The Two-Way Mirror #16: Heirs and Inheritances
Grab your seats for the question of the century: “What did Harry find out in Chamber that foreshadows something he will learn in Prince?” Yes, I know, there isn’t exactly a lot left to chew on here, considering that hordes of reader Piranhas have already torn to shreds whatever meager clues there were… From what I have seen, I think most major predictions for HBP based on CoS have already been made by other readers. My aim with this editorial is not to shock you with the novelty of my prophecies. Rather, I want to share with you a discovery of a different nature: just how beautiful Rowling’s writing is.
As I think you may have noticed in my previous editorials, I am fascinated by the numerous parallels that Rowling builds in her books. Since these endless parallels appear to me to be something of a stylistic device dear to Harry’s author, I have decided to consciously adopt them as a method for reading and understanding and maybe predicting what happens in Potterverse. I will call it the “mirror method,” and I will use it in various ways. I am sure all of us use this method to some extent ? “reflection” is a synonym for “thought” after all – but I think you will see how I will actively apply it. To start, I will try to find out what crucial elements – “heirs” and “inheritances” – from HBP might find their reflection in CoS. Jenna’s “Plot Mirror” anticipated nicely that there should be such a mirror connection between the second and sixth book, and Rowling has confirmed that for these two books the hypothesis is true (Jenna has also given strong arguments for Book 3 being a reflection of Book 5 and, it remains to be seen how Book 1 reflects Book 7).
The entry point into this mirror maze of clues is the reflection in CoS of the HBP royal title of “Prince.” The only near equivalent I can think of to this appellation is the “Heir of Slytherin” whose existence is revealed in CoS. Many of Harry’s discoveries in Chamber revolved around this “Heir.” He discovered that the heir, like Slytherin himself, was a parselmouth and that he could control a basilisk (and not Hagrid’s Aragog, who dreaded the Basilisk as if it were Voldemort himself: “We do not speak his name” – like villain, like pet). He realized that Tom Riddle was Voldemort, that he preserved his memory in a diary and could eventually possess those who wrote in it… etc. Most importantly, the “heritage” of the “heir” of Slytherin was the “Chamber of Secrets,” with its hidden horror(s) meant to assist in the eradication of Half-Bloods. What an irony that the Heir of Slytherin should be a Half-Blood. I think the difference between the terms “heir” and “prince” is also significant, although I can’t quite pinpoint how. The word “heir” comes from the Sanskrit root “ghe” meaning “to release, let go,” of which some Greek and Germanic derivatives mean place and empty space. The word “prince” comes from the Latin “princeps” meaning beginning. I’m not sure what to make of this difference. For the sake of balance though, since the “Heir of the Pure-Blood” was evil, I am sure the “Half-Blood Prince” will be good.
Sometimes mirrors can be complex: they can be more like halls of mirrors, and one object placed in front of one mirror will find itself multiplied into countless others. Ever since the HBP book covers have been revealed, with Dumbledore’s image reproduced on nearly every one, there have been more and more people convinced that Dumbledore is the Half-Blood Prince (see Sam Barret’s comments in Tearing Apart the HBP Covers). Assuming this is true, if we were to look for a CoS reflection of the real Prince we would need to find a discovery Harry makes that relates more directly to Dumbledore. Interestingly, there are enough parallel discoveries concerning Dumbledore as well in CoS.
For example, it is in CoS that Harry discovers for the first time Dumbledore’s office. Unlike the hissed password to the “Chamber of Secrets,” a much pleasanter verbal key opens Dumbledore’s office: “Lemon drop!” The gargoyle protecting Dumbledore’s office springs suddenly to life and “the wall behind them split in two” to reveal “a spiral staircase that was moving smoothly upward like an escalator” (259). The opening of the “Office of Dumbledore” reflects – and subverts – the opening of the “Chamber of Secrets.” First, there is a “passlanguage.” Unlike the passwords to the Houses, all of Dumbledore’s passwords are types of candy, making of the passwords a sort of candy language (more palatable than parseltongue). Next, there is a sculpted creature, a gargoyle that accepts the password, like there is a “scratched” (read: not very artistic 381) serpent that accepts the parseltongue command to “open.”
