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(As an incredibly beautiful girl with silvery hair crossed the Hall, many boys gaped at her.)

"I’m telling you, that's not a normal girl!" said Ron, leaning sideways so he could keep a clear view of her. "They don’t make them like that at Hogwarts!"

"They make them okay at Hogwarts," said Harry without thinking. Cho happened to be sitting only a few places away from the girl with the silvery hair.

(p252-253, Harry Potter 4, US edition)

NB – Hogwarts, the school of Ron and Harry, is having a lot of guests for Triwizard Tournament. The beautiful girl is one of the guests in a guest school. Cho is a pretty girl in Hogwarts. Harry likes her very much.

I’d like to know

  • who ‘they’ are.
  • who ‘them’ are.
  • what ‘make’ means.

In other words, the whole sentence! I’d be happy if you could help me.

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1 Answer

up vote 0 down vote accepted

The "they" is the same "they" as in "that's what they say".

It used to be a commonplace to say "they don't make them like that any more" -- "them" being cars or clothes or whatever, and "they" being whoever was in the business of manufacturing such things. Greg Kihn had a #15 hit in 1981 with "The Breakup Song", known for its recurring lyric "They don't write 'em like that anymore", referring to songs.

Ron is making a play on words, implying girls at the school were being built in place, and the faculty, or the girls' parents, should be responsible for producing for silvery-haired Asian chicks of a particularly high quality.

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– Thank you for the quick response. By the way, excuse me, but what is #15? –  user7493 Jun 30 '11 at 6:14
1  
And, of course, they could build girls at Hogwarts, but it's probably against the school rules. –  pavium Jun 30 '11 at 6:17
    
Anyway, I got it thanks to your good explanation. The recurring lyric is circling in my mind now. –  user7493 Jun 30 '11 at 6:27
    
I reckon what Ron was getting at, was that girls "nowadays" aren't as nice as that silver-haired girl he was looking at. He was stating that the girl was beautiful in an "oldie" type of way, but still beautiful. –  Thursagen Jun 30 '11 at 6:56
    
@totoro -- #15 means that it was at one point fifteenth on the Billboard chart. @Ham -- the original phrase "make them like that any more" compares then with now, but I think Ron was comparing Hogwarts with wherever the girl was from. –  Malvolio Jun 30 '11 at 7:24
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