Far-Fetched Truths

by Devon Collins

Ever since its first appearance in Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixThe Quibbler has become synonymous with outrageous, silly, and far-reaching theories. With all of the stories about traveling to the moon on a Cleansweep Six and Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, it’s hard to take anything Luna Lovegood’’s father prints seriously. Yet while re-reading OotP, I realized that maybe The Quibbler is just hiding the truth in the guise of outrageous articles. As much as this at first sounds like a theory worthy of The Quibbler itself, when one looks closely at the articles JK allows the reader a peek at, one can see the carefully hidden truths.

On the train to Hogwarts, Harry reads the article “”SIRIUS – Black As He’’s Painted? Notorious Mass Murderer OR Innocent Singing Sensation?” This is the same article Mr. Weasley and Kingsley were joking about in the Ministry the day of Harry’s trial. Now we the devoted readers, Harry, and anyone else associated with the Order know that Sirius is not Stubby Boardman, lead singer of the Hobgoblins, but among all the silliness JK has hidden an important ally to Sirius. The article states:

“For fourteen years Sirius Black has been believed guilty of the mass murder of twelve innocent Muggles and one wizard. Black’’s audacious escape from Azkaban two years ago has led to the widest manhunt ever conducted by the Ministry of Magic. None of us has ever questioned that he deserves to be recaptured and handed back to the dementors.BUT DOES HE?

Startling new evidence has recently come to light that Sirius Black may not have committed the crimes for which he was sent to Azkaban.” (pg. 191, American edition)

This is the first time, I believe, that anyone outside of those in the know have even suggested that Sirius is innocent and stood up for him, albeit in a rather convoluted way. This brings many questions as to how Mr. Lovegood, or the author of the article, knows about Sirius’’ innocence. Does Mr. Lovegood also know about Wormtail? Did he know Sirius at Hogwarts or outside of Hogwarts during those dark years fighting Voldemort? Or could he even be another member of the Order of the Phoenix we have yet to meet, and by publishing and/or writing the article, is he trying to help clean up Sirius’’ image before the Second War?

Harry goes on to read the article about Cornelius Fudge’’s hostile and secret takeover of Gringotts:

“Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, denied that he had any plans to take over the running of the Wizarding Bank, Gringotts, when he was elected Minister of Magic five years ago. Fudge has always insisted that he wants nothing more than to “cooperate peacefully” with the guardians of our gold.BUT DOES HE?

Sources close to the Minister have recently disclosed that Fudge’’s dearest ambition is to seize control of the goblin gold supplies and that he will not hesitate to use force if need be.”(pg. 192, American edition)

In GoF The Daily Prophet did its share of Ministry-bashing, while in OotP it turns into a staunch supporter of all of the Minister’’s decisions and attempts to discredit Dumbledore, Harry, and their supporters. The Quibbler, it seems, is now bearing the Minister-bashing torch, although instead of revealing the Ministry and Fudge’s stupidity, it reveals Fudge’s dangerous ambition.

Where, you may ask, is the evidence for this? Well, if you will bear with me, in the third paragraph of the article where it states that Fudge’’s ambition is to control goblin gold supplies, Mr. Lovegood has hidden a rather politically subversive message. In that sentence, if one merely removes the references to goblins, one has:

“Sources close to the Minister have recently disclosed that Fudge’’s ambition is to seize control … and that he will not hesitate to use force if need be.”

Earlier it was revealed that when Fudge first came to office he was constantly seeking the advice of Dumbledore, the Ministry and the people’’s original choice for Minister, but as time passed Fudge began to like the power he held and soon believed himself smarter and above Dumbledore. Fudge never forgot the fact that Dumbledore was always the favorite for the position, and became paranoid Dumbledore would stage a coup and take over the Ministry. Fudge saw his chance to damage Dumbledore’’s reputation after Dumbledore announced Voldemort’’s return in the end of GoF, and even started establishing unprecedented control over Hogwarts via Umbridge and all of the Educational Decrees. He also knows that if the wizarding population actually believed Voldemort had returned then he would quickly be pushed aside as leader and that the only leader wizards and witches would follow is Dumbledore.

The fact is, as the article reveals, Fudge is drunk with power and will do anything to keep that power. Once more I question where Mr. Lovegood is getting his information and who are his connections. I also wonder how Mr. Lovegood and The Quibbler will play into the Second War.

The third article is of course the exclusive interview Harry gives about the night of Voldemort’s return, written by none other than Rita Skeeter. After the interview is published, The Quibbler becomes oddly popular at Hogwarts, where Umbridge quickly bans it under Educational Decree Number Twenty-seven. I believe much of its success is based on the fact that no matter how much Harry-bashing Fudge does, deep down every witch and wizard is profoundly grateful that Harry “destroyed” Voldemort, and they also sadly acknowledge that a wizard that powerful is not so easily destroyed.

Another thing I find surprising is that this is the first article that is the straightforward truth, and not a truth veiled in absurdity. Then again, Mr. Lovegood is a known Dumbledore supporter, so if Dumbledore says Harry saw Voldemort come back, then it must be true. Mr. Lovegood could also be a part of the Order, and is publishing the article to help at least some of the wizarding community become aware of the danger ahead, which is a major win for the Order’’s cause.

Now to the question of why JK would introduce us to a paper like The Quibbler and the characters of Luna and her father. Besides a plot device to help Harry regain allies in Hogwarts and the wizarding world, and to show to what lengths Umbridge and Fudge will go to in order to suppress the truth and discredit Harry, I believe, among many things, it shows that the Order may be much larger than we are led to believe and that there are many more wizards and witches ready to support Dumbledore and join him in the fight.

Another element that one must question is Mr. Lovegood’’s credibility and whether or not this is all just coincidence and I’m overanalyzing. Luna comes off spacey, intelligent, and a firm believer in her father’’s articles, leaving one to wonder how odd Mr. Lovegood could be.

I think that when Mr. Lovegood started The Quibbler, he found that it was easier to disguise his more radical ideas among absurd and odd stories. The magazine could have started as an underground paper for the more radical and intellectual (Luna is a Ravenclaw and as we’’ve seen, families generally go into the same houses) who would take the time to find the truth among all the madness. After years of publishing and/or writing these stories in combination with the tragic death of his wife, well, I think anyone would start looking for nargles in their mistletoe. JK has something in store for the readers with The Quibbler and Mr. Lovegood, and I can’’t wait for the surprise twists to come in HBP and the final HP book.