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Old May 23rd, 2012, 2:15 am
Lprdgecko  Female.gif Lprdgecko is offline
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Harry Potter Timeline

I tried searching for a similar topic but didn't find one. Mods please feel free to move this if it is in the wrong spot.

I just started my annual re-reading of the Harry Potter series. I'm a few pages into Sorcerer's Stone, and I already have a question.

Correct me if I am wrong, but James and Lily were killed on the night of October 31, 1981, right? On page 2 of Sorcerer's Stone, it says, "When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray, Tuesday our story starts, ..."

It seems like the day the story starts should be November 1, 1981, since the rest of the wizarding world is just finding out that Voldemort is "dead." However, looking at the calendar for November, 1981, November 1 was a Sunday.

Any thoughts on this? Do I have my dates wrong? Just a simple mistake? Do wizards use a different calendar than the muggles?


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  #2  
Old May 24th, 2012, 2:21 pm
SlyEd  Male.gif SlyEd is offline
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

I believe it's a simple mistake, yes.
She probably didn't do it intentionally. I believe she would let us know if wizards use a different calendar.


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Old May 24th, 2012, 5:24 pm
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

The most likely explanation for this is that JKR simply didn't go to a calendar of 1981 and look to see what day Nov 1, 1981 fell on.

At the time she wrote PS/SS she would have had no reason to expect that her book would go on to become the international success it was with the rabid fact-checking fan base it created so I'd say just accept that in HPland Nov 1, 1981 was a Tuesday just as we accept that this is also a world where wizards, dragons, goblins and magic exist.

Also, I can't imagine wizards use a different calendar than muggles. Think of what a logistical nightmare that would create...


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Old May 25th, 2012, 4:09 am
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

Other people have discussed this before in different threads. Another thing that is strange to us fact-finders is the school term always starts on Sept. 1. We know that the date doesn't fall on a Monday every year, but Jo wanted it to start it that way. Another odd occurance was when Harry was writing to Sirius and mentioned that Dudley threw his Playstation out the window when he became angry, lots of people mention that the Playstation didn't come out until at least a year or two after the book was published and they wanted to know how Jo knew about this game.
We so have a thread called Plotholes and Inconsistencies (sorry if this isn't the whole title). It points out lots of differences that we have noticed in the series.


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Old May 26th, 2012, 4:07 pm
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lprdgecko View Post
I tried searching for a similar topic but didn't find one. Mods please feel free to move this if it is in the wrong spot.

I just started my annual re-reading of the Harry Potter series. I'm a few pages into Sorcerer's Stone, and I already have a question.

Correct me if I am wrong, but James and Lily were killed on the night of October 31, 1981, right? On page 2 of Sorcerer's Stone, it says, "When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray, Tuesday our story starts, ..."

It seems like the day the story starts should be November 1, 1981, since the rest of the wizarding world is just finding out that Voldemort is "dead." However, looking at the calendar for November, 1981, November 1 was a Sunday.

Any thoughts on this? Do I have my dates wrong? Just a simple mistake? Do wizards use a different calendar than the muggles?
I think that would be primarily due to the fact that it's highly unlikely that Jo had a 1981 calendar available when she was writing PS/SS back in the early 90's. Jo has commented on how she worked on PS/SS off and on for seven years - it was first published in 1997. She wrote the manuscript by hand with pen and paper and typed chapters up on a typewriter to send them to agents.

Of course, these days computers are more common so it's very easy for us to pull up a calendar from 1981 and see what day November 1 fell on. Jo would have had to locate a printed calendar from nearly 10 years before so that would have been more difficult. However, since the computer makes it easier to look up past dates, I scanned through November calendars for the years that Jo was writing PS/SS. In 1994, November 1 actually was on a Tuesday. It seems likely that Jo just glanced at her current calendar and used the day it had listed for November 1 so I would go with that being a simple mistake.

