Don’t Panic! No spoilers are found in clear-text…

Having closed the cover of Deathly Hallows, I’m ever more impressed with the skills of author J.K. Rowling. I think that — much as her characters have matured, and found new depths — so too has her writing. It should be enough to make some of her detractors wonder if they’ve had her pegged wrong all along.

Most of her critics offer barbs that are, frankly, rather dull: her sometimes-awkward prose and her overzealous employ of adverbs; her wont to overtly and blatantly moralize. Come on, folks… these are — at least her early books — children’s stories after all.

Rowling is no Jane Austin. Nor is she Dickens, or Melville, or Joyce. And thank heavens, ’cause there’s not a one among that esteemed crowd who’s made me care so much for not just a single character, but whole families of them — whole houses — oh, and the castle they live in, too. Hoggy, hoggy, Hogwarts!

And now we enter the Spoiler Zone, so set your secret decoder ring for 13.1

Gurzngvpnyyl guvf jnf rnfvyl gur evpurfg bs nyy gur Cbggre frevrf. Jr yrnea � sebz gur bcravat fprar � gung abg rirelbar jnf fb ranzberq bs Nyohf Qhzoyrqber nf jr zvtug or… naq fbzr, creuncf sbe tbbq ernfba. Qhzoyrqber…? Uhzna? Snyyvoyr? Fher rabhtu. Frrzf bapr hcba n gvzr Qhzoyrqber gubhtug gung Jvmneq ehyr bire Zhttyrf zvtug abg or fhpu n onq vqrn, naq uvf syvegvat jvgu n engure frrql cebcbarag bs gung gurbel riraghnyyl pbfg gur yvsr bs uvf orybirq (naq urycyrff) lbhat fvfgre.

Va pbhagrecbvag, jr nyfb yrnea gung � nf fbzr bs hf unir fhfcrpgrq nyy nybat (nurz!) � Frirehf Fancr jnf abg, va snpg, n gubebhtuyl pbzcebzvfrq, rivy, faviryvat pbjneq, ohg va snpg, nethnoyl gur zbfg pbhentrbhf punenpgre va gur jubyr frevrf. Yvxr Qhzoyrqber, Fancr znqr n greevoyr naq gentvp zvfgnxr va uvf lbhgu � qvihytvat gur jurernobhgf bs gur “cebcurfvrq� snzvyl gb Ybeq Ibyqrzbeg � naq qvfpbirevat bayl gbb yngr gung ur’q fragraprq Yvyyl Cbggre, gur bayl jbzna ur’q rire ybirq, gb ure qrngu.

Juvyr obgu Qhzoyrqber naq Fancr obgu fcrag gurve yvirf gelvat, rnpu va uvf bja jnl, gb ngbar sbe gurve fvaf, Qhzoyrqber jnf noyr gb qb fb jvgu gur erfcrpg naq nqzvengvba bs arneyl nyy, Fancr jvgu nyzbfg havirefny erivyr. Fancr jnf gur cebsrffbe jr nyy ybirq gb ungr. Ur jnf abg n yvxnoyr thl. Ur jnf abg � ol nal fgergpu bs gur vzntvangvba, n avpr thl. Ohg ur jnf, va gur raq, svanyyl naq nofbyhgryl cebira bar bs gur tbbq thlf � bar bs gur orfg, rira � naq uvf erqrzcgvba jnf nyy gur fjrrgre sbe vg.

Creuncf gur zbfg vzcbegnag naq erirnyvat yvar bs gur obbx � znlor gur ragver frevrf � jnf guvf:

“Lbh xabj, fbzrgvzrf V guvax jr Fbeg gbb fbba…”
–Nyohf Qhzoyrqber

Va obbx frira jr svaq n gerzraqbhfyl pbhentrbhf Fylgureva, zber guna bar phaavat Telssvaqbe, na vaperqvoyl yblny Enirapynj naq… jryy, abg fb zhpu sebz gur Uhssyrchss’f, ernyyl. (Fbeel, Uhssyrchss snaf.) Gur cbvag vf jbegu znxvat gung Fancr zvtug unir ghearq bhg dhvgr n qvssrerag zna vs ur’q orra fbegrq fbzr gvzr nsgre uvf svefg lrne, jura ur zvtug unir yrnearq gurer ner zber vzcbegnag guvatf guna cbjre, naq gung gur zrnaf ner rirel ovg nf vzcbegnag nf gurve raq. Sbe gung znggre, znlor Eba jbhyq unir ynaqrq va Uhssyrchss, juvyr Urezvbar fheryl jbhyq unir ynaqrq va Enirapynj.

Nf fheryl nf gur Ubhfrf bs Ubtjnegf pbnpu naq nssvez gurve cevznel genvgf, gurl nyfb znavsrfg gurve jrnxarffrf naq snhygf. Gur Fbegvat Ung vgfrys unq jnearq nf zhpu, bayl whfg gur cevbe lrne. Znlor, whfg znlor, arkg lrne gur ung jvyy fvat n qvssrerag ghar…

Throughout the years that I have sat
Upon this sorting chair,
I’ve offered up a thought or two,
I’ve told you to beware.

Of awful foes and dread dark lords
I’ve warned time and again.
And that has got me thinking
That this sorting’s got to end.

Our Houses honor bravery,
And grace and hard work too.
Whether cleverness or cunning,
I have given all their due.

But my sorting has divided us,
And so I must implore:
All of Hogwarts stand together
For I will sort no more.

Thanks, Jo.

  1. Need help decoding? See last week’s post, Simple Cyphers Every Muggle Should Know. []

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