The North Tower #23: The Changeling Hypothesis
Hi everybody. Thanks for all the e-mails over the last few weeks, bringing me clues about Ron (and other things) and backing up my last article. As I said, I’ll be doing a follow up with a more literary approach later this summer. For now, I’ll head on to something else though.
There is this extremely interesting site called Red Hen Publications that I’ve been visiting quite a bit lately. Today, I thought I’d comment one of the theories there, called the “Changeling Hypothesis,” because 1) I find it fascinating and 2) it gives another perspective on the whole Harry-Voldemort issue which I wrote about in NT 19.
Before reading the following, I advise you to go and READ this theory since you won’t understand much of my commentary otherwise. The recap is just a reminder of the main things and very insufficient if you don’t have the whole theory available in your memory. Seriously, if you haven’t read it, there is absolutely no point in going on and I absolutely refuse having my in-box filled with “what’s the support for that” and “I don’t see why…” questions that are supported and explained in the original theory. So read it, or don’t read this either.
Brief recap of the theory (as I understand it):
When Voldemort attacked Harry with the Avada Kadavra curse in Godric’s Hollow and it bounced back on him, it split him in two: the inhuman parts that he’d acquired through magic and different Dark Arts transformations during his adult life, together with his conscious memories (1) and his human parts with his “soul” and his original innate powers and temperament with only a vague memory of his own name (2). Part (1) formed what is called Vapormort (Voldemort without a body as he was until the end of GoF – I just love that name :-)) and part (2) connected with Harry – the closest living being in range (it’s still uncertain whether Wormtail was there or not) and a very compatible recipient of these things (for lack of a better term).
Harry Potter thus became a hybrid entity containing two souls and two innate temperaments and Voldemort became a powerful embodied evil memory. This entails a lot of things and, since my goal is to comment and develop, I’ll not repeat things where I agree and have little to add.
I find this theory utterly fascinating for many different reasons. First of all it would (also) explain the following things:
1) Why the other Fawkes-cored wand chose Harry. Voldemort’s wand chose Tom Riddle (with TR’s soul inside) and its brother chose Harry (with TR’s soul inside).
2) Why the Sorting hat wanted to put Harry in Slytherin. He was, not by blood but in soul, the last descendant of the House’s founder and thereby a potential “true heir”. (I’ll get back to the connection in CoS later)
3) It could explain just why Harry’s so good at escaping from Voldemort, how it is that he seems to know what to do instinctively. He knows because he is Voldemort.
(Hehe, I remember how incredulous I was when I once got an owl suggesting that Harry and Voldemort might be the same person. “Yeah right!” I thought and pressed the “delete” button. That person had a very complex Time-Turner theory to back it up though, which contradicted itself a bit too much for me to believe it.)
Take these examples:
“Quirrell raised his hand to perform a deadly curse, but Harry, by instinct, reached up and grabbed Quirrell’s face.” (PS/SS, p. 213-14)”Then, without thinking, without considering, as though he had meant to do it all along, Harry seized the Basilisk fang on the floor next to him and plunged it straight into the heart of the book.” (CoS, p. 237)
“One of the beads of light was quivering, inches from the tip of Voldemort’s wand. Harry didn’t understand why he was doing it, didn’t know what it might achieve… but he now concentrated as he had never done in his life, on forcing that bead of light right back into Voldemort’s wand.” (GoF, p. 577)
“Cedric was too heavy to carry and the Cup was out of reach – Voldemort’s red eyes flamed in the darkness. Harry saw his mouth curl into a smile, saw him raise his wand. ‘Accio!’ Harry yelled, pointing his wand at the Triwizard Cup.” (GoF, p. 580)
And compare them with this:
“Lord Voldemort had appeared in the middle of the hall, his wand pointing at Harry who stood frozen, quite unable to move / / Harry had not even opened his mouth to resist; his mind was blank, his wand pointing uselessly at the floor” (OotP, p. 716-17)
The last one is completely different. Why would Harry freeze like that? It’s not like him at all. (Hermione’s the one who usually does the freezing in the trio) Why would he lose his instinctual escape reflexes right then? Let’s see, what’s different here? The position of Voldemort’s wand for one thing. If you look closely at the other examples, Voldemort is raising his wand in preparation to kill Harry. In the last one he’s pointing it at him and Harry stands frozen, quite unable to move and his mind is blank. What if there’s something missing here? What if Voldemort managed to get Harry with some sort of spell before actually revealing himself to him in the MoM? Where did he come from anyway? I think that there’s a big hole here, but since it doesn’t really have much to do with the article, I’ll save that analysis for another time. 🙂 My point was that Harry’s extremely good at escaping from Voldemort (and I think I made that point with the first four examples) and that this could be explained by the Changeling Hypothesis.
4) It could explain why Harry’s able to do so much magic without a wand and why he’s able to do magic that’s well above his age level. He’s actually two wizards in one body, meaning that he has twice the amount of magical talent of a normal wizard boy. In addition, both Harry’s parents and Tom Riddle were exceptionally magical. James is described as “exceptionally bright” by McGonagall (PoA, p. 152) and yet he eyes Lily’s wand “warily” (OotP, p. 571), which indicates that she’s probably magically equal to, if not stronger than him, definitely someone to be reckoned with. And then there is Tom Riddle, probably the most brilliant student ever to pass through Hogwarts (Dumbledore, CoS, p. 242) A combination of the soul of James and Lily’s child and the soul of Tom Riddle would be exceptional, and Harry is exceptional.
