Arabella Figg

kashlie

afraid of my own shadow
It seems Mrs Figg hasn't got a thread all her own, so here it is.

Firstly I would like to say that Mrs Figg is wonderful.
She lied to the full court for Harry! In OotP when she is asked if Squibs can see dementors, she answers indignantly, Yes we can!
HOWEVER on JKR's own site, she clearly states 'Arabella Figg never saw the dementors that attacked Harry and Dudley, but she had enough magical knowledge to identify the sensations they created in the alleyway'

Now either JKR has just contradicted herself, or there is something more to it. Yes, she could have said it just to protect Harry, but did Dumbledore have to make sure she said she could see them, or did she just have enough sense to say it?
Why would she say it indignantly? Why would she answer angrily to a simple question?
I was going to suggest that this lends creedence to the 'magic late in life' story line for Figg, but for JKR to say she didn't really see them, then wouldn't this take her out of the running?

Any other thoughts on the importance of Arabella Figg?
 
Don't muggles sense dementors as well but not know what they are? This could be the same with Mrs. Figg, she can sense it, but she doesn't know what it looks like or anything else other than the way it makes her feel.

I thought Mrs. Figg was lying during the trial. She seemed shifty and like she was lying. But she preformed well, Harry got off the hook.
 

yarvelling

Time Turners
I must admit that I always thought Mrs Figg had seen the Dementors...the way she reacted towards Harry and Dudley in the alley seemed to be the response of someone who'd seen, and knew, just what it was that had attacked the boys..
Also, as a squib, could Filch see the Dementors? I don't recall if it's ever mentioned in POA...
Being a squib, it's not been made too clear about their limitations...we know that they cannot PERFORM magic, but that doesn't necessarily mean to say that they cannot SEE magic and magical creatures (such as Dementors).
JKR may have said things to the contrary in an interview, but in the books, she leads us to believe otherwise...so far..... ;)
 

George

Tom Marvolo Riddle
She is very important, as she is mentioned in almost, if not every book. At the beginning, she is just the old lady with a load of cats, but, in OotP, we see her play a vastly important role, as the one who keeps watch over Harry. Are we going to see more of her in the summer? Or has she had her time on stage? I wonder... :D
 

Boing

Pops in randomly
I don't think JKR has contradicted herself. I think that Mrs. Figg lied to get Harry off in the trial because she knew he hadn't done anything wrong. As for the indignation, that probably stemmed from a little bit of acting and a lot of actual hurt for the way she feels in the wizarding community. I mean, my goodness, how do you think that feels to a squib to know what everyone else around them can do and they are just stuck with no powers whatsoever . . .:( So, she probably was angry that they would suggest that she couldn't see them and she wanted to make squibs seem more like regular wizards (or at least not acknowledge that they couldn't even see dementors).
 

Fortescue

Totally Potterfied!
Hi everyone. This is my first post, and I can sometimes become long-winded when it comes to Harry, so let me know if I become annoying :)

I think there are many unusual things about Mrs. Figg. Throughout the books we see her through Harry's eyes as the "batty old cat loving lady", because that's how he sees her. Of course, in OotP, we find out she's a squib, she knows Dumbeldore, and she knows what Dementors are. Here are a few things I've noted about her the many times I've read the books that might raise a few more questions.

She is a squib, but who is she related to? Possibly, Dumbledore?

According to JKRs website, Mrs. Figg breeds cats with kneazles. Hermione's cat, Crookshanks, is part cat part kneazle. Is Crookshanks one of Mrs. Figg's cats, and as we know, Dumbledore has gone to great lengths to watch out for, and to plan Harry's future - did Dumbledore plan for Hermione to have Crookshanks? The cat was a big help to Harry in PoA.

Mrs. Figg has been watching Harry, to our knowledge, since Dumbledore placed Harry at the Dursley's - why? She is a squib, so how could she possibly protect Harry, as in the Dementor attack, since she has no magical powers? What was the point of Dumbledore placing Mrs. Figg in Little Whinging?

Ok - I'll stop now :)
 

Sir Cadogan

Noble Heart, Steely Sinew
Fortescue said:
Hi everyone. This is my first post, and I can sometimes become long-winded when it comes to Harry, so let me know if I become annoying :)

Hi Fortescue, and welcome! I like your first post and didn't find it long-winded at all :)

[...] Mrs. Figg has been watching Harry, to our knowledge, since Dumbledore placed Harry at the Dursley's - why? She is a squib, so how could she possibly protect Harry, as in the Dementor attack, since she has no magical powers? What was the point of Dumbledore placing Mrs. Figg in Little Whinging?

