PDay Minus One: Prediction #7 “Does Harry Die?”

Here are the Six Previous Predictions in this Series for your convenience and easy reference:

Prediction #1: “Deathly Hallows Will Be Very Much Like the First Six Harry Potter Novels” (with 3 Sure-Things We’ll See at Deathly Hallows’ Publication)

Prediction #2: “The Master Plan Will Be Revealed”

Prediction #3: “Mistaken Identities”

Prediction #4: “Through the Veil”

Prediction #5: “The Rubedo”

Prediction #6: “The House-Elves”

Prediction #6.5: “Tale of Two Cities: Why We Should Expect a Beheading in Deathly Hallows”

There isn’t much here that’s especially mind-boggling or off-the-wall (unless you count some of the guesses at mistaken identities) because each prediction is an illustration or pointer to one or many more of the Five Keys that Serious Readers use to get under the surface of the Harry Potter novels. Ms. Rowling works in patterns and formulas, some of which are fairly easy to understand and see (the Hero’s Journey for instance), others of which require some study (the Literary Alchemy and Postmodern Themes come to mind).

I like these predictions, not because I think they’re “winners” or “bull’s eyes” — I’d be more foolish than I am if I thought more than a few have a chance of proving to be Ms. Rowling’s actual plot points — but because they require readers to think seriously about the patterns Ms. Rowling will be following in what ever direction she takes the series in its finale. Sales of Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader continue to be strong while other Interlibrum titles like the MuggleNet guesses about HP7 have fallen off; readers are telling other serious readers that it isn’t just a pre-Deathly Hallows title.

Thank you for these word-of-mouth sales.

My last prediction is in answer to the question Ms. Rowling has fostered in our minds, “Will Harry die in Deathly Hallows?” I am certain the answer is, “Yes, he will.”

But what sort of death will it be?

Harry, after all, has died a figurative or “near death” in every book so far, only to rise-from-the-dead in the presence of a symbol of Christ. Will that pattern be continued in this last episode or has that periodic resurrection only been a prologue or perumbration for the hero’s real and final demise in Deathly Hallows?

Both versions, of course, would satisfy Ms. Rowling’s patterns that we see in the Five Keys so I won’t pretend to have a definitive answer. My thoughts about specific plot points are perhaps better than the average readers but not so much more that I’d want to bet more than I have in my wallet (never very much, alas).

I don’t know what Harry will learn at the Dursleys’, at Godric’s Hollow, or at the Alchemical Wedding in The Burrow, or even if Harry’s itinerary will conform to his stated destinations at the end of Half-Blood Prince once VoldeWar II breaks out in earnest. I doubt very much there will be the grand Horcrux Hunt many expect or, if he does find the Horcruxes, that he’ll find them in working order. The Rubedo will reveal what happened in the White Stage of the work and much of that Harry just doesn’t understand (see prediction #2). I have a hard time seeing Albus and Severus leaving Horcrux destruction to a self-important man-boy without any clear instructions about destroying them or clues about finding them.

I do imagine that Harry will travel underground and visit the Dead (see prediction #4). If he goes through the Veil, we’ll know why Ms. Rowling had Harry go deep every year and, perhaps, why she thought her faith would be self-evident in the finale. A three day “harrying of Hell” and return-to-life would suffice for that, no?

As much as this trip would satisfy a checklist requirement for “death” and “resurrection,” even Ms. Rowling’s assertion that we’d see in Deathly Hallows how near we could get to the dead, my gut feeling is that we’ll see another death, this time by beheading (see Prediction #6.5). Harry may learn something about his ScarCam Horcrux (which I think Severus disarmed at the end of Prince before leaving the Hogwarts grounds) and foolishly believe his decapitation will destroy the Horcrux (logic says it wouldn’t; only blowing up his head entirely or removing and destroying the Horcrux itself would do that because it isn’t dependent on Harry’s life, it rests on his skull).

Whatever, it seems there is so much beheading and near-beheading in the books that I suspect, as Linda McCabe has said, Chekhov’s Dictum that a loaded gun brought on stage must be fired seems to require that we have a Sydney Carton-like finish to Deathly Hallows. I hope you’ll forgive me for not believing that it will be Harry’s demise.

We know that Unicorn blood will save your life no matter how weak your hold on existence (if drinking this cipher for the Blood of Christ will damn anyone drinking it unworthily, a la 1 Corinthians). We know, too, that Dumbledore was the man who discovered the 12 uses of Dragon’s Blood and that Dragon’s Heart Strings are magically powerful. It turns out that “Dragon’s Blood” is alchemical language for the “Elixir of Life,” another cipher for the Blood of Christ. We saw a little of this power in Phoenix when Hagrid manages to endure Grawp’s beatings for months via the judicious application of Dragon steaks.

