Tag Archives: Gaskell

the Obligatory Non-Knitting Post

A muggle friend recently pointed out to me that my blog, of late, has been entirely about knitting.

I almost replied back, “I have no response to that,” but instead I promised to blog about something else. Just not sure what that should be.

I haven’t purchased any yarn in awhile so writing about new stash items isn’t a temptation.

I’m still on sock #2 of my Rockin’ Socks so nothing new there, other than the spiral reverse hit in exactly the same spot on the top of the foot so that’s cool! With Stephanie coming to visit this weekend, I’m sure we’ll get some good knitting time and I’ll be able to finish it and start something else (like Sarah Miller’s now rather late birthday present).

Oh wait, I’m not supposed to be blogging about knitting….uhm, what else is there?

Oh yeah, books and thanks to my friend Karen for the following topic: Dickens World!

Read all about it here and here then come back. I’ll wait. I promise.

My next trip to England simply must include a day trip to Chatham to see this park. Especially if they have a space honoring Mrs. Gaskell. Elizabeth Gaskell was a contemporary of Dickens, and she is quickly becoming my second favorite writer and bumping Graham Greene to third. I’m afraid Mr. Greene is in for another step down once I get around to reading P.G. Wodehouse.

I’m trying to figure out what kinds of rides the park engineers have devised. I don’t think any of the novels particularly lend themselves to water based rides (then again, I’ve only read Bleak House, Hard Times, and Great Expectations). Gah, I really should read more before I go. Sheesh, 3 of 17 is pathetic? I should be ashamed.

OK, after I finish my re-reads of the Harry Potter novels, I’m adding a few Dickens novels to the top of my book queue. Maybe I could alternate them with Mrs. Gaskell’s novels that I’ve yet to pick up.

And since I mentioned Harry Potter, here are a few clues I’ve picked up from my re-reads of books 1-3 (I’m about a third of the way through book 4).

*****WARNING: SPOILERS FOR HARRY POTTER BOOKS AHEAD*****

Professor Snape is likely NOT a vampire. If you hadn’t heard that theory, now you have. Yes, I know, he swoops about the castle and draws his cloak around himself like a bat and seems to move from place to place rather quickly AND JK Rowling’s initial sketch of him was as a vampire, but I’m still fairly certain he’s not a vampire. Why you may ask?

Well, for one Hermione would probably have picked up on it. In the second book, Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets, she reads all of Gilderoy Lockhart’s books, including Voyages with Vampires. Now Lockhart was hardly an expert on anything other than Memory Charms, but the people he interviewed and susbequently plagiarized probably were. Even with his literary embellishments, he had to have enough facts to get the books published. I think Hermione and probably all of Ravenclaw might have become suspicious of Professor Snape after reading that book. Now suspicions aren’t enough for Hermione to disrespect a Professor not even Snape at this point, but then we come to the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkahban.

While Professor Lupin is ill, Professor Snape substitute teaches and assigns an essay on werewolves. From this assignment and other clues, Hermione figured out Professor Lupin’s secret. Later in the novel, there is a short line (wedged into a section about Quidditch practice I believe) about Harry needing more time to finish his essay on vampires for Professor Lupin’s class. Ding ding ding. Professor Lupin assigned an essay on vampires. If Harry wrote one, then Hermione did too, and Hermione is far too clever to miss connecting what she read to Professor Snape’s appearance, habits, and (thus far revealed) character. And after witnessing his irrational behaviour when Sirius escaped, I doubt she would have kept his secret even if respect for his position and trust in Dumbledore had kept her from revealing it before.

Speaking of respect for position: I have also noticed something interesting in the way professors at Hogwarts are addressed. 9 times out of 10, when a professor is mentioned, it is by name and title. Professor McGonagall, Professor Flitwick. Even Professor Quirrell. The exception to this: Professor Snape. For him, the ratio is reversed. He is almost always mentioned without his title, even in the narration. In dialogue, particularly between students, this lack of respect is in character as they all rather despise him, but for the narration to regularly omit his title is perplexing. Professor Dumbledore corrects Harry’s lack of respect at least once (in the first book and I find it interesting that line was kept in the film as well), but it is not corrected by McGonagall or Lupin (nor Siruis but that is very much in his his character). This strikes me as a deliberate but subtle way to encourage the reader to accord less respect to Professor Snape than to the other teachers. Is this an allusion to Snape’s true loyalty or methodical misdirection?

I don’t think Harry’s scar is a horocrux, but I can’t recall why not. I remember having an epiphany moment somewhere near the end of Chamber of Secrets, but I didn’t write it down or discuss it with anybody so my brain never filed it in long term storage. Grr.

Maybe it’s because I’m knitting socks and have socks on the brain, but I’ve noticed that socks receive an unusual emphasis in the Harry Potter novels. In the first book, Dumbledore claims to see himself receiving a pair of nice woolen socks when he looked into the Mirror of Erised. In book two, Harry gives his his sock and the diary of Tom Riddle to Luscius Malfoy who then inadvertently frees Dobby by giving the sock to him. In book 3, Harry keeps the Sneak-o-Scope in a pair of Dudley’s old socks. And in one of those books (can’t recall which one), Mrs. Weasley sends Ron (and Harry?) a pair of socks to match the yearly Christmas jumper she sends.

So there it is a blog entry primarily not about knitting. And lest you ethical types worry that I’ve been blogging rather than working, rest easy in the knowledge that I’ve been writing this blog over the course of many days during lunch breaks, after hours, and occasionally during slow running queries.

Current Netflix: Tsotsi, Happy Feet, and The Prestige (on loan from Heather: The Departed and from Micah: Casino Royale). If you can’t tell, I’m trying to catch up on 2006 films in anticipation of my annual movie review.