Looks Can Be Deceiving
by John G.
he issue of Metamorphmagi was raised first in Order of the Phoenix with the introduction of Nymphadora Tonks. Now, Tonks is a cool character because she’s someone young who’s also an auror, not to mention being a bit of a non-conformist (the pink hair, etc.) so Harry can relate to her and learn from her in many ways. BUT, in spite of these things, I am of the opinion that Tonks serves one and only one purpose in the series: to introduce us to Metamorphmagi, so that when we find out later that someone else is one, we won’t be caught completely by surprise.
Yes, I believe there is at least one more Metamorphmagi coming in the series. Allow me to explain:
JK Rowling has thus far eased us into the important concepts which define later books. With the exception of the Time Turner in PoA, with which she basically just said, “Surprise! This solves everything!”, there has not been a book-deciding concept that we couldn’t have seen coming. Not only that, but she seems to typically give us two books’ warning.
In Book 1, we saw Professor McGonagall transition effortlessly between a tabby cat and a person. Yes, in the words of Ron, it was “bloody brilliant,” but it really accomplished nothing in the means of advancing the plot. What it did do, however, is introduce us to the concept of Animagi, so that when Sirius, James, and Peter were all Animagi in Book 3, we didn’t say, “Whoa, where is all this coming from?!” The outcome of Book 3 made sense to us because we were able to accept the fact that some wizards can turn into animals, as the foundation had already been laid. (This also helped us understand Book 4 and the Rita Skeeter ordeal).
In Book 2, another important concept was hinted at: Polyjuice Potion. Sure, its use helped redirect Harry and Ron’s curiosity regarding the Heir of Slytherin, but do you think it really was critical to the outcome of the story? What it did do, however, is show us how the Polyjuice process works, so that the craziness of Book 4 would make sense. In that case, Polyjuice is very critical to the outcome of the plot. And once again, we have two books’ notice.
Book 3, we meet the mysterious Professor Trelawney, and among other things we are introduced to the concept of prophecies. Trelawney makes her freakish prophesy that the “Dark Lord will rise again with his servant’s aid,” and Dumbledore notes that the prediction would be the second “real prediction” to come from Trelawney (“I should offer her a pay raise”). Yes, I know this doesn’t fit with the trend so far in that it is actually critical to the plot, but the real point is that we finish Book 3 well aware of the existence and potential importance of prophesies. The topic does not come up again for – you guessed it – two books. And without the foundation laid, the Hall of Prophesy in Book 5 would have come from left field.
Now, on to my point. Harry has lived most of the last five years completely engulfed in the magical world. Not only that, but he’s attending “the finest school of witchcraft and wizardry in the world… under the greatest headmaster Hogwarts ever had” (~ Hagrid, SS). One would think that by this time, between his classes and his many “extracurricular” activities, Harry would have seen most of the main concepts in magic at least once. However, he still gets the occasional new idea thrown at him, and while some things, like being “disillusioned” by Moody, don’t seem to be a big deal, meeting a Metamorphmagus does. Based on the fact that we’re seeing such a great new magical concept this late in the game, I’m going to call JK Rowling out and say that the idea of Metamorphmagi is just the next in the trend.
If that’s the case, and according to the two-book rule, we should be expecting another Metamorphmagi to pop up in Book 7, whose appearance-shifting abilities will be central to the story’s outcome. It is for this reason that I think that Tonks, although she is a fun character, exists in the Harry Potter world for the sole purpose of showing us early on that Metamorphmagi do exist. As far as her contributions to the plot, I don’t foresee them being any more than that of a bit character, as they were in Book 5.
Now that we’re on to Jo’s little game, the question arises of WHO. While this really could be anybody (it could be the Half-Blood Prince for all we know), my personal belief is that the Metamorphmagi is someone whom we already know well. In each of the first four books, there was at least one character that we thought we pretty well understood, and who turned around and shocked us with something (Quirrell, Lockhart, Tom Riddle, Scabbers, Sirius, Lupin, Moody, to name a few). When it comes again, it will be in the form of someone being revealed as a Metamorphmagi. Guessing who this is would be a shot in the dark, because as far as I can tell it we have absolutely nothing to go on.
So now at least the speculation can begin. Is it someone important, like Cornelius Fudge, or someone who has thus far been trivial, like Professor Grubbly-Plank? Or – maybe – Lily was a Metamorphmagus! The little details that come in Book 6 will be important, because they may just help us see what’s coming at the series’ conclusion.