The Two-Way Mirror #4: The Seven Tasks Revisited: A Thread

By Daniela

I just got done reading an interesting thread on the Seven Tasks. I thank Ruben Garz, who directed me to: 7 tasks, 7 books, Clues in The Philosopher’s Stone. I will, later in this editorial, quote/organize the most important/interesting points made in the thread.

I am grateful to my readers, who have made me feel a few inches taller with generous praise, and who have also pointed out things I had overlooked, and which I think need to be mentioned in this editorial.

First and foremost must be mentioned a rather big mistake I made (this mistake won’t alter my conclusions, lucky me): I couldn’t find my first book, and I know that is a lame excuse, but I read the series about seven times (I know, not as many as some people…) and had it memorized, I thought, and… I won’t do it again.

I would like to thank Eduardo Antonio and Karoline Aastrup, who pointed out to me that this is the correct order of the tasks.

Comparing Tasks
Correct Me
#1. Fluffy ok
#2. Devil’s Snare ok
#3. Flying Keys (Not: TROLL)
#4. Chessboard (Not: Flying Keys)
#5. TROLL (Not: Chessboard)
#6. Riddle and Phials ok
#7. Mirror of Erised ok

That darned Troll! Who let it out of room #3? What’s it doing in room #5?! Must have been (not Daniela! Surely not!) Quirrell… Yeah, that’s right (sounding convincing, like Hagrid)… Quirrell and his Halloween diversion… Say! *eyes opening wide* I think I’m getting an idea! The Troll diversion: you remember it, I suppose. Quirrell let a Troll inside Hogwarts, a Troll that had no business being in the school, or in a girls’ bathroom… The Troll is in the wrong room! Rowling told us so on Halloween… perhaps in order to hint… that there will be a Troll diversion in the order of the clues, something missing/moved from its proper place… and if the Troll were in #3, maybe everything would make sense again… no, not everything, actually, except for some of the rooms: I have pointed out before that there are no perfect parallels, but many imperfect ones: in their totality, the clues may reach a kind of cumulative meaning, like the lines in Snape’s riddle. Or else, the unconscious Troll might be removed altogether from the clues, like nano suggests, so that the last Book is left without a clue… This Troll really is a spine in people’s sides, isn’t he? If my memory played a trick on me, perhaps it was a hint from my subconscious, the subconscious that is a bit cleverer than the conscious…

A couple of “corrections”/additions (more later): this Troll “mistake” (intentional on Rowling’s part, unintentional on mine) actually doubles the discoveries:

In Book 5 = task #5 = Troll, I might consider that the Troll might be Grawp or the giants in general… which is an additional discovery (nano points out in the thread that like the Troll, giants come into the plot in OotP). But does that mean I won’t see chess in Book 5? No. And even, I still think we can compare the foul Troll with the rat Pettigrew (maybe the little finger found on the ground = the huge Troll: “Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides” says Snape’s riddle… is this a stretch? Peter is the supposed “corpse,” supposedly already dealt with by Sirius). I might even let Grawp play a kinder role than the Troll… maybe he’s more like Fluffy… You notice, my numbers are all over the place now, “bang out of order.”

The Flying Keys moving to #3 would not make a difference in my own conclusions, except add the key. I had found that flight was particularly important in PoA, and was even puzzled by this doubling of the flight theme (it also seemed to fit with the kids’ flight/fight experience with the two Trolls.)

Now, Voldemort is absent from one of our books, and the Troll is absent (i.e. the challenge) from one of our tasks, even if they are not aligned at number 3… (or aren’t they?). There is no danger in task #3 (the keys). Nor is there in task #5 (the unconscious Troll). Look carefully in those two rooms… and find: where is(n’t) Voldemort? Perhaps these “mistakes” are meant to make us start seeing double… (even triple). Those number themes that interest me, the twos, the threes, the sevens, are meeting it seems.

A couple of Rowling’s “mistakes”:

The chessboard of room #4: a perfect parallel for Book 4? No way! No book (of the ones we’ve had so far) does a more perfect job of illustrating chess than Book 5, as I showed in my first editorial: and sacrifice, too, is best illustrated and felt in Book 5 (not to mention the Queen(s): Bellatrix, and Umbridge: that transfigured toad!: as for the sacrifice: someone very close to Harry dies, a true older equivalent of Ron: Sirius, also a knight like Ron in his own way, mounted on Buckbeak, adventurous and daring, of noble descent).

