Saturday, May 12, 2007

BBC: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Hola, bee-yoo-tiful readers! After months of Harry Potter-free BBC discussions (oh, the shame! *sniff*) as incurable HP uber nutters, Trollop and I feel like moonstruck cuckoos because, FINALLY, the day has come for us to discuss J.K. Rowling’s MAGNIFICENT series. *g* (Silence. I’m having a proud Book Bitch moment, uh-mm...)

I was thinking, we could have some Butterbeer and Firewhisky, grab some wands (not the x-rated wands, you dirty pervs!) and have some magical hula fiesta or something... What say you? :D

Oh, alright, geesh—I won’t delay it anymore. (I was just suggesting!) Fine. *hmph* To start with, here are the questions for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:
  • Other than Harry Potter himself, who did you consider the most interesting character in the book? Why? What details did Rowling provide that made that character come alive in your mind in all his or her complexity? Did you learn more about the character from his/her words, appearance or actions?
  • Is Hogwarts, as some critics have complained, too much of a “boy’s club”? What qualities did Hermione bring to the Hogwarts group?
  • Harry disobeys a direct order from one of the teachers and takes off on a broom. Instead of expulsion, it brings him the honor of being chosen as the Seeker for his Quidditch team. Can you find other instances in the story where a character’s action leads to opposite result from what is expected?
  • Quirrell tells Harry that: “There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it.” Do you agree with this? Is this the reality of the world? Or if good and evil do exist, what makes them so? Which is more important in the world, power, or good and evil?

[Added, 7:45 p.m.]
What JKR says about HP1:
  • JKR: “The Mirror of Erised is absolutely entirely drawn from my own experience of losing a parent. ‘Five more minutes, just please God, give me five more minutes.’ It’ll never be enough.”
  • The point of Chapter Ten is that death is “tougher on the living and you’ve just got to get past it.” Death is the books’ “most important theme.”
  • There were several discarded opening chapters, one of which had a muggle betraying the Potters, one had a character called “Pyrites,” whose name means “fools gold” meeting Sirius in front of the Potter’s house. Pyrites was a servant of Voldemort. The very, very earliest drafts had the Potters living on a remote island, and Hermione’s dad seeing an explosion out at sea. He sailed out and found their bodies in the ruins of their house.
  • JKR won’t tell us if anyone else was present in Godric’s Hollow the night Harry’s parents were killed.
  • JKR thinks that the scene where Voldemort appears in the back of Quirrell’s head is “one of the creepiest things I have ever written.”


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36 comment(s):

Anonymous Gabrielle said...

Havent reread it yet so Im going off memory....
Most interesting character in the book was definitely Snape. There was this evilness about him from the first moment Harry saw him. I like the way she described him with his sallow skin and oily hair. Reminded me of the guy from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (the scariest villain ever, long-hooked nose candy guy).*
Hogwarts is not a boys club. Hermione gave the group intelligence. It might be a little bit centred around boys at the moment but thats only becuase we havent been introduced to a lot of the other characters yet.
I think people have a choice to be good or evil. In the world, I hate to say it but power is most important.
*I was about to start writing about Sirius lol. But then I realised we're not up to that yet :(

5/12/2007 11:10:00 AM  

Blogger Vanessa said...

--Most interesting character in HP1: Dumbledore. Everyone says he is this great wizard, the greatest wizard of their time yet when we first met him, what did he say? "Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!" LOL Compare to the other books in the series, in HP1, we are not given the chance to know Dumbledore. He's still a mystery.

--I agree with Gabrielle. I don't think Hogwarts is a boy's club. There are very prominent female characters. Professor Macgonall for one.

I think Hermione brings some order in Harry and Ron's school activities. She bosses them around about homework and things etc.

--That time when Malfoy finds out about the dragon, Neville is not exactly brave but he goes off pass curfew to warn Harry and Hermione. And he gets caught by Professor MacGonagall and is told that Harry and Hermione are only trying to trick Malfoy to get detention.

--It's sad to say that in this world, power is usually more important than good or evil. The thing is with power, you have to choose where you are going to use it? For good or evil?

