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Seventh Child Folklore and Its Significance for Ginevra Weasley



 
 
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  #1  
Old November 9th, 2005, 4:05 am
Ron_is_da_man  Undisclosed.gif Ron_is_da_man is offline
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Seventh Child Folklore and Its Significance for Ginevra Weasley

Iberian seventh-born children, werewolves, and the dragon slayer:<snip> Folklore, Dec, 2003 by Francisco Vaz da Silva
As Ernesto Veiga de Oliveira informs us, "according to custom, godparents are usually close kin to the child--siblings, uncles or grandparents" (Veiga de Oliveira 1959, 158). However, he adds, the choice of siblings as godparents is a special case in connection with "supernatural" and "archaic" elements. "In numerous localities, the son or daughter being born after seven siblings of the same sex must become godson [goddaughter] to his elder brother or sister, lest he or she be doomed to 'run the fate,' that is, be a 'werewolf' or 'witch'"--and be, moreover, prone to epileptic fits (Veiga de Oliveira 1959, 159-60).

Overall, then, we see that a special mode of baptism shunning the usual rules for the choice of godparents among kin and social peers would apply for seventh children, who would be given unusual godparents: strangers or siblings. Now, we have to relate this to a wider set of ideas regarding seventh children. Iona Opie and Moira Tatem mention one British mid-thirteenth-century source relating seventh sons to healing powers and present other sources, from the sixteenth century onwards, which explicitly connect such children with the healing of the "King's Evil" (Opie and Tatem 1989, 346-7). Marc Bloch, following this trend in 1924, has called attention to the "supernatural power ... attributed to the seventh son ... sometimes also ... to the seventh daughter, appearing ... after an uninterrupted series of the same sex," and has remarked that seventh-born children were credited with a "particular supernatural power" (Bloch 1983, 293 and 296).

Specifically, Bloch noted that from at least the sixteenth century onwards, children born into a seventh position in their family supposedly had--like sacred kings--a power to heal by touch. Such extraordinary children, often deemed sorcerers even "devils"--and referred to by expressions such as panseux de secret, "healers of secret," clearly had the ambivalent privilege of tapping invisible powers. Theirs was a healing and divinatory power, which could entail animal metamorphosis (Bloch 1983, 293-4). Now, this risk is exactly what, according to Portuguese data, the custom of choosing the eldest children to act as godparents to last-born siblings seeks to avoid. Another method in use was to give such children special names, like Narciso or Bento. Note that a bento is both a healer and a soothsayer (Leite de Vasconcelos 1980, 102-3; Pedroso 1988, 187 and 193). The special baptism given to seventh children relates, therefore, to their twofold distinctiveness: powers of healing or prophecy on the one hand, and danger of metamorphosis on the other.

While reading this article, several things seemed very relevant:

- The connection between Eldest child and the Seventh child. JK has made it a point to acknowledge that Ginny's favourite brother is Bill. Naturally we would have expected this to be Ron or the Twins yet it is Bill (to whom she is not close to in age) that occupies the role as favourite sibling. Speculation as to the significance of the relationship is necessary especially since in the quote speaks about werewolves. Why was Bill bitten by a werewolf and what is the future of Bill Weasley and how does it connect to Ginny and her possibly extraordinary powers, if at all.

- The second thing of note was 7th children being in possession of healing and divinatory powers. Ginny Weasley has not shown any particular healing power to my knowledge nor have we heard she is a divination pro in the books. However, we may say that her being the "greatest source of comfort" to Harry and her ability to lead Harry by a simple touch may indicate some sort of healing ability that has not yet been disclosed. JK has also made a point of having Ginny share eye-catches (even when his friends are around) and moments of understanding with Harry where no words are necessary and this may indicate some divinatory ability. Harry has the power the Dark Lord knows not but does Ginny have the power to heal and divine Harry that we the readers know not. He is a damaged boy with only more damage to come. Ginny knew she wanted Harry the moment she laid eyes on him; were some divinatory powers from her 7th child status involved. This is all speculation of course.

