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Author Topic: Thestrals  (Read 366 times)

Christine

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Thestrals
« on: May 27, 2005, 04:35:22 PM »

This question first occured to me a while ago, but I just thought of it again recently.  Order of the Phoenix is the first time Harry is able to see the thestrals, because he saw Cedric die at the end of GoF.  But didn't he see his parents die when he was one year old?  Didn't he see Quirrel die at the end of SoS?  I don't see why OotP would be his first time seeing them.  Thoughts?
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Christine

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2005, 01:49:13 PM »

Never mind, I read the old FAQ polls on JKR's site and got my question answered... sorry about that, stupid me... *wanders off, banging head into walls*
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Christine

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2005, 07:05:47 PM »

For those of you that haven't thoroughly explored her site yet, I'll post it here:

Quote
Why could Harry see the Thestrals in 'Order of the Phoenix'? Shouldn't he have been able to see them much earlier, because he saw his parents/Quirrel/Cedric die?

I've been asked this a lot.  Harry didn't see his parents die.  He was in his cot at the time (he was just over a year old) and, as I say in 'Philosopher's Stone', all he saw was a flash of green light.  He didn't see Quirrel die, either.  Harry had passed out before Quirrel died and was only told about it by Dumbledore in the last chapter. 

He did, however, witness the murder of Cedric, and it is this that makes him able to see the Thestrals at last.  Why couldn't he see the Thestrals on his trip  back to the train station?  Well, I didn't want to start a new mystery, which would not be resolved for a long time, at the very end of the fourth book.  I decided, therefore, that until Harry is over the first shock, and really feels what death means (ie, when he fully appreciates that Cedric is gone forever and that he can never come back, which takes time, whatever age you are) he would not be able to see the Thestrals.  After two months away from school during which he has dwelled endlessly on his memories of the murder and had nightmares about it, the Thestrals have taken shape and form and he can see them quite clearly.
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Ping

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2005, 09:29:01 PM »

10 to Christine! I think we've talked about it before, but it's good to have JKR's words here for us. That's pretty much what I was assuming. What I wonder is why no one else (like Luna?) ever mentioned seeing them before.
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Cho Chung

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2005, 06:30:40 PM »

A few possible theories:

1)  Luna has always been able to see them since she came to Hogwarts.  Perhaps it never occurred to her (since she is a little oblivious to others) that no one else could or perhaps it never occured to her to mention them to anyone else.

2)  Perhaps she already knew why she could see them and others couldn't (given the kinds of creatures that appear in her dad's publication), so she never felt the need to mention them to anyone.

3)  Perhaps she did mention them and no one paid attention because, well, she's loony.

Those are the thoughts I have for now.
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Christine

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2005, 06:57:39 PM »

I think, but this could just be me, that the last possibility seems highly likely.  Luna seems like the type of person that speaks her mind, so chances are she mentioned the Thestrals at some point.  But, as we can see from Harry's reaction when she tells him she can see them too, people probably just didn't take her seriously.  The first thing that comes into Harry's mind is that he must be going crazy if only he and Loony Lovegood can see them.  To me, this is another proof of the way people write her off as crazy.
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Cho Chung

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2005, 08:42:58 AM »

On a bit more of a philosophical note, it occurs to me that the fact that only people who have seen someone die can see thestrals is JKR's way of highlighting the impact that death (and particularly witnessing death) can have on someone's life.  It sets you apart from others because you have experienced something that not everyone has -- it colors how you see everything, particularly if the person whom you saw die was someone whom you cared about.

So it makes me wonder how this translates to real life:  to the degree that it's generalizable what kinds of things do you think we "see" differently after having someone we love die and/or witnessing someone die?

I've never been there when someone died, but I've had friends who have died, and my first thought is that I become much more aware of how precious life actually is, particularly those whom I love.  But just life in general -- you know, the basic pleasures.  I'm also much more aware of the passage of time.

