'Half-Blood Prince' cliff-hangers have fans re-reading the series,
hoping for clues to book 7
BY DENISE FLAIM
September 8, 2005
Almost two months after the unveiling of J.K. Rowling's sixth
and penultimate chronicle of the wizarding world, diehard fans are coping with
severe "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" hangovers.
Eager for some more hair of the three-headed dog that bit them, many wonder how
to occupy themselves over the next couple of years before the arrival of
still-unnamed book seven. The logical choice? Time to re-read the entire canon
in a hunt for overlooked passages and illuminating clues.
To that end,
here are some theories about the most vexing questions that remain, culled from
message boards and fan sites. But be forewarned: Hagrid-sized spoilers
How many horcruxes? One major revelation in "Half-Blood Prince"
is that Lord Voldemort tried to ensure his immortality by splitting his soul,
then embedding the pieces in objects or individuals called horcruxes. Tom
Riddle's weird diary from "Chamber of Secrets" was one; a ring originally
belonging to Salazar Slytherin and destroyed by Dumbledore in "Half-Blood
Prince" was another.
Seven being a magic number, Dumbledore theorizes
that Voldemort created six horcruxes, the seventh piece of his shattered soul
still residing in You-Know-Who himself. In the final book, Harry will need to
destroy the four remaining horcruxes before attempting a facedown.
a murder is required to make a horcrux, one speculation is that Harry was
inadvertently made into a horcrux when Voldemort killed his parents, which
explains why he has acquired some of Voldemort's powers. Another iteration has
Harry's scar as the actual horcrux, leaving open the more pleasant possibility
that only it, and not all of Harry, need be destroyed in order to off
Other possible horcruxes, some more likely than others: Nagini the
snake from "Chamber of Secrets," Hufflepuff's goblet, the Sorting Hat, the sword
of Gryffindor (like the hat, located in Dumbledore's office), even Wormtail's
magical silver hand.
Who is R.A.B.? In "Half-Blood Prince," Harry and
Dumbledore travel to a mysterious cave in the hopes of finding a horcrux;
instead, they recover a fake horcrux - an empty locket - and a note taunting
Voldemort that is signed "R.A.B."
Do those initials belong to the
now-dead Regulus Alphard Black, brother to Harry's godfather, the much-mourned
Sirius? It's a conclusion Rowling herself has called "a fine guess." Since
breaching the cave's magical spells requires two people, only one of which can
be a wizard, many have speculated that the Black family house elf, Kreacher,
helped Regulus retrieve the original horcrux-locket.
In "The Order of the
Phoenix," a heavy locket that cannot be opened is found among the Black family
Will Dumbledore pull a Gandalf? The ultimate spoiler -
don't blame me if you don't stop reading now - is that at the end of "Half-Blood
Prince," ill-tempered professor Severus Snape murders beloved Hogwarts
headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
Though a proper funeral was had and
Dumbledore's snoozing image has appeared in a portrait on his office wall of
departed headmasters, some fans advance the argument that, like the popular
"Lord of the Rings" wizard, Dumbledore will reappear after his death, whether
real or faked. For convincing arguments, visit the bereaved fans at www
More likely to surface in book 7: Dumbledore's
low-key brother, Aberforth, who had been prosecuted for practicing
"inappropriate charms on a goat" (don't ask), and is the barkeep at the Hog's
Snape - good or evil? The answer to this hinges on whether you
think Dumbledore's death was a pact between the two, a necessary sacrifice to
ensure Voldemort does not suspect Snape's betrayal. Or whether you believe Snape
was a double-double agent, convincing the wise but trusting Dumbeldore that he
was defying Voldemort's orders to spy on Hogwarts, but in truth keeping his
promise to the Dark Lord.
Then there is the "crush" theory. Rowling has
hinted there was someone else at Godric's Hollow the night Harry's parents died.
And it was out of character for cranky Voldemort to give Lily Potter so many
chances to step aside before he attempted to kill her son.
Was Snape at
Godric's Hollow, and was it at his request that Voldemort agreed to spare Lily?
And is that why Snape resents Harry so deeply - because Harry, with his mother's
green eyes, reminds Snape of the woman who died in order for Harry to
Will Harry survive book 7? Optimists look to a line in "Goblet of
Fire" in which Harry sees a "gleam of triumph" in Dumbledore's eyes after the
old wizard learns Voldemort used a drop of Harry's blood to regenerate himself.
Dumbledore has told Harry that wizards saved by another of their kind have a
"life debt." Perhaps now Voldemort has this magical IOU to Harry - with
On the Web, just wild about
There's no shortage of sites where you can find Potterheads
prognosticating. Beware of wild theories - Neville's crazy mother is not sending
him secret messages on those candy wrappers, and Snape is not a vampire - and
maybe concoct a few of your own:
www.jkrowling.com - Herself's very own
site. Lots of tidbits if you poke around, including why Harry's wand is made of
holly (tradition is, it repels evil), while Voldemort's is yew (long lived, but
its sap is poisonous).
www.mugglenet.com - Talk about juice: Emerson
Spartz, the 19-year-old founder of this authoritative fan site, was one of only
two people granted a private interview with Rowling when "Half-Blood Prince"
debuted. The discussion forums can get as weighty as a grad class, from
"Voldemort, the Ourobouros Worm, and the Legend of Kronos" to "Fudge &
www.hp-lexicon.org - What Rowling herself has called "my
natural home," and an indispensable destination if you need to brush up on
characters and plot lines. Searchable by key word ("butterbeer," "Slughorn") or
category ( "Wizards A to Z," "Magical and Mundane Plants"), it's positively
pronunciation/play.htm - Who knew Voldemort has a silent "T"? Before you botch
"boggart" and "animagus," too, consult this Scholastic
www.quick-quote-quill.org - A compendium of interviews and quotes
from the reclusive author, who often debunks theories on her own (including the
two mentioned above).