ANALYSIS: Harry Potter, Who Will Die Next, Part 2
Yesterday, Therese and I got in a heated discussion over the revelation that JK Rowling has killed off at least two of her characters in the eagerly-awaited Book Seven. Putting on our storyteller's cap, we've made several guesses. Below is Part 2 of our analysis.
All artwork featured is by the talented Ayne Greensleeves and comes from her website.
TW: So it’s going to be someone big. Possibilities: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, Lupin, Tonks, Snape, Mr. and Mrs. W., Ginny, the twins, Neville, Luna… From that list, I’d say killing Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, Ginny, the twins, and Luna don’t add conflict to the story or seem able to further it in a meaningful way, leaving the Prime Suspects for Death as:
2. Lupin (and Tonks?)
4. Mr. and Mrs. W.
From that list, Lupin, Tonks, and Mr. and Mrs. W. are members of the Order of the Phoenix. Harry and Neville both have an axe to grind with Voldy for either killing or irreparably harming their parents. Snape is a wildcard: either aligned with Voldy or the best triple-agent character in the history of triple-agent characters (is there a history of triple-agent characters? Hmm. Another blog post…).
Theory 1: Lupin and Tonks, as truly grand members of the Order, and because they’re in charge of protecting Harry, could pose the greatest threat to Voldy. Lupin is also like a father figure to Harry, so losing him would truly suck, and JK could be planning to make a bigger deal out of that relationship in this last tome.
Theory 2: Your Mr. and Mrs. W. theory, though my gut says she won’t kill them off. You made the point that Harry would have to live his parents’ death all over again, but that wouldn’t show character growth on Harry’s part. I think he’ll be in a situation where he can save them, this time around. Besides, if I agreed with you, this blog post would be boring (:-0 ).
Theory 3: Snape, as the wildcard, poses a juicy possibility – ANYTHING can happen with him, and probably will. There’s a good chance he’ll lose his life attempting to either save or kill Harry (but my vote is on save).
Theory 4: And then there’s dear Neville, who has had a true arc throughout this book, becoming more prominent as the series evolves. He has become braver, he is learning how to fight against the dark arts, and he wants to avenge his mind-wasted parents. The prophecy that links Voldy with Harry, and that makes Harry such a threat to Voldy, could have meant Neville all along. Even though Dumbledore didn’t think it was a possibility, it is…or at least Voldy could be made to believe that Neville is the one named in the prophecy. Neville, at the peak of his bravery, could choose to confront Voldy.
Theory 5: Harry dies because he has to in order to kill Voldy. The prophecy says something like “one can’t live while the other survives.” I think the reason for this is (possible spoiler…) that one of Voldemort’s horcruxes is on Harry’s forehead in the shape of a lightning bolt. But I don’t think Harry will die, which means that horcrux has to go. I think Voldy might remove it if he believes Harry isn’t at the center of that prophecy; Neville is.
I don’t know, but I think I might have just earned the Nerd Crown for the day...possibly the year. LOL.
KB: If you're wearing the crown, I'm carrying the scepter.
I'm a little worried for Tonks and Lupin. I could totally see them sacrificing themselves for Harry. In this book, everyone's going to the mat, and Harry's going to be left with nothing and no one but himself (and his mother's love) to protect him. Which is a nice segway into the theory that Harry's scar is Voldemort's horcrux. One really has to admire Rowling for the way she handled this clue. All his life, Harry's been marked by this scar, little knowing he carried the life-force of his arch-enemy ON HIS HEAD. Snap! That's freaking brilliant. It's going to allow for a gruesome scene when Voldy tries to remove it. I'm sure she's fiendishly rubbing her hands over that one.
Neville, sigh. I'm going to arbitrarily refuse to believe she'd kill him. I prefer to think she'd finish his character arc by letting him get revenge on Bellatrix, the woman who tortured his parents into madness. Then maybe his grandmother would get off his back and stop comparing him to his father. He'd become a person in his own right.
I agree that Ron and Hermione are pretty safe, though she will finish their thread by either getting their crush out in the open, or letting it die. You never quite know what she's going to do.
Oh lord! I just thought about Kreacher, the duplicitous elf who hated Sirius and loved Bellatrix. There's something brewing there with the final clue about the mysterious "RAB" who took the horcrux Dumbledore gave his life for. Do you have any theories there?
TW: Geez, I almost forgot about that one. Aren’t you the clever soul who deduced that “RAB” must refer to Sirius’s brother, Regulus Black? I think you are. I’m hoping Sirius’s brother turns up alive and well, and has a role to play in this. Perhaps he’ll be one of our doomed two? Or maybe he’s the one who JK spared, since Regulus will undoubtedly remind Harry of his beloved Sirius. You might be onto something with Kreacher, though. Tangent: I wonder if Hermione’s efforts to save the house elves from slavery will culminate in an important plot point perhaps involving Kreacher?
KB: Hmmm, I'd forgotten about the House Elf liberation subplot. We now know that Rowling never lets a thread dangle without a resolution, so I think you're right, she'll make that connect up with Kreacher, his betrayal, and the horcruxes.
I DID deduce that "RAB" had to be Regulus Black, and she was pretty sly about working him in. As writers we can take lessons from her about dribbling in crucial information that seems tangential to the plot. It's one of the reasons, I think, her books are so successful. We're kept guessing until the end.
TW: You’re right, a writer can learn a LOT from reading her books, as long as that writer is willing to ignore a lot of “ly” adverbs. But this writer thinks she more than makes up for that with incredible world building and truly entertaining and unboxed storytelling. So what do you think? Who are you picking to be picked off in the last book, and who will be the surprise survivor?
KB: I agree, Rowling’s over-reliance on adverb dialogue tags is the only fault I have with her otherwise solid craftwork. Hmmm, if I had to pick someone other than the Weaselys or Voldemort (it’s basically a given that Voldemort will go), I’d have to go with Tonks and Lupin. The one she spared: Malfoy.
TW: I’m going to play it kinda safe and pick only one person I think she’ll kill off: Snape—it’ll be the ultimate in surprise and sacrifice. I think Neville is the character she was going to kill off but salvaged in the end.
So who do you think Rowling ‘did in'? And who would you kill if you were writing this story?