Things to Expect from the Second War

by Dawson Smith

More and more, the beauty and brilliance of JKR’s writing is clear. Like a Monet painting (and any who doubt that Rowling will find her place among the masters by the end of this series should question why they’re reading this at all), her stories are clear cut, pretty and commercial, at fist glance. But the closer you look at them, and the more detail you take in, the less you feel certain of knowing, and the more confused the picture becomes.

We thought we had a downer at the end of Book Four, but OotP pushed it further than we knew JKR would be willing to go. The second war has begun, and there are already several casualties marking the path to the final confrontation. If we’ve learned anything from OotP, however, it is that much, if not most, of the war will be fought on a political stage. The most important moments will not be found during wand-duels, but during quieter moments when people reveal their true intentions and loyalties. It is with this in mind that I bring you the following predictions, which I would bet my apartment on.

1. Arthur Weasley will not be the next Minister of Magic.

I do believe, as do most of us, that he will eventually succeed to that post, but there are a couple of things going against him right now. First, his present position makes it nearly impossible, and certainly very implausible, that it could happen without a lot of things happening first, none of which are good. Secondly, JKR is an extraordinarily talented writer, and she knows better than to make something go ‘well’ during the moment of the series when everything needs to be going for the worse. Cornelius Fudge won’t be around much longer, as the Ministry will be in chaos at the start of the next book, but let’s take a look at what would have to happen in order for Arthur to become the next minister.

Fudge steps down, admitting that he was wrong, and in such a way to make it clear to everybody that his successor needs to be a person willing to take up the gamut and fight against Voldemort’s army. This would be admitting that he (Fudge) was unable to handle it himself.

The Witches and Wizards of England turn to Dumbledore again, admitting that they have no one else to turn to, and ask him who he would nominate to the post. Dumbledore, showing great faith, supports Arthur, and in doing so publicizes a top member of the Order.

Arthur Weasley, with no money to spend on a campaign, would nonetheless win over a populace that is still obsessed (albeit more quietly) with riches and the sanctity of pure lineage.

Again, possible, but not probable, and JKR knows very well that, as Aristotle said, a probable impossibility is preferable to an impossible probability. In other words, magic and flying dragons are okay, but don’t have someone with no stature receive the highest position in the land without fighting for it first. Consider this far more likely scenario:

Fudge is murdered, or ‘special interests’ with a lot of money or influence force him to resign. The second war is ravaging the Wizarding community, but the presses aren’t reporting on it as truthfully as they could be, and many people aren’t quite sure which side they’re on yet or even where the lines are drawn.

Fudge, unemployed but not without influence himself, promotes a ‘valiant’ supporter and friend. Or, if he is dead, one of he ‘special interest’ members with a good deal of money with which to campaign throws his hat into the ring.

The money buys a lot of favors, but the real advantage comes from this candidate playing to the fears of the public. He claims that there is nothing to fear but dissidents who would question the authority of the ministry, and that if there is any threat from the dark arts, it would take a true wizard (i.e. pure-blood who doesn’t consult with mud-bloods) to take them down. The wizarding community will agree, and we’ll be in more dire straits than we were before…

…Because Lucius Malfoy is going to be the next Minister of Magic.

2. Dumbledore will die.

Even if it isn’t Lucius (but it will be – mark my words) the next MoM will not cater to the order. Voldemort wouldn’t be “greater and more terrible than before” if he weren’t able to take over the government. There are horrible things to come, and we know better than to think that Dumbledore will be able to rescue Harry and save the day at the end of the story. Unfortunately, as long as he has strength inside his body, the headmaster will do all within his power to protect Master Potter, and thus his fate is certain. Here’s how I see it going down:

Harry will commit certain illegal actions in order to bring down the Death Eaters/Corrupt Ministry. When he is captured, which he will be, the Wizengamot will not be so lenient on him. Knowing his importance in the ending of the war, Dumbledore will again step forward to take responsibility. The courtroom will prove a much more difficult place from which to escape, however, and Dumbledore will be swiftly executed under a new, draconian system of law. This will be he end of the sixth book (of course Book Six won’t have a happy ending) and it leads me nicely into the next prediction.

3. Book Six will reveal the traitor.

Since PoA, we’ve had an inkling of the Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs parallel, but if Harry is to be James, Ron is to be Sirius, and Hermione is to be Lupin, then who, exactly, is Peter? Neville has too much reason to hate the Death Eaters, Ginny is a maverick, and has fought like hell to defeat them herself, and Luna is already inclined against Fudge and for Sirius. I don’t know who the traitor will be, but they will be the one who turns Harry in, and who thus causes Dumbledore to be executed. Lastly…

4. Fred and George will be prosecuted.

Practically two books have gone by without the twins’ mysterious World Cup bet having been explained, but I think we can agree that a time-turner must have been involved, and that when this comes to light, it will not be to their credit. Fred and George will be brought before trial on these charges, not in order to get at them so much, but rather in an effort to get Harry (Ludo will have turned in Fred and George in the first place). While Fred and George certainly won’t rollover on Harry, the Wizengamot will still find out enough to prosecute him, and the struggle will commence.

I know that none of these are happy predictions, but Book Six will not generally be a happy text. And while we may expect great tragedy from it, Book Seven will bring equally great triumph. So don’t worry, but prepare for the worst. I’ll end on something off-topic. For those who didn’t read Robbie Fischer’s great article Classics to Read Harry By, you really should, but I have an odd one to add myself. Personally, I thought the last book, and I predict the books to come will be the same, had less to do with the wonder of magic than the dread. As such, rather than listening to the Nutcracker suite, I chose to listen to Hans Zimmer’s harrowing Hannibal soundtrack, which is not only hauntingly scary, but eerily beautiful as well. It’s clearly a matter of taste, but I can’t imagine anything better to score the series.