The flying keys in room #3: There are many metaphorical flying keys in PoA (the Time Turner key to a riddle, which flies through time, flying Buckbeak who gives “la clé des champs” to Sirius (French for flight, escape (literally: the key to the fields) (Rowling did major in French & Classics), and Wormtail, the key to the Marauders’ traitor riddle, who also flies away at the end (see my summary of the thread ideas below for Buckbeak and Wormtail). But a real, concrete flying key appears in GoF, Book 4, the flying Portkey, which takes us straight to the climax of the story and literally moves Harry from one open-air “chamber”: the maze, to another open-air “chamber”: the cemetery.

No, I don’t really think these are “mistakes.” They are “skeleton keys,” one might say: the kind of keys that open multiple doors: some smaller doors, and some bigger doors.

Why these “moving stairs”? Remember my moving stairs, that architectural metaphor for connecting ideas hidden in Hogwarts? Apparently there are more of them than I thought. The point is to try to think outside the box. Doesn’t Rowling point that out in her books? Remember why Ron and Harry flew the Ford Anglia to school? Because they didn’t think outside the box! That is, Harry forgot he had Hedwig. And why did Sirius die? Painful, but true: someone didn’t think outside the box (poor Harry! I would have broken that two-way mirror, too!)

The very inspired threaders in the Chamber of Secrets were looking for perfect parallels. There are a couple of exceptions:

zen 110: “They could be out of order…”: Book 4 has some Devil’s snares [Moody and the cup], Book 5 has Sirius’ sacrifice, Book 3 has a traitor [the hidden poison of task #6] and Book 2 has something like a search for a key in task #3: “the trio was searching for whoever opened the chamber of secrets, there were a lot of people they thought it could be but no real clues to lead then into the right direction, just like with the keys how there were a lot of them and they had to find one that matched the door, they had to find a person who matched all the evidence they had.”nano: she suggests removing the Troll from the clues!: “That would mean the poison riddle would represent OotP. And […] Jo said Book 6 & Book 7 are like two halves to the same book. What if Book 6 & 7 is represented by the Quirrell/ Mirror task […]”).

crookshanksguy: he is not an exception, but he proposes the seven different rooms may stand for seven different time periods, and then mentions Hermione going back through the rooms and says: “Can time travel be an integral part of this theory?”

Implicitly, I think, crooshanksguy’s observation allows for a mix-up to take place in the rooms, and just as with time travel there are strange results, like the transfer of power from the future/past Harry to the present Harry, going back and forth between the rooms may transfer clues between them, dangers and solutions.

These are surprisingly few threaders allowing for rearrangement of the seven tasks… It is true; some things do fall inside the box. Many ideas come from drawing perfect parallels between the tasks and the books. That is how I got a lot of ideas. That is how the brilliant thread summarized later on here got started. By equaling, unlike me, task #5 (Troll) with Book 5, one threader (fea) discovered that the teacher, Dumbledore, not Harry, deals with Voldemort, like Quirrell dealt with the Troll (Say: the Voldemort/Troll parallel stays put). Nevertheless, Voldemort is presently dangerous, unlike the Troll, so the parallel is not… perfect. Some things just go outside the box. That is, we can’t rigidly insist that task #1 = (perfectly) Book 1, task #2 = (perfectly) Book 2, and so on.

