Boskone Trip Report (part 4 of 6)
Episode 4, Saturday morning: Sarah speaks with unearned authority about HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS (which, for those not familiar, is a book by some British chick which comes out a month after INTO THE WILD)
Saturday at Boskone was AWESOME.
I woke early because I was ridiculously excited, donned my name badge with the Ribbon of Happiness, and attended Jane Yolen's reading, in which she read some fabulous fairy-tale poems and one-and-a-half short stories. I then fluttered around like a deranged butterfly until it was time for--
MY FIRST PANEL EVER!
The topic: "Should Harry Die? Speculations on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: what will happen? What should happen?"
Fellow panelists were Daniel Kimmel and Priscilla Olson. Dan moderated, and he was a fantastic moderator, asking good questions and calling on the audience for input. I particularly liked the boy who proposed that Volemort die due to lactose intolerance because that would be unexpected.
I think I did well. I'd re-read the sixth book on the train ride up (after the ferry fiasco) and had a few pet theories. In case you're curious, here's what I said:
Harry could die in book 7 for the following reasons:
[Warning: spoilers, plus completely unsubstantiated guesswork]
1) JK Rowling has very clearly stated that Harry has no future. Career-wise, he sort of wanted to be an Auror, but he failed to make the appropriate grades. Relationship-wise, he broke up with Ginny, and it looks like Ron and Hermione might end up together. So there's no clear something or someone that's waiting for him after he defeats Voldemort.
2) The prophecy in book 5 is phrased very oddly. Instead of saying like in Highlander "there can be only one" (or whatever), it says "neither can live while the other survives." This wording leaves open the possibility that neither Harry nor Voldemort will survive.
3) The theme of self-sacrifice is very strong in the Harry Potter books. In Rowling's universe, the highest expression of love is self-sacrifice (as shown when Harry's mother sacrifices herself to try to protect Harry from Voldemort), and Dumbledore has repeatedly said that Harry's greatest strength is his ability to love. So it would be thematically consistent for Harry to sacrifice himself for his friends.
The main reason that I think Harry should NOT die in book 7 (even though he could for the above reasons) is that I think if he died, it would send the message that good and evil are equal. I hope that Rowling instead chooses to say that good is stronger than evil. She implies this in the prophecy saying that Harry has a power that Voldemort knows not, plus Dumbledore also talks about the power of love (both to Harry and to Tom Riddle/Voldemort himself). Harry doesn't believe he's stronger than Voldemort in any way, so Rowling could be planning to have him learn that love conquers all. Or something.
I'm also fond of the theory that Snape will sacrifice himself to save Harry, thus redeeming himself, and that Neville will kick Bellatrix's, um, tushy, thus making his grandma proud.
But others disagreed, including one guy who passed me in the hall afterwards and said under his breath, "Harry should die." So I invited him to my kaffeeklatsch! More on this later...
Coming next, episode 5, in which I successfully avoid clucking like a chicken...