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Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 26th, 2008, 1:16 pm
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Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

It's time for the second version of this successful thread.

Version One

Last few posts of the old thread:

Kat_Suki:    


  It's really interesting with how the Ministry didn't follow through about under age magic, as they should have. But it does seem that they had an inconsistant approach to begin with.
  • The Weasleys flying car. If the boys had been caught in it they wouldn't have been punished, instead, the person who'd bewitched the car was liable for it.
  • The Ministry knew that magic had been used to levitate a pudding at Privet Drive but rather than checking the magic, it was instead assumed to be "underage magic" and Harry got the blame.
  • Underage magic is sometimes allowed {lumos for instance} while other times it is not.
  • Ariana Dumbledore was fourteen when she lost control of her magic and unintentionally killed her mother. Aberforth wasn't at home, Albus was of age. Who killed Kendra Dumbledore then and why didn't the Ministry investigate the incident, the trace should have worked? Why didn't they investigate all the times when Ariana obviously lost control too, when Albus and Aberforth were away at school?
  • Snape did magic while away from school, what punishment did he receive for underage magic?
  • Tom Riddle did underage wandless magic outside of school, why didn't the trace reflect it, why didn't he get punished?
  • When the Dark Mark appeared in the sky at the World Cup we see highly skilled and trained wizards automatically jump to the conclusion that three kids had conjoured it, even though they were obviously underage and not an inkling of the Trace to back up the assumption. Then it jumped right to an elf who had no idea of how to use a wand or conjour the Mark in the first place.

It all comes down to ineffectual leadership and application of the law rather than a true inconsistency in the story.
  



meesha1971:    


  
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kat_Suki
It's really interesting with how the Ministry didn't follow through about under age magic, as they should have. But it does seem that they had an inconsistant approach to begin with.
  • The Weasleys flying car. If the boys had been caught in it they wouldn't have been punished, instead, the person who'd bewitched the car was liable for it.
  • The Ministry knew that magic had been used to levitate a pudding at Privet Drive but rather than checking the magic, it was instead assumed to be "underage magic" and Harry got the blame.
  • Underage magic is sometimes allowed {lumos for instance} while other times it is not.
  • Ariana Dumbledore was fourteen when she lost control of her magic and unintentionally killed her mother. Aberforth wasn't at home, Albus was of age. Who killed Kendra Dumbledore then and why didn't the Ministry investigate the incident, the trace should have worked? Why didn't they investigate all the times when Ariana obviously lost control too, when Albus and Aberforth were away at school?
  • Snape did magic while away from school, what punishment did he receive for underage magic?
  • Tom Riddle did underage wandless magic outside of school, why didn't the trace reflect it, why didn't he get punished?
  • When the Dark Mark appeared in the sky at the World Cup we see highly skilled and trained wizards automatically jump to the conclusion that three kids had conjoured it, even though they were obviously underage and not an inkling of the Trace to back up the assumption. Then it jumped right to an elf who had no idea of how to use a wand or conjour the Mark in the first place.

It all comes down to ineffectual leadership and application of the law rather than a true inconsistency in the story.
Well, some of these work within the context of the story and some fall in with the inconsistency created in DH.
  • Harry and Ron weren't punished because the car could fly - they were punished for taking the car and being seen by muggles - breaking the statute of secrecy. That wasn't an issue of underage magic. Arthur was punished for bewitching the car and had to pay a fine.
    .
  • The incident with Dobby could potentially fall in with this inconsistency. However, it was emphasized repeatedly that house-elves have different magic and can do things wizards cannot so that could be a factor. If that is the case, then there would be nothing for the Ministry to follow up on because Harry was still underage and the only wizard living in that area.
    .
  • Underage magic is only allowed in emergencies - i.e. a life threatening situation where no adult is present to help. There are only two occasions where Harry intentionally used magic outside of school. In POA - blowing up his aunt was an accident, but using Lumos to see what was in the alley was deliberate. His use of magic was excused because they believed Sirius was trying to kill him and were relieved he was safe. In OOTP, he used the Patronus charm and Lumos when the dementors attacked - he had to go to the hearing regarding that incident and prove that it was a life threatening situation.
    .
  • The situation with Ariana works because the Ministry would assume that Kendra had an accident with her own magic. That works best under the explanation given in HBP though - that they can detect magic, but not who did it. The explanation given in DH could work, but that is dependent upon whether the implied specificity it true. If the Trace could be used to track a specific witch or wizard - as Lupin, Ron, and Hermione implied - then they should have known it was Ariana and not an accident by Kendra.
    .
  • I presume you're referring to the brief memory that Harry glimpses in OOTP of Snape killing flies as a teenager? If that is the case, then that does work under the explanation Dumbledore gave because his mother was a witch. However, under the explanation given in DH, that would again depend on whether the implied specificity is accurate - the same as the scenario with Ariana would.
    .
  • The only wandless magic that was shown being done by Riddle occurred before he went to Hogwarts. The Ministry would have assumed that to be uncontrolled bursts of power because that was common in children - as we see with Harry at the beginning of PS/SS. Jo discussed that on her website and it was addressed in DH as well. The Ministry did not punish children for something they could not control - i.e. turning a teacher's wig blue because they lost their temper. There was no way for them to determine if the magic had been done deliberately and they would assume that most children would not have that level of control.
    .
  • The Dark Mark is another good example of this inconsistency. That works very well under the explanation given in HBP, but not with the explanation given in DH. However, without knowing how the actual detection worked - i.e. if it was something that could only be detected at the Ministry or a specific person was responsible for that, etc... - I would hesitate to call this a plot hole because they were not at the Ministry at the time.

