The Underground Lake #15: The Legion of the Lost Day: A 5-Part Editorial

by Brandon

[toggle title=”Part 1: Remember My Last” state=”open” ]

THE LEGION OF THE LOST DAY MISSION STATEMENT

The Legion of the Lost Day is a group dedicated to uncovering the deep and expanse mysteries of Mrs. J.K. Rowling’s literary masterpiece Harry Potter. While there are many who view her work as the stuff of simple children’s literature, those select few who possess the predisposition know that it is the stuff of dreams and fantasies, hopes and dreams, pain and sorrow, and universality. This select group is comprised of all who believe there is more going on than what is on the page. It is for those who believe that buried in the text, in the deep black markings on off-white paper, is something sinister, something wonderful, and something awe inspiring.

The “Lost Day” theory I invented was the subject of my first editorial that blossomed into the legions that are hopefully reading now. The “Lost Day” theory is the name given to the “lost day” between when Voldemort arrived at the Potter’s hiding place in Godric’s Hollow and murdered the Potters and the day that Hagrid arrives at the ruins of the home, retrieves Harry, and transports him to Number 4 Privet Drive. By my meticulous reading and re-reading of the passage in Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone, I determined that an entire day elapses before Harry arrives at Number 4 (for a fully detailed explanation, see the first half of The Underground Lake #1: The Lost Day, Part 1 – Why It Took So Long). It was at that moment in reading, that I realized that something more was happening during that missing day besides the celebration of the wizarding community. Anyone who has read any of my articles knows that I am not one for simple explanations (See The Underground Lake 6: The Lost Day Addendum – Goofs and the Timeline – YES, FOLKS, I KNOW ABOUT PRIORI INCANTATEM FOR THE 5 MILLIONTH TIME!!!). Therefore, I have started this Legion of the Lost Day as a society to uncover the mysteries buried within the Harry Potter universe.

The subject of our first is about the last, Dumbledore’s last. There was nothing more enigmatic in Order of the Phoenix (well, except maybe the veil) than the strange Howler received by Petunia:

“An awful voice filled the kitchen, echoing in the confined space, issuing from the burning letter on the table.‘REMEMBER MY LAST, PETUNIA.’

– Order of the Phoenix, US, page 40

I, for one, had to read it twice. I thought it was a typo. “Remember my last”? What in the world is that? Then JKR had the brilliant foresight to put that on her FAQ poll and, sure enough, it won. JKR told us that it refers to the letter left with Harry on the Dursleys’ doorstep the night of… the Lost Day. She then gave us the meanest of hints by saying that what we should focus on is that he said “last” which implies that Petunia and Dumbledore had a correspondence of sorts. This is what got me going. Petunia is a Dursley, and JKR always said that there was not more to the Dursleys than meets the eye (there’s less). But let’s not forget that Petunia is first and ALWAYS an Evans. It is this fact that connects her to Harry and puts ALL the wheels in motion (I know you guys missed my little mantra). Therefore, I submit for your entertainment and consideration: REMEMBER MY LAST, PETUNIA!

NOT A SQUIB, BUT…

We know a lot about the DURSLEYS. Dudley was a spoiled, fat child who matured into a spoiled, large-and-in-charge child who has had several affairs with the refrigerator and its contents and is particularly fond of making Harry’s life a living hell. Vernon works on the NINTH floor of a company called Grunnings that sells drills. His pastimes include longs walks to the refrigerator, intercepting other people’s mail, and fortifying his home against owls, flying cars, and mysterious people who travel through chimneys.

And then there’s Petunia, who… well come to think about it, 1) Petunia is REALLY an Evans and 2) there’s not much we REALLY know about her. She’s a homemaker and she’s Harry’s mother’s sister. She is quite anal retentive when it comes to messes that everyone but Dudley makes. But JKR never really lets us into the fortress of solitude that is Petunia. So I thought I would look at the story from her perspective. I’m not sure we know which sister is older, but they could only be a year or so apart. She obviously suffered from “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha” syndrome based on the way she talks about her sister. Lily was obviously seen as the Evans’ favorite child, doted after and praised while ordinary Petunia went to ordinary school and had ordinary friends. Petunia meets a rather rotund and ambitious salesman named Vernon Dursley. I can’t really see their romance as quite chick-flick caliber, but we’ll say they had their fun and – whoopsie daisy – out pops Dudley (which was easier said than done based on his description as a baby killer whale; he no doubt gave his mother quite a bit of trouble in the delivery room). A year passes. Then one morning, the Dursleys wake up and open their front door to find next to the paper and bottles of milk… A BABY! This particular baby had a letter and scar, both of which would figure prominently into the story.

Now here is where the analysis begins. What do we know? Based on data from OotP and PS/SS, James Potter and Lily Evans began dating in their seventh year. That gives them all of their seventh year plus an additional five years (approximately) before Voldemort kills them. After seven years at Hogwarts, Petunia’s loathing of her sister was cemented. According to Petunia, Lily and James “ran off and got married” sometime after school was over. This gives Petunia roughly five years of bliss before the nightmare that is Harry Potter creeps into her life.

Now, Vernon and Dudley are 100% Prime Grade A Muggle. They have not a drop of magical blood in them. Lily Evans is a Muggleborn witch, meaning, of course, that her parents are Muggles but for whatever mystical or genetic reason, she was a witch. But what is Petunia? JKR said in her FAQ that Petunia is NOT a squib. By definition, she cannot be if both her parents were Muggles. JKR then went on to say that Petunia is a “Muggle, but…” and then stopped herself saying that she was giving away too much. HOW INFURIATING! So what could Petunia be? I first thought that perhaps she, too, was a witch, but rejected her powers and didn’t want to be associated with such things-like a homophobe who is secretly gay or a Nazi who is secretly Jewish. But the fact that JKR SAID that she was in fact a Muggle, eliminated that possibility. Or did it?

