The Pensieve #2: 11 Things I Can’t Wait to Find Out

By Joshua Smith

I would be remiss if I didn’’t 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. I’m not going to get into theories or predictions too much, but Dan does. As Dan has predictions on many of the questions I’m 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 don’t see Petunia as a squib, just a gut feeling) or maybe Dudley lost 140lbs, or Vernon shaved his horrible mustache (and yes I’m 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 he’s on Privet Drive. I’m willing to concede that Arabella Figg is there to protect Harry, but I’m not ready to buy into the Secret-Keeper theory, at least not yet. Dumbledore is too smart for that. Harry’s parents got burned by that charm, so even if Figg is Harry’s secret keeper, I’m positive it’s not Harry’s first, last and only line of defense while he’s 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 Percy’s 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 anyone’s 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 Dumbledore’s 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 don’t have the slightest clue how he’s 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 that.

I apologize for the next two questions I’’m going to discuss. There has been a lot written about them, and they’’ve 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 it’s 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 it’s 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 won’t be Ron or Hermione (obviously), Colin, Dobby, Dumbledore, Sirius or Lupin. One of the latter two could die in a future book, but it won’t 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 everyone’s 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 it’s pretty obvious they both like each other. I remember being 15, and it’s a very awkward age. Asking a girl out when you’re that young is about as easy open heart surgery. (Quick side-note to 15 year old boys: it’s 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….it’s up in the air. Also, don’t 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, we’ll have to wait and see.

Some people are looking for an all out battle in book 5 between good and evil, but I think it’s 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 let’s 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 Sorcerer’s Stone, which occurred 5 years earlier in HP Land, Harry asks Dumbledore why Voldemort wanted to kill the Potters, and Albus isn’t answering. Could this be what he is about to tell Harry here, and could it have anything to do with Professor Trelawney’s 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 anyone’s 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 I’m 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 I’’ve brought up will have been answered, and new ones will arise. I can’t wait.