Some Thoughts on The Deathly Hallows
I’ve not yet read anyone else’s reviews or comments, but I promise I will.
I did experience a huge rush of joy at the end of this book, and I’m not going to be able to put my feelings and thoughts about it together until I’ve read it again, which won’t be for a while as my wife gets the copy next. But here are some immediate observations:
Melindaleo is a witch. It is astonishing how many things she got right, how much of The Seventh Horcrux corresponds to DH. The diadem, the making of Harry into an accidental Horcrux, Tonks & Remus, the long camp-out, the fall of the Ministry, really, there is a great deal. JKR even uses the phrase “the seventh Horcrux” in the text of the book! Bandcandy too was really on target with a lot of things.
This was really an Adventure/Angst story. It had more breathless moments in it than I could count, it had long battle scenes, and it had quite a lot of Harry spiraling into awful self-doubt. There was very little for the Fluff-lovers, but I suppose that’s really to be expected in JKR. There was a teeny bit of fluff at the Burrow on Harry’s birthday, and it was heartwarming, but not much else. Actually the fluffiest moment may have been when we realize that Lily’s Patronus was a doe, matching James’s stag. Awwww. But the romance lover in me would have adored a moment between H & G at the end. I don’t really mind that we didn’t get it, though, since we get to see them with their three kids late on down the road. Oh, and what else was nifty – that Bill and Fleur named their daughter Victoire, how fitting. (Oh, and I noticed two male Weasleys siring daughters! So much for the inherited miotic transcription error…)
I liked the fact that Harry & Ginny confirmed, albeit silently, that they still loved each other way back on Harry’s birthday, but didn’t make a huge noisy fuss about it and did what they had to do. Ginny remains a minor character in this book, getting less screen time than LV, Snape, Lupin, Griphook, and many others. That disappointed me a little bit, but it was perfectly in keeping with the way the other six books were written: Ginny isn’t a main part of the action, but she’s Harry’s choice as a life-partner.
Things that were especially effective for me:
· The locket-Horcrux playing all of Ron’s self-doubts for him.
· The last debate between Harry and Voldemort.
“The Prince’s Tale” was just too much at once for me. I sort of suspected this was coming, but it all came in too big a package.
It’s nice that Neville wound up teaching Herbology (very fitting), but I was sort of counting on Hermione to join the faculty too…
I lost track of all the literary allusions: Albus and Aberforth fighting over Ariana’s grave is right out of Hamlet. The sword in the water, of course, is from King Arthur. The fact that Harry had to strip off his clothing, his wand and everything else to retrieve the sword, and then only with the help of another, is deeply mythological.
That Molly Weasley would kill Bellatrix is astonishing and the vindication of the mother lion I always knew she was. I was heartbroken about Tonks & Remus. (Did Andromeda bring up young Teddy? Otherwise I’d’ve expected him to live with his godfather!)
Interesting note that Lily Evans was born just four days before I was. I rather thought the Marauders were in my year.
While I enjoyed reading the King’s Cross section with Dumbledore, and also the curtain-call of the beloved departed right before the last battle with LV, I’ve said publicly before that I think such things are cheesy devices and that I wouldn’t use them myself. I’m not sure whether I’ve changed my mind. I’ll have to think on it.
Practically all of my stories are AU now. These are now AU:
· On the Headmaster’s Wall – H & G survived. Yay!
· Counting to Five Thousand – H, Hr & R survived. Yay!
· The Torch – Wizarding Britain survived. Yay!
· The 312th Edition – Ginny never attacked by LV *whew*
· Learning to Breathe Together – None of it happened.
· Report on Excavations of Sits HH-87 and HH-88 -- although given the ending of the book we could tweak it just a little, couldn’t we? Say that the cottage didn’t have evidence of having raised children in it?