What always got me was the “but.” JKR has proven herself to be very Obi-Wan Kenobi in her logic: what she says is true… from a certain point of view.” Therefore, Petunia COULD be a secret witch (what I’ll call a closet broomstick). Think about it. All the references to the surgically clean house are one thing. But what really got me is that she knows things she shouldn’t. Her big giveaway was the Dementor slip. We ALL know she’s lying. There is no way she overheard James tell Lily unless James came to visit sometime in the last remnants of their last year of school before they “ran off” to get married. Not to mention, nothing in Petunia’s character would allow her to stay in a room with James Potter and Lily for any length of time since she hates the idea of magic so much. Even Harry didn’t buy that as much as she pretends both her sister and magic don’t exist, that she would remember a little thing like Dementors. Even if the parents invited James, bringing your new boyfriend home to talk about soul-sucking prison guards on island fortresses isn’t exactly a good icebreaker. Not to mention, if Petunia is older than Lily like I think she is, it would have had been more time away from her sister.

To me, the most confounding variable is Vernon. Before Harry landed on their doorstep, Vernon knew that his sister-in-law was a witch. But why? If it is true (and safe to assume) that Petunia and Lily didn’t speak for five years, and during that time Vernon and Petunia courted and married (can you actually see Petunia and Vernon dating as teens?), Petunia would never have any reason to tell Vernon about her sister’s abnormality. Since Vernon did know of Lily and that she had a child, I imagined that sometime during or right before Harry’s first year (of life not school) that Lily and Petunia’s parents died and both sisters attended the funeral but of course did not speak unless absolutely necessary. But again, there is still no reason to tell Vernon that he’s marrying into a family where one of the members is a witch. JKR told us that when Muggles have a witch or wizard child, a liaison comes and talks to them. I imagine that during this conversation, they stress the importance of secrecy so there would be no reason for Lily’s parents or sister to ever tell anyone outside of the immediate family. So why Vernon? What could be gained by telling him? The simple answer is that he caught Lily in a magical act. But the idea I like is that Petunia accidentally did something magical around him (that is to say, magic she could not control because she never learned how) and had to explain her way out of it (more on this in Legion of the Lost Day: Part 4), causing her to spill the beans about her family. She assured him that she hates and rejects magic of all forms and that she wants to be normal.

So based on the “Obi-Wan POV Theory,” it is possible that she too had powers and was sent a letter of Hogwarts acceptance when she was 10 or eleven. JKR could have been giving us a clue when in another FAQ she said that people can elect NOT to go to Hogwarts. Petunia is the kind of person who does not respond well to change. The idea that everything you’ve known for the past ten years is a lie and that magic exists and you possess it could easily freak her out, especially if Lily WAS older and she wanted nothing to do with her sister (though personally, Petunia seems older). She wanted to be normal so she considered herself a Muggle. As the story is told from Harry’s point of view, if Harry thinks she’s a Muggle, then she is. Because for Harry, why would anybody NOT want to be a wizard or witch? We ALL would love it if an owl arrived on our doorstep and told us we were wizards and witches. The concept that someone wouldn’t want have magic powers would never enter into Harry’s thought process. In that case, it is possible that the last and largest Dursley revelation is that Petunia is a closet broomstick.

Now for those of you who think that is ludicrous, I do have a theory in reserve. She could be something we haven’t seen yet. Not a muggle but not a witch and not a squib but some whole new category of person. What that is, I have no idea cause I put all my thought into the first theory, but I will entertain all notions that do give respect to the possibilities of the first one.

DUMBLEDORE’S LAST

I believe that Petunia still has the letter. I’m not letting Petunia off the hook because now we know that Dumbledore sent the Howler and has been corresponding to Petunia. I think in Book Six or Seven (probably Seven) a real, honest conversation between Harry and Petunia will take place. I don’t think she’ll apologize, but I think we (and of course, Harry) will be made to realize that there are reasons why Petunia made the choices she made and why she is the way she is and what that letter said. I thought for a while about what Dumbledore could possibly put in that letter. It is my belief that the letter was one of the more difficult things Dumbledore has had to do. In fact, I think a good portion of the lost day was spent writing the letter. In a nutshell, I think this is what the letter contains:

  • Condolences on the loss of her sister
  • Full, detailed explanation as to how and why her sister died
  • Who the child on her doorstep is and the significance of the scar
  • The warning about Voldemort and his Death Eaters: at this point Dumbledore won’t have known whether Voldemort is gone, never to return, or just resting. This section probably warns Petunia that Voldemort killed her sister in order to get to Harry and that he or his followers may find her and try again to kill Harry and that they (the Dursleys) could be in danger.
  • THE EVANS BLOOD CHARM: I have made many references to this but never explained it. The Evans Blood Charm is the protection Lily gave to Harry by dying for him. The charm was cemented when Petunia took Harry in. By taking Harry in, she sealed the charm so that “while [he] can still call home the place where [his] mother’s blood dwells, there [he] cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort.”

I firmly believe that in a box somewhere in Number 4 is Dumbledore’s last along with perhaps the other letters Dumbledore has sent Petunia (perhaps a Hogwarts acceptance letter???).

PETUNIA AND THE FINAL CONFRONTATION

The reason I think that Petunia is a closet broomstick is because of the creak in the stair. I LOVE FORESHADOWING! And JKR has beaten us over the head with that creak in the stair bit. For those of you with no clue what I’m talking about, one of the stairs at Number 4 creaks when stepped on, so much so that when someone walks up them in the middle of the night they can be heard. Harry always listens for this when he is scared at night or on the alert (of course this would not apply to Dementors because they hover so let’s hope they never get inside). I believe that at the end of Book Six or the beginning of Book Seven, NUMBER FOUR PRIVET DRIVE WILL BE DESTROYED! You read correctly. Dumbledore’s condition was that VOLDEMORT could not harm Harry at Number 4, but it says nothing about the Death Eaters or Dementors. I believe one of two things will happen. JKR made a statement in (I believe) the Edinburgh chat that Books Six and Seven were really one really long book and that Seven picks up where Six leaves off. It occurred to me that when/if the Dursleys picked up Harry from the train station in previous books, we never go back to Number 4 before those books end.

In my first scenario, the Dursleys plus Harry will arrive in Little Whinging, Surrey, turn down Privet Drive and find that Number 4 has been obliterated. The lot of them will be forced to stay in the Leaky Cauldron until Dumbledore or a member of the Order can find another place for them. In my other scenario, during the Dursley episode in the beginning of Book Seven, Harry will hear that creak at the bottom of the steps and spring into action, but before he does Petunia will do a little wandless magic to defend herself and Dudley and Vernon, thus revealing herself as a closet broomstick.