I *think* Dumbledore knows Mrs Figg and trusts her, and he used her, and not a real wizard, to watch over Harry to make sure it wouldn't become common knowledge in the wizard community that Harry was being guarded. He knew that not all wizards could be trusted, and he probably equipped Mrs Figg with some extra-efficient means of communication to get Dumbledore's help in a case of extreme emergency (something worse than the odd couple of Dementors :D ).

It seems to have worked quite well - nobody, not even the Minister, knew of Harry's little guardian angel.
 

Fortescue

Totally Potterfied!
Sir Cadogan said:
I *think* Dumbledore knows Mrs Figg and trusts her, and he used her, and not a real wizard, to watch over Harry to make sure it wouldn't become common knowledge in the wizard community that Harry was being guarded. He knew that not all wizards could be trusted, and he probably equipped Mrs Figg with some extra-efficient means of communication to get Dumbledore's help in a case of extreme emergency (something worse than the odd couple of Dementors :D ).

It seems to have worked quite well - nobody, not even the Minister, knew of Harry's little guardian angel.

That is true - Fudge and Madam Bones were surprised to find out that she lived in Little Whinging. (I loved the way it threw Fudge for a loop)

I was surprised to find out that Mrs. Figg lied to the court about seeing the Dementors. I'm sure it was to protect Harry, but I'd assume that Dumbledore told her to, which is surprising - I find Dumbledore to be the most honest character in the story - but then, Dumbledore was only protecting Harry, and we all know how much he cares for him. Also, Dumbledore told Harry in SS that he would answer his questions if he could, but he would not lie. I'm guessing he didn't tell Fudge the same line :)

kashlie said:
Firstly I would like to say that Mrs Figg is wonderful.
She lied to the full court for Harry! In OotP when she is asked if Squibs can see dementors, she answers indignantly, Yes we can!
HOWEVER on JKR's own site, she clearly states 'Arabella Figg never saw the dementors that attacked Harry and Dudley, but she had enough magical knowledge to identify the sensations they created in the alleyway'

I agree ;) Mrs. Figg is a wonderful character. Even though she doesn't have any magical power, she still seems completely loyal to Dumbledore, unlike Filch, who seemed to be more loyal to Umbridge. :eek:
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
Well ok - lets look at this a bit more.
Dudley is a muggle yet he was affected by the Dementors who were attacking Harry - so you can see JKR's point - just because you cant see them etc they can still effect you in some way.
I think Figg couldnt see them - but she could feel them - she knows enough about the magical world and she made the logical link.
By saying she could become magical is like saying Dudley also is displaying magical ability - i think it was a strange feeling - like Dudley thought it was Harry doing something - but we saw in fact he couldnt see the Dementors - he just felt something not right.
 

kashlie

afraid of my own shadow
I have been thinking about dear old Mrs Figg, the squib. Two things have struck me... the 'Mrs' denotes that at some point she was married, which in turn, leads to the possibility that she has children. The fact that she is a squib means there is magic in her bloodline, which means any children of hers could be witches and wizards. It also means that something happened to her husband, who could, considering Arabella was brought up amongst wizards, be a wizard himself.
 

Boing

Pops in randomly
Looking on JKR's website, she also states that Arabella Figg is Dumbledore's liaison to the Muggle world, so it certainly does sound as though he knows her quite well and has put a lot of trust in her.

As for her not being able to protect Harry, I do think that she was probably there to keep an eye on him and to let Dumbledore know in case anything suspicious happened. As such, she probably has some means of contacting him directly. We know that even though Squibs can't perform magic, they can still use magical objects. So, perhaps she has one of those two-way mirrors or something else she uses to communicate with Dumbledore instantly.

I was also thinking that it probably wasn't a coincidence that Harry ended up getting stuck at Mrs. Figg's house anytime the Dursleys went somewhere without him. It is quite possible that Dumbledore told Petunia to make sure that Harry stayed there if they ever left him so that he could be sure Harry was safe and with someone who could contact him if needed . . .
 

Fortescue

Totally Potterfied!
kashlie said:
The fact that she is a squib means there is magic in her bloodline, which means any children of hers could be witches and wizards. It also means that something happened to her husband, who could, considering Arabella was brought up amongst wizards, be a wizard himself.

