Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter, the Deathly Hallows and the Internet Chatter Juggernaut (Or Something)

Another boring random-thought-filled excitable fan post on The Boy Who Lived.

Last week, I was trying to tell someone my exciting horcrux theories, and she sighed and said, You know, I don't think I will ever understand you. And ran away.

Then last Sunday, I was trying to tell someone else after service how I thought Harry might die, and he said, Oh. So you're one of those...

Ah, sightless muggles.
Very Ugly Still Life With Harry Potter Books
Anyway, the last few nights have been all:
Accio Harry Potter books!
Accio cereal!
Accio cold cold milk!
Accio Slughorn's tufted satin pillow and box of bonbons Oh. Wrong reality.

In the lead-up to Book 7: Deathly Hallows, for, maybe, the last 10 years, J.K. Rowling has been giving all sorts of clues how The Book That Need Not Be Further Named will end:
  • The last word of the book is still "scar".
  • Harry will return to the Dursley's one last time.
  • Harry will go to Godric's Hollow.
  • Hermione and Ron will join him on his journey to Godric's Hollow.
  • The trio will attend Bill and Fleur's wedding.
  • Harry may not return to Hogwarts for his seventh and final year.
  • We will finally learn the true identity of R.A.B. after much speculation.
  • The Founders will play a role.
  • We will, at long last, learn where Snape's loyalty truly lies.
  • We learn something very important about Lily, Harry's mother.
  • We will find out why Voldemort gave Lily so many chances to live.
  • The fact that Harry has his mother's eyes is important.
  • What the Potters did for a living is important.
  • One of Harry's classmates will become a teacher at Hogwarts.
  • Dumbledore's gleam of triumph in his eyes when he learns that Voldemort used Harry's blood to regenerate himself is significant.
  • We will learn a lot more about Dumbledore: secrets about his family, why he didn't kill Voldemort in the battle at the Ministry and perhaps even how he got that curious scar above his knee.
  • It is unclear whether Hogwarts will reopen for Harry's seventh year.
  • The magical protection that Harry is under while staying at the Dursley's will cease once he turns 17 and is an of age wizard.
  • We will become better acquainted with another member of the Order; someone we know but haven't really met yet.
  • We will learn secrets about the family of Peter Pettigrew.
  • We will learn more about the relationships between wands and their witches/wizards.
  • There will be no Quidditch.
  • There's more to Petunia than meets the eye.
  • One character gets a reprieve and two main characters die that weren't intended to die.
  • A character who hasn't done magic previously will do magic late in life.
  • We will learn what Dudley saw/heard when facing the dementors.
  • We will learn what happened to Sirius' flying motorbike.
  • We will learn more about the history of James Potter's family.
  • Fawkes may reappear.
  • Kreacher has a role to play.
  • Peter Pettigrew will not kill Lupin using his silver hand.
(Props to the curators at Leaky Lounge.)
  • "The mirror that Harry got from Sirius might not have helped as much as you think but, on the other hand, will help more than you think."
  • "...none of this should be taken to mean that Neville does not have a significant part to play in the last two novels, or the fight against Voldemort."
  • "...the prophecy itself, it remains ambiguous, not only to readers, but to my characters"
  • The fact that Harry "has his mother's eyes" will be important to the plot. (Wasn't there a song...oh, no, that was Bette Davis.)
(Props to Daily Press.)
  • James Potter's Cloak was indeed in the care of Albus Dumbledore at the time James died and that there is an important reason for this. (Props to BookStove.)
  • No one who has died will return.
  • Dumbledore IS really dead. "Everyone needs to move through the five stages of grief" and get past his death. She also apologizes to DumbledoreIsNotDead.com for ruining the purpose of their site. (From muggle.net)
  • ''Yes, I am [a Christian]. Which seems to offend the religious right far worse than if I said I thought there was no God. Every time I've been asked if I believe in God, I've said yes, because I do, but no one ever really has gone any more deeply into it than that, and I have to say that does suit me, because if I talk too freely about that I think the intelligent reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess what's coming in the books." (Interview with The Vancouver Sun.)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and The Lord of the Rings cycle by J.R.R. Tolkien have greatly influenced Rowling so perhaps the ending will be bittersweet.
  • Helena Bonham Carter, who did a foul job as Bellatrix Lestrange in the movie of Order of the Phoenix, was told by Rowling that she'd have a large part in Deathly Hallows. (Props to Moldova.)
So half-baked ideas have been fizzy whizzbuzzing round our skulls, released only to be batted about the room like, erm, bludgers at another team's seekers:
  • Snape is a double-agent on Dumbledore's side.
  • Snape's killing of Dumbledore was planned in advance by Dumbledore.
  • The Snape who killed Dumbledore was not really Snape but someone Polyjuiced-up as Snape.
  • The Dumbledore who died was not really Dumbledore but someone Polyjuiced-up as Dumbledore.
  • Dumbledore is an animagus (he was a Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts half a century ago) who takes the form of a phoenix and therefore, although he really died, he will rise again from the ashes, hence the strange phoenix patronus-like thing at his funeral.
  • The Dumbledore all this while was not really Dumbledore. How, for instance, did he know how James and Lily die? Was he at the scene?
  • Dumbledore borrowed the Invisibility Cloak for someone else who witnessed something important.
  • Dumbledore is not purely good but also evil. Snape is not purely evil but also good. Gary Oldman Sirius Black says in the movie of Order of the Phoenix: We all have both light and dark inside us. The part we choose to act on… that’s who we really are. (Not very Christian the movie bit. Christian would be more like "there is no one good, not even one" (Psalm 14).)
  • Harry will find the other horcruxes by using the Mirror of Erised.
  • Remembering to use the Time Turner would be pretty helpful too.
  • Wormtail will fulfil his life debt to Harry by cracking under the pure evilness of Voldemort and snitching on him to Harry or doing the dark and nasty deed himself (a la Wormtongue (oh! similar name!) and Saruman in Lord of the Rings).
  • Harry is a horcrux evidenced by some sort of mind-bind with Voldy.
  • Harry dies but is not a horcrux.
  • Harry dies but is the last horcrux and by killing Harry, Voldy renders himself mortal.
  • Harry is the last horcrux, he dies to save Aunt Petunia and by so doing, deflects the killing curse back onto Voldy, killing him in the process.
  • Harry's scar is the horcrux (aiding long-distance legilimency and throbbing to the beat of Voldy's emotions) and when he dies, Voldy takes over Harry's body (erm, but it's a dead body...).
  • Voldy and Harry's wands share the same magical core taken from the same animal. Since brother wands cannot fight each other, one of the wands will eventually force the other into a priori incantatem, perhaps reversing Voldy's spells.
  • Neville kills Voldy accidentally.
  • The Invisibility Cloak is a horcrux.
  • Voldy's wand is a horcrux.
  • What Voldy most fears is death. What's worse than death for him is being shuttled off to a retirement home, a broken man awaiting death. LOL.
  • Harry lives and ends up with Luna Lovegood because love is big in Rowling's world and Luna, well, it's...the name, innit.
  • Harry lives and ends up with Ginny and is BFF with Hermione.
The buzzing and permutations and combinations are so that in the late hours, while structuring complex deals at work, I have been known to say:"Yeah, well, even Gringotts isn't safe these days."