To illustrate the pitfalls of looking for perfect parallels, I’ll go back to Books 4 and 5 and tasks #4 and #5. (Yes, perfectionism can be limiting… perfect aunt Petunia is a bit… well… *Now, that’s better* says Tonks when she sees Harry’s room [stars stand for imperfect quotes]). The threaders were trying so hard to find chess and sacrifice in Book 4, that they missed them in Book 5, because they were not looking there! All because of a certain preoccupation with a certain number (4), which led to a preconception about order. So readers were more likely to see Ron as sacrificed because he is not in the tournament in Book 4 (see the thread: I lost who said it), than to see Sirius as sacrificed and a figure of Ron in Book 5 (with the exception of zen110 who made the parallel Ron/Sirius). Not that looking for chess and sacrifice in Book 4 didn’t give interesting results (and I won’t look down on the discovery of poor underdog Ron either: it prepares his image for Book 5): the sacrifice of Cedric and the appearance of the Death Eaters, so many faceless transfigured chess pieces: see clearacel: “I think that the fact that there are faceless chess pieces is more representative of GoF, since this is really the first time we see the Death Eaters. At the end of GoF, we see pretty much the start of the war, which I believe the chess game itself represents.” But Clearacel makes an excellent point about Cedric’s sacrifice: “I don’t think Ron’s sacrifice is representative of Cedric’s sacrifice. Remember that Ron’s sacrifice in the chess game was very important for Harry to move on to checkmate. Cedric’s death was very anti-climatic. ‘Kill the spare.'” Moving forward from Clearacel’s comment, this killing of the “spare,” for those of you who play chess, does it not make you think of losing that first pawn in the beginning of a game? Now, the chess game starts at the end of Book 4, but it truly materializes, board and all, big pieces and everything, with the sacrifice of an important piece, in Book 5. To us readers, Cedric was really more the ghost of a character (we even see his ‘shadow’): Sirius, on the other hand, was real. Cedric’s body is recovered, but his soul is lost to us. Sirius’ body is lost, but his soul still haunts us. Chess and an even greater sacrifice may materialize again, beyond Book 5. But I think it reached a bit of at least a visual climax in Book 5: remember Dumbledore transfiguring the fountain brethren, like McGonagall transfiguring the chess set: which makes me wonder: will McGonagall replace Dumbledore in Book 7, since Dumbledore replaced McGonagall in Book 5? I think you all know the answer is… yes. Pairs switching places.

Perhaps J. K Rowling wanted us to do a bit of reordering… not too much, but a little bit, a bit of disorder to stimulate the imagination… and then rearrange the potion phials until we reach the certainty of having solved the riddle (if certainty is what she had in mind for us…). Among the riddles I was pointing out in my last editorial, I didn’t consider that the seven tasks might themselves pose a riddle: “The Riddle of the Seven Tasks” to imitate Snape’s “Riddle of the Seven Phials.” (There is another thread discussing DADA teachers and Snape’s riddle of the seven phials). What is solving Snape’s riddle if not determining the meaningful order of the phials? It’s not obvious what the first, second, third… phials hold. It is not then perhaps perfectly clear what the first, second, third… clues in the first, second, third… rooms hold about the first, second, third… books. That remains to be determined by looking at the clues together and playing especially on the themes of doubling and pairing between them (and switching.) I quote below Snape’s riddle (thanks to sealjoy). Pay close attention to the double structure (and then surprise, three: but that’s another editorial, proving less inspiring to write now… I need some time for that one):

Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind,
Two of us will help you, which ever you would find,
One among us seven will let you move ahead,
Another will transport the drinker back instead,
Two among our number hold only nettle wine,
Three of us are killers, waiting hidden in line.
Choose, unless you wish to stay here forevermore,
To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four:
First, however slyly the poison tries to hide
You will always find some on nettle wine’s left side;
Second, different are those who stand at either end,
But if you would move onward, neither is your friend;
Third, as you see clearly, all are different size,
Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides;
Fourth, the second left and the second on the right
Are twins once you taste them, though different at first sight

Now, on to the onerous but dutiful (and perhaps helpful and, now looking back, interesting to read) task of pointing out the discoveries of my fellow readers. I have picked out what seemed to me the best comments, edited them and organized them by task (if you want to see complete threads, the source is the best place to go). I only mention each idea once, so whoever got it first (or I saw first) gets mentioned. I hope this organizing will make some things jump out and make it easier to tie further knots, for those interested… There are some very insightful ideas here! To indicate my own ideas, I write (me:).

Task #1 Fluffy: the least talked about task of them all…

A few threaders mentioned Cerberus, guarding the entry to the underworld, the Hades, a form of Hell (me: Ancient Runes…).clearacel thinks “Fluffy’s 3 heads [are] representative of Harry, Ron, and Hermione.”

daveydee points out that Fluffy offers the “obvious but not exact” parallel of “The Man with Two Faces” (me: two to three, three to two = food for thought for that double/trinity study…)

Task #2 Devil’s Snare: slightly more popular (wait ’til we get to #6)

fea pointed out that “When Harry falls in the plant, he considers it good. The plant stopped their falling… it’s a good plant, isn’t it? He doesn’t notice that it’s trying to eat them… Exactly like Tom Riddle”; she also indicates about parallel with CoS: “[Harry] falls through the trapdoor a long time, as the way down to the Chamber was long. The plant is a living monster, as the basilisk. The plant is defeated with fire, the phoenix is a fire creature…”daveydee: the Devil’s snare likes “‘the dark and damp’; the Chamber of Secrets is described similarly.”

nano observes that Hermione solved the puzzle of the Devil’s snare, and she also solved the puzzle of the Chamber of Secrets; she draws a parallel between going into the Forest and falling in the Devil’s Snare (me: I might add in support for nano the Spider’s web… Hagrid’s “friend” Aragog: would you eat your friend’s friends?)

