There’s a little lemon theme in the first two chapters. Dumbledore likes lemon drops, Petunia doesn’t like lemon as her face turns into an expression as if she has bitten on one, Harry gets a lemon ice pop at the zoo and clearly keeps it with Dumbledore’s preference, thinking it “wasn’t bad” although it was cheap. 😮
Howls of Horror
In all the abuse the Dursleys heap on Harry, I’ve always liked how his irreverent sarcasm is the saving grace of the situation. It makes him retain his dignity. Also it makes more or less sense as a coping strategy, although I do think the PTSD!Harry fic writers still have a point when they think that there’s realistically gotta be more damage. Also the snake incident is very satisfying to read. Speaking off coping: eleven-year-old Harry has an ability to shrug hurtful or weird things off in a laisser-faire kind of way that you could almost call dazed. Now that’s a coping mechanism if I’ve ever seen one. While Piers and Dudley are screaming, “leaping back with howls of horror” etc in the face of the newly awoken snake, Harry carries on a calm conversation with the animal, picks himself off the ground after being painfully shoved aside without comment, and deems the whole thing worthy of an emotional reaction only when the glass of the tank vanishes. That’s when he “gasped.” While everybody else is screaming. And running away.
Harry and (P)Terry
From the initial description of Dumblemumble in the previous chapter to the reptile house keeper being in shock (“‘But the glass,’ he kept saying, ‘where did the glass go?’”) I’m surprised that nobody ever talks about how hugely influenced JKR very clearly was by Terry Pratchett, while the Tolkien influence is more on the general side. (compare Dumbledore’s introduction to that of the wizard in “Equal Rites,” and for the reptile guy, that nuclear power plant scene from “Good Omens” comes to mind, amongst others)