The Underground Lake #28: Half-Blood, Full Hero: A 5-Part Series

by Brandon Ford

Part 1: The Death of Albus Dumbledore
And now... the season premiere of THE UNDERGROUND LAKE.

Folks, I am back! Rested, refreshed, and ready to delve, ever so carefully, into the realm of the beyond! I'm sorry for my Trelawney-ishness, but it has been a while. Recall that the mission of the Underground Lake as outlined in Season One (now available on DVD, or rather, MuggleNet) was that "to analyze and fully comprehend the events leading up to, including, and immediately following "the lost day" is to fully comprehend what may potentially happen in Books Six and Seven as well as shed light on cryptic events in Books One through Five." That was last season, and pre-Book Six. We now have one of the final pieces of the puzzle and, in honor of Season Two as well as the man who inspires so many who we now mourn, the Underground Lake has a new mission:

From this point forth, we shall be leaving the firm foundation of fact and [journey] together through the murky marshes of memory into thickets of wildest guesswork.

- Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

I know you're thinking,"that's what we've been doing all along." But now we have a problem: our time together is growing quite short. We have only one book left, and being that it is the last, there will be nothing to predict that hasn't already happened. The reason for my long absence was my excruciatingly precise reread of Book Six. I analyzed in brutal detail all the various nooks and crannies, making sure all of my facts were straight before committing myself to theories that I will have to change. We, therefore, must cling to this new mission. Cling to it and hope that as true Potterphiles we may unravel the deepest mysteries, unlock the most hidden doors.

HALF-BLOOD, FULL HERO

The opening of Season Two, as I mentioned in my sneak peek is a five-part series called 'HALF-BLOOD, FULL HERO.' This series is designed to take all of the new nuggets obtained from Book Six and completely revamp our old theories and forge them into new, logical conclusions about Book Seven, all relating back, of course, to our hero: Harry. Our first installment concerns that of our dearly departed friend and headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. I submit for your entertainment and consideration (God, I've missed saying that): THE DEATH OF ALBUS DUMBLEDORE!

DUMBLEDORE IS IRREVERSIBLY DEAD

Is that harsh? Yes. Is it true? HECK YES! Dumbledore is dead, folks. I refuse to go through another two years of Sirius-esque "he's still alive" droning. I realize all the phoenix symbolism is there, but like Sirius, Dumbledore is dead and he's not coming back. I don't hate to say, 'I told you so' because when I did, certain people who shall remain nameless, cursed me (and not in a Voldemort fashion) and called me delusional (not Emerson - he's cool, and he's right, shippers - you were quite delusional). I have no remorse whatsoever for throwing it in your face that I said pretty much from the beginning that Dumbledore was going to die. I know we didn't want it to happen, but it did and, like Harry, we must move on.

I categorically acknowledge his death not to chastise my readers but to prepare a point I have been stewing over. As you may recall from Season One, I said that I believe Sirius died for a reason and that reason was to show Harry the way to kill Voldemort (though I don't think he was thinking about that when he was battling Bellatrix). I feel that Dumbledore's death was no accident (well, obviously, as he was killed, but I mean in the larger sense).

You all have been thinking it, but I'm going to say it: I trust The Former Professor Who Will Not Be Named (TFPWWNBN) now more than I ever have because he killed Dumbledore. Do I hate him? Yes. Is he a slimy contemptible sewer rat? Of course. Was he acting under orders to kill Dumbledore? Yes. But whose orders? TFPWWNBN was told to kill Dumbledore by Dumbledore. Let us revisit the argument in the forest that Hagrid overheard. As usual, JKR loves to torture us with unnecessary vagueness. Have you noticed how, in all of the books, when the big baddies are talking to each other, they use a lot of unnecessary vagueness and euphemism? I realize they are afraid of being overheard, but still. But I digress. The forest:

  • TFPWWNBN tells Dumbledore that Dumbledore "takes too much for granted."
  • TFPWWNBN tells Dumbledore that maybe he, TFPWWNBN, doesn't want to do "it" anymore.
  • Dumbledore tells TFPWWNBN that he agreed to do "it" so he has to do "it."
  • Dumbledore questions TFPWWNBN about making investigations in his house.

If you'll notice, I have ignored all references to Hagrid's assumptions and merely reported what he HEARD and not what something SOUNDED LIKE. Based on this argument, I can make the following assumptions: TFPWWNBN is tired of playing both sides against the middle because he has perhaps the most dangerous job, being a double agent, and sooner or later, the side that he is not truly working for will discover his secret. Not to mention the Unbreakable Vow, which I'll address later. The "it" I believe TFPWWNBN is referring to is the culmination of Voldemort's plot. Using the vagueness of "Spinner's End," I have determined that TFPWWNBN knew of Voldemort's plan. From my point of view, the overriding plan of Book Six was to kill Dumbledore... but Voldemort has much more at stake than that. Voldemort is ticked at Lucius, as I said in Season One. But the reason I said then is certainly incorrect. I thought he was mad at Lucius for not coming after him after he died. What Voldemort was really angry about was the loss of one of his Horcruxes.

For Voldemort, after the battle in the Ministry, it became clear that possession of Harry was an impossibility, not to mention the fact that in a stand-up fight he could never attack Harry so long as Harry had enough time to mutter a spell - ANY spell - thus activating PRIORI INCANTATEM. Voldemort could never have bested Dumbledore in a standup fight, as witnessed in the Ministry. Voldemort needed a new strategy. He decided the only way to kill Dumbledore was a sneak attack. He used Dumbledore's one weakness against him: his students. As Voldemort learned in the Ministry, Dumbledore would never purposely endanger the life of one of his students, and he would also do anything in his power to make sure that no outside force could harm one of his students. With that in mind, he decided to kill two birds with one stone.

It happened almost as I said with my Dracomort and Marauder's Map theories. Recall that my Dracomort theory was a laughable conclusion that Draco would volunteer to serve Voldemort by allowing himself to be possessed by the Dark Lord and used as the means to kill Harry. The Marauder's Map theory was my theory that not everything was on the map. I had my money on someone going down to the Chamber of Secrets and since it wasn't on the map, if Harry saw a villain disappear off the map, that the person was going into the Chamber to do some evil. Taking pieces of both, we can see that I was almost on the right track. Voldemort decided to stick it to Lucius and kill Dumbledore in one stroke.

This shows us how categorically evil Voldemort is. He never meant for Draco to succeed. He told Draco that he had a job to do and that if he did it, he would be honored above all others at Voldemort's side. However, if he failed, Voldemort said he would kill Lucius and Narcissa. The job: kill Dumbledore. Shouldn't be too difficult. He assumed that Dumbledore would see through any obvious attempts by a sixteen-year-old to kill him and do a preemptive strike so that regardless, Voldemort gets his revenge. Again, what he had not counted on was love.