MundungusFletc points out that the solution to this task may be “much more appropriate to PS than to CoS. Hermione and Harry have to remember that they can use magic; having been brought up in the muggle world it isn’t instinctive to them.”

phaneoo points out that in tasks #2 & #6 Hermione discovers the solution, but Harry has to act (me: but wasn’t it Hermione who finally lit the wand? all 3 worked together in room 2, actually: they were inseparable in the beginning… not so in the end… separation was a must: perhaps the clues, too, are mixed up in the beginning, growing more separate and clearer with time…). But in room #6, this is true; as well as in CS, as he points out; he concludes “Perhaps Hermione will have the answer to the problem plaguing the trio, but Harry has to do something about it.”

*daveydee: Lucky! “The word/phrase ‘Lucky’ seems to have been decidedly hammered home in the Devil’s Snare sequence of PS/SS: ‘Lucky this plant thing’s here really’

‘Lucky!’ shrieked Hermione / ‘Lucky you pay attention in Herbology, Hermione’ /’…lucky Harry doesn’t lose his head in a crisis’; “It seems that JKR wants the reader to remember that word.” Read on below:

*fea: “the HBP connection… What about that new character/spell/password/whatever-it-is, Felix Felicis? Daveydee (great post) showed us the omnipresence of the word “Lucky” during the second task. Could be the HBP?”

*I put little stars because I think these two are onto something very interesting…

Task #3: Flying Keys:

fea: no danger: “It’s the only task where Harry isn’t in mortal danger. And Sirius was never a real danger to Harry. It’s also Professor Flitwick’s task, and we know he is the nicest professor of the staff…”; flying: “The task has to be done on a broomstick. Not only Harry receives a Firebolt in the third book, it’s also the only book in which we ‘see’ the entire quidditch competition”; keys: “For us [me: us refers to Spanish threaders, I think: contact fea for more] the flying key is Wormtail. Wormtail was hidden during 12 years, looking exactly like any rat. The key is hidden between a lot of keys, and it’s not easy to find nor catch (ask Crookshanks how easy it is to catch Scabbers…). We could even say that the key has the feathers crumpled on one side, and Scabbers has a missing finger (and all the hand, later) [me: I’m thinking forward of Hedwig’s crumpled feathers in OotP]. It’s an old-fashioned key, something from the past, like Wormtail. And it’s made of silver, like his new hand. But the most important thing is that if Peter Pettigrew wasn’t found in PoA, there wouldn’t be a return of Voldemort in GoF. Wormtail is the key to make it happen.”nano: the keys: “at first looked like something else; birds. Only when looking closer did the three realize what they were. Plus they thought the ‘birds’ would attack them. The black dog looked like a Grim and it frightened Harry at first; only in the shrieking shack did he learn, that the black dog wasn’t really a black dog, and that it was nothing to be afraid of.”

daveydee: the key: “Some have argued that the key represents Buckbeak, who having been “captured” by Harry and Hermione is instrumental in unlocking the door which is Sirius’ freedom”; also Wormtail (see fea), and “Wormtail, having been caught for a second time (in the Shrieking Shack) is the key not only to Sirius’ innocence, but, it would appear, to Harry, given the wizard’s debt which now exists”; “That ‘the key took fight again’ having unlocked the door also parallels the flight of Wormtail, having revealed his guilt and Sirius’ innocence.”

task #4: Chess Game too little said about this very cool scene! I think because people were comparing it to Book 4 rather than Book 5

daveydee: “The parallelism here is almost exact. Harry is forced to take part in a game” (me: good observation about the Triwizard tournament. But my conclusion is that it is not exact).

nano: “the battle with the troll had already taken place, just like the prophecy had also already been made in the past.”

