The Underground Lake #27: The Eulogy
The dictionary defines a “eulogy” as “a piece of writing that praises someone or something highly.” This is therefore my eulogy for Book Six, now completed on paper and done in my heart, mind and hands.
All I can say is J.K. Rowling has done it again. She had me at Chapter One and didn’t let me go until the most powerful ending in Harry Potter history. I wore black yesterday to honor a man whom I have grown to respect and admire (though he is in fact a fictional character). A man whose power and wisdom is far beyond us all. A man whose death was cold and calculated yet sacrificial and selfless. A man named Albus Dumbledore.
But before I get begin my tribute to the man, the myth and the legend, I first wish to share my thoughts on the book as well as address my previous predictions as to what I thought was going to happen. I submit for your entertainment and consideration: THE EULOGY.
IF YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED THE BOOK, DO NOT READ THIS EDITORIAL!
In my last, I said that my predictions for Book Six would make or break me as an editorialist. After reading the book, I realized when I was right I was right, and when I was wrong I was REALLY wrong. So let’s get on with my assessment:
- The Death – I have been predicting his death since last year. Few wished to believe me. What I realized myself is that though I KNEW it was going to happen, I also didn’t want to believe it. But when I got my book Friday night, I looked at the table of contents and saw the chapter title “The Phoenix Lament” – right then I knew I was right. But oh, how I wanted to be wrong. I did accurately predict that Albus Dumbledore would die. However, I said Avada Kedavra would not be what killed him. Not only did Avada Kedavra kill him, but it was Snape’s Avada Kedavra! SNAPE!!! From this moment forward, Snape will be referred to as “The-Former-Professor-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named” or “TFPWWNBN” for short in this column. Do not worry. I will be writing an editorial soon as to what I think Snape… oops… The-Former-Professor-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named is/was really up to.
- The True Identity of the HBP – I was spectacularly wrong on that. I feel so stupid – not because it was The-Former-Professor-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named – but because so many people when I did my book cover editorial asked why I ignored the adult covers. Had I not ignored the adult covers, I believe I would have guessed instantly that it was The-Former-Professor-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named.
- McClaggen – All I can say is “HA!” “HA” to all the people who thought he was going to be SOOO critical. “He is the lion man!” “He’s the HBP!” Try, he’s a random guy. Yes, he got a little face time with Hermione and thoroughly annoyed Harry for a few pages, but he was not entirely important, was he? On the other hand, one could argue that he was instrumental in bringing Harry and Ginny together (by the way, YAY!). Had he not knocked Harry out, Gryffindor would have won (because they always do when Harry plays), and it would not have been necessary for Ginny to stage such a powerful come-from-behind victory (though Harry still might not have been in that game) leading to that fantastic kiss.
- Shipping – If there is any person alive on this planet that still believes that Ron and Hermione are not going to end up together, I think you need to replace the Longbottoms in St. Mungo’s because they must be more sane than you. I’m sorry, but it’s pretty much a certainty at this point, so let’s just let it go. But I will say that two of my all-time favorite images from the book are Ginny leaning up against Harry’s legs in the common room (SOOOOO sweet!) and Ron full-on making out with Lavender Brown.
- Spinner’s End – First off (and this is a picky thing), several people emailed me before the book came out to tell me that Spinner’s End did not have an apostrophe. Well, I just have to point out that in my copy of HBP, there was definitely an apostrophe. I was correct in assuming that it was a location but completely off in thinking that it was some good place that Harry was going to when in fact it was a bad place that Mrs. Malfoy and Lestrange go to. My question is, is that The-Former-Professor-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named’s house?
- Draco’s Detour – I was completely wrong about it having to do with the trio getting to Hogwarts.
- Apparation – I did accurately predict that Apparation lessons would occur in this book, but who would have guessed that Side-Along Apparation would have been so pivotal?
- Felix Felicis – “HA!” I say again. Felix Felicis was not a person as so many of you thought. I said it was a spell or some sort of magical effect and considering it was a potion with a magical effect I must say that I came rather close in my opinion.
- The DADA Professor – I completely missed the mark on that, though according to some of JKR’s recent interviews (and I mean VERY recent) we shall FINALLY get to meet Aberforth in Book Seven (she doesn’t say it’s him – she simply says it’s someone from the Order that we have seen several times that we have yet to speak to). But why did it have to be The-Former-Professor-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named? In one way, I was correct: I predicted that The-Former-Professor-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named would finally get his wish and teach DADA in Harry’s final year at Hogwarts. Turns out this was the case, though I never expected it to happen a book early.
- The DA – I did call that the DA would not reform but that they would be integral in the leading in the defense of the school which was true in the sense that the only students who answered the call to help were DA members.
- The New MoM – WAY OFF! But I’ll bet money that when the Book Seven epilogue comes out, it’ll say Percy Weasley eventually became Minister of Magic. Does anybody even know how to pronounce Scrimgeour’s name?