The inconsistency is within how this is presented in the writing. Jo decided when and how these incidents would be detected and whether or not they would be punished. She gave two completely different explanations for how it was supposed to work and didn't present either consistently in the text.

  



Kat_Suki:    


  
  • The incident with Dobby could potentially fall in with this inconsistency. However, it was emphasized repeatedly that house-elves have different magic and can do things wizards cannot so that could be a factor. If that is the case, then there would be nothing for the Ministry to follow up on because Harry was still underage and the only wizard living in that area.
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.

  • Underage magic is only allowed in emergencies - i.e. a life threatening situation where no adult is present to help. There are only two occasions where Harry intentionally used magic outside of school. In POA - blowing up his aunt was an accident, but using Lumos to see what was in the alley was deliberate. His use of magic was excused because they believed Sirius was trying to kill him and were relieved he was safe. In OOTP, he used the Patronus charm and Lumos when the dementors attacked - he had to go to the hearing regarding that incident and prove that it was a life threatening situation.
There are times that innocous magical spells are used outside of school, though. "Lumos" was used by Harry in Little Whinging the night he blew up Aunt Marge. In Hogsmeade we see Hermione used "Mobiliaribus" to move a Christmas tree. Magic on the train.
  • The situation with Ariana works because the Ministry would assume that Kendra had an accident with her own magic. That works best under the explanation given in HBP though - that they can detect magic, but not who did it. The explanation given in DH could work, but that is dependent upon whether the implied specificity it true. If the Trace could be used to track a specific witch or wizard - as Lupin, Ron, and Hermione implied - then they should have known it was Ariana and not an accident by Kendra.
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.
  • I presume you're referring to the brief memory that Harry glimpses in OOTP of Snape killing flies as a teenager? If that is the case, then that does work under the explanation Dumbledore gave because his mother was a witch. However, under the explanation given in DH, that would again depend on whether the implied specificity is accurate - the same as the scenario with Ariana would.
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.
  • The only wandless magic that was shown being done by Riddle occurred before he went to Hogwarts. The Ministry would have assumed that to be uncontrolled bursts of power because that was common in children - as we see with Harry at the beginning of PS/SS. Jo discussed that on her website and it was addressed in DH as well. The Ministry did not punish children for something they could not control - i.e. turning a teacher's wig blue because they lost their temper. There was no way for them to determine if the magic had been done deliberately and they would assume that most children would not have that level of control.
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.
  • The Dark Mark is another good example of this inconsistency. That works very well under the explanation given in HBP, but not with the explanation given in DH. However, without knowing how the actual detection worked - i.e. if it was something that could only be detected at the Ministry or a specific person was responsible for that, etc... - I would hesitate to call this a plot hole because they were not at the Ministry at the time.
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.

I'll have to go back and re-read. Because to me, the trace not only shows when an underage wizard has used magic outside of school, it also shows when magic has been used near him outside of school too. One of the reasons that they detected the levitation spell at #4. One reason why no one could use magic to get Harry away from Privet Drive in Deathly Hallows. Another reason why Arthur chose to arrive to Harry's hearing in a thoroughly non-magical way.

Sure, it makes it difficult to say which underage magical child did the spell, but it does show that it was performed by someone who's underage.

Quote:
The inconsistency is within how this is presented in the writing. Jo decided when and how these incidents would be detected and whether or not they would be punished. She gave two completely different explanations for how it was supposed to work and didn't present either consistently in the text.
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.
  