(me: the other couple of interesting comments are quoted above)

Task #5 The Troll: threads are about as absent on this task as the Troll itself was absent

MundungusFletc: “The troll is excellent for OotP; there is nothing for Harry to do. In OotP Sirius is not in danger, Harry didn’t have to do anything but he acted nonetheless.”(me: the other couple of interesting comments are quoted above)

Task #6 Snape’s Riddle of the Phials: now the fun starts in the Thread room

fea: we’ll find “the truth about Severus Snape”; and “the most important thing on HBP will be logic”; and “one of the most important things of this task is that there isn’t a way back.”MundungusFletc “Harry has to forget magic solutions”

faeriefire “Sooo…. during all of OotP, Harry’s a moody, whiny brat with an explosive temper. What do we think of that goes with explosions? Fire!” The potion Harry takes to move ahead to get to the Stone makes his body feel like ice. A common description of someone who is reserved and keeps their emotions to themselves is cold. So the key for Harry to move on to his final task of vanquishing Voldemort will be learning to keep his emotions in check.”

valeriehall343: she points out a problem: “If Quirrell had already gone through the potions challenge, there wouldn’t be any potion left for Harry to drink, would there?”

lupislune: “the black flame = the veil” “Harry must die or something along those lines to vanquish Voldemort. I think this is possible for a variety of reasons, including one of them being a phrase that Snape says that has always bugged that he can put a stopper on death. I think this plays into all those theories about resurrection that have been floating around as well. I think that it will be something Ron does that will allow Harry to return from this death experience. (The sacrifice that all the Weasley is our King theorists talk about also plays in here.)”

grammer: the flames resemble the “veil”: “Hermy goes back through the flame and CAN’T RETURN; just as Sirius can’t return. The description of passing through the flame sounds just like passing through a veil.”

nano: in a way, this predicts the prophecy: “Harry HAS to face the task alone; it fits with the prophecy, too – ‘either must die at the hand of the other’there is no room in that for others to be involved ― it boils down to the old 1-on-1 battle.”

Most threaders looked for parallels between characters and the seven potions:

fea: the 7 quidditch players are an equivalent of the 7 potions: 3 chasers (they bring the attack of the team) = 3 poisons / 2 beaters = 2 wine / 1 keeper = 1 potion to turn back / 1 seeker = 1 potion to go forwardlupislune builds on this: 3 Chasers = 3 killers, are Peter, Voldemort, and Bellatrix. / 2 Beaters = 2 Wine, pushing Harry in different directions mentally to try and stop the Chasers from scoring. This is Albus Dumbledore and Snape / 1 Seeker = 1 Go Forward Potion, giving Harry the ability to finish the task by catching the snitch (information), to win the game. This is Hermione. / 1 Keeper = 1 Come back Potion, to stop the chaser from scoring in this sense to allow Harry to come back and win the game. This is Ron.

nano: the 7 potions talk about the 7 books: “3 killers; meaning three books in which someone dies / 2 nettle wines ― 2 books in which noone dies / 1 backward; POA timetravel 3 hours backward / 1 forward;??? perhaps free the world from Voldy; have a future???”

lupislune: chooses for the “twins once you taste them, though different at first sight” “Snape and Dumbledore”: “Yes, I believe Snape to be a ‘good guy'” Also “not to worry about Goblins or Giants: neither will choose sides.” The two helpers are Ron and Hermione: “One helps him move forward to defeat Voldemort, One helps him get back once Voldemort is defeated”; in conclusion: “the key characters are the three killers, Albus, Snape, Ron, Hermione, and of course Harry, although I don’t think he is represented by a bottle.” (me: Harry drinks the bottle: i.e. he’s the chess player, removed from the board, playing with/choosing from the bottles = chess pieces = people?).

daveydee: Harry and Hermione are the twins; and the “rounded” bottle is Neville (safety for Harry had Voldemort chosen the other); the smallest bottle is Ginny (see magiciangirl also)

ravenclawgurl speculates about the “3 of us are killers, waiting hidden inline”: “Wormtail: hidden as a rat (killed Cedric)” / “Bellatrix: waiting in Azkaban (killed Black)” and “Who’s next?”

nano: “Perhaps Harry will need the HBP to help him”; “Or perhaps he has to fight the HBP, cause it would otherwise take him backwards (time traveling theory anyone???)… In any case I reckon he is going to have to solve the puzzle as to who the HBP is, and I reckon Hermione will be of great help to him researching in the library. Perhaps there will be 7 people who could be the HBP and Harry has to find out which one it is…”

(me: Potions… some of which are wine… does this make you think of blood? The HBP brings forth the idea of the mixing blood, and therefore potions. Blood has also been a running theme: the blood protection of relatives and of Lily’s sacrifice, the blood Voldemort needs in his potion to acquire a body… hints dropped about vampires… so nano’s idea of the HBP being among the potions is probable; nano (I think) also says “Voldemort could see the half blood running through his veins as poison due to being tainted with muggle blood.” Is the HBP poison, nettle wine, backward ice or forward ice? Solve that riddle, everyone!)

