“The Other” — The Third Person in the Prophecy
As I haven’t seen this theory posted anywhere, I thought I’d take a moment to share my own thoughts on what seems to be many people’s favorite topic: the prophecy at the end of Order of the Phoenix.
My main thought is this: I think there’s a third person hidden in the prophecy, and I think that the third person is Peter Pettigrew. In Val Aug’s editorial, we heard about Pettigrew’s possible involvement in the prophecy, but I see things somewhat differently than Pettigrew being “the one.” I think that Pettigrew is “the other” mentioned.
Let’s take this piece by piece.
The first time I read the prophecy, my initial reaction was that it was quite an awkward muddle of writing for someone as brilliant as JK Rowling. Even after rereading the prophecy and Dumbledore’s analysis, I wasn’t convinced. There had to be something else there, something hidden in the prose, like in so many parts of the Harry Potter series. I think Pettigrew is that missing piece and that Dumbledore, in this case, has analyzed something incorrectly. If the prophecy was meant to be taken at face value, it would have been written as such with names mentioned and with the subjects and objects of the sentence more defined. Rowling herself has stated on her site that she chose the wording very carefully.
So, breaking it down:
“…and either must die at the hand of the other…”
“Either” always means one out of two things. In this case, I think Voldemort and Harry. But the more important part to this editorial is “…at the HAND of the OTHER.”
There is nothing that says “the other” must be Voldemort or Harry. It could be a third person, and because of the mention of the hand, I believe that person to be Pettigrew. Remember a certain magical hand at the end of GoF? Why else would Rowling have worded it this way? Why not say at the WAND of the other or either must KILL the other? There were other ways to word it, but I think Rowling chose this particular method because of Pettigrew’s bond with Harry, who saved his life.
With the names inserted, the prophecy would become:
and either VOLDEMORT OR HARRY must die at the hand of PETTIGREW, for neither VOLDEMORT NOR HARRY can live while PETTIGREW survives
I think we’re going to (forgive me) have a Star Wars-esque moment where Pettigrew must choose between killing either Harry or Voldemort — and of course, choosing Voldemort — before perhaps dying himself in the process of destroying such a powerful wizard. I do hope that Rowling will put more into it to make it more original, but thats just my guess.
As for “…neither can live while the other survives ,” I’m less certain.
“Neither can live…” It initially sounded to me (and to other fans, apparently) like both Harry and Voldemort must die. But I don’t think Harry will die. Why? Because, although it’s easy to forget, this is still technically a kids’ series, during which the hero is rarely killed. Plus, the entire series to this point, with the exception of the first chapter of SS/PS, has been from Harrys point of view. The first chapter of Goblet of Fire, if you recall, Harry saw in a nightmare. So, he was still involved. How would Rowling wrap up the odds and ends at the end of the book if her narrator was dead?
So, going again with Pettigrew being substituted in place of “the other,” I see it like this:
Harry can’t live if Pettigrew survives in two possible scenarios.
- In the emotional sense, Pettigrew being the betrayer of Harry’s parents.
- In the physical sense with Pettigrew being Voldemort’s messenger and lapdog.
Voldemort can’t live because Pettigrew is bound to Harry through what I believe to be an extention of that hidden power in the Department of Mysteries — love. Hear me out; it took something to let Pettigrew live. Hatred leads to murder. In reverse, love led to his survival. Not Harry’s love for Pettigrew, heavens no, but his love for Lupin and Sirius, two of his mentors, whom he did not want to see as murderers.
So there are my thoughts. Take them or leave them as you will. But I don’t believe for a moment that the prophecy simply means well get a Voldemort vs. Harry showdown at the end. It will be much more complex than that.