I know, I know. We are all counting the days until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So let’s have fun while we endure the wait by trading some pet theories.
To get my Harry Potter motor running, I’ve been revisiting all the books, either in print or on audio. (If you haven’t checked out Jim Dale’s audio renditions of the novels, you’re in for an enormous treat.) But I also read Mugglenet.com’s What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Falls in Love and How Will the Adventure Finally End? This book is billed as “independent and unauthorized” (read: potentially full of crap, and please don’t sue us), so it’s not approved by J.K. Rowling or even her pets. But it is chock-full of great ideas, summaries, conspiracy theories, character assessments, and trivia. I’d say that it’s a much better use of my time than trawling the various websites (of which Mugglenet is one of the top two, along with The Leaky Cauldron). That’s because a lot of the crackpot silliness that’s discussed on the websites has been edited out. (Harry/Hermione shipper fiction? I ask you.) Sometimes those websites can feel like All Offal, All the Time.
I didn’t actually have high expectations for this book at first. But instead of being a bunch of loosely confederated and poorly edited random musings, which is frankly what I expect from most fan books (and certainly from one with five—count em, five!--authors), this book is one tight ship. Chapters are clearly organized by theme or character, and the writing is lucid and sharp. If nothing else, be sure to read the chapter on Snape. It lays out the reasons for Snape’s real loyalties to the Order of the Phoenix so rationally and specifically that I don’t know how anyone can leave that chapter still imagining that Snape is a servant of the Dark Lord. There is also a very balanced chapter on Dumbledore, which deals even-handedly with the theories about whether Dumbledore is really dead. (I believe he is, because that is the only emotionally true answer for me, because there is significant evidence for it in the story, and of course because J.K. Rowling has stated explicitly that Dumbledore is “definitely dead.” But I have to confess I am beginning to take the other POV more seriously after seeing it laid out so thoughtfully in this book. All I can say is that I desperately hope they are right and I am wrong, and that Dumbledore, my favorite character, will be quietly be working as Voldemort’s “invisible destroyer” in Book 7. Wouldn’t that be grand?)
1) I am afraid that either Fred or George Weasley is wearing the proverbial Red Shirt. We’ve already had several close calls with members of the Weasley family—Ginny in 2, Arthur in 4, and Bill in 6—but as of yet no one has perished. Someone in that family is going to die in Book 7, and given that a) redundant characters are typically toast and F&G are virtually indistinguishable, and b) both have become courageous and very public soldiers in the fight against the Dark Lord, I would say that one of them is doomed. I am already grieving about this.
(As a footnote to this theory, I learned something interesting when poking around on J.K. Rowling’s official website. She has confirmed that two of the young men who are mentioned as having been killed in the war against Voldemort were Molly Weasley’s brothers. Someone had worked this out using their names and Molly’s maiden name, and Rowling confirmed this was correct. She said it’s not that significant in terms of the overall plot, but it demonstrates where Molly’s deepest fears originate. That scene in Book 5 when she confronts the boggart and it keeps turning into various members of her family, all dead . . . it always makes me cry. Now I know where some of Mrs. Weasley’s fears are coming from: she’s already lost two of her beloved family members. Poor Molly. She’s about to experience every mother’s worst nightmare. I only pray the tragedy will be a catalyst to bring that git Percy to his senses at last.)
2) I have a wild theory about the Gryffindor-associated Horcrux. So far, we’ve seen the Hufflepuff cup and Slytherin’s ring and locket, but nothing from Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. In the book, the editors say that Gryffindor’s only known objects are the Sorting Hat and the sword, which Dumbledore had tested and discovered was not a Horcrux. (But did he ever test the hat?) The editors also think that it would have been impossible for Voldemort to have done a spell right under Dumbledore’s nose in his office during that Pensieve-based scene where we see Riddle apply for the DADA position, but I disagree. There’s that moment when Harry is sure Riddle did something with his wand. What if Riddle/Voldemort was able to perform a Horcrux spell, possibly by freezing time for a few minutes? And of all the objects in Dumbledore’s office, I know which one I would choose if I were making a Horcrux. (Which I wouldn’t, because the last time I checked, I was not evil.) Fawkes. I’d do this for two reasons: first, he’s by nature an immortal creature, continually regenerating. What better place to hide one’s soul fragment than in a creature that cannot die? And second, placing a Horcrux in Fawkes would be a very, very personal way to stick it to Dumbledore. It’s interesting that Rowling hasn’t told us much about the bird’s history—how did Dumbledore come to possess this magical creature? Could it have once belonged to the original Godric Gryffindor? I predict that in book 7, Harry will somehow discover that Fawkes is a Horcrux. This, however, would effect a terrible dilemma: Harry loves Fawkes, and owes Fawkes a debt for saving his life in Book 2. How could he ever destroy this creature, if in fact such a creature could be destroyed? Remember that Fawkes took a killing curse for Dumbledore at the end of Book 5, and lived to tell the tale.
3) In his travels, Harry is going to have to go back to Godric’s Hollow, where it all began for him. Obviously, the name is a clue that there is some kind of Gryffindor association to that place, as well as piece of Harry’s personal and family history. I would love to see this be the place where he confronts Voldemort once and for all.
