Sunday, July 15, 2007

Harry Potter Speculation

I just went back and read Sipper's post, "Harry Potter Must Die" from October of last year. I must admit at the time I skipped that post entirely, and any comment about Harry Potter as I had not yet read any of the books or seen the movies (though I did read comments about other subjects.

I now want to comment on that post, plus add a few of my own speculations to the pile. Obviously I have now read all six available books and I watched the Order of the Phoenix last night.

Harry Potter shall not die. Sipper speculates (and I'll not comment on the fact that this speculation was coming from a man who had not yet read the books and could have only seen the first four films at that time) that Harry will, and in fact must, die by the end of the last books. His main points are that Rowling is writing in the tradition of Tolkein and Lewis and that they both knew, and therefore Rowling must also know that the only way to end a great fantasy is to allow their characters to die or go to heaven.

Now I have not actually read any of the Narnia books all the way through, and I am only familiar with the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, so I cannot comment too much on him, but I have read the Lord of the Rings series.

However I must immediately differ in opinions with Mr. Sipper. In the famous Lewis book, it is true that the main character, the lion king Aslan dies. However, like Jesus he comes back to life to save the day by books end. I think it is safe to say that Harry won't be resurrected in these books as he is not the Jesus figure. Perhaps I am missing something from the other books, and feel free to argue that out with me.

In LOTR though, almost everyone lives. In fact there is a long prologue discussing the long lives they all live after Mordor is destroyed. I suspect the argument is that the elves and Gandalf, etc all go away into some mystical land that is really heaven. Good arguments can be made for that allusion, and I don't want to argue them, but I don't see this as a real death finishing off the characters, but a way for them to move on and have a happy ending. There is a lot more too that, but I'll leave it vague for now.

Mainly though I don't think Rowling is in the same league as Tolkein and Lewis. She simply isn't as good a writer. Tolkein was writing very serious literature in the vein of a fantasy novel. Lewis was writing religious allegory. Rowling is writing pop fantasy. It is good pop fantasy, but I wouldn't really elevate it to great literature status.

She writes for the reader, and her readers will revolt if Harry dies. And even though her readers now include millions of adults, her books have always been essentially for children. Death of Harry is a very big blow to the kids. Having him die in battle will bring no real victory for him, and though she makes mentions of ghosts and a vague afterlife, there has been no strong foretelling of a heaven like place as in LOTR.

The prophecy also essentially says that Harry and Voldemort must battle and that only one will live. That's a crummy prophecy if both of them wind up dying. No, I think Harry will live to see the end of the book. I will say he might wind up living a difficult, sorrowful life after much like Frodo. But I kind of doubt that too.

But this long diatribe isn't just about Harry, but some of his gang too.

Dumbeldore shall rise again. Rowling has stated she is a fan of Lewis and partially modeled on the Narnia books. Dumbledore is the obvious leader and is a God-like character so he is a good choice to rise from the dead. Although I've never seen any official acknowledgment, he has always reminded me of Gandalf, whom as we know also came back from a grave, of sorts.

Then there is the phoenix, Dumbeldore's pet bird. It constantly dies and is reborn in a bit of fire. Remember then Dumbeldore's funeral where a great big fire arose out of his grave and the bird also flew over. Seems like a good allusion to Dumbeldore coming back.

He was also very interested in learning all he could about Voldemort, and especially his ability to be reborn so to speak. I think Dumbeldore has learned that magic and will come back from the grave just as Harry most needs him.

Snape is totally a good guy. His killing of Dumbledore was not only intentional, but demanded by Dumbeldore himself. When you read the end of the sixth book it read as though Dumbeldore was surprised by Snape and was overpowered by him. But if you read it in the context of Dumbeldore wanting to die, then the conversation reads more like Dumbeldore demanding Snape kill him while Snape tries to get out of it.

Sirius, I think is dead for sure, but I suspect he will come back in some form. Maybe as a ghost who helps Harry out in some way, like giving information. Though he might be more like Yoda in Star Wars.

I'm also going to state for the record that Ginny is going to bite it. We need another main character death, but we've come to love the rest of the Weasleys too much. Ron and Hermione have to fall in love so they are out. But Harry and Ginny will become much closer, she will fight bravely but will get smited. That way we have another good death, Harry suffers even more, and the fans can still take it.

