More Harry Potter:

[Warning: If you haven't finished all of HP through book 6, but you plan to, do not read this post, because it contains plot details.] To follow up on Ilya's post to kick off the weeklong build-up to Harry Potter 7...I recommend that serious Potterphiles check out Some very sophisticated analysis. On this page, you'll see links to buy some books--which I urge you to purchase with expedited shipping, so you can read them this week, and thereby understanding Book 7 in greater depth when you start reading it at midnight on Friday. "Who Killed Albus Dumbledore?" and "Unlocking Harry Potter" provide diverse analyses of the mystery, of Rowling's literary techniques, and of the omnipresent influence of alchemy.

At the least, these books demonstrate quite persuasively that what Harry (and the naive reader) saw on the Astronomy Tower in the climactic scene of book 6 was certainly not the full explanation for what was really taking place.

My own analysis, "Severus Snape: The Unlikely Hero of Harry Potter book 7" was originally published on the VC in 2005, and was cited by the NY Times a few weeks ago. Russian, Polish, French, and Spanish translations are available.

A few further predictions:

1. Especially given the alchemical necessity of a resolution involving the combination of all four Houses, Luna Lovegood will play a major role in book 7.
2. Harry's ability to speak with snakes (which he shares with Voldemort) was important in early part of book 1, very important in book 2, and has been mostly ignored since then. I predict that it will be important in book 7, most likely with Nagini.
3. In the penultimate scene of movie 5, Luna (searching for her lost shoes), talks with Harry about Sirius's death, and explains that important things which we have lost often come back to us, although in unexpected ways. She immediately finds her shoes, tied to a rafter. In a movie that had to make tough decisions about condensing a 900 page book (with Rowling supervising the screenplay and every detail of the movie--including where objects are placed), I think that the inclusion of this seemingly trivial scene points us very strongly to Sirius meeting Harry again, somehow.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. More Harry Potter:
  2. Open Harry Potter Speculation Thread:
"Potterphiles" might not be the best word to describe Potter fans.
7.14.2007 6:20pm
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
I note that in the linked article, David refers to Snape as being snake-like, but in fact the animal he's most associated with is the bat -- he's pale, dwells in the dark dungeons, has sharp hearing, and is often described as swooping in. And note that after Snape assigned the DADA class an essay on werewolves, hoping someone would catch on about Lupin, Lupin assigned an essay about vampires. Coincidence?

[DK: Interesting points. There's bunch of fanfiction based on the "Snape is a vampire" premise. BTW, there's a lively debate about whether the mark on Draco's arm (book 6) is a werewolf bite, perhaps inflicted by Fenris G., and whether lycanthropy explains why Draco often seems so sick or weak so much of the time in book 6. )
7.14.2007 6:59pm
plunge (mail):
The shoes: MAYBE? But in a movie that cut out virtually everything of emotional resonance, the fact that some things survived is not exactly a sign of much more than randomness. Rowling has said that the two-way mirror is important and will return... but that wasn't in the movie at all.
7.14.2007 7:25pm
i hate the CA bar:
can i just say that the CA bar deserves something truly awful for scheduling the bar exam the week after HP7 comes out. don't they check these things!?!

I mean, the bar exam already saps law students' will to live in a normal year, but does it really have to crush every last bit of joy we might be able to have? It's going to truly be misery to still be studying furiously while my wife and everyone else begins reading at midnight and finishes long before I even sit for the test Tuesday morning.

I'd rather just take the damn test now even though I'm not ready, and be able to get my book on Friday. That would have been a sweet reward.
7.14.2007 7:28pm
I couldn't resist:

I mean, the bar exam already saps law students' will to live in a normal year, but does it really have to crush every last bit of joy we might be able to have?

If that's the case...bring some chocolate and remember a happy thought :)
7.14.2007 7:57pm
An on ym ou s:
I think many of your readers who watch the Harry Potter movies but haven't stayed up to date on the books are going to be disappointed by this topic. Could you put spoiler-type info "after the jump" or clearly state that there are "spoilers below?" Just a quick glance at this post reveals that someone killed Dumbledore and Sirius is dead.

[DK: Done. Good idea. I hadn't realized that there was any highly literate adult (e.g., a VC reader) who cared about HP and who hadn't finished book 6 yet.)
7.14.2007 8:25pm
The following goes remarkably well with the tune to the Knight's chorus "Peregrinus expectavi" from Prokofieff's Aleksander Nevsky":
Harry Potter Harry Potter
Potter Potter Harry Harry
Harry Rama Harry Rama
Rama Rama Harry Harry

Now... get that out of your head!

The non-Potterites of the World are avenged! (Muttley snigger)
7.14.2007 8:31pm
Hei Lun Chan (mail) (www):
Rowling has said that Snape is not a vampire.
7.15.2007 12:07am

I mean, the bar exam already saps law students' will to live in a normal year, but does it really have to crush every last bit of joy we might be able to have?

