Sunday, July 17, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Finished Novel

There are those who knock J. K. Rowling as being a pedestrian writer, cranking out predictable drama that resides in the ranks of literature somewhere slightly above the average comic book. With the novel "Half Blood Prince" it's clear that Rowling has accepted the gauntlent, and created a piece of post-modernist avant garde surrealism for her latest novel. How so? By Pushing the boundaries of what makes for a great novel. You see, in most works it's assumed that the main protagonist will, at some point, engage in some activity that puts him or her in the center of the plot. Cliches such as this are avoided in this book, where Harry Potter manages over the course of nearly 650 pages to do absolutely nothing other than to follow people around and complain about his life.

When reading "Half Blood Prince" I would propose the following thought experiment. Imagine Harry being replaced by a puppet. Would the plot change at all? Let's give it a shot, shall we?

"Harry! Voldemort is on the loose We need to examine the memories of those who knew him so we can discover his weakness."

"...."

"You know there's a Quidditch match this weekend."

"....."

"Right. Hey, Dumbledore is about to go on an amazing adventure. Care to tag along?"

"...."


With the exception of taking a luck potion that allows him to stumble upon a little bit of information that Dumbledore should have had anyways, poor Harry Potter is relegated to the role of being "Mr. Exposition boy" where his only job is to stand still while other people explain what's going on the world. One wonders if Ms. Rowling is simply tired of the character, or can't quite figure out how to move the plot along to get to the end of the series.

Then again, this may be the point of the whole novel. It's really nothing more than a set-up to the final book. Why give us in two chapters what you can drag into a 600 page book that will sell millions? For the next three years we'll be debating minor plot points, and placing our book orders in advance. On the bright side, however, Ms. Rowling can now roll around in a brand new pile of money, since her old one must be smelling a bit rank by now.

Despite all this, it's still a fine read for the summer. Making fun of Harry Potter might be the "new black" this season, but it's impossible to ignore the fact that with each book she crafts a corner of the universe that provides more entertainment than most novelists create in a lifetime. Like all great entertainers, there is something intangible she posses that elevates the material. You can study the book page by page, and still not find what it is that makes the books so enjoyable.

Laugh at the Harry Potter fans if you must, but I doubt you'll find many who will care. I'm a chain smoking, bitter cynic and even I will admit that one of my highlights this week was picking up my copy at midnight and reading it before the sun came up. I can point to a dozen faults with the book, but in the end that doesn't matter when weighed against the joy I get from reading it in the first place. It's just that good.

In other words, despite all my complaints, let's gather 'round and discuss that spoilery stuff. If you haven't finished the book yet (and to be honest, why the heck not?) then stop reading.

Ready?

Good.

Damn. We all knew Dumbledore was going to buy it in this book, but who saw it going down that way? When first reading the book, I was impressed with the way that J.K. made us distrust Snape again. Let's face it, it was starting to become old hat. Harry and crew think Snape is working for the Dark Lord. Every assures them Snape has changed. Harry and Crew find the real bad guys and it turns out Snape was innocent all along. With that early chapter, we begin to have doubts. With the end of the book, he's back on all of our bad guy lists....or is he?

Dumbledore was always firm in his conviction that Snape was a changed man. The story now is that Dumbledore was just blinded by his trust in human nature...but does that fit? Dumbledore was many things, but it was clear that he wasn't half as dim as most of the characters in these books. He's supposed to be on top of this sort of thing. What if Snape is still working for the good guys? What if Snape was following orders?

Let's look at the death. What are his final words? "Servus....please..." We know that he's not a man who would be begging for his life. He doesn't ask Snape "how could you?" Only the request "please".

Snape doesn't kill Harry after. There's no reason to think that Voldemort had standing orders to leave Harry alone, otherwise it would have been mentioned during the battle at the Ministry of Magic in the last book. Snape has sorts of reasons to want to kill Harry, and yet he doesn't. He merely deflects Harry's curses and wanders off.

