98 forester

anonymous asked:

but there’s a huge plothole in the explanation that lily’s blood in voldemort kept harry alive in the forrest. if it did, then why was voldemort able to die when the AK rebounded in the Great Hall? and why didn’t harry die when voldemort did, having lost what kept him alive in the first place? it’s been ten years i still don’t fully understand this. there is the 'master of death' explanation but idk about that.

It is confusing and complicated, but I don’t think it’s a plot hole. The ‘master of death’ theory doesn’t hold with me either. Let me lay out my understanding. I’ll try to be thorough without overwhelming you. I’m not interspersing with a ton of HP quotes, but if you need clarification or a source, let me know.

Let me start at the beginning, because fully understanding the nature of the sacrificial protection is important to understanding what follows. A sacrifice like this can only be triggered under very specific circumstances: A killer, a victim, and someone standing in the way. Most important, a moment of reckoning when someone could walk away, stand aside, save themselves, but chooses not to. That choice, based on love, is what triggers this protection.

That’s what we have in Lily Potter. James was doomed from the start, Voldemort was going to kill him no matter what he said or did. Voldemort saw him, laughed, sneered, and cast the curse. But he argues with Lily to stand with him just as she argues with him, pleads with him, not to do this to her son. It comes down to this moment:

“This is my last warning.”

“Not Harry! Please…have mercy… Not Harry! Please – I’ll do anything…”

Anything, except stand aside and let Voldemort kill her baby, so Voldemort kills her for it. She could have stood aside, and he would have killed Harry, and that would have been that. 

It’s this choice, based on love, to stand there and sacrifice herself for Harry, to die for him, which triggers the sacrificial protection. CS Lewis, who influenced JK’s writing so greatly, called this sort of sacrificial magic Deeper Magic from before the beginning of time. It’s very old, and very rare, very deep. Even Dumbledore knew he didn’t fully understand it.

Lily died for Harry, and her sacrifice protects him from Voldemort, and that’s the only circumstance under which this protection might be activated. But it stays with Harry and offers him some measure of protection from Voldemort, forever.

This, in combination with Dumbledore’s charm, is what keeps Harry safe while he is at his aunt’s house, the house where his mother’s blood resides. And when Harry is eleven and Voldemort, possessing Quirrell, tries to touch him, he can’t. 

Voldemort obsesses over this, tries to find a work around. After Wormtail finds him and slowly nurses him back to health, he lies in wait for a year in order to use ‘the boy’s’ blood. Why? To beat the protection. As he’s planning on killing Harry that night, it is a fine short-term objective. And for Voldemort’s rudimentary understanding, he’s right: he can touch Harry. Was it enough to keep Voldemort from torturing Harry? No. Was it enough to keep Voldemort from possessing Harry? Again, no. Was Voldemort able to kill Harry? No. (There are other factors at work here, too, Priori Incantatem, the twin cores.) Harry survives, and Voldemort spends the next year obsessing over the Prophecy.

What does Dumbledore say in King’s Cross? That If Voldemort had known, if he had understood what it meant, he wouldn’t have taken Lily’s blood, and her sacrifice, into himself. By taking Lily’s blood into himself, traces of her sacrifice were still around, to activate when needed.

In the forest, when Voldemort utters the AK curse at Harry, several things happen in quick succession, but it’s all very important to understand:

  • The Elder Wand refuses to kill Harry. (from JK’s old website)
  • As a result, the curse chooses to kill the Horcrux.
  • Harry and Voldemort are now separate creatures.
  • Except, Voldemort is once again trying to kill Harry, triggering once again that sacrificial protection, which is running through Voldemort’s veins.

It’s a complicated, multi-faceted set of circumstances that lands Harry in King’s Cross, the in between place. Although Voldemort is the container for that sacrifice, the literal bag of bones and flesh that’s carrying it, the sacrifice isn’t for him. It’s Voldemort mere fact of being alive which tethers Harry to life. It keeps Harry’s heart beating long enough to make the choice to move on or come back. I think the power of that spell, of the sacrifice, is actually what renders Voldemort unconscious, but that’s pure speculation.

Dumbledore and Harry have their nice little chat at King’s Cross, and Harry makes the choice to come back because, as Dumbledore says, there’s a good chance of finishing it once and for all.

There is such a poetic beauty in this arc, because the series begins and ends with same choice, the same sacrificial protection. Lily made the choice to stand there, let Voldemort kill her, rather than stand aside and watch him be killed. Harry marched into that forest with the hope that he’ll prevent any more deaths. And as remnants of that love stayed on harry, Harry’s sacrifice means Voldemort’s curses won’t stick; the curses rebound.  The snake is killed.

So, we have Harry and Voldemort facing off. Harry pleads for Voldemort to be merciful upon himself, explains about the Elder Wand, and then they shout their spells. As before, several layers of magic are at work in this moment:

  • No Horcruxes, including Harry, are available to Voldemort to tether him to life.
  • The Elder Wand once again refuses to kill its master.
  • Voldemort has refused remorse, and perhaps save himself.
  • When only Voldemort’s life is threatened, Lily’s sacrificial protection isn’t triggered as he was never its intended recipient in the first place. 

It’s a bit like that moment of the step-mother’s reckoning in Ever After: a hall full of people, the charges are laid. The Queen asks who will speak for her, and everyone is backing the eff away. 

No one is there to save Voldemort because he’s set himself up for it. Harry never killed Voldemort, either, which I’ve seen mentioned in posts. The magic is working against him, because he didn’t take the time to understand it. With nothing to speak for him, to save him, to intervene, his own curse rebounds and kills him. His body hits the floor with a mundane finality.