Mailbag: Redheads, Rubeus, & Rubedo

A note in my email inbox from this April:

Dear HP Team,

Rubedo: Is it possible that the Weasley family is part of the Rubedo stage along with Hagrid?

I was listening to an old podcast where the guest speaker was lamenting that not much of Hagrid was in the 7th book, and he should have been since he represents “Rubedo”.

However, all of the Weasley family has shockingly RED hair. I would think this intentional. JK Rowling makes a big deal of their red hair throughout the series. If, in fact, they are part of the Rubedo stage, then we do have a significant representation in the final book as they all play a dramatic part, including Percy.

I am curious what your thoughts are on this idea?

Sincerely,

Joy

Three Rubedo notes, Joy!

(1) Rowling said she had to promise her sister not to kill Hagrid in the finale; little sister had threatened never to speak to her again if everyone’s favorite Half-Giant died. As the character with the most obvious ‘red’ name, though, he seemed the most likely character not to survive. The model of Sirius Black dying at the end of the alchemical black book, the nigredo of Order of the Phoenix, and Albus Dumbledore also taking a dive at the end of Half-Blood Prince, the series albedo, made things look real grim for Rubeus in the run-up to Deathly Hallows. We didn’t know about The Presence’s promise to her sister.

(2) But Rubeus wasn’t the only character named ‘red.’ There was Rufus Scrimgeour, right? In Who Killed Albus Dumbledore? (Zossima Press, 2006), I collected the essays and predictions of six Potter Pundits about what had really happened in Half-Blood Prince and what we would learn in Deathly Hallows. Three of us made ‘Live or Die’ predictions for major players in the finale — and all three of us predicted five characters would die: Lord Voldemort, Bellatrix La strange, Rufus Scrimgeour, and, well, Draco and Narcissa Malfoy. All three of us, though, thought that Rubeus would live. We thought Rufus was going to be the Big Red sacrifice and that Hagrid was a red herring. Good for us.

(3) Not to brag, but I was the only one of the three who said Nymphadora Tonks and Severus Snape would die. I also predicted Fred Weasley’s death as well. This might sound like great prescience and insight, but it isn’t. Like Joy, I was thinking alchemically so I thought every red head in the book was possibly marked for a rubedo death; I marked off every one of the Weasleys, to include Fleur, as doomed. I was also the only Pundit who thought Peter Pettigrew would survive. I had some impressive direct hits — and a lot of misses.

Sorry to go off on that nostalgia tangent, Joy, but what a lot of fun the two years between Prince and Hallows were in fandom!

To answer your question at last: YES, the Weasleys as a family of redheads play an alchemical role through the whole series but especially in the two last book. Harry winds up with Ginny after dating Black-haired Cho and White-haired Luna, fRED Weasley dies, Percy rises from a sort-of worse-than-death, separation from his family, and Molly dispatches the witch who killed Sirius in the rubedo climax of the Battle of Hogwarts. They do everything an alchemist expects in a rubedo and, with fRED’s death, satisfying the color scheme formula of the stages in the last three novels.

Thanks for writing! 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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The Passion of Harry Potter, according to Saint John the Evangelist

Much has been said about the Christian themes, symbolism and allusions in Harry Potter, and indeed much remains to be said. In a previous essay, I explained what Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has to do with Holy Week: the time when Christians commemorate the passion (suffering), death and resurrection of Christ. Here I’d like to add a small but (I think) significant observation to my articulation of the striking parallels between Harry’s self-offering and Christ’s.

In John’s Gospel and in none of the others, Jesus takes a moment, almost immediately before surrendering his spirit to God the Father, to “give” his mother Mary to the disciple whom he loved:

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. (John 19: 26-27)

The text implies that with this act, Jesus completes his mission on earth: “After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished…” (19:28a) Indeed, after acknowledging his thirst to fulfill what had been written in Psalm 69, “he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (19:30b)  [Read more…]

Deathly Hallows Tenth Anniversary (2) Looking Back and Looking Forward

From the HogwartsProfessor.com Deep Vaults, a half-hour’s ride with Griphook into the bowels of Gringotts!

As I explain (sort of!) in the video above, in the run-up to the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ten years ago , I made a prediction each day for seven days. How did I do? I’ll let you be the judge.

The Seven Predictions

The day after the finale was published, I started posting discussion threads. In a week or so we were up to thirty. For a taste of that ‘day of release’ excitement, these conversations are a convenient short-cut.

The Thirty ‘Deathly Hallows’ Threads

And then there were the longer posts about what made Deathly Hallows great. I made lists of some of those posts much later in 2007 as a poor man’s ‘Year in Review.’

The 2007 HogPro Greatest Hits List ; Alternative: Top ‘Potter Stories’ in 2007 List

To loop this back to the beginning above, how about some silly speculation? In March, 2007, we learned the title of the last book and we saw its Scholastic cover for the first time. For laughs, check out the best guesses of the best thinking from the best Potter Pundits with respect to what the title and covers were about…

March 2007: ‘The Meaning of the title Deathly Hallows’

March 2007: Thoughts about the Deathly Hallows Book Cover

And don’t forget the video’s message! If you want to receive weekly VLOGS or information about next month’s four free Potter Pundit online classes, you have to sign up for email notification. Sign up for the pdf in the ever recurring Pop Up box (now just as you exit) or head over to PotterPundits.com and share your email address today.

Happy Anniversary, All-Pros! Thanks for liking this post and sharing your thoughts in the comment boxes below!

Deathly Hallows’ Tenth Anniversary (1)

Where was I ten years ago — July 2007 — when Deathly Hallows was published?

I was living in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania, just outside Allentown, in a farmhouse adjacent to the Glasbern Inn farm and property. Six of the seven Granger children were still with us, then aged six to seventeen, the oldest daughter having just left to start college at the Virginia Military Institute.

My plan was to be in London, England, on the day of publication. I’d been invited to speak at a big deal conference as a Featured Speaker with air fare and a room at the Savoy. I had been giving interviews to The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. I did a gig on MSNBC, the A&E channel was playing The Secrets of Harry Potter that eventually became a part of the Phoenix DVD extras and I was featured, and two of my books, Unlocking Harry Potter and Looking for God in Harry Potter (now How Harry Cast His Spell), and one that I edited, Who Killed Albus Dumbledore?, were in the Amazon Top 100. HogwartsProfessor.com had become the weblog you know today in late December, 2016, and was hitting unprecedented and ten-times-normal traffic levels as media sources linked to the several-times-daily posts I was putting up.

I was pretty excited and wearing full Gilderoy plumage. I spoke to my daughter Hannah one weekend, the first phone call home she was allowed as a ‘Rat’ in VMI’s spartan immersion in cadre discipline. I told her my plans for London and my secret wish to meet The Presence Herself. Isn’t it possible that JKR will stop by the biggest fan conference in the same city as the book release?

My oldest daughter, a champion athlete and as deft rhetorically, decided that sarcasm was the pin she needed to burst my balloon.

“That’s great, Dad. You can read the book to your younger children the next time the seventh book in the series comes out.”

What she was talking about was my break with a family tradition. I guess to her, as an Orthodox Christian being initiated into the military caste culture, my desertion of post for individual advantage contra convention and expectation was about as low as I could go. [Read more…]