Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Say it ain't so, Jo

The rumors and bets are flying on what major character will bite the big one in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” due out in July.

Not surprisingly, Dumbledore is the odds-on favorite to die. As Chris Lynch points out, this has even been (sort of) confirmed by a spike in Dumbledore wagers out of the town of Bungay, Suffolk, where the longtime printer of the Potter books is located. However, it’s not clear this printer is even involved with the current book, so who knows.

Dumbledore is really the only logical and suitably dramatic choice. If Harry has someone backstopping him when his final confrontation with evil comes, it might be easier to win, but it wouldn’t be very interesting or exciting.

Some see a heavy dose of Joseph Campbell in this, though if Rowling were just following a straight Jungian script the books wouldn't be very interesting either. Another, related way to look at it is the Potter books are about growing up and learning how to squarely face the various terrors of adulthood. And part of that involves disillusionment – seeing parents and mentors as human beings with flaws – and leaving them, or at least your old ideas of them – behind.