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.