- The third thing that I noticed from the article was "metamorphosis". We already have Tonks filling that role but Ginny has a secret side to her that we may not know which could be a revelation. Is this one of the ways Ginny will be with Harry during the Horcrux hunt. At the end of HBP we see Ginny "divining" Harry's thoughts
HBP, Ch 30 The White TombShe met Harry's gaze with the same hard, blazing look that he had seen when she had hugged him after winning the Quidditch Cup in his absence, and he knew that at the moment they understood each other perfectly, and that when he told her what he was going to do now, she would not say, "Be careful," or "Don't do it" (I am now going to butt in and say she wouldn't say "I'm scared for you, Harry" either. Erg! Hate that line. Disclaimer: Not a shipper, I just dislike the line) but accept his decision, because she would have expected anything less of him. And so he steeled himself to say what he had known he must say ever since Dumbledore had died.
Perhaps Ginny knows that Harry has to do what he has to do and she knows what she has to do. Could Ginny also be a metamorphomagus like Tonks? I don't know nor do I particularly think she is. It is very interesting that it is a part of the seventh child's folklore along with - healing and prophecy. It seems too much to dismiss as not being relevant.

It may allude to Ginny's change in Harry's eyes. Metamorphosis - a complete or marked change in appearance, character, or condition. I would not refer to Ginny as completely changing or really changing at all since we have evidence throughout the 6 books that she has not. Her change in Harry's eyes can be seen as a metamorphosis.

An aside: Interestingly enough, while reading this article, they mentioned a story: Portuguese version of AT 327 (the story of the boy helped by two dogs to slay a seven-headed serpent). This just screamed Harry and his two dogs (man's best friend - Ron and Hermione) helping to slay a seven-headed serpent (Horcruxes). I am not exactly sure how the 7th child fits in. I don't know if anyone has ever heard the story but I never have. Perhaps Ginny will kill Nagini or Ginny will slay a werewolf.

This thread is to discuss 7th child folklore and how it could possibly be related to Ginny.

The article may be found HERE



Last edited by Ron_is_da_man; November 9th, 2005 at 2:09 pm. Reason: Clarification
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  #2  
Old November 9th, 2005, 5:20 am
SausageMan  Undisclosed.gif SausageMan is offline
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Holy Jebus. O_o Let's see if I can keep up with any of this...

For one thing, Jo has definitely acknowledged Ginny's uniqueness of being the seventh child of a seventh child, and has said that she is a gifted witch because of it. And that we'll "see more of that" (from the MuggleNet/Leaky interview). So this is definitely a worthwhile discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_is_da_man
Why was Bill bitten by a werewolf and what is the future of Bill Weasley and how does it connect to Ginny and her possibly extraordinary powers, if at all.
Now, you're going to have to explain this bit to me again, because I didn't quite follow it (in the quote you put up either). What is the significance of the eldest/seventh child, and what does that have to do with metamorphosis? I just didn't follow that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_is_da_man
However, we may say that her being the "greatest source of comfort" to Harry and her ability to lead Harry by a simple touch may indicate some sort of healing ability that has not yet been disclosed.
I don't know how specifically those scenes might have alluded to a healing ability, but I can definitely see something like that happening in the future. Like Harry depending on her when he's in his death throes, and only she can heal him, something like that (and hopefully a little less corny ). So that makes a lot of sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_is_da_man
JK has also made a point of having Ginny share eye-catches (even when his friends are around) and moments of understanding with Harry where no words are necessary and this may indicate some divinatory ability.
Okay, at this point I think that's analyzing to excess. Those moments are there simply because Ginny and Harry work well together and think alike, and Jo is just showing the strength of their relationship. Maaaybe she might have some divination abilities, but I very highly doubt those moments have anything to do with it, to be honest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_is_da_man
The third thing that I noticed from the article was "metamorphosis". We already have Tonks filling that role but Ginny has a secret side to her that we may not know which could be a revelation.
Interesting, but I think I agree with you that it's kind of unlikely. Doesn't seem like it would be terribly important.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_is_da_man
It may allude to Ginny's change in Harry's eyes. Metamorphosis - a complete or marked change in appearance, character, or condition.
Again, analyzing to excess, I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_is_da_man
An aside: Interestingly enough, while reading this article, they mentioned a story: Portuguese version of AT 327 (the story of the boy helped by two dogs to slay a seven-headed serpent). This just screamed Harry and his two dogs (man's best friend - Ron and Hermione) helping to slay a seven-headed serpent (Horcruxes).
Now this I found very interesting. How might you think Ginny would have to do with this? I would not be surprised at all if Jo referenced this story when writing.

