The Underground Lake #9: Ordinary Harry and the Final Confrontation
Before I begin, I must thank the wonderful people at Mugglenet for having a momentary lapse in common sense and actually giving me a regular column. They don’t realize they have opened Pandora’s box!! (Shhh! Don’t tell them that!) Next I must thank the wonderful readers of my previous editorials (even the ones who just emailed to tell me how wrong I was), as this position could not have been reached without you.
For all of you who have read my previous editorials, you may have noticed some glaringly obvious errors in Part 1. Those errors were all addressed in the Lost Day, Part 5 and the Lost Day Addendum. As for people who continue to write me about he second wand scenario in the addendum, I KNOW IT IS IMPOSSIBLE! THAT WAS THE POINT!! If you are confused, read the addendum as I have posted a new message there explaining the reason for this scenario. Now that old business is done, on to my first official editorial for the Underground Lake!!! (By the way, the Underground Lake refers to the one in Gringotts that I believe is somehow connected to the lake at Hogwarts, but that is the subject of a different editorial.)
Ordinary Harry and the Four Generations of Hogwarts
What is not to like about Harry? He’s honest, down to earth, possesses certain qualities appealing to the great majority of women and a small percentage of men. He’s a jock, but he doesn’t flaunt it. He’s strong, but he’s not afraid to cry. He’s a pretty good leader and a fast learner. So why in the world can he be so stupid?
Don’t get me wrong. I love Harry. But let us look at the other generations of Hogwarts students that we know about and do a quick comparison of each of these students at Harry’s age:
- Dumbledore – The first of the four generations. We have seen this man do things with magic we didn’t know were possible. If I am not mistaken, one of the O.W.L. test proctors mentioned administering Dumbledore’s exam and said that Dumbledore “did things with a wand he didn’t know were possible.” AT FIFTEEN!
- Voldemort – The next generation. We know from Voldemort’s own lips that even in school he was already planning his bid for Magical World Domination. His closest companions were already calling him Lord Voldemort. We also know how studious he was. To have done the research and learned to develop Parseltongue enough to summon the Basilisk from the Chamber of Secrets is quite extraordinary. And again, like Dumbledore, we know the kind of magic Voldemort is capable of.
- The Marauders – The third generation. By fifteen, they were already possessed of enough magical skill to turn themselves into Animagi – an ability, to my recollection, that one has to be born with. Yet they were able to accomplish this by their fifth year. In PoA, it is even said that the Sirius and James were uncommonly gifted at magic and were extremely talented.
- Harry – Then there is Harry who can conjure a Patronus and… conjure a Patronus.
Am I saying that Harry is completely useless? Of course not. He has shown himself to be a formidable opponent. And I was wrong to lead you to think that I believe Harry is stupid. I should say Harry doesn’t apply himself. All of the previous generations got the top marks in their class. James, Tom Riddle, and one would assume Dumbledore were all Head Boys. Grant it, they didn’t’ really have the constant looming threat of death hanging over them, but they were still able to succeed.
In school, James and Sirius strutted around (sorry Harry, but apparently your dad didstrut) like the lords of the school. The Quidditch hero and the rich, loner, rebel ruled Hogwarts in their tenure. Dumbledore, to this day, is still considered the most powerful wizard of our time. And Tom Riddle was touted as a hero for bringing the “heir of Slytherin” to justice as well as being one of the most talented wizards in a long while to attend Hogwarts. Harry, on the other hand, is relatively good at Defense Against the Dark Arts, BS’s his way through Divination and Astronomy, does okay in Charms and Transfiguration, and would be okay in Potions were it not for the mutual contempt between him and Snape (excuse me, Professor Snape). All he wants to do is play Quidditch and hang out with Ron and Hermione.
