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Thread: Portraits and their lives

  1. #11
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    I wonder if Ariana's portrait's inability to speak was related to her mental problems. I don't remember if it was fully explicated, but I could see the actual Ariana not speaking very much or at all - particularly if there were strangers around. It's also definitely possible that whatever spell they did to make her portrait, didn't allow for speech.

    Which makes me wonder if Snape's portrait could talk. Oh man, a silent Snape portrait, that would be terrible. He just glares at Everyone, Constantly.

    I can imagine the Ministry not accepting Umbridge's portrait, even if it was donated to them upon her death. She doesn't seem like the type to have family... I wonder if it's possible to destroy a portrait...
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie
    perhaps the spell or charm used to quicken a portrait is more effective if used while the subject is still alive, but can also be used to create the subject (if more ineffective) from the memory of another?
    A lot of Ariana is shrouded in mystery, and not many know a lot about her. Maybe if the person is no longer living, there have to be a certain number of memories, and perhaps even from a certain number of people. I can definitely picture a grief-stricken Aberforth commisioning a portrait knowing that Ariana wouldn’t be extremely interactive because only he and Albus had good memories of her. Just a thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie
    I imagine that Umbridge is definitely self-absorbed enough to have commissioned a portrait.
    Yes, but what I’m wondering now is whether or not anyone can commision a portrait. Perhaps you have to be in good enough standings (i.e. Aberforth was related to Albus, so it would have been easier for him to get a portrait of Ariana, and Umbridge and Fudge were close, and both are/were high up in govt.) in order to get one made. Because I think that everyone and their brother would want to get a portrait made, and it takes a lot of time and effort to create a portrait.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aida
    I wonder if it's possible to destroy a portrait...
    From gut instincts, I would think that it would be very difficult to destroy a portrait. When Sirius stabbed the Fat Lady in POA, she ended up being fine, despite the fact that her canvas was ripped to shreds. I would think you would have to do some serious damage to destroy a portrait.

    And out of curiosity now, did the portraits survive the Battle of Hogwarts? I'm pretty sure some walls came down; that constitutes "serious damage," lol.


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  3. #13
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    Thanks so much!!!! This has turned into quite an interesting concept... I know, though, that Lockhart had several pictures and portraits... And they could interact with others while he was alive. Perhaps the simple act of painting it (with memories) and enspelling it allows the portrait to take on life. Maybe the person doesn't actually have to be dead. But I'm so glad someone pointed out the memories! I had been wondering how it was possible for portraits of dead people to have such a likeness to their subject...
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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Padfoot11333 View Post
    And out of curiosity now, did the portraits survive the Battle of Hogwarts? I'm pretty sure some walls came down; that constitutes "serious damage," lol.
    Considering that JK tells us that Harry makes sure Snape gets included, they almost certainly survived. Maybe they had other frames to flee to? Otherwise, there'd be no point to making a Snape portrait to add to the wall.

    Did Lockhart have portraits or just photos? I could see him having a metric ton of photos, but did he actually have painted portraits too?
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  5. #15
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    Because I think that everyone and their brother would want to get a portrait made, and it takes a lot of time and effort to create a portrait.
    I always thought they'd just be fairly expensive, like having an oil painting made in the real world...


    Considering that JK tells us that Harry makes sure Snape gets included, they almost certainly survived. Maybe they had other frames to flee to? Otherwise, there'd be no point to making a Snape portrait to add to the wall.
    Harry goes there after the battle and talks to DD, and I think all the other portraits are snoozing in their frames.

    Actually here, have a quote from DH (The Flaw in the Plan):
    But it was applause. All around the walls, the headmasters and headmistresses of Hogwarts were giving him a standing ovation; they waved their hats and in some cases their wigs, they reached through their frames to grip each other’s hands; they danced up and down on the chairs in which they had been painted; Dilys Derwent sobbed unashamedly; Dexter Fortescue was waving his ear-trumpet; and Phineas Nigellus called, in his high, reedy voice, “And let it be noted that Slytherin House played its part! Let our contribution not be forgotten!” But Harry had eyes only for the man who stood in the largest
    portrait directly behind the headmaster’s chair. Tears were sliding down from behind the half-moon spectacles into the long silver
    beard, and the pride and the gratitude emanating from him filled Harry with the same balm as phoenix song.

