Potter-porri: Potter Reading to Close the Interlibrum

While I am scrambling to put together my talk for Enlightening 2007 this weekend and write the Tale of Two Cities post that has been haunting me since March (the answer to what happens to Harry in Deathly Hallows?), I keep stumbling upon and reading works of brilliance from friends and friends-I-have-yet-to-meet in the blog-o-live-journal-sphere. I assume that everyone here has quit their job or taking a leave of absence from their senses until 21 July (August?), so here is enough challenging reading to last you until P-Day.

Let’s start out with my heavy hitting co-horts from Who Killed Albus Dumbledore?

Joyce Odell, the Red Hen, has just revised and re-posted her Endgame essay at Red Hen Publications. I have to warn those who have not visited this web site, however, just in fairness — no spoiler alert just a promise: “you will never see the Harry Potter world the same way again.” Joyce is to quality speculation what the Lexicon is to reference points and Accio Quote is to interview-canon. The “one-stop.”

After the Red Hen, there is, well, “the Red Hen and friends.” The contributors to Who Killed Albus Dumbledore have a live journal for their continued refinement of that book’s speculation as well as their new thinking and work-in-tandem. Check that out at http://wkad-staff.livejournal.com/

Two Potter mavens you’ll meet there, Professor Mum and Swythyv, in addition to their Who Killed Albus Dumbledore? LJ efforts have their own live journals. Some of my favorites from Professor Mum are Severus Steps In, the Unified Theory of Everything, Part 1 (Flamel/Voldemort focus) and Part 2(Lucius focus), and Thar Be Opal Dragons.

The mysterious (and delightfully eccentric) Swythyv posts at three sites: the WKAD? Live Journal, at hp_essays, and on her own Live Journal. If Luna Lovegood could pull herself together to write discursively (and with a sahara dry sense of humor), it would read like Swythyv, of whom I cannot get enough.

Here is some lighter reading for your distraction between the depths of profound speculation:

Jack Chick’s cartoon tract “The Nervous Witch,” probably the most widespread, below-the-radar Harry Hating publication in existence;

Some ‘shipping driven alchemical speculation, including this bizarre (and completely false) history of my alchemical musings:

2007-03-29 11:40 am UTC (link)
What is of that one of the wedding of “the red man and the white woman”, in order that Harry could be transformed into gold, presented by Jhon Granger?; (Supposedly, Ron and Hermione). Which has been his mistake on having named to Ron instead of Harry?

I have seen analyses that show Ron and Luna as a secondary pairing, the Red King and the White Queen. Alchemical works like LOTR and Mozart’s “The Magic FLute” include this secondary pairing (Aragorn and Arwen, for example). Luna has a lot of the right qualities for a White Queen: her name, her element (air to Ron’s water), and a tendency to refer to Ron as “my king” when she sings.

Granger originally had theorized that Harry and Hermione would be the chemical wedding. He backtracked later when he decided Harry must be a Christ figure (and therefore die or otherwise sacrifice himself alone). But Rowling has stated emphatically in interviews that she’s not going in that direction.


Is there a “Jhon Granger” out there saying these things? No wonder thoughtful people like “avidbeader” are confused….

Here is a summary article from The Washington Post for a bit of sober sanity after that trip through the ‘Shipping Lanes.

Feel better? Me, too.

How about the news that Kreacher was going to be cut (along with Winky and Dobby?!) from Order of the Phoenix in Hollywood, but Ms. Rowling suggested that he be re-inserted? Major support for the House-Elves-as-Saviors theory, no? Janet Batchler and Travis Prinzi, this may be your biggest prediction bull’s eye…

And last, but not least, here is a recent exchange I have had with a thoughtful daddy on the West Coast whose son has convinced him that Severus and Lily are cousins or related in some way. It is mail like this (and posted comments like this one from Coppinger Bailey) that make the life of a Hogwarts Professor a very good one:

Greetings Dr. Granger,

My name is Max, and I had the good fortune of attending Sonorus 2007 in Lancaster, California. You were courteous enough to sign a note in my copy of ‘Looking for God in Harry Potter’ and share a few words with me. I appreciate the kind gesture, and according to the instructions given in the note placed in the book, here is what I think.

