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Just a few scattered impressions, as I'm a bit spacy right now. Y'see, I started at about 11 pm last night and finished up around 6 am this morning, then got about four hours of sleep before having to get up to head to my sister's for lunch.

  • I think Snape and Alias' Jack Bristow have some personality traits in common: both definitely have that "by any means necessary" thing going on that leads them right up to the very edge of the dark side, sometimes crossing the line. Some miscreant on the 'net deliberately put the book's biggest spoiler right out where everyone could see it in 20-point type with a scrolling marquee and extra exclamation points in a community where it had no business being, so I knew the big loss right from the beginning. At first I was really disappointed, but it allowed me to watch for a few things early in the book.

    I think Snape had to kill Dumbledore, else he would risk exposure and undo all he had achieved as a spy, not to mention being killed by his companions . . . Dumbledore would have died anyway, and if Snape were killed, too, there would be no mole, no infiltrator with information to protect Harry. That whole "he's a good actor" road runs both ways. Make no mistake: I think Severus dislikes Harry, and he fails to give Harry credit for being quite different from his father in certain respects. Regardless of that, however, I think he is loyal to Dumbledore.

    Keep in mind that Dumbledore asked Lupin to infiltrate the werewolves that were aiding Voldemort, so asking those he trusts, including Snape, to spy on the enemy is not out of character. Dumbledore does trust Snape for a specific reason, though the real reason has yet to be uncovered. We are reminded of Snape's merits several times during the book: Although whatever curse was on Malvolo's ring protecting the Horcrux caused Dumbledore's hand to be permanently withered, he indicates that he might have lost his life instead of his hand had Snape not saved him. Lupin mentions Snape's proper preparation of his monthly potion.

    However, Snape was willing to take the Unbreakable Vow, knowing full well what it would entail. He could very easily have begged off, despite the fact that he seems to care for Narcissa, indicating that it was Voldemort's order for Draco to complete the task, and that he would not cross his loyalty to the Dark Lord.

    So . . . do a couple of plot lines cross paths here? The chance to prevent Draco from committing murder that would seal him to the path of shadow? Also, perhaps, I think that Severus told Dumbledore of the plot to kill him, and that he had taken an Unbreakable Vow. Furthermore, the potion Albus consumed in obtaining the false Horcrux may have had side effects he did not anticipate -- opening himself up to Voldemort, for example. Perhaps Snape had to play Judas in order for the world to be saved. Dumbledore did ask Severus to kill him.

    Of course, all of this could be wrong, but I would be horribly disappointed if Rowling made Snape a true villain after all. It would be terribly trite, and would completely undermine the fascinating character she's created.

  • Some folks are speculating that Dumbledore isn't really dead, basing their points on the fact that 1) the Avada Kedavra curse has to be uttered with hatred, and 2) in Goblet of Fire, all four victims of the curse have their eyes wide open after death. Dumbledore's eyes are closed. Hey, it's a magic world, anything can happen, and Dumbledore has done disappearing acts before.

    This could be corroborated by several factors: the fifth book is named The Order of the Phoenix. Who heads up the order? Dumbledore. Who has a phoenix in his office? Dumbledore. What bird rises from death? The phoenix. And who disappeared after Dumbledore's funeral? Fawkes, the phoenix -- I'm sure we'll discover where he went in the last book. There's heavy suggestion that Dumbledore's Patronus is a phoenix. He even looks like Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, who also rose from the dead -- no reason for us not to expect that Dumbledore won't return. Heck, you could even say that there's a loose parallel of symbology working between Dumbledore/Fawkes and Gandalf/Gwaihir.

    One other thing -- whether or not Dumbledore stays deceased, can't Harry and McGonagall just talk with him through his headmaster's portrait in the office? We've seen that they can be chatty.

    However, I'd be even more surprised if Sirius didn't come back. He fell through a portal, for crying out loud, a door. Doors go both ways, and there's been so much emphasis on Harry's lack of a father figure that I would be incredibly shocked if he didn't return.

    Speaking of death, no, I don't think Harry's going to die, not unless J.K. thinks she needs to kill her protagonist off to keep herself from being tempted to write more. I do think that Snape might sacrifice himself in some way in book 7.

  • I liked Rowling's structure on this one: Dumbledore speaks of love as the great differentiator between the sides, and she parallels this heavily with the relationships in the book: Fleur and Bill, Ron and Hermione, Harry and Ginny, Tonks and Lupin, etc. It got me to wondering a bit about Dumbledore's family, though. We never hear much about the family of any of the faculty members, it's true, but given that he's such a high profile figure, hearing nothing about a spouse or a child of any sort seems a tiny bit odd. Surely he's had some romance in his past, with that swanky purple suit and all. :)

  • I don't think we've seen the last of Horace Slughorn and the venom. Consider Dumbledore's advice to Harry to be careful around him, the repeated comparisons of Horace to a spider, and his keen interest in Aragog's venom. No, I don't think he'll use it himself, but given that we know he has a bit of vanity and likes his creature comforts, I don't think he'll be particularly selective about the buyer or the buyer's plans for the venom. We also know that he's let rather important bits slip before. No, given that Rowling made rather sure that we knew the venom had been harvested, I think we'll see it again. Besides, spiders are a recurring them in the books, and I don't think she's inclined to let go of them in the last one.