But there is no need to add to the plethora of media specials (Washington Post, Time), tantalising photos of sealed boxes of the books, and theories (see, eg, the forums at Mugglenet and The Leaky Cauldron) out there.

Ok, sugar-high bounce: I was telling another someone this week about how Rowling majors on details - a glimmer of the eye here, a seemingly inconsequential word there, and how if I was the one designing the Lego Harry Potter collection etc etc, and she said, Hey! Doesn't your church tell you not to read books on witchcraft?

Don't be stupefied that Christians read Harry Potter. On the other hand, while the books might possibly be rich in Christian symbolism (John Granger over at Hogwarts Professor revels in their speculated embarrassment of riches), there is no need, like many have done with Lord of the Rings, to attempt to squeeze them into the genre of Christian allegory. Because, c'mon, obviously Dumbledore isn't Jesus. That would be way too cheesy B-grade morality trash novel.

It is unlikely that anyone (Christian and non-Christian) reads Harry Potter for its glittering literary qualities. But Rowling's writing, her "pedestrian descriptive prose", no better than Enid Blyton, cannot be begrudged if it gets to ADHD 7-year-olds fuelled by Trix and Irn Bru.

The thing that intrigues me though is, excepting bacchanalian-orgy-type mass media hype, the draw of the books on readers of a vast range of ages. What do people see lacking in their real lives that they can embrace in this alternate world?

