Caution: There may or may not be spoilers in this, depending on the accuracy of Den of Geek’s crystal ball. We’re taking no responsibility for it if we turn out to be right.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is almost upon us, and when July 21st rolls around, there are some things that will happen. Some are definite, and others, well, not so much. Here’s what to expect (buckle up, kids):
– The Critics: a lot of people who are old enough to know better will think that reading the Wikipedia synopsis for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone gives them authority to write, without any sort of wit and at great length, columns, articles or blog posts on how Harry Potter is a children’s book which – horror of horrors! – is also enjoyed by adults, and how such adults are somehow beneath these great dons of the literary world. They will make these observations as if they are either wildly original, or rampantly witty, whilst they will be neither. Feel free to ignore them; they probably liked The Da Vinci Code.– The Fans: a lot of other people who are old enough to know better will be extremely upset with certain elements of the plot, going so far as to start petitions demanding that J.K. Rowling discontinues the first printing of The Deathly Hallows and writes another, better version, as if the characters are theirs and not hers. They will probably write some overwrought, babbling tirade about losing their faith in J.K. Rowling/relationships/humanity. I will laugh. But only to keep from crying.
– The Author: towards the end of each chapter, J.K. Rowling will start to over-use the rhetorical question. Some people will think this is charming and whimsical; I will think it is head-smashingly annoying.And onwards, to the characters!
– Dumbledore: is dead. Deal with it.
– Hagrid: I’m torn on Hagrid. There’s part of me that thinks that Hagrid – as the first person from the wizarding world Harry ever encountered, and arguably the most influential adult in Harry’s life, behind Sirius and Dumbledore – will cop it, going out in a blaze of dopey, cumbersome glory. The other part of me thinks that not even a Dumbledore-murdering bitch like J.K. Rowling is that cruel. And I don’t even like Hagrid all that much.
– Snape: I think the general consensus on this one is that Snape is good, and will sacrifice himself in order to save Harry’s life (although there’s that small section of the fandom who believe that Snape is the real Dark Lord, which is an interesting theory, but… what?). I’d be inclined to agree, although I doubt it will be so clean cut as people are expecting it to be; whilst I think Snape bats for Team Dumbledore, I still don’t think he’s all hugs and puppies for Harry. No repressed naughty feelings from this side, I’m afraid…
– McGonagall: McGonagall will have a more significant role in this book, and will more than likely be responsible for delivering – or, at least, kickstarting – the information about Dumbledore’s origins that J.K. Rowling has promised, seeing as McGonagall is a screaming Dumbledore fangirl. If McGonagall dies, a large part of me dies; so please, Rowling, make the right choice.– Narcissa Malfoy: a little bit more specific, this one: it will be revealed that Narcissa Malfoy is of Muggle stock, and was adopted by the Black family, as she and Draco – somewhat inevitably – turn to the good side. Why? Because she’s the only member of the Black family not to have been named after a star/constellation; also, she’s a Barbie girl, whereas the rest of the known Blacks are all dark hair, sunken eyes and lacking in class.
– Trelawney: better get her fair share of glory, because I actually love her.
Before I go on to discuss the students, I should say that I think Harry and his band of merry men will be back at Hogwarts, for one reason or another. It’s been an essential element of the series so far, and I think it deserves its moment in the sun.
– Harry: what to say about Harry? Not a lot, given that there’s not all that much there to comment on to start with, other than him being all heroic. There’ll be some stuff with his parents, some hardcore angst, some grossly over-used monster metaphors and the potential for death. Oh, and he’ll be scheming on Ginny by the end. Clumsy as that element of Half-Blood Prince was, I’ve come to terms with it.
– Ron: will remain loyal to the end, and infinately better than Harry. Lives.– Hermione: I think this will be the first book in the series in which Harry and Ron spend around eighty per cent of the word count not speaking to Hermione. Why are they even friends? They hate her! Anyway, Hermione will make it through the wilderness, although I’ll be upset if Epilogue Hermione ends up the Weasley family’s new baby-making matron that so many of the fans seem to want her to be.
– Neville: will avenge his parents – duh! – but I doubt he’ll go so far as to kill Bellatrix.
– Cho Chang: will die on the first page. I hate her, she’s rubbish.
– Luna Lovegood: I do hope she has a part to play in bringing about Voldemort’s demise, although I’m not sure what it would be. Possibly something to do with her intellect.
– The Squibs: will play a significant role. Otherwise, what was the point? I hope we get to see Mrs Figg again, because I love her.– The Kneazles: J.K. Rowling has said that there’s more to the cats in the book than meets the eye. I’m hoping she’ll go on to let us know what the deal is with Filch and Mrs Figg’s cat connection, and how Crookshanks was clever enough to know how to stop the Whomping Willow whomping the shit out of her in Prisoner of Azkaban. Because digging up the Wikipedia entry on how Kneazles are wise and sage creatures is all well and good, but I don’t recall ever reading anything about them in the books themselves.
– The End: since the prophecy was revealed in The Order of the Phoenix, I’ve had a very specific idea of how the last book would end: with Harry – the missing horcrux – sacrificing himself, and Neville dealing the final blow to Voldemort, fulfilling the prophecy. The epilogue will be a ‘ten years later’ told from Neville’s point of view and titled ‘The Boy Who Lived’. Full circle-y goodness, right?
However, since J.K. Rowling has been uncharacteristically candid with the notion that Harry’s story has ‘a very clear end’, I’m sure there’s more to the almost universally accepted notion that Harry will die than meets the eye. As it so often goes with these things, I doubt it will be anywhere near so simple as all that.
Only 10 days to go now…