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Harry was barely listening to her. He was turning the Snitch over and over in his hands, half expecting it to break open, to reveal the Resurrection Stone, to prove to Hermione that he was right, that the Deathly Hallows were real.

She appealed to Ron.

"You don't believe in this, do you?"

Harry looked up. Ron hesitated.

"I dunno ... I mean ... bits of it sort of fit together," said Ron awkwardly. "But when you look at the whole thing ..." He took a deep breath. "I think we're supposed to get rid of Horcruxes, Harry. That's what Dumbledore told us to do. Maybe ... maybe we should forget about this Hallows business."

"Thank you, Ron," said Hermione. "I'll take first watch."

And she(Hermione) strode past Harry and sat down in the tent entrance, turning the action into a fierce full stop.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I'm not exactly sure of the meaning of "turning the action into a fierce full stop". Maybe Hermione just ended up in a full stop? What's "the action" referring to? How should we understand it correctly?

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    By angrily walking away, she brought the conversation to an abrupt end. – Kate Bunting Dec 8 '19 at 8:45
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I can think of two explanations/interpretations.


Here is the first:

Hermione is frustrated with Harry. He isn't really paying attention to what she is saying. She ends the conversation and walks away immediately.

Notice the clue to reading her body language: "strode past Harry". "Stride" means "walk with long, decisive steps in a specified direction" - google. We often do this when we end a conversation that did not go well.

In "turning the action into a fierce full stop" 'action' is referring to Hermione's stride. She abruptly stops at the tent entrance and sits down. This is something we usually see teenagers do when they are upset (imagine a moving car hard-braking).


Here is the second:

In "turning the action into a fierce full stop" 'action' could also refer to the heated conversation (notice the exclamation marks in the book).

From Cambridge, "action" means "the process of doing something, especially when dealing with a problem or difficulty."

They are discussing how they will destroy the Horcruxes (how they will deal with the problem). It makes sense to think of the conversation as the action, which ends fiercely/abruptly as she strides past Harry.

| improve this answer | |
  • Your second interpretation seems to be more appropriate. I added a bit more previous context. I don't see the exclamation marks in the book though. – dan Dec 8 '19 at 8:07
  • Is it also ok to say: turning the conversation into a fierce full stop in this context? – dan Dec 8 '19 at 8:25
  • @dan Well, I don't know which interpretation the author actually intended to convey. If its the second one in my answer, then you could probably say "bringing the conversation into a fierce ...". I don't feel "turning the conversation ..." in this case would be natural. – AIQ Dec 8 '19 at 8:42
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    @AIQ I have taken the liberty of rephrasing your post with the literary present. Normally you use the present tense to describe what happens in a narrative, despite the fact most fiction writing employs the past tense. – Eddie Kal Dec 9 '19 at 3:17
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    @AIQ No need to apologize. Check this out. :) So one of the ways to understand this is that works of fiction employ the past tense to elicit in the reader a sense that they are reading something that happened in the past. And when you write about or discuss works of fiction, the literary present puts you right in the moment. – Eddie Kal Dec 9 '19 at 3:31

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