The North Tower #22: Die, Ron, Die!

Hi everyone, I’m back. After a pretty long time as some have pointed out… 🙂 I’m very sorry but I just haven’t had the time lately. It usually takes me 10-20 hours to write each article and since my professors are insisting that essays (oh, only about 150 pages or so in total… ah, the joy of beeing a third-year…) are to be handed in in less than a week, I really don’t have the time to write fun stuff. But oh well, everybody needs a break every once in a while, don’t you think? 😉 So let’s get on with it.

Thank you all so much by the way for all the owls you guys sent me these past weeks. They’ve been really intelligent and full of intriguing little details that I hadn’t thought of in relation to what I said in NT 21. Some of the highlights are:

Fawkes as a possible reference to the Holy Spirit (as he is a creature of fire, plus in the scene of Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit descends on him in the shape of a bird—sure it’s a dove, but still a bird) Jesus said to his disciples that the Holy Spirit would come to them when facing prosecution and help them say the right things. Well, Fawkes has a knack of coming to Harry’s aid in desperate situation (facing the Basilisk in CoS, “Priori Incantatem” in GoF (only song here though) and helping him sort things out. I don’t have any problems throwing him into the whole Trinity parallel. 🙂 (thanks Gwen) Continuing with the whole “twelve disciples” thing: Trelawney “prophesised” in OotP that Harry would get twelve children. Could be a coincidence. Or not…

Okay, enough on that. Now, let’s go on with today’s article: Why Ron is probably gonna get the axe before it’s all over.

Let’s start with killing off one myth: the Ollivander’s anagram. Sure, it spells out “Ronald lives” if rearranged. It also spells out “Ronald’s evil” though, so I don’t think that’s any guarantee our little redhead is going to make it through…

There are two main reasons (and a bunch of smaller ones) to why I think that Ron will die. Of course, I don’t want him to – it would be completely horrible – but I didn’t want Sirius to die either and he did, so I figure, better be prepared for the worst, eh?

Reason 1: The Stupid Joke

Those of you who frequent the HP Sleuth page are familiar with the theory that when Ron makes a joke, it usually turns out to come true. I know that Galadriel Waters writes about this in her books too, but since I haven’t read them, I can’t make any parallels. I could repeat all the HP Sleuth arguments regarding Ron, jokes and fortune telling, but since it’s already online, I’ll just refer you to the HP Sleuth page instead.

To the point. In OotP, Ron makes a very stupid joke indeed: “And from now on, I don’t care if my tea-leaves spell die, Ron, die – I’m just chucking them in the bin where they belong” (p. 633). What bothers me here is not only that it’s one of Ron’s jokes, but that the “die, Ron, die” is emphasised by being put in italics. JKR could have not done this. She could have used quotation marks instead, or nothing at all for that matter. Also, the word “die” is duplicated and put around the word “Ron”, surrounding it. It doesn’t look too good…

Reason 2: McGonagall’s Chess game

This is a theory that I received quite some time ago from Dora and Gally. Clumsy in general as I am, I lost their e-mail address, so I couldn’t write them back about it. I’ll just hope that they don’t mind me using it. 🙂 Everything in italics is part of the message they sent me. (The passage is PS p. 204-206 UK paperback edition by the way.)

“Rowling always had a good sense of humour ;-). She described the Second Wizard War in the McGonagall’s chess game. The chessmen (chessmen, figures…how strangely she describes them, like real people, not like pieces of stone) are black (Aurors) and white (Death Eaters). The white figures are scary, cus they are “faceless” (white terrible masks of Death Eaters)“Harry, Ron and Hermione shivered slightly—the towering white chessmen had no faces.”

Then let’s take a look at this:

“Well, Harry, you take the place of that bishop, and Hermione, you are next to him instead of that castle.”
“What about you?”
“I’m going to be a knight,” said Ron.”

That’s a very strange choice, isn’t it? Ron is very good at chess, he must knew, that it’s better to be a king, because kings can stay until the end of the game without being taken, and they are the ones, who command. It would be much more logical and safe to be a king. But Rowling likes symbolism, and everything in this chess game is symbolical. Ron IS a knight, because this redhead boy is pure in heart and brave as a real knight. He never was a king, or a commander.”

