Overwhelmed + Harry Potter

Thank you everyone for all the posts, comments and emails of congratulations on Magic or Madness winning the Norton. I’m completely overwhelmed. So happy! So dance-y! And so going to knock off some champers with my parents and Scott to celebrate tonight.

The only thing I feel a little weird about is Megan Whalen Turner’s King of Attolia not winning. As I’ve mentioned before the Attolia trilogy has been a touchstone for me ever since I first read The Thief way back when and even more since Queen of Attolia broke my brain in about twelve different ways. If you haven’t read the trilogy than I urge you once again to do so.

So Harry Potter. I’m hearing lots of speculation that Rowling is going to off Harry. Like this exchange reported by the lovely Cassie Clare:

CC: So, book 7. Harry dies?
Bookseller 1: God, I hope so.
Bookseller 2: But I don’t want him to go out like Sirius. He’s got to bite it in a definitive way so we know he’s really dead and is NEVER COMING BACK.
BS1: I want to see internal organs hanging from the ceiling. I want his liver splattered on the wall.
BS2: And then Draco should eat it.

I would like to go on the record as saying that while personally I hope Harry dies cause I find his endless whingeing annoying, professionally I desperately need him to live.

The death of Harry will so deeply traumatise fans that they are very likely to give up reading all together. Which would be a DISASTER!

Think of the drop in book sales! Think of me and Scott and all the other writers and publishers and editors and booksellers and printers and all the other people employed by the publishing industry having to support ourselves by scrounging for the change that’s fallen down the back of the couch!

And if the publishing industry collapses, then surely the paper industry will take a huge hit, not to mention the producers of inks, and everyone who works at libraries and schools. Literacy may end.

If Harry Potter dies the world as we know it will fall apart!

I know the book’s prolly already printed and everything, but if you’re reading this, Ms Rowling, it’s not too late to rewrite the ending if you did, in fact, do that dreadful world-destroying thing. I’m begging you, DO NOT KILL HARRY!!!

Am I wrong? Does anyone else fear a Harry Potter led end of the world?


  1. El on #

    Personally, I’ve always felt that Harry and Voldemort should be like the proton and the anti-proton and annihilate each other in a burst of energy and light. Just the right dramatical solution.

    Maybe, if she offs him, the fans will be inspired to write lots more fanfic that “gets it right” where Harry lives and whinges on. That could work. They’ve already gone all kinds of directions Rowling never intended…

  2. jennifer, aka literaticat on #

    well, as the bookseller who suggested harry’s liver be eaten, I’d just like to say that cassie missed the best part —

    draco grinning maniacally, hunched over harry’s corpse, with liver and blood dripping down his chin.

    i said *nothing* about it being splattered on the wall!

    god i hate being misquoted, particularly about these important details.

  3. Justine on #

    El: I’m sure you’re right about the fan fans, but what about the ones who wouldn’t be readers if it wasn’t for Harry Potter?

    Jennifer: Cassie’s a dreadful journalist. You should fire her arse!

  4. lili on #

    To me this seems to me like (cough) the general snobbiness of the book world.

    I disagree. I thought the first four HP books were fantastic. Loved them. Really, really loved them. Unfortunately, I think the last two were appalling. They felt like rough, unedited first drafts. There didn’t seem to be much structure, or narrative, or any emotional integrity of character. I was deeply, deeply disappointed, and expect I will be by the final one.

    I’ll still read it, though.

  5. lili on #

    meh. maybe some of the distraught fans will turn to some actually *good* books to try and assuage their grief, and it will be like that bit when all the chained slaves in Plato’s cave broke their bonds and went outside in the sunlight and realised that what they *thought* was real life was actually just shadow puppets.

    at first they will be blinded by the light. but then they will cry, ‘oh gosh! the depth of character! the well-plotted story arc! the convincing sexual tension! my eyes! oh, my eyes!’

