From the land between Wake and Dream. (sea_thoughts) wrote in sugarquill,
From the land between Wake and Dream.
sea_thoughts
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Beedle Discussion: Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump

Since nobody volunteered I'll take this story discussion as well. :)

Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump


1. Apart from The Three Brothers, this is the only other Beedle story to be mentioned by name in Deathly Hallows. Jo has said she liked the name but had trouble thinking up a story to go with it! What did you think when you first read the title?

2. How do you think Babbity Rabbity got her name in the story?

3. This story bears some similarity to the Muggle tale The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen. Was Andersen inspired by a copy of Beedle? :) How do you think the stories are similar? How are they different?

4. The king decides that 'only he should have the power of magic'. How does this relate to the HP series as a whole?

5. Babbity smiled, and did not trouble to raise her wand, for no magic can raise the dead. This theme is also brought up in The Three Brothers. Why do you think it was so important to Beedle?

6. Did you think that Babbity was actually dead or did you guess the twist in the tale? (I didn't!)

7. Why was Babbity a washerwoman when, according to Dumbledore, 'achieving perfect, spontaneous human to animal transformation requires much study and practice'? She obviously had a lot of power to accomplish this feat.

8. Why do you think Lisette de Lapin ('lapin' being the French for 'rabbit') decided to become an advisor to Henry VI?

9. Dumbledore notes that though Animagi cannot speak, they do keep 'all their human thinking and reasoning powers'. Did this change the way you thought about the Marauders and Rita Skeeter or confirm your suspicions?

10. The Cruciatus Curse was actually legal during Beedle's lifetime and was only made illegal some fifteen years after the International Statute of Secrecy was passed. Why do you think it took so long to make these three curses Unforgiveable?

Feel free to add any questions or observations of your own!
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  • 5 comments
Woohoo!
Questions up!
I'm looking forward to them. Yeah.
Questions up!
4. The king decides that 'only he should have the power of magic'. How does this relate to the HP series as a whole?

Power is exercised often by controlling who is allowed to do magic. Goblins are not allowed wands and they view that as a sign of their second class citizenship. Underage wizards outside school are not allowed either. Wands are snapped as punishment. Muggleborns lose their wands as the ultimate form of disenfranchisement.

Voldemort wants immortality which is a form of magical power only for himself. He doesn't even want it for Bellatrix. He grants gifts of magical skills as signs of favor. He takes the wands away from those he wishes to torment and leaves them powerless. If magic is might then the contoll of who has magic is power.

5. Babbity smiled, and did not trouble to raise her wand, for no magic can raise the dead. This theme is also brought up in The Three Brothers. Why do you think it was so important to Beedle?

The acceptance of the finality of death is one of the most basic of human experiences. A mature understanding of life requires it. He appears to have been a philosopher as well as a writer. Acceptance of reality, and the limits of human power, whether technological, magical or physical are the beginning of wisdom.

Just as the use of the Cruciatus was more common in his day perhaps experiments in the Dark Arts, and with horcruxes were more common as well. We know many searched for the Elder Wand.

6. Did you think that Babbity was actually dead or did you guess the twist in the tale? (I didn't!)

I suspected she was goig to get away. An animagus transformation did enter my mind because of her name.

7. Why was Babbity a washerwoman when, according to Dumbledore, 'achieving perfect, spontaneous human to animal transformation requires much study and practice'? She obviously had a lot of power to accomplish this feat.

She didn't wash her customer's clothes by hand certainly she had more than enough time for study while the magic did it for her. She seems to have moved philosophically beyond personal ambition. The job gave an explanation to Muggles of how she supported herself. Perhaps she was a respected scholar of magic and practitioner among wizards.

8. Why do you think Lisette de Lapin ('lapin' being the French for 'rabbit') decided to become an advisor to Henry VI?

I can't help but feel there is some hint in the history or in Shakespeare that I am missing. His mother was French?

9. Dumbledore notes that though Animagi cannot speak, they do keep 'all their human thinking and reasoning powers'. Did this change the way you thought about the Marauders and Rita Skeeter or confirm your suspicions?

I had wondered for a long time about what the mind of an animagus was like while under transformation. It wasn't clear to me from looking at what was said by those who were animagi. Rita and McGonagall show themselves to be able to observe and remember what they saw, but Crookshanks is able to do so as well. We see that when she communicates with Sirius in his Dog form. Sirius says that his emotions were simpler while in dog form so there is some effect, but I had no clear idea. I also wondered about Draco's mental outlook when he was transfigured into a Ferret or Neville's when he became a canary. Dumbledore makes it clear that they would have been wholly animal in thought and would have had lost their human thoughts in that period. This explains even more why McGonagall was so shocked by fake Moody's act.

10. The Cruciatus Curse was actually legal during Beedle's lifetime and was only made illegal some fifteen years after the International Statute of Secrecy was passed. Why do you think it took so long to make these three curses Unforgivable?

Once again the magical world mirrors the experience of the nonmagical world. Torture was an acceptable practice widely used by most governments before the enlightenment of the eighteenth century and still used by some for a long time afterward. This date would put the wizarding world abolishing torture ahead of actual Muggle legislation, but I think almost contemporary with early Muggle political thinkers.