5/12/2007 11:55:00 AM  

Blogger Vanessa said...

Am I the only one who likes Peeves? I like the way Jim Dale does his voice :) I love the Weasley twins!

5/12/2007 12:03:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

1. I'm with Gabrielle, for me it's Snape. I love love love Snape. Not what he does but his character. I think he's a supremely well-done character. JKR did such a good job of him!

In HP1, he's nasty, he's evil, he makes Harry's life hell, but at the end you find out he's actually trying to save Harry's life. Throughout the book, you wonder about him. Anyway, Snape is a GREAT character with all his flaws and sneering. ;)

2. I agree with Gabrielle and Vanessa. I don't think it's a "boy's club." However, i don't think Hermione actually adds something "girly" in the story LOL. Well not in HP1 at least. I mean, i don't see her as this girly representative, instead she's the source of knowledge. Through her, JKR says info about the HP world and you accept it as FACT just because it comes from Hermione.

3. I'll state the most obvious LOL, Voldy, a powerful wizard, trying to kill baby Harry to secure his power. We all know he died because of it.

4. I believe there is always good and evil that's why i don't agree with Quirrell. I suppose it's like agreeing that those who seek and have power are good and those who are weak to seek it are bad?

5/12/2007 12:52:00 PM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

Ok here are some thought about HP1:

Like Vanessa, it's Dumbledore for me. I think it's he, not Harry, who symbolizes good in the HP series. Based from the way he looks, he's the typical wizard. The hat, the nose, the white hair and beard. I find it funny that he's a bit mad. LOL

I love the names of characters, like Dumbledore, Hagrid, Draco Malfoy, Fluffy the 3-headed dog. Brilliant.

I love The little boats the first years use in the river. (the first time I saw the movie, I thought it was wonderful)

I didn't notice before but Sirius was mentioned in HP1! Hagrid borrowed Sirius' flying motorcycle when he went to fetch baby Harry.

I'll think of more and be back later. :)

5/12/2007 02:24:00 PM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

Gabrielle, Harlot, how could you like Snape? He's evil!! He's nasty, unfair and vindictive and he always takes points off Gryffindor!

5/12/2007 02:25:00 PM  

Blogger Vanessa said...

Danielle, I love the little boats too and I noticed the mention of Sirius' name as well.

I think JKR plays with the character's name. Like Professor Sprout who is the herbology teacher. Fang, a cowardly doy. "Hogwarts" alone is great already.

The Hogwarts feasts always makes me hungry. They have the most delicious food in there.

I love the school song!

5/12/2007 02:55:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Danielle, how could i not like Snape's character? True, he's a nasty bastard but he's the most mysterious character in the series i think.

He's a FANTASTIC villain. Well, sorta. I mean, up until now we still don't know if he's good or bad. I won't say anymore, but i have a LOT to discuss about Snape on our HP6 discussion. he's one of my favorites. ;D

5/12/2007 03:20:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Oh I love the school song! Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts! LOL

5/12/2007 03:21:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

After rereading, I'm more impressed with JKR's writing. I won't say HP1 is truly GREAT, some scenes feel like they could have been explained more, but it was a wonderful start.

- Most interesting character: Snape. He's very interesting the sense that JKR made you think he really was the culprit so it's such a surprise when it was Quirrell we saw standing in front of the mirror.

- I agree with Harlot on this. Also when Hermione gives up an information, you don't think to question it because it feels like all her information are true.

- Of course knowledge of good and evil is more important than power. Sadly, people give more importance on power than good or evil. If you have power, you can even dictate what is good or what is wrong. For example, a land owner of course has power over his lands. He has the power to make and implement the law, to state what is allowed, good or not.

5/12/2007 03:39:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

What I like are the myths and mythical beings that JKR put in the book. The three-headed dog who resembles Cerberus in Greek mythology, the dog who guards the underworld. Fluffy guards something too, the Philosopher's Stone.

What about the owls? Owl is the symbol of the Roman goddess Minerva, goddess of wisdom. Come to think of it, Professor Minerva McGonagall should have an owl form when she transforms instead of a cat. :)

5/12/2007 06:02:00 PM  

Blogger Jolie said...

