With a New Clue Comes a New Suspect
An original editorial by Kheya
I think it is safe to say that J.K. Rowling is talking about the Half-Blood
Prince here. The latest clue has led to many different inquiries and theories, but
I, myself, have been tangled up in this clue. Many have predicted that as she used
"lion" as an adjective, this person belonged to Gryffindor. Maybe it's
even GODRIC Gryffindor, perhaps?
But I have a different perspective about what this little bit of writing could mean.
J.K.Rowling was not describing a lion but, rather, someone with lion characteristcs.
So who else do we know that is similiar to a lion? Who else could she mean?
The answer that popped into my head was none other than Hermione's ginger cat,
Crookshanks is definitely one of the most interesting characters in the Harry Potter
series. There are so many questions involving this strange, clever cat. If he is not
an Animagus, then what could he be? The answer according to my theory is simple.
The following two sentences of the clue have triggered many questions and thoughts--and many
answers as well. The following are clues and facts that have been laid in front of
us--sometimes even repeated--that can support that Crookshanks is indeed the person
J.K. Rowling was describing, which may be the Half-Blood Prince.
"...looked rather like an old lion. There were streaks of grey..."
The words "old" and "grey" are describing age. The clue also mentioned that this person
wore spectacles. This obviously means this person has poor vision, maybe because of his age.
However, it is quite safe to say that Crookshanks may fall into the category of "old age."
"...Poor Crookshanks, that witch said he'd been in there for ages: no one wanted
him." -Hermione, p.50, Prisoner of Azkaban.
Is it not odd that Crookshanks has been around for so long? Everyone has been speculating
about Scabbers' age, and how it was strange that a rat lived for 12 years. However,
isn't it strange that J.K.Rowling did not go into the subject of
Crookshank's age? Scabbers did not die because he was not a rat--he was an animagus.
Both Peter's and Sirius's forms of animagus survived, because they were not true
animals. So other than Crookshanks being an animagus, which J.K. has denied, what else could last in animal form
long periods of time?
"... his mane of tawny hair..."
She described this person with TAWNY hair. Tawny is a light brown to brownish
orange. Crookshanks is described to be a cat with that kind of coloring. Watching out
for simple words can lead to many great discoveries, as revealed here.
"...he had keen yellowish eyes ..."
In Prisoner of Azkaban, we are told MANY TIMES that Crookshanks has
"Crookshanks had now settled in an empty seat, his squashed face turned to Ron, his
yellow eyes on Ron's pocket." p.62, Prisoner of Azkaban
"Crookshanks slowly chewed up the spider, his yellow eyes fixed insolently on Ron."
p.110, Prisoner of Azkaban
"Can't you shut that thing up?" he added to Harry, as Hermione strode out of the
room, Crookshanks's yellow eyes still fixed maliciously on Ron." p.168, Prisoner of
"But Harry had just seen--slinking towards them, his body low to the ground, wide
yellow eyes, glinting eerily in the darkness--Crookshanks." p.244, Prisoner of
These were only a few times his eyes were mentioned in PoA. Rowling is showing an
obvious emphasis on his yellow eyes. Why would she mention this bit of information
so many times?
"...he walked with a slight limp."
Crookshanks might have been born with a leg that could not function properly, as
this line says:
"The cat's ginger fur was thick and fluffy, but it was definately a bit bow-legged
and it's face looked grumpy and oddly squashed, as though it had run head long into
a brick wall." p.50, Prisoner of Azkaban
Notice how JK describes him as being bow-legged, the exact definition of which follows:
1. A leg having an outward curvature* in the region of the knee.
2. The condition of such a curvature* of the legs
*Curvature: A curving or bending, especially an abnormal one.
So this could possibly mean that Crookshanks had some sort of abnormality in his
knee. This would definately change the way he would walk. And is it not strange how
she mentions this again?
"Crookshanks skidded to a halt, crouched low on his bandy legs and started making
ferocious swipes beneath the chest of drawers with his front paw." p.111, Prisoner
Bandy: 1. of legs: bowed outward at or below the knee
Now we're on to something.
Use of words that describe an animal.
J.K.Rowling mentions that this person has the characteristics similiar to that of a
lion. And she mentions the words "mane" and "rangy." She also mentions those "bushy"
eyebrows. This may be a weak theory, but where have we heard "bushy" many times
before? Crookshanks's tail.
Crookshanks was on Sirius's side before anyone else was.
[Harry] peered out at the grounds again and spotted it. It was skirting the edge
of the forest now...it wasn't the Grim at all...it was a cat...Harry clutched the
window-ledge in relief as he recognized the bottle-brush tail. It was only
Or was it only Crookshanks? Harry squinted, pressing his nose flat against the
glass. Crookshanks seemed to have come to a halt. Harry was sure he could see
something else moving in the shadows of the trees, too.
And the next moment, it had emerged: a gigantic, shaggy black dog, moving
stealthily across the lawn, Crookshanks trotting at it's side. p.223-224, PoA
Crookshanks had been communicating with Black for a while before any of them found
out. This means he wanted to help him and knew that Black wasn't just a normal
stray dog. Crookshanks also performed a courageous act when jumped on top
of Black's chest, covering his heart, to prevent Harry from harming Black. But how
could have he have known it was Black, since he presumably only knew him as a dog?