The destruction of Number 4 is a necessity for Harry and Voldemort (though mostly Voldemort). As I have said repeatedly, Harry can have NO HELP in the final confrontation. Anything viewed as an advantage to Harry in the final confrontation must be eliminated by Voldemort. Voldemort knows now that Lily’s protection has been severely crippled by his resurrection (he can touch Harry now). Harry’s only remaining protection outside of Dumbledore’s care is Number 4 Privet Drive. Voldemort will send his Death Eaters to destroy the house so that Harry “can no longer call home the place where his mother’s blood dwells.” Does this mean Petunia is in danger? I expect that was also touched on in the letter. But even more importantly to her, it means that Dudley is in danger. Lily’s blood is in Petunia. Petunia’s blood is in Dudley, which means merely killing Petunia accomplishes nothing if Dudley is alive because his mother’s blood will still be there. Vernon is totally expendable. The quickest, most convenient way to eliminate this would be to destroy the house, preferably with the Dursleys inside (preferably to Voldemort, not to me; horrible as the Dursleys are, they provide such good comic relief) so that the last of the Evans Blood Charm will no longer be an issue to Voldemort.

The significance is also that this will be the end. If the Dursleys die or Number 4 is destroyed, Harry will have no place else to hide. He will have no one else to protect him (especially if Dumbledore is already dead). It will be the last wake up call that Harry receives that this is not only serious, but that it’s going to come down to just the two of them.

Petunia has a lot of reason to be worried. It seems that all who figured prominently into the Lost Day (the Potters, Sirius, Hagrid, the Dursleys, Dumbledore) seem doomed. The next book should tell whether Petunia truly remembered Dumbledore’s last.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Part 2: The Wheels Are in Motion 2: The Adventures of Peter Pettigrew” state=”open” ]

Our friend Peter Pettigrew has been a busy little so and so. He was MIA during Order of the Phoenix and no one seems to know why or have noticed his absence (I’m talking about the book people, not you guys). We would naturally expect him to be right at Voldemort’s side in the Ministry of Magic. He should have been in the thick of it with the other Death Eaters and yet, he is absent. Where could he be? What could he have been doing? I submit for your entertainment and consideration: THE ADVENTURES OF PETER PETTIGREW!

WHY HE WAS GONE

There is no textual evidence whatsoever to give us any clues as to where he might be. In order to be good detectives, we must take what we know of Peter and what we know of Voldemort and what we know of J.K. Rowling, put it all together, and see what we have. The first thing we know about JKR is that THE WHEELS ARE CONSTANTLY IN MOTION! The fact that Peter was conspicuously absent from the proceedings of OotP lets us know that he was gone for a reason. Then we must take what we know of Peter Pettigrew. He is a coward who will only stand on the winning side. But as much as he is afraid to be on the losing team, or, worse, alone, it is nowhere near how afraid he is of Voldemort. Then we have to take what we know of Voldemort. Voldemort ain’t no dummy. Voldemort knows that Peter is a traitor and is only with him because he can’t go anywhere else. But he also knows that that little rat has his uses. He knows enough not to let Peter out of his sight for too long or else he could be using that miniscule brain of his and make bad things happen to Voldemort’s plan.

Taking all that in, what can we surmise? I’ll tell you. All the time during OotP while Voldemort was frantically trying to get the Prophecy, he was also working on a new plan or perhaps revitalizing an old one. And while all the Death Eaters were his foot soldiers/spies, Peter was working on something else. Then it hit me. Voldemort was so frantic, trying to get the Prophecy for months and months. Then he finds out the Prophecy was destroyed, and he… doesn’t really seem that upset. JKR describes Voldemort as speaking “softly” and “quietly.” There is no mention of rage or anger or general pissiness. He hears the news and basically says, “screw it” and whips out the Avada Kedavra. This is silly! Why, if finding out the Prophecy is so important so he can kill Harry, does Voldemort not really seem to care that the Prophecy was destroyed? What if… IT WAS ALL A DIVERSION?

I have always maintained that Voldemort was too smart to attempt to just bump Harry off without knowing the rest of the Prophecy. And yet, that is exactly what he attempts to do at the Ministry. That just seems so un-Voldemort like. The man’s an evil genius. He orchestrated the most cleverly orchestrated kidnap/trap in history in GoF, and he pulls some dumb move like this in OotP just never made sense. Unless… it was all a part of the plan. Think about it. We know that Voldemort can feign events in his mind so that Harry can see them and misinterpret them (a little thing called Sirius has been kidnapped). ‘Cause let’s face it: we all love Harry, but he is the master of misinterpretation. Harry’s scar burned upon telling Bellatrix that the Prophecy was destroyed. Harry interpreted that as Voldemort somehow reading Harry’s mind and being angry. When the truth was that Voldemort was there in the room. Remember that clever little Voldemort Alert System? It works three ways: 1) intense emotion, 2) whenever he’s near, and 3) ghastly possession and mind control. Harry, I think misinterpreted that alarm and because he did, we did.

I submit now that the reason ALL the Death Eaters were at the Ministry was to keep the Order AND the Ministry’s eyes off of the true threat elsewhere: Peter Pettigrew. Why in the world would some of the leading members of the Magical community (i.e. Lucius Malfoy) risk exposure by going to the Ministry? Do you think Lucius actually volunteered to go? That would risk his reputation. All of his political contacts (namely Fudge) would run for cover. The Malfoy family would be outcasts should they be exposed. Why would so many of these types of people risk their reputations and all the maneuvering they have done the past fourteen years just to get a dusty orb that, in the end, Voldemort seemed to care little about? The answer is two-fold. At the close of GoF, Voldemort seemingly let Lucius off with a warning for denying his relationship to Voldemort. But Voldemort never forgets. Voldemort went back and killed his father after not seeing the man for 18 years! So Voldemort holds a grudge. I believe that not only was Voldemort keeping everyone’s eyes off his real plan, but he was also orchestrating a punishment for Lucius and the unfaithful Death Eaters. Bellatrix was able to escape with Voldemort. But Lucius and most of the unfaithful Death Eaters were left to the authorities. (I realize there was an anti-Apparation ring around them but come on, IT’S FRICKIN’ VOLDEMORT!) Now of course, since Azkaban is about to be broken all the way open and become the new headquarters for Voldemort (I think), they will eventually be free. But I think Voldemort wanted to give them a small taste as to what it was like to be him the past 14 years: alone and trapped waiting to be saved but realizing that your “friend” isn’t coming to help you.

