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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: The Accuracy of My Forecast


Last week I posted my Deathly Hallows Forecast. Having finished the book yesterday, lets see how I did.

I first suggested that Deathly Hallows would contain numerous parallels to Prisoner of Azkaban based on a pattern seen in books 1 and 5 and books 2 and 6. That pattern did hold true, sometimes in ways that were rather surprising.

Forecast: I suggested we would see Stan Shunpike and take a ride on the Knight Bus.
Actually: Stan appeared shortly after leaving the Dursleys (just like in PoA), but we never saw the Knight Bus.

Forecast: Harry would face a Dementor's Kiss to remove a soul fragment from his scar.
Actually: No kiss, but there were dementors all over the book, and we saw a lot of Patronuses(Patroni?) from various characters. I liked Arthur's weasel Patronus.

Forecast: Harry will leave the Dursley's after his birthday after his final confrontation with Petunia and Vernon, and spend some time at the Leaky Cauldron.
Actually: Harry leaves before his birthday, and only goes to the Leaky Cauldron to get to Diagon Alley much later in the book.

Forecast: We will see another boggart.
Actually: No boggarts.

Forecast: Harry might use the Shrieking Shack as his base of operations in Hogsmeade. If not we will pay at least one visit to the shack.
Actually: Harry didn't use the Shack as a base, but he made a very important trip to the Shack via the Whomping Willow, where he witnessed a very important confrontation, and got some important clues leading to the resolution of the story. Harry's trip to the Shack is probably the strongest parallel element in DH to an element in PoA.

Forecast: Trelawney will make one more true prophecy.
Actually: No prophecy, and Trelawney was seen only once, as a bit of needed comic relief during the Battle for Hogwarts.

Forecast: Werewolves will be important, and Bill Weasley may have to deal with becoming one.
Actually: Fenrir Greyback plays a large part at one point in the book. Lupin also appears at numerous point, but we never see a werewolf in wolf form. Bill only bears the scars of the Greyback attack from HBP, and not the burden of actually becoming a wolf.

Forecast: Buckbeak will have an important part to play at some point.
Actually: Buckbeak is mentioned once during the final battle when he attacks a giant. He had no other role to play.

Forecast: Time will be an issue, but a time-turner will not necessarily be involved.
Actually: Time was indeed an issue, with Voldemort delivering two deadlines, and Harry received a watch for his birthday. There was a nod to the timeturner at the end of the book, when Harry turned the Resurrection Stone 3 times (Like the time-turner in PoA) to activate it's power.

Other elements that were repeated in Deathly Hallows from Prisoner of Azkaban:

Harry lived as a fugitive much like Sirius Black in PoA. Wanted posters of Harry were seen all over the place.

Harry received the anonymous gift of Gryffindor's sword at Christmas, just like he received the Firebolt anonymously in PoA.

The Silver Doe Chapter was evocative of the sight of the Stag Patronus in PoA. A mysterious patronus near a body of water.

Harry is made the Godfather of Teddy Lupin as he discovered he had a Godfather in PoA

Harry received a Sneakoscope for his birthday in both books, from Ron in PoA and Hermione in DH.

Non PoA based predictions and how I did:

Forecast: Hogwarts will be open, but possibly with a limited student body, or maybe only part of the year. Harry will spend significant time at the school.
Actually: Pretty close on the first part, but not at all in the way I thought. Harry spent the entire year away from the school and only showed up at the end of the year for the climax of the story.

Forecast: Luna Lovegood will be vindicated with one of her crazy Quibbler stories. Perhaps we'll see confirmation of the existence of a Crumple-Horned Snorkack, possibly something else.
Actually: No Crumple-Horned Snorkack. About as close as we get is, "Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure," which I believe was one of Luna's first significant lines in OotP. That is the phrase engraved on Ravenclaw's diadem.

Forecast: Harry gets a new Patronus, possibly a phoenix, possibly something unique to Harry as he becomes his own man.
Actually: No new patronus. The spirits of his dead loved ones act like a patronus, parting the dementors at the end of the book.

Forecast: Snape is revealed to have been working his own game, playing both sides against the middle(ala Machiavelli's Prince), but will still redeem himself in the end... I think redemption is still possible and highly likely.
Actually: The Snape Loved Lily camp were proven right beyond their wildest dreams. Snape was redeemed at the end of the day, though his treatment of Harry was still reprehensible, and he was NOT a nice man.

Forecast: The final battle/confrontation will involve an underground cave, tunnel, chamber, maze or tomb as it has in every single book.
Actually: Harry travelled through the Whomping Willow Tunnel to the Shrieking Shack, and through the Forbidden Forest.

Forecast: A metamorphmagus will be key to the plot based on Rowling previously established pattern.
Actually: Teddy Lupin was born, and is likely a metamorphmagus, but not really key to the plot. Really missed the boat on this one.

The Body Count

I predicted deaths in the categories of Certain, Likely and Possible.

Forecast as Certain to Die

Hagrid - Missed this one altogether. I did think he was done for at one point, but he survived.

Wormtail - he pays his debt to Harry and is done in by his own magic hand.
Snape - Was in Dumbledore's corner, but his position was too dangerous.
Bellatrix - didn't see her being done in by Molly, but otherwise she was too evil to survive.
Voldemort - probably the easiest call to make.

Forecast as Likely to Die

Draco - Draco redeemed himself essentially when he chose to disarm Dumbledore and not kill him. A key plot point.

Lupin - I was right that no Marauders walked away from this tale.
Numerous Death Eaters and Order of the Phoenix - Moody, Tonks, the younger Crabbe. Not a difficult prediction to make really as it is sort of vague.

Forecast as Possible to Die

Hermione - She did get a wicked Crucio and the threat of being killed by Greyback, but she survived, thus Ron survived.
Neville, Hogwarts Professors - I figured these were possibilities, but not strong ones.

Another Weasley - Fred was killed in the Battle for Hogwarts. I just knew Harry couldn't save them all.

The death of Dobby was one I never considered one way or another, I guess I just never thought he'd be in any sort of jeopardy. His funeral was one of the most touching and memorable parts of the book for me.

Deathly Hallows contained a lot of parallels to the plot of Goblet of Fire as well, and I may post about those in a few days. One thing DH had in common was GoF was including important elements of ALL the preceding books, but it also had GoF specific parallels all over the place. It's really a testament to Rowling's writing that she pulled this off.

I was also impressed with how much the speculators/theoriticians figured out about DH just based on careful reading of the clues JK had given in the earlier books. Granted, there were so many people working on those clues that it was likely someone was bound to be right and for every theory that proved correct there were probably ten that were wrong. The introduction of the Hallows proved to be the wild card that nobody could have correctly predicted and that has always been the great things about the books. There was always that new element that surprised us and the characters to keep us guessing and reading.

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