Well, that was long, and it was written in two sessions, so my apologies if it seems disjointed. Mainly I wanted to get some HP discussion going.


Jamison said...

Good points Brew, if I may comment on them one by one...

Dumbledore may in fact "come back" in a Jesus-like fashion. In a way, I hardly think he is dead. Similarly, I don';t think Snape killed him, and if he did, I predict Snape to be the sub-hero of the last book. Being that "Love" is a huge theme of the books, I see Snape turning to be a true good character, dying, in fact, to save Harry.

You make a good point about how one or the other must die. But I am of the school of thought that Harry is, in fact, a horcrux. I suspect that in order to prevent Vold. from not coming back, all Horcruzes must be destroyed. Harry included. However, this cant be the case because I dont think any of the movies have even remotely dealt with this issue. (Tough I think they dont come up until the 6th book). If they arent dealt with in the movies, then I doubt that is the case in the final book.

I do think that her readers are emotionally prepared to have a main character die. As far as they know, Dumbledore is dead. Her true readers are probably the same age as the characters. At first, sure, they were 11. Now, they are 15 or 16. I read an article that Rowling, after finishing her last book in a hotel room, she went back, changed the last word, then cried for hours. She knew Harry wasnt real, not based on a real person, but the end of her books made her cry at the loss. The loss of the character? Or the end of the series? We shall see.

I have jokingly thought that Ginny and Harry marry, and have a child. Later, since not all horcruxes were found, vold comes back, and tries to kill Harrys baby. Harry and Ginney give their life to protect Harry Jr. and Vold is sent back to where he came from for a few years. Harry Jr is then raised by Dudley and his wife.... starting the whole story over again... just a fun, imaginary theory.

Mat Brewster said...

Yes the readers have seen main characters die, but having the very main one bite it will piss off a lot of people and I can't conceive of a way it would make the series any better. But maybe that's just me.

Dumbeldore will definitely come back. Absolutely, positively. Maybe.

Snape will definitely turn out to be a good character. Too much has been made of him for him to be rotten.

My wife an I argued today about whether or not HP will be studied in the years to come. The books are probably already taught in some classes. Well I'm sure they are in the younger grades, but he'll probably make it into college courses as well. But I don't think the series will ever be considered great literature.

The books are good, lots of fun to read and easily done. They also really pull you in after a few books, but I just dont see the writing rising above.

That isn't related to the discussion at hand, but I thought I would throw it out.

Jamison said...

The author probably doesnt care if she pisses readers off... she is a millionaire and has already made it clear that she will not make ANY more HP series books after this one and has even eluded to the idea of "making sure" no other authors can write stories based on the series... like with the Star Wars books that were not written by Lucas.

I love the books. they arent good as far as literature goes, but they follow a basic outline of what makes a good story. It is a simple story, if you break it down, and I think that is why it appeals to so many. I give it 10 or 15 years to die down and you may find them on ebay for 99 cents per book.

Mat Brewster said...

For the record I am scanning a book for my wife and every fifty pages or so I take a break, thus lots of comments tonight.

I think Rowling does care. Sure she is super rich and can tell them all to buzz off, but I think any other want to please the fan base. Yes, as an author she has to write or the story, and yes she has taken some beatings over some of her choices, but in the end she won't spit in the face of her fans.

The Lucas thing is Lucases choice. He realized that the fans had taken over and made a creative decision to let them. That's why he lets just about anyone write a book, and why there are so many spoofs on youtube. He has the right and the power to shut them all down, but realized that fans wanted to create their own stories with their characters.

Probably a good move on his part as the fanbase continues to grow.

I remember being in Borders once and this really sad looking man had started a SW book club. They announced it over the speakers several times because no one else showed up. He asked me if I liked SW and the books and it broke my heart to tell him I only dealt with the canon.

Mat Brewster said...

I like the books to. I've enjoyed them a lot, more than I thought I would actually. So I don't mean to bring them down, they just don't seem to me like they will last for hundreds of years and be beloved by scholars.

