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"I told him, you'd better give it up, now. You can't move her, she's in no fit state, you can't take her with you, wherever it is you're planning to go, when you're making your clever speeches, trying to whip yourselves up a following. He didn't like that," said Aberforth, ...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I can find "whip up", but I still don't understand "whip yourselves up a following". Can "whip up" take two objects: "whip up somebody something"? How should we understand it?

  • This is just a suggestion. I think when you post something like this, mentioning the names of the people involved will be super helpful. You could just put them in [square brackets]. For example, in this case, you could add a line stating who is Aberforth saying this to, and who is he talking about. – AIQ Dec 18 '19 at 7:16
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From Cambridge, "whip up someone/something" is a phrasal verb meaning "to cause or encourage a strong feeling or reaction in someone or something". Merriam-Webster defines it as "to excite (someone or something): to cause (someone or something) to feel strong emotions about something".

"Following" here is a noun meaning people. From Cambridge, a "following" is "a group of people who admire something or someone; a group of people who support, admire, or believe in a particular person, group, or idea."

She has attracted a large following among the rich and famous.
The shop has a small but loyal/devoted following.

In this case, it means to gather followers/supporters.

Aberforth here is essentially referring to Dumbledore's (and there is another person here - I forgot) attempts to build up a "following" (or gather followers/supporters) that will help further their beliefs and ideology.

How do they do that? They do it by making clever speeches.


Give yourself a treat. Get yourself a new pair of shoes. Whip yourselves up a following.

If you simplify this, it means "get/build yourselves a following". Or you could say "whip up a following for yourselves".

When you are giving a speech, with the intention to gather followers, you are in that moment. Your words are powerful. There is a lot of emotion in what you say and in your body language. You, yourself, are excited. And that energy spreads across, getting others excited.

  • That explained "whip up a following" very well. But how should we take "whip yourself up a following" then? Or the phrasal verb "whip up" can take two objects like "whip up somebody something"? – dan Dec 18 '19 at 6:33
  • @dan I am afraid I can't quite comment on the "object" part. To me this is a standard phrase "Whip yourself up sth" for when you are doing/causing something for yourself. Let's wait for others to elaborate on that part. :) – AIQ Dec 18 '19 at 7:04
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    It's exactly the same as @AIQ's example Get yourself a new pair of shoes, where yourself means for yourself. "Recruit a band of supporters for yourselves." – Kate Bunting Dec 18 '19 at 8:52

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