Monday, June 25, 2007

Karen's Predictions for Book 7

Karen's predictions for the last Harry Potter book:


The rule in our house is, no matter how big the kids have gotten (and they're 15 and 14 now), we read every single word of each Harry Potter book aloud together (OK, just the first read-through; after that anyone can read alone, which is good since Krista has read each book about 4,000,000 times). Katie could read before Kindergarten (because she was motivated by her cousin Zack, who could read even younger than she, so she decided she would simply learn. Krista, who loved to be read to, simply showed no interest in reading for herself. That is until Harry Potter came along. One of my favorite family moments ever was reading aloud the first Harry Potter book before the big broo-ha-ha with our 1st grader and our 2nd grader. We thought it would be a good book, because Ken and I had read a wee tiny review somewhere, but we had no idea it would turn into the phenomenon it became. We were a few chapters in, at the Hut on the Rock, and Hagrid says, "Harry, you're a wizard." There was no turning back for Krista. She MUST be able to read this magnificent tome for herself--and so she learned to read as a first grader, not Little Miss Whatzit or Dick and Jane, but Harry Potter (the first three books only were out at the time). So thank you, Ms. Rowling.

What about this July when the last book comes out? We have a very limited time in which to read the new book cover to cover: Ken will have just returned from teaching in Russia this year when the last book comes out. Katie and I will just return from camping. Then, the girls and we will be back together for one day--ONE DAY!--so we will speak to nobody at all for the whole Saturday after the midnight release because our family must read aloud, aloud, aloud to get it read before we go our different ways: Ken will stay in Abilene the next week, but Katie and Krista will go to Camp and Karen will go to Camp Creek for Karla's 40th birthday scrapbooking extravaganza.] Whew... close call.

I'm always spouting off this or that opinion/prediction about Harry Potter to whoever else is into the books, so for the last book, I have said that I would write down my theories, such as they are:

Horcruxes: the Weasleys' clock, tiara, or Ron's chess set (it was his grandfather's, which means it would have been at Hogwarts around the time Tom Riddle was at school)
Why do I have a Weasley horcrux link at all? It's just a theory, of course, but I'd like to see this ancient, pureblood family--whom the DeathEaters and Lord V. have scorned for so long--to "matter" (in quotations because of course they matter to us, who adore them) in the long run--also, Ms. Rowling has taken care to point out that nobody else has a clock like theirs, Dumbledore commented on it, etc. Besides, that gets us to the Burrow, and we need locations for the events of Book 7. If I'm wrong about the horcruxes (which is likely, since why would the Weasleys have something that used to belong to Lord V.?, I still feel strongly about the Burrow being the location for one of the showdowns (remember the code words Mrs. Weasley hates to say, etc.).

One of the items in the following list will be a horcrux from the Black house:
"Mrs. Weasley pointed at the dusty glass-fronted cabinets standing on either side of the mantelpiece. They were crammed with an odd assortment of objects: a selection of rusty daggers, claws, a coiled snakeskin, a number of tarnished silver boxes inscribed with languages Harry could not understand and, least pleasant of all, an ornate crystal bottle with a large opal set into the stopper, full of what Harry was quite sure was blood."
I'd guess it's the bottle with blood and it's Voldemort's blood from the height of his powers. He'll get into the Black house via Kreacher or get it off of Mundungus, who would have stolen it.

Where will we go to find the Horcruxes? maybe the Burrow (see above), Godrick's Hollow, the Room of Requirement and/or Dumbledore's office, and invented new places (like the cave was, etc.)

Other odd little thoughts of mine:
Is Percy good or bad? Percy Weasley will ultimately be "good"--but he will still be a sycophantic, turkeyhead politician like Barty Crouch Sr. and Fudge, and he will never stop aspiring to Minister of Magic.

Random Predictions: During the last book, somebody will open a chocolate frog and Harry will be on a card now.
The mirror will be repaired and (very limited) contact will be established with Sirius.

There's a line in the sixth book that says something about Voldemort having killed enough people during his last reign of terror to have made an army of inferii. But wait! Weren't most of his victims from the good guys? So could Harry's own parents be "inferii-ed" and try to do harm to Harry? I hope not. Even if Voldemort is a great wizard and they were too, well, dead to fight him off, je m'en doute. So I predict some inferii switch-er-oo-ing.

The Snape section:
Snape had a thing for Lily Evans, of course. Snape's a half-blood (I love that, like Hitler, who was part Jewish, both Snape and Lord V. have this animosity toward that which they themselves are), and Voldemort will have found out through alternative sources. Legilimancy will save Harry's life in Book 7. Snape will die, perhaps saving Harry from the AK curse. Lucius Malfoy will die. Draco will die, but he will do something against Voldemort before dying. Peter Pettigrew will die saving Harry. Professor Umbridge will not die, more's the pity. Harry will "kill" LV only in that something LV does will backfire and do himself in (like the first time); justice will be served, and Harry won't have to be a killer per se.