These are still canon:
· Quartet for Separated Voices
· The Only Way Out
But Returning Were As Tedious is shot to hell, absolutely to hell. It was going to depend on Severus’s love for Lily, which of course is part of DH, but the scenes I’d previously worked on and the arc I’d planned for the story are so utterly different from what we now know happened that I don’t know how I could piece it back together. I’ve already written, and given to Moonette1, a chapter in which Severus sees Lily, for the first time, just before the Sorting. But some things I got astonishingly right. Severus’s conversation with Dumbledore about protecting Lily from Voldemort bears a close resemblance to the conversation that Bandcandy and I cooked up for them for both Returning Were As Tedious and Curse’s Legacy:
Snape’s face was grey and his black eyes bore into Dumbledore.
“You say that precautions have been taken for their safety,” he said.
“So they have,” answered Dumbledore calmly.
“Yet you will not tell me what they are.” There was a tension in his voice that Harry could not understand.
Dumbledore looked at Snape steadily, and then spoke slowly and carefully, as if delivering a difficult lesson. “Severus, surely you see that to tell anyone the precautions would compromise them.”
“You don’t trust me.” It was an accusation.
The Headmaster barely hesitated. “Do you think it would be wise to trust you right now? Would you be trusting in my position, knowing what is at stake?”
“I have told you, Headmaster. If I had known for a moment that the prophecy referred to Lily – ” and to Harry’s astonishment, he actually heard Snape’s voice catch, as if he was nearly moved to tears. Snape, upset? Snape losing control over a risk to Harry’s mother?
The lank-haired man continued, “It is my fault that she is in danger. It is my fault that the Dark Lord is trying to kill her. You must let me help. You must let me – ” And again the voice seemed nearly to catch. Harry thought he must have stumbled into some other world.
Dumbledore’s face looked sad and sympathetic. “You might extend the same concern for her husband and son,” he observed gently.
A look of genuine pain came over Snape’s face; Harry almost didn’t recognize it. “You know I cannot do that. You know why.” His voice was strained and grating.
“Yes, I do, Severus. I do not mock your feelings, nor would I. But you are a grown man, not a boy, and she is married to another. If you love her as you say you do, you will honor what she loves and protect it.”
Snape’s face set like stone and he rose from his chair, leaving room without a word.
Fine, but all my writer’s oomph was going to go into describing how Snape got to be the way he is, and Chapter 33 of DH sorta does that for us, doesn’t it?
Meanwhile, it’s time to bite the bullet and look at my scorecard. Here are my predictions for Deathly Hallows, and their results. (Antosha_c’s predictions are in here, too. I compare his scores and mine at the start, and then I just recount my scores alone):
I'm listing AC's predictions below in italics and replying to them; then I'll add my own. And the results/scores are in boldface.
· Like Spanish strongman Francisco Franco, Sirius will still be dead.
Yeah. Only it’s “Generalissimo”
Antosha 1, Rhetoretician 1.
· So will Dumbledore
Uh-huh. Work a bit harder.
Antosha 2, Rhetor 2.
· They will both manage to appear, even so :shifty eyes:
I think that Dumbledore's portrait will say something, but that's about all. I don't think we'll hear from Sirius, mirror or no mirror.
Antosha 3, Rhetor 2.5, Rhetor wrong 0.5 (I did get Dumbledore right…)
· Voldy will die
And the sun will rise in the morning.
Antosha 4, Rhetor 3.5, Rhetor wrong 0.5
· Snape will die, paying his debt to James/Harry
Snape will die, but only because he has been written into a narrative corner where martyrdom is the only way of resolving the problem.
Antosha 5, Rhetor 4.5, Rhetor wrong 0.5 (I think I got this more “right” than AC did, but reasonable minds can disagree.
· Pettigrew will die.... ditto, ditto, ditto
Yes, he does owe a life debt.
Antosha 6, Rhetor 5.5, Rhetor wrong 0.5
· Hagrid will die, which will make me sad, but since his only contribution to the plot since book 3 is Grawp... :salutes:
Hagrid will die for symbolic reasons, ably set out by bandcandy and her cohorts. (1) Harry's protectors are dying in the reverse order in which he met them; (2) alchemically (?!) the elixir of life is created by burning first that which is black, then that which is white, then that which is red.
