Yes, I’m thoroughly caught up in Pottermania. Sue me.
Dances With Mermaids, having caught the Harry Potter bug extremely late, is halfway through Prisoner of Azkaban and is all a-flutter at the prospect of attending the pre-release costume party for Deathly Hallows at the local bookstore. I just hope she doesn’t learn too much about what’s to come from the other kids. I really dig seeing her reactions to the various plot twists and character moments, and I’d love to be able to follow her untainted reactions all the way up the line.
A few weeks back I opined that Ron Weasley is toast. This week I’ll throw my wand into the ring and come down on the side of Severus Snape being a hidden good guy. Since he had to take the Unbreakable Vow at the beginning of Half-Blood Prince, the crime he commits during the climax seems much less volitional. Remember that once the deed was done, Snape also declined several opportunities to do anything more to Potter than taunt him, though he could have done much worse. I would also point out Dumbledore’s instructions to Harry prior to their going off to find the horcrux: Harry was required to swear that he would follow all of Dumbledore’s commands, even if it meant saving himself at the cost of Dumbledore’s own life. I think Snape and Dumbledore must have had a similar conversation at some point.
So I think Snape will prove to have been Dumbledore’s mole within the ranks of the Death Eaters, that he was backed into a corner with the Unbreakable Vow and therefore had to help Draco follow through on his assignment from Voldemort, and that Snape’s help will prove to be the deciding factor in Harry’s victory over the Dark Lord.
Anything else? Oh yes. Harry’s scar is also a horcrux. Take it from me. It makes sense in plot terms — remember that murder is necessary to create a horcrux, so Voldemort would have seen the killing of the infant Harry and his parents as a golden opportunity — and symbolically as well: the odd links between Harry and Voldemort have been a running theme in all six books to date. I also have a hunch that the detail about Voldemort wanting to create seven horcruxes is a red herring. I think that Voldemort planned to round out his set by killing off the Potters, and his unexpected defeat left him with considerably fewer than seven.