All posts by Travis Prinzi

Is Dumbledore Dead?

Three of the most intensely debated questions surrounding Half-Blood Prince and Book 7 are “Is Harry a Horcrux?”, “Will Harry Die?”, and “Is Dumbledore Dead?” This essay (and it certainly must be essay-length) will examine the third question.

The question is more intriguing than I imagined it to be. After expressing absolute certainty that Dumbledore was dead, the reading of a few theories forced me to at least reconsider. I will present four different views on the death of Dumbledore. Two views argue that Dumbledore is dead, two that he is not. I’ll leave counterarguments to you in the comment thread.
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Around the Common Room

Quick trip around the Common Room to see what’s happening in the Harry world.

Naming Book 7 – A few news articles have been trickling in about the possible names of the last book, based on supposedly good information from the UK patent office.  Using this one and this one, we get these options:

  • Harry Potter and the Alchemist’s Cell
  • Harry Potter and the Pyramids of Furmat
  • Harry Potter and the Chariots of Light
  • Harry Potter and the Parseltongue Trophy
  • Harry Potter and the Great Revelation

Which, of course, just goes to show that even secret inside information can be absurd.  Hopefully they didn’t pay too much for it.  Alchemist’s Cell makes sense since alchemy is so important to the series, and it has been suggested by others.  Pyramids of Furmat…well, at least we have the stories of the Weasleys in Egypt, Bill becoming a bigger character, and now the main characters able to apparate.  So trips to Egypt in Book 7 are not out of the question.  The other three options just seem odd to me.

Will Harry Die?  I don’t agree with everything in this post, but you should read it.  If you’re really freaked out by the idea of Harry dying, this article might be helpful.  I agree with the guy – it would be a perfect tragic and beautiful ending if Harry were to sacrificially.

Death and New Life

Due to a death in the family and the impending arrival of our first daughter (due date is today, so hopefully soon!), there may be a good long pause before I can write much more here.  Keep discussions going in the comments, and I’ll stop in when I can. 

Around the Common Room

Happy Independence Day, everyone! In the last week or so, I’ve been alerted to a few blogs that are doing some excellent work on Harry Potter that will now be appearing on the links page. Here are a few of note:

The Chamber of Mom – mother of an “all Harry, all the time” family, she’s got some great stuff on the series.
Blogging Harry Potter – From the archives, it appears this blog got started just after SoG, and it’s been quoted in a few news stories recently surrounding, once again, JKR’s statements about who’s gonna bite it in book 7.

Speaking of when SoG got started, I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for a year already (if you count the original Typepad version of the blog). Wish I had written down the date of the first post before I deleted the Typepad version; I could’ve done an anniversary post or something.

The Anchoress – Great blog, with occasional Harry posts, including a recent one about JKR’s interview statements.

Enjoy the writing at those great blogs!

Fellow BHT fellow (that’s a funny phrase) Matthew is angry with Snape and wants Harry to perform a good long crucio on him, despite my belief in Snape’s goodness. I can’t blame you, man; Dumbledore was my favorite character of the whole series. But then again, Snape’s my second favorite, and I’m holding out for his being a good guy still.

I’ve added a Creative Commons License to the blog (see sidebar) to protect the stuff I’m writing here. This is what it means.

I’m plugging through the post on Dumbledore’s death, and the alchemy series is still on pause. Lots more to read and research than I had planned. Have a good and safe Independence Day.

I’m going to poke my eye out with a pen…

Multiple frustrating things have occurred as a result of J.K. Rowling’s (boring) statements from the interview that has everyone in a tizzy about Harry’s death. Check out this article, for example. The opening line:

Author J.K. Rowling recently announced that Harry Potter will die as an act of self-sacrifice in one last terrible battle with the evil Voldemort.

Um…no she didn’t. She didn’t. She never said that. They even include the quote afterwards in which she did not say what the opening line says she said.

Then, they find us a brilliant representative of Christianity – someone named Peter Stokes, founder of “Salt Shakers” ministry. Commenting on the supposed impending death of Harry (Hat Tip to Glenn Lucke):

And not too soon for my liking, for the sake of our kids….We’re concerned with any promotion of witchcraft or paganism, especially to our children. There’s no doubt this book has done wonders for getting children interested in spells … and these things aren’t harmless. We’ve had many stories of people being adversely affected by reading Harry Potter … nightmares, severe spiritual attacks.

Uh…yeah. I had nightmares about Scooby-Doo when I was a kid. Clearly the evils of that show have been exposed! I’m still waiting for someone to kill off Scooby so we don’t have to live with all these demons he puts in our children.

