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The Aftermath: We were all correct

by David Haber

Sometime a week before Book 7 came out, someone commented that Harry would die, but then come back. I think most everyone on the site thought it was a silly idea. But I told several people at that time that I thought that just might be the perfect solution, although I couldn't figure out how J.K. could make it work. J.K. did, of course! So, the half of the Harry Potter fans in the world who thought Harry would die were right! And the other half who thought he would live were also right!

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Reader Comments: (Page 81)

I see what you are saying about Harry coming to have faith in Dumbledore, especially after feeling let down by the Rita Skeeter "revelations" and finding out that Dumbledore never mentioned their link with Godric's Hollow.

I suppose a 17 year old would need quite a bit of time to come to the decision to sacrifice himself to his worst enemy. It would take quite an exceptional 17 year old to be able to do it.

A friend of mine pointed out that Harry needed all that time to go through the stages of discovering what the Hallows are, to desiring to use them as Dumbledore wanted to use them, to finally refocusing his priorities on destroying the Horcruxes.

I love the fact that a disarming spell is key to Harry's victory, in more than one instance. Before I read book 7 I cringed when I thought of Harry becoming a er, even if it would have been for the greater good.

When Snape arrived on the tower, I wonder if he hesitated because he knew of the plan to transfer ownership of the Wand, and he did not see it in Dumbledore's hand.
I wonder if Dumbledore's plan included having Snape and Voldemort duel, but without the wand Snape never challenged Voldemort. Did Dumbledore think Snape would hold his own in such a duel, or did he want Voldemort to gain the wand for some inscrutable reason? Maybe Snape was to hide the Wand somewhere Voldemort would never find it.

Posted by Patty from Quincy MA on September 5, 2007 10:30 AM

Joe and Patty!

The original plan was that the power of the elder wand should with Dumbledore. Since Dumbledore asked or even ordered Snape to him, Snape didn't really defeat Dumbledore. Thus, the power of the elder wand would have d with its last owner, who was never defeated. The flaw was, that Malfoy defeated Dumbledore by disarming him. The whole issue is explained in the chapter "the flaw in the plan".

I am still kind of bugged about this prophecy issue I raised before! Could you guys help me with it?

Posted by pigwidgeon28 from Austria on September 5, 2007 11:26 PM

Joe from England:
Was Snape supposed to gain the elder wand and later lose it to Harry? What was Dumbledore's original plan? Any ideas?

Well, I have the first impression that Dumbledore was intending Snape to have the Elder Wand such that he was condemning Snape to be ed by Vordemort. But then, I re-read the book again (and again), and finally realised that the original plan was "Snape never beat Dumbledore, Dumbledore's was planned between them! Dumbledore intended to undefeated, the wand's last true master! If all had gone as planned, the wand's power would have d with him, because it had never been won from him!" (U.K. P.594)

Posted by Fiona from Hong Kong on September 6, 2007 07:33 AM

Thanks Pigwidgeon28 and Fiona for pointing out the chapter The Flaw in the Plan, however I am still confused about Dumbledore's plan. Did it only include keeping Voldemort from attaining the power of the Wand, or did Dumbledore intend Harry to unite all three Hallows? If the plan was the former, was Dumbledore expecting Harry to dispose of all the Horcruxes, sacrifice himself, and then let someone else take down Voldemort? I think Dumbledore knew Harry would be able to unite the Hallows, but how did his plan give the power of the Wand to Harry?

Regarding the wording of the prophecy, I wonder if Voldemort's meddling changed events that the prophecy foretold so that it was no longer valid. It depends on whether you believe in a future that is predetermined or free. As Dumbledore said, the power of prophecy comes from choosing to believe in it and acting on it. He also said choices are important. Voldemort chose to believe the prophecy, but then tried to influence the future without regard to unforeseen consequences.

I think the prophecy could only be valid at the time it was spoken, and up until the time Voldemort chose to take matters into his own hands. It suited Dumbledore's plan to have Harry believe one had to the other. I think you are right that the prophecy does not speak to the fact of the entwined nature of Harry's and Voldemort's survival. In fact neither d at the hand of the other. Dumbledore tells Harry twice that he is not in King's Cross, and Voldemort ed himself with the rebound AK.