  6. Sara Andrews on #

    Sigh. I’m a bookseller as well (bibliophile, bookbinder, and eventual wanna be librarian too).

    To me this seems to me like (cough) the general…er snobbiness of the book world. Oh no, it’s general art snobbiness. They may not be YOUR favorite books, so what? People like them. OH NO, lots of people like them, and if lots of people like them, they must be bad! If a big label likes the band I like, I can’t like them anymore. WAH.

    I’m sorry, but one thing I dislike is art snobs. I also read a lot (all sorts), and I like the series. I’m glad its getting kids to read, and I’m glad adults are reading them too.

    And I don’t think Harry’s going to die. I actually like to speculate more on Snape than Harry, but hey, that’s just me and thousands of others.

  7. Justine on #

    Lili: Harsh!

    Sara Andrews: I like them! I can’t wait to read the final book! I just don’t much like Harry himself. But there are lots of books I love that have characters that drive me spare.

    A few people have told me that while they like my books they don’t like the main character Reason. So I guess it’s pretty common.

  8. Sherwood Smith on #

    She could take me by surprise for the first time. So far the characters have been so stock, the plots predictable (the fun is in her humor, her mix of kid-horror and funnies, her inventive imagination with spells, and names of spells, and critters, not with worldbuilding, characters, ro plots). so, if she sticks to form, Snape will end up a big hero and sacrifice himself to kill Voldemort and Harry becomes that world’s equivalent of the prince in waiting.

  9. Steve Buchheit on #

    Nah, what’s his face dies in Titanic and that was a huge success that spun off various other movies. Harry’s death won’t be tramatic. I think most people (even those who aren’t “art snobbs”) fully expect Harry to bite the big one to rid the world of He Who Must Not Be Tickled.

  10. marrije on #

    oh please let there be no snape-killing! and harry’s allowed to live, too: I want a happy ending, if only because my (36-year-old) sister is going to read the book on our holiday and she’ll be very miserable if there’s a sad ending to the whole thing.

    forget kids’ literature & the industry, i need my holiday to be unspoiled!

  11. marrije on #

    oh, and congratulations justine!!! how wonderful about the norton!! so are you in australia now, in view of you being with your parents for champagne?

  12. Margaret C. on #

    I think JoRo can safely kill Harry without driving readers away. Charlotte dies at the end of Charlotte’s Web. EVERYONE dies at the end of the Narnia books. Doesn’t old Bilbo die at some point in LOTR? Anyone got more examples? Perhaps death is a guarantee of lasting critical and commercial success. Except in the case of the OC, obviously.

  13. Candy on #

    totally agree, justine. jo rowling keeps readers sweet on reading and the books are good enough to keep my (book-resistant) sons reading so she’s practically a saint in my book. (btw book-resistant son no. 2 has just read the midnighters trilogy in one week! pls thank scott for me!!!)

  14. Candy on #

    saint scott!

  15. Jo Whittemore on #

    Harry HAS to live because the prophecy said that only one or the other could survive…not both. And surely, Jo Rowling isn’t going to let evil rule hereafter!?!
    (yes, I know the propecy. Jo=ubernerd)

  16. Ted Lemon on #

    Oh please, you guys are so cynical. Harry is a typical teenager – of course he whines (why do Australians always misspell “whine” whinge?”). When you were a teenager, were you reasonable all the time, never complaining?

    Of course Harry living would be terrible from an artistic perspective, because it’s the predictable thing, and art that is predictable isn’t art, is it? But really, if you want a character who dies in the end, they either have to not be a main character, or they have to be the hero of a single book, not a seven-book series.

    I guess he could die heroically, but at this point Ms. Rowling has made a habit of killing characters off in seemingly pointless and sudden ways, so I don’t see it happening with Harry. Either he lives, or he’s taken out by a stray blodger to the back of the head. You aren’t going to get any artistic satisfaction.

    So I say, let him live.