4) And speaking of family, JKR has said that Dumbledore’s family “would be a profitable line on inquiry” for us wacky theorizers with no social lives. My friend Beth thinks that Dumbledore’s barkeeping brother is going to play a major role in Book 7. I am wondering if Aberforth is now the owner of the Horcrux-locket, which could have made its way to Grimmauld Place via Regulus and Kreacher, then been spirited out of GP by sticky-fingered Mundungus Fletcher in Book 5. Book 5 also shows him trying to sell his wares to Aberforth. We’ll see . . . .
5) I want to find out the real source of Harry’s scar. It’s not caused by the Avada Kedavra curse, which leaves no mark, and certainly wouldn’t have resulted in the destruction of the Potters’ entire house. Something else was going on here. Voldemort was planning to use Harry’s death as the opportunity to create his final Horcrux. How much of this process did he complete? JKR has said that the last word of Book 7 will be “scar.” What does this mean?
So that is some of my theorizing along with some from the Mugglenet book. Some of the most brilliant theories I’ve heard have not come from this book, but from my friends. We are all obsessed about Harry Potter theorizing. For example, my wicked-smart friend Angela Black (no known relation to Sirius or Regulus) came up with a theory that I think is amazing. I had not heard it before, and she came up with it working alone, though I see from Mugglenet that it has also been debated on some of the bulletin boards there.
Regulus Black is Crookshanks.
OK, wait for it.
First, remember that even though Crookshanks is most likely part Kneazle and therefore a whole lot smarter than an ordinary cat, he exhibits an unusual intelligence where Sirius is concerned. Crookshanks is the one who helps Sirius get into Hogwarts castle in book 3; he attacks Harry (p. 341) when Harry is fighting with Sirius, whom Harry believes has killed his parents; Crookshanks evinces an unusual affection for Sirius as a dog, and is seen rubbing up against him. Angela pointed out that in astronomy, Sirius is the dog star (which we all probably figured out already), but Regulus is the “King Star” in the Leo constellation. And given the number of times that Crookshanks is described as leonine, well, it seems like no real stretch to imagine that Crookshanks is really Regulus.
Except that J.K. Rowling seems to have categorically denied it. (Darn you, Jo!) On her website, she says point-blank that Crookshanks is not an animagus. If so, I am crushed, because it is brilliant theory.
And since I'm on a roll now and can't seem to stop, here are some things I would love to see happen (it's nice to dream):
1) I want to see Neville beat the CRAP out of Bellatrix LeStrange. Please, JKR, please let Neville be the one to do it. (And BTW, there is a fascinating theory about Neville in the Mugglenet book. Why is he so forgetful, like an Alzheimer’s adolescent? I always just put this down to comic relief, but the Mugglenet editors think it’s because a memory modification charm was performed on Neville when he was a small child, possibly to erase the memory of his parents’ torture. Who knows? But it’s an intriguing question.)
2) I want to see Harry save Snape’s life. (Which reminds me – my husband thinks that just as there is power every time Voldemort destroys a life and splits his soul, an even greater power has been generated each time Harry has saved a life. We’ve tried to count these and make them add up to seven lives saved, but some of them are iffy. Still, wouldn’t it be beautiful if this creates a magic more powerful than Voldemort dared dream?)
Aaaaanyway, Harry owes Snape a wizard’s debt many times over because Snape has saved Harry’s life so many times. Book 7 will be the place where Harry has to make good on that debt and save Snape’s life in return. Also, Peter Pettigrew will have to save Harry’s life, and show why he was put in Gryffindor all those years ago. There has to be some bravery lurking in that cold heart somewhere. The Mugglenet book predicts that Peter/Wormtail will involuntarily make good on his debt by revealing to Harry (who is expected to be a Horcrux) that he does not have to die in order to remove the Horcrux from himself. We’ll see.
3) I want to see the Malfoys be outed as vampires (yes, I still cling to my belief that they are vampires and that their vampirism is a recessive trait brought out by too much wizard inbreeding). Note the number of times they are described as pale, as “smelling” Mudbloods, and as drinking blood-red liquids. . . .there is something going on there.
4) I want the Ravenclaw Horcrux to be some loopy thing that’s been in Luna Lovegood’s family for generations. My friend Ron Rienstra came up with this idea, and I think it’s great.
5) I want to find out if Dumbledore was/is an unregistered animagus. Remember that he was the Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts before he became Headmaster.
6) I want to not only find out what happened to Harry’s grandparents, which is the glaring lacuna of the series so far, but to see him reunited with at least one of them. I think it is going to be one of his maternal grandparents, who has been falsely imprisoned in Azkaban for these many years. Why else would Aunt Petunia, the epitome of Mugglehood, know what Azkaban is?
7) I would love for the two-way mirror that Sirius gave Harry to become some kind of vehicle for Harry to communicate with Sirius one last time. JKR has hinted that this might be possible, and that Sirius would make some kind of final appearance in Book 7 even though he is, as the Munchkin coroner would say, “morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably Dead.”
I am totally aware that every single one of these theories could be way off base. Rowling is such a skillful writer—a genius!—that every book has delightful surprises and completely unexpected twists. There’s only one thing that’s certain, actually. And that is that 12:01 a.m. on July 21 can’t come a moment too soon.
OK, out with it. What do you think will happen?