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In years to come, Harry would never quite remember how he had managed to get through his exams when he half expected Voldemort to come bursting through the door at any moment. Yet the days crept by, and there could be no doubt that Fluffy was still alive and well behind the locked door.

It was sweltering hot, especially in the large classroom where they did their written papers. They had been given special, new quills for the exams, which had been bewitched with an Anti-Cheating spell. (Harry Potter)

Does the past perfect tense mean ‘completion’ or ‘continuity’ of his doing? Consulting MacMillan dictionary, if I understand ‘get through’ as ‘deal with something difficult,’ it seems like having the meaning of ‘continuity,’ yet as ‘finish doing something,’ it seems like ‘completion.’

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I think it's General Reference that if the writer had intended "continuity" it would have been "remember how he had been managing to get through". – FumbleFingers Jan 30 '13 at 5:37
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It means Harry, in the future, looking back at his current exams (which will have been long completed at that point). And get through does indeed mean to complete usually used when getting through to completion takes some effort or perseverence.

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I would say completed at the time of the not quite remembering in years to come. That is, at the time the memory couldn't be had, but that memory was of a thing that at the time it was happening was a continuing thing. Does that make sense? If he could remember, he would have a completed memory of a continuing getting through the exams.

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