Posted by Patty from Quincy MA on September 6, 2007 7:53 PM


Harry has an opinion on what the plan was, but I think the plan was for Snape to take control of the Elder Wand so he could easily defeat Voldemort.


The sorting hat was summoned because Voldemort wanted to demonstrate a new way of sorting at Hogwarts. Neville was able to pull out the sword because he is a true Gryffindor, and someone with a heart like Neville's can bypass the space-time continuum.

Posted by Alex Crawley from Medstead, Sasktachewan, Canada on September 6, 2007 10:07 PM

A question I did not find answer to, so far: How did Ron and Hermione made it back from the Chamber of Secrets? In the second year, Harry, Ron, Ginny and Lockart had a phoenix to hold on to. This time, without one and carrying basilisks fangs, how could they come up from the tunnel?

Posted by Cecil from Tacoma, WA on September 6, 2007 11:00 PM

Veerle, Belgium:
I have also wondered about Harry's grandparents. According to the dates on the headstones, James and Lily were only 21 when they d. Sirius told Harry he stayed at James' when he left home at 16, before he got his own place, presumably when he came of age at 17. This means James lost his parents in the 3-4 years before he was ed by Voldemort. Voldemort was gaining in power during these years, and we know that there were many s(caused by him and the Eaters); we also know from DH that Voldemort supporters used relatives and friends to coerce and blackmail people.

Did Voldemort , or have ed, James' parents? Lily and Petunias parents were alive when Lily went to Hogwarts for the first time. So they must have d between then and Harry's birth. Petunia never mentions them, did they together? Of natural causes? Did Voldemort or his followers Lily's parents? (Have the s of the grandparents anything to do with Lily and James defying Voldemort three times - this is mentioned a couple of times, but with no other explanation.) Could this be a reason Petunia was in such denial about the magical world? Her sister was a witch, she disappeared into Hogwarts and a different life, married a wizard and then was ed, if she suspected her parents had been ed by wizards, it was no wonder she tried to block Harry's world out of her life. (In fact it was a miracle that she took Harry at all).

Why didnt Sirius or Lupin or Dumbledore ever tell Harry anything about either sets of grandparents. As an orphan surely he must have asked the questions, especially of Sirius when he found out that he had lived with his grandparents for a while. I thought it was sweet that Petunia had sent a wedding present, even if Lily hated it. They must have been married and pregnant around about the same time (although if Petunia is a couple of years younger than Lily, and her parents were already she must have felt quite vulnerable - she obviously had restricted contact with her sister.) It's no wonder she married someone like Vernon!

Also, what happened to every single one of Harry's other relatives - no other relative anywhere? No-one ever claiming any kind of relationship is ever mentioned. Are they too scared of what happen to them if they let on they are remotely related to him? According to Sirius all the pure blood families are related, and James was pure blood. I also have a problem with who James and Lily thought would look after their son if they were ed, which was quite probable, considering they were members of the Order. Sirius was Harry's Godfather, but he was also in the Order and was only 20 when Harry was born and also a member of the Order; didn't James & Lily about worry who was going to look after Harry if anything happened to them? Who did they specify, if Sirius was ed before them. Did Dumbledore ignore their choice, or did Lily realise that Petunia was likely to be the only relative for Harry to go to?

Posted by Cassandra from Cornwall on September 7, 2007 05:50 AM

Was there a lightning shaped scar on Harry's chest, having been hit there with the ing curse? And how was Harry honored by the wizarding world for ing the greatest Dark Wizard of the age? Order of Merlin, First Class is one thought..but what else? It's hard not to keep thinking what would have come next, had the life-long story continued. Let's keep supporting Dan, Emma and Rupert for making their HP characters come to life.

