January 16th, 2007

Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Avoidance of Spoilers

According to the notes under today's Irregular Webcomic:

"I read today that British bookmakers had opened betting on who kills Harry Potter in the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Of course this is based on the assumption that Harry will die, which is by no means certain at this point. Apparently if he survives the release of the book, these bets will be void and the wagers refunded. Anyway, according the the article I read, Voldemort is the odds-on favourite, at 4-5. Draco Malfoy is 6-1, but so is Ron Weasley for some reason. Presumably Ron finally gets jack of Harry getting all the limelight and offs him by sabotaging his Quidditch broom. A surprisingly strong performer is Harry himself, based on the idea that maybe he realises he has to sacrifice himself to save the wizarding world, and so deliberately does himself in. As well as this fun, some bookies are taking bets on which major characters will die in book 7. I'm not going to reveal anything even remotely resembling a spoiler here, for the wrath of Harry Potter fans is not to be underestimated, but after the events of Order of the Pheonix and Half Blood Prince, and certain comments from J. K. Rowling herself, there may be some reason to suppose that a non-zero number of characters might be placed in some sort of situation where they may suffer potentially dangerous circumstances in Deathly Hallows. Or not. Anyway, people are laying bets on it…"

The only problem that I have with the theoretical death of Harry Potter in the final book is that, if it happens, it won't be any sort of surprise because of all the stupid hinting and winking Rowling has been doing. Done properly, and unexpectedly, it could have been a very powerful ending and/or plot development; but now, as the above quote illustrates, everybody is expecting it. So where's the shock and awe?

I think the title, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is also a bit of a letdown because it has no mystery to it. I recall quite a bit of speculation last time as to the identity of the titular "Half-Blood Prince", but "Deathly Hallows" doesn't give us anything to ponder – it implies that someone will die in some manner; but we already know that, and we're already wondering who and how.