by Robbie Fischer
Here are some ideas that I’ve entertained, about how the characters in the next two Harry Potter books may entertain us. If they’re not exactly original, then say I’ve put my dittos on existing rumors and speculation.
Neville Longbottom: His magic will improve once he has a proper wand of his own (“The wand chooses the wizard…”). But as McGonagall pointed out when she was preparing Harry’s year for OWLs, all Neville really wants is some confidence. He has gotten a lot of that through working with the D.A. and it showed in the Department of Mysteries, when of all people he was the last school friend standing by Harry. Going out on a limb: maybe the fact that the prophecy could have been about Harry or Neville, will become more important. At least I think Neville will play a pivotal role in the downfall of the Dark Lord.
Peter “Wormtail” Pettigrew: Don’t forget he owes Harry a life debt. This will prove very inconvenient for Voldemort. In fact, it may even be the very thing that tips the scales in the final reckoning. Fans of LotR will remember how Bilbo’s, and later Frodo’s pity toward Gollum made it possible for Gollum to play his key part in the Cracks of Doom. I think in a similar way, Harry’s pity toward Wormtail may be the final clincher, or turn the tide when all seems lost.
Cornelius Fudge: His consuming passion is holding onto power. To him the definition of evil is anything that threatens the status quo. Even now that he has been forced to face the truth, I don’t think Fudge is to be trusted. He will lead a camp in the anti-Voldemort forces that wants to “fight fire with fire”-that is, use dark magic to fight dark magic, use deception and skullduggery to combat even greater evil. But I think this approach will make people like Fudge more of a prey to dark forces, and will leave them helpless to face the powers that will be brought against them. In short, I think Fudge is going down, and a whole way of looking at things in the magical world will go down with him. And I also ditto the speculation that Arthur Weasley will be the next Minister, because it does look as if Ron has more talent in divination than anyone in the story realizes.
The Dursleys. Sooner or later Voldemort has to realize that if he eliminates Petunia Dursley, his path is clear to come and get Harry. Petunia had better look out for diving broomsticks, curses, and letters filled with nasty substances. I think by the end of the 7 books, after being forced to treat Harry nicely for a while and to depend on him to protect her from magical attacks (which also concern him nearly), Petunia will be a little warmer toward the boy. I also think she and Vernon have set themselves up for a big disappointment with Dudley, and that will also be a factor in creating a new relationship between Harry and his Muggle relatives.
Firenze/Trelawney: I hardly think Firenze was brought into the story merely to serve the tiny role he served in OotP. Therefore I think that somehow, Harry and Ron will continue to study Divination at a NEWT level. And it may come out that they both have considerable gifts in this area, and the fact that they picked the subject for their OWL studies was very providential. I think Trelawney’s incompetence and “blinkered, fettered” human perspective has been holding them back, and Firenze will really open them up. However, I think Trelawney has more to contribute too. There is a good reason Dumbledore considered it so important to keep her at Hogwarts, probably in addition to keeping her from falling into the hands of the Death Eaters and probed for her memories of her first prophecy. That’s part of it, but I think Dumbledore expects Trelawney’s on-again, off-again Sight to prove important at least one more time.
Katie Bell: She will be in her last year at Hogwarts in Book 6, and I think she will be the new Quidditch captain. The Gryffindors will need two new chasers (one of them will be Ginny Weasley), Harry will be seeker again, Ron will stay on goal, and if they don’t do something about Sloper and Kirke there will be a good deal of comic relief from those bumbling batsmen.
Draco Malfoy: I think he’ll have to be cut down to size, a bit, in the aftermath of his father’s arrest and the discrediting of Umbridge, of whom Draco and his friends were known toadies. Perhaps Draco will get a taste of what Harry has felt like, being shunned and picked on. His character is either heading for a cleansing catharsis or for some kind of nuclear explosion (in terms of personality). I don’t think his rivalry with Harry is on the same level as the Snape-James grudge. But if Draco keeps going in the direction he has been, we’ll be seeing the awkward situation of having Junior Death Eaters operating freely at Hogwarts. I just don’t think that can happen. Some kind of restraint has to be put on Draco, but I think he’ll end up being offered the opportunity to do something really Dark and he’ll blow it. Maybe his conscience will make him hesitate. Maybe Harry will take pity on him…?
Lupin: From the scene in which he visited with the werewolf at St. Mungo’s, I gathered that Lupin’s mission for the Order may be to recruit werewolves to fight against the Death Eaters, just as Hagrid was sent to recruit the giants. Maybe success will surprise both of them, and maybe Charlie Weasley will come through with some dragons, and maybe the creatures of the forest will get into the act and when the all-out war opens up, maybe a lot of things Wizards have tended to fear and avoid will come out as allies against the Dark Lord.
The D. A.: The fact that representatives of Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Gryffindor came together for this, in spite of their Quidditch-related differences, is an encouraging sign. The Sorting Hat should be pleased, in view of its song at the start of Harry’s fifth year. This trend of uniting the different houses may continue to be a key element in Hogwarts’ defense against Dark Forces-and I think the defense of Hogwarts will be a key element in this war. Will the DA continue as such? Will some Slytherins join up? That’ll be the day!
Ginny Weasley: Someone has to carry on the Fred and George tradition, and Ginny has already shown signs of having it in her. Look to Ginny for daring exploits and wild, wacky schemes. I also think that her ability to talk openly with Harry will help the two of them to grow together. Ron wants that to happen, obviously…
Snape: What is going to happen when he finds Harry in his NEWT class? We already know Snape is a double agent. He practically admitted as much to Harry. The funny thing about double agents is that both sides know, to some degree, that they are working both sides. At least their controllers on both sides (in this case, Dumbledore and Voldemort). But as the Good Book says, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.” Which master does Snape really serve? Could the answer to that question change over time? How far will he go?
Hermione’s activism for house-elves may lead her into a career in the Ministry of Magic, making sure that the rights of elves, goblins, centaurs, and so on, are preserved, their conditions improved, peace and cooperation fostered, etc. Harry will have to get surprisingly good OWLs to continue in his ambition to be an Auror. Everything Ron saw in the Mirror of Erised will come true: he will end up as Quidditch Captain, Head Boy, and the hero of more House Cup and Quidditch Cup victories. I expect that he’ll start to get a bit stuck-up and there will be another rift, temporarily, between him and Harry.
Viktor Krum will show his surly face again, and a more mature romance will flare up between him and Hermione. I can’t believe JKR would pass up an opportunity to put Ron through a torturous conflict between hero worship and insane jealousy. It would be so much fun to write!
Fred and George will make so much money that they will either redecorate the Burrow beyond recognition, or do something even fancier. Mrs. Weasley will ultimately make up her mind to be grateful that they went into the Joke Shop line. Maybe their funding will become important for Order of the Phoenix activities.
The next DADA teacher will be a totally new character.
The next major character to die will be a member of the Hogwarts staff.
Aaaaand…”open” or not, the coming war will involve a lot of covert activity. These stories are, after all, a lot closer to being mysteries than war novels. I don’t think that “open war” is going to change the format that much. The burden of the story will still be some covert mystery that Harry and friends are trying to figure out before it rises up and bites them. And for open war to come to the Hogwarts campus would be ridiculously disruptive. School could not go on under those conditions; it would ruin the setting. So my main prediction for Harry is that he will spend his next year or two at Hogwarts, anxiously keeping tabs on events outside the school, and getting into danger by leaving the campus to take part in those events. He’s not going to sit on his tuckus while the people who took Sirius from him are out there…