Also, the three Malfoys were still sitting in the Great Hall, wondering if they belonged there. Obviously, Lucius and Draco were guilty in their association with Voldemort, but somehow; I get the feeling that they got "off the hook" in some way. Draco appears at the train to Hogwarts with his wife and son 19 years later. When Narcissa is betrayed Voldemort and told him Harry was , did that go a long way towards helping their case? I have fantasized a version of how it could have proceeded, with Harry himself being given a chance to speak at their trial and ask for some sort of mercy as a way to thank her. There are so many pieces of the Harry Potter story which lie untold. J.K. is right: we most probably never be satisfied.

Posted by Dolores Hemming from Groton, New York on September 7, 2007 2:56 PM


I love the idea of Harry speaking for the Malfoys at the trial! I wonder what the Malfoys did to thank him.

I had been thinking about Narcissa's , and Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Andromeda and Teddy (being related and all) going to the , with Ginny, Hermione, and Draco's wife (Pansy?) all being pregnant and all...

About the prophecy, Harry technically ed Voldemort, because he said "Do you believe that you have a weapon I do not, or a power greater than mine?" and Harry answers as both. He had love, which is greatest, and that stopped him from and others too. So many people were already protected when Voldy d, therefore causing a problem which might have lead to his downfall anyway. Then the Elder Wand was loyal to him, so if someone else, like, say, Neville, had been the one to challenge Voldemort then, he would have d and Voldemort would not be defeated. So it's more like, love was like an undefeatable problem for Voldemort, and Harry was the most real example of that, because he had love for a shield, weapon, and principle. Voldemort can't defeat love like that, so when he tried to fight, he lost, thanks to Harry's love.

Posted by C.J. from Utah on September 7, 2007 11:03 PM

Did Snape know about the significance of the elder wand? IF the original plan was for Snape to Dumbledore and gain ownership of the elder wand, would he have had to know about it's significance? This would be risky because Voldemort might have got an inkling about the hallows...something I think Dumbledore was doing all he could to prevent. I suppose Snape could have had instructions to defeat Dumbledore and perhaps the power of the wand would not have transfered because Dumbledore's was agreed between the power of the wand would not transfer because Dumbledore would not have used it to defend himself....the wand would have been buried with Dumbledore as it was and Voldemort would have taken it from the grave as he did still not having true ownership of it. But then, Harry would not have had ownership of the three hallows (only two) would he have been able to come back from "Kings Cross" anyway? Is that about some other magic than the three hallows? To do with Lily's sacrifice and the fact that Harry sacrificed himself in the same way?

Also, if Harry had only two of the hallows and was not the true owner of the elder wand, how was he supposed to defeat Voldemort? What was the original plan for that?

Interesting thought about the prophecy, actually the power Harry had to defeat Voldemort was independent of the was his great selflessness and ability to love...which presumably he would have had whether Voldemort had marked him or not. The event in DH which mirrors the one in PS is that Harry is able to use the Hallows for the good of others (i.e. in the way Dumbledore intended him to eventually, after he had been tempted to use them for himself)..this mirrors the way Harry was able to gain the philosophers stone because he had no idea to use it for his own gain. THe prophecy could take into account the fact that Voldemort would act to mark HArry...setting the prophecy in motion...but only Harry has the power Voldemort knows not, i.e. the ability to love others so much more than himself and so sacrifice himself for others, he has this power whether Voldemort chooses to act on the prophecy or not..if you see what I mean from this rather convoluted attempt to express a difficult concept! So perhaps Harry was the only one able to defeat Voldemort regardless of the prophecy...

Posted by Joe from England on September 8, 2007 03:58 AM

For Cecil - On p. 622 (US version), it says that Ron had a broomstick under his arm when he and Hermione met Harry after they emerged from the CoS. They prepared for the return journey and used a broomstick.

Posted by Alice from Milton on September 8, 2007 06:08 AM

Why did Harry not call Dumbledore using the resurrection stone at the end? Surely he was as much a friend to Harry as Lupin or Sirius? Maybe he felt betrayed by Dumbledore?

Posted by William from Sydney, Australia on September 8, 2007 06:43 AM

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