The Gargoyle was an interesting choice of creature to place before Dumbledore’s office. It is a purposefully ambiguous description that points to no particular animal. Gargoyles are fantastic beasts, often composite. Some look like dragons with bat wings, while others look like lions or eagles or whatever mythological creatures the Greeks and Romans came up with. “Gargoyle” is really an all-inclusive term and thus more representative of Hogwarts, which unites the four houses. Dumbledore’s three-dimensional sculptured gargoyle has more scope than the tiny, superficial serpent scratched on the water tap, representing only the Heir of Slytherin (not even the House). Behind and beyond the tiny scratched Heir of Slytherin is a mega sculpture of Slytherin himself. A sort of House of Serpents does reveal itself in between. There is a second door after the initial tap, and this door has two entwined emerald-eyed serpents sculpted on it, and splits in two like the door behind the gargoyle. In the chamber beyond it there are numerous “serpentine columns,” that is, columns carved with serpents (387-88).
At the origin of the name gargoyle is a combination of the French words for “throat” and “mouth” (“gorge” and “gueule”). English “gargle” comes from the verb “gargouiller.” The name originates in the function of the gargoyles, which were waterspouts in the form of sculptures (often seen on medieval cathedrals). But this gargling, if the liquid is removed, reminds me of a roaring from the mouth and throat… the roaring of a lion. In fact Gargoyles are sometimes in the shape of Griffins, which are lions with eagle wings. Higher up the stairs towards Dumbledore’s office, we find this smaller version of the Gargoyle: “They rose upward in circles, higher and higher, until at last, slightly dizzy, Harry saw a gleaming oak door ahead, with a brass knocker in the shape of a griffin” (262).
Notice the perfect mirror inversion (because a mirror not only reflects, but also inverts) of the comparative size of these multiple sculptures (themselves skewed mirrors of each other): a big gargoyle stone sculpture at the entrance to Dumbledore’s office and a hand sized brass griffin door knocker beyond it versus a fingernail sized copper serpent at the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets and two bigger, emerald-eyed serpents sculpted on a wall. The gargoyle and griffin offer more complexity and variety than the serpents. Basically, the serpents keep repeating themselves. Their only variation is in their degree of reality, in their level of physical incarnation. The animals and objects that protect and are to be found in Dumbledore’s office show more diversity.
A constant doubt as to which serpents are real and which are not plays in Harry’s mind. The serpent on the tap did not look quite like a serpent, maybe because it was only scratched and it was too small. It was hard to produce parseltongue unless Harry looked at it from a certain angle. Then there was the skin of the basilisk that looked real but wasn’t. When Harry sees the emerald-eyed serpents, he no longer has a doubt that they are “real.” The emerald eyes of the serpents find their equivalent in the rubies of Gryffindor’s sword (that could kill the phosphorescent-eyed basilisk). Beyond the third door of the chamber Harry finds the most real serpent, the living basilisk.
That third door had a huge sculpture of Slytherin on it, whose mouth opened to spit forth the monster when Tom Riddle spoke to it: “Slytherin’s gigantic stone face was moving. Horrorstruck, Harry saw his mouth opening, wider and wider, to make a huge black hole. / And something was stirring inside the statue’s mouth. Something was slithering up from its depths” (402). We have not yet seen the equivalent third representation of Gryffindor in Dumbledore’s office, which makes me think that this missing part of the puzzle, the last and third door to open, will be revealed to us in the Half-Blood Prince. Whatever that new door will be remains to be seen. The fact that it is the front door of the office that opens again and it is Dumbledore who walks in next in CoS leaves the door open for speculation about what this third door is, because it needs to be something different than the first two in order to make a round three.
Will the third door be, rather than the stone mouth of Slytherin commanded by the vague memory of Tom Riddle, an ancient stone basin, Gryffindor’s Pensieve, animated by a living person, Albus Dumbledore? And as in the Chamber, Harry will be present to see what comes out of the Pensieve. What will come forth will be a different form of vision, a spiritual message rather than a material weapon. The contents of a Pensieve are so much more interesting. The mouth of Slytherin opens mechanically in a parody of speech, a hateful pretense of communication. What comes out of it is a material “tongue,” a serpent. We can expect a different language from Gryffindor, the immaterial images of the Pensieve that constitute a more real form of communication than Slytherin’s single minded monster in the flesh.
