I’m listening to my favorite scene in the whole series again. Book 3, The Prisoner of Azkaban, in the Shrieking Shack, as Lupin and Sirius explain to Our Heroes about their past. I’m not sure why it’s my favorite, but I think it’s because of the purity and depth of the friendships involved in that scene. Everywhere else they are complex and rife with the negative aspects of life—poverty, immaturity, desperation. But in that scene, they are all about love, and what people are willing to do for those they really care about.
Anyway, it got me to thinking. The Big Stuff right now all centers around Snape’s murder of Dumbledore and what those repercussions will be. There are varying thoughts on Snape’s true intent. Intellectually, I think it’s possible that he’s evil and really on the side of Voldemort, that Dumbledore made a mistake. Rowling has said that no one is infallible, and Dumbledore himself admitted such in Order of the Phoenix.
But emotionally, I believe Snape is good at his core, that whatever attraction the Dark Side has had for him, he has overcome it in a way Anakin Skywalker had no hope of doing. I think he was trapped into doing what he had to do, and that he will be instrumental in helping Harry, somehow, bring down Voldemort.
But I also think he has to die.
No matter how noble his ultimate goal, no matter how ready Dumbledore was to make the sacrifice, I don’t think in the end Snape can live with what he’s done. I think he, too, will have to make the ultimate sacrifice.
I also think Hagrid will die. Rowling said in an interview that the hero has to go on alone, and I don’t think she really means that Harry will be totally alone, but that all his guiding adults will be taken from him. It’s already happened with Sirius and Dumbledore. Hagrid is the only father figure left, and though he’s been more childish than Harry, Ron, and Hermione have, I think he’ll be the last one Harry has to watch die.
I love these books, and I adore JK Rowling, most of all because of how much she’s like me. I “knew” when I read Sorcerer’s Stone that Ginny would wind up with Harry in the end, because that’s how I would have written it. I “knew” when I read Prisoner of Azkaban that Sirius wasn’t evil, because that’s how I would have written it. I “knew” Fred and George would succeed in their defiant, laugh-filled way, overcoming oppression (Umbridge) and misunderstanding (Mrs. Weasley) because there is no one right way to live a good life, and because that’s how I would have written it.
I certainly do not claim to be as clever as JK Rowling (I didn't, of course, "know" how these things would come about, just that they would), and I will never be as good a storyteller as she is. But I have ultimate confidence that I will obtain absolute satisfaction in my reading of the final book…because of the way I would have written it.