At LanguageHumanities, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Harry Potter, the beloved character created by J.K. Rowling, ended his career after the final novel was released, but he did not die. Fans knew the seventh and final book would mostly concern the defeat of Harry's nemesis, Lord Voldemort, but questions and theories continued regarding whether Harry Potter would survive after defeating Voldemort. After much speculation and anticipation, Rowling's fans were finally able to learn Harry's fate — a fate that ends with Harry defeating Voldemort and living to tell about it.
How the Speculation Began
Rumors of Harry's possible death began after Rowling announced plans to kill at least two major characters in the final book, and she always hinted that Harry might not survive the conflict with Voldemort. This suggestion led to legions of Harry Potter fans being up in arms regarding Harry’s fate. His character has become so beloved that the thought of ending the books on such a tragic note was a huge disappointment for many.
Concerns Over Harry's Possible Death
Of concern for some was that the book series is often thought of as the series that inspired an entire generation of readers. If the series had ended in tragedy, would it have prevented that same generation from ever picking up a book again? In the past, Harry Potter mania had so firmly gripped its fans, there were worries that some particularly unstable fans might feel completely overwhelmed and depressed by the death of their beloved character. Some even speculated that such an ending could have an enormously serious impact on the emotional well-being of young or unstable fans.
The reaction to Dumbledore’s death in book six was mixed. Most acknowledged that given Dumbledore’s advanced age, the death was not entirely unexpected. Many were still very upset by it, but not all were convinced that Dumbledore was completely gone. Killing a 17 or 18-year-old boy is much more problematic, however; this is a character who should simply be beginning life, and not ending it. Unlike the 17-year-old Cedric who died in book four, the series continually concentrated on the development of Harry's character; however, this development did not end in death.
Other Authors' Opinions
After Rowling’s announcement, noted novelists Stephen King and John Irving both pleaded with Rowling not to kill Harry Potter. There is a certain irony in a horror writer, like King, making such a plea. In his novel The Stand, King killed the majority of the human race, though none of them were key players in the story. King, like many, was caught up in his love of this character and his belief of how miserable a world without Harry Potter might be.
Reasons Why Rowling Would Have Killed Harry Potter
Rowling toyed with the idea of killing Harry, and suggested it through interviews since the popularity of the first book. Some suggested that by killing Harry Potter, Rowling would have been able to end the series and make it impossible for anyone to write another Harry Potter book.
It was also made clear that Rowling wanted to move away from Harry Potter-type books in the future, and killing Harry would have most definitely ended a chapter in her life. At the same time, such hints also suggested that Rowling could have just been playing with her audience, which may be viewed as a little unfair to her younger readers.
Another theory is based on the premises that Rowling clearly established the concept of an afterlife in the series, and some wondered if perhaps she felt it would have been a kindness to Harry to reunite him with his dead parents, godfather, and his beloved headmaster, Dumbledore.