Insert Maline: I agree with this. Ron is really the ideal Gryffindor, and in turn the ideal knight (see NT 20 for arguments on this). Even his hair is the Gryffindor colour (or almost) 🙂

“Hermione is a castle, because castle walks straight, and Hermione is quite a “straight” person. Harry is a bishop because bishop is the figure that is very close to the King (Dumbledore). Harry is also not “straight” like Hermione, he prefers “to walk diagonally,” because he’s self-effacing and a little secretive (like confessors (bishop)).”

Insert Maline: I’d rather compare the “walking diagonally” to Harry’s disrespect for rules and willingness to cross some lines for a good cause, but sure…

“Then the game (WAR) begins…

“Their first real shock came when their other knight was taken. The white queen smashed him to the floor and dragged him off the board, where he lay quite still, facedown.”

Bellatrix Lestrange murdered Sirius Black.”

Insert Maline: this is an excellent point. Especially when you take a look at how much alike Ron and Sirius are. Both brave, both a bit reckless, Ron is Harry’s best friend, Sirius is James’ best friend, both tend to act without really thinking things over (contrast: Hermione and Lupin) and so on. From what we know of Sirius, he’s definitely a knight, too (e.g. Hagrid: “he died in battle, an’ tha’s the way he’d’ve wanted ter go” OotP, p. 753), he fits the parallel perfectly. So does Bellatrix Lestrange as “the White Queen”. In her trial (GoF), she is said to be sitting in her chair as if it were a throne, and there’s definitely something regal in the way she is portrayed. Furthermore, she’s the only prominent female Death Eater, and one who’s totally loyal to Voldemort at that. If Voldemort is the white king (just think of his complexion), then surely Bellatrix is his queen. (Her husband is barely mentioned.)

“Every time one of their men was lost, the white pieces showed no mercy. Soon there was a huddle of limp black players slumped along the wall. Ron himself darted around the board, taking almost as many white pieces as they had lost black ones.”

“The war plot of the sixth book. Aurors and Death Eaters are dying, many of them. Mrs Weasley wasn’t being silly. Book 6 spoiler.”

“Yes…” said Ron softly, “It’s the only way… I’ve got to be taken.”
“No!” Harry and Hermione shouted.
“That’s chess!” snapped Ron. “You’ve got to make some sacrifices! I take one step forward and she’ll take me—that leaves you free to checkmate the king, Harry!”
“Do you want to stop Snape or not?”
“Look, if you don’t hurry up, he’ll already have the Stone!”
There was no alternative.”

Ron sacrifices himself to let Harry kill Voldemort. There is NO alternative, he has to die anyway. The book 7 spoiler.

“He stepped forward, and the white queen pounced. She struck Ron hard across the head with her stone arm, and he crashed to the floor – Hermione screamed but stayed on her square – the white queen dragged Ron to one side. He looked as if he’d been knocked out.”

Bellatrix Lestrange murders Ron Weasley.

“The white king took off his crown and threw it at Harry’s feet. They had won. The chessmen parted and bowed, leaving the door ahead clear.”

Harry kills Voldemort and survives. The Second Wizard War ends.

Additional information:

During the chessgame, the author writes:

“Twice, Ron only just noticed in time that Harry and Hermione were in danger.”

What’s going to happen in Books 6 and 7 with the trio? Where are they going to go, how are they going to be in danger? Something wicked this way comes.”

I just love when people send me things like this. Personally, I find it mind-blowing. Thank you so much, girls!

I want to add a few things to this theory:

1) “Their first real shock came when their other knight was taken /…/ ‘Had to let that happen,’ said Ron, looking shaken. ‘Leaves you free to take that bishop, Hermione, go on'”

