|Dancing at the Yule Ball|
And then we have the second task, which Harry only just manages to make it to, and it's perhaps my favourite task because it best shows Harry as Harry will come to be. Even when he's a little bit stupid (or a lot. I mean seriously dude, did you actually think Dumbledore would kill students to punish you for failing? Hogwarts safety precautions are lax but not that bad) first and foremost he is loyal, noble to a fault (there's that stupidity thing again) and brave. It's just as important to save a stranger as it is his best friend, and no competition is worth enough to leave people potentially in danger. It manages to show both his faults and his virtues, and paves the way for his often stupid but always well-meaning and brave decisions in the next three books. I also really love that the mer-people are creepy and that they're led by a woman. Those scaly folk know what's what.
Extra thoughts for your dollar
*Just to add to the house elf debate from last week, on p331 Dobby uses the term enslavement to describe the house elves situation.
*I'm really glad Fleur is brought back later, because I disliked her A LOT in this book, but I hated disliking her because I knew I was being told to feel that way about her. At least later she has a bit more substance to her character, so if you still hate her you're hating her on your terms.
*I like how responsible Sirius is in this book. He's the adult Harry needs in his life.
*Does anyone remember reading whether Skeeter was based on a real journo? I felt like that Hermione scene with the hate mail was probably based off mail she received (howlers excluded obvs) after some journo bashed her for dating Gordon Ramsay or something. (she didn't date Gordon Ramsay did she? I just make that up, and I think I'd die if she actually did)
*You become a prefect for the bathroom right?
*Why does Cedric have to be so cryptic with his help? It's not like Harry was like, "hey Cedric, to prepare for the first task maybe take a jump in a volcano - it'll be like that but mobile"
*For some reason I always imagine Ron's dress robes are really slim fitting, like Morticia from the Addam's family. No idea why, but it's hilarious and I recommend you all do the same.
*I can never decide how I feel about Hermione's 'transformation' at the ball- it's too close to the slew of 90s films about the ugly girl becoming beautiful enough for the handsome guy, but was actually pretty all along and why does she need to take off painter's overalls to be considered beautiful huh? Although I respect Hermione being like, 'yeah dude too much work, I'll save that shit for my wedding or something' - because I know those feels lady.
Is everyone psyched for next week's final installment, also known as that-time-when-the-evil-dudes-got-real-chatty-and-talked-on-and-on-and-on-for-several-chapters?