Sunday, September 28, 2003

Grim Possibilities:

Harry Potter and Sacrificial Love

Harry Potter is another character that is on the edge between death and life. At the ripe age of one, Harry was made an orphan when he survived a deadly curse. For 10 years, he lived with his aunt and uncle in less than desirable conditions. Now 15-years-old he has already witnessed two deaths (while conscious of what he was seeing), that of Cedric and Sirius. Harry has a number of lethal enemies including Lucius Malfoy and Voldemort.

Yet, not all has been bad for the young hero. Harry has made the special friendships that many people can only dream of attaining. Harry has excelled in a number of classes, including Defense Against the Dark Arts, and has even acted as a teacher to those willing to learn. His love and courage has led him to save lives and continue to speak the unpopular truth. Harry has even been mentored by Albus Dumbledore. Harry is special, and so is his life.

It is because Harry is so special that his life or death will be the key to what the reader takes away when all is said and done. For this reason, I feel it is important to examine the different possibilities in store for Harry. As with the Ron Weasley article, I will divide the different auguries into a number of categories. I will also include some categories dedicated to good omens.

The Epic Story

Many epics follow a specific formula. There is usually some good force fighting some bad force. There is a hero that contains at least one significant flaw. There are usually a number of prophecies to guide the way, though not all prophecies come true. And, perhaps the most significant piece of the formula, the hero dies in order to defeat evil. A good example of an epic hero meeting this final fate would be Beowulf. Often, when an epic fails to kill the hero in the final battle, the author will scroll to the future in order to show the hero's death. For example, Alexandre Dumas forwarded to a new battle to show us D'Artagnan's death (which was brought about by his fatal flaw, greed).

For the most part, Rowling has followed the traditional epic formula. Harry is the good force fighting the bad force. Harry contains a number of flaws, including what Hermione deemed the "heroic complex". Harry has also been guided by prophecies, but has also been warned that prophecies do not always come true. Will Rowling finish the formula with having Harry die in order to defeat Voldemort? It is highly probable. Remember, the prophecy only says that neither can survive while the other lives, not that they both can't die at the same time.

While I do think that this formula must be kept in mind, I do not think it is a wise course to assume that Rowling will follow the formula for the formula's sake. Rowling does not allow her audience to dictate how the story will go, why would she allow a formula to? However, Rowling is an epic fan and to discredit this piece of information is also not wise. Her books are innovative in how they tell the story, but the story itself is not original. The fight between good and evil, the heroic angst, and the coming-of-age story have all taken a number of different forms. The possibilities that Rowling will inadvertently follow the formula are high. Why? The greatest hero that someone can write is a hero willing to either die for good or be willing to give up everything they hold dear. I have no doubt that Harry is going to be faced with some decision when fighting Voldemort. Maybe it will be the decision to not save Ron in order to fight and kill Voldemort; maybe it will be the decision to give up his magic; or maybe it will be the decision to sacrifice himself as his mother once sacrificed herself. After all, Harry is only alive because of his mother's sacrifice. Isn't it fitting that Harry dies sacrificing himself for the world? Love is what protects Harry, and sacrificial love is the strongest love known to man.

Harry's Wand

Harry's wand can be taken as either a good or bad omen, depending on how one interprets the Holly and Phoenix significance. Holly is often associated with Christmas or Christianity because it is one of the few trees that has life in winter. For this reason, Holly is symbolic for life even in death. It is a Christian symbol because Christ's death brought life to the world. If one takes this idea of Holly, the tree of life is a bad omen for Harry and a good omen for the world. This goes back to what was said earlier about sacrificial love.

Holly, however, was not originally seen as a Christian symbol. Many other religions associated the tree with life in death as well. Some religions even saw it as the tree of rebirth, which fits well with the phoenix which is born again from the ashes. (I'm pulling most of this from memory so please excuse the lack of refrences. I'll look it up later.) Does this mean that Harry will live through even the darkest winters and through all of his experiences be reborn? Not literally reborn, but more like a coming-of-age story. The experiences will have changed him.

I personally think, that the Holly and the Phoenix are both examples of life in death and the hope of a new world. Harry's wand shows that Harry contains the hope for life in a world surrounded by Death Eaters and Voldemort. It does not necessarily mean that Harry will die, but it does contain that possibility.


There are a number of foreshadows in the books for both Harry living and dying. I think Rowling does this in order to throw us off the scent. When the scarecrow points both ways, one still has no idea if left or right is the correct choice.

One foreshadow that stands out to me takes place at the end of Book 1. Harry uses his hands to try to keep Quirrell off of him and away from the stone. Quirrell, meanwhile, tries to strangle Harry in order to get to the stone. By the time Dumbledore comes to the rescue, even the headmaster is worried that Harry might be dead.

"I feared I might be too late."
"You nearly were, I couldn't have kept him off the Stone much longer-"
"Not the Stone, boy, you - the effort involved nearly killed you. For one terrible moment there, I was afraid it had. As for the Stone, it has been destroyed."
Book 1, 297 US

Did you notice the foreshadow? Harry was using love to keep Quirrell back, and the effort involved almost killed him! Harry will probably have to use love in order to defeat Voldemort when Voldemort is at his strongest. If using love against Quirrell almost killed Harry, what will it do when using it against Voldemort? Once again, this goes back to the idea of sacrificial love.

