Monday, February 05, 2007

Book Review: Who Killed Albus Dumbledore


Who Killed Albus Dumbledore: What really happened in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince?

Edited by John Granger

Who Killed Albus Dumbledore is really about much more than just the death of Dumbledore. It's a collection of essays by various Harry Potter fandom experts on various facets of the books. Each essay focuses on a topic and presents theories related to that topic:

  • John Granger discusses unanswered questions and theories of what really happens in Half Blood Prince. He also presents the idea that Rowling uses "narrative misdirection" by using the limited omniscient point of view to mislead us.
  • Wendy B. Harte examines the Black Family tree and presents theories about the R.A.B. locket caper.
  • Sally March Gallo discusses how Slughorn and Dumbledore could have staged Dumbledore's death. Although this essay was written before Rowling's announcement that Dumbledore is definitely dead, it was included in the collection for the possible insights it could provide.
  • Daniela Teo speculates on the known and unknown horcruxes, including the question of whether Harry is a horcrux.
  • A live journal posting by Swythyv, along with excerpts from the following discussion, analyzes the implications of Lupin's reaction to Tonks in Half Blood Prince.
  • Joyce Odell speculates about Dumbledore's death, the events leading up to it, and the implications for book 7.
  • In the final chapter, the contributors make their predictions about book 7 (including the title, and unsurprisingly, none of them guessed Deathly Hallows.) ;-)

The essays in this collection vary widely, both in writing style and the strength of the arguments. Some of the theories seemed pretty far-fetched, and others seemed quite possible to me. But all of them were intriguing, and even the highly improbable theories had some interesting nuggets worth considering. And the point of the essays isn't to provide answers, but to get the reader thinking, and it certainly does that. The most interesting speculations to me were those concerning Regulus Black. I hadn't taken the time to speculate on R.A.B. other than the question of who it was, which was easily solved, and it hadn't occurred to me that there might be more to the story.

Overall, this essay collection was worth reading for the serious Harry Potter fan. Whether you agree or disagree with their theories, they're sure to provide some fodder for your own theories.
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