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  #101  
Old December 2nd, 2009, 9:46 pm
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Re: Flying wizards and witches.

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Originally Posted by wolfbrother View Post
JKR could have had Lily zooming around the playground as well. She needn't have been so vague about it. It is also possible that she didn't write the chapter in chronological order. She could have written it before and just inserted it in the right place.
IMO if Jo wanted the readers to make a connection between Snape's flying ability and Lily, she'd have made it clear in the scene. By readers I mean everyone who reads Harry Potter not just the fans.
IMO there is nothing vague about the following scene:

Quote:
But the girl had let go of the swing at the very height of its arc and flown into the air, quite literally flown, launched herself skyward with a great shout of laughter, and instead of crumpling on the playground asphalt, she soared like a trapeze artist through the air, staying up far too long, landing far too lightly.
Although there's much to criticize Jo's writing in DH, it appears to me that she intended the reader to believe that Lily is really, actually, literally flying.

Now as for the implied connection between Lily's flying and Snape's, that's my speculation of course. To have Harry see Lily flying so soon after he has seen Snape flying out of the castle just seems too convenient for it to be a coincidence.


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  #102  
Old December 2nd, 2009, 11:01 pm
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Re: Flying wizards and witches.

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
In any case, I don't see how the flying motorbike and car wouldn't be way more significant to flight than the boyancy Lily had shown. Lily lessened the effects of gravity, but she didn't defy it altogether.
I think the difference would be in the agency, or lack of a tool or machine. It would be the same difference between my getting into car and driving 90 mph and my just getting up by myself and running down the street at 90 mph.

And lessening the effects- feels like parsing words. Rowling illustrated that Lily did something against the rules of gravity by "staying up far too long, landing far too lightly..." on her own, without a tool or an external agent, without even a wand.

The words "far too" imply that something unnatural to the laws of expected possibility was happening. This coupled with the use of the word "literaly", I really don't see any room for interpretation in this text.


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  #103  
Old December 3rd, 2009, 1:49 am
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Re: Flying wizards and witches.

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Originally Posted by Bscorp View Post
I think the difference would be in the agency, or lack of a tool or machine. It would be the same difference between my getting into car and driving 90 mph and my just getting up by myself and running down the street at 90 mph.

And lessening the effects- feels like parsing words. Rowling illustrated that Lily did something against the rules of gravity by "staying up far too long, landing far too lightly..." on her own, without a tool or an external agent, without even a wand.
What do you mean? She was on a swing - that was the external mechanism that gave her the initial thrust and propulsion.

The reason the analogy doesn't work for me is because driving a car at 90 is not in any way contrary to the laws of physics and gravity. Flying a motorbike is (the flying alone and running like Flash do line up tho). That was my other point. What Sirius got the bike to do was actually "flying" in every sense of the word - even if thrust and propulsion played into it. The bike's normal function did not include sutained and directional flight. Lily too used magic to add to her thrust and propulsion, but it wasn't flying in at least one sense of the word - the sense of being able to continuously sustain onesself in the air and travel whereever one wanted. I think that is the difference that makes one hesitate to see it as 'flying' per se. Meaning, imo,
anyone watching Lily would still have major steps to take in order to fly the way Voldemort did.

Quote:
The words "far too" imply that something unnatural to the laws of expected possibility was happening. This coupled with the use of the word "literaly", I really don't see any room for interpretation in this text.
Well I admit it was magic - definitely. "Far too" in the way it was used, signified that she stayed in the air longer than a normal child would before landing. And I don't have a problem calling it "flying" because it is in the same sense we "fly" when we jump from a trampoline (which allows us to sustain ourselves longer in the air than when we simply jump from the ground). But when you compare it to what Voldemort actually did, it comes up short; so if I had to distinguish, I would call what he did "sustained, directional flight". I would call what Sirius' motorbike did 'sustained directional flight' also - but, like with Lily, there was a mechanism involved, so apparently the wizard world didn't consider that flying anymore than using brooms, swings, excessive body adjustment (Marge), or anything else that allowed one to escape into the air.


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  #104  
Old December 3rd, 2009, 2:44 am
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Re: Flying wizards and witches.

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
What do you mean? She was on a swing - that was the external mechanism that gave her the initial thrust and propulsion.
Ah- I see your point here. I think we agree on the use of magic and also that what Lily does is not to the extent of what Voldemort or Snape was doing. (I never argued that it was.) I just feel the need to re-emphasize that it was a form of self-made flying. By agency I mean a sense of self empowerment, self direction and ability to control one's own body and mind. At the point she lets go of the swing Lily is no longer supported by anything but her own magic. She had no machine under her holding her up. That is when the magic occurs. She is in control of her own body. (Now that I think of it , this is very much in line with Lily's independent personality.)

