Harry’s New Pet

by Pooty P. 

I spent some time hunting around on the site, and I haven’t seen too much discussion on this topic. In one of JKR’s interviews, someone asked her if Harry could have a pet dragon, and she replied:

“He might get a different pet at some point but I’m saying no more at this moment.”
(JK Rowling, Raincoast Books Interview, March 2001)

Could this mean that Harry might actually lose Hedwig at some point? What an awful thought, and one that never occurred to me with all the speculation about upcoming deaths. I never thought about it, but it’s a whole other level of loss for Harry that he hasn’t yet experienced. And yet “a different pet” is not the same thing as “a new pet,” so perhaps he may end up having two pets to care for in the future.

It’s an interesting thought, but things could get rather touchy. As I recall, Hedwig is very possessive of Harry and not a little territorial. Although, to be fair, Hedwig isn’t intolerant of all birds, just flashy, tropical “foreigners” and annoying, hyperactive owls like Pigwidgeon. No, I’m actually thinking of one pet Harry might end up with that Hedwig could get along with, even respect. (I’m sure you see where I’m going with this, and no, it’s not a brand new ship. Editor’s note: I’m sure this one’s out there, though!)

Back to the subject of impending deaths. Many of us suspect/dread the prospect of Dumbledore’s possible death. As much as I’d rather stick my head in the sand and hope for the best, there is no denying that the reasoning behind that theory is pretty sound. What if–should that dreaded day come to pass–Harry were to inherit Fawkes? He wouldn’t be the first person to inherit someone else’s pet (*coughScabberscough*). We already know that phoenixes are extremely loyal pets, and Fawkes has come to Harry’s aid because of the strength of Harry’s loyalty to Dumbledore. Fawkes has not only done battle on Harry’s behalf twice before (three times, if you include the MOM battle, athough that was more for Dumbledore, I think) but he has also healed him twice.

Ever since I read on Jo’s website about the fact that Harry makes a discovery unrelated to the Basilisk and Riddle’s diary storyline in CoS that foreshadows something he finds out in HBP, I’ve been wondering about what it could be. Two editorials on MuggleNet cover some of this ground already (The Wheels Are in Motion: What Comes Next and What Came Before and The Half Blood Prince). One discovery we haven’t dealt with yet is Fawkes. In CoS, Harry meets Fawkes for the first time, and learns all about the properties of phoenixes. To recap, he learns that:

  • They burst into flames when it is time for them to die and are reborn from the ashes.
  • They can carry immensely heavy loads.
  • Their tailfeathers are hot to the touch.
  • Their tears have healing powers.
  • They make highly faithful pets.
  • Phoenixes are not affected by the Basilisk’s gaze.
  • They appear at will in bursts of flame.

Other things we learn from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:

  • The song of the phoenix gives strength and hope to those it sings for, “increasing the courage of the pure of heart and striking fear into the hearts of the impure.”
  • The phoenix glows faintly in the dark.
  • The phoenix is not a predator, but a herbivore.
  • The gentle nature of phoenixes is well known.

This final point is something that interests me, because if Harry inherits Fawkes, then there is the possiblitity that since Fawkes has excellent tactical judgment in battle (as demonstrated with the Basilisk and Voldemort) then one of Fawkes’s magical properties may feature as a pivotal point in HBP.

Phyllis D. Morris wrote an interesting essay about Fawkes a while back and brought up the point that it’s noteworthy that Fawkes entered into direct combat with the Basilisk at all, as phoenixes are not predators and have little need for fighting skills, even in their own defense.

Let’s face it, if Dumbledore goes, then Harry will need all the allies he can get, and in my opinion, Fawkes would be an incredible asset to Harry. I mean, Voldemort has Nagini, Harry needs a creature that can depend on to watch his back. And at least we know that if Fawkes dies on Harry, it’s not permanent…

And before I go, here’s a nutty thought: phoenixes are pretty long-lived, right? What if Dumbledore had inherited Fawkes too? Dumbledore’s office is full of Gryffindor paraphernalia: the Sorting Hat, the sword. I mean, there’s a great, big, stone griffin at his door. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to speculate that Dumbledore’s office was once Godric Gryffindor’s office…would it? Might Harry discover that Fawkes is long-lived enough to have been Godric Gryffindor’s pet?