Thursday Jul 19, 2007

Dissecting the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Covers

In further anticipation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the cover art on the various editions can give us some clues about the plot.

  • The US Version. This image, which spans both the front and back cover, seems to show Harry and Voldemort in a coliseum-like location with onlookers in the background. A few comments and questions:
    • Is the coliseum supposed to imply a gladiator-like battle?
    • The rubble in the front of the image seems to imply that there was a battle, but in the picture Harry and Voldemort don’t seem to be actively fighting. Why not?
    • Instead, Harry and Voldemort both appear to be facing something or someone not shown instead of each other. Harry appears to be reaching out for it. Is Voldemort reaching for it also, or holding his hands out to block it? Could it be Fawkes the phoenix or the sword of Gryffindor to which Harry is reaching out? Or is it someone?
    • Why are neither Harry nor Voldemort holding a wand?
    • Why are there curtains on either side of the image? Could they be the veil in the department of mysteries behind which Sirius fell when he died? Could Harry and Voldemort actually be behind the veil fighting each other?
    • Who are the onlookers? If Harry and Voldemort are really behind the veil, perhaps they are dead people like Sirius and Harry’s parents?
    • In summary, this image basically shows us that Harry and Voldemort will be face-to-face at some point in the book, which I think most of us have already guessed.
  • The UK Version. This cover contains four images.
    • The large front-cover image shows Harry, Ron, and Hermione plunging through some sort of treasure-chamber. A small creature on Harry's back appears to be holding a sword, while Harry looks like he is diving for something. Are they in Gringott’s? Is the creature a house-elf (Dobby perhaps) or a goblin? Is it holding Gryffindor’s sword? Are they looking for a horcrux?
    • The smaller image on the front shows a white antlered animal, perhaps a white stag, which is Harry’s patronus. Does this mean that Harry’s patronus will be important to the plot of this book?
    • The large back-cover image shows Hogwarts, possibly with smoke behind it. Does this mean that Harry will go to Hogwarts at some point in the book, even if he doesn’t attend his complete seventh year?
    • The small image on the back shows a snake inside a glass ball. Is the snake Nagini (Voldemort’s snake, and possibly one of his horcruxes?)
  • The UK Adult Version. This cover shows JK Rowling on the back, and what I think is Slytherin’s locket on the front. As we already knew the locket would be important, I don’t think this image sheds much light on the plot.

Monday Jul 16, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Predictions

In my previous post I listed some questions that I hope to find answered in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In this post, I’ll go a step further and make some predictions about the book. I’ve re-read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince between writing the previous post and this one, which has led me to think slightly differently about some of the questions I asked. Without further ado, here are the predictions.

  • Fawkes the Phoenix will adopt Harry. Now that Dumbledore, the previous owner of Fawkes, is dead (and yes, I believe he is truly dead and won’t return like Gandalf), I think there’s a good chance Harry could end up with a Phoenix as an animal companion.
  • Harry will kill Voldemort after finding and destroying the four remaining horcruxes. After re-reading the ending of Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix, in which Dumbledore explains the prophecy, I don’t think there’s a chance that it could now refer to Neville.
  • Harry’s scar will disappear. The scar was the connection to Voldemort, so at the time of Voldemort’s death it will vanish.
  • Severus Snape will sacrifice himself to save Harry. After re-reading the Half-Blood Prince, I believe that Dumbledore was wrong that Snape was on his side. The fact that Dumbledore was somewhat incorrect about the Horcrux in the cave (he didn’t know it had been removed already) serves to underscore his fallibility, thus lending credence to the theory that he was also wrong about Snape. That said, I think that Snape, unlike Voldemort, has the capacity to love, and truly feels guilty about Lily Potter’s murder (though perhaps not James’). Therefore, he will redeem himself in the end by helping Harry.
  • Draco will help Harry in some way. By the end of the Half-Blood Prince Harry feels sorry for Draco, with his previous dislike of Draco pushed out of the way by his overwhelming hatred of Snape. Although they’re unlikely to become friends, I think (or maybe hope) that Draco will come to realize Voldemort’s fundamental evilness and will help Harry in his quest to defeat him.
  • Hagrid will die. Harry has now lost his parents, his godfather (Sirius Black), and his mentor and father-figure (Dumbledore). Hagrid’s the adult remaining alive to whom Harry is closest, so following the pattern, he may lose his life in the final book.
  • Percy Weasley will make up with his family. I can’t believe that, when push comes to shove, a member of the Weasley family won’t come through in the end.
  • We’ll discover that Harry is related to Godric Gryffindor. This connection would be parallel to Voldemort’s descent from Salazar Slytherin. There have been hints, such as Harry’s use of Godric’s sword in The Chamber of Secrets, and the name, Godric’s Hollow, where Harry’s parents died.
  • Neville will use his herbology skills to help Harry defeat Voldemort.
  • Petunia will help Harry in some way. This help will include more than just allowing Harry back into her house one last time.
  • We’ll learn more about Dumbledore and his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald. Maybe also about Dumbledore’s brother Ableforth.
  • We’ll learn more about James and Lily Potter. I realize this is a bit vague, but there’s got to be more to the fact that Harry has his mom’s eyes.
  • The house-elves, or at least Dobby, will help Harry, rewarding him and Hermione for their kindness toward them.
  • Wormtail will repay his life-debt to Harry.

Reading through the predictions, I can see that I’m pretty optimistic about the outcome: Both Snape and Draco redeem themselves, none of the kids die, and Voldemort is defeated. Let’s see if J.K. Rowling agrees!

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Nick Solter is a software engineer and author living in Colorado.

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