And you may be wondering why I bring this up at the start of a Reading for Pleasure Wednesday post. It is because when I was pondering what to photograph as "the craziest thing in Dr. Crazy's house," Dr. Medusa suggested that the craziest thing in my house is in fact my Harry Potter books. But not really the books themselves. It's me with the books. It is an obsession, and not an entirely healthy one. But so I've got to talk about the Potter. It has waited long enough.
To Begin: My History with the Potter.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone came out when I was in graduate school. These were dark times indeed, when I did not read for pleasure. I scoffed at the Harry Potter phenomenon. What was wrong with all of these people that they acted like HP was so great? There have always been great books about misunderstood kids, usually orphans, who lived with their aunt and uncle, and ended up going to a magical world. Wizard of Oz much? And the adults reading the books? Were they illiterates?
I totally didn't get it.
And then I actively resisted the phenomenon, particularly when my Ex-with-whom-I-lived told me he'd talked to his pre-me-girlfriend and she told him she was reading the HP books. What. A. Loser. I was totally never going to enjoy anything that girl enjoyed, right?
So I finish my PhD, and I get my job, and my best friend from high school sends me a present at some point in that time - a Latin edition of the first book. (At other times she has purchased me joke t-shirts written in Latin, and Winnie Ille Pu - awesome. Love high school BFF.) At this point I am intrigued, but I still think it is silly to read the book in English. I think to myself that I shall translate the Latin version. Needless to say, this did not happen.
To Continue: Crazy Cracks under the Pressure and Gives in to the Potter
It had to happen sometime. No one could resist it forever. The year: 2005. I had just broken up with a guy (some of you may know him as Stupid Freud), and I was spending a lot of time on my own. The school year was ending, and I just happened to catch the first two movies (on two consecutive Saturday nights, for I am a loser) on Network TV. And then the third movie was available on-demand. And then I thought, well, I've seen the movies, and now the semester is over, and so I may as well read them, right? And so I bought myself the present of the Books 1-5 set, and I was off.
To Continue Further: Crazy Becomes Dangerously Addicted to the Potter
I have been reading the books for over a year now. Sometimes I read them in order. Sometimes I reread the same one a bunch of times - it's kind of like being a human skipping record. Sometimes I read them out of order. It's totally insane. And it makes me happier than anything. [Aside: I actually just found out that a good friend with whom I'd fallen out of touch for a couple of years does the same thing with the books, so clearly this Potter Neurosis is not unique to me. I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse.]
Why am I doing this? What is the pay-off?
Well, I'm glad you asked. The short version is this: I enjoy looking for clues into the next book and in constructing scenarios for how the series will end. The longer version is somewhat more neurotic, and because that is much more interesting than the short version, I will have to post some of my musings here. As this is an insane activity, I can only post them as random questions and insights. I believe that JK Rowling herself confirms some of my theories, and I also believe that I am not alone in this obsession. Don't believe me? Just check out The Leaky Cauldron.
Dr. Crazy's Crazy Theories Related to the Potter:
- Is Snape evil? Of course not. But then why does he kill Dumbledore? Because Dumbledore knew of the plot to kill him, and he had arranged with Snape that Snape would kill him so Draco wouldn't have to commit murder. Also, Snape is still working for the Order of the Phoenix.
- What, you say? Snape is evil! But you see, no, Snape is not evil. And yes, he's been horrible to Harry, BUT the thing that nobody knows is that Snape was in love with Lily (Harry's mother) and that is where the potions book comes in. Because remember: Slughorn always is saying that Harry inherits his MOTHER's talent for potions - just like he inherits his MOTHER's eyes. If Snape was so brilliant at potions, why would he need to make all of those marginal notes in his old potions book? Why wouldn't he just naturally have a knack for doing the potions? And remember also how Snape gets angry with Hermione in one of the early books for helping Neville with potions. Why is that such a problem for Snape? Because Lily helped Snape on the sly, and Snape was in love with her, but then Lily went and married Snape's nemesis, James Potter. So Snape joins Voldemort because he's all upset and hurt and such, but then he realizes that in doing so he condemned his One True Love Lily to death, and then he joins the Order of the Phoenix. This also explains why Dumbledore believes Snape - as the one thing Dumbledore believes in more than anything else is True Love, right? And THEN, when Snape meets Harry, he immediately hates Harry because, as we all know, Harry bears a remarkable resemblance to James - in every aspect except for his mother's eyes. THUS, when Snape looks at Harry, not only is he reminded of the person he hated most in the world but also of the loss of his One True Love to that person. Sucks to be Snape, huh?
- So will Snape die in the last book? Of course, but only after we learn all of the above, thus meaning we will be devastated when he dies, as we were not actually devastated by the death of Dumbledore, because Dumbledore was ready to die whereas Snape's whole life has been stunted, he's never been recognized for his brilliance, and he's never been happy. It's going to be heartbreaking.
- What happened to the Potter grandparents? Because if Neville lives with his grandmother, and if Dumbledore is a minimum of like 87, then wizards tend to be pretty long-lived, and there's got to be a reason why the old Potters aren't around. While we're at it, how come Harry never asked anybody about them? Or about what his parents did for a living? For a curious kid, he's not too curious about some pretty obvious shit.
- Oh, and Harry is the last heir of Gryffindor, obviously, which is why his parents lived in Godric's Hollow.
- Dumbledore will appear in Book 7 first in a Chocolate Frog Card to give Harry advice.
- Harry will have to return to 12 Grimmauld Place (for many reasons, not the least of which is to get the locket horcrux that RAB - Regulus Black - left there) and there he will have some communication with Sirius, whether in the form of a portrait or using that 2-way mirror in some way.
- The final battle between Voldemort and Harry will happen at Hogwarts, for the Hogwarts enchantments are the only thing that could put Harry on a level playing field with Voldemort.
- I really don't think Nagini is a horcrux. I think that Voldemort did get into the school (many times, through the vanishing cabinet at his old job at Borgin and Burkes) and that he did get something from each of the founders. This would be one of Dumbledore's minor mistakes, though he is right about the number of horcruxes.
- Harry and Ginny will not be together. Harry's soulmate is Luna Lovegood. I really believe this. And Luna is my favorite human character. I also have a soft spot for Dobby.