He Who Must Not Be Named
By Sloan de Forest
Go For Voldemort!
Rowling has given her readers some clues about the plot of Deathly Hallows. In a 2005 interview, she said:
I don’t want to give too much away here, but Dumbledore says, ‘There are four [Horcruxes] out there, you’ve got to get rid of four, and then you go for Voldemort.’ So that’s where [Harry] is and that’s what he’s got to do.23
So, Voldemort will be going for Harry and Harry will be going for Voldemort. Harry’s mission will be to find and destroy the four remaining Horcruxes before the two encounter one another, without Voldemort knowing his Horcruxes have been destroyed, of course. It sounds like a tall order, but Harry is the man for the job. Voldemort may dismiss Harry’s ability to survive as “merely a lucky chance,”24 but the fact is that Harry has survived every attempt made on his life by the Dark Lord, and luck had little to do with it. Harry is a courageous and quick-thinking wizard who has received help from Dumbledore, from Fawkes, from the shadows of his parents, from his friends, from his teachers, from the Order, and even from his least favorite teacher of all, Severus Snape. They are all part of Harry’s elaborate Network of Love, so to speak. It’s more than just the ability to love that gives Harry an advantage over Voldemort, it is the end result of this ability: he is protected and aided by everyone who cares for him. He may have to face Voldemort alone, but he will never be as alone as Voldemort is. Tom Riddle never had a friend in his life, much less parents to support him or anyone willing to help him simply because they loved him, without asking for anything in return. Even Harry at one point feels pangs of sympathy for the friendless boy, and Dumbledore accuses him of “feeling sorry for Lord Voldemort.”25 Harry’s empathy with others has created powerful bonds of love strong enough to shield him from danger, while the only bonds his nemesis has are flimsy ones born out of threats and nurtured with fear. These ties have dissolved when Voldemort needed them most, but Harry’s never have.
Harry also felt compassion, or at least human decency, toward Peter Pettigrew, the ratty sycophant who helped the Dark Lord return to power. According to the wisdom of Dumbledore, “When one wizard saves another wizard’s life it creates a certain bond between them … and I’m much mistaken if Voldemort wants his servant in the debt of Harry Potter.”26 He then tells Harry, “The time may come will you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew’s life.” This day has not arrived yet, so we are almost certain to see Pettigrew’s debt repaid in the final book. Voldemort neglected to prepare for the ancient magic of Lily Potter’s sacrifice, so perhaps he has disregarded Peter’s life debt to Harry too. This disadvantage, combined with the vulnerability the destruction of his Horcruxes will create, is likely to come as a very unpleasant surprise to Lord Voldemort.
When the time comes for Harry to do the deed, will he be able to actually extinguish a human life—even one like You-Know-Who’s with so little human left in it? Harry has been angry enough to kill before, but has never intentionally taken a life. Might he find the compassion to spare Voldemort as he did Pettigrew and perhaps vanquish the Dark Lord in some other manner besides death? Instead of attempting to murder him when they dueled, Dumbledore simply admonished his former pupil calmly by telling him, “Indeed your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness.”27 The main flaw with Harry’s not killing his enemy is that any Voldemort—even one imprisoned and completely stripped of power—is a bad Voldemort. The seventh novel will be the final one of the series; if the Dark Lord is not entirely destroyed in this book, the wizarding world might never sleep soundly again. Unless his life is put to an end, there’s always the chance he could somehow position himself for a comeback.
When the Dark Lord chose the night of October 31st to make an attempt on the life of his young nemesis, it seems probable that he selected All Hallows’ Eve for a reason. The Druids not only believed that the veil separating our world from the spirit world was suspended on this night, but they saw it as a point at which time as we know it ceases to exist and the past meets the future. Perhaps Halloween holds another clue about Voldemort’s strange power to cheat death—or about his impending demise—as is hinted by the enigmatic title of the last installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
There will be many more lives lost at the hands of Voldemort and his henchmen before the final moment when he and Harry meet in a battle to the death, and Harry’s closest friends might even be among the casualties. In addition to feeling the need to avenge the deaths of his parents and friends, Harry will feel a responsibility to rid the world of the most evil wizard of the age. He may be seriously wounded or even sacrificed in the process, but Harry Potter will destroy the Lord Voldemort for good in the seventh book. He has the power of love on his side— the “power the Dark Lord knows not.” 28
1. Rowling, Sorcerer’s Stone, 54.
2. Upton, “JKR: ‘Lord Voldemort Requires My Constant Presence’,” paragraph 1, 3.
3. Jensen, “Fire Storm,” part 2.
4. Rowling, Chamber of Secrets, 314.
6. Ibid., Goblet of Fire, 653.
7. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 381
8. Anelli & Spartz, “TLC/MN Interview Part Two.”
9. Rowling., Order of the Phoenix, 841.
10. O’Connor, “Checklist of Psychopathy Indicators.”
11. Rowling, “What is the significance of Neville being…,” paragraph 4.
12. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 841.
13. Ibid., Prisoner of Azkaban, 324.
14. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 603.
15. Ibid., 93.
16. Ibid., Sorcerer’s Stone, 55.
18. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 335.
19. Ibid., 431.
20. Ibid., Sorcerer’s Stone, 55.
21. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 206.
22. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 56.
23. Anelli & Spartz, “TLC/MN Interview Part Three.”
24. Rowling, Chamber of Secrets, 317.
25. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 262.
26. Ibid., Prisoner of Azkaban, 427.
27. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 814.
28. Ibid., 841.
Anelli, Melissa and Emerson Spartz. “The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Two,” The Leaky Cauldron, 16 July 2005. /#static:tlcinterviews/jkrhbp2 (accessed 11 November 2006).
——— . “The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Three,” The Leaky Cauldron, 16 July 2005. /#static:tlcinterviews/jkrhbp3 (accessed 14 November 2006).
Jensen, Jeff. “ ‘Fire’ Storm.” Entertainment Weekly, 7 September 2000. http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2000/0900-ew-jensen.htm (accessed 14 November 2006).
J.K. Rowling Official Site. “FAQ: What is the significance of Neville being the other boy to whom the prophecy might have referred?” http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/faq_view.cfm?id=84 (accessed 14 November 2006).
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.
———. 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.
———. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.
———. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1998.
O’Connor, Dr. Tom. “Psychology and Criminology: A Checklist of Psychopathy Indicators,” 8 January 2005. http://faculty.ncwc.edu/TOConnor/301/psycpath.htm (accessed 14 September 2006).
Upton, Sue. “JKR: ‘Lord Voldemort Requires My Constant Presence at the Moment’.” The Leaky Cauldron, 5 September 2006. Text of remarks provided by Bloomsbury. /index.php?articleID=9032 (accessed 14 November 2006).