I just hate Snape, whether or not he turns out to be on the side of good. I can never forgive him for being so mean and unfair to students, especially cruel words like "I don't see any difference" in Hermione's teeth when they grew absurdly large. Yes, I trust Dumbledore--but even Dumbledore admitted he made mistakes regarding what to tell Harry and when--so what is the big secret Snape and Dumbledore shared? I've thought that maybe Snape is Dumbledore's son, but that doesn't really work, and it takes us off in a whole soap opera direction Ms. Rowling doesn't. I think Snape told Voldemort where the Potters were originally, and they were killed. His confession to that effect doesn't exactly make me want to trust him--so why does Dumbledore? To redeem himself, he must have made an unbreakable vow with Dumbledore; I have no good ideas as to what BIG thing Snape did to assure Dumbledore (destroyed a horcrux or somehow contributed to saving Harry the night the Potters died?), and that's maybe the unresolved fact I'm most looking forward to from Book 7.

Of course, Jenny and Harry, and Ron and Hermione (finally!) will hook up; Neville will eventually teach Herbology, and Hermione will run the school after McGonagall retires.

Some of my favorite "I think J. K. Rowling is brilliant" moments:
When Ron says that the sneakoscope is broken and keeps going off--but of course he has Peter Pettigrew the Rat in his pocket at the time. What I'd love to see is something like yet a third tier there; my personal theory is that either Charlie or Bill has gone bad, and I'm taking a longshot and betting against Charlie; after all, he could have helped out with the dragons in the original heist attempt of the Philosopher's Stone from Gringotts.

LOVE, love, love lines like the one when Harry hears the mysterious voice the first time in The Chamber of Secrets: "and the voice was pure venom." Brilliant! She TOLD us it was a snake, but do we get it? No! Another example of her incredible restraint is when Olivander says "Curious" about Harry's wand and the Phoenix feather in Book 1, but we don't see its connection until Book 4 at the end.

And perhaps most brilliant of all, how on earth did Ms. Rowling accomplish the unbelievable murder that Snape used on Dumbledore--and there STILL be a bit of doubt as to whether or not Snape's "good" (I hear people wondering whether or not he was under orders; that's what Dumbledore was asking him to do, etc.). If I could write one/tenth as well as that, I would be proud. Good job, Ms. Rowling. [Of course, he will never be more than "good" in quotation marks to me (see above loathing I feel for the man).]

Thank you very much, Ms. Rowling, for such good books, and for helping my kids turn into avid readers.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Reason #143

Reason #143 why you will never wonder whether or not I’m anorexic…

Macapuno ice cream. I found a terrific sari-sari store in Whittier, California that had Magnolia brand macapuno ice cream (that’s coconut to you un-Filipino types). Yes, the same brand of ice cream that was my favorite yea, those many years ago when I lived in the Philippines. And it’s still my favorite. (An available substitute is Mary’s Palateria coconut ice cream bar, for those of you with ties to Abilene, Texas, but it uses mature coconut, not the young stuff that comprises macapuno.)

Sin City

Katie and Krista are not likely to run away from home to seek their fortunes in Las Vegas any time soon. We swung by Las Vegas on our way home to Texas, and they were pretty appalled at the lewd and crude place. I was proud of them; even though they too were wowed by the flashy, glitzy lights of The Strip, they pronounced their visit “done” right away, especially when they saw a most appalling sign that read “Girl delivered within 20 minutes.” We stayed in a great room in the Egyptian-themed Luxor, in the neon pyramid on the 11th floor. Classy, eh? We couldn’t get out of that town quickly enough.


To hear some people tell it, zoos are horrible places, where captured animals must live out their foreshortened lives in cramped prisons, for the entertainment of the masses. Undoubtedly, there are many zoos such as that; personally, I‘m horrified by the cockfights that were so prevalent n the Philippines of my youth and by some tiny cages of abuse I’ve seen and heard about elsewhere.

And yet, there’s the well-run zoo, two of which come to mind. Krista works at the Abilene Zoo full-time all summer long; our zoo, which is very, very small, treats its animals very well indeed and refuses to “outgrow itself,” meaning it won’t acquire more animals than it can house and staff well. When, inexplicably, Abilene found itself the keepers of a couple of polar bears, they promptly traded them to a zoo in the North with a climate far more suited to the cold-loving bears (and acquired brown bears, which can tolerate the heat better and that can retreat any time they like to their air-conditioned quarters. And what about conservation? Here’s an interesting example: there are only a little more than a dozen Cohelan Box Turtles left in the wild. They were almost extinct. Little ol’ Abilene, Texas has seven of these rare turtles, earning that right because, under our keepers’ watchful care, they have procreated and flourished.

We went to the San Diego Zoo last week, spending two days at that marvelous facility. Our admission tickets (around $40 each for Ken and Krista, who went for two days and $33 each for Katie and me, who only went one day) went, as we were reminded repeatedly throughout the day, to massive conservation efforts as well as the upkeep and care of the zoo and animals themselves.

Today K4 visited Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay, a prison where humans have been incarcerated for years. We “enjoyed” seeing the place where Al Capone and The Birdman were imprisoned, but in case I may have given you a different impression, I don’t want to go to prison--ever. I’ll try to learn to live with my hypocrisy because I do not want to live in jail and yet I don’t mind if animals are—kindly, well, safely—kept in zoos. And I’m delighted that Krista has such a responsible job at the zoo, one that utilizes and expands her many talents.

The Truth is Out There...

…in San Diego. Katie was attacked by an alien creature from the sea that was worthy of the X-Files. Thanks to massive amounts of time learning at the TV-feet of Scully and Mulder, however, she was able to get away, with only the stench of squid ink upon her.