  • Is Harry's scar the container for a Horcrux? Is he a descendant of Godric Gryffindor? Dumbledore at least indicates that a living being may contain a Horcrux when he mentions Voldemort's snake, Nagini, as a possible container, though he later dismisses that idea. He also mentions that he believes Voldemort planned to use Harry's death to create the final Horcrux (as its creation necessitates a murder), but obviously something went quite wrong. Harry's scar pains him wihen Voldemort is near or present in some form.

  • Speaking of Harry's scar, he has another one that has steeled him and shaped his character: the one on his hand from Dolores Umbridge. She deserved so much worse than she got.

    More on Harry: nice that he actually got to be right about Draco.

  • Interesting little bit of character reinforcement on Hermione Granger: she fussed at Harry about the luck potion that he didn't actually use on Ron, after she'd truly altered the outcome of the Quidditch trials. And this isn't her first "for your own good" use of her powers. As Ron says: "You're a little scary sometimes. Brilliant, but scary." She's an ethical, responsible young woman, but perhaps also the most likely of the three to be vulnerable to the proverb: "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." Ron is kind of an anchor for her.

  • We never really got an answer in the book as to why the school has never been able to keep a Defense of the Dark Arts teacher since Voldemort's visit. Dumbledore mentioned it, but if he specifically laid it out, I missed it (it's possible: it was very late at night by that point). Just what was that little flick of the wand that Harry saw from Voldemort in the Pensieve?

  • Poor Draco. He and Smallville's Lex need to have some ice cream together and talk about their fathers.

  • Neville. I think he'll have his role in the final book, but I'm curious to see what it will be. I also suspect we haven't seen the last of Kreacher and Dobby: the house elves will get their little bow in the last book, I'm sure.

  • Hogwarts. They're leaving. What part will the school play? It's been the backdrop for the whole series: will it be the place where Dumbledore's Army makes its final stand, with Harry "Dumbledore's man, through and through" commanding? Yet at the end of HBP, they're speaking of closing it, and I think Harry's about to begin the last leg of his hero's journey in earnest, leaving the safety of its confines. Closing it over ENTJ Minerva McGonagall's dead body, I'm thinking (and I sure hope that never happens to her). I think it will be there, the school is a character in itself, but J.K. is definitely in the part where she strips away Harry's supports to force him to stand on his own (though he's always had his peers, esp. the trinity of himself, Hermione, and Ron), so it might be present in a much more limited way.

Overall, I liked it. I think my only exceedingly microscopically minor quibble upon first reading is that writing in the margins of a book is very uncharacteristic of an INTJ (Snape). Necessary plot device, I know, but no INTJ I know has done so, and I count a greater-than-average percentage of them among my friends, including my husband. I think the seventh book is going to be very long, though: there's a lot of ground to cover, and many unanswered questions remain. I think she can pull all the threads together -- the editors aren't stupid enough to trim the finale in any way shape or form, so I'm sure she has as many pages as she needs -- but again, I think it's going to be the longest one yet.

I want to reread the whole series, start to finish.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 25th, 2005 02:51 am (UTC)
* Sees post. Sees spoiler warning. Gives you a hug but doesn't read a word of it otherwise!*

I don't plan to read the book, but I do plan to see the movie eventually. I don't want to spoil that.
Jul. 25th, 2005 03:37 am (UTC)
*huggles* Ferret, sugar! *beams*

And you're smart not to spoil yourself with information from the books, then. Most definitely.
Jul. 25th, 2005 12:00 pm (UTC)
Snape has to die in book 7. Otherwise, when Voldemort is defeated, where can he go? He killed Dumbledore, and even if acting on D's orders, no one is going to forgive him that.

I noticed Harry, however, failed to fulfill his promise, as Dumbledore ordered him to kill him while drinking the potion, and he did not.

The one thing that really bugged me was that Spiderman thing at the end with Harry and Ginny. That was just dumb. I wonder how she feels that Hermione and Ron are always by his side, but she's not going to be (not that I don't think she's going to fight this).

Husband pointed out one thing about Malfoy and love - he has something Harry and Voldy didn't have - parents who love him. (or at least his mom).

