Harry witnessed Professor McGonagall walking right past Peeves who was determinedly loosening a crystal chandelier and could have sworn he heard her tell the poltergeist out of the corner of her mouth, 'It unscrews the other way.'

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Presumably this means that either:

  • Peeves is not very good at remembering which direction is clockwise and which is counterclockwise, or
  • Hogwarts has a bunch of reverse-threaded screws.

Either of these sound plausible. Is there any further canonical evidence that one or the other is actually true?

  • Maybe he's confused by lefty-loosey, righty-tighty? – Longshanks Jul 6 '16 at 13:16
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    If you think this is a terrible or pointless question, downvoting is a better approach than voting to close. It does at least seem to be a valid and on-topic question, and I don't understand why two people have voted to close as "too broad" of all things. – Rand al'Thor Jul 6 '16 at 14:11
  • sigh don't know where all the hate for the question is coming from – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 6 '16 at 14:52
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    @Alistair86 - I mix up left and right all my life. Apparently it's NOT an uncommon condition. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 6 '16 at 14:53
  • Unless there's a quote saying which way Peeves was trying to turn the screw then either surely either answer could be correct. If the screw is threaded normally then Peeves isn't good at remembering. If the screw is reverse-threaded then Hogwarts has a bunch of reverse-threaded screws. – Longshanks Jul 6 '16 at 15:22

Peeves isn't a human (or a ghost) - he's a spirit of Chaos as per JKR interview.

As such, it's entirely possible that a spirit of Chaos wouldn't be very good at keeping straight left vs. right, as specific directions are the manifestations of order, not entropy.

Note that anything else Peeves does in canon isn't very heavy on science or engineering. He drops things, he plugs holes, he makes noises. We never see him be an expert on directions.

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  • Cue Amber jokes.... – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 6 '16 at 14:06
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    Wow. I wasn't expecting this question to get such a clear and canonical answer. – Rand al'Thor Jul 6 '16 at 14:33

Peeves was most likely thrown off by the fact that the chirality of a screw on a crystal chandelier would be in the wrong direction since they're designed to be screwed downwards through a ceiling panel rather than the more standard supinate screw that you would find on a modern light fitting, designed to be installed from below.

Since Peeves hasn't dropped a chandelier before, he wouldn't be aware of this fact, nor that turning the chandelier clockwise from below would actually make the fitting tighter, not looser. Luckily, the professor is on hand to point out his error.

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    Do you have a manual on Chandelier hanging among the pile of novelizations? :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 6 '16 at 17:25
  • @DVK-in-exile - I provided a helpful instructional video for precisely that reason. – Valorum Jul 6 '16 at 17:43
  • @Valorum As soon as a I saw your message I thought that this clip might help answer the OP. I was going to try and research the history of Scottish chandeliers too, but suspected there might be a simpler way. +1 for relating OFaH to Harry Potter! – Longshanks Jul 6 '16 at 19:47

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