Laying odds in the Harry Potter dead pool: Who will die in “”Deathly Hallows””?

A year or more from the final chapter in the Harry Potter series, the boy wizard can still make headlines. Author J.K Rowling recently let slip a particularly juicy piece of news — in the forthcoming book, two major characters will die during the final confrontation with the evil wizard Lord Voldemort — and Harry himself seemed especially likely.

Rowling has known for years how the series ends; the final chapter of the as-yet-untitled closing novel was one of the earliest she wrote. But in a June interview with the British TV talk show “Richard & Judy,” she revealed that she had changed her plans: One character she’d thought would die now survives, but two others die instead.

That’s the price, said Rowling, of fighting evil. Villains “don’t target the extras, do they? They go for the main characters, or I do,” she said. Not surprisingly, fans began speculating on the identity of the unlucky pair almost immediately, and the Internet gambling site even began offering odds.

It’s not the first time a major character has died. Harry’s grandfatherly mentor, Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, was murdered at the end of the most recent book, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Or was he? It’s clear that more remains to be revealed about what really happened. Did Dumbledore fake his death? Is his apparent killer, Severus Snape, really evil, or a double agent? We have yet to find out.

In real life, death is permanent, but not always in fiction. Obi-Wan Kenobi of “Star Wars,” another mentor figure, is killed at the end of the first film, but reappears later as an advice-giving spirit. And in “Lord of the Rings,” the wizard Gandalf returns from the beyond even more powerful than before.

Originally published on Aug. 1, 2006. Read the complete article.

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