Picking for Patterns
I was reading the recently added editorial about the covers for HBP, and a pattern I had always been dimly aware of but had never fine-tuned was explained by one of the authors.
“Each of the key magical concepts for the last three books was introduced casually, not seeming to be important, exactly two books before the book where it really matters. Animagi were introduced with Professor McGonagall’s cat transformation in Book 1. The trio made Polyjuice Potion in Book 2. Professor Trelawney makes her second prophecy in Book 3, and Dumbledore even refers to the fact that she had made one before.So now we have cover art suggesting that a Pensieve is critically important to the plot of HBP. Pensieves were introduced, seemingly a minor diversion, in Book 4, exactly two books previous to HBP. It fits the pattern perfectly.”
I found this to be not only very true, but intriguing. I knew JKR had a way of introducing this information beforehand so that we would accept it later, but I had never applied it to such a specific formula. If JKR truly follows this pattern (and it appears she does,) then what hints could we find to the climax of Book Seven? What new magical items or ideas are introduces casually into Order of the Phoenix?
Right away, one of the first new spells shown is the Disillusionment Charm. This is not likely in my mind to be an essential plot point, because the main purpose of it is to conceal someone, and by now we know far better ways of doing that. It was cool though. Other spells I would put in this category include the Permanent Sticking Charm, “Scourgify” and the Vanishing Spell.
As soon as Harry gets to Hogwarts, he is introduced to an extremely unpleasant quill. It cuts through skin and creates a blood contract. I found this quill repulsive for so many reasons: it harms students (worse, it causes them to harm THEMSELVES), it creates a scratch rather like a brand on the student’s skin, and the student has to promise not to do something IN THEIR OWN BLOOD. What with blood being such a theme in the wizarding world, this has to be significant! In many stories, signing something in blood binds you beyond escape to something that usually turns out to be bad. These pages and pages of “I must not tell lies” written (promised) by Harry in his own blood could be more powerful then simply detention. I don’t know if this quill or these quills have any power or not, but they’re something to remember.
A far more realistic possibility however, is the two-way mirror that Sirius gave to Harry. This mirror frustrated me to no end. Why couldn’t Harry have OPENED it – it would have saved so much pain! Why even include it if all Harry’s going to do is break it? AGH! But of course, it was included because it means something. It seemed slightly out of place, and perhaps the real purpose of this mirror will be revealed in Book Seven. A way for Voldemort to spy on Harry? And, coincidentally, can magic spells travel through magic mirrors? Could Harry possibly curse Voldemort THROUGH the mirror? Possibilities…
The last new magical concept is the Room of Requirement. Absolutely brimming with fantastic and horrible possibilities, this room could easily be a climactic shocker. Used by the bad guys, it could be used as a place to hide out in while infiltrating Hogwarts (“we need a place to spy on Harry Potter and Dumbledore?”), or perhaps as a place to get powerful magical items. I advise Harry not to let too many more people know about this room. Draco already knows and that could prove disastrous. It is a great tool, but the Room doesn’t care if the DA or the DE are using it.
This pattern makes one want to pick through OotP for more subtle new magic spells and things. The mirror, the quill, or perhaps even the Permanent Sticking Spell could be essential to Book Seven.