Last week, I wrote a post posing some questions about Book 7 of Harry Potter and giving my predictions about the answers. Here’s how I did.
Note: if you want to avoid SPOILERS, you should stop reading NOW.
UPDATE: Due to popular demand, I have put the spoilers below a fold. However, I think that the original prominent warning about spoilers (combined with the heading of the post, which is after all about “assessing my Harry Potter Book 7 Predictions”) should have been sufficient.
UPDATE #2: Several commenters posit various reasons why some readers could not avoid the spoilers even despite the very prominent warning. None of these problems have ever happened to me, which is why they didn’t occur to me when I wrote the initial post. However, some of the posited scenarios are plausible, and I will keep them in mind if spoiler issues come up in the future, and try to use folds to hide spoilers whenever possible. Sorry for any inconvenience caused by the intial post.
1. Is Snape good or evil?
My answer: good.
Assessment: Right on.
2. Is Dumbledore really dead?
My answer: Yes.
Assessment: Correct, but Dumbledore’s spirit and portrait do make appearances in Book 7.
3. Which characters will live and which will die?
My answer: Characters I think will die: Voldemort, Snape, at least one Weasley (not Ron or Ginny), Hagrid, most of the Death Eaters.
Assessment: Right as to Voldemort (an easy case), Death Eaters (ditto), Snape, a Weasley other than Ron or Ginny, and predicting that none of the central Trio would die. Wrong about Hagrid. Did not anticipate deaths of Tonks and Hedwig. Some of the other minor characters who died were ones I thought might get the axe, but didn’t bother to list in the post. Others (e.g. – Colin Creevey) came as surprises.
4. What are the remaining horcruxes?
My answer: I don’t have any really good guesses on this one.
Assessment: I was right to think that my guesses weren’t “really good.” Still, not exactly an inspiring performance on that question.
5. What, if anything, is the most important theme of the series?
My answer: No one clear moral, but several different themes. One that is certainly present is a very skeptical view of government. Another is that universal values such as love, freedom, friendship, opposition to evil, etc., cut across racial, ethnic, and cultural divisions. As Dumbledore says in The Goblet of Fire (pg. 723): “differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”
Assessment: Generally correct. Both skepticism about government and the transcendence of cultural differences through universal principles are key aspects of Book 7. Government proves utterly ineffective in combatting Voldemort; worse still, the Ministry of Magic becomes a fearsome tool for repression once Voldemort takes over. Voldemort is eventually defeated by a nongovernmental coalition made up of numerous different races, cultures, and Hogwarts Houses uniting around common principles. Of course, as I said in the earlier post, “it would be a big mistake to assume that these political and philosophical themes exhaust the series, or are even its most important aspect.”