I can remember being so immersed for all 3 and a half days it took me to read Order of the Phoenix. One thing that struck me as strange the first time I read the book and both times thereafter happened in Chapter 11 (The Sorting Hat's New Song), pages 200-220 of the U.S. version.
I am speculating that the HBP is Euan Abercrombie. I am sure all of you are thinking "who on earth is that?" Look at page 204, the second to last paragraph before the song. "The first years' faces glowed palely in the candlelight. A small boy right in the middle of the row looked as though he was trembling. Harry recalled, fleetingly, how terrified he had felt when he stood there, waiting for the unknown test that would determine to which House he belonged." Before I continue with quoting I will tell you why I think this paragraph will prove to be significant. First of all, the Small Boy was described completely away from the rest of the group. No one else in the group of first years is even mentioned in this paragraph. Secondly, Harry identifies with the fear that he can see the Small Boy is exhibiting.
Now, after The Sorting Hat's song if you check out page 207 starting five lines from the bottom of the page "...With a last frowning look that swept the four House tables, Professor McGonagall lowered her eyes to her long piece of parchment and called out, 'Abercrombie, Euan.' The terrified-looking boy Harry had noticed earlier stumbled forward and put the hat on his head; it was only prevented from falling right down to his shoulders by his very prominent ears. The hat considered for a moment, then the rip near the brim opened again and shouted, 'GRYFFINDOR!' Harry clapped loudly with the rest of the Gryffindor House as Euan Abercrombie staggered to their table and sat down looking as though he would like very much to sink through the floor and never be looked at again." Within those three paragraphs it seems to me that we will be meeting Mr. Abercrombie later on. Rowling wouldn't have devoted three whole paragraphs to a meaningless, nothing-to-add-to-the-plot, minor character especially considering the length of the book already. If those paragraphs weren't important they would have been dropped in hopes of shortening the book. Also there is only one other first year mentioned and there isn't anything close to the effort in developing any other part of Rose Zeller rather than her being sorted into Hufflepuff. Usually Rowling would spend much more time giving names of random first years waiting to be sorted. I would also like to add that Rowling only mentions that Rose Zeller was sorted into Hufflepuff, when Euan Abercrombie is sorted, the word Gryffindor comes right from the Sorting Hat's... er... mouth, I guess. *I read the GoF sorting over again just now* Rowling never really sorted anyone in this style in GoF. (The only people that were sorted similarly to this were Neville Longbottom and Draco Malfoy-- a paragraph devoted to each and the House they were sorted into being yelled from the Hat in that same paragraph. Both Neville and Malfoy prove to be prominent characters.) Usually, if the House name is shown to come from the Hat's "mouth," it is on a line all it's own not at the end of a paragraph describing the sorted person. Check all other instances from pages 119-122 of SS and pages 178-180 of GoF. Although, there is nothing about blood in these paragraphs that doesn't confirm or deny Euan Abercrombie of being the HBP.
Also, I want to touch upon Rowling stating that Euan had prominent ears. When
I did a report on Buddhism my freshmen year in high school, I remember reading
that Siddhartha Gautama (the founder of Buddhism) had large ears. When further
research was put in to spark my memory again, I came to the knowledge that having
prominent ears, through the beliefs of Gautama's people, is one of 80 minor
I consulted a high school homework help message board, where the volunteer teacher
gave me this information:
"...Buddhism reached China more than five centuries after the death of its
founder, Siddhartha Gautama (circa 563BC to circa 483BC), a wealthy prince turned
ascetic, who was to be known after his enlightenment as the Buddha. The elongated
ears of buddha statues...symbolise the Buddha's original nobility and wealth..."
The word NOBILITY is such a helpful word dealing with this topic. Although nobility is not exactly prince standard, it does follow the same path: powerful social status.
Rowling uses symbolism from all aspects of society in her writing and I think the ears are a symbol that there is more to Euan Abercrombie. It seems to me that he could be as likely a candidate for HBP as say... Dumbledore or, to many peoples' beliefs, Tom Riddle.
I have discussed this theory with a few people before now and many of them asked if Abercrombie had been mentioned in CoS. To my knowledge, no, which could serve to be a big hole in my theory, but J.K. Rowling said that many things were removed from CoS because the place for this information was in future books. Maybe Euan Abercrombie was removed and later placed in OotP. Feel free to contact me with any feelings for or against my theory (email@example.com).