The summer of 2001 I was putting the computer lab together at my kid’s school. It was an annoying experience because no one had a clue what to buy, how to set it up, how to teach it, yada, yada. After doing all that work, all 30 iMacs in their pretty colors were there along with the beefy Power Mac Teacher’s Workstation. It was da’ bomb, and had this neat new program on it called iTunes. Along with iTunes came some stock music and even an audiobook sample, the first four chapters of ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’! The opening of the story made for a fascinating listen while I configured each and every machine. It was so fun I went out and purchased the audiobook for ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’.

Within a few weeks my family and I had listened to all four books. There the sleeping dog pretty well lay until the fifth book came out. I borrowed it from a friend and thoroughly enjoyed it. A couple years later, the same with book six. Borrowed, read, enjoyed. Everything was fine until a fateful day this last spring. March 11, I believe…

I was on business flying from Sacramento to Newark, New Jersey. My flight from Minneapolis to Newark had just been cancelled, and I was rerouted to Detroit. In four hours. So… Whaddayagonnado? I was in the airport bookstore for the longest time looking over EVERYTHING and had just about settled on a biography of Francis of Assisi (Wonderful book!) when, on a whim, I also got the book ‘What will Happen in Harry Potter 7’.

Now because Francis is someone who should be examined thoroughly, in detail, savoring what he was and is, AND because airports, while survivable, by and large aren’t the savoriest places, I trudged into Pottermania. And magic happened. In two hours, I was a new man, hooked by the phenomena and firmly ensconced onto the bandwagon. In a bit of a rush, I purchased the first book, in print this time, and had it read by Detroit. ‘Chamber of Secrets’ was purchased and dispatched by Newark. On the way home, I had ‘Prisoner’ bought and done and then in the Sacto Metro, I got ‘Goblet’. That wasn’t one I would get through in a day. But finish it I did, along with ‘Order of the Phoenix’ and ‘Half-Blood Prince’. Everything done in fifteen days. Then it was time to get to work.

Over the next couple weeks I purchased many different references on the Potter thing. Some were better than others, but the one that really gave me something to chew on was ‘Looking for God in Harry Potter’. It was wonderfully academic, thoughtfully presented, and written for those of us who take those sorts of things seriously. I am a devout Christian, raising my children to trust in and follow and identify themselves as disciples of Christ. Some would say that I am a member of a Satanic cult. Again, whaddayagonnado? I find that those scorekeepers are by and large the same people you show to be misled in their condemnation of all things Potter. Perhaps we have something in common.

Then I discovered Sonorus aught seven. Long drive, town so ugly it’s cute, crappy room, short meeting, but WOW! What a fun time! You and Steve were great! The two of you played off each other beautifully and your Yin to his Yang was the perfect fit. I had to get Janet’s book after the après dinner discussion, just to see what the payoffs were going to be! Steve was funny, and I just LOVED how you mentioned ‘hermaphrodites’ and groans arose from the room. It was so cool that I kind of got it and those other silly people were clueless! I was so proud that I don’t suck! What a great evening. Thanks!

Upon reading your books, I found myself to have a great appreciation for the tour on which you were the guide. I enjoyed your evidentury presentation of the Christian symbolism present in the Potter series, the biographical evidence of Ms Rowling and her Christianity, the commonalities and differences between her and other English-speaking Christian novelists, and all the other potent arguments you shared. The alchemical references were also very insightful; so much so, in fact, that I bought ‘Keys’ at Sonorus; deep -hard to digest- but very enjoyable. These are not books weaving threads of trivia into a weak pattern, they are in depth discussions of realistic foundations for making hypothesis of the past, present, and future. And yet the system we examine is soooo complicated that even with the logical & academic treatment you’ve proposed, it’s still likely all wrong. I, for one, think that’s cool. She’s pretty good, isn’t she…

Now, for my stuff. It’s been said that there’s no such thing anymore as original thought, and I must admit that this isn’t mine, but my 11 yr old son, Brady Michael’s idea. He has proselytized me to the point that now I BELIEVE! Here’s the deal.

Snape and Harry are related. Yep. We think they are.

Now, Dr Granger, when I proposed this at the discussion, you and Steve and Janet gave it the big ol’pooh-pooh. I understand… not only is the idea wacko-out-there, but you had just been on a plane since who knows what time, survived at least two airports, drove from the LA megapolis to the mountain desert, signed legions of books, and then went to a show where you were the main attraction-all in a place where they go to bed in the middle of the night and get up in the middle of the day. And after a very salty dinner you had to perform yet again and although it was much fun, it was a very long trip. I hope it was enjoyable for you, because even with all the difficulties your day encountered, for me being immersed in all that is Harry Potter was still really, really amusing, and your performance was great. So I understand your skepticism, and hope that it was physiological in nature.

