The Number Twelve

Finnegan

Bachelor of Arts
The number twelve appears to be recurring in HP:

- 12 uses for dragon's blood

- 12 school governors

- 12 years in Azkaban for Sirius

- 12 is number of Ron and Percy's room in the Leaky Cauldron

- 12 Grimmauld Place

... and many, many more!

JKR has also stated that the basic structure she uses when writing HP is in 12 parts. Any ideas of where this preoccupation with the number 12 comes from?
 

Tinkerbell

Time Turners
I believe this comes from the common thread in all the HP books of time - there are several references to time - particularly in PoA where in particular we have the time turner and Harry and Hermione actually do go back in time - and time can be broken down into 12 hour blocks - 24 hours a day, the clock having 12 'sections', 12 months in the year, 12 signs of the zodiac....
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
Yes indeed, the number 12 symbolises many an important event ... and fair to say time is one of the strongest links ...
Midnight, usually 12.00 represents the death of one day and the birth of another ... this could also be a factor ...

JKR likes to play numbers and words in Harry Potter there are several references to both multiple use of words and numbers - is the purposeful repetition an overall clue?

it may be worth looking at instances when 12 is used - Grimmauld place represents a 'hidden order' headquarters so the speculative use here could represent secrecy ...
I will look over the occurrence of 12 and where it appears, might be good to see a link of situation and speculative overtones ...
 

Boing

Pops in randomly
Also, in an interview with Jeremy Paxman before OotP was released that is on CBBC Newsround, JKR states that she has 12 "grid things" for each book to help her organize. That suggests that each book is separated into 12 important points - just more food for thought.

Quote:

"This is the plan for Order of the Phoenix. I have these grid things for every book - well I have about twelve grid things for every book. It's just a way of reminding myself what has to happen in each chapter to advance us in the plot. And then you have all your sub-plots. It's just a way of keeping track of what going on. "

Interesting.
 

Kingsley

Time Turners
How many DA members were there--was it more than 12?
Also wasnt it 12 death eaters that showed up for the MoM showdown at the end of book 5--I cant really remember other references--
So each book is written into 12 parts--I know there is always a closing speech by Dumbledore, then the ride back on the train--those are a definite 2 out of the 12
 

Tinkerbell

Time Turners
So what you are saying Kings, that there are always 12 definitive threads within each book?

So another one could be where Harry is reunited with the Weasleys before term starts, and Mrs Weasley in particular fusses over him...

Harry's birthday is always mentioned in the early chapters, prior to term starting...

The Great Feast on the first day of term, where Dumbledore addresses the students and the first years go across the lake and get sorted by the Sorting Hat...

So we have 5 out of the 12 so far now!!!
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
I think what JKR is saying is that she has a certain amont of information she needs to put across in the book ...
She then gets this information and splits it into 12 parts ...
This isnt to say she has 12 chapters per book where the information is planted - I just think she feels that if she has 12 blocks of information it makes it easier for her to work out what goes where in the plot ...
Each part could contain 2, 3 or more 'pieces' of information she wishes to plant so I am not sure the 12 parts are 'plotlines' or more groups of information that needs to be implanted ...
I can see her using it almost like a check list and ticking off the parts she has included ...
Just my thoughts
 

catchthesnitch

Curious Yellow
and twice there's twelve at the table until the thirteenth comes and sits down....

once in POA at Christmas
once in OOTP - and Sirius was the first to rise.
 

catchthesnitch

Curious Yellow
I think I found another one!!!

in PS/SS when Harry gets his Hogwart's letters delivered to him --

I listened to this last night, so If I'm wrong, please forgive.

First Harry gets one letter,
then three,
then six

then *TWELVE*

then twenty-four
then the whole slew comes into the living room on "no post" Sunday.

Just another minute observation.
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
OK - we discussed this in the shoutbox a bit as well ...

Wasnt it twelve years for Voldemort to re-surface?

OK - OoTP Department of Mysteries ...

Death Eater Role Call
Lucius Malfoy
Nott
Bellatrix Lestrange
Rodolphus
Crabbe
Rabastan
Jugson
Dolohov
Macnair
Avery
Rookwood
Mulciber

Student/Order Role Call
Harry Potter
Hermione Granger
Ron Weasley
Ginny Weasley
Neville Longbottom
Luna Lovegood
Remus Lupin
Sirius Black
Tonks
Kingsley
Moody
Dumbledore

Unless I am missing anyone - I would say 12 a side ....
*Voldemort appeared later after the battle in the Death Room
 

Tonks

Unspeakable
Blaise said:
Wasnt it twelve years for Voldemort to re-surface?
I think it was eleven.

Dumbledore in PS/SS: ch. 1 - The Boy Who Lived
"You can't blame them. We've had precious little to celebrate for eleven years."
 

Weasleyfanforever

Time Turners
Tonks said:
I think it was eleven.

Dumbledore in PS/SS: ch. 1 - The Boy Who Lived
"You can't blame them. We've had precious little to celebrate for eleven years."

Actually, that was how long Voldemort had been around when the curse he meant to kill Harry backfired on himself. Voldemort actually resurfaced after 10 years. The curse backfired when Harry was one, and Voldemort resurfaced in PS/SS, when Harry was 11.