The Coming-of-Age Story

Despite all of the omens for Harry's death, there is one large part of the story that cannot be ignored. This story feels like a coming-of-age story. It doesn't do to have someone grow so much and then kill him and take it all away. It would be just cruel! We're seeing Harry grow into a man, and Rowling is doing a magnificent job of showing his transformation. The formula for coming-of-age stories actually requires the opposite of the epic, the main character has to live.

Which formula will Rowling choose to follow? Will she choose a third, not yet considered route? I don't know. Somehow, I think that this can still be a coming-of-age story and still show Harry's death. Why? For seven books the reader has learned to love Harry, the most powerful ending would show Harry's death. I personally don't even think reading his death will be as sad as expected. It is one way to show us what is beyond the veil, and Harry reunited with his parents. Perhaps, however, the best way to combine the coming of age story and the epic is to play Dumas' card and fast forward to Harry's future when he dies of something non-Voldemort related. All of these are probable options. However, I do think that the books have to end with some feeling of life, that hope has won even if things seem dismal. For this reason, I think it may not be Harry who dies, but someone close to him.

This leads to another foreshadow. The beginning of the first book is done from a different perspective than Harry's. A good author often rounds the end of a story to the beginning of a story. Does this mean that the last chapter will be from a different perspective? Perhaps, Ron and Hermione will show the life and hope that lives on after Harry and Voldemort are dead? This would also be a strong ending. In fact, Hermione and Ron are the two opposites of Harry's character and therefore their union in marriage would be a symbol of Harry's continuation.

Another foreshadow shows that Harry will live.
In years to come, Harry would never quite remember how he had managed to get through his exams when he half expected Voldemort to come bursting through the door at any moment.
Book 1, 262 US

Did you notice it? "In the years to come..." Every year so far, Harry has had this worry. Does this sentence mean that there will be a time when Harry is alive and learning, but Voldemort is no longer a worry? If so, than Harry will live after defeating Voldemort. However, it is also possible that Rowling wrote that sentence without thinking about its implications. (Yes, Rowling does make little errors. We've seen that a number of times.) Maybe it just means that Harry will come to forget his fear about Voldemort, but I don't think this is likely while Voldemort is still alive. It's a small foreshadow, but it might have major significance.

Centaurs and Prophecies

The centaurs' comments at the end of book one make it sound as if they expected Harry to die. Their comments can be taken two fold, either they expect a new war or they expect a new war with Voldemort rising and Harry dying. Rowling makes it a point to tell us again and again how the future is unpredictable and that our choices decide whom we will become. Firenze chose to save Harry's life that night and therefore held back Voldemort's return until the end of book five. Does this mean that he also stopped Harry's death from a premature end? The prophecy Trelawney gave us doesn't say that Voldemort couldn't have killed Harry before his return, only that Harry was the only one with the power to save him. If Firenze had not chosen to save Harry, the prophecy would have been fulfilled in a much darker way.

Yet, there still seems to be some importance to the cenataurs' comments. The planets may not tell them about the smaller course of events, but they do give some information on the larger course. They knew that mars meant a second war was coming and very likely that Voldemort would rise again. Does this shift also suggest Harry's death? Or does the fact that Harry has lived so far suggest a good end for the war and a good war for Harry?

I know this isn't making much sense. I kept trying to write it more clearly, but the words wouldn't come. I figured I would just type it out and everyone could just make out of it what they will.

Another important message: Don't pay too much attention to the prophecy. A prophet is one that gives a warning that if the world continues in one direction this is what will happen. The most successful prophets are the ones that prophesize that which doesn't come true because people listened to the warnings. While this may not be as much the case in the Harry Potter books, it is something to keep in mind. Babylon 5 had a great quote from Vir: "You can put a gun to your head tomorrow and the dream is just a dream and the prophecy is just a metaphor." Rowling seems to me a large fan of choices over predestination. If this is the case, perhaps the prophecy is just a metaphor. I still think we need to heed it's words, but perhaps the prophecy won't come word for word. I.e. back to the idea of only the personas dying and not Tom Riddle or Harry. It's not likely, but possible.

I spent so long trying to find the words for that which I was never able to say, I forgot everything else I wanted to say. Therefore, I'm going to just skip to the conclusion. The evidence for Harry dying is equal to the evidence for him living. While the idea of sacrificial love makes for a strong ending, I think the coming-of-age story ending is more fitting. We have all come to love Harry, to kill him off at the end just seems wrong. Although the scarecrow is pointing both directions, I'm going to give more emphasis to Harry living. Sacrificial love will probably still enter the picture, just in a form other than Harry's death.

70/30 living dying ratio.

READING LIST for Fall 2003

I went to the bookstore yesterday to buy my books for the new term. I'm excited. Some of the books include: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Island of Dr. Moreau, City of God, As I Lay Dying, On Law, Morality, and Politics, and The Plague.
Seeing as how many of these books are books I want to read anyways, I will probably write an article or two about my favorites. If you have any thoughts on any of these pieces of literature, please share them in the comments section!

Friday, September 26, 2003

I'm back! What a crazy vacation. We blew a tire outside LA at 10 p.m. at night on 101. We were borrowing a car that had no jack and a useless spare. It was definitely an adventure. Thank you for all the new comments on my site! Tonight, I will try to put up a post on Harry's Grim Possibilities. No promises, however.