So why would killing Dumbledore be part of the plan? Well,, he knew that in the end it would be Harry facing the Dark Lord on his own. Could his dying have been to release some kind of magic that will help Harry in the next book? Could it have been a plan that not only helps Harry, but makes sure that Snape would be in a position to help in the end? I would bet money on it.

hat else have we learned this book? Well, for one thing that Voldy has split up his soul for immortality. The soul can be placed in an object either living or dead, and all must be destroyed for Voldy to die. A living thing, eh? What living thing do we know of that is connected to Voldemorts soul?

Yeah, good ol' Harry. It's been established that a bit of Voldemort remained behind in Harry after the attack. It's also been established that to split off your soul it requires a human death. What if the attack on Harry's parents was really a sacrifice to transfer his soul into some other object? What if it backfired, and Harry is the seventh horcrux? What if Harry has to sacrifice himself for the enemy to be defeated.

Good way to end of the series dontcha think?

As for the mysterious RAB...my Aunt Claire writes the following;

Re RAB's identity -- gotta be Regulus Black. Remember how Sirius told Harry that his brother had become disillusioned with Voldemort and had tried to leave the Death Eaters, but it's like the Mob, you can never leave, so Voldemort ordered him killed. I think what disillusioned Regulus -- besides the absolutely stunning level of violence, depravity, murder, and torture required of Death Eaters, of course -- was when he discovered Voldemort's secret, that he was trying to make himself immortal by the use of Horcrux. I mean, it's bad enough to finally realize your sworn leige lord is a genocidal psychopath, but if you think he's found a way to make himself IMMORTAL ...



Also, I suspect Regulus discovered that Voldemort was a Mudblood, and he(Regulus) was going to be damned before he let some Mudblood rule forever as the wizarding world's king. It also must have really galled him to think that one of the wizarding world's most sacred relics, the Slyterin necklace, had been polluted by the piece of soul of a Mudblood. He'd want to either rescue the relic or destroy it just for that reason."


No argument there....except one wonders why the brain trust of Harry and crew didn't notice it in their search for the identity.

Is it 2008 yet? Get off your rump, J.K. and start writing.

32 Comments:

At 9:03 PM, Anonymous B. Durbin said...

Except that the horcrux does not have to be destroyed entirely... the horcrux that gave Dumbledore a withered arm in destroying *as a horcrux* was still present, in its original form of a ring, after Dumbledore had destroyed Voldy's soul-bit.

That's very disturbing that I can remember that without having to refer back to the book (now in my husband's hands.)

 
At 10:48 PM, Anonymous cnollet said...

I've been quoted in a blog! I've been quoted in a blog! Dearest Robert, you've given me such a high from this erzatz bit of electronic immortality, that I can almost forgive you for finishing the book 4 hours before your slow-reading, ancient aunt.

I'm having a harder time forgiving you for the little stunt you pulled outside the bookstore, though, when you tried to persuade me that the books had all been sold by 12:07 a.m. and that the shop had closed until later that morning. You're lucky you still have an intact hyoid bone after that bit of attempted deception.

But thanks for the cigarette when my stamina was fading at 4:00 a.m. I've satisfied my smoking addiction for another 3 years, until the next novel comes out. Love, Aunt Claire

 
At 11:25 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Well, Voldemort isn't a Mudblood, because he's of half-wizard blood (pureblood wizard at that), even if raised in Muggle society.

 
At 11:42 PM, Anonymous cnollet said...

Dear Greg -- I respectfully beg to differ about Voldemort not being a Mudblood. JKR has said that the Death Eaters have the same sort of twisted mentality as the Nazis regarding racial purity. (She posted comments in an interview about how she felt a startled moment of recognition as she toured the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and she realized that the Nazis applied the same perverted illogic in deciding who was a "pure Aryan" as the Death Eaters applied in deciding who was a "pureblood" wizard.)

As you may recall, the Nazis shipped off folks to the concentration camps if they had even one Jewish grandparent, on the theory that anyone with 25% or more of Jewish ancestry qualified as Jewish, and therefore had to be exterminated.

Recall, in the Room of Prophecy, in HP:OOTP, when Harry uses Voldemort's name, that Bellatrix goes ballistic because Harry "dares to utter his name with your unworthy Mudblood lips!" Harry shoots back that her dear pal Voldie is a Mudblood, "Or has he been telling you lot he's a pureblood?", and Lucius has to intervene to prevent Bellatrix from killing Harry in a red haze of rage.

