Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My predictions for Harry VII

Two inane headlines this morning, courtesy of the slackwits writing the MSN news feed. The first: "The Beckhams Bring Sexy Back to Hollywood." Well, I'm relieved. I was getting very bored with Hollywood's dowdiness and frumpy clothing.

And my fave of the day: "Harry Potter Makes Lots of Cash!" At this stage in the game, this is akin to predicting the sun will rise in the east. Not really a story, is it? If the new Harry movie tanked at the box office, now THAT would be a story. Not a very interesting one, mind you, but at least odd and unexpected.

Which brings me to my post du jour: my predictions for the final instalment of the J.K. Rowling retirement fund. It's good to see her scraping by, isn't it?

But yes, I have been an avid Harry Potter reader. Even if I weren't impressed with the series, I'd still be eagerly anticipating the final novel for the simple reason that I'm a narrative junky. I must learn not to get caught up in a fantasy series until all the books are actually in print. At least Rowling has generally managed to crank the books out with some dispatch -- the other series I'm currently hip-deep in is George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, which started in 1996 and, like the Potter books, is a seven-novel series. Unlike the Potter books, Martin has only reached number four (which came out almost two years ago), with number five nowhere in sight. Given that I read the first novel in hardcover, I've been dealing with that particular agony for a long time, all the while praying that Martin doesn't have a heart attack or get hit by a bus before he finishes.

So I'm glad to see the Potter series at its end. In anticipation of the final instalment, I picked up number five again the weekend before last, thinking to spend the two weeks before number seven hit the shelves refreshing my memory as to where we were at. Two weeks idly reading? Ha. I spent most of that weekend sprawled on the couch burning through both Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince. Two days.

See, this is what I'm talking about. I think I have a problem. A well-told plot-driven story is like crack to me. Add the absorbing characters, dastardly villains, imaginative flourishes and sense of humour that Rowling provides, and I ain't putting it down. Even as my marxist leanings and innate professorial snobbishness recoil a bit from this populist consumer juggernaut, they just get ploughed under.

So anyway ... when I got to the end of Half-Blood Prince, I was starting to form this post in my head. There has of course been an endless amount of speculation about how the series will end, fuelled in part by Rowling's own rather macabre promise of two deaths. Who will die? seems to be the question on everyone's mind, with Harry Potter being the even money choice.

Well, I don't think so. Actually, I don't think any of the holy trinity will get killed off -- Harry, Ron and Hermione will all survive. At least, they'll literally survive. I wouldn't be surprised if Harry suffers a symbolic death, in the manner of Frodo ... withdrawing from society while his friends go on to illustrious careers, living a quiet reclusive life. After all, his life's work will have been completed by the age of eighteen.

I also don't think he'll die for the simple fact that the prophecy made clear that it's him or Voldemort.

Anyway, I say it's 6-5 and pick 'em whether Harry lives on as a prominent Auror or goes the J.D. Salinger route. I give long odds against his death, 10-1 say.

As for the aforementioned careers -- Rowling has said that the final chapter tells of what all the main characters go on to do with their lives. I think it's even money that Hermione becomes headmistress of Hogwarts, and ditto that Neville becomes Minister of Magic. I don't know about Ron ... which is why I think that, if any of the holy trinity die, it will be him.

And what about the deaths? If not Ron, I think one of the Weasleys will have to go, with my money on Arthur -- Ginny if Rowling decides to be particularly cruel.

I do think that one of the two deaths will definitely be Snape -- who will turn out to be a good guy after all. There won't be any reconciliation between him and Harry though. I predict he'll die saving Harry, but will say something really nasty with his final breath.

1 comment:

Swain said...

Once you've completed reading the book, I highly suggest finding a copy of the audiobook. But be sure to find the Stephen Fry version, rather than the Jim Dale. Fry brings the story to life with minimal technical augmentation, and listening after reading the book yourself adds a new dimension to the story.