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Thoughts on R.A.B. - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Thoughts on R.A.B.
I don't think the title of the post says enough to qualify as a spoiler, though naturally, the post is full of 'em. ;)

I was going to put this in the Quill's R.A.B. thread, but the server is having nightly hiccups from traffic, apparently, so I'll write it here and post it there later.

Ref in chapter 28, pg 609 U.S.:

To the Dark Lord
I know I will be dead long before you read this
but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret.
I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can.
I face death in the hope that when you meet your match,
you will be mortal once more.

R and B are joined beneath the A in the initial signature.

I really don't think this is a huge mystery or will be a great puzzle once Harry happens to remember Regulus Black--a Death Eater who left the fold would fit the circumstances described in the note, no one else seems to have those initials, and Regulus was mentioned in two prominent places in the book.

Some of the non-Regulus theories that have come up are:

  • Like Mark Evans, this was an oops of a coincidence. I don't think this really plays, because the note was obviously of a more planned nature. It's not that she's writing about Dudley bullying someone and said, "Name, name, I need a name..." She's carefully planted the note and created the initials in a powerful object associated with what's clearly an important part of the upcoming plot. It's very unlikely that she wasn't thinking about it here.
  • It's a monogram with the surname in the middle, and the person's real initials are R.B.A. More plausible, but looking at the joining of the R and the B, I'm definitely inclined to see that the initials the person is known by most commonly are R.B.
  • It's three people, initials R, A, and B. Interesting, but the note is written in the singular.
  • It's someone new. I guess it's possible, but I just don't think so. If it's a puzzle Harry needs to solve, then he needs to have the pieces.

As many have mentioned, primarily mincot, the Order finds a heavy locket at 12GP. I'm not sure that's it, but it's a mirror of it, at any rate. We know that Harry has inherited GP, but is very disinclined to go there. We know that Kreacher has been hoarding items from GP, and Harry, however little he likes it, now owns Kreacher. I think that's just too much lined up in favor of Regulus with no strong argument against him.

So, operating on that idea, there's something that's interesting to me: I said something about "a secret between brothers" (I've re-thought that; if Sirius knew about the Horcruxes, Dumbledore wouldn't have had to retrieve Slughorn's memory), and dizzy_chisel said, "Remember, it took two people to get to that Horcrux, as it is repeatedly pointed out."

So while I don't think it's Sirius who went with him--or Remus, though that idea occurred to me as well, but it has the same problem as Sirius--someone out there was with him. This is the case whether the basin refilled magically on its own or needed to be refilled to hide the fake Horcrux. Someone drank the potion, someone else probably had to force him to do it.

If Regulus was the one who drank it, then that someone else, in essence, killed Regulus, though in the context of doing something good. A morally complex question. Or an equally complex question, what if Regulus made someone else drink it? Reg isn't necessarily a nice guy, and might have dragged someone along to get it.

And I'm thinking... who might be willing to follow Sirius's brother? Who do we know who has a permanent sound cringing in his dialogue, much like Dumbledore did while Harry was forcing the potion on him?

Did Wormtail accompany Regulus to get the Horcrux? Did he either drink the potion (and thereby accentuate that cringing attitude to the state we now see) or feed it to Regulus? If so, what would it mean? Peter knows about the Horcruxes and was involved in trying to steal one... if the theory holds, how might that affect his behavior in book 7 and his role in the defeat of Voldemort?

And other than our friend Peter, who else might have accompanied him?

Just something to play with.

This is an image of the note as printed in the U.S. edition. Sorry--forgot totally about the different typesetting!


47 comments or Leave a comment
rabidsamfan From: rabidsamfan Date: July 18th, 2005 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm voting for Andromeda, actually. But I do like the Peter theory. It has some lovely potential.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 18th, 2005 04:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Regulus and Andromeda Black? Works with the initials...
hermione_like From: hermione_like Date: July 18th, 2005 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
That would be really cool. Someone else on my flist thought the A might be Alphard, after the uncle that left Sirius all his money. He wasn't blasted off the Black family tree until he did that so the family was close to him before that.
h311ybean From: h311ybean Date: July 18th, 2005 07:39 am (UTC) (Link)
But he died when Sirius was 16, right, which allowed Sirius to move out of 12GP? Unless Regulus - who is Sirius' younger brother, IIRC - was a Death Eater prodigy, I'm not sure how it could have been Regulus and Alphard.

