Patterns and Princes
by Ryan MacDougall
Who is the Half-Blood Prince? I believe it will be a character that has been mentioned and/or briefly glimpsed in earlier books. He will be a friend/confidant/mentor to Harry much in the same role that Sirius was previously. How do I know this? From an analysis of the patterns lain out in the first five books. If my pattern recognition in the Harry Potter series is accurate, then HBP will mirror Prisoner of Azkaban in many important ways. I’ve read in some fan sites that there are no definite patterns in the books, which is ridiculous. Some may consider my patterns to be stretches or outright BS, but I believe in them. I will establish the patterns in the series first before I give my possible candidates for the HBP.
First the titles, there is a pattern in the titles of the first 5 books.
Books 1 and 4 mention specific, powerful, and unique magical objects: the Sorcerer’s (Philosopher’s) Stone and the Goblet of Fire. Both of these objects appear only in these books (one is destroyed, one turned dormant until the next Triwizard tournament) and both were used to bring back Lord Voldemort (one plan didn’t work, the second obviously did).
Books 2 and 5 (Chamber of Secrets and Order of the Phoenix) mention a secret room and a secret society, both with obvious ties to Lord Voldemort. There are two other important similarities; one is that Harry experiences the CoS and OotP for the second time in history. The chamber was opened originally 50 years earlier and the order was formed originally during the events commonly referred to in fandom as VoldWar I. The second is the ties of the chamber to the basilisk and the order to the phoenix. Both animals are immortal (or nearly so), rare, and powerfully magical.
Books 3 and 6 have titles that are references to people. The Prisoner of Azkaban turns out to be Sirius, Harry’s godfather and future mentor. This is why I believe that the half-blood prince will be Harry’s friend and mentor, and that there will be a secret to him that will be identified by the end of the book. He may also have a connection to Harry and/or his family, like Sirius did. I also don’t believe that he will be the new DADA teacher, who, like Lupin, will be a new character and also a good teacher that will help Harry.
That leads me to the pattern I’ve identified in the characters of the DADA teachers.
All of the DADA teachers have been new characters that we are introduced to early in the book before school starts (Quirrell at the Leaky Cauldron, Lockhart at Flourish and Blotts, Lupin on the train, Moody in the Weasleys’ fireplace, and Umbridge at the trial). In addition to these obvious similarities, there is a cyclical pattern to the DADA teachers that mirrors the pattern in the books’ titles.
Books 1 and 4 give us teachers that appear harmless at first. Moody even seems to be Harry’s friend. However, they both turn out to be secretly working for Voldemort. Not only that, they are plotting to restore Voldemort to full strength and to kill Harry. Quirrell fails, but Crouch Jr. succeeds in doing the awful deed. Both teachers end up destroyed in the end (Quirrell dead, Crouch soulless).
Books 2 and 5 have a less definite connection between the DADA teachers. Lockhart is egotistic, comical, and ultimately a fraud. Umbridge is cruel, scheming, and self-serving. However, both teachers lie to get what they want and both justify it with their own success. Also, both commit atrocities against others to attain their goals. Lockhart erases other witches’ and wizards’ memories in order to claim their accomplishments as his own. Umbridge sets dementors on Harry and almost uses the Cruciatus curse against him, not to mention the laws she set against werewolves and other part-humans. And lets not forget that of the 5 DADA teachers so far, these are the only two that Dumbledore did not choose. Lockhart was a default selection, and Umbridge was appointed by the Ministry of Magic.
I made mention above of the role that Lupin had in PoA. He personally taught Harry the Patronus charm and was also a friend to him and provided a great deal of moral support. In order to follow the patterns of the DADA teachers and their relationships to Harry, that would mean the new DADA teacher will be good, fair, and maybe even give Harry a little one-on-one tutoring (for anyone who thinks this is the year for Snape as DADA teacher, it would be unlikely he would provide this service and I’m pretty sure it won’t happen).
Another interesting fact of the DADA teachers is that they seem to become more powerful the second trip around. Quirrell failed at attaining the sorcerer’s stone, but Crouch was successful at delivering Harry to Voldemort so that Voldemort could return. And although Lockhart had a penchant for stealing memories he was mostly harmless. Umbridge, on the other hand, was vicious and cruel. This would lend to the idea that the new DADA teacher will be a more powerful witch/wizard than Lupin. I think this is entirely possible. Lupin is a wonderful man and a good teacher, but he never struck me as a particularly powerful sorcerer. He admittedly was not an expert in fighting dementors. The one scene we see wizards fighting in the OotP I dont remember Lupin doing any fancy spellwork, Ill have to reread the chapter to be sure. Harry even has to save him from Dolohov. Of the Order members in the Department of Mysteries, Lupin seemed to be the least powerful.