    Some interview quotes that might be useful:

    But this rule was always good, and the rule was that portraits could only move between portraits in the same building. so if I'm in a picture and you're in a picture and we're both in Carnegie Hall, then we can move into each other's pictures. Otherwise we can only move only to other places where we have a portrait. You can't just move willy nilly through all the - the Louvre, the Met - you can't do a world tour, as a picture person. You are limited by geography. So there was that reason. And then lastly of course, the third reason, is it really would be too easy and I wouldn't have had a plot.
    Something others mentioned before:

    Laura Trego: Was the absence of Snape's portrait in the headmasters office in the last scene innocent or deliberate?

    J.K. Rowling: It was deliberate. Snape had effectively abandoned his post before dying, so he had not merited inclusion in these august circles. However, I like to think that Harry would be instrumental in ensuring that Snape's portrait would appear there in due course.
    Q: Is Severus Snape's portrait in the headmaster's office?
    JKR: Some have been asking why hasn't the portrait appeared immediately. It doesn't. The reason is that the perception in the castle itself and everyone who was in the castle, because Snape kept his secret so well was that he abandoned his post. So all the portraits you see in the headmaster's study are all headmasters and mistresses who died, it's like British royals. You only get good press if you die in office. Abdication is not acceptable, particularly if you marry and American. I'm kidding! [laughter] I digress. I know, because I thought this one through, because it was very important to me, I know Harry would have insisted that Snape's portrait was on that wall, right beside Dumbledore's.

    This thing about "the perception in the castle itself" to me sounds like the headmaster/-mistress portraits come from within the Hogwarts castle. If a HM dies while he/she is in the post of HM, then from somewhere within the castle comes a portrait that has absorbed the essence of that person. Maybe it's something that the house elves do? Whereever it comes from, I don't feel like it'd be an outside commission – except possibly for Snape.
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  6. #16
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    I like to think that it is rather a potion that has to be brewed, and then mixed with the paint, in order for it to come alive. Perhaps it has to contain a hair or something (like Polyjuice Potion) from the subject for it to take on its personality. This would also explain the difference between photos and paintings - there's one potion you develop pictures with, and another you mix with oil paint. The latter being more difficult to make, perhaps, and contaning a hair while the developing mixture just makes photos move around a bit.

    An idea regarding linked paintings - maybe they have been painted at the same time, with the same batch of potion paint? That would make a natural connection between them.

  7. #17
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    Thank you! I really appreciate all the help!

    Yes, I suppose a potion would be the way to go, and then a spell to animate the patrons. I'm curious, though, why pictures can't talk, but portraits can... they both are meant to capture a moment in the Muggle world- so why do they operate differently in the wizarding world?
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  8. #18
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    I think it's probably to do with that a Portrait is more to capture the person whereas a Photograph captures the entire moment: landscape, people, action. I mean, if you took a photo of a landscape, you wouldn't expect it to talk, so I don't see why humans would either. A portrait is specifically always of a person, so they probably only use whatever makes the portrait 'live' on them.

    Also, especially now days, developing/printing photographs is reasonably inexpensive, whereas a portrait would cost a lot more. As they are animated, I would expect that photos would cost more in the Wizarding World, but to the same proportion, so would portraits, so people might expect them to do more.

    On a similar note, do you think photographs can move between other photographs the way portraits do? I'm inclined to say no, but it would be interesting to see what other people think.
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  9. #19
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    I agree about a landscape not talking, but then why (at least in the movies) are you able to hear the animals and the wind in the portraits and paintings. You can hear the armor clanking and glasses clinking...

    As for photographs, I don't think they can move out of the frame. I can't rememebr when, but in the second book, Gilderoy tries to pull Harry next to him in one photo, and then slumps against the frame, too exhausted from the effort, but he doesn't slide out. So I don't think they can move netween photos!
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