Headline Spoilers

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jul 19, 2007

Filed under: Nerd Culture 51 comments

I keep seeing news stories here and there, musing about possible endings to the Harry Potter series. Everyone keeps wondering, WILL HARRY DIE?!?!?!

Now, I’ve only read the first book and seen a few of the movies, and I am far from an expert on Harry Potter, but this sounds ridiculous to me. I don’t believe for a minute the author would kill off the main character at the end of the series. This is nominally a series for teens and tweens. It is serious in points, but it has a lighthearted tone in many places. I think it would be out of character for her to kill off the beloved and heroic young orphan protagonist at the end of the series. I just can’t see her suddenly turning dark and edgy here at the end of the tale.

Although if he DOES die, I’m sure those same headlines will be more than happy to spoil it for me in large block letters.



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51 thoughts on “Headline Spoilers

  1. Stephan says:

    Shamus, if you read on the other books, you’ll see that the entire universe of the book grows to a much more sinister and dark story as it continues.

  2. Jeremiah says:

    Yeah, I’m kind of worried about something getting spoiled by a news headline as well. While most people on the web will have enough common sense to announce spoilers, few, if any, newspapers will bother.

    I’m with you, though, I don’t understand why all the speculation. Okay, chances are she’s gonna kill someone off. Why not just wait and read the damn book?

    What’s even worse are all the people that are planning to read the last page of the book as soon as they get it. I just can’t understand why anyone would want to ruin all the suspense like that.

  3. Carl says:

    I agree it’s not likely she’ll kill off Harry, but it’s far from impossible. The tone of the series really changes as you go along – the first couple books read like kid’s books, but the fifth and sixth books are _very_ dark and edgy. So it wouldn’t be a sudden change, or at all out of character for the series.

  4. Rhykker says:

    Well, I’ve only read books 1-4 when they first came out, but I do believe there has been a general “darkening” trend in Rowling’s stories.

    If I remember correctly, she was writing the stories for her own children, and their ages roughly matched Harry’s. So as her children aged, she kept maturing the storyline.

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if she kills off Harry. This is why…

    For most novels that are adapted to movie format, the novel’s author gives the movie producer a certain degree of leeway in interpreting the novel. However, I heard that Rowling ensured that everything conformed precisely to her view of the story, leaving the movie producer little room for his own artistic interpretation.

    So Rowling is clearly possessive of her creation – I don’t blame her. It’s her own, and she’s entitled to “own” it.

    By killing off Harry, she ensures that the story is over. When the copyright expires, no other author can continue the stories of Harry Potter (unless they get into resurrection and whatnot…). No fan fiction that could possibly outshine her own work.

  5. Cheesemaster says:

    Dude the vast amount of Fanfics for Harry Potter don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of standing up to the original series. Most are lame short stories where Harry and Draco end up having sex or something similar.

    I am curious as to the end of the series, having read it all the way through. While especially the first two books are ‘childrens’, it gets quite hard to classify the 5th and 6th as such. Other major characters get killed off (Not saying who here for obvious reasons, suffice to say it comes as something of a shock and it certainly isn’t the tame killing off of an extra) and I’m guessing that major characters will be killed off in the last book, if not Harry himself.

    What I’m really worried about though, is that because of all the massive expectations etc, Rowling might give this book a Sopranos-style ending. That would be really horrible.

  6. MOM says:

    I agree with you, Shamus. This is such an obvious promotional teaser and I don’t care how dark the story seems- She is NOT going to have the main character die- although he may appear to be dead for a while in the story. These books have been and will continue to be commercialized ie. action figues, movies, cartoons, t-shirt etcetera ad infinitum. None of that works once Harry is dead.

  7. Carus says:

    I have read the 7th book. I will not spoil anything here.

    “General Darkening trend” is not adequate to describe how sinister and disturbing the 7th book is. HP7DH like a free fall from the happy cliff to the rocky crags below… I am still considering if the book is acceptable for my 10 year old to read.

    Harry Potter stopped being a children’s series around book 5.

  8. Sasquatchua says:

    Without giving up any spoilers, the series does indeed darken. Just look at this progression!