"Dumbledore for me. I think it's he, not Harry, who symbolizes good in the HP series."

** I have to agree on this. In book 1, the most interesting character for me is Dumbledore. I agree with Vanessa, it's only natural to be curious about the man everyone says is the only wizard who frightens Voldemort. It makes one wonder because Dumbledore has always been shown as this gentle old man who says silly words and likes socks. LOL

** Besides being the most intelligent, Hermione is the voice of caution between the three. She also mothers Harry and Ron some times. It sounds weird but she makes their studying schedules, she bosses them around, I'm pretty sure she even feeds the two boys.

** I agree with Isabella. If you have power, you can dictate what is good or what is evil. Horrid, isn't it?

5/12/2007 06:32:00 PM  

Blogger Jolie said...

Petra, that's a good one! You know what, I was surprised that Nicholas Flamel actually existed! LOL.

5/12/2007 06:44:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

RE: Professor Minerva McGonagall should have an owl form when she transforms instead of a cat

Petra, love your input. :D About the cat, maybe Jo based it with the way Egyptians saw cats, sacred, like deities. And aren't cats always been viewed as intelligent beings? ;)

5/12/2007 06:53:00 PM  

Blogger Polly King said...

1. Without a doubt, Snape. Although unlike Harlot, I don't like him! I agree that he's fascinating in a way because while you're reading the book, there is no doubt that Snape is the villain. He does things that makes you hate him. He dresses like a bat. He has greasy hair, etc. He is obviously intelligent, a great wizard, although he is very unfair. But in the end, he surprises you. Including Harry.

2. It is not a boy's club. Yes, there are more boys than girls, but we shouldn't forget that the most intelligent student in school is a girl. The head of Gryffindor house is a woman.

3. Harry's life has been ruled by actions that produced opposite results. He wouldn't even be THE Harry Potter if the most powerful dark wizard didn't try to kill him while he's still an innocent baby. Who would have thought he'll survive that?

4. I don't need to elaborate. Power trumps good and evil, but that doesn't mean it's more important.

5/12/2007 07:14:00 PM  

Blogger Aggie said...

I was fascinated by Snape because he seemed to be a very complex character, unlike the more straighforward characters especially written for the children to whom the book was aimed. I thought the whole gothic use of the colour black for his clothes and hair a very clever way of showing children that appearances can be deceiving. He was literally painted black to imply a dark character. Actions will speak louder than words in the end. I still think there is a lot more to come with this character.
I was also fascinated by the sorting hat.
Hermione is full of common sense and is smart. She thinks things through, whereas Ron and Harry are typical impetuous boys who act first and think later.
I never got the impresson that it was a boys club.
We live in a world where good and evil decisions are made every day. We see the results of evil decisions in the newspapers everyday also. The Harry Potter series implies that all is not visible to the naked eye and that there is hope of resolution and ultimately the overcoming of evil in our world:
As cildren live mostly in a land of their imagination, it is a powerful message to pass on, to say choose the good side in your imaginary (wizard) world, and it is very likely that you will choose the good later on in the real world. Als, that young people can choose to make a difference and do so. The story is handing the power to them to do that ... it is no wonder the series has proved so popular with kids (and adults, esp BB's & other overgrown chldren *ahem* me included) all over the world.

5/12/2007 08:01:00 PM  

Blogger Lily Moon said...

I thought discussion is not till tomorrow!

Snape is the most interesting character in book 1. He appears as this evil professor out to get Harry. Plus, Harry's scar hurt when he first met Snape. That has to be something!

I never thought of Hogwarts as a boy's club. I think Hermione has brought a lot of "good sense" in Harry and Ron's life.

I think good and evil is more important than power. Take a look at Harry. He is the most famous boy wizard in the world but instead of using that power, he set that aside to be just plain Harry. He'd rather have good friends who love him than be famous. He chose a moral path when he could have easily chosen power.

5/12/2007 08:16:00 PM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

Ok, I don't like Snape LOL, but I think Alan Rickman was perfectly casted to play him in the movies.