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Last edited by Hes; September 26th, 2008 at 1:33 pm.
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  #2  
Old September 26th, 2008, 3:22 pm
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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!

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.


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  #3  
Old September 26th, 2008, 4:26 pm
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meesha1971
Underage magic is only allowed in emergencies - i.e. a life threatening situation where no adult is present to help. There are only two occasions where Harry intentionally used magic outside of school. In POA - blowing up his aunt was an accident, but using Lumos to see what was in the alley was deliberate. His use of magic was excused because they believed Sirius was trying to kill him and were relieved he was safe. In OOTP, he used the Patronus charm and Lumos when the dementors attacked - he had to go to the hearing regarding that incident and prove that it was a life threatening situation.
Lumos appears to be an exception. In OotP, Harry was convicted for using the Patronus Charm: not Lumos. In GoF, Hermione used Lumos amongst all the chaos (granted, no Ministry member would be available to document this, etc.), and in PoA Harry and Fudge only discussed Harry blowing up Aunt Marge: not using Lumos.

I believe Lumos is one charm the Ministry is not wholly concerned if underage wizards/witches use, since it is not a very dangerous threat to the Statute of Secrecy (even Muggles have wooden sticks that glow [some even from the end]) and it is a staple for many magical peoples.
Quote:
Originally Posted by meesha1971
The Dark Mark is another good example of this inconsistency. That works very well under the explanation given in HBP, but not with the explanation given in DH. However, without knowing how the actual detection worked - i.e. if it was something that could only be detected at the Ministry or a specific person was responsible for that, etc... - I would hesitate to call this a plot hole because they were not at the Ministry at the time.
I would also not label this a plot hole/inconsistency. Harry, Hermione, and Ron were all at the place where the Dark Mark was conjured. We know that everyone in the forest (Ministry members included) were frightened and horrified by the Dark Mark's appearance. Thus, it is explainable that Amos and Mr. Crouch (emotions running high) would accuse those at the place of the attacks.

We also know that most of the other Ministry personnel during that scene did not think Harry, Ron, and Hermione responsible (one even said, "They're just kids."). Thus, I do not believe that scene is relevant in this discussion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kat_Suki
There are times that innocous magical spells are used outside of school, though. "Lumos" was used by Harry in Little Whinging the night he blew up Aunt Marge. In Hogsmeade we see Hermione used "Mobiliaribus" to move a Christmas tree. Magic on the train.
Since Hogsmeade is an entirely wizard town, I do not believe students using magic there was strictly forbidden (duels, etc. were most likely prohibited, but not simple charms and spells): students were buying magical objects, so I think it likely they could perform simple magic. We also know that magic on the Hogwarts Express is allowed:
CoS, Ch. 18, Dobby's RewardToo soon, it was time for the journey home on the Hogwarts Express... They made the most of the last few hours in which they were allowed to do magic before the holidays.


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  #4  
Old September 26th, 2008, 5:43 pm
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

Okay, so here's the texts:
Chamber Of Secrets'We have received intelligence that a Hover Charm was used at your place of residence this evening at twelve past minutes past nine.
As you know, underage wizards are not permitted to perform spells outside of school, and further spellwork on your part may lead to expulsion from said school.
Prisoner of Azkaban"Last year, I got an official warning just because a house-elf smashed a pudding in my uncle's house! The Ministry of Magic said I'd be expelled from Hogwarts if there was any more magic there!"
Order of the Phoenix"I suppose you've forgotten the Hover Charm he used three years ago---"
"That wasn't me, it was a house-elf!" said Harry.
"YOU SEE?" roared Fudge, gesturing flamboyantly in Harry's direction. "A house-elf! In a Muggle house! I ask you---"
"The house-elf in question is currently in the employ of Hogwarts School," said Dumbledore. "I can summon him here in an instant to give evidence if you wish."
Half-Blood Prince"But in the wizarding world we come of age at seventeen."
*
"But how come the Ministry didn't realize that Voldemort had done all that to Morfin?" Harry asked angrily. "He was underage at the time, wasn't he? I thought they could detect underage magic!"
"You are quite right---they can detect magic, but not the perpetrator: You will remember that you were blamed by the Ministry for the Hover Charm that was, in fact, cast by---"
"Dobby," growled Harry; this injustice still rankled. "So if you're underage and you do magic inside an adult witch or wizard's house, the Ministry won't know?"
"They will certainly be unable to tell who performed the magic," said Dumbledore, smiling slightly at the look of great indignation on Harry's face. "They rely on witch and wizard parents to enforce their offspring's obedience while within their walls."
"Well, that's rubbish," snapped Harry. "Look what happened here, look what happened to Morfin!"
The Deathly Hallows"He's made it an imprisonable offense to connect this house to the Floo Network, place a Portkey here, or Apparate in or out.
Second problem: You're underage, which means you've still got the Trace on you."
"I don't---"
"The Trace, the Trace!' said Mad-Eye impatiently. "The charm that detects magical activity around under-seventeens, the way the Ministry finds out about underage magic! If you, or anyone around you, casts a spell to get you out of here, Thicknesse is going to know about it, and so will the Death Eaters.
"We can't wait for the Trace to break, because the moment you turn seventeen you'll lose all the protection your mother gave you."
*
'Reveling in the removal of his Trace, Harry sent Ron's possessions flying around the room, causing Pigwidgeon to wake up and flutter excitedly around his cage.'
*
"You---you don't think you've still got your Trace on you, do you, Harry?"
"He can't have," said Ron. "The Trace breaks at seventeen, that's Wizarding law, you can't put it on an adult."
*
"But how did they find you so quickly? It's impossible to track anyone who Apparates, unless you grab hold of them as they disappear!"
"We wondered," said Hermione tentatively, "whether Harry could still have the Trace on him?"
"Impossible," said Lupin, Ron looked smug, and Harry felt hugely relieved. "Apart from anything else, they'd know for sure Harry was here if he still had the Trace on him, wouldn't they?"

