Saturday, October 20, 2007

I confess myself disappointed

I've just read the news that JKR has announced that Dumbledore is (or, I suppose the correct tense would be "was") gay.

I have to say I'm really disappointed. How am I going to explain this to my children? That was my first thought, along with the hope that it was just meant as a joke. But after reading some more stories about this on the internet, if all the quotes are correct, I don't see how it can be a joke. Jo said Dumbledore's great tragedy was his disappointment that this clever wizard turned out to be such a fan of the Dark Arts.

That's funny, I thought his great tragedy was the regret that he neglected his family and possibly/probably caused the death of his sister, either by actually firing off the AK that killed her or by bringing someone (Grindelwald) into close proximity to her who would fire off such a curse, even if the intended target was never Ariana in the first place.

I have to go on the record saying that I believe the Bible states pretty clearly that homosexual relationships are sinful. In the same verses, sometimes, where it states that witchcraft and sorcery are sinful. I was willing to believe and understand that the magic in the Harry Potter series was pretend, and not the same as the type practiced by real witches. However, I can't find a way to make the same equasion with this information about Dumbledore. Romance, in the Harry Potter world, seems to be the same as romance in our world. In all instances, this seems to be true. So this statement means that -- what? the white wizard is gay? Harry's mentor, the one he trusts above all others -- I did have a bit of a problem with learning how he manipulated Harry, but since it all turned out okay in the end, I didn't worry about it too much.

But, honestly, this is just plain wrong. Dumbledore is a role model, he shouldn't turn out to be gay.

And if I can believe all that I have read, the rumours about Dumbledore's brother are apparently true, as well. Some young girl asked about this at one of the events, and Jo made some comment about how, because she was so young, for her the answer would be that goats are smelly and have curly horns. Clearly implying that the answer is different for those of us who are more mature. I'm sure glad I'm not the mother of this little girl, to have to explain what Jo meant by that comment.

I'm disappointed. I've stuck up for these books and this author, saying there is nothing in them that's wrong for conservative Christians to partake in. Now I'm re-thinking all of that. I wish she had not said this. It's very upsetting.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

More thoughts, now that it's been almost a month

I just read a post, a comment on a post at John Granger's site by Travis Prinzi of Sword of Gryffindor. I don't know that I can link to the comment itself, but it's the first comment on this post. The whole post is well worth reading, as are the other posts at Granger's site and the posts at Travis' site also.

I think I'm one of the overly-analytical ones. I really did like the book, but I also had a list of things I wanted to know. And I didn't get all of those answers. And I didn't get the earth-shattering surprise that I was hoping for. Again, because I'm so overly-analytical, I thought and thought and read fan sites, so I expected to learn something about Snape that would explain how he could have been on Dumbledore's side. I actually thought this explained it perfectly, how Snape could feel the way he did about Harry but also remain on Dumbledore's side and doing what Dumbledore wanted him to do.

As I've thought about the book and read more comments, I've found lots of posts at the two sites I mentioned above that clarified many of the plot points that seemed at first to be arbitrary or that I just didn't fully understand. And I'm starting to realize this was an even better book than I first thought.

Friday, August 17, 2007

favorite quotes

Since OoP, I've kept a piece of notebook paper with me when reading each of the HP books for the first time. As I read, I jot down quotes that make me laugh. By the time I was done with DH, I ha 3 college-ruled pieces of paper, though some of it had other notes, it wasn't all funny quotes. But much of it was. I want to list them here for my own enjoyment as well as anyone else who might want to pause from the serious analysis for a bit of the light-hearted.

Page numbers are from the Scholastic hardcover edition.

"Ooh, you look much tastier than Crabbe and Goyle, Harry," said Hermione. p. 50

"Oh, of course," said Ron, clapping a hand to his forehead. "I forgot we'll be hunting down Voldemort in a mobile library." p. 95

"You know, I think I will take Hogwarts, A History. Even if we're not going back there, I don't think I'd feel right if I didn't have it with--" p. 96

how in the name of Merlin's pants . . . p. 101

Mr. Weasley gave a maniacal laugh; Mrs. Weasley threw him a look, upon which he became immediately silent and assumed an expression appropriate to the sickbed of a close friend. p. 108

"This isn't your average book," said Ron . . . "If only I'd had this last year, I'd have known exactly how to get rid of Lavender and I would've known how to get going with . . . well, Fred and George gave me a copy, and I've learned a lot. You'd be surprised, it's not all about wandwork, either." p. 113

"I'll pack those for you," Hermione said brightly, taking Harry's presents out of his arms as the three of them headed back upstairs. "I'm nearly done, I'm just waiting for the rest of your underpants to come out of the wash, Ron -- "

"Are you planning to follow a career in Magical Law, Miss Granger?" asked Scrimgeour.
"No, I'm not," retorted Hermione. "I'm hoping to do some good in the world!" p. 123

"Oh, it can't be a reference to the fact Harry's a great Seeker, that's way too obvious," she said. "There must be a secret message from Dumbledore hiding in the icing!" p. 127

"No," said Harry, still wondering how he could appear to touch the Snitch without really doing so. If only he knew Legilimency, really knew it, and could read Hermione's mind; he could practically hear her brain whirring beside him. p. 128

"All the old kids' stories are supposed to be the Beedle's, aren't they? 'The Fountain of Fair Fortune' . . . 'The Wizard and the Hopping Pot' . . . 'Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump' . . ." p. 135

"When I get married," said Fred, tugging at the collar of his own robes, "I won't be bothering with any of this nonsense. You can all wear what you like, and I'll put a full Body-Bind curse on Mum until it's all over." p. 138

"Daddy, look -- one of the gnomes actually bit me."
"How wonderful! Gnome saliva is enormously beneficial," said Mr. Lovegood.

George: "I wish old Uncle Bilius was still with us, though; he was a right laugh at weddings."
"Wasn't he the one who saw a Grim and died twenty-four hours later?" asked Hermione.
"Well, yeah, he went a bit odd toward the end," conceded George.
"But before he went loopy he was the life and soul of the party," said Fred. "He used to down an entire bottle of firewhiskey, then run onto the dance floor, hoist up his robes, and start pulling bunches of flowers out of his --"
"Yes, he sounds a real charmer," said Hermione, while Harry roared with laughter.
"Never married, for some reason," said Ron.
"You amaze me," said Hermione. p. 142-3

"How do you know Gregorovitch made my vand?"
"I . . . I read it somewhere, I think," said Harry. "In a -- a fan magazine," he improvised wildly and Krum looked mollified. P. 149

"This girl is very nice-looking," Krum said, recalling Harry to his surroundings. Krum was pointing at Ginny, who had just joined Luna. "She is also a relative of yours?"
"Yeah," said Harry, suddenly irritated, "and she's seeing someone. Jealous type. Big bloke. You wouldn't want to cross him."
Krum grunted.
"Vot," he said, draining his goblet and getting to his feet again, "is the point of being an international Quidditch player if all the good-looking girls are taken?" p. 150

"Maybe it's something you need to find out for yourself," said Hermione with a faint air of clutching at straws.
"Yeah," said Ron sycophantically, "that makes sense."
"No, it doesn't," snapped Hermione, "but I still think we ought to talk to Mr. Lovegood. p. 395

". . . the Dirigible Plum, so as to enhance the ability to accept the extraordinary." (X. Lovegood) p. 404

"You haven't heard of them? I'm not surprised. Very, very few wizards believe . . ." (X. Lovegood) p. 405

The smell from the kitchen was getting stronger; it was something like burning underpants. p. 416

"the fact remains that he can move faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo . . ." (Fred, over the Potterwatch broadcast) p. 444

Hermione looked across the lake to the far bank, where the dragon was still drinking.
"What'll happen to it, do you think?" she asked. "Will it be all right?"
"You sound like Hagrid," said Ron. "It's a dragon, Hermione, it can look after itself. It's us we need to worry about."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I don't know how to break this to you," said Ron, "but I think they might have noticed we broke into Gringotts." p. 548

"and it even sprouted a pretty good bathroom once girls started turning up --" p. 578

"Is this the moment?" Harry asked weakly, and when nothing happened except that Ron and Hermione gripped each other still more firmly and swayed on the spot, he raised his voice. "OI! There's a war going on here!"
Ron and Hermione broke apart, their arms still around each other.
"I know, mate," said Ron, who looked as though he had recently been hit on the back of the head with a Bludger, "so it's now or never, isn't it?" p. 625

"Hello, Minister," bellowed Percy . . . "Did I mention I'm resigning?" p. 636

"We did it, we bashed them, wee Potter's the one,
And Voldy's gone moldy, so now let's have fun!" (Peeves) p. 746

great article

John Granger has written a great article about the Christian content in the Deathly Hallows. Check it out here. I don't think I could ever have come up with such an amazing analysis of this book.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

thinking back to my pre-DH questions

I just went back and re-read my questions that I listed before DH came out.

I guess most of them were answered. Some of the ones from story lines earlier than HBP were not addressed, and I still wish we'd learned a bit more about Harry's parents. I thought we would.

My biggest disappointment, in terms of questions that were not answered is really one I didn't even list because I was so sure we'd been promised an answer to it already -- what happened at Godric's Hollow immediately following the death of Harry's parents up to the point we see Hagrid bringing Harry to Privet Drive? I thought we'd learn more about that.

And Pettigrew. If he had Voldemort's wand, where did he keep it while he was a rat pet of the Weasleys? And, back to my question about the prophecy, how exactly was he "chained these twelve years" and unable to help his master until the events in PoA transpired. I guess we'll never know -- I thought those words had some mysterious significance that we hadn't yet learned, but I guess not.

So, Dumbledore was a manipulative old so-and-so, and we're left with the fact that Harry is okay with that. Am I okay with it? I guess, seeing how it turned out -- it could have been a lot worse. He does seem sort of a puppetmaster, pulling strings to get just the right performance out of both Harry and Snape without telling either more than they need to know to play their own part. I wonder if Snape would have done the same if he'd known more -- or would he have let on something of the plan to Voldemort, even by accident?