Overall, I say that I did pretty good. Had I missed the death, I think I would have had to retire. Now, on to my reaction to the book.
MY REACTION TO THE BOOK
An explosive, action-packed adventure. Chapter one was devilishy clever. “Serious” Black, I mean – honestly! Chapter two was so, SO brilliant! On the note of chapter two, I will say that my opinion of Draco has somewhat changed. On several occasions, Draco has tried to fill daddy’s particularly large and evil shoes but to no avail. In this book, however, he bit off much more than he could chew. I, who despise Draco, pity him just as Harry does. He’s a bad egg, but when you’re crying in the bathroom because the most evil wizard in the world has threatened to kill you and your parents if you do not help him, I feel for you. I do not absolve him completely for his past crimes, but his behavior in Book Six is completely motivated by the desire to protect his family. Malfoy talks a big game but when push came to shove, he folded like a cheap suit. It will be interesting to see when and how we shall resolve Malfoy’s storyline once and for all.
I don’t want to get too much into The-Former-Professor-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named because I am preparing an editorial dedicated solely to him, but when I discovered that he would be teaching the DADA, I wanted so much to tell Harry, “DON’T TAKE THE DADA! IT’S NOT WORTH IT!”
For the ladies, I thought the love angles were fantastic. Lupin and Tonks! That was wonderful. Lupin is one of my favorites. As I said, I cared more for him than Sirius. He is such a tortured character, forced to live underground with evil werewolves including the very same werewolf that converted him. I think Lupin and Tonks are great for each other. He can be a bit of a stick in the mud and Tonks’ (hopefully) renewed gusto and craziness will complement him well, though they have kind of a Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes age difference-thing going on.
I am secure enough in my heterosexuality to say that Harry and Ginny’s speech at the funeral almost made me cry. Harry playing it Bogart with a speech so reminiscent of the end of Casablanca (which is, incidentally, in my all-time top 3 best movies) that I could hear “As Time Goes By” in my head as they said goodbye. I loved every minute of Harry and Ginny together because it was so believable and so clear. As I said before, the image that was so wonderful was not the teen movie post-Quidditch kiss in the common room, but Harry sitting in his chair studying and Ginny sitting on the floor, head leaning ever so gently against his legs.
As for Ron and Hermione, the two could not be more stubborn, but I understand the psychology behind Ron’s ‘Lavender move.’ To him, Hermione has “experience” first of all, and secondly, experience with an older, bigger, stronger, seemingly more attractive, famous, RICH athlete whom Ron must naturally loathe and despise. He feels that he is not worthy of Hermione yet. The circumstances in which the two will get together must be best for Ron because he’s a bit of a twit and must consider himself worthy of the object of his affection before he can make his move. I just sincerely hope JKR doesn’t pull an Episode II and they confess their love before they are seemingly about to die ’cause that might be just a little over the top.
R.A.B. Any HP reader worth his or her soul should have instantly deduced that R.A.B. was none other than Sirius’ brother Regulus Black who was murdered not by the Order, but by Voldemort and the Death Eaters. We have now discovered that there was a reason for this. I feel now that, though Harry doesn’t want to, he will have to go back to 12 Grimmauld Place.
I found myself on my feet when reading the Harry vs. The-Former-Professor-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named battle because if Harry can’t even attack The-Former-Professor-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named, how the heck is he gonna fight Voldemort – who, incidentally, was completely absent in his present-day form just like in Book Three. However, I found the Voldemort backstory most thrilling as I had said that I felt this book was going to have more to do with the past than with the present or future. Speaking of time, I was also glad that Hermione informed us that all the Time-Turners were destroyed. I sincerely hope that I get no more emails regarding wild and crazy time-travel theories.
Horcruxes. Another topic for an editorial, I find the whole concept quite intriguing and will be doing a more detailed report on them in the coming weeks.
All in all, this is by far my favorite book in the series, dethroning Four. Four may have had the most cleverly orchestrated kidnap-trap in history, but Six had the most poetic ending with The-Former-Professor-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named killing the only man who ever trusted him.
Also, ‘way to go, Harry’ for sticking it to the man. I thought I detected a cleverly veiled jab at a certain government leader with the statement Harry made to the effect that “either you pretend that everything is going okay until something forces you to address the issue and then you make up lies to assure everyone that you are doing everything right NOW.” Something to that effect. Confidentially, I am at work right now so I, obviously, am sans book.
THE NEW PLAN
Book Six has given us so many new bits and things to think about. I am beginning to embark on my second read which is my critical read and will take quite a while, at which point I will return with a new twist on one of my old themes. That’s right: another five-parter. I shall do my best to have those in before the 15th of August. At which point I begin my third year of college and will subsequently have to take some time (but by no means a long time) off from all things Underground Lake. Until then, remember Cedric. Remember Sirius. And above all, remember Albus Dumbledore.