I think overall the most interesting discovery here is the possiblity of healing powers. I can definitely see that playing an important role later.

[Note to all concerned, especially mods: If there's a thread anywhere else about this topic, by all means point us to it, but I say keep this thread unlocked. There's a lot of interesting stuff here.]


  #3  
Old November 9th, 2005, 9:47 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_is_da_man
This thread is about speculation of Ginny being the 7th child of a 7th child.
There is already a thread about this: Ginny, the 7th Weasley...

happy posting


  #4  
Old November 9th, 2005, 12:12 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madron
There is already a thread about this: Ginny, the 7th Weasley...

happy posting
Yet they don't seem to be discussing the same thing. This thread seems to be discussing Ginny and folklore that the 7th of the 7th and the possible effect on Ginny and that thread seems to be discussing Ginny in general terms. The folklore aspect behind her position in the family seems like a different discussion so I hope they don't close this or perhaps merge?

Cheers



Last edited by cgold; November 9th, 2005 at 12:25 pm.
  #5  
Old November 9th, 2005, 1:51 pm
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On Rowling's website, Arthur is stated to only have two siblings. Unless Molly has six siblings that we don't know about, Ginny wouldn't be the seventh child of a seventh child.


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Old November 9th, 2005, 2:03 pm
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My mother was the seventh child of eight in her family.
She was a medium.

I was a medium too, when I was younger.
In my old age, I've put on weight, so now I'm a large.





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Old November 9th, 2005, 3:09 pm
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Well, this is all very interesting. I have read about 7th children-and 7th children of 7th children- (Madeline L'Engle, anyone?), and it is very intriguing. I really like the idea that Ginny may have healing powers. Now that is something that could be useful and important. I am really happy that Ginny had a somewhat bigger role in HBP, because since CoS it seems that her character has been very weak. Now this 7th child reference opens up lots of possibilities.

Quote:
An aside: Interestingly enough, while reading this article, they mentioned a story: Portuguese version of AT 327 (the story of the boy helped by two dogs to slay a seven-headed serpent). This just screamed Harry and his two dogs (man's best friend - Ron and Hermione) helping to slay a seven-headed serpent (Horcruxes).
Wow! how amazing. It is very likely that JK got some inspiration from this. It is too much of a coincidence to think she didn't know of it. Really cool!

I don't think metamorphoses has anything to do with Ginny. Your references say that the bad side (the matamorphoses) of a seventh child comes out if they are the same sex as the six previous children, and they are not made the godchild of their eldest sibling, right? Well, Ginny has obviously avoided that. She is certainly close to Bill, too, and although she may not be his goddaughter,their relationship, combined with their large age difference, is probably close to a goddaughter-godfather relationship, I would think.

This is very interesting, thanks for sharing it!


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Old November 9th, 2005, 3:32 pm
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Wow - great post!

I think this 7th child folklore does tell us a lot about Ginny's character. I don't necessarily think we'll see actually physical manifestations of the characteristics (i.e., I don't think Ginny actually would be a metamorphagis, or seer). However, I think the symbolism is definitely present.

Ginny is a healer in the sense that she heals Harry's emotional traumas. She is able to connect with Harry and understand his thoughts without words - in this sense she is like a seer, at least with Harry.

Her connection with Bill is interesting as well. As far as him being the werewolf - this may be JKR having a little fun with twisting the folklore around.


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Old November 9th, 2005, 4:05 pm
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Very interesting! I love Ginny's character and I hope to goodness that we will see plenty more of her in book 7 (Bonny does a good job too, so I hope she shines more in OOTP). I can definately believe she is a healer for Harry and may have insight abilities. As far as a meta, nah.


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Old November 10th, 2005, 12:09 am
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Ok, I may be reaching here but bear with me. The two dogs mentioned helping Harry (obviously the boy) don't have to be Ron and Hermione in fact it makes more sense to me that (since some of the horcruxes have already been destroyed) that the two dogs could be maybe Dumbledore or even Voldemort. Dumbledore did destroy the ring and Voldemort (assuming we all have heard the "Harry is the 7th horcrux" theory) has helped Harry destroy himself by placing part of his soul in the boy that he cannot kill. So, just so you all dont think im rambling, if Voldemort helps Harry by putting his soul into Harry and theoretically Ginny has healing powers wouldnt all these things tie together? Harry has to destroy himself to destroy Voldemort and Ginny with her healing powers could save the day. I told you i might be reaching but I personally enjoy the idea of Harry dying to destroy Voldemort (no i am not sick and twisted) and the idea of Ginny's power to save him (maybe more ways than one). Just a thought.