AND THE NEW PLAN IS…

In July when we have the new book, we will notice a lot of strange occurrences. When we add them all up, it will be the culmination of Voldemort’s plan, the seeds of which were planted in OotP. So what is Peter’s role in this new plan? It has to be something or somewhere where only Peter could get into. He can turn into a rat, which enables him to get into places that DEs can’t just blast their way into. Also, Peter Pettigrew is dead, or so almost the entire magical community thinks. So no one, save Dumbledore and Harry, would ever think to be looking for him. Intriguingly enough, in Snape’s secret missions (that are so secret I don’t think he even knows what he’s doing) wouldn’t Snape have noticed a little thing like a dead former nemesis walking around? Think about it. JKR was meticulous in her construction of PoA. Snape is knocked out before Peter is revealed and wakes up after Peter has fled. Dumbledore has not seenPeter Pettigrew. Besides the trio, the only people to see Peter alive were Sirius and Lupin. One of them is dead; the other is a werewolf and, of course, cannot be trusted. Bertha Jorkins, of course, saw him but she too is sort of dead. As for the Death Eaters, they were hooded and cloaked to protect anonymity. They’re not supposed to know who’s there (of course it doesn’t help when Voldemort calls them by their name). But they all saw Peter. Wouldn’t they have wanted to kill him? That was the whole point of him running away in the first place. The Death Eaters were supposed to be after him. I guess helping Voldemort come back fixed that one.

So what has he been up to? I think the safest bet is that he was charged with the task of gathering the army of creatures whom all fear. That seems like a task large enough to take up an entire book. But what I really think he’s been doing concentrates back to the days during Vold War I. Remember that Voldemort’s campaign for victory was stopped short. He was moving full steam ahead till he heard the Prophecy (at least part of it). I believe some of his plans were put on hold to deal with the imminent threat of his destruction. He became consumed by the necessity to remain immortal because to Voldemort, nothing is worse than death. Then he met up with little Harry Potter and found himself on the wrong end of his own Avada Kedavra. But those plans were still in the works. Voldemort is now back and can essentially pick up where he left off. That’s where Peter comes in. Peter can maneuver in ways big bad Voldemort can’t. He can set up and execute this plan without being noticed because the whole of the Ministry and the Order are so preoccupied with the return of the Death Eaters and Voldemort.

We’ll have more in this subject and more in Part 5: Vold War I. Until then, THE WHEELS ARE IN MOTION!

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Part 3: Lucius Malfoy and Fudge Supremacy” state=”open” ]

The following is an excerpt from the Lost Day Part 2: The Mystery of Wormtail and Fudge.

J.K. Rowling has made it clear that Fudge was not a Death Eater. But, we know Fudge to be inept and power hungry. That is not a stable combination. One of the first things he says about himself when we meet him in Chamber of Secrets is: “Look at it from my point of view. I’m under a lot of pressure. Got to be seen doing something.” All he cares about is perception and how people will look at him. Let us assume that a Junior Minister of the Department of Magical Catastrophes wants to get on the fast track to becoming Minister of Magic. We’ve seen how many departments and committees there are in the magical world in Order of the Phoenix. We also know that everyone wanted Dumbledore to be the next Minister of Magic. Enter Mr. Quick-Fix a.k.a. Voldemort. If you are a dictator and are making a bid to rule the world, you have to start small and work your way up. It helps to have friends on the opposing side in a position to help you out. With Pettigrew as a spy close to the underground resistance (The Order of the Phoenix, if you will) against Voldemort and Fudge in the Ministry in a position not too high to call attention to himself but high enough to have a lot of clearance to confidential information, Voldemort could move covertly in a lot of his deviance by keeping his enemies so close. The Department of Magical Catastrophes is an interesting department to have on your side. A giant crater with 12 dead people is a catastrophe. Isn’t it clever to have someone on your side that can be first on the scene, in a position to control the investigation, eliminate or fabricate evidence, and control the amount of information reported to the ministry and the public, especially during similar catastrophes in the beginning stages of a world takeover? Who do you think was probably in charge of the investigation of Godric’s Hollow once it was discovered? A house and two people under the Fidelius Charm blown up magically seems like a catastrophe to me. Who could make sure no one looked for Voldemort’s wand? Who could control all information ascertained in an investigation like that?Suppose after blowing up the house, Pettigrew meets up with Fudge. He’s freaking out. He doesn’t know what to do. Imagine Fudge’s imagination thinking of the prestige of being the first person at the ministry to know that Voldemort has fallen and be able to spread the news. Then, remember that it’s nearly twenty-four hours before Sirius discovers Wormtail. Or is he “discovered”? Voldemort is dead and no one knows why. You can make up whatever story you want. According to Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius had arranged to check on Pettigrew/Wormtail. Arrangement implies that Pettigrew probably knew of this impending visit from Sirius and that it was planned in advance. As Wormtail is talking to Fudge, explaining why he must flee, he lets slip that Sirius’ll know and will be looking for him. What does Fudge say: let him find you. Then they can set Sirius up to take the fall for betraying the Potters and Wormtail can get away. No one knows that Pettigrew is secret-keeper. Everyone assumes it is Sirius. Fudge’s office will be in charge of the investigation so he can take care of it. They’ll just need a good cover story and some evidence. They must scour the house for any clues that can be traced back to Peter Pettigrew. It’ll only cost a finger. The prize: freedom. Not to mention, capturing the man who will be known in the wizarding world as Voldemort’s biggest supporter will be a HUGE feather in Fudge’s cap. When Voldemort falls, no one ever need know about his connection to Fudge. Then the two blow up the house (I say two because if we infer that Godric’s Hollow is named for Godric Gryffindor, the cottage would have to have some magical protection). And they get away with murder. The only hope is to be faster than Sirius. And he is.

That was me as a novice. Not knowing what I know now. What is intriguing is that I said that this was farfetched. Then I did my reread of Goblet of Fire. Suddenly, it all became so clear. I think I was on the right track with this one.

