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They could have visited the place together; for a moment Harry imagined coming here with Dumbledore, of what a bond that would have been, of how much it would have meant to him. But it seemed that to Dumbledore, the fact that their families lay side by side in the same graveyard had been an unimportant coincidence, irrelevant, perhaps, to the job he wanted Harry to do.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I don't understand the use of 'of' in those clauses or phrases. What does the whole part in bold say?

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What does the whole part in bold say?

It's just saying what Harry is imagining.

You could break it down like this:

... for a moment Harry imagined

  • coming here with Dumbledore,
  • of what a bond that (=coming here with Dumbledore) would have been,
  • of how much it (=coming here with Dumbledore) would have meant to him.

So, Harry "and Dumbledore both had deep roots in this graveyard." Harry is thinking that Dumbledore should have told him about this. But Dumbledore "never thought to share the connection."

Had Dumbledore shared this with [connection] Harry, "they could have visited the place together."

Harry is imagining what it would have been like if they both visited the place together. Harry is imagining that if they did visit the place together, he and Dumbledore would have a stronger bond (or great bonding moments), and that visiting the place with Dumbledore would mean so much to him (= Harry).


Edit: I don't think "imagined of" is common usage - I can't find reliable usage examples from google books/news. I think it might have something to do with how we use "of" with "think" (e.g., I was thinking of the old days, of how high I used to be able to jump, of how quick I was).

How about removing "of":

"... for a moment Harry imagined coming here with Dumbledore, what a bond that would have been, how much it would have meant to him."

Does it sound right? - dan (from comments)

I thought of this. The thing is, for me, if you remove "of", the second element/thought seems to lose clarity. Removing "of" makes it hard to tell if the second element/thought is still part of Harry's imagination, or if it is what the "close third person narrator" is imagining/narrating.

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  • What about the use of 'of'?
    – dan
    Nov 19 '19 at 9:55
  • @dan Its just like "I was thinking of the old days, of how high I used to be able to jump, of how quick I was", where the second and the third thoughts are actually parts of the first thought.
    – AIQ
    Nov 19 '19 at 10:02
  • I know "think of", but I couldn't find "imagine of" in dictionaries.
    – dan
    Nov 19 '19 at 10:07
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    @It definitely is a bit unusual to write "imagined doing something, of something, of something" but it is grammatically fine (except I think there should be an "and" before the third thought). Maybe someone else can elaborate on that point.
    – AIQ
    Nov 19 '19 at 10:20
  • Is it really normal to say I imagined of how much it would've meant to him? Is this literary usage? I normally hear I imagined how much..., without an of.
    – user3395
    Nov 19 '19 at 12:57

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