"'Poor', yeah," said Lee Jordan. "Still, better than 'D', isn't it? 'Dreadful'?"

Harry felt his face grow warm and faked a small coughing fit over his roll. When he emerged from this...

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

What does "over his roll" mean in this context? Is 'roll' referring to "bread roll"?

1 Answer 1


There isn't enough context in the quote to be sure, but it is probably a bread roll. Look at the previous paragraph. Harry is having soup. You normally have a bread roll with soup. Harry is faking a cough because he doesn't want to admit to having got a "D" for Dreadful on his Moonstone essay.

You can use "over" in sentences like "We had an argument over money". Money caused the argument. Similarly, Harry pretends that the bread roll caused him to cough.

  • what about the use of 'over'?
    – dan
    Commented Feb 10, 2019 at 9:41
  • "Over" could also be used as a spatial designation, i.e. that the coughing fit occurred above the roll.
    – Alex
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 6:48

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