Wednesday, June 30, 2004

AND they both have long noses!

Sunil sends me this link, correctly predicting that I will find it fascinating. It's been a good long while since I've engaged in any serious Harry Potter speculation. This is a warning for Harry Potter spoilers and a boring post, if you haven't read the books. The thesis defended is that at some point in a future book, Ron will travel back in time and live the rest of his days as Dumbledore. This is supposed to explain why Dumbledore seems to know so much about Harry's doings, and also certain thematic similarities between the two characters. (Much is made of a metaphorical chess game, instantiated when Ron directs the pieces in the first book.) There are some pretty bad arguments ("Weasley is our King/Born in a bin", and bin is a prefix meaning 'two', so Weasley has two lives), but also a few that I'm not in a hurry to dismiss. After reading the whole thing, it actually sounds like a plausible theory -- although it will raise even more prominently some difficulties with action theory and metaphysics of time than Prisoner of Azkaban did. The three points that most impressed me:
  1. In Tom Riddle's memory, Dumbledore had red hair.
  2. The sock thing. I quote:
    Socks are a running theme throughout the series. They are used as symbols of freedom, redemption and love. Ron, however, doesn't ever really fully appreciate the socks his mother gives him. In PoA, he tosses them aside to gush over Harry's Firebolt. In GoF, he gives his Christmas socks to Dobby. ... Dumbledore, the man who clearly has all of the fame, power, respect, possessions and wisdom one could hope for in a lifetime, sees himself holding a pair of wooly socks in the Mirror of Erised. If you read this scene with Dumbledore being Ron in mind, it takes on a whole new and really huge significance Ron indeed becomes greater than all of his brothers, yet as an old man, he is still wistful for those socks his mother gave him and he never fully appreciated.
    I think that that is *awesome*.
  3. A silly little one, but fun: Dumbledore says he ate a vomit-flavored Bernie Bott's Every-Flavored bean "in his youth", but according to the Bernie Botts card, he was born in 1935, when Dumbledore would have been a century old.
The biggest problem I see for the theory is that Dumbledore occasionally seems NOT to know things that he should, if he'd actually lived his adolescence as Ron. Barty Couch/Mad-Eye Moody provide the best example. This seems a pretty serious problem, but it is a fascinating theory, nevertheless.

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