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 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.