The North Tower #7: The End of Days – What the Prophecies Tell Us (2)

by Maline

Today I’ll finish what I started last week: an analysis of what will happen based on the prophecies in Harry Potter. Let’s pick up where we left off and go back to the prophecies.

but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not

This clause can be analyzed in two ways.

1) He [the One] will have power and the Dark Lord won’t know that he [the One] has that power.
2) He [the One] will have power that the Dark Lord is not familiar with.

If you interpret it according to (1), this supports the argumentation of Neville being the One: since Voldemort’s never met him, he doesn’t know anything about his powers (as many people have pointed out to me in their owls).

If, on the other hand, you interpret it according to (2), it means that it is about the power in itself that the Dark Lord knows nothing (or very little). He might very well know that the One possesses this power but not how it works or how powerful it is.

I interpret it according to (2) for the following reasons:

1) If you divide the clause into parts according to function you’ll get:
he | will have | power the Dark Lord knows not – subject | predicate | object

In this situation, the words “the Dark Lord knows not” become a description of “power” in the same way as “a red” in the sentence “the girl has a rose, a red,” describes the rose, not the girl. Also, “knows” is here used as a transitive verb (meaning that it refers directly to another word without a preposition in between) giving the possible question “What doesn’t the DL know? – the power” (like the sentence “What doesn’t Maline know? – her Latin homework”). “Knows” is attached to “power” and not to “he.” In order to attach it to “he,” you’d need another relative clause, e.g. “he will have power the Dark Lord knows not that he has.”

2) The power in question is described as follows by Dumbledore (OotP p.743)

“There is a room in the Department of Mysteries… that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than the forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all. That power took you to save Sirius tonight. That power also saved you from possession by Voldemort, because he could not bear to reside in a body so full of the force he detests.”

A power which Harry has and Voldy doesn’t… a force that Voldemort detests. Note the structural parallel to the passages about the effects of Lily’s sacrifice (PS/SS, CoS, GoF, OotP) where we’re told that the protection it gave to Harry was due to an ancient branch of magic which Voldemort’s aware of but has always despised and thereforeunderestimated. He hasn’t learned it because he thinks it’s rubbish. He doesn’t know it.

I think that we’re talking about the same power here, the Power, which I think is also the same as the power in “The One with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches.” Voldemort knows that Harry has this power, but he doesn’t know exactly what it is, does or how powerful it can be.

3) Why would JKR write seven books called Harry Potter and… if the true hero was Neville Longbottom? Please everyone, this does not make sense. This is like, at the end of Cinderella, it would turn out that the glass shoe fits one of the stepsisters perfectly and she goes away to the castle, marries the prince and lives happily ever after.

Anyway, we will surely get to know more about this power, how it works, why Harry has it and why Voldemort doesn’t. This should include a more detailed study of Voldemort’s character. More information on his transformation into the Dark Lord and childhood, perhaps?

and either must die at the hand of the other

Oh yes! Everybody’s favourite part for guessing the ending of HP7. I’ve already explained (in NT1 – Chosen) what I think about this: that one (or both) of the personas “the One” and “the Dark Lord” will have to die, but not necessarily the people behind them (i.e., Harry and Tom).

This still gives quite a bit of room for guesswork though. Here are some options:

1) Tom dies because he now (possibly because of Harry’s blood and Wormtail’s flesh) has “enough human in him to die,” but not yet enough to live. Remember that he in PS/SS drank the blood of a unicorn and is therefore doomed to a damned half-life.

2) Voldemort might be cleansed and “forgiven” by the great power (love… hey, think how surprised we’d all be if it turns out to be something else!), and everybody will have a happy ending and la la la, but I think that’s a bit too fairy tale for JKR.

3) Both Tom and Harry might die. We’ve seen how long grudges tend to last in HP, so what if Harry and Voldemort fight, Harry wins, Voldemort goes good and remorseful, Harry kills him anyway because Voldemort killed his parents? Or they become friends and get killed by other people? I must say that I don’t believe that Harry would kill Tom Riddle, we’ve seen how he sympathizes with him in CoS and he’s already shown Wormtail extraordinary mercy, but it is a possibility.

The way I see it, it could go either way. I think the Dark Lord will be defeated by the mystical power wielded by Harry and become Tom Riddle again. Then, Harry has a choice to make: show mercy or kill him anyway. As I said, it would be more in character for Harry to show mercy, but let’s not forget two things:

1) Harry hates Voldemort because of all the pain he’s caused him. Voldy has killed (so far) his mother, father and Sirius, the people he loved most in the entire world. He’s made his life miserable with all the headaches and having to live at the Dursleys, not to mention the unwanted fame. Harry would want to kill him.

2) He thinks he has to. Remember that both Dumbledore and Harry interpreted the prophecy in a different way than we did here: they believe that Harry must kill Voldy in the physical sense. I think this is very important. JKR has shown before that her characters don’t always know the truth about things (e.g., what really happened with Wormtail, Sirius and the Fidelius Charm) and they can misinterpret things also. They’re only human after all.

This opens up for the very sad and ironic ending that Voldy goes good, Harry forgives him but kills him anyway because he thinks that he has to (like Buffy with Angel in season 2, only she actually had to). This would be very Greek-tragedy-ish and go well with JKR’s style.

On the other hand (again), I got hooked on two things Dumbledore said while fighting Voldemort in the MoM: “Merely taking your life would not satisfy me, I admit,” and “Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness” (both in OotP, p 718).

JKR has said that she often speaks through Dumbledore and I think this is one of the moments when character and writer melt together. If you put the two sentences together you get the following clue: JKR will not merely kill off Voldemort because 1) it wouldn’t satisfy her (she too will want “revenge” for the murders of some of her favorite characters, think back on her statements about her grief when killing off Sirius, for example), and 2) she obviously has something important to show us. What it is that is worse than death? Well, the mystical power locked inside the DoM, for example. Voldemort doesn’t know it, but he’ll have to learn, I think we can count on that. My personal guess is that Lord Voldemort will be “cleansed” and go back to being Tom Riddle, but that he’ll have to make amends for all the evil he’s done for the rest of his life. But, that is just me.

Next week, I’ll answer any questions you might have on any one of my first seven articles, so go catch an owl and send them to me, okay?

See you all, and have a nice week!