Who's doomed in Harry-land?
More characters perish in the next-to-last instalment of J.K. Rowling's saga
PATRICIA TREBLE | Jun 16, 2005
On Saturday, July 16, devoted fans will buy about 20 quadrillion copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. All those readers will be wondering: Who dies this time? Harry's beloved godfather, Sirius Black, was killed in the last book. With the wizarding world now in civil war, the sixth and penultimate book in the series promises to be a lot bloodier. When asked on her website about whether more characters would die, author J.K. Rowling offered the terse response: "Yes. Sorry."
With no advance copies to read, fan websites are rife with utterly baseless speculation. Maclean's, thanks to a copy of Cassandra Vablatsky's Unfogging the Future purloined from Hogwarts library -- and, admittedly, a trawl through the online betting world(Blue Square has Dumbledore in the lead)-- knows better. Hence the following, smart-money measure of the percentage chance of death for some leading characters. Bear in mind that Rowling is firm about the dividing line between the quick and the not-so-fast-moving-anymore: "Magic cannot bring dead people back to life . . . Once you're dead, you're dead."
95%: any member of the Weasley family
They are too poor, too good(except the sycophantic Percy)and too numerous not to suffer. Molly Weasley, the mum of the family, is the likeliest candidate. It won't be easy; it took five of Voldemort's Death Eaters to kill her brothers Gideon and Fabian Prewitt. If not her, then one of the jokester twins, Fred and George. Harry's friend Ron will live.
75%: Albus Dumbledore, Hogwarts headmaster
Yeah, it's obvious, but that doesn't make his death any more unlikely. He's Obi-Wan Kenobi to Harry's Luke Skywalker, complete with long sweeping cloak. Just substitute wands for light sabres and he dies the good death. Or . . .
75%: Minerva McGonagall, Hogwarts deputy headmaster
The professor was seriously injured by four "stunner" curses in the last book. Elderly and virtuous is a dangerous combo. If Dumbledore lives, she dies.
55%: Neville Longbottom, Hogwarts student
Weak in the beginning, strong by book five. His parents were tortured into insanity by Death Eaters. Too tragic a family history not to die before the end.
35%: Rubeus Hagrid, school groundskeeper and teacher
Fiercely loyal to Dumbledore and Harry, he is No. 2 on the online kill list. But surely Voldemort's hench-wizards would rather nuke the brains of the opposition Order of the Phoenix than kill a loveable but spell-challenged half giant.
30%: Remus Lupin, former Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher
Fighting a war while remembering to take Wolfsbane Potion to avoid the nastier effects of his monthly transformation into a werewolf will be tricky. Injury, yes, death, no.
28%: Hermione Granger, friend of Harry
Too clever to succumb in book six but might be too clever to survive book seven.
25%: Severus Snape, Potions Master at Hogwarts
A former Death Eater now working(we think!)as a spy for the Order of the Phoenix. Voldemort is rather fond of punishing for disloyalty, but Snape will live to book seven if only to continue tormenting Harry.
0%: Lord Voldemort
Rowling didn't become a billionaire by doing stupid things like killing He Who Must Not Be Named before the finale.
Don't take my word for it. In 2004, Rowling said Harry will survive "to book seven."