Thanks again to Greg. I notice almost everyone that is on this site comes from HP Progs! It might have something to do with the fact I've been to lazy to correctly put the site in the search engine.

Friday, September 19, 2003


I'm off on vacation for the next week. I may have access to a computer and the books on my vacation, so there is still a possibility for new posts. Until then, go around the site and take in the many posts I've written. Some posts don't have any comments written on them yet, and I am a large comment fiend. If I don't get feedback, I don't want to write. Truthfully, you are all wonderful about leaving comments. I appreciate it and thank all of you for regularly checking this site. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have an audience.

Coming soon:

Harry's Grim Possibilities
Neville and the Gum Wrappers
Snape's Past

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Their Most Desperate Desires

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Additional 10/12: Lupin part added.

Additional 9/16: Voldemort part added.

As promised, I am going to write about what I believe Dumbledore sees in the Mirror of Erised. However, I think I am going to do this as part of a larger picture. I'm going to examine what individual characters in the series would see in the mirror (as of the end of the fifth book). I will post up desires one at a time.

Remus Lupin

When Harry first meets Lupin, he is riding the Hogwarts Express in ragged clothing. As a werewolf, it is difficult for him to get a job and has recently accepted a position as Defense Against the Dark Art's teacher from Dumbledore. Lupin quickly takes a mentor role for Harry, teaching the young hero to fight his fear and anger. We know that Snape hates him, and we slowly come to learn that this loathing comes from an old childhood enmity. Lupin was one of the mischievous Marauders that taunted Severus Snape as a child. Yet, we also learn that Lupin was often the voice of reason and restraint among the four friends. By the end of the third book, Lupin makes amends with Sirius Black and teaches the stronger lessons of courage and friendship to a very confused Potter. Lupin returns in the fifth book, more impoverished than ever and still the benign werewolf.

Yet, the truth is that little is really known about Lupin. How does he think and feel? What is most important to him? The books are all done from Harry's point of view, and the mentored often only sees limited dimensions of the mentor. We know that Lupin is forgiving and loving, a great friend and a gentle man. He hates hurting people, even when it is beyond his control (i.e. the full moon changed him). What we don't see is how did he react to the death of James and Lily? How quickly was he to accept Sirius' guilt, back when all the evidence convicted his dear friend? What we also don't see is a serious reaction to Sirius' death. The one Marauder that is left alive and good has finally fallen leaving Lupin to bear life alone. How much anguish does he feel inside, and how does he deal with this anguish? How benign is he? We know that he was brought to murderous ideas when it came to dealing with the betraying Marauder, Peter Pettigrew. Had it not been for Harry's pleas, Lupin and Sirius would have killed the traitor.

When all of the above is taken into account, it is hard to tell what Lupin would see when he looks in the mirror. I would like to conjecture that he might see the Four Marauders back together, healthy, safe, happy, and on the side of good. He would see all Four Marauders back before things got complicated by marriages, betrayals, and death. He loves Harry and often treats him as a son, but much like Sirius had a hard time accepting that Harry was not his father, I think Lupin wishes that James was still there by his side. Lupin is alone in this world, shunned by wizard-kind for his illness, loathed by many, impoverished, and unemployed. Dumbledore trusts him and befriends him, as does Molly and other characters throughout the story. Yet, none of these characters could ever offer Lupin the friendships he used to embrace. The Four Marauders, or at least three of the four, shared a special friendship that Lupin can never have again on this earth. This is why he will see his friends back together in the mirror, just like the days of yore.

(This is also why I believe Lupin has a high chance of dying before series end. 20:80, life:death ratio)


If Voldemort were to look into the Mirror of Erised, I think he would be shocked to discover that it shows neither eternal life nor dark powers (remember, it was Quirrel who saw the stone). As is true for many, Voldemort does not realize what his true desire is. He fights against it; he fears it; he covets it. The one power that makes Harry different from Voldemort is the same power that Voldemort despises. Yet, I believe this power is what Voldemort desperately desires above all things. Voldemort has never known love. His father abandoned him because his mother was a witch, and Voldemort was raised in an orphanage. Unlike Harry, who was alone because of love; Voldemort was alone because he was not loved.

Think about it. Why does Voldemort fear love so much? What is it about this abstruse power that Voldemort despises so much he can't stand to possess a body full of it? The truth is that love is a saving power that all humans have a natural inclination to seek. Babies that have never been touched or loved end up looking bruised and ill. Humans need love to survive. Voldemort does not know love and for this reason he is the creature to be pitied the most in the books. His heart, cold and broken from years of abandonment, still has its natural inclination to be loved. I truly believe that Voldemort is everything he is because he could not handle not receiving love. When he possesses Harry and feels the love inside of the boy, it is a reminder that no one shares similar feelings for him. I also think this is why Voldemort fears death. Harry will die for love; he will see his loved ones beyond the veil. Voldemort has nothing to die for; he has no one to see on the other side. This is the saddest story of all.

