Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Posts so far for parshat Eikev

Year 1
  • Man Does Not Live On Bread Alone
    • A main point of the verse is that Hashem wanted them to realize that He was the source of sustenance. Thus first He afflicted them, by exposing them to hunger, and then provided them with this food, the manna. Why? If they had bread, they would not have learned this all-important lesson. Bread is but one instance of it, but man does not live on bread. He lives on whatever Hashem deigns to grant - כָּל-מוֹצָא פִי-ה.
to be continued...

Cracking Harry Potter 6 - The Half Blood Prince

I read through the latest Harry Potter book over the weekend, and I think I figured out what is going on in the book. (Spoilers follow, so don't keep reading if you don't want the plot revealed.)

1. The Big Secret
The big question - did Snape betray Dumbledore when he killed him? Was he working for the Order of the Phoenix or for Voldemort? - is an interesting question, but Snape is a red herring, and by focusing on him, you miss the major trick in the book. And that is:

Dumbledore does not appear in this book.

We may think we see him, but in fact his part is played by one Lucius Malfoy Wormtail. {On reconsideration, Wormtail makes more sense. Post will be updated to match shortly.} I will present copious evidence of this in short order.

2. The Evidence

A. Snape Working for the Order
In Chapter 2, "Spinner's End," Snape is clearly trying to pretend that he knows the mission on which Draco has been sent, hoping that his mother and aunt fill in the details. Thus, for example, he finds out it involves Draco as follows:
"It so happens that I know of the plan," he said in a low voice. "I am one of the few the Dark Lord has told. Nevertheless, had I not been in on the secret, Narcissa, you would have been guilty of great treachery to the Dark Lord."

"I thought you must know about it!" said Narcissa, breathing more freely. "He trusts you so, Severus..."

"You know about the plan?" said Bellatrix, her fleeting expression of satisfaction replaced by a look of outrage. "You know?"

"Certainly," said Snape. "But what help do you require, Narcissa? If you are imagining I can persuade the Dark Lord to change his mind, I am afraid there is no hope, none at all."

"Severus," she whispered, tears sliding down her pale cheeks. "My son... my only son..."
It continues in this vein, with him pretending in order to cajole more information. This culminates in the taking of an Unbreakable Vow, which in the end he fulfills. But we see Snape is working for the Order of the Phoenix, with no question.

Further, how many times in the past have we, and Harry, suspected Snape, of treachery, only to discover later that he was good. This is typical JK Rowling. This suffices for the Snape question, for now.

B. Voldemort is angry at Lucius; Lucius' Absence

Rowling makes sure to introduce us early to the fact that Voldemort is angry at Lucius. In Chapter 2, it is what Lucius' wife, Narcissa, thinks is the reason Draco has been sent on a mission to kill Dumbledore:
"That's because he is sixteen and has no idea what lies in store! Why, Severus? Why my son? It is too dangerous! This is vengeance for Lucius's mistake, I know it!"
Snape, playing along, echoes this idea:
"The Dark Lord is very angry," repeated Snape quietly. "He failed to hear the prophecy. You know as well as I do, Narcissa, that he does not forgive easily."
Also, three two characters do not overtly surface in this book in the flow of the regular narrative. One is Voldemort. The other is Lucius Malfoy, because, as Narcissa tells Snape, he is in prison:
"Yes, Severus. I ... I think you are the only one who can help me, I have nowhere else to turn. Lucius is in jail and..."
Again an important fact which is introduced early. It provides an alternative justification for his absence.

{Update: I'm leaving this here, but evidence points to Wormtail.}

C. Wormtail Absent; To Be Sent On More Dangerous Assignments

Lucius Malfoy and Voldemort are not the only two to not appear in the book. Wormtail, while we see him early on at Snape's house at Spinner's End, is not seen throughout the rest of the book. Snape threatens that he could be sent on a more dangerous assignment:
"I am not your servant!" he squeaked, avoiding Snape's eye.

"Really? I was under the impression that the Dark Lord placed you here to assist me."

"To assist, yes--but not to make you drinks and--and clean your house!"

"I had no idea, Wormtail, that you were craving more dangerous assignments," said Snape silkily. "This can be easily arranged: I shall speak to the Dark Lord--"

"I can speak to him myself if I want to!"
D. Wormtail's Severed Right Hand = Dumbledore's Shriveled Right Hand

Dumbledore's shriveled hand is his right one. In the previous book, Wormtail cut off his right hand to make a potion for Voldemort. Voldemort gave Wormtail a replacement silver hand. Presumably the Polyjuice did not work well on the hand, such that it appeared dead and shriveled.

She was not the only one who had noticed. Dumbledore's right hand was as blackened and dead-looking as it had been on the night he had come to fetch Harry from the Dursleys. Whispers it the room; Dumbledore, interpreting them correctly, merely smiled and shook his purple-and-gold sleeve over his injury.
E. The Leaflet from the Ministry of Magic

At the start of Chapter 3, we see the contents of a leaflet from the Ministry of Magic. It reads:
The Wizarding community is currently under threat from an organization calling itself the Death Eaters. Observing the following simple security guidelines will help protect you, your family, and your home from attack.