I just re-read a bit of the scene in Chamber when Harry asks Dumbledore about being able to speak Parseltongue, and how he says that Voldemort left a bit of himself in Harry. Dumbledore confirms this quite honestly at this point, but later he neglects to mention this part of his theory to Harry. What would Harry have done differently if he'd have known all along?

Snape and Lily -- and Petunia. I didn't expect this, despite the fact that I did think "that awful boy" was probably Snape. And while reading DH, I thought maybe "the source we discussed" that told Snape the date they were moving Harry out of Privet Drive was Petunia, because (1) she knew the date but not the full plan (2) she seemed unable to meet Harry's eye but seemed to have something she was leaving unsaid, and I wondered if it was guilt at having given him away.

"Remember my last" takes on a bit of new meaning, as does Dumbledore's greeting to Petunia, "we have corresponded" in HBP. I always wondered if Petunia's problem was jealousy. She wanted to go along with Lily to Hogwarts. But I'm unclear -- is she trying to stamp out Harry's magical abilities again because of jealousy or has she now convinced herself that wizards are indeed freaks? Doe she secretly wish Dudley could go to Hogwarts or was she worried he would develop magical abilities and glad that he didn't?

Much more to come.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

My reaction to Deathly Hallows, now that I'm done

I'm still trying to define my feelings. I don't know if it's because I'm sad it's over, or because I didn't find the book contained the HUGE surprise I was hoping for, but I'm feeling just a bit disappointed.

Don't get me wrong. I loved the book. I thought most of the plot was great, and several parts were brilliant. But I expected that, after all was said and done, this would be my favorite out of the series. And I'm left feeling that PoA is still number 1 in my heart. Maybe that will change, I don't know. I expected a surprise on the order of what we learned about Peter Pettigrew and Sirius at the end of PoA, or at least the true identity of the person we thought was Mad-Eye Moody all through GoF. Now I'm wondering, did it have to be a true-identity surprise to satisfy me? She'd done that twice already, maybe it's wrong to think it would happen again. And I guess the switching-loyalties surprise is the best I could hope for, but I spent so much time theorizing that I expected it when it came so I wasn't surprised.

I would have liked it better if wasn't an undying love for Lily that was Snape's motivation, I think. And I would have liked to have a bit more Petunia.

I wanted to get to read the letter Dumbledore left with Harry. And instead we learn of more correspondence we'll never get to read. Suddenly Dumbledore's "We have corresponded" comment to Petunia at the beginning of HBP takes on a whole new meaning. Did she not give us the text of these letters just to supply the fan fiction authors with something to do?

I wanted to know more ab0ut Lily and James' past, both their families and situations before Hogwarts and also their life together before they died. Not nearly enough of that in there.

I guess those are my big disappointments. Aside from the deaths of Hedwig, Fred, and Lupin. :::::sob:::::

So what did I like?

I liked the wedding (though I still want to know more about the tufty-haired man who officiated). I liked seeing the Patronus-messengers. I liked them living at Number 12 Grimmauld Place, I wish we would have had a bit more of that.

I liked the Deathly Hallows. I liked Xenophilius Lovegood, except I wish he would have realized trusting Harry to rescue Luna would be better than turing Harry over to the Death Eaters. I liked getting to see Luna's house.

I liked the whole Dumbledore backstory and the Snape memories and the death and resurrection of Harry. I liked the inclusion of Aberforth, though I wish it would have been a regular tunnel rather than this magical portrait thing that I still don't understand. Don't they realize that there's a tunnel that leads to the Hogsmeade Public Library from the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts Library, and that the tunnel behind the 4th Floor Mirror leads to the Hog's Head. Oh, that's right, that tunnel's blocked. I forgot. I was hoping we'd really learn where all of them were, so I'd know if my fan fiction predictions were even close.

I liked the Ravenclaw Common Room and the backstory about the Bloody Baron. And the romance with Ron and Hermione was perfect. And I'm so glad Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny all lived!

I have lots of other thoughts, I'll probably be digesting this for quite a while. I've got lots of other things to do so I can't write about Harry full time.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Some initial thoughts on Deathly Hallows SPOILERS

I'm up to chapter 22. That's the chapter that has the same name as the title.

I thought I would wait to post till I was done with the book, but I have some thoughts I thought I'd post now. These details will be SPOILERS to anyone who has not read at least thru the end of chapter 22. So you have been warned.

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Okay, there's enough spoiler scrolling buffer whatever you call it.

My theory is that Petunia is "the source we discussed" who told Snape the date Harry would be removed from Number 4 Privet Drive, but didn't know the plan. I don't buy the Hagrid getting drunk story, don't think any of the others who were in on the plan are untrustworthy either.

I'm still trying to decide what the blue eye in the mirror is all about. I wondered if it might be Mad Eye, but that doesn't seem to make sense. I can't think who has blue eyes besides Dumbledore and Mad-eye.

I hope that we see the Dursleys again. I was kind of disappointed the bit with them wasn't longer. And I'm still kind of disappointed that they didn't go to Number 12 Grimmauld Place, but since we don't know where they are, we don't know if they're getting their just deserts or not.

The Polyjuice Potion containing Harry's hair turns a clear, bright gold color. When Harry's wand does that mysterious thing where it fires at Voldemort of its own accord, it shoots out gold flames. Coincidence?

I don't think the real reason the DE's knew who was the real Harry was because he used the Expelliarmus charm. But I could be wrong. I think it has something to do with his wand or his connection to Voldemort.

Remorse can kill. Page 103. Ron asks if there isn't a way to put your soul back together and Hermione says there is, but it's excruciatingly painful. Harry asks how you do it, and Hermione replies, "Remorse. You've got to really feel what you've done. There's a footnote. Apparently the pain of it can destroy you." Very interesting. Though Hermione "can't see Voldemort attempting it somehow."

"I open at the close" -- at the close of the year? of the school year? of the school? I can't think what else would close.

Was anyone else struck by the similarity between the scene where they all get bequests from Dumbledore and the scene where the Pevensie children get gifts from Santa in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe? I thought that was a brilliant scene.

I was struck that the Deathly Hallows turned out to be very similar to some of the predictions I'd heard. A wand was definitely mentioned. And though many people thought maybe the Invisibility Cloak was a Horcrux, this means it can be a Hallow and not a Horcrux. But I'm sort of confused, doesn't Harry still have to destroy all of the Horcruxes even if he gets all of the Deathly Hallows? And I'm kind of bothered by the fact that these items come from Death. That's a bit dark, for objects that could help Harry defeat Voldemort.

Anyone else think Grindelvald is still alive? We've only ever read that Dumbledore "defeated" him, though I wish we knew whether Hermione read chapter 22 of Skeeter's book.

Xenophilius Lovegood wasn't at all what I pictured, but when they got to the 2nd floor of the Lovegood's odd-shaped house, I found it almost identical to the way I'd imagined Mr. Lovegood's office. The printing press, the books stacked all over. I imagined it very cluttered. Only I didn't think of a building that was round. I hope Luna's okay.

I thought we were getting to the point when Ron and Hermione were finally going to kiss, when Ron came back, and instead she goes and punches him. :::::sigh:::::

I'm wondering what's up with this sign of the Deathly Hallows. Krum seemed so sure it was -- well, he seemed to be describing the Wizarding equivalent of a swastika. Seems strange that Mr. Lovegood's explanation is so completely different.

I was struck by the irony that each of the trio thinks a different one of the Deathly Hallows is the most desirable.

A plot hole: Hermione says she modified her parents' memories, but then when they are in the cafe and they modify the memories of the two Death Eaters and the waitress, she says she's never done it before.

My 8-year-old read at least part of the ending on Wikipedia yesterday. So far he's managed not to tell me what he knows. though I better get finished soon because it's getting hard for him to keep quiet about it.

I have a whole 2 pages of funny quotes from the book written down already, and I'm only on chapter 22. Though I've found I'm writing down less of them as I get deeper into the book.

One more note. I want to get confirmation on this but I'm about 94% sure I'm right. I believe that, during all of the first 6th books, the word "God" is never mentioned. It's not used to talk about God, it's not taken in vain, no one says "Oh my God." I've really paid pretty close attention to this and I don't think I'm wrong. "Merlin's beard" gets substituted a few times. And the first six books make virtually no mention of any Christian symbols. They celebrate Christmas and Easter, but there's no mention of going to church, pastors or priests, the Bible, etc. So, on page 74 of DH, when Harry finds out that George is going to be okay, he says "Thank God." Later, on pages 165 and 274, people say "God" or "My God" in a way that, as I tell my children, doesn't mean they're talking to Him. This kind of talk is not allowed in my house. I'm pretty sure there's at least one other reference I've already read, but I can't find it now. Hopefully I will when I re-read. Then, when Harry buries Moody's eye, he carves a cross on the tree as a marker. Of all things, a cross. I just wonder why we're seeing these kind of references when they were markedly absent from the first 6th book.

I'll be back with more when I've read further.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Next to last post before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I have one more post after this, full of questions. I've been working on that for a while.

But I've got two whole pages full of small scribbling observations I've made as I've re-read the first half of HBP (that's as far as I've gotten) so I'll put them down here in a rather disorganized post.

I made a list of magic they learn in class in HBP, just to see if any of it is important in the final confrontation. Here it is (like all of this, it won't be complete since I haven't re-read the whole book): Draught of the Living Dead (which contains valerian roots and sopophorous beans); non-verbal spells; Episkey (healing spell which Harry learns by watching Tonks perform it on him), ;alf-Blood Prince spells: Levicorpus and it's counter-jinx, Liberacorpus, Sectumsempra; they learn to conjure small animals out of thin air, or at least, Hermione does; human Transfiguration (starting by changing the color of their eyebrows); also, in Charms they read a book called Quintessence: A Quest.