So, if Harry is a Mudblood because his pureblood father married a Muggle-born witch, then surely Voldemort is a Mudblood as well, because no matter how "pure" Merope's blood was, old Tom Riddle was as Muggle as they come.

 
At 1:41 AM, Blogger G. Bob said...

Interesting points regarding if the horcrux needs to be fully destroyed or not. It seems to me, however, the best way to make sure that she won't have to write an eight book is to bump off Harry....although if she did that I'm not sure if any judge would convict for the innevitable homicide commited as thousands of fans storm her house.

As for the mudblood thing....well, I'm not sure if that was Black's motivation or not. Regardless, he does seem like suspect #1.

 
At 11:59 AM, Blogger Mastiff said...

Further points supporting the "Dumbledore died willingly" thesis:

Harry told him that Snape had sworn an Unbreakable Oath to help Draco.

Dumbledore knew Draco's task was to kill him. Ergo, he knew that Snape would be forced to finish the job.

Yet not only does he not take preemptive action, he orders Harry repeatedly when they get to Hogsmeade to bring back Snape... and ONLY Snape!

Why? I can't say for sure, but Draco has to have a great deal to do with it. He seemed inches away from cracking, up there on the tower. We shall see what happens next, I suppose.

 
At 4:43 PM, Anonymous cheryll said...

I think Dumbledore was done for, and knew it would be thus, once he drank the potion in the middle of the lake. When he and Harry pass through the stone wall on the way in, he tells Harry (and us) that Harry's blood is worth more than his. And it's Harry's blood that gets them back out. Dumbledore is not worried then, because he is with Harry: a reversal. And Harry Apparates them both, with no difficulty. The torch has passed, in the middle of that lake in a blaze of crimson and gold. Dumbledore is pleading with Snape to hasten the inevitable and end his life. He knows Snape must, anyway; because Snape took the Unbreakable Vow (I think, to preserve his cover). Dumbledore is telling Snape to do what he, Snape, must; and that he, Dumbledore, understands. Ending Dumbledore's life requires great courage on Snape's part, which fuels his furiously anguished cry to Harry about not calling him a coward.

I also think McGonagall might be the Horcrux associated with Gryffindor. Although there is that sword....Ms. Rowling does have a way of making us suspect every situation and character. I trust only those whose relationships with Harry are based on love.

Me? I'm Rowling's woman, through and through. She's a remarkable storyteller and I thought this book was as least as wonderful as the others.

Although, as an editor, I was annoyed by too many "thats" and the "site" that should've been "sight" on p. 10. And why is it that some books seem to have 672 pages and mine has 652?

 
At 7:21 PM, Anonymous cheryll said...

Ah, I must've been hit with a Duncius jinx. I just re-read the bits about the Horcrux and Dumbledore preparing Harry for their night's journey to the cave. And about Dumbledore's wizened arm. V. left one-seventh of his soul in Dumbledore. Dumbledore knew it and so did Snape. There IS one less Horcrux out there.

 
At 8:42 PM, Anonymous cnollet said...

Dear Cheryll -- OK, very intriguing theory -- but if Dumbledore was a Horcrux, who did Voldemort kill to get a piece of his soul inside Dumbledore? He must have done it right in front of Dumbledore in order for the soul-piece to fly into Dumbledore -- I don't think you can carry the soul piece around until you dig up a Horcrux. I think the Horcrux has to be prepared ahead of time and/or right in proximity to the murder. So, who bought it to make a Horcrux out of Albus?

 
At 12:20 AM, Blogger G. Bob said...

I like the idea of there being orshadowing in the quest to recover the locket. I'll have to re-read that bit. I'm wondering if Dummy didn't plan on dying right there and instead had to go to plan "b" of fetching Snape to finish him off.

 
At 12:51 AM, Anonymous cnollet said...

DUMMY? You're calling Dumbledore DUMMY? Geez, remind me not to ask you to give the eulogy at MY funeral.

 
At 12:43 PM, Anonymous cheryll said...

Oh dear, I didn't realize the murder and the planting of the Horcrux had to take place at the same time. I thought there only had to be seven murders, one for each Horcrux.