Say what you want about Draco, but he loves his parents and risked his own life to save them. The question of whether they are worth saving is insignificant. What IS significant is that, for all intents and purposes, Draco succeeded in his mission. His mission was to kill Dumbledore. He may not have pulled the trigger, but he definitely loaded the gun. Dumbledore is dead, and he is dead because of Draco. I say this not to admonish Draco, but to warn him. Folks, I submit that Draco and his family are in even more danger at the hands of Voldemort than they ever were before. True, it is possible that Voldemort will be happy that Dumbledore is dead and no longer a threat and obstacle between him and Harry, but... at some point, it is going to be brought to Voldemort's attention that - despite all of his machinations, plans, schemes, powers and actual battles against Dumbledore - that the greatest wizard in the world met his end at the hands not of an equal and worthy adversary, like Voldemort, but at the absurdly simple machinations of a SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD WIZARD WITH NO EXCEPTIONAL MAGICAL PROWESS! It's gonna suck for Voldemort that everybody's going to know that no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't kill Dumbledore... but Draco could.

Knowing what we now know about Voldemort's wonder years, we know that Voldemort loves glory. To me, the title of being the one who actually brought down Dumbledore would be the ultimate jewel in his scepter. No one would dare dispute that Voldemort was the best. But wait! That's not what happened. Dumbledore was lulled into a false sense of security by a little kid, and in a completely weakened condition, he was murdered by a Death Eater. That's not a good story for Voldemort. Sure, Voldemort might look at the big picture, but in the back of his mind, there will always be a level of regret that he didn't kill Dumbledore himself and, most importantly, it was the damn Malfoys that screwed him over again.

CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION

Of late, all my attentions have been on deciphering the importance of 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42. However, now that the book is finished, I can venture into the astronomy tower and, using my powers of deduction, reveal what really happened that fateful night to our dear friend. Here are just the facts, ma'am:

  • The dark mark shines above the astronomy tower.
  • Harry and Dumbledore land.
  • Dumbledore instructs Harry to GO GET TFPWWNBN AND NO ONE ELSE.
  • Harry grabs the door and hears someone (Draco) coming up the stairs.
  • Harry readies his wand and the door flies open.
  • Dumbledore uses a combination of Petrificus Totalus and Wingardium Leviosa to freeze and incapacitate Harry (now under the invisibility cloak) and pin him up against the wall so that he can see.
  • At that precise moment, Draco bursts in and casts Expelliarmus on Dumbledore.
  • They have their little conversation and the Death Eaters come in.
  • TFPWWNBN enters.
  • Dumbledore says, "Severus..."
  • TFPWWNBN pushes Malfoy roughly out of the way.
  • TFPWWNBN's face has an expression of "revulsion and hatred."
  • Dumbledore says, "Severus, please..."
  • TFPWWNBN Avada Kedavra's Dumbledore.
  • Dumbledore falls off the Astronomy Tower.

This is everything Harry SAW and not what he deduced (aside from the mention of TFPWWNBN's face). Let us take each step one by one. The dark mark was an obvious ploy to summon Dumbledore back from The Hog's Head to the castle. Question: since Draco had absolutely no way of knowing that Dumbledore and Harry were really going to destroy a Horcrux and that Dumbledore had been weakened, how would he possibly have attempted to best him? If Draco thought he had a snowball's chance in heck of besting Dumbledore in a battle alone, then he is what I like to call "out of his frickin' mind." It always intrigued me why Draco never just went into Dumbledore's office on the pretense of needing to see him, and then Avada Kedavra-ing him. AK leaves no traces; he could say that Dumbledore had a heart attack and run outside of the grounds and illegally Apparate back home. With Dumbledore dead, he could openly declare himself a Voldemort supporter, and no one would dare attack him for the risk of incurring the wrath of Voldemort. Simple, quick - it would have taken a day. But there is a tiny problem: Draco can't do it. Draco doesn't really want to kill Dumbledore; he just wants to protect his family. That's where the Death Eaters come in. He knows he can't do it so, like a true leader, he delegates that responsibility to lackeys. By sneaking Death Eaters into the school, he can take a long time to get it done, and like any little kid, he hopes that Voldemort will forget. But the Dark Lord does not forget, and he does not forgive.

Next point: why then did Dumbledore not summon Fawkes as he did in the Ministry? I know you all are saying Dumbledore didn't summon Fawkes to swallow that blast of Avada Kedavra, but I believe that Fawkes and Dumbledore share a connection. And as we all know, Dumbledore - with very few exceptions - has everything in his school under control. If he wanted to escape before the Death Eaters arrived, he could have. Why did he allow Malfoy to tell his story? Honestly, I think it was to give Harry the satisfaction of knowing he was right. What is intriguing about Book Six is that Harry did a lot of maturing post-Sirius. When it came down to the mystery of this novel (who was behind the attacks), Harry followed the old "MALFOY RULE OF GUILT." In the HP universe, there exists a blame continuum of all characters. Whenever something bad happens, the trio always first assumes Malfoy is guilty and in doing so, Malfoy will usually lead them to who is really behind the treachery. After five books of assuming Malfoy, Ron and Hermione were sick of being wrong. Harry, however, was unwavering in his conviction that Malfoy was culpable. Fortunately, or unfortunately, as the case may be, Harry was right.

So why then did Dumbledore (since he KNEW all along that Malfoy was behind it) not tell Harry? It is the same reason Dumbledore died: to teach Harry a lesson. It is my conviction that not only did Dumbledore beg TFPWWNBN to kill him in order to save Draco and himself from incurring the wrath of Voldemort, but also to teach Harry a lesson in focusing on the task at hand. Dumbledore knew that Harry was single-minded in his quest to catch Malfoy. That is why he set him the assignment to get the memory from Slughorn. The top priority - and Dumbledore knows this - is for Harry to exhaust all means to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes. Anything else distracts from this goal and could lead the whole mission into ruin. Remember what Dumbledore said about himself to Harry: "I am far wiser, far more powerful, and far less important than you." Translation (in the words of Ronald Weasley): "It's you that's got to go on. No me. Not Hermione. You!"

The Future of Dumbledore

Now we know why he died... but what does that mean for Harry? Harry now has a mission: destroy the Horcruxes. But how? I believe the key lies within "The Hand Story." The Hand Story is the story of how Dumbledore's hand became blackened and dying. Dumbledore promised us that he would tell Harry the story when he could "do it justice." Yet, we are never given a satisfactory answer. All we know is that in the process of destroying Marvolo's ring, something happened that nearly destroyed Dumbledore, and had it not been for the quick thinking of TFPWWNBN, Dumbledore might not have been able to tell us that much.

So why is it important that we, or more importantly Harry, hear The Hand Story? Because Harry has to know how to destroy the Horcruxes. He saw how to FIND one Horcrux, but how does one DESTROY a Horcrux? Hermione can't exactly read about one. There's no more Felix Felicis to help them. It is for this reason that I think Harry WILL return to Hogwarts. I DID NOT say as a student, but he shall return on Dumbledore's orders. I believe Harry will receive a message from Dumbledore instructing him to return to Hogwarts. At that point, he will then have an appointment with a certain painting in the Headmistress' office, namely the newly hung portrait of Albus Dumbledore. He needs that piece of information before he can begin his journey.