    1. Lighthearted
    2. Darker
    3. Even Darker
    4. Darker still – mortality starts to get addressed in a serious way. Harry becomes angry.
    5. Same level of darkness. Harry still angry. Still distrusts all adults only to learn at the end that he wasn’t properly equipped to deal with things on his own. If only he’d told people what he knew!!
    6. See 5.

    Clearly, a darkening trend!

  9. jpetoh says:

    This is not a spoiler, just an educated guess.

    Harry will live, he’s even going to kill Voldemort.

    Ron’s gonna die, though. He’s finally going to admit his love for Hermione, and then bite it. He showed that he was willing to sacrifice himself in the first book during the giant game of Wizards Chess, so I’m pretty sure he’ll do so here.

    My second guess is Neville. He has had a parallel background to Harry.

  10. Dev Null says:

    Call me a Grinch, but…

    Bah! The series doesn’t get darker, it gets more teen-angsty, and then something bad gets dropped in in the last chapter. I like the stories well enough (she does lovely settings, though the last few books could use an editor), and the movies are pretty, but honestly folks. If you let your high school kids – each of whom is essentially toting a handgun everywhere – play contact sports in mid-air, much the less guard the school with soul-sucking vampires or have the students particpate in gladitorial games to the death with bloody DRAGONS, you shouldn’t be surprised when one or two cark it along the way. If the Big V rolls over dead of food poisoning on page 1 of the last book I’ll still be surprised if they all survive their education system to graduate…

  11. Most of the “Will Harry Die?” speculation is based on Rowling’s communication that her story ending expresses her Christian ideology, which if you are a student of philosophy means that the best possible fate is to end up like Jesus or Spock spouting something like “they know not what they do” or “the needs of the many”.

    I don’t expect Harry to die because he’s a non-ambiguous character so his actions won’t really come as a surprise. I’m about 85% that Snape will die, and that’s all the speculation I’m willing to engage in. Some people enjoy ruminating on that sort of thing, but I prefer to see how things *actually* develop and make my evaluations on that basis rather than second-guess and be disappointed. Work yourself into a frenzy and NO result could possibly satisfy you.

  12. Randolpho says:

    Harry won’t die, and I have some simple (if simplistic) logic behind it:

    Every word of every Harry Potter book — with the sole exceptions of the opening chapters — are written from Harry Potter’s point of view. His thoughts, his emotions, his experiences. The books never jump to what Hermione or Ron is doing. If something happens to them without Harry being present, the readers only learn of it when it is revealed to Harry.

    It would be impossible to kill Harry off from his own perspective without dipping into the Horror genre, and I seriously doubt that will happen. And even if she does, how does she word that famous “last chapter” that recaps how everyone ends up?

    Yes, it’s silly logic, but I cling to it. Harry survives.

    Ginny, on the other hand… Yeah, I think she’s probably a gonner. Which saddens me, because she’s always been my favorite character.

  13. Telas says:

    My mother (of all people) pointed out that each book is written for an audience of approximately Harry’s age in that book.

    So the first one is pretty mild, but later books get darker, more confusing, and more frustrating (kinda like adolescence).

    BTW, my wife and I saw the latest HP movie last night. It’s one of the better of the series, almost as good as the first.

  14. nerdpride says:

    IRT Randolpho- “It would be impossible to kill Harry off from his own perspective without dipping into the Horror genre, and I seriously doubt that will happen. And even if she does, how does she word that famous “last chapter” that recaps how everyone ends up?”

    Harry could still die without any horror–there could be a sacrifice just like his parents’. Also, usually the character who’s dying actually doesn’t notice how bloody/painful-looking/horrible it is. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did it, keeping the same format, just because it would be a challenge.

    IRT Shamus- The sequels don’t have to be about Harry Potter. There could well be thousands more “Hogwarts” books, maybe they follow the characters from previous books, maybe not, plenty of money either way. In fact, the option to make sequels about different characters might even make production easier. I have to agree with the “Harry will probably die” camp.

    I really hope he dies, too. Harry is just a snot nosed prick.

  15. Kelly says:

    Shamus, I respect your opinion about a great many things, but I don’t see much point in your sharing it when you haven’t read the books.

