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Old 05-06-2005, 11:18   #1
Hermione
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significance of crossing the lake

Something occurred to me as I was thinking over the traditional first year's entrance into Hogwarts.

Crossing the lake seems to be similar to a baptism, in the induction into Hogwarts. Once you cross the lake, you are ingratiated into the intellectual community of the school, just as in baptism is signifies your joining of the church.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 05-06-2005, 12:45   #2
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Re: significance of crossing the lake

I think the tradition of First Years crossing the lake in boats is sort of a way to show them how impressive and immense the castle is. When we saw Harry cross in SS/PS - the students were definitely in awe. It's as if the boat ride represents an initiation for the new students on the first leg of a magical journey to their future.
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Old 05-06-2005, 16:04   #3
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Talking Re: significance of crossing the lake

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meredith
Something occurred to me as I was thinking over the traditional first year's entrance into Hogwarts.

Crossing the lake seems to be similar to a baptism, in the induction into Hogwarts. Once you cross the lake, you are ingratiated into the intellectual community of the school, just as in baptism is signifies your joining of the church.

What are your thoughts?
This brings to mind the significance of crossing water in other literature. Crossing water, archetypically, is a symbol of cleansing and transition.
Of course there is most obvious example, that of crossing the Jordan in the Bible. In the old King Arthur legend, Arthur traverses water (seen as a symbolic cleansing of the soul on the way to the afterlife) after his death on the way to Avalon. There are innumerable other examples, far too many to cite here.

This cleansing, ironically, is sometimes reserved for those who are already on the virtuous path. In _Dracula_, the evil vampire cannot cross running water. This ability is reserved for those who are "clean." When Moses parts the Red Sea, the water inundates the pursuing Egyptian enslavers, allowing only the virtuous "chosen people" to cross.

When the Hogwarts students cross the lake, they are symbolically taking on the responsibilities of wizards and witches, leaving their old, irresponsible lives as little children. This is important, as they will soon be wielding great powers which must not be used haphazardly or selfishly as children tend to do.

(Sorry if that got kind of pedantic... but hey, you asked! )

just one Blaque Dawg's overly verbiferous opinion
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Old 05-06-2005, 16:15   #4
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Re: significance of crossing the lake

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Originally Posted by ChienNoir
When Moses parts the Red Sea, the water inundates the pursuing Egyptian enslavers, allowing only the virtuous "chosen people" to cross.

And Denis Creevey fell in? Any significance there??


I personally was under the impression that the trip via boat was just a delay tactic, so that all the other students could be seated in the Hall ready for the sorting. It isn't something that I have thought about before.

I think it could be a 'rite of passage' and technically, these students are already 'clean' because they have received their letters. Crossing the lake allows them to see their destination clearly for the first time, and to take in the enormity of the situation, and the castle.
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Old 05-06-2005, 16:28   #5
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Re: significance of crossing the lake

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Originally Posted by kashlie
And Denis Creevey fell in? Any significance there??



Oooo... I must think on that one! There's GOT to be something there! I can think of a reason for COLIN to fall in, but not Denis.

Thanks for throwing the old dawg a biscuit for thought!



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Old 05-06-2005, 17:53   #6
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Re: significance of crossing the lake

Another case of crossing water to go to another part of life is in traditional Greek mythology. Crossing the River Styx was the way to the underworld. The dead would cross, but there were those who were left behind and not allowed to cross for various reasons.

As I mentioned in the Dementors and Water post, water is used in lots of literature as a symbol of rebirth and renewal. For some reason, it made me think of Moderato Cantabile by Margueritte Duras. There is lots of symbolism in that book with the water and visualizations of water.

Anyway, I like the idea of sort of rebirth and the students starting fresh, as one, beginning their new lives. (Although Kashlie could be right and it was just a way to get the other students in the Great Hall before the first years). But it has been mentioned enough times that there could really be something to it . . .
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Old 05-06-2005, 18:27   #7
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Re: significance of crossing the lake

I think there is significance in Denis falling in the lake. Whereas other students are only cleansed before entering the wizarding world, he required a fall into the lake to decontaminate him.

The Creevy brothers always go at things 100%, and this is another example.
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Old 06-06-2005, 09:18   #8
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Re: significance of crossing the lake

so basically it serves as both a dealy and a symbol.

Well...I am sure the vines mean something. Take this for instance. The vines, who Hagrid always says the first years must duck, could mean the "mystery" of a area while the dugeon they enter could signifiy "sudden realizing but not yet unsure". The crossing, as other mentioned, is that of a new year and rebirth or knowledge that flows to the head saying "I really am", therefore they wash it all away by making them anxious. This gives time for the carriages, which could signify older youth and knowledge, being "carried" to the first years, who need it most because they were "rebirthed" and therefore needing the knowlege that was carried to them. The only way they can meet, because knowledge is so diverse, is through a "object" which is the hat, and the hat chooses how the first years use their new found knowledge.

this....is not really going at Harry potter, but it can be used in other things. living things rebirthed and plunged into crptic mystery, soon to find clues and solve things towards the light of realizing, therefore the carried knowledge they gained becomes more clear, and when each new object comes to challege them, soon the main object comes to purge them into a main direction, which they weight themselves heavy on with that branch of knowledge compared to the other branches of knowledge.

in a way if you think about it, it can signify life itself.

that is a...well...brief of what I meant to say. the whole event we are talking about with crossing the water could be about life itself.
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Old 07-06-2005, 08:43   #9
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Re: significance of crossing the lake

I've actually thought about that before, what the purpose of crossing the lake is. If the purpose was simply to delay the first years, the same effect could be reached by simply waiting for them to get to the castle and then having the first years step into another room and recieve a small speech while the others make their way to the great hall.

The conclusion that I've reached is that it is part of the magic protecting Hogwarts. If the lake, or something in it (the Giant Squid?) acts as a sort of Secret Keeper for the school, then anyone coming to the school for the first time must come via the lake to be able to see it and enter it. Now this cannot be the only way, because the Beauxbatons come by air, but maybe the founders decided that bringing first-years was safer by boat than by air. So basically what I'm saying is that there are only a few ways to enter Hogwarts when entering for the first time and crossing the lake (coming through the water) is the simplest of the ways.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:29   #10
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Re: significance of crossing the lake

Quote:
Originally Posted by psychgirl83

The conclusion that I've reached is that it is part of the magic protecting Hogwarts. If the lake, or something in it (the Giant Squid?) acts as a sort of Secret Keeper for the school, then anyone coming to the school for the first time must come via the lake to be able to see it and enter it. Now this cannot be the only way, because the Beauxbatons come by air, but maybe the founders decided that bringing first-years was safer by boat than by air. So basically what I'm saying is that there are only a few ways to enter Hogwarts when entering for the first time and crossing the lake (coming through the water) is the simplest of the ways.
Why do you think secret keeper? What leds you to believe this? So the lake is somehow magically tied to Hogwarts and unless you know the location of the lake you do not know the location of Hogwarts? I thought the entire peice of land was unplottable.
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