That's all I have for now folks...

Stay tuned for part II and remember that THE WHEELS ARE IN MOTION!

Part 2: Interview with The Former Professor Who Will Not Be Named
Brandon Ford: Hello everyone. I am sitting here beholden unto the presence of a man full of contradiction and full of mystery, a man whom, despite the great personal danger to himself, has agreed to grant us an exclusive interview. I am speaking of, and lifting my personal ban on his name for this interview out of respect, The Former Professor Who Will Not Be Named... SEVERUS SNAPE! I submit for your entertainment and consideration: MY DAY WITH THE FORMER PROFESSOR WHO WILL NOT BE NAMED! So, why not say hello to all the people out there in editorial land?

Severus Snape: What? Is this thing on? Hello?

BF: Mr. Snape, can you hear us?

SS: OF COURSE I CAN HEAR YOU! This form of muggle communication isn't as complex as the subtle science of Potion-making...

BF: Okay... okay, let's just calm down. Welcome to The Underground Lake. We are very... umm... honored to have you here with us to share your side of the story.

SS: Look, can we hurry this up? I have... things to do.

BF: (mutters under breath) Like maim and torture...

SS: What was that?

BF: Nothing! Nothing at all. I think I'd like to start out with the most important question - THE question that has been on all minds since Book One and, unlike certain authors, I believe you'll answer this question.

SS: Alright, lay it on me.

BF: The question we've all been waiting for: boxers or briefs?

SS: What? Well... I... that's a bit personal...

BF: The public must know!!!

SS: Well to be quite frank, though it is none of your business, I have taken of late to wearing... (barely audible)... thongs.

BF: No wonder you're always in a bad mood.

SS: Can we get to a serious question?

BF: I'll be asking the questions here, thank you very much. That was just a little test question to make sure the veritaserum I slipped into your water was working!

SS: WHAT?! I should kill you where you stand!

BF: If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine! THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE WAND!

SS: Oh brother...

BF: Let's talk about your family.

SS: What is there to discuss? My mother was a witch, my father... (swallows and winces)

BF: Ooh... sounds like somebody has some daddy issues.

SS: No... I... for me, this is a dad issue... DEAD ISSUE!

BF: Really! So your father beat you, so YOU KILLED HIM!!

SS: No I dadn't... DIDN'T! I... no comment.

BF: Let the record show that Mr. Snape does not deny that he killed his father. That was just a theory I had been working on I... are you crying?

SS: NO! (grabs a tissue, blows his nose) I have seasonal allergies!

BF: I see. Alright, next question and this is very important: WHO IN THE WORLD ARE YOU WORKING FOR?

SS: If I told you, I'd have to kill you. Not to mention, I am a skilled Occlumens and even your Veritaserum would be unable to fight through my advanced skills.

BF: Really? Answer the question.

SS: I work for one person: ME! That's who. The sooner you people realize that the easier it'll be.

BF: Why did you kill Dumbledore?

SS: Because he asked me to! (covers his mouth)

BF: You heard it, folks! He admits he was acting under Dumbledore's orders.

SS: That may be the case, but who is to say I'm not working for the Dark Lord?

BF: Too true. But since we are on the subject of the Dark Lord, I'd like to address something. Why is Peter Pettigrew living at your house? Are you two, like, bosom buddies?

SS: I loathe and despise Wormtail. The Dark Lord trusts me to watch that sniveling worm... tail.

BF: Really. Did it ever occur to you that maybe Wormtail is living with you so that HE can keep an eye on YOU?

SS: ...

BF: That's what I thought. Okay, our time is growing very short, so I have only a few more questions. First, were you in love with Lily Potter?

SS: (as impossible as it may seem, he blushes, which is odd considering he is SO pale) She... was just some filthy little Mud...

BF: I will not have that kind of language in my presence.

SS: Fine. I detested her. Always so smart. Always so popular. Always so pretty...

BF: The Snape doth protest too much, methinks. Since that one seems obvious, I already know the answer to my next question, which is why you hated James so much. My final question - and this is what I think we all what to know: WHY DO YOU HATE HARRY? WHAT DID HE EVER DO TO YOU?

SS: He was born.

BF: I'm afraid that's not good enough. To help get the answer out of you, I have brought in an expert: famous television psychiatrist, Dr. Phil!

Dr. Phil: Hello Brandon, Professor Snape. My analysis of Professor Snape indicates that because of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father and the apparent lack of support from his mother, he harbored a large distaste for companionship, especially women. He then met Lily Potter, who became the first girl who was ever remotely nice to him. He interpreted his gratitude toward her as feelings of attraction. Well, not only were these feelings not reciprocated but the same girl he had an attraction towards ended up in the hands of his arch-nemesis. Upon telling the prophecy to Voldemort, and subsequently discovering that the prophecy meant the death of the only woman he ever had feelings for, he felt remorse which conflicted with his anger at the two. Their death meant that, once again, he could never have Lily. Harry's presence because he looks JUST like his father is a constant reminder of the torture he suffered at the hands of James, but he is also a walking reminder of what he missed out on with Lily.

SS: Astute observation. AVADA KEDAVRA!

(Dr. Phil falls dead. TFPWWNBN rises and Apparates out of the interview room.)

BF: Well, that was a little excessive.

 

END OF TRANSMISSION

Part 3: Harry and the Horcruxes
A Horcrux, a Horcrux. My kingdom for a Horcrux! I have to say that the Horcruxes really made me happy because they corroborated a theory I had in Mysteries Unveiled about Avada Kedavra. For those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about or missed that episode last season, here's a flashback:

We know that Voldemort killed James and Lily, presumably with Avada Kedavra and then used the same spell on Harry. But the curse, thanks to the Evans Blood Charm, rebounded on Voldemort and did its job: ejected the life essence of Voldemort from its body. But remember that Voldemort did many, many things to prevent himself from dying. Here's what I think: these magical transformations were to prevent Voldemort's life essence from passing through the veil into the beyond. Voldemort realized that as long as his essence remained here in this world, he had a chance. His "loyal" Death Eaters would find the essence and do as he instructed and help create a new body. Of course, that didn't happen. His essence was ejected, his old body useless. So he floated away, still of conscious mind.

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. It was Quirrell that led me to the idea that a person needs to be able to tap into his or her own life essence and use just a smidge of it to eject the essence of another living creature.

So what I think happened that fateful Halloween was that the Evans Blood Charm saved Harry and was what caused the spell to backfire. But the scar... the scar is another matter. You see, Voldemort's little bit of essence used to power the AK hit Harry, I believe, in the head. But the baby's body was shielded from Voldemort's spell by the protection his mother gave him. A magical effect took place. That little bit of essence lingered on the boy and etched a scar onto Harry's head, forever linking him with the Dark Lord.

I wrote that on November 30th of last year. It's actually rather scary how close I was. Substitute "soul" for "life essence," and you have the basics of Horcrux theory. Granted, to be fair, I did say in that episode that the soul and life essences were different, but we can't always be 100% right. The point is that after reading Book Six, I believe that not only do I know precisely how Book Seven will end, but I believe I know the location of the missing Horcrux. I submit for your entertainment and consideration: HARRY & THE HORCRUXES!