1. You are advised not to leave the house alone.

2. Particular care should be taken during the hours of darkness. Wherever possible, arrange to complete journeys before night has fallen.

3. Review the security arrangements around your house, making sure that all family members are aware of emergency measures such as Shield and Disillusionment Charms, and, in the case of underage family members, Side-Along-Apparition.

4. Agree on security questions with close friends and family so as to detect Death Eaters masquerading as others by use of the Polyjuice Potion (see page 2).

5. Should you feel that a family member, colleague, friend, or neighbor is acting in a strange manner, contact the Magical Law Enforcement Squad at once. They may have been put under the Imperius Curse (see page 4).

6. Should the Dark Mark appear over any dwelling place or other building, DO NOT ENTER, but contact the Auror office immediately.

7. Unconfirmed sightings suggest that the Death Eaters may now be using Inferi (see page 10). Any sighting of an In-ferius, or encounter with same, should be reported to the Ministry IMMEDIATELY.
Dumbledore, with Harry, disregard #2 and #6. #2 recommends completing travel before darkness has fallen, yet in Dumbledore's letter, which we read shortly after, we see he intends to set out with Harry at 11 PM:
Dear Harry,

If it is convenient to you, I shall call at number four, Privet Drive this coming Friday at eleven p.m. to escort you to the Burrow, where you have been invited to spend the remainder of your school holidays.

And it is not that Dumbledore disregards this. In fact, we have the following exchange in the next chapter:
"Sir ... I got a Ministry of Magic leaflet by owl, about security measures we should all take against the Death Eaters..."

"Yes, I received one myself," said Dumbledore, still smiling. "Did you find it useful?"

"Not really."

"No, I thought not. You have not asked me, for instance, what is my favorite flavor of jam, to check that I am indeed Professor Dumbledore and not an impostor."
So we see that he is not saying that the security measures are useless.

More on this particular issue later.

#6, not entering a building where there is a Dark Mark, Dumbledore and Harry disregard at the very end, shortly before Dumbledore's death. One could easily dismiss this as a miscalculation, with Dumbledore and Harry falling into a trap as a result of Dumbledore thinking he could handle it, but this is a miscalculation explicitly warned against as a basic security measure.

However, #4, asking security questions because a Death Eater may be using Polyjuice, is also disregarded by Harry. To continue the quote from above:
"No, I thought not. You have not asked me, for instance, what is my favorite flavor of jam, to check that I am indeed Professor Dumbledore and not an impostor."

"I didn't..." Harry began, not entirely sure whether he was being reprimanded or not.

"For future reference, Harry, it is raspberry... although of course, if I were a Death Eater, I would have been sure to research my own jam preferences before impersonating myself."

"Er... right," said Harry.
Harry did not ask Dumbledore before this, and now, the question is useless. If this is not Dumbledore now, then knowing that "Dumbledore's" favorite flavor of jam is raspberry is useless.

It does seem that Dumbledore is playing down the usefulness of this security measure.

Furthermore, there is the old playwright's rule:
If you show a gun in the first act, it needs to go off by the end of the second.
Simply put, what purpose is there to the leaflet? It warns of the use of Polyjuice by Death Eaters to pretend to be someone we know, yet we never see this use of Polyjuice. We do see Draco Malfoy's friends, Crabbe and Goyle using it to disguise themselves as the act as lookouts. And we do see Mr. and Mrs. Weasley asking questions to identify each other, to make sure the other is not a Death Eater. But while Polyjuice is not entirely unused, it still is not used in the way we have been primed to expect. However, if Dumbledore is actually Lucius Malfoy, the Death Eater, then we have exactly the situation described in the leaflet, immediately after the leaflet is introduced.

F. Dumbledore's Rudeness to the Dursleys

Dumbledore behaves very unlike Dumledore, throughout the book but particularly in these opening scenes. He invites himself in, and shoves them magically (and violently) onto the couch:
"Yes, indeed we are, but there are a few matters we need to discuss first," said Dumbledore. "And I would prefer not to do so in the open. We shall trespass upon your aunt and uncle's hospitality only a little longer."

"You will, will you?"

Vernon Dursley had entered the room, Petunia at his shoulder, and Dudley skulking behind them both.

"Yes," said Dumbledore simply, "I shall."

He drew his wand so rapidly that Harry barely saw it; with a casual flick, the sofa zoomed forward and knocked the knees out from under all three of the Dursleys so that they collapsed upon it in a heap. Another flick of the wand and the sofa zoomed back to its original position.

"We may as well be comfortable," said Dumbledore pleasantly.

As he replaced his wand in his pocket, Harry saw that his hand was blackened and shriveled; it looked as though his flesh had been burned away.

"Sir ... what happened to your ... ?"

"Later, Harry," said Dumbledore. "Please sit down."
It is right after this uncharacteristically rude behavior that our attention is first drawn to Dumbledore's hand.