This could refer to something I think is important to the plot as a whole: some things need to happen. Sirius had to die for some reason, or several reasons, and one might be included in this line: the capture of Lucius Malfoy (and the other DEs). As was pointed out above, Harry is a fitting bishop because he’s close to the king and he doesn’t hesitate to disregard rules (i.e. not “walk straight”) when it serves his interests. Malfoy is quite similar if you think about it, he also disregards rules and laws for “the greater good;” it’s just that “the greater good” is two very different things for the two men, and Malfoy is very close to Voldemort (who’d be the white king). Now, of course things didn’t happen exactly as in the chess game, some things have to be taken symbolically. Meaning that it wasn’t Ron who decided Sirius should die (Rowling did), Hermione didn’t capture Lucius and it wasn’t because Sirius died that Lucius was arrested (it was because Dumbledore showed up with the rest of the Order). The fight in the DoM allowed for both things to happen, like the chess game allowed for the corresponding “game deaths” to occur. If you look at the structure of this passage (the game of chess), you’ll notice that the timeline is very straight. The game progresses all the time and has a definite start and finish point. The HP series works in a similar way. There are flashbacks and some foreshadowing to be sure, but the plot is basically one of progression. It’s like building a tower of Lego: you start from the bottom and work your way up, and you need all the pieces to get to the top.

What do I want to say her? That everything in JKR’s books happens for a reason and the fun part is to try and figure out what that reason may be. I think that Lucius needed to be exposed as a DE to get things moving. Acting in the shadows is a slow process and the story needs action to get to the end. Solution: Lucius goes to prison and leaves room for Draco and Narcissa to take a step forward. This also gives him (Lucius) freedom to act in the open as he has very little to lose now that his cover as a good respectable man has been blown. Could turn interesting.

Reason 3 – The thing Harry would miss the most

When writing “Beyond the Veil” (NT 9), I started thinking about how Sirius’s death could be of use to the plot as a whole and came up with the following thoughts:

1) Voldemort fears death more than anything (“There’s nothing worse than death, Dumbledore!” OotP) and thinks that this is the worst thing in the world.

2) Voldemort doesn’t know love (that we know of, but I think it’s a fundamental trait to his character, so I’ll just suppose he doesn’t).

3) Harry loves a lot of people and Sirius’s death, in combination with Voldemort possessing him, seems to have made him realise that there are worse things than death. In fact, it’s at the moment when he, to get away from the pain and out of love for Sirius, embraces death that Voldemort can no longer keep his power over him.

This leads me to believe the following: Harry needs to stop fearing death in order to destroy Voldemort. He needs to know two things: that there are things in the world worth dying for and that he no longer has anything (or very little) to lose in this world. He’s already lost his parents and the closest thing to a father he’s ever known. What could he possibly lose to make his ties to the world thin enough not to fear death? Ron, of course. The thing he would most miss according to whoever did the choosing of the hostages for the second task of the Triwizard Tournament.

If Ron were to die, Harry would have a lot less reason to “stick around” himself, especially if we take into account that a lot of other people that he cares about will die too (all the lost pieces on the chessboard, plus Trelawney’s prophecy that the Dark Lord would rise to be more terrible than ever before). He’ll soon have most of the people he loves on the other side of that veil in the DoM, and seeing how drawn he was to it even before Sirius died, he’ll probably want to go through it himself in a book or two. (Also, remember whose name he first spoke when hearing the voices behind it – Ron’s.) In the chess game, it’s the taking of the last knight (Ron) which enables Harry to kill the king (Voldemort), and I have a feeling that these two events might be linked a lot more closely than the taking of the first knight (Sirius) and the taking of the bishop (Lucius). I think that Ron needs to die for Harry to defeat Voldemort.

What I’d really like to do in order to give this whole theory some substance is to look though the books and check if there are similarities in the way JKR writes Ron and the way she writes Sirius. I’ve been intending to do an article on “why we should have known that Sirius would get the axe” for a long time and found some very interesting things in the structure of OotP especially. I also want to read through all JKR transcripts and find anything relating to deaths and/or Ron. Sadly, I don’t have the time, so I’ll have to postpone a complementary article until the end of July. If there’s anyone out there who finds the subject interesting and actually does have some free time though, you’re extremely welcome to look into it and send me e-mails. 🙂 Look especially into scenes where Harry thinks about Ron and scenes when they’re separated in some way, but clues could be anywhere… Anything supporting OR denying the theory that Ron will indeed snuff it is most welcome.

Finally, I want you to know that until the end of July, I won’t be able to write as often as I have. I’ll really do my best to write every two weeks, I have no intention of quitting; I love doing this and I love all you nice people who send me e-mails. You really make me want to throw my syntax project down the bin and reach for my HPs. 🙂 So I’ll do my best.

Until next time.