Editorial by Kaci JaBeth
In the Harry Potter books, I've noticed that the four times we've had a murder (I'm counting Crouch Sr. in this, but not the Potters because the Potters happened before the series began) in the series, the person who committed the murder was significant to the person who was murdered. The significance is that the person who does the killing is essentially the exact opposite of the person being killed.
Let's start with Crouch. Mr. Crouch is stodgy, uptight, and all about rules, rules, rules! Cue the return of Crouch Jr. Barty Jr. is the exact opposite. He's everything his father didn't want him to be.
The second murder is that of Cedric Diggory. Cedric was murdered by Peter Pettigrew. So what is Cedric about?
”He was a good and loyal friend, a hard worker, he valued fair play.” Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, page 721-722, US Paperback Edition.
Fair play. Honesty. Hard work. Doing what's right. All of these are qualities that Cedric shows us during the Triwizard Tournament. Time and time again, he proves that he’s all these things and more. He tells Harry where to go to find out about the egg clue. He offers to let Harry take the Cup, and all the glory and money it would bring, in the Maze because he says it’s only fair.
What's Peter about? None of those things. He's everything Cedric isn't. He's about sucking up to those in power, no matter if it's the right thing to do or not. Cedric would side with which side was right. Peter sides with those that are more powerful. Cedric was killed by someone the exact opposite of what he stood for. Where as Cedric represents loyalty, Peter instead looks out for himself instead of his friends.
The same holds true for Sirius. Sirius was killed by Bellatrix. She stood for everything he was against. She joined Voldemort. She made a "good pureblood marriage." She was into that holier-than-thou attitude (Sirius had this, too, but his was based on his abilities and talents, hers is based on the fact that she happened to be born into a pureblood family). She was everything Sirius was against and was trying to escape, and she's the one that killed him.
And finally we come to the most recent death in the series, Albus Dumbledore. This one is a bit of a stretch and requires you to buy into the whole Snape-is-evil thing. Personally, I'm back and forth between good vs. evil, so let's say for the sake of argument that he did murder Dumbledore and has, in fact, rejoined Lord Voldemort. So what did Dumbledore stand for? Well, Dumbledore is sort of the quintessential Good Character. If it's good, he represents it. While Snape is no Voldemort, he's a pretty bad piece of work himself. If you buy into the Snape is evil thing, then Snape represents many of the things Dumbledore is against.
So why is this opposite-theory important and how does it apply to the future of the series?
One: Will Draco die? If yes, then who will kill him?
Two: Who will kill Peter Pettigrew? Lupin or Harry?
Three: Who will kill Bellatrix LeStrange? Neville or Harry?
Applying my exact opposite theory, the first question is easy. Yes, Draco will die (I would love to have him live, but I really think he's going to have to). So who's going to do it?
Everyone’s first instinct is to think Harry. On the surface, it’s the “easy” answer. They hate each other, Draco loves to make Harry’s life a living Hell, and they are on opposite sides of the war.
However, I don't care what anyone says, Harry and Draco are not the antithesis of each other. They're just not, and here’s why. Two other characters (one even more so than the second) fit the bill far better.
So who are these two characters? The first, and most fitting for the position of Draco’s antithesis is Dudley Dursley. Before you call me crazy, just hear me out.
Dudley and Draco are the antithesis of each other. Both were raised by overbearing fathers, taught to hate people based on their lineage. Both are spoiled by their parents, though their mothers treat them like small children and patronize them to an extent with their maternal protectiveness. Both have been pressured into being someone or something that they may or may not want to be. This is shown by Draco’s reaction to Dumbledore’s offer on the Tower in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and is mirrored in Dudley being roped into attending Smeltings because his father went there and wanted Dudley to go, too. Both are abusive to Harry, but for exact opposite reasons. Draco is mean to Harry because he’s a Half-Blood and sees Muggle in him, which Draco has been taught to hate. Dudley sees Wizard in Harry, which he has been taught to hate, and acts accordingly. Sadly, Dudley lacks the magical talent that Draco's death will be dependent on, so no to Dudley.
The second character that can be considered the antithesis, though to a lesser extent, of Draco Malfoy is Ronald Weasley. Ron is a fellow pureblood who has acted the exact opposite of Draco in dealing with those of other lineages. While Ron embraces those of other ancestries, Draco does not. Ron doesn’t care if a person is Muggleborn or Half-Blood, while Draco bases everything on it.
But still, some people will undoubtedly ask me “Why is Ron the opposite and not Harry?” I can answer that question, too.
Draco hates them both. I think we can all agree on that. But the thing is, Draco hates Harry with a reason. He offered Harry his friendship, and Harry rejected him. That caused his hatred. Before that, he was willing to accept Harry. But Ron? From the first time Draco addresses Ron, he hates him.
”My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford.” Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, page 108, US Paperback Edition.
“You hang around with riffraff like the Weasleys…” Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, page 109, US Paperback Edition.
He's got prejudices against Ron before he even meets him. He hates him not for something he did, but because of simply who Ron is.
