June 27, 2006


Harry, others may die in the end, J.K. Rowling says (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 27, 2006)

Author J.K. Rowling said two characters will die in the last installment of her boy wizard series, and hinted Harry Potter may not survive, either. [...]

"The last book is not finished. But I'm well into it now. I wrote the final chapter in something like 1990, so I've known exactly how the series is going to end," she said.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 27, 2006 7:30 AM

I wish she, and those covering her, would stop talking about that last chapter crap. It was obnoxious the first time, and still is the twentieth time. That and her messy box of notes. Why am I supposed to find this interesting? It's almost as bad as Babylon 5 fans droninng on about how the show was planned out from the beginning. Big deal.

Posted by: RC at June 27, 2006 8:07 AM

"Planned out from the beginning" usually beats "made it up as we went along and wrote ourselves into a corner" any day.

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 27, 2006 8:14 AM

My kids are in the prime Harry Potter age group so I've followed the series. Given it is the final book it makes sense people will die. I'd be a bit surprised if Harry dies as it will prevent a happily ever after result that even the LOTR had. I still expect some type of twist (i.e. a bad character is really good or a small character becomes a big character). Also interesting to see if people bother going to the last movies after the last book comes out.

Posted by: AWW at June 27, 2006 8:25 AM

"Harry, others may die in the end"

Is it too much to ask that it all ends with what-its-name going nukular and killing every character with a Magical Cobalt Bomb, like the end of the second Planet of the Apes movie. (Not that Rowling can't still milk it with sequels and prequels and spinoffs for decades.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 27, 2006 9:39 AM

Recall that half of the characters in LotR don't get to stay either.

Posted by: oj at June 27, 2006 9:53 AM

As the Christ figure, of course Harry has to die. Only his sacrifice can kill Voldemort. And Snape has to die too, proving his goodness.

She has to spare Hermione, of course, for the happy if bittersweet ending. No one likes to see an attractive young girl killed. The only really open question is: How many Weasleys will die?

Posted by: pj at June 27, 2006 10:39 AM

Of course Harry dies. Probably in the process of saving Draco, who then helps Snape finish off You-Know-Who.

Posted by: b at June 27, 2006 10:43 AM

LOTR - of the good guys Boromir and the King of Rohan die. Of the bad guys Gollum, Sauron, Saruman, and Wormtongue go.

PJ's take sounds about right although Rowling may wimp out to avoid upsetting the 9-14 yr old fan base.

Posted by: AWW at June 27, 2006 11:00 AM

I think OJ is also referring to all those who must leave Middle Earth with the elves, which is a metaphor for the afterlife.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at June 27, 2006 11:23 AM

Good point. I thought for a moment there that I was going to have to break out my box set and start rifling through the appendices to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Posted by: Jay at June 27, 2006 11:32 AM

Ron and Hermoine marry eventually, no?

Posted by: oj at June 27, 2006 12:15 PM

Can't Harry just become a ghost at Hogwarts?

Posted by: RC at June 27, 2006 1:18 PM

The compulsion spell that Snape agreed to in order to maintain his cover compelled him to kill Dumbledore when Draco was threatened. Snape is really a good guy but in order to make her quota of two dead good guys she's going to throw Harry on the pyre too.

And remember above all else that, "neither can live while the other survives."

With a thirteen year old daughter our family have been Harry fans from the begining and I'm very eager to read the end of the series.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at June 27, 2006 1:21 PM

I just had a chilling thought.

You don't suppose that Harry's death will be a counterpoint to Ginny Weasly's death? After all, there would be a certain symmetry (not to mention romantic tragedy) to having Harry and Ginny dying together to contain Voldemort as had Harry's own parents.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at June 27, 2006 1:27 PM

Still have to say my favorite Harry Potter related item is when Lindsay Lohan played a very well developed Hermione on a SNL skit.

Posted by: AWW at June 27, 2006 2:20 PM

Hollywood plot line ending. Harry dies nobly to save .... whatever and Hermione, who is pregnant with Harry's son, marries Ron and together they raise the boy to carry on the work begun by his father, i.e., rake in an amazing number of millions in books, movies, etc. Alternative ending: Hermione and Harry marry and together make the world a better place through the miracle of marketing.

Posted by: erp at June 27, 2006 2:37 PM

I have a couple of half-serious bets ($1 and a shot of liquor) going regarding this with people I know: I say Harry is toast, they say there's no way she'd kill him. One guy told me Rowling is just playing around with the killing Harry theme for publicity purposes.

I've discussed this in-depth with friends of mine and I can give a long, thesis-like explanation for it, but OJ sums up the basic point: The savior has to die. Killing a certain beloved character in book six only increased my feeling that Rowling will do this, as it followed the standard mythological storyline. If she hews to that, then Potter is probably a goner: There will be some mechanism by which Harry has to die to beat Voldemort, possibly involving horcruxes.

Unless the savior is somebody other than Harry (kind of like Darth Vader in Star Wars). That is admittedly a real possibility. The most likely candidate is Snape, who various clues lead me to believe "stoppered death" in saving the life of the aforementioned beloved character after he destroyed a Horcrux (which is to say, said character was going to die soon anyway), and was then finished off in a preplanned scheme so as to keep the double-agent role secret.

We'll see. I hope she hurries up with this.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 27, 2006 5:25 PM

I think Harry is going to have to turn Draco away from the dark side in order to beat Voldemort. The last part of the last book set it up: Draco could've killed Voldemort, but he didn't have it in him to pull the trigger.

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 27, 2006 5:31 PM

Ray Clutts:

Well, Lord Voldemort is a character, and I think we can safely assume his days are numbered. Perhaps she means Harry and Voldemort, and nobody else.

Also, note that the "neither can live while the other survives" was directly preceded by a line about how one of them has to kill the other, making it redundant unless this line has some meaning that is not yet clearly understood. Ms. Rowling has said she worded the prophecy very carefully. Saying "neither can live while the other survives" seems absurd if you take it literally -- I'll bet there's something else to it.

There's an overlooked line in which Fudge rhetorically asks the British prime minister whether Voldemort can be considered "alive" if he can't be killed. My guess is the prophecy means that neither Harry or Voldemort can be killed except at each other's hands.

Good grief, Ms. Rowling, please hasten the day when we can answer all these questions... ;-)

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 27, 2006 5:39 PM

" I wrote the final chapter in something like 1990, so I've known exactly how the series is going to end," she said."

For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 27, 2006 8:33 PM

Actually, what she said is that she has to kill off two characters whom she had expected to live, and let one live whom she expected to die. It is unlikely in the extreme that she was surprised by Harry or You Know Who's fate, so they aren't even in this discussion.

Typically accurate MSM story. C'mon guys, you know better that to believe what you read in the Seattle Post Intelligence.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at June 27, 2006 11:00 PM

Bob Hawkins:

I can't find the link right now, but there was an article on the Internet and it included a news clip and an interview with Ms. Rowling. She appeared to say matter-of-factly that there will be no way anybody can continue this series after book seven. That sounds to me like she's already got the funeral plot staked out for him.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 28, 2006 1:51 AM

Bob Hawkins:

Please disregard my above comment. I've checked the newspapers and it appears that Ms. Rowling was saying that she could understand authors who kill off popular characters due to their desire that particular stories not be continued after their deaths. She wasn't saying she would do so herself. The TV station here obviously twisted this out of context.

I still think Mr. Potter will die, however.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 28, 2006 2:39 AM