Horcrux: An Overview

Let's quickly, using only JKR as a source, define what Horcruxes are and how they are made.

- A Horcrux is "the word used for an object in which a person has concealed part of their soul" (497, HBP).

It is inadvisable to turn a living creature into a Horcrux since it can think and move for itself.

To create a Horcrux:

  • You must SPLIT your soul and hide part of it outside the body.
  • To split the soul, you must commit the supreme act of evil: MURDER.
  • There is a spell to encase the soul in an object.

That is basic Horcrux 101. Now, what does it mean? We know Harry's mission: hunt down the remaining Horcruxes before going after Voldemort himself. Now, this is the part where theory comes in. I have a theory as to exactly what must occur in order to make a Horcrux.

Now obviously, everyone who uses Avada Kedavra to kill something isn't out to make a Horcrux, otherwise, TFPWWNBN could have made one upon killing Dumbledore, or Peter Pettigrew could have made one upon killing Cedric, or Imposter Moody could have made a Horcrux when he killed the spider (remember all it says in the book is KILLING and MURDER - that does not exclude animals).

I believe that before you decide to make a Horcrux, you need a sort of point-and-click selection spell. In other words, I believe you must somehow MARK a victim as being a catalyst for Horcrux creation. Then, of course, you need an object handy to receive the soul fragment. After the death, you must then "mark" the object to receive the Horcrux. Now in order for my theory to be plausible, we have to work also off the assumption that when murder is created and the soul is split, the soul can remain split until an object can be found in which to store the broken soul fragment. I think that upon performing the spell AVADA KEDAVRA, the soul is set to split. Remember that Imposter Moody said anybody could SAY Avada Kedavra and nothing would happen. You have to WANT to do death. Therefore, I think it a safe assumption that after the "point and click" spell, the soul is prepared for splitting and upon performing the SPELL Avada Kedavra, the soul is split and waits for an object to house it. Then, after the person has been killed, the killer must then "point-and-click" the object that will receive the Horcrux. With that theory in place, we must now explore the known Horcruxes.

The Known Horcruxes

Based on information compiled by Dumbledore from his research and assumptions, the following are the seven known incarnations and locations of Voldemort's soul:

  1. Tom Riddle's Diary
  2. Marvolo Gaunt's Ring
  3. Hufflepuff's Cup
  4. Merope Gaunt's Locket
  5. ?????? (Something of Ravenclaw or Gryffindor's... maybe)
  6. Nagini
  7. Voldemort

Now, using my point-and-click selection spell, let us look at each Horcrux one by one and try to figure out where it came from and why.

Tom Riddle's Diary and Marvolo's Ring

Tom Riddle's Diary and Marvolo's Ring are inextricably linked in that I believe they were the first two Horcruxes. Recall that in my theory, the soul can remain split until the killer creates a Horcrux (the logic being that you can't repair your soul if you have committed murder). What is intriguing is what Dumbledore said about reserving Horcruxes for special victims. Killing his father and grandparents, thus eradicating all of his ties to the Muggle world has a flash of grandeur to it. I believe it was his father and grandfather (being the males) that became the catalyst murders for Horcruxes one and two. Obviously, he didn't know how to make a Horcrux at the time, but I believe that the soul was still split and upon learning how to make a Horcrux, those two murders were the ones that did it. Not to mention those two objects (since he would have had ready access to them) would have been perfect practice for Horcrux creation as his soul was already split. At that point, he returned to the Gaunt shack and replaced the ring (hidden under magical concealment) back there immediately. I am going to mention something about Marvolo's ring a little later but for right now, let's move on to Horcruxes three and four.

Merope's Locket

We all know - or are pretty sure - that Merope's Locket is safely tucked away at 12 Grimmauld Place. After the fake-out in the underground lake... excuse me... underground cave, we are all pretty much under the same conclusion that R.A.B. is one Regulus Augustus Black and that the locket, mentioned in passing in OotP, is in Sirius'... excuse me... Harry's house.

Now for a "brief" aside about the locket: during my anal-retentive reread of Six, I noticed something very odd about Regulus's note. Let's look at it, shall we:

To the Dark Lord
I know I will be dead long before you read this
but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret.
I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can.
I face death in the hope that when you meet your match,
you will be mortal once more.
R.A.B.

This note is very curious. My initial problem was the phrase "I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret." If you wanted Voldemort to know it was you, why did you use only your initials, you wuss? Also, Sirius said that Regulus was killed BY Voldemort (but hastily adds "or on his orders, more likely") because he "got in so far, then panicked about what he was asked to do and tried to back out." I think Sirius had it right the second time. Sirius posited that Regulus couldn't have been important enough to be killed by Voldemort personally. The Black family tree says that Regulus died 15 years before Book Five, meaning that he died around the time of the prophecy (again, it all goes back to that darn prophecy).

What intrigues me even more is how braggy this note is: "I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret" and "I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can." But what is interesting is this statement: "I know I will be dead long before you read this..." Unless he was writing the note as Inferi were slowly creeping up to kill him, how did he know he was going to die BEFORE Voldemort found out about the missing Horcrux? Regulus would have to have been really clever to single-handedly enter the cave, drink the demon potion, substitute the locket for the fake one, and escape. Now, all we have to go off are Sirius' feelings toward his brother, which is to say the brother was pretty useless (or so Sirius says). How could he have done this on his own? DUMBLEDORE couldn't do it alone, so that really doesn't bode well for Regulus. In fact, Dumbledore specifically states (as well as using the Galadriel Waters Rule of Ellipsis) that "one alone could not have done it..." Couple that with the statement "do not forget that Lord Voldemort believes that he alone knows about his Horcruxes," and something doesn't add up.

I submit that I'm not sure that Regulus (if it even is him) was working alone. On one hand, one can bring the braggy nature of the note as evidence: "I wanted you to know that it was I..." Obviously, if you succeeded in discovering a secret so magnificent, you would want Voldemort to know in a very nah-na-nah-na-nah-nah kind of way. Ah, the male ego. But let's look at Regulus, shall we? We know very little about Reggie except that he's Sirius' little brother and that he became a Death Eater. Working off the supposition that Sirius was about 22 at the time of the prophecy, Regulus would be in his very, VERY early 20s, perhaps fresh out of Hogwarts. Sirius's judgment of his brother is harsh, but through the judgment, we see that Reggie's only flaw was conforming to his parents. If he did indeed come to regret this decision and try to back out of the Death Eaters and even find and destroy a Horcrux, are we to actually believe he was a part of Voldemort's inner circle?

