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Author Topic: Scabbers. But rats are not on the list . . .  (Read 2288 times)

July 23, 2016, 11:21:10 AM
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Resonance

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Scabbers. But rats are not on the list . . .
« on: July 23, 2016, 11:21:10 AM »
A recent article reminded me of a question I've had during my not-yet-three years of HP enthusiasm.  I wondered whether you long-time fans might have some insights or seasoned speculations about it, or even have heard/read Rowling actually address the issue:

We all know that Ron brought Scabbers to Hogwarts as his "pet" without any faculty/staff eyebrows being raised. (I'm setting aside for now the disgusting fact that Scabbers in fact is the traitorous slimebag Pettigrew.)

Yet the list of approved Hogwarts pets is limited to owls, cats, and toads.

I realize no one is perfect, including JKR, so perhaps I should just shrug and accept this as an oversight?  Seems like the most probable answer to me.

Or perhaps rats were once acceptable pets? And because everyone knows the Weasleys were not well-off, his "hand-me-down" pet was quietly grandfathered in?

Or?

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July 23, 2016, 11:47:21 AM
Reply #1

Helen E Potter

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Re: Scabbers. But rats are not on the list . . .
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2016, 11:47:21 AM »
Yes  rats were not on the list of pets Students could take to Hogwarts but there was also nothing to say not rats could not be taken to Hogwarts as a pet  . I mean Scabbers   was Percy's pet before he got Herms his owl  so if Students were not able to bring  rats to Hogwarts the Hogwarts Professors would have  told Molly and Arthur  not let Percy bring Scabbers  back after the Christmas  Holidays  in his first year . If every pets   that Hogwarts  Students could take School the list would be long I mean  it says in the letter Harry got to said that first years  can not bring a Broomsticks to School I am if there was a pet Students  could not take to Hogwarts it would be  listed .
« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 12:04:32 PM by Helen E Potter »

July 23, 2016, 01:56:13 PM
Reply #2

JudithC

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Re: Scabbers. But rats are not on the list . . .
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2016, 01:56:13 PM »
To expand on some of what Helen said:  Allowing Percy to bring Scabbers as a pet might officially have been a concession to the Weasleys' financial situation, and once one Weasley child was allowed to bring him, telling another he could not would have been difficult to justify.  Also, Dumbledore was Headmaster throughout the Scabbers residency, and he (a) allowed, or even encouraged, Gryffindors to take liberties, and (b) knew Molly and Arthur from their own student days and from the Order of the Phoenix, which would have put them on his "favored" list, and influenced his treatment of their children.  Does that sound cynical?  Probably, but that's just the way I look at Dumbledore.  (Manipulative old coot...)

July 23, 2016, 02:36:23 PM
Reply #3

Helen E Potter

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Re: Scabbers. But rats are not on the list . . .
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2016, 02:36:23 PM »
Yes maybe part of the reason for  Percy being able to have Scabbers for the first  four  years  he was at Hogwarts then Ron had him as a pet for his first three years at  Hogwarts .  I think there some pets  that Hogwarts Students would never be able to have at Hogwarts  like snakes , monkeys or dogs  . I do not like rats myself but I do not think they would not  think  a rat would do any  harm  at Hogwarts . I do not think Dumbledore would have let the Weasley Children a pet like  rat all because they are poor then let other Students  have one  because doe not want to be seen favour  . Dumbledore never  cared what people thought about him  any way at the end of the day I think Scabbers  was in  the Gryffindor  boy's Dormitory most of the time  .
« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 03:00:35 PM by Helen E Potter »

July 23, 2016, 03:11:01 PM
Reply #4

Resonance

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Re: Scabbers. But rats are not on the list . . .
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2016, 03:11:01 PM »
Y'all raise a couple of helpful themes . . .

1. While the list of three types of pets is not prefaced by words such as "preferably" or "for example," neither is it prefaced by "limited to."

2. Exceptions can  be made to rules.  (Especially if done only occasionally, and for "good" reasons that might be respected by a sufficient number of people affected.)