I started out making a list of who brings Harry the notes from Dumbledore stating the next time of one of their lessons. I still think this must be significant somehow, because my memory tells me that none of the note-bringers ever says to him, "Harry, Dumbledore asked me to give this to you." Not once do they say who asked them, just that they were asked to give it to Harry. And a coincidence happens on board the Hogwarts Express, when a breathless third-year girl gives Harry and Neville invitations from Slughorn. We don't see the other invitations from Slughorn being delivered, however, so we don't know what pattern might be developing there, if any. All I discovered in my research was that the first three notes from Dumbledore were from Jack Sloper, Ginny Weasley and Hermione. It struck me funny that even Hermione says "I've got something for you" and not who it's from, though she must know, she probably would recognize Dumbledore's handwriting by now like Harry does, and she's the most likely to be curious about the method he's using to communicate with Harry. So this is definitely one of my questions, is anything going on here or not? But right now, I can't see what it might be.

I also tried taking notes on the number of times Dumbledore promises Harry he will tell him how his hand became injured. "A thrilling tale . . . I want to do it justice." I noted in this that Dumbledore also hints that he will tell Harry where he goes when he leaves Hogwarts. Now, I guess we're to understand that he's Horcrux hunting, but Harry never does get much of a hint as to how to go about doing that, does he? I'm still of the opinion that Harry will come into possession of one or more little vials of Dumbledore's memories that will tell him how the hand became injured. I know he mentioned this to Harry and told him that Snape helped him afterward, but he really didn't tell us a thrilling tale, so I'm hoping that's still coming.

I found an interesting quote from, of all people, Mr. Burke of Borgin and Burke's. In the memory from Dumbledore, speaking of how he recognized Slytherin's locket when Merope brought it in to sell it, he says that he was able to recognize Slytherin's mark, and that "a few simple spells" told him what he needed to know. Wonder what spells those are?

Somewhere, I read an interesting point. In the memory of Bob Ogden, Ogden can't speak Parseltongue, so he can't understand the Gaunts' quite involved conversation among themselves. Harry, of course, can understand it. What about Dumbledore? He certainly seems to have understood it, but is he a Parselmouth? This seemed interesting to me, but I don't know what it means.

I'd also like to know what happened to the Peverell Ring. Harry notices it's gone on the next lesson after he sees the memory about it, but I don't remember if it comes back later on in the book, or not.

I made notes on the card Trelawney is shuffling while walking through the hallways (2 of spades - conflict; 7 of spades -- an ill omen; 10 of spades -- violence; knave of spades -- a dark young man, possibly troubled, one who dislikes the questioner -- then she says that can't be right and staggers off. . .) But I didn't get far enough to compare with her later card readings. Wikipedia tells me that the Knave is what we know as the Jack, and that there were actual identities for them in Paris court. The Knave of Spades was Ogier the Dane/Holger Danske (a knight of Charlemagne). Apparently he may or may not be a historical figure, but the picture reminded me quite a lot of Godric Gryffindor.

Bloomsbury is going to have some sort of online chat where we can send in email questions starting on Monday. I've been trying to find a link to this, but either it isn't up yet or the HP sites are just too overwhelmed with traffic to produce it. I know Leaky's been acting funny for me ever since the rumors of spoilers started going round. So, I have written some questions I'd like to pose to Jo, questions that I don't think will get addressed at all in Book 7. After I've read it, I may add to this or tweak it, but here they are:

  • Does Jo really think history is as boring a subject as she portrays it to be at Hogwarts? Why does she persist in portraying it so, when she seems to be interested in history (at least, the fact that she included the Founders and the Marauders story threads implies she has an interest in history, to say nothing of her references to Alchemy). I'd also like to know if she is trying to make a point about education in general, how Harry doesn't seem to take it very seriously.
  • I hope she'll tell us, at some point, which character in DH got the "reprieve" from her original plan of killing them off, and which two characters were originally not supposed to die. And I'd like to know the other two titles she was considering for the last book, too.
  • I wonder if she had the idea of a Horcrux in mind when she wrote Chamber of Secrets, or if that came later.
  • I'd also like to know how much of the Alchemical theories that have been discussed in fandom are conscious intentional elements on her part and how much is just accidental or us fans reading too much into her words.

Well, I guess I've done as much speculating as I have time to do. I'm going to go out and take a dip in the pool with my kids, eat dinner, and go to Barnes and Noble. I already have my wristband and I am in the 2nd group of 50, so I don't know what that means about how long I'll have to wait to get my book. They are doing a raffle for a signed poster, but I don't know who signed it. They'll have lots of other activities, too, though I'm bringing my mp3 player and my sudoku book just in case, and making my kids bring their Gameboys. Last time I remember quite a long wait with nothing much to do from about 10 p.m. on. I took a brief nap this afternoon (awaking in time to see Emerson on Fox News Live -- he said he'd made enough money from the website to finance his college education, and I'm not sure if I believe that. I thought they'd maintained all along they didn't make money on it. Well, if anyone should have done, he should, he's a very talented kid). So I'm going to come home and see how long I'll be able to read, but I bet it won't be long. I'm too old to read all night. Maybe I can get one of my kids to read aloud in the car on the way home. We tried that last time but Dan was put off by the fact that Harry doesn't appear till chapter 3 in HBP. The kids are threatening to open to the book to a random page and shout out "So-and-so dies!" I've told them they won't be easily forgiven if they spoil me.

I can't wait, and I can't believe it's already here. It's the strangest feeling.

Here are some last minute quotes:

The Lost Prophecy: "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches. Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies. And the Dark Lord will makr him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not. . . and either must die as the hands of the other, for neither can live while the other survives. The one with the power to vanguish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies."

Someone on Pottercast hypothesized that the one approaching was Snape, approaching outside the door to eavesdrop, but he was born in early January, I looked it up. The only other thing I want to note is that it says the person will have the "power" to vanguish the Dark Lord, not that he actually will do so. But I think he will.

One more note, the emphasis on blood. Because Lily died to save Harry, "a protection flows in [Harry's] veins." His mother's sacrifice made the "bond of blood" the "strongest [Dumbledore] could give [Harry]." While Harry can still call home the place "where his mother's blood dwells" there he cannot be touched by Voldemort. Petunia "sealed a pact" by taking Harry, however unwillingly. This is my sort of chopped up summation of how Dumbledore explained it to Harry, though the words in quotes are definitely the same as in the book. As for how Voldemort found he could touch Harry after he regained his body in GoF, I think this blood protection still holds, at least till Harry comes of age, because Dumbledore said so in HBP. I've gone round and round as to whether the Death Eaters will attack Number 4 Privet Drive before Harry even returns, and blow it up, necessitating that the whole family take up at least temporary residence at Number 12 Grimmauld Place, or whether they will attack right at the stroke of midnight on Harry's birthday. I wrote a fan fic where Hermione sent away to Viktor for extra wands (made by Gregorovitch) and gives one of them to Petunia and Petunia saves them all from death when the Death Eaters arrive, since they don't think to disarm a Muggle, but I'm sure that's not how it'll happen.

Chris has been in here three times asking if we can go swimming yet, so I guess I'm done. I've got my list of questions in draft form, so I'll post that after this one, and then I don't know if I'll post again till I've read the book. I may post in mid-read, and if I do it'll contain spoilers. I'll mark it, but watch out. I'm not moderating the comments either, though there are not many here so it shouldn't much matter.

Happy Harry Potter day, everyone!

The Dragon

I was re-reading the first time Harry recognized the monster in his chest that was Rowling's metaphor for Harry's attraction to Ginny, and I realized something. It's described as a "scaly" monster. I bet it's a dragon! I bet it's the Dragon on the Scholastic Deluxe Edition cover.

I'm very excited about today, can you tell?

I'm going to post some more serious stuff later. But first, I'm off to pick up my wristband.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More Predictions

I apologize if I am not as eloquent today as I normally am. I had a little accident yesterday involving my finger and a very sharp blade I was using to cut up veggies, and I now have a rather large bandage on the middle finger of my left hand, making it rather hard to type. It's affecting my typing rather like the way a big shot of Novocaine would affect my speech. So bear with me.

Over at Sword of Gryffindor, they are talking about a list of prediction topics. I decided to weigh in here and then go over there and post the link to this post. That way I can save my post and come back if I find I just can't finish the typing in one sitting.

