What It All Boils Down To
There’s been a lot of speculation about the ending of the seventh book, and we all cant help but wonder what the final outcome might be. I, for one, like a good mystery, and am one of those people that enjoy the feeling of suspense and won’t skip ahead in a good novel (at least not too far).
But in the meantime, I also enjoy good supposition, and what these books all boil down to is one thing, will Harry die in the end? There has been some hype in the media about this, and while we all have an opinion on this matter, we know it is not a matter of opinion, since it isnt up to the fans. But these series touch us all in different ways, and we all care deeply about the fate of our enraged teenager. To that end, I would like to put forth my hypothesis about his fate. I believe that there is strong evidence to support his untimely death, yes. However, there is even stronger evidence to support him living through that. How can he live through death, you may ask? Because he has lived through it so many times before, and one thing JKR is pretty good at, is consistency.
For all of you who are now shouting at the screen, But what about GoF, and the wand reversal mistake! Huh!? I am not talking about the details of the ensuing plot, nor the exact method to which Harry will destroy Voldemort (and he will, that is also not up for debate here). I’m talking about the author’s overall theme, the message she wishes to portray. All authors want to tell a good story, and while some arent shooting for high scores in morality, JK is an obvious exception. Somehow she whisks us away on the flights of fancy, and we, without realizing it, have learned at the end of one of Harry’s adventures, the importance of loyalty, choice, identity, truth and love. And like any good novelist, her cues are subtle and captivating. But she also follows a very precise formula: Harry at the Dursleys’ for the summer, Harry at school, Harry grapples with death in an action-packed climax, Harry survives, Harry learns a Dumbledore-inspired lesson, and returns to the Dursleys.
Now, while variety is the spice of life, JK sticks to this formula because she knows it works, and as any good writer will tell you, to make your story believable, you must be faithful to your characters and your plot device. While the children are growing up, their personalities remain the same. She’s not going to skew off and suddenly reveal that Harry had been gay all along, nor is she going to take the major plotline away from Hogwarts. That is where we have grown to love Harry and where all the crazy, wizarding hi-jinks ensue. So, while JKR may love to throw us for a loop in the final moments of the book, she’s not going to enact major changes that would take away the essence of the world she has created. We see everything through Harry’s eyes, and while Hermione’s viewpoint would also be interesting, it would not be the same.
Also, another major no-no plot device is to kill off the hero completely in your story. I am sure there are many that will argue with me over this, saying that there are great stories where the hero died in the end. I challenge those people to find one story where the hero absolutely died, and yet gave them a feeling of hope and encouragement. If JKR does indeed implement themes of loyalty, choice, identity, truth and love throughout the series, then I do not believe her ultimate goal would be to create an overwhelming sense of sadness and loss in her last book. It would almost be like a slap in the face to all her devoted fans. I always reap great enjoyment from these books, and feel enlightened by what Ive read, and while the death of Cedric and Sirius were sad, and I do believe there are more deaths to come, I do not believe she is out to kill Harry completely. He is the boy who lived for a reason.
Now, to expound on what I meant before by Harry living through death. Take the example of JKR being a Christian, and the fact that she has made a reference that while she does believe in God, she is glad no one has really noticed, or they would figure out how it would all end. While Kendra made a good point in her editorial Concerning the Death of Harry that if Harry is likened as a Christ figure, that he would die for those he loved. I also believe that he would; however, the story doesn’t end there- there is a resurrection, where Christ rose from the dead after taking on and vanquishing the sin of the world. That is the whole biblical story, and while that may seem to be an extreme, JKR loves taking us to those extremes. If death is another great adventure for Harry to embark on, who is to say that he wont come back from it? I’m not saying that he’ll conquer death, far from it, but he will not be afraid of it, and I think there are a lot of mysteries left behind the power of love he has over Lord Voldemort and what it can do. He has already escaped death four times by the hands of Voldemort, that seems like a good plot device to me