    The series has been dark and edgy reading, and no longer appropriate for kids just coming off the first few books, for several books now. I would not be at all surprised if Harry does die.

    That said, I would also not be surprised if the ending, whatever it is, is idiotically spoiled. The last book was a lesson in that. Guess that’s the dark side to a book series being so popular…

  16. Otters34 says:

    My view is simple.

    He dies, mainly because as far as I can tell, his life is Voldemort’s,and should he kill Voldemort, he will likely end up as Voldemort did: dead.

  17. Dave says:

    I don’t really much care. I already decided, despite being a big fan of the first 4 books, that I’m not going to bother reading this one.

    Frankly, the only thing I hope for is the following 3 things:
    1. Snape dies a horrible, painful death.
    2. Draco dies a horrible, painful death.
    3. Both graves are used as a dump site for the human waste of Hogwart’s toilets.

    But frankly, I don’t have much faith in JKR to actually do any of those (Draco will almost certainly survive, Snape will either survive or die a hero, and frankly both results sicken me to no end).

    So I’m just going to save myself the acid reflux and avoid the whole freaking book.

  18. Horatio says:

    Actually, the series becomes more and more dark and gritty with every book she writes. To me, it seems like she’s clearly writing towards a dark and negative ending, like potter’s death.

  19. OM3G4 says:

    Actually i have had the misfortune to find out due to a leaked version, I can’t say I’m 100% accurate but this is what happens


    She kills people left in right in this book even most of the 2nd tier characters probably mentioned in under 30 pages throughout all the books are not safe, even Harry, however he is later brought back to life (weird I know but it is a world of magic)


    so yeah that seems interesting, guess the ultiment battle against evil goes down that way

  20. Zaxares says:

    I hope Harry dies. I hate that little twerp. :P

  21. I truely doubt Harry will die. If he did, it would have to be right at the end of the book (see the previous point about everything being from Harry’s viewpoint)

    I can see a lot of the auxiliary cast dying off. And I am very interested in what’s going to happen to Snape, as it’s -still- not to my mind certain which side he’s really on

  22. Ben says:

    I’m not sure about other countries, but over here in the UK the powers that be in charge of childline (a nice little phone counselling service for children) have got their volunteers doing extra shifts ready for the book’s release in case someone dies and it traumatises the poor little mites. I’m sort of hoping that one of the important characters does in fact die, just so that all of their effort isn’t wasted.
    A brief mention of it is at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6907677.stm

  23. Nefke says:

    If the books are so great and JK Rowling is such a great writer, speculation is useless as she will surprise you anyways..

    But then again, I´m most certainly NOT a HP fan, haven´t read any of the books. The above statement is based on the series I´m a major fan of (Song of Ice and Fire, by George RR Martin) which is certainly no subject for speculation, as you won´t know what will happen whatsoever until you´ve read it. Surprise is guaranteed with Martin.

  24. mystic badger says:






    I’m working in a bookshop, so I’vre read the book, yesterday. You’re right, Harry doesn’t die, nor all his young friends (they’ve even babies). The only one significant to die is Snape. IMHO, it’s the best of the 7 books, full of little details, incredible !
  25. Alden says:

    Avoid television too* – the evening news here (New Zealand) has been giving us nightly updates on the Harry Potter situation and I’m fully expecting them to run a story on whatever happens in the book as soon as it’s released.

    As someone who only has a passing interest in the series (I haven’t read any of the books, and I’ve seen the first three movies, but only because they were screened on TV) it’s all becoming a bit irritating.

    * That’s if the other people posting SPOILERS in the comments haven’t spoiled you already. Sheesh, people.

  26. Chrystalline says:

    I always figured Harry would die at the end because he only survived the fatal curse to be the prophesied downfall of Voldemort. But what do I know, I don’t follow spoilers.

  27. Alden said: “That's if the other people posting SPOILERS in the comments haven't spoiled you already. Sheesh, people.”

    Since the SPOILERS people seem to contradict each other I’m going to assume they are full of poo until I actually read the book myself. Only a little longer to go!

    Personally, I’m not interested in all the media frenzy but I think it’s nice to see the media have something benevolent to frenzy about. I’m not really a “joiner” so I don’t care much about the Potter Parties at bookstores, but it’s nice to see people having a good time.