Back to Snape & Harry. I’ve looked at some of the story points Beamer lists, reviewing evidence supporting his arguments for familial patterns between Lily and Severus. My son has the advantage that he is not yet burdened by the horneymones the majority of us are tasked with, and doesn’t see things yet in terms of, well, shipping (Why do you hate shipping, anyway?). The relationship between Lily and Snape, in Brady’s eyes, was that of people very familiar. Like a brother and sister. Personally I’m thinking maybe muggle cousins. And after reading Orson Scott Card’s (a fellow cultist) ideas about Snape, along with the other essays in the Snape: Good or Bad book, I’m feeling more and more confident.

You know, in a demented way, I rather wish there was more time until the big reveal. Then I would be able to put together a fully cross-referenced argument in support (or against) our position and write a proper essay for the Hogwart’s Professor. But alas, there was Scout Camp for a week, then week after next it’s San Diego for a professional meeting, and the 50-miler, family trips to amusement parks; – John, I’m married with children. My time is something that doesn’t belong to me. With only two weeks left, it ain’t gonna happen. If you were here at home with me, I’d bet you a… ummm… root beer that Harry and Snape share blood. None of that gross butterscotch milk stuff. Henry Weinharts. Top shelf.

Well, Dr Granger, I thoroughly appreciate your insights into the Harry Potter craze. Thank you for your work. Best wishes to you and your family. May our Lord’s choicest blessings attend you and those you love.



Dear Max,

Your prayers.

Thank you for the wonderful letter, certainly one of the best of the lot received from new friends I made at Sonorus 07! Your story and the sense of humor with which you told it — not to mention your kind comments about my books — have made my day.

Right to the point, though, physiological reasons or no, I still have a very hard time accepting the possibility that Severus and Lily are related. Here’s my sticking point.

One of the 10 Commandments of Detective Fiction is that it’s unfair to the reader not to give him all the necessary clues for solving the problem presented in the story. If we find out in Deathly Hallows that Severus and Lily were cousins (blood relatives on Snape’s muggle side?), I’m afraid it would have the same effect on me as a reader as learning that Sirius had a twin brother and the real godfather didn’t die. Yech.

But…Severus’ genius as a potions master and Slughorn’s testimony that Harry’s mother was at least as good does not suggest some sort of relationship — and I prefer your idea of kinship over the usual suggestions of romance and spurned-love a la Heathcliff. Some have suggested that Lily Evans’ parents include a Squib who was a descendant of Godric Gryffindor. If Snape also has this lineage, it would jibe with the possibility that he is the Gryffindor/Slytherin androgyne (hermaphrodite!) and Harry’s inverse.

So… I like your son’s idea but I don’t see the canon support for it. With your permission, though, I’ll post it on HogPro and see what the mavens there think. Lemmeno if that’s okay and thanks again for your kind note!


John Granger

Dear Dr Granger,

Thanks for the thanks. It’s cool that you replied so quickly. Now,
to the matter at hand.

Far be it from me to violate a commandment. Your points are very well made and I find myself losing faith. Who to believe… Brady Wells, 11 yr old Boy Scout? or John Granger, Hogwarts Professor? I think that the only hope left for Cousin Snape NOT to be Snapecliff would be for hidden clues to have been dropped without our recognition. But still… I wouldn’t be surprised.
You think she ever read it? Hmmm. Which type do you think directs the shadow she casts? The Heathcliff-Edgar/Cathy pattern or the ‘Luke… I AM your father!’ pattern? She may well be known one day as one of the masters, but then again, she did get the movie deal…
Too much stuff! Need more time!
Okay, here’s the deal. I’ll begin the research post-haste and you call Jo and get her to hold up the book. Just for another week. I mean, come on, you’ll have more pull than I do! You kids have lots to talk about, anyway, and now you have a reason to call. She MUST know who you are! Really! She’d be giddy!

You asked if its okay. I’m flattered. Of course, it’s okay. Permission granted. Make it so.

Dr Granger, I am grateful for your attention. You are every bit as kind as your books and presentations have forecast. It’s nice, every once in a while, to have someone to actually be the person they’re publicized as being. Best wishes and consideration to you and those you love.