I think the A is Regulus' middle name. Maybe his name was Regulus Aramintus (in honor of his Muggle-hating aunt Araminta Melliflua).
affabletoaster From: affabletoaster Date: July 18th, 2005 04:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think they meant his middle name was "Alphard," named after Uncle Alphie.
hermione_like From: hermione_like Date: July 18th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I did, thank you for clearing that up for me. :)
h311ybean From: h311ybean Date: July 18th, 2005 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Whoopsies! And here I was so proud of my knowledge of the Black family timeline... :-p
austenrowling From: austenrowling Date: July 18th, 2005 05:01 am (UTC) (Link)
When I first saw that note, and those initials, I thought of Regulus Black. I think its a good theory, and very plausible.
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: July 18th, 2005 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it was Regulus and Snape. They were planning to go over to Dumbledore together.

But they failed. Snape was an Occlumens, and was able to hide his change. Regulus was not.

And Snape had to kill Regulus later. But he told Dumbledore about the Horcruxes as part of his being able to move over to Dumbledore's side.

Just my theory.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 18th, 2005 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)
The thing that mitigates against it being an Order member is that Dumbledore seems to just be finding out about the Horcruxes in HBP--that's why he's so desperate for Harry to get Slughorn's memory. He doesn't know for sure about it. That's why I wrote off Sirius and Remus as possible companions.
narcissam From: narcissam Date: July 18th, 2005 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)
And other than our friend Peter, who else might have accompanied him?

Kreacher. House-elves are powerfully magic, and guess who's Kreacher's new master.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 18th, 2005 05:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooo. I like that a lot! There's a good point to Harry owning Kreacher somewhere, I'm sure, and it's not just to spy on Draco and wash dishes at Hogwarts.
laureate05 From: laureate05 Date: July 18th, 2005 05:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it might have been Kreacher too. Although, why would he speak highly of Regulus, knowing how he had betrayed Voldemort? But he still makes a lot of sense.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: July 18th, 2005 08:03 am (UTC) (Link)
He needn't have known it was being collected as a betrayal - Regulus could have told him he was retrieving it on the Dark Lord's orders. Kreacher - or whoever the companion was - wouldn't necessarily have known about the note inside the decoy locket.
laureate05 From: laureate05 Date: July 18th, 2005 08:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I suppose. Something about that doesn't seem to work for me though. Like, is Kreacher that stupid and trusting?....Yeah, probably.
affabletoaster From: affabletoaster Date: July 18th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Trusting only of those whom the truly Bad Blacks--Mrs. Black, Regulus-the-beloved-son, Bellatrix...
swatkat24 From: swatkat24 Date: July 18th, 2005 08:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, that's absolutely brilliant! There's more to Kreacher than meets the eye, certainly. I'd first thought it was Andromeda, but it doesn't make sense that Sirius' favourite cousin and the other family rebel would help Regulus, the Death Eater and the Model Black Son.

mincot From: mincot Date: July 18th, 2005 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
KReacher is a brilliant choice. If Andromeda helped him, surely she would have told Tonks that Regulus died a hero, coming over to the good side of the Blacks, even if she didn't share the details. DD would have known somehow ...
swatkat24 From: swatkat24 Date: July 19th, 2005 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Also, if Regulus *is* the one, then what would have been his motivation to do this? To join the good fight, like Sirius did? To spite Voldemort?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 19th, 2005 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, I'm just looking at the text of the note, something I've been more or less ignoring.

"When you meet your match."

Combined with Regulus's death date, all of this would have happened around the time the prophecy was given. I'm not sure how it all ties in, because we have so little information, but if Regulus knows that Voldemort is hunting the Potters... Lily may be Muggle-born, but James is a pure-blood, someone beloved to Regulus's brother, and the baby has a legal and emotional bond to Sirius.

Regulus wants to make sure that Voldemort is mortal when he comes across the prophecy kid. He also taunts Voldemort--the kid has balls--by saying, "I figured it out; me." He's too unimportant for Voldemort to kill himself, but he's the one who figured out the secret first. And he did it for some reason.