I don't believe Voldemort told many people about the Horcruxes because broadcasting the fact that you have pieces of your soul all over the world and that by destroying them you can eventually destroy him would not be a clever move for a future dictator. Soon, everyone would be making Horcruxes, and he could never get a moments' peace and it would be work, work, work all the time killing folk. So, we have to think about who would know. Obviously, Lucius Malfoy didn't know or he never would have done what he did to the diary. But somehow, SOMEONE had to have known enough about Voldemort and been close enough to him, as well as know about Horcruxes, to figure out the location of that particular Horcrux. Are we to assume that some punk brother of Sirius was clever and powerful enough to deduce in a short time what it took Dumbledore DECADES to figure out, and more importantly, that he did it ALONE?! I don't buy it.

What is most important to me now - my new mission, even - is to discover the circumstances of Regulus's death and how he came to discover the Horcrux, and most importantly, how in the world that locket got to Number 12? As I said, I don't believe Regulus acted alone. And if he had an accomplice, who was it?

Hufflepuff's Cup and the Legacy of Founders

Dumbledore deduced that one of the Horcruxes was Hufflepuff's cup. He also theorized that Voldemort might want something of Ravenclaw and/or Gryffindor to complete the "set." I sincerely doubt that something of Gryffindor's would have been included. Voldemort liked his history, and he loved his Slytherin trivia. Question: what house is the rival to Slytherin? Answer: Gryffindor! I think Voldemort would like the idea of having five of his seven Horcruxes with ties to Slytherin (the diary that says he's Slytherin's heir, his mother's locket, Marvolo's ring, a snake that is Slytherin's emblem, and himself being the most famous of all Slytherins). Not only does this underscore his connection to Slytherin, but also it symbolically shows Slytherin dominating the other Hogwarts houses and completely ignoring Gryffindor. In a way, Voldemort's soul underlines the rivalry between Slytherin and Gryffindor. In microcosm, Voldemort's soul plays out the rivalry's dream ending for a Slytherin: Gryffindor defeated and non-existent while Slytherin dominates.

However, I'm not entirely sure that something of Ravenclaw's actually made the grade... I'll cover that later.

Nagini and Voldemort

To find one is to find them both. Where one is, so is the other. I would like to see Fawkes be the one to take down Nagini in a battle of the mascots - that would be sensational. As for Voldemort, we know where his soul... or lack thereof... is. Destroying them is going to be tricky... I'll get to that later (I know you're getting tired of reading that but it'll all make sense shortly.)

To Be or Not To Be... A Horcrux

The $64,000 question: Is Harry a Horcrux? The evidence can go either way. I shall present both sides and let you know where I'm leaning.

Harry is NOT a Horcrux...

The easiest and most simple way to prove that Harry is not a Horcrux is the use of simple logic. Dumbledore said that "anyone wishing to destroy Voldemort would first have to destroy his Horcruxes." Then, and only then, would he be mortal and therefore killable. Using simple logic, if Harry was a Horcrux, he would have to kill himselfbefore he killed Voldemort which is logically impossible and quite silly (I guess 'Reason and Argument' isn't such a stupid class after all). Sure there are other compelling reasons, but that is the easiest and simplest. If Harry is a Horcrux then he would have to die before he killed Voldemort which is not possible... easy and simple... oh wait! JKR doesn't like easy and simple...

...Or Is He?

I am now leaning toward the notion that Harry IS a Horcrux. I was fervently against this notion until I reread my theory of how Voldemort and Harry would die.

Recall my notion from last season that Harry cannot possibly match Voldemort in a battle royale duel to the death. He'd get his clock cleaned. He'd be Avada Kedavra-ed faster than you can say "Protego!" I posited, therefore, that the only way Harry could justifiably kill Voldemort would be to force him into the veil. I have now amended that theory by adding that ALL HORCRUXES MUST BE THROWN INTO THE VEIL! Think about it. In the process of destroying the Horcrux in the ring, Dumbledore almost died. Harry, even with Hermione's help, won't have a bloody clue how to destroy a Horcrux left to his own devices. Now, the only other way Harry knows how to get rid of a soul is the Dementors kiss, and I can just imagine Harry walking up to a swarm of Dementors and going, "Excuse me, would you mind kissing this locket? No... no... the locket! Not ME!!! AHHHHH!!" It wouldn't go well. Though another possible way VOLDEMORT could die would be the Dementor's kiss... but I digress.

In either case, I think Voldemort and the whole lot of Horcruxes will have to be pitched into the veil a la Terminator 2 when the T-1000 had to be pushed into the molten liquid and then they pitched in the microchip and the robot arm. But wait, something else went in, too... the Governator! Recall that Ahhh-nuld discovers that he, too, has a chip that must be destroyed to stop Judgment Day. Sounds a little familiar to me. Like foreshadowing... only not. Let me put it all out on the line.

Harry is a Horcrux by accident. Recall that Dumbledore posited that Voldemort intended to make his seventh and final Horcrux from Harry's death. Earlier, I mentioned the necessity for a "point-and-click" selection spell that targets the person you intend to kill as the impetus of a Horcrux. Here's what I think happened that night. For the most part, I think it happened precisely as I have said in the past:

  • Voldemort arrives at the Potter's hideout in Godric's Hollow (with or without Peter Pettigrew)
  • He battles and kills James Potter
  • He tries to get Lily Potter to step aside so that he can kill Harry
  • Lily refuses
  • Voldemort kills Lily, thereby creating the Evans Blood Charm that will protect Harry

HERE'S WHERE THE NEW BITS COME IN!!!

  • Voldemort performs the "point-and-click" spell on Harry marking him as the necessary death for Horcrux creation. This mark is a glowing LIGHTNING BOLT! (OH SNAP!!! MARK HIM AS HIS EQUAL!!) This mark forms a link between the soul of Voldemort and the person he is going to kill.
  • Basically, since Harry is marked, as soon as Harry is killed, the mark sends a message to Voldemort's soul that it can now split and enter an object (in this case, I think it was supposed to be an object belonging to Ravenclaw; also a theory - when we get to Godric's Hollow in Book Seven, keep an eye out for mentions of objects in the ruins that shouldn't be there, like an object belonging to an ex-school founder)
  • Voldemort then performs Avada Kedavra on Harry
  • Because of the Evans Blood Charm, the Avada Kedavra rebounds and hits Voldemort
  • The following magical effects take place:
    1. Avada Kedavra hits Voldemort
    2. The spell ejects the split soul of Voldemort from his body. Voldemort's body is dead. Two pieces of his soul hover.
    3. Because of the nature of the Evans Blood Charm AND the "point-and-click" spell, half of Voldemort's soul enters the closest thing to it: HARRY!
    4. Remember, Harry has been "marked." Because Voldemort did not get the chance to mark the "object of reception" (see above), the spell assumes (I love personifying magical spells, but, in essence, you have to) that the only "marked" thing in the room is the object. Unfortunately, that is Harry.
    5. The lightning bolt glowing on Harry's face, permanently etches itself into his forehead and acts a receptor between the two people.

