Sunday, July 11, 2010

Burrowing around familliar loci

It's me, in persona Chiropteri, writing to tell you about a fictional setting which also happens to be a family home, at the instigation of Enbrethiliel (who seems to blame me in some way for the particularity... ). This family home, invented by that most notorious waitressing-to-rich-author personality, J.K.Rowling. (And, yes, I'm claiming fair use for all excerpts.)

Here is our first view:
It looked as though it had once been a large stone pigsty, but extra rooms had been added here and there until it was several storeys high and so crooked it looked as though it was held up by magic (which, Harry reminded himself, it probably was). Four or five chimneys were perched on top of the red roof. A lopsided sign stuck in the ground near the entrance read `The Burrow'. Round the front door lay a jumble of wellington boots and a very rusty cauldron. Several fat brown chickens were pecking their way around the yard.

`It's not much,' said Ron.
`It's brilliant,' said Harry happily, thinking of Privet Drive.

The Burrow is of course the home of the Weasley family --- and what a family they are! In the recent round, Enbrethiliel has remarked on how houses are like reflections of the people that live in them. J. K. Rowling makes explicit use of this idea for most of the homes through the series, and The Burrow is an excellent example: it is as diverse and varied as its family, partly due to it's conjectured patch-work construction, partly through the active efforts of the family members themselves. Take, for instance, `Ronald's room':
Harry stepped in, his head almost touching the sloping ceiling,${}^1$ and blinked. It was like walkin into a furnace: nearly everything in Ron's room seemed to be a violent shade of orange; the bed-spread, the walls, even the ceiling.

(Imagine an orange that looks violent next to a born Weasley's hair!)

For much of the series, the Burrow also becomes like Harry's second real home (the first one being Hogwarts, of course), although for magical reasons he is forced anually to reside with his beloathed muggle relatives.

`It's a bit small,' said Ron quickly...
But Harry, grinning widely, said, `This is the best house I've ever been in.'

I'd say more, but I've a poem to write (dang it!)

some guy on the street

${}^1$ Does that remind you of somewhere else?


Enbrethiliel said...


Brilliant choice! =D I was thinking of doing The Burrow as well, some time in the future, but now I can thank you for beating me to it and freeing me to do something else. ;-)

I know I wouldn't mind living there. And I've always found it awful that Rowling's early comparison of the house to a pigsty was allowed to stand. First similes tend to stick, and yet there is nothing piggish about the Weasleys!

Then again, I have no other suggestions for what The Burrow would have looked like before they started adding rooms to it, so, oh, well . . .

PS--That's not blame; it's credit! =P

Paul Stilwell said...

I like Harry's appreciation of what another regards as a humble abode.

Belfry Bat said...

My first acquaintance with epithetical pigsty was always in reference to my untidy room. The connection there probably has something to do with how pigs like and expect to dig around for their food; it makes them rather unlikely captive animals, really...
But in the present instance, since it's refering to a building still in the distance, not its interior, I think we may suppose that Rowling is at most trying to describe the style of construction --- and I have to say it leaves me a bit nonplussed, because the only pigsty I can remember clearly was a fairly modern construction in that Guy Ritchie film "Snatch".

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