Dear Max,

Three quick morning points:

(1) I ain’t no doctor… just a happy mister. The Hogwarts Professor monicker is just a show name.

(2) I re-read my note and I misspoke in the paragraph about Lily, Snape, and Slughorn; it should read “does suggest” rather than “does not suggest.”

(3) I started laughing at “snapeCliff” and was roaring by your letter’s end. Thanks again for making another day a good one!

Grateful John, hoping you and Brady are right about SnapeCliff

Post: You didn’t give me permission to post this on HogPro so I’ll take this as “permission denied.” Shucks!

Actually, as you probably saw, Max had given me permission and wrote me to share Brady’s getting a part in a play and his other summer plans. Other than the “Dr. Granger” stuff (maybe I should change the site name from “Hogwarts Professor” to “Hogsmeade Observer”?), correspondence of this variety and quality is a first-rate and wonderfully inexpensive life-enhancer.

Anyone with compelling arguments for or against the Severus-Lily being cousins theory, please post them here in the comment boxes!

I close this Potter-porri to get you through the last days of the Interlibrum with my hope that you all will stay in touch after the release of Deathly Hallows. I’ll continue to answer every email and letter I receive; thank you in advance for writing!


  1. Another piece of hilarious correspondence:

    From Gary at Whirlwood Wands

    I predict that:

    Harry, Ron and Hermione (and maybe Ginny) spend most of Deathly Hallows retrieving the Horcruxes, getting lots of help and luck and close calls along the way.

    The Black family house-elf has the locket in his cubby.

    Percy saves his father and comes back to the family.

    Longbottom and Luna hook up.

    Draco helps Harry or Harry helps Draco.

    Lupin kills Fenrir Greyback, the bad werewolf.

    Longbottom either kills or captures Bellatrix.

    Voldemort kills Longbottom, unknowingly fulfilling the prophecy.

    Snape saves Harry (and maybe Draco) when he kills Voldemort.

    Dumbledore was mortally wounded by Voldemort’s curse when he tried to destroy the Ring Horcrux. He knew he was dying because his black withered hand was not healing. He begged Snape to kill him, thus putting Snape as Voldemort’s trusted right hand, in position to kill him. So, in effect, Voldemort kills Dumbledore, and Dumbledore kills Voldemort.

    Of course Ron + Hermione. Harry + Ginny.

    Harry goes on to be the DADA teacher and Headmaster of Hogwarts. Hermione, Minister of magic.

    Hagrid is awarded his wand back by the ministry of magic for being a great hero.

    Ron teams up with Crab or Goyle to become the new Laurel and Hardy.

    Frodo hooks up with Dobby in West Hollywood.

    George Bush hooks up with Michael Jackson in Dubai; he spends the rest of his life planting brush and spanking little Arab boys.

    Dick Cheney with all new body parts from Gitmo prisoners, takes over the world, turns Hogwarts into torture camp for Mudbloods and liberals.

    Hogsmead becomes oil refinery for Exxon-Chevron.

    Rupert Murdoch buys the Daily Prophet.

    At&T poisons all owls on earth.

    Ministry of Magic becomes underground nuclear testing facility.

    Gandalf the Clear returns to save the world.

    The Chinese take over.

  2. Travis Prinzi says

    Oh, and the Card essay is great. I commented on it in some detail in Hog’s Head PubCast #29.

  3. Actually, the kid may have something there with his Snape-Harry kinship idea. Just not through Lily. If there is a kinship, it would be through James.

    And there may well be a tenuous kin connection there, too, particularly if Harry was right in his conviction that Snape’s mother’s family were purebloods. (I’m not convinced of that. When does Harry ever get it right when the subject is Snape?) By this time *all* of the families who account themselves to be purebloods are miserably interrelated. The Princes (if “pure”) and the Potters no less than any others.

    And we’ve been tacitly handed such a clue of unacknowledged relationships with that silly Black family tapestry. Is there one word, one word *at all* in canon that James and Sirius are related? Not a one that I can recall — although when asked about the Malfoys Black makes his point about all the families being related to one another.

    And yet there are Potters *on* that tapestry. In fact, if the Dorea Potter on that tapestry, with the 1 son notation is supposed to be James Potter’s mother, then he and Sirius’s crazy mother were 1st cousins. Yes, that’s right, they were as closely related as Sirius and Bellatrix.

    I admit that there are no Princes showing up in the last 6 generations on the Black family tapestry. But we do not have access to a Potter tapestry.

