Are We Overanalyzing?

by Rob P. 

It seems to me that there are several aspects of the wonderful Harry Potter series that people have been overanalyzing. We love the stories so much that we see clues where no clues exist. A coincidence becomes a potential plot point, and we want to be the ones who pointed it out first. It is often amusing, but to some degree it borders on annoyance to see just how many people buy into it.

I will start off by saying that Rowling has stumped me in every book so far. I was a skeptic of the Harry Potter books when they were first recommended to me, as I’m sure many other avid readers were. To be honest, I put down the first book after reading the first chapter, dismissing it as a story for children. A few weeks later, in a fit of boredom, I decided to try again. I finished it in a few hours, and was amazed that I had not predicted the outcome.

Chamber of Secrets stumped me yet again and as I finished it, I recalled all of the clues she had included that I had completely missed. How could I as an adult miss out on such obvious clues in what I considered a children’’s book? Hungry for more, I picked up Prisoner of Azkaban, and I was hooked to the series. Clueless for round three, how was she able to do it?

Goblet of Fire caught me off guard, but I had nagging suspicions about Moody throughout the story. That mystery did not surprise me as greatly as the endings of the first three books; however, the overall outcome of the story was something I did not expect. Order of the Phoenix, I felt, was the least mysterious of the five books (which I find slightly ironic since a large portion of it deals with the Department of Mysteries). There was no puzzle to figure out, no evil doer to unmask. What kept me reading day and night was just a simple question. What will happen next?

Now to my original point, the veritable art form we have created of overanalyzing. I enjoy reading many of the editorials, articles and posts here on MuggleNqet, and many of them include theories and conjecture of what is to come. Some of these theories could be considered likely, others pure speculation and some just downright absurd. What I think we should consider foremost is that Rowling has continuously surprised nearly every one of her readers. Her clues are not glaring, they are subtle.

The first theory I would like to address is that of Mark Evans. So many people gave predictions about Mark Evans that it grew a little silly. “He’’s Harry’s cousin, he’’s Harry’’s brother, maybe Lily had a child with another man,” etc. Mark Evans turned out to be nothing more than a coincidence. Evans is not an uncommon name. There were four unrelated people with the last name of Evans in my High School class of 120.

Harry’’s green eyes also seem to be another spot of interest that people overanalyze. There are theories that it’s a tie-in to Slytherin. There are theories that Lily was a Death Eater based off her green eyes. Could it not just be that Harry has green eyes, something that is fairly unique and a trait that he inherited from his mother? Does there need to be a deeper riddle behind his eyes? Some glorifying or hideous truth?

I personally have come to respect Rowling’’s ability to stump her readers even when clues are staring us in the face. I don’’t believe she would be as obvious as “Mark Evans” or “Green = Slytherin!” She is an expert at misleading an audience and I think it’’s time we give her credit for it.