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Old November 10th, 2005, 1:17 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by godricsphoenix
Ok, I may be reaching here but bear with me. The two dogs mentioned helping Harry (obviously the boy) don't have to be Ron and Hermione in fact it makes more sense to me that (since some of the horcruxes have already been destroyed) that the two dogs could be maybe Dumbledore or even Voldemort. Dumbledore did destroy the ring and Voldemort (assuming we all have heard the "Harry is the 7th horcrux" theory) has helped Harry destroy himself by placing part of his soul in the boy that he cannot kill. So, just so you all dont think im rambling, if Voldemort helps Harry by putting his soul into Harry and theoretically Ginny has healing powers wouldnt all these things tie together? Harry has to destroy himself to destroy Voldemort and Ginny with her healing powers could save the day. I told you i might be reaching but I personally enjoy the idea of Harry dying to destroy Voldemort (no i am not sick and twisted) and the idea of Ginny's power to save him (maybe more ways than one). Just a thought.
I still think the 2 dogs are Ron and Hermione. However, what you're saying about the healing powers has me really interested.

Jk has put forward Ginny very late in the books similar to how she has put forward other characters who have always been peripheral characters but are going to be very important in book 7 (Snape, Draco)

JK said her plan was to always have Ginny and Harry come together and then part. I'm really curious to know why in the greater scheme of things this is considered necessary.

JK has made Ginny into a 7th child and therefore, this is of some importance in her future which is book 7.
MN/TLC JKR InterviewMA: Does she have a larger importance; the Tom Riddle stufff, being the seventh girl —

JKR: The backstory with Ginny was, she was the first girl to arrive in the Weasley family in generations, but there's that old tradition of the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and a seventh son of a seventh son, so that's why she's the seventh, because she is a gifted witch. I think you get hints of that, because she does some pretty impressive stuff here and there, and you'll see that again.

JK has made Ginny very similar to Harry's mother Lily in a number of ways and I just feel as if there is a very pertinent reason for this.
MN/TLC JKR InterviewMA: Did she know anything about the possible effect of standing in front of Harry?

JKR: No - because as I've tried to make clear in the series, it never happened before. No one ever survived before. And no one, therefore, knew that could happen.

MA: So no one - Voldemort or anyone using Avada Kedavra - ever gave someone a choice and then they took that option [to die] -

JKR: They may have been given a choice, but not in that particular way.

Therefore, my wild theory is: Suppose there's the possibility that Harry is a Horcrux and Ginny has healing abilities that were hithertofore unknown that would allow the Horcrux to be destroyed without killing Harry (I know the "Harry is not a Horcrux" crowd are going to lambast me but this is just a wild theory). No one knew that Lily's protection could happen. It was ancient magic. Perhaps there is something about Ginny that may cause something similar to happen - some ancient magic being invoked due to healing powers she has from being the 7th child.

Cheers


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Old November 10th, 2005, 1:30 am
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Exactly.


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  #13  
Old November 10th, 2005, 2:43 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by godricsphoenix
Ok, I may be reaching here but bear with me. The two dogs mentioned helping Harry (obviously the boy) don't have to be Ron and Hermione in fact it makes more sense to me that (since some of the horcruxes have already been destroyed) that the two dogs could be maybe Dumbledore or even Voldemort. Dumbledore did destroy the ring and Voldemort (assuming we all have heard the "Harry is the 7th horcrux" theory) has helped Harry destroy himself by placing part of his soul in the boy that he cannot kill. So, just so you all dont think im rambling, if Voldemort helps Harry by putting his soul into Harry and theoretically Ginny has healing powers wouldnt all these things tie together? Harry has to destroy himself to destroy Voldemort and Ginny with her healing powers could save the day. I told you i might be reaching but I personally enjoy the idea of Harry dying to destroy Voldemort (no i am not sick and twisted) and the idea of Ginny's power to save him (maybe more ways than one). Just a thought.
....uhfligmn. *shakes head violently to try and clear it and comprehend this post*

Well, I don't know about the dog thing, in fact I don't even know that Jo would be specific enough for that to mean Ron and Hermione...but all that stuff about Ginny healing Harry after damaging himself, or I don't know what...crazy, absolutely crazy, I must say. Crazy in a good way, I mean. I like it.