Antosha 6, Rhetor 5.5, Rhetor wrong 1.5 (Really blew this one, although I think we should get partial credit because we saw Hagrid die twice!)
· Harry will die... or appear to. And then will 'come back to life'... or appear to. ;-)
Nah. He will not die permanently; I doubt even that he will appear to die, as it's too flashy and unnecessary. He might die symbolically (e.g., burial under the earth) or accept death as a consequence of his victory, but I don't think he'll actually die, even temporarily. We won’t leave Harry’s POV.
Antosha 7, Rhetor 5.5, Rhetor wrong 2.5 (I blew this one too; I rejected the possibility of a “conversation in limbo” scene because it’s something I’d never do myself.)
· Ron and/or Hermione may die, but not if Harry does.
No. The trio is too perfectly balanced; there'd be no way to cure the imbalance afterward.
Mmmm, I think I got this more right then AC did, but we’ll call it a draw.
· At least one Weasley will die to pay off Molly's worst fear—possibly Charlie or Percy, more likely Fred and/or George.
I'd bet on Percy, as he's the central counter-figure for the "good vs. easy" paradigm.
Antosha 8, Rhetor 5.5, Rhetor wrong 3.5. What can I say? It was too easy an out for KJR
· Draco will appear in exactly four chapters, do nothing of consequence, will attempt to win favor with Moldyshorts by betraying/killing Harry, will fail and will either die or slink off into the darkness in humiliation... and show up at the end sneering and muttering you'll get yours, Potter, just as he has for the previous six books.
Who cares? Actually I disagree pretty strongly, see below.
Antosha 8, Rhetor 6.5, Rhetor wrong 3.5. Maybe I shouldn’t count this as a “win” for me, but AC was wrong.
· Ron and Hermione will hook up. Finally. ("I love you." "I know.")
They already have; JKR doesn't get more explicit than she already has. Ron already told her he loves her. They will eventually marry, though, in the Epilogue.
Antosha 8, Rhetor 7.5 Rhetor wrong 3.5 (Their relationship is really assumed throughout the book)
· Neville will get laid. Come on, the boy has earned it! (It won't be Luna, we've been told; nor will it be Ginny or Hermione, because as much as these books have gotten older.... Look at the uproar Ginny's causal dating of two boys raised. Casual sex? So... Susan Bones? Hannah Abbott? Pansy? XD)
No. Nobody will get laid, unless you count a notation that he eventually got married. Jo is still Jo.
Antosha 8, Rhetor 8.5, Rhetor wrong 3.5 (Like shooting fish in a barrel, this one)
· Draco won't get any. Because I said so. (And also because the author actually a) doesn't care about him, b) doesn't like him and c) doesn't think of him as at all appealing or attractive. So there.)
If you count “evidence of marriage” as I said above, then I won this one.
Antosha 8, Rhetor 9.5, Rhetor wrong 3.5.
· There will be at least one scene in which the curtain comes up on Ginny and Harry alone together in a private place (her room, the broom shed, the RoR, the Chamber of Secrets), both acting a bit shy and dreamy... And we'll suddenly find ourselves asking... Wait. Did they just...?
No. Story will be entirely from Harry's POV, and we won't be left wondering anything of the kind, and Jo thinks of herself firmly as a children's book author. But we will hear that they eventually marry.
Antosha 8, Rhetor 10.5, Rhetor wrong 3.5
· Ginny won't go on the Horcrux Hunt™. Even though I've written it that way in some of my fics. :-p
Right. And she shouldn’t.
Antosha 9, Rhetor 11.5, Rhetor wrong 3.5
· The Trio won't go back to school, but Hogwarts will reopen.
I think that's probably right, on both counts.
Antosha 10, Rhetor 12.5, Rhetor wrong 3.5.
· We'll get at least a few scenes from the Other Trio's PoV, following Ginny, Luna and Neville around to DA meetings or such.