And how could he have known Black was on the good side? This may mean that Crookshanks
might have known Black beforehand.
Crookshanks is NOT a "pure" cat.
In the World Book Day Chat, when asked why Crookshanks never caused Hagrid
to sneeze (because Hagrid mentioned that he was allergic to cats), Rowling simply
"He's never around Crookshanks very much. I'm allergic to cats and I can be in a
room with one briefly. But of course, Crookshanks isn't all cat. Read Fantastic
This has been one of the most difficult mysteries in the books. We have all asked
ourselves one point in time, "Is Crookshanks an animgus?" Recently,however, all our hopes
were shattered as J.K.Rowling told us that Crookshanks is not an animagus but a HALF-kneazle. According to
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:
The Kneazle was originally bred in Britain, though it is now exported
worldwide. A small catlike creature with flecked, speckled, or spotted
fur, outsize ears, and a tail like a lion's, the Kneazle is
intelligent, independent, and occasionally agressive, though if it
takes a liking to a witch or wizard, it makes an excellent pet. The
Kneazle has an uncanny ability to detect unsavoury or suspicous
characters and can be relied upon to guide its owner safely home if
they are lost. Kneazles have up to eight kittens in a litter and can
interbreed with cats. Licenses are required for ownership as (like
Crups and Fwoopers) Kneazles are sufficiently unusual in apperance to
attract Muggle interest.
Note that the description of a kneazle includes "a tail like a lion's." Perhaps a little
clue foreshadowing the description of the man in the excerpt?
But wait, there is one more thing she DID NOT mention. Simply because Crookshanks is
not an animagus does not mean that he couldn't be part wizard. Consider Remus Lupin.
Lupin was bitten by a werewolf and, therefore, has become a werewolf. This event has changed
his life and has acted as a CURSE on him for eternity. Even if Lupin did take the
potion Snape had made for him, Lupin would STILL transform into a werewolf, but he
would be able to control his behavior.
Lupin's curse would only activate in moonlight of a full moon; he was free to act
normally in daylight and could somewhat control himself when in his werewolf
form. Now let's think about Crookshanks. If he was unable to control his animal form,
then what curse would he be under? Or, more importantly, what KIND of curse?
This may sound a little outrageous, but it may be true. I think that
Crookshanks may be under some kind of curse or enchantment that makes him stay a cat for the rest of his
life. It is clear Crookshanks knows much more than a cat ought to know. It seems
like he actually UNDERSTANDS what the Golden Trio are saying at times and shows
slight movement, purring or hissing in response. Really, think about it: Crookshanks may be
a wizard who was trapped in a cat's body. And wouldn't it make sense to curse a Half
Blood Prince? Who knows what power an HPB can pocess--maybe powers to endanger
others? It does seem fitting, because of his stature, that a Half Blood Prince would be cursed into
an animal that no one would care for or want. It's the perfect way to hide someone from the public and make it seem
they have died or gone missing.
Because of Crookshanks's huge amount of knowlegde, he surprises us quite a few
times. He does things which normal cats would not do, and knows things normal
cats would not know. By reading the Prisoner of Azkaban, there are several scenes in
which Crookshanks acts in an abnormal manner. For example:
"Crookshanks darted forwards. He slithered between the battering branches like a
snake and placed his paws upon a knot on the trunk."
"Crookshanks!" Hermione whispered uncertainly. She now grasped Harry's arm painfully
hard. "How did he know?"
"He's friends with that dog," said Harry grimly. "I've seen them together." p.246, PoA
"This cat isn't mad," said Black hoarsely. He reached out a bony hand and stroked
Crookshanks's fluffy head.
"He's the most intelligent of his kind I've ever met. He recognized Peter for what he was
straight away. And when he met me, he knew I was no dog. It was a while before he
trusted me. Finally, I managed to communicate to him what I was after, and he's been
"What do you mean?" breathed Hermione.
"He tried to bring Peter to me, but couldn't...so he stole the passwords into
Gryffindor Tower for me. As I understand it he took them from a boy's bedside
table." p.267, PoA
This intelligence may just be a characteristic of being half-kneazle but maybe not.
Crookshanks was put into the books to a serve a purpose. In
Prisoner of Azkaban
, he was determined to protect Sirius against anyone who tried to
hurt him. Crookshanks also seems to understand what the people around him are saying.
As for the piece of writing which was locked in the "Secret Room": now, the description would not make sense
if Crookshanks is doomed to remain in cat form forever, would it? This could be a description from the past
or a memory in the Pensieve before "Crookshanks" was a cat. Since the description made it clear that the man was
old, it could mean Crookshanks is even older now. Another suggestion could be that
maybe a powerful witch or wizard breaks the curse or changes him back for a short
period of time so Crookshanks is set free. Anything could be possible at this point.
The clues are laid in front of you, and there are facts and evidence to support it.
Crookshanks may indeed be the man in the passage, and it may be a
possibility that he is the Half-Blood Prince. There are are still so many other questions we
must ask ourselves: Why was Crookshanks under such a powerful curse? If the
man in the description was taken from the Pensieve, whose memory was it? What
did Crookshanks do to deserve this entrapment? And, finally, who cursed him?