Let’s take a look at what he’s done without a wand:
He made his hair grow back overnight (PS/SS)
He shrunk an ugly jumper (PS/SS)
He jumped up on the school roof (PS/SS)
He made the glass in front of the snake at the zoo vanish (PS/SS)
He turned his teacher’s wig blue (can’t find the reference, but I think it was in PS/SS too)
He blew up Aunt Marge (PoA)
He opened the locked cupboard door (PoA)
He opened his locked bedroom door (OotP)
He lit his wand without holding it (OotP)
Those are the examples I can think of on the top of my head. I’m pretty sure there are others as well (in CoS and GoF for example)
And at what he’s done at a far earlier age than would have been expected:
Fought a mountain troll at 11 (PS/SS)
Killed a Basilisk at 12 (CoS)
Managed the Patronus Charm (NEWT level) at 13 (PoA)
Used the Patronus Charm against a whole group of Dementors at 13 (PoA)
Fought off the Imperious Curse at 14 (GoF)
Got through and won the Triwizard Tournament at 14 (GoF)
Broke into Snape’s memory at 15 (OotP)
Fought twelve adult DE’s and survived at 15 (OotP)
It’s a pretty impressive list. You could argue that if he’s so magical, he should be the best student in the year and all that, but I don’t think that that is too relevant. I think that Harry’s difficulties are mainly due to a lack of interest and/or concentration. He’s not as motivated as e.g. Hermione when it comes to learning spells. When Harry really does concentrate and puts in the work though, he shows impressive results (eg. GoF when he had to learn the Summoning Charm, or in PoA when he learnt how to produce a Patronus). Having good marks and being intelligent/powerful don’t necessarily go together.
5) It might explain why it hurts Harry when Voldemort comes near him or when their connection is really strong. If Harry has two souls, Voldemort none and Voldemort’s soul actually is inside Harry, one could assume that there’d be an attraction between the Tom Riddle soul and its former host. The TR-soul might be in the same situation as the golden beads on the thread during Priori Incantatem in GoF: pulled at from two directions. This is of course going on at a completely unconscious level for both Harry and Voldemort. As the author of the CH (Changeling Hypothesis) pointed out – Voldemort isn’t aware of the fact that he’s missing his soul. And Harry is obviously equally clueless to the fact that he’s the one holding it.
Thus, the closer Voldemort is to Harry, the stronger the attraction between him and his former soul. Note that the scar hurting is usually described as if something needed to get out: “his scar was aching, fit to burst,” “felt like his scull was about to split open,” etc. Maybe it’s not only a figure of speech. Maybe that’s what actually happens when Harry and Voldemort are close.
Maybe that’s why “neither can live while the other survives” as the prophecy states. As long as Voldemort’s physically present, the TR-soul will be attracted to him and continue to hurt Harry (and slowly killing him, which seems obvious after OotP); as for Voldemort, can you really claim to be alive if you’re only a corporeal memory? (note the parallel to CoS, which I’ll analyse in my next article probably. This one is getting long…)
If the CH is accurate (or at least close to the truth), this creates a whole new situation as far as the final “vanquishing” is concerned. I have a hard time seeing how Voldemort would be able to get his soul back without it killing Harry in the process. On the other hand, if Voldemort simply kills Harry with an Avada Kedavra say, it seems logical that both souls would be lost to him, and then neither would “live.”
In order for Voldemort to “win,” he’d thus have to find a way of extracting the TR-soul from Harry’s body and then (or even through the process) kill him. But if he were to do that, it’s like the author of the CH points out – how will that affect him since his soul’s been living the life of Harry Potter, being filled with love, for 16 years? It might not suit him at all anymore. It might destroy him. It might even make him “do an Angel,” though I really doubt that for some reason (in spite of it being a beautifully ironic storyline).
In order for Harry to win, he needs to get rid of the thing pulling at his soul (or half of it). If the theory holds, Voldemort isn’t actually alive, so you wouldn’t be able to simply kill him. (Maybe it’s this rather than the prophecy that makes Dumbledore unwilling to try and kill Voldemort in the MoM – he knows that he couldn’t and he doesn’t want Voldy to realise that, in his present form, he’s actually immortal. Imagine that: Voldy having achieved his outmost goal without knowing it; what sublime irony!) The author of the CH suggests that we might already have been given the answer to the dilemma: a Memory Charm.
Let’s see, the Memory Charm was first introduced in CoS, through Lockhart (or so I remember it; feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). It was then used on Aunt Marge in PoA after Harry blew her up, and mentioned in connection with the Muggles who’d seen the Sirius-Pettigrew confrontation. It then came into greater importance in GoF with Bertha Jorkins, the camp guy and his family at the World Cup, and in passing when talking about Arthur Weasley’s work, I think. Finally, in OotP, it was used to save Harry and the DA when put on Mariatta and probably some times in passing as well. Did I forget anything? (Probably; anyone feeling like going through the books and making a complete list of every time a Memory Charm is used or mentioned, be my guest. I’d be eternally grateful for such a study.)
It’s clear that the Memory Charm is very important to the series. Probably much more so than the Polyjuice Potion, which regularly comes up in different theories. Still, it’s been mentioned a lot in passing, making is sound perfectly normal, nothing suspicious… right. It’s precisely at those moments that we should pay attention when it comes to JKR and we should have learnt it by now…
I’ll continue this train of thought next time, when I’ll do an analysis of the relevant scenes in CoS in relation to this theory. Feel free to e-mail me with your thoughts in the meantime (and as I said, a complete Memory Charm list would be more than terrific). I think we’ve come across something extremely interesting here.
See you soon! (a week or two-ish, I’m working towards the end of my exam period now…)