I wish I could quote texts or actions that could prove this, but I can't. As a youth leader, I work daily with kids seeking love. I devote myself to letting them know in some way they are loved and cared about. Many of these kids don't believe it. They don't love themselves, they don't love others, and they don't receive much love at home. It is in these kids that I can see Tom Riddle trying to form a new name to escape his past. What is all the power in the world to Voldemort? It is the power to make people pay, to feel the same hurt that he does. It is the power to be so much in control that you can pretend it doesn't matter that you are not loved. It is the power to steal love away from those who have it, even when it means taking the lives of the ones they love. Why does Voldemort call himself Lord Voldemort? He does it to claim people as his servants, to have people subservient to him. Why? Maybe than he can tell himself that he is loved by these people, even if he knows it is a lie. In the end, Voldemort is still left empty and his heart still desperately desires love.

(This is not to say that no one loves Voldemort, I don't think this is true. Dumbledore undoubtedly offered love to Tom Riddle as he did all his students. The real problem is can Tom recognize love? Once recognized, can Tom accept love?)

What does Voldemort see when he looks into the Mirror of Erised. I think he sees his father, the man that abandoned him, holding him as a baby. He sees this man the exact opposite of what Tom Riddle Sr. was, a man holding his child and looking upon it with love. Perhaps, instead he sees someone else offering open arms of love to him. Whatever form it may take, it still comes down to the same thing. Voldemort desires love and is looking in all the wrong places for it.

On Mugglenet, Maline has a column known as The North Tower. In her article Chosen, she explains that it may be the persona of "The Dark Lord" that has to die and not the man known as Tom Riddle. In other words, "The Dark Lord" is the evil that makes up Tom Riddle, but somewhere in this evil Tom Riddle still lives. She suggests that perhaps it is Harry's persona, "The One", that must use love to vanquish the evil that is "The Dark Lord." Maybe Harry's persona will also rescue the person that is Tom Riddle by destroying "The Dark Lord." This goes along well with the idea that Tom would see love when he looks into the Mirror. If someone can give him real love, than there is hope that he would turn away from evil.


"Is there a defense? I defy anyone who has watched you as I have -- and I have watched you more closely than you can have imagined -- not to want to save you more pain than you had already suffered. What did I care if numbers of nameless and faceless people and creatures were slaughtered in the vague future, if in the here and now you were alive, and well, and happy? I never dreamed that I would have such a person on my hands."
Book Five, pg. 839

By the end of the fifth book, Dumbledore has transcended his role as a mentor to Harry. After finally revealing the truth to Harry about the prophecy and the failings in the headmaster's plans, I believe Dumbledore has now stepped into a father-figure role instead. His love for Harry is so great that he was willing to risk Voldemort winning if it meant keeping Harry happy for a little while. I think that the scene in Dumbledore's office makes it more than clear what Dumbledore's most desperate desire is, to see Harry released from his most terrible burden. Perhaps, when he looks in the mirror he sees this in the form of Harry smiling back at him, the scar absent from his forehead.

I cannot imagine any desire greater than this for Dumbledore. There will always be an evil fiend to contend with. In 1945, Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald. Soon, Harry will defeat Voldemort. Later, someone will have to defeat the next successor, possibly Malfoy. Yet, there will only be one Harry Potter that Dumbledore loves almost as his own child. Yet, this Harry Potter is suffocated by many burdens. What father-figure would not give anything to release their child? Dumbledore knows what Harry must do, but he will always desire that things could be different.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Traditional Literature and St. Francis

Literature is not only found in books. Literature comes in the forms of songs, poems, oral traditions, and also prayer. In fact, prayer is my favorite form of literature. Sometimes prayer takes the forms of other literatures, such as poems, songs, or books, but it always hold an extra power. When I pray, I find love, hope, and God. Non-prayer literature can show us these things, but prayer makes it a reality. For this reason, I am going to dedicate today's post to this wonderful literature.

My favorite prayer started as a poem, but I learned it in the form of a song. It is called "The Prayer of St. Francis." This prayer is special to me because it contains everything in it that makes life worth living. Almost all literary, including the Harry Potter books, tries to express the ideas related in the amazing prayer. Harry brings hope to a world that was attacked by evil. His friends are always there to bring each other up. The people in the books may not be perfect, but they do try to do what is right. Harry is a wonderful example of self-forgetfulness. *

I love this prayer. It is about man and what we could do if only we could look beyond ourselves.

The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace;
Where there is hate that I may bring love,
Where there is offence that I may bring pardon,
Where there is discord that I may bring union,
Where there is error that I may bring truth,
Where there is doubt that I may bring faith,
Where there is despair that I may bring hope,
Where there is darkness that I may bring light,
Where there is sadness that I may bring joy.

O Master, make me not so much to be consoled as to console;
not so much to be loved as to love;
not so much to be understood as to understand;
for it is in giving that one receives;
it is in self-forgetfulness that one finds;
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned;
it is in dying that one finds eternal life."

-St. Francis of Assisi.

*I think that the magic Rowling writes about in her books is not the same as the Witchcraft used in today's world. It is a fantasy book, that I think takes on the form of an allegory for Christianity. Rowling may not realize it, but God shows in her works. For example, the way Rowling expresses the phoenix reminds me of the Holy Spirit (born from fire, song of hope, tears of healing, and leaps into the battle to save).

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Harry Potter Prognostications has a new post up about Snape!