If your joy is so easily crushed, you are not worthy.
7.15.2007 12:11am
Using the same logic as DK for the importance of including the Luna sequence in the movie, I was disappointed to see that Neville's part in the prophecy was removed entirely from the movie. I was hoping that that would prove significant in book 7.
7.15.2007 2:40am
The River Temoc (mail):
can i just say that the CA bar deserves something truly awful for scheduling the bar exam the week after HP7 comes out.

You're not even a lawyer yet, and you've already racked up your first social engagement torpedoed because of the legal profession...
7.15.2007 10:28am
Syd Henderson (mail):
Mopic: Darn, I was hoping Neville would turn out to be the true enemy of Voldemort. Now Nevillw will just have to settle for wiping out Bellatrix Lastrange.
7.15.2007 1:08pm
I haven't read any of the books, but I've seen all the movies. Is it worth it to start digging for used copies on amazon and work my way up?
7.15.2007 1:36pm
plunge (mail):
The books are way better than the movies. The movies are literally just cookie-cutter cliff notes with no art, no good dialog, and none of the color that makes the story interesting.
7.15.2007 2:25pm
William Tanksley (mail):
Mopic, wasn't Neville's possible fulfillment of the prophecy mentioned in the next book? In this movie, it was hinted at by having Neville be the one to discover the prophecy's orb (and Malfoy mentioned that only the person the prophecy was about could find it).

Plunge, I find that to be the normal case. Some books will never translate well. (Try to imagine Lewis's space trilogy done as a movie... Not a pretty thought.) I did think this movie did the best -- it caught some of the spirit of the books and displayed some of the subtleties, without leaving it a "picture album" like the first movie was.

But yes, the books are far better.
7.15.2007 3:15pm
plunge (mail):
I thought this movie suffered most from the picture album quality though. The reality is that you cannot serve two masters: you can't skimp on running time for profitability while STILL trying to please fans by including the whole scope of the story... and doing none of it well or in very much detail or depth. Especially with the dialog condensed down into a few pithy platitudes, the story loses any sense of uniqueness. I'd rather see a screenwriter cut out and reformulate large portions of the story into a tighter but deeper tale than a hack slot up sets derived from the book and then plug in cookie-cutter cliches as lines.

Having the centaurs be nearly wordless animals instead of a proud race was pretty much a symbol of things.
7.15.2007 6:29pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
What plunge said. The third film wins in any comparison of the five, despite departing significantly from much of the tone and events as depicted in the novel, because it's the only one that does a good job of being an enjoyable movie. Five and four suffer from a few shared problems, and one and two from a different set of shared problems, and all in all, I hope that in 15 or 20 years, the BBC will do a miniseries format version (like with the 1980s Narnia films) that lasts roughly 1 hour for every 100 pages (less -- say one hour for 150 pages -- for books 1 and 2, more -- an hour for every 75 pages -- for books 3 through 7.)
7.15.2007 11:13pm
DK, I think you're making an assumption in that article you linked that you cannot make.

You said that Snape was the only other person who knew what Draco's task was. I don't think you can assume that he knew what Voldemort wanted Draco to do. Nowhere is it really clear that he is aware of it, and the dialog in Spinner's End seems to be more indicative of a person pretending to be in on a secret in order to learn more about it from the people who actually do. Even when overheard talking to Draco he doesn't say a single thing that makes it clear he knows what will happen.

Of course, it could be explained simply by Rowling wanting to keep the reader in the dark as well, but I think it's something worth watching for.

While, yes, the books are better than the movies in general, can you name a movie where that really isn't the case? And actually I thought there were several departures in overall development that I thought the movie did much better than the book.

First, and most importantly, Harry actually matured in the movie OotP. I was so pissed at the book because Harry somehow became more IMMATURE than he was in GoF! This was especially clear in his inspiring and forceful teaching of the DA as opposed to the book's version where Harry was diffident and didn't put himself forward. If Harry say some variation of "I, er... yeah" in book 7, I swear I'm ripping it up.

I thought the movie also handled Voldemort's "invasion" of Harry's mind at the end of the fight in a much clearer and sensible way. Harry used that power to love that is so vaunted in the series but has not yet actually been used (in the books).

The first two movies were so in lock-step with the books that it's hard to judge them on their own merits, but I think of 3-5, this is clearly the best movie.
7.16.2007 12:38pm
Amen, Fantasia! I think Movie 5 was by far the best because it didn't attempt to just copy everything from the books (a failing of Movies 1 &2), but it still managed to keep the spirit of the book even while changing a few things (a failing of Movie 3). The changes that were made made sense. You can't just copy everything from the book to the screen, even if it wasn't such a long book. Some things work beautifully on paper but just wouldn't show up well on film. I'm not at all upset that the Weasley Rebellion was compressed into one scene, for example, and I loved the DA montage. The possession scene was just brilliant, because it showed what Harry went through even though it couldn't just describe what was happening in Harry's head and use exposition later to explain it. (Something JKR does a lot and is very good at, but it doesn't work that well in film.)
7.16.2007 12:54pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):

Rowling has said that Snape is not a vampire.

