In barely 24 hours, I will be standing in line with a bazillion people, most of whom are less than half my age, to get a copy of The Book â€“ Harry Potter and the Rise of the Silver Surfer. Er, Deathly Hallows.
And normally this would bother me â€“ standing impatiently for hours, a tall, sane island among a sea of tiny lunatics up way past their bedtimes. But I find Harry’s world so enchanting that I can find nothing to grumble about, even when I’m surrounded by hundreds of crazy children. So when one of these little monsters pretends to cast a spell, I’ll laugh and play along. When the book shop people hand us a sample of â€œbutterbeer,â€ I’ll raise my glass in toast and share with everyone in sight (everyone who isn’t a house-elf, anyway). And if I see a dude dressed up like Professor Snape, I’ll knock him silly with a tire iron, shouting â€œTHAT’S FOR WHAT YOU DID TO DUMBLEDORE, YOU COWARDâ€ until the police arrive and the whole night is ruined. It’s all in good fun, so why not play along.
But we Potter fans know the parties, the games, the snacks and the ritualistic beatings are all just a lead-up to The Book itself. Now Jo (you can call her that if you’re a true fan) has promised that The Book will tie up all the loose ends in the series. To most of us, this has meant we’ll get answers to the big questions â€“ like what happened to Sirius Black when he was mysteriously assumed into the mysterious veil at the Department of Mysteries, or why it’s so important that Harry has his mother’s green eyes, or how the crap a seventeen year old who was once outsmarted by Dobby the house-elf is going to find and destroy all those Horcruxes. But Jo Rowling is nothing if not precise with her words, and while I don’t actually know if she said The Book will tie up the loose ends, I must assume so or writing this would make no sense. In that spirit, here are a few of the lesser-appreciated loose ends that we can look forward to reading about in the 4082 pages or whatever it is that comprises Harry’s final adventure:
First, where did Professor Trelawney hide her sherry bottles? When last we saw the â€œold bat in outsize specsâ€ she was trying to hide the remnants of her private debauchery in the Room of Requirement, only to be tossed out by a whooping Draco Malfoy. She runs into Harry, who abandons her when he finds out Professor Snape was the spy at the Hog’s Head who sold out his parents… and that’s it. She must’ve hidden those bottles somewhere… but where? (And could one of the sherry bottles be a Horcrux?)
Will Luna Lovegood be able to stop the Rotfang Conspiracy? The Aurors’ evil plot to destroy the Ministry of Magic through Dark Magic and gum disease seems like the biggest threat to the Wizarding world since the rise of the Death Eaters. It seems likely one of the Order of the Phoenix is a Rotfang traitor â€“ Kingsley â€œDentists Are For Nuttersâ€ Shacklebolt, I’m looking at you â€“ but what’s more likely is that Luna Lovegood and her father, the editor of The Quibbler, will have to handle this on their own while Harry and his pals deal with Voldemort. I think we’ll see flashes of this subplot in The Book, but it won’t be completely resolved, leaving the door open for a seven-book spinoff series. Luna Lovegood and the Molars of Discontent will hit bookshelves in early 2009. (Also, could Kingsley Shacklebolt’s front teeth be a Horcrux?)
Will Old Archie start his own line of cross-dressing fashions for wizards? Book Four introduced us to Old Archie, the Wizarding world’s answer to Divine, and his flowered nightgown. But he can’t be the only wizard who likes a healthy breeze round his privates, can he? With all the missing shopkeepers, I can see Old Archie opening a little clothes shop right down the road from Fred and George’s joke shop. (Also, could Archie’s privates be a Horcrux?)
Did Colonel Fubster take good care of Aunt Marge’s dogs while she visited the Dursleys? This goes all the way back to Book Three, so we’ve been left hanging for a while. Fubster seems like a good-natured chap, always willing to help with Marge’s dogs, but something tells me the good Colonel is a bit more enthusiastic than competent. Maybe that’s why Aunt Marge insists on taking Ripper with her wherever she goes â€“ not because Ripper pines for her, but because Fubster is as likely to put Ripper in the washing machine by mistake as he is to feed it. (Also, could Ripper be a Horcrux?)
Is J.K. Rowling a Horcrux? During an interview that I either read about or dreamed up, she turned bright red at the suggestion that she might be the final Horcrux â€“ but she refused to answer! Could it be that Harry must actually destroy the woman who dreamed him up? It would certainly be unusual, but then Jo has been clear that the wizarding world was at war, and that means big sacrifices. No wonder she told the press she was â€œhowlingâ€ after writing a certain chapter â€“ it was a chapter about her! (And if it’s true, who did Voldemort kill to make her a Horcrux? The mind boggles.)
Finally, am I a Horcrux? I do sometimes wake up feeling like I slept on one-seventh of someone else’s soul. That could just as easily be my keys, though.
Here’s looking forward to tomorrow night, when these questions, and so many others, will finally be answered!