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How did HBP fit into CoS? - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
How did HBP fit into CoS?
Since before HBP came out, there was speculation about the plot "dropped" from CoS that became HBP. So I've been trying to judge what CoS might have had in early drafts and how that might have affected the story, and why it was important to drop it.

The first thing that comes to mind is that CoS definitely had a place for the HBP's old book. Rather than getting quick permission from Lockhart to use the restricted section to get the Polyjuice recipe, maybe in the original form, it was a spell scribbled into the margins of Harry's borrowed potions text. Snape was also the teacher responsible for two key bits of magic (Polyjuice--as a potions project--and the expelliarmus spell, which Harry and Ron use on Lockhart, and which Harry later uses on Voldemort), so there was definitely room in there to get into his status as a half-blood.

So why excise that in CoS and save it for later? What would it have been too soon to know then, and why? Would we have had too much time to question Dumbledore's trust if we'd thought it was based on Snape being a half-blood (if it was)? Or is it about delaying the knowledge that some DEs could be half-bloods? Or...


Just thought it could be something to talk about.
32 comments or Leave a comment
ani_bester From: ani_bester Date: March 24th, 2006 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huh, and see here I always thought it was the Horo-whatsit's that were movied.

I thought maybe the memory was originally a soul, but then she figured that was giving too much away about Voldemort too early on, which I would agree with.

I'd never even considered Snape's book, but good point, and also good point about, what on earth would that have changed if that was it.
If anything, assuming she was planning this double cross, she shoulda told us this ealier, I would think.

(It wouldn't have been hard with Sirius and Remus around have it come up either)
hermione_like From: hermione_like Date: March 24th, 2006 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I always figured it was the diary being a horcrux too. That's a lot of information to learn at the beginning of a series, and there didn't seem to be any places in PoA, GoF, or OotP that it might've been brought up again. Why give all that info when it wouldn't be used for another 4 books. *shrugs*

If it was Snape's book, she probably waited because it was toon soon to divulge that part of Snape's background. I mean, imagine all the times from PoA-OotP that Harry could've thrown that info back in Snape's face. And if Draco or another student heard, Snape would be done for.
ashtur From: ashtur Date: March 24th, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I had the impression that the excision was more from a desire to have a tight story than trying to "hide" anything. Still, that does leave the way it would have worked in open, but you may well be on to something, assuming that the book would have ended up being the source of the Polyjuice recipie.
lucie_p From: lucie_p Date: March 24th, 2006 08:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hm - when and where has JKR ever said anything about a dropped plot from CoS? I only remember the fact that the opening chapter of HBP had been planned for several other books, but never fit as well as in HBP.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: March 24th, 2006 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
She acknowledged that people were correct in remembering "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" as a discarded title for the second book, and said (I think) that in the final form, that title no longer fit. I haven't found the reference yet, but I know it was from before HBP actually came out.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: March 24th, 2006 08:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops, found it. http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/news_view.cfm?id=77

I was delighted to see that a hard core of super-bright fans knew that the real title was once, in the long distant past, a possibility for 'Chamber of Secrets', and from that deduced that it was genuine. Certain crucial pieces of information in book six were originally planned for 'Chamber of Secrets', but very early on (first draft of Chamber) I realised that this information's proper home was book six. I have said before now that 'Chamber' holds some very important clues to the ultimate end of the series. Not as many as six, obviously, but there is a link.
lucie_p From: lucie_p Date: March 24th, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, thank you! Will start to think about that now. ;)
gmth From: gmth Date: March 24th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know that the whole horcrux business would have made much sense without Harry knowing about the prophecy, which would have been way too much information to cram into one book, IMO.
chthonya From: chthonya Date: March 24th, 2006 08:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
But if the HBP's book had been in CoS, how would Harry have come by it? (Perhaps in Flourish and Blotts as a second-hand book...?) I can't imagine Snape giving it to him, nor can I imagine Snape not recognising its effects in Harry's potion work. So does that mean that Snape would have not taught Potions that year? I can't imagine that - if he'd taken the DADA job at that point, where would he have been for the rest of the series?

