The Question is Not Who, But How…

by Victoria Sailard
Editors’ note: “Lion-Man” refers to this excerpt released by JKR.

Well, to be brief, I’m almost sure this man is Godric Gryffindor (GG). He looks like an old lion, he has MANE of TAWNY hair, yellowish eyes (which is a common eye color for cats) and he is GRACEful, as all cats are. These details can’t be a mere coincidence! And I don’t think JKR would give us so many clues just to trick us again! Although I admit this could be an as-yet unknown descendant of Gryffindor, introducing an entirely new character playing a major part in the next to last book is scarcely probable, as many of you have already pointed out.

So, this editorial is not devoted to the problem of WHO it is, but HOW we can see a thousand-year-old man again. First of all, I agree he is dead and will not revive; but some of you keep forgetting we deal with the magic world, so there are a lot of ways to “meet” a person after his death, and that’s what I’m going to talk about.

1) GG as a painting. This was the first thing that came to my mind. We have seen a lot of them in the Potterverse, and as the pictures can walk (and hence limp), this is very possible.

2) GG as a ghost. Well, I don’t really think this one is likely because ghosts don’t limp and they are “pearly-white,” so we wouldn’t be able to distinguish eye and hair color.

3) GG as a memory. As we know, memories can walk out of secret diaries, and this means Godric should have left one and someone should be keeping it. Or imagine Harry visiting the ruins of GODRIC’s Hollow (the place where his family lived and where his parents died–the place where the whole story actually begins) and accidentally finding old Godric’s notebook.

4) GG as a thought in a Pensieve. I’m not sure thoughts can be saved for such a long time, and that would mean someone put this particular thought out of his brain forever, as Dumbledore and Snape returned their memories back after using the Pensieve.

5) Harry (maybe not alone) watching GG on his second time travel. Consider JKR being asked “Will Harry time-travel again?” and her more-than-mysterious answer “Not telling!” (AOL Online Chat, October 2000). Traveling 1,000 years back–that would be really cool!

6) We shouldn’t forget about the two-way mirror. Yes, I know Harry couldn’t contact Sirius at the end of the OotP, but maybe Sirius (or other inhabitants of the next world) was not yet available for some reason.

I guess there are more ways to contact the dead in the magic world, but these seem to be all that we know for now (or at least that I can remember). If my theory is true and we are going to meet the famous GG himself, then a lot more questions come into being. For instance, what sort of crucial information will he give us?; how will he contribute to the end of the War?; why couldn’t we see him earlier?; maybe he knows how to vanquish Voldemort, his rival’s descendant? If we see more of GG in the next book, does this mean there will be more of Salazar Slytherin as well? The longer I think about this, the better I understand why JKR is not likely to run out of ideas…

But there is one more thing:

7) If you put the description in quotation marks, it may well be an extract from an ancient legend (as old as the Chamber of Secrets one), told by Professor Binns or read by Hermione in Hogwarts: A History. And in that case, we won’t meet this lion-like man at all! In my opinion, that is very likely to happen.

I hope now everyone is convinced the lion-like man could be Godric Gryffindor (I hope he is), but the extract doesn’t make the contents of Half-Blood Prince any clearer, and that’s why I believe I’m right. JKR loves dropping hints that give us that exciting feeling of anticipation that makes us want to spend hours in front of a door we can’t open without her permission.