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.


Donna K. Weaver said...

Jo answered this question in an interview once. Wormtail was outside, and he got the wand and hid it.

Keith Fisher said...

reretoxaWormtail being who he was, I highly doubt that explanation. He was too timid to remain. Either way, My critique group would tell me to show it in my manuscrpt. It is still a hole, but thanks for letting me know. Thanks for commenting Donna.

boredmormon said...

Its one of several holes in the HP series. (Don't get me wrong, I loved the books). My biggest complaint with the series is that none of the elements that were essential to the final book were mentioned in the first six.

Its an artifact of them being written and released one book at a time. Each book is 'stand alone', with its own arc. You'll find less holes in a seven book series that was written as a single arc. But how many kids have the patience to read seven books to find a decent ending?

If the writer has to explain it to the reader, its a hole.

Nessa Roo said...

I agree with boredmormon. If the writer has to explain it, it's a hole. I was somewhat disappointed with the wand-ownership, loophole. I thought it was a little juvenile, but I reminded myself that the books were actually written for, you know, juveniles.
I love that you used this as an example. It was a good one.

Betsy Love said...

So holes in plots. Has anyone published a book and then went, oops, what about...? And hope the readers don't catch it?