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Chapters 29-30: The Phoenix Lament & The White Tomb

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Chapters 29-30: The Phoenix Lament & The White Tomb

Post by DADAProfAE on 2011-08-05, 10:21

After the flight of the Half-Blood Prince, we see our hero Harry at the hospital wing discussing post-fight matters with the Order of the Phoenix. This is the perfect opportunity for everyone to update Harry (and by extension, us) about the things that happened when he left Hogwarts with Dumbledore. We also see everyone's reactions to the news of Albus' death, and the murderer behind this unspeakable act. Deputy Headmistress McGonagall gathers the HoH Faculty (including Hagrid) to discuss their plan of action before the Minister arrives.

Harry also reveals to Ron that the expedition with the late Headmaster was for naught; the necklace was a fake Horcrux.

Some thoughts and questions:

1. When McGonagall asks Harry about the nature of their trip outside Hogwarts, Harry refuses to answer, saying that Dumbledore didn't want it revealed to anyone else. I remember admiring the forbearance Harry displayed at this point, not to mention his resoluteness in keeping the Headmaster's confidence. If it were me, I probably would have wavered, since this is McG we're talking about (of course this is me talking; I adore Minerva!). While I still would've kept the secret to myself, I definitely would have had a difficult time keeping it, least of all from my Head of House. How about you?

2. Let's recall the 4 Rules of Constant Vigilance when reading Harry Potter:


1. If she reinforces it, she means it (and wants us to remember it);

2. If she suddenly interrupts something, she’s hiding a key clue;

3. There’s no such thing as a coincidence; and

4. Don’t take a character’s word for it.

From Galadriel Waters' Ultimate Unofficial Guide to the Mysteries of Harry Potter, World Wizarding Press (2203)

Let's focus on rule #2: If Rowling suddenly interrupts something, she's hiding a key clue. When Harry tells everyone that Albus trusted Snape even if it was Snape who told Voldemort about the prophecy, Remus replied, "Dumbledore believed Snape was sorry James was dead? Snape hated James..." Harry then unceremoniously interrupts Remus and says that Snape hated Lily because she was muggle-born.

That interruption should have been a red flag to most of us. That interruption is an opening to an angle some of us hadn't entertained prior to the grand revelations in the Deathly Hallows/the Prince's Tale. Snape hated James, sure. But there was no mention of him hating Lily, and Remus would've been the best resource person to make any assertion, but he was interrupted. Harry inherited an old grudge towards Snape (and Snape surely didn't make life any easier for Harry), but what does this interruption made by Harry, him jumping the gun about Snape, tell you about Harry himself? Harry had no solid proof about his assertion yet he made it. Is it a case of him wanting to believe the worst in Snape given that he just witnessed the murder of his Headmaster in the hands of his old Potions master? Or is there something more to it? Is it a character flaw in Harry?
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Re: Chapters 29-30: The Phoenix Lament & The White Tomb

Post by DADAProfAE on 2011-08-07, 17:15

Finally, we are at the White Tomb.

For the late Headmaster's funeral, everyone in the wizarding world turns up to pay his/her last respect for the great man. We see the merfolk saying their farewell from the Black Lake, even the centaurs came out of the Forbidden Forest to stand amidst the entire wizarding community in saying goodbye to the man who was once regarded at the only wizard the Dark Lord was afraid of.

True to form, Hermione proves herself right once again by saying that the Prince's name is a reference to Eileen Prince, female obviously, and the mother of the now perceived traitor and murderer, Severus Snape.

Harry breaks up with Ginny (he does a Spider-man, yeah), tells the Minister that he is still Dumbledore's man through and through, and informs Ron that he won't be back next school year to finish his education. His mission, and he has chosen to accept it, is to find the remaining Horcruxes, destroy them all if possible, and give the wizarding folk a fighting chance by making Voldemort vulnerable. As to be expected, Ron and Hermione agree to join him in his quest.

Some thoughts and questions:

1. This is probably on of the lowest points (if not the lowest) in the entire septology. With Albus gone, we can only imagine what Hogwarts, what the students, faculty and staff are all going through. Sadness doesn't quite capture it. The loss is tremendous. They have lost their champion. McGonagall lost her dear boss. Hagrid lost his protector. The Order lost its Secret Keeper. And Harry lost his dear old mentor.

