Sunday, December 18, 2016

Rowling's Death Chamber of Memories: Day 7 of the 12 Days of #FantasticBeasts

On the seventh day of Fantastic Beasts, my true love said to me... Did Rowling import bottled water from the river Lethe?

Welcome to day 7 of the 12 Days of Fantastic Beasts! Memory is an important theme running through Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Today, we examine an important myth behind a crucial memory scenes.


Swooping Evil by Kayla Perkinson

In my newly released book, Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts, I examine how memory is used throughout the movie. Here is a sample from how it is used in the death chamber scene:

Waters of Memory

In ancient Greece, the river Lethe was one of the five rivers of the Underworld. As the dead passed through or drank its waters, their memories were erased. This cleansing was the only way they could pass on to the afterlife in the Elysium Fields. Virgil further clarified that the dead must erase all memories of the former life to be reincarnated.

MACUSA must have imported some bottled water from the river Lethe, because the waters of “rippling potion” in their death chamber acts like a memory siphon and giant Pensieve to lull those about to be executed to death.

The executioner extracts Tina’s happy memories to taunt her onto the death chair floating above the waters. She gazes down upon:
  1. Her mother calling her pumpkin, calling her to bed
  2. Tina in Second Salem Church, stopping Mary Lou’s abuse with a spell and comforting Credence.
At this point, Pickett releases Newt. In his struggle to overpower the executioner, her wand drops into the pool. The waters transform into “vicious black bubbles” (p. 170), and Tina’s memories turn dark.
3) Mary Lou threatens Tina and calls her a witch.
As we are shown by what happens when the wand falls into the pool, the intended are executed by the rising flames-like waves of the black waters of death. Their final memories their worst.
Death by a brutal form of baptism.

Through her death chamber scene, Rowling twists the old expression "his life passed before his eyes." By using memories to lull the condemned to death, are the executioners being kind or cruel? What do you think?

Be sure to check out all 12 Days of Fantastic Beasts!

About the Book:
Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts

Explore JK Rowling's secrets, one clue at a time!

Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts is THE guide for all Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them fans eager to experience anew the excitement of of finding clues and sharing speculation, just like they enjoyed during the height of the Harry Potter series. New fans will be amazed at the secrets lurking underneath the surface of Rowling's newest film. Diving deeply into the story's mysteries, S.P. Sipal offers a detailed analysis of the analogies, myths, and clues JK Rowling hid on screen and on page to charm her fans once again.

Discover and explore such questions as:
  • Is there an Animagi hidden in the story?
  • Why will there be FIVE movies?
  • What secret is Modesty hiding?
  • Did Frank wipe out ALL the memories from that fateful night?
  • And was Grindelwald already in possession of the Elder Wand?

S.P. Sipal has analyzed the mysteries behind the Harry Potter series for over a dozen years. A sought-after presenter at fan, writing, and academic conferences both at home and abroad, her books have also delighted writers, teachers, and fans alike. Now she turns her expert attention to investigating the beginning of Rowling's exciting new series. Join her as she prepares you to dig into the layers of subtext yourself to claim what treasures await...before the Niffler beats you to it!