. . . to which I'll add another factor that has occurred to me,

3.  We know almost nothing about the actual number or composition of students' pets at Hogwarts! 

As far as I recall, we know of Hedwig, Crookshanks, Tevor, Scabbers>Pigwidgeon, and ??
We know that toads aren't in fashion these days. 
We also know that, unlike shabby, common Scabbers, there are sleak and talented black rats to be had at the Managerie. 

But we've no idea (a) how many pets were at the school, or (b) what kinds of critters they, in fact, were during the years that Harry et al. were there.
Nor do we know whether there were other pet exceptions at Hogwarts; there may have been.

Thanks for helping me think about this! (It also has contributed to some thinking I've been doing about Percy.)

« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 03:12:31 PM by Resonance »
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July 23, 2016, 04:10:47 PM
Reply #5

JudithC

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Re: Scabbers. But rats are not on the list . . .
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2016, 04:10:47 PM »
Hopefully practical considerations entered into evaluation of which animals were allowed as pets.

1.  How high-maintenance are they?  (Students should be focused on their studies, not on pet care, and having to walk a dog at regular intervals, for example, would be a significant distraction.)

2.  How well do they fit in the space allowed?  (One student's share of a dorm room is not a lot of space.)

3.  How well will they get along with the other pets in the same House/dorm room?  (Cat and rat - predator and prey - left alone in the same room for hours would probably have unhappy results.)

And so on. 

As far as pet rats are concerned, my younger stepdaughter had one.  They're not my thing, but plenty of real-life people like them, and even I have to admit that some of them can be quite handsome.

July 23, 2016, 04:21:02 PM
Reply #6

Helen E Potter

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Re: Scabbers. But rats are not on the list . . .
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2016, 04:21:02 PM »
When you think an owl is the best pet to have at Hogwarts  because  the Student can use to send letters home  ,  a  cat would be nice because they are great company  when a child is away from home

July 23, 2016, 05:26:36 PM
Reply #7

Resonance

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Re: Scabbers. But rats are not on the list . . .
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2016, 05:26:36 PM »
I share the view that owls are very useful, and cats are lovely, low-maintenance companions.  Am among those that lack personal affection for rats, but I understand that they can be relatively clever pets for those who can manage affection for rodents.

I have always thought of the Hogwarts list kinda like this:
Owls: exceedingly practical; fairly low-maintenance; rarely disruptive.
Cats: independent, and selectively affectionate; in the absence of rodents and dogs, shouldn't be disruptive.
Toads: an anachronism.  (Perhaps I'm biased, but what use is a toad -- unless it's put in a potion cauldron?  Hardly the outcome a loving parent should want when permitting a chid to have a pet.  But I'm getting way off-topic now.) Not any bother to others.

As JudithC notes, a relatively non-disruptive list.  It always made sense to me.  Whatever all the background story may be, it's easy to assume there weren't myriad exceptions to the pet list granted.

As a little aside, I always loved how good a judge of character Hermione's Kneezle-cat was, and what a gracious moment of personal growth, implicit apology, and kindness toward Hermione it was when Ron offered Pigwidgeon to Crookshanks for scrutiny-approval.  Very sweet!  And wise.
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July 24, 2016, 05:57:36 AM
Reply #8

Helen E Potter

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Re: Scabbers. But rats are not on the list . . .
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2016, 05:57:36 AM »
With the Harry Potter books we only places that were  talked about at Hogwarts were the classrooms  , some of the Professor's  Offices , Hagrid's Hut , the Great Hall Gryffindory Towers  then in one book the Slytherin common room then the last book the Ravenclaw common room . So if you think about it Ron and Percy might not have not been  the two only Students that had a pet rat because do not see any other Dormitory  so we do not know .  But in the Magical Menagerie  sleek black rats rather more intelligent then normal rats on of a  many  pets for sale
« Last Edit: July 24, 2016, 01:15:12 PM by Helen E Potter »