I'd assumed it was something to do with Tom - CoS and HBP are the books in which we learn about his background. But if that were the case, I can't see why she would have been considering the HBP title for the second book in the first place. Which leads us back to Snape.

Unless it's a red herring, and the original, Book 2 HBP didn't refer to Snape at all? After all, we know (from the recent website material) that the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army swapped their names at some point. Makes me wonder when she dropped 'Knights of Walpurgis', too, given that Death Eaters are not mentioned by name until GoF.

Perhaps Merope's name was orginally 'Prince', not 'Gaunt', making Tom the original 'Half Blood Prince', and we were originally going to find out that part of the story in more detail in Book 2?
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: March 24th, 2006 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps Merope's name was orginally 'Prince', not 'Gaunt', making Tom the original 'Half Blood Prince', and we were originally going to find out that part of the story in more detail in Book 2?

That was my thought. But given the character of young Tom, as it emerged, I can't see himself using the words 'Half-blood' willingly to describe himself. Snape is an idiot, but he is more self-aware than Tom and less good at lying to himself (he may be a nasty piece of work, but he's not a psycopath, however ill balanced he may be.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 24th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Perhaps Merope's name was orginally 'Prince', not 'Gaunt', making Tom the original 'Half Blood Prince', and we were originally going to find out that part of the story in more detail in Book 2?"

That's quite interesting. Looking at British history, the "House of Gaunt" takes us straight to John of Gaunt, who was also a prince. He did a lot of political manoevering to get his son, Henry Bollingbroke, to replace Richard II as king (see Shakespeare's "Richard II"). There's room for all sorts of analogies as it is, a switch from Prince to Gaunt would just give us more.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 24th, 2006 11:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Interesting... and if the book originally was meant to belong to Tom, what does that say about Snape, as she found him in a similar position?
chthonya From: chthonya Date: April 27th, 2006 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
(trying to catch up on some comments here)

I was assuming that if HBP would have been Tom in the second book, then the sixth book would still have been about Snape and the Potions book, but with a different name.

Ah well, maybe this is one of the questions she might answer when it's all over!
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: March 24th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I thought it was the orcruxes too. But after this bit was quoted I'm starting to think it coudl be anything.
zoepaleologa From: zoepaleologa Date: March 24th, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I believe it has to be the concept of the fragmented soul. JKR said, in some interview or other that she "nearly gave the game away" in COS. Now, the climax of COS is the revelation of a certain book containing a previous avatar of Voldemort.

In HBP Dumbledore explicity references this as the diary, and it is later made clear that the diary was a Horcrux. Hence I believe the foreshadowing that JKR left out was about Horcruxes.
keridwen From: keridwen Date: March 24th, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Voldemort influencing Ginny through a book/Snape influencing Harry through a book parallel would have been awkward, I think.
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: March 24th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
There was a fairly detailed JKR FAQ on this -- extract:

'The Half-Blood Prince' might be described as a strand of the overall plot. That strand could be used in a whole variety of ways and back in 1997 I considered weaving it into the story of 'Chamber'. It really didn't fit there, though; it was not part of the story of the basilisk and Riddle's diary, and before long I accepted that it would be better to do it justice in book six. I clung to the title for a while, even though all trace of the 'Prince' storyline had disappeared, because I liked it so much (yes, I really like this title!). I re-christened book two 'Chamber of Secrets' when I started the second draft.

The link I mentioned between books two and six does not, in fact, relate to the 'Half-Blood Prince' (because there is no trace left of the HBP storyline in 'Chamber'.) Rather, it relates to a discovery Harry made in 'Chamber' that foreshadows something that he finds out in 'Prince'.

So it seems from that that it was simply the fact the Snape was the HBP that was moved -- a very sesnible choice, as Snape unconsciously helping Harry out would have made some of the plotlines in PoA, GoF, and OotP awkward. Not to mention that structurally it's more effective appearing in the same book that Snape betrays everybody. (At least that's how it seems, anyway. :D) The Horcuxes aren't relevant here, as they aren't related to the HBP subplot and apparently never were.

