The first memory I have with the world of Harry involves taking a copy of one of the books from the library. I felt it fitting that one of the posts I do for this A to Z involves the librarian at the Hogwarts Library. She is called Madam Pince by the students, but her name is Irma. Irma Pince.
My school librarian was very much a bibliophile and also very possessive about books. When we returned the books back at the end of the week, she would check it very carefully, making sure not a page was out of place. She ensured we never dog-eared the pages. I suppose it was her strictness that made us more careful of the books we borrowed, and also helped us to treat the library like a temple.
For Irma Pince, the Hogwarts Library was like a temple. And she made sure that it was treated so. Did that make her very popular with the students? No. Not really. It made her character one of the more disliked ones among the staff. But that didn’t change her at all, which is an aspect I liked.
Her dedication and her love for books, not only those at the Hogwarts Library, but those in general is best seen in the sixth book Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when she looked like she’d have a seizure after seeing the copy of Advanced Potion Making (which was an old book that belonged to Snape) in Harry’s hands. I still remember the dialogue… “Despoiled!” she hissed, “Desecrated! Befouled!”
The dedication toward Hogwarts Library itself is also quite evident from the way she bewitches Harry and Ginny’s things to chase them out of the library when she found them with the Easter eggs in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I shudder to think what my school librarian’s reaction would have been in the same position.
She is very strict about her rules for the library, and meticulous in what she does. When Hermione tries to check out Most Potente Potions, Madam Pince checks the note signed by Professor Lockhart very closely for a forgery before accepting it.
An excellent librarian, excellent with her spellwork and non verbal magic (she didn’t utter anything when she bewitched Harry and Ginny’s belongings), Irma Pince is a character who’s not very noticed in the series. In fact, she appears only in one of the movies. But for me, her character has a particular memory associated, so she becomes a memorable character.
(© 11th April 2016)