This might seem ludicrous, but let's look at the evidence. Avada Kedavra has never left a mark on anyone... except Harry. No explanation thus far has been given as to WHY Harry has a scar. It has been stated that the scar is a link to Voldemort, but no one has ever ACTUALLY stated why he got the scar in the first place. It makes sense that now that we know about Horcruxes, that it would be the final piece of the puzzle answering WHY Harry has a scar. Recall that in an episode last season, Attack of the Dueling Book Covers, I said that the "crack" in Marvolo's ring looked just like Harry's scar. What if that is the mark of a Horcrux? I would like to look very closely at the Horcruxes and see if there is anything resembling Harry's scar on the other "objects of reception."

Also, we know that when Voldemort tears a piece of his soul, he can no longer feel it after he has been away from it. It is therefore very plausible that Voldemort could have inadvertently put a piece of his soul into Harry and not be able to feel it. Remember Dumbledore's words: "It is inadvisable to put a Horcrux in anything that can move or think of itself." Especially if it already has its own soul. I think it is logical to assume the possibility that Voldemort could be unable to tell that a fragment of his soul is in Harry.

Most important is my theory of Harry's death. As most of you know, I believe Harry will die in Book Seven by entering the veil. I believe that Harry will force Voldemort into the veil alone, then throw the remaining Horcruxes in and realize he is one short. His scar will tingle, and he'll realize that there is still one Horcrux left... and he'll enter the veil - and it'll be really sad, and we'll all cry.

How's that for controversy! 😉

Part 4: The Wheels Are In Motion III: 20/20 Hindsight
The Greatest Weapon of All
Leave it to JK Rowling to put a new trick on an old pony. A quote from Book Five that I always thought was enigmatic and, to me, never fully answered, was delivered by Sirius:

'What's he after apart from followers?' Harry asked swiftly. 'Stuff he can only get by stealth,' said Sirius. 'Like a weapon. Something he didn't have last time.'

I hope I wasn't the only one who said "WHAT DIDN'T HE HAVE THE LAST TIME?!" He had an army of the vilest Death Eaters. We can now add Inferi to the list as well. Giants. Warmongers. Republicans... well, maybe not that last one, but you get my point. Not to mention he was pretty much the baddest dude on the block. What didn't he have?

All while reading Book Six, I contemplated this notion. Then it hit me. What was the APPARENT ultimate goal for Voldemort during Harry's fifth year? To get the prophecy. What does the prophecy represent? INFORMATION!

The greatest weapon of all is INFORMATION! This notion is the very essence behind my mantra "the wheels are in motion." There is more time spent doing research and gathering information in the HP series than anything else. Let's take a look back through the books and see how information has been used and misused.

In Book One, most of the school year was spent where? The Quidditch pitch? No. Dueling? No. It was spent in the LIBRARY! Why were they in the library? They were looking stuff up, that's why. They were trying to find out what the Sorcerer's Stone was and who Nicholas Flamel was. This quest for information took from pages 143-220 in the novel, or from September to January. That's a semester, folks. A semester spent hunting down clues and exhaustive amounts of hours in the library. They are probably the only eleven-year-olds I know who would sneak out after curfew to go to a LIBRARY!

In Book Two, information was a deadly and malevolent tool. WHAT was the bad guy in Book Two? A book. A beaten, tattered, old book. Book Two sends Harry into a memory, shown from a skewed point of view, resulting in misinformation on Harry's part leading him to suspect Hagrid. The month - MONTH - it took to find and create the Polyjuice Potion is a classic example. Not only was it an important skill to learn, but it also led them to more information from Draco. I believe we attend more classes in that book than most of the others. And in what class do we spend the longest single amount of time? HISTORY! History then emerges as a crucial topic that will thread throughout all the books as we first discover information about the founders of Hogwarts.

Book Three is 'classic information near-overload.' Harry gets his Marauder's Map, which leads him to a secret conversation where he learns all about Sirius. And what is the great climax in Book Three? A CONVERSATION!! There is no duel. No duke-out. Sure, Lupin wolves out and the dementors come... but compared to the other five books, the climax of three was no CLIMAX at all. It was an emotional climax. Harry is, for the most part, standing still, listening to three people talk for fifty-six pages during the "climax" of three. What are they doing? Relaying information.

Book Four - my favorite still - is truly 'information overload.' From the time Voldemort returns to the ride home on the train station is just a really long conversation broken up by sudden, brief bursts of high action. As I said, I love Book Four, so it will be very interesting to see how the fourth movie pans out when they get to that 100 pages of conversation!!!

Book Five is the only book that breaks the mold. JKR spreads the gathering of information throughout the book so that the climax is the most action-packed ending to a Harry Potter book we have ever seen. After we are reeling for three chapters of relentless action, as well as Sirius' death, we are calmed down and taken to Dumbledore's office for debriefing. That chapter is one of the single most important chapters in HP because it is there we learn of the prophecy. That one chapter truly points the way to Books Six and Seven in a way that nothing else before has.

Book Six returns us to form. When we are told that Harry is going to take lessons from Dumbledore, Ron posits that Harry is probably going to learn really advanced magic. Hermione guesses that it'll be something very useful. Ten points to Gryffindor for Hermione. What does Dumbledore teach Harry? ABOUT VOLDEMORT'S PAST! INFORMATION! And do not think for a moment that all of the information we have learned is spent. I fear that more of what we have been told about Voldemort will come into play quite soon. Even in his death, Dumbledore is giving information to Harry (if you believe my theories).

I Hate To Beat a Dead Horse...

In Book Six, we learn something very interesting about magic being tied to emotions. A witch or wizard can block their own power through their emotions. This happened to Merope Gaunt under the cruel "care" of Marvolo. She was barely able to handle the simplest spells until Morfin and Marvolo were taken. Then she got all her powers back. But after Tom Riddle, Sr. left her, she lost all her will to do magic.

Now I hate to beat a dead horse, but... PETUNIA!!! I believe we are all aware of my "Muggle, but..." theory which states that Petunia is a closet broomstick and is in possession of some skill of magic that will manifest itself in Book Seven. JKR said, "There is one person in the books who will manage to accomplish magic very late in life." I do not believe we have met anyone as yet who adequately meets that condition. I still feel that Petunia is more ensconced in the Wizarding World than she would care to admit.

Strange Occurrences

There were several things happening in this novel that had my wheels moving triple-time yet seem even more enigmatic on the second read than the first. First and foremost was the potion that Dumbledore had to drink in the Underground Cave. My first notion was that the potion was some type of liquid Cruciatus Curse, as many of the symptoms Dumbledore was feeling were reminiscent of someone under Cruciatus. But then I looked again at what Dumbledore was saying:

I don't want... Don't make me... don't like... want to stop... I don't want to... let me go... make it stop... make it stop... no, no, no, no, I can't, I can't, don't make me, I don't want to... It's all my fault... all my fault... please make it stop, I know I did wrong, oh please make it stop and I'll never, never again... don't hurt them... don't hurt them... hurt me instead... not that... I'll do anything... I want to die... I want to die... KILL ME!

