I had a bit of a Harry Potter thought in the middle of the night while the neighbours were crashing around upstairs on their wooden floor like a herd of elephants, and sleep was slow to come.
So I'm posting it here, in cut tags so the non-Potterites can ignore it, so when book seven comes out I can say “nya nya told you so”. Or, more likely, I can hope no-one remembers this post…
There are two big creative tensions in the books, right from the very beginning.
The first is, how did the baby Harry survive the attack of the most powerful evil wizard in the world, who was using the unstoppable killer curse? And not just survive, but reflect the attack back so that You-Know-Who was almost destroyed?
It's not very credible when you think about it, is it? A baby? Especially now we know from book five that he's not particularly unique and Neville Longbottom would have fitted the bill too.
The second tension is Harry's desire to learn more about his parents – but not just theoretical knowledge. As the books have developed he's seen and heard them again and again – in mirrors, photographs, reliving the sounds of their deaths, in seeing their shades come from You-Know-Who's wand, in the penseive, and once – mistakenly – in thinking one of them is alive again.
That scene, from the end of book three, is I think a hugely important prefiguring scene. It's strong in its own right, but I think when Harry, time travelling, goes to see where he thought his father was standing – I think that's the key to it all. Because his father is not there and he himself has to cast the spell that saves his own life, the patronus he thought his father cast.
I think at the end of book seven, with You-Know-Who defeated, Harry will travel back in time to answer all his unanswered questions.
It would make more sense for him to travel to a happy time and meet – or at least watch – James and Lily then, but JKR seems to like torturing him with half-complete visions of his parents. So I think he'll go back to the night at Godric's Hollow when they die and he lives.
And he'll know he can't intervene, so it'll be a tragic, powerful scene as he watches James try to hold You-Know-Who off, and Lily try to shield him, and both die in the attempt.
And then he'll lean forward to watch as, as, bah – as Voldemort goes to kill the baby Harry, in order to see what stops him, and he'll realise that nothing is going to stop him – unless he does it himself. So he does.
Not sure how yet – if it was me writing it, I'd have him take some of the force of the killing curse, and die there. I don't think he should survive the series, just like I don't think Buffy should have survived the end of the the last series of BtVS. But maybe JKR will take him back to his time, where he'll be greeted with a kiss from Hermione. Or Ginny. Or Draco, depending on which ship you sail in. I don't know.
But I think that's the secret – there's nothing special about baby Harry at all, it's sixth form Harry that stops You-Know-Who in the past and in the present.
Any thoughts and reaction will be welcomed.