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The reason the analogy doesn't work for me is because driving a car at 90 is not in any way contrary to the laws of physics and gravity. Flying a motorbike is (the flying alone and running like Flash do line up tho).
Well- that was my point, driving a car- in our world is like Sirius driving the motorcycle in their world. No doubt there is talent involved in what he did to the motorcyle. It's a souped up "bewitched" vehicle that most wizards (it seems) would not want to use over their brooms for whatever reason ( I assume tinkering with muggle machines such as Mr. Weasley did to the car was taboo if not outright illegal.)
Quote:
That was my other point. What Sirius got the bike to do was actually "flying" in every sense of the word - even if thrust and propulsion played into it. The bike's normal function did not include sustained and directional flight. Lily too used magic to add to her thrust and propulsion, but it wasn't flying in at least one sense of the word - the sense of being able to continuously sustain ones self in the air and travel where ever one wanted. I think that is the difference that makes one hesitate to see it as 'flying' per se. Meaning, imo, anyone watching Lily would still have major steps to take in order to fly the way Voldemort did.
Again, I never argued it was the exactly same, only that it might have similar roots. My only argument is that it was flight. Flight is not limited by being able to "travel where ever one wanted. " Flight is merely defined by just being able to "move through the air under control". In this case Lily controlled her flight back to the ground.

Quote:
Well I admit it was magic - definitely. "Far too" in the way it was used, signified that she stayed in the air longer than a normal child would before landing. And I don't have a problem calling it "flying" because it is in the same sense we "fly" when we jump from a trampoline (which allows us to sustain ourselves longer in the air than when we simply jump from the ground).
There is metaphorical flying and literal flying. Jumping on a trampoline is not self-suspension. One comes up then down. One does not hang in the air as Lily did.
Quote:
But when you compare it to what Voldemort actually did, it comes up short; so if I had to distinguish, I would call what he did "sustained, directional flight". I would call what Sirius' motorbike did 'sustained directional flight' also - but, like with Lily, there was a mechanism involved, so apparently the wizard world didn't consider that flying anymore than using brooms, swings, excessive body adjustment (Marge), or anything else that allowed one to escape into the air.
As far as what the Wizarding World considers flying, they didn't think any wizard was capable of flying. So I will argue again about the accepted knowledge of its time not being the only reality. All those examples except Lily and Voldemort involved some external means, or agency, be it a machine or someone other person's spell. Yes, the swing gave Lily a point to jump from, but she made the jump herself and after that she sustained herself. In the same way that Snape made a jump from a high window then sustained himself. All Lily, Snape and Voldemort sustained themselves in the air for an unnatural amount of time, and flew without anyone else or machined helping them. And yes, what lily did was not to the extent and again, but that was never my argument.


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Last edited by Bscorp; December 3rd, 2009 at 2:55 am.
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  #105  
Old December 3rd, 2009, 3:36 am
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Re: Flying wizards and witches.

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Originally Posted by Bscorp View Post
Ah- I see your point here. I think we agree on the use of magic and also that what Lily does is not to the extent of what Voldemort or Snape was doing. (I never argued that it was.) I just feel the need to re-emphasize that it was a form of self-made flying. By agency I mean a sense of self empowerment, self direction and ability to control one's own body and mind. At the point she lets go of the swing Lily is no longer supported by anything but her own magic. She had no machine under her holding her up. That is when the magic occurs. She is in control of her own body. (Now that I think of it , this is very much in line with Lily's independent personality.)
I agree with all of this, so I guess we just categorize it differently in the end. Do you think that Lily would describe what she had done to other wizards and call it flying?

Quote:
There is metaphorical flying and literal flying. Jumping on a trampoline is not self-suspension. One comes up then down. One does not hang in the air as Lily did.
Have you ever seen Michael Jordon play basketball?

Quote:
As far as what the Wizarding World considers flying, they didn't think any wizard was capable of flying. So I will argue again about the accepted knowledge of its time not being the only reality. All those examples except Lily and Voldemort involved some external means, or agency, be it a machine or someone other person's spell. Yes, the swing gave Lily a point to jump from, but she made the jump herself and after that she sustained herself. In the same way that Snape made a jump from a high window then sustained himself. All Lily, Snape and Voldemort sustained themselves in the air for an unnatural amount of time, and flew without anyone else or machined helping them. And yes, what lily did was not to the extent and again, but that was never my argument.
Okay. I understand. While I think anyone seeing Lily in action would only consider it 'literally flying' in a metaphorical sense, I can relate that others might see it differently. I guess we'd have to agree to disagree on this one.


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  #106  
Old December 3rd, 2009, 7:51 pm
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Re: Flying wizards and witches.

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Originally Posted by snapes_witch View Post

Although there's much to criticize Jo's writing in DH, it appears to me that she intended the reader to believe that Lily is really, actually, literally flying.