There is also evidence of malice in the glasses conjured up by Dumbledore. As an example,
Harry looked around; all three of the Dursleys were cowering with their arms over their heads as their glasses bounced up and down on their skulls, their contents flying everywhere.
G. Dumbledore Does Not Know Harry's Age

Or perhaps he does. This was clearly put in for the purpose of fueling suspicion. The two relevant quotes. First, at the Dursleys:
"As you will no doubt be aware, Harry comes of age in a years time ..."

"No," said Aunt Petunia, speaking for the first time since Dumbledore's arrival.

"I'm sorry?" said Dumbledore politely.

"No, he doesn't. He's a month younger than Dudley, and Dudders doesn't turn eighteen until the year after next."

"Ah," said Dumbledore pleasantly, "but in the Wizarding world, we come of age at seventeen."

Uncle Vernon muttered, "Preposterous," but Dumbledore ignored him.
What Dumbledore says in his recovery is true enough. Ron's brothers came of age at seventeen in a previous book. Still, it is possible that Dumbledore initially meant Muggle coming of age, and made a telling mistake because he was unaware of Harry's exact birthday, something Dumbledore would certainly know. (And what is meant by "As you are no doubt aware" if he speaks of coming of age as defined by the Wizarding world?)

Further proof of this confusion of Harry's age occurs in chapter 4, where the following exchange occurs:
He came to an abrupt halt at the end of Privet Drive.

"You have not, of course, passed your Apparition Test," he said.

"No," said Harry. "I thought you had to be seventeen?"

"You do," said Dumbledore. "So you will need to hold on to my arm very tightly. My left, if you don't mind ... as you have noticed, my wand arm is a little fragile at the moment."

Harry gripped Dumbledore's proffered forearm.
Does this suddenly occur to Dumbledore? It would if until this point he thought Harry was seventeen. Could it be Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts, is not sure when one takes an Apparition test? Once again, after this curious exchange, our attention is drawn to Dumbledore's curious injury.

H. Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place

This is not exactly a proof, but since I am trying to treat the book in chronological order, here is the place to handle this. Dumbledore presents a test to see if Harry has inherited number twelve, Grimmauld Place. The stakes are high:
"You would prefer him to pass into the ownership of Bellatrix Lestrange? Bearing in mind that he has lived at the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix for the past year?"

"Won't, won't, won't, won't!"

Harry stared at Dumbledore. He knew that Kreacher could not be permitted to go and live with Bellatrix Lestrange, but the idea of owning him, of having responsibility for the creature that had betrayed Sirius, was repugnant.

"Give him an order," said Dumbledore. "If he has passed into your ownership, he will have to obey. If not, then we shall have to think of some other means of keeping him from his rightful mistress."

"Won't, won't, won't, WON'T!"

Kreacher's voice had risen to a scream. Harry could think of nothing to say, except, "Kreacher, shut up!"

It looked for a moment as though Kreacher was going to choke. He grabbed his throat, his mouth still working furiously, his eyes bulging. After a few seconds of frantic gulping, he threw himself face forward onto the carpet (Aunt Petunia whimpered) and beat the floor with his hands and feet, giving himself over to a violent, but entirely silent, tantrum.

"Well, that simplifies matters," said Dumbledore cheerfully.
This is a not a conclusive test. What if Bellatrix Lestrange actually had inherited the house? Then Kreacher would have ran to Bella and told her all sorts of information about the Order of the Phoenix, information that could have been used to take Dumbledore out of commission. If Dumbledore is indeed Lucius Malfoy, then why would Kreacher be compelled to follow Harry's order to shut up? Simple. Kreacher would be compelled to do so if Bellatrix had commanded him to follow any order from Harry.

When they administer the test, the Order has vacated the house, because of the question of who will inherit.
"You can keep using it as headquarters," said Harry. "I don't care. You can have it, I don't really want it." Harry never wanted to set foot in number twelve, Grimmauld Place again if he could help it. He thought he would be haunted forever by the memory of Sirius prowling its dark musty rooms alone, imprisoned within the place he had wanted so desperately to leave.

"That is generous," said Dumbledore. "We have, however, vacated the building temporarily."
However, even later, we see that not all is right with the house.


The squat, bandy-legged man with long, straggly, ginger hair jumped and dropped an ancient suitcase, which burst open, releasing what looked like the entire contents of a junk shop window.

"Oh, 'ello, 'Arry," said Mundungus Fletcher, with a most unconvincing stab at airiness. "Well, don't let me keep ya."

And he began scrabbling on the ground to retrieve the contents of his suitcase with every appearance of a man eager to be gone.

"Are you selling this stuff?" asked Harry, watching Mundungus grab an assortment of grubby-looking objects from the ground.

"Oh, well, gotta scrape a living," said Mundungus. "Gimme that!"

Ron had stooped down and picked up something silver.

"Hang on," Ron said slowly. "This looks familiar ..."

"Thank you!" said Mundungus, snatching the goblet out of Ron's hand and stuffing it back into the case. "Well, I'll see you all _ OUCH!"

Harry had pinned Mundungus against the wall of the pub by the throat. Holding him fast with one hand, he pulled out his wand.

"Harry!" squealed Hermione.

