Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Harry Potter and the Foreshadowed Christ-Image

Warning: Mega-spoilers for those who haven't read all the Harry Potter books (all three of you), especially if I turn out to be right about the last one.

Janet sent me this recent news tidbit:

Stephen King and John Irving to Rescue Harry Potter?
Before a charity reading at Radio City Music Hall on Tuesday, authors John Irving (The World According to Garp) and Stephen King (Carrie, Cujo and a buttload of less interesting books) beseeched fellow headliner J.K. Rowling not to kill off Harry Potter. "My fingers are crossed" for the boy wizard, said Irving. But Rowling made no promises. In fact, what she did guarantee is sure to further unnerve fans of her inordinately popular series of novels. "I think some people will loathe [the conclusion]," she said, "and some people will love it, but that's how it should be."

There isn't a writer alive who wouldn't like to have the immense readership of J. K. Rowling. Nonetheless, she's in a tough position right now, because her career is utterly defined by Harry Potter. It is entirely possible that she's sick to death of Harry Potter and really ready to move on to something else. (I don't know if she is, but really, seven years is a long gig, and eventually you have to run out of steam.) But how can she stop, when everyone with a pulse is waiting for the next book? Well, one tried-and-true way of breaking out of a typecast role is to kill off the character.

And it's not like we haven't seen it coming. Trelawny was always laying it on thick with predictions of Harry's demise, and we've had a few occasions where she turns out to be correct. And after the demise of Dumbledore in the book five, what do you do for an encore? How can it get any more serious than that?

It will, of course, be a tragic and noble death. Harry's done enough to deserve that. (Well, so did Dumbledore, but the jury's out on whether his death is a complete tragedy, or the masterful last-ditch strategem of the greatest wizard of all time.) So . . . what circumstances could force Harry to necessarily die in tragic heroic fashion?

Harry Potter must himself be the final Horcrux.

All these intimations of Harry carrying some of Voldemort's powers (Parselmouth, etc.) and his psychic connection to Voldemort can that he's carrying a part of Voldemort with him. And once the whole Horcrux thing was explicated in Half-Blood Prince, it becomes really freakin' obvious what that part must be. So, in Fight Club fashion, Harry will find that the enemy is himself, and that the only way Voldemort can die is for himself to die. And since Dumbledore has led the way, being willing to lay down his life for the cause, Harry will do the same. (Harry is, after all, "Dumbledore's man.")

The only thing that's still fuzzy is the details. Did Dumbledore know? Did he suspect? Will Ginny preceed Harry in tragic death, a la Trinity in the Matrix finale? Will Snape be redeemed? And, most of all . . . will anyone read Rowling's next series?


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