Whether you like it or not, whether you