One can see how that progression would lead to the Cruciatus Curse. What jumped out at me, though, was the line, "he spoke in a voice Harry did not recognize," though hastily added is, "...for he had never heard Dumbledore frightened like this." This can be taken two ways: 1) he had never heard Dumbledore SO frightened before, or 2) Dumbledore is speaking in a voice that is not his own. Addressing the first notion, one can argue that this potion personifies and manifests the guilt a human being has. Recall the line, "Dumbledore cowered as though invisible torturers surrounded him." It is conceivable that the potion forces one's guilt to manifest itself into creatures that torture you into madness.

My initial thought was that it was his grief over what happened to the Potters and the other families of people close to him that could not be saved because of a higher purpose. The Potters HAVE to die so that Harry can fulfill his destiny, but they are made to suffer and this causes Dumbledore guilt. I think that guilt is personified as the "torturers" that are blaming Dumbledore for not helping them.

That is one way to look at it. But the way I like goes back to two of our favorite Slytherins: Draco and Regulus. Does what Dumbledore says sound like something Draco might say to Voldemort? Draco is doing this whole plan because he is trying to protect his mummy and daddy. Then the notion struck me: What if what Regulus was "asked to do" but backed out of had an ultimatum attached to it? What if the whole reason Regulus went after the Horcrux had to do with a desperate effort to try to save his parents, the Blacks, from Voldemort? What if, and this is tricky, Dumbledore, upon drinking the potion, is reliving the last moments, or perhaps feeling the emotions, of Regulus?

I like this notion because it helps to explain WHY Regulus would need to destroy the Horcrux. Imagine if Regulus was put in the same situation Draco is in now. The Black parents were not actually Death Eaters, according to Sirius. Remember he said that they supported Voldemort AT FIRST until "they got cold feet after they saw what [Voldemort] was prepared to do..." Is it possible that Regulus joined up to make mummy happy but was then asked to do something he wasn't prepared to do? And then Voldemort told him 'if you refuse to do this, then Mommy and daddy will die.' And it is also true, I THINK, that we don't know how soon after Reggie was killed that the Black mum and dad followed suit. Could it be after Regulus returned home with the locket and hid it that Voldemort knocked on the door, Avada Kedavras blazing? He kills mum and dad first and then kills Regulus? Don't ask how that notion zooms back the cave and into the green glowing pillar - I think that potion is psychically linked to Voldemort's malice, greed, and evil.

But that's just me.

Shades of Greyback

When you really look at the HP series from Lupin's point of view, almost everything that happens of importance goes back to Fenrir Greyback. Greyback is the werewolf (and a sick bastard of a werewolf, while we're at it) that "converted" Lupin. But let's take our Time-Turners back to that fateful day when Fenrir bit Lupin. One well-placed Avada Kedavra and Fenrir NEVER bites Lupin. Let's see how the future changes. Because Lupin never becomes a werewolf, the Marauders NEVER become Animagi. One can argue that they would have anyway, but the main goal of becoming Animagi was so they could keep Lupin company during his werewolf nights. If the Marauders had never become Animagi, Pettigrew would never have become a rat, and thus IF he even would have betrayed the Potters (which may not have been possible, but we'll assume he still would), he never could have turned into a rat after framing Sirius. We don't know that Pettigrew can Apparate (we have never seen him do it), and it would have been a much more convenient way to escape. So Pettigrew could have been caught since Fudge likes to brag about how he got there so fast. Sirius would never have gone to Azkaban and would, no doubt, have looked in on Harry during his formative years.

On the flip side, if Peter COULD Apparate, Sirius also would never have become a dog, meaning that he wouldn't have been able to escape from Azkaban in the manner that he did. And since he doesn't have Barty Crouch, Jr.'s mom to die for him, he would have rotted away. On that note, Peter Pettigrew would never have become Ron's pet, so who is to say what he would have done. He might have still gone in search of Voldemort, perhaps sooner, perhaps never, as there would have been no real need to find him so long as no one was ever aware that he was still alive.

I mention this notion of Greyback because, as far as Lupin is concerned, everything started to go to crap because of Greyback. I believe that in the final confrontation, there's gonna be a full moon, and it'll be WEREWOLF VS. WEREWOLF! I think Lupin will kill Fenrir, because it is justice... and then he will turn on Pettigrew, and Pettigrew will stab him with his silver hand. Poor Lupin. And poor Tonks, for that matter. Come to think of it, the more I think about Book Seven, the more I feel like it'll end like Hamlet (EVERYBODY DIES!).

The wheels of the future are in motion. Until next time...

Part 5: Harry and the Last Great Adventure
Twilight is almost upon us. There is but one story left to tell and it is the story of the ages. The question on all our minds: HOW WILL IT END? I submit for your entertainment and consideration: HARRY POTTER AND THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE!

Not Quite Casablanca

Poor Harry. He had to break up with the love of his life after only a few short months, weeks, days, hours together. But Harry and Ginny are not over by any means. In Harry's grand Casablanca-style break up, he assumed that he would see Ginny on the train, they would say goodbye, he would go to Number Four and leave on his birthday for this dangerous quest. What he had not counted on was the presence of Ron and Hermione. But what he really had not counted on... was THE WEDDING!

Bill and Fleur's wedding will open the novel after, of course, the final Dursley episode (which I will discuss later). And who will be in attendance: a very dazzling-looking Ginny. I don't think Harry has realized quite yet that he will HAVE to see Ginny again. The second he sees her, all those feelings that he will have been trying to bury over the summer will come rushing back in spades. Now, here is where I'm going to get controversial. In MY perfect HP world, Ginny would play the Arwen role and be the prize at the end of the game and give Harry a reason to live and keep fighting. But of course, I also think Harry will die. As a guy, I don't think it is fair or even right that Harry Potter, savior of the world... should die... a virgin.

Now JKR would come under a HAILSTORM of controversy if seventeen-year-old Harry and sixteen-year-old Ginny had some sex before he left for his quest. Folks, this is what I was hinting at with last season's episode, Harry and His Women. As much as people want to deny it, teenagers (MUCH younger than Harry) DO have sex. It is a fact of life. Is it right? Not necessarily. All I know is Book Six had a huge amount of SNOGGING (my new favorite HP word) in it. The sexual behavior of teens is prevalent in this text because these feelings manifest themselves into love when they become older (if done the right way). What I think is wouldn't it be cool, or at least poetic, for Harry and Ginny to have sort of one last hurrah before he, Ron, and Hermione cast off, and then we get the epilogue to find out that Ginny had a child whose father so happens to be Harry Potter?

That's what I wish would happen but the fact remains that it probably won't, and I'll tell you why in just a bit. For now, though, we have to finish off the Dursleys.

Absolute Absolution

Look for the Dursley episode to be a very sad affair. Of the six Dursley episodes thus far, only One and Five have been worth it because in those two, and only those two, did the dynamic between Harry and the Dursleys change afterward. I think Seven will follow One and Five not only because it is the last, but also because there are several things we need to know that we have been promised. What did Dudley see when the Dementors attacked? Is Petunia a closet broomstick? For me, those are just gravy. What I want... what I NEED to see most of all is an absolution between Harry and Petunia. I have to believe that somewhere in that scrawny, severe, little woman is some modicum of recognition that Harry is family, and no matter what, nothing can change that.

