Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Harry's Dreams

I have to put this down before I forget it. In Half-Blood Prince, Harry has another of those dreams that he's always having--you know, the ones that sound significant but really make no sense. Just when I think I have one figured out, the whole thing falls apart and then I go off to other things, convinced that the dream was just random, as most of my dreams tend to be.

This particular one was in Chapter 21, "The Unknowable Room". Harry just learned from Dobby, with very little help from Kreacher, that Draco has been going to the 7th floor regularly, with a variety of other students. In a literal head-slapping moment, Harry realizes that the other students are just Crabbe and Goyle, who, with the help of polyjuice potion, look like first-year girls. So even though Harry knows he needs to persuade Slughorn to give him the real memory, he is obsessed with finding out what Draco is doing in the Room of Requirement. Hermione reminds Harry once again that he needs to concentrate on getting the memory from Slughorn for Dumbledore.

Harry didn't sleep well that night, thinking about what Draco might be doing in the ROR. Was Draco using it for a meeting place, a hideout, a storeroom, workshop? Well, he's at least close on the last two. But all that just led him to have a strange dream:

Harry's mind worked feverisly and his dreams, when he finally fell asleep, were broken and disturbed by images of Malfoy, who turned into Slughorn, who turned into Snape. . . [HBP-p. 456]

Now that's what really has me puzzled. Is Rowling connecting those three characters because our minds often do that sort of random connection in a dream, putting together pieces of our daytime thoughts and conversations, or is she using those three characters because there IS a connection between them?

1. There might be no particular connection or significance at all, except that in this chapter, Harry is thinking about these three characters--wondering what Draco is up to, trying to get the memory from Slughorn, and being irritated with Snape over his dementor essay.

2. Draco might be working with the help of Slughorn and Snape.

3. Draco, Slughorn and Snape are put together because each is concealing something from Harry (and from the reader).

4. Or. . .?

I'd welcome any comments on this one. I always seem to get stuck on Harry's enigmatic dreams.



Kato said...

Hi Pat,

I just finished reading the Half Blood Prince. As usual it was a very good read. Here's what I thought when reading the part about Harry's dream, the connection he's making between Slughorn, Malfoy and Snape in this way (no expert here, just what I thought)is quite simple. Slughorn is the potions teacher. I believe Harry dreamed that Malfoy was getting the polyjuice potion from Slughorn. Also, Harry has always believed that Malfoy was Snape's favorite, so it's not a far stretch that Harry would have dreamed they were working together.

Now, with all that said I would not be surprised to find that Rowling had some deeper meaning than my simple reading of that passage.

Here's one question about the book: did you find it in any way frustrating that Harry was so taken by the potions book? Even with the dire reminder from Jenny, he still would not give any credence to the idea that it was bad to depend so heavily on the book, even to the point of trying spells. I found this really frustrating in light of what happened to Jenny and Harry with Tom Riddle's book. It seems for someone who has seen so much in his young life (meaning that Harry's innocence is pretty much gone) that Harry would have been more careful and would have confided in Dumbledore what he had found. Just seems a little out of character, even in light of Sirius' death (meaning that he lost his confidant with Sirius' death).

Good post, thanks.

Eeyore said...

Kato, thanks for the comments. Yes, not only did I find it disturbing that Harry was so obsessed with the Prince's Potions book, but I also found it disturbing that he was so willing to try out unknown spells, despite further warnings from Hermione.

I liked HBP, but there were times that I didn't like Harry much. While it was good to see that he is more adept as a wizard and more confident in his own abilities, he at times bordered on being arrogant, and that's not a good thing if his heart is supposed to be filled with love in order to defeat Voldemort.

professor_mum said...

Hello Pat, professor_mum here. Seems like Harry is dreaming about people who are concealing things from him --- Slytherins all.

It also seems like an extension of a dream from all the way back in SS/PS where he dreams about Malfoy morphing into Snape, the turban blinding him, a high pitched laugh. So the premonition vibes seem to be a bit louder HBP.