Okay, I think that's all of the important instances the Trace is talked about.

Maybe it's just me, but the way I'm understanding the text is that the Trace either shows magic has been performed by an underage witch/wizard or near to an underage witch or wizard. I don't see an inconsistency with what was given in both Prince and Hallows.

Remus and Ron do not confirm Hermione's suspicion, they so 'no, absolutely not possible, the Trace is only triggered because of the presence of someone who's not of age'.

Which means there should have been a deeper investigation into the magic at the Gaunt shack and following Kendra's death. But there wasn't.

There's also been shown inconsistency at the Ministry in its investigation of the Black/Pettigrew 'duel', the missing Muggle Frank Bryce, the missing Bertha Jorkins, Harry's supposed Hover Charm, the rubbish bin incident with Mad-Eye.

This is how Jo shows the ineptitude and ineffectualness of the Ministry, which makes it all the more powerful when she says that Ron and Harry make vast changes and now its a good place to work at.

There's no doubt she makes flubs and what have you, we know she does, cause we catch her at it. Like Snape overhearing the prophecy and then Trelawney's description of it. Those two don't match up, really.


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  #5  
Old September 26th, 2008, 10:52 pm
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I think we're pretty much agreed that the trace, or how it's administered or operated, is one of the more blatant inconsistencys in DH. Personally I like to think about it as a new (or reintroduced) security measure bought about because of Voldemort's return. If it were anything else then it just doesn't work in the context of the previous stories.


  #6  
Old September 26th, 2008, 11:57 pm
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

I personally don't see any inconsistencies as far as the Trace goes- it detects magic performed around an underage wizard, but it's possible that the Tom Riddle-era ministry (as Kat_Suki says) mightn't have been the most efficient of organisations. In DH, Harry holds off travelling till his birthday because even Ron and Hermione performing spells around him would have been a giveaway of their location if they did it while he was still underage - at least at the Burrow, there was one underage witch (Ginny) who could provide a decent cover for Harry if the Ministry turned up asking why the Trace was being triggered around the house. As it turned out, they didn't- but it's explainable that way, IMO.


