The Plot Mirror
We have all gotten used to the idea of the fourth book as a turning point – but what if it is more than that? What if it serves as some kind of Plot Mirror; the books before it reflecting the books after? Not a very specific or detailed reflection, but one containing the general plot, style, or themes – as well as an introduction of ideas in the former reflection that are elaborated in the latter reflection. Following this idea of a Plot Mirror, Book 5 reflects Book 3, Book 6 will reflect Book 2, and Book 7 will reflect Book 1. Using this Plot Mirror can help give us an idea of what will happen in the sixth and seventh books.
Using Books 3 & 5 as the Frame
I want to start by pointing out general plot themes reflected between the two books.
Sirius/Harry relationship plotline
PoA: Sirius escapes/is free; Harry wants vengeance/death for Sirius; Harry takes time to consider Sirius’s story, trusts him, helps saves his life.
OotP: Sirius ‘imprisoned’ in Grimmauld place; Harry is concerned for his godfather/his safety; makes rash decision; inadvertently leads Sirius to his death.
As opposed to Books 1, 2, and 4 – which can group the ending action sequence into one event (Through the Trap Door, Chamber of Secrets, Graveyard Scene, respectively) – both PoA and OotP have two ending action sequences:
ACTION SEQUENCE 1: Whomping Willow to Dementor Attack.
ACTION SEQUENCE 2: Hermione & Harry use time turner
ACTION SEQUENCE 1: Caught in Umbridge’s office, Forbidden Forest, Grawp/Centaurs/Umbridge
ACTION SEQUENCE 2: Department of Mysteries.
Ron is separated from Harry and Hermione in both of the second action sequences, after which Hermione is separated from Harry. (This also happens in SS/PS, but when Hermione is separated from Harry she returns to Ron.)
Next, I want to point out the similar tone and shared ideas
Tone: Both books are dark in a gloomy, morbid, ominous sense.
The Prophecies*, the Marauders, Dementors, Concept of Time – these are all are prominent ideas in both PoA and OotP, and are, for the most part exclusive to those books. They also all contribute to the general tone (gloomy, morbid, ominous) of the books.
*Added note on Prophecies: Harry witnesses Trelawney’s Prophecy during his Divination final, and Dumbledore comments that it brings her number of true predictions up to two. This introduces us to the idea of Prophecies and foreshadows what Harry finds out in OotP.
Other elements of the story contributing to the tone of these books that can be viewed as a kind of reflection of each other include:
The Shrieking Shack (PoA) / Grimmauld Place (OotP)
Both run-down, moldy, gloomy, part of history involving at least one Marauder, used by Dumbledore to keep secret, where we meet Sirius for the first time in particular book.
Werewolf (PoA) / Giants [esp. Grawp] (OotP)
Dangerous creatures, not necessarily against Harry/Trio – but still a danger to them; involved in first ending action sequence
The Grim (PoA) / The Veil (OotP)
Both symbols of death, ’cause’ of death, involve Sirius
Passage to Hogsmeade (PoA) / Department of Mysteries (OotP)
Long corridor, desired but forbidden destination, descriptions of Honeydukes/Prophecy Hall similar in grandeur.
Furthering the Theory using Books 2 & 6
Clearly, not much can be said here since we don’t actually have the sixth book in our eager little hands – but from what we know about the sixth book, the idea of the Plot Mirror can definitely by supported.
Harry’s ‘Discovery’: we know that something Harry discovers in CoS foreshadows something he learns in HBP
Half-Blood Prince: CoS is where we are really made aware of the ‘blood’ prejudices and divisions in the wizarding community. Clearly, whoever or whatever the ‘Prince’ is, no matter how important – it’s a big deal that he’s Half-Blood.
Tone of Book 2 is also dark, but very mysterious, historical, ancient, secretive.
Using Plot Mirror and Book Two to Predict Book Six
I have a feeling that HBP will be dark in the same way as CoS; we will learn more about Tom Riddle and The Founders and it will create the same mysterious, ancient atmosphere. The plot will most likely be a Chamber-like mystery, involving something to do with legend [HBP?] resulting in important discoveries for Harry.
CoS main ideas I believe will be introduced to us again in HBP:
The Hogwarts Founders (esp. Gryffindor)
Tom Riddle (definitely the place for Tom’s history, Book Seven will be too late)
The major plot lines that I would consider likely to make a recurrence from CoS would include:
Ginny being taken into Chamber, Harry saving her
COULD RESULT IN something important for Ginny in HBP (possible romantic connection, reversal of roles, or death)
Hermione petrified, not being part of the final action sequence.
COULD RESULT IN Hermione being put in danger, or taking temporary leave of absence from Harry and Ron (upsetting Ron significantly, as in CoS)
Using Plot Mirror and SS/PS to Predict Book 7
::Steps out onto limb::
In SS/PS, Harry finds out the truth about his parents, he learns of the animosity between Snape and James, and that Dumbledore ‘trusts’ Snape, and of blood debts and protection. (The idea of blood debt is introduced very slyly when Snape tries to save Harry’s life and Dumbledore explains that it is because James saved Snape’s, but it is still evident.)
I think it will be in Book Seven that we finally learn the whole history of Harry’s parents, the full truth about Snape, and we will finally uncover the mystery involving all the ancient magic involving blood debt, protection, etc; basically – the mysteries that are introduced in Book One won’t be entirely solved until Book Seven.
As far as the general tone, I think that Book 7 will be much darker than SS/PS, which is the most light-hearted of the books. I do, however, believe some of the tone from SS/PS will be evident in Book 7.
SS/PS is full of hope, wonder, bravery, friendship and innocence – more so than the following four books, where pain, suffering and sadness begin to overshadow the positive elements of the characters. I think that Book 7 will mirror the first book in the sense that the kids probably won’t retain any of their innocence because of all the war, death, evil, etc; however, by the end, the Trio’s hope, friendship, and bravery will have developed tremendously and be will most likely be the saving elements of the series. As for wonder, I think that towards the end of the book we will see many wondrous things we have never seen before in the books, much like Harry experienced wondrous things he had never before felt until he entered the wizarding world.
Whether we really can rely on the Plot Mirror or not, I believe that what I have taken from it is an accurate depiction of event to come. I believe that – intended or not – the books will probably fall into this kind of pattern, since Book Four does serve as the turning point. Just how reliable this pattern is, however, is up for speculation.