'Well, I don' blame yeh fer tryin' ter curse him, Ron,' said Hagrid loudly over the thuds of more slugs hitting the basin. 'Bu' maybe it was a goo thing yer wand backfired. 'Spect Lucius Malfoy would've come marchin' up ter school if yeh'd cursed his son. Least yer not in trouble.' Harry would have pointed out that trouble didn't come much worse than having slugs pouring out of your mouth, but he couldn't; Hagrid's toffee had cemented his jaws together. (In this scene, Ron, whose wand had malfunctioned and backfired on him is puking slugs in a corner.)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I kind of get a sense what the bolded part in this passage means, but I'm not sure excatly and especially the structure of the sentence is very unfamiliar to me.

Can anyone help me with this? Thanks in advance!

1 Answer 1


There is some wordplay on "trouble".

To be "in trouble", means to be liable for punishment (from a teacher)

If you break the school rules you'll be in trouble.

Ron is not "in trouble" because the spell didn't work, so he didn't break any rules.

On the other hand "trouble" also means "a distressing or difficult situation", and vomiting slugs is certainly trouble in this sense.

We can say "X doesn't come much worse/better than..." as a rhetorical device to describe a very bad, or very good example of something.

Wine doesn't come much better than this 1982 claret.

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