Who Will Die in Book 5?
by Robbie Fischer
JKR has given us a few hints. We know it will be an emotionally devastating moment, and the victim is a big fan of Harry’s.
Purely from a technical, building-blocks-of-writing point of view, it has to be someone significant enough for their death to have a long-term effect on the series, and yet not TOO significant. There are certain characters who are simply indispensible to the formula, so she cannot afford to do away with them.
Recently Tom Felton has been dropping rumors that he thinks his character (Draco Malfoy) will die in Book 5. But Draco is no fan of Harry’s. [Emerson’s note: We also know from interviews that Tom isn’t exactly a huge HP fan.] Other victims suggested by fans include Dumbledore, Ron, and Hermione, who are simply too important to the structure of the storyline to be sacrificed at this point. It would be awful if Hagrid or Sirius Black were lost, but I think they also may be too essential to go.
On the other hand, Colin or Dennis Creevey are big fans of Harry’s, but they probably aren’t significant enough. Their death would hardly raise the stakes higher than that of Cedric Diggory. For similar reasons, and because of their comic relief character, I reckon the Weasley Twins are safe.
In my opinion these considerations leave five candidates, any one of whom could get the axe in Book 5:
- Arthur Weasley
- Molly Weasley
- Ginny Weasley
- Remus Lupin
- Prof. McGonagall
To arrive at which one to put your money on, you must next ask whose death would actually advance the storyline or have interesting repercussions into books 6 and 7. I suppose that depends somewhat on the creativity of JKR, and what she comes up with cannot really be foreseen or scientifically predicted. But if I was writing the stories, I would consider what each of these 5 characters gains or loses for the whole storyline by his or her death.
Arthur Weasley loves Muggles and is very fond of Harry. His political connections and pro-Muggle advocacy are an important weapon in the hands of the Good Guys. Losing him would be a devasting blow–possibly the sort of blow for the forces of Good that would set up an even darker and more desperate Book 6. It would also change Ron’s outlook on things, and the guilt of this (assuming that Arthur dies protecting Harry) will torture Harry and complicate their relationship.
Molly Weasley is REALLY protective of Harry. Things would be quite different without her, especially at the Burrow. I think the effect this would have on the entire Weasley clan would very much darken the tone of Books 6 and 7, as well as having effects on Ron and Harry similar to what would hold if Arthur died.
Everyone knows Ginny has a crush on Harry. If there’s one Hogwarts student who meets the qualifications JKR laid down for her sacrificial lamb, it’s Ginny. Suppose she and Harry really begin to hit it off, and then she dies? This sort of twist has almost become a cliché in the entertainment world. How many times have characters played by, for instance, David Hasselhoff, been killed just when it looked like they might make a happy life together? Losing Ginny this way would really suckfor Harry especially. But maybe it would clear things up for him romantically, in other directions…or maybe it would bring the fight out of him the next time he faces Voldemort!
Lupin could be the one because he has expressed fondness of Harry. He is very impressed by the young wizard, not least because he takes after his terrific father. You can also bet that Lupin will be part of the order of the Phoenix that might be, say, Dumbledore’s Crack Commandos behind enemy lines. A loss like this would be, for Harry, like losing his parents all over again. And it would also be bad news for the anti-Voldemort resistance.
But McGonagall is the one who has kept her warmth & favoritism toward Harry well hidden under a crusty, strict, business-only exterior. I think her death would have the most lasting effects on Harry. He would be constantly thinking about it and trying to figure it out; it would never entirely make sense to him. Whoever stepped in to replace her as head of Gryffindor would never measure up, would always be a reminder of what was lost. And though she is a wonderful character, to the extent she has been developed, I do think she can be dispensed with without prejudice to the overall arc. At least that’s my guess. None of the Weasleys seems more likely to provide a tragic surprise than any of the others. Lupin, on second thought, is a pretty weak candidate too. I think the real shock that would take everyone aback, would be if McGonagall died. That’s where I’m putting my money.