I find the mechanics of the door opening to Dumbledore’s office in CoS mirrored (and subverted) by the way the door opens to the Chamber of Secrets. Rather than the gargoyle that sprang to life and hopped aside, the serpent “glowed with a brilliant white light.” A door splits before Dumbledore’s office revealing a spiral that moves upwards, while before the chamber “the sink began to move […] the sink, in fact, sank right out of sight, leaving a large pipe exposed, a pipe wide enough for a man to slide into” (382). Instead of moving upwards, Harry will slide downwards. Instead of stairs, which make you feel in control, but which carry Harry as easily as a slide because they move like escalators, Harry has to deal with the fear of falling into darkness, with no place to set his foot, with no ability to step back and with a horrible uncertainty about where he is sliding. The pipe is like being inside a serpent’s body, slimy and cylindrical. It branches below into numerous pipes that go off into the unknown. The pipe displays a worrisome multiplicity while at the same time being constraining and unvaried. The spiral, moving stair is a more complex and yet reassuringly unified structural model. Harry can step up or just stand and be lifted. He has a choice. He can vary the speed with which he approaches Dumbledore’s office. It seems to me that if he wants, he can even retreat back down the stairs. He’ll just have to run faster than the stairs rise. The spiral, while developing sideways, stays always centered and unified. Are these entrances to these divergent but parallel chambers of the heirs of Slytherin and maybe Gryffindor geometrical symbols of the spirits of the original founders? One entrance is controlling and frightening. The other is suggestive of freedom and reassuring.
We have seen that the Headmaster’s gargoyle stands at the very entrance of the office. It is there to protect the place and scare away potential intruders. In the Chamber of Secrets, the gargoyle is to be found in the deepest heart of the chamber as its ultimate reality. Slytherin’s monkeyish face is a kind of subverted waterspout, a mouth that spits forth something disgusting. But in being a horrible spout, Slytherin’s face is a real gargoyle, not just because of its water-spitting function, but because it also spews forth terrors, as the legendary gargoyle did: “Legend has it, that a fierce dragon named La Gargouille described as having a long, reptilian neck, a slender snout and membranous wings lived in a cave near the river Seine. The dragon caused much fear and destruction with its fiery breath, spouting water and the devouring of ships and men” (About Gargoyles). The fact that the first serpent was also scratched on a waterspout, a faucet, a “tap,” underscores the connection between gargoyles and Slytherin’s symbols.
Dumbledore keeps of the gargoyle only the art. The gargoyle before his office is a playful and intelligent sculpture. If it looks a little frightening, its purpose is only to protect. It doesn’t spew. In contrast with the gargoyle horrors of the Chamber, up in heavenly Dumbledore’s office McGonagall raps with the griffin knocker on an oak door that opens silently into a beautiful, pleasant, circular room full of “funny little noises” with “curious silver instruments” that “whirr” and emit “little puffs of smoke.” On the walls, reassuring portraits are “snoozing gently in their frames” (261). Only the most delicate of images grace this description, revealing Rowling’s talent for creating subtle effects through language. The clear contrast between Harry’s first impressions of the chamber and his first impressions of the office (notice one is professional, and the other has no business being in a school) seems to me intentional. Later there will be plenty of commotion in Dumbledore’s office as well, a clear sign that the horrors are coming out of hiding and entering places we call home.
In Dumbledore’s office, Harry finds Dumbledore’s “heritage.” He meets again the Sorting Hat, left behind by the original founders (except it was Gryffindor who took the hat off his head). And he sees Dumbledore’s lovely pet, the Phoenix – the healing, flying, singing, loyal, powerful, intelligent, immortal counterpart of Tom Riddle’s hellish, dumb, purely material and very mortal (despite his many changes of skin) basilisk pet. Fawkes can swallow Avada Kedavra and regenerate itself into new life. The Basilisk could not even survive the strike of a (presumably) Muggle weapon. The gargoyle and the scratched serpent display the talents of the pets beyond their doors. The fact that Dumbledore’s gargoyle springs to life is representative of the Phoenix’s true ability to regenerate, while the intense and disturbing glow of the tiny faucet reveals the basilisk’s only talent: the deathly lamp of its eyes. Isn’t that glow also a bit like Voldemort’s green and unvaried Avada Kedavra? In addition, Voldemort’s foremost human weapon, Lucius Malfoy, also shares some of this trait of the unvaried power of brilliance: his name means light, but what kind of light? He petrifies the Ministry, renders it impotent with the sheer power of his gold, his own version of the basilisk’s eyes. Dumbledore’s foremost human chessman is Harry, who, more creatively than Lucius, the basilisk, or Voldemort himself, has “power the Dark Lord knows not.” And he is also a good flyer like Fawkes and the hopping gargoyle. Slytherin’s serpents can’t quite lift themselves off the ground.
