Possessions and the criminal lack of responsible adults

After Harry’s eventful year, he is back with his abusers where a house elf is ready and able to steal his mail. This raises some questions. A lot of them have to do with how safe Harry was from death eaters but most to me are about how Dumbledore could have asked a house elf to check if Harry was alright. Maybe over the summer when the Hogwarts house elves had less to do. It’s baffling that Harry is ‘protected’ by the blood wards that work so well that a house elf can easily break in. And this isn’t any old house elf it’s the elf of the right-hand man of the terrorist the blood wards were put up for the first place. Furthermore, Dumbledore doesn’t notice this happening. Honestly, Lucius Malfoy could have abducted Harry Potter apparently without a problem years ago (COS: 1, 9). It’s an oversight of Dumbledore and it’s neglectful. There must be a way to keep house elves out of someone’s home. Also, the ministry now if not earlier knows where Harry lives, making this whole arrangement compromised (COS: 2, 21). In this book, we see a clear escalation of the Dursley’s behaviour as they are putting in a cat flap, and numerous locks and bars on the window. One might wonder when Harry goes to the bathroom or takes a shower. The author describes a situation worse than prison where even in the worst of cases the prisoners can go to the toilet when they need to and they are let outside for at least an hour a day. We know Dumbledore didn’t send a house elf or check on Harry because this situation is so clearly abusive no one in their right mind would let him stay there. The escalation is implied rather than explicit where in the ten years between 1981 and 1991 it could be assumed that besides the cupboard bedroom, it might have not been that bad, we now have clear evidence here that it was. This could have easily been a murder mystery story had Harry passed. One might wonder if this is all Dumbledore’s fault. Yes, he put him in this situation. But the list of accomplishes is growing but that isn’t for this post. The house elf makes Harry very scared that he is forgotten and he has no friends, not to mention that he cannot do his homework properly (COS, 1, 9). It makes one wonder why the Dursleys let Harry stay if they hate him so much. It might be money or threats of violence because, for people like them, I can hardly think of another reason.

Homework and forbidden magic 
I personally believe that being able to do your homework is an important part of growing up especially because it will show teachers how well you understood the subject matter (COS: 1, 2). Yet, Harry does not get the chance but at least he is not a pampered prince. We wouldn’t want that. When Harry is rescued by a twelve-year-old and two fourteen-year old’s Harry is told that Dumbledore knows he is at Weasley’s and that he ‘doesn’t miss a trick’ according to Mr. Weasley. I wonder how Mr. Weasley knows it’s Dumbledore sending the letters or how he can see from the letter that Dumbledore consciously knows Harry is there (COS: 4, 45). I see two scenarios something small like a letter being sent is credited to Dumbledore. Making Dumbledore more of a mythical or divine person in the eyes of the people in the house. Or Dumbledore has clued Mr. Weasley into the fact that he is sort of stalking Harry without actually doing anything to help him. Because he doesn’t miss a trick yet he did miss the abuse of a minor and the fact that he was imprisoned before the rescue attempt. I wonder why no one ever came to Harry’s house before to help with his accidental magic if he is found so easily by the ministry owl. And if they did why he is still there? In addition, are the Mason’s memories erased or not? I have questions and no answers. Also, sending a post owl in front of at least two muggles that don’t know the secret to tell someone they cannot spill the secrets of magic is sort of ironic (COS:2, 21)

Losing a twelve-year-old 
Then we finally go to Hogwarts, and just imagine losing two twelve-year-olds and not doing anything for a full day. Two children are driving around in a car while being seen thus it is known where they are roughly. The aurors are not alerted at all, the school is not in a frenzy and the mother of one of the children only sends a nasty letter the following day. Molly Weasley is right that they could have died but they are also children, the moment they go missing you call the police. What you do not do is sit on your bum and wait to hear if they are alright. There isn’t anyone on the station to help students or to monitor the passageway. No one checks if all children are on the train or off the train or enter Hogwarts. Dumbledore cares so little he just sits there while he is missing two students and you best believe everyone noticed that Harry Potter isn’t there (COS: 5,81). I find it fascinating that not one person takes responsibility for two children being missing and flying to a school. I mean all is fair they shouldn’t have done it but they are children, and they are not old enough to fully comprehend the danger they put the magical world and themselves in. The worst part is it’s not even fully explained to them. Only telling them they should have sent an owl but no one cared or was looking for them. Imagine the message that is sent to these children. Especially an emotionally neglected one. It says you are not important, we only give you attention when you break the rules (COS: 5,85). For attention-starved children which arguably they both are, it’s not the best message to send. A letter is sent to their families to ‘press upon the seriousness’. We know the Dursleys don’t care, the teachers should have at least sat Harry down and explained it properly (COS: 5, 85). Might as well let Ron tag along because the only thing his mother is concerned with is the inquiry his father is facing. Dumbledore ‘disapproves’ of actions taken but does not make sure they know not to do it again. Furthermore, Ron breaks his wand in this adventure but is too afraid to write his parents about a new one. Isn’t there a budget at school for when things get broken? And if there isn’t why doesn’t McGonagall send a letter to his mother, this is a twelve-year-old of course he would be scared but she has to alleviate his fears. Besides Ron needs proper equipment you cannot learn magic properly when your wand is broken. Again, the school fails these two children and so does the rest of the magical world.