"You took that from Sinus's house," said Harry, who was almost nose to nose with Mundungus and was breathing in an unpleasant smell of old tobacco and spirits. "That had the Black family crest on it."

"I ... no ... what ... ?" spluttered Mundungus, who was slowly turning purple.

"What did you do, go back the night he died and strip the place?" snarled Harry.

"I ... no ... "

"Give it to me!"

"Harry, you mustn't!" shrieked Hermione, as Mundungus started to turn blue.

There was a bang, and Harry felt his hands fly off Mundungus's throat. Gasping and spluttering, Mundungus seized his fallen case, then ... CRACK! he Disapparated.

Harry swore at the top of his voice, spinning on the spot to see where Mundungus had gone.


"There's no point, Harry." Tonks had appeared out of nowhere, her mousy hair wet with sleet.
I'll have a separate piece, perhaps, about the strange appearance of Tonks, here, and in two other instances, out of nowhere. (A short summary: Once is after Harry is paralyzed on the train, where she suddenly appears, makes a flash of red light, and hands him "his" Invisibility Cloak which Dumbledore strangely insists Harry takes, sends a Patronus that Snape recognizes as not her own, and sends Harry in, such that he misses the search for dangerous magical items that everyone else must endure. The second one is when he is waiting for Draco Malfoy outside the Room of Requirement, kicks the door, yells OUCH! and then ... well, I'll let the text speak for itself:
He thought he might have broken his toe; as he clutched it and hopped on one foot, the Invisibility Cloak slipped off him.


He spun around, one-legged, and toppled over. There, to his utter astonishment, was Tonks, walking toward him as though she frequently strolled up this corridor.

"What're you doing here?" he said, scrambling to his feet again; why did she always have to find him lying on the floor?

"I came to see Dumbledore," said Tonks. Harry thought she looked terrible: thinner than usual, her mouse-colored hair lank.

"His office isn't here," said Harry, "it's round the other side of the castle, behind the gargoyle ..."

"I know," said Tonks. "He's not there. Apparently he's gone away again."

"Has he?" said Harry, putting his bruised foot gingerly back on the floor. "Hey ... you don't know where he goes, I suppose?"

"No," said Tonks.

"What did you want to see him about?"

"Nothing in particular," said Tonks, picking, apparently unconsciously, at the sleeve of her robe. "I just thought he might know what's going on. I've heard rumors... people getting hurt."
"Apparently," like "seems," is a tip off that there is something off. Here, she has again appeared out of nowhere, abandoning her post as an Auror, on the wrong side of the castle, and convinces him to leave the area where Draco Malfoy is. All is not right with Tonks - more than can be explained away by her being enamored with Lupus. (Another hint from later is the book: "Was it his imagination, or did Malfoy, like Tonks, look thinner!") Anyway, enough digression. Not all is write with Tonks, and not all is right with number 12 Grimmauld Place. By extension, not all is right with Dumbledore, who presents the proof that all is indeed right.

I. Dumbledore Is Unafraid Of An Attack On Harry

The quote:
"Keep your wand at the ready, Harry," he said brightly.

"But I thought I'm not allowed to use magic outside school, sir?"

"If there is an attack," said Dumbledore, "I give you permission to use any counterjinx or curse that might occur to you. However, I do not think you need worry about being attacked tonight."

"Why not, sir?"

"You are with me," said Dumbledore simply. "This will do, Harry."
If Dumbledore is truly Lucius Malfoy, a Death Eater, there is no need to worry about being attacked. After all, this is part of a mission which the Death Eaters approve of.

On the other hand, what if Dumbledore were NOT with him?

Next, Dumbledore takes Harry along when he apparates. But Dumbledore twists his arm away at the last moment:
Harry felt Dumbledore's arm twist away from him and redoubled his grip; the next thing he knew, everything went black; he was being pressed very hard from all directions; he could not breathe, there were iron bands tightening around his chest; his eyeballs were being forced back into his head; his eardrums were being pushed deeper into his skull and then ...
J. Dumbledore Wears A Satisfied Expression That Harry's Scar Does Not Hurt
"So tell me, Harry," said Dumbledore. "Your scar... has it been hurting at all?"

Harry raised a hand unconsciously to his forehead and rubbed the lightning-shaped mark.

"No," he said, "and I've been wondering about that. I thought it would be burning all the time now Voldemort's getting so powerful again."

He glanced up at Dumbledore and saw that he was wearing a satisfied expression.

"I, on the other hand, thought otherwise," said Dumbledore. "Lord Voldemort has finally realized the dangerous access to his thoughts and feelings you have been enjoying. It appears that he is now employing Occlumency against you."
Dumbledore is happy that Voldemort is employing Occlumency against Harry? One would think he would express disappointment.

K. Dumbledore Mentions That He Might Not Be Dumbledore

I mentioned this earlier, but it deserves its own item. Dumbledore discusses the leaflet, and says that for all Harry knows, Dumbledore might be a Death Eater using Polyjuice. Dumbledore offers no proof that he is not. The quote, again:
"Sir ... I got a Ministry of Magic leaflet by owl, about security measures we should all take against the Death Eaters..."