Harry catches Fawkes on a burning day, not when he looks his most beautiful. That is significant however because it sets a contrasting parallel with the “spouted” animal down below in the water pipes. Perhaps the fact that water is Slytherin’s element explains why Slytherins are so good at potions. Fire is Dumbledore’s element. Dumbledore can produce Gubraithian (or everlasting) fire, a feat that impresses Hermione. Hermione also can create fire, it being – I think – her first original bit of magic in the Sorcerer’s Stone (and she produces it on more than one occasion). We have seen Dumbledore use fire to protect himself in his fight with Voldemort in OotP and again we see fire issuing from Dumbledore’s and Harry’s wands on one of the covers of HBP building something like protective spirals around them (see the CoS forums thread about the covers, and Fact’s post on Veritaserum). This spiral of fire makes me think of the flight of the fire bird. Fire is the element of Gryffindor. (And I think air is the element of Ravenclaw, while earth is the element of Hufflepuff). It makes sense that the Gryffindor pet should be the fire bird, the Phoenix. Fawkes himself might be part of the “heritage” of the Half-Blood Prince. As Pooty P. speculated in Harry’s New Pet, the Phoenix may have originally been Gryffindor’s pet, and it may eventually be passed on to Harry if Dumbledore moves on (sigh…).
There is another interesting possession of Gryffindor that ends up in Dumbledore’s office: the ruby-decorated silver sword. Several readers have pointed out that there is a “Muggle royalty” quality about this real sword, a detail that hints Gryffindor himself may have been a Half-Blood (see for example JazzyCheer12. She argues that Harry is the HBP). I wonder if the sword was initially in Dumbledore’s office and the hat was just a portal between the chamber and the office, or if there’s more to that Sorting Hat than meets the eye. It is funny that in the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry was thinking wildly upon seeing the Hat before being sorted: “Maybe they had to try and get a rabbit out of it” (SS 146). He did end up pulling something out of it, only much more than a rabbit. (It also makes me think of pulling a gift out of Santa’s Christmas bag). I wonder if it was the first time that Dumbledore saw and touched the sword of Godric Gryffindor, after Harry brought it out of the hat.
If Harry returned to Dumbledore a sword that by inheritance belonged to him, was he in a sense symbolically restoring to Dumbledore his rightful title? This is the action of a faithful knight who restores the crown to his king (remember that it is Harry’s loyalty that called to him the highly faithful Phoenix) (I realize some see Harry as a king comparing him to King Arthur. The idea of faithfulness to Dumbledore is so much emphasized throughout the books though that it confers on him a more real kingly status. Harry is a pawn for now. He can inherit a crown though). CoS is the first book in which Dumbledore loses a title (that of Headmaster). He does regain it when he is called back to the school. But then he goes on to lose even more titles in OotP, although again he regains them all back in the end: “Albus Dumbledore, newly reinstated headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, reinstated member of the International Confederation of Wizards, and reinstated Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, was unavailable for comment last night” (*loved that line* OotP 846). It seems Dumbledore is on a roll getting back his titles, why not all his titles, why not the crowning title of the Half-Blood Prince? And with all his titles and the heritage they imply, he’ll be very available for Harry throughout HBP if not for everyone else.
If anyone thinks Dumbledore will not seem as noble-hearted in his love for Muggles if he himself is a Half-Blood, we might ask ourselves, how far back do all the “pure blood” families of wizards go anyway? Just as with Muggle royalty, if we retreat back far enough in time, we’ll end up with a bunch of cavemen or the like. The inscription on the silverware of the Black family “toujours pur” is a bit suspicious. “Always pure”? I wonder. Aren’t all these “pure bloods” deep down a bunch of impostors? Like that monkeyish Slytherin (monkeys imitate), or like that other whoever styling himself “Lord.” Dumbledore knows too much to be fooled by “pure blood” differences of this sort, which is why he respects Muggles as he does Wizards. He sees them simply as they are, in some ways different but profoundly equal.