I enjoyed this new post. I think that Greg is right on what Snape's character represents. I especially loved how Greg points out Harry's hypocrisy. However, I think that we still need to watch out for Snape. He is trustworthy when it comes to Order business, but I still say Ron is right in not fully trusting Snape. As I said in my Do Snape and Harry Have to Reconcile? post, the way that Snape treats Harry (and Harry treats Snape) causes numerous problems. I do think that both Snape and Harry are important elements in pursuing the unification of the houses.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

This Week...

Okay, this week I will have up something on the Musketeers and another Harry Potter post. I'm thinking about putting up an essay that was written by Robert Lewis Stevenson about The D'Artagnan Romances. He does a much better job than anything I could do. Is there any preference on a Harry Potter post? I hope to do one on Harry's Grim Possibilities, but I also want to do one that is not about characters dying. Do any of you have any preferences on a topic?

How about one on what Dumbledore sees in the Mirror of Erised?

(edited 9/11)

Sunday, September 07, 2003

I just got back from teaching at Life Night, part of the Life Teen program. It was interesting because we were talking about the meaning of the word Lord and what it means to call someone this. Lord suggests a master/servant relationship. In Christianity, this works to the servants favor because the master is always looking out for the well being of his children. However, this got me thinking about Voldemort. He demands to be called Lord, right? Except to call him the Dark Lord means to suggest that the person calling him Lord is a servant. Therefore, simply by choosing the name, Voldemort is giving away his ultimate goal. He wants to have the entire world serve him. Not only this, but he is a Dark Lord which suggests that he wants nothing to do with what is good or right. Maybe, this is why Snape still refers to him as the Dark Lord. Snape knows what Voldemort is and doesn't consider this a term of endearment or servitude, but a recognition of what road Voldemort leads people down. By referring to him as the Dark Lord, Snape is not saying that he is the servant but that those who are in the dark see him as their Lord. This brings us back to what Greg and I have said about Death Eaters only being able to go so far under Voldemort. It was just a quick idea I thought I'd share.

(edited 9/11)


Ron Weasley, Part II

In Part I, we learned the following:
    Ron Weasley's positions as a Weasely brother and Harry's best friend place Ron in a perilous situation.

    A relationship with Hermione could lead to or stop Ron's future death.

    The components of Ron's wand, unicorn tail and willow, are omens for death.

    The fact that Ron sacrificed himself in the first book for Harry to continue could be a foreshadow of Ron having to give the ultimate sacrifice in order for Harry to succeed in defeating Voldemort.

Without further ado, I will now continue analyzing the MANY auguries associated with Ron's death. Please note, these are probably the hardest articles to write. Therefore, they may not be the best written and sometimes will not follow essay formats at all.

Items of Interest (continued)

Another possible item of interest that Ron had was Scabbers, the rat that was actually Peter Pettigrew. There is a rumor out there (as no sites that show this fact have indicated where the information comes from I will label this a RUMOR. Judging by comments from reader "carina" and the lack of evidence, I'm almost positive it is false.) that there was a King named Running Weasel. Weasel was a great chess player that owned a yellow rat. Remember Ron trying to turn his rat yellow? He was the king of the 6th dynasty, which is interesting because Ron is the 6th Weasley of the family. Apparently, the rat knocked over something that caused the fire that killed Weasel. If this story is true, this cannot mean anything good for Ron. Will Peter Pettigrew kill Ron, or at the very least try? This would go well with the idea of Voldemort using Ron to trap Harry. However, I still think this is a rumor.

Another item of interest is the Veil.

"Nobody's talking, Harry!" said Hermione, now moving over to him.
"Someone's whispering behind there," he said, moving out of her reach and continuing to frown at the veil. "Is that you, Ron?"
Book V, pg. 774 US

As reader Béné suggested, Harry's adventure with the veil could foreshadow Ron's death. The fact that he thinks he hears Ron behind the veil, which seems to be a doorway to death or the afterlife, could foreshadow that Ron will die. (I did go back and read this part and I didn't see him asking if Sirius was behind there, however. So I don't know how much of a foreshadow this really is).


A number of sites have also mentioned that many of Ron's jokes do come true. For instance, in Book IV he joked about dying by drowning. In later chapters, he was put under the water for over an hour. One of the jokes that Ron makes in Book V is, "From now on, I don't care if my tea leaves spell die, Ron, die..." (pg. 718 US) Is this going to be another one of Ron's jokes coming true?

I do think that one should be careful not to assume that all of Ron's jokes will come true. Ron is often right when he is not joking, and Ron does say some jokes that I doubt will happen. At the very least, they will happen in a way that people don't expect. For instance, in Book I Ron said, "And Neville will be playing Quidditch for England before Hagrid lets Dumbledore down." (pg. 264 US) Hagrid did give away the secret to how to get passed Fluffy (which Ron was referring to), but somehow I doubt Neville will play Quidditch for England. However, many of his jokes do come true and should not be swept aside without some consideration. Also, remember Ron predicted his death twice by drowning, and then changed one of them to getting run over by a rampaging hippogriff. Somehow I doubt the latter will happen. Ron dying by drowning is still possible.

Mental Capacity

Ron's mind is generally weak when it comes to defense, but strong when it comes to sensing danger. Ron's mind has a hard time thwarting unfriendly curses or other mental attacks. One instance of this is Ron falling for Fleur, a half-veela, when Harry doesn't appear as affected by her. Ron even asks her out to the Yule ball! This is hardly an unfriendly move, but it could be the sign of a weak mind. Another instance of this is Ron's failure in fighting the imperious curse.