Tonks - Oops, sorry! Thanks WFF :)
 

catchthesnitch

Curious Yellow
I wonder if by "resurface," Blaise means come back to life in his full body? Harry was one year and three months old when V disappeared, from the backfired AK curse. Then at the end of GoF, when he regained his body, Harry was fourteen, nearly fifteen. Granted, that's 13/14 years, though, and not 12.

Although, at the end of PoA, Voldemort's "servant" returned to him when Harry was thirteen. That would be twelve years between when his servant, Wormtail, abandoned him after the AK curse, and when the servant returned, and also twelve years until Voldemort gained his rudimentary "baby" body.

So, I think Blaise has a point there.
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks CTS - that will be the one ...
He gained a presence of body - ergo physical again - I was lead to believe 12 years expired ... :)
 

catchthesnitch

Curious Yellow
and another:

PS/SS Ch. 15 - The Forbidden Forest

"All the same he [Harry]'d have gambled twelve Sorcerer's Stones that Snape had just left the room, and from what Harry had just heard, Snape would be walking with a new spring in his step -- Quirrell seemed to have given in at last."
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
OoHhh go you - once again great catch!
This is where Chapter by Chapter is going to come into it's own - we can all look for things like this as we go along!
Big up CTS - :D
 

Boing

Pops in randomly
I just noticed in the "quote" section on the homepage, there is a quote that says that when Trelawney got all flustered in OotP when Umbridge was there, she said that Harry would not die, but would grow to a ripe old age and have 12 children.

Thanks to the person who put that quote in there!!
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
OHhHh great spot again!

Just a note to the Chapter by Chapter gang - this is one things you need to be looking out for as we trawl the chapters ;)
 

Weasleyfanforever

Time Turners
These were all the instances I could find of the number twelve in the first four books. More than likely some of these have already been stated, so sorry :eek:

Philosopher's Stone/ Sorcerer's Stone:

PS/SS said:
Twelve times he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him.

PS/SS said:
Dumbledore gave a great sniff as he took a golden watch from his pocket and examined it. It was a very odd watch. It had twelve hands but no numbers;

PS/SS said:
It was a horrible sight. Twelve feet tall, its skin was a dull, granite gray, its great lumpy body like a boulder with its small bald head perched on top like a coconut. It had short legs thick as tree trunks with flat, horny feet. The smell coming from it was incredible. It was holding a huge wooden club, which dragged along the floor because its arms were so long.
Regarding the Troll that the trio attack, causing Ron and Harry to become friends with Hermione.

Neville said:
"I'm worth twelve of you, Malfoy," he stammered.

Chamber of Secrets:

Ron said:
"What's been going on?" said Ron. "Why haven't you been answering my letters? I've asked you to stay about twelve times, and then Dad came home and said you'd got an official warning for using magic in front of Muggles -"

Fred said:
"Wish I knew what he was up to," said Fred, frowning. "He's not himself. His exam results came the day before you did; twelve O.WL.s and he hardly gloated at all."

Lucius Malfoy said:
"Dreadful thing, Dumbledore," said Malfoy lazily, taking out a long roll of parchment, "but the governors feel it's time for you to step aside. This is an Order of Suspension - you'll find all twelve signatures on it.
We find out that there are twelve school govenors.

Prisoner of Azkaban:

Aunt Marge said:
"Aah," said Aunt Marge, smacking her lips and putting the empty brandy glass back down. "Excellent nosh, Petunia. It's normally just a fry-up for me of an evening, with twelve dogs to look after...."

PoA said:
The door of number twelve was ajar and Percy was shouting.
Percy and Rons shared Room #12 at the Leaky Cauldron.

Arthur Weasley said:
Black lost everything the night Harry stopped You- Know-Who, and he's had twelve years alone in Azkaban to brood on that...."
Sirius was in Azkaban for twelve years.

PoA said:
Thick streamers of holly and mistletoe were strung along the corridors, mysterious lights shone from inside
every suit of armor, and the Great Hall was filled with its usual twelve Christmas trees, glittering with golden stars.

Goblet of Fire:

GoF said:
Something was slithering toward him along the dark corridor floor, and as it drew nearer to the sliver of firelight, he realized with a thrill of terror that it was a gigantic snake, at least
twelve feet long.
Nagini is twelve feet long...

Percy said:
Mundungus Fletcher’s put in a claim for a twelve-bedroomed tent with en-suite Jacuzzi, but I’ve got his number. I know for a fact he was sleeping under a cloak propped on sticks.”

Barty Crouch Sr said:
"... and when you've done that, Weatherby, send an owl to Dumbledore confirming the number of Durmstrang students who will be attending the tournament, Karkaroff has just sent word there will be twelve. . . ."
There were 12 Durmstrangs students at the Tri-Wizard Tournament.

Barty Crouch Sr said:
"Yes, my son has recently gained twelve O.W.L.S, most satisfactory, yes, thank you, yes, very proud indeed. Now, if you could bring me that memo from the Andorran Minister of Magic, I think I will have time to draft a response. ..."
Barty Crouch Jr. got 12 OWLS, just like Percy...

GoF said:
Then, as he turned a corner, he saw ... a dementor gliding toward him. Twelve feet tall, its face hidden by its hood, its rotting, scabbed hands outstretched, it advanced, sensing its way blindly toward him.
Demetors are twelve feet tall...
 
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