Seven Questions for JKR
Soccer Dad posted some thought-provoking Harry Potter questions today, inspiring me to get some of mine down in writing as well. Countless more good questions and discussion points can be found on the hundreds upon hundreds of Potter-related web sites and blogs, including, of course, author J. K. Rowlings' own. The fact that so many tantalizing and difficult queries can be raised on the series is not a critique of the J. K. Rowlings masterwork, but rather its high praise. In any subcreation - to use Tolkien's term - as rich and detailed as Harry's world, there are bound to be loose ends and unsolved mysteries, surely as there are in our own world.
So in honor of 7th and final book (five months from tomorrow and counting!), here are the seven questions I'd like to ask Rowling. H/T to some of my Potter-fan family members for a couple of them.
1) There are many magical objects such as portraits, the Marauders Map, and the Weasley's car, which seem to have distinct personalities. Do these objects have sentience? If not, how do they carry on detailed conversations, display a range of emotions, and the like?
2) If a device such as the Time Turner is accessible enough to be granted to a thirteen-year-old student to enable her to take extra classes at Hogwarts, how is it that evil (or just plain unscrupulous) wizards don't use them all the time to change history to their advantage?
3) Do Hogwarts students pay tuition? If not, where does the money come from for staff salaries, food, etc?
4) Are all the Hogwarts teachers lifelong bachelors and spinsters? There has never been any hint of staff members' spouses or children.
5) England's Prime Minister and (presumably) other world leaders are depicted as being formally informed of the existence of the magical community in cases of dire emergency, but otherwise it is said to be unknown to the general public. Yet there must be a significant percentage of "muggles" in the world who have magical children, relatives, or other close friends. Are all these people sworn to secrecy? E.g., what do Hermione's friends from grade school think happened to her? How can the magical world be kept such a widespread secret?
On a related note, one of the scenes I always wanted to see in the series was a meeting between the Grangers and Dursleys. It would be interesting to see how Vernon and Petunia would react to meeting other non-magical, utterly "normal" parents who are happy and proud of their child becoming a witch.
6) It's been shown that the stairways in the girls dormitories are magicked to prevent boys from entering, even with utterly innocuous motives. Yet we saw Hermione enter the boys dorm on at least two occasions - Christmas in books 2 and 3 to deliver presents. Are girls considered more trustworthy? Or did the spell make an exception for the Holidays?
7) And speaking of Christmas, are all the Hogwarts students Christian, or are there a few token Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc? E.g., are the Parvati sisters Hindu, is the Anthony Goldstein mentioned in book five Jewish, etc.?