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Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx



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  #1  
Old August 14th, 2007, 8:54 pm
Rayjo  Female.gif Rayjo is offline
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Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

Discussion for Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx: The Three Voices of Albus Dumbledore by Monkshood.


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  #2  
Old August 15th, 2007, 1:13 am
Emerald63  Female.gif Emerald63 is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

Congratulations, Monkshood!!!

An interesting read...

In your section on the young adult, I was reminded of the numerous times in DH where Harry thinks everything that is happening to his friends is his fault, because he's there near them. It even gets a bit irritating after a while, since we all know it is emphatically not Harry's fault - it's Lord Voldemort's. I was also reminded of Lily's words to LV when trying to save Baby Harry. To paraphrase, "No, not Harry! Please not Harry! Take me instead, kill me!" Harry is 17 when he feels guilty, while Lily is 21 at the time of her death (per her headstone in DH). In other words, they're both young adults.

I was also struck by the parallels between Harry's life and the three stages, even though we leave the bulk of Harry's tale when he is not quite 18. I suppose much of his childhood was nipped in the bud by the Dursleys, no tantrums allowed. (Dudley took all those, just like he took everything else.) But Harry did spend a great deal of time afraid and feeling there was nothing he could do about it. He was also isolated from any "others" because Dudley wouldn't allow anyone to be Harry's friend.

I've already mentioned part of Harry's young adult role, though there are numerous other examples throughout the books of his acting to protect or promote others.

However, Harry also displays the maturity of the old age stage. In GoF, when he is in great pain from LV's Cruciatus curse in the graveyard, Harry wishes he were dead so that the physical pain would stop. In OotP, he wishes LV's possession of him would stop not just because of the physical pain but because of the horrific emotional pain he's feeling over Sirius's death. He realizes dying would fix both problems and welcomes that, despite whatever else he might leave behind. In HBP, Harry tries to offer himself in Dumbledore's stead while in the cave, first for the entry blood toll, then to drink the potion. He feels the desire to end DD's suffering while DD is drinking the potion, but responds to a greater responsibility - DD's emphatic orders not to interfere - even though doing so causes great emotional pain for himself. Finally, in DH, Harry doesn't have to be in any physical pain to realize the safety of others is more important to him than his own life. He doesn't want to die, but accepts the necessity. If that's not maturity - and bravery - I don't know what is.

Obviously you've written a very thought provoking editorial! Congrats on it being published.


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  #3  
Old August 15th, 2007, 7:14 pm
rookwood rookwood is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

really nice theory...uptil now i was totally stumped as to wat tht scene in the cave meant...nvr thought tht dumbledores words were related to kreacher n regulus...now it actualy makes sense


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  #4  
Old August 16th, 2007, 4:41 am
Phil_Stone  Undisclosed.gif Phil_Stone is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

It is an interesting idea, but I am afraid I don't agree. Even reading those lines with the theory in mind I don't see a Three Ages of Man implicit in the language.

I would like to know what it was about, and perhaps at some point JKR will be explicit. Based on his comments to Abelforth, Harry seems to think that Dumbledore was somehow expressing his guilt in his sister's death. I can see why Harry might think that, but I don't see that in Dumbledore's words even in retrospect. Perhaps if you only pick out a few lines, but not when you look at everything he says.

We never really learn what Kreacher experianced, only that it was terrible. Nor do we learn what Regulus experianced. If Dumbledore experianced his own worst memory, or somethiing like that, the same should be true of the others. While Regulus might suffer from re-living his actions (or those he witnessed) as a Deatheater, it is hard to imagine that Kreacher's worst memories could be so debilitating.

And that is the basic problem that I have had all along with the view that it was Dumbledore's worst memory. Would Voldemort assume that anyone who found The Cave would have an equally debilitating worst memory? That seems an odd assumption to make, particularly for someone who would probably deny that he himself had such a memory.

On the other hand, perhaps JKR has given us a clue to this in the Dementor attack in OotP. We all wondered, including Harry, what Dudley's worst memory could possibly be. Perhaps her point was that everyone has one, regardless of how sheltered their life might be, and so it would not be a bad assumption for Voldemort to make in protecting his horcrux.

My own view remains that Voldemort memorialized his ability to control and terrify by forcing visitors to the Cave to share the experiances of the orphans, Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop. It was celebrating this event which led him to use the Cave. Anyway, I'm getting pretty far away from the editorial now.


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Old August 16th, 2007, 7:51 am
Emerald63  Female.gif Emerald63 is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

Greetings Phil! Long time no discuss!!