  17. Michelle on #

    Like many, I’ve always liked the idea of Voldemort and Harry dying together, like the ending of the [redacted because of spoileriness] Trilogy. The bookseller 2 had a point with Sirius. Dying like that gives the reader hope.

    I usually like Harry, but by the 5th book, Harry’s whining became too much for me. But, many kids I know got into reading because of Harry Potter….If he ends, surely 1/2 of the kids will come back to video gamesjnm

  18. hwalk on #

    it’s just in the fifth book that harry whines. all the other one he is find and by the sixth book, i really like his character. but if people die, they just need to die. the saddest book i ever read was when a character should have died but then he didn’t and flew off into space instead. made me cry really hard and i would have been better if he would have just died.

  19. janet on #

    I don’t think of Harry as whiny — just the opposite, actually. I think of him as sullen and uncommunicative. He doesn’t actually complain that much — doesn’t even mention it to anybody when he’s being tortured by Dolores Umbrage, for instance. Rarely tells his friends, or his teachers, or Dumbledore what’s really bothering him. Yet a lot of people describe him as whiny (or “whingeing” — a lovely word that I wish I could use without self-consciousness). I think it’s the slow, drawn-out pace of the later books that makes it seem that way. Nothing much happens for pages/weeks, so what comes to the fore is the characters’ emotional states.

    In any case, it doesn’t seem to me like a capital offense.

  20. Addie on #

    Congrats Justine!!!!! I read MAgic or Madness and loved it. Im ordering Magic lessons soon. Also I hope everyone at Hogwarts dies… sorry I just hate that series.

  21. butch howard on #

    My wife has sworn not to buy the last book until she finds out whether Harry gets knocked off. If he does die, she intends never to buy the book.

    I will be buying it, hiding it until I have read it, and then either hiding it forever or facing her partial wrath (she will be angry that I bought it early in secret but happy that Harry lives).

  22. Laurel on #

    personally, harry potter is my life. I live and breath HP fandom goodness. But, for some odd reason, I must agree with justine and say that Harry is my least favorite character. He’s a whiney, stupid, annoying little prat, and I hope he dies. That way everyone is happy- Ginny and Draco can ride away happily on a white horse, ron and hermione never have to put up with him again, and Voldemort will sufer something worse than death (Are we really going to let him off that easy?) and Harry will be happy up there with his parents, Sirius, and Dumbledore. Harry will die, and I will be happy.

  23. kevin wignall on #

    Ted, Australians don’t spell “whine” incorrectly. Whinge is derived from the same Old English origin, was originally Scottish dialect and is now found across Britain and of course, in Australia (where I believe it’s occasionally married with the word “poms”, whatever they are…).

    congrats Justine – well deserved.

    and who’s this harry potter person? something to do with beatrix potter?

  24. PixelFish on #

    Pssst. For Margaret at 10, Bilbo does not die. He, Frodo, and Sam, all Ringbearers, end up going to the Grey Havens and going to the lands over the sea with the elves. (Which is metaphorically just as good as dying, but technically, is not dying itself.)

    As far as Harry potter goes, I will be very upset if Snape bites it, but I’m thinking he’s probably one of the ones to go.

    I hope JK isn’t counting the inevitable death of Voldemort as one of her two major deaths. Because THAT would be cheating.

  25. Dawn on #

    I don’t want her to kill Harry for an entirely different reason…though I disagree. I don’t think it would be the end of the world as we know it, but it might be the end of J.K., since I’ve heard she’s gotten death threats and everything. How horrible would that be? Threatening her life for the trade of a fictional character’s life? Good grief. I would still read books that you and Scott put out, as well as many other authors even if J.K. is ending Harry. I mean, seriously? I think I loved some other characters from books that J.K. didn’t write a lot more than any from the Harry Potter series.

