Only one extra post this week, largely because I’m finding that my thoughts on this book are either very similar to my thoughts on the last book (“Wow, it’s really amazing how much she’s already setting up here!”) or fairly standard as far as observations go (“She’s really expanding the world! Almost like this is the second book in a series!”).
So I only have a couple of things here that are really worth sharing. So let’s go!
This is basically another comment on setup, but the Wizarding World is so broad, and Harry knows so little about it that it would be very easy for J. K. to just sort of add whatever she needed for the plot to work. I remember, when I first read them, that I felt that was what she was doing a lot of the time, but no. The more I reread here the more I see that almost every little quirk in the world and the people is given some sort of understated introduction before it becomes important.
I also like that all of this setup has an easiness to it that I don’t see that often. I’m usually pretty good about picking out the Chekov’s Gun in a piece early on, but rereading I’m still not sure I could do it for Harry Potter accurately. Some of this is because there are so many of them, but I think a lot of it has to do with how they’re placed in the story. They have a tendency to come up naturally, as a small part of some humorous episode instead of flatly in the introduction, so they’re hard to see for what they are. I’m impressed; it’s good misdirection.
Did Malfoy just buy out the entire stock of Borgin and Burkes in Halfblood Prince? Literally everything Harry eyes up during his Floo-induced mishap shows up there. I suppose the guy has enough money to do so, but dang. Seems to defeat the purpose of selling to them in the first place.
I just love Molly Weasley. She’s the comic stereotype of the disgruntled houeswife, who’s alternately sweet and hot tempered, and it’s treated seriously here. J. K. gives her dignity and capability where a lot of authors wouldn’t, and it makes her a pretty unique character so far as literature is concerned. So often being a housewife is seen as a mark of failure or silliness, so it’s good to get a character who can hold their own and chose that because it was what she wanted.
I’ve also decided to try to make some theme jewelry for each book as we go through this, since drawing was mostly an exercise in frustration. For Chamber of Secrets I made some phoenix feather earrings, and wrote up a quick tutorial for them.
What You’ll Need:
– Four gold tone eyepins
-Two gold tone headpins
-Two large gold beads, any shape
-Six small black beads
-Two large red bicone beads, around the same size as the gold ones
-Two smaller bicones in yellow or orange
-About four inches length of chain in bronze or gold
-Four small jump rings
-Four cord crimps
-Two gold tone earring hooks
-Sheer red fabric, enough to make four small 2” square shapes
-Fabric paint in several fire colors (gold, orange, red, bronze, black, etc.)
-One pair round nose pliers (if you have them), one pair wire cutters, one pair needle nose pliers (two if you have no round nose)
This is a pretty simple project, so lot of it is easily open to interpretation and customization. The basic description is of what I did, but play around with the colors and styles of the beads or fabric and see what you get! Also, if you don’t know how to open and close jump rings, eye pins, or chain links, I’ve tried to give written descriptions, but a tutorial with pictures might be helpful.
1) Assemble the tops of the earrings. Do this by feeding one small black bead, one large gold bead, and one more small black bead onto an eyepin. Once all three are seated at the loop on the bottom, make another loop at the top. Do this by placing your needle nose pliers about 1mm away from the edge of the last bead, bending the wire back at an angle, placing your round nose pliers at the bend, and then wrapping the wire around one of their tips. When the loop is completed, cut the excess.
You can also make a loop with needle nose pliers if you don’t have round nose. It will look a little strange, but nothing noticeable until you get up close.
2) Attach the earring hook to the open loop. Then close the loop by holding each side of the split with a pair of pliers and moving the open end backwards and forwards until it is in alignment with the rest of the piece.
3) Measure out four lengths of chain and separate them. I’m using about an inch each, which makes for fairly long earrings; you can adjust to your own taste.
4) Feed the smaller bicone onto another eyepin and make a loop at the top, like we did in step one.
5) Take one length of chain and attach one end to one of the loops on the smaller bicone, the other to the loop on the black/gold bead combination that doesn’t have the earring hook attached to it. Open the chain links by finding the split in the link, taking a pair of pliers on either side of it, and pulling one forward towards yourself and the other backwards away. Close the links by moving both ends back towards each other in the same way.
6) Feed one small black bead and the large red bicone onto one of the headpins. Again, make a loop at the top of this, then attach one end of another length of chain to this loop, the other to the free loop on the smaller bicone. They should look roughly like this:
7) Test for length by putting them on. If too long, take out a couple of links in the chain. Repeat these first seven steps for the second earring.
8) On a piece of paper, draw out the template for the fabric “feather.” Mine look like this, with the size at about 2” long and 1 ½” wide, though you can adjust the shape to your liking. Pin or trace this onto the fabric and cut four of them out.
9) Seal the edges of the fabric with the fabric paint, and then use the rest to paint the fabric to look like the spine and barbs of the feather. I used bronze for the edges, and gold and orange for the details, but again, design yours to your own taste.
10) When dry, crimp all four “feathers” into the four open crimp beads. Then, cut small strips up each side of the fabric, again to mimic the barbs of a natural feather. Be careful not to cut too far through on either side.
11) Attach two feathers to each earring with jump rings, one on the first link of the chain after the gold bead combination and one halfway between that and the smaller bicone.
12) Wear and enjoy!