Anyway. Fun to speculate, and years to wait...
Jul. 25th, 2005 04:38 pm (UTC)
Writer that you are, you're probably right, though I think Snape deserves a little peace and happiness after all of this. I think he's paid for his time as a Death Eater.

We don't know that Dumbledore is actually dead, though. Yes, Snape gave the appearance of killing him, but there are hints that suggest it could be a false slumber.

Harry's failure to fulfil his promise . . . you're technically correct, however, I can imagine myself in Harry's position. After taking the potion, how could he be certain who was addressing him through Dumbledore? It seemed like Dumbledore was reliving a lot of someone else's memories, and reacting and speaking as that person would, so I'm not sure it counts if he believed that it wasn't exactly Dumbledore driving the car, as it were. Furthermore, he was still obeying Dumbledore's original order when he was definitely himself, which was to make him keep drinking the potion no matter what happened.

I kind of wondered about that, too, with Harry and Ginny, but even though she is his girlfriend, it kind of needs to be the trio standing together as they have throughout the books in book 7.

*nods* Yep, Narcissa's love for her child is another relationship in the book that supports Dumbledore's premise. Mrs. Weasley hugging Percy, indicating that she still loves her lost sheep . . . love definitely isn't limited to the romantic sort in this one.

And by the way, happy birthday, you. :)
Jul. 25th, 2005 01:37 pm (UTC)
(Hi, I'm Ryn, cryptonaut's wife.)

One other thing that I'd throw into the mix is the Polyjuice Potion. It's mentioned several times throughout the book, and we see the Weasleys exchanging passwords. Maybe it wasn't Snape. Maybe it wasn't Dumbledore. Although I do like the idea of Dumbledore rising from the ashes, phoenix-like.
Jul. 25th, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC)
First, a warm welcome to you, and thank you for visiting my journal and taking the time to comment. :)

You're right, it was definitely mentioned several times. I have to wonder, though . . . if it wasn't Snape, then who was it? And if not Dumbledore, well, where did he go? Someone got buried.

I do think the Polyjuice potion will be used, or perhaps already has been used without our being aware of it. However, the only problem I have with this theory is that I cannot think of anyone appropriate to step into the shoes of either role, someone close enough to the scenario to be apprised of the plot and serve as the fall guy. I can't think of anyone who would fit -- maybe I'm overlooking someone obvious. However, Rowling could surprise us.:)
Jul. 25th, 2005 03:46 pm (UTC)
You make a good point about the wide open eyes! When you consider that Snape spent all term teaching *silent* spellcasting, and told Harry, as he was running away, he would never get anywhere until he learned to close his mouth, perhaps he cast a silent spell first before faking the lethal one?

I agree that Snape is probably more good than we are allowed to see. By killing DD in Dracos place, he not only sealed his cover with V but saved Draco from fracturing his own soul and possibly forced him off the road to ruin.

When I first finished it I was a little let down as it was a slower book than the other and seemingly not as content heavy but as I think about it, it's probably the most subtle and adult book yet! So much going on behind the story!
Jul. 25th, 2005 06:49 pm (UTC)
I think you might really have something there with the silent spellcasting. Good thinking!

I think this one is my favorite one since Azkaban. I quite liked it.

After writing my thoughts up, I went prowling around for other discussion on the book. Some folks are suggesting that R.A.B. is Regulus Black, one of Sirius Black's relatives, and indeed, there is apparently evidence to suggest this given a locket that was mentioned in Order of the Phoenix.

It's hard to wait for the next book.
Jul. 25th, 2005 05:07 pm (UTC)
comment 1
Finally!!! someone else (whose opinion I care about) has finished the book! :)
i finished it a week ago sunday...
okay - and, by the way, of all things to get fussy at, you, miss thing, would pick writing in the margins! *big grin* as an enfj, i wrote in the margins and it didn't occur to me that someone wouldn't...especially if it's a schoolbook and a working textbook - the only thing she could have done otherwise would be to use a sticky-note spell or something to add the additional comments, which harry would have had to unravel, which would have been pretty neat - as hermione probably could have figured it out in less than a minute...

as for hermione and ron, i think you're right, i think ron is her anchor, just as she is his. i always thought ron & hermione would get together...there was a bit of a hint in one of the movies - the chamber of secrets, when hermione was cured and she ran to hug harry, and then turned to ron, and they had that awkward tension - plus a bazillion little bits in the book, which showed that hermione was just waiting for ron to catch up - such as in the goblet of fire when ron vociferously objected to hermione dating viktor krum.

my main quibble with the book: (can you tell i'm an enfj?!)
i thought the spiderman bit at the end of the book with harry & ginny was ridiculous...i think she could have just waited to get them together in book 7 and that would have been better -- make much more sense...she probably couldn't think of anyone else to pair him with in book 6, which would have been nice, before going to ginny...i can just see if she does an epilogue to book 7, with harry being head of hogwarts, married to ginny, with a bunch of children...with ron & hermione married & working in the ministry, after all of them have retired from being aurors...

