With the penultimate novel in the saga—Half-Blood Prince—we know that things must become much worse before they can become better and reach resolution in the seventh and last novel. We should thus expect that it will be chilling in unmatched fashion, and I shall argue that it’s the scariest of them all! Let’s take an eerie walk through the dark corners of Half-Blood Prince, to places seemingly devoid of light or hope . . . .
In early July, we saw a post about Travis’s new article, “cheap viagra online/pdf/341/rp_341_1.pdf”>Don’t Occupy Gringotts.” The second of the eleven essays in the Imagining Better: Philosophical Issues in Harry Potter collection, “Harry Potter and the Metaphysics of Soul-Splitting,” is by Gregory Bassham, Professor and Chair of Philosophy at King’s College, PA. (He’s also a huge Tolkien fan!)
Here’s an abstract of his article (below the jump), which takes us into the difficult terrain of the metaphysics of souls and personal identity:
As we rapidly approach the release of Deathly Hallows 2, I thought we’d look at two of the horcruxes we haven’t really seen before and of which we only had very spotty information, Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem and Helga Hufflepuff’s cup. Both of these, if the film writers are doing their jobs, should be present in the upcoming movie.
In Half-Blood Prince we’re of course introduced to the idea and nature of horcruxes and to the fact that Voldemort likes to use as much as possible relics from the Hogwarts founders as receptacles for his soul fragments. We’re given pretty good explanations of the two Slytherin relics, the Peverell ring & the locket. We, through Dumbledore, are also pretty sure that Hufflepuff’s cup is also one of the horcruxes as seen by Voldemort’s interactions with and eventual murder of Hepzibah Smith.
This chapter opens with an ominous moment: Harry searching for a place to bury Moody’s eye. He does so under “the oldest, most gnarled, and resilient-looking tree he could find.” Harry’s symbolism is clear, and the scene will be repeated later.
All-in-all, this chapter has an Empire Strikes Back feel to it. Our heroes are stuck in the wilderness, hunting for clues to puzzles they know are important, but coming up empty. As Rowling writes it, the scene reduces the three of them to “three teenagers in a tent whose only achievement was not, yet, to be dead.” The dark magic of the locket, now being passed among them to diffuse its effect on any one of them, is taking a severe toll. And it is most assuredly the prime cause of discord within the tent.
Hermione’s realization that this is so does little to assuage the Horcrux’s effect on all of them. Endless boredom and hunger in the midst of the stress of being hunted like animals isn’t helping the situation. It all creates a vicious psychological cycle within the trio, most notably Harry: “[He] was starting to fear that Hermione too was disappointed by his poor leadership. In desperation he tried to think of further Horcrux locations, but the only one that continued to occur to him was Hogwarts, and as neither of the others thought this at all likely, he stopped suggesting it.” In other words, out of fears over his lack of leadership, Harry quits being a leader. Any reader who has paid close attention to the series knows Harry has to be right, or at least on the right track. The importance Hogwarts holds for Voldemort and others is unmistakable. All of them are ignoring the evidence, from Ginny’s possession and Voldy’s other repeated attempts to penetrate the school, to what Harry learned in his Pensieve lessons in Half-Blood Prince. Continue reading
This is a transition chapter, moving us from Mad-Eye’s death to the Will and the wedding. It has its humorous and interesting moments, but the central part of the chapter is the Horcrux discussion. First, the interesting tidbits:
It’s interesting that they “could not hold a funeral for Mad-Eye” because they “could not find the body.” Later in the chapter, Hermione will say that if a human body is destroyed, the soul stays intact. It does not follow, obviously, that the body doesn’t matter. It appears that the Wizarding World embraces the idea that the body is as fundamental to the human as the spirit. In other words, the Wizarding World is not gnostic or dualistic. Continue reading