Is it merely for the narrative, the storyline, the plot development, so that spoilers like someone's cheeky photos of the embargoed book and pretended-spoilers (really fan fiction smelling like Grawp's armpit) need to be evanesco-ed before they ruin the entire Harry Potter Experience
? Will it be necessary to langlock everyone who's gotten their sticky paws on The Book That Need Not Be Further Named in the early hours of 21 July so no one will yell out the ending across Orchard Road just as you're heading home to savour the book?

Unlikely, since people who have read the books and know the ending to each book still read them repeatedly;. like how people read other stories, watch the same plays and listen to the same music over and over again. It is certainly not for the thrill of discovering the conclusion anew. Perhaps, then, it's the alternate universe, little world-through-the-cupboard, escapist vicarious-living stuff, kicking in.

Interestingly, it seems that no one in the last 2000 years or so has thought to accuse poor old John of ruining their eschatological experience with spoilers in the last few chapters of the Book of Revelation. Perhaps for those touting spoiler psychology, it's nice to be kept in suspense about the fate of fictional characters but with their own lives, it's nice to know what will happen, so they do not despair and so there is meaning to their current existence.

As J.R.R. Tolkien is known to have said:
All the other myths of the world are a mixture of truth and error - truth because they are written by those made by and for God - error because written by those alienated by God. But the Bible is the one true myth. It is a true accounting of truth, while everything else we do is mimicking.
PS: It would be cool if Deathly Hallows could be delivered by owl post at, oh, 12.02am on 21 July. But looks like we'll have to make do with queueing outside Borders in fancy dress. Harry Potter Party!
PPS: It would be even cooler if someone could buttonhole The Cure after their 1 August concert in Singapore (the buttonhole being figurative of course) and trade huge cans of hairspray for a song on Harry Potter. Or maybe even Voldy. Something like Spiderman in Lullaby Lovecats or Just Like Heaven would do nicely.
PPPS: The Mary GrandPré covers for the American Scholastic Deluxe Hardcovers are ace. She should do the albumwork for The Cure's song on Harry Potter, if that ever happens.

Update (19 July 2007): The New York Times has cheekily published a review of Deathly Hallows which they proudly describe as "purchased at a New York City retail outlet today (18 July 2007), although the book is embargoed for release until 12:01 a.m. this Saturday". LOL! New Yorkers!

***
Post-Deathly Hallows thoughts, a list of who dies, stuff on Christian symbolism and allegory: Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Magic, Love and Death
Some Christians Read Harry Potter

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8 Comments:

At July 19, 2007 1:21 am , Blogger Draken said...

trust the church of england to crash the party with a guide advising youth workers how to use Harry Potter to spread the Christian message.

news article here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article2093579.ece

 
At July 19, 2007 8:05 am , Anonymous Danny said...

I found this interesting: a survey on Harry Potter readers found that only 1/3 of them think Harry will survive the Deathly Hallows! A quarter of readers said they would seek the spoilers that have cropped up everywhere, which is kind of a shame that avid fans would ruin the ending for themselves. But I guess people don't think it's really the ending: Almost half said they think Rowling will write MORE Potter books. We can only hope!

Check out the survey results here: http://www.gmi-mr.com/gmipoll/release.php?p=20070717

 
At July 19, 2007 1:10 pm , Blogger Draken said...

i hope harry potter will die. then he will be a proper tragic hero. the spoiler epilogue is sick!! please god let it not be true!!!!

 
At July 19, 2007 1:46 pm , Blogger zyn said...

just fyi, the last word of the book is no longer "scar" - jkr forgot that she'd said that. "scar" is in the last sentence, but it's not the last word.

anyway the whole book is already out, so speculation at this point may be moot :)

 
At July 19, 2007 4:30 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

it must be hard for her to keep track of every little thing she's said/ people think she's said. i can't wait to see which speculation hits closest to the mark. 2 more days!

- D

 
At July 19, 2007 10:29 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have ordered my book from Amazon.com and looked forward to it arriving. Now I am afraid it might be quicker to buy it from the book store instead...

 
At July 20, 2007 12:46 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol. new york mag tries to get a copy but fails!

http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2007/07/bribing_a_bookseller_is_harder.html

 
At July 25, 2007 2:06 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who decides which books get press (Harry Potter) and which get censored? After all, censorship is becoming America's favorite past-time. The US gov't (and their corporate friends), already detain protesters, ban books like "America Deceived" from Amazon and Wikipedia, shut down Imus and fire 21-year tenured, BYU physics professor Steven Jones because he proved explosives, thermite in particular, took down the WTC buildings. Free Speech forever (especially for books).
Last link (before Google Books caves to pressure and drops the title):
America Deceived (book)

 

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