Also, since the new DADA teacher will presumably have some role in Harry gaining the abilities to confront Voldemort, he/she will need to have something to teach Harry. I believe Lupin resigned so readily at the end of PoA because he had little more to teach Harry. When teaching Harry the Patronus charm he mentions that he was able to repel the dementor on the train only because it was alone. After Harry repels dozens of them by the lake, Lupin knows Harry has surpassed him in power. With nothing more to accomplish at Hogwarts, he leaves to pursue other interests.
And onto the identity of the half-blood prince. In this same vein the half-blood prince, Harry’s replacement for Sirius, must also be a powerful wizard, with a lot to teach Harry. Sirius, unlike Lupin, was a powerful wizard. (In the DoM he was the equal of Bellatrix Lestrange, who seems to be the most powerful of the Death Eaters. I say this because she was the only one who escaped Dumbledore, and Voldemort refers to her with the pet name of Bella. Since the only attribute Voldemort cares about is power, Bella would have to be extremely powerful to garner such personal affection from Voldemort. She was also the only one to challenge Malfoy’s orders in the DoM.) I say they were equals, despite the fact that she killed him only because it seemed to be luck and Sirius’s overconfidence that led to him falling through the veil. JK Rowling has mentioned in interviews that we are going to see Harry become much more powerful in the last 2 books. In order for him to do this he will have to learn from very powerful witches and wizards.
Harry’s power increasing also ties in to the pattern of HBP mirroring PoA. In PoA we see Harry performing a Patronus that few, if any, witches or wizards could match. This is the first time we see Harry as not just an exceptionally powerful student, but an exceptionally powerful wizard. I predict Harry will make a similar step forward in Book 6. If my theory that this book holds true, the HBP will be a very gifted wizard (yes he will be a man, sorry ladies) and he will play a specific and important role in Harry’s maturation into the man that will have “power the Dark Lord knows not.”
This last criteria eliminates many of the candidates that fandom has offered for the identity of the half-blood prince. Hagrid, while a great character, clearly does not have the magical ability necessary to teach Harry much of anything at this point. This also rules out any student at Hogwarts (like Seamus, Dean, Justin, and anyone else), as illustrated by the DA where even older students were taught DADA by Harry. Snape seems capable enough to teach Harry a great deal of magic, but his hatred of Harry will be hard to overcome.
I’ve also heard reference to Peter Pettigrew being the HBP. Wormtail? Really? I don’t think Jo Rowling would call a character Wormtail and then reference him as a prince. Also, as such a weak wizard and Death Eater, he would be unlikely to act as any sort of mentor for Harry. Since the HBP will act as a mentor for Harry, that negates the possibility of any non-wizards being he HBP. That includes any muggles (I’ve heard Dudley mentioned, now come on people) and any creatures (so no Crookshanks and definitely no Grawp) and also no ghosts (not even Sirius, back from the dead).
I also do not believe the HBP will be Dumbledore. I do believe that Dumbledore will teach Harry some of the tricks he used in the MoM in preparation for his confrontation with Voldemort; however, Dumbledore is more of a grandfather figure to Harry, not a friend and confidant as Sirius was and I believe the HBP will be. I love Dumbledore, and I think he is one of the greatest characters in the history of fiction. But he has always remained distant, and I see no reason to think he will change that. He is first and foremost a teacher and the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Dumbledore is more a function than an active character. He serves the purpose of telling information that only he can know and of directing Harry in the direction Harry needs to go. Even when we he takes an active role in the action of the story its minimal. He quickly disposes of Crouch Jr. and the Death Eaters in the MoM, and we don’t even see him chase away the dementors at the Quidditch match or the ministry wizards in his office in OotP. Even during his mythic duel with Voldemort it was clear that he mainly wanted to protect Harry and frustrate Voldemort until Voldemort fled. Although Dumbledore is the only wizard Voldemort ever feared he only confronts other wizards when absolutely necessary, mainly when he feels Harry is in danger. I can’t explain why this is, except that Dumbledore only serves as a puppetmaster in the series.
