Harry Potter Theory of the Day: Harry Must Die!

Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic

We're uncontrollably worked up over Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and all month we'll surf the Potter fan sites, scan the message boards, and read the tie-in books to argue the biggest pre-publication speculative debates.

Theory: Harry Potter will die in order to defeat Voldemort.

The argument for: J.K. Rowling has shown herself willing to kill beloved characters before, from Sirius Black to Dumbledore. She's hinted that Harry might not outlive the series. Harry has shown himself again and again to be exactly the kind of brave person driven by love who might willingly lay down his life to save others from Voldemort — especially if, as many speculate, Harry himself is the final Horcrux whose destruction might be necessary to ensure Voldemort's final defeat. And do you believe in the wisdom of crowds? London bookmakers have stopped taking bets on whether Harry will die, because no one would bet against it.

The argument against: Though not every Potter book has had a happy ending, each has had a satisfying ending, and it's hard to imagine a less satisfying ending to this saga than the death of Harry Potter, no matter how inspiring and martyrish it might be.

Our take: This is a children's book series. We don't care how much of a genius J.K. Rowling is; she won't dare kill off Harry. In the spirit of the Chronicles of Prydain, Lord of the Rings, and His Dark Materials, she'll face her hero with a very difficult choice, but no way will she kill him. Right?

Wade into the debate: MuggleNet's forum denizens are working on the fifth version of the Will Harry Die? thread — and are 51 pages into this one. Proceed with caution.