  #7  
Old September 27th, 2008, 5:37 am
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kat_Suki View Post
Okay, so here's the texts:
Chamber Of Secrets'We have received intelligence that a Hover Charm was used at your place of residence this evening at twelve past minutes past nine.
As you know, underage wizards are not permitted to perform spells outside of school, and further spellwork on your part may lead to expulsion from said school.
Prisoner of Azkaban"Last year, I got an official warning just because a house-elf smashed a pudding in my uncle's house! The Ministry of Magic said I'd be expelled from Hogwarts if there was any more magic there!"
Order of the Phoenix"I suppose you've forgotten the Hover Charm he used three years ago---"
"That wasn't me, it was a house-elf!" said Harry.
"YOU SEE?" roared Fudge, gesturing flamboyantly in Harry's direction. "A house-elf! In a Muggle house! I ask you---"
"The house-elf in question is currently in the employ of Hogwarts School," said Dumbledore. "I can summon him here in an instant to give evidence if you wish."
Half-Blood Prince"But in the wizarding world we come of age at seventeen."
*
"But how come the Ministry didn't realize that Voldemort had done all that to Morfin?" Harry asked angrily. "He was underage at the time, wasn't he? I thought they could detect underage magic!"
"You are quite right---they can detect magic, but not the perpetrator: You will remember that you were blamed by the Ministry for the Hover Charm that was, in fact, cast by---"
"Dobby," growled Harry; this injustice still rankled. "So if you're underage and you do magic inside an adult witch or wizard's house, the Ministry won't know?"
"They will certainly be unable to tell who performed the magic," said Dumbledore, smiling slightly at the look of great indignation on Harry's face. "They rely on witch and wizard parents to enforce their offspring's obedience while within their walls."
"Well, that's rubbish," snapped Harry. "Look what happened here, look what happened to Morfin!"
The Deathly Hallows"He's made it an imprisonable offense to connect this house to the Floo Network, place a Portkey here, or Apparate in or out.
Second problem: You're underage, which means you've still got the Trace on you."
"I don't---"
"The Trace, the Trace!' said Mad-Eye impatiently. "The charm that detects magical activity around under-seventeens, the way the Ministry finds out about underage magic! If you, or anyone around you, casts a spell to get you out of here, Thicknesse is going to know about it, and so will the Death Eaters.
"We can't wait for the Trace to break, because the moment you turn seventeen you'll lose all the protection your mother gave you."
*
'Reveling in the removal of his Trace, Harry sent Ron's possessions flying around the room, causing Pigwidgeon to wake up and flutter excitedly around his cage.'
*
"You---you don't think you've still got your Trace on you, do you, Harry?"
"He can't have," said Ron. "The Trace breaks at seventeen, that's Wizarding law, you can't put it on an adult."
*
"But how did they find you so quickly? It's impossible to track anyone who Apparates, unless you grab hold of them as they disappear!"
"We wondered," said Hermione tentatively, "whether Harry could still have the Trace on him?"
"Impossible," said Lupin, Ron looked smug, and Harry felt hugely relieved. "Apart from anything else, they'd know for sure Harry was here if he still had the Trace on him, wouldn't they?"

Okay, I think that's all of the important instances the Trace is talked about.

Maybe it's just me, but the way I'm understanding the text is that the Trace either shows magic has been performed by an underage witch/wizard or near to an underage witch or wizard. I don't see an inconsistency with what was given in both Prince and Hallows.

Remus and Ron do not confirm Hermione's suspicion, they so 'no, absolutely not possible, the Trace is only triggered because of the presence of someone who's not of age'.

Which means there should have been a deeper investigation into the magic at the Gaunt shack and following Kendra's death. But there wasn't.

There's also been shown inconsistency at the Ministry in its investigation of the Black/Pettigrew 'duel', the missing Muggle Frank Bryce, the missing Bertha Jorkins, Harry's supposed Hover Charm, the rubbish bin incident with Mad-Eye.

This is how Jo shows the ineptitude and ineffectualness of the Ministry, which makes it all the more powerful when she says that Ron and Harry make vast changes and now its a good place to work at.
I still have to disagree because both Ron and Lupin do confirm that Hermione is correct about the Trace being used as a means to track people in regards to how it works. They both tell her that she is wrong about it being on Harry because he is no longer underage, but nobody corrects her regarding how the Trace works. Lupin goes so far as to specifically say that the Death Eaters would know for sure that Harry was there if he still had a Trace on him.

DH"Impossible," said Lupin, Ron looked smug, and Harry felt hugely relieved. "Apart from anything else, they'd know for sure Harry was here if he still had the Trace on him, wouldn't they?"


I don't think the goal here was to make the Ministry look incompetant - if that were the case, then there would be no reason for the Order to worry about using magic to get Harry away from Privet Dr. or for Harry to avoid using magic until his birthday. Jo made this change for two reasons. The first as to make it more difficult for them to get Harry away from Privet Dr. - as Moody explains when he tells Haryr why they changed the plan. But that really wasn't necessary because she established that Thicknesse had made it an imprisonable offense to apparate, use a portkey, or use a floo from that location - as well as establishing that they suspected Thicknesse had "gone over". There was no need to change the detection of magic on top of that.

But she also used that as a red herring for how the Death Eaters found the trio when they escaped the wedding - which is where the implied specificity comes in. She wanted the readers to think that the Trace was being used to track Harry specifically to misdirect from the Taboo on Voldemort's name. That's where she made the mistake with all this because that made the Trace too specific and enabled it to distinguish too much. That's what causes problems with the previous books.