An interesting theory I’ve come across is that the half-blood prince is none other than Godric Gryffindor himself. I believe that Harry is the descendent of Gryffindor (his heir if you will), but until this theory came out on the net I never considered the possibility of Gryffindor being alive. I don’t know how Gryffindor could still be alive (Flamel was the only one known to have been in possession of a sorcerer’s stone), but there are some interesting ideas as to why this is possible. First is the description of the wizard who looks like a lion on JKRowling.com. It would make sense that Gryffindor to look like a lion, as the lion is the symbol of his house. Another interesting theory regards Gryffindor’s sword. It states that the ruby-encrusted blade is more of a ceremonial blade than a soldier’s weapon, possibly the one used by royalty (half-blood PRINCE). Another idea was the title Half-Blood Prince may be a derogatory nickname given to Gryffindor by Salazar Slytherin. No one can deny Gryffindor House’s prevalence of half-bloods, in direct opposition to Slytherin’s restriction to pure-bloods. Harry’s class has 5 boys, three of which are half-bloods (Dean Thomas was identified as a half-blood on JKRowling.com). Could this mean that Gryffindor was a half-blood himself? Could Slytherin’s falling out with Gryffindor have led to some of his hatred of non-pure-bloods? Could Voldemort have known this? Is that why Harry is the one Voldemort targeted instead of Neville? Also, Gryffindor would definitely meet my criterion of being someone mentioned but not seen in previous books, and he would presumably be powerful enough to teach Harry a few things. He also would have a connection to Harry’s family, and he would have been in hiding like Sirius was previous to PoA. However, I just cant get behind this theory entirely because of the problem of Gryffindor being over 1000 years old.
In the same mold of Gryffindor, there is Merlin, who is often mentioned in phrases like Merlins beard and Order of Merlin, third class.” He would also be powerful enough to teach Harry a thing or two. However, like Gryffindor, it is unlikely that such a character would still be alive, and I don’t think JK would use such a well-known character from mythology.
Another character that no one seems to be talking about is Viktor Krum. Krum is certainly a powerful wizard, and we know little about him. We know nothing about his family except that his father has the same hooked nose Viktor does. Although, because he goes to Durmstrang, which doesn’t let in any but pure-bloods as Malfoy mentions in GoF, it seems less likely that Krum is anything less than pure-blood. But he clearly does not have the pure-blood racism that plagues the Malfoys, as he clearly falls for Hermione. This could show that, like Tom Riddle, his abilities may have overcome his mixed ancestry. He also doesn’t fit too well with my criterion that the HBP will be a character mentioned or seen briefly in previous books. However, because we know so little of him, he would certainly have some surprises for us. The main reason I’m not entirely sold on Krum is Hermione’s comment that Harry was able to do a bunch of magic during the tournament that Krum could not. This shows that although Krum could be Harry’s friend, I have doubts as to how much magic he could teach Harry that would benefit Harry against Voldemort. Ditto for Fleur, who although she is less than pure-blood (grandmother is a veela), she is still a girl.
So, we’re getting warmer. Characters now at least seem to approach the pattern set up by Sirius in PoA. I’ve also considered a triumphant return from the dead for James Potter. Since Harry does not see James die in his visions during the dementor attacks, it is possible that James avoided the Avada Kedavra curse and escaped, perhaps wounded too badly to take care of Harry. One could also consider Harry’s vision of his father at the lake in PoA as foreshadowing. However, if James is as good a person as everyone says he would not have stayed away from his son for so long, and with death being such a strong theme in the books, it would simply be a cheat if a dead character miraculously came back (James is NOT like Wormtail). I also don’t buy any of the James transfigured himself into Lupin theories or any of that garbage. Again that would be a way to cheat death, and the only characters that attempt to cheat death in the books are evil (Voldemort, Wormtail). I don’t believe any character will come back from the dead. And furthermore, I hope no one will, because it will negate the effect that the deaths of Sirius and Cedric have had on Harry and the books in general.
One interesting thought I’ve had is Aberforth Dumbledore as the HBP. He fits the pattern of a character mentioned in passing, and as many fans have noticed he has been spotted as the bartender at the Hog’s Head Pub. And assuming he inherited some of the abilities of his brother, he would be a formidable wizard and a perfect fit for Harry’s new mentor. He is intriguing to me because of the clientele of his pub. They’re a bit dodgy, so he obviously doesn’t mind getting a little dirty (as also noted by the condition he keeps his bar). Although he also seems to have Albus’ fondness of sitting in the background and gathering information while he sits and serves butterbeers. This doesn’t seem to fit Sirius’ personality of “act first, ask questions later.” So because of that, I think Aberforth will play some role in Harry’s quest before the story is done, but I do not believe he is the HBP.