Rowling said that it is “something” not “some things” that Harry discovers in “Chamber” that foreshadows what is coming in “Prince.” Above I list many things and all of them seem relevant to the HBP. Which single one did Rowling have in mind? If we resolve the image multiplied in all its reflections back into one original idea, I think that the most significant thing Harry discovers, and which can serve as foreshadowing, is that there is such a thing as a “heritage” left behind by a Hogwarts founder, something which is important for understanding and dealing with present events. Maybe more specifically it is that interesting sword of Godric Gryffindor that Rowling was thinking about. Perhaps the chamber of Slytherin is matched in the HBP by a “place of Gryffindor.” I envision this “place” as something more open though, something that inspires freedom… perhaps it is many places.
One of these places may be the Headmaster’s Office. I don’t imagine Gryffindor’s heritage being constrained to a chamber and a basilisk and whatever else may be lurking down there. Gryffindor’s heritage may be vast and difficult to fathom (kind of like Dumbledore’s knowledge and magic). Was the Room of Requirement left behind by Gryffindor? It seems versatile and beneficial enough to be his style. The Sorting Hat out of which Harry pulls Gryffindor’s sword seems a bit like a miniature Room of Requirement, and since the hat was pulled off Gryffindor’s head it seems very likely that he also created the room. I also wonder if the Pensieve Harry and Dumbledore are examining on one HBP cover is one of these inherited things. I have seen interesting comments made about this Pensieve. I am convinced it is a Pensieve, but not Dumbledore’s. Dumbledore’s Pensieve was portable, while this one is affixed to a pillar. That one was not described as battered, whereas this one looks as ancient and cracked as it gets (see the CoS forums thread about the covers, and Fact’s post on Veritaserum).
Most readers in the thread see the green light as a result of the Avada Kedavra curse and deduce that Dumbledore and Harry are watching the night when Harry’s parents were murdered. I think I also saw a suggestion that this may be “Slytherin’s Pensieve.” The pensieve is affixed to a column, and it is true that there are “serpentine columns” in the “Chamber of Secrets.” I think it’s important to notice that there are no serpents engraved on this column holding the Pensieve. I don’t know that Slytherin could have resisted the urge to carve a couple of snakes on his Pensieve. I think we’ve already seen something like Slytherin’s Pensieve in Tom Riddle’s diary (thanks Karima!). This HBP Pensieve seems a bit too peaceful and true to belong to the dark side. Maybe it will reveal some things about the dark side, and that is what the green light is… but maybe not. Green is not necessarily an evil color. Harry’s eyes are green (interesting that the entwined serpents in the Chamber had emerald green eyes: maybe a sign, as with the sword, that Harry can defeat them). Mrs. Weasley knits him a green sweater. Professor McGonagall wears green robes at the beginning of SS. Who knows why there is a green light here. Rowling creates pretty complex symbols. I am sure there is a reason why she lets the good side share the color green.
I can see one reason why Rowling would not have wanted to introduce information about the Half-Blood Prince earlier in the series. Had Harry found out earlier that Dumbledore is the “heir of Gryffindor,” he would have thought that this war was meant to be between the two heirs of the original Slytherin and Gryffindor, Voldemort and Dumbledore. Perhaps Rowling did not want to say too much about Dumbledore early on as it would have taken the spotlight off Harry. By this point in the series, however, we can learn more about Dumbledore without losing Harry as a hero. He has grown to great stature already through the Prophecy. Even if Harry himself is the Heir of Gryffindor, this was too great a discovery to make at such an early point in the novel and it would have reduced the impact of the Prophecy in the fifth book. However, since Rowling did at one point consider placing this information in the second book, I tend to think it was not about Harry at all but about Dumbledore. It is I think more obvious why we would not want more fame for Harry so early on, but it takes more subtlety on the part of the writer to realize that this information about Dumbledore should also be saved for later. Had the Half-Blood Prince been Harry, I don’t think Rowling would have even considered placing that information in the second book. For those who think Harry is the HBP, though, I can see how it would have made for a very nice realization to discover that Harry is the heir of Gryffindor when he feared he was the heir of Slytherin… but it seems a bit too parallel and I have seen so many slanted parallels in Rowling’s books that I wonder. Maybe the message is that Harry can be the heir of Gryffindor by choice: he doesn’t need to be constrained by blood, as the heir of Slytherin is.