I did make a few errors in judgement. In the above, I connected Fudge with Wormtail and that’s as high as it went. But suddenly it hit me – this is a huge conspiracy. Think about it. When Fudge, McGonagall, and Hagrid are telling the story in Hogsmeade, FUDGE WAS THE ONLY ONE PRESENT WHEN SIRIUS WAS APPREHENDED! Someone emailed me once and asked me why Sirius would laugh when they arrested him. I relied that Sirius does have a wicked sense of humor. But then later I thought what if he didn’t laugh? What if Fudge made up the events of what happened after he arrived? Remember that Pettigrew was gone and all the Muggles were dead. So why would Sirius hang around and wait for the cops to come and get him? The smart move would have been to send up the signal for the Order of the Phoenix and then apparate to Dumbledore or at least another Order member and debrief them that Pettigrew is the traitor. So why not leave? My natural inclination is to say that the curse Pettigrew used knocked him out until Fudge and the Goon Squad arrived. But if he was knocked out, he wouldn’t have seen Peter Pettigrew turn into a rat. The only way he could have still been coherent and not able to run away or at least signal the order, was if the moment, I mean the second Pettigrew was out of sight, Fudge showed up. As I have said repeatedly, Fudge’s downfall is that he admitted to being first on the scene. My thinking is that Fudge arrived there but did so on someone else’s orders. Whose orders?

LUCIUS MALFOY. From our introduction to Fudge, we have known that Lucius has always kept Fudge in his pocket. Like the Godfather, Lucius is a man who gets things done and makes people offers they can’t refuse. I still maintain that Fudge was never a Death Eater. But, he has always been affiliated with Lucius. Remember, at the time of the Sirius frame up, Voldemort was dead and gone, so Pettigrew’s orders couldn’t have come from that high up. I was always struggling to determine who Pettigrew could have run to after witnessing Voldemort’s demise. Then it hit me. Lucius is the Darth Vader to Voldemort’s Emperor Palpatine. Pettigrew arrived at the Potter’s cottage because Voldemort would have made him go as insurance. Voldemort is a lot of things but he ain’t no dummy. Just in case it was a trap laid by the Order or Dumbledore or the Ministry, he needed Pettigrew there because Pettigrew would not risk Voldemort’s wrath for a trap. He arrived at the cottage and revealed Voldemort to the Potters and watched his master kill his friends. He then saw little Harry not die at his master’s hands and his master die. Now he’s screwed. He grabs Voldemort’s wand. He has but a day and a half (unbeknownst to him) before Sirius tracks him down. No one knows he’s secret-keeper, but all the Death Eaters knew that Voldemort went there on his information. He had to think fast. So he went to the only Death Eater that would listen: Lucius.

Why Lucius? Why risk telling any of the Death Eaters? The second anyone discovered he was the reason Voldemort met his end, all the FAITHFUL Death Eaters (who also happen to be the most dangerous) would hunt him down. But there was always one opportunist. One Death Eater who wanted it all for himself and was in a position to get things done and still save face in both the criminal underworld and the civilized wizard community and that person was Lucius Malfoy. Pettigrew arrived at Malfoy’s home that night and relayed to him what happened. And while a one year old Draco lie sleeping safely upstairs in his crib, Lucius concocted a plan to get Wormtail off the hook and out of sight. Ask yourself why, if Sirius was under the impression that all the Death Eaters would be after him, that none of the DE’s that Apparated to Voldemort’s side at the graveyard didn’t instantly try to kill Wormtail. Malfoy fixed that. Then after Wormtail divulged all the information, Lucius called his old buddy Fudge and told him that now was the time that his dreams would come true. All Fudge had to do was be at the right place at the right time and tell everyone the story about the crazed lunatic Sirius Black, connect him with Voldemort and case closed.

The court of public opinion would love Fudge forever as the man who brought Voldemort’s biggest supporter to justice, chucked him in Azkaban, and threw away the key. Then when it came time to select a new Minister of Magic, who were the choices? Cornelius Fudge and Barty Crouch. Barty Crouch was a leader in the ministry with distinguished years of service. Fudge was a Junior Minister in the Department of Magical Catastrophes. But Barty Crouch’s son also happened to be a Death Eater. Now who suggested to he and the Lestranges that the Longbottoms may know how to bring Voldemort back? Who would have been high enough in Voldemort’s camp to know everything Voldemort knew about the Prophecy? Who would have been in a position to set that particular group up to get caught and tried in the Wizengamot in front of Barty Crouch? Someone who has a lot of friends in high places on both sides of the law. Someone like Lucius Malfoy.

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There are many things and many people under the protection of Dumbledore and the Ministry of Magic. What has always intrigued me has been the little hints to Harry that he is being watched and protected far more than even he has realized. So I developed a little theory as to how the Ministry of Magic operates and how they detect magic.

Something that I never liked was in CoS when Harry gets in trouble for Dobby’s using magic. In the book Harry, gets in trouble; in the movie, he does not. I like the movie better in that scenario. It never made sense why Harry should be in trouble when he used no magic. Then it hit me – the Ministry has Number 4 under surveillance. Anytime magic is detected at Number 4, the Ministry is notified. But… why did no owl swoop in when he blew up Aunt Marge? Harry assumed he’d be in trouble, but there was no owl, no warning, no nothing. Then in Book Five, the Ministry knew of his Patronus Charm, but that didn’t even happen at Number 4, so that took me back to square one. What’s with all the double talk? Why do they care in some instances and not others? How do they know in the first place? Then I hit upon something – Harry is under the protection of the Ministry.

At the age of one, Harry took out the most feared wizard of all time. But his followers were still out there. The Ministry knew this kid was special and needed to be watched and protected. So after Dumbledore did the Evans Blood Charm, I believe a special order was taken on the house that detects the use of any magic as a code red. Just in case a Death Eater were to track Harry down and make a move, the Ministry would be instantly alerted to any use of Magic on the premises and Ministry officials would be able to Apparate there instantly to protect Harry. But then Aunt Marge happened, and Sirius Black escaped. Suddenly Harry was not only in danger, but he was also a flight risk. The Ministry could no longer guarantee that Harry would stay at his Aunt and Uncle’s house. So they expanded the detection of magic to a certain mile radius around Number 4 so that if any magic was done in the vicinity of Number 4, they could be on it like white on rice.

