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The phrase “Something ugly, slimy, and blind” is confusing me. Here are my questions.

  1. What does the 'blind' part mean?

  2. Is ‘something blind’ a special expression? (For I couldn’t find its example in dictionaries.)

I found the expression in the following scene:

It was as though Wormtail had flipped over a stone and revealed something ugly, slimy, and blind – but worse, a hundred times worse. The thing Wormtail had been carrying had the shape of a crouched human child, except that Harry had never seen anything less like a child. It was hairless and scaly-looking, a dark, raw, reddish black. Its arms and legs were thin and feeble, and its face – no child alive ever had a face like that – flat and snakelike, with gleaming red eyes. (Harry Potter 4 [US Version]: p.640) [Bold font is mine]

N.B.: The baby-like thing is a temporal seat of the spirit of a dark wizard, the main villain in the story, who is trying to regenerate with Wormtail’s help.


For you who are interested in my confusion.

At first, I thought the thing (or the baby-like being) can’t see anything, but I found it a little difficult to accept it because we can’t tell blindness objectively like ugliness and sliminess. (The author is likely to describe things objectively as she is narrating from the viewpoint of Harry, the main character.)

Then, I thought it means something incomprehensible that the writer can’t give an exact description. However, I couldn’t find a good explanation in dictionaries.

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I don't think there's any odd English idiom you are missing here. This could have been written in any language and meant the same thing (unless you live somewhere that doesn't have rocks and/or things living under them). –  T.E.D. Aug 3 '11 at 13:12
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Note that the passage uses as though to compare the scary baby-like thing to an "ugly, slimy, and blind" thing that might be found under a stone. It doesn't mean that Wormtail found it under a rock or that it need literally have any of those qualities, but just that it is reminiscent of a frightening thing like a blind cave salamander. –  aedia λ Aug 3 '11 at 17:02
    
@aedia Before I knew it, I had been in a fail-to-see-the-forest-for-the-tree situation. Without your comment, my understanding would be vaguer one. Thanks. –  user7493 Aug 4 '11 at 7:21

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

In context of the rest of the sentence, "blind" here, straight and clear, means "unable to see."

Wormtail had flipped over a stone and revealed something ugly, slimy, and blind

Worms, are generally found under stones. Worms are ugly, slimy, and they are blind. Worms cannot see. Thus, the author is referring to the object Wormtail was carrying as to a creepy-crawlie that usually resided under stones and rocks.

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Agreed. We may not be able to tell, upong picking something up, that it's blind (the way we can tell that it's ugly and slimy), but creepy-crawly things that live under rocks are typically blind. Therefore, "something ugly, slimy, and blind" is the icky kind of creature one normally finds under a rock--but this particular creature, Rowling informs us, is a hundred times worse than the typical example. –  Nicholas Aug 3 '11 at 8:21
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This text would be referring to an obvious visible state of blindness. So either lacking eyes or having eyes that don't focus, perhaps with a sheen on them. –  Lisa Aug 3 '11 at 11:23

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