    People are so starved for important, inspiring events that they will gather in vast numbers over something as simple as a book. You know when the last event of this kind was in the U.S.? The *moon landing*. So, even if you abhor the media circus, even if you dislike Rowling’s work, you have to be glad that people have found something to look forward to.

    It should also make you want to understand why the best thing we have to look forward to is a fantasy novel.

  28. Nat says:

    although you’re post is interesting, I think the excuse that the book is for teens and tweens is a lame excuse. I mean, in our modern age, I am pretty sure that most tweens, and all teens, could handle the death of a main character, just as they can handle violence, gore, and death in their movies and video games.

    But I can guarantee you this, somewhere in the world, there will be someone who likes the ending, and there will be someone who despises it, and there will be a flame war.

  29. Don says:

    Re Randolpho’s logic: note the point of view in Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.”

    Is there a “spoiler” tag available for comments here? I do intend to read the book myself, so I want to avoid seeing any hints of who lives or dies.

  30. Norman says:

    Harry marries Ginny and begets 3 little spawnlings.

    Harry does the whole Bond villain monologue before he kills of Voldemort. It pretty much goes like, “You’re not so great. I’ll tell you why you’re not so great. You want to know who’s great? I am, that’s who! Just try it! You’ll see how great I am compared to you, pitiful worm!”

    And at the end, he’s like, “I’m so great that I don’t even need this all powerful wand which was used to defeat Voldemort anymore!”

    Years passed over the course of the book, but Harry and friends never grew up. Bicker like 7yr olds. They’re bloody late teens already, I expect them to have at least the maturity of The Hardy Boys. They get themselves into trouble all the time, but don’t go around throwing hissy fits or go crying to mommy.

  31. Deoxy says:

    “Although if he DOES die, I'm sure those same headlines will be more than happy to spoil it for me in large block letters.”

    I’m honestly surprised they haven’t already. I give it 4 days, tops, before it’s a major headline, one way or the other, and only that long because it’s releasing on a Saturday. I’d give it fairly good odds that major spoilers are in the headlines of Sunday’s papers.

    Personally, I don’t much care, either way, but I’ll find out, of yes, I will…. because the media is populated almost exclusively with complete boops (if you don’t get the “boop” reference, do a search on Erfworld… but only if you have room in your life for another comic addiction).

  32. Mordaedil says:

    “Harry Potter will be killed by the resurrected James Potter”…

    Oh joy!

  33. hank says:

    I don’t understand these concerns that the book will “turn dark”… keep in mind that the star of the book is an abused orphan, and most characters have had some pretty bad times. Look at Dobby ffs.

    I also don’t understand adults making such a big uproar over these books. They are childrens books, not very well written, with inappropriate themes, somehow marketed to an adult audience. It’s pathetic to watch from the outside, and I don’t wish to be on the inside.

  34. Dan says:

    Uh, who’s Harry Potter?

  35. SiliconScout says:

    My take is that Harry dies, but mainly because she has repeatedly stated there will only be the 7 books.

    If she doesn’t kill him off then she will be invaded with requests for “just one more book” for the rest of her life.

    She’s got all the money she could ever need, she will have written the tale she wanted to tell. The only way to keep people from bothering her is to kill of Harry, because even in Harry’s world dead is dead. Now don’t got bringing up Voldemort, he neve3r really died did he. Unless Harry murdered someone and split his soul in this last book I say he dies just to keep people off her back.

    The other “major” character to die? My guess is that is Voldemort (if you want to call him major) and if you don’t then it’s also Neville. I’d like to see him take Belatrix with him and go down avenging his parents and being the wizard he always wanted to be.

  36. E N Z O says:

    Darth Vader gets killed off in Return of the Jedi – and up until the prequel he was WAY MORE MAJOR THAN HP

  37. Dave says:

    “If she doesn't kill him off then she will be invaded with requests for “just one more book” for the rest of her life.”

    Hence, David Morgan-Mar’s take on the “Harry Dies” thing:


  38. Stranger says:

    I made it through this one . . .

    Frankly? Yeah this book gets grim. And I spotted the “Christian” content which was remarkably not as hamhanded as it can be made to sound. There’s nothing in it which was not done before earlier in the series.

