It's not clear.
Student or Learner
Harry sprang toward the flame door, but Voldemort screamed "SEIZE HIM!" and the next second, Harry felt Quirrell's hand close on his wrist. At once, a needle-sharp pain seared across Harry's scar; his head felt as though it was about to split in two; he yelled, struggling with all his might, and to his surprise, Quirrell let go of him. The pain in his head lessened -- he looked around wildly to see where Quirrell had gone, and saw him hunched in pain, looking at his fingers -- they were blistering before his eyes. (Harry Potter)
Which one does ‘his’ indicate, Harry or Quirrell?
It's not clear.
I don't expect to enhance my popularity much by saying that I find J.K. Rowling a very poor writer. I much prefer the films - I prefer CGI to her rather clunky prose, and her imagination is extraordinary. I've only read the first book, and I had a sinking feeling by the end of the first paragraph.
Though I am not a J.K. Rowling's fan either, I think it was Harry, because the story is told through the eyes of Harry Potter and the accent is put on his feelings and experiences.
Last edited by englishhobby; 14-Feb-2013 at 09:54.
If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)
Given that both Harry and Quirrell could see the hand, it doesn't really matter, does it?
I've said many times that there are outstanding writers who don't necessarily tell a great story, and great story tellers whose writing ranges from very good to absolutely awful. It's rare to find both in one person. JK is a great story teller, and I find her writing most adequate to tell her stories. I loved every book and every movie.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
For what it's worth, I think it's Quirrell.
Thus far it's clear. And as it's Quirrell that has just been described as looking at his fingers, I guess 'before his eyes' refers to Quirrell's.The pain in his [H] head lessened -- he [H] looked around wildly to see where Quirrell had gone, and saw him [Q] hunched in pain, looking at his [Q's] fingers...
But as Barb says, it doesn't really matter.