Not too sure about that, as JKR has been pretty assiduous about keeping things in Harry's POV unless absolutely necessary for plot reasons, and then for a chapter or two at most. It is possible, but if I had to bet on even odds, I'd vote against. But we will find out about them (at least Ginny) somehow.
Antosha 10, Rhetor 13.5, Rhetor wrong 3.5 (We find out about it from Neville.)
· Ginny will be attacked at Hogwarts/the Burrow anyway, and Harry will feel like a right idiot.
I would have said so a few months ago, but now I think it's not necessary for what JKR wants to do with the story. It will be necessary for Ginny & Harry's love to contribute to the end of Voldemort, but I don't think H & G's decision was the wrong one and so I don't think Harry needs to feel like an idiot. The only reason to have Ginny attacked would be to have Harry fly to her rescue (see previous sentence) -- but it's not the only way of resolving the problem.
Well, if I’d just left it at the first sentence, I’d be right and he’d be wrong. But as the H/G tie did absolutely nothing for the fall of LV, we’re both wrong.
Antosha 10, Rhetor 13.5, Rhetor wrong 4.5
· Ginny will save Harry's life at least once.
Probably. 75% probability.
Antosha 10, Rhetor 13.5, Rhetor wrong 5.5. Didn’t happen.
· Luna will kick a#$#.
Maybe. Or else she'll snuff it.
Luna did do battle, but she neither “kicked ass”, nor “snuffed it.”
Antosha 10, Rhetor 13.5, Rhetor wrong 6.5
· We'll watch the scene where Harry dies/appears to die/comes back/appears to come back from Ginny's PoV.
Antosha 10, Rhetor 14.5, Rhetor wrong 6.5
· Harry will 'vanquish' LV, but it won't be because Harry stands there like Clint Eastwood with a wand, muttering, "Eat green light, scum!" Either LV will try to do something to Harry that will cause his own demise, or Harry will selflessly protect someone else as his mother protected him—only this time, no Horcrux. And Harry will either die or... blah, blah, blah.
Something like that. All we know is that love will be the weapon, some way or other. There is simply too little data on which to make any more precise prediction.
I think we were both right here. Antosha 11, Rhetor 15.5, Rhetor wrong 6.5
· If somehow that final selfless act is about saving Draco (which I don't expect), then Malfoy will owe Harry a life debt. Which will piss both of them off.
Not. “Life debt” concept is all played out with Pettigrew and/or Snape.
Hm, I think we were both right here.
Antosha 12, Rhetor 15.5, Rhetor wrong 6.5.
· The final showdown will happen behind the Veil. (American cover?)
Antosha 12, Rhetor 16.5, Rhetor wrong 6.5.
· RAB=Regulus. Locket=one of the items that Dung sold to Aberforth.
Yes he is, and yes Dung stole it, but I'm not sure about Aberforth. We don’t even know for sure that the Hogshead proprietor is Aberforth, although I agree it’s likely
Antosha 12.7, Rhetor 17.5, Rhetor wrong 6.5.
· The Ravenclaw artifact will be Neville's wand.
There is some textual support for its being a wand, but I'd give this one only a 50% chance. As for its being Neville’s, I’ll give 3:1 odds against.
Technically I was right and AC was wrong, but maybe the Elder Wand counts for something? Antosha 13, Rhetor 18.5, Rhetor wrong 6.5.
· One way or another there will be a Gryffindor Horcrux—Harry, the sword, the Sorting Hat... Dunno if Nagini's really a Horcrux or not.
I agree, but I don't think it's the sword. (Actually, it could be -- see my predictions below.)
Antosha 14, Rhetor 19.5, Rhetor wrong 6.5
· Norbert will reappear, as will the Mirror of Erised. Harry will see something different in the mirror this time.
No to both.
Antosha 14, Rhetor 20.5, Rhetor wrong 6.5
· At some point, the Trio will burst into a treasure trove, led by a house elf wielding Gryffindor's sword... (How does he do it! XD)
Observe that at no time do my fingers leave my wrist.
We were wrong about its being a House Elf.