In a post-DH interview JKR said that what Dudley saw during the dementor attack was something like how others saw him, not a memory. (Sorry I don't remember the exact quote, let alone where I saw it! Hmm... maybe I should check the Quick Quotes Quill website?) At any rate, it seems like under the influence of dementors you can also experience your worst fear, not just your worst memory. Voldemort wouldn't have to worry about whether anyone entering the cave had a really horrible memory or not, since everyone pretty much has a horrible fear. Even a rational and highly intelligent mind, like DD's, can have an irrational fear or a rational one that can reach irrational proportions. Under the influence of dementors, or that cave potion, that would surely be enough to incapacitate the best of us, which seems to have been just what Voldemort had in mind. It even worked on DD, and he had Harry there to help him through it.

I don't know that any of this would change your mind on what it was DD was experiencing in the cave, or on Monkshood's editorial, but it's something to think about, imo.

And on Kreacher's cave potion memory... well, when you're a slave, those ought to be quite abundant.


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  #6  
Old August 16th, 2007, 10:23 pm
Phil_Stone  Undisclosed.gif Phil_Stone is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

Hello Emerald- Normally I would agree that slavery would guarantee some awful memories. But House elves are a special case I think, as they at times seem to truly view their service as fortunate, rather than imposed upon them. Granted Kreacher may be insane, but the idea that being decapitated when ones skills begin to fade is an honor makes his worst memory difficult to picture. What would ordinarily be abuse would be accepted as normal by an elf.

Perhaps it is as you suggest, that one's worst fear is the key, and he saw himself disgraced as a free elf.


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  #7  
Old August 17th, 2007, 7:21 pm
meenaxi meenaxi is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

Hasn't his behavior in cave explained in DH? When harry says Dumbledore relived the incident when ariana died?
I think thats the best explanation for cave scene and fits best with DD's backstory that was revealed in DH.


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  #8  
Old August 17th, 2007, 7:24 pm
dobbyrules  Male.gif dobbyrules is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

well written editorial but i think jkr told us what dumbledore saw through harrys guess. just my opinion.


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  #9  
Old August 17th, 2007, 10:49 pm
Shewoman  Female.gif Shewoman is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

I really enjoyed this, Monkshood! Well done! I think you've made sense of a rather confusing scene.

We are, of course, discussing the work of a writer who includes many layers in her work. Certainly "the old man" may be remembering or re-experiencing Ariana's death, and perhaps James', Lily's, and Sirius', all of which he has some responsibility for (for allowing Snape to leave the Hog's Head knowing part of the Prophecy and then for keeping the Prophecy a secret from Harry, so that he saw no reason not to go to the MoM), but it is also true that the actual man who speaks those words has been planning his death for the best part of a year now and will, in fact, die that night after pleading, "Severus . . . please . . . ." "Make it stop," he begged. Yes, Albus, very soon now.


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  #10  
Old August 18th, 2007, 12:05 am
Emerald63  Female.gif Emerald63 is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

Hello to you too, Phil. I agree that house-elves are a special case, and Shewoman can tell you that I've reconsidered my view of them and their situation a great deal. While some of them are treated fairly well, others are treated horribly. The potential for such abuse, though, comes from their enslavement. Perhaps I should have limited my comment to those slaves who were mistreated.

meenaxi and dobbyrules, I agree we learn in DH that DD was reliving Ariana's death. But as Shewoman says, there is often more than one meaning to what we see in Jo's writing. There are many, many examples of her including references to various sources (e.g. alchemy, mythology, philosophy, etc) that can be taken on a deeper level than just how they relate to the surface of the story. And I mean they can be taken on a deeper level concerning HP, not just as separate ideas.

Those who see the surface ideas do get a good message and an enjoyable read that makes sense. You don't have to dig deeper for that to happen. But if you do dig deeper, you can find a whole other universe just below the surface.


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Old August 18th, 2007, 12:20 am
alexrosemc  Female.gif alexrosemc is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

Phil_Stone, i really like your theory that DD, Kreacher and Regulus had to relive what those orphans went through in the cave with Voldemort. I would think Voldemort would want to control what the potion did, for example, the dementors affect some people, like harry, worse than others. Those orphans were 'never quite the same,' and im sure it would be voldemorts style to put that same fear into someone attempting to steal a horcrux.

I love this theory so much, but i don't think JKR would throw us of the track like that with Harry's guess about Ariana, without explaining what actually happened, so i have to take it that Harry's guess was right. We should have told her this before she wrote the book, your idea is so much better!


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  #12  
Old August 18th, 2007, 5:11 am
Phil_Stone  Undisclosed.gif Phil_Stone is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

Alexrosemc- Thanks for the comment. I actually think I got the idea for it from an episode of Star Trek I recalled after it occurred to me that Dumbledore's speech seemed appropriate to the children under abuse. In the Star Trek episode, as I recall, a place stood as a monument to a massacre and brutal war, with passers by unknowingly sucked into the action, so as to truly appreciate the brutality, and how it arose. to learn from it from the inside. (Not that education was Voldemort's intention.) I dont even remember which series it was from.

meenaxi-I don't have the book, so I am not sure how exactly Harry said it, but I know I also read it as Harry thinking that. But I don't recall Harry being that specific. That explanation fits with Dumbledore's past, and many people had theorized that it was some awful experiance of his own.

