Saturday, July 30, 2011

Plugging Holes

By Keith N Fisher

When the tenants move out, the owner of a rental unit will often bring in a crew, to prepare the walls for painting. The process involves plugging nail holes with spackling paste. If the tenants were abusive, the procedure includes the use of wall joint compound and perhaps sheet rock patches.

Frequently, the crew must get close and rub their fingers on the walls, in order to find all the nail holes. Sometimes they miss a few.

Occasionally in our hurry to plot a story, we leave holes that sometimes don’t get plugged. I want to tell you about one that I found.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about re-reading the Deathly Hallows in an effort to refresh my memory before seeing the movie. I also watched the previous movies with my family, launching me into Harry’s world. While working one night, and thinking about the story, I stumbled onto a supposed plot hole.

Spoiler Alert!

Okay, so this might spoil the story, but if you haven’t read the books by now, you might never read them.

When Lord Voldemort went to eliminate baby Harry, he killed James and lily first, then turned his attention to Harry. The curse rebounded and killed Voldemort’s body instead, but because of the horcruxes in which he’d placed part of his soul, he didn’t die. He lived in lessor animals until the time he found Professor Quirrell.

Eventually, he was brought back using a spell, and some of Harry’s blood. After coming to himself in the graveyard, that night, he turned to Wormtail and said, “Give me my wand.”

Later, we learned that Voldemort’s wand and Harry’s wand, have twin cores and we assume that is why, the two wands locked.

So, here is my question. What happened to Voldemort’s wand? What happened to the wand that chose him at eleven years old? The Wand that shared the same phoenix feather as Harry’s?

Let me explain. When Voldemort tried to kill Harry and lost himself, the wand would’ve fallen to the floor. He couldn’t carry it out. What happened to it? How did he get it back? He didn’t have it in the first book. The memory of Tom Riddle didn’t have it in the second book. It wasn’t an issue in the third book, but when he got another body in the fourth book, we see Wormtail giving him his wand, the phoenix feather wand, the twin of Harry’s wand. So, who kept it for thirteen years? How did Wormtail get it? Remember he was kept busy being Ron’s pet rat.
When the wands locked in the graveyard, Voldemort became obsessed to find out why, and determined he couldn’t beat harry with the phoenix wand. In the fifth book, he tried another one, but to no avail. The obsession continued.

In The Deathly Hallows, we learned about wand lore and the fact that wands choose the wizard. Either it will work in tandem with the wizard or it won’t. There is a big issue made of the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand in the world. Voldemort steals it, but it’s not really his.

Okay, back to the question. I was curious, so I invented several scenarios. In one, someone from the Order of the Phoenix came to the house in Godric’s Hollow, found James and Lily Dead, and took the wand. It probably would have ended up in the Ministry of Magic somewhere. Perhaps that’s how Wormtail got it.

Now that I’ve seen the movie, however, I have another theory. There is a scene where Snape arrived at the house, right after Lilly was killed, and his heart broke. The scene left me with another theory. Snape took the wand, but there is a flaw. Snape didn’t contact Voldemort until well after he’d returned. So how did Voldemort get his wand back?

All of this talk about wands brought up another question, are you ready? If the elder wand became Draco Malfloy’s when he disarmed Dumbledore, and Draco’s wand became Harry’s the same way, then what about all those other wands? In almost every book, Harry disarms somebody. Look at Dumbledore’s Army in the fifth book. They disarmed each other several times.

Okay, you can say it has to happen in real combat. So, what about all the wands from the battle to keep the prophecy? What about the wands of the wizards who came to get Harry in the coffee shop in the last book? That’s just a few of the incidents. If the wand chooses the wizard and wands become the property of the victor, then why don’t wands change hands all the time? See it’s a plot hole.

End of Spoiler Alert

I know I’m splitting hairs, but it’s been fun to explore the question. Perhaps it doesn’t matter, because if the truth were told, no writer can find all the holes in a plot and plug them. Like the patching crew in a rental unit, writers sometimes miss the holes.

As writers, we need to run our fingers over the wall of our plot, searching for holes we might’ve missed. As I said, its impossible to find every hole, and there will always be an alert reader, who finds the ones we missed. I hate it when my critique group finds a hole in my plot. It would be much worse if a reader finds one after the book is published.

Remember the plot when you edit, and try to plug the holes. Your book will be better for it.

By the way, I loved the new movie. They left out all the negative stuff about Dumbledore, but it followed the story line for the most part. They added some things like the embellishment of the windup scene, but I liked it. Also, I’m glad they did the epilogue.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

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