  26. Rebecca on #

    it took me a while to figure out what you meant by “knock off some champers.” that’s one i hadn’t heard before. 😛 i got the thief in the mail a couple weeks ago, but haven’t read it yet–i’m currently reading the bartimaeus trilogy. 😀

    i do not think that harry is going to die. i’ve heard rumors, about how jkr is going to kill him off just so that nobody else can use him, but i don’t think it’s true ’cause that’s a bs reason. people would find a way to bring him back anyway. you can never kill a fictional character dead enough to keep someone, somewhere, from bringing him/her back. there are alternate dimensions, faked deaths, and oh yeah, magic spells. people will buy it. i also think it’d be a pretty dismal end to the series–aren’t ya/mg books supposed to end with an optimistic outlook for the future? although it is jkr, after all…. i guess she can do whatever she wants. 😉 all i can say is, i hope it’s good, whatever she does. i didn’t really like the sixth book. although that may have had something to do with the fact that i was not enjoying myself at the time (camp counselor = job from hell). i should probably read it again. but my final vote is that harry lives. and also that snape is loyal….ish. mwahahahahahahaha…. maybe harry’ll live, but something hideous will happen to him, like he’ll be disfigured or turned permanently into a squib. such things have happened in…. er, certain other books i’ve read. so he’d be alive, but it wouldn’t be a cliched happy ending either. which would be a nice balance for me, and would fulfill the prophecy without v-man running rampant throughout the wizarding world.

    “I’ve heard she’s gotten death threats”

    wow, really? that’s nutters. i knew some people were obsessed, but that’s just scary. one more reason not to ever become famous.

    “Ginny and Draco can ride away happily on a white horse”

    oh, those poor misguided people…. 😉 😀

  27. Ez on #

    I like the way those booksellers think 😉

    Have a lovely day! 🙂

  28. capt. cockatiel on #

    Ha ha, I never thought about Harry’s death destroying the industry of YA as we know it. Now I’m sad, because I’m sick of his whineing, too. I almost couldn’t read the 6th book because of it. Him and his drop-out ways.

  29. John H on #

    pixelfish: kind of like when my dog Buttons went to live on that farm, right?

    First off, congrats Justine — winning the Norton is a well-deserved honor.

    As for Harry Potter, my take is this: those kids who started reading HP when the series first started are now older teens/young adults — many of them will be much more cynical now than when they first started the series, and perhaps a bit embarrassed at having been fans of the books when they were younger. With that in mind, I don’t think they will be as upset if Harry dies as the adult fans will be…

  30. Sara on #

    I never said that every criticism of the HP series is unfounded. However, this is sorta like how every bookseller hates Dan Brown. Yes, his books are pretty tacky, have basically been done before, and only take about 3 hours to read….

    There’s something to be said for light reading in my opinion, if every citizen doesn’t want to dedicate themselves to War & Peace – that’s fine with me. Getting people to use their imagination is a good thing, rather than just watching Lost or American Idol (and their corresponding advertisements).

    Sure there’s room for improvement. But they are KIDS books who got way more attention than ever expected. Did CS Lewis ever get this kind of literary crit? I read most of them, and wasn’t a huge fan, I still didn’t want the fans to suffer. (true it wasn’t even sort of a new series by the time I read them)

    It’s just that I know lots of people who hate all things popular, dunno, I’ve always though of myself as cynically cheery. Maybe I’ve lost some of that cynical quality when it comes to books/music because there’s so many other things to be cynical about right now.

  31. harry potter on #

    you lot want me dead? i’ve faced voldemort and lived – over and over. i’ve faced dementors, and survived. i’ve killed basilisks, and learned super-secret potions tricks. just what precisely do you think is going to kill me, anyway? gits!

  32. Kelbey on #

    Personally, I don’t care all too much for harry…he’s been a little too dramatic/hormonal lately.
    now if they kill Ron. I would die.

    Think about it! Ron is the wall between fantasy and “psycho killing dark magic.”
    without his humor, the book would be too depressing for me to read.

    but for your sake and the lives of all authors, I do hope harry lives =]

Comments are closed.