  4. Travis Prinzi says

    Yes, I was quite thrilled to read the Kreacher information. Go, house-elves! I’m looking forward to a hopeful resolution to their plight that lands them in the role of hero before the end of book 7. Somehow, I’m hoping JKR resolves this difficult house-elf plot with the conclusion, “Without the help of the house-elves, the Wizarding World would have been lost.”

  5. pamgalloway says

    I believe Brady’s speculations have merit. It is difficult to ignore parallels
    regarding Snape’s childhood and Harry’s. Clearly, there was some level
    of relationship between Severus and Lily. And, we have been promised information about Petunia, who has a resemblance to Severus, with their
    dark and pinched visages. Also, remember Voldemort gave Lily a
    chance to live at Godric’s Hollow. Could that indicate a bloodline to Snape,
    Voldemort’s trusted follower and a potions master to boot?
    I believe in the “good” Severus, partly because Dumbledore trusted him and also because, though he has borne a suspect and unflattering form, he has repeatedly stepped up when needed…saving Harry from Quirrell, making potions for Lupin, instructing Harry in occlumency, and who knows what all he did for Dumbledore during that last year.
    To be sure, Severus is a wounded soul, but I believe him to be loyal, because he has known love. I believe that as love saved Harry, it has
    also saved Severus.

  6. But, Joyce, there is a “Prince” on the Black family tree!

    “Regulus” is the Latin word for “Prince.”

    Oh, well, please forgive me that bit of fluff (however true).

  7. John, these are great letters, and I agree with Max–we need more time. However, don’t you dare try to get Rowling to roll back (sorry, that was bad) the release date. I’ve managed to wriggle my way out of being on the day camp overnight on the 20th, but that means I have to be on the one on the 27th. And I don’t think I honestly could stand to wait any longer anyway.

    I was laughing out loud by the time I got to the last part of Gary’s predictions. I think we’re all headed down the same path–the closer the end gets, the more wild some of our thoughts. What avenues have we not explored for theories? Time to get those out before we actually know what happened, who did what and when, and where those blasted Horcruxes are–and if they are even that important. Is THAT the biggest red herring of the books? No, probably not.

    But as for Brady’s idea of cousins Lily and Snape–I’d heard something like that before. While it’s possible–I’m related to our old family friends because her grandmother and my father were some sort of cousins. We never figured out the proper term, and just told people we were cousins–it was easier.

    The problem I have with that is that Harry was left with the Dursleys because they were his only living relatives. Of course, I don’t think anyone in his right mind would have left baby Harry with Severus Snape, even as repentent Death Eater, now Dumbledore’s man and best spy. Can you imagine what Harry’s childhood would have been like with Snape as his guardian/parental figure? Oh, my. Actually, I find that idea quite entertaining–Harry accidentally doing some magic, and Snape swatting him down like one of those flies he used to blast; or Harry asking to have friend come over to play? Wouldn’t they have a grand time with Cousin (however many times removed) Severus lurking about and zapping them with spells through the walls like he did to Wormtail.

    I’m still partial to the idea that the Lily/Snape connection is not a familial one, or a romantic one, but one of friendship. Not the kind of friendship that we see with Harry, Ron and Hermione, where they do everything together, but the kind that comes from respecting a classmate who is good at the same things that you are–namely, Potions. And they both lived in the muggle world during holidays. They might even have come from the same neighborhood. (Imagine that Petunia and Lily lived somewhere near Spinner’s End, and that could account for Petunia’s obsession with cleanliness and order and with having a house that’s as good as or better than her neighbor’s houses.) To take that a bit further, if they lived nearby, they might have spent some time during the summer–it must have been as boring for Lily to be stuck in the muggle world with only her sister to talk to–even sullen Severus, good at Potions, might have been a welcome relief. (And he certainly fits that description from Petunia as the “awful boy”, better, I think, than James or Sirius.

    Anyway, delightful things to keep us occupied unitl the book. And it’s now just hours before the Order of the Phoenix movie, so I think I’ll go back to getting that one finished this afternoon.

    Thanks, again, John. I think I sometimes take all of the insights you’ve shared–and everyone else as well–for granted, because we’ve been doing this so long. Nice to have someone’s perspective who has just come to appreciate Potter more recently–it makes it all fresh again.


  8. A fascinating speculative post on Voldemort meeting his end as a captive of the Dementors: http://kimbersrun.livejournal.com/125702.html#cutid1

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