Dumbledore is the headmaster of a school, last year he let a possessed professor teach and he did nothing. This year he goes a step further and sits back while a student is being possessed. He didn’t change anything in the protection of the school to not let this happen. Two possessions in two years and he has learned absolutely nothing. Then students get petrified in his school, what does he do? Nothing. You cannot tell me that they truly had to wait for the mandrakes to mature when you can probably buy them at an apothecary. But alright, Dumbledore knows the chamber was opened before. He suspected Tom did it. There is a possessed student and it’s happening again. Why on earth isn’t he doing anything? We at least know it’s not Tom this time as he is a wrath so it’s someone on his behalf (himself but that doesn’t matter for Dumbledore to act). Then we have Hagrid, Dumbledore at least knew Hagrid did not open the chamber. But he never said anything, yes sure Hagrid has a job as a gamekeeper but he was still expelled and never finished his education. If no one believed Dumbledore and everyone thought it was Hagrid then why is he after killing a student allowed on the premises of the school and why isn’t he in jail? It would have been a miscarriage of justice for sure as he didn’t do it but no one would know that in this story. The whole situation makes zero sense. If he did it he should be in jail the only sentence they give out is life so he should still be there. Even still he at least should not be around children. If everyone knew he didn’t do it, he should have been able to take his OWLs and carry a wand. But it’s a sort of in-between where he didn’t do it but no one knows but they also do not care and let this in their eyes murderer around the next generation of children. But then again, the school houses Snape so maybe the adults just do not care even if he did do it.

Allowing incompetence
There are several horrible teachers at Hogwarts. Let’s start with Madam Hooch who doesn’t see that a bludger is acting up at all. Keep in mind, this is not a professional game but a school game but the referee doesn’t see it or doesn’t care to see it? (COS: 10, 180). Question, why is Madam Hooch allowed to be around children, the bludger is bad, children as we have been cannot protect themselves that is your job as their educator and you cannot even do that.

Then there is Lockhart who is just awful. He takes it upon himself to use magic on a minor in front of the whole school while sat minor does not only not give consent but actively says no. This no is ignored and nothing comes of this, this teacher is allowed to be awful for another day (COS: 10, 182). Later when we the readers find out this teacher is proficient in memory charms we also find out Dumbledore knew as he says   “You fell on your sword”. Excuse me? This is the second year running (as far as we know) when students are endangered on Dumbledore’s watch. The incompetence is staggering and incompetence is dangerous but not only that. A guy who is a fan of memory charms is let into a school with children. There are so many things this guy could have done to any of these children. We know that child safety isn’t a priority of this school but still. Once again, this horrible teacher does MAGIC on a MINOR WITHOUT their CONSENT (COS:10 182). There is no saying how many other victims this “teacher” made in his year at this school and what the crimes are that he got away with.

On another note but on the same page still. Why does a squib who hates children work at a school? Why is he a caretaker when we have house elves that can clean and much faster too? This human has a job where he has to watch children learn magic and he has to clean their mess by hand. It’s deeply disturbing that he remains there. Both for his mental health but also that the headmaster allows a bitter angry person to be put in a place mentally that is not good for him. I mean the moment something happens to his cat he goes off at a twelve-year-old (COS: 8, 132 & 148 & 154). This is a place for young children to become adults, not a place to house bad teachers and caretakers who need another job. It’s a toxic environment (COS: 9, 154). I could see if Filch was the ‘night watch’ or something similar to patrol in the depth of night and having that be his job. So that the teacher can get enough sleep but this isn’t the case.