So here's the list:
  1. Snape’s Allegiance: I think Travis had the right idea about this one. Snape is, for some reason we will learn in book 7, loyal to Dumbledore. Whether that means he's also willing to help Harry remains to be seen. He's definitely a very bad man, though, as evidenced by the way he treats his students. This is way up at the top of my list of questions I must have answered, all of Snape's backstory.
  2. Petunia’s Secret: I think she was friendly with Snape. Well, maybe not friendly, but they knew each other, had some sort of relationship. I think Snape is "that awful boy" she mentioned in the scene at the beginning of OoP, the one she heard telling Lily about the Dementors (though, the "her" he told may not have been Lily . . .). I once wrote a fan fiction where Petunia developed magical powers and didn't want them and she used an owl (one that turned up bringing a letter to Lily) to send off a request for help getting rid of the powers and the owl happened to go to Snape (in my story, Petunia wasn't really sure who would receive it, someone at Hogwarts). And Snape, with his hatred of Muggles, was only too willing to help a Muggle-born suppress her magical ability. I'm sure that's not how Jo will write it, but I wouldn't be surprised if Petunia knows more about the magical world than we suspect. And I also think she has something still to tell and/or give Harry, something she's saved since he was a baby, either something Dumbledore left with him or something from Lily (or both).
  3. Will Harry Pass Through the Veil? I've thought a lot about this. I don't think we'll see behind the veil, as I said in my post about the 5 questions they're asking on Pottercast. I think Harry may appear to die, or actually die and be brought back by a healer, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Veil has a part in the 7th book, but I just think it would be too strange to actually see what's back there. It's meant to be left a mystery, I think. Here's a fan fiction story I wrote involving the Veil. I apologize, it was written awhile ago and Fiction Alley has since upgraded something in their software that turned all of my quotation marks and apostrophes into question marks. It hasn't been high on my list of priorities to resubmit my fics. It's still readable if you understand what the problem is.
  4. Will Harry die? No. I totally agree with what Travis said, that Jo has let it slip enough times that she'll never say she'll never write another Harry Potter book. The interview recently on BBC was particularly telling, I thought (though read my post about the objectionable content before you go watch it). And the Pottercasters have been saying for awhile that many years ago, before every word she ever spoke in public was permanently indexed on the internet and she didn't know how careful she had to be, Jo made an appearance at a bookstore in Chicago where someone asked her if the trio would live and she said yes.
  5. What are the 6 horcruxes? I won't begin to guess. I'll definitely be wrong.
  6. How is a horcrux destroyed? I can't remember where I heard this theory, so I apologize to whoever first came up with it, but it makes sense to me so I'm repeating it. Harry de-Horcruxed the diary using the venom of the Basilisk, which is deadly. So maybe you have to do something that would be deadly to a human (or wizard) to get the soul part out of the Horcrux. I agree with Travis, though, that Voldemort's Horcruxes are protected by other magic and that might be more challenging than the de-Horcruxing part. And finding them might not be so easy, either, even if he knows what they actually are.
  7. How did Harry get his scar (or what is its nature)? I once did a search through all of the books for the word scar. It's repeated a surprising number of times that Harry is famous for his scar. I've long thought that the last line of book 7 will be that Harry famous for something else now (like ridding the world of the Dark Lord, or some new mark (disability? disfigurement? surely not another scar!) that he acquires as a result of either the Horcrux hunt or his final duel with Voldemort) and no longer famous for his scar, or something along those lines. But as to how he got the scar -- the scar is central to the book, there's more to be learned about how he got it, but I can't possibly try and guess something this central to the plot of the whole septology. I'd almost certainly be wrong.
  8. Which characters will die? :::::sigh::::: I heard someone (Rupert?) blurt out something they'd heard on the internet on some TV talk show last week. Fortunately, I was half awake at the time and I found later that, not only could I not remember who said it, but I can't remember what they said! I'm trying very hard to keep from hearing or reading spoilers. This morning I was watching Fox and Friends and one of the hosts started to say something about an internet rumor. It sounded like he was going to blurt out what the rumor was, so I simultaneously grabbed the remote to hit "mute" and shouted "NO! NO" at the top of my lungs. My kids, who weren't in the room, thought I was loony. I don't want anyone to die. I do see how people can think it might be Hagrid. And I've wondered if Jo had Harry get together with Ginny in book 6 because she's going to die in Book 7 and otherwise they'd never have had the chance, but I really hope that's not what happens. I wonder if it will be either Seamus or Dean or Lavender or Pavarti -- or Neville, but I hope it's not Neville. Or Susan Bones or Ernie Macmillan (I know I've spelled that wrong, sorry). Or maybe Flitwick or Sprout. People I wouldn't mind seeing die: Filch, Malfoy (anyone with that surname qualifies), Crabbe, Goyle. I was going to type Snape but I guess I'd miss him if he died, though I wouldn't be surprised at it.
  9. Who else was at Godric’s Hollow? Peter Pettigrew is too obvious. He may have been there, but someone else more surprising will have been there as well. Snape is a good candidate. I think the key is, how did Dumbledore know so much, when he talked to McGonagall at Number 4 Privet Drive less than 24 hours later? But if Dumbledore was there, why didn't he stop the Potters from being killed? I'm not sure I agree with the time travel theory (they're talking about it on Pottercast, the idea that Harry gets some method of magical time travel more efficient than a time turner and goes back in time himself, but that he can't stop his parents' murder because then he wouldn't have the chance to defeat Voldemort and save the Wizarding world. That he goes and tells Dumbledore what happens, thus allowing Dumbledore to know that Harry will live at least as long as till the point where he went back in time, and he gives Dumbledore the invisibility cloak.) The main problem with that is that Dumbledore specifically said Harry's father left it in Dumbledore's possession. Though the line, "It's time it was returned to you." (emphasis mine) is interesting. This is another key scene, but I haven't come up with a good theory as to who was there and what they were doing.
  10. Who is Gryffindor’s heir? I don't think this is going to matter. This whole heir thing annoys me. Okay, yes, maybe there can be only one heir (being an heir is more a matter of legality than genealogy anyway) but there will almost always be lots of descendants. For example, there were just over 100 passengers on the Mayflower, and half of them died in the winter of 1620-21. Yet, there are a huge number of people who can trace their genealogy directly back to one or more of them, including myself. The reason for this is that a couple has a number of children. Let's just say 2, though my Pilgrim ancestors had a good many more than that. So those two children grow up and they each get married and have two kids each. Now you've got 4. They each get married and have 2 kids, now you've got 8. They each get married and have 2 kids and you've got 16. Each generation increases. So unless the Founders each themselves didn't have kids (which stops the whole thing right there and leaves no descendants, which can't be true of Slytherin at least since there is an heir of Slytherin currently still around) -- well, it's just strange to think that the family could continue for over 1000 years and then just be left with one descendant. One heir, yes, but not one descendant. Jo hasn't studied genealogy or she wouldn't have written it like that.
  11. Did Snape love Lily? I think this whole story line smacks of fan fiction to me and I hope that Jo doesn't even bring it up.
  12. Did Lily love Snape? See my answer to number 11 above.
  13. What is Snape’s Patronus? I think the bat idea is the best bet. She repeats this too many times for there not to be a reason. Now, the reason may just be a red herring, trying to make us think Snape's a vampire, but it's not there by accident. Lacking a better idea, that's my guess.
  14. How will Wormtail fulfill his life debt to Harry? I think he's going to realize, as he sits stewing at Spinner's End and is once again the outcast and the not-very-popular one in the bunch, that he made a mistake and feel guilty about it. Maybe we'll learn why he was put in Gryffindor in the first place, since so far we haven't seen any evidence that he belongs there.
  15. Why does Snape have a “soft spot” for Draco and Narcissa? Or does he? I tend to lean toward the explanation that acting like he was their friend furthered his deception that he is remaining loyal to Voldemort, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.
  16. Will Fenrir Greyback die, and who will kill him? I don't really care as long as he's good and dead as soon as possible.
  17. How will Voldemort die? I've talked about this before. I think Harry will kill him but not with the AK. I'd love to see a scene where love genuinely kills Voldemort, but I can't quite come up with one.
  18. Why did Snape AK Dumbledore? I think Dumbledore knew more about that green potion than he let on, and I think the potion would have killed him. "There are some poisons without antidotes," Hermione tells us early on in HBP. I think Dumbledore had pre-arranged with Snape that he would kill him when the time came. Though how Dumbledore would know ahead of time he'd have to drink the green potion or now he comunicated to Snape that it was time, I don't have a clue.
  19. Will anyone who “died” return? No
  20. What is the meaning of “Deathly Hallows”? I like Secret Treasure of Death. Sort of a relic of a person who lived in the past. In this case, I think they're the Horcruxes.
  21. Which minor characters will become major in Book 7? No
  22. What will happen with the house-elves? They will fight on the side of Harry and be helpful in the battle.
  23. Other: What other issues need answering, and what are your predictions? I have a list of these. I'm hoping to have time to post this on Friday afternoon, before I set off for the bookstore. So check back then. I have a bunch of things, most of them probably won't be answered, they're stuff I've been wondering about since back in Prisoner of Azkaban. And I just found a new one while re-reading HBP.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Rowling's interview on British TV

I just watched a 20 minute interview with Jo on some British TV show. I'm not going to link to it because not all of it is family friendly. I want to give my reactions to it.

First, I have to give all my disclaimers. Language, as I'm constantly saying to my kids. Most of the bad stuff was bleeped out, but the meaning is clear and it was in bad taste. Jo was polite to laugh at some of it. I'm not at all familiar with who this guy is, but he's several shades toward an NC-17 rating past Leno and Letterman. What bothered me the most is the guy who did the interview is obviously not clueless about how Harry Potter fandom works. I'm pretty sure he won't be surprised to find out that hundreds of thousands of children will be watching this interview on You Tube by tomorrow morning. That makes it worse, that he was pretty much shameless in some of his topics. I'd say at least 1/4 of the 20 min. was inappropriate for children. That's way too high a figure. The only good thing I can say about that is, at least it didn't contain spoilers.

The other 3/4 was worth watching, however. He praised her work and she was moved almost to tears. He teased a bit of new info from her. Stop reading now if you don't want to know anything that even hints of what might happen, but since it's coming from Jo, I don't count what she told to be spoilers. I'll put it in a separate paragraph just to give you one more chance if you don't want to read it.

So, here's what she said: The last word of the book is no longer "scar", but "scar" is near the end. So she's just re-written the last paragraph in some way (she refused to say what the new last word is) but it still means mostly the same as what she wrote before. She said something that I have been saying since, when was it, last summer? When she gave that interview where she said she'd given one person a reprieve but that 2 people she hadn't intended to die had died. And she confirmed what I've thought since then, that she didn't mean that only 2 people die in DH. "It's a bloodbath," she said. And then she amended that, saying no, not a bloodbath, but more than 2 people die.

Two very significant things that she said that I take as clues to what will happen. First, she said she won't say she'll never write another Harry Potter book. That confirms to me what the Pottercast people have been saying all along, that Harry will not die. It was very clear to me that she was thinking that as she gave her answer. Then, she said that when she wrote a chapter near the end, she finished and was "absolutely howling," crying, whatever. Because "it had been planned for so long," so it couldn't have been one of these 2 new deaths, the ones she hadn't intended to die. It must be someone she's intended all along to die. Hagrid? Ginny? I'm starting to cry already.

One more thing I want to say. I've thought for a while that whoever the 2 people she didn't originally intend to die are, they're not Ron or Hermione or probably even Neville or Ginny or Hagrid. I think she's known all along what would happen to these central characters and whatever their fate is, it's been decided for a while now and didn't change as she wrote this book. I wonder if we'll know who they are, if she'll ever tell us, and who the reprieve person is, as well. I think the reprieve person is Malfoy. Or Luna. I could see her changing her mind about killing off either of them.

