Well, I just poked my head in here to see if the recent Rowling
remarks had provoked any new speculation, and was surprised to see
that it roused Troels from his hibernation... ;)
So, I guess I should toss in my two cents as well, before retreating
back into my splendid solitude.
WHO WILL DIE?
There's no real way to know. There's insufficient data. All we know
is that it will be at least two characters, and that those two will be
"main characters". But even that doesn't help much, since we don't
know who Rowling defines as a "main character". Obviously the trio
are, but is Ginny? Percy? Tonks? Cho? And what about the villains
(Draco, Snape, Lucius, Bellatrix, etc.) - are they also "main
characters" in this context? Since we don't know, there's no way to
make an educated guess about who will perish.
WHO WILL GET THE REPRIEVE?
We are on slightly sounder ground here, since to get a reprieve, a
character must have been on JKR's hit list to begin with. But not
much. We can ask ourselves who was likely to die in the series (but
we have no way of knowing if Rowling would agree). The only certain
casualty is Voldemort. His fate is sealed. But because of that, he
can't be the one getting the reprieve. I always assumed that Snape
was the next most likely to die (regardless of whether he turns out to
be good or evil), and I still think he will - but we can't completely
rule him out for the reprieve (especially given his huge role in HBP).
When asked to speculate on who is likely to die next, fans have always
favored Hagrid and Dumbledore. Dumbledore is already gone, so perhaps
that leaves Hagrid as the most likely candidate to get the reprieve...
But you could also add Draco or any of the villains, as well as
whoever JKR may have been secretly planning to kill (e.g. Lupin).
WILL HARRY DIE?
I argued for years that there was absolutely no chance of Harry dying
(or any of the trio, for that matter). However, that certainty was
based on the simple assumption that Rowling, a writer of children's
books that stress the value of love & compassion) would never be cruel
enough to kill off the beloved hero of her series, and break the
hearts of millions of children. Her last book (HBP), however, shook
my certainty. The scene in the cave (where Rowling virtually tortures
Dumbledore to death in front of the readers' eyes) was particularly
cruel, bordering on sadistic for a kids' book. As such, I am no
longer certain that JKR realizes what is and isn't suitable in
children's books, so I guess I can't put anything beyond her at this
However, I am still certain that, since she is a rational human being,
she has no desire to become a social pariah. And that is exactly what
would happen to her if she killed off Harry in the final book, after
seducing an entire generation of children into caring about him.
Parents would literally throw the books at her every time she stuck
her head out the door. ("How could you! My child cried for days after
you did that!") She would go from a cherished author to the most
despised woman in England overnight. That alone should keep Harry
For a while there, after reading her interview (where she said she
wouldn't reveal whether Harry died because she didn't want to deal
with "the hate mail"), I thought that Harry might be a goner. But
having since watched the actual video of that interview (via TLC), I
believe I saw a smirk (or sense of teasing) on her face at the moment
she spoke of getting hate mail. It looks like, once again, Rowling is
toying with her fans - reminding them that she is the one pulling the
strings, and trying to keep people wondering about (what should be) a
fairly predictable ending.
BACK TO SNAPE... (and the end of the series):
What will happen to Snape in the end? Here's my prediction. He will
die trying to kill Voldemort (and, in the process, probably helping
out Harry in a key moment). But not because Snape's a good guy - only
because he has a personal grudge against the Dark Lord resulting from
Voldemort's murder of Lily.
But there will be no deathbed confessions from Snape. It's out of
character. Harry will be left to wonder why his enemy (Snape) did what
he did. For a while...
So how will we (and Harry) ultimately learn the answer?
Remember those memories which Snape took from his head (and hid in the
pensieve) when he was teaching Harry? We only saw one of them. The
other two memories will concern Snape's relationship with Lily and the
It will turn out that Snape routinely removed these memories from his
mind (when meeting with Voldemort, etc.) because they would have made
him vulnerable to legilimency. We have already seen that such memories
can be stored in a vessel (Slughorn puts his memory in a corked bottle
and gives it to Harry).
After Snape's death, Harry will discover these hidden, secret memories
and will watch them. He will learn of Snape's feelings for Lily, and
of his thirst to destroy Voldemort because of her death. He will
realize that Snape killed Dumbledore in cold blood because Dumbledore
had unknowingly become a stumbling block in Snape's plan to personal
gain vengeance against Voldemort. But also that, ironically, it was
Snape's love of Harry's mother that ultimately saved Harry's life and
brought down Voldemort.
Lily's revenge", if you will... Had she simply stepped aside at
Godric's Hollow, not only would Voldemort have been able to safely
kill Harry, but he would have avoided earning Snape's hostility as
well. So, in effect, it will be Lily's sacrificial death which
ultimately dooms Voldemort.
That will effectively leave Snape as a complex character - a mix of
both evil & good, loyal to no one but his own personal agenda, but
whose final actions save the day, and are motivated by the only love
he ever experienced. It will make for a nice twist at the end of the
book (except for people, like me, who saw it coming years ago).
(Remember this post. You can have the satisfaction of beating me
about the head with it if it turns out that I am wrong. But I will
expect a few pats on the back when it turns out to be true. ;)