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Chronicle looking for ‘Potter-mouths’

Read Chronicle editors’ thoughts on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By Tamie Ross
The Christian Chronicle

September 14, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince answered a few questions. It seems, though, that it created even more. The biggest, by far: How can one final installment in the wildly popular series possibly wrap up this tale?
Three of us — Erik Tryggestad, Jerry Lamb and Tamie Ross — found ourselves in the Chronicle conference room whispering about the book (so as not to tip off Bailey McBride or Scott Lamascus, who hadn’t yet plowed through their copies.)
We’re interested in your thoughts. Read our take and then send comments to [email protected].
WARNING Spoilers follow
Why was Dumbledore this book’s casualty? Will he be back in some form or fashion?
Tamie: This is the biggest question for me from Book 6. I’ve conjured up in my head a link between Dumbledore’s love of all things Phoenix (The Order of the Phoenix, his pet phoenix, Fawks, the fact that his patronus is a phoenix) to mean that Dumbledore will essentially become a phoenix and rise up stronger than ever to help Harry do in Voldemort et all in Book 7.
Dumbledore’s physical limitations were much more pronounced in this book, and what with all the talk about horcruxes and Voldemort’s potential to regenerate himself, maybe it’s a possibility?
Erik: This book ends the only way it can. Joseph Campbell tells us in The Hero with a Thousand Faces that almost all myths end with the hero alone confronting the enemy. This book sets the stage for that confrontation. I didn’t particularly enjoy the ending, and find myself still holding onto hope that Dumbledore’s apparent betrayer will come to some form of redemption before the series concludes.
I also hope that Rowling will not wait the “standard” number of years before releasing book seven. She’s left us in quite a lurch, wanting closure. I suspect the wait will be similar to what I endured between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. (George Lucas also was a student of Joseph Campbell, by the way.)
If Dumbledore appears in the final book, it will likely be in the way that Obi Wan Kenobi continued to appear to Luke after his untimely demise in the first Star Wars movie.
Jerry: First off, my apologies to those whom we’ve just ruined the ending. It’s sad, but true. Dumbledore gets killed. Maybe we won’t spoil how.
I partially agree with Erik, though that’s a good point about the phoenix. Harry IS going to have to face Voldemort/Tom Riddle by himself. However, I don’t think killing Dumbledore was the only way this was going to happen. Look how he was lured to Voldemort in The Goblet of Fire and to the Death Eaters in The Order of the Phoenix.
No, there is something else in play here that has more to it than a classic formula of Good vs. Evil where the hero must face the foe alone (though, again, it does have to occur). I suspect it is part of an over-all plan where Dumbledore actually did have to die, by design, but in doing so will
somehow empower Harry to do much more than he ever thought possible. We’ll have to see the next installment to be certain.
While I’m torn by wanting Dumbledore to be there for Harry, I’m even more rooting for Harry to get his act together and learn how to fight well. We all love a good fight, especially when it is really deserved. I’m not certain this will be the case, as Love is always the thing Dumbledore is stressing to Harry. Perhaps Dumbledore’s death was the final act of love
for Harry that will ensure victory. Very biblical.
Speaking of fighting, is Harry ever going to be good enough at fighting to be able to hold his own, at least against this book’s Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Snape? How can he kill Voldemort without using a forbidden curse?
Tamie: Of course, the irony there is that Good/Love must not only conquer Evil, it has to kill it. Harry may want to make a go of it alone, but those closest to him aren’t going to let that happen. It undoubtedly will take every available resource at Harry’s disposal to win, but I can’t believe he could meet Snape, Voldemort, et. all blow for blow. Wouldn’t it be a hoot of one of the Weasley twins’ pranks did in the dark side? Gotta’ keep the laughs coming somehow, right?

Filed under: Culture Staff Reports

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