Now as for the implied connection between Lily's flying and Snape's, that's my speculation of course. To have Harry see Lily flying so soon after he has seen Snape flying out of the castle just seems too convenient for it to be a coincidence.
I see it as a different type of flying. Much like gliding.
To me, it doesn't make sense for Snape to learn flying and then teach it to Voldemort. Why would he give Voldemort an extra skill ? I also find it hard to believe that two people independently come up with a skill that was supposed to be impossible in the same time frame.

On rereading Snape's escape, IMO there is a possibility that Snape was not flying like Voldemort rather that he was gliding. It would be easy for McGonagall to confuse it. If he was in fact gliding, then its quite possible that he picked it up from Lily or developed it himself.


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  #107  
Old December 3rd, 2009, 8:54 pm
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Re: Flying wizards and witches.

Voldemorts skill and knowledge is undeniable (even though there is magic he know not) therefore for him to posses the ability to fly is something i think possible. Snape is also has great skill and knowledge so there is the chance he has the power to do so. I personally think that Voldemort must of tought him, as mention earlier for two people to indepentely develop the skill that was previously thought to be impossible. However, it seems out of character for Voldemort to teach a skill to someone that only he has, as his superiority and stand out ability is something he prides himself on and for someone else to have that skill would annoy him. This is the only way I can see it happening.
This also confirms Snapes ability, as LV has more loyal servants than Snape(bella springs to mind) and therefore will have most likely tried to teach them. This seems to have failed as there is no mention of them having the ability, and Bella is one hell of a skilled witch.


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  #108  
Old December 3rd, 2009, 9:59 pm
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Re: Flying wizards and witches.

This sort of brings to light an odd inconsistency in the Potterverse I hadn't thought of before.
I guess it comes down to definitions.
Why can wizards/witches (man I wish there was a common term like "muggle" I could use there) levitate at all, but not fly? Are they really so significantly different? Either way you defy gravity. Beyond that, the only difference is forward locomotion.

Here's a thought: Why couldn't a wizard levitate, for example, with winguardium (we know it works on people), and then use something like "mobilicorpus" to propel themselves forward?
In fact, "mobilicorpus", used in PoA to move an unconscious Snape out of the Shrieking Shack, is a form of flying actually.. it's slow, and low, but technically.. it fits the definition of flying if we consider flying to be a sustained forward airborne motion that defies gravity.


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  #109  
Old December 12th, 2009, 3:55 am
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Re: Flying wizards and witches.

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Originally Posted by snapes_witch View Post
Harry said she was flying, and that's good enough for me.
Harry also compares what Lily did to what a trapeze artist does - often described as flying even though it is not really flying. Because the description does not match flying, I would say the phrase "literally flying" was being used as hyperbole to emphasize Harry's exaggeration of Lily levitating in the air - the same way such hyperbole is used to describe a trapeze artist. Levitating or hovering in the air would be the extent of it. She went up, hovered in one spot, and then down. She did not go forward over any significant distance so Lily did not actually fly from what we are shown in the text. She would only be flying if she had sustained forward motion over a significant amount of distance - i.e. farther than the propulsion of the swing would have taken her.

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
35 years later? Even if you consider Lily flying, Snape also saw Voldemort fly after that. If he did figure it out himself in the long run, how do you know it was based on what Lily did rather than what Voldemort did? Snape's flying in canon came a time after that and there is no evidence - and in fact, lack of evidence, that he could fly before that time. I think McGonagall's conclusion makes the most sense. Frankly, based on what Snape did in canon, I don't feel he was talented enough to figure it out on his own (that isn't a knock on Snape; I feel that way about the majority of the wizards in canon).
That's an excellent point. If Lily had known how to fly and taught Snape - or if Snape had been inspired to invent flying from seeing Lily levitating from the swing in that memory, then he would have accomplished that much sooner. Snape was very intelligent and capable of inventing complex and dangerous spells as a teenager. It wouldn't make any sense for it to take him 35 years to figure out how to fly. Nor would that fit with him using a broom to fly in PS/SS and during the Seven Potters in DH. If Snape had known how to fly, why would he waste time with a broom? If that were the case, then Snape would have most likely figured out how to fly while he was still a student at Hogwarts and we would have seen him flying unaided all along. That would mean that nobody would have been shocked by Voldemort flying in the Seven Potters because they would have seen it before.

The time frame is hugely signficant to all that. Snape sees Lily levitate - or hover - when they are children. That might have been his inspiration to invent Levicorpus - which he did at some point before he was 16 years old. That timing fits. Flying unaided is believed to be completely impossible by everyone until they see Voldemort do it in the Seven Potters. That's why they are all so shocked. As it is presented in the text, Voldemort was the first to manage to fly - sustain forward motion over a signfiicant distance - shocking everyone because they had believed it to be impossible. At that point, Snape is still using a broom - obviously, he does not know how to fly at that point because he wouldn't have been using a broom if he could fly unaided, IMO. Because of the timing, I would say that the only logical conclusion is the one McGonagall draws - either Voldemort taught Snape how to fly or Voldemort was Snape's inspiration to figure it out on his own.

