The Underground Lake #25: A Letter

by Brandon

Dear J.K. Rowling,

Let me first start by saying that I have been a fan of your novels since 2002 (I was a late bloomer!). My love affair with Harry Potter began when I was dragged against my will to see the first movie. I enjoyed it very much, but more than anything, I was surprised that I enjoyed a “kids” movie that much. It piqued my interest. You, more than anyone else, must have been aware of the publicity juggernaut that preceded the release of the first film. I recall that E! Entertainment devoted about six hours to the movie, the books, the actors, everything Harry Potter. I hadn’t even read the book but at the end of that day I knew most of the basic pieces of information I needed to know. I was then given Book Two on audio book by a friend and became so enraptured that I listened to it in one sitting. I then went out and bought Books Three and Four. I recall when reading Three that I could not put it down and that the story seemed to be getting much more complex. Then I read Four. And I was hooked. Now with the coming of Book Six, everyone is dying to know what is going to happen and everyone gets to ask you questions. I had always had this fantasy that one day in my emails, I would come across one from you and all you would have to say is that you had read my editorial and I would faint. There are so many things I have wanted to ask you and rather than go through the usual channels, I decided to make this editorial my letter to you. I submit my humble questions for your consideration and entertainment.

First off, I know there are no such things as stupid questions but when it comes to you, there really are. It must baffle you that no matter how many times you say “no,” people still ask you how Book Seven is going to end and if Harry is going to die and if Ron and Hermione will get together. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a d***.” I think there are much more interesting questions you could answer and that you are probably wanting someone to ask you. I’m not talking about some of the deep questions about the veil and stuff because I figure you’ll answer those eventually in the novels so I can wait. I’m talking about questions that will enrich our (well, mostly mine) enjoyment of the novel. So I shall begin.

