R.A.B. — The Next Metamorphmagus We will Meet
by John G.
Three excellent recently published editorials have made a lot of great points about R.A.B. and the Death Eaters. These are Dark Mark: Access Granted, Regulus and the Cave, the Locket and the Note, and The Living Dead: Why Regulus Black Faked His Death, and I highly recommend them all to anyone who hasn’t read them. One proposes that no accomplice would have been needed for R.A.B. to pass through the green potion in the cave, because it would have been passable to anyone possessing the Dark Mark. Another outlines all of the possible scenarios under which R.A.B. could have come to know of the locket’s whereabouts, and how he/she could have stolen it. The final one, also the most recent, declares that Regulus Black faked his death with the Draught of Living Death.
I am of the full opinion that R.A.B. is Regulus Black, and will make that assumption for the rest of this editorial. I have also been of the full opinion that he faked his death for some time now. However, the last part of the puzzle struck me like a bolt of lightning when rereading HBP recently, and although others before me have disagreed, I must assert that Regulus did indeed put the locket in the cave himself.
I know many of you will disagree. At first, when reading “Regulus and the Cave, the Locket and the Note,” I thought it silly that Voldemort would have given anybody else the task of hiding that Horcrux in the cave. But then I noticed Dumbledore’s explanation to Harry:
Of course, Lucius did not know what the diary really was. I understand that Voldemort had told him the diary would cause the Chamber of Secrets to reopen because it was cleverly enchanted. Had Lucius known he held a portion of his master’s soul in his hands, he would undoubtedly have treated it with more reverence. (HBP, page 508)
If Voldemort, as friendless and mistrusting as he is, would give Lucius Malfoy one of his six Horcruxes to hide/use, what’s to say he wouldn’t entrust Regulus with another? Now, a certain concession must be made here, which is that Sirius grossly underestimated his brother’s involvement in the Death Eaters. Sirius said Regulus was just a nobody who got in over his head, but Barty Crouch, Jr., was a bona fide Death Eater when he was still in his teens, and Voldemort has shown tolerance with giving Draco jobs to do as well. Perhaps Regulus was given some responsibility when he was young, like Draco was, and Regulus proved himself worthy of more trust. We’ve seen with Voldemort that it’s all about how you act. I cannot imagine him discounting Regulus’ worth simply because of his age. Not to mention, Sirius was a gifted enough wizard to make himself an Animagus when he was still a teen. His brother is very possibly just as talented a wizard.
The Dark Mark on Regulus’ arm would have allowed him to place the fake locket in the potion without harm, as this process is explained in the first editorial referenced above. He would have made the trip alone, as Harry notes on page 564 that the boat looks like it was built for only one person. And, just as Lucius didn’t know the importance of the object he held, and was given some other explanation for the object, Regulus would have been told something similar. How he discovered the secret of the Horcrux is not known and maybe not even relevant. David Camillus (author of the second editorial I referenced) has rightfully pointed out that Regulus seems to have thought the locket was the only Horcrux. This means to me that however he found out, it wasn’t from Tom Riddle’s diary or Professor Slughorn or any source we’ve seen already, because they would run the risk of hinting at the possibility of more than one. It must have been through hard work and coincidence that he found the secret.
Several important questions arise from the fateful note he left.
1) Did Regulus succeed in destroying the Horcrux, or is it still intact? No one can open the locket in Grimmauld Place and there was no mention of damage. Maybe it’s still whole.2) Why did Regulus say he’d be dead long before Voldemort read the note? He couldn’t have been planning to die as punishment for switching the Horcrux, because in that case he wouldn’t say he’d be dead before Voldemort read the note. And he couldn’t have been planning to be killed for desertion, because if he had really tried to desert then obviously Voldemort would have gone to check on the Horcrux, which apparently he never did. Therefore, the only reason he would have said that is because he was planning to “die.”
Now, if you read my last editorial, Looks Can Be Deceiving, you’ll know I think another Metamorphmagus is coming in Book 7. My prediction: not only did Regulus fake his death, but he is still alive, is a Metamorphmagus, and is living now as a character we think we know as somebody else.
These are the details the way I see them. Voldemort says in the graveyard there are three Death Eaters dead “in my service.” Through the entire series, thousands of pages and dozens of Death Eaters, we’ve only ever had two confirmed as having been killed: Rosier and Wilkes (GoF, page 531). If Regulus were killed on Voldemort’s orders, he wouldn’t have died “in his service.” A logical alternative, consistent with what I’ve said about Regulus’ role so far, is that he faked his death “in Voldemort’s service” and is alive and well. He is the third missing Death Eater.
I would imagine, given his history, that the real Regulus is person friendly to Harry, but probably not too close. I would even go so far as to say that he is no one at Hogwarts, because skilled Legilimens such as Dumbledore and Snape hanging around is just like asking to have your secret revealed. Now that both of them are no longer hanging around Harry, however, Regulus can move in. This might be at Hogwarts or elsewhere, depending on where Harry ends up spending his time. Watch in the last book for a lesser known but friendly character to begin having a larger role in Harry’s life, and there we will find our long lost hero: R.A.B.
If you’d like to respond to this editorial, I’d love to hear from you at spinners _ end at yahoo dot com. Also, for reference purposes, all page numbers in this editorial refer to the American hardcover versions of the books. Happy reading!