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Originally Posted by Chikibun View Post
I find it interesting that it has been pointed out that Lily "literally" flew on one of Snape's memories.

I guess I took that to mean a different meaning. . I have no doubts that sure, she might have launched herself into the air but I wouldn't see that as flying. The description in the book seemed more like levitation. Like her magic made it so she was able to "float" in a way; to hover in the air for longer than necessary then to gently float to the ground.

Something similiar is done by Harry I believe; who, when trying to run from Dudley, launches himself onto the school roof or something like this.

Flying, as Voldemort and Snape were able to do, would not be the simple act of launching oneself into the air - which is shown to be done several times. But to have more control of your moments, to have upward and forward motion at any speed you wish. What Lily did I believe was not anything similiar to this, she was able to launch herself into the air with the aid of the swing. But her magic allowed her to levitate for a few moments and float to the ground.

That's not flying to me
Exactly.

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Originally Posted by wolfbrother View Post
JKR could have had Lily zooming around the playground as well. She needn't have been so vague about it. It is also possible that she didn't write the chapter in chronological order. She could have written it before and just inserted it in the right place.
IMO if Jo wanted the readers to make a connection between Snape's flying ability and Lily, she'd have made it clear in the scene. By readers I mean everyone who reads Harry Potter not just the fans.
I agree. To fly is to travel through the air - not hover in the same spot and then drop. If the description had been that Lily traveled forward and landed a significant distance away from the swing set - farther than the propulsion of the swing would have carried her - or traveled around the swing set - or the park itself - that would be flying. Launching herself in the air and staying in the same spot for a bit before dropping gracefully to the ground does not qualify as flying because she's not traveling anywhere - she does not achieve forward locomotion. She goes up, hovers, and then drops gracefully. That can only be viewed as levitation or hovering, IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grymmditch View Post
This sort of brings to light an odd inconsistency in the Potterverse I hadn't thought of before.
I guess it comes down to definitions.
Why can wizards/witches (man I wish there was a common term like "muggle" I could use there) levitate at all, but not fly? Are they really so significantly different? Either way you defy gravity. Beyond that, the only difference is forward locomotion.

Here's a thought: Why couldn't a wizard levitate, for example, with winguardium (we know it works on people), and then use something like "mobilicorpus" to propel themselves forward?
In fact, "mobilicorpus", used in PoA to move an unconscious Snape out of the Shrieking Shack, is a form of flying actually.. it's slow, and low, but technically.. it fits the definition of flying if we consider flying to be a sustained forward airborne motion that defies gravity.
Well, there is a difference in the effect of levitation or hovering and actually flying. Wingardium Leviosa levitates an object and they can then control that object and move it around with their wand. But we only see that spell used on objects and, based on what we are shown with Levicorpus (see below), it does not appear that spell would work on a person or that one could cast it on themselves - they would have to have a second person to cast the spell and control their movement.

Levicorpus will levitate a person, but it also hoists them up in the air by their ankle so they are upside down - not very useful for traveling. We are shown that they could not cast this spell on themselves - Harry has to have Hermione do it for him in DH so he can get the cup. She casts the spell and controls his movement with her wand. How much control could be achieved with that is debatable because Hermione only moves Harry up and down. The Death Eaters in GOF use Levicorpus and appear to have a lot of control over how they move the people, but there were a lot of Death Eaters so they might have been using more than one spell there.

Both of those spells give a pretty good height and that can be controlled by the caster with their wand. Mobilcorpus does not appear to have much height to it - I'd estimate maybe a foot or maybe a few feet from the ground from how it was described. Hermione uses a variation of that - Mobilarbus - to lift a tree a few inches from the ground and move it in front of them at the Three Broomsticks. There is also locomotor - locomotor trunk was used in OOTP I think - and that was basically the same effect. It would appear that those spells could only be used to levitate an object or person a few inches or a few feet from the ground with the caster controlling the movement with their wand.

I don't think any of those spells would work for an individual to achieve actual flight on their own because they all require a caster to be in control of the movement the whole time - a second person would be needed to cast the spell and move the person around. That wouldn't be useful for traveling and what if the person got distracted and lost control of the spell somehow? Not to mention it would probably be very slow.

The description of Voldemort and Snape flying sounds very different from the effect of those spells to me. It seems more likely that what Voldemort did was to figure out a way to control the air around him and create a current of wind to lift him into the air and propel him forward. That would be something one could achieve on their own without requiring a second person to control the spell - they would be casting the spell on the air around them instead of themselves.


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