30 July 2011


Locus Focus: Take Sixty-Two!

Welcome to Wizarding World Day!

Today is also Neville Longbottom's birthday. Potter-heads know Neville as the real hero of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. They'll also know Hermione Granger as the real protagonist. (Who's that boy with the glasses again? =P)

A couple of weeks ago, I said that I might not host Locus Focus in August. I still have a week to figure out whether I'm up to it or not. I'm flirting with a Mountain High theme challenge, because I've been neglecting high-altitude settings . . . but I'm really not sure. (Something else I'm flirting with is the idea of retiring Locus Focus after Take Ninety-Nine. Perhaps this meme--which has never gone viral, by the way--really has just run its course.) In the meantime, though, let's party like only Rowling's wizards know how to do. Here is one of my favourite settings from her Wizarding World . . .

The Great Hall
Harry Potter Series
by J.K. Rowling

Harry had never even imagined such a strange and splendid place. It was lit by thousands and thousands of candles that were floating in midair over four long tables . . .

These tables were laid with glittering golden plates and goblets. At the top of the hall was another long table where the teachers were sitting . . .

Harry looked upward and saw a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars. He heard Hermione whisper, "It's bewitched to look like the sky outside. I read it in
Hogwarts: A History."

It was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the Great Hall simply didn't open on to the heavens.

No matter which House you hope to be sorted into when you finally get your Hogwarts acceptance letter, you'll end up eating meals with the entire school in the Great Hall. And what meals they would be! When I first got into Harry Potter, a friend and I agreed that the best thing about Hogwarts was the food.

(We were Potter-head posers, you see: we would have traded a birthright of magic mumbo-jumbo for a mug of steaming butterbeer. And yes, I know that butterbeer is served in pubs and not in schools, but I thought a purely Rowling-esque reference was in order.)

I don't think the Great Hall has lost any of the wonder it had for me when I first walked into it with the eleven-year-old Neville Harry. Night had fallen, with the warm golden light of our strange new school the only beacon we could see as we approached on the dark lake. We were uncertain and nervous and hungry and smaller than anyone else there . . . Stepping into it from the darker, colder entrance hall was a little like being born.

And the enchanted ceiling? Everyone will tell you that it closes the deal. There is no ambiance like what you get from thousands of floating candles and a night sky silvery with starlight.

But the Great Hall is more than just a dining room and assembly hall. It is arguably the first "Room of Requirement," given all the functions it is able to serve. We see it converted into an extra-large classroom so the whole student body can have dueling lessons at the same time, and then a communal sleeping area so that everyone can spend the night in safety after a security breach in one of the dormitories. (Yes, the stars on the ceiling remain twinkling all night--although the candles have to be "extinguished" for lights out. And have I mentioned the "squashy purple sleeping bags"??? Oh, squashy, purple joy!)

At the end of each year, the Great Hall is also the examination room for all students taking their O.W.L.s, and during special occasions, it is transformed into a setting fit for a truly enchanted ball. And in the way of all schoolrooms during war, it joins any battle effort as a hospital for countless wounded, grieving and dead soldiers.

I'll bet it's all in Hogwarts: A History, too. Now, there's a book I'd like to read--preferably over several hearty lunches at the Ravenclaw table.

Now it's your turn!
Leave the link to your Locus Focus post in the linky
and take some time to check out and comment on those of others.
I can't wait to read what everyone has to say! =D

Image Source: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling


Jillian said...

The Great Hall definitely sounds like a dream dining room, doesn't it? Every single time I think of that place I think of different kinds of desserts just popping out everywhere, and goblets of drinks of every kind. Now if we could only find a place like that..

Enbrethiliel said...


I know what you mean! The Great Hall is like the heart of Hogwarts for me. =)

antiaphrodite said...

I don't (didn't?) read Harry Potter, but I've seen the movies, and I do like Neville Longbottom :-)

Enbrethiliel said...


Who doesn't love Neville???

I fell in love with him through the books, but I haven't seen any of the movies where he comes into his own. (Shocking, aye?)

antiaphrodite said...

Who doesn't love Neville???

I'm afraid there are not a few people who view him as nothing more than comic relief.

Shocking, aye?

Oh, not really--Harry himself isn't that much impressive in the movies!

Kate said...

Neville really grew on me as the series went on, especially after learning about his parents and granny.

And I'm still in for the occasional Locus Focus, as irregular as I am!

Enbrethiliel said...


I was pleased at the way Neville started emerging as a heroic character in The Order of the Phoenix, but I never expected the turn out in The Deathly Hallows. Yes, he does grow on a reader, doesn't he? =) It's a wonderful sort of charm that Harry himself doesn't have.

Thanks for your support of Locus Focus, Kate! I'm still thinking about what to do . . . but in the meantime, offline commitments are piling up!

Belfry Bat said...

I just noticed that, given how much the narrative hovers around Harry --- almost continuously for seven condensed years --- it would almost be treacly if he didn't grate on one, from time to time. Neville gets a lot less time in-view, so we're spared his occasional bathings and girl-induced butterflies and bitter wonderings about why Dumbledore doesn't trust him with secrets and all that... Actually, Neville probably doesn't expect Dumbledore to trust him with anything, and has enough apparent reasons for it to avoid wondering about why.

I wish there was more of Ginny, myself, but... we needn't examine that any more closely!

Kate said...

I understand! I'm in in my irregular way as long as you want to host :)

Enbrethiliel said...


Bat -- You're right. The poor character had no choice but to carry an entire series which would have been better shouldered by a strong ensemble cast. He did the best he could, and the results aren't so spectacularly bad.

Still . . . TEAM NEVILLE!!!

Kate -- We'll see what happens, come September! =)