But what about the Slytherin students, you think? With their beloved Head of House gone, accused of killing the school's Headmaster, and their Prefect Draco Malfoy nowhere to be seen, what do you think the students from Salazar's House would be thinking at this point?

2. While this chapter provides us readers with a moment of quiet reflection, it must be said that it is a brief respite from the panic and chaos and fear that wait outside the boundaries of Hogwarts. With Dumbledore gone, the Death Eaters headed by their commander-in-chief Lord Voldemort will be having a field day. What do you think would be the first order of the day? The first command of the Dark Lord?

3. The only light at the end of this dark tunnel is the promise of a wedding between Fleur and Bill. Was it enough of a good news to you as a reader? Did it offer you some ray of sunshine amidst the tragedy that surrounds the death of Albus Dumbledore?

You know the drill!
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Re: Chapters 29-30: The Phoenix Lament & The White Tomb

Post by lianne on 2011-08-08, 00:23

DADAProfAE wrote:Let's focus on rule #2: If Rowling suddenly interrupts something, she's hiding a key clue. When Harry tells everyone that Albus trusted Snape even if it was Snape who told Voldemort about the prophecy, Remus replied, "Dumbledore believed Snape was sorry James was dead? Snape hated James..." Harry then unceremoniously interrupts Remus and says that Snape hated Lily because she was muggle-born.

I'm not really answering the question here but I was just wondering if Remus and Sirius knew how Snape felt about Lily. I dunno, that sort of thing's usually obvious...I just asked because I was surprised that neither Remus nor Sirius mentioned this to Harry or at least alluded to it. Well, I suppose it would have been such a big plot reveal but, I dunno, it's too big for them to conveniently leave out. Or perhaps they really didn't have a clue in the first place. (thinking)

DADAProfAE wrote:3. The only light at the end of this dark tunnel is the promise of a wedding between Fleur and Bill. Was it enough of a good news to you as a reader? Did it offer you some ray of sunshine amidst the tragedy that surrounds the death of Albus Dumbledore?

Honestly, this wasn't what got me excited for the last book.
It wasn't the 'ray of sunshine' at the end of HBP.
I was excited over the journey the trio was about to make.
Plus, I think I found peace during the funeral. If that makes sense.
I thought the ceremony was fitting somehow and that Harry deciding to move on and carry on the memory of Dumbledore through his work against Voldy was what gave me hope.

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Re: Chapters 29-30: The Phoenix Lament & The White Tomb

Post by DADAProfAE on 2011-08-09, 09:50

lianne wrote:

I'm not really answering the question here but I was just wondering if Remus and Sirius knew how Snape felt about Lily. I dunno, that sort of thing's usually obvious...I just asked because I was surprised that neither Remus nor Sirius mentioned this to Harry or at least alluded to it. Well, I suppose it would have been such a big plot reveal but, I dunno, it's too big for them to conveniently leave out. Or perhaps they really didn't have a clue in the first place. (thinking)

Good observation. If they (Remus and Sirius) did notice Snape's feelings for Lily, I think they would've taunted him, made fun of his feelings. And that, I guess, would've been part of the Pensieve memories. Perhaps the marauders didn't really pay that much attention to Snape to warrant such a scrutiny? Snape was like a dustball along the corridors of the castle to them, unimportant, unnecessary, unless they felt like making fun of him as the young Sirius and James were really bullies. And as for James, I guess he didn't really look at Snape (or anybody for that matter) as an equal, as a real competition when it comes to Lily. They were in their 5th year, right, when James started to notice Lily (or at least magsimulang magpapansin)? And it was also this time when Snape and Lily sort of had a falling out after that whole Mudblood name-calling incident. So I guess by their 5th year, the coast was practically clear for James.
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Re: Chapters 29-30: The Phoenix Lament & The White Tomb

Post by dementedlouise on 2011-08-25, 01:06

What do you think would be the first order of the day? The first command of the Dark Lord?

-I think it would be gather enough followers. Strengthen their side. Kill/Punish those who refuse/anti-Voldemort. Then Capture Harry Potter!

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Re: Chapters 29-30: The Phoenix Lament & The White Tomb

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