I’ve begun the seventh and final Harry Potter book, but before doing so, I put down some thoughts to take stock of the series leading into its conclusion. Here’s what I feel like is at stake for some of the noteworthy characters and storylines:
Harry Potter: Starting with the most obvious. Harry has been a naturally gifted wizard throughout the series, and he’s matured as a character. We’ve seen signs of his progression in magic proficiency, but I’m still not sure we’ve seen him grow enough in that area; to the end, he was a fairly meh student. Now he’ll be away from Hogwarts (at least as a school, not a battleground) for the first time, so how will Rowling show those crucial final steps in his growth process in magic? Right now, he still feels ill-equipped to take down the most powerful dark wizard ever — and I get that that’s the point, to some extent, but I still feel like Rowling has work to do on that front.
Harry and Ginny’s relationship: Pretty sure Rowling won’t be able to save this in my mind. Hopefully I’m wrong, but the book would have to take some very significant steps that weren’t in the last two films, since Ginny just wasn’t in them very much. And while I have no doubt that the book will be different in many ways, I’m not sure that will be one of them — or at least enough to redeem it from its meager offerings up to this point. Honestly, I just don’t think this relationship matters as much to Rowling.
Ron and Hermione’s relationship: I think this is where Rowling’s heart lies, and if so, I can’t blame her. I still think she should have developed the title character’s central romance better, but if you want to focus on Ron and Hermione, that’s pretty defensible. This coupling has been a long, slow burn with a lot of highlights already, and I’m quite excited for the payoff.
Severus Snape: I know he gets his big redemption moments in this book, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. The redemption felt pretty strong in the films, but the films also didn’t make Snape as villanous and unlikable as the books have. Rowling has taken Harry much further down the path of hatred against Snape, so her version of regret and forgiveness has more work to do.
Fred and George Weasley: As you may have seen in my last post, I loves these guys. I know one of the Weasley Twins loses an ear early on, but I have no memory of what happens later. Let me just say: they better both survive. Because I’m going to be in London in a little over a week, and if even one of them dies, I will burn that mother down in retribution. I don’t want to have to do that. BUT I WILL.
Molly Weasley: She gets to kill Helena Bonham Carter, right? Molly has been consistently awesome, but I’m not sure we’ve ever seen her do magic that wasn’t related to household chores. Now she’s going from that to taking out one of the main Death Eaters. That scene can’t not rock.
Assorted other Weasleys: Doesn’t someone in the family die? Seems like surely, with a family that big, one of them has to be in the body count. But I can’t remember who, if anyone. Does Bill get to ride off into the sunset with his hot wife, or was that marriage created just to make it more tragic when at least one of them dies? Does Charlie bring a freaking dragon to the big showdown, and if not, dammit. Do we see Arthur unleash during the melee? Does Percy get some redemption? And if a Weasley does have to die, can we let it be him?
Elf slavery: I feel like Dumbledore’s comments at the end of Order of Phoenix were supposed to be the big redeeming moment for this subplot, but I’m curious what else Rowling has in store to wrap this up. Enough to change my mind? Ehhhh I don’t know.
Professor McGonagall: Will she get to cut loose and kick some ass in the final battle?
Hagrid: Same question. Plus, does he find love? How do things end for him and Giant Lady? Do we get to see them married, with Harry as the best man and Grawp as ring bearer?
Remus Lupin: Well, now he’s in a relationship, and I remember him dying in a montage. So, yeah, that’s going to be sad.
Assorted Malfoys: After being the principal dicks for so much of the series, do they really get to just walk away from the battle once it seems like Voldemort is going to lose? WHERE’S THE COMEUPPANCE? Come on, Rowling. Give us something.
Hedwig: All owls go to heaven.
I mean, he gets to kill a giant snake with a sword. It’s going to be a good book for Neville. One question: Does Rowling describe him as wearing a cardigan for the fight? Or was that just a moment of adaptive genius by the filmmakers?