I don't suspect I'll ever read them again, unless they are around when my kids are old enough to want to read them. But that's partially just me, I never read a book twice.

Probably doesn't need to be said, but this is all just for fun. Who the heck knows what will happen? But the discussion is fun.

Jamison said...

I am with you Brew. I consider myself a huge HP fan actually, but I, too, find the books to be juvenille in the way they are written. I think Rowling wasn;t really an English major or anything, just a single mom trying to make a living. So I cant expect Shakespear. I think she followed an easy, well-known pattern for a good story, and it works.

I love the books, have re-read them many times, but yeah, I think in 100 years it may be sitting on the shelf with the Hardy boys.

Then again, the popularity of the boosk today is way bigger than many books written in the past 50 years... that has to be factored in when predicting the future popularity of the franchise.

Mat Brewster said...

Immensely popular and millions of books printed and audio recordings made. You can also find them all online for download. With the mass quantities of media today it is pretty impossible to know what will become of our culture in the years to come.

Too bad the movies aren't all that awesome or they might drum up more interest for the books in years. I rather like the movies even though they differ from the books, but they aren't really classic either.

Rowling needs an editor. The first couple of books spent too much time reexplaing everything and the she got greedy and spat out 800 pages. Waaaay too many.

Diana said...

Charlie has this book that analyzes all of the characters’ names. That stuff always drives me crazy. I mean, who’s to say she didn’t just like some of the names??? It urks my crawl as they say in the hills.

I am attempting to read the books. I’m not a great reader, I’m a little too ADD, so so far I’ve just had to stick to watching the movies and asking Charlie questions. Here are my odd theories.

Dumbledore’s dead. One thing her books have taught us is that you can’t bring back the dead (except for noseless bad guys). If Dumbledore was to resurrect, then Harry’s parents would. I could be wrong, again I don’t know as much as some of you, but that’s just my idea.

Hagrid will die. To me, his death would probably bring out the biggest emotional response without messing up how readers think the story should end (i.e. Hermione and Ron.)

Neville will die. My theory is that he is the one who was supposed to defeat Voldemort in the prophecy. Only Voldemort kills him because of the whole only one can live thing. Then, Harry kills Voldemort, which essentially makes him the chosen one too. Very Star Wars.

Harry will live. After everything that boys been through, it would be WAY too depressing for him to die. He NEEDS to triumph. It would be a lovely ending for him to die and go to witchy heaven to be with his parents, but the ultimate triumph would be for him to move on with his life. Like Rose in Titantic. (oh yes, I went there)

Jamison said...

I like the neville theory, Di.
You need to read the books. To me, the first 2 are sort of pointless. But Brew is right; I wish she would have stopped re-re-re-explaining everything. I think she took Quiddich out of the last 3 books so she wouldnt have to explain the rules again... Rowling, we get it, we learned the rules 4 times before it is okay to have Quiddich again.

Mat Brewster said...

Dumbeldore gets to live because he figured out the magic. It is complicated magic and you have to do some stuff before you die for it to work. That's why Potters parents can't come back.

I like your Neville theory. I think Neville will play a very vital part as he's been dumped on for so long.

Ah man, if Hagrid died it would be devastating. Almost more devastating than if Harry bit it as there is some expectation that Harry might die.

Ryan F. said...

I think it's actually a little diddy about Jack and Diane.

kellieja said...

I guess harry shall live. I have come to the conclusion that Ginny will be the one to save him from He-who-must-not-be-named....through LOVE.

I do like the Neville theory

Anonymous said...

I like the Aaron Neville theory...he's just a big, ugly woman with a hairy mole over her eye...


Anonymous said...

For one thing, Dumbledore is dead and will remain dead. When he died, he had Harry under the freezing spell, and when he was killed by Snape, he was let go. The only possible way for someone under that spell to be let go is for the spell caster to die. This is on Rowling's website. She clearly states that Dumbledore will not be resurected.

Snape is, I believe, very evil. Sure, he was in the order, but I think he killed Dumbledore out of self-interest and will probably be punished by Voldemort. Snape seems to be on Dumbledore's side, but I believe he is undecided on which side he is on, but will end up on Voldemort's. He seems to be attracted to power. Yes, Dumbledore and he probably did have a pact. Maybe Dumbledore had a pact with everyone in the Order in a case of emergency.

