Denial Ain’t Just a River in Egypt
by Siria Ciraux
I’ve notices a lot of really cool theories out there. Cool, but not probable. I think we, as a Harry Potter community, are suffering from HP denial. JKR rolled (excuse the pun) out some pretty heavy stuff on us in book 5; Fudge being complete idiot and traitor, Percy going along with him, and James and Sirius being total arses when they were 15. Naturally, we make excuses to atone for their behavior; impersonated by Polyjuice, it’s just how Snape perceived it, they’re all being controlled by the Imperius Curse, Harry’s evil twin whose really Voldemort’s ex-wife seduced them all and made them drones, the list goes on. However, if we really look at it, as much as we want these things to be probable (except maybe the last), I don’t really think they are.
Let’s start with Fudge. Up until the end of the fourth book, we like Fudge. I mean, sure, he’s a little clueless, and a little pompous, but he’s a nice guy. Then we realize he’s, for lack of a stronger word, a total git. So, why can’t he be being controlled by the Imperious Curse? Because his behavior started at the end of book 4, not at the beginning of book 5. Fudge was always like this; he absolutely refuses to believe Voldemort was back, sided against Dumbledore, and mentioned inquiries at Hogwarts at the end of the fourth book. Voldemort absolutely could not have had time, in his hours of being functional, to control Fudge. Also, Fudge, in book 5, does not act as he’s under the Imperious curse. I know, that’s sounds odd, “acting” as you’re under the imperious Curse. But Fudge wouldn’t have screwed up so much and wouldn’t have been as flustered if a criminal mastermind was behind him. The trial would have gone better, he wouldn’t have lost his temper, and he wouldn’t have acted like an idiot when Voldemort appeared in the DoM. Also, let’s consider how it ends. Fudge admits that he was wrong. Why, on God’s green earth, would Voldemort control Fudge for a year, cause only damage of intervention at Hogwarts and “discord”, (as in Fudge didn’t do anything terribly violent, or really help Voldemort as he well could have) and then have him renounce everything he said at the end, only making people trust him much less? It just doesn’t make any sense.
Let’s go to Percy, the most painful of all. I have always been a big Percy fan, because I’m a huge nerd, and I thought he would do something really cool, like giving Voldemort an extra-thin cauldron bottom, even though everyone made fun of him. I did not want to think he sunk so low. But let’s look at the evidence.
First scenario: Voldemort knows about the Order, or has an inkling that the Weasleys are involved in it. Thus, he Imperios Percy, or gets someone to Polyjuice him. (So maybe those aren’t real verbs). If Voldemort does know the Weasleys are somehow involved in and Order, why would he make someone under his power, and then completely cut him off from it? Let’s say he just wants to get at the Weasleys because he thinks they’re going to be instrumental in fighting him. Why does Voldemort, right after Percy’s under his control, completely cut him off from his family, the one thing he controlled him for?
Second Scenario: Voldemort doesn’t know about the Order, or doesn’t know the Weasleys are involved in it. O.k., then why does he Imperio or Polyjuice Percy? In this case, Percy is just another kid coming straight out of Hogwarts. Why would he care? It’s not as if Voldemort has an in expendable number of servants at this point. Why would he waste on someone with no connection to Dumbledore, the Order, or fighting him? Doesn’t make sense.
Most of what I’ve seen for the Pettegrew-is-cotrolling-Percy evidence is not really evidence. Things like interpreted “foreshadowing” and “running bits.” The fact remains that no concrete event or character’s words have hinted at this situation. There are also running bits about socks, crocked noses, and the number 12. Does this mean that Harry will break his nose 12 times while trying to put on evil socks? No event, and no character’s intentional words, has even hinted at this situation.
Finally, there’s the Sirius and James are total jerks situation. I actually like this chapter, and I think I know why JKR included it; to make James and Sirius human. Up to the fourth book, James is not; he’s this big hero, defender of the weak, bad-guy fighter, really smart, great Quidditch player, but still likes to have fun perfect guy. JKR was making him real, so he had faults, and was believable (something history textbooks should try once in a while). Granted, some of the Pensieve may have been Snape’s interpretation; but concrete events and quotes cannot be changed in a real memory. Perhaps the tone of voice, or the time lapse, or the extent of actions can be exaggerated or minimized by the person using the Pensieve. But the actual quotes remain just as cruel, even with a different tone. Besides, this couldn’t have been just Snape’s completely made up interpretation of how things happened, because Sirius and Lupin confirmed it. Harry is obviously very shaken by this; Sirius and Lupin have no reason to lie and tell him that yes, his father really was that jerk, if he wasn’t.
JKR let out some tough stuff in OotP. So some of it is fun to theorize why people couldn’t be the jerks they’re acting like in the book. But it seems like they were.