Quote:
There's no doubt she makes flubs and what have you, we know she does, cause we catch her at it. Like Snape overhearing the prophecy and then Trelawney's description of it. Those two don't match up, really.
That's another one that causes problems. If Snape was caught as Trelawney came out of her trance, then how did he not hear the entire prophecy? Was the confrontation with Aberforth that intense? Those don't match up.

And that also ties in to why Dumbledore just let him go without modifying his memory or anything. That never really made much sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deevo View Post
I think we're pretty much agreed that the trace, or how it's administered or operated, is one of the more blatant inconsistencys in DH. Personally I like to think about it as a new (or reintroduced) security measure bought about because of Voldemort's return. If it were anything else then it just doesn't work in the context of the previous stories.
I agree. It would have to be an entirely new creation between HBP and DH in order to remove all the inconsistencies and contradictions it creates. Unfortunately, there's really nothing in the text to indicate that the law or spell was changed after Dumbledore explained it and Jo has Harry behaving as though it was that specific all along and he knew all about it so I'm left with looking at it as a plot hole.


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

  #8  
Old September 27th, 2008, 8:54 am
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

Congrats on your versioning thread Meesha!

I was wondering; did JKR ever explain why Lupin didn't change into a werewolf in the Shrieking Shack since the moon was already out before they left?


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  #9  
Old September 27th, 2008, 10:09 am
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

I've always thought that has something to do with the moon being hidden behind the clouds. The moonlight has to fall directly on the werewolf for him to transform. I don't remember where I picked up that idea, it was way before Harry Potter but PoA seemed to confirm it.

The way I see it, if Lupin was roaming the grounds, there would be various times during the night when the moon would be obstructed and he would turn back into a human briefly.


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  #10  
Old September 27th, 2008, 11:51 am
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

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Originally Posted by Kanksha View Post
I've always thought that has something to do with the moon being hidden behind the clouds. The moonlight has to fall directly on the werewolf for him to transform. I don't remember where I picked up that idea, it was way before Harry Potter but PoA seemed to confirm it.

The way I see it, if Lupin was roaming the grounds, there would be various times during the night when the moon would be obstructed and he would turn back into a human briefly.
Well there is definitely lore that supports that idea from other books as well as legends (directly moonlight must hit the human before he transforms into a werewolf). But the thing is, Lupin used to take wolfsbane and curl up by the fire in wolf form. So he was indoors then too, not in the direct light of the moon. So it seems to be a sort of plot hole in as far as HP series goes. Plus he always changed in the shack when attending Hogwarts - he could have just stayed in the castle and out of the moonlight if he could remain in human form as long as it didn't fall directly upon him.


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  #11  
Old September 27th, 2008, 12:20 pm
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
Well there is definitely lore that supports that idea from other books as well as legends (directly moonlight must hit the human before he transforms into a werewolf). But the thing is, Lupin used to take wolfsbane and curl up by the fire in wolf form. So he was indoors then too, not in the direct light of the moon. So it seems to be a sort of plot hole in as far as HP series goes. Plus he always changed in the shack when attending Hogwarts - he could have just stayed in the castle and out of the moonlight if he could remain in human form as long as it didn't fall directly upon him.
You're right, thats true, I wonder why I never thought of that before. That is a huge gaping plot hole, I can't think of any explanation for it!


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  #12  
Old September 27th, 2008, 1:47 pm
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

Ok I'm new at this. I have no idea if I'm posting this in the right place or not. But I really need to discuss this inconsistency. In book 4, the Priori Incantatem part, where Harry's wand forces Voldemort's wand to reverse his spells, James's echo or shadow emerges first and only after that Lily's shadow materialises. But Voldemort actually killed James first and then Lily. After that ofcourse where the more recent deaths- Bertha Jorkins, Frank Bryce and then Cedric. So when they emerged from Voldemort's wand the order should have been Cedric, Frank, Bertha (no problem till there) then LILY followed by JAMES. Not the other way around.


  #13  
Old September 27th, 2008, 2:17 pm
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

Regarding the moon in PoA, I do agree this is a bit of an inconsistency. But perhaps it can be explained if the moon has to be up at a certain point in the sky for Remus to begin transforming. The fact that the moon has come up over the horizon may not trigger the transformation, but perhaps when the moon reaches its zenith, then the transformation happens. I think the cloud moving to reveal the moon was for dramatic effect rather than to indicate that the light of the full moon has to physically touch Remus (or else he could indeed just stay inside to avoid transforming, and I don't think it works that way, or else being a werewolf wouldn't be so bad).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Babblingbananas View Post
In book 4, the Priori Incantatem part, where Harry's wand forces Voldemort's wand to reverse his spells, James's echo or shadow emerges first and only after that Lily's shadow materialises.
I believe some of the editions of Goblet of Fire contained this mistake, because in mine, the echoes come out the other way (first Lily then James).