I read that Stephen King suggests readers stock up on kleenex before reading this book. :::::sigh:::::

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Hogwarts Motto

Here is what I said.

Here is what Stephen Fry says.

So, what happens when you tickle a sleeping dragon? I still think it lets you ride him. But maybe I'm wrong, maybe he burns you to a crisp. I guess we'll be finding out soon enough.

Weighing in on the PotterCast questions

Pottercast is on tour this summer, and their podcasts are very interesting to listen to. One of the things they're doing is asking each city the same 5 questions. They're going to keep records and check after the book comes out to see which city did the best predicting the outcome, though I think it's going to be like a 5-way tie.

Anyway, I thought I'd weigh in on the 5 questions they are asking with my own answers so I can come back and check if I'm right.

Will Harry live or die? I say he'll live, though he may seem to have died for a time during the book, but he will come back to life or be healed or whatever.

Trust Snape, or Snape is a very bad man? Gosh, this is the hardest one. I have two main reasons to lean in both directions on this one: Dumbledore trusts Snape, so that points to Snape being trustworthy. But Snape is so mean, not only to Harry but to Neville, and Hermione and Ron too. I have a hard time trusting someone who is a teacher but mistreats kids so blatantly.

Is Harry a Horcrux? No

Will Harry return to Hogwarts for his 7th year of School in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? I'm torn on this one, too. I think he might show up for some of the year, but not all of it. I can see the point of him not going, he's going to be pretty busy. Yet, it won't be as fun if he isn't there, plus the original idea was for the series to cover the 7 years Harry is at school, so to have him not be at school in the 7th year seems wrong somehow, plus those who don't get the series will be able to say Harry is a dropout and that sets a bad example, and I can't believe Rowling wouldn't anticipate that, though maybe she doesn't care. She does seem to have a theme that how you do in school doesn't necessarily predict how you'll do in the world after school, after all. I hope to see Harry ride the Hogwarts Express and be there for the opening feast and see who the new DADA teacher is but be free to take some time off as he gets info on the Horcruxes.

(This leads me to a sub question to the above which Pottercast didn't ask but which I'd like to weigh in on: Who will the next DADA teacher be? Each year, there has been a different Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. In book 6 we learn that the job is cursed and that a different person has done it each year since Voldemort applied for the job and was turned down. I believe Hogwarts will reopen in book 7 and that the DADA teacher will be someone we haven't met before this book. However, we (Harry) will meet this person before he gets to Hogwarts. Maybe the person will be invited to Bill and Fleur's wedding. Maybe the person will be part of the delegation from the Order who arrive to escort Harry away from Number 4, Privet Drive (though I think that's going to turn into a battle, myself). But this is part of the pattern that has held true for all of the books so far so it will hold true for the last one, as well.)

Will "we" go behind the veil? I put "we" in quotes because I'm a bit unclear what they mean by this. I see three possibilities. First, what I think they mean: that Harry will actually, in a conscious state and with the reader looking over his shoulder, go behind/beyond the Veil and we will see what's back there. I think that's what they're asking. I don't think that's what will happen. The second possibility is that he just won't go back there and the book will continue with him not dying. The third possibility is that Harry will seem to have died, and we will see things from the perspective of another character, thinking Harry is indeed gone for good, but then he will come back somehow, having not been truly dead after all, or having been brought back from the very brink of death by a skilled magical healer. I think this is what's going to happen. We won't see what's behind the veil. Whether Harry will or not, I don't think we'll get details. I guess a forth possibility is that Harry will go beyond the veil and stay there, dead, but I've already said above that I don't think that's going to happen.

HP Prognostications is going to be talking about questions and answers as well, and that should be highly interesting because they always have good, intelligent discussions and interesting ideas.

I'm working on a huge master list of all the questions I can come up with that still need answers. But I probably won't post that till June 20 and it will be just questions, not answers. Things I want to know, not my predictions.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My master list of questions

Here are questions I want to know the answers to as we get right down to the wire before the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (I've been gathering this list for quite a while and kept it in draft form till now. I hope we learn the answers in the next few days):

What did Lily and James Potter do for a living and where did James' fortune come from?

What significance to the color of Harry's eyes have, if any?

Will the life debt Pettigrew owes Harry have any part in the plot of book 7?

Who was "that awful boy" that Petunia heard telling Lily about the Dementors -- was it James or someone else? Snape?

Why did the prophecy say that the Dark Lord's servant was "chained these twelve years" -- was something keeping Pettigrew as a rat in the Weasley household besides his own cowardice? Something external to himself, I mean, like a spell someone else placed on him. What else could the wording of the prophecy mean if he was there of his own choice?

What was Crouch!Moody doing teaching Harry how to ward off the Imperious Curse? How would that have benefited him or his master's plan?

Why did Mr. Crouch say the things he did when Harry and Krum saw him near the forest? He seemed to have gone back in time, in his mind, to when his son was still in school. Why? Is there more going on there? Crouch was such a powerfully magical wizard, how was he able to be duped by the Dark Lord? And Barty Crouch Jr. really got 12 OWLs?

What is the significance of the gleam of triumph in Dumbledore's eye toward the end of GOF? During my last reading, it seemed to me that it was almost as if Dumbledore was thinking, "Voldemort took the bait," that Voldemort did something Dumbledore had been hoping he'd do, which will give Dumbledore/Harry some advantage later on that Voldemort hasn't anticipated. And then, I felt turned off that Dumbledore could use Harry in such a way. Some of the theories I've seen about Book 7 have Dumbledore using Harry in even more manipulative and, if I may say it, dishonest ways. Dishonest toward Harry. Dumbledore says at the end of GOF that the truth is "generally preferable" to lies. I hope he doesn't feel that this is one time that is an exception to that rule.

What methods has Dumbledore used to watch Harry "more closely than you can have imagined" as he's been growing up? What does Dumbledore know about Harry? Does he listen to his private conversations and/or read his thoughts? Did Dumbledore know that Harry saw Snape's worst memory in the Pensieve? The Ministry admitted to keeping a close eye on Privet Drive as well -- were they working in conjunction with Dumbledore's efforts or were they separate? And does the step that creaks in the stairway at the Dursley's house have any significance? What about the spiders in the cupboard under the stairs?

Can Dumbledore speak Parseltongue? If not, how did he know what the Gaunts were talking about in the memory from Bob Ogden?

What happened to the Peverell ring after Dumbledore shared the memory about it with Harry? Was the crack in the stone caused by de-Horcruxing the ring, or had it always been there?

Backstories I particularly want to know more about: Lily and James, Snape, Regulus Black, Dumbledore, Grindelwald. Also Petunia.

Dumbledore seems to have had a plan all along. How much of that plan has already been divulged to Harry? Has he kept significant parts of it back, still?

How did Dumbledore injure his hand? Where exactly did he go on his quests away from Hogwarts?

Is there any significance to the fact that none of the note-bringers who brought Harry notes from Dumbledore in HBP actually said who gave them the notes?

What did the green potion in the basin in the middle of the underground lake do to Dumbledore, exactly? And why was it there, if the Horcrux itself was removed? Was there some magic that made all of the magical protections reset themselves, or did Voldemort come back to the cave later, after the Horcrux was removed? Or was the Horcrux never there at all?

Who is/was R.A.B.?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Goblin Rebellions

Harry, Ron and Hermione are trying to figure out why the goblins are following Ludo Bagman around. Bagman told Harry that they were looking for Mr. Crouch, and they all wonder why. Harry thinks maybe they need an interpretor. Ron chimes in to make fun of Hermione worrying about the "poor, ickle goblins" and suggests Hermione start SPUG, Society for the Protection of Ugly Goblins.

But Hermione says, "Goblins don't need protection. Haven't you been listening to what Professor Binns has been telling us about goblin rebellions?"

"No," said Harry and Ron together.

No surprise there. Harry often isn't paying attention when he should be. All we learn from Hermione is that goblins are "quite capable of dealing with wizards. . . . They're very clever. They're not like house-elves who never stick up for themselves."

The WOMBAT that was recently posted on jkrowling.com contained references to three separate goblins, however much the names might sound like each other so that we get them confused.

I can't predict what will happen, other than I very much think Gringotts, specifically the tunnels where the vaults are, will figure into the plot of the Deathly Hallows. I think that the goblins and the missing history of their rebellions, will figure into it somehow. Lucky for Harry that Hermione pays attention in History of Magic.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Conjunctivitis Curse

In GoF, Harry is warned about the dragons in the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament by Hagrid. He's talking to Sirius in the fire a few days before the task and Sirius says there's a simple spell a single wizard can use to deal with a dragon. Then he is interrupted before he can tell Harry what it is.

Later, after the task, he writes Harry a letter and just happens to mention that the spell he'd been about to tell Harry is the Conjunctivitis Curse. A dragon's weakest point is its eyes, he says. But Harry's way, Summoning his Firebolt and using it to fly around and confuse the dragon, was better, much more spectacular from the point of view of a movie producer if not also the reader of a book.

So that's that, right? No need to remember that old Conjunctivitis Curse, eh? I wonder what it does? Conjunctivitis is also known, here in the States anyway, as Pink Eye. It's an infection in your eyes or, more accurately, I believe, in your tear ducts. I remember having it as a kid, I was horribly sick and my eyes were actually so stuck together, stuck closed, one morning when I woke up, that my mother had to spend a couple of minutes with a washcloth to get it open. So, if I were writing it, the Conjunctivitis Curse would make a dragon have red, irritated and weepy eyes. But I'm not J.K. Rowling. Maybe the term has a different connotation in the UK and maybe in her world, it makes the eyes go sort of out of focus, blurry, pupil-less.

Sound familiar? Others have said they believe the dragon on the Deluxe Edition cover is an Antipodean Opaleye, due to the fact that the picture doesn't show pupils in its eyes (and conveniently, it's supposedly the only dragon who won't eat humans, though I still believe the Welsh Green falls into that category as well). I have been against this idea because the Opaleye also has irridescent scales and I don't think the picture shows that.

