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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Potter Predictions

I know, Quakers have a long history of rejecting the popular culture. It’s probably an embarrassment to Quaker bloggers everywhere that I’m bringing up the most hyped literary event of living memory. But I can’t help it. I want to know how the Harry Potter series is going to end. My faith in J.K. Rowling is at stake.

A few posts ago I got some comments about human sinfulness. As I said then, I do believe all people have the propensity for evil in them, but they also have the propensity for good. I suspect Rowling shares this belief. One of the things that I like about the Harry Potter books is that our duality is shown. Harry, Ron and Hermione can be pretty nasty to each other. Whether Snape is good or bad is the subject of much internet debate, and James Potter, Harry’s father, was a bit of a bully in his youth, before becoming an evil-fighting hero. Perhaps most significantly, Dumbledore smiled when he realized that Voldemort now had some of Harry’s blood—the blood protected by Lilly’s love. Perhaps even Voldemort is redeemable (like Darth Vader) if he just gets some therapy to process his nasty childhood. Certainly Dumbledore thought there was still something worth saving in Draco Malfoy, who at the crucial moment wasn’t able to cast the killing curse.

It’s not George Bush’s world where there are evil doers and good guys (including Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney who was responsible for Abu Ghraib). In Rowling’s world, it is our choices that matter, not who we profess to follow. I predict this theme will be reiterated in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, with key characters making choices that shape their fates. What those fates are I cannot say, though I will be absolutely shocked if Harry gets whacked. Unlike other mothers whose children will be gobbling down the book, I’m not uncomfortable with the prospect of some characters dying—death and loss are part of life, and I think children should know that—though I’m not crazy about people getting murdered. In fact this Quaker mother’s biggest fear is that the “good guys” will end up as killers. I’m hoping there is some hidden escape clause in the prophesy line “neither can live while the other survives” that saves Harry from becoming a murderer. My favorite thing about the Star Wars trilogy was that Luke redeemed Darth Vader rather than killing him. I’ll be disappointed if it is more like Lord of the Rings where good triumphs over evil in a blood bath.

As for other predictions, I think Dumbledore’s portrait is going to be very helpful. So might the potions notes by the “Half-Blood Prince.” I think the characters whom Harry has helped in the past (Fred, George, Mr. Weasley, Dobby, and especially Peter Pettigrew) are going to help him out in the end, proving some kind of cosmic karma. (The lousy way wizards treat house elves might also have some karmic repercussions.) I suspect Mundungus accidentally stole a horcrux when he robbed Sirius’ house. I think Harry and Ginny will end up together, as will Ron and Hermione, who will need years of marriage counseling. There was much speculation at our dinner table tonight that Harry is secretly related to someone (Dumbledore, Voldemort and Hermione were all theories). Maybe, but to know that we’ll have to wait another twenty-eight hours.


Anonymous Tricia said...

I like your take on this - some of my regular "circle" has too much of a kneejerk anti-HP reaction.

My oldest has read through Book #5, and he didn't seem to be "getting" it at the level I thought he should, so we held off on #6. It wasn't that I wanted to shield him from any deaths, but I thought he should have more of a reaction to the sad parts. Does that make any sense?

Anyway, I took my 2 oldest boys to a "Deathly Hallows Ball" party at a local bookstore, and we stayed until after midnight to get a copy of the book. It was kind of silly and frivolous to stay up like that, but fun nevertheless.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was brought back to this post by seeing the newest one pop up in Google Reader, and having just finished the booked a couple days ago (and still recovering from the requisite sleep deprivation), I have to say WOW on your predictions! Mad props especially for the Dobby & Mundungus predictions.

Maybe non-fiction isn't your true calling...?

11:25 AM  

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