It's possible that Mrs. Figg's Mr. Figg was an Order member who died. She obviously doesn't have a husband anymore, and since she would have been brought up in a wizarding home, probably with parents and siblings who could do magic, she has a complete knowledge of how magic works. She would be an ideal person to watch Harry, even without any magical talent herself. As Sir C mentioned before, since she isn't a witch and can go under the Ministry's radar, having her watch over Harry could definitely be kept under wraps, and Dumbledore would have to give her a magical way to communicate since owls take too long, and there are no phones at Hogwarts.

Boingy said:
I was also thinking that it probably wasn't a coincidence that Harry ended up getting stuck at Mrs. Figg's house anytime the Dursleys went somewhere without him. It is quite possible that Dumbledore told Petunia to make sure that Harry stayed there if they ever left him so that he could be sure Harry was safe and with someone who could contact him if needed . . .

Mrs. Figg told Harry at the beginning of OotP that one of the reason that Mrs. Figg was ordered by Dumbledore to not tell Harry she was in Little Whinging to keep an eye on him was because if the Dursley's found out that Mrs. Figg was connected to the magical world they wouldn't allow Harry near her as he might enjoy it too much. Of course, the Dursley's would never allow Harry to enjoy himself. They like keeping him disconnected from the magical world as much as possible during his summers, so I don't think Petunia knew Mrs. Figg's true purpose or background.
 

Boing

Pops in randomly
I'm properly ashamed and put in my place. :eek:

As for a Mr. Figg, I guess it's possible. I know that sometimes just older women are called Mrs. . . . in her case I had always assumed she was just the crazy old spinster - stereotype of all the cats, I guess. But yeah, there could be any number of possibilities for who her husband might have been if there was one . . .
 

Tonks

Unspeakable
You do have to wonder how she coincidentally became the one who would watch Harry on all of Dudley's birthdays though.. I guess I've sort of always just assumed that the Dursleys had left Harry at Mrs. Figg's because she was the only one around who would take him for an afternoon, as he didn't have any friends and the other people on the street were probably busy with their own lives.. why not stick him with the old lady with the cats? .. That seems almost too coincidental and convenient for Figgy if she is already trying to keep an eye on him. However, there's probably nothing all that interesting as to the answer to this; I just found it a little curious..

I do think that there could have been a Mr. Figg, and that he could have had a connection to the wizarding world. However, since she is living in the in the Muggle world, I find it just as likely that he was a Muggle. If she is a Squib, she would have learned all she needed to know about the magical world growing up around it, but I think maybe she could have wanted to get away from it all once she became an adult.. and marrying a Muggle would be an easy way out..
 

Fortescue

Totally Potterfied!
We know how JKR has pointed out several times how nosy Petunia is of the neighbors and how she's always watching everyone. We also know that Harry has noted on several occasions Mrs. Figg walking by the Dursley's house. I'd assume that Mrs. Figg sort of took advantage of Petunia's curiosity and at some point introduced herself. Petunia would jump on the chance to have someone in the neighborhood to leave Harry with that she wouldn't think would make any of the Dursley's look bad in any way. I don't think Petunia would leave Harry with any of their close neighbors, but if I remember correctly, Mrs. Figg lives two streets over, which would be enough distance for Petunia's hang-up about worrying what the neighbors think. :D
 

Glumbumble

Time Turners
I was going to start a new thread regarding Harry’s surprise at discovering Mrs. Figg’s true identity, in OotP but found this thread on the good lady herself.

At the end of Goblet of Fire Dumbledore sends Sirius to alert former members of the order.

GoF said:
Very slowly - but still glaring at each other as though each wished the other nothing but ill - Sirius and Snape moved toward each other and shook hands. They let go extremely quickly.
"That will do to be going on with," said Dumbledore, stepping between them once more. "Now I have work for each of you. Fudge's attitude, though not unexpected, changes everything. Sirius, I need you to set off at once. You are to alert Remus Lupin, Arabella Figg, Mundungus Fletcher - the old crowd. Lie low at Lupin's for a while; I will contact you there."

But in OotP Harry is surprised to find that Mrs. Figg is associated with the magical world and knows Dumbledore.

OotP said:
'But -' The revelation that his batty old cat-obsessed neighbour knew what Dementors were was almost as big a shock to Harry as meeting two of them down the alleyway. 'You're - you're a witch?'
'I'm a Squib, as Mundungus knows full well, so how on earth was I supposed to help you fight off Dementors? He left you completely without cover when I'd warned him -'

Any suggestions?
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
My best guess - notice Dumbledore says specifically Arabella Figg - Harry has always called Mrs Figg - well Mrs Figg ...
Perhaps he didnt make the connection based on not knowing her first name?
 
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