Wow, chapter four was a wild ride. Honestly, it’s one of my favorites we’ve read so far—so much happened! We see Harry bond with the Weasleys, revisit Diagon Alley using floo powder (which is a disaster), discover Knockturn Alley, learn more about the Malfoy family, meet Gilderoy Lockhart, and much, much more. This chapter was filled to the brim with action, along with little moments between Harry and the Weasleys that were just so touching to see.
In our video this week, we race through all of this information and dig a little deeper into things like Borgin and Burke’s, the Malfoys, and an intro to Gilderoy Lockhart. Check it out!
With everything that happened in this chapter, it was a bit difficult to nail down exactly what to write about for this week’s article. Harry encounters a lot of characters and problems that will follow him through the entire book series. After much thought, I decided to start a discussion about an EXTREMELY important topic that will weigh on all the characters for the rest of our journey. Today, we’re going to talk about the difference between two ideologies that rise to the forefront of the series. In this chapter, these views are represented by two very different characters: Lucius Malfoy and Arthur Weasley.
These different views, as you may have guessed, focus on the issue of the differences between wizards and Muggles (and by extension, Muggle-born wizards), as well as the dangerous discrimination pure-blood purists force on the rest of the Wizarding World. In a nutshell, people like Lucius Malfoy believe Muggles and Muggle-borns are “lesser”—that they don’t deserve to partake in the magical world or even be treated as humans by the wizard community. It’s a horrible mindset that will unfortunately become very prominent in this book especially. We’ll most likely discuss this topic multiple times as the world slowly develops, especially when it comes to the Hogwarts founders, Voldemort, and Dumbledore and Grindlewald’s relationship later in the series. All of these characters (and many more!) are affected by this divisive idea and its basis in the concept of power and control over others.
This chapter is where it all starts, when we first begin to see this view in action. Chapter four is important for laying the foundation for this idea through the introduction of Lucius Malfoy. Although Draco is definitely nasty, he’s twelve—his thoughts and worldview certainly aren’t nearly as developed as his father’s. In the first book, we see Malfoy bully anyone he wants to exert power over. But this is just the beginning: Lucius Malfoy is where Draco has learned this behavior, and this man is steeped in the hate and discrimination that come with the “Mudblood” ideology.
However, Lucius Malfoy is juxtaposed against another character who is a champion for everything Lucius despises in the Wizarding World: Arthur Weasley.
In this chapter, we learn more about Lucius and Arthur’s views and beliefs before their showdown in Flourish and Blotts.
First, we need to talk about Lucius Malfoy as a person. He’s… slimy. As we’ve discussed before, the Malfoys are all about appearances and getting in with the right people—no matter the cost. Deception is a key factor in how they operate, but when we look closer, their true nature comes to light. The reason Draco and Lucius are in Borgin and Burke’s in this chapter is that they’re selling some questionable items from their home. But these aren’t just dark artifacts—they’re items specifically aimed toward harming Muggles.
As Lucius talks with Borgin, he mentions the Muggle Protection Act as well as Arthur Weasley’s love of Muggles as he explains his reasons for coming. Then he mentions some poisons that could be embarrassing if they were found. Now, Lucius doesn’t finish his explanation by describing why these poisons might get him into trouble, but based on the context, we can see they were probably used on Muggles specifically. While we may initially believe the dark artifacts were intended for wizards (and some may be), it’s clear Lucius has a history of harming or intending to harm Muggles.
This idea represents a great divide that sprouts and follows us through the rest of the books. Some wizards disdain, or even hate, Muggles and, by extension, Muggle-born wizards, who they view as unworthy to study magic. This ideology is presented to us through Lucius Malfoy and the Malfoys in general before we learn how widespread this dangerous thought really is. It’s a stain on the Wizarding World and is also one of the driving factors behind Voldemort and his followers’ actions.
Then we have Arthur Weasley. While we’ve already learned a lot about Arthur Weasley’s views on Muggles from chapter three—including details about his job and hobby—these ideals are only intensified with the introduction of Hermione’s parents in Diagon Alley. We get to see Arthur’s fascination with the Muggle world in action. But more importantly, we witness his appreciation of Muggles and their culture. They’re not simply creatures to be ogled—he treats them as people who should be respected. Although they live differently than him, he’s interested in and fascinated by who they are and thoroughly enjoys talking with them and getting to know them better.
Man, on another note—isn’t Arthur Weasley just a wonderful human being?
At Flourish and Blotts, we see these two ideologies come to a head—Lucius and Arthur get into a physical altercation! However, to me, this is more than a fight between two men who hate each other; it symbolizes the overall conflict between these two schools of thought and even hints at the bitter battle that will follow us through the series over of these points of view.
When I read this chapter, I was actually a bit surprised about how quickly Arthur Weasley, who seems pretty mild-mannered, physically attacked Lucius Malfoy. His aggressive assault, without magic, shows that this response is passionate, desperate, furious… And when we take a closer look, we can see that the reason Arthur explodes isn’t only because Lucius insults him—he also insults the Grangers, who are standing nearby. Arthur’s actions are in defense of the Muggles.
This first “battle” isn’t the only one we’ll see about this topic, though. This is just the introduction of these two ideologies and the harm discrimination and hatred can cause. This idea will be prevalent in this book, especially when it comes to Draco Malfoy’s comments and the attacks on Muggle-born students at Hogwarts this year. I’m so ready to talk about this more. It really gets me fired up—I’m sure you can relate.
For now… we can be happy we got to witness Arthur Weasley being awesome, a champion who’s dedicated to fighting for and protecting those who need it.
In the next chapter, we have more action! Harry and Ron have an… eventful… trip to Hogwarts. This is definitely one of the moments when I question their decision-making abilities!
Thanks for tuning into this article, and if you have any additional comments and thoughts about this topic, please comment below. Don’t forget the video! I feel like I’m a bit more cheery in those.
Read chapter five! See you next time!
Disclaimer: I do not own any element of the Harry Potter series.