Of course, it may not be an altruistic reason. The Horcruxes aren't necessarily the secret he discovered. If Regulus is a pure-blood fanatic, as Bellatrix is, there's always the possibility that he discovered that Voldemort was a half-blood orphan named Tom Riddle, who shouldn't be immortal.
gabrielladusult From: gabrielladusult Date: July 18th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Here Here

This is what I have been thinking too -- if not Kreacher, than another Black Family House Elf (whose to say they only ever have one at a time). Regulus, though obviously leaning towards the good side at the point in his life where he stole the locket, would think nothing of making a house elf drink the potion and thereby killing it. Also, a house elf would be small enough to cross in the boat with a full grown wizard.
genesse From: genesse Date: July 18th, 2005 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree. Kreacher will probably play a very big role in the next book, and I think that potion helped with Kreacher's insanity.
myf From: myf Date: July 18th, 2005 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Is there and actual signed part before the printed initials R.A.B. in the US version? I don't think it's in my copy.

Intriguing - can anyone scan it?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 18th, 2005 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Done, see above. :)
myf From: myf Date: July 18th, 2005 05:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, thanks!

I have US editions of SS and PoA only, and while I'm not fond of some aspects, the changes in font for notes and letters is one thing I love. I wish they'd do that for the UK edition.

Now I just need to find someone willing to scan in the chapter illos too...
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: July 18th, 2005 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, here we have a perfect example of the lovely format of the US editions to the very basic UK version. In ours (UK) it looks just like R.A.B. No frills, nothing handwritten. So, I would suspect that the initials are just that. R.A.B
I think it's Regulus too.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: July 18th, 2005 05:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm fairly certain that only women's monograms switch the sequence of letter.

Take the future Hermione Granger Weasley. Her initials could be engraved HWG, but if she were writing them, she'd still use them in the proper order HGW.

Ron's initials would never be changed around: RBW.

I never thought that there would indeed have to be two to have gotten the original necklace. Who's to say that they both came out?
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 18th, 2005 08:04 am (UTC) (Link)
...meaning that the mysterious 'other' is now one of the zombies?
dreagoddess From: dreagoddess Date: July 18th, 2005 11:58 am (UTC) (Link)
...So if Snape hadn't killed Dumbledore when he did, Dumbledore would've become an Inferti? Ooooooooooh.
affabletoaster From: affabletoaster Date: July 18th, 2005 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh brilliant. Eep. A Dumbledore inferius is not making me feel toasty about life. *meep*
meredith_eats From: meredith_eats Date: July 18th, 2005 05:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Now I want the pretty American edition. I was so pleased to have the "real" British one, but now I think the American one looks more fun.

I guess the arrangement of the initials can't mean anything if it's different in different countries' editions.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 18th, 2005 11:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I guess the arrangement of the initials can't mean anything if it's different in different countries' editions.

True. Though I think the joined initials in the U.S. edition just kind of underscore what would be the intuitive interpretation of R.A.B.
h311ybean From: h311ybean Date: July 18th, 2005 07:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I really like the idea of the real Horcrux lying forgotten in 12GP. I was wishing it would have already been destroyed, but that's unlikely considering how JKR left its fate as a loose end.
imadra_blue From: imadra_blue Date: July 18th, 2005 08:11 am (UTC) (Link)
There actually people who don't think it's Regulus? *snorts*

Oh, I do so love that theory about Peter accompanying Regulus. Mostly because I find Peter terrifically fascinating, actually. He's one of my favorite characters to write, because of all the potential. I love getting into the minds of traitors. I have a theory involving Peter and Regulus, but I don't want to talk about it until I'm done writing the fic. It's not your theory (which is more brilliant), but it was funny that you connected them too. :)
neotoma From: neotoma Date: July 18th, 2005 10:18 am (UTC) (Link)
There are people who don't believe that the locket was a Horcrux at all. That instead it was the potion, and drinking the potion made Dumbledore into a Horcrux and that's why he had to die.

