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!