As I approach my one year blogiversary, I thought I would celebrate by revisiting the topic of my first post, Harry Potter. At the time, I’d just finished reading Book 6 (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to us muggles) and decided to write a review. In the year that has passed, none of my unanswered questions have been answered. However, J.K. Rowling recently gave a much-publicized interview in which she mentioned the death of several (unnamed) characters in her final Harry Potter book. This has led to all kinds of interest and speculation in the media world about Book 7, and I thought it would be fun for me to spit my own crazy theories into the winds of the blogosphere.
Spoiler warning: If you are into Potter but haven’t read up to Book 6, you really shouldn’t read anything else in this post (and frankly, shouldn’t read or listen to anything HP-related out there). And while we’re on the subject, for Godric’s sake, why haven’t you read it yet?
Will Harry return to Hogwart’s?
Yes. I know, for most people it’s a given that after everything that happened at the end of Book 6 there’s no way for Book 7 to go back to Hogwart’s, but despite all that evidence, I still think there will be significant time spent there in Book 7. First, Rowling has mentioned repeatedly that her 7-book series was to represent one book for each year of school. If that was her plan, it doesn’t make sense for the last book not to be in school. Why write only seven books? If Harry’s not at Hogwart’s waiting to graduate, the milestone is gone. She might as well just keep going. It makes no difference. Second, though maybe she doesn’t necessarily write Harry to be an example to kids, would she really make her iconic hero into a high-school dropout? Finally, there needs to be some kind of base of operations for this last battle and Hogwart’s does have all the best resources. That alone should keep Book 7 at Hogwart’s. I can’t imagine Harry becoming some kind of Frodo-Baggins-type character on a quest.
Is Snape evil? Is Draco?
No and not really. I think that the answer to the Draco question is probably more obvious with his inability to carry out the murder of Dumbledore. He clearly has many motives for trying to act evil and prove himself as a Death-Eater, but I am betting that he will switch sides in Book 7 (hopefully at a pivotal moment). As for Snape, the evidence is more ambivalent. Nevertheless, I don’t think he’s evil either. I believe that he will have a major role in Book 7 (why else would he have been the title character of Book 6?). Believing that Dumbledore died to keep Snape’s cover, I don’t want to believe that his death was for nothing and that he and we were totally duped by Snape. Plus, we have yet to see any fruit from Snape’s infiltration of the Death-Eaters. What would have been the point if he reveals himself as evil? Having a Snape who’s a true double agent is much more interesting than one who was just a good liar (and he wouldn’t have been that good, as Harry suspected him all along).
What about the horcruxes?
I’m a bit weary of the debate over horcruxes, mainly because I believe that they are red herrings. I don’t believe that Book 7 will be Harry Potter and the Quest for the Horcruxes (though I know that a large part of HP fandom does). First, as I said already, it would be a huge departure in tone for Book 7 to find Harry traipsing all over the world, seeking out Voldemort’s horcruxes. Look, we didn’t even hear about horcruxes until Book 6. If they were so important to the narrative, you’d think we’d have heard of them before now. Second, it took Dumbledore (with his knowledge, connections, and resources) years to gather what he had. Do we really believe that Harry alone (or even with help) can really complete that quest in one year? I suspect that R.A.B. has done a lot of the horcrux-hunting already. Book 7 will focus on something else. Finally, I want to give Rowling more creative credit. Questing for horcruxes (or one-rings, or holy grails, or golden fleeces) is a classic paradigm, but not really that fresh of an idea. I hope that Rowling has something more impressive for her grand finale.
Will Harry die in Book 7?
No. Reason 1: The prophecy says that one of them (Voldemort or Harry) will die. If both die, then the prophecy is wrong. If Harry dies, then Voldemort will live. Neither outcome seems very right. Reason 2: Again, the noble sacrifice is a classic paradigm going from Jesus Christ all the way to Bruce Willis in Armageddon, but if she killed Harry in the end for that reason, it would be a bit cliché and seem like the easy way out, creatively. I, again, want to give Rowling more credit. Reason 3: Fans love Harry. Though fans loved Sirius and Dumbledore, I think that Harry’s death would cause too devastating a reaction among all these millions of young minds. Rowling wouldn’t do that, would she? It’s much better to reward fans by giving them and Harry a happy ending. Finally, Reason 4: (This is not my theory. It came from Melissa Anelli, the host of an HP fan site and podcast, but it really makes sense.) In her interview, Rowling said that she could understand how an author would want to kill off her main character so that no other authors could continue the stories beyond her novels. If Rowling had other, better, plot-driven reasons for Harry to die, she wouldn’t need to speculate on why authors might be tempted to kill off their main characters. QED. As for the death of other characters, Rowling has shown that she won’t back off from killing major characters. I suspect that members of the trio are all safe. I do fear a Weasley death though, there’s just so darned many of them!
Anyway, it’s all speculation and guesswork until Book 7 hits the stands (or the Amazon pre-order shipping docks). Rowling is the Queen of us muggles and she can do whatever she wants to her characters, despite all evidence in either direction. Nevertheless, I think she has been very good to her readers. Here’s hoping for a 2000 page finale! Who’s with me?