When I first read DH, and saw how Harry defeated Voldemort, I was truely apalled. "Wait!" I said to myself, "these books have been telling me for seven volumes that love is the most powerful thing in the world, and Harry can defeat Voldemort because he can love while Voldemort is incapable of loving, and now JKR says 'just kidding, all Harry needs to do accidentally stumble across mastery of this big phallic uber-powerful wand!'"
I was bullshit.
Of course it does have a nice symmetry with Harry and Voldemort's past duels, and it fits perfectly into Voldemort's 'self-inflicted demise' theme, but that's hardly enough to make up for what it lacks.
I liked it a little better when I re-read the scene with Griphook. He talks about how 'wand magic' is unique to wizards (they won't share it with the Goblins), and looking back on the series the first thing Harry needs when he enters the wizarding world is a wand. A wand is clearly connected to a wizard's identity. It is his insturment to practice magic. It is almost a birth certificate that says one is and makes one a wizard.
A little cool, but in essence, a power struggle. Nothing amazing there.
It was only when I went back and looked up the meaning of the chapter title that I learned to love (or at least not hate quite so much) the final chapter of DH.
Let’s go back for a moment to the origin of this phrasing. Nowhere in DH does anyone say the words “the flaw in the plan,” but we do find them coming out of Dumbledore’s mouth at the end of OotP.
“Do you see the flaw in my brilliant plan now… I cared too much…I cared more for your happiness than you knowing the truth, more for your life than the lives that might be lost if the plan failed. In other words, I acted exactly as Voldemort expects we fools who love to act.”( OotP, Ch. 37)
Ah ha! The flaw in the plan is Dumbledore’s love for Harry! But was it really? Let’s take a look. To the end of HBP! Right, so Draco disarms Dumbledore, against Dumbledore’s wishes, becoming master of the Elder Wand, which later leads to…well you already know that part. Here’s how that crucial moment in time reads in the book.
“Then by the light of the Mark, he saw Dumbledore’s wand flying in an arc over the edge of the ramparts, and understood…Dumbledore had wordlessly immobilized Harry, and the second he had taken to perform the spell had cost him the chance of defending himself.”(HBP, Ch. 27)
This, by far, is not the best descision tactically, at the time it was made. Furthermore Dumbledore only had a split second to make it, which means that Dumbledore’s actions here are instinctive and emotional. He cannot suppress his love for Harry, and thus he acts illogically to ensure Harry’s safety, at the expense of his plan for the Elder Wand. Dumbledore’s love for Harry, allows the Elder Wand to pass from him (indirectly) to Harry, and therefore for Harry to defeat Voldemort.
Harry defeats Voldemort, because of love.
Whew. I know I'm relieved.
Now that I love The Elder Wand, does anyone mind if I spew forth some slashy conjecture? Nope? Ok then.
So we've got this sort of unwritten rule when it comes to HP: no jokes/serious consideration about all the brooms/wands blatant phallic objects. Not because we’re mature or anything, but because they’re all over the place and we’d never get anything done.
However the elder wand was so “in your face” phallic, I have to break it.
If you believe my theory about Harry’s bisexuality and homoerotic feelings towards Draco in book six (that one I haven’t posted yet…it will be next I swear!) then looking at all known masters of the elder wand a pattern emerges.
Gregorivitch: sexuality unknown
Grindelwald: Probably Gay; probably engaged in a homoerotic relationship with Dumbledore, possibly loves Dumbledore
Dumbledore: Gay; loves Grindelwald, loves Harry
Draco: Sexuality unknown; subtextual indicators for homoerotic connection of some variety to Harry
Harry: Bisexual; loves Dumbledore, loves Draco (I’ll get to it!)
Let us back up a moment. Gregorovitch is a complete unknown, so we shall eliminate him from this analysis.
Next we go to Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Whatever you believe happened physically they absolutely had a homoerotic relationship/connection. And Dumbledore definitely loved Grindelwald. So Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald, and became master of the Elder Wand. In this case we see a homoerotic connection, and the defeated was loved by the defeater (possibly requited – no evidence).
The next passing of the Elder Wand is at the end of HBP. The direct path is between Dumbledore and Draco, but there are actually three people involved in this. As I pointed out earlier, Dumbledore is defeated because of his love for Harry. One might even argue that it was HARRY who defeated Dumbledore here, but there is no way to prove it either way. Harry loves Dumbledore back. There is no concrete evidence of Draco’s feelings towards either party. So let us call Harry AND Draco the defeater, as they both play a role. Now we have a possible homoerotic bond between the defeaters, as well as a mutual homosocial love between the defeated and the defeater.
The final passing is the one between Draco and Harry. So we’ve got homoerotic subtext, a defeater who loved the defeated (possibly requited – no evidence). Yes, here, I will tell you what I mean when I talk about Harry loving Draco.
Harry loves everyone. I mean it. Remember the end of the book how he dies and his LOVE protects everyone inside Hogwarts at the time; well Draco was inside Hogwarts at the time. Harry’s love for Draco may not be specific to Draco, but it’s there none the less.
This is different than the homoerotic bond I see between them, which is based in the subtext of book six mostly, and I’m not going to explain here, because it deserves a post to its own. But to sum up the theory: Harry has the hots for Draco in book six; that’s part of what his obsession is about.
What does this all mean? No idea. No really no idea. There seems to be a general trend of homoeroticism, and love incorporated into the passing of the Elder Wand, and I do have a suspicion that the Elder Wand can only be mastered by a man who is sexually interested in other men (we find out Snape isn’t master in about a chapter after we find out he’s been in love with Lily for twenty years).
But like I said, this is all slashy conjecture. I just needed to delve into the homoeroticism of The Elder Wand, because, yeah if THAT isn’t obvious...