(me again: there was a subthread about which of the Weasleys are poisons… I think they are all… er… pure wine/blood… even Percy the git. The subthread about Charlie turning evil because he’s in Romania, that a good number of people seemed to believe: if I were J. K. I’d say how dare you… but then, I’m not her, and I could be wrong… In my own mind, if you didn’t fall in love with Charlie and Bill when they were dueling tables in the air on the front lawn of the Burrow, I don’t know what it takes… I trust those two. Peter Pettigrew was disgusting from his rat beginnings… (however, he defended Ron and Harry once…) Would Rowling pull such a fast one on us? Percy was also a predictable prat, but no Death Eater. I think that like their bright red hair says, the Weasleys are wine. For an example of the Weasley poison theory, see below:

meghan73211: compares the seven potions with the seven Weasleys arranged by age, and after some calculations, concludes: “Ginny: Backward / Ron: Poison / *Fred: Wine / *George: Poison / Percy: Forward / Charlie: Poison / Bill: Wine.”

joschmo: “First, however slyly the poison tries to hide, You will always find some on nettle wine’s left side,”: “maybe someone who is thought to be good will be evil and close friends with a DE.” (me: maybe that’s Peter, the old news? or are there more traitors left? probably…). “Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides” maybe the giants will join the good side and I don’t know about dwarf [me: tiberius says: not to worry from the goblins or house-elves]; the twins: “maybe there is a person who is thought to be evil but will turn out to be good (PP maybe) (me: so would joschmo agree that Lupin and Peter are really twins then?)

nano: the riddle indicates a journey, two helpers: Fred and George, two nettle wines: Innocent Bystanders, three killers: Wormtail, Bellatrix and Percy [me: I doubt it: Percy is a lost sheep in wolf’s clothing that will likely return to the fold with his tail between his legs (do you have that expression in English? = humbly defeated], poison to the left of nice stuff: Slytherin both nice and poisonous; and neither Cho nor Marietta will take Harry forward.” (I included these last two comments, Slytherin-Cho, only because nano has some good ideas and I may be missing something)

scarlettears: the riddle indicates Harry’s situation at the end of OotP: “While he has managed to survive thus far (the safety that lies behind), he will inevitably have to face the Dark Lord (the danger that lies ahead) in the years to come; spiritual help: “elements of strength, determination, and courage,” and spiritual dampers: “fear and the desire to choose what is easy over what is right,” “Two distractions that try to confuse Harry,” “the deaths of three important characters. *whimper*,” “an important decision regarding his [Harry’s] future,” “Four hints that will be given to help Harry make his decision,” and “spies/traitors that appear to be good but in reality are working for Voldemort. They are hidden carefully among people who seem to be irrelevant”; in conclusion: “Hagrid and Flitwick will not betray Dumbledore! Hehe, only joking” [me: :-)] and a question: “Two characters that appear to be different, yet are really the same person” (?).

Task #7: Mirror of Erised

lupislune: “I don’t think Harry will defeat Voldemort by direct contact. I think Harry will do something to somebody that will directly be the demise of Voldemort.”fea: “Harry will sacrifice his powers in order to defeat Voldemort”; “He will “find” that he has the power to use magic to defeat Voldemort, but only in not using that power, in sacrificing that power, will he be able to truly defeat Voldemort and gain “eternal life” in a sense for the wizarding world.”

nano: “perhaps this is about Harry & Voldy having the same kind of power or weapon, but using it the right / wrong way. Perhaps this power will be what’s behind the locked door in the ministry.”

c8h10n402: Harry is no longer in the past like when he saw his parents, or future, like Ron seeing himself crowned with glory, but in the present, seeing himself, the stone, and facing Voldemort.

rela00: “I can’t remember who said it but the bit about DD thinking Harry was dead […] It may be a foreshadowing of DD finding Harry dead at the end of book 7…

annely: “maybe what Harry saw was his future….what if by destroying Voldemort… his victims could be able to come back….for a moment only……I don’t know ……what if….I need a cofee…a really black one” (me: I can’t help including the funny things)