5/12/2007 08:19:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

RE: I think good and evil is more important than power. Take a look at Harry. He is the most famous boy wizard in the world but instead of using that power, he set that aside to be just plain Harry.

Lily, i agree. Dumbledore is also a good example of this. He is the greatest wizard in the world yet he never choose power over good.

Anyway, i think Dumbledore did Harry a lot of good when he left Harry with the Dursleys. He learned what it's like to be the one who has the disadvantage, to be poor, be unwanted, unloved. I don't think Harry could have turned out a better person if he grew up knowing he's a legend in the wizarding world.

5/12/2007 08:28:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

Aggie, I think the sorting hat is fascinating. LOL. I wonder how it actually made into being.

I like the sorting hat's song. It defines the four houses and the characters that belong to it:

Gryffindor: "Where dwells the brave at heart their daring, nerve, and chivalry set Gryffindors apart."

Hufflepuff: "Where they are just and loyal, those patient Hufflepuffs are true and unafraid of toil."

Ravenclaw: "If you've a ready mind, where those of wit and learning, will always find their kind."

Slytherin: "You'll make your real friends, those cunning folks use any means to achieve their ends."

5/12/2007 08:35:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

"Anyway, i think Dumbledore did Harry a lot of good when he left Harry with the Dursleys." I agree. Dumbledore is right as always:

"He'll be famous - a legend - I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future - there will be books written about Harry - every child in our world will know his name!"

"Exactly," said Dumbledore. "It would be enough to turn any boy's head. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won't even remember! Can't you see how much better off he'll be, growing up away from all that until he's ready to take it?"

5/12/2007 08:38:00 PM  

Blogger Polly King said...

Ravenclaw: "If you've a ready mind, where those of wit and learning, will always find their kind."

I've always thought Hermione should have been in Ravenclaw. I wonder why the sorting hat put her in Gryffindor.

5/12/2007 08:56:00 PM  

Blogger Lily Moon said...

Lol, Harlot, yes you're right about Dumbledore.

I too like the sorting hat and it's song. Actually I like all the songs in HP. The school's song is hilarious. lol

5/12/2007 09:01:00 PM  

Blogger Aggie said...

P.S. btw Harlot & Trollop ... I did not cheat! (hand over heart)

5/12/2007 11:14:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Oh, i thought you guys will like this ;)


ALBUS DUMBLEDORE: His first name is from the Latin word alba, "white." His last name, according to Rowling interviews, is Old English for "bumblebee." In color symbolism, white often stands for purity, so the headmaster's name suggests honor and a hard-working nature ("busy as a bee").

RUBEUS HAGRID: Rubeus, possibly from the Latin rubinus, "red." Also possibly from Hagrid Rubes, "Giant of the Jewels." He was a kind giant in ancient Greek mythology. (Hagrid is a nice, generous man.) Zeus, chief of the gods, framed him for murder. (Hagrid and Aragog were framed for deaths of Hogwarts students.) Zeus banished him from Mount Olympus, home of the gods, but allowed him to take care of the animals. (Headmaster Dippet expelled him from Hogwarts, but Dumbledore convinced him to keep Hagrid on as head gamekeeper.) Hagrid also may nean "hung over," as from alcohol. Hagride is a verb that means "to torment."

MINERVA MCGONAGALL: Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom and war. Her pet was an owl, like Athene, who was her equivalent in Greek mythology. The name Minerva also means "wise." The Scottish name McGonagall (or McGonigle, McGonegal) is from the Celtic name Conegal, meaning "the bravest," plus Mc, or "son of."

QUIRRELL: May be from the word squirrel, for a group of nervous, nut-eating rodents that live in trees. The professor was a scared, shaky man who behaved a lot like one, later an act to cover up his allegiance to Voldemort. The Diagon Alley extension of the Harry Potter Trading Card Game lists Quirrell's first name as Quirinus. Several Roman Catholic martyrs bore this name. Quirinus also was the name of a Sabine war god worshipped by the ancient Romans. It may be derived from the world "spear" in the Sabine language, and from the Latin corvirium, or "assembly of men."