"Yes, I received one myself," said Dumbledore, still smiling. "Did you find it useful?"

"Not really."

"No, I thought not. You have not asked me, for instance, what is my favorite flavor of jam, to check that I am indeed Professor Dumbledore and not an impostor."

"I didn't..." Harry began, not entirely sure whether he was being reprimanded or not.

"For future reference, Harry, it is raspberry... although of course, if I were a Death Eater, I would have been sure to research my own jam preferences before impersonating myself."

"Er... right," said Harry.
L. Dumbledore Wears The Ring

At Professor Slughorn's house:
He shrugged and spread his hands wide, as though to say that age had its compensations, and Harry noticed a ring on his uninjured hand that he had never seen Dumbledore wear before: It was large, rather clumsily made of what looked like gold, and was set with a heavy black stone that had cracked down the middle. Slughorn's eyes lingered for a moment on the ring too, and Harry saw a tiny frown momentarily crease his wide forehead.
Slughorn recognizes this, perhaps, as a ring of Slytherin. Dumbledore tells us later that it contained Voldemort's Horcrux. But why should Dumbledore wear the ring? (Harry later, in chapter 10, mentions again that Dumbledore was wearing the ring this night.)

M. Dumbledore Uses The Bathroom At Slughorn's

And it is meant to look strange.
Dumbledore stood up rather suddenly.

"Are you leaving?" asked Slughorn at once, looking hopeful.

"No, I was wondering whether I might use your bathroom," said Dumbledore.

"Oh," said Slughorn, clearly disappointed. "Second on the left down the hall."

Dumbledore strode from the room. Once the door had closed behind him, there was silence. After a few moments, Slughorn got to his feet but seemed uncertain what to do with himself. He shot a furtive look at Harry, then crossed to the fire and turned his back on it, warming his wide behind.
Dumbledore takes quite a while in the bathroom, causing Slughorn to comment on it when Dumbledore returns:
"Oh, there you are, Albus," he said. "You've been a very long lime. Upset stomach?"

"No, I was merely reading the Muggle magazines," said Dumbledore. "I do love knitting patterns. Well, Harry, we have trespassed upon Horace's hospitality quite long enough; I think it is time for us to leave."
Certainly he was not interested in knitting patterns. We are meant to think that Dumbledore was giving Harry a chance to persuade Slughorn.

In fact, we know that Polyjuice wears off after two or three hours. The Polyjuice that Lucius Malfoy had taken was starting to wear off. And so, he excused himself to the bathroom, took some more, and waited for it to take full effect.

N. Dumbledore Wants Harry To Tell His Friends About The Prophecy

This is a dangerous course of action, since it increases the likelihood that Voldemort will find out. But this is exactly the type of advice Lucius Malfoy would give.
"Now, I think I am correct in saying that you have not told anybody that you know what the prophecy said?"

"No," said Harry.

"A wise decision, on the whole," said Dumbledore. "Although I think you ought to relax it in favor of your friends, Mr. Ronald Weasley and Miss Hermione Granger. Yes," he continued, when Harry looked startled, "I think they ought to know. You do them a disservice by not confiding something this important to them."

"I didn't want ..."

"... to worry or frighten them?" said Dumbledore, surveying Harry over the top of his half-moon spectacles. "Or perhaps, to confess that you yourself are worried and frightened? You need your friends, Harry. As you so rightly said, Sirius would not have wanted you to shut yourself away."

Harry said nothing, but Dumbledore did not seem to require an answer.
O. Dumbledore Insists Harry Take Along His Invisibility Cloak
"Firstly, I wish you to keep your Invisibility Cloak with you at all times from this moment onward. Even within Hogwarts itself. Just in case, you understand me?"
There is something strange going on with this cloak. See the discussion of Tonks above, in H. And Harry carries it as Dumbledore's insistence.

P. Dumbledore Was Not Expected Until Morning

At the beginning of Chapter 5:
Harry and Dumbledore approached the back door of the Burrow, which was surrounded by the familiar litter of old Wellington boots and rusty cauldrons; Harry could hear the soft clucking of sleepy chickens coming from a distant shed. Dumbledore knocked three times and Harry saw sudden movement behind the kitchen window.

"Who's there?" said a nervous voice he recognized as Mrs. Weasley's. "Declare yourself!"

"It is I, Dumbledore, bringing Harry."

The door opened at once. There stood Mrs. Weasley, short, plump, and wearing an old green dressing gown.

"Harry, dear! Gracious, Albus, you gave me a fright, you said not to expect you before morning!"

"We were lucky," said Dumbledore, ushering Harry over the threshold. "Slughorn proved much more persuadable than I had expected. Harry's doing, of course. Ah, hello, Nymphadora!"
This would be in keeping with the Ministry's leaflet. In fact, I think that the true Dumbledore was to pick Harry up in the morning, and he was waylaid and incapacitated. Lucius was injured in the battle. Dumbledore's letter is replaced by a different one, and Lucius picks up Harry.