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Originally Posted by merrymarge View Post
Other people have discussed this before in different threads. Another thing that is strange to us fact-finders is the school term always starts on Sept. 1. We know that the date doesn't fall on a Monday every year, but Jo wanted it to start it that way. Another odd occurance was when Harry was writing to Sirius and mentioned that Dudley threw his Playstation out the window when he became angry, lots of people mention that the Playstation didn't come out until at least a year or two after the book was published and they wanted to know how Jo knew about this game.
We so have a thread called Plotholes and Inconsistencies (sorry if this isn't the whole title). It points out lots of differences that we have noticed in the series.
Actually, the Playstation had been out for several years when GOF was published so Jo certainly would have heard of it - and possibly even purchased one for her daughter. The inconsistency was within the time frame of the story because GOF was set in 1994. Specifically, when Harry writes to Sirius and mentions the Playstation, it was August of 1994. The Playstation wasn't released until October of 1994 - and that was in Japan so the Dursleys would not have been able to purchase one for Dudley in 1994 at all. I would say this was a similar issue to the calendar dates - Jo simply used something she was familiar with and didn't realize it wouldn't have been available during the time frame of GOF.

As for the school term starting on September 1 - that is the day they take the train to Hogwarts and have the opening feast. Classes don't actually start until the following day - September 2. This really wasn't an issue in PS/SS because, in 1991, September 1 actually fell on a Sunday so Harry would have been starting his classes on Monday, September 2. It's not really an issue in COS either because September 1 was on a Monday in 1992, which would put Harry starting classes on Tuesday. For POA, it would have been Wednesday and Thursday for 1993. In the first three books, nobody states what day it is when classes start so that's not really an issue. We can speculate that they started classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday respectively without any inconsistency in the text. That's also true for HBP because September 1 fell on a Sunday in 1996 - as it did in 1991 - and it doesn't come up in DH because Harry didn't go back to school.

The only books where that was an issue were GOF and OOTP - both of which have the trio starting classes on a Monday. However, I think this was a similar issue as the day the story started in 1981 with Jo using current calendars as a reference. GOF is more difficult to speculate on because Jo actually started writing that while she was still working on POA, but for OOTP, September 1 did fall on a Sunday in 2002 and Jo would have been working on OOTP at that time. So, again, I would say those were just simple mistakes.


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

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Old May 26th, 2012, 6:08 pm
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

There was a mention of Sept. 1 in DH. A lot of DE were hanging around the square across from Grimmauld place, hoping to see if the trio would leave for the Hogwarts Express. I never had problems with dates, whether they were true to a real calander or not. Jo tried to stay away from actual dates unless it was necessary.

Professor Dumbledore told Professor Slughorn he expected him on September 1, so I thought that was when the term started.


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Old May 26th, 2012, 6:42 pm
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

Quote:
Originally Posted by merrymarge View Post
There was a mention of Sept. 1 in DH. A lot of DE were hanging around the square across from Grimmauld place, hoping to see if the trio would leave for the Hogwarts Express. I never had problems with dates, whether they were true to a real calander or not. Jo tried to stay away from actual dates unless it was necessary.

Professor Dumbledore told Professor Slughorn he expected him on September 1, so I thought that was when the term started.
The trio find out about Snape being made Headmaster on September 1 and talk about how weird it is not to be on the train, but there's no mention of what day of the week it is so it's not really an issue.

Term does officially start on September 1 - that's always stated in their letters - but all they do that day is travel to Hogwarts on the train and have the opening feast. Classes usually begin on September 2.


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

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Old May 26th, 2012, 10:07 pm
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

Quote:
Originally Posted by merrymarge View Post
There was a mention of Sept. 1 in DH. A lot of DE were hanging around the square across from Grimmauld place, hoping to see if the trio would leave for the Hogwarts Express. I never had problems with dates, whether they were true to a real calander or not. Jo tried to stay away from actual dates unless it was necessary.
I think it would have been narratively slightly more confusing to have the date of the beginning of term change every year Harry goes to school, having term start on September 1st one year, Sept 2nd the next then when Sept 1 falls on a friday or saturday have term start on Sept 4th or 5th or even August 28th or 29th... It's just simpler to stick to one date and let the days of the week work themselves out.

Besides, think how great it would be to be a first year the years September 1st was on a Friday or Saturday - come to school and then have a day or two to explore the castle, to get to know your housemates before starting classes, to meet the ghosts when you aren't overwhelmed by work... those would be the best years to be a first year I'd think! Actually, just the best years to be at Hogwarts since you'd basically be getting a mini vacation before school begins.


