I guess I owe Chris Columbus an apology.

August 12, 2010

image from blithesea.net

Not a big one – I still think Chamber of Secrets is a travesty but … I have to rescind one point of criticism today.  Listening to the Chamber of Secrets last night as I drove home from work I came to “The Dueling Club” and realized that they were just following the text with that scene.  Here’s what I said:

The things they add: First there’s the insistence on souping up the spells; Expelliarmus is supposed to knock the wand out of someone’s hand, not blast them backwards bodily across a room.  If they wanted it to cause a person’s arm to jerk dramatically as the wand flies away (theoretically toward the spell caster) fine but wire work effects are just so totally over the top.  There is no need to try to make magic more magical.

But actually I had just imagined it less dramatically.  I’m still pretty sure there are times when expelliarmus does just knock the wand from a hand (and sometimes bring it sailing back to the original spell caster) in her first description it does literally “blast” Lockhart “backwards” and into the air.  I’m transcribing from the audio book here so the paragraph breaks may not be accurate but the words are:

Both of them swung their wands over their heads and pointed them at their opponents.

Snape cried, “Expelliarmus.”

There was a dazzling flash of scarlet light and lockhart was blasted off his feet.  He flew backwards off the stage, smashed into the wall, and slid down it to sprawl on the floor.

I’d imagined it differently but its hard to argue with canon text.  We certainly know that Snape is a very powerful wizard who does not suffer fools gladly AND has just been publicly belittled in front of hoards of students so the strenght of his spell is perhaps not surprising.  Now I’ll be watching for uses of “Harry’s signature spell” as the books progress to see what effects it has in other scenarios.

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