As for Dumbledore learning how to resurect, I think that is false. They can already come back as ghosts.

Deathly Hallows is supposed to be like an afterlife. Kind of like when Sirius went through the Curtain in the Department of Mysteries, when Harry heard all the Voices.

I'd very much like Harry to die. When Rowling thought up Harry Potter, she had already set in her mind a basic idea of the plot up to the seventh book even before she had a fanbase.

It is a possibility that he will survive, marry Ginny, have 3 boys, 1 girl, and they all go to Hogwarts with Ron and Hermione's children for a very cheesy ending.
Sure, Harry will be pretty depressed for a while after pretty much everyone close to him dies. But this is Voldemort vs. Harry we're talking about.

Hagrid has the highest chance, in my mind, to die. He is already been quite bashed by the ministry and students. In the Second novel, Tom Riddle (a.k.a. Voldemort) already put blame on him for the opening of the chamber of secrets. I think Voldemort will make it his personal job to kill Hagrid himself.

Check out her site. She has a Rumors section that could clarify a few things for you guys.

By the way, I'm 15 years old and have been into the books since I was 9 years old. >.>

Mat Brewster said...

Thanks for the comment anonymous. I've only read the books/seen the movies so I have no other information from any other sources. That's generally the way I like it as I dont like to read rumors or really get info from the creator until it is over.

That being said do you have a direct link to where Rowling states dumbeldore will come back? Just curious.

Glad you like the books and that you're such an avid follower at such a young age.


Sipper: I can't believe I waited days for your long winded response and all you give is a dumb joke.

Anonymous said...

i think anything anyone says at this point is pointless...just enjoy the freaking books...

i, for one, am dying to read #7. already have it ordered and ready to pick up.

my theories mostly come from my feelings as a writer, by the way. but, i am not rowling, so i can only speak from my own observations and theories.

whatever happens, she will end the 7th book beautifully and gracefully. her editors at Scholastic will see to that, as will she.


Mat Brewster said...

Boooooo! Of course it is pointless. It was pointless a year ago too when you wrote the original post. But it is fun to speculate.

I haven't preordered, but I figure I can go just about anywhere and pick it up when it comes out.

I hope your right, but she could just as easily make a colossal blunder and ruin the whole darn thing too.

Jamison said...

ive not pre ordered either. I figure by the time I have a moment to sit down and read it, they wont be sold out. Plus there is a quaint little book store in downtown wetumpka that I am sure to get one at, even though they are having a sleep-in the night before it comes out.

Mat Brewster said...

Dude you could probably pick one up at the gas station in town, or the grocery store or walmart or the guy on the side of the road who usually sells watermellons.

Heck wait a couple of days and coworkers will be done with it.

Anonymous said...

i stand by my original, pointless post. i think HP could definitely still die. if he doesn't i think it would almost be a slap in the face to readers. Rowling has a chance to show she can write an ending worthy of being placed in at least close to the same category of skill in fiction as Lewis or Tolkein. whether or not she makes the leap is really up to her. if he doesn't die, will it be a happy swaddly baby cloud candy ending? if so, i will be disappointed.

Jamison said...

I can see Sips point. But if he does die, I dont see it being some horrific death or murder... I kind of see it being him dying while taking out Vold with him AND/OR saving the life of someone else. Saving Snape's life, or Malfoy's life, turning their life around, and for whatever reason, causing VOld to die, i dunno. But I dont see it as being a dumbledor-esque death.

lilsip said...

Pre-ordering got us 40% off list price, I think.

Mat Brewster said...

I completely disagree. Harry dying no more means Rowling is a good writer than him living makes her a bad one.

Frodo lives (at least through the main story) and no one makes Tolkien out to be a bad writer.

Now I'm not really saying that I won't like it if Harry dies. In fact I can think of varying ways it would make for a good story, but I can also think of ways it could remain a good story and Harry is still alive.

I personally think he will live due to the way pop literature usually goes and fan expectations, and from the story thus far.

