Harry Potter Theory: The Love Room Mystery
The Battle of the Department of Mysteries is definitely, for me, the best fight of the Harry Potter book series. Harry and his friends, as well as the readers, are confronted with the twisted effects of some of the greatest mysteries of the magical world, hence the name of the Department inside the Ministry of Magic, all while running from and fighting against the Death Eaters, until they are saved by the Order the Phoenix, which turns the chapter into a fantastic struggle between the two groups, culminating in the catastrophic death of Sirius Black, and of course, the epic showdown between Dumbledore and Voldemort.
But that's not what I'm going to talk about, no. While traversing through the Department of Mysteries, Harry and his friends come across several rooms, all dedicated to the study of a particular area, of relative mystery. We can actually name the several elements studied in the various rooms the group goes through. They are: Prophecy, Time, Thought, Space, Death and implicitly Love.
Upon arriving at the Entrance of the Department of Mysteries, the group faces 12 doors. They go through four of the twelve doors, trying to find the supposed location of Sirius. The first one they go in is revealed later to be the Brain Room, and they go back to the entrance. The second one is the Death Chamber, where they linger for a while before going back to the entrance again. The third one is locked, and neither Hermione's Alohomora, nor Harry's penknife are able to open it. Harry's penknife actually dissolves when he tries to put it in the lock. They move on and enter the fourth door, that Harry recongnizes from his visions, which turns out to be the Time Room. They go through the Time Room, and on the other side is the door which leads to the Hall of Prophecies. Upon being ambushed by the Death Eaters the gang manages to run away but gets separated. Harry, Hermione and Neville go back to the Time Room, but Ron, Ginny and Luna go to the Space Chamber. They are reunited in the Brain Room, and then the battle moves to the Death Chamber, where the Order of the Phoenix appears to render assistance. Finally upon all of the Death Eaters being defeated, only Bellatrix remains who runs off to the Ministry Atrium. Harry pursues, is blindsided by Voldemort, who then battles Dumbledore in the Atrium.
Once the battle between the two ends, and Voldemort tries to possess Harry but fails, and escapes, Harry and Dumbledore have a great discussion inside Dumbledore's office regarding Sirius' death, and the true meaning of the prophecy. Near the end of the discussion Harry asks what great power does he have that the prophecy alluded to. Dumbledore explains what that power is with the following quote:
“There is a room in the Department of Mysteries, that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all. That power took you to save Sirius tonight. That power also saved you from possession by Voldemort, because he could not bear to reside in a body so full of the force he detests. In the end, it mattered not that you could not close your mind. It was your heart that saved you.”
This room, as it turns out, is actually the room that Harry tried to open inside the Ministry, but couldn't. And as Dumbledore so cryptically implies, the power that it holds is Love. But how is that possible? How can a room hold an emotion, the emotion of Love in particular? And how come it's locked at all times? Who goes in there, if anyone?
Well, actually the names of the rooms and the powers inside them are often not to be taken literally. The Time Room does not hold Time itself, it holds several time-turners, as well as the crystal bell jar which makes any being grow younger and older in an endless cycle. The Space Chamber does not hold Space, but instead models of the planets and also enchantments that make visitors feel as they're floating. And the Death Chamber contains merely a barrier between the world of the living and the realm of the dead.
So the Love Room may hold something that somehow materializes the emotion of Love, and not the emotion itself, but still, what is it? Well, as it happens, J.K. Rowling has actually answered this question in an interview, and here is what she had to say:
"I think what’s in the Love room, it’s the place where they study what love means. So that room, I believe, would have at its center a kind of fountain or well containing a love potion, a very powerful love potion. You know that the first time they ever enter Slughorn’s Potions class, and he starts talking about Amortentia, the love potion, and he says it’s the most dangerous one in the room, well, that’s what they would have found in the Love room.
So you would see wizards and witches taking it, they would study the effects. The room of course has to be locked. And, you know, again, there’s this thread running through the books, what love does, and it raises people to the heights of absolute heroism, as in Lily, Harry, Neville, and it also leads them into acts of foolishness and even evil, which is Bellatrix and also Dumbledore. He became foolish, he lost his center, his moral center, when he became infatuated. So that’s what it does, that’s what makes it dangerous. In Bellatrix it was- as I think is clear, but I doubt that people will be particularly shocked to hear- because I’m sure they’ve deduced that Bellatrix is madly romantically in love with Voldemort. This is, that’s the obsession of her life."
So, presumably, inside the Love Room we would find a giant fountain of Amortentia. This fountain would be used by the Unspeakables (the workers of the Department of Mysteries) to study the effects of Love, and how it causes certain behaviours and actions on those who feel it and on others, as well as the magical properties of Love, which seem to be of a massive scale in the Harry Potter universe. The reason the room is locked is to prevent the effects of the fountain from spreading throughout the entire Ministry.
And, as crazy as it may seem to argue with J.K. Rowling, who holds top authority regarding her universe, don't get me wrong, this possibility confuses me. And this is why: we've already been introduced to Amortentia in Slughorn's classroom. Both Harry and Hermione are so close to the potion that they feel it's effects just by smelling it. For something that is kept under lock and key at the Ministry, and that is supposably the most powerful and dangerous magical mystery of all to be showcased in classrooms, comes off as strange, not to mention anti-climactic. And also, Slughorn states that Amortentia does not recreate actual love. This makes Dumbledore's speech to Harry seem a little false. The Love Room does not hold Love, nor does it hold something that so much as imitates Love. It just has within it a dangerously large supply of Amortentia.
In a way, this makes sense. For Love to be an extremely powerful force, it would be weird if men were able to just recreate it. The fact that the room contains something that alludes to the idea of Love but can never actually imitate it is somewhat logical.
But I imagine, or at least I like to imagine, that if the Love Room actually has within it a fountain of Amortentia, then that Amortentia would not be regular Amortentia. I reckon the Unspeakables would try to tweak the potion as they study it's effects, and as such, that version of Amortentia would be the truest and most powerful of them all. It just would make the effect of Dumbledore's speech stronger, if what that room holds turned out to be the actual emotion of Love materialized in some manner, and as such, more powerful than what we saw in Slughorn's classroom.
So those are my thoughts on the Love Room. What do you think about this mystery? Leave your opinion below on the comments if you think I should just shut up and accept Rowling's word, which is probably true, or if you just want to put forward another alternative. Thank you for reading.
And if you liked this article, check out my other Hub on another Harry Potter mystery. Thank you.