From the Dursleys' point of view, they never asked for this responsibility. They never asked to be the caretakers of the savior of the world... but they did it. Horribly and begrudgingly, yes, but they did it. And that is a pleasant thought. If these selfish, mean-spirited people would take in this orphan despite a large amount of danger that faced them upon doing so, that really speaks well to the nature of man in a way. All I want is for Petunia to say, "be careful." That in itself, given their history, speaks VOLUMES. It says, "I love you." It says, "I'm so sorry for what I've done to you." It says, "I'm sorry about what happened to your parents, and I miss my sister too." It says, "I wish you well on your journey and good luck in what you have to face." If Petunia can manage just those two words, there is hope for us all. And that makes all the difference.

Dumbledore's Army Redux

Harry is going back to Hogwarts. Not for school, but he has to go back. I believe Dumbledore will somehow get a letter to Harry instructing him that he must go back to Hogwarts as well. Obviously, Dumbledore's not gonna pull a Jesus... star in Passion of the Dumbledore... they open the White Tomb and he's not there; Hagrid and McGonagall turn to the audience, shrug, and say "Here we go again!" But I digress. I believe Dumbledore, BEFORE his death, left instructions with McGonagall that Harry must return to Hogwarts. Why? I do not know. But Dumbledore has a picture in his office that can be spoken to.

But I am scared about something. If Dumbledore is dead, that means all the protection of 12 Grimmauld Place is gone. Dumbledore was Secret Keeper for the Order. 12 Grimmauld Place is no longer a secret, meaning that unless Lupin or Arthur act fast, Number 12 is now Plottable, Apparatable, FINDABLE!!! Harry, once he has found the locket (which I think will happen rather early since that is the only Horcrux that he knows how to find, even though he doesn't know it yet), will have to have a little conversation with Dumbledore, not to mention he'll need a safe base of operations to come up with his next move after he has found each Horcrux.

It is at this point that he will be thrust back with Ginny. But more importantly, I think that all members of the Order (Moody, Lupin, Tonks) will go to Hogwarts. Let's not forget that, once again we are sans a DADA teacher, and in the Order, we have TWO former DADA teachers... well, one and a half. In either case, I see the Order and the DA (at least the hardcore DA members - Luna, Neville, and Ginny... maybe the Creevy Brothers) forming a Fellowship of sorts. Not to bring LOTR in it too much but several people have to go to the final confrontation as a function of revenge. I'll get to that shortly.

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold...

So I got there a lot sooner than anticipated. Okay, certain people have to get their revenge on others, and other people have to be there to facilitate that revenge. Let's look at Celebrity Death Match-Ups:

  • Harry vs. TFPWWNBN: TFPWWNBN has moved to the top of Harry's hit list. He facilitated the death of his parents... he goaded Sirius into leaving 12 Grimmauld Place... he KILLED DUMBLEDORE!! He's got to go down... but not before a nice monologue. TFPWWNBN must show his true colors. We will finally discover whom he has been working for and why. I think he HAS to die... but I think he will die by the hand of either Peter Pettigrew on Voldemort's orders, or by the hand of Voldemort himself, but he will die defending that horrible Potter boy. OR, TFPWWNBN will die because something will happen to Draco, I haven't decided yet.
  • Lupin vs. Fenrir Greyback: I would love for the final confrontation to take place during the full moon so we could see two vicious werewolves (though this time Lupin will remember his potion) duke it out. Lupin has time and will on his side. For Lupin, every hardship he has faced in his life is because of Greyback. History is a powerful thing. Nice, reserved Lupin is gone. Time to get FERAL!
  • Lupin vs. Peter Pettigrew: The last two Marauders. Unfortunately, Peter's silver hand (no relation to Maxwell's Silver Hammer) precludes that he's gonna stab Lupin and kill him AFTER Lupin kills Fenrir. In Peter's defense, however, he will do it in self-defense because a giant werewolf is bounding toward him looking really ticked.
  • Bellatrix vs. Neville: Lots of people think Harry should kill Bellatrix and, though he does have cause, no one has earned it more than Neville. Given the choice between the two crappy childhoods, I would rather be like Harry and never know my parents than be Neville and be able to see my parents but have them not be able to recognize me or even be able to speak to me. Neville is fighting for his parents, and he is fighting for his peace of mind. Neville will find his courage and will take Bellatrix down. He has earned it.
  • Voldemort vs. Peter Pettigrew: Peter will redeem himself in the end. Harry will be down, beaten. Before the deathblow can be given, the true meaning of Christmas will shine through and Pettigrew will find the strength of ten Grinches plus two! He will take the Avada Kedavra for Harry, giving Harry enough time to...
  • Harry vs. Voldemort: Struggle, struggle, struggle, and into the veil they go. Harry will not be sad to die, because after all, to the well-organized and Horcrux-free mind, death is but the LAST great adventure.

MY EPILOGUE

Anyone who has seen the A&E Biography on JKR knows that she has already written the epilogue so she knows what is going to happen to all the characters. Well, I would not presume after my limited rereads of the books to know exactly what the epilogue would be, but if it were me, this is what I would want to see.

The Dursleys remain as Dursleyish as ever. Petunia, however, finally visits her sister's grave at Godric's Hollow. She apologizes. Dudley, after repeating a few grades, ACTUALLY meets a woman who - *gasp and shock* - likes him back. She is more spoiled than him and has him under control. He now has a son, Dudley Jr., who is JUST like him as a child. He wants to have it killed.

Fred and George marry the Patil Twins and have quadruplets named Nitwit, Blubber, Oddment and Tweak. They are the two richest couples in the Wizarding world. They paid to have the Burrow refurbished and remodeled to look brand spanking new.

Fleur and Bill have the most gorgeous redheaded child in history.

Trelawney and Firenze overcome their differences and marry. They have two children who are the strangest-looking possessors of the Inner Eye in the history of the Wizarding world.

Percy Weasley does indeed become the youngest Minister of Magic. He is still not speaking with Molly and Arthur.

McGonagall is still headmaster. She does not inspire the same sense of fun as Dumbledore, but she is well respected and nothing bad ever happens on her watch. She becomes the first Headmaster to officially ban Divination. She also makes it a rule that no new faculty member is allowed to wear a turban, carry a flask, have written too many books about themselves, or be an appointment by the Ministry.

Neville and Luna marry the day his grandmother dies. Good times are had by all.

Ron and Hermione Weasley are the power couple of the Wizarding world. Ron is a very accomplished Auror, and Hermione is Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. She remains a tireless crusader for elf rights. They have a son, Harry James Sirius Remus Albus Weasley, who is destined to become a headmaster at Hogwarts by virtue of his inordinate number of names.

Ginny is a single mother raising her beautiful daughter Lily Harriet Potter. Every night she rocks her baby to sleep telling her the story of how The Boy Who Lived gave his life so that she could live in a free and safe world. Lily Harriet is a beautiful little baby who looks just like her mother, except she has her father's eyes as well as a strange birthmark that looks like her father's scar.

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