Anyone else?  (BTW, if this is too tangential, feel free to let me know and I'll move this elsewhere to start a new thread).
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Heather

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2005, 05:28:46 PM »

I agree Cho - I think this is one of the ways that JKR demonstrates that prior to experiencing a loss, there are many things we don't see (take for granted, etc.).  However, a tragic loss alters your world from that point forward.  The loss leads you to see and notice things you did not before.  You experience things differently.  You see the world differently.  Seeing someone die would have to alter the way anyone would see their world.

I wonder if there will be a connection between the veil and the Thestrals (think about the kids' reaction at the veil with respect to who could see Thestrals).
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Ping

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2005, 05:34:22 PM »

Hmmm, good point, Heather! (Welcome back, too!) I hope we learn more about the veil and the thestrals. Part of me wants Sirius to stay dead, because there are too many fantasy characters that come back to life as it is, but part of me wants him to come back to life because I thought he was cool.

I wonder if more of the students will be able to see the thestrals now, since they saw Sirius fall. But then again, did he really die? Or does it matter? What if you think you've seen someone die, but they haven't actually died?
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Christine

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2005, 09:02:47 PM »

Just a thought-  I think I read somewhere that one thing that helped JKR come up with the Thestrals was that she lost her mother pretty young.  That had a huge impact on her life, and she talked about how she saw everything differently after that.  The Thestrals were her way of materializing that impact into something solid, kind of like what Cho said.
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willow

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2005, 10:21:09 AM »

this is alittle off subject so i do apologise but answering pings question, i do believe sirius to be dead as in his will he left harry kreacher and kreacher now has to obey harry as the will is bound by magic and so it can't be wrong.
i feel thestrals still hav a big part to play in harry potter but i cant work out what yet, would they save harry and do they have a soul? are they really "alive"?
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Penelope Clearwater

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2005, 11:41:00 AM »

I have just finished re-reading Goblet of Fire for the 5th or 6th time and something in the last chapter made me think. This is the passage:

Harry's trunk was packed; Hedwig was back in her cage.....He, Ron, and Hermione were waiting in the crowded entrance hall with the rest of the fourth years for the carriages that would take them back to Hogsmeade station.....

This is after Harry saw Cedric die so he should have been able to see the Thestrals then, shouldn't he? Yet, there was no mention of this at all...has anyone else noticed this? Or is there a simple explanation for this as well?
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Ping

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2005, 03:22:57 PM »

I think JKR has said something along the lines that it had to sink in that they had witnessed someone die. Can anyone find the reference?
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Madeleine

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2005, 03:40:36 PM »

(She also said that, from a literary standpoint, she didn't want to go into that in the last chapter of the book, so she didn't.  I believe that's when she came up with the "needs time to sink in" thing.  :))
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Penelope Clearwater

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2005, 10:58:14 AM »

That makes sense. It was better to leave thestrals to Book 5 because there was so much to write!
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Madeleine

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2005, 02:54:49 PM »

Well, and after the climax, to add in "Harry saw these really scary-looking winged creatures harnessed to the carriages that took them back to the station.  He asked Hermione what they were, but she couldn't see them, which made Harry feel really weird.  Then they got on the train, and...."  Fans were already nearly murderous waiting for OoP, can you imagine what such an obvious lack of information would have done to them?  (Um, me, too, I guess, although I wasn't going too crazy, just impatient.)
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Heather

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2005, 10:01:26 PM »

Does anyone have any feelings on whether the thestrals will play a role in the final book?
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Ping

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2005, 08:58:39 AM »

Good question, Heather! I don't think they will--I think we've seen their role in getting Harry and Co to the Ministry. They were really to illustrate the change that witnessing a death brings about in a person, I think.
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Heather

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2005, 09:23:40 AM »

I be you are right.  I am just so curious about the last book - so many unanswered questions, and only one book to address them.  I know I am beating a dead horse, but there was a Slytherin who could see thestrals- I can't help but wonder if that will be developed more fully in the last book.
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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2005, 11:59:30 AM »

I remember that--wasn't it Blaise Zabini, who Slughorn was coddling?
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Christine

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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2005, 05:19:40 PM »

I thought the Slytherin that saw them was Theodore Nott, but I don't know where I remember that from.
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Re: Thestrals
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2005, 05:29:11 PM »

Once again I am distressed by my lack of access to the books at work.
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