The Ties that Bind: Old Magic, Blood and Sacrifice – Page Three

Dec 02, 2007

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The Ties that Bind

Old Magic, Blood and Sacrifice

“…the blood is the life.”—The Holy Bible1 and Dracula2

By Prongs Patronus

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The Simple Heart Will Be Prized Again…21

A rite of passage or initiation is not complete without the seal of blood. This practice from ancient times survives to this day; successful first-time hunters are “blooded” with the blood from their quarry. Thus, a bond of blood and use is established between hunter and the hunted. We experience Harry’s first blooding as he slays the basilisk and is showered with its blood in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The magical stench of that blood is still on him two years later, in the graveyard; Nagini twines around the headstone where Harry is tied, mummy-like, by Wormtail. Was she attracted by the magical residue of the “King” of the Serpents? Will this stay her fang when they meet again? To whom will Nagini finally bow—Lord Voldemort or Harry?

It may be that Harry got Dumbledore’s blood on more than his sleeve at the base of the tower that night. Like Herne the Hunter, Harry will beat the Wizarding World for the shards of his quarry’s soul. Grief and loss have burned away the conflicts and the hesitations; his heart has been made simple once more. Harry now knows his purpose; it has been graven into his soul with the blood of Albus Dumbledore: his heart is fixed on completing the Great Work of the Headmaster, accomplishing the destruction of Lord Voldemort.

What is in store for Harry Potter? How will Dumbledore’s sacrifice bear fruit?

Oh, Crystal Ball, Crystal Ball…22

We have seen the sacrifices that those who love will make for those whom they cherish; in the wizarding world that may mean using the Old Magic that Steve Vander Ark calls “… an integral, unavoidable part of the fabric of reality.”23 From Lily Potter, Harry received immunity from the touch of Voldemort, (Blood of the mother, willingly given.) From the failed Avada Kedavra Curse of his enemy, Voldemort, Harry was given a share of the Dark Lord’s powers, thereby marking The Boy Who Lived as his enemy’s equal. (Power of the enemy, forcibly taken.) We learn from the wandmaker Ollivander that the wands of both Harry and Voldemort share a core— a feather each from Fawkes, Dumbledore’s phoenix. (Core of feather, unknowingly given.) Yes, they are equals; Harry loves as much as Voldemort hates. What then will break the stalemate? It may well be the case that the blood freely given by Dumbledore will prove to be the charm that overcomes the equality of circumstance; Old Magic will have its revenge upon the defiler, Voldemort.

We tiptoed through the hideous Cave of the Locket with the two hunters, Dumbledore and Harry, and we saw how their blood mingled upon the rock of admittance. Old Magic was at work here, deeper than the workings of wand and spell. Was another charm of protection through blood being worked by Dumbledore? It would need blood to seal the charm, and blood we were given! Dumbledore used his tiny bit of time and advantage to make Harry immobile and safe. A silent witness to his mentor’s demise, Harry “blooded” himself with Dumbledore’s blood, thereby sealing the sacrifice of the Headmaster on Harry’s behalf. It may be that the gleam of triumph in Dumbledore’s eyes was the realization that a stalemate had been reached with the taking of Harry’s blood for Voldemort’s rebirth; while it negated the immunity Harry had from the Dark Lord’s touch, the Love from Lily Potter that lives in Harry’s blood will prove to be the undoing of the Dark Lord. The venom of Hate cannot withstand the anti-toxin of Love. Dumbledore called upon the Old Magic once more in a re-creation of Lily Potter’s sacrifice; first, to create a blood bond between them in the cave, then to blood his magical child of the heart with his last bit of lifeblood, thus sealing the charm. Harry is his heir in duty, but we will surely see Harry inherit more than that from the late Headmaster; there is the Pensieve and the memories so painstakingly gathered, and there is surcease at Hogwarts after duty is fulfilled. Dumbledore has whetted his dagger; from beyond the Veil Dumbledore throws The Boy Who Loves at the shriveled heart and soul of the Dark Lord.


1. The Holy Bible, Deuteronomy 12:23.

2. Stoker, Dracula, chapter 11.

3. Keane, lyrics from “Wolf at the Door.”

4. Rowling, Goblet of Fire, 696.

5. Keane, lyrics from “Crystal Ball.”

6. Everything2, “The resurrection of the body,” paragraphs 8–10.

7. How Stuff Works, “How Luminol Works,” paragraph 1.

8. Rowling, Order of the Phoenix, 835–36.

9. Keane, lyrics from “Thin Air.”

10. Rowling, Goblet of Fire, 653.

11. Ibid., 656.

12. Ibid., 641—642.

13. Keane, lyrics from “He Used to Be a Lovely Boy.”

14. Rowling, Order of the Phoenix, 841.

15. Keane, lyrics from “Atlantic.”

16. Rowling, Half-Blood Prince, 558.

17. Keane, lyrics from “The Frog Prince.”

18. Rowling, 592.

19. Ibid., 595.

20. Ibid., 596.

21. Keane, lyrics from “The Frog Prince.”

22. Ibid., lyrics from “Crystal Ball.”

23. Vander Ark, “Ancient Magic.”


America’s Blood Centers. “The History of Blood Banking” (1999-2006). (accessed 11 November 2006).

BamaHP. “Blood” The Leaky Lounge, Obscurus Books Forum (2006) (accessed 9 November 2006).

Everything2, “The resurrection of the body” (2006). (accessed 24 November 2006).

The Holy Bible. Authorised King James Version, Red Letter Edition. Miami: P.S.I. & Associates, Inc., 1986.

How Stuff Works. “How Luminol Works” (2006). (accessed 24 November 2006).

Keane. “Atlantic.” Under the Iron Sea (album). Universal/Island B000FBHT1C: 2006.

———. “Crystal Ball.” Under the Iron Sea (album). Universal/Island B000FBHT1C: 2006.

———. “The Frog Prince.” Under the Iron Sea (album). Universal/Island B000FBHT1C: 2006.

———. “He Used to be a Lovely Boy.” Is It Any Wonder (3–track single). Universal/Island B000FIMHDU: 2006.

———. “Thin Air.” Nothing in My Way (3-track single). Universal/Island B000J3DEJ2: 2006.

———. “Wolf at the Door.” Wolf at the Door (3-track single). ZoomorphicZOO/2/01: 2001.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2000.

———. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2005.

———. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2003.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Edition 13, 1897. Project Gutenberg, 1992. (accessed 1 November 2006).

Vander Ark, Steve. “Ancient Magic: Magic From Before the Dawn of Time?” The Harry Potter Lexicon, 2002. (accessed 1 November 2006).

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