And that’s exactly why Draco must die in the final books. He must die because he’s prejudiced, ergo, the person he was first shown to be prejudiced against must do the killing. It can be argued that the first person he was shown to be prejudiced against was Hagrid, but since many other students say similar things about Hagrid, I’m not counting that as his first showing of prejudice. So who was the first person he ever showed prejudice against? Not Harry, but Ron.
If we follow the same logic, then who kills Pettigrew, Lupin or Harry? Well, arguments can be made for both, but I'm going to have to side with Lupin on this one. Firstly because I think Harry will be too busy with Voldemort and Nagini, but back to the theory. I think it was quite obvious in the Snape's Worst Memory scene that Peter was a brown-noser to James and Sirius. The impression I've always got that Remus was more..."you're my friends, but sometimes you are idiots."
”Sirius and James stood up. Lupin and Wormtail remained sitting: Lupin was still staring down at his book, though his eyes were not moving and a faint frown line had appeared between his eyebrows. Wormtail was looking from Sirius and James to Snape with a look of avid anticipation on his face.” Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, page 645, US Paperback Edition.
“Many of the surrounding watchers laughed, Sirius and Wormtail included, but Lupin, still apparently intent on his book, didn’t…” Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, page 647, US Paperback Edition.
In those two passages from Snape’s Worst Memory, we see Wormtail basically hero-worshipping James and Sirius, even though it’s obvious that what they are doing is wrong. Meanwhile, Lupin does not give them any attention at all while they do things like that. And since troublemakers do the things that they do for attention, Lupin is doing the right thing. By not giving them his attention, he’s sending a message that he doesn’t approve of what they’re doing. Granted, his disapproval is not as loud and clear as Lily’s, but he is still sending that message nonetheless.
Furthermore, Remus stayed on the good side always, even despite the fact that the very people he's fighting to save would persecute him in a heartbeat because he's a werewolf. Peter? Turned tail and ran when things looked bad, sacrificing his own best friends in the process.
A similar argument can be made for Harry to do the killing. Furthermore, his parents are dead because of Peter. But the problem with Harry doing it is that he doesn’t really remember his parents. He was only eighteen months old when they died, so he didn’t really know them. So while he does miss them, it’s more that he misses the “idea” of them. Remus, on the other hand, knew them. He grew up with them and he loved them. They were two of his best friends. And he’s spent roughly sixteen years dealing with the fact that one of his best friends caused their deaths. He’s known for the last three that it was Peter and not Sirius. So in this instance, the theory has lead us to two candidates, and the fact that one of them “deserves” to kill Peter more has lead me to believe that Lupin will be the one to do it.
This same idea proves why Snape, a lesser evil in the books, killed Dumbledore, rather than Voldemort, the big evil in the series. While both are evil characters, Snape had more reasons to kill Dumbledore because he spent seven years living under Dumbledore’s roof being tormented by the Marauders. Torment that Dumbledore probably knew about and did not stop. He resents Dumbledore for that. Meanwhile, Tom Riddle was the model student. He wasn’t the picked on, he did the picking. Tom hates Dumbledore more for the fact that he hates what Dumbledore stands for, not Dumbledore the actual person, like Snape did. Ergo, Snape “deserved” to kill Dumbledore more than Voldemort did.
Finally, the one I find hardest to decide on, Bellatrix LeStrange. She clearly has to die, and there are two candidates who fit the bill. Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom.
Assuming you buy my opposites theory (and I hope you do), then Harry and Neville both qualify to be candidates, which brings us back to the second theory of “who deserves it more?” The question is this: who had a bigger loss? Harry losing Sirius? Or Neville losing his parents? (They're not dead, but let's face it, once your mum and dad are tortured into insanity, they're gone.)
Both of them gather inspiration to fight from their losses. We see Neville get angrier and fight harder whenever he sees Bellatrix in Order of the Phoenix, as well as his renewed determination in Dumbledore’s Army after his secret is revealed. Harry chases her down and even attempts Unforgivables because she killed Sirius.
But the fact is that while Sirius is gone, Neville’s parents are still there. He still has to see them, still has to acknowledge their existence. He can’t really move on from his loss because his loss is not complete. While both losses are tragic, Neville’s loss eats at him little by little. He can never move on because they’re still around.
Thus, I think Neville’s loss is slightly worse than Harry’s, and I think he will be the one to kill Bellatrix in the final battle.
For each character that I’ve brought up that will kill someone in the final battle—Ron killing Draco, Neville killing Bellatrix, Remus killing Peter, and Harry killing Voldemort and Nagini—each of these are their own personal “Everest”s if you will. It’s an incredibly difficult journey that climaxes with one final moment in which their goal has finally been attained. It’s something that they’ve been moving towards since the beginning of the series, something that they have to do to complete their character development in the final book. They each must overcome what oppresses them.
Thus, who kills who does, in fact, come back to the opposites theory. They must kill their polar opposite in order to complete their journey.
Special thanks to clevermonikerr of Gryffindor for her wonderful beta job and to karinablack of Ravenclaw for
Feel free to discuss your own theories or contradict mine. Debate, after all, depends on disagreement and I'm ready to hear it. :)