Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Harry Potter Countdown: Conspiracy theories

Each Wednesday until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 2 comes out I'm going to dedicate a post to an aspect of the series. Anyone who wants to join in is welcome, just let me know in the comments!

Today's topic is: Your favourite HP conspiracy theory!

I remember that everytime the latest Harry Potter book came out my friends and I would be quiet and barely talk until we'd all read it (which could be a couple of weeks if someone's brother or sister shotgunned the first reading) and then explode in a gush of  "Oh my God..." "I can't believe (s)he'd" "I totally saw that coming" and then culminate in a deep and detailed discussion about what was coming next. For the most part my friends and I were pretty mild in our predictions, we didn't jump to any wild conclusions for the most part, and instead concentrated on whether Snape was good or bad.

I can't say the same for the people who discuss Harry Potter on the internet, some of them, for want of a better word, are completely wackadoodle. In some cases they're simply not reading the text particularly clearly, for instance on one Harry Potter website someone exclaimed, after reading book 5, that Harry and Draco were related and they'd join forces sometime soon...sorry to disappoint you but they are not related. Draco is related to Sirius, but Sirius is Harry's Godfather, not his actual father so there is no blood or even marital connection. I read an equally silly one where they suggested that in the final book when Snape and Dumbledore were having that awfully emotional discussion about Harry which lead to Snape professing his undying love to Lily (Always...*sob*), Snape had conjured the patronus to send a message to Voldemort as an act of defiance/revenge/whatever and that was why Dumbledore was crying. What the what!!

But my favourite conspiracy theories have nothing to do with misreads and are by people who have come to a conclusion and then read the books with a fine toothed comb to find anything that appears to back up their hypothesis. It's all Rowlings fault, she's admitted that there are hints and secrets dotted all through the books and some people are determined to find every one!

My favourite has to be that Dumbledore isn't actually dead. I was shocked when he died at the end of book 6 just like everyone else, and I'll admit to considering for a fleeting moment that perhaps it was part of some elaborate plan, but it didn't last. Some people have refused point blank to consider he's actually dead and even after Rowling came out and said "yes he's dead, get over it" (my words not hers!)  some refused to budge! There are quite a few 'reasons' given to prove that he's still alive, so I'll post 5 of the most common and link you all to some hilarious, yet detailed essays stating the case.

1. Dumbledore isn't dead because Dumbledore wasn't Dumbledore for most (if not all) of book 6.
Apparently the proof is in Dumbledore's pensieve memories (page 430) and that he has them locked in bottles and doesn't simply remove them from his mind with his wand tip as demonstrated in previous books and chapters. Using this logic, the reason the memories are in bottles is because it is a fake Dumbledore (polyjuice potion) and they obviously couldn't conjure someone elses's memories as their own. Another essay theorises that it was Slughorn disguised as Dumbledore from the cave onwards. The Slughorn essay is quite a delight to read but makes some ridiculous stretches, like when Dumbledore uses a spell to dry Harry, it is reminiscent to Slughorn warming himself by a fire earlier in the book... yeah, sure, conclusive proof that. (read more here - point 5, or for the Slughorn argument here)

2. After Harry kneels by Dumbledore's 'dead' body we never see his body again. Why?!
There are two main theories that fit under this heading. The first suggests that Dumbledore used a potion or magic to fake his death, and the fact that after he's taken from the base of the tower you never see his body again (Hagrid carries him during the funeral under a sheet, he's engulfed in flames immediately etc) is proof that he isn't dead but doing his best to convince others he is. The second is tied to Fawkes. Apparently because of the multiple references to the phoenix around the time of Dumbledore's death and funeral, and the fact that Dumbledore seems to favour fire spells (i.e. when he proves his magical skill to little Tom Riddle) Dumbledore has the power to be reborn from ashes like a phoenix, hence why there are flames at his funeral. (read more here -point 8& 9)

3. His soul is stored in a magic artifact, awaiting reactivation.
I've only seen this one as a throwaway comment on message boards, but I'd say the idea came from Voldemort's horcruxes. Main reason this couldn't be true (other than the fact that we know so) is it would require Dumbledore killing someone to create a horcrux, and we know he wouldn't do that. It's out of his character to do anything like this and it makes no sense. (originally found on this board)

4. The description of the Avada Kedavra curse is wrong. 
In every other instance people who die from this curse simply drop the the ground whereas Dumbledore flies out the window when hit with it. This must mean that it wasn't the killing curse and instead Snape used a non-verbal ExpelliarmusDumbledore. Another 'hint' is when Harry asks Kreacher and Dobby to follow Malfoy Dobby says that if he does it wrong he'll "throw himself off the topmost tower". Apparently this means he has overheard Snape and Dumbledore talking about the faking of Dumbledore's death and therefore this proves this particular theory. (read more here - point 4)

5. It was Dumbledore disguised as Snape who shook hands in the unbreakable oath.
I can't find where I read this one, but basically the idea was that Dumbledore had taken part in the oath, not Snape, so when they were in the tower Snape used a fake Avada Kedavra curse, Dumbledore hopped out the window to his fake death and then...who knows, went on a vacation to Hawii? However I'm fairly sure this would mean Dumbledore had to then kill Dumbledore, which doesn't really eliminate the whole Dumbledore is dead issue after all, it simply removes any fault from Snape.

So there are just 5 of the many reasons which supposedly prove that Dumbledore did not die at the end of book 6. Some are a little more out there than others, but I think it's fair to say all read way, way, wayyyyyy too much into the text for supposed clues about this issue! What are you favourite Harry Potter conspiracy theories? Or perhaps you were a conspiracy theorist yourself, what was your interpretation? I'd love to hear from you all!

Next week:  The most shocking or unexpected deaths in Harry Potter.

1 comment:

  1. I must admit, there was a time when I wanted very badly for Dumbledore to be alive. I did not delude myself with any attempts at proving it however. If he is, he is, if not, there is nothing I could do about it, so what's the use in trying?

    I still haven't completely gotten over it though... :)



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