How about this, then: Dumbledore knew he was done for after he drank the potion, killed by V. Death by Draco would've been at V.'s hand as well, since V. charged Draco with the task. If Dumbledore was killed by V., V. could plant a Horcrux at the time of Dumbledore's death, in Harry. To avoid this, Dumbledore--who knew he was dying--needed Snape to finish him off, thereby thwarting V.'s scheme to plant a Horcrux in Harry and keeping V. from learning how Dumbledore (and Harry) managed to get to the island in the lake.

If you think I'm casting about for ways to trust Snape, you're right.

 
At 1:48 PM, Blogger G. Bob said...

Just browsing through last night, and I stumbled upon more evidence that D. and S. had this planned. Recall if you will when Hagrid told Harry that S. and D. were having an argument. It seems that D. had told S. to do something he didn't want to do. In retrospect it's clear what that task was.

Snape is, sadly, still on the side of angels.

 
At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Lillian said...

I don't think Harry is a horcrux (at least Voldemort didn't knowingly make him a horcrux...). If a bit of Voldy's soul resided in Harry, then why has Voldemort tried so hard to murder him throughout all of Harry's life. The prophecy said that "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches." Voldemort obviously wanted to kill baby Harry before Harry had time to get said power. Voldemort wants Harry dead, I don't think there is any doubt about that. Unless when Voldemort lost his power sixteen years ago he accidentally and unknowingly deposited some of his soul into Harry Potter...
Ag! There are so many what-ifs! So many questions!
But is it possible to kill the bit of soul without killing the horcrux? That's the part I'm really confused about. If the ring was a horcrux, how was the soul destroyed but not the ring? How would Voldemort's soul incased in Nagini be killed without killing the snake as well? Everything is very confusing, and Rowling posed many more questions than she answered. It is all very frustrating, so I guess we'll all just have to wait patiently. Yeah right.

 
At 1:23 AM, Blogger G. Bob said...

Interesting. Could it be that Voldy himself doesn't know? In earlier books he seems to not really have understood what transpired that night at the Potters. We don't know much about the relationship between a horcrux and the person who made it. He can't tell when it's moved or destroyed, so there's no reason to assume he would know that it's Harry himself.

 
At 8:16 AM, Blogger CWTeacher said...

I agree with those who say that Snape killed Dumbledore on D's orders. I am working on a theory that sets up D as a Christ figure. (pooh pooh on those who say HP is wicked and anti-religious... though one might use those words to describe me...) Anyway, has anyone besides me noticed the religious symbolism when D. is drinking from the cup in the lake? He pleads with Harry to let the cup pass (garden of Gethsemene, anyone?) So of course, the idea that he sets up his own death by a man who "betrays" him brings us full circle. Hmmm... I wonder if Dumbledore will "rise again"? Certainly metaphorically!

 
At 12:47 PM, Anonymous cheryll said...

With all due respect for others' beliefs and opinions, I don't see the Christian analogy. Drinking potions from goblets is featured in many mythologies.

I continue to be struck by how tidily Ms. Rowling structures her story. When Harry leaves Ron and Hermione before joining D. on that last journey, he says he'll be fine, he'll be with Dumbledore. Afterwards, Dumbledore tells Harry he isn't worried: "I am with you."

I so hoped Fawkes would weep over Dumbledore's body. But now I'm left with the belief that Dumbledore will rise again, in some not-quite-corporeal but still significant--and helpful--form.

I've appreciated this little discussion very much, and I've enjoyed reading your opinions. Thanks, G. Bob, for making it possible.

Oh...and your aunt is a charmer.

 
At 4:04 PM, Anonymous mctodd said...

i agree with comment posted in that there has to be someway dumbledore returns in the next one to advise harry in some way a la obi wan kenobi. the similarities are too much.

it would be out of character of dumbledore to be proved wrong about snape though he confesses that the few mistakes he makes turn out to be collosal in nature, due to his intelligence.

 
At 12:12 AM, Blogger G. Bob said...

Cheryll,

You only think she's a charmer. Actually she had to slaughter a unicorn to maintain her twisted half-life existence.