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  #14  
Old September 27th, 2008, 2:58 pm
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
Well there is definitely lore that supports that idea from other books as well as legends (directly moonlight must hit the human before he transforms into a werewolf). But the thing is, Lupin used to take wolfsbane and curl up by the fire in wolf form. So he was indoors then too, not in the direct light of the moon. So it seems to be a sort of plot hole in as far as HP series goes. Plus he always changed in the shack when attending Hogwarts - he could have just stayed in the castle and out of the moonlight if he could remain in human form as long as it didn't fall directly upon him.
I always thought that the reason was as follows, and this is only on my own head! When Lupin changes into a wolf, it requires that the moon shine directly on him. But once the moon goes behind a cloud after he has transformed, then he doesn't change back, he stays as a wolf. I always just figured that it took direct moonlight to change him, but not its direct absence to change him back. it's easy also to argue that at some stage in the night, the moonlight would strike him through his office or bedroom window.

And adding to that, as RLF says above me, perhaps he only begins to change on the first night of a full moon, but only when the moon reaches the direct apex of it's wanderings in that time.

I never really saw it as inconsistent, I suppose because I just assumed otherwise,

As for the trace, it is definitely quite inconsistent, but I suppose since it was only brought in in the last book, we have no way of backgrounding it to perfection, and likely, neither had JK Rowling at the time. When you're trying to make sure that an issue can be raised, but you're six books aheead of it ever being important, accidents happen I guess!

And as for Dumbledore and the memory charm- I see why he didn't do it. maybe he was still hoping that Snape would return to him? He was always highly intuitive, after all. But it's not a strong enough theory to fit the bill.


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  #15  
Old September 27th, 2008, 5:23 pm
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Babblingbananas View Post
Ok I'm new at this. I have no idea if I'm posting this in the right place or not. But I really need to discuss this inconsistency. In book 4, the Priori Incantatem part, where Harry's wand forces Voldemort's wand to reverse his spells, James's echo or shadow emerges first and only after that Lily's shadow materialises. But Voldemort actually killed James first and then Lily. After that ofcourse where the more recent deaths- Bertha Jorkins, Frank Bryce and then Cedric. So when they emerged from Voldemort's wand the order should have been Cedric, Frank, Bertha (no problem till there) then LILY followed by JAMES. Not the other way around.
Thats been answered by JK. Cedric, Frank, Bertha, Lily, James is the correct order. But apparently when the book was submitted to the editor, he suggested that it was a mistake and should be the other way around. JK got confused and agreed and so the first set of copies were printed with the wrong order. Then it got corrected in later printings.

I'm lucky enough to own two copies of GoF, both with different orders


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  #16  
Old September 27th, 2008, 7:45 pm
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meesha1971 View Post
I still have to disagree because both Ron and Lupin do confirm that Hermione is correct about the Trace being used as a means to track people in regards to how it works. They both tell her that she is wrong about it being on Harry because he is no longer underage, but nobody corrects her regarding how the Trace works. Lupin goes so far as to specifically say that the Death Eaters would know for sure that Harry was there if he still had a Trace on him.
I guess I'm not reading it the same way as you, the text says

DH"Impossible," said Lupin, Ron looked smug, and Harry felt hugely relieved. "Apart from anything else, "they'd know for sure Harry was here if he still had the Trace on him, wouldn't they?"
My take: "Impossible because quite apart from anything else, the Ministry, if they had been able to extend the Trace on Harry {or anyone else} then they'd be here beating down the door, wouldn't they? Obviously they're not outside and they haven't come calling, so therefore, it is not possible."

On the other hand, this is from Rowling's fansite:
F.A.Q.In 'Prisoner of Azkaban', why couldn't the Ministry of Magic have sent Sirius an owl, and then followed it, to find him?
Just as wizards can make buildings unplottable, they can also make themselves untraceable. Voldemort would have been found long ago if it had been as simple as sending him an owl!
Seems to imply the Ministry can attempt to trace people magically, but are rarely, if ever, successful.

The Taboo is an interesting thing to consider.

Regarding Remus and the full moon, didn't Rowling once say that the reason he'd not transformed yet was because the moon wasn't up yet? Does that mean it has to reach a zenith before the transformation occurs?

