Harry Potter 7
Yes, I pre-ordered it from Amazon. I swore I never would buy a Harry Potter book new again, after the disappointment of volume 5, but volume 6 turned out to be quite good and exciting, so now I'm back in line with everyone else, waiting to see how the whole story ends.
I should really re-read HP and the Half-Blood Prince again, just to remind me where everything was at the end. I can skip over the tiresome "empowered Ginny" stuff; the Great Romance doesn't do a thing for me. For what it's worth, here was the one theory I was able to come up with for that book, regarding the Horcrux in the cave.
I don't believe the locket was ever the Horcrux - it was just there as bait. The actual Horcrux was the potion. The only way to get through it to the locket was to drink it, but that would have the effect of the drinker taking into himself the Horcrux; in effect becoming the Horcrux. From Voldemort's point of view, this would be a very clever manoeuvre. He imagines that everyone else shares his passion for "self-continuation" at all costs. So even if the other person realized what had happened, he'd be stuck; there would be no way to destroy the Horcrux without destroying himself, and to Voldemort, that would be unthinkable. Also, it's possible that the Horcrux, once absorbed, would start to take over the host body, and so Voldemort's own will to survive would overpower the original person's will, and he'd become like another Voldemort.
Dumbledore, however, was fully aware of all this, and intended all along to sacrifice his own life to destroy this Horcrux. Snape was his confederate, because his strength was failing, and they both knew he might not be strong enough to hold out against Voldemort and go the last step himself. So up on the Tower, when Harry was horrified to hear Dumbledore pleading with Snape, it's not that he was pleading for his life - he was pleading for death. And it was hard for Snape to do; Dumbledore was reminding him of their plan, so he wouldn't weaken at the crucial moment. It was a way of saying, "We discussed this, remember? We agreed, that if it came right down to it, you'd kill me if I couldn't do it myself." The way Dumbledore's body went flying over the parapet after the AK was weird; maybe it indicates that it wasn't really anymore a normal "live" person. Perhaps Dumbledore's spirit had already left after that last message to Snape, and all that was there was his body, possessed by Voldemort. So Snape was killing Dumbledore's body, but not him.
I haven't figured out exactly what's up with that locket, though. I'll think about it some more, after I've re-read the book (but right now I'm re-reading 'The Lord of the Rings', so it'll have to wait a little). Just one thing struck me about that message. Everyone figures that R.A.B. are a person's initials (Regulus Black). But I checked through all the other books, and no message anywhere is formatted the way this one is. The R.A.B. is centered on the bottom line - that's not the way a signature is done in any of JKR's other notes or messages. I think those letters don't stand for a name - they're some kind of acronym or message. Like "R.I.P." Maybe it's Latin, but it would be something Voldemort would recognize. And who knows just when it was put there? But the note was addressed to Voldemort, not to "To Whom It May Concern", and Voldemort would not likely go digging up his old Horcruxes to look at them again. So I suspect that Voldemort put the locket there not knowing it had already been tampered with.
Hogwarts Professor has an interesting theory about how Voldemort and Harry are linked through the "regeneration" spell that took place at the end of Book 5. When I re-read Half-Blood Prince, I'll try out his theory that Voldemort is listening in to everything that happens to Harry. So Dumbledore and Snape are feeding misinformation to him all the time they're talking to Harry.
If you re-read Phoenix and Prince with the idea in mind that Dumbledore and Snape know they are talking to Voldemort whenever they talk to Harry (and whenever Harry speaks in all-caps, Voldemort is learning how to use his new scar-o-scope, an effect he is able to mute by the beginning of Prince), I think you’ll be astonished at the “narrative misdirection” drama they are writing to deceive the Dark Lord about their progress with respect to Horcruxes.If that's the case, maybe that explains a little better Snape's fury when Harry looked into the Pensieve and saw his memories. It's not that he was so upset that Harry saw THAT particular painful memory; he was terrified at what Harry MIGHT have seen, and revealed to Voldemort - that he and Dumbledore were aware of the link and were using it to deceive Voldemort.