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Old May 30th, 2012, 3:27 am
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

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I never had problems with dates, whether they were true to a real calander or not. Jo tried to stay away from actual dates unless it was necessary.

.
Sort of along these lines, and I'm sure this has been asked 100 times before, but I wonder why, at the end of DH, Rowling made the epilogue 19 years later instead of a round 20? Not that it matters, just curiosity on my part.


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Old May 30th, 2012, 3:31 am
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

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Originally Posted by Lprdgecko View Post
Sort of along these lines, and I'm sure this has been asked 100 times before, but I wonder why, at the end of DH, Rowling made the epilogue 19 years later instead of a round 20? Not that it matters, just curiosity on my part.
Perhaps Rowling considered a suitable age for Harry and Ginny, and of course Ron and Hermione, to have children, and made it so that a few of these children would be eleven years old by the time nineteen years had passed.


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Old May 30th, 2012, 5:31 am
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

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Perhaps Rowling considered a suitable age for Harry and Ginny, and of course Ron and Hermione, to have children, and made it so that a few of these children would be eleven years old by the time nineteen years had passed.
IIRC she thought 20 years would have been a bit of a cliche, so she made it 19 years instead. It was long enough for Teddy to have finished school and Bill's and Fleur's daughter to be starting her final year.


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Old May 30th, 2012, 5:49 pm
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

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IIRC she thought 20 years would have been a bit of a cliche, so she made it 19 years instead. It was long enough for Teddy to have finished school and Bill's and Fleur's daughter to be starting her final year.
I agree. I don't know if that's why JKR made it 19 instead of 20 years but for me 20 years later would be too buttoned-up and she has said that's one of the reasons she didn't want Neville and Luna to end up together, especially since Neville ended up becoming Herbology professor. 18 years later also seems really buttoned up to me simply because it's a even number (silly, I know ) and 17 years later seems trite because of the number 17 - we'd all be pointing out that she's introducing another 7 to us after having a hero who defeats the villain at age 17 at a school where there are 7 years of education offered with 7 core or mandatory classes... I thought it was nice that she wasn't ramming another 7 down our throats, personally.


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Old May 31st, 2012, 11:22 pm
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

how about 15 years later?


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Old June 1st, 2012, 1:31 am
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

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how about 15 years later?
Then Teddy would still be in school. Personally, I don't see any issue with having Teddy Lupin still attending Hogwarts in the epilogue but it seemed important to JKR that he be graduated for some reason...


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Old June 1st, 2012, 1:39 am
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

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Then Teddy would still be in school. Personally, I don't see any issue with having Teddy Lupin still attending Hogwarts in the epilogue but it seemed important to JKR that he be graduated for some reason...
Perhaps the importance revolved around the fact that Teddy got through Hogwarts safely, and without trouble. In a parallel drawn between Harry and Sirius, I see Harry's duty and success as a godfather accomplished in Teddy's graduation and happiness.


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Old June 1st, 2012, 5:57 am
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

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Perhaps Rowling considered a suitable age for Harry and Ginny, and of course Ron and Hermione, to have children, and made it so that a few of these children would be eleven years old by the time nineteen years had passed.
That makes sense to me; the children's ages were probably key. Particularly for Albus Severus to be the right age to be leaving for Hogwarts for the first time.


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Old June 1st, 2012, 6:04 am
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

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That makes sense to me; the children's ages were probably key. Particularly for Albus Severus to be the right age to be leaving for Hogwarts for the first time.
Yes, and 19 yrs allowed enough time for Ginny and Hermione to have begun their careers before they started their families.


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Old June 1st, 2012, 4:30 pm
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Re: Harry Potter Timeline

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Yes, and 19 yrs allowed enough time for Ginny and Hermione to have begun their careers before they started their families.
It also gave the trio (and Ginny) time to "grow up" a bit more before having kids. I don't know about anyone else but if I had been presented with a 19-year-old Harry having kids I would have been disappointed.

Having them wait almost... 7 years? (hey, there's another 7!) to have kids meant that the troubles in the wizarding world would have had time to cool off, rogue Death Eaters could have been rounded up, tried and imprisoned, the kids could have gotten married and still had time to just be a couple before they had kids.


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