Yeah, I think it's wacky too.
imadra_blue From: imadra_blue Date: July 18th, 2005 10:21 am (UTC) (Link)
*blinkblinks* People are... interesting. XD
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: July 18th, 2005 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, they (at least if you mean RJA) still think Salazar's locket was a Horcrux, just that that isn't the one Dumbledore was really looking for in the cavern. (We know that the locket in the cavern was a substitute anyway.)

I'm not entirely sure I believe that, but at least it answers (or rather renders irrelevant) the question of how in heck someone would have made a decoy horcrux good enough to fool Dumbledore.
valentinite From: valentinite Date: July 20th, 2005 02:44 am (UTC) (Link)
My first thought was Borgin -- we heard so much from Burke, and we don't have a first name for Borgin. I'd forgotten the OotP locket, though.
sixth_light From: sixth_light Date: July 18th, 2005 08:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Have to add that JKR said something in one of her interviews (either Time or Couric) about people being able to figure out some of the mysteries at the end very quickly if they thought about it. I'd say this was one of those things - it's not MEANT to be a huge secret. Who knows - Melissa and Emerson may have asked her about it. They know enough to pick up on it quickly.
riibu From: riibu Date: July 18th, 2005 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think R.A.B. was Regulus, and Kreacher was the one who went with him into the cave. The boat can't take but one wizard/witch (of age), so the companion must either be a child, or not a wizard. Kreacher suits perfectly. In addition, Regulus can order Kreacher either to drink the liquid or to feed it to him, and Kreacher must obey.

Thanks for posting the note from the U.S. version -- I have only the UK version.
rabidfangurl From: rabidfangurl Date: July 18th, 2005 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

And in the 'out of left field' category...

Two people are needed to get the Horcrux. Drinking a *potion* is required to get to the Horcrux. Anyone for the theory that the other person in this equation was Snape?

It fits with some canon and fanon facts, namely that Snape *is* a double agent (I have a feeling the murder was because of Vow), that Snape was in school with Regulus, and that they knew each other in the DEs (we never did hear how Reg escaped, did we?).

Plus, of course, if it was a potion, it is more than likely Snape brewed it originally, and knew the anitdote. How to avoid nasty aftereffects 101.

Any takers?
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: July 18th, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: And in the 'out of left field' category...

Might Kreacher have just been able to get rid of the potion and then replace it afterwards, though? We've been told that house-elves have a different and powerful kind of magic, can Apparate within Hogwarts grounds, etc. He might have been able to do what Dumbledore couldn't, and just Vanish the potion.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: July 18th, 2005 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: And in the 'out of left field' category...

Addendum - because I've circled back around to the point where Reg and Snape probably couldn't have gone together, because they probably wouldn't have fit in the boat. That one-wizard-in-the-boat thing wouldn't have been mentioned if it wasn't important.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 18th, 2005 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
If it was Regalus, how did he, a seemingly lowly servant in the Death Eater ranks, find out about the Horcruxes?

Also, who knows about the Horcruxes?

gryfny From: gryfny Date: July 19th, 2005 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)
The only thing that makes me think that it might not be Regulus is this interview from the WBD chat. Perhaps Jo didn't want to give it away to us so fast who it is forsure...

Will we be hearing anything from Sirius Black's brother, Regulus, in future books?
JK Rowling replies -> Well, he's dead, so he's pretty quiet these days.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: July 19th, 2005 04:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooo, she's sneaky with her wording, though. The question wasn't "will we find out more about Regulus?", was it? It was "Will we be hearing from" - and if he's been deathly quiet then no, we probably won't be hearing much. ;)
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 23rd, 2005 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Dumbledore offered to help Draco fake his and his mother's deaths. Who's to say he hasn't done it before?

Of course, if he had, then he had to know the horcrux he and Harry were getting would be fake. I can see some reasons for still going in there, a combination of teaching Harry what it would take to get to one of the horcruxes, clearing the way (for reasons of his own) for Malfoy to make his move, and possibly clearing the way for whatever the deep plan he had with Snape was.

If so, I have to assume that, whatever that plan was, it was important enough that Regulus appear dead that Dumbledore couldn't even tell Sirius his brother was still alive.

We know that Regulus was Sirius' younger brother. If he became a DE under the age of 16 (like Draco), then he also could have gotten across in the boat with another wizard.

47 comments or Leave a comment