I found Peter David’s review of the latest Harry Potter. I agree for the most part with his take on the high/low points, although the pacing didn’t bother me. I had made a comment the other day to Katie regarding Voldemort’s objective not being worth protecting. After all (spoilers) if he had learned the exact wording of the prophecy, it would have told him absolutely nothing useful. All he would have learned is that he had chosen his opponent 15 years ago. This led me to wonder if the Order of the Phoenix were protecting it not for the sake of keeping it out of his hands, but simply to keep him from acting openly. Possible reason 1: time to build up the Order and its resources. Possible reason 2: get Harry’s generation through their O.W.L.s so they (a) have more experience and (b) don’t have to worry about the restrictions on underage magic.
Although the content of the revelation in the prophecy itself was utterly bland, that very blandness seems to me to add significant complication to the Harry/Dumbledore relationship. Whether Dumbledore has seriously underestimated Harry or not will become clear as we see the effects on Harry’s character of his absolute certainty that he must fight Voldemort to the death in the end. Of course, this is something that we’ve known or at least anticipated all along, because we know how drama works, but Harry himself would lack that insight, blissfully unaware of his role as chief protagonist in a dramatic fiction. Sure, he’s constantly the center of attention and he’s well aware that he and Voldemort have an arch-nemesistic relationship, but that’s very different from being told you are predestined to kill your foe or die at his hands. So maybe that doesn’t warrant the suspense built in Dumbledore’s office as the headmaster gathers the courage to tell Harry the prophecy, but if J.K.R. is conscious of the obviousness of the prophecy, then wow, look how human Dumbledore really is.
Something bothers me about the phrasing of the prophecy, though. J.K.R. is too careful with words to let the literal meaning of “neither can survive while the other lives” slip. They’re both surviving while the other lives, and they’ve done so for some time. Maybe I’m being too picky, or maybe Dumbledore is chickening out at the last minute and supplanting “while” for “unless.” It’d add even more depth to his crying. I wouldn’t envy the task of explaining this later on, but J.K.R.’s never shied away from exposition.
At any rate, even if I’m being picky and we accept the interpretation provided, that their longevities are mutually exclusive, while this information may not be of magnificant practical use to Harry or the Order at this moment, it seems like tremendously valuable information to keep out of Voldemort’s grasp. Remember, the primary reason to kill Harry at the end of Goblet of Fire was to keep him from announcing Voldemort’s return. Okay, there’s the obvious grudge too, but Voldy’s smart enough to bide his time once Harry’s out of his reach. Given an easy opportunity, he’d undoubtedly try to kill Harry; but it’s not an immediate priority. If the Order knows that there must needs be a showdown between Harry and Voldy, and the outcome is uncertain, it’s in their interest to keep Harry safe for now and Voldy ignorant of the implication that killing Harry is all he has to do to win. So why not smash the prophecy to begin with? Maybe keeping it intact serves to remind Voldy of his own ignorance, and the consequent tactical disadvantage. That’s a powerful psychological weapon.
Am I overanalyzing this? Probably. But it’s something to do when you can’t sleep and it’s 5:30 a.m., isn’t it?
You said it perfectly
I really liked Peter David’s review. I like this one, as it really shows the weaker side of Dumbledore. More like this, please! But Sirus’ death SUCKS!