Note that Mrs. Weasely does not ask Dumbledore questions to ascertain that it is truly Dumbledore.

Q. Dumbledore And Tonks, In Conspiracy

Tonks will not meet Dumbledore's eye, something that cannot be explained by love of Lupus. She excuses herself, and leaves. A minute later, Dumbledore follows, from the exact same spot:
"We were lucky," said Dumbledore, ushering Harry over the threshold. "Slughorn proved much more persuadable than I had expected. Harry's doing, of course. Ah, hello, Nymphadora!"

Harry looked around and saw that Mrs. Weasley was not alone, despite the lateness of the hour. A young witch with a pale, heart-shaped face and mousy brown hair was sitting at the table clutching a large mug between her hands.

"Hello, Professor," she said. " Wotcher, Harry."

"Hi, Tonks."

Harry thought she looked drawn, even ill, and there was something forced in her smile. Certainly her appearance was less colorful than usual without her customary shade of bubble-gum-pink hair.

"I'd better be off," she said quickly, standing up and pulling her cloak around her shoulders. "Thanks for the tea and sympathy, Molly"

"Please don't leave on my account," said Dumbledore courteously, "I cannot stay, I have urgent matters to discuss with Rufus Scrimgeour."

"No, no, I need to get going," said Tonks, not meeting Dumbledore's eyes. "'Night..."

"Dear, why not come to dinner at the weekend, Remus and Mad-Eye are coming... ?"

"No, really, Molly... thanks anyway... Good night, every-one.

Tonks hurried past Dumbledore and Harry into the yard; a few paces beyond the doorstep, she turned on the spot and vanished into thin air. Harry noticed that Mrs. Weasley looked troubled.

"Well, I shall see you at Hogwarts, Harry," said Dumbledore. "Take care of yourself. Molly, your servant."

He made Mrs. Weasley a bow and followed Tonks, vanishing at precisely the same spot.
As I mentioned elsewhere, not all is right with Tonks. She is playing interference on Harry, twice disrupting him - once, handing him his "cloak," and once stopping him from intercepting Draco Malfoy at the room of requirement. Why won't she meet Dumbledore's eye?

R. Mr. Weasley Makes His Wife Confirm He Is Not A Death Eater
"He's coming!"

And sure enough, a moment later there was a knock on the back door. Mrs. Weasley jumped up and hurried to it; with one hand on the doorknob and her face pressed against the wood she called softly, "Arthur, is that you?"

"Yes," came Mr. Weasley's weary voice. "But I would say that even if I were a Death Eater, dear. Ask the question!"

"Oh, honestly..."


"All right, all right... What is your dearest ambition?"

"To find out how airplanes stay up."

Mrs. Weasley nodded and turned the doorknob, but apparently Mr. Weasley was holding tight to it on the other side, because the door remained firmly shut.

"Molly! I've got to ask you your question first!"

"Arthur, really, this is just silly..."

"What do you like me to call you when we're alone together?"

Even by the dim light of the lantern Harry could tell that Mrs. Weasley had turned bright red; he himself felt suddenly warm around the ears and neck, and hastily gulped soup, clattering his spoon as loudly as he could against the bowl.

"Mollywobbles," whispered a mortified Mrs. Weasley into the crack at the edge of the door.

"Correct," said Mr. Weasley. "Now you can let me in."
He is the next person to walk through the door, making an excellent contrast to the exchange with Dumbledore. Mrs. Weasely did not confirm that it was indeed Dumbledore. Presumably she did not ask Tonks any questions either.

S. Dumbledore Understands Parseltongue

In their first session with the Pensieve (Chapter 10), members of the Gaunt family speak Parseltongue to each other. Dumbledore recogizes it as such, but he also understands the contents of the conversation, such that he does not ask Harry to translate, but understands what is going on.
Harry thought Ogden was being extremely dim; the stranger was making himself very clear in Harry's opinion, particularly as he was brandishing a wand in one hand and a short and rather bloody knife in the other.

"You understand him, I'm sure, Harry?" said Dumbledore quietly. "Yes, of course," said Harry, slightly nonplussed. "Why can't Ogden ... ?"

But as his eyes found the dead snake on the door again, he suddenly understood.

"He's speaking Parseltongue?"

"Very good," said Dumbledore, nodding and smiling.
Yet we do not see anywhere that Dumbledore knows Parseltongue. It is associated with Dark Magic, and all we know is that Harry and Voldemort speak it. It is more likely that the evil Lucius Malfoy, who is even of Slytherin, would speak Parseltongue. (And the Pensieve would not just translate memories, or else everyone has an easy method of understanding Parseltongue.)

If it is Wormtail, perhaps working with Voldemort, on the evil side, gave him this ability? According to an interview Rowling gave, Wormtail is a Gryffindor.

T. Dumbledore Only Speaks Details of the Prophecy After Harry Himself Mentions Them

In this way, he gleans information about the prophecy, just as Snape gleaned information about Draco Malfoy's mission by pretending to know what he was taking about.
"Sir," said Harry tentatively, "does what you're going to tell me have anything to do with the prophecy? Will it help me . . . survive?"