Mrs Black: points out doublings between Harry and Voldemort: “In a German forum we were also discussing this theory and we worked out something interesting for the last task with the Mirror of Erised: Voldemort has marked Harry as his equal / Harry has some of Voldemort’s powers / Voldemort also possesses something from Harry through the blood donation in Book 4 / the two wands are twins / through the failed curse Harry can witness the feelings of the Dark Lord and Voldemort Harry’s feelings / like Tom Riddle realized in Book 2: Between him Harry are strange likenesses /and the red-and-green story: Harry has green eyes, Voldemort red eyes / Harry produced a red beam of light, Voldemort a green one […]. A mirror image looks very much like the observer’s appearance, but it is nonetheless totally different. One of them lives, the over one is only some shiny copy. The observer is real, the reflection only illusion. So, what would happen, if you destroy your reflection? Does it means for Harry, that if he kills Voldemort, the parts Voldemort has (unintentionally) transferred on him, will be destroyed? Or would be there a greater destruction?”

Tiberius: “If the final showdown between Harry and LV is represented by the Mirror of Erised, it could be because Harry and Voldemort are a reflection of each other.”

Lukeye: “In the final book Harry may have to face Voldemort unfairly, while Voldemort uses his servant to gain something. (Wormtail? Bellatrix?)”; “Maybe there is something Voldemort wants in book 7, Harry gets it first and they face off in the room, Voldemort and his servant vs. Harry.” (me: that would make sense chess wise: kings and pawns can’t hurt each other from a distance without the help of other pieces to push them toward each other or else do the eliminating)

nano: “Voldy thinks he is stronger because he is not alone, but he actually can’t count on Wormtail, because of the life debt?”; “Will Voldy lose one last time, because of something he falsely assumes?”

daveydee: Harry expects “to find Snape but actually finds Voldemort (in Quirrell). Will he, in book 7, enter his final confrontation expecting to find Voldemort but actually finding A.N. Other?”

And a nice conclusion from daveydee:

daveydee: in Book 7, “Harry will […] see himself as he truly is.”


Everyone agrees that the Seven Tasks of the PS/SS contain clues for what is to follow in the Seven Books. But perhaps we need to realize that like Snape’s seven phials, the Seven Tasks are also arranged in a form of riddle. As the moving stairs of Hogwarts, they may take us straight to our destiny, but also forwards, and backwards. Whoever solves the riddle may best see what is to come. I am not sure that I personally have the key to it yet: moving the Troll was one (involuntary) idea, looking at moving stairs another, searching for doubles and triples another, but… I haven’t reached that feeling of certainty: I wouldn’t put my hand in the fire… or drink poison on it. Not just yet. Then again, maybe there is no perfect riddle, just a creative mess: you know, a matrix.

And in the end:

nano says: “I think I remember Jo saying somewhere that all keys lay in the first book” (me: did she? where?) and fea (on Rowling’s fear of not being able to publish the remaining series): “So, she decided to leave something of the story on The Philosopher’s Stone. Something to remember. Something so Harry won’t be lost…”

And, on the history of the number 7, a bit of Ancient Runes by petruchio:

“Seven is and has been for a very long time considered mystical by many religions and societies. Consider the following: Seven deadly sins / Seven virtues / Seven Valleys of Bahá’u’lláh (Bahai) / Seven Harthos (Ancient Egyptian) / seven-gated holy city (also ancient Egyptian) / seven days of creation (Judeo-Christian religions) / seven chakras (Hindu)”: “Numerology (mostly considered to be bunk by scholars but still clung to as an effective way of divining the future) places seven very high in importance, along with the numbers six and three. Strangely enough, these numbers are also considered very powerful magically in the ancient Egyptian dogmatic system.”; “Oh, one more thing: C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia (my favorite magic childrens’ book series besides HP) had seven volumes as well. Interesting, no? Of course, Lewis was a Christian scholar and writer as well (see The Screwtape Letters for a great example), so he probably had that in mind when he wrote them.”

I hope you have enjoyed this selective rendition of the thread, along with my own redoubled insights into the Seven Tasks. May you pick up the torch and move forward towards guessing with even more certainty what is coming!

And I am turning to other pressing tasks… like cauldron bottoms… no, really, something else, equally interesting, but not Harry Potter, and that has a few professors frowning upon it at the moment, like at a particularly stubborn snail…