The next interesting candidate I came across was Dedalus Diggle. Diggle is a member of the Order and one of the first wizards we see in the novels when he bows to Harry in a shop (much to Aunt Petunia’s horror). He was also a member of the Advance Guard, and is therefore assumed to be of some importance. As it is stated on the HP- Lexicon website, Daedalus was the inventor that created the labyrinth that imprisoned the Minotaur of Greek mythology. He was also the father of Icarus and created the wax wings that they used in that fabled flight. He warned Icarus not to fly too high, and he escaped despite his son’s demise. Although he matches the prerequisite of a character mentioned rarely and seen less, it is this reference to mythology that makes me believe he will not be the HBP. How could a man whose namesake left his son to fall for his death be the friend and mentor of Harry? Although I think he will have a role to play in the next two novels (perhaps creating a trap for Voldemort?), I do not believe his role will be that of HBP.
Okay, enough red herrings, now to my best guess for who will appear in the sixth Harry Potter novel as the Half-Blood Prince: Caradoc Dearborn. Who the heck is he, do you ask? He was mentioned only once in the novels in the ninth chapter of OotP, when Moody was showing Harry the photo of the original Order of the Phoenix. Moody described him as having ”vanished six months after this, we never found his body.” Now hasn’t the Pettigrew fiasco taught us that when no body is found we cannot just assume a wizard is dead? He was presumed dead, but what if, like Sirius, he had just been indisposed for the last 15 years or so? This does not put him in the same mold as James Potter, whose corpse was presumably found in the ruins of his house. This would allow him to fit the criteria as a character that was mentioned briefly (like Sirius), had a connection to Harry’s parents (like Sirius), and as an Order member would presumably be a powerful wizard (like Sirius). Where has he been? I have no idea, maybe he was captured and held in a dungeon by Death Eaters (maybe he was in the infamous chamber below the Malfoys’ dining room floor). Maybe he was doing a secret errand that only Dumbledore knew of. Whatever or wherever he was for the last 15 years, I think he will be back as the HBP.
But surely there must be more proof for this bold statement than the fact that he was only mentioned briefly in the last book! Of course there is, and it comes from the British history and folklore. During the reign of Caesar Gaius, (Caligula) Caradoc was the last Briton to stand against Rome. He was betrayed and captured and sent to Rome along with his wife and children. However, they were not executed but rather gained the favor of the Caesar and lived in Rome in high esteem. Could this be a hint as to what Caradoc has been doing since his disappearance? Did he ingratiate himself with the enemy as a spy? Was there another secret agent for the Order besides Snape? Who knows?
Even more intriguing is Caradoc’s place in the story of King Arthur. In British folklore, Caradoc was a member of the Knights of the Round Table and was the son of Caradoc the elder, king of Nantes, and Ysenne, the niece of King Arthur. Furthermore, as the story goes on, the day that Caradoc was to be knighted by King Arthur, a man came in with a wager. He would place his head on a block and offer a knight to chop it off. If he did not die he would return in a year and chop of the offending knights head. After much debate along the round table Caradoc took up the challenge. After the beheading the man stood up, retrieved his severed head and placed it back upon his neck. He then departed, only to return one year later. Caradoc offered his head to this unknown man in keeping with his word. Instead of taking Caradocs head, he merely touched his neck with his sword. He then introduced himself as the wizard Eliaures, Caradoc’s biological father. This makes him both a prince and a half-blood wizard!
Is it a coincidence that this MIA order member bears the name of a half-blood prince? I highly doubt it. And as we all know JK loves to take names from mythology and incorporate them into her writing. An interesting note was that his father eventually betrayed Caradoc and turned his arm into, get this, a serpent. Eventually the spell was reversed, but his arm was crippled, giving him the name Caradoc Briefbras (short arm.) There was also a ballad about him and his wife and the 3 trials of her devotion to him (he was obsessed with fidelity after finding out he was a bastard). One involves a mantle (veil?), one a boars head (hogs head?), and one a drinking horn (goblet?). Also, the ballad appears in Chretien de Troyes’ Perceval (Percival is one of Dumbledores middle names, and a name of which Percy is a variant). Are these just interesting coincidences, or allusions to the folklore that JK Rowling is basing her character of the Half-Blood Prince? You tell me.