup of distilled water to make a less potent version if you fear overdoing it on the pure potion (there is no shame in that!). Cap the jar tightly and shake well to mingle the flavors and set to rest in an appropriate environment (under the moon, in a cobwebby corner, in the soft light of the rising sun..) Shake and move the jar daily - this potion gets bored quickly- to keep the ingredient will mixed. Taste in 21 days, and if it passes muster - cork it and prepare to enjoy the bliss of a mind quieted by magic. 

The pepperup potion is still around as well! Though I've discovered that when you use really cheap vodka, it's best to use about 3 more peppercorns and an added hour of steeping time. And I used really cheap vodka. But apart from that minor mishap, it's a delicious success. We have two little bottles. And it displays so well!

So while you're stirring a potion of your own, let's talk about The Basilisk. My absolute favorite Harry Potter meme can finally come into the discussion:

From HarryPotterHumor

hahahahahaha!!! I've been holding on to that one since before there even was a Harry Potter book-club! I love it. But more seriously..and even without catchy memes, I think the Basilisk is one of Rowling's biggest successes - myth and symbolism-wise. She pulls a major win here. I know, I know..the actual myth is less dramatic, but you know, artistic license is a pretty essential aspect of storytelling, and unlike some, I'm not about to fault her for a bit of creativity. We haven't exactly seen the basilisk yet - he's still hiding out in the Chamber, but his whole creeping through the pipes of the castle, trying desperately to kill with a glance is delightful. As is the exceptional luck of all Hogwart's students (leading me to wonder about protective spells and charms within the school itself). But, for those like our friend at Unexplained Mysteries (see above link), disappointed with Rowling's basilisk - there are battles worth fighting against Rowling's adaptations, this isn't one of them. Sit back, relax (try some of my potion!), and remember that despite not falling exactly into line with past incarnations, Rowling's basilisk is - at heart - every bit as beautifully evil as any other (though I agree, the sneaky weasel is a way better foe for it than a rooster's crow - best would be having Ron Weasley represent the weasel and kill it..but...well..SPOILER!

The point is, that myth is always semi-fluid, it's the deeper symbolism that ties it all together more than the externals. The real myths of the basilisk are so varied themselves that it seems more nit-picky than even I want to be to cry foul on this particular incarnation. Especially when, at heart, the book's version is a match. Rowling's basilisk is like myth itself - altered by time and place, decorated through her own imagination, and yet an obvious descendent of it's namesake. So Congratulations from me, J.k., on a job well done here. But don't worry, I'll chew her out for something else soon. Promise. 

for now, I'm just having too much fun being Gothic!

 But tell me. WHY exactly do Harry and Ron go to the teacher's loung to talk to McGonagall, overhear everything, then leave without telling her anything at all, and then (as if they can't get any dumber) go to talk to Lockhart of all people - knowing full well he's a hopeless failure. Is there a reason - aside from moving the plot along - that they would do that? Because I can't see one. Ron? Harry? Did your brains die right there in the staffroom?  Hmmm??

Moaning Myrtle - can you tell I'm having an easy time loading pictures?

 Moaning Myrtle is another win for Rowling. Maybe that's why I enjoy this book so much. She writes the house-elves, so I have something to cling to in my Un-Fan-ness, but then she has the basilisk, the dueling club, and Myrtle - whose life is so pathetic, so full of small miseries, and then death..and her death is full of the same collection of small miseries! She's a fantastic character. So very mundane - proof, at least, that it's not only muggles in the series who fail so completely at life.



  1. HAHAHAHAHAHA! That meme image!

    OK... best. pictures. EVER. You make me wish I'd chosen to wear all black today. ;P And you totally put all my H.P.B.C. project photos to shame! Now I'll just have to try harder! And I'm so excited about your potions. They look amazing!

    though I agree, the sneaky weasel is a way better foe for it than a rooster's crow - best would be having Ron Weasley represent the weasel and kill it..but...well..SPOILER!

    I can think of at least two or three things you might mean by SPOILER, there. ;)

    The only reason I can think of for Harry and Ron not going immediately to McGonagall is that hearing that Ginny was taken is a huge shock--huge enough to knock Ron off his feet--and, owing to the "Her skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever" comment, they more or less seem to presume Ginny's dead. And they're twelve--they haven't talked to Myrtle at that point--they're stunned into inaction, and, weirdly enough, they believe that Lockhart is going to try and go after Ginny. Ron's already been skeptical about the content of Lockhart's books, but apparently not skeptical enough.

    Still kind of a sketchy rationalization, though. :)

  2. . . . I don't get it.

    Is the basilisk guy from a different movie that I haven't seen? that's the drawback of Juxtaposition Humor; it's lost on me if I haven't seen the thing the other thing is being juxtaposed with. I thought you were going to post this:

    pretty potions, though. <3 I hope you had a fun day on the town; I got to talk to Y. and the fam via speakerphone this afternoon.

  3. I think Jenna's got the best explanation we're going to get; they're twelve and Ron just found out his sister's dead. They're not thinking very well at this point. It's still a plot hole, and pretty patently there just so that Harry has to deal with the probelm instead of McGonagal, Flitwick, and Snape heading down for ten minutes and coming back up with Ginny and three swanky new pairs of boots.

    It also raises the question of how they got out of the staff room and back to the tower without McGonagall asking what they were doing there.

    Myrtle's great; I don't think it's a spoiler to mention that it's later revealed she came back as a ghost specifically to get back at one of her tormentors, meaning that her present situation is entirely due to her own pettiness. Like you say, she pretty much fails completely at life AND at death.

  4. Oh Antoine Dodson and inside jokes splashed all over public blogs...
    -The Neglected Husband

  5. As a folklore enthusiast, I sympathize with that person's complaints. As a storyteller, I do otherwise. c;