  1. Do you have in your possession a Muggle equivalent to the Marauder’s Map? Hogwarts is so vast that, as a writer, I’m sure it helps to know exactly where everything is. Personally, I would love it if that could be accessed on your site because as my readers (who are no doubt nosily reading this very private letter to you) know, I believe there will be a big showdown at Hogwarts because that was essentially the only thing Voldemort didn’t accomplish the first time: taking Hogwarts. To me, it would be very nice to have a map of Hogwarts for scenes like the one where Harry and the members of the DA have to scatter when Umbridge and the Inquisitorial Squad are chasing them so I know where things are in relation to other things. For example, how far away is Gryffindor House from McGonagall’s class? How far away from Myrtle’s bathroom is the prefect’s lounge?
  2. We’ve seen werewolves, ghosts, goblins, wizards, witches, giants, and trolls. Will we ever see vampires? I personally don’t hold with the Snape-is-a-vampire theory but I would like to know what the Harry Potter universe’s rules are regarding vampires. Are the discriminated against like werewolves? Are they all evil? Can they really turn into bats? Does the HP universe have anything to say about Dracula?
  3. How long is someone Minister of Magic? Is it an election or an appointment? Is there a magical parliament?
  4. What precisely is the function of the Wizengamot?
  5. Why in Prisoner of Azkaban (370, US paperback) did Sirius say that Voldemort was hiding for 15 years when he was destroyed 12 years ago based on when Sirius was telling the story?
  6. Have we (the readers) seen in Books 1-5 the “army of creatures whom all fear” that Voldemort promised to unleash in Book 4 or is that another surprise you’ve got in store?
  7. When Harry and Hermione went back in time, would they have appeared on the Marauder’s map twice? Since spells seem to appear on the map as well (Harry chanting “Dissendium” to open the secret passage), would Harry’s Patronus also have appeared on the map?
  8. Why did Barty Crouch, Jr. tell Ron that “[his] father would know [the Imperius Curse]”? (212, GoF)
  9. What sort of educational decrees were Educational Decrees 1-21? The first one readers hear about is Educational Decree Number 22 in OotP. All of the ones we get in Book Five are oppressive measures. Are the other 21 decrees the just as oppressive are were they positive measures?
  10. This may be one of the crazy theories or just a typo, but it is syntactically significant (God, I love alliteration!). In Book Five, page 584, Gryffindor Common Room is celebrating Harry’s exposé of Voldemort and the Death Eaters to The Quibbler. Now syntactically you wrote that Harry’s picture on the magazine is saying “The Ministry are morons” and “Eat dung, Umbridge.” Now, the first times I read this I glazed over it, but the last time I read it, I thought of my Honors English and the syntax (the way words are presented. In the above quote “dung” is of course NOT capitalized because it is in that case the noun meaning droppings, or its technical term, animal poo. But later on in that same paragraph you have the sentence, “…so that it merely shouted disconnected words like ‘Dung’ and ‘Umbridge’…” Here notice that “Dung” is capitalized, yet grammatically there is no need to capitalize it if it referring to the previous “dung” UNLESS it isn’t referring to the previous oneIs the reason why the second “Dung” is capitalized because you were creating a very cleverly veiled connection between Mundungus Fletcher and Dolores Umbridge or have I just completely read too much into that? It just bugs me that “Dung” was capitalized and there is no reason to capitalize it.
  11. What exactly are the twelve uses of Dragon blood and will they play any role in the importance of the story?
  12. Is Dumbledore’s watch with 12 hands a relative of the Weasley clock? If so, who are the twelve faces? I would guess Harry, Snape, Trelawney, Hagrid, Filch, and Aberforth for starters.
  13. Karkaroff was Bulgarian. Why was he not tried in Bulgaria when all the Voldemort Death Eater trials were going on? Were there no consequences to his actions in his homeland?
  14. Was the scope of Voldemort’s rule the first time confined solely to England or did he have operatives and plots all over the world? I have to believe that if he was the most feared wizard of all time and since everybody knows who Harry Potter is that Voldemort had probably made his move in several countries.
  15. What was the significance of choosing Bulgaria and France to be the other two countries in the Tri-Wizard Tournament?There must be other schools in other countries I assume. Is there a reason that those two countries were chosen? We meet Veela at the QWC but Fleur could have been half-Veela and still been from another country. Viktor was from Bulgaria and at the QWC but Viktor could also have been from another country as well. I have always wondered what was so special about those two countries.
  16. Have we seen the last of Fleur and Viktor?
  17. Will we ever find out the exact contents of the letter Dumbledore wrote to Petunia? I would absolutely love to know what Dumbledore told her but more importantly, I want to know Petunia’s initial reaction to the death of her sister. Was she sad that she never got to make peace with her sister? I have to believe that somewhere deep down in Petunia there is a heart that has some feeling for Harry and Lily Potter.
  18. In Book One it is mentioned that the high security vaults are said to be guarded by dragons. If the Sorcerer’s Stone, which is quite valuable, was not guarded by a dragon, what sort of thing would be in a dragon guarded high security vault? Does it even matter?
  19. If my numbers are correct, there are five boys and five girls per year per house meaning that there are only about 280 kids at Hogwarts based on the figures for Harry’s first year. Is that accurate?
  20.  My ego will kill me for not asking this: is there any weight at all to my Lost Day theory? Long story short, my Lost Day theory is that all the mysteries of HP go back to that missing day after the Potters and Voldemort are killed. Intentionally or not, an entire day passes between the day the Potters are killed and the day Hagrid delivers Harry to Number 4 Privet Drive. My reasoning:
    October 31, 1981: THE LOST DAY
    10-11:59 P.M. Monday October 31: Voldemort arrives at Godric’s Hollow and murders James and Lily Potter and attempts to murder Harry but fails and loses his body. Pettigrew retrieves Voldemort’s wand and leaves. With or without the help of Cornelius Fudge, he destroys Godric’s Hollow.
    8:30 A.M. Tuesday November 1: Vernon Dursley wakes up and heads off to work and sees extremely strange sights and strange people celebrating something.
    “10-11:59 P.M. Tuesday November 1: Albus Dumbledore arrives at Privet Drive, meeting Minerva McGonagall, and later Rubeus Hagrid with a baby Harry Potter in tow.
    “10 A.M. Wednesday November 2: Sirius Black catches up to Peter Pettigrew and Peter blows up the street, thus killing 12 muggles. Pettigrew turns into a rat and scurries away. Sirius captured by Department of Magical Catastrophes… led by Cornelius Fudge.
    “Late Wednesday-Thursday Nov. 3/4: The Longbottoms are tortured by the Lestranges with or without Barty Crouch Jr.
  21. If Avada Kedavra doesn’t leave any physical marks, how did the Potters’ house blow up? I should be fair, I have theorized this and hoped to word it in a way that you would actually answer it.
  22. Any weight AT ALL to the “life essence” theory? In a nutshell:“My theory is that the “jet of green light” hits you and forcibly extracts your “life essence.” This is not the soul, because as our good friends the Dementors have taught us, a person can still be technically alive without a soul. It’s that aura and essence that makes everything work within all living creatures. A person dies when their life essence is extinguished… It is my opinion that when a living creature is hit with Avada Kedavra, their life essence is forcibly ejected from their body and travels from it into the veil… I believe these life essences have the ability to transcend the rules of our world and see the future and the past but they cannot enter our world. But what if someone here possessed the ability to tap into the beyond…a seer perhaps? Suppose people possessed of the Inner Eye have the ability to channel these life essences. Or suppose these life essences have the ability to forcibly inhabit these seers… I think that in order to power an AK incantation, a person needs to tap into a bit of their own life essence in order to forcibly remove the essence of another. I arrived at this theory because of Quirrell. A living creature can only hold ONE life essence, so when Voldemort’s essence inhabited those of other creatures, their body’s rejected both and began to wither and die, which explains why he had to keep body hopping. When Voldemort possessed Quirrell, he had the unicorn’s blood which was able to sustain the body of Quirrell and the life essence of both men until the Sorcerer’s Stone could be found…” (Taken from The Underground Lake #12: Mysteries Un-Veiled)
  23. 23. What is on level one of the Ministry of Magic and is my diagram somewhat accurate
    Level 10:Courtrooms (Elevator doesn’t go here)
    Level 8: The Atrium – THE ENTRANCE
    Level 7: Department of Magical Games and Sports (yo, Ludo Bagman!), incorporating the British and Irish Quidditch League Headquarters, Official Gobstones Club, and Ludicrous Patents Office.
    Level 6: Department of Magical Transport, incorporating the Floo Network Authority (poor Dursley living room), Broom Regulatory Control, Portkey Office (they could be sued for Cedric’s death), and Apparation Test Center(those fools gave Fred and George a license).
    Level 5: Department of International Magical Cooperation (R.I.P. Barty Crouch, Sr.), incorporating theInternational Magical Trading Standards Body, the International Magical Office of Law, and the International Confederation of Wizards, British Seats.
    Level 4: Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures (wazzup MacNair!), incorporating Beast, Being, and Spirit Divisions, Goblin Liason Office, and Pest Advisory Bureau.
    Level 3: Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes (former stomping ground of Cornelius Fudge), including the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, Obliviator Headquarters (could Gilderoy Lockhart be a former employee), and Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee.
    Level 2: Department of Magical Law Enforcement, including the Improper Use of Magic Office, Auror Headquarters, and Wizengamot Administration Services.
    Level 1: ?????
  24. Was Voldemort’s plot to steal the prophecy a red herring to distract the wizard world and the readers from a deeper plot being carried out by Peter Pettigrew? This would certainly explain Pettigrew’s conspicuous absence in all of Book Five and the fact that Voldemort didn’t really seem to care that the prophecy was destroyed even though he spent months trying to find out what it said: “I have wasted MONTHS on fruitless schemes, it seems… but no matter… (585, OotP)” NO MATTER! NO MATTER! You could have solved this problem 300 pages ago, Voldemort!!!! Either Voldemort is the most patient would-be dictator in history, or something is definitely up. And then when he discovers it is destroyed, what is his reaction? 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. You describe Voldemort as speaking “softly” and “quietly.” There is no mention of rage or anger. He hears the news and basically says, “screw it” and whips out the Avada Kedavra on Harry even though last time he tried it, he blew himself up! 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?
  25. Will we ever see Azkaban? As horrible as the place sounds, I would love the books to visit there just to see how horrible it is. Dementors all around. The horrible convicts. It just sounds so desolate, and I think the tone of the books have finally caught up with the tone of Azkaban.

Well, that is all. I have no delusions about you actually answering all my questions or even one. I guess there’s still that novice kid who wrote his first editorial and thought that maybe JKR would take a second away from her kids and writing her wonderful books and stroll over to and read my editorial. A guy can dream, can’t he?

Sincerely yours and forever a fan,

Brandon Ford