Speculation was the best part of reading Harry Potter while the books were being written. You could still make guesses freely and debate with fellow fans. My absolutely favorite speculation sensation has to do with Mark Evans.
When Order of the Phoenix came out, JK Rowling’s fantastic website was primed for fan interaction. She allowed us to vote on the most popular questions asked about the recent book and answered “Who is Mark Evans?” So, who is he?
Mark Evans was mentioned once in the entire series. When a disgruntled Harry confronts Dudley about his gang bullying the younger neighborhood kids, he mentions a 10-year-old named Mark Evans. Ooh boy, did this get me excited because JK Rowling is brilliant and does almost everything for a reason. See, we know that Lily and Petunia’s maiden name was Evans, and to place another Evans so close to Harry and his cousin set off all the alarms. The fact that the boy was 10 meant he could possibly go to Hogwarts soon, and Harry may possibly have a family member that he could relate to or possibly like.
JK Rowling kind of feared the fervor of her fans and wrote a response to the questions as only she could. Check it out below. Also, if you never saw her original website, head to the internet wayback machine!
So now onto a completely unnecessary crackpot theory I’ve had for years and was never confirmed by Jo, because honestly why would she, yet I’m still pretty proud of it myself. In Chamber of Secrets, we meet Sir Patrick Delaney Podmore, Head of the Headless Hunt. In it’s mirror, Order of the Phoenix, we get to hear about Sturgis Podmore, a member of the OotP. Yep, this is another name connection, yet I think there is something more here. On page 288 of the American Hardcover edition, Ron says to Hermione, “but he’s that bloke who looks like his head’s been thatched, isn’t he?” Now, why would Jo add that detail? Why is this the defining detail for this small character? I wrote the HP Lexicon eons ago trying to claim that connection, but they wouldn’t add it to their site. Now, upon google I see that a few sources list the connection as a possibility.
While the opportunities and conversations aren’t as fervent and urgent as before, Harry Potter will always have strong speculation opportunities. What’s your favorite Harry Potter theory?
Full answer from Jo about Mark Evans:
What is the significance, of any, of Mark Evans?
I couldn’t answer the poll question before now, because I’ve been making arrangements to take my family into hiding. It take stime to arrange fake passports one-way air tickets to Bolivia and twenty-four hour armed security.
Why should I resort to such desperate measures? Because after you’ve heard this answer, I’ll have to disappear for my own safety.
Now before I get down to it (you can guess what’s coming can’t you?) I am gonna put up a feeble pre-emptive defence. Firstly you were all spinning highly ingenious theories about Mark Evans, so I thought that you would welcome the chance to hear the truth. Secondly I tried hard not to raise hopes or expectations by adding the word ‘if any’ to the question. Thirdly… there is no thirdly. I’m just killing time.
(Takes deep breath)
Mark Evans is…nobody. He’s nobody in the sense that Mr. Prentice, Madam Marsh, Gordon-Dudley’s-gang-member are nobodies, just background people who need names, but who have no roles other than the walk-on parts assigned to them.
(Check that Neil has immunized the dog and Jessica has packed her Gameboy, and continues)
I’ve got nobody to blame except but myself. Sirius Black, Mrs.Figg and Mundungus Fletcher were all mentioned passing well before they burst onto fully-fledged characters. So now you’ve all become to clever, not for your own good, but mine. The fact is that once you drew my attention to it, I realised that Mark Evans did look like one of those ‘here he is just a casual passer-by, nothing to worry about, bet you barely noticed him’ characters would suddenly become, half way book seven, ‘Ha ha! Yes, Mark is back, suckers, he’s the key to everything! He’s the Half Blood Prince, he’s Harry’s Great-Aunt, he’s the Heir of Gryffindor, and he own the Mystic Kettle of Nackledirk (Possible title of book seven there must make not of it).
Then why – WHY- (I hear you cry)- did I give him the surname “Evans”? Well believe me, you can’t regret it more than I do now.”Evans” is a common surname; I didn’t give it much thought; I wasn’t even trying to set up another red herring. I could just as easily give him ‘Smith’ or ‘Jones’ (or ‘Black’ or ‘Thomas’ or ‘Brown’, all of which would have got me into trouble too).
What else can I say? Many of the theories you presented were highly plausible. If you knew how often I checked the FAQ poll hoping one of the questions might edge into the lead…
Well, that’s that. The car with the false license plates is at the door and I’ve to glue on my goatee. Goodbye.
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For more #Potterweek check out the following posts!
PotterVerse: Clever Naming and the Importance of Mothers
PotterPeeps: Severus Snape, Hagrid’s Birthday Cake for Harry, Least Favorite Character: Dumbledore, & Favorite Character: Draco
PotterPonderings: Mental Health, Circle Theory, CrackPot Theories, Lessons Learned from Dumbledore, Voldemort, Snape, and James
PotterHouse: Sorting Stories, Slytherin and Proud, CharmBomb
PotterParks: Potterhead Family Trip, Ashley and Debbie from You Haven’t Seen?!