SEVERUS SNAPE: Severus was the name of several ancient Roman emperors and later, early saints. Severus is the Latin word for "strict" or "severe," which the professor truly is. Snape also a town in England. It also is a shipbuilding term. It means to bevel the end of a piece of wood, or cut it at a sloping angle, so it fits against an inclined surface.

MALFOY: This name is taken from mal foi, or "bad faith" in French.

POTTER: Harry is a medieval English version of the name Henry, "ruler of the home." It also can be a nickname for Harold, "army ruler." Potter is a name derived from a trade practiced by an ancestor -- far enough back, someone in the family line made earthenware items (compare to Smith or Cook). Rowling got his name from some kids with whom she played in Winterbourne, England, in the late 1960s. Lily (mom) is a flower of the genus Lilium that often symbolizes purity. James (dad) means "supplanter." This is one who or takes the place of someone else, especially by force.

HERMIONE GRANGER: Rowling first encountered "Hermione" when she saw William Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale on a school field trip. Hermione is is from Greek for "earthly." A grange in British English is a countryside estate or farming complex. A granger in UK English is a manager of a grange; in U.S. English it means farmer.

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM: Neville means "new town." Longbottom is a comical name, perhaps suggesting this bumbling student is chubby or has a "long bottom" that trips him up.

HEDWIG: Hedwig is German for "battling." St. Hedwig (1174-1243) was the Duchess of Silesa, Germany, and wife of King Henry I. She was remembered as wise and deeply religious. She was noted for her generous assistance to Catholic monks and for unselfishly tending lepers within her kingdom. Hedwig also was responsible for starting an order of nuns who cared for orphans.


5/13/2007 10:19:00 AM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Aggie, you did try to cheat! We have a proof! :P

5/13/2007 10:20:00 AM  

Blogger Jordis Juice said...

I love the meaning of the names!

Regarding the sorting, I think it's interesting that the sorting hat was actually going to put Harry in Slytherin house. What if it did?

Harry has qualities that can be associated with Slytherin. He is also connection with Voldemort who is the most famous student of Slytherin house. It's the same with Harry's wand matching Voldemort's and we all know the wand chooses the wizard.

5/13/2007 12:03:00 PM  

Blogger Vanessa said...

I don't think the sorting hat has ever been wrong when it comes to placing students in the right house. I guess Harry's qualities are more of Gryffindor than Slytherin.

5/13/2007 02:06:00 PM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

The character that baffled me the most in the Philosopher’s stone was Dumbledore. We kept hearing what a wise and wonderful wizard he was, but all I saw was a silly old man LOL. Then of course, after he finds Harry with the mirror things changed for me. I loved the kind but firm way in which he handled the situation and how smart but practical his observations were. Dumbledore became one of my favorite characters after the last scene in the hospital when talked to harry about he who must not be named.

Snape, meeehhhhhh. I agree he’s a very complex individual, but I didn’t see it in the first book. He was a meanie and an idiot. Yes, he does save Harry, but for the wrong reasons IMO. What I disliked a lot about his character reading HP1 (when we didn’t know all that much about him) was holding a grudge against Harry, who’s just a little boy because of something that had happened 20 years ago! I kept thinking “you should grow up, greasy idiot” LOL

Since we only see Hogwards in Harry’s eyes it’s really difficult to say if it’s a “boy’s club”. First of all, at 11 boys usually only hang out with boys, Hermoine being the difference. It sounds a bit on the “you’re only in if you’re rich and popular” at some points (Malfoy and his cronies, the girls that shun out hermoine, the muggle haters and so on) but I think this is normal adolescent behavior, perhaps made worse because they live/study together and they compete against each other in quidditch and house cup.

Through out all the books we see Harry getting away with a lot of stuff other people wouldn’t LOL. The book is full of examples, but we love Harry precisely because he takes risks and isn’t a dull, rule following idiot :P

Good and evil? Of course they exist. What I don’t believe is that something/someone is completely good or completely evil. Except in my case, I’m completely good, but the exceptions are few and far between LOL Power is way more important than either good or evil. It’s how you choose to use it that counts.