In each of Harry’s “trials,” Harry is always saved by something at the last minute or he has help. In PS/SS, his mother’s “Love mark” saved him and he wouldn’t have made it as far as he did without Ron and Hermione in the first place. In CoS, Ron and Hermione again helped out. It was Ron’s wand that put Lockhart out of commission and it was Fawkes who diminished the Basilisk’s ability to kill with a gaze as well as saved Harry’s life with a few well-placed tears. In PoA, Lupin taught him the Patronus and Hermione supplied the Time-Turner. In GoF, we get the first time Harry must face his trial alone. He stands to face the Dark Lord and the best he can come up with is“Expelliarmus! Expelliarmus!” against Voldemort and his Avada Kedavra. Surely you jest. Again, fate and happy chance come into play as Priori Incantatem stalls Voldemort, giving Harry time to flee. And we all remember OotP. It’s burned in those synapses and too expanse to go into. Needless to say, between the DA, Sirius, Dumbledore, the statues, and “the power the Dark Lord knows not,” Harry made it out okay. I mention these things because I foresee the same pattern emerging in Book Six. Harry will have help. BUT in Book Seven, we shall see a man alone. Sans Hermione’s brilliance, sans Ron’s loyalty, sans Dumbledore’s amazing powers, Harry will face the Dark Lord alone. Or will he?
The Information Gap and the Real Power Within
Let’s look at Hermione and Voldemort. Both have a similar background to Harry in that they grew up in the Muggle world and at eleven were thrust headfirst into this magical new realm of wonder and enchantment. Hermione and Voldemort seized the opportunity to learn as much about the wizarding world as possible. Ron, here, represents the innate knowledge. All of the information those two have to look up in books, he has probably been told at one time or another around the dinner table (though with Ron he probably wasn’t paying attention like he should have). Now I think we can probably forgive Harry for not running straight to the library when he was eleven to do research what with that whole pesky, constant, looming threat of death hanging over him all the time. But he is approaching his sixth year and yet in every book he is still learning new things. Personally, I would be embarrassed that Hermione knows everything and she had pretty much the same background as me when he has access to the same materials she does. But I understand why JKR would do this. As our protagonist, we are discovering the same things as Harry. It is just confounding that Harry is not more proactive in learning things when perhaps the key to his defeating Voldemort may lie in one of those books.
Now, this is not ‘Bash Harry Day.’ This is a warning to him. The reason I mention why the comparative generations were so much more advanced than he is because Harry needs to step up his game if he has any hope of defeating Voldemort. Ask yourself this and be honest: in a stand up fight (basic wizarding duel) between Harry and Voldemort, Harry doesn’t stand a chance. Twice we have seen Harry face the dark lord ill equipped and scared out of his mind. In OotP, he didn’t even have his wand at the ready. All of his DA training. All the spells and practicing. And where did it get him? Crouching behind a statue scared out of his mind while Dumbledore fights his battle for him.
It is this impending fight that scares me. We may never know if James actually thought he could take Voldemort when Voldemort came strolling into Godric’s Hollow unexpectedly. But James screwed up his courage and, to save his family, he risked his life that Lily and Harry might live. In the Department of Mysteries, Dumbledore threw himself unflinchingly at the Dark Lord to protect Harry. These wizards are, without a doubt, more powerful “experience-wise” than Harry. But there is one thing Harry has that none of these guys have and I believe that that thing will be what saves him in the end.
Humility. Dumbledore had the stroke of genius to force Harry to stay at Privet Drive and not live in the wizarding world so that he would not have to be subjected to the “famous Harry Potter” routine on a daily basis. Can you imagine what a huge ego Harry would have upon entering Hogwarts after eleven years of being known as the savior of the wizarding world? Best to keep him away from all that. Instead he is raised as a peon, a worthless wretch, and a burden on his family. Harry lacks the confidence now to lead and make command decisions and take the initiative to prepare himself for his great battle. All of the other wizards in the previous generations had the confidence and notoriety to achieve their ends without worry in uncertainty. But, Harry is the reluctant hero. He didn’t ask for this responsibility. And because of who he is, those around him will be made to suffer. A breaking point began in OotP that will continue in Book Six where Harry must finally come to terms with his celebrity and realize it is time to start truly living up to the name. He will face Voldemort in Seven. Or will he?
