Thursday, July 19, 2007

Expectations versus Predictions

Expectations versus Predictions

I started writing this post almost a week or so ago, thinking there's still time, there's still time. Ha! Now, there are only a few short hours left until the release of the last installment of the Harry Potter series. It seems that predictions and spoilers are everywhere.

I will not spoil anyone, for I haven't read the pages posted online or reviews that the New York Times or the Baltimore Sun have published. Honestly, I cannot buy any explanation which either newspaper can give to rationalize why they felt they should publish reviews prior to the release of this book.

They had to know the date of release.

They had to know that there have been a few clueless, braindead merchants who have opened their boxes prior to the date clearly stamped on the outside and sold copies before they were contractually allowed to sell them.

They didn't care. And I think they deserve lots of Howlers sent their way. I'll be dashing off my own. I find it highly ironic that while the newspaper industry is cutting back or eliminating book reviews that others willfully ignore the wishes of the publisher and the author by printing reviews before the books are available.

I don't care how they got a copy, it was wrong. Period.

Keith Olbermann interviewed the woman who wrote the review in the Baltimore Sun and if you'd like to know her justifications for this shameful act, you can find it here at the link Harry Potter and the Broken Secret.


Speaking of Keith Olbermann, if all goes well, John Granger should be a guest on his show tomorrow night. Tune in to MSNBC at 8 pm Eastern, 5 pm Pacific and wish him well.

Now, back to what I had planned on writing about which is namely my expectations versus my predictions in regards to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

They are not the same.

My predictions are due to a combination of my expectations, plus my careful reading of canon and trying to divine what is coming next. However, I will be happy if none of my predictions are borne out, as long as my expectations are met.

Expectations

I want to see that all the meaningful loose ends are tied up in the series. There are so many questions that have thus far have not been answered, that I want to be adequately explained.

I want to know why it is so important that Lily’s eyes were green and Voldemort’s eyes are red.

I want to know why Lily did not have to die. I doubt that he was going soft, so I have to wonder what other purpose did Voldemort have in store for her? Why would he want to spare her life?

Will Norbert come back and save the day? I know my good friend Ama has been rooting for that scenario since the end of book 1. From the deluxe version's book cover it appears that it is a dragon, and I don't want it to be just any old dragon. I want it to be Baby Norbert all grown up.

Why exactly didn’t Harry die as a baby? Was it truly due to his mother’s sacrifice? If so, didn’t other mothers/fathers/lovers throw themselves in front of a loved one to save them, and why wouldn’t the Avada Kadavra curse backfire before? Many people have taken bullets for others, so why would that time have been so different from others?

I’m am of the belief that Harry’s scar is a Horcrux which was made accidentally and it goes to explain why he’s a Parselmouth and why Tom Riddle’s name sounded vaguely familiar in Chamber of Secrets. That’s because he’s got a sliver of Tom’s nasty soul in his body, and it would explain the psychic connection between Voldemort and Harry.

However, there are so many little things that I’d like revealed as well. Who exactly is the Gray Lady and what’s the story behind the Bloody Baron?

Is there anything special with Mrs. Norris and Filch’s relationship? How exactly do they communicate with one another? And how does Mrs. Figg communicate with her cats? Is Jo going to deliberately spell out that Crookshanks is a half-Kneazle? Or is this something that only obsessed fans who read online interviews and scour the accompanying school books written for charity will know, but that average readers of the series will never be explicitly told?

As for the big ending, what I really want is for it to be satisfying.

I want to close the book and think, “yes, that is the only way that it could have ended.”

I plan on having a box of tissues at my side just in case. I actually hope that I'll be blowing my nose throughout the last few chapters because I want her to move me emotionally.

I want this series to become classics that will last through the ages, and therefore I want an ending that is substantial. Rib sticking good, not a cotton-candy-rot-your-teeth end that you will forget quickly.

That does not mean that I expect or demand that it end happily. There are many stories that have become classics that do not have Happily Ever After ending.

I expect that Voldemort will die, but I truly do not care whether or not Harry lives or dies, as long as the ending works well.

I would rather that there is not a big happy wedding scene at the end. Many fans that I've interacted with in the fandom over the years have said for years that they want a Happy Ending. To them it means that it will necessarily include Harry marrying Ginny along with Ron marrying Hermione thus creating One Big Happy Weasley Family (OBHWF). A matrimoniathon if you will.

I’d rather that not be the ending, but I will accept it if JKR writes it satisfyingly. I don't want that as an ending because on the surface it sounds too cloyingly sweet for my tastes, similar to eating five servings of peanut brittle.

I prefer drama with multiple emotions being felt simultaneously. Sweet and sour. Honey and Vinegar. So if JKR goes the OBHWF route, I hope that there will have been some sadness in the Weasley family. Translation: One of the Weasleys will have had to die.

I don’t care which one. Molly. Arthur. Bill. Charlie. Fred or George.

It will give that melancholy tinge to the scene as long as there is a gap in the family photos showing where someone else should have been standing.

I didn’t mention Percy, because unless he reconciles with his family before his death, the gap wouldn’t have the same emotional meaning.

By the way, I do expect and/or hope that Percy will repent for turning against his family in OotP.

I expect that we shall go beyond the veil again, just like we did in Chamber of Secrets. Perdita Potter had a wonderful essay on this that used to be on the Symbolic Flight area on Portkey, but alas it appears to have been taken down.

Perdita suggested that the reason that the Trio could go beyond the veil and return is that they were invited by the dead. Possibly Harry can traverse beyond the veil again, if such another invitation is extended without it meaning that he has a necessarily subsequent death.