Wait, wait. That's me, actually. Yeah, she's good people. Bought me a copy of the Hobbit when I was kid. Doomed me to a path of utter geekdom.

Happy to host this lil' chat. I'm not used to traffic on this page. I was happy not leave the high traffic sites I was a part of behind me, but what the heck.

I'm not sure about the anologys myself, but I do know that she is a writer who doesn't leave plot points (no matter how minor) unresolved. There are just too many points left hanging for there not to be something more to D's death.

 
At 9:26 AM, Anonymous cnollet said...

Dear Cheryll -- Thank you so much for your kind (if sadly misguided) comments as to my charm. If only you were a slovenly, portly, mustachioed, middle-aged gentleman who was looking for a portly, underachieving, middle-aged lady with overgrown eyebrows and an apartment that smells vaguely of cat, we might be able to get something going. (Good heavens, it just occurs -- I'm the obese version of Mrs. Figg, and I'm seeking my own chubby version of Mundungus Fletcher ... must discuss this in depth with my psychiatrist at the earliest opportunity!)

In any event, I've just come from the leaky cauldron.org, where an in-depth interview with JKR is posted. Melissa from leaky and Emerson from mugglenet asked JKR about R.A.B., and specifically said they thought it must be Regulus Black. Judging from JKR's reaction, we hit it right on the head. (JKR seemed a bit startled that it had been figured out so quickly.)

re R.A.B., by the way -- another nephew of mine, confusingly also named Bob R., wonders how R.A.B. got to the bottom of the potion to retrieve the locket, if he was alone. Dumbledore says he never could have retrieved the locket if Harry hadn't been there to help. Who accompanied R.A.B. on the potion-drinking/locket-stealing mission? And how did the basin know to fill up with new potion after the real locket was taken?

I think the "Snape is good -- deep, deep, deep, deep down inside" theory is also correct, or JKR wants us to THINK it's correct, based on her reaction to the question about whether Snape was a double-triple-quadruple secret agent.

Also, when Harry confronts Dumbledore about Snape being the one who told Moldy Voldie about the prophesy, Dumbledore hesitates, as though he wants to tell Harry something, but then thinks better of it. I think Dumbledore was thinking of telling Harry about how he'd arranged for Snape to kill him, but D decides against telling Harry because of Harry's poor occlumency skills. If Harry thinks Snape is a traitor, then Voldemort will do so as well, if he gets within legillimency distance of Harry.

JKR said something interesting about occlumency -- in order to be good at it, you have to have the ability to compartmentalize your mind and your emotions, to wall off that which you don't want anyone to see. Draco and Snape are good at occlumency, she said, because they can compartmentalize. The ability to do that, of course, is also a trait shared by sociopaths, and allows them to objectify their victims.

She said Harry will never be good at occlumency, because he wears his emotions on his sleeve (as Snape so correctly pointed out in OOTP). As a matter of fact, it's always occurred to me that excepting Snape's assertions that Harry is arrogant and smug, everthing else Snape has ever said regarding the character traits of Harry and Crew has had the ring of brutal, tactless honesty to it.

I've also thought that Harry should have listened more to what Snape had to tell him, although of course since Snape delivered all his comments with such sneering incivility, perhaps Harry can be forgiven for flipping him the mental bird.

Anyway, I'm off to dig up another phial of unicorn blood to resume my twisted, half-life existence. I wonder if there's any left in the fridge. -- C

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger Tori said...