as for snape - i have to agree with you, in that he was put in a bind by being asked to take the unbreakable vow, as he couldn't quite beg off if he wanted to retain his position, i think voldemort would have heard back and asked why he didn't take the vow once he was asked and would have called snape weak. although, i do think he is dumbledore's man through & through, and being so, i definitely believe he is going to die in book 7, as there is no where else he can go. i do think he underestimates harry quite a bit, but i also think in book 6 we see how powerful snape really is and can be.

as for dumbledore, i don't know that he is really dead. the casket sealed a bit too tightly before he was buried...i think he will explain to harry and tie up some loose ends after snape is killed defending harry at how snape was misunderstood to the last, and various other bits...

as for sirius, i think harry will see him again, but i don't know in what form...rowling is quite creative, amazingly so...

i agree with you about neville, and the rest of dumbledore's army, as well as dobby...they will play at least a minor role in helping to bring down voldemort & his supporters...

as for the defense against the dark arts teacher - i think that will be explained at the end of book 7 via dumbledore, or even mcgonagall...

as for the school possibly being closed...i think that at least partway through the book, it will have to be open, and in the end it will be open...harry has to go back there to retrieve snape's book...maybe...but still, i can't envision her not having the school in at least part of the 7th book.

i definitely think we'll see more of the polyjuice potion, horace slughorn, the spiders...

as for harry's scar - he is linked to voldemort with it, but i don't think it's a horcrux...and, how does horace slughorn know about horcruxes anyway....when dumbledore didn't....

anyway - i thoroughly enjoyed the book...i'm waiting to re-read it for a few weeks, then i'll read the whole series again...

oh, as for dumbledore's past history - i could definitely see rowling do a separate book just about dumbledore & how he got to be headmaster...

hugs and smiles

Jul. 27th, 2005 07:02 pm (UTC)
Re: comment 1
* The margin writing thing. Now that David's finished it, I asked him to verify, as my resident INTJ: "Sweetheart, did you ever write in the margins of your textbooks?" "No." "Okay, that's what I thought."

Just think of Snape's structure, his desire for control. Think of the precision required for potions: one drop too much or too little, and you could have a mess on your hands. No way he'd leave a book containing spells he'd created just lying around with the potential of being handed out to a student. If it were an old notebook that had obviously been misplaced, I would've been more inclined to buy it. Leaving something of value like that around carelessly is not his way, so that makes me wonder if it was on purpose, but it couldn't have been an on-purpose delivery to help Harry because he didn't know that particular book would be given to him.

Why, yes, I know I'm overthinking the above. ;) :) :)

* The Spider-Man bit: I almost halfway wonder if it's a red herring to make us think she's going to kill Harry in #7.

* Sirius . . . I know some people see him as too much of a loose cannon to have Harry as a ward, but Harry is a young man, now, not a child. I have no problem at all with Sirius being like a cool young uncle. He's not Harry's father, and I don't think Harry sees him that way. As far as seeing him agan, I wonder if the mirror he gave Harry will come back into play?

* I guess I'm wondering about the scar as a Horcrux because it would help explain why Harry had such access to Voldemort's thoughts, and why his scar hurt. But you're right in that it could be something else entirely.

* I still want to know Mr. Ollivander's fate. They suggested what it might've been, but I hope for his rescue.

A short story or novelette about Young Dumbledore could be a very fun read.
Jul. 25th, 2005 05:08 pm (UTC)
comment 2
the auto-format cut off my first comment...

also, i agree with you about love being the defining separation point between the two sides. i was tickled pink to see tonks & lupin, and then to see that fleur really did love bill when she didn't care how he looked, which of course, won over mrs. weasley. i was also pleased that ron was ok with harry being with ginny - which means to me that harry & ginny will end up together, i hope, as ron hates everyone else ginny is with...

Jul. 27th, 2005 07:04 pm (UTC)
Re: comment 2
I'm a little weirded by Tonks and Lupin, but only because I really honestly thought that Lupin was gay. Not a big deal, though. Tonks is cool.

In response to your kindly message, thank you, sweetie. You really do try to help and come up with solutions! :) We've looked at a few foreclosures here and there -- they come up in the regular listings from time to time.

Jul. 27th, 2005 07:26 pm (UTC)
Re: comment 2
i think joan is right about the silent spell silencing or putting dumbledore to sleep before the spoken spell thing....

as for trying to find solutions - that's what friends are for... *grin*

now, on the flip side, can you help me figure out a way to convince my husband that the 3 of us staying in a small bedroom big enough to fit only 2 twin beds is a baaaaaddddd idea???
*wry smile*

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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