Seems pretty cut and dry, but is it? Why should such care be taken to detect magic on Number 4? I should think there would be a way to detect if a particular wand did a particular spell. The Ministry was able to know that a Hovering Charm was produced in Book Two and that Patronus Charm was done in Book Five. But what is interesting is that they also knew in the second case that a Muggle was present. Now my Magic detector theory holds up the spells, but how do they know about the Muggles? Petunia is always talking about how much better than her neighbors she is. Well… what if she isn’t? What if some of these neighbors that she tries so hard to impress, tries so hard to be better than, tries so hard to spy on are really Ministry plants? These plants are people whose job is to spy on the Dursleys and Harry in ways undetectable to them. Perhaps they are Unspeakables. Perhaps they are merely Magical Law Enforcement. It has always troubled me that Harry got busted for the Hovering Charm Dobby used and not for blowing up Aunt Marge. I never bought the Sirius excuse that “oh at least Harry is okay, we can let this one go just this once.” Yet when Harry did the Patronus, they were able to know exactly where he was, what spell he did, and how many Muggles were there, yet not know that Dementors were there. If they could detect Harry and Dudley, why could they not detect the presence of Dementors? The whole thing is just too fishy. Now see, this is the old Pre-Law student in me. Somewhere a log or record should be kept of all the Harry surveillance. Now unless Muggles and Squibs are out watching out for Harry, wizards should be able to see Dementors, so on that log should be exactly what happened if Harry was being watched. Now given all the conspiracy surrounding the last situation, it is perfectly possible that the records were destroyed so that could not be used to help Harry’s case. But now I have to modify my theory.

Assuming my magic detectors do exist, then I can concede that they are probably programmed to detect Wand and Wandless Magic, what spells were used, and if Muggles were present. These three conditions would account for Harry being in trouble each time. In the first case (CoS), it detected wandless magic, the Hovering Charm, and that Muggles were present. It was not designed to detect other creatures, so Dobby wouldn’t have been detected. It would appear to someone reading the detector that only six beings were in the room when the spell was cast when in fact there were seven. In the second situation, it detected Wand Magic, the Patronus, and the presence of Dudley. No Dementors. I think this theory is probably the closest one to the truth of Ministry surveillance.

But one thing I thought about was what if magic detectors had always been set for Number 4 Privet Drive. To tie back into my Petunia as a “Muggle, but” theory, suppose you cannot practice Magic without having graduated from a school of some sort? In that case, Petunia would no doubt be on the list of people to watch as she is a non-practicing witch. The Ministry would need to know if she was using Magic because that would be a huge no-no.

So. The Ministry has these magic detectors that they use to detect underage magic, right? So why can the same technology not be used to track down Sirius or, more importantly VOLDEMORT? All of those wands were purchased from Ollivander’s so it probably wouldn’t take much to get some type of registration number to be able to detect their usage. This technology could have detected Voldemort’s wand being used by Peter Pettigrew (though few probably know that the wand bought many years ago by Tom Riddle is Voldemort’s wand). The same technology should have been used to determine exactly WHO blew up the street full of Muggles that Sirius and Pettigrew had their showdown on. If the detectors are skilled enough to know Harry is using magic, and since Harry is an underaged wizard it is safe to assume that there are probably detectors set for all underage wizards especially in Muggle inhabited areas like Hermione, then why are there not detectors skilled enough to detect adult magic or UNFORGIVABLE CURSES or extremely advanced magic?

For the same reason they don’t use Veritaserum. I believe that there is a Wizards Bill of Rights that protects people from the government and from the tools that wizards have that Muggles don’t, like Veritaserum. The only problem with the system is that it only favors the court of public opinion. Sirius was sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban for a crime he did not commit with no trial whatsoever. Where was the wizard bill of rights? Where were the Wizard lawyers. In the wizarding world, it seems the only real court is the court of public opinion. It the public thinks you are guilty, you are guilty. So such tools like magic detectors and Veritaserum could be used but are not since the people and not the law seem to decide who is guilty and who is not. (That is my political rant for the day.)

One more to go.

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It was the worst of times. It was… the worst of times. It was a time of anarchy. Muggles tortured. Homes burned. Crops destroyed. People stampeded. And cattle raped… wait that’s Blazing Saddles. My bad. But you get the point. Vold War I was a time of uncertainty. Like Hitler, Alexander the Great, and Napoleon before him, Voldemort used his might to assert his rule over Britain with the aim of Magical World domination and the purging of all Muggles and Muggleborn witches and wizards from the planet. Dark times indeed. The dark mark constantly fixated in the air for almost eleven years. It is said those that don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Though we do not have a Pensieve (but God, could I use one) full of memories of the old times, we can take what we have been given and try to construct how things used to be in order to figure out how things will be this go ’round. I submit for your entertainment and consideration: VOLD WAR I!

A LONG TIME AGO…

Voldemort’s illustrious rise to power began while he was in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Tom Riddle started his first year at Hogwarts in the 1938-1939 school year. We’re gonna ignore the WWII allegory for now but suffice it to say, at that point in Magical History, Grindelwald was probably at the height of his powers and had a full six years before he went toe-to-toe with Dumbledore and got beaten like a red-headed stepchild (no offense to any real red-headed stepchildren). But during all those years until Grindelwald’s demise, I imagine Hogwarts to be a hotbed of activity. We know Dumbledore was the Transfiguration teacher at the time and Armando Dippet was the Headmaster. Obviously Dumbledore was doing double duty (lot of alliteration, and, man, Dumbledore could use a vacation) as well. But I also imagine that with this war happening, Tom Riddle, being the studious little monster he is, was in the library at all times and researching fun things like his family tree, how to be immortal, legends about the Chamber of Secrets, fun things like that.

Then, he discovers his true identity as well as the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets. I believe that deep inside of the Chamber is a storehouse of Salazar Slytherin’s private journals and texts on dark magic. And on that note, here’s a quick jump into the present. If Voldemort, acting through Ginny Weasley, was able to enter the Chamber of Secrets, then you can believe Voldemort sticking out of the back of Quirrell’s head was able to do the same. WHEELS IN MOTION! But I digress. Where are we? 1944-1945: Voldemort graduates Hogwarts as Head Boy and proceeds to kill his father and grandparents (such a charming child). With that action, his fate is sealed and we begin the countdown to Harry’s birth. Vold War I by my count begins in 1970. This is calculated by the fact that we are told in the books that the first war lasted eleven years until Harry stopped Voldemort. Voldemort dies in 1981 minus 11 years equals 1970. So from 1945-1970, Tom Riddle disappears and fades from memory. These are the lost years. During this time, Tom Riddle is building his empire. Those closest to him are already calling him Voldemort and he is deep into researching the deepest mysteries of magic. He travels the globe learning everything there is to know about magic. Several times I wager he traveled through some body of water into that underground water reserve found in the Chamber of Secrets (maybe…maybe…). He goes through a variety of physical transformations so that none who meet him could connect him with that half-blood weakling Tom Riddle and thus to his horrible Muggle parentage.