"Yeah, I know," said Ron, who was skipping on every alternate step. He had had much more difficulty with the curse than Harry, though.
Book IV, pg. 232 US

In the fifth book, Ron is hit by an unknown curse that makes him temporarily crazy.

"Harry," said Ron, giggling weakly, lurching forward, seizing the front of Harry's robes and gazing at him with unfocused eyes. "There you are . . . Ha ha ha . . . You look funny, Harry . . . . You're all messed up . . ."
Ron's face was very white and something dark was trickling from the corner of his mouth. Next moment his knees had given way, but he still clutched the front of Harry's robes, so that Harry was pulled into a kind of bow.
Book V, pg. 795 US

Clearly, whatever curse hit him was one that attacked the mind. It is also interesting that this curse leads him to summon the brains that scar his arms. "There were still deep welts on his forearms where the brain's tentacles had wrapped around him. According to Madam Pomfrey, thoughts could leave deepescaringng than almost anything else, . . ." (Book V, pg. 847 US) It may not be indicative of a weak mind, but it is a reminder of what thoughts could do to a person. Will Ron go under the imperious curse; will his thoughts be manipulated by someone; or will his weak mind somehow else lead him to an early demise? All of these suggestions are possible.

However, Ron's mind is strong when it comes to sensing danger and knowing how to deal with it. He's still hesitant to trust Snape, and until more is learned about the Potions Master, I think Ron is smart to keep wary. Ron told Harry that he must be the one to move on at the end of Book 1. In Book 3, he could tell that something was wrong with Crookshanks.

"There's something funny about that animal," said Ron, who was trying to persuade a frantically wiggling Scabbers back into his pocket. "It heard me say that Scabbers was in my bag!"
Book III, pg. 147 US

In fact, I don't know why people claim that Ron is only right when joking. He's been right about a lot of things. He was right about Crookshanks; he's probably partly right about Snape; he was right that Harry should tell McGonagall about Umbridge's detentions; and he was right in taking Hermione's side about Harry needing to fight the dreams. Ron may not trust to easily, and this could cause problems. However, his caution and presence of mind could come in handy. After all, it was Ron that reminded Hermione to use her wand to start a fire when Hermione was in panic mode. All of this could help in Ron surviving, even if his mind is weaker that Harry's.

Other Considerations

    Ron's relationship and anger towards Percy could lead him into a trap.
    Ron's lack of trust for people like Snape could cause more disunity for Voldemort to take advantage of.
    Ron is a Prefect. This could lead him into danger, but also shows that Dumbledore thinks he can defend himself. (Moody, Book V, pg. 169 US)
    I believe Ron is going to live all of his dreams that he saw in the Mirror of Erised. If this is the case than he will survive at least until the seventh book


Now it's time for me to be honest. I think everything above is rubbish. It is all plausible, but I still think it is rubbish. Why? There is simply too much evidence for it to be credible. I think it is more possible that Rowling is having fun at our expense. In recent interviews, she admitteded that she carefullyly plans red-herrings. I think the wand and the rest are exactly this. Why? I think Rowling has already given us the reason. Trelawney spends so much time trying to predict the future, but where does it get her? How often is she right? Yes, some of her predictions can be construed as coming true (such as Hermione leaving class), but most of it is rubbish. Remember, she always predicts a students death. Yes, she did this even before Harry was taking her class. In Rowling's eyes, we are the Trelawneys. Look at us, we sit around constantly predicting characters deaths, especially Ron's. The truth is everyone dies, so even if we don't see Ron's death in the books, in some way the character is not immortal. Will we see Ron's death before the end of Book VII? I don't think so. (Or at the very least, I really really hope we don't.) Placing all of these superficial reasons for Ron to die in the books is a lesson to us in just how hard it is to predict the future. There are too many variables, and even the centaurs get it wrong sometimes. "The planets have been read wrongly before, even by centaurs." (Firenze, Book I, pg. 259 US)

"But--I stopped Sirius and Professor Lupin from killing Pettigrew! That makes it my fault if Voldemort comes back!"
"It does not," said Dumbledore quietly "Hasn't your experience with the Time Turner taught you anything, Harry? The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed. . . . Professor Trelawney, bless her, is living proof of that. . . . You did a very noble thing, in saving Pettigrew's life."
Book I, pg. 426 US

However, this does not mean that Ron won't die. It just means we should not be too quick to condemn the character. Due to the possibility of red-herrings, I give Ron a 50/50 chance of survival.

(edited 9/11)


It seems as though there are at least a couple people regularly checking this site. Thanks! It helps to know I have an audience. I was thinking that it would be nice if we all introduced ourselves to each other. I would enjoy learning a little bit about who you are. Click on the comments section and say hello! Don't worry, I'll put up a comment about myself too.

Saturday, September 06, 2003


Ron Weasley, part 1

As promised, tonight I will begin the first in a series of Harry Potter articles. The Grim Possibilities series is a character by character view of who may die before the end of Book VII. The first subject I am going to explore is Ron Weasley. I chose Ron because one doesn't have to look far to see death lurking in his shadow. In fact, there are so many warnings that I am going to write this in multiple parts. I will examine different indicative areas of Ron's life in order to assess his grim potential.