"It has a very great deal to do with the prophecy," said Dumbledore, as casually as if Harry had asked him about the next days weather, "and I certainly hope that it will help you to survive."
Harry just revealed that the prophecy was about survival, and like a good Rogerian therapist, Dumbledore mirrors this new information back at Harry. This happens elsewhere, in other sessions, and this is one of the true reasons for the sessions with Dumbledore. (Another is to make Voldemort seem more human to Harry.)

U. Dumbledore Appoints Snape To Teach Defense Against The Dark Arts

Snape said that Dumbledore never has appointed him to this position for fear he would be seduced to the dark side. Yet in these troubling times, Dumbledore does exactly that.

V. In The Cave, Dumbledore Knows Exactly Where To Go

In Chapter 26:
"Yes, this is the place," said Dumbledore.

"How can you tell?" Harry spoke in a whisper.

"It has known magic," said Dumbledore simply.
And then, using no apparent magic, Dumbledore knows the place to enter.
Dumbledore approached the wall of the cave and caressed it with his blackened fingertips, murmuring words in a strange tongue that Harry did not understand. Twice Dumbledore walked right around the cave, touching as much of the rough rock as he could, occasionally pausing, running his fingers backward and forward over a particular spot, until finally he stopped, his hand pressed flat against the wall. "Here," he said. "We go on through here. The entrance is concealed." Harry did not ask how Dumbledore knew. He had never seen a wizard work things out like this, simply by looking and touching; but Harry had long since learned that bangs and smoke were more often the marks of ineptitude than expertise. Dumbledore stepped back from the cave wall and pointed his wand at the rock. For a moment, an arched outline appeared there, blazing white as though there was a powerful light behind the crack.
W. In The Cave - Dumbledore's Muttered Words

These words are clearly not directed towards Harry, but Harry responds as if they are. I've collected Dumbledore's words, which he utters when he has his guard down, and omitted Harry's responses:
"I don't want. . . Don't make me ..."
". . . don't like . . . want to stop . . ." moaned Dumbledore.
"No ..." he groaned, as Harry lowered the goblet back into the basin and refilled it for him. "I don't want to. ... I don't want to. . . . Let me go. . . ."
"Make it stop, make it stop," moaned Dumbledore.
"No, no, no, no, I can't, I can't, don't make me, I don't want to. . . ."
"Its all my fault, all my fault," he sobbed. "Please make it stop, I know I did wrong, oh please make it stop and I'll never, never again ..."
Dumbledore began to cower as though invisible torturers surrounded him; his flailing hand almost knocked the refilled goblet from Harry's trembling hands as he moaned, "Don't hurt them, don't hurt them, please, please, it's my fault, hurt me instead ..."
"Please, please, please, no ... not that, not that, I'll do anything ..."
Dumbledore drank like a child dying of thirst, but when he had finished, he yelled again as though his insides were on fire. "No more, please, no more ..."
He supported Dumbledore's shoulders and again, Dumbledore drained the glass; then Harry was on his feet once more, refilling the goblet as Dumbledore began to scream in more anguish than ever, "I want to die! I want to die! Make it stop, make it stop, I want to die!"
Dumbledore drank, and no sooner had he finished than he yelled, "KILL ME!"
Dumbledore, that is Lucius, is reliving his experience with Voldemort, who was angry at Lucius' conduct regarding the diary, a Horcrux. He tortured him, and perhaps injured Lucius' hand. He then threatened Lucius's family. Thus, he says, "Don't hurt them. Please, it's my fault, hurt me instead." In the end, Voldemort tortures Lucius such that he can barely stand it, and then makes him take the mission to pretend to be Dumbledore. At the same time, Voldemort secretly sends Draco Malfoy on a mission to kill Dumbledore, who is really Draco's own father. And Lucius' wife, Narcissa, compels Snape to take an Unbreakable Vow to fulfill Draco's mission. It is not clear whether she is in the know. Certainly Draco is not.

If we say it is Wormtail -- I don't know. Wormtail was friendly with Harry's parents, and others, and this could be an expression of remorse at their deaths.

X. Dumbledore Swims Like A Much Younger Man

Because he is a much younger man, using Polyjuice.
"Then take off your Invisibility Cloak - there is no need for it now - and let us take the plunge," And with the sudden agility of a much younger man, Dumbledore slid from the boulder, landed in the sea, and began to swim, with a perfect breaststroke, toward the dark slit in the rock face, his lit wand held in his teeth.
Y. Only Draco is to Kill Dumbledore
'I could do you for afters, Dumbledore ...'

'No,' said the fourth Death Eater sharply. He had a heavy, brutal-looking face. 'We've got orders. Draco's got to do it. Now, Draco, and quickly.'


'Now, Draco, quickly!' said the brutal-faced man angrily.

But Malfoy's hand was shaking so badly that he could barely aim.

I'll do it,' snarled Greyback, moving towards Dumbledore with his hands outstretched, his teeth bared.