Looking back at the prophecies, fate becomes key. So many events. What are the odds that six sets of parents have six set of kids all the same year who will all grow up to be instrumental in saving the world? And all of them start the training that will be crucial in their battling of the dark enemy at the same time that he STARTS his war. Farfetched? Perhaps. A stretch? Most likely. But the EXACT year that the most powerful wizard in history begins his bid for world domination, is the same year that six kids – a werewolf, a pipsqueak, a beauty, a rebel, an abused child, and an athlete (sort of aBreakfast Club of sorts) – each accept a calling to Hogwarts that will lead nearly all (and, by the end, probably all) to their death, but not before they plant the seeds and set the wheels in motion that will lead to the ultimate destruction of the evil wizard. This is no doubt the year that Lily Evans and James Potter meet. This is the year that Petunia is given a real reason to hate her sister more than just because she’s hotter. This is the year Sirius and James became best friends. This is the year of the Whomping Willow. This is the year Peter Pettigrew finally made friends. This is the year that began the Marauders’ learning how to be Animagi. And this is the same year that the war begins.

THE WAR

The war is fought on several fronts. On one hand, the connections Voldemort forged in school planted the seeds of future collaborators. On the other, he finalizes the steps of his magical transformations to make himself immortal. Now a thought I had. The Potters had to “thrice defy” Voldemort. My question is: could history be repeating itself? Our trio was running around as eleven year olds defying Voldemort. Voldemort was rising to power while the Marauders were in school. Who is to say that at least one of those three defyings couldn’t have happened in the hallowed halls of Hogwarts (again I love alliteration)? The Marauders knew that castle inside and out (I know, with the exception of the Chamber of Secrets). But who is to say that Voldemort didn’t make a trip or two to the castle for one reason or another. Perhaps to steal some special potion ingredients. Perhaps to pick up some of the collected works of Salazar Slytherin. Who knows? But I feel that as JKR has shown us already that history has a way of repeating itself (*coughbasiliskcough*), that it is entirely possible that James and Lily and the rest of the Marauders met up with Voldemort on one occasion while they were still at school.

Meanwhile in the outside world, the number of Death Eaters was growing. Muggle torture and murder was a norm. Giants, furious at being hunted to extinction, were ready to reclaim their place in society. The magical community was divided. Wizards and witches thought they were lords of the earth, with all other creatures subservient to them. In this egotistical society, it was easy for a rebel-rouser to use fear and oppression to persuade people to his thinking. It worked for Hitler and it can work for you. It’s all in the dictator’s handbook.

So the Marauders grow up and join the Order of the Phoenix, an underground resistance squad that goes out in the night for some vigilante justice against the forces of evil. Snape runs off and joins Voldemort, who he believes can teach him the dark arts that he is so enamored with, not to mention give him a surrogate family that cared for him in ways that his real abusive father never could. Petunia marries Vernon. James marries Lily, much to the dismay of Snape and Lupin, as well as Sirius (’cause now he’s lost his best friend to a chick). Meanwhile Peter Pettigrew looks at his side and sees that it is the losing side. Voldemort gains more of a foothold with each passing day and the great Dumbledore, despite his best efforts, can’t seem to stop him. There are wizard duels in the streets. The veil is getting more new occupants with each passing day.

Then one day Dumbledore (now Headmaster of Hogwarts) remembers that besides saving the world, he also has a school to run. Though he wants to discontinue Divination, he agrees to interview a young Sibyl Trelawney, who after a few moments proves she probably couldn’t predict that an hour will be over in sixty minutes. But then something strange happens: THE PROPHECY! During the middle of which, a spy for Voldemort is discovered and forcibly ejected from the premises. He hires her instantly, more for her protection than anything else. Dumbledore realizes that this is the turn of the tide. At this time two couples fit the description, both of which are about to have babies: the Potters and the Longbottoms. After weighing the options and taking what he knows of his former pupil, Tom Riddle (and we should ask ourselves when and how Dumbledore discovered that Tom Riddle and Voldemort were the same person), he is able to deduce that the Potters are the best bet.

THE LOST DAY

A week before the Lost Day, Lily Potter casts the Fidelius charm on her home and family in Godric’s Hollow on the advice of Dumbledore. All close to them assume that Sirius Black is the secret-keeper when in fact, Peter Pettigrew was chosen. He, of course, goes instantly to Voldemort and tells him of the Potters’ whereabouts. On October 31, 1981, Peter Pettigrew pays the Potters a call. But he is not alone. Emerging from the shadows is a fierce Voldemort who demands the boy. James yells for Lily to take Harry and run. James tries to hold him off but is murdered almost instantly. Voldemort enters the bedroom to find Lily and baby Harry. Voldemort demands Lily stand aside. Lily offers herself in exchange for sparing the boy. Voldemort aims his wand and kills Lily, but not before Lily’s sacrifice is marked down as a magical binding contract. Voldemort attempts to kill Harry but the spell hits Harry and backfires summarily ejecting Voldemort’s life essence from his body. But, because of the steps Voldemort took, the life essence does not enter the veil, as it should. It merely hovers. Voldemort’s body is now useless. So, the spirit of Voldemort flees.

Peter Pettigrew has been hiding. Should for some reason the Potters have prevailed, he would have feigned Imperius Curse or tortured coercion. Should Voldemort have prevailed, he simply ascends the steps and takes a place at his master’s side. But neither of these things happens. His master is seemingly dead, and the Potters are a mere memory. But there sits baby Harry crying with a freshly forged scar on his face.