Hi all. Thanks G. Bob for posting and my regards to Aunt Claire.
I don't know about those horcruxes, really, that's something J.K. always works out in the end, and usually with imagination and precision, like the time-turner in "Azkeban", or the reality of Tom Riddle's diary in "Chamber". I venture a guess though about Snape, Dumbledore and the killing of beloved Albus. (When I imagine him, I can't see him fully personified in Richard Harris, RIP).
J.K. has thoroughly studied the Lord of the Ring. Ron even quotes Dumbledore in Philosopher's Stone about "death" as a new adventure, or so. Just as Gandalf the White tells Pippin in Two Towers. In fact, I wished Ian McKellen would have been the 'new' Dumbledore). Gandalf "dies" at the end of the Fellowship, and reappears later, reincarnated, cleansed, strenghthened, and purer. I think, Dumbledore is not gone forever, he will come back to help Harry in one way or another. He must. There are too many powers, charms, curses, and spells that Harry has not yet mastered, while D. is the greatest wizzard besides Voldemort. Remember the duel between D. and Voldemort in OOTP, in the ministry? The variation of jinxes and spells they exchanged, the ease and competence with which they fought is well beyond Harry's powers at this young age. I think Dumbledore will come back to teach Harry more, maybe as ghost, maybe cleansed and purified, maybe out of deep hiding, maybe as a permanent memory implanted in Harry's soul. He will.
And he was not wrong about Snape. S. is playing his part in Dumbledore's greater plan to defeat V. It's a complicated, long term strategy, and Snape either took an earlier unbreakable vow with D. or has allowed D. to put him under some kind of spell that makes him permanently "mean" but also a believeable follower of Voldemort, at least in the Death Eaters' eyes.
I think in the end, Snape will even work something out with Harry, mutual respect or something. I hope. Cheers. Tori

 
At 1:41 PM, Blogger Tori said...

Ooops, sorry. I meant to say, Richard Harris was nothing short of THE personification of Dumbledore. Forgot a work there in my last post. Sorry.

 
At 10:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Snape really did make an unbreakable vow with Dumbledore about killing him, then why would he be so hesitant as to making an unbreakable vow with Narcissa who was asking him to do the same thing?

 
At 2:18 PM, Anonymous cnollet said...

Dear Anonymous -- I don't think there's any evidence in the text that Snape did make an Unbreakable Bond with Dumbledore to kill him; I think his only Unbreakable Bond was with Narcissa to help Draco, and to finish Draco's job of killing Dumbledore if Draco couldn't manage it.

I think he was stampeded into making the vow with Narcissa, and had to do it to maintain his cover as a spy. After he had made the bond, my theory is that he went to Dumbledore and explained that because of the vow, he (Snape) was now in a very tight spot. (Recall, the punishment for breaking an Unbreakable Vow is death.) I think that's when Dumbledore said, "Well, if you have to end up killing me to fulfill the terms of the vow, then that's what you have to do, and that will actually work into my overall plan anyway."

I think Snape didn't want to kill Dumbledore, though, and that's why he and Dumbledore were fighting near the forest (the fight that Hagrid happened to overhear). Recall that Hagrid reported that Snape said that Dumbledore was presuming too much, and that there were certain things that Dumbledore had no right to ask of Snape.

 
At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have to agree that snape isnt evil but i still cant explain why he stuned Flitwick when he came to tell him the death eaters were there.

 
At 12:16 AM, Blogger Maryse said...

Alright well i've got two minor points... Firstly, about the ring not being fully destroyed, but the soul-bit being destroyed... dont they mention that the stone in the ring ir cracked or something? It's possible the soul was in that part only (this is me, grasping at straws).

Secondly, i definetly think Dumbledore will return in some way... here's my two cents. I suspect Harry will have to return to Hogwarts for some reason or another, and when he does, for whatever reason, he'll visit Professor McGonagall, brand new Headmistress, and voila! Portrait of Dumbledore! Wishful thinking, maybe, but it would work... Besides, i dont think Dumbledore would be the type to hang onto the meager half existance of being a ghost, especially when he refers to death as being "the next great adventure".

I wonder if it's possible that Tom left a horcrux in the Chamber of Secrets when he went back to ask for the teaching post... hmmm...

 
At 5:32 AM, Anonymous cnollet said...

Dear Maryse -- I wondered about Dumbledore's portrait as well. Phineas Nigellus' portrait seems pretty dang lively and offers all kinds of unlooked-for advice all the time. And the other portraits, even when appearing to be sleeping, always seem to perk up to put in their two knut's worth when you least expect them.

I wondered about Harry's assertion that he wasn't going back to school next year -- that does seem awkward, in that he's cutting himself off from Dumbledore's portrait.

 
At 1:59 AM, Anonymous cheryll said...

Dumbledore's already in his portrait. I can't look at the exact wording right now because my son is latched onto the book and objects to my trying to snatch it out of his hands.

