Guest Essay5: “If the Wand Chooses the Wizard…”

From Beth Priest, HogPro All-Pro, old school:

One question I’ve been puzzling over for ages: If the “wand chooses the wizard,” then why on earth did Voldemort’s wand choose him? since it’s got a tail feather from Fawkes! Apparently there have only ever been two such wands in existence. (Where they made at the same time? And on what occasion did Fawkes decide to donate two of his feathers for such a purpose? Did Dumbledore have anything to do with those wands being made? And why were there two?)

It’s just always seemed very odd to me that a wand, seemingly so connected to a bird of beauty, rightness, and power, a bird symbolic of resurrection, a bird connected so deeply to a powerful Gryffindor, would choose an orphan boy with a penchant for cruelty and a huge fear of death who also happens to be the last remaining ancestor of Salazar Slytherin. Decidedly strange. Remember when Harry first chooses his wand; or rather the wand chooses Harry? Red and gold sparks actually fly out of it! It’s hard to imagine that green and silver sparks would have flown out of Tom Riddle’s wand, made with the same core. Unless….

Here are my two ideas. One is a new idea for me, and the other is an old one I’ve played around with for a while. [Read more…]

PDay Minus Five: Prediction #3 “Mistaken Identities”

Monday of Potter Week and we’re up to the third Five Keys Prediction for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This one will cause a lot of eyeball rolling and dilatory disputation, if the latter is possible when much of Deathly Hallows has supposedly been posted online, because the subject of “Mistaken Identities” is not a “no-brainer,” especially when it comes to naming names.

Here, then, is my disclaimer about these predictions.

I’m not a brilliant writer of fiction as is Ms. Rowling and I am not a wizard. When I make predictions, consequently, I’m not doing this with the serious intention of hitting bulls eyes. I’m firing at a target in a dark forest, and, while the target is fixed, not moving, I can’t see it and I don’t know where it is. I’ll be delighted and as surprised as anyone if I am correct in the details of any of my predictions. Outside of a few “hits” in the past (Snape as Half-Blood Prince, Ron and Ginny as “Quarreling Couple,” Death of Dumbledore, weather predictions, etc.), all my plot point predictions have been wrong.

Why do I bother?

My intention in making these predictions is to illustrate the Five Keys that open up or “unlock” Harry Potter for the serious reader. I’ve tried to make the best-guesses fun and engaging, even credible because they are detailed rather than formless generalities, but they’re just mind-grabbing illustrations of the Five Keys. The specifics are almost certainly wrong but the Five Keys the predictions exemplify are very valuable (read Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader to see what I’m talking about!).

Back to “Mistaken Identities.”

In the “Hero’s Journey” chapter of Unlocking Harry Potter, I detail the repeated cycles, patterns, and story points that Ms. Rowling uses in most every book. One of the most interesting of the story points that she uses is “Mistaken Identities.” The existence of Polyjuice Potion, Animagi, and simpler Transfiguration spells mean that Hogwarts School specifically (and the Wizarding World in general) is not a place where you can be sure the person you’re speaking with or just seeing is the person you think you’re seeing or talking to. [Read more…]

PDay Minus Six: Prediction #2 “The Master Plan Will Be Revealed”

One of my sure-thing predictions has already come in, alas. Judy over at Sword of Gryffindor reports that:

It appears DH has finally leaked; someone has a stolen library book copy (I knew giving the librarians permission to open them early was a bad idea!) and has taken pictures of the first four hundred pages. I’ve spent hours trying to find fault with them, but unfortunately, they are flawless. The book dedication itself is what got me; it was uniquely and supremely Jo, no hoaxer could have come up with it.

She goes on to write that Fandom internet sites are already flooded with postings about the characters who have died, etc.

“Say it ain’t so, Jo!”

I guess there is little point in posting predictions this week, is there? If I hit something spot on, then it’s not genius or the Five Keys, it’s because the prediction is about something that is now common knowledge. If I post something that is clearly wrong, of course, someone will write to enlighten us with what they have read and spoil the surprise for me. No, I won’t post anything here from these “spoiler-sports.”

Looks like a lose-lose situation. That’s not even mentioning that thousands if not millions of readers are getting a head start on Deathly Hallows, effectively popping the critical mass of readers with anticipation who might be following the fun discussions “that might have been” during Potter Week.

As my Drill Instructors like to say at Parris Island, “Oh, well!”

On the off-chance that Judy just woke from an Alice in Wonderland dream (with a live journal url and links to the 400 copied pages? right!), I’ll persevere for a few days. MuggleNet and Leaky, as you’d expect, have not posted anything about this, but CNN and MSN are quiet as well. There is reason to hope! FYI, all the predictions made here are from my Enlightening 2007 talk given last Friday in Philadelphia and filmed by the “We Are Wizards” documentary crew.

Prediction #2: The Master Plan is Revealed

The Rubedo or ‘red’ and last stage of the alchemical drama is about the revelation of the work already accomplished in the white stage. Deathly Hallows, consequently, as the crimson crucible of Harry Potter, will largely be about what we missed in Half-Blood Prince. More specifically, I think we will learn how everything in Half-Blood Prince, from Harry’s tutorials up to the melodrama on the Astronomy Tower, was staged to deceive the Dark Lord via his Horcrux/mind-link with Harry. [Read more…]

PDay Minus Seven (Bastille Day, 2007)– Prediction #1: Deathly Hallows Will Be Very Much Like the First Six Harry Potter Novels

Before I get into the sublimely risible business of making predictions about what we will learn in Ms. Rowling’s finale to her Harry Potter magnus opus, let me make a few guesses that I would bet my daughter’s flute on [I would have said “the family cars” but the flute cost more than our cars….]

(1) The Steve Vander Ark Prediction: Harry Potter “Big Name Fandomers” come in three main tiers. The third tier are the many writers and bloggers who have created followings on the internet via their fan-fiction and better-than-the-average-bear speculations. The second tier is the gaggle, ever growing, of book writers and featured speakers at conferences. The first layer of the hierarchy, those just below Ms. Rowling herself and the players in the films made from her books, are those who lead the fan sites that get hundreds of thousands of hits a day — and whom the publicity folks at Warner Brothers and Bloomsbury and Scholastic court.

The Triumvirate of this upper crust are Lexicon Steve, MuggleNet Emerson, and Leaky Melissa. [Read more…]

Lev Grossman, atheist, on record again that Ms. Rowling is a Secular Artist

If you missed the latest brou-ha-ha in Time magazine about Harry Potter this week, take a minute to read Lev Grossman’s celebration there of Ms. Rowling’s putting more nails in God’s coffin. In an article titled, “Who Dies in Harry Potter? God,” Grossman confirms both that he doesn’t see anything except what he wants in the series and that he has an atheistic agenda. Travis Prinzi, as usual, has stepped to the plate over at Sword of Gryffindor to reveal the nonsense Mr. Grossman has served up for what it is. Mr. Prinzi’s analysis deserves your attention.

Mr. Grossman affirmed the bias he brings to the books in an interview that Reyhan found on NerdWorld.com and posted in the comment boxes at Sword of Gryffindor: [Read more…]