This would be another explanation for the strange-looking eyes. And it would make Harry's ability to conquer and ride this dragon even more spectacular, if it's not the tame, sheep-eating Opaleye but a Norwegian Ridgeback or a Hungarian Horntail that he ends up riding. I've wondered what an Opaleye, native to New Zealand, would be doing somewhere a bit closer to th UK, or how the trio would end up all the way Down Under, it just doesn't make that much sense. I think the Opaleye exists because Jo decided that part of the world deserved its own dragon species and here was this great name practically sitting there for the picking, opals being also a commonly found thing in that part of the world.

So, here I am, going on record that not only is this dragon not an Opaleye but that Harry or Hermione use the Conjunctivitis Curse to subdue it and ride it, probably to escape some sort of danger. I mean, think about it, ride a dragon who can't see normally? You'd probably only do that in a real crisis, when the other choice is staying around facing certain death.

Think about how dragons have been portrayed so far in the books. Harry's practically beside himself, anticipating the first task, once he knows what it involves. Ron's opinion is changed as he witnesses how dangerous this is, no one could choose that of their own free will. The movie makes the dragon seem even more fearsome. Harry has ridden other creatures, true, but they've been virtually tame besides a dragon. A Hippogriff will actually bow to you if it likes you. And Dumbledore has ridden Thestrals before, so that's a cake-walk. Riding a dragon has to be suitably dangerous to really knock our socks off in this last, and best, book of the series. Wouldn't riding a dragon known not to eat humans be a little of a let-down?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Oh, to be skilled at Occlumency

There are moments in the books where I'd dearly love to be able to read the minds of various characters. Here are two examples:

The moment when Snape enters Lupin's office early on in Prisoner of Azkaban and finds Harry sitting there chatting with Lupin. What is Snape thinking when he sees them together?

Another moment is one I've just re-read in Goblet of Fire. The first Defense Against the Dark Arts class with the character who appears for almost all of the book to be Alastor Moody but who is, in reality, Barty Crouch, Jr.

Now, if I have my backstory right, Barty was part of the foursome who were convicted of torturing the Longbottoms into insanity. He may have even seen Neville at the Longbottom house when this occurred, we don't know for sure. I've always wondered if the Death Eaters put some sort of memory charm on the young Neville so he wouldn't remember what happened that day.

So, in the classroom, we see Barty Crouch Jr. come face to face with Neville. The fake Moody stares hard at Neville and it's clear he knows who he is and who his parents are.

After class, he almost apologizes to both Harry and Neville for bringing up painful memories, explaining that "you've got to know" what's out there, what they're up against. He makes sure Harry's not too upset, and he takes Neville back to his office with him for a cup of tea and some conversation.

Later, Neville arrives back in the Common Room with the book that would, had Harry consulted it, have contained the answer to how to breathe underwater. Neville is in a much-improved mood and Harry reflects that this is something Lupin would have done (reaching out to a student and helping them gain confidence).

So, was getting the solution to the second task into Harry's hands the only motivation for this concern for Neville's well-being? Wouldn't there have been another way to tip Harry off to the actions of Gillyweed? What is Barty feeling, coming face-to-face with someone who's been so negatively affected by the crime he had a hand in committing?

Further on in the book, I find myself questioning his motivation again. Why does he go to such great lengths to teach Harry how to fight off the Imperius curse? Doesn't this give Harry a greater chance of getting away from Voldemort? Why would this be something a Death Eater would want to do? It doesn't seem to be something that will help Harry in any of the Triwizard Tasks.

I'm not sure we'll even see a mention of Barty Crouch, Jr., in the Deathly Hallows, but I really would like an answer to these questions.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Flying

The Deluxe Scholastic Edition cover art of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows shows the trio riding a dragon!

We've seen a lot of flying in the various Harry Potter books, as they pointed on on the most recent episode of Pottercast. Here is the list I came up with:

  • Harry flies on a broomstick in Book One. Many of the other students do so, too, though Harry does it somewhat better than the rest. Harry gets a Nimbus Two Thousand, a very fast racing broom.
  • Ron, Fred and George rescue Harry from the Dursleys in a flying Ford Anglia in Book Two. Harry and Ron arrive at Hogwarts in the same flying car. Snape thinks it's there way of showing off. In the same book, Harry, Ron, Ginny and Professor Lockhart all fly out of the Chamber of Secrets by hanging onto the tail of Fawkes the Phoenix.
  • Harry, Hermione and Sirius fly on Buckbeak the Hippogriff in Book Three. Harry's Nimbus is destroyed and replaced by a Firebolt, an international standard broom that seems much faster and better even than the Nimbus.
  • Book Four shows us that Harry on his Firebolt is able to confuse a dragon. I guess, in the book, the dragon doesn't fly around like it does in the movie. Viktor Krum, who is a famous and talented Seeker, admires Harry's flying ability. Another wizarding method of flying is mentioned, but we learn that, in Britian at least, flying carpets are banned at present. They didn't used to be, though, and were useful for family transportation, apparently.
  • Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville, and Luna all fly on Thestrals in Book Five. Only Harry, Neville and Luna can see them, making the trip even more unnerving for the rest. We learn that Dumbledore sometimes uses this method of transportation.
  • I can't think of anything new Harry flies on in Book Six.

So what am I getting at? I'm wondering if there's some symbolism to flying in the Harry Potter books. In many of the books, Harry's figurative death (which happens in each book) occurs underground, or he goes underground right before it. So is flying a symbol of resurrection or something similar?

  • In Book One, the flying precedes the figurative death, coming much earlier in the book. However, it does seem to highlight Harry's feelings of belonging in the Wizarding World and freedom from the oppression he felt with the Dursleys.
  • In Book Two, again, the flying car rescues him from virtual imprisonment at the Dursleys, and it enables them to get to Hogwarts when the barrier has mysteriously shut itself against them. At the end of the book, Fawkes could certainly be seen as a resurrection symbol.
  • In Book Three, Buckbeak saves the life of the innocent Sirius. This occurs after Harry and Sirius, as well as Hermione, almost lose their souls to the soul-sucking Dementors.
  • In Book Four, Harry uses his broom to keep from being killed by the dragon, and in addition he scores fairly well in the first task and manages to convince Ron he never planned to enter the tournament himself, thus healing the rift in their friendship.
  • In Book Five, the Thestrals can only be seen by those who have seen someone die. Regardless, they are able to bring all six students to the Ministry, where they again go underground and Harry almost dies. I'm not sure I see much symbolism here.
So, often in the Harry Potter novels, flying brings freedom and a sense of belonging, if not actually saving a life. Harry seems unusually adept at flying, even for a Wizard.

That's all I can come up with. I'd love to hear comments about this, I'm sure I've missed something.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Narrative Misdirection

Harry, Ron and Hermione are in the woods after the Quidditch World Cup. They see Winky the House-elf walking in a strange manner, as if someone invisible where trying to hold her back. Did you see that? But Harry is ready for a more plausible explanation, comparing her behavior to that of Dobby when he's punishing himself for disobeying his master. That seems to satisfy everyone, including the reader, and we go on our merry way.

Why am I bringing this up? I occurred to me that Harry has a ready-made explanation for why Snape hates him so much. Because of his father. It makes sense, but is it correct?

Things to think about:

We've never been given a satisfactory explanation for why Snape hates Neville so much.

And there are some good reasons for Snape to hate Harry that we haven't considered, though they may be equally incorrect. Snape hates Harry because Harry is responsible for the Dark Lord's downfall. Snape hates Harry and Neville because their parents fought against the Dark Lord; maybe the parents, who both thrice defied Lord Voldemort, were responsible for the death or imprisonment of someone Snape was close to. These are good explanations for why Evil!Snape would hate Harry.

Why would Good!Snape hate Harry and Neville? If he's on the same side, working for the same goal, why would he make such a point to be mean to Harry and Neville? All I can come up with is that it's probably right in front of our face (like the invisible person in the woods with Winky) yet we fail to see it because we like Harry's explanation better.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Speaking of sleeping . . .

. . . as I was in my previous post, I have to write down the crazy dream I had the other night.

I only remember from the middle of the dream. Something had led up to where I found myself in the part I remember, but I don't know what it was.

In my dream, I was in a store, a big store with shopping carts like Wal-Mart or Sam's Club. Instead of products loose in my cart, I had a rather large cardboard shipping box. The flaps were open (I mean, not taped shut) but folded back closed so you couldn't see what was in it. The box was probably big enough to hold 10 copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, or, well, about the size box that 10 reams of copy paper come in. Maybe a bit smaller. As far as I can remember, it was the only thing in my cart.

So I pushed the cart over out of the way of the traffic and lifted one of the flaps to see what was in the box. There were other items in it, but right on top was a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It had the cover and the title and it looked just like the little animation on the Leaky Cauldron, the one that spins around, except it was full-sized and not spinning, just sitting in the box.

Now, in my dream I know I was a bit surprised to find the book there but I seemed to know I hadn't stolen it. However I'd gotten the box and its contents, it was legal for me to have them, I'd paid for them or whatever, I hadn't stolen them from the back office of my local Borders or whatever. But I also knew it wasn't yet July 21 and I wasn't supposed to have a copy this soon.

And I made up my mind, I just had to close the flaps and nonchalantly go to my car, not running or drawing attention to myself, but just calmly and like I wasn't doing anything wrong. Like I said before, I wasn't stealing. I have no idea how the box came in my possession but I hadn't stolen it, I know that much. Maybe the store had a parcel pickup window like a post office and I'd picked it up, and somehow my pre-order came early. Maybe my brother came across a copy and mailed it to me. Maybe Jo realizes how hard it is for me to wait and sent me an advance copy. Who knows.