5/13/2007 05:19:00 PM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

Aggie, glad you didn't cheat! LOL Your observations on spane and his description are interesting, never thought about that before. I also LOVE the sorting hat and his songs LOL

Had forgotten about the female teachers. There's quite a few, McGonagall being the most prominent. Though, yes, most are men.

Danielle, Alan Rickman ROCKS as Snape.

You know, I like the HP movies. They're fun and entertaining. I get to see what my mind has conjured up before in a totally wrong way LOL And don't even get me started on pronounciations!!!! I'm like HUH? what is she saying and then I realize its a word I had totally mispronounced in my mind!!!!!! Same with the audiobooks LOL

5/13/2007 05:30:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

RE: Snape, meeehhhhhh.

I dare you say that in front of Snape and not be cursed! Alan Rickman is FANTASTIC as Snape!

I have to agree with the movies and audiobooks and that pronunciation stuff LOL. The most i remember is Hermione. I used to call her Her-mee-yon. :S

5/13/2007 06:07:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

>>>Regarding the sorting, I think it's interesting that the sorting hat was actually going to put Harry in Slytherin house. What if it did?

I don't think Harry should be in Slytherin. I think the reason the sorting hat considered to put him in Slytherin is because he has this connection to Voldemort but unlike Voldemort, Harry has never chosen power.

Sorting hat: "Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. There's talent, oh my goodness, yes and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that's interesting..."

Unlike the Slytherin qualities that Voldemort had, Harry has a thirst to prove himself, but he does not desire power.

I think it's Harry's courage that put him in Gryffindor.

5/13/2007 07:10:00 PM  

Blogger Lola Lovegood said...

As far as interesting characters go, mine was Mr. Dursley. What is wrong with that man? LMAO The things he did had me howling with laughter. I think he's still one of my fave HP characters. He's not complex at all and didn't baffle me, Dumbledore did, but just thought I'd give a different character :)

I think Hogwards might have been boys club at another time and perhaps it still shows on some aspects. Like trollop said, the thing is we see Hogwards in Harry's mind and since he is eleven maybe he blocks out the girls? Even Hermoine until about half the book.

5/14/2007 08:01:00 AM  

Blogger Lorelei said...

Did you notice that Harry Potter books have a pattern?

1. Summer before Harry goes back to Hogwarts, usually at Privet Drive.

2. Hogwarts: flatform 9 3/4, the train, new teachers, introduction of new task Harry has to overcome.

3. Harry has to solve a mystery and then overcome it, always with Ron and Hermione's help.

4. Dumbledore and Harry talks, and Harry learns a lot of information and lessons.

5. Journey back to Privet Drive.

5/14/2007 08:57:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

Lorelei, you're right. LOL. I don't have a problem with it though if that's what you mean. :)

What bothers me in HP1 is that Harry, Ron and Hermione, just first year students in Hogwarts, could pass the barriers the teachers have put to guard the sorcerer's stone. I thought if kids could pass them, a full-grown trained wizard won't have difficulty passing those barriers (besides the mirror, that's a good trick by Dumbledore).

5/14/2007 10:50:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

I think Dumbledore is, in Lord Voldemort's words, "omniscient as ever". There are many circumstances in HP1 that makes you think Dumbledore has orchestrated the whole thing, that things has happened because it's his way of teaching Harry and training Harry for his future.

For example, Dumbledore was conveniently away when Harry, Ron and Hermione had to go through the trap door. There's also the invisibility cloak, he made sure Harry got it. He even gave it back when Harry left it in the astronomy tower. Then, the Mirror of Erised. It was left alone till Harry found it and was later taught by Dumbledore himself how the mirror works. What about Fluffy? Dumbledore knew Hagrid and Harry are friends and with Hagrid's tendency to "spill out" information, it'll be easy for Harry to pass the dog.

It's also possible that Dumbledore actually knew about Quirrell. But since things were under control, and all of it would happen under his watch and his school, he deliberately let things to unfold to "train" Harry.

5/15/2007 09:13:00 AM