h is for

Harry Potter

To say that I have a Harry Potter obsession would be an understatement. I have all the books in hardcover and paperback and audio (even though I despise audiobooks). My penultimate year traveling with the Ballroom Dance Company, I collected volume one in each of the countries we visited, landing the British (both the children's and adult covers), Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish books in my hands. My friends thought this was odd enough that when they later traveled, they picked me up the German, Czech, Hungarian, and Spanish (from Spain, even though it's identical to the one you can get in the Spanish section of the local Devil's Den). I have all four movies. Most of Hogwarts Castle is constructed out of Legos over the bookshelves in my office. I have Dumbledore's pocketwatch, two pairs of Harry Potter release party glasses, and a bag of the original Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.

So, yeah. Minor obsession.

I was first introduced to Harry Potter the summer I lived with my grandparents. (This was, by the by, also the summer I read the entire Work and the Glory series in seven or eight weeks, a nightmare I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.) It was the last week of summer term, and I wanted something light to read (especially after that Lund atrocity). My cousins had left their copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I picked it up, figuring I would work my way through it between breaks here and there that week. I finished it that night. On my way home from school the next day, I picked up Chamber of Secrets. I read that one that night. So I bought Azkaban the next day. I think you know what happened. The next day, I bought the recently released Goblet of Fire. Fortunately, that one took me two days to read (I had finals to grade).

However, having finished the series that was then published, I had the unfortunate problem of wanting to read the books again. But with school starting, I wasn't comfortable taking away valuable reading time from my classes. That's when I had a brilliant idea. I would somehow figure out how to incorporate Harry Potter into my term paper for one of my classes. I was blessed. Harry Potter fit in perfectly with my post-colonial British lit class. And I had Dr. Snyder, who was also a great Harry Potter fan. (Which apparently ran in his family as he and his siblings and siblings-in-law who were all PhDs would gather at family functions and philosophize about Harry.) So I read the first four books two or three more times that semester as I discussed "Education at Hogwarts: Colonizing the Muggle" and how Harry Potter was a commentary on British colonization culture. (There are some things about being an English major that are just great and wonderful fun.)

So all of this is just to say that I love Harry Potter. I love to discuss Harry Potter. I love to buy my copy at midnight in New York and call my friends in Utah to read the first page to them. (I also know not to answer my phone if they're calling that night and they now live farther east than I.) I shop around for my Harry Potter party; I will preorder my book from the store with the best release party.

So it is taking this into consideration that I was not surprised to receive an e-mail from Absent wherein she wondered about my take on the Dumbledore Is Not Dead rumor. So, because I believe that one has two weeks to read a new Harry Potter book before I feel free to discuss it, plot spoilers and all, I will share my thoughts here.

For starters, by the end of my first reading of GF, I knew that Dumbledore would die at the end of HBP. I will admit that I had my doubts about the accuracy of my prediction when there were all those rumors about "someone close to Harry" dying at the end of OP. I was certain that was too early for him to die. Fortunately, I was right, and I knew that Dumbledore would go down when I had predicted. Why was this so necessary, you ask? Well, for starters, the series is titled Harry Potter and _____, not Albus Dumbledore and _____. In the end, it must be Harry who has the ultimate face-off with Voldemort. We presume Harry will be victorious, though Rowling likes to tell us she hasn't committed to his survival. (Though I think that is a lie if the rumor is true that she wrote the final chapter to the series way back when and has locked it in a vault someplace for safekeeping.) This sets Harry Potter up as a fairly standard hero quest, which also means that the mentor has to be knocked off so the hero can fulfill his quest on his own strength and merits. Another reason Dumbledore had to go was that he was the only wizard Voldemort ever feared. Voldemort must feel that he has free reign, and the only way to accomplish that is to permanently off Dumbledore.

I guess what I'm saying here is that I don't care whether or not Dumbledore is truly dead. Maybe he will resurrect like a phoenix. Maybe it all was a lark to throw Voldemort off his trail. I just don't think it matters.

If we're going to spend time discussing things that don't involve Harry, I think the more interesting question is whether or not Snape is good or bad. Was he under oath to kill Dumbledore (or at least appear to kill Dumbledore)? I think it highly likely, considering that Dumbledore doesn't fear death and would has never begged anyone for anything prior to the moment of his death. Snape has crossed and double crossed and triple crossed so many times that we must wonder where his true allegiances actually lie. That is the interesting non-Harry debate, in my opinion.

This post has been brought to you by Harry Connick, Jr. and Brent Hartinger, Shannon Hale, and Carl Hiaasen.

Hmm. I didn't really intend for this to be a tribute to Harrys, but I guess it appears that way. Mostly it's brought to you by Harry Connick, Jr. because a) he brings back good memories of my freshman year of college, b) I danced on stage with him (well, not with him, but you know what I mean) during the 2002 Olympics Closing Ceremonies, and c) he plays Grace's ex-husband on Will & Grace, which is sadly ending tomorrow night.

And I just couldn't choose between Hartinger, Hale, and Hiaasen. They're all so wonderful, and I've plugged each of them numerous times. If you haven't figured out that I like them by now, well, you need to do some reading in the archives.



Rachel said...

I think Dumbledore's dead. And it makes me sad.

As for Snape, I haven't really decided yet. What do you think?

P.S. While Dr. Snyder is of no relation to me, he's got a cool last name.

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Harry habitué and hardcover hoppyist, Hep Hypnotic Hare homilies heart-to-heart with his honey-buns over history and haruspexic hyperbole hanging-about Harry Potter.

Absent-minded Secretary said...

That's supposed to be "hardcover hobbyist."

Absent-minded Secretary said...

You weren't in NYC for Book IV? Did I really mess up the Harry-Potter-how-long we-have-known-each-other timeline up that much? I really remember begging you twice for a HP ending, and I know I didn't for Book 6 because I was in Wyoming avec the 'rents when that one came out. Maybe I remember it twice because I was really annoying about it. :)

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Hors d'oeuvre and Harry on tHursday?

Desmama said...

he play's Grace's ex-husband on Will & Grace, which is sadly ending tomorrow night.

Ahem. "Play's"? For shame.

Edgy said...

Absent: Unfortunately, hors d'oeuvre and Harry will not work for a couple reasons: a) I'm fobbing tonight, b) I never watch live TV anymore, and c) Dec will be out all night setting up and taking down a couple events and W&G is one of those things we try to do together.

However, if you're available when we get around to it sometime this weekend, the TiVo beckons.

Absent-minded Secretary said...

I'm almost all booked up this weekend, you are going to have to schedule soon. I am celebrating Octoberfest with some friends...

noelle feather said...

I guess I probably shouldn't have read your post yet--since I'm not done with Half Blood Prince.


I had heard rumors that someone dies in this volume, and I had wondered/hoped it might have been Snape, so I'm kind of surprised that it's Dumbledore.

Tolkien Boy said...

Of course Dumbledore's dead. But to think Sirius is dead is laughable. The next book will vindicate me.

Edgy said...

Wait . . . Who said that Sirius is dead?

noelle feather said...


Rachel said...

Agree with TB. Sirius can't be dead. Not really.

My word verification thinks the same thing: yeaymeb