Antosha 14.7, Rhetor 21.2, Rhetor wrong 6.8
Now, as to my own predictions:
· One of the horcruxes will turn out to have been created during Voldemort’s 1970 visit to Dumbledore’s office in which he ostensibly asked for a job. Someone else was being killed at the time of the visit or immediately beforehand. That Horcrux is in Hogwarts, possibly in the office itself
I get only half credit for this one; it was in Hogwarts, but wasn’t made during the visit. Right 21.7, Wrong 7.3
· We will learn that Severus Snape believed himself to be in love with Lily Evans, but that she never loved him, except possibly as a pal. He hates Harry because he sees Lily’s eyes looking out of James’s face.
Right 22.7, Wrong 7.3
· Gilderoy Lockhart and Rita Skeeter each have some remaining role to play, although it may be minor.
Right 23.2, Wrong 7.8 (Rita only.)
· At the very least, Harry will visit: St. Mungo’s, two or three separate locations in the Ministry, Little Hangleton, Godric’s Hollow, the Burrow, Grimauld Place, Privet Drive, the Headmaster’s Office and at least the exterior of the Locked Room.
Got 6 out of 10. Right 23.8, Wrong 8.4
· Although I really don’t like the idea, Harry will wind up (in the Epilogue) being an Auror. (I want him to be the long-term DADA teacher, which would be thematically just about perfect, but Jo has hinted strongly that he will not have an academic career.)
Hey, we never find out, do we? Right 23.8, Wrong 9.4.
· Hermione will wind up (in the Epilogue) teaching at Hogwarts. (Probably she’ll be the long-term DADA teacher.)
Nope. Right 23.8, Wrong 10.4.
· Draco is ultimately savable and will be ultimately saved from his own tendencies towards evil; he might die in the process, but he might not.
Right 24.8, Wrong 10.4
· Neville will kill Bellatrix, or die trying.
Right 24.8, Wrong 11.4. Molly???
· Either Lupin or Bill Weasley will kill Fenrir Greyback; possibly the other one will die trying.
Right 24.8, Wrong 12.4 JKR clearly doesn’t believe in personal vengeance.
· Fleur’s magical prowess, and possibly her Veela ancestry, will prove crucial in at least one battle.
Right 24.8, Wrong 13.4.
· Viktor Krum will do battle against the Death Eaters. I have no prediction as to whether he will survive, but if he dies it will be in a blaze of glory.
Right 25.8, Wrong 13.4
· McGonagall will not be the new head of the Order of the Phoenix. I am unsure whether it will have a named head at all, and if it does I’m not clear on who it will be – Moody would be my probable guess.
Right 26.8, Wrong 13.4
· The virtues of Slytherin House will be vindicated. A whole, healthy life requires all four of the primal elements. In concrete terms, we will see one or more brave, loyal, good Slytherins who are instrumental in the quest. It may be Draco, or it may not.
Didn’t really see this, but maybe sorta… Right 27.3, Wrong 13.9
· Hermione’s efforts to break down the barriers between the magical species – elves, goblins, unicorns – that is, her crusade against racism, will be a key factor in the victory against LV.
I ought to get extra credit for this one. Right 28.3, Wrong 13.9
· There will be a DADA teacher in Year Seven, who won’t be there the following year.
Right 29.3, Wrong 13.9.
· Frank Longbottom will be shown to have been an eyewitness to the death of the Potters.
*Sigh* It was a lovely theory, wasn’t it? Right 29.3, Wrong 14.9.
· Voldemort’s use of Harry’s blood in his regeneration will prove either to (1) make it impossible for him to kill Harry, or to (2) cause some other aspect of Harry (perhaps his strong feelings?) to have a detrimental impact on LV.
Right 30.3, Wrong 14.9.
· Godric’s Hollow will prove to have some connection with Gryffindor himself. It may be that the Gryffindor artifact will be found there, or will have come from there.
Right 31.3, Wrong 14.9.
That’s an overall score of 68% for me, which is a D+.