How does she know?
7.16.2007 1:45pm
I appreciate all of the detailed analysis and predictions, but perhaps we should all just relax this week until Harry Potter and the Hollow Deadheads, or whatever the title is, appears this weekend. Then read it, and (I assume) be amazed at the outcome.

My prediction: Hermoine gives birth at the end of Book 7. But, is the father Ronald Weasley or Viktor Krum?
7.16.2007 2:08pm
Rowling has said that Snape is not a vampire.

How does she know?

Okay, now that is funny.
7.16.2007 2:09pm
We re-watched all the movies last week in prep for the new release.

At the middle of "Fire" I told my wife that if I went to firearms school for four years I would think I could find and pull the trigger on a pistol I carried everyday.
7.16.2007 2:11pm
Kenvee, wasn't it great how all the things that Snape said would be weaknesses (his love of friends, family, strong emotions etc.) were the exact things that allowed him to drive out Voldemort?

You pegged it exactly, it changed the themes and overall moods/feelings, but it did it successfully! 3 and 4 struggled to do that... 3 succeeded sometimes, and 4 was almost laughably bad at times (anytime Michael Gambon was on the screen, just about), but in 5, the differences do an excellent job of flowing naturally from the circumstances.

What do people think Rowling will do next? Stop writing totally? Write about the wizarding world from other perspectives? (Stories from Durmstrang or Beauxbaton, or from earlier days like when James Potter was in school) Break her vow and continue writing more about Harry? How about a whole alternate reality world where Voldy nailed Neville?
7.16.2007 6:22pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
I'd like it if she went back and wrote the whole thing as an adult book from Voldemort's perspective -- where Voldemort is the good guy and Dumbledore is evil.
7.16.2007 6:33pm
Duffy, the actual events seen through another perspective, like LV's justifications? Or different events where LV really is a good guy?
7.16.2007 7:03pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
I'm pretty sure Harry was supposed to get exasperatingly immature in the 5th installment. Hermione and Ron had their breathtakingly annoying moments in 3 and 4 (and 6, cf. little yellow birdie rage;) moreover, one would have to wonder if something was wrong with the kid if he wasn't having an emtional breakdown of one sort or another after his experiences over the previous four years -- let alone the addition of having Snape wear down his emotional defenses and having Voldemort constantly invading his thoughts and interfering with REM sleep all year long. To say nothing of finally getting to the point of really liking and having a shot at a girl. And having Dumbledore ignore him (which Dumbledore admits to doing) and Umbridge ruining his life, and his glorious godfather turning out to be a gloriously depressed drunkard who used to beat up geeks in high school and still thinks it's kind of funny at the age of ~37. And not being made a Prefect, less than 6 weeks after defeating Voldemort in combat for at least the second time (which even the Headmaster didn't do till the end of Harry's fifth year -- Voldemort was afraid to go up against him.) And losing out on playing Quidditch halfway through the year. And, and, and. Yet somehow Harry's anger in the 3rd film felt more angry than his anger in this one? His reaction even to Umbridge conveys little more than vague annoyance? Ahem. I blame the director, since in the 3rd film Harry at least did minor superficial damage to something whilst in a fit of rage, albeit in the form of banging his school trunk around and kicking something or other in his room (was that his trunk again?)

As to bookly sequels: I think Rowling will stick to writing about anything else for at least a few years. And I've read enough fanfiction to tell you that there are real problems with stories based at other wizarding schools, or starting other wizarding characters -- not the least of which being, the Potterverse is deeply flawed in ways which Harry is expected to resolve in about five more days. There's actually not a lot of supporting dramatic material in the novels that isn't either hopelessly goofy or directly based on that central conflict. The best adventurish tales typically end out being "what if" alternate universe renditions of the Harry years (Google "The Time of Good Intentions",) or serious prequel, "the previous worst dark wizard ever" affairs. Otherwise it's just "As Knockturn Alley Turns." Note that whenever she decides to do non-direct storyline stuff in the Potterverse herself, JK Rowling always does renditions of props or artifacts already mentioned in the books: the tapestry, Quidditch Through the Ages, etc. I don't blame her -- the only successful piece of fanfiction I ever wrote in her universe was a rendition of Hermione's S.P.E.W declaration.

Geez, I'm a geek.
7.16.2007 8:58pm
Smith Johnson (mail):
Alright, starting out by saying I'm not a fan of Harry Potter books at all, in fact I hate them. However I keep up with them because my little kid cousin is into it and I have to read it to have any idea what he's talking about.

Moving on, upon the first viewing of your explanation of Harry Potter in fact being one of those horcruxes, I thought it sounded pretty good, and I figured you might be right and might have cracked it. Then I started thinking in a very simple matter.

Think about it, if Harry Potter was one of those things that kept Voldemort tied to the living (and assuming Voldemort knows this, seeing as if you were able to figure it out, I'd think he'd be able to), why is it that he and every one of his followers still wants him dead so much? Chew on that bit bud.
7.18.2007 12:49am
Yeah, Voldemort himself directly tried to kill Harry (Avada Kedavra at the end of GoF). Not a horcrux, I'd wager on it.
7.18.2007 11:04am