Pottermania at fever pitch
A recap is in order as fans await the final chapter in the blockbuster "Harry Potter" series
THE LAST WORD is "scar."
And then the Harry Potter series will end.
Author J.K. Rowling, in a 1999 People magazine article, revealed the final word in her series of books about a boy wizard with a lightning-shaped scar seared on his forehead.This leaves much room for speculation, though, and as Saturday's release date for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" approaches, guesswork is rampant. Google "Harry Potter predictions," just for a laugh, but beware if you really don't want to know anything.
"I'd say it ends like this -- Potter hits a home run. Is there baseball in it?" That was credited to comedian Adam Sandler in a collection of predictions listed on www.mtv.com.
"What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7," a 216-page "unauthorized" paperback written by staffers at the site www.MuggleNet.com, predicts that a) Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger (Harry's best friends) will love happily ever after; b) that Severus Snape, even though he killed Dumbledore at the end of Book 6, is really a good guy; c) Dumbledore is gone for good; and d) Harry will live.
Book packaging is up to par with the hype, above.
Rowling herself has said that more characters -- possibly major ones -- will die in "Deathly Hallows." In a 2006 interview, Rowling said she slightly altered the final chapter from what she had intended. "One character got a reprieve, but I have to say two die that I didn't intend to die," she said.
"What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7" includes a list of characters and their odds of surviving. Dobby the house elf is given the best odds, 100-to-1. The beloved Rubeus Hagrid, however, doesn't fare so well.
Natalia Tena, who plays the character of Nymphadora Tonks in the movie "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," made her own prediction recently: "I really hope Harry dies, and I want Neville (Longbottom) to be the one that was the chosen one all along."
A countdown clock for the book's release sits in the window of a Barnes & Noble in New York.
If you intend to someday read the sixth book in the Harry Potter series -- 2005's "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" -- or if you somehow think you can stay ignorant about the key points until the movie comes out next November, you don't want to read further. A refresher for the rest of you, as you stand ready to absorb Book 7:
In a nutshell: The Half-Blood Prince was Professor Snape, who at the heart-rending climax of the last book, kills beloved Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. This after Dumbledore has spent the entire book proclaiming his faith that Snape is among the forces of good.
The upshot: Harry and his friends lift themselves from their grief, determined to avenge Dumbledore and continue his work. This could mean they don't return to the Hogwarts school.
On a personal level: Harry falls for Ron's sister, Ginny Weasley, and they spend a few pages happy together. Ron gets a girlfriend for a short time, Lavender Brown.
Magical mission: Harry and Dumbledore spend the better part of the book investigating horcruxes, items that contain the Dark Lord Voldemort's soul. To protect himself, Voldemort split his soul, hid the pieces in six magical items (a seventh piece resides in his own body), then hid the items. To destroy Voldemort means to destroy all the horcruxes. That quest continues.
Who is R.A.B.?
The initials show up near the end of Book 6, as it appears this person is also searching for Voldemort's Horcruxes. Some suspect it is Sirius Black's brother Regulus, thought to be dead.
Will Dumbledore return? Rowling says he's really dead, but that doesn't mean his influence won't be felt. He has a portrait in the headmaster's office, and in the wizarding world, portraits can talk.
Is Snape really bad? Or is he a good guy pretending to be bad? Did Dumbledore want Snape to kill him?
What's up with Aunt Petunia? Harry's nasty, nonmagical aunt seems to know more than she lets on, and Rowling has hinted she has a role to play in the last book.
Who will die? This is the big one. All the books have been building to the ultimate showdown between Harry and Voldemort -- "neither can live while the other survives." Rowling has said she killed off two major characters.