Pettigrew panics. He doesn’t know what to do. If the Death Eaters find out about Voldemort, they’ll kill him. If the Order finds out he betrayed the Potters, he’ll be chucked in Azkaban and that’s if Sirius doesn’t find him first. OH NO! Sirius! Sirius is supposed to check on him in a day and a half. What does he do? In a mad panic, to erase all traces of him being there, he goes outside and blows up the house with his own wand. He then goes to Lucius Malfoy. Malfoy would essentially be Voldemort’s right hand man. He’s got friends in high places and has a cool head under pressure (as we’ll see in the Battle at the Ministry). So he calls on the Malfoys late in the evening. Being a Death Eater in Voldemort’s inner circle, Lucius would know all about Peter’s treachery and his secret deal with Voldemort. Peter frantically tells the story. Everything must happen quickly. If Voldemort is out of the way and the Ministry finds out, it’s over. All the Death Eaters will be rounded up instantly and taken to Azkaban. With so many Ministry officials in high places who have ties to Death Eaters, namely CORNELIUS FUDGE, they were able to avoid prosecution thus far. But as Arthur Weasley has said time and time again, everybody KNEW who the Death Eaters were, there was just no way to prove it. Translation: I’M SCARED OF VOLDEMORT! But with him out of the way, justice would give way to furor, and the Death Eaters would be rounded up. What to do? Not to mention by showing up at the Malfoy residence, Peter Pettigrew is implicating him not only with Voldemort, but everyone Malfoy is associated with becomes a Death Eater by association. Their only chance is to divert suspicion.

Voldemort’s dead, how can we spin this? I got it! The baby killed him; this is true. Everyone in that room is dead except a one year old so we can make up whatever we want. Voldemort is dead and Harry lived. So what if Voldemort had a servant that was his most trusted, faithful, craziest, and most powerful Death Eater ever and he betrayed the Potters and then went on a mad killing spree in search of the Dark Lord? You, Peter, track him down but he destroys you (or so we’ll say, of course) and then he’s chucked into Azkaban. This way, you get away and all of the Death Eaters pale in comparison to this one guy and once again there is no evidence linking us civilized folk to Voldemort. The Ministry will breathe two great sighs of relief in one breath because we will have handed them dead Voldemort and his most faithful servant on a silver platter. Then it hits Peter: SIRIUS! Everyone knows the Potters were under protection, what if we say that Sirius was the Secret-Keeper. Everyone would assume that anyway. That makes the crime even more despicable and him even more evil.

So with the plan in place, and the patsy ready to take the fall, Pettigrew leaves and Malfoy calls in his good buddy the junior Minister of the Department of Magical Catastrophes, Cornelius Fudge. The next day November 1, very early in the morning before the Dursleys’ have woken up, Fudge stops by the Malfoy residence. Malfoy tells him the entire story and like a good puppetmaster tells Fudge exactly what to do and what to say in the days to come. Malfoy is on his way to Godric’s Hollow to meet Pettigrew. Fudge must come as well and give it a quick once over so that if and when the investigators are called, Fudge has taken care of all the incriminating evidence. After that, Fudge returns to the office and Pettigrew hides in such a way that Sirius will go look for him and find him.

Fudge begins to spread some rumors that the Potters are dead and Voldemort destroyed. Dumbledore, many miles away, is also receiving intelligence that Voldemort is destroyed. He confides in Professor McGonagall, who takes it upon herself to go to Number 4 Privet Drive and protect the Dursleys not only from a potential Death Eater attack but to watch them and see what they are like. She does this, not on orders (because Dumbledore is surprised yet not surprised to see her), but because she has been in Dumbledore’s confidence and has been in the thick of the intelligence of the Order. Meanwhile Dumbledore, who is not the secret-keeper must use ancient magic to find a way to lift the Fidelius Charm so that Harry can be retrieved if he is still alive. Then of course, Harry must be protected as crazy Voldemort supporters might come after him. This takes a good part of the day. Once satisfied the Fidelius Charm has been lifted, he dispatches Hagrid immediately. He then writes a letter to Petunia Dursley and places it in his pocket.

Meanwhile, Hagrid arrives in Godric’s Hollow. He sees a smoldering pile of rubble. He frantically searches and to his shock finds an unscathed (save the scar on his forehead – unrelated injury) baby Harry. Just as he picks up the child, Sirius arrives on his flying motorcycle. Shocked at the death of his best friend, he resolves to take care of Harry, but Hagrid has his orders from Dumbledore. Sirius gives Hagrid his flying motorcycle and Hagrid rides off to be in the last two pages of “The Boy Who Lived” in Sorcerer’s Stone.

Meanwhile, Sirius is heartbroken that his best friend is dead. Then it hits him: it was Peter! Peter was secret-keeper and the only one who could have told. It takes him several hours but he tracks him down in the middle of a heavily populated Muggle area. Peter shouts the lines given to him by Lucius Malfoy in the middle of the street and 12 Muggles rush to their doors. He then cuts off his own finger. Then with Voldemort’s wand behind his back, which he retrieved from the house before destroying it, Peter flicks the wand giving Fudge, who is hiding, the signal. Fudge blows up the street, but from Sirius’s point of view the flick of the wand he sees was a casted spell (but he, of course, couldn’t actually see through Peter to the wand so one guesse that after 12 years in jail, he constructed his own version of the events). A huge gaping crater appears and Peter Pettigrew turns into a rat and scampers away. Instantly, Fudge appears (first on the scene) and sends the signal and a squad of Department of Magical Catastrophes officials appears. Fudge already has the story ready and tells them how Sirius is a crazed lunatic (having probably hit him with a Cheering Charm before the officials arrived – pg. 317 PoA, “Harry slightly overdid his [cheering charm] out of nerves and Ron… ended up in fits of hysterical laughter“) and carts him off to Barty Crouch who sends him straight to Azkaban with no trial.

IMPLICATIONS

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Voldemort was killed before all of his machinations were brought into fruition. Now he’s back. Four of his five objectives are already done. Now all that he needs is “the army of creatures whom all fear.”

The image of the statue at the Ministry of Magic will be more important than ever. I hate reading S.P.E.W. stuff. But I think JKR has it there for a reason. I think perhaps there will be a time when house-elves and Goblins join wizards and witches and work together EQUALLY to defeat Voldemort. This new war, VOLD WAR II, is just beginning. There will be many more casualties before the end (flashes of Lupin, Pettigrew, Dumbledore, the Dursleys go across the screen). The first war started the same year the wheels first started cranking that brought Harry into this world. It was put on pause for thirteen years, but now its back on and it’ll be harder than ever. But in both cases, it will start and end with Harry Potter.

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