I think it is more beautiful that there should not be a perfect parallel matching the heir of Slytherin and the heir of Gryffindor in the final battle. That fight is too equal, like the fight between two kings on a chessboard that ends in a draw. Such was the fight between Dumbledore and Voldemort in the Ministry of Magic. The fight between Voldemort and Harry needs to be and seem unequal. Otherwise things would be too easy and not as rich in meaning. The “blood” of the Half-Blood Prince would not be important in the way Slytherin & co. understand it. Harry had the “royal” blood needed to defeat Voldemort in that he had his mother’s sacrificial blood protecting him. And he has the “royal” blood needed to defeat Voldemort in that he has the friendship of brilliant Prince Dumbledore. It is the “sharing” of the blood that makes it noble: that is, “sharing” in a spiritual sense, not the poor material imitation of it that Voldemort shows by stealing the “blood of the enemy” to make his body.
I wonder about the echo between the last names of Gryffindor and Dumbledore, about that musical reflection of “dor”/”dore.” “D’or” means “of gold” in French – a sign of royalty and truth. “Doros” means gift in Greek, a sign of heritage. Gilderoy Lockhart’s name was interesting. The first name “Gilderoy,” with its “gild” reminiscent of “gilded” and “roy” reminiscent of the French for king means in translation “the gold king.” The last name “Lockhart” makes me think of “lock” and “heart,” perhaps a “closed heart,” a “stingy lack of a heart.” Dumbledore’s “dor” implies both gold and generosity, the open heart of a true king. In CoS, Gilderoy was an impostor, a false king – fool’s gold. Perhaps in HBP the real golden king will make his appearance. In a mirror reflection, one image is the real thing, and the other is only its imitation. And so Gilderoy the image will be replaced by Dumbledore the real prince. The name Gryffindor means “gift of the lion eagle.” It is significant that this animal representing a single House is composite. Was Gryffindor the child gift of a mixed couple, a Half-Blood Prince? And why would Rowling make Dumbledore rhyme with Gryffindor? Dumbledore was a given name, an old form of Bumblebee that Rowling chose for its musical touch. But I think the “dor” of Gryffindor was optional. The rhyme in the last names of Dumbledore and Gryffindor is the sound of the true heir (at the very least it pastiches a partial keeping with the tradition of preserving the father’s last name).
The notion of “heir” may be understood in a new spiritual way and summarized by the suffix “dor.” Rather than being Slytherin’s exclusive concept, it can be an inclusive, generous notion. One can make one an heir not through the constraints of blood, but because one chooses to give a gift to someone. Such an act implies love, which is a sentiment Death Eaters don’t know. For that reason, the only inheritance they will ever understand is bloodline inheritance. The parseltongue of Slytherin that opens his yucky Chamber of Secrets is so stingy that only a handful of wizards speak it, and it is apparently transmitted only through blood, not learned. Only the Heir of Slytherin speaks parseltongue at Hogwarts, with Harry included by a twist of fate. On the other hand, the candy language that opens Dumbledore’s office is the most common form of gift given to children, to all children alike. A headmaster’s office is supposed to be accessible to all the children who need him, and there isn’t a child who can’t pronounce or hasn’t heard or tasted or been curious about the passwords that open Dumbledore’s gargoyle. Candy language is child language.
Candy is generously exchanged in all the books, but it can also take on unexpected subversive powers as Fred and George’s experiments have proved. Lily’s sacrifice of her life was the most powerful gift of the series so far. This spiritual notion of inheritance may foreshadow a more complex notion of who the Half-Blood Prince is. If Dumbledore is related to Gryffindor by blood, Harry will be able to share in that inheritance by receiving generous spiritual gifts from Dumbledore. It could thus also be very meaningful that Harry should receive possibly even Fawkes… I imagine Fawkes being given to Hermione though. She never did buy the owl she needed. She loves fire as much as Dumbledore. And she is the only one of the trio who doesn’t have a bird. I think she would love Fawkes the most. Anyway, let’s wait and see. Depending on who lives, there may be a lot of gift-giving at the end of the books…
The Harry Potter books are built on endless perfect, slanted, or contrasting parallels, and by following the infinite trail of reflections we can discover the complex beauty and genius of Rowling’s writing. We may not necessarily predict everything that is to come… It is so easy to get lost in a hall of mirrors! But the good news for us hungry readers is that once the novels are written and over (sigh…), the hall of mirrors goes on and on and the story, developed at the level of meaningful ideas, never stops. That is the mark of genius for which Rowling should be admired.