Are we selling Dumbledore short? It's unlikely he was unaware of all that was bound to happen. And he's assured us he knows Voldemort's style. We know he, D., is exceptionally powerful. Perhaps he made arrangements with Snape to do a silent spell (sorry, I can't recall the name)just a split second before he, Snape, casts the death spell. It would be quite risky, so Snape could've been objecting to the timing when Hagrid overheard them arguing. He was afraid he would not have the time/be able to cast the first before he was forced to do the second, and he doesn't want to kill D. D. knows he can do it, he's told us about S.'s ability to compartmentalize. D. is really concerned about only two glitches: that Draco will have the nerve to kill him, which he, D., doubts; and that Harry would kill Snape on sight, thereby sentencing D. to death inadvertently. D. thinks this is quite likely. So he stuns Harry and stalls Draco to give Snape time to arrive.

What if Dumbledore's spirit is cast via Snape's spell to Fawkes, where it will be safe. Fawkes, who's now flown away, never to return to Hogwarts. There must be a Light Side version of the Dark Side's Horcrux. Or D. was transformed into Fawkes; who is as close to immortal as can be. Which is exactly what V. has always been after. Immortality.

This lines up with the legend of the Phoenix. But (anticipating your question, Charming Auntie), it does not account for Harry's being certain D. is dead when he, Harry, is released from the spell and falls to the ground.

This would mean, however, that only two entities know D. survives: Fawkes and Snape. D. is quite safe, at least for a bit. He can watch over Harry even as Harry has to fend for himself, thinking D. gone. How else would Harry be able to grow into the sort of wizard he must become?

My goodness, I've gone on too long. Sorry.

 
At 2:05 AM, Anonymous cheryll said...

Whoops, sorry: one more thing. Harry can't know D. survives OR that Snape is on our side: his mind can be scanned by others too easily. That's Harry's weakness, his Achilles' heel, to mix myths most shamelessly.

 
At 2:52 AM, Anonymous cnollet said...

Dear Cheryll -- I love your idea about Fawkes becoming a "good magic" version of a Horcrux, but why, then, did Fawkes mourn? If Fawkes was inhabited by Dumbledore's soul because of some silent spell Dumbledore had Snape perform right before the Avada Kedavra, surely he wouldn't feel the urge to soar around the campus, singing his anguish over his master's death. And I don't think Dumbledore would have been able to inhabit the portrait in the headmaster's office without really being dead.

I forget where I read it, either in one of the books, or in a JKR interview, but in the HP universe, a portrait is animated with a sort of imprint of the dead person, sort of like a ghost is an imprint of a dead person. I think a headmaster or headmistress gets his/her portrait painted at some point in their term of office, and then an enchantment is placed on the static portrait to allow it to accept the spirit of the dead person. When they die, something from their spirit (a piece of their soul?) flies to the portrait, animating it, and it magically gets hung on the wall after animation.

And there Dumbledore was, on the wall, snoring peacefully, while Fawkes sobbed his grief into the night.

My sisters think Snape slipped Dumbledore some sort of potion at some point, so that he's not really dead, only sleeping, a la Juliet. But, what with the appearance of the portrait and Fawkes' grief, I think Dumbledore is, in the words of Joss Whedon (creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") "WAY dead."

It's too bad we didn't have a Wrath of Khan situation, where we could have shot Dumbledore's coffin down to the Genesis planet, where he could have come back to life as a handsome young half-Vulcan man. That would have been -- say it with me -- FASCINATING.

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger Maryse said...

The Juliet type potion is a really interesting idea, especially since we know that JK is a big Shakespeare fan (as she's said many times in her interviews, the whole Hamlet & the witches and Voldy + Harry & the prophecy). However i'm 99% sure Dumbledore is actually dead, Harry needs to be more independant so he can be more confident and not always looking to someone else to fix things. Besides, more incentive for revenge now.

 
At 4:48 PM, Anonymous An interested party said...

- Hilarious! Thanks.

- Sorting Hat is also a Godric Gryffindor relic.

- Suppose Snape made the cave potion?

- Some fun HP anagrams here:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.listAll&friendID=5917183&startID=37242111&StartPostedDate=2005-07-20%2017:20:00&next=1&page=8&Mytoken=20050819134159

 

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