'I said no!' shouted the brutal-faced man; there was a flash of light and the werewolf was blasted out of the way; he hit the ramparts and staggered, looking furious. Harry's heart was hammering so hard it seemed impossible that nobody could hear him standing there, imprisoned by Dumbledore's spell -if he could only move, he could aim a curse from under the Cloak -

'Draco, do it, or stand aside so one of us -' screeched the woman, but at that precise moment the door to the ramparts burst open once more and there stood Snape, his wand clutched in his hand as his black eyes swept the scene, from Dumbledore slumped against the wall, to the four Death Eaters, including the enraged werewolf, and Malfoy.

'We've got a problem, Snape,' said the lumpy Amycus, whose eyes and wand were fixed alike upon Dumbledore, 'the boy doesn't seem able -'

This is part of Voldemort's sick plan. Draco is to kill his own father. Otherwise, why must Draco specifically do it?

On the other hand, if it is Wormtail, the regular reason still makes sense. Draco must do it, so that when he does not, Snape must.

Z. Snape's Look of Hate and Disgust
'Severus ...'

The sound frightened Harry beyond anything he had experienced all evening. For the first time, Dumbledore was pleading.

Snape said nothing, but walked forwards and pushed Malfoy roughly out of the way. The three Death Eaters fell back without a word. Even the werewolf seemed cowed.

Snape gazed for a moment at Dumbledore,
and there was revulsion and hatred etched in the harsh lines of his face.

'Severus ... please ..."

Snape raised his wand and pointed it directly at Dumbledore.

'Avada Kedavra!'

Why the hatred and revulsion? Even if Snape were working for Voldemort, would there be revulsion? Rather, Snape knows who he is killing - Lucius - and spares Draco from having to unwittingly do it.

Or else, he can express this hatred and revulsion at Wormtail, who we know he greatly dislikes.

Presumably, the Polyjuice does not wear off after death.

Think of how the sales of the sixth book will resurge, when people have to reread it after reading the seventh, in which Dumbledore returns (unless Dumbledore was dead before the book began...)

Finally, this was all arranged beforehand. Harry was to have witnessed Dumbledore's death from within the Invisibility Cloak. This is what Dumbledore arranged beforehand, by ensuring that Harry obeyed his every order, then telling him to leave, and then freezing him in place.

How this all relates to the question of Snape is another issue, which I have only addressed partially. But I invite you to reread the book, this time suspecting Dumbledore and Tonks, and see where it leads you.

Update: I've posted once again, to discuss the items sMuggled into Hogwarts.

Update: Over at this livejournal, they are commenting unfavorably on this theory. One commentor wrote:

Isn't Harry with Dumbledore for more than an hour at a time several times? Particularly with the cave thing.

Also, the plot they are suggesting already been done. You know, back in GoF with Barty Crouch Jr as Moody.

JKR is quite imaginative enough to come up with new ideas for each of the books.

to which I had the following response:

I read the book suspecting Dumbledore all the way, and did not see anything that explicitly stated how many hours each session took, or how long the cave adventure took. If you can cite something explicit in the book (as I did in the two essays) that shows the time, by all means, do so. I would really appreciate that.

In the essay, I mentioned that Dumbledore suddenly going to the bathroom was probably to take Polyjuice (and yes, I *know* you could say that it was to let Harry convince Slughorn, but that is the cover story, for JK takes care of every loose end).

What if I could show you that in that first meet with Dumbledore, exactly ONE HOUR passes from the time Harry first meets Dumbledore to the time Dumbledore suddenly sits up at Slughorn's and excuses himself to go tp the bathroom? Would you be convinced then? (I plan on making this a subsequent post on my blog, because it is such a good point.)

JK indeed gives exact times so that we can calculate this - something I didn't realize until just now to look. At the beginning of Chapter 3, it states that Harry received Dumbledore's letter at 7 PM, and had been looking at the clock every few minutes for 4 hours. She writes that exactly as the minute hand hit 12, the lights go out. That means it is 11:12 PM. Dumbledore picks up Harry. For no reason at all except to tell us the time, JK writes that as they approach Slughorn's house, the church clock said it was almost midnight. Then the church clock rang out midnight. "The church clock chimed midnight behind them." So that is 60 minutes - 12 = 48. So there are 12 minutes left. They get through Slughorn's fakeout and begin a conversation when Dumbledore suddenly straightens up and excuses himself.

So we have about one hour, enough time for the Polyjuice to run out. Let me ask you, assuming that he is really Dumbledore, why should JK have bothered to put in all these references to time?

Update: I made a really silly mistake. The minute hand hitting 12 means that it turns 11 o'clock PM. Thus, when the clock chimes midnight, the potion is just about to wear off.

Indeed, this calls to mind Cinderella, in which the spell would wear off at midnight.

In this instance, Polyjuice only wears off after *about* an hour, not exactly. So Dumbledore still has a little bit of time - to enter the house, find Slughorn, and engage in a bit of conversation, before he really feels it begin to wear off.

This also answers why JKR makes no mention of time after the clock chimes. She is measuring from 11 PM ("precisely at that moment") until midnight. Again, check out this latest post where I cite the exact text of the book which shows this.


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