I don't think it would have mattered too much if we knew Snape was a half-blood that early, although I agree it might have made the Death Eater pureblood ideology look even thinner that it already did. And Harry becoming a potions whiz that early would be awkward ... Fern's suggested uses for the potions book sound good. It might even have been something Harry got by swapping with Ginny!
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 25th, 2006 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
We learn less about Snape in Chamber of Secrets than we do in any of the other books. He helps keep the plot going (duelling club, polyjuice potion) but it's not anything that another character couldn't have supplied. So, I can believe things relating to him were cut.

I don't know that we would have learned everything we did in book 6, but I assume we would have had to learn Snape was a half-blood whose mother's name was Prince. This was too early for that information.

I'm also assuming this information would have still come from the book. Of course, a different plot device would have been needed to get Harry the book, but that wouldn't be too hard. Harry's potion book was destroyed by the Whomping Willow, Ron's potion book is destroyed along with his wand and Harry gives him his to keep Mrs. Weasley from sending another howler.

However, Snape would be the most likely person to give Harry the book. This would put Rowling in the position of either having Snape help Harry and come out of the story in a much more positive light or of having a revelation about Snape that completely countered that image. Either way, she would have had to give us more definite information about Snape and a strong suggestion of which side he's on a whole lot earlier than book 6.

moit From: moit Date: March 25th, 2006 07:30 am (UTC) (Link)
First off, CoS is my favourite book, so I'm probably biased. But I did (and still do) absolutely love the way all the pieces of the book fit into the end. (The school roosters being killed, moaning myrtle.. the whole mystery.) I think to add something as heavy as the HBP or the horcruxes would have seriously damaged the story. Not to mention what a heavy burden that would be to set on a 12-year-old's shoulders.

I think the main discovery Harry made was the diary itself. He destroyed the diary, a piece of Voldemort, a horcrux, although he didn't even know it *was* a horcrux at the time. It seems like, if anything, CoS would fit into HBP rather than HBP fitting into CoS.
vlredreign From: vlredreign Date: March 25th, 2006 07:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Cool debate.

One of the things that I've recently come to discover is that the books are starting to bookend each other in a strange way, beginning with Order Of The Phoenix. Both it and Prisoner of Azkaban were about the disappearance and re-emergence of Sirius. He was found, then lost, and the same again in OoTP. So HBP and CoS bookend as well, with the Tom Riddle history lessons, and the story of the Horcruxes, both times nearly killing the person that handled it. The Gaunt ring was killing Dumbledore; Tom's diary was driving Ginny mad and slowly stealing her life force. So far, GoF is the stand alone book in which everything changes for all involved. So, will Book 7 mirror Book 1? And, if so, in what way?

Here's a thought. When we meet Harry, he is alone in the world. Will he go out the same way, the last one standing? Will Hagrid come to save him, as he saved Harry from the Dursleys? Also, in SS, Harry inadvertently "killed" Voldemort again by killing the host body, Quirrell, the memory of his parents spurring him on. Voldemort can touch Harry now, but for how long before there are adverse effects?

One for the road. The prophecy states that the "chosen one" will have "powers that the Dark Lord knows not." Well, we know it's not love, because Voldie knows about that, doesn't he? My guess? The Horcruxes. I think that Harry is the only person who can destroy them without adverse reactions. Yeah, he stabbed the diary with a basilisk fang full of poison, but he'd handled the book before. It didn't drive him mad. And maybe, like with the rebounding Killing Curse, there will be a backwash of power when Harry destroys the Horcruxes. Just a thought.
dudley_doright From: dudley_doright Date: March 25th, 2006 08:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Book 1 featured Snape as red-herring, then ended with him being innocent. Harry suspects snape again going into book 7...
vlredreign From: vlredreign Date: March 25th, 2006 10:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, he was. See? The pattern is there. Love your icon, BTW. John Spencer was indeed a class act, and a damned good actor.
moit From: moit Date: March 25th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I first started reading HBP, I really tried to see the similarities between that and CoS, but all I saw were similarities to GoF. I don't know. I thought we were supposed to find a lot more out about Lily's heritage and we never did. How would that be important?
bluemoondreamer From: bluemoondreamer Date: March 25th, 2006 09:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I think what JKR hinted about Harry finding out in CoS that he learns again in HBP includes how we learn that Tom is half-blood (and so is Snape). DEs and even LV himself don't have to be and in fact aren't all purebloods. As well as the part about putting a piece of yourself in an object, like Tom did to his diary, which we now know was really part of his soul in a horcrux. Someone said that CoS would fit in HBP better than HBP fits into CoS. I think I would have to disagree. There so much going on for/in each plotline/book that it would be very hard to merge them in any other way than how it has been done.