Thankfully, a few more reasonable comments about sacrificial love follow this absurd paragraph.

What is frustrating to me, I think, is all the absolute drama over the idea of Harry dying and what an evil, cruel person Rowling would be to allow that to happen. Has no one who has read the books come away with a single lesson from Dumbledore, or even Harry himself? Isn’t the clear message of the books that there are worse things than death?

In honor of all this death discussion, I’m putting together an essay-length post on the various theories on Dumbledore’s death. Expect it in the next couple of days.

The Prophecy Problem

trelawneyPerhaps the most interesting issue raised by the afore-mentioned Red Hen article, Loyaulte Me Lie, is the apparently conflicting accounts we have of the night the fateful prophecy was delivered in a room above the Hog’s Head by Sybill Trelawney. I’ll state the problem, answer part of it, and leave the rest to you all in the comments. Have fun figuring this one out.

In Order, we are told by Dumbledore that the one who overheard the prophecy was apprehended only two lines into the prophecy and thrown from the building.

In Half-Blood Prince, Trelawney tells Harry that her interview with Dumbledore was “rudely interrupted by Severus Snape.” She goes on to explain that “there was a commotion outside the door and it flew open, and there was that rather uncouth barman standing with Snape….”

The problems with the two accounts are as follows:

  • Trelawney is not aware of anything that is going on around her when she has a real prophecy.
  • Snape was obviously still outside the door, then, at the end of the prophecy.

Or, as Joyce states the problem:

Question: if Snape was discovered halfway through the Prophecy and thrown from the building as Albus claims, how would Sybill have known that he was the person listening at the door?

Question: if Sybill — who is unaware of her surroundings while in the grip of a Prophecy — did not actually see or hear an eavesdropper, how could she even know that there was one?

Question: if the eavesdropper was discovered and ejected halfway through the Prophecy, how did Snape happen to still be standing outside the door after it was finished so Sybill could identify him?

Question: if Snape-the-Snoop was still at the door after the Prophecy was finished, how can Albus say so confidently that he only heard the first part of it?

I’ll admit it looks really suspicious, but I’m going to take a shot at answering it. We can fairly easily reconstruct the scene this way:

The prophecy begins, Snape is listening. Two lines in, Aberforth (the bartender), discovers Snape and pulls him from the door, so he can no longer hear the words being spoken. The prophecy ends, Trelawney comes to, and Snape is trying to get away from Aberforth, causing a commotion. The door swings open, revealing Snape, and he is ejected from the building having only heard the first part.

So we can at least harmonize that part of the account. What we still have trouble with is this: If Dumbledore knew it was Snape and saw Snape (which he must have when the door flew open), what could Snape have possibly said to Dumbledore to convince him he wasn’t snooping, especially when it is supposedly Albus’s own brother Aberforth who caught him? Even if Albus trusted Snape at the time, it is hard to imagine he would have not become exceedingly suspicious to find him listening at keyholes.

So the problem remains. The events of that night are a bit funny, and there’s some ‘splainin’ to do. Ideas?

Update (7/02): Couldn’t sleep last night, and I did more thinking.  Here’s what I came up with:

But then we have to ask ourselves: What, exactly, could Albus have done?  Detain him?  Throw him in Azkaban for snooping?  An accomplished Occlumens like Snape could certainly pull off a lie.  “I heard a strange/threatening voice.  I thought someone was in danger.”

If we can harmonize both accounts (which I think we can), and both are truthful (even if not the whole story), I’m not really sure that Dumbledore could have prevented Snape from getting away and getting to Voldemort.

So, I think the problem can be answered, even if it still smells a little fishy overall.  There may be much more to it than my harmonization of the accounts.  But then, there may not.

Understanding Ginny

ginnyI’ll admit from the start, I’m not one for the “shipping” debates (which student should date which). Nevertheless, there is some importance to the whole dating scene, not least the fact that Rowling’s a big fan of Austen’s novels, so romance will undoubtedly play a part.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the shipping debates, there are a few different camps, and the debate can get really heated. There’s Harry/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, Harry/Luna, Ron/Luna. I know there are others, but those are the main camps. Of course, HBP answered many of these questions: Harry/Ginny became a reality, and Ron/Hermione is just about as close to reality as you can imagine. No surprises here, really: there were hints and foreshadowings all along, and the Ron/Hermione pairing (even if it never comes to perfect fruition in the series) is an alchemical necessity (alchemy series still pending, stay tuned).

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