We took Remus to the dog park last night for the first time and he had a blast. Remus, being a big puppy at more than 70 pounds, loves to stretch his legs and play. Last night, not only did he get to get out and play, but he got to play with some other dogs too. It seemed like every time I turned around he was either in the middle of the pack playing or off by himself sniffing around. One or the other, but never somewhere in between.
There was one Rhodesian ridgeback intent on making sure he was the alpha dog at the park, in good fun though. All of the other dogs were content to let him claim that title, except Remus. The two of them played around for a good 5 minutes before Remus lost interest. It ended when Remus was getting a drink of water and Ridgy (as we'll call him) came over to the same bowl. I could tell by his body language he was spoiling for something, but Remus, being the laid back stoner-pup that he is was just "oh... here let me scoot over a bit so you can get a drink too". Didn't get out of his way, but didn't block him either. After that, Ridgy seemed to realize that an acre and a half was enough room for both of 'em.
The funniest, though not really, episode of the night was the big rottweiler. He just lumbered around, not paying much attention to anyone, doing his own thing. That is, until a kid on a bike started riding around outside the park. That dog could move... 200 yards down one side along the fence, stop, and wait for the kid to catch up. The kid goes back, same thing. Having been on the receiving end of more than one rott's interest when he wasn't safely enclosed in a dog park, I understand that it's not all of that fun, but still to see that huge lumbering dog come to life. It looked to me like the owner needed to channel that energy into some bike rides with him.
In case you've managed to miss it, tonight is the final Harry Potter release. I'm actually pretty excited having been a fan of the series for a few years now. I will be among the crazies tonight heading out for my copy at midnight and plan on reading the book over the weekend. I've been formulating what should happen for awhile, and I've honed a theme that might require that I write an alternate book 7 if JK Rowling doesn't follow it. I'm going to post it here so if I am right it's not an after the fact posting. If Potter books don't interest you, you can stop reading now...
Still with me? Ok. There have been two continual themes throughout the book. Love and friendship. As the book's universe started turning dark in book 4, one of the main phrases Dumbledore's speak at the end of Goblet of Fire is to the effect: as we enter these dark and difficult times that lie ahead, the bonds of friendship will be even more important. As we found out in that book, it was love that saved Harry in the original attack when he was a baby, I think it will be love that saves him again.
Here's the twist, the love has to be a different type. Voldemort has the blood of Harry Potter inside him now, so the protection offered by his mother's love has been weakened. It was the unconditional love of blood that saved him; it will be the unrequired love of friendship that saves him now. Love of family is not a choice. Laying down your life in exchange for that of a family member is something you would just do. Love of a friend is a choice. To feel so much compassion for another, with whom you share no tie other than the your own choice, that you would lay your life down for them is a much more powerful "magic".
In the 6th book, Dumbledore does all he can to save a certain silvery blond boy; including saving him from committing murder to keep his soul pure. Book 6 spends a lot of time talking about how the soul is torn in two when a murder is committed, so I think there was a specific reason to keep Malfoy from murdering. That reason, in my estimation, is that Malfoy will realize the error of his ways and make the choice to save Harry, thus protecting Harry with an even more powerful magic.
As in the first meeting of Harry and Voldemort some 16 years prior in the book's timeline, Harry will be reduced to nothing. Defenseless and alone, after Voldemort has killed the people who attempt to protect him. Two in my estimation, and two who are for all intensive purposes Deatheaters at the end of book 6. Voldemort will commit the error or arrogance again, as he admitted that he did in their first meeting. Blinded by his power, his apparent triumph, he will attempt to kill Harry once more, and once more will meet his downfall at the hands of "old magic".
If I'm wrong, I'll be disappointed. Possibly not; she could have a better way of tying up the story. To me, to tie two central themes into one, to tie those together with the theme of love is more powerful than hate, good, more powerful than evil, and tie them all back to the first chapter of the first book is poetic balance. We'll see.