But the way JKR writes, normally she would have Dumbledore say something mysterious, and when we get the explanation we go back and kick ourselves because it was so obvious, but only in retrospect. When you read those lines now, does it have that quality to you? It doesn't to me. I just looked over the words again, and while some lines work, the whole doesn't.

Perhaps if I try to write what I would expect Dumbldeore to say, in a way which gives nothing away, I'll come up with the same thing.


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Old August 18th, 2007, 5:52 am
aana  Undisclosed.gif aana is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

I am intrigued by this editorial in respect to Dumbledore's reactions depicting the reactions of an individual from three different stages of life.

However, I am convinced that Dumbledore is reliving Ariana's death when he drinks the potion because Jo tells us, the reader, that fact through Harry.

I want to add another thought into the pile and propose a "what if". What if, during those moments, Dumbledore is reliving and therefore reacting to Ariana's death the way he would have if he had to relive and to react to it as a child, then as a young man, and finally as an old man? In addition, this could be depicting the emotional process he has gone through at the different stages of his life trying to come to terms with her death.

I hope this makes sense, and again this was an intriguing editorial, as well as, a great juxtaposition.


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  #14  
Old August 18th, 2007, 12:57 pm
Linda4546 Linda4546 is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_Stone View Post
It is an interesting idea, but I am afraid I don't agree. Even reading those lines with the theory in mind I don't see a Three Ages of Man implicit in the language.

I would like to know what it was about, and perhaps at some point JKR will be explicit. Based on his comments to Abelforth, Harry seems to think that Dumbledore was somehow expressing his guilt in his sister's death. I can see why Harry might think that, but I don't see that in Dumbledore's words even in retrospect. Perhaps if you only pick out a few lines, but not when you look at everything he says.

We never really learn what Kreacher experianced, only that it was terrible. Nor do we learn what Regulus experianced. If Dumbledore experianced his own worst memory, or somethiing like that, the same should be true of the others. While Regulus might suffer from re-living his actions (or those he witnessed) as a Deatheater, it is hard to imagine that Kreacher's worst memories could be so debilitating.

And that is the basic problem that I have had all along with the view that it was Dumbledore's worst memory. Would Voldemort assume that anyone who found The Cave would have an equally debilitating worst memory? That seems an odd assumption to make, particularly for someone who would probably deny that he himself had such a memory.

On the other hand, perhaps JKR has given us a clue to this in the Dementor attack in OotP. We all wondered, including Harry, what Dudley's worst memory could possibly be. Perhaps her point was that everyone has one, regardless of how sheltered their life might be, and so it would not be a bad assumption for Voldemort to make in protecting his horcrux.

My own view remains that Voldemort memorialized his ability to control and terrify by forcing visitors to the Cave to share the experiances of the orphans, Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop. It was celebrating this event which led him to use the Cave. Anyway, I'm getting pretty far away from the editorial now.
People who can not immagine Dudley having a very bad memory forget that 1 year before the attack of the dementors, his tongue had grown to the size of a chair and that when he was 11 he had to have a pigs tail removed surgically. Even without those magical happenings however, every human being experiences fear, joy, dreams and devastating dissappointments. The events that cause these feelings are different for individuals and over time depending on their previous experiences and expectations. For example, Hermione is also the only child of a middle class family who have given her all kinds of wonderful experiences. Her boggart is academic failure in the shape of Prof McGonnagal telling her that she has failed all her exams. Ron would find the same image routine rather than terrifying. We do not know Dudley's worst fear or his worst memory but since he is human we know that he has one which is quite horrible to him.
We also do not know what Voldemort did to the orphans. Although the idea of "worst memory" occurs in the explanation of the dementors and in the back-story of Snape, it is not necessary that the victim of psychological torture relive their worst memory of experience their worst fear. In the real world people experience nightmares, psychotic thoughts and adverse drug effects which are terrifying but not connected with their real experiences or the things they worry about while awake.
I think it would be enough to say that the potion caused the drinker mental and physical pain however the fact that Harry thought Dumbledore had remembered Ariana's death during this nightmare state adds an extra dimension to Albus's character. Going beyond that to say that he was experiencing this event as a child, a young adult and an old man seems unnecessary. How would an alusion to Oedipus or to the riddle of the sphinx help the story?