To make a quick stop at Hagrid, he is the sole reason there are children eating spiders in the forbidden forest (COS: 13, 295). Not to mention that this spider has no moral compass and is letting his children eat children that Hagrid his ‘owner’ is fond of. This tells me that expelling Hagrid was the right thing to do even if it was about the wrong thing. This man is sorry to say, a danger to magical society.

Stalking and bullying
This year Harry is severely bullied by everyone (COS: 11,215). And exactly nothing is done about this, he has a magical gift that no one likes. This however doesn’t mean you can accuse someone of nearly killing your classmates, I am looking at you Hufflepuff House. Then… We have the stalkers. I understand being a fan of someone and not understanding boundaries but why is Colin Creevey allowed to essentially stalk Harry? Where is Dumbledore, where is McGonagall? It is obsessive and dangerous. Harry is twelve, an insecure shy 12-year-old at that. Why is there no one in this whole school protecting him (COS: 7, 109)? It sets a dangerous precedent for the rest of his schooling. When Harry stands up for himself and expresses clearly, that he does not want someone to take pictures of him. The stalker in question still does it and is not reprimanded at all (COS:10 182). He is also petrified because he wants to stalk Harry some more. McGonagall and presumably the other teachers are well aware of Colin’s stalking tendency but actively choose to do nothing about it (COS: 7, 109). Even the ‘jokes’ of Fred and George to ‘lighten the mood’ fall flat when you realize that some of the children in this school think Harry is actively trying to murder his fellow students. There have to be hard consequences for the behaviour of the student body. Then there is Ginny who was an obsessive fangirl in the two pages we saw here in the last book and is still going strong in this one. Possession not withstanding of course. Maybe Harry is lucky because otherwise, the stalking might have been worse. Then we have Oliver Wood who thinks that practice at the crack of dawn is appropriate behavior again where is McGonagall? As she is deputy headmistress she is probably doing Dumbledore’s work instead of you know protecting her and caring for her students. Last school year she let Harry down already and she has apparently learned nothing (COS: 7, 109). In addition, they don’t even try to hide things such as what happened to Colin, we know there are spells to make sure no one eavesdrops but they are not used around Harry (COS: 10, 190).

Secrets and family trees
Three-second years can brew Polyjuice potion in a bathroom in a school full of ghosts and portraits. One of the children in question is watched ‘closely’. Yet no one knew. In addition, children can sneak into the common rooms of other students. If a child tends to steal things the school is wide open to do just that (COS: 12, 217). Not to mention that girls can go into the boys’ dorm and go into their stuff as Ginny does in this book and Hermione walks in a lot in other books (as well as the films). It deprives the boys of their privacy and it is dangerous. I can’t help but feel wary of this whole setup this is a school with co-ed common areas where the teacher is never around but girls can go up to the boy’s dorms. It feels like a breeding ground for sexual assault towards everyone vulnerable and it’s a scary thing to think about. A stunner in the back, a Polyjuice used and a whole lot of lives can be ruined. But that is a bit dark for a children’s story.

We know already that Harry is bullied but Dumbledore goes a step further by letting Harry and his friends stay after Mrs. Norris is petrified making the basis for the rumours and the belief that it is all Harry’s fault and not one teacher ever says anything to dispel this rumour (COS: 9, 148). Then later they do it again, also giving Harry the feeling everyone thinks it’s his fault (COS: 11, 215). McGonagall could have easily put those fears to rest for Harry but she did not, she is the closest confident to Dumbledore. It says all you need to know about them.

Not to mention that Harry is scared he might be related to Slytherin but he isn’t (as far as we know) and if he had grown up in the magical world. He would have known this. It would have been easier to put the bullying aside if he had known. Again, where are the teachers? Bullying is not okay but then again we have a bullying teacher so might as well not care or something (COS: 11, 208). It highlights that the Dursleys were in fact not the place for Harry to grow up as it stumped his growth and understanding of magic. Yes Muggleborns also have this issue but Harry is not one, Lily Potter lived in a town that had magical as well as muggles living there it’s clear how she wanted her son to grow up but Dumbledore didn’t care about her wishes I mean who could have thought? It would have been much better for Harry if he could have been confidence in his knowledge that he was not related to the Slytherin family at all.

