Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

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Who was Cacciaguida? See Dante's PARADISO, Cantos XV, XVI, & XVII.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007
OK now, this Ginny/Harry/tattoo thing.

The mommies and daddies -- eventually -- of the next generation

(Fan-art credit)

When the bit of dialogue at issue came up in HBP, given that Ginny was "going out with" Harry at the time, and was reclining against his leg during the four-way conversation in question, there was (and I think JK meant that there should have been) a finite non-zero number of people who wondered just what was being signalled by this suggestion that Ginny was, at that time, thought to be an authority on what Harry looks like with (part of) his kit off.

After all, by this point in HBP, many readers were still reeling from Ginny's transformation from blushing baby sister to spitfire make-out champ, and were set up to believe a great deal.

Some, not many, said this was a full-scale sexual relationship, voilĂ  tout, deal with it. Others said, no, a chaste swim in the lake would explain it (raising the question of whether there are any longer such things as chaste swims in lakes).

Still others, more sensibly, said duh (or in England, "dur") -- quidditch!

Harry's the Seeker, Ginny's a Keeper. (Put that in your Freud and smoke it!) They suit up down by the pitch, and though boys and girls may reasonably be supposed to have separate changing rooms (this is, after all, the school that causes the stairs of the girls' dorm to turn into a steep ramp and pitch the boys right out if they get in there; though, interestingly enough, the same charm does not cover the reverse situation -- "Happy Christmas to you too," said Hermione), even so, a bare male chest on the girls' side of the quidditch changing room once in a while would not, one fancies, add to Harry's total of rule-breaking. (What it would add to coed quidditch, I'll let female readers speculate.)

Well, DH went a long way toward settling all this: assuming the question of what kind of tattoo Harry has or doesn't have on his chest even got asked -- i.e., assuming Ginny wasn't telling a tall tale about the question as well as about the suppositious tattoo itself -- what happened was nothing more than Romilda Vane being catty towards Ginny, and Ginny taking a slice out of Romilda in response: declining to go into missish outrage over the question, and building a substantial "eat your heart out" factor into her reply. If this catfight really occurred, then plainly it was Romilda who withdrew from the battlefield in tears, quite contrary to her original plan.

Then, too, it's possible that Ginny's whole line of remarks in this scene (whether the firefight with Romilda occurred or not) was designed mainly to take the mickey out of Ron.

Technically, the polyjuice scene in DH did not answer the question of exactly how Harry and Ginny spent their time together in HBP. But it at least moves that question back to where it was before Ginny mouthed off to Romilda (or, as the case may be, bragged to Harry, Ron, and Hermione about mouthing off to Romilda). My vote is still with "no," because in a story-cycle in which all the "'ships" stop at "snogging" before marriage as far as we know, there is little reason (once the "tattoo factor" is neutralized) to suppose this one is an exception. And there is some reason to suppose the opposite: Harry's announcement to Ginny at the end of HBP, though still well motivated, is a little too icy for my taste if, well -- movin' right along, I'll post later about the Christian symbolism in DH, especially the blood.