The Power and How It Will Be Used
First of all, I think that Harry will indeed kill/destroy/vanquish the Dark Lord. It would not be very sensible of JKR to leave a seven book series right back at where it began. Voldemort will have to be completely destroyed and be gone at the end of Book 7 in order for Harry to be really worthy of the title “The Boy Who Lived” and to bring any real resolve to the plot. I have read most of the different theories on this subject, and I agree that it’s a possibility that Tom Riddle could be left alive (he’d be 70-something though) after Voldemort is gone, but that man would have to then be given a life-sentence in Azkaban in order to satisfy justice. For those of you who think this isn’t very fair, what he really deserves is more like a kiss from a dementor, or some punishment much, much worse.
The question I want to answer here is “How will Harry vanquish the Dark Lord?”
We know that the number one way to kill in the wizarding world is to perform the unforgivable Avada Kedavra curse. We also know that Avada Kedavra cannot kill Voldemort, proven on that fateful Halloween of 1981, and the events at Godric’s Hollow. Since then, Voldemort has gotten himself some more protection, Harry’s blood that he took that night in the graveyard in Little Hangleton. Voldemort said (and we’ve got to take his word for it till JKR says otherwise) that he now has the same protection that Harry was given by his mother’s sacrifice.
So Avada Kedavra by itself, we can bet, will not have too much of an effect on Mr. Voldie.
Another theory floating around on the web is that Harry will use some kind of weapon, whether tangible or not, to destroy Voldemort as we know him. I think that this weapon is simply love, as obvious as that is, but it’s the only thing that fits perfectly with all the clues we’ve been given. I don’t think that this will be actually something tangible, something like a sword or a magical ring that will create a gigantic wave of love to rip Voldemort apart. I think that Harry will be taught about this power and it’s effects on the minds and bodies of evil people throughout his 6th year, he will also spend this time learning how to effectively perform the Avada Kedavra curse. This will also be a time of great pain for Harry; he is barely beginning to deal with Sirius’ death and his new role as “The One”.
In his 7th year, the war against Voldie and all his followers will be raging. Within the Ministry, a political battle will be raging between the new Minister of Magic (Arthur Weasley- in my own opinion) and those who oppose him. This battle will be about Harry, what the Ministry will allow him to learn, what they will allow him to do in order to end the war going on outside. Arthur will win, with help from Dumbledore and other convincing people in the Ministry, and Harry will be permitted to practice Avada Kedavra. Also, he will visit the Department of Mysteries again and he will enter the room that is “kept locked at all times”. This room is full of the power of love, and Harry will spend a great deal of time in this room.
How Harry will vanquish Voldemort is this: He will master the Avada Kedavra curse, but it will not be performed using hatred. It will be performed using a great deal of love. Harry will use this curse on Lord Voldemort out of love, pity (after learning more about his past and the circumstances of his birth, something which we’ll learn more about in Book 6), forgiveness, and a hope that Tom Riddle will emerge after Voldemort is gone. This will be extremely painful for Harry, he will have to come to terms with everything that has happened to him. He will have to overcome all of the hatred he feels for Voldemort, and turn it into love of the deepest kind. Hatred cannot change a person to good. Only love can do that.
In the deal with this also, is the hatred that Harry feels for Snape. Snape is the one person who Harry hates most. It’s a strange thing though because Snape has never done any lasting harm to Harry or anyone he loves. Harry doesn’t even really feel this way towards Voldemort, the one who really deserves Harry’s hatred. The only time Harry ever feels hatred comparable to his hatred of Snape is when he hears Fudge’s account of how Sirius supposedly betrayed the Potters. But this is soon forgotten when he finds out what really happened. And this hatred it turned to unconditional love. Harry doesn’t even really hate Wormtail in that way, and even stopped Sirius and Lupin from killing him, but this is a discussion for another editorial.
I think that the only way for Harry to be able to produce the kind of power necessary to destroy a person, would be for him to do what he unwittingly did for Sirius, and then for Wormtail, to turn from the very powerful feelings of anger and hatred, to those of forgiveness. That change would be enough to produce an effect of great force, enough to destroy evil.
We know that the last word of Book 7 will be “scar”. Not to get too off-subject (like I’m sure I have done) but my take on this is that the lightning-bolt shape symbolizes to me the great power (like the great amount of electricity contained in a bolt of lightning) that was given to Harry when his mother made the ultimate sacrifice for him. In the end of Book 7, Harry will have to use all of his power, all of his knowledge that he has taken from his trials, to destroy Voldemort. He will be like a deep well which is in a single moment drained completely. The symbol of this power will be wiped with it. I’m not saying that he will no longer be a wizard, certainly not. He’ll be the greatest of all wizards, greater even than Dumbledore because of what he has been through. But the greatest of all his powers, that which came from his mother, will be used and gone.