So my plan was to go to the car, drive home and lock myself in my room and read the book, then try to keep quiet about the plot till July 21. Not to tell anyone, not to spoil it for anyone or try to make a bet on the outcome, just to enjoy it because, well, because I had it, because I could. (The hardest part about that would be keeping it from my children, esp. my youngest. He's the one who sneaks into my room to borrow my magic wand and play with it. And it's a rather large book to hide. But he can't keep a secret to save his life so I wouldn't be able to keep the book if I told him. 45 min. later the news media and the police would be at my door, wanting the book back.)

But then I woke up. My light-sleeper of a son, who's light it seemed I'd just turned out a few minutes before, woke up, went to the bathroom and then wanted me to tuck him in again.

And the moment was ruined. The book was gone. It looks like I'm going to have to wait till July 21 like everyone else.

:::::sigh:::::

Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon

Why not?

Maybe if you tickle them, they let you ride them?

Just a thought. It just occurred to me to connect that Hogwarts motto with the cover art for the Scholastic Deluxe Hardcover edition, and that's what I came up with.

It's late at night. I'll probably think I was very silly when I wake up in the morning.

Can Fred and George predict the future, or can they time travel?

I'm re-reading GoF and I've just got to the part where Fred and George make a wager with Ludo Bagman.

So, they bet something that sounds so unlikely that they must have known ahead of time how the match would end. How?

I see two alternatives. Time travel and Divination.

We never learn what extra subjects Fred and George took, so we don't know if they took Divination or if they were any good at it. What we do know is that our author seems to, for the most part, discount Divination as in imprecise branch of magic (because Dumbledore and McGonagall think this, among others).

So that leaves u with Time Travel. We know it's happened before. How would they do it? The Fred and George who went to the match then go back in time and tell their other selves, the ones who haven't seen the match yet, who won? Or do Fred and George somehow go forward in time? We don't see anyone going forward in time in PoA, so we don't know if Wizards can do so or not.

If Fred and George have mastered this, without a time turner, this might be useful for Harry in the last book.

Friday, June 08, 2007

They're Riding on a Dragon!

Click the title to go to the story at the Leaky Cauldron where you can see the artwork, if you haven't already. I've been waiting for the Deluxe Edition Cover Art since early May, and it's finally here.

And I'm speechless. I don't know what to say about it, or write about it.

It's great! A really cool picture, makes a great desktop background!

And I never expected this. I sat looking at it and wondering -- "is it a Thestral? But it doesn't look like a Thestral. It's too big to be a Thestral, and it has horns. But They're riding it. Remember how fierce they were in GoF, remember how scared they were at the thought of confronting one. But they're riding it in this picture, how can that be?

Did Charlie tame one for Harry to use in the final battle? Is it Norbert and it remembers Harry from 6 years ago? Norbert wasn't very tame, though, remember -- Hagrid saying he was at a "difficult stage", and how it sounded like he ripped apart the stuffed animal Hagrid put in the crate to keep him company on the flight to Romania.

I just can't really come up with any scenario that gets the trio on the back of a dragon. I guess that's why I'm not the author of these books.

I can't wait to find out what this is all about.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Further thoughts on my theory below

The idea of Aunt Petunia at Number 12 Grimmauld Place is so tantalizing, I've been thinking of it a bit more.

I've been convinced for a while that a Bundimun (see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I think it's on page 5) lives at Number 12 Grimmauld Place. When Harry arrives he hears something scuttering behind the skirting board, and I don't think it was Mr Samuel Whiskers and his wife Anna Maria. There was also a musty odor, I believe, which fits the setting but is also a sign of a Bundimun lurking nearby.

So the question is, did Mrs. Weasley, Sirius or any of the Order Members recognize the signs and try to get rid of this pest? We hear nothing about that, so we don't know. FB makes it sound like a building can actually be destroyed if a Bundimun is allowed to continue to inhabit it. Or maybe it's just that the Ministry needs to be contacted to bring in the big guns.

How would Petunia and her rubber gloves react when confronted by a Bundimun? Or where will they go if the house actually collapses because of it? I've got all kinds of ideas in my head and they can't all happen because some of them are mutually exclusive.

I'm thinking of my back-door neighbor in college who came over to borrow something and discovered that I and my roommates were in pursuit of a mouse that we'd heard in our kitchen cabinets. This young lady actually stood on a chair and screamed. I thought that only happened in cartoons! I wonder if that would be similar to Petunia's reaction. Or would she faint? Fainting's dangerous, then they can crawl over your body while you're out -- but she might not stop to think of that.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

My theory about how Deathly Hallows will begin

A couple of things have been whirling around in my mind, and today they settled down and formed themselves into this theory. I think it makes a lot of sense, I wonder what anyone else thinks?

First, Dumbledore did not discuss Harry's inheritance from Sirius in front of the Dursleys by accident. He had a reason, even if we were to distracted by floating drink glasses to notice. Dumbledore had so many opportunities to speak to Harry that year, including in the Weasley's broom shed, that I just think it wasn't by chance that Vernon Dursley has now heard that Sirius is dead, Harry is his heir, the address of his ancestral home, the name of the Wizarding bank and that Harry has an account there with gold in it, and that a group calling itself the Order of the Phoenix has, and plans to again, use the aforementioned home as their headquarters. Remember, Dumbledore is the Secret-Keeper for the Order of the Phoenix. No one can find the place if they aren't told about it by Dumbledore, right? But now all three Dursleys have been told.

Second, fast forward to the end of HBP. Consider the fact that, according to formula, in every other book, we see Harry take the train all the way back to Platform 9-3/4, Harry goes through the barrier back into the Muggle part of King's Cross station and sees the Dursleys. He's always going off with them back to Number 4 Privet Drive when we last see him, right? But not so at the end of HBP. Why not?

What if Vernon has spent the year since we've last seen him trying to find out as much as he can about Harry's inheritance? What if he makes an attempt to get money from Harry, as payback for having raised him? As Harry's guardian, he'd be legally entitled to take charge of Harry's assets, even if it wouldn't be ethical. So that's one thought that I had.

Whether Vernon makes Harry take him to Number 12 Grimmauld Place, whether Vernon has already visited it during Harry's sixth year at school (and whether he'd be able to see it, given the anti-Muggle charms the Blacks may have put on it), or whether the Death Eaters just decide to attack the Dursley's house once Harry comes of age, I think it's very likely that the entire Dursley family will be in for an extended stay at Number 12 Grimmauld Place, for their own safety. Maybe their house gets blown up. Maybe one of the Death Eaters tries to kill Dudley.

Oh, to see Aunt Petunia in her rubber gloves attempting to scrub and scour the place from top to bottom! The aptness of this fate makes me laugh out loud every time I think of it!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

What would ruin it for me

I've been thinking about various ways the last Harry Potter book could end and wondering if I could be severely disappointed. I've come up with a short list of things that, if they happened, I'd be so severely disappointed I'd feel it was a waste of time to obsess over these books for as long as I have.

First, if Dumbledore turns out to have been lying to Harry or manipulating things, using Harry as a way to save the wizarding world without regard to Harry's feelings. I don't think that'll happen but I've heard theories that amounted to as much. If it turns out Harry's faith in Dumbledore is misplaced, I'll be extremely disappointed.

Second, I really think I'll be pretty disappointed if Harry dies. Ditto for Ron, Hermione and even Ginny. It would have to be for a very, very convincingly good reason for me not to be disappointed.

Third, I'm kind of expecting a big surprise, along the lines of what we learned about Sirius Black and Scabbers in PoA and how Moody turned out not to be Moody in GoF. I've been expecting that ever since, when I read both OoP and HBP, and I was rather disappointed. True, I was spoiled for HBP, I never got to read the lightning-struck tower chapter without knowing what was coming, so maybe I'd have felt differently if I'd been surprised by that. So, if there's no big surprise, I'll be disappointed.

Fourth, if, after it's all over, there's a sense that it was all senseless (I felt this after OoP -- If Harry had just used the mirror to contact Sirius, if he'd not been fooled, it needn't have happened. I hope there isn't a death in DH that feels like that, I hope it feels like there was a purpose, like if the person hadn't died, Voldie would have triumphed.

I hope after I read the last book, I immediately want to go back and read them all over again. That's what I hope.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Really off-the-wall Horcrux theories

I'm going to post these here because they came to me yesterday morning and I wanted to write them down. I can come back and laugh at them when the Deathly Hallows is published and I find out I'm wrong.

First theory: When Dumbledore de-horcruxed the ring, the part of Voldemort's soul transferred itself to Dumbledore. Dumbledore was aware of this and knew he was not long for this world. He arranged for Snape to kill him and thus destroy that part of Voldie's soul and that explains the events in HBP. An alternate theory to this is that the part of the soul that had been in the locket was transferred to the green potion and that when Dumbledore drank the potion he took that part of the soul inside himself, making it necessary for Snape to kill him. The drawback to that is how did he commmunicate that to Snape, which I don't know. Maybe Dumbledore had already visited the underground lake and knew what the potion was and arranged with Snape what he was suppose to do.

Second theory (less off the wall than the one above): Harry will become convinced that he himself is a Horcrux, and that he has to die and kill Voldemort all in one moment in order to defeat him. He comes up with a plan to accomplish this and is in the act of carrying it out when Hermione figures out that Harry really isn't a Horcrux and steps in somehow and saves Harry, but Voldemort still dies. Obviously the details are really sketchy, but I wouldn't be surprised if some version of this one actually happens.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

NCIS Season Finale SPOILERS

Okay, you're right, this is supposed to be a Harry Potter blog.

But the writers of my favorite TV show, NCIS, pulled a surprise out of their hats that rivals JKR's sneaky it-was-in-your-face-all-along-why-didn't-you-see-that-coming type of surprise, and I couldn't help making some comparisons.

I was sitting there thinking, "Benoit." Right, her name's Jeanne Benoit, and both of the names are pronounced very Francais, even the nurses say her last name the way the French would say it (Ben wah, not the Americanized Ben oyt that you'd expect). But she's American, her mother (who we met in a previous episode) is American. Why didn't I stop and take it one step further to wonder where this very very French name came from, when right in the same episode there is another person with a French accent, a French nickname.

