Get out your scorecards!
Just got this from author John Granger (The Hidden Key to Harry Potter):
It is the day before the day before ‘Harry Day’ and I write to you to give you a scorecard to have at hand as you read ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ (HP5). When I wrote the Hidden Key to Harry Potter (HKHP) last year, I made several guesses about what has to happen in HP5 and what I will think will happen just for a little fun – and to make the point that Joanne Rowling (JKR) is writing within certain structures in each book and in the series as a whole. If I’m right about these themes and structures, then certain things should recur in HP5 if only because they’ve happened in each of the other books so far. These predictions are my ‘Ten Things That Have to Happen’ below. Not very exciting!
I have speculated further than the prudent or great souled man might in the vain confidence that I have seen other patterns in the books (that each has a specific means to God, battlefield, etc., see the chart on pg.308 of HKHP). As these involve actual plot events and characters, these are what my Marine friends would call SWAGs or, politely, ‘farfetched notions’. I do not surf even the better Harry Potter web sites so these mistakes or insights are all my own – and made in ignorance of the assertions and counter assertions that have been made in fandom.
These guesses, again, are meant only as a measure of my thesis that JKR is writing her wonderful stories in the tight weave one expects from English ‘Greats’ – exploration and teaching of the grand themes, which meaning is supported by the books’ predominant structures and symbolism, and which are explicitly Christian (which is to say, evident to the discerning reader). JKR is as popular as she is because she is a throwback to the 19th century when fiction was less secular entertainment than a means of “delighting while instructing.”
If my predictions are so fuzzy that you think I am hedging my bets, please write me before 5 pm tomorrow PST and I’ll try to clarify my folly for your scoring purposes. Thanks for playing!
John, having lots of fun
The Ten Things that Have to Happen In Book 5 (because they’ve happened in every other book):
1. HP5 begins at Privet Drive and Ends at King Cross Station – the annual cycle
2. Harry escapes to Hogwarts – magical departure from Muggle-dom
3. HP5 is a 1 Book Mystery or Question to answer with an Introduction, Crisis, & Denouement
4. HP5 further explores JKR’s Choice Theme – choosing the right before the easy path
5. HP5 further explores JKR’s Prejudice Theme – sufferings of those persecuted by the proud
6. HP5 further explores JKR’s Change theme – transformation of characters in light of choices
7. HP5 further explores Death & Bereavement – experience of death, lessons in how to grieve
8. HP5 is loaded with Christological Symbols – Phoenix, Griffin, Centaurs, Stag, Unicorns, etc.
9. HP5 is written in Alchemy -black, white, and red stages, Sulfur/Quicksilver (Ron/Hermione)
10. HP5 has a Surprise Ending – DADA not as suspected, Good/Bad, Bad/Good
HP5 ETC. – Final Battlescene underground, doppelganger revelation Dumbledore is tawny owl animagus, Harry dies figurative death and rises from dead, Harry transformed from lead to gold in character aspect in which he fails at Privet Drive
The Ten Things John Thinks Will Happen (and is ridiculous enough to offer as predictions):
1.Departure of Dumbledore – by death or imprisonment, the sage leaves the stage. Why? The book’s King Arthur sub plot demands that Merlin departs if only so Harry/Arthur can take the leading role he was born for.
2. Harry revealed as Heir of Gryffindor – JKR’s theme of choice to be truly heroic has to be made against the backdrop of a destiny. She has concealed this from us thus far to make clear that choice is our synergistic role in realizing our deiform destiny. In HP5, we meet Harry as King Arthur and come to understand all that Dumbledore has done to prepare Harry for this role.
3. Dursleys shown in more sympathetic light – JKR loves to re-write Pride and Prejudice in each book and turn us on our heads at book’s end to reveal our own pride and prejudices. This will be especially apparent when we learn that Harry’s wicked step-family have been, mirabile dictu, Harry’s prisoners rather than the reverse.
4. Hagrid’s Ascent – The Alchemical work is done in three stages: the black of dissolution, the white of purification, and the red of recongealing. The Dursleys and Snape are Harry’s black stage, Albus the white, and Rubeus the red. Look at Dumbledore’s departure for ‘The Red Man’ to take a place at Harry’s side as his Falstaff, guardian and mentor. We could, alas, wind up in the very safe place of Aragog’s den if things get too hot for Harry and friends.
5. Goblin Revolt – Hinted at by Professor Binns and Ludo’s suspicious behavior in HP4, I have to think we see in HP5 a Goblin revolt led or staged by Ludo Bagman on Voldemort’s orders. Why?
6. Voldemort Triumphant – Voldemort is back, but how can he come to power? He has to do something to convince the magical world that he has been terribly misunderstood, that he is their savior not doom and misery incarnate. He does this by working the magical media and spineless Ministry after putting down Bagman’s staged Goblin Revolt when all were helpless.
7. Order of Phoenix founding – Dumbledore asks at the end of HP4 that the usual gang gather to combat the risen Voldemort. This group, following the parallel Slytherine/Gryffindor balances of the books (see HKHP, pg. 23), are the good guy opposition to the Death Eaters, as Fawkes echos Nagini. When Dumbledore departs, those loyal to his memory form the Order of the Phoenix (OoP) in resistance to Voldemort (see the end of HP2 for the loyalty to Dumbledore connection with Fawkes – and the Christological symbolism I won’t belabor here).
8. Hogwart’s Hiding Place – How can life continue at Hogwarts when there is a civil war going on in the larger world? Well, I think because the good guys have a safe-house to meet inside the castle: Dumbledore’s secret bathroom mentioned in HP4 becomes Harry’s HQ and hideout.
9. DADA surprise – Every book features a new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher who is not what s/he seems. No exception in HP5 – look for a spy/double agent to take Made Eye’s vacant post – and not be serving whom everyone fears.
10. Battle at Book’s End – Each book thus far has involved the necessary heroic/epic trip underground to confront death or do battle among the dead. Look in HP5 for a battle in King’s Cross Station and a defeat for the Order of the Phoenix. Dumbledore may stun everyone by appearing and ‘doing an Obi-Wan’ to allow Harry’s escape with the Dursleys.
ETC. – Means to God – Love and Love relationships (lots of romance and Austen-like intrigue in HP5), Satire – Gov’t Unspeakables released to fight OoP, Gov’t lack of moral compass and fiber, Institutional idiocy and cowardice in Ministry, Hogwarts, and magical media, Snape – not yet revealed as vampire if we learn one of the reasons behind his love/hate relationship with Harry – obedience to Dumbledore.
Post: Not bold enough? My apologies! Please let me know your counter predictions before Saturday morning; I will accept no claims of “I knew that had to happen and Granger was wrong” made after a reading of HP5. Thanks again for playing along and for your support of HKHP – it has been an edifying, delightful year. Grateful John
Oh, and Pat? With all due respect, I think you, O’Brien, and Fr. Amorth are fine fellows and great Catholics, but you’re all wet on Potter. Stand back! All of you! For *I* have a B.A. in *English*! Fear me!