Ron Weasley is in a very dangerous position. First, he is Harry's best friend. Second, he is a Weasley. Each item on their own invites peril. As a combination, the items may prove lethal.

When Voldemort is striving to kill Harry, it's probably not the safest idea to be Harry's best friend. Lord Voldemort has had a hard time defeating Harry, and has had to resort to luring Harry into face-to-face confrontations. In Book IV, Voldemort used the Tri-Wizard Tournament as a means to kidnap Harry. In Book V, Voldemort used false dreams to lure Harry into the Department of Mysteries. What plans will Voldemort unleash in future books? How can he lure Harry away? I would suggest that kidnapping Ron is a possibility. Why? As Ron is usually in the shadow, he is much easier to recieve access to than Harry.

Now add to this that Ron is a Weasley. The Weasley family is freckle deep in Order of the Phoenix business, with Arthur even getting attacked on duty. Arthur Weasley has never denied which side his loyalties lie, and neither has any of his family (to our knowledge). Therefore, it stands to reason that Voldemort would want to make an example of the one family that stands strong against him. Molly and Arthur can defend themselves, as could Bill or Charlie. Percy is not part of the families Order dealings yet, so not a great character to use as an example. This leaves Ginny and Ron as targets for Voldemort's wrath. If I were Voldemort, I would take out two with one shot and go for Ron. This would hurt both Harry and the Weasleys.

Also, Ron is Harry's Shadow. As I wrote in my Ron Weasley: Finding His Place in the World post, Ron may not like the shadow, but he does accept it. Ron recognized early on that Harry would have to be the one to defeat the bad guy (even if he thought it was Snape at the time, he did recognize it had to be Harry). Ron also recognized that sacrificies would have to be made. Does the fact that he is willing to sacrifice himself in Book I act as a foreshadow for later books and more dangerous situations? It is highly probable.

Items of Interest

Many of Ron Weasley's posessions could be auguries. For instance, pay attention to Ron receiving his own wand in Book III, 14-inches and willow with a unicorn hair. Willow is often associated with death and sorrow, usually involving lovers. The first literary recording that I know of with this refrence is the Faerie Queene (worst book ever!) where willow is the tree of lost paramours. Rowling has given us a number of hints that Ron likes Hermione, but how fruitful will their love be? Will Hermione recognize it just as Ron dies? This would fit perfectly with many stories related to the willow tree. Even if not dealing with lovers, the willow often includes the sorrow of friends weeping for lost friends.

"Weeping Willow dry your tears,
For I have something to calm your fears,
You think of death as always apart,
but I know he'll always be in your heart."
-From the movie My Girl

I personaly think that Ron's love for Hermione is actually one of his redeeming qualities. The fact that he loves her (another article for anotehr time) gives the reader a sense of a circular plot. If Harry dies, than Ron and Hermione's love could lead to a union that would express Harry's continuation. (Ron and Hermione are the two extremes of Harry, that is for another paper, however.) Yet, I've heard from reader ~Spirit~ and various sites (without seeing for myself, so I don't know if it is reliable or not), that Rowling said no one has the "couples" right. This would mean that Ron and Hermione would not be a couple, as there is no shortage for Ron/Hermione sites out there. Therefore, the fact that they may not be together can shine badly on Ron's survival. If he accepts Harry's shadow and is rejected by the girl he loves, he may be more willing to sacrifice himself to save the world. If he does have a chance with Hermione, he'll still be willing to sacrifice himself, but he might fight twice as hard (due to the power of love) to stay alive.

The other part of his wand is the unicorn tail. I can't seem to find it right now, but I know that in Book I someone tells Harry that "the innocent are always the first to die" in refrence to the unicorns. Later in Book IV we meet another character with a unicorn tail in his wand, Cedric Diggory. (Book IV, pg. 309 US) Cedric then dies at the end of Book IV. It is the first death among the kids, and the death that marks Voldemorts return. A combination of both willow and unicorn tail cannot be good for Ron.

Alright, there are so many auguries where Ron is concerned that I'm going to write this in parts. Tomorrow, I will have part 2.

Updated: Part II now available!

Friday, September 05, 2003

Sorry everyone. I wasn't feeling well today. I ended up sleeping all of my writing time away. I'll post something tomorrow, I promise!


I love all the comments people have been leaving around the site. It helps to know that someone is listening and responding back! There are still a few posts no one has commented on. I'm actually very interested to hear what people think about the Montague theory. Hint hint! ;)

I have just finished writing my mafiya essays, so now I have 24 days free to write lots of posts! Later today I will have my first Grim Possibilities post. I'm going to examine Ron Weasley auguries. Later this week I will do one on Harry. Send me your ideas either via comments or email. Thanks again for all your input. I appreciate it!

For those of you looking for posts on other literature, later this week I will have posts on Les Misérables and the D'Artagnan Romances.