  #14  
Old November 10th, 2005, 4:23 am
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Oooh, There is some really great stuff in this thread! Lots to respond to...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_is_da_man
Her change in Harry's eyes can be seen as a metamorphosis.
I like this idea! I don't think it is farfetched at all. She truly has undergone a metamorphosis in Harry's and the reader's eyes. Cos Ginny and HBP Ginny are different enough to almost be different characters!
An idea that may be far fetched is this: all throughout the series (but especially in OotP) Ginny is heavily associated with cats. She lets out hisses of anger, curls up like a cat, has a mane of hair...etc. Why all this blatant cat imagery? Maybe she is a cat animagus ala McGonagall? Obviously that is pure speculation, but maybe there is something in this cat imagery that is foreshadowing a metamorphosis yet to come.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_is_da_man
However, we may say that her [Ginny] being the "greatest source of comfort" to Harry and her ability to lead Harry by a simple touch may indicate some sort of healing ability that has not yet been disclosed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgold
JK has made Ginny very similar to Harry's mother Lily in a number of ways and I just feel as if there is a very pertinent reason for this.
I'm with you guys on this. I think that, like Lily, Ginny's healing power is love. The 'chocolate scene' in OotP is an early indicator of this. Ginny 'divines' that Harry is upset and, because she loves him, she takes the time to help him out. I don't believe it was any accident that Ginny and Harry were together at the DoM near that locked room that supposedly has something to do with love.
Her healing abilities do not need to be confined to just Harry either. I'm sure she will be a fierce defender of her family in book 7. LV could attack any of her brothers, and underestimate her healing ability in that situation. Maybe something special is triggered with her 7th-child-deal if her family is under attack? (lioness protecting her pride?)

Cgold, I really don't think your wild theory is so wild afterall!


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  #15  
Old November 10th, 2005, 4:40 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishFaerie
I don't believe it was any accident that Ginny and Harry were together at the DoM near that locked room that supposedly has something to do with love.
Ho ho, I hadn't noticed that! Crafty indeed...

You'll have to remind me what the "chocolate scene" from OotP, since...

...well...

...I haven't, exactly...

...bought the book yet...


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Old November 10th, 2005, 4:51 am
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Yes, please elaborate on the "chocolate scene" and/or give page numbers.


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Old November 10th, 2005, 5:06 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SausageMan
...I haven't, exactly...

...bought the book yet...
Omygod, why not?! Buy it immediately!!
Have you read it? Um, I'm not sure...so I'll wrap spoiler tags around my description just to be safe. If you haven't read the scene, I would really urge you not to read my description of it.

I don't have my OotP with me, so I'm sorry, but I can't give page numbers (maybe someone else can help with that?)

Spoiler: show
The infamous 'chocolate scene' is when Harry is sitting in the library, all depressed because he can't figure out a way to talk to Sirius about what he saw in SWM. Enter, Ginny, looking all windswept and beautiful. She is ostensibly there to give Harry his chocolate easter egg from Mrs. Weasley. They sit in the library eating chocolate together for a few minutes. Ginny notices Harry is upset and he decides to tell her whats up (even though he hasn't told Ron or Hermione). She makes him feel better by coming up with a plan to help him get into Umbridge's office.


Ok, I hope that worked


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  #18  
Old November 10th, 2005, 9:21 pm
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Ohhh, yeah I remember that now. And yes I have read the book, I borrowed it from the library once upon a time, but because I am lazy and cheap I admit I haven't bought it yet. That is soon to be remedied, though, as I'm re-reading the series right now and am closing in on book 5 pretty fast.


  #19  
Old November 11th, 2005, 9:07 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_is_da_man
the son or daughter being born after seven siblings of the same sex must become godson [goddaughter] to his elder brother or sister,
'Born after seven siblings' makes for an eighth. Is this an error? If not, how can it relate to Ginny? Just asking.


  #20  
Old November 11th, 2005, 1:42 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barmy codger
'Born after seven siblings' makes for an eighth. Is this an error? If not, how can it relate to Ginny? Just asking.
I think it's just an error. They are talking about the 7th child in the essay and they later go on to explain about the 7th child having the eldest son for a godfather. Seems like an error to me.

Cheers


 
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