#Potterweek #PotterPonderings: Circle Theory

My most favorite pondering is what most call Circle or Ring Theory. Remember in school, when the teacher would point out the author’s genius in plotting out their story? Did you or one of your classmates ask whether we should really believe that an author plotted out every rhyme, symbolic moment, foreshadowing, red herring, or other literary elements?

As a literature major, I live for these things, but I was able to see my classmate’s side. It would be such a daunting task if every moment of literary brilliance was plotted. Which is why I don’t think I could ever be a writer. :)

roland barthes death of an author literary theory

In graduate school, my professors urged me to read Roland Barthes’ Death of the Author. There Barthes urges readers NOT to consider the author’s motivations. That’s exceptionally hard for Potter fans as we know so much about Jo’s motivations from the source herself. One thing we never got clear confirmation on is Circle Theory.

So what is it? Circle Theory posits that each book from the series has a buddy where similar elements, themes, and possibly plot points appear.

jk rowling


Here are just a few examples:

Book 1: Hagrid uses Sirius Black’s motorbike to get Harry from Godric’s Hollow to Privet Drive.
Book 7: Hagrid uses Sirius Black’s motorbike to get Harry from Privet Drive to the Burrow (with a short stop at Tonks’ parents’ house)

Book 1: Voldemort returns
Book 7: Voldemort retires

Book 2: Harry is wrongly suspicious Draco Malfoy is the Heir of Slytherin
Book 6: Harry is rightly suspicious that Draco Malfoy is a Death Eater

Book 2: We meet Young Tom Riddle through the horcrux he left in his diary
Book 6: We meet Young Tom Riddle through others’ memories and learn about horcruxes

Book 3: We meet Sirius Black
Book 5: We say goodbye to Sirius Black

Book 4, the middle book, also connects to Books 2 and 4

Dobby Help:
Book 2: Attempts to save Harry the Malfoy’s plot
Book 4: Gives Harry Gillyweed for the Second Task
Book 6: Tails Draco Malfoy for Harry

Moaning Myrtle Bathroom Gossip
Book 2: We learn Tom Riddle opened the Chamber of Secrets and killed Myrtle with the Basilisk
Book 4: We learn how Cedric Diggory opened the egg clue
Book 6: We learn Draco Malfoy has been crying to Myrtle

There are so many! It is very rewarding to hunt for them and spot new connections. Have any favorites?

Here are more lists!
Reddit, GingerAhoy, Mugglenet Academia


jk rowling harry potter

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For more #Potterweek check out the following posts!

Pre Potterweek Bonuses:
Twice Upon a Time: The One with All the Changes
Heading to Hogwarts

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?!