Note: For some reason the page isn't loading right on the first time. You may have to press the refresh button to view the entire site.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Hey everyone! It's great to see that people are finding their way here. I'm busy writing three essays for school right now (Russian Mafiya essays, they're actually book reviews so I might put them up here), but I will have a new post up soon. I'm thinking I'm going to start doing a Grim Possibilities section. This section would be a place for me to examine each character and their possibilities of dying before the end of Book VII. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Ron Weasley:
Finding His Place in the World

"It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts."
Harry Potter Book I, pg. 213

In the Harry Potter books, Ronald Weasley is not famous. He is not rich, and he is not an only child. Lost somewhere in the shadows of his many siblings, Ron does not know his purpose in the world. Perhaps the largest truth about Ron is that he has no clue how special he is. At 11-years-old, he defeated a chess game designed specifically to keep grown wizards out. Every year he has helped Harry to solve a number of riddles and has never failed to fight by Harry's side when he is needed. Like the side kick in almost any novel, Ron in under-appreciated by many, including himself.

This is why, in the first book, Ron sees himself in the Mirror of Erised as head boy and Quidditch captain. This is why he sees himself holding the House Cup. Each of these items holds its own special place in his heart, but they all represent the two things Ron desires most in the world, to be special and to be recognized.

"Ronald Weasley, who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, the best of all of them. However, this mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible."
Albus Dumbledore, Book I, pg. 213

Part of what is so special about Ron is his willingness to take a back-seat to Harry. He may not like it, and there are times the jealousy gets between their friendship, but Ron never fails to help his friend when needed. Perhaps no scene shows this greater than when Ron is willing to sacrifice himself in the chess game so that Harry can move on to fight the bad guy. As a skilled player, Ron knows the game. In order to succeed, one has to make sacrifices. In order to succeed, not everyone can take the spotlight. As early as Book I, Ron recognizes what Dumbledore waits to tell Harry in Book V, Harry alone has the power to defeat the bad guy. Ron and Hermione are true friends always there to assist, but in the end the spotlight belongs to Harry.

In Book IV, Ron's loyalty is proven once again. Although, he is jealous of Harry enough to stop talking to him for a substantial time, Ron immediately returns to his friend when he realizes that Harry might be in danger.

"Harry," he said, very seriously, "whoever put your name in that goblet --I --I reckon they're trying to do you in!"
It was as though the last few weeks had never happened -- as though Harry were meeting Ron for the first time, right after he'd been made champion.

Book IV, pg. 358

It is because of Ron's willingness to work in the shadows, that he does not feel the same affects of the mirror that Dumbledore warned Harry about. Harry continues to come to the mirror night after night. Ron recognizes that this is not okay and something is wrong.

I know what you're thinking about, Harry, that mirror. Don't go back tonight."
"Why not?"
"I dunno, I've just got a bad feeling about it..."
Book I, pg. 212

Ron looked into the mirror just as Harry did, but because he reluctantly accepts the shadow, the mirror is unable to trap him as it does Harry and other wizards. He may not be happy about the lack of recognition but he doesn't let the desire for the spotlight control him.

There is also another difference between Harry and Ron and their experience with the mirror. Harry cannot achieve his desire in this lifetime. Though it seems improbable, Ron can. While Ron may not realize his abilities to become Quidditch captain or head boy, someone else does. Someone who saw Ron look into the mirror. I'm not talking about Harry, but Dumbledore. Dumbledore understands many of the kids at the school, and I believe he understands Ron's desires as well. Perhaps this is why Dumbledore made Ron a prefect in the fifth book.

As wise as Dumbledore is, surely he knows that Ron is a capable person who suffers from a low self-confidence problem. By giving Ron the prefect position, Dumbledore was showing faith in Ron. He was doing more than granting him recognition, he was giving Ron the first steps necessary to reach his goals. I wouldn't be surprised if Dumbledore had a hand in Angelina not letting Ron quit Quidditch.

For a person with a self-confidence problem, it might take a while to prove oneself good at something. Often, as is the case with Ron, one might worry about making a fool of himself so much that he can't do anything right. Yet, eventually something clicks or changes, suddenly he realizes he can do it. From that moment on he excels.

Well I mean, I'd already let in that one of Davie's, so I wasn't feeling that confident, but I dunno, when Bradley came toward me, just out of nowhere, I thought--you can do this!"
Book V, pb. 703-704

When Ron's brothers left the school, Ron was suddenly a capable Quidditch player. By Rowling's description, one believes him to be more than okay at the game. Notice, he didn't let any Quaffle in once he started believing that he could play. All Ron ever needed was confidence. The same is true with his inability to perform his prefect duties. He lacks the confidence to face his brothers. Yet, one wonders if things will be different in the next book. Now that Fred and George are gone, Ron may be an excellent Prefect.

Here is my theory. I think that Ron is going to make his dreams come true. He is going to find his spot in the world by finding that he is a capable young man. He will likely be Quidditch Captain in the next book; he know tactics, is a capable Quidditch player, and Keeper is a good position for someone who needs to keep attentive to what's happening in the game. In Book VII, Ron will become head boy. Dumbledore gave him the prefect title in order to give him a chance to prove himself; Dumbledore will grant him head boy because Ron has worked for it. What is the message in all of this? "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live," but it does do to work on making your dreams come true. Accept the shadow when it is your turn to take it, but don't settle to be less than you are. Dreams can come true.

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Monday, September 01, 2003

Great Site

Hey everyone! One of my favorite sites on the internet, Harry Potter Prognostications, put up a post about this site! Thanks Greg! In return, I just want to say if you haven't checked out Harry Potter Prognostications yet, you should. He has blogs about individual characters and larger story themes. They are well written and extremely interesting.