    Yes, more people die in the book than “just two”.

    This is suitable for children if and only if there is a parent around who is also reading the books . . . and is prepared to level with the son/daughter (s) about how they feel about things too.

    Oh, and this is gonna make the directors of the next two movies groan in despair; there’s a lot of missing parts in the first five movies which turn out to be damned important.

  39. Rich says:

    I read a small part of the first book and found it unreadable. I rarely start a book and put it down unfinished, but Harry Potter did it to me. Since then I’ve sat through a couple of the movies when my girlfriend rented them, and I found them very generic and blah.

    I guess I’m just not the target audience for these books. Oh well.

    Although I’d like Harry to be killed off. The entertainment value in the newspapers and on TV would be enormous. ;)

  40. Lo'oris says:

    spoilers are one of the plagues of the modern world.

  41. Kristin says:

    Stranger, I’ve been saying that for three movies now. Rowling knows how to tell a story, and nothing should have been assumed to be unimportant unless Rowling specifically said it was. Some things that were left in could have been cut; some things that were cut should have been left in. Rowling actually specifically forbade one cut from Order of the Phoenix; having read book seven I understand and am very grateful.

  42. Stranger says:

    Which scene were they going to cut? I mean, there was a lot they could/did cut but it was the longest book and the shortest movie . . . there’s something wrong there.

  43. Eric the vengeful says:

    i read the book he dies

  44. Eric the vengeful says:

    long live lord Voldemort!!!!

  45. John in Austin says:

    A couple of quick thoughts – first to Rich (currently post #41 above). I didn’t get into the books until around the time the 1st movie came out – I don’t have kids and I’m now over 40, so I didn’t see the appeal. However, in the hype of the first movie, I figured I’d give them a shot. And yes, the first two books are fairly light-hearted children’s books. For me, the series got much better with book #3. So, you might revisit it, read the 1st two with a grain of salt if you must, but the series is definitely worth reading. I find it very interesting the range of ages that the books appeal to, and she deserves a lot of credit for making a children’s book that adults can appreciate and have good discussion over (with their children/grand-children, other kids, or other adults).

    And second, I’ve read the final book, and no spoilers, but I feel she does an excellent job of (a) wrapping everything up nicely so that folks are happy and she doesn’t wreck her franchise, (b) closing it out so she doesn’t have to write more books, and (c) having enough death/injury/darkness such that the book is quite gripping and dramatic. I think the fans will all be quite satisfied with this book.

  46. Eric the vengeful says:

    I agree with Mr.Dumas in front of me. Rowling did a good job of wrapping things, except for the fact she could’ve given us a little more fan service in by which I mean what happens right after the end.

  47. Miako says:

    oy! I hate it when someone says “the last few needed more editing”…

    Can’t stand it when authors get too big for their britches.

  48. Henesua says:

    I do not much care if he lives or dies. I’ve been watching the movies and only ready Order of the Phoenix because someone forget it at our house and I was out of reading. I find the writing to be pleasantly transparent and clear. But otherwise Rowling just doesn’t do it for me especially with so much other good stuff to read.

    I chimed in here to add that I think the latest movie (Phoenix) was definitely the weakest so far. I hope that director is finished with the HP movies. Many many scenes could have been cut, and most of the scenes should have been reworked for more depth. Most of the characters seemed wasted, and the performances forced -except for the witch played by Helena Bonham Carter- Belatrix? She gets high marks. Fantastic performance. I enjoyed myself in the theater, but I doubt I’ll ever wish to watch the movie again. I was really disappointed. I had high hopes for the film. The book was decent fair, and the 3rd and 4th movies were well done – Prisoner especially. Prisoner holds up after repeated viewings, which is undoubtedly due to Cuaron’s direction.

    Probably not the right spot to rant and ramble about the latest movie, but it was so bad that I just had to get it off my chest. :)

  49. imp No1 says:

    I shall now be an evil little toad and tell everyone present that the 7th book is very dark, rather horrific, and a veritable bloodbath. about 8 semi-major characters die and in the epilogue we find out that both harry and Draco like to torture their kids by giving then horrible names.

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