Sunday, July 02, 2006
Speculations on Harry Potter VII
(What, you thought I was stuck on national defense issues???)
There's certainly been a lot of speculation about what we can expect in the seventh and last book of the Harry Potter series. (One useful resource is here; I particularly enjoyed the comprehensive list of "what we definitely know about Book VII so far". My hat's off to the people who spend weary hours compiling this information!)
A lot of questions remain, big and small. But the Big One is: will Harry die? (J. K. Rowling refuses to say, one way or the other, which is wise of her; if she gave a definitive answer, either way, she'd lose about half her potential audience for the last book. And as much as she clearly loves the stories themselves, it seems a safe bet that she wants the seventh book to make money, too.)
Personally, I find a lot to agree with in Tom Maguire's summary, and I believe Harry will survive. As a commenter to The Anchoress points out, if Harry dies the series loses a lot of its re-readability -- every page of every book will become suffused with sadness, knowing the inevitability of the end. This is not true, it seems to me, in the case of the death of secondary characters, even strong supporting characters -- I have enjoyed re-reading the adventures of the major character who is killed off at the end of the fifth book, and even the one who dies at the end of the sixth book. (No, folks, no spoilers here! If you don't know who I'm talking about, don't Google it -- read the books.)
I could easily see Hagrid dying at the end, in an heroic effort that helps at a crucial moment. And, frankly, I'd be pleased to see an end to Snape, hopefully in a fashion that lets us know, once and for all, which side he's on. (Personally, I think he's on Snape's side, true to his Slytherin education -- loyal only to himself. As my wife points out, this is both consistent with all six books, and completely in character for Snape.) I do expect to see Harry, Ron, and Hermione survive, although any or all of them might be badly hurt by the end of the seventh book.
Time will tell; I think we've seen abundant evidence by now that J. K. Rowling knows what she's doing. (Plenty of superb authors have written a brilliant book and a lousy sequel; sequels are by no means as easy as people seem to think. Rowling has successfully published five sequels to the original Harry Potter story; I think we can trust her to do justice to the story in one more.)
In any event, I will be awaiting 07/07/07 with baited breath, along with millions of other fans. (It may take a bit longer for me; I get my books from Bloomsbury. "Sorcerer's Stone", indeed!)
Now, if you'll excuse me, my second-oldest stepdaughter wants me to resume reading "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" with her.