Draco’s True Detour
This is something I have been thinking about for a while. It will be the most outlandish thing you will probably ever hear from me but here it goes. We can agree that given their respective levels of experience, Harry cannot defeat Voldemort in a wizarding duel. Harry knows this, which is why he is so terrified. But what if he didn’t have to fight Voldemort? What if these books have been leading up to a final confrontation between Harry and… Draco? Draco has been a thorn in the side of the trio for ages. I had hoped after Draco was unable to insult Hermione at the Yule Ball that there was hope for him. That was put to rest at the end of OotP when Draco made his fateful vow to seek revenge against Harry. I think this revenge will lead him straight into the tutelage of Voldemort.
I do not think Voldemort will try to possess Harry again after what happened when he tried to the last time. This is why I believe Occlumency with Dumbledore will be safe now. Voldemort won’t risk that happening again. But since Voldemort didn’t hear the Prophecy, I still think he will be cautious about trying to simply Avada Kedavra Harry, given the unfortunate effect last time, resulting in Voldemort being ejected from his own body. While he can touch Harry now, I think Voldemort is still going to search for another way of trying to kill Harry. I think in this instance that he will recruit someone to do it for him. Someone he can teach and train and mold into a perfect killing machine. Someone with the predisposition to kill and an utter contempt for mankind. Someone who hates Harry with the burning fire of herpes. Someone… like Draco Malfoy.
Don’t get me wrong. I thought (and still think) that Draco will be named Head Boy. Hate him all you want, the fact remains that grade-wise he is second only to Hermione. Add to that the fact that he is Snape’s pet and it would really piss off Hermione. But that doesn’t change the fact that Voldemort may need someone to do the job of killing Harry for him and to my mind the perfect volunteer would be Draco. It sure would finally make daddy proud to be a trusted servant of the Dark Lord. Not to mention, getting an invitation to access the kind of power that Voldemort has is too good to pass up. Just ask Professor Snape.
Here’s what I think will happen: Voldemort has so many different magics working in and through him to sustain all of that evil energy that I believe these magics will begin to consume him (“He hasn’t got enough human left in him to die”). Hence, Voldemort will need a fresh new body to inhabit. A body untainted by all the magical “just-in-cases” that Voldemort subjected himself to. But it has to be someone young so as to give Voldemort a new lease on life and another good eighty years of life to maim, torture, and kill at will. Enter Draco. Anxious to avenge his father and get revenge against Harry, he will strike up a deal with Voldemort, essentially selling his soul to the Dark Lord unbeknownst to him. A transformation will take place resulting in Draco Malfoy in mind and spirit ceasing to exist. Voldemort will now have a young, fresh body to begin with. But, this body has not been magically created and lacks the spells and enchantments of his previous body, yet he will still retain all of his vast magical knowledge and abilities. Harry will face this Dracomort in Seven and since now the Dark Lord is human again, he can be killed.
Farfetched, yet not so farfetched. Think about the genius of such a plan. If this were to happen at he end of Book Six and Harry were present or at least knew about it, what could he do? Obviously tell Dumbledore and the DA and the Order. But who would believe that? Voldemort walking around Hogwarts all willy-nilly with no one to stop him in Book Seven. Can’t you see the genius of such a plan on Voldemort’s part? Even if Dumbledore knew, what is he going to do? Open the feast by saying, “Don’t go in the Forbidden Forest… Here is your new DADA teacher… Oh, by the way kiddies, try not to bother Draco Malfoy because he’s really Voldemort.” Who would believe such a story? Not to mention, you can’t kill Draco for two reasons: 1) It’s not good policy for Headmasters to go around killing top students on a whim, and 2) there is no way that Dumbledore could be sure that by killing Draco he will also be killing Voldemort. If Voldemort could set that up, Hogwarts would be the most dangerous place for the trio. Obviously this information would be kept secret so as not to start a panic. But if you thought the looming threat of Umbridge made for a sinister year, think about Voldemort walking the halls, playing Quidditch, sitting in lessons just chairs away from Harry, able to strike at any moment.
Until next week my friends, I’ll give you some time to stew on that and let me know how much you whole-heartedly disagree.