A Chapter About Gum Wrappers?

by Deep Thought and Bistromath

On October 31, 2004, J.K. Rowling revealed via the mysterious door on her website three chapter titles from Half-Blood Prince. One of these was “Spinner’s End,” the title of Chapter 2. Then, a few months ago, we noticed something interesting on Rowling’’s website. On the Rubbish Bin page, there is a seemingly random spinner. This spinner has four clearly visible arrows, and every time you spin it (by putting your mouse over it), the arrows land in the exact same place. After seeing this spinner, we noticed the connection between the chapter title and the spinner.

This bothered us for a few weeks. Knowing how J.K. Rowling leaves clues, we knew that this must be more than a coincidence. Observing the page, we noticed that two of the arrows were pointing at gum wrappers. In other words, the spot where the arrows ended pointed to gum wrappers (the other two don’t point to anything in particular). It then became clear. From pages 514-515 of Order of the Phoenix (American hardcover edition):

“Neville’’s mother had come edging down the ward in her nightdress [in St. Mungo’s]…. She did not seem to want to speak, or perhaps she was not able to, but she made timid motions toward Neville, holding something in her outstretched hand.

“Again?” Said Mrs. Longbottom, sounding slightly weary, “Very well, Alice dear, very well-Neville, take it, whatever it is…”

But Neville had already stretched out his hand, into which his mother dropped an empty Drooble’s Blowing Gum wrapper.

“Very nice, dear,” said Neville’s grandmother in a falsely cheery voice, patting his mother on the shoulder. But Neville said quietly, “Thanks Mum.”

“Well, we’’d better get back,” sighed Mrs. Longbottom, drawing on long green gloves. “Very nice to have met you all. Neville, put that wrapper in the bin, she must have given you enough of them to paper your bedroom by now.”

But as they left, Harry was sure he saw Neville slip the wrapper into his pocket.

So, could Spinner’s End be a chapter about the significance of these mysterious gum wrappers? We thought so, but we were still uncertain. There wasn’’t enough evidence for us to be completely sure of our theory. Then, as we were re-reading the passage, we noticed a connection that removed all doubt in our minds. Neville’’s grandmother tells him to “put that wrapper in the bin.” Naturally, she means the rubbish bin, which is the very page on J.K. Rowling’’s site where the spinner is.

As if there wasn’’t enough evidence already, the Rubbish Bin is the only page on Rowling’’s website (besides the homepage) which has any gum wrappers. It’’s as if Rowling has followed Neville’s grandmother’’s advice, and put the wrappers in the bin. Also, you have to click on a gum wrapper in order to access the rubbish bin, which adds to the connection.

Knowing J.K. Rowling, there are far too many connections for this to be a huge coincidence. So we wait, and in just over 7 days, we will be able to read Chapter 2: Spinner’s End, a chapter about gum wrappers.