By Patrick Rothfuss
I knew anticipation of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” had reached ridiculous levels when one of my friends uttered the words: “Accio Book Seven!”
What was truly surprising is that instead of being shunned by everyone in the coffee shop where we were talking, my friend’s geeky outburst spurred an hour’s worth of intelligent educated guessery about what was likely to happen in the final book. Everyone, it seems, has a pet theory or two…
The Obligatory Speculation: “The Boy Who Died.”
The main question, of course, is whether or not Harry is going to die. I think Orson is right on about that. However, I’m going to have to go against him when he says that Rowling hasn’t laid the groundwork for Harry’s death.
The thing is, when you give your main character a title like “The Boy Who Lived” it’s like painting a target on his back. Throw in a prophecy and start calling him “The Chosen One” and…well…let’s just say that I’d hate to have Harry’s life insurance premiums.
It’s like the character from Russian folklore, Kashchey the Deathless. Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but Kashchey, clever bloke that he is, hides his soul (or his death, depending on the version of the story) away in an object so that he can’t be killed. Despite these careful preparations, Kashchey snuffs it at the end of pretty much every story where he makes an appearance.
And really, nobody should be surprised by that. When a character comes into a story with a name like “The Deathless,” most sensible readers start looking around nervously, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Add to this the fact that Rowling’s books have been growing progressively darker, full of death and loss…and I think it might be fair to guess that Rowling might try to end the series as a tragedy.