But no, I got distracted. They're going to pull another "Kate" -- I was sure of it. Then the nurse starts talking about the Angel of Death (also the title of the episode) and there's this little girl who's holding an angel doll, first she's at the airport when the kid gets hit with the cab, then she's at the hospital, standing right behind Tony but Tony doesn't see her. No, they're not going to kill Tony off, are they? But he's going to be so sad if they kill Jeanne off (though I guess it would settle his feelings of ambiguity over whether or not to move in with her). Or is it going to be the Director -- someone was in her house, a left-handed scotch drinker (I'm left-handed, do I pour with my right or my left hand -- there they've got me distracted again!).

There's the picture of the Director's father. Yes, she does have his eyes (though Gibbs said it backwards, that he has her eyes). I'm not good with eyes, is this man someone we've already seen and I don't recognize him? That will be something to watch for when I re-watch it (my DVR's recording away so I can watch it again later!).

Here come the real spoilers. If you haven't seen this episode yet and want to be surprised, don't say I didn't warn you, STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED!

So, no one dies (unless you count the heroin mule, Dr. Benoit's patient). Tony pulls off a great save, sliding across the floor to get the gun and shooting the bad guy in the shoulder after Jeanne stabs him with a scalpel. Meanwhile, Abby's in the lab sleeping on the floor (why doesn't she have furniture in there?) and her computer's working to match the scotch drinker's fingerprints, and the Director's Daddy's picture comes up. Upstairs Tim is looking to find who ordered the NCIS staff's lie detector tests. He talks like McGee, even more technical than I can understand about how and where he's tracing this, oversees and back and into some black ops and he lost me even before that, and then Gibbs talks about a stake-out and if you can't find the person you stake out their "girl" and tells McGee to search the Director's name (Gibbs had lost me at that point as well) and before we see Daddy's picture on Abby's computer we see McGee's search has come up with Daddy as well, though I at least am not yet sure what that part really means.

We see the arms dealer the team has been tracking on and off all season, La Grenouille, talking to his henchman and looking at photos of Tony and Jeanne and discussing whether Tony would do anything because he loves Jeanne. The henchman says Tony has a different "skirt" every few weeks and the relationship means nothing.

So then, the big surprise, all of you reading this have probably figured it out by now, and I can just hear my husband (who will watch the recorded version with me at some point) saying, "I knew it, I mean, they're both French!" but I didn't see it coming. Jeanne is apparently La Grenouille's daughter, and we see him meeting Tony in his limo and butchering his Italian last name (despite his ability to say it correctly earlier). Now what's Tony going to do, dating the daughter of an international arms dealer? And is he safe, being that he's in this criminal's limo and (as we established when he entered the morgue to take care of the bad guys) unarmed?

We'll have to wait all summer to find out.

I laughed for about 5 minutes, I was so delighted to be surprised like that. Great job! Great show!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"Dumbledore thinks . . ." -- or does he?

"I've got to be quick," Harry panted. "Dumbledore thinks I'm getting my Invisibility Cloak."

Whereupon he proceeds to give Hermione and Ron the Map, the bottle of Felix Felicis, and instructions to watch what Malfoy and Snape are up to, and then Harry hurries off on the Horcrux Hunt with Dumbledore.

But wait a minute -- here's a quote from much earlier in the book, spoken by Dumbledore in the Weasley's spidery broomshed:

"I wish you to keep your Invisibility Cloak with you at all times from this moment onward. Even within Hogwarts itself. Just in case, do you understand me?"

And just in case you're unsure, note that when Harry dashes up to the dormitory, he grabs only the Map and the rolled up socks containing the potion bottle. He already has the Cloak on him, as confirmed by the fact that he says "Dumbledore thinks" in the statement I quoted above.

Show of hands: Who thinks Dumbledore knew Harry had the Cloak on him, specifically didn't ask him but instead sent him to get it because he knew Harry had something important to do? Could that have been part of the "additional protection" Dumbledore anticipated being "in place" while he himself was gone from Hogwarts?

:::::sigh::::: I keep coming back to this one question: How much does Dumbledore know, how does he know it, how much does he foresee and intend Harry to do and how much is just happy (or unhappy) coincidence? And will we ever know the answer to these questions?

And can I stand to wait 73 more days to find out?

May 11

That's the date that we first saw artwork for the Deluxe Scholastic Hardcover edition of HBP. This had a picture of the Gaunt house from the outside, and Harry and Dumbledore following the ministry official through the woods towards it. We were all wondering how it related to the artwork on the regular cover and to the story itself, remember?

So, any day now we should be seeing artwork for the Deluxe edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

"And it takes six months . . . You've got to let it stew . . . ."

"Typical," said Ron.

They're referring, of course, to Felix Felicis, concluding it would be too much of a bother to try and make more of it for themselves because it's complicated to make and also not meant for those who are impatient or poor at planning ahead.

We also know that Polyjuice Potion takes over a month to make, and so does Veritaserum.

Weren't all three of these potions on display in the very first Newt Potion class in HBP? And hadn't Slughorn just arrived at Hogwarts much more recently than even one month?

So, did Slughorn make these ahead and store them somehow? Did Snape make them and Slughorn just use them? How would that work? "Professor Slughorn, I've prepared these potions for my NEWT level class but now that you'll be teaching it, why don't you use them?" From observing them, I'd say the two professors have different enough teaching styles that Slughorn wouldn't use Snape's lesson plans but would teach the class his own way.

Harry is convinced that Malfoy stole the Polyjuice potion for use in having some ready-made but inobtrusive guards for his secret activities. How much potion would that require? Surely more than could be stolen in one shot in a classroom filled with students.

So did Slughorn make the potions ahead of time and pack them away in his suitcase to bring to Hogwarts? Or is this just a case of Jo's maths weakness striking again? And did Draco steal the Polyjuice potion? Did he steal any of the others as well? We see no evidence that he used Felix.

Hmm . . .

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Inanimate Objects Thinking for Themselves?

"Ginny!" said Mr. Weasley, flabbergasted. "Haven't I taught you anything? What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain? . . ."

Chamber of Secrets, p. 329, Scholastic paperback edition.

So, we shouldn't trust inanimate objects that can think for themselves. Have we seen any other objects that can think for themselves? Here's a list (in order of their first appearance in the series):

--The Sorting Hat

--Mr. Weasley's car

--The Goblet of Fire

Are any of these objects Horcruxes? I'd say it's unlikely the Ford Anglia (is Anglia a form of the same word from which we get Angel?) is a Horcrux, being that it's a Muggle car, and was probably made after Riddle's time as a young man. But the Sorting Hat and the Goblet of Fire seem likely choices to me.

I'm sure people have talked about the Sorting Hat. I seem to remember someone pointing out that Harry pulled the sword from the hat. The sword wasn't in the hat when Fawkes brought the hat to Harry. It came out later. It seems to have been left with something more akin to a slice of Gryffindor's soul than Riddle's. I don't mean a Horcrux, but maybe there's some other way of leaving behind some essence of your values, your personality, in an inanimate object, for another purpose than immortality, and Gryffidor did this with the Sorting Hat. I'm not going to pursue this now except to say I don't think the Sorting Hat is one of Riddle's Horcruxes.

But the Goblet of Fire. I wonder where that's kept. Maybe in a vault with other treasure, a vault with a round door or doorway, filled with gold coins and fine objects covered with rubies. Does that sound familiar?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Book 7 Predictions

I took a quiz on The Leaky Cauldron that allows you to predict details of what will happen in Book 7.




I have to qualify that by saying I wish I could have given comments on some of them, and others I was just unsure so I guessed.

For example, "Will Harry learn more about love in the Dept. of Mysteries?" I put no, but I do think we will probably visit the "love" room in the dept. of mysteries and that Harry will learn more about love, though I don't know that he'll learn it at the Ministry. I think Harry's lessons will be learned from life, not from a school book or a research dept. at the Ministry.

"Will we visit the Chamber of Secrets again?" I put yes, but I'm not sure we'll go there, I just think it will have something to do with something in the book. I think the damage Ron's wand explosion caused resulted in the cave-in of the secret passageway behind the 4th floor mirror that Fred and George tell Harry is now completely blocked, though they used it earlier in Harry's second year. Since there are 7 secret passageways, I think that will be significant in some way and the chamber is likely to play a part in it somehow, esp. since Slytherin created it and Voldemort is Slytherin's Heir.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

More thoughts on the covers

I have two words for those who think the creature behind Harry on the UK Children's edition cover is a house-elf:

bat-like ears

No, the creature on the cover doesn't have ears that could really be described as bat-like. We don't have a house-elf drawing from this cover artist, like we do for the American versions. Last time, I actually spent time looking for pictures (in the chapter art as well as the covers) of Ron, Hermione and Ginny to see whether they were the people looking up at the Dark Mark, and for a picture of a pensieve, to find out if that's what the basin on the cover was. I still think it's a Goblin, but only time will tell.

Icy-Hogwarts -- everyone wonders what's going on with the castle on the back of the UK children's cover. I think it's most likely to be Hogwarts. Maybe a Hogwarts that's mostly deserted, no students are there. Or it's under a spell of some kind. The full moon may be significant, given Lupin's condition.

The US cover -- a bunch of position type comments. They are behind the curtains, whatever that means. Both of them are definitely behind where the curtains are. Second, the floor. They are in the midst of the rubble that is there. I don't think we can tell if they're falling through it or just standing in it, but there are pieces in front of them and pieces behind them. They are both surrounded by parts of debris, whether it be broken floor or not. It appears to be both rock and wood, so I think it's most likely to NOT be a floor that's actively breaking up, but one that was broken before they got there.

One more thing -- the locket. Slytherin's locket. It's on the cover of the UK adult edition. And Harry's wearing it on the US cover. End of story. If it's important enough to be on the cover, and then Harry's wearing something very, very similar, it's most likely the same thing. I could be wrong, of course, but that's what I think.