11 Things I Can't Wait to Find Out
I would be remiss if I didnt start this column by thanking all the
people who emailed me with their thoughts about my column. Thanks for
all the flattering words, and feel free to keep writing me. I also
have to mention Dan's most recent column
for 2 reasons: first, as
always, it was fantastic, everyone really should check it out. Second, I
think it will serve as a good point of reference after you read mine.
Basically, I'm going to talk about the most burning HP issues that I think
will be addressed, at least to some degree, in the fifth book. Im not
going to get into theories or predictions too much, but Dan does. As
Dan has predictions on many of the questions Im going to discuss, I
really think you the reader would be well served to read his column.
We know we are going to find out something interesting about Lily
Potter, but what, exactly, is a mystery. Obviously we know the color
of her eyes is incredibly important, (and if you haven't picked up on
that, I suggest you re-read all 4 books before you read the 5th) but why exactly her optical pigments are significant is unclear.
Could this link her to Voldemort/Slytherin in some way?
Don't forget that Lily's wand being good for charm work is very
important too. Could there be a death-eater connection here? Or maybe it
plays a role in how the Potters got their fortune? I don't know how much
of this will be settled in book 5; however it should be interesting to
see just how much Rowling reveals.
We are also going to learn something about the Dursleys that we
might not expect. This could be any number of things. Perhaps somebody
in the family is developing magic late in life (though I dont see
Petunia as a squib, just a gut feeling) or maybe Dudley lost 140lbs, or
Vernon shaved his horrible mustache (and yes Im being sarcastic). Whatever
the new Dursley development is, I think, after book five, that the gang
from Privet Drive he will be more received by readers.
Ok, so we all know that there is some ancient magic protecting
Harry when hes on Privet Drive. Im willing to concede that Arabella Figg
is there to protect Harry, but Im not ready to buy into the
Secret-Keeper theory, at least not yet. Dumbledore is too smart for that.
Harrys parents got burned by that charm, so even if Figg is Harrys secret
keeper, Im positive its not Harrys first, last and only line of
defense while hes at home. There is another interesting dynamic here.
Voldemort knows about these safeguards...does that mean he knows how to
get around them possibly? If so, that would make Harry very vulnerable
over his summer holiday (perhaps this would lead to dementors going to
Privet Drive, making Harry cast his Patronus, possibly getting
expelled?) Stay tuned on this one, I think it will play out in the early
goings of book 5.
Percy Weasley is going to have some very tough decisions to make in
book 5, probably about whether to side with the Ministry or Dumbledore
and his family. Keep in mind Percys idol is Crouch....who
incidentally sold out his family in order to increase his stature in the Ministry.
Will Percy be faced with a similar decision? Probably. What he will
decide is anyones guess, but his decision will have major ramifications
on the rest of the SERIES...not just book 5. Mark my words.
OotP is going to be full of all sorts of dangerous missions. You
have Hagrid and Maxime going to sway the giants to Dumbledores side.
Dealing with giants has some pretty inherent risks, i.e. getting
squashed like a bug. Whether or not they succeed is going to be pretty
relevant too, because if the giants were to side with
Voldemort... Snape, on the other hand, is going on a far more dangerous
mission. I think for the most part we can all agree that he is going to
attempt to be a spy on Voldemort for Dumbledore. However, I dont have
the slightest clue how hes going to do it. He can't just go back to
Voldemort after teaching under Dumbledore; Voldy is way too smart for
that. There clearly has to be some gimmick in play here, so watch for
I apologize for the next two questions Im going to discuss. There
has been a lot written about them, and theyve been discussed over and
over again. However, both are going to play important roles in book
five, so I digress. There is going to be a death in book 5, and
obviously, anytime someone dies its a pretty major part of the book.
Consider Cedric for a moment. He was not a central character in the series,
and yet his death had a profound impact on the book. Now consider that
a central character will die in book 5, and its obvious this needs to
be discussed. The prevailing talk about it has been who will it be?
Well nobody knows for sure, so I'll tell you who it won't be. It wont
be Ron or Hermione (obviously), Colin, Dobby, Dumbledore, Sirius or
Lupin. One of the latter two could die in a future book, but it wont be
5. Just about every other central character is fair game.
Now on to the raging hormones that we will see in OotP. Let's
start with everyones favorite would-be couple, Ron and Hermione. I could
write four pages about this (and Dan did, check out his column), but let's cut to the chase. I
think its pretty obvious they both like each other. I remember
being 15, and its a very awkward age. Asking a girl out when youre that
young is about as easy open heart surgery. (Quick side-note to 15 year
old boys: its not as hard as you're making it out to be -- the worst she can say is no.
Just do it.) So will Ron come out and tell Hermione how he feels (or
vice-versa)? Eventually yes, but in book 5....its up in the
air. Also, dont look for a Harry/Cho relationship either.
Cedric just died, Cho is going to have cold feet for awhile. And I think
Ginny would be a better fit for Harry. But these relationships will
play a part in the upcoming book, but as to their significance, well
have to wait and see.
Some people are looking for an all out battle in book 5 between
good and evil, but I think its a little premature for that. I think you
will see Rowling use OotP as the calm before the storm. Both sides are
going to be preparing for battle, rallying the troops (giants,
dementors) ect... Fear not however, because there will obviously be some
degree of peril, (obviously, somebody dies!) And lets face it, where Harry
goes, trouble follows. So if you were looking for a Braveheartesque
war, you might not get it. But who knows, J.K. has done stranger things.
Professor Trelawney correctly predicted Wormtail returning to
Voldemort and helping him rise to power. But as Dumbledore tells us, that
was her 2nd accurate prediction. Which begs the question, what was the
first? We may just find out in OotP, and it ties in with my next
segment. But make no mistake, it has significance. Just about every little
detail Rowling includes in her books is there for a real person, and
this one is no exception.
Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his
half-moon glasses. "It is time," he said, "for me to tell you what I should
have told you five years ago, Harry." Please sit down. I am going to tell
you everything." The quote we've all toiled over for months now. This
is obviously a crucial part of the book. If you go back to the end of
Sorcerers Stone, which occurred 5 years earlier in HP Land, Harry asks
Dumbledore why Voldemort wanted to kill the Potters, and Albus isnt
answering. Could this be what he is about to tell Harry here, and could
it have anything to do with Professor Trelawneys first prediction? It
all seems to fit; but again, only time will tell.
We visit a new magical area in OotP, but where and why is anyones
guess. I really am baffled as to what role the new area will play in
terms of the book, but I can give you a run down on where or what the
magical place will be. Godric's Hollow, Azkaban, Malfoy Manor, (a raid
of some kind?) or possibly Beauxbatons or Durmstrang. Your guess is
as good as mine.
Well, those are the biggest questions I could think of going into
OotP. As you all know, the book comes out in a few days, and Im sure
we are all very anxious to read it. I hope you all enjoy it, and I hope
it lives up to the hype. The wait is almost over,
and in a few short days, many questions Ive brought up will have been
answered, and new ones will arise. I cant wait.
Joshua Smith is a 20-year-old journalism student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and an avid Harry Potter fan.
If you'd like to contact Josh, you may do so here.