Open Harry Potter Speculation Thread:

In just one week, the long-awaited final book of the Harry Potter series will be out. So this week is your last chance to indulge in speculation about the plot. To facilitate that important purpose, I am creating this open Harry Potter thread, so that VC readers who are also Harry Potter fans can ponder such burning questions as the following:

1. Is Snape good or evil?

2. Is Dumbledore really dead?

3. Which characters will live and which will die?

4. What are the remaining horcruxes?

5. What, if anything, is the most important theme of the series?

A few speculations of my own, that I'm not going to try to support with any analysis:

Snape: good.

Dumbledore: dead.

Characters I think will die: Voldemort, Snape, at least one Weasley (not Ron or Ginny), Hagrid, most of the Death Eaters.

Horcruxes: I don't have any really good guesses on this one.

Moral of the story: 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."

This is not to suggest that J.K. Rowling is a libertarian or conservative. She isn't; as far as I can tell, her politics are conventionally left-liberal. Nonetheless, the books do take a dim view of both government and moral and cultural relativism. At the same time, it would be a big mistake to assume that these political and philosophical themes exhaust the series, or are even its most important aspect.

And for the killjoys who may claim that this post is inappropriate for a "legal blog," I would point out that 1) we are not just a legal blog, and 2) there are many legal themes in Harry Potter. See here and here, for analyses by legal scholars. The second link is an entire symposium on "Harry Potter and the Law."

Speculate away!

UPDATE: I initially forgot to note my expectation that Snape will die. I have amended the post to add him to the list of the (soon to be) dead.

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