HARRY POTTER: THE PREQUEL
" Imagine that Voldemort's powerful now. You don't know who his supporters are, you don't know who's working for him and who isn't; you know he can control people so that they do terrible things without being able to stop themselves. You're scared for yourself, and your family, and your friends. Every week, news comes of more deaths, more disappearances, more torturing ... the Ministry of Magic's in disarray, they don't know what to do, they're trying to keep everything hidden from the Muggles, but meanwhile, Muggles are dying too. Terror everywhere ... panic... confusion... that's how it used to be."
Part One - Before Hallowe'en 1981
(Sirius Black, Australian ed. GoF, p. 457)
I'm squeezing in time to write this editorial because it's occurred to me that we're rapidly running out of time before Half-Blood Prince comes out (so exciting!!), and if I don't do it now, all my speculations could be made redundant. I'm hoping for a "fake chapter one" (term courtesy of Mr. Ford over at The Underground Lake, thanks) about the Potters' deaths in HBP, and I want to see what I can figure out from the information we already have before I'm told too much. (The books won't necessarily tell us everything I'm dealing with here anyway, but it's worth being prepared.)
So, this is my attempt to glean as much information as possible about the events preceding and following Hallowe'en 1981 from what we're given in the books. (I did attempt an outline of what preceded that Hallowe'en in When the Prophecy Was Made, but I need to revise that here and add more.) Some of it will be based on assumptions, but where possible, I will try to logically argue why those particular assumptions are reasonable. Some assumptions are fairly solid, some a bit more... watery. :-)
One basic assumption that underscores this entire editorial is that JKR has been consistent with the little information she's given us about the events preceding Hallowe'en 1981. (The same assumption will apply for the events following Hallowe'en 1981 in Part Two.) We know that Jo's a genius and meticulously plans all sorts of little details that create the bigger, coherent whole that is the Harry Potter series; however, we also know that she's human. But as most other editorials are based on the assumption that JKR is consistent, I'm going to view it as a fairly reasonable assumption and go with that.
NB: Particular thanks to two of my Harry Potter-obsessed friends, Tennille and Caitlin, for assisting me with a long discussion about this when we were seeing each other for the first time in about two months. They really helped me clarify a lot of the issues and gave excellent feedback. Arigatou gozaimashita, girls... totemo samoshii desu ne! :-)
Before we begin, I'd like to introduce you to some terms I coined for the purposes of this editorial which should make it easier and clearer for me to write about these things. Generally they're just abbreviations:
Vspy: spy for Voldemort in Dumbledore's midst, eg. Pettigrew
Dspy: spy for Dumbledore in Voldemort's midst, eg. Snape
Spy circle: the people in the circle of friends "close to the Potters" who knew the information about their movements that was being passed on to Voldemort and hence could be suspected of being the spy
bH81: time period from Dumbledore hearing the prophecy in mid 1980 (see When the Prophecy Was Made) to the death of the Potters on Hallowe'en 1981
aH81: time period from the death of the Potters on Hallowe'en 1981 to Harry coming to Hogwarts, in particular the events immediately following the Potters' deaths
QUESTIONS AND ISSUES FOR PART ONE
Now onto some of the core issues I'll be dealing with here in Part One. I have many questions and not all will be answered, but I'll give them a shot. I'm dividing this up into sections to make it an easier read - some of the sections relate to each other a bit but they mostly divide up quite well. Unfortunately, if there's just one section you want to read, it might not make complete sense without the preceding sections.
1. The Prophecy - When did the Potters and Longbottoms learn of the prophecy? Did they know its full contents? Did the spy circle know of the prophecy, and if so, did they know its contents? Why did Voldemort choose to attack Harry? What was Voldemort's understanding of the prophecy when he attacked Harry? How does Dumbledore know how Voldemort interpreted the prophecy?
2. The Spy Circle - Why was Pettigrew trusted so easily and Lupin not? How could Dumbledore not know who the Vspy was? Did Lupin know he was suspected? Whom did Lupin suspect? How many people were in the spy circle?
3. The Christening - Why weren't Lupin, Pettigrew and Dumbledore at the christening? How soon after the birth was the christening? Did Pettigrew become a Vspy before the christening?
4. The Longbottoms - Was there a Vspy for the Longbottoms? How did Voldemort find out about Neville? Was Pettigrew the spy for both the Potters and the Longbottoms?
5. The Hiding - Why didn't the Potters use the Fidelius Charm until October 1981? Why would Voldemort not try to kill them in the year preceding their use of the Fidelius Charm? How did the Potters hide without the Fidelius Charm? What did Dumbledore know about Voldemort's plans for the Potters (and Longbottoms)?
6. The Conclusions - This section will be drawing together the various conclusions I make throughout the editorial, hopefully into a coherent outline of the events leading to the Potters' deaths. If you really don't want to read a 14,000 word exploration of these issues, but want to know what I'm getting at, you might like to skip to section six and see what points I've made, then go back to the relevant section if you like.
7. The End - As the issue of why Voldemort didn't want to kill Lily falls into the timeframe I'm dealing with here, I just want to give my thoughts on the topic, then say goodbye.
Posted by: Nicole
If you would like to contact Esther, you may do so at eskimoe_girl at hotmail dot com.