Things I would like to see happen in Deathly Hallows

● I want to see a full house-elf rebellion.

There has been too much foreshadowing of house-elves and their oppression by the wizards to just have it merely being a lame political crusade from Hermione in years four and five that she gave up in her sixth year when she decided she wanted to date Ron.

If there isn’t a full blown revolution by house-elves, I will be sorely disappointed in that plot point being built up but not fulfilled.

● I want to see Sirius again even if he is a ghost, and I want to know the entire significance of the magical mirror he gave Harry.

Jo has hinted in several interviews that we have not seen the last of that mirror.

I should hope we haven’t, because if it was merely there in OotP to serve as a plot device to yank on the readers’ heartstrings than I think she violated a rule by Anton Chekhov.

Chekhov was a famous playwright who held that if a prop were introduced, such as a rifle, it must have plot significance otherwise it should not be included.

“One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it.”

Or

“If in Act I you have a pistol hanging on the wall, then it must fire in the last act.”

I want all of Chekhov’s rifles to be fired in Deathly Hallows. All of them.

I don’t want her to have forgotten any of them.

In her infamous interview with The Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet she was asked what color Ron’s eyes were. She couldn’t believe that she hadn’t snuck in anywhere in the thousands of pages that his eyes were blue.

For those who are keeping track, Jo is trying to show full compliments within the Trio.

Harry’s eyes = green

Hermione’s eyes = brown

Ron’s eyes = blue


Harry = Half-blood

Hermione = Muggleborn

Ron = Pure blood


Harry’s wandcore = phoenix tail feather

Hermione’s wandcore (revealed only on JKR’s website) = dragon heart string

Ron’s wandcore = unicorn tail hair


And yes, I want Hermione’s wand core to be revealed in the canon and not just on her website.

I wouldn't mind if Hagrid dies. In fact, I expect it. I knew lots of my fandom friends were expecting him to be D-E-A-D in book 5. Instead, it was my favorite adult character who had a suffered an early demise.

As John Granger details in his discussions about alchemy - the stages are the nigredo, albedo, then the rubedo.

Black, White, and then Red.

It's Rubeus Hagrid's time to be killed. Although he might be the one whom she said she spared.

Predictions

For those who are still with me in this essay and wondering where I think it will end...know that I have mentioned variations on this theory for several years on various fandom sites.

It is not based on any reading of embargoed material.



If you wish to read further, scroll down - or just leave me a reply now and leave yourself untainted.

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predictions....






I think Harry will die.

He will realize at the end of his quest that the last remaining Horcrux that must be destroyed is the scar on his forehead. If Voldemort’s evil is to be vanquished, he must be willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the Wizarding world as well as the Muggle world.

Harry must sacrifice himself.

Just as Ron was willing to do at the end of Book 1.

I think that Harry will die at the same time that Voldemort dies. Similar to King Arthur/Mordred dying in each others arms.


And Harry will be decapitated.

It’s a grisly way to go, but pretty definitive and it has been foreshadowed.

Repeatedly.

The line in canon that made me think this was his ultimate end was midway through the series in Goblet of Fire.

GoF Scholastic pb edition p. 223

Harry laid down his quill too, having just finished predicting his own death by decapitation.

Here’s a partial list of decapitation in the series. I say partial, because I am sure that I will have missed at least one instance because there are so many.

All are from Scholastic books and paperback versions.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

p. 124 Nearly Headless Nick

p. 130 the first password was “Caput Draconis” Latin for dragon’s head.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

p. 123 The Headless Hunt

p. 135-7 description of head hockey and headless horsemen

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

p. 125 Harry accidentally beheaded a dead caterpillar

p. 134 Lupin mentions “a headless corpse”

p. 137 A Boggart in the shape of a mummy fell down and “its head rolled off.”

p. 291 Buckbeak was to be executed by decapitation

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

p. 386 Harry and Ron were playing with trick wands and Ron’s tin parrot beheaded Harry’s rubber haddock

p. 411 Ron used a Severing Charm to remove the moldy ruffs and cuffs from his dress robes

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

p. 61 The row of house-elf heads hung on the wall with care.

p. 113 mention of Aunt Elladora who started the tradition of mounting house-elf heads on the walls.

P. 335 The sign of the Hog’s Head tavern of a severed head replete with dripping blood.

p. ?? Twins with their headless hats. I can’t remember exactly where this appears in canon, but I trust people remember this example of the twin’s magical creations.

p. 818 an unauthorized Portkey being made of the severed head from the fountain of Magical Brethren

Interestingly enough I didn't notice any instances of decapitation in Half-Blood Prince. Perhaps, JKR has decided to soften Harry's death after hearing of so many beheadings of people in Iraq during this war/occupation.

I don't know, but if she sticks with her plan as it was laid out years ago, I'm betting on Harry losing his head.

Now, that was my prediction before Order of the Phoenix (OotP). I thought Harry would just die a noble death. After reading OotP, I started thinking that maybe he'd live afterall. Similar to The Princess Bride where Wesley isn't fully dead, just mostly dead.

Perhaps we will discover the full power behind that permanently locked door in the Department of Mysteries that Dumbledore described containing the "force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. " p. 843 in The Lost Prophecy chapter.

I think that somehow Harry will be Resurrected to Life.

Jo had been quoted in the Vancouver Sun back in 2000in regards to questions about her being a Christian saying:


``Yes, I am,'' she says. ``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.''

I've looked at that for years and thought that Harry would have to be willing to sacrifice himself.

I still think that will happen. We shall see. There's not much more time before all will be revealed.

Go ahead, and let me know what you predict will happen. Who you think will die, but please don't post any spoilers. Only your educated guesses.

Thanks,

Linda


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