The Diary of Tom Riddle
When one says it doesn’t matter ‘who’ it matters ‘how’ you could deduce that one knows who. But the one in question doesn’t care to do anything before it gets a bigger issue because only big issues make you more famous of course (COS: 10, 191). The one in question? Dumbledore of course. Why aren’t the Aurors called, the ICW or even the Department of Mysteries? It’s not as if Dumbledore is doing anything to solve the mystery so let others have a go.

It’s interesting to think about how if Tom didn’t have Ginny leave a message no one would have known or cared for a longer time. As Ginny doesn’t have any friends (COS: 16, 316). We saw at the beginning of the year that Mr. and Mrs. Weasley do not tend to spring into action right away if something happens to their children. If only Tom was smarter he could have been resurrected and out of the country by the time anyone cared enough to wonder where she had gone. But that didn’t happen of course. No, once again, the school does nothing so Harry has to save the day again (COS: 15, 297). If Harry wasn’t friends with Ron the whole series would have been shorter as Voldemort would have graced the scene a whole two years earlier. The worst part of the situation with Tom for me is that Harry keeps trying to involve adults but it never works out (COS: 17,308). This leads to him going off on his own in his fifth year because his trust is destroyed over and over again. Before this time, it had been about his own life or the lives of friends or siblings of friends but never family. But it is in his fifth year. If only someone had cared enough about Harry to help him at twelve, the story at fifteen wouldn’t have happened. All this happening is leading to Harry’s self-sacrifice at seventeen. This situation is teaching Harry: If it’s not you, it’s going to be no one. Harry saves the day but at the expense of his mental health, his physical health, and his ability to connect to others. All because one girl never listened to her parents and decided she knew best when a diary started talking back.

We know from Ron’s reaction to the diary how the Weasleys teach their children about safety. I personally find Ron quite lazy but by all means not a total idiot. Ginny has been brought up with the same stories and warnings but she uses a diary twice. (COS: 13, 243-245). She clearly isn’t the brightest person around. The second time she uses the diary she knows it is bad and dangerous as she is losing consciousness. When she trows it away she steals it back by that point she isn’t being possessed. Making that a choice. It’s not her age either, because Ron is only a year older. I always saw her as relatively bright, at least average but this changed that. Yes, Harry writes in it too but Harry has never been warned, never heard such stories and he learns from it immediately. Again, Ginny doesn’t learn anything but does it again she says she was scared to get into trouble but from all accounts, she comes from a lovely family that wants to help their children. Right? Here is the thing, Ginny got rid of the diary. She then stole the diary back and wrote in it again. I mean surely, no eleven-year-old is that dim. She could have left in front of McGonagall’s office. She could have given it to her brother, the prefect. Or just to be sure just asked her parents about the diary. Her father who told her repeatedly not to do such things could have helped her if she was afraid of the teacher. She didn’t do any of that. She wasn’t possessed when Harry had the Diary, she was before and later. The second time was a choice. Not to mention that everything the diary knows is because of Ginny. She has told so many fanciful stories that Riddle wants to meet this enemy of his. But none of that matters because she didn’t want to get in trouble. Harry was only bitten by a snake and almost died. At least Ginny got a holiday out of it, lucky her.

Fakes’ rescue
When Ginny Weasley is taken into the chamber of secrets the teacher does not do anything. They don’t talk to the students or ghosts. They don’t even comb the school or call the authorities they just cry about the school closing (COS: 16, 310). Then Ron and Harry go missing and Dumbledore and the other teachers again do nothing, after failing them on the first day.

Dumbledore finally sends Harry his phoenix and the sorting hat. Or the phoenix in question goes himself and takes the hat. I like the latter idea the best as that would mean that Dumbledore didn’t sit there and just didn’t go with the phoenix which he could have. In that scenario, Dumbledore lets a twelve-year-old battle a basilisk on his own, and I cannot believe he is that cruel. I have a lot of opinions about Dumbledore but that would be a bit much.

To be quite honest, this book is my least favourite out of all of them. It was a bit of a choir to get through and Dumbledore wasn’t even in it much. Throughout this series, I am starting to hate almost everyone. The worst part is that no one ever seems to learn anything. On a happier note, we meet a certain dog in the next post and I cannot wait to see what Dumbledore gets up to keep Harry “safe”.

Read the rest of the series:
Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3 // Part 4 // Part 5

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