Sorry sip, I know your heart isn't in this discussion, for whatever reason.

and please don't let my snarky comments about how many copies of the book will be available make you think I care if you preordered.

We probably would have had we knew where the crap we would be living at the time. I'm hoping for a good discount at borders opening weekend.

Jamison said...

I asked a book store if pre ordereing would give me a discount, they said no. Most book stores are selling it about 30% below what the publishers recommend. It is common practice from what I understand.

Live or die, I am sure I will enjpy the book.

I asked my local bookstore if they thought they would sell out and they said no way.

Sip may not enjoy speculation talk on books, but I enjoy it.

kellieja said...

Would he enjoy speculation on HIS books?

Diana said...

There are also hints at Wikipedia about things we'll find in the 7th book. One interesting hint, someone who isn't a wizard will perform magic. She has said it's not his aunt or uncle, which pretty much leaves Dudley. And wouldn't that be the ultimate revenge to the Dursleys? Having there precious baby turn out to be magical?

Anonymous said...

i am not against speculation. i like to speculate. i guess i am just a little overwrought by it...

i never said Rowling's a bad writer. she's a mediocre writer and a fantastic storyteller (there's a big difference).

i just see the story moving toward HP's demise since his parents are dead, Dumbledore's dead, Sirius is dead, and other people he is close to will also probably die.

it would just be crappy to end the book with HP triumphant over V and wallowing in the anguish of losing everyone he loves. if he gets to be with his loved ones, it would be better. of course there has been plenty of speculation about what's behind the arch. perhaps it is a gateway to the afterlife much like the boats to Valinor are on LOTR.

i guess we'll see...btw, we probably won't fight the crowds for the book on Saturday or Sunday. probably wait till next week to pick it up. should be a good read!

Jamison said...

I wouldnt worry about not getting the book. They have never sold out, at least not the big stores. All stores are required by contract from the publisher to be open at midnight. It is just a ploy to drum up sales and excitement. We will all get a book whenever we want it. I just hate reading hardbacks.

Jamison said...

oh, i kindly ask that if any of you get the book and read it and finish it within the next few months, please do not offer any information before others (that read the books) have recieved it via the books.

A kind request for no spoilers or hints please.

And while the information Di gave us via a wikipedia website did get my juices flowing, I would ask that no more revalations, hints, or spoilers that are found online be given out as well. I know we can all put "SPOILER ALERT" before a post or comment, but still, I will be tempted to read it and I want no such temptation.


Anonymous said...

come on, Jamison...just one little spoiler? one little spoily woily...

Jamison said...

ha! NEVER!

kellieja said...

I just finished it and made an oath not to "Reveal my secrets"...for all you snape fans

Anonymous said...

finished reading it last night...

Jamison said...

AUGH!!!! I havent even got the book!

bigsip said...

Rachel is finishing HBP and then she's gonna read it TDH. Ithought the book was well done for the most part. I will reserve judgement for the rest until all who enjoy have read it!

Jamison said...

hey, the real sip! havent seen you in a while! Can you just not log on to blogger from work, but you can access the page? I was wondering about that

bigsip said...

no...i can log on, but you must remember that i am being watched. all i can do is pop in momentarily. they can log credentials, so i don't logon to blogger from work in an effort to keep people from tracking me. must be super secure sip (SSS)!

Mat Brewster said...


Mat Brewster said...

Jamison are you anywhere near reading this book? I just finished and want to discuss. Mind if I create a new post without any spoilers in the post itself, but then spoil it up with discussions in the comments?

Jamison said...

I am reading the book... 6 or 7 chapters into it. And yes, I do mind because I check all comments often of posts on the first page.

Give me 3 or 4 weeks. It ishard to find time to read right now, and when i do I generally fall asleep. I need to bring the book to work or something. Someone gave it to us on CD but I dont like listening to someone read a book to me

Jamison said...

I guess if you wanted to start talking about it go ahead... maybe make a blog that is titled "HP book 7 discussion" and just put something like "Click the comments to discuss. If you aren't done with the book, this is your spoiler warning."

I will stay out until i am done.

Jamison said...

looks like you wre bingo on Dumbledore-snape, but way far on the Ginny thing. I give you a 9 out of 10.