Why is there no perfect tense in this context?

“Come on, Hermione,” Ron muttered desperately.
Hermione had
fought her way across to the stand where Snape stood, and was now
along the row behind him; she didn’t even stop to say
sorry as she knocked Professor Quirrell headfirst into the row in
front. Reaching Snape, she crouched down, pulled out her wand, and
whispered a few, well- chosen words. Bright blue flames shot from her
wand onto the hem of Snape’s robes.
(Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer’s Stone)

It seems that Hermione had knocked into the front of row behind Snape, and then raced along the row until she reached Snape. If this is right, why is there no perfect tense after the semi-colon?


This is ordinary narrative, which marches forward in successive past forms. Each past form defines a new, currently operative Reference Time.

The sequence opens with a past form: “Ron muttered”.

As the focus moves off of Ron onto Hermione, the sequence is interrupted by

  • a past perfect which brings us up-to-date by telling us how Hermione got to where she is at the time Ron mutters, and

  • a past progressive which tells us what she is doing there at that moment.

Then the sequence resumes: “she didn’t stop as she knocked”, “she crouched down, pulled … and whispered … flames shot.”

Think of it as a shooting script:

  1. CLOSEUP on RON. "Come on, Hermione."

    CUT TO

  2. WIDE SHOT: HERMIONE in the stand, racing along the row behind that in which Snape stands.


  3. MEDIUM SHOT (TRACK HERMIONE): She runs. She bowls Quirrell into the first row. She reaches Snape. She crouches and draws her wand.

    CUT TO

  4. CLOSEUP, LOW: HERMIONE points her wand and whispers.

  5. REVERSE, LOW along the wand toward SNAPE: Blue flames shoot from the tip of the wand and set the hem of SNAPE's robe on fire.

All those present tenses are backshifted to past in conventional narrative.

Source : Link , Question Author : Listenever , Answer Author : StoneyB on hiatus

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