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.
By Orson Scott Card
A few days from now, J.K. Rowling will bring the Harry Potter series to an end.
Well, actually, she brought it to an end months ago. But by the end of this week, we will finally find out what end she decided on.
I hear all kinds of speculation. Some examples:
1. Because Harry Potter is a Christ Figure, he has to die.
I think this is just silly. First, Harry Potter is not a Christ-figure in the allegorical sense — Rowling has not been making his life parallel the life of Jesus in any significant way. Indeed, if there’s any Christ-figure in the books, it’s Harry’s mum. She’s the one who gave her life to save him.
And when it comes to resurrection, Voldemort is the main resurrectee in this series — please don’t tell me anyone thinks he represents Jesus of Nazareth. I think he bears more resemblance to Hitler of Austria or Stalin of Georgia or Pol Pot of Khmer.
Patrick Rothfuss is the author of the acclaimed first book The Name of the Wind, a fantasy novel which details the adventures of a young magician. He lives in central Wisconsin where he teaches at the local university. In his free time Pat writes a satirical humor column, practices civil disobedience, and dabbles in alchemy. His website is www.patrickrothfuss.com.