How did Snape get to Dumbledore's portrait in the Headmaster's office, so that Dumbleddore could tell him to inform Voldemort of the change of date?


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Last edited by Kat_Suki; September 27th, 2008 at 7:49 pm.
  #17  
Old September 27th, 2008, 7:48 pm
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

Quote:
Priori Incantatem
Even with the correction, it seems Jo still missed a few spells in order. We can assume that 'echoing screams of pain' encompasses several Crucio's, but she forgot the Imperio he used, the spell forcing Harry to bow, the several spells he uses on Bertha Jorkins (breaking the Memory Charm, 'convincing' her to talk) prior to killing her, the apparent Legilimency he uses on Wormtail and Frank Bryce (assuming that is what's being referred to by 'noone can lie to Lord Voldemort') , the possession of Quirrell (assuming that required a wand), and the breaking into the bedroom where Harry and Lily were hiding.

I'll give her the benefit of the doubt on not describing the spells the spells prior to James' murder, and assume they were there and not mentioned.


  #18  
Old September 27th, 2008, 8:09 pm
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
Congrats on your versioning thread Meesha!
Thanks!

Quote:
I was wondering; did JKR ever explain why Lupin didn't change into a werewolf in the Shrieking Shack since the moon was already out before they left?
Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
Well there is definitely lore that supports that idea from other books as well as legends (directly moonlight must hit the human before he transforms into a werewolf). But the thing is, Lupin used to take wolfsbane and curl up by the fire in wolf form. So he was indoors then too, not in the direct light of the moon. So it seems to be a sort of plot hole in as far as HP series goes. Plus he always changed in the shack when attending Hogwarts - he could have just stayed in the castle and out of the moonlight if he could remain in human form as long as it didn't fall directly upon him.
Jo did give a brief answer to this in a live webchat with classrooms back in 2000.

Scholastic Live Webchate, 10/16/2000Question: Can you explain how Lupin turns into a werewolf, since he didn't turn in the Shrieking Shack in Prisoner of Azkaban, but instead he turned only when the full moonlight hit him outside the tunnel? If he only turned into a wolf in the moonlight, why didn't he just stay inside? Did it have to do with the potion? Or was the moon not up yet?

J.K. Rowling responds: The moon wasn't up when he entered the Shrieking Shack.


I went back to check the timeframe given for that and that and it does fit. When Ron was dragged into the Whomping Willow, the sun was setting. Later, we are given the overall time frame of three hours - that's how far Harry and Hermione had to go back and that put them to the time just before they went down to Hagrid's - just before sunset. The bulk of those three hours was spent inside the Shrieking Shack.

What I get from that is that Lupin is not going to transform immediately at sunset/moonrise. He will transform when the moon is up and that can take a few hours. Kind of like sunrise - it's usually a couple of hours or so before the sun is actually up and you have good daylight. So Lupin had a couple of hours before he would transform because the moon was not up yet.

That fits with most of the werewolf lore that I've seen used. I remember seeing something very similar on BtVS actually - they did an episode centered around Oz (the werewolf for anyone who hasn't seen it). He always locked himself up with one of his friends standing guard during the full moon and this episode was about him getting out one night and the concern that he might have attacked someone. But they focused on his transformation at the beginning of the episode - cutting between the sun setting or moon rising and him pacing in his cage before the transformation actually occurred. He got more anxious and edgy as the moon rose, but it wasn't until it was completely up that he transformed. So that works for me. And the fact that there is no exact computation for moonrise and the time it takes to reach it's zenith due to variations with atmosphere, topography, etc... is a good thing for fantasy because you can play around with that a bit.


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

  #19  
Old September 27th, 2008, 8:27 pm
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

As far as Lupin transforming...since he had not taken his potion that night...possibly, his previous night's potion had finally worn off, just as the moon was exposed. A stretch, I know, but an explaination, none the less.


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  #20  
Old September 27th, 2008, 8:34 pm
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Re: Plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions v2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meesha1971 View Post
Thanks!
What I get from that is that Lupin is not going to transform immediately at sunset/moonrise. He will transform when the moon is up and that can take a few hours. Kind of like sunrise - it's usually a couple of hours or so before the sun is actually up and you have good daylight. So Lupin had a couple of hours before he would transform because the moon was not up yet.
[unsuspending disbelief] Well, technically, the moon is always up (and often even visible during the day). Does direct sunlight cancel the werewolf changing mechanism? [/resuspending disbelief]



Last edited by stevehim42; September 27th, 2008 at 8:36 pm.
 
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