Analysis of HP Book 1, Ch.1
No, I didn't buy the book and bring it with me. I'm using an e-version. Just thought these notes might be of help in future Rumbles threads or fanfics. At the very least it'll save me from hunting down references in the future.
And no, I don't have too much time on my hands (well, actually, I might, but not for this). Each chapter is pretty short. Typing takes a bit more time, yes, but not that much.
Chapter 1: The Boy Who Lived
* Vernon Dursley is surprisingly observant, even though he's trying his best not to be. He notices McGonagall in her cat form exhibiting non-feline behaviors, which, given that he's an ultra-mundane person with a case of fear and loathing of the supernatural, means that McGonagall was very transparent. Whether this is a tribute of the magic or just her lack of acting skills is unknown. Possibility - she just became an animagus recently.
* Dumbledore wears high-heeled boots. *goggles* He also has a long crooked nose that looks like it's been broken at least twice. Interesting - you hear Snape's nose being harped on in fanon all the time, but never Dumbledore's.
* Dumbledore has a magic device called the Put-Outer, which he uses to put out 12 streetlamps one click at a time. After he's done, he clicks it once to release 12 balls of light back into the lamps. Hypothesis: the device does not actually deactivate the lamps, it somehow displaces either the electricity inside the light bulbs or the photons that leave them inside of itself. Ergo, knowledge of Muggle science/engineering is not required for the device. This also means that wizardry might have a way to divert normal electric power, although it's unknown if the device has a limit.
* McGonagall asks Dumbledore how he could tell the cat was her. She doesn't seem the teasing/joking kind, so I assume she's being serious. Could this be a sign that not all of Dumbledore's proponents (and esp. the ones closest to him) do not think him omniscient? Could it be because they don't know each other well enough yet back then, even though Dumbledore does have a reputation already?
* McGonagall acknowedges that it's foolish for wizards to be celebrating out on the streets and using their magic in celebration recklessly so that it catches the Muggle news service. Regardless, it seems that whatever wiser heads among their society or government has not prevailed. In fact, Dumbledore seems to not care at all about the risks. Either wizards are too foolish to consider the possible consequences of their unneccessary recklessness, or they have contingencies to deal with the Muggle world if they get too close. The latter is unlikely, but troubling.
* Dumbledore says Voldemort had powers he didn't. McGonagall says that's only because he's too noble to use them.
* McGonagall's first reponse to D's intention of leaving Harry with the Dursleys: "I've been watching them all day. You couldn't find two people who are less like us." Sounds very discriminatory, especially based on only one day of observation. She follows up with an example of Dudley's spoiled behavior, even though he's only a baby. She worries that they won't understand him, when he's famous throughout wizarding society. Hints of elitism there. It's actually hard to tell if her real concerns about Harry is if she's afraid he'll be spoiled there, or mistreated. Dumbledore's reasoning is more logical - Harry should grow up away from the influence of his name.
* Hagrid says he got Harry out of Godric's Hollow before the Muggles came. This being nearly 24 hours after the fact, given that wizards have been celebrating since morning. So either Hagrid's flying motorcycle trip took most of the day to cross England (at the most) or Harry spent quite some time in the ruins of his house before getting rescued. Given the speed of the average "muggle" police investigation or even the curious bystander, the former is more likely, unless Hagrid made some kind of stop in the middle. Also interesting that he (and Sirius) were the first on the scene while the Muggles were second. Why did the Ministry not send in an Aurors? Were they afraid or in confusion? Neither speaks highly of them. Were they slow? So much for apparition. Was it a remaining effect of the Fidelius Charm? It didn't seem to stop Hagrid or the muggles. Also, this is evidence that Godric's Hollow is at least locate near a Muggle town or city.
* Dumbledore says Harry will have his scar forever and that he can't remove it. Unknown if he believes that V is gone forever yet, or how serious he's being.
* Hagrid laments the elder Potters' death, and ends with "-- an' poor little Harry off ter live with Muggles -" He makes it sound like Harry is being sent to live with something despicable. Gee, for someone who's been subjected to discrimination before, Hagrid isn't much better himself. Heck, replace Harry's name with that of any other pureblood wizard kid, and that line would be fit for your average Slytherin.
* The three magical folk leave Harry outside the Dursley's door and just leave. Isn't that negligence? What if a neighborhood dog or a burglar or a violent drunk comes by? What if the poor kid kicks off his blankets and gets a bad cold? Dude, and these are people who work at a school where the youngest kids are pre-pubescent too. Not to mention, if McGonagall's right about the Dursley's being very un-wizard-friendly, then the last thing they should do is to spring something like this on them in surprise. The polite thing would to be to hand Harry over in the day. The halfway-polite thing would at least to knock on the door and inform them now before they run off and throw away all responsibility for the poor kid.
Conclusion: Not impressed at all with any of the wizarding folk. JKR gets across the image of a friendly, kind, wise, and eccentric elder in D -- however, she forgot the common sense. She gets across an image of a good hearted, though impulsive, bumbling, and not-so-smart giant for Hagrid -- however, she messed up on the sensitivity. She gets across an image of a stern yet well-wishing and altogether non-sexual woman for McGonagall -- but flubbed on the practicality. She gets across a stereotypical gossipy wife and potention 'evil stepmother' setup for Petunia Dursley, and a stick-in-the-mud and overindulgent (to his own son) father setup for Vernon Dursley... and yet, on thinking it, I'm not convinced that had she not added the narrative about how they loathed Petunia's relatives, that I would have been convince they were unfite surrogate parents for Harry on just the other scenes alone.