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Old August 18th, 2007, 8:43 pm
aana  Undisclosed.gif aana is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

What I had noticed and tried to express in my previous post was that there seems to be progression of emotion in Dumbledore's words. It is very much like the progression of emotions a person goes through as he/she is experiencing the five stages of grief. This could be the grief he has over Ariana's death and/or he could be coming to terms with his own imminent death because terminally ill patients, also, experience the five stages of grief.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stages_of_grief

Above is the Wikipedia link to the stages of grief. In comparing the stages of grief listed in the article to Dumbledore's words it becomes obvious that this moment in the story is a portrayal of Dumbledore's grief.

First stage: Denial

Dumbledore: I don't want. . .Don't make me. . ."
". . . don't like. . . want to stop . . ." moaned Dumbledore.
"No. . ." he groaned . . .

Second Stage: Anger

Dumbledore: "I don't want to. . . I don't want to . . . Let me go . . ."
"Make it stop, make it stop," moaned Dumbledore.
"No, no, no, no, I can't, I can't, don't make me, I don't want to. . ."

Third Stage: Bargaining

Dumbledore: "It's all my fault, all my fault," he sobbed. "Please make it stop, I know I did wrong, oh please make it stop and I'll never, never again. . ."
"Don't hurt them, don't hurt them, please, please, it's my fault, hurt me instead. . ."
"Please, please, please, no . . . not that, not that, I'll do anything. . ."

Fourth Stage: Depression

Dumbledore: "I want to die! I want to die! Make it stop, make it stop, I want to die!"

Fifth Stage: Acceptance

Dumbledore: "KILL ME!"


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Old August 19th, 2007, 1:29 am
member_of_SPEW  Female.gif member_of_SPEW is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

Wow! I really like this idea. I know we've been told that Dumbledore was reliving Ariana's death, and I think this is the truth, but there could be two layers. Maybe he was reliving Ariana's death, but from the point of view of the child, young man, and old man, progressively.

Anyway, I really like the parallel you brought up between the Sphinx and the Phoenix.

And who are the three Death Eaters mentioned? "Over the course of the Harry Potter series we have met three young men who quickly learn after joining the Death Eaters that there is a heavy price to pay for their membership." There's Regulus and Snape, and who else?


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  #17  
Old August 19th, 2007, 3:24 am
aana  Undisclosed.gif aana is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

member_of_SPEW, I assumed the third Death Eater to be Draco Malfoy.


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  #18  
Old August 19th, 2007, 5:32 pm
lifter57  Undisclosed.gif lifter57 is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

While very interestin - I think you are really stretching for a tie in - while logical and interesting - for me it is too much of a stretch and too thin to really take seriously


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  #19  
Old August 20th, 2007, 6:26 am
iamsirius  Female.gif iamsirius is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

Quote:
Originally Posted by aana View Post
In comparing the stages of grief listed in the article to Dumbledore's words it becomes obvious that this moment in the story is a portrayal of Dumbledore's grief.

First stage: Denial

Dumbledore: I don't want. . .Don't make me. . ."
". . . don't like. . . want to stop . . ." moaned Dumbledore.
"No. . ." he groaned . . .

Second Stage: Anger

Dumbledore: "I don't want to. . . I don't want to . . . Let me go . . ."
"Make it stop, make it stop," moaned Dumbledore.
"No, no, no, no, I can't, I can't, don't make me, I don't want to. . ."

Third Stage: Bargaining

Dumbledore: "It's all my fault, all my fault," he sobbed. "Please make it stop, I know I did wrong, oh please make it stop and I'll never, never again. . ."
"Don't hurt them, don't hurt them, please, please, it's my fault, hurt me instead. . ."
"Please, please, please, no . . . not that, not that, I'll do anything. . ."

Fourth Stage: Depression

Dumbledore: "I want to die! I want to die! Make it stop, make it stop, I want to die!"

Fifth Stage: Acceptance

Dumbledore: "KILL ME!"
That sounds just about right. I don't see anger in Dumbledore's words for the second stage, though. Unless it was in how he says it. My other problem with this just being Dumbledore reliving the memory of Ariana's death is the part where Dumbledore says, "Don't hurt them, don't hurt them, please, please, it's my fault, hurt me instead. . ."
Who is them? Is he speaking of both Aberforth & Ariana to Grindelwald?

The first and second "stage" could be Dumbledore reliving the memory fof Ariana's abuse by the muggles from her perspective. The third stage from Dumbledore's perspective. And the fourth and fifth from her perspective again. Maybe Voldemort knew that people do feel remorse for things and wanted to teach them a lesson.

I liked the editorial too. It made a lot of sense as I had a hard time understanding how the words Dumbledore used fit with the description of Ariana's death.


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  #20  
Old August 21st, 2007, 3:14 am
Twycross  Male.gif Twycross is offline
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Re: Solving the Riddle of the Sphinx

Whoever said editorials would stop after DH was a bit short sighted. This editorial proves that. Well done on a great insight.


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