Look for Norbert to return like the calvary to Harry’s Cavalry and, with some help, to do for him what Fawkes did for his wounds in the Chamber of Secrets. A little trickier, of course, if Harry is doing his impersonation of Nearly Headless Nick, but certainly doable.

Harry then, may die not only once but twice in Deathly Hallows. He may pass through the Veil and join the Dead. He almost certainly will return. I expect then that Harry will die in a way that convinces us he is “dead and gone” but we will be wrong. In a “big twist” and probably via the services of the Dumbledore men on the scene, Hagrid and Snape, Harry will be revived with Dragon’s Blood. Severus, however redeemed and revealed as a hero and the Great Physician and the Man the World Knew Not, will not be so lucky. Look for Wormtail to be Severus’ bane, thinking he is doing what Harry (and Harry’s father) would want….

It’s getting late and I have a very long night ahead, speaking at Barnes and Noble Saucon Valley and then reading aloud to my three youngest children, Stasia, Timothy, and Zossima. Thank you for reading these predictions and, in advance, for your charity in the coming hours as you find out that all my guesswork has been wrong, at least superficially, as it must prove to be. Reflection on the Five Keys of Narrative Misdirection, Literary Alchemy, the Hero’s Journey, Postmodern Themes, and Traditional Symbolism will help us unravel the meaning of Deathly Hallows more than these guesses made using the Keys have unraveled Ms. Rowling’s finale beforehand.

I hope you have had even half the fun and friendship through your thinking about Harry Potter, here and elsewhere, that I have had. If you have, these books will always have a very special place near your heart.

“Accio Tomorrow!”

Hogwarts Professor will be closed until Monday when I will be appearing at the Barnes & Noble Book Club online as Guest Host for a day, beginning the international and all-comers discussion there of Deathly Hallows. “See you there and then!”


  1. SOG is shut down until whenever Travis finishes reading, so as I pace restlessly waiting for the witching hour, I thought I’d drop in on the Professor.

    Here are two predictions: there will be no decapitations or exploding heads in DH. Not only is it juvenile fiction read by many pre-teens, the idea is gross. No grosser, you respond, than Wormtail cutting off his own hand or the Babymort stew. Grosser, I say, especially if it’s Harry’s head that’s going to be exploded.

    If anyone does a Sydney Carton, it will be Severus Snape. I predicted this many moons ago. His love for Lily (Lucy Mannette) will lead him to sacrifice hiimself for the sake of ther person Lily loved the most: Harry(Charles Darnay, Marquis De St. Evremonde)

    If anyone needs to be revivified, there’s unicorn blood, dragon blood, phoenix tears, etc, etc. In my opinion, the use of any of these is secondary to whether the author wishes for a character to be revivified.

  2. robert galloway says

    Thanks for all your writings. My theory on the outcome has nothing to do with formulas or even the text itself.

    I see where Ms. Rowling has scheduled a big American tour for October. I understand that it will be aimed, for the most part if not entirely, at school age children.
    Can you imagine her doing this if our hero dies, or stays dead? It would be a PR nightmare, one that anybody could see coming. Thanks again for well thought out words and concise thoughts.

  3. Reyhan: I wish I had written that! Of course Severus is the Sydney Carton of the stories… Magnificent. I look forward to reading about it tonight. Sever His Nape… Could this be how Voldemort dispatches Severus? The reverse? wonderful…

    RG: The ring of truth here, too!

    See you both Monday, God allowing.

    John, delighted about Snape/Carton

  4. antjerilk says

    Dear Mr. Granger,

    You are amazing ! It is a Christian allegory after all! Father and son at Kings Cross. The father having betrayed his son by sending him to his early death. The son is brave enough to face death and through that gets life and the power to conquer evil!

  5. i just told the basic outline of what happens in the end of book 7 to Don and Tracey. They were both delighted to hear you were, essentially, right.

  6. Just finished reading.

    She does have a thing for separating heads from bodies, doesn’t she?

  7. Peerless Potter Prognosticator, more right than wrong! Congratulations!!!

    I look forward to the following discussions and analyses with equal fervor.

    You aren’t called the Hogwarts Professor for nothing!

  8. pamgalloway says

    Spent yesterday with Harry and the gang. Thoroughly enjoyed the book. Found this interesting…

    Socks. One lone sock is mentioned several times within the first chapters.
    And the reminder of Dumbledore’s response to Harry’s question in SS…
    again, socks.

    Foreshadowing, yes. But interesting to me that socks seem to be used to symbolize freedom. Did Dumbledore mean that what he saw when he looked in the Mirror was freedom?

    Does that make socks a literary portkey of sorts?
    Just a thought…

  9. I just finished and I am so glad it turned out to be a Christian ending. I am very satisfied. I am so thankful to John for writing his books and for this website and personal boards, a lot of hard work and worth every minute. Thanks John and happy reading to those who are not finished. 24 hours. I think I broke my record. Ha Ha.

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