On a side note... speaking of horcruxes.... how do you think that word should be pronounced??- I'm having really the hardest time sounding it out. I think I say it in my head a different way every time I come across it.
a_t_rain From: a_t_rain Date: March 25th, 2006 04:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
On a side note... speaking of horcruxes.... how do you think that word should be pronounced??- I'm having really the hardest time sounding it out. I think I say it in my head a different way every time I come across it.

I don't see how the spelling lends itself to any possible pronunciation other than HOR-kruks. I suppose hor-KRUKS would be a remote possibility, but that's not usually where accents fall in English.
skull_bearer From: skull_bearer Date: March 25th, 2006 11:43 am (UTC) (Link)
All I know is that having set the book later explains the ridiculous character changes we saw in HBP, the characters seemed to regress because the books was mean to be set earilier in the series.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: March 25th, 2006 12:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wait, what? Hermione somewhat deviated from her established character, but it wasn't a regression. She never acted like that in previous books. Harry is so obviously developing that there are symbols and leitmotifs to back it. (Okay, one leitmotif, but it's so cool that it deserves a plural.) Ron, yeah, I guess he's acting more immature than you'd expect him to, but aside from that, not a single character acted the way they would in previous books.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 25th, 2006 05:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, considering when you find out that such things as DEs even exist is, what, book four, revealing the fact that Snape is a half-blood does not seem as important....
snale From: snale Date: March 25th, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Personally, I thought the horcrux idea was going to be introduced in COS, with the diary. Instead, she decided to hold off on sharing that crucial bit of info until the 6th book. (At least, that makes the most sense to me.)
If Harry had somehow come by Snape's book while Snape was still teaching Potions, Snape would have spotted it straightaway, right?
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: March 25th, 2006 08:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just my $0.02: I think it's the info that Snape is the HBP. In many ways this parallels the themes and events of HBP:

1. Snape influencing Harry through a book, Tom Riddle getting Ginny through a book (which pairs Harry and Ginny nicely)

2. The idea of blood purity, the major theme of CoS - Snape being revealed as a half-blood fits very well.

3. The trio could have got the Polyjuice Potion recipe from Snape's book.

4. Both Snape and Voldemort are half-bloods, though at this point we don't know that about Voldemort yet. Perhaps Jo was planning to reveal TR's half-blood-ness in Book 2 as well?

Fits very neatly.

OTOH, the idea of Horcruxes is way too "advanced" for Book 2. I doubt JKR would consider revealing such a OMG!Super!Major plot element so early. A horcrux is present in Book 2 - the diary - and I think it was always meant to remain unidentified (by Harry) as one. It's scary enough even without knowing what it really is.

But the HBP - it's not really a crucial piece of information to the main plot, even if it adds a new dimension to Snape's character. It could easily have been told to us in Book 2, nothing would have changed. I can see Jo considering putting in this thread initially, but then, like she said, it doesn't *really* fit, and CoS has enough stuff happening as it is (as opposed to HBP :P).

Honestly, I love CoS... PoA and CoS are my two absolute favourites in the series. Flawless books both.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 25th, 2006 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Someone else has parobbly already pointed this out but I am like 95% sure that JKR saidin an interview that the dropped plot was that Harry was originally going to come into possesssion of the HBP Potions manual in COS. Obviously lots of details of the book woudl have been changed to accomadate this.
(Deleted comment)
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