View Single Post
Old September 26th, 2008, 3:22 pm
meesha1971's Avatar
meesha1971  Female.gif meesha1971 is offline
Master of the Magical Arts
Join Date: 10th April 2005
Location: The Unknowable Room
Age: 49
Posts: 12,731
Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

Wow! My thread got versioned! I've never had a thread get versioned before - it's quite exciting!

Originally Posted by Kat_Suki
The point though, is that this is different magic. The trace detects "underage" magic, not all magic. It may not tell you which underage witch/wizard performed the magic, but it does distinguish "underage" as opposed to "of age" wizards. If Harry were responsible then the trace should have detected it, right? It should have distinguished between a House-elf and an underage wizard, IMO.
That depends on which explanation you're using. If you go with the explanation that Dumbledore gave in HBP, it doesn't matter because the Ministry would detect all magic regardless of who did it or how old they were. If you go with the explanation in DH, then the Trace should have distinguished between a house-elf and an underage wizard.

That's what we've been discussing in regards to the Trace - the two different explanations given between HBP and DH.

Ariana was 14, though. Any magic by her, accidental or otherwise, should have triggered the Trace, especially when her two older brothers were either away from the house or one was of age.
Actually - going by the explanation given in DH - the Trace also detected magic done by adults in the presence of an underage witch or wizard. That was the explanation Moody gave for them not using magic to get Harry away from Privet Dr. The Trace would pick it up whether Harry did it or they did it.

However, even that is not presented consistently because Jo also included Hermione speculating that the Trace could be used to track Harry after the Death Eaters found them and Ron and Lupin confirming that she was right that the Trace could be used to track a specific individual, but wrong about it being used to track Harry because he was of age and it could not be placed on adults.

So even within DH we are presented with two conflicting concepts of the Trace. The scenario with Ariana is dependent upon whether or not the implied specificity - that the Trace could be used to track a specific individual - is correct or not. Given that Hermione's speculation that the Trace could be used to track a specific individual is supported by Ron and Lupin and she is only corrected about it being placed on Harry, it would appear that the Trace could identify the specific underage witch or wizard. In that light, you are correct - the Trace should have distinguished that Ariana had performed magic.

That is the problem with all of this. We don't have a singular explanation defining how the Trace is supposed to work. We have two completely different explanations - with the second being inconsistently defined regarding specificity.

Again, trace is attached to those who're underaged, not those of age. It breaks at age 17. It should very clearly show that someone underage, under your roof, is performing magic outside of school.
See above - that will depend on which explanation you use as well as whether or not the implied specificity was accurate.

Riddle was the only wizard there, just as Harry was the only wizard on Privet Drive. Who else could have performed "underage magic"? It does lend credance though, to the fact that the Ministry was inconsistent with its investigations and enforcement of its own laws.
I think you may have misunderstood me. Of course they would have detected Riddle's use of magic. My point was that - before he began attending Hogwarts and received training - they would assume that he was using magic accidentally. All magical children are prone to accidental "surges of power" due to strong emotions - i.e. fear or anger. Harry gives us a rundown of the things that happened to him before he finds out he is a wizard - turning his teacher's hair blue, shrinking the ugly sweater, making his hair grow back, etc... And we see him have one of those accidental "surges of power" at the zoo when he makes the glass vanish and sets the snake free.

There is no inconsistency there because the Ministry made a conscious choice not to punish children for things they couldn't control - this would apply to muggleborn witches and wizards or those like Riddle and Harry who were raised in the muggle world without knowing they were magical because the Ministry depended on the parents to discipline children in magical households. It was extremely rare for a child to be able to control their magic the way that Riddle did so the Ministry would not have been aware that he was doing those things intentionally.

I'm not sure of the difference you're talking about between the two books. I'm new here so I missed the big debate on it I guess.
The explanation we got in HBP was general - the Ministry could detect magic, but not who did the magic. Dumbledore went on to explain how that was flawed because it enabled Riddle to be able to frame Morfin - who was an adult at the time. This tells us that the Ministry could not distinguish at all - they couldn't know if it was an adult or a child - they couldn't know the identity - they couldn't know if it was human or house-elf. All they could detect was that a spell had been cast and which spell it was.

In DH, that is changed to be more specific - even giving it a specific name with "the Trace". It only detects underage magic or magic done in the presence of an underage witch or wizard. It is implied that it can be used to track a specific individual - which is only possible if it also identified who did the magic. Basically, the flaws that Dumbledore explained to Harry in HBP were removed.

To me, there is some inconsistency with how it's applied by the author, but there's even more inconstistency within the Ministry's application of their laws.

I hope that made sense.
I see what you're trying to say there, but my point is all of that comes from the author. Jo decided how the Ministry would apply there laws and why. The problem stems from two different explanations being given regarding the detection of magic - one a general detection that did not distinguish anything apart from the spell used and the other more specific and applying only to underage magic with the implication that it could also identify the specific underage witch or wizard.

That gives the appearance of inconsistency with how the Ministry applied their laws, but the actual inconsistency is in how the detection was presented. Everything in the first six books was written under the explanation that the Ministry could not distinguish anything apart from the spell being used. The seventh book says they can distinguish more than that and that causes inconsistencies and contradictions within the first six books.


Reform must come from within, not from without. ~ James Cardinal Gibbons

"So, if people want information on my characters, then they have to accept that I'm going to give them the information on the characters. And if they don't like it, that's the nature of fiction. You have to accept someone else's world because they made that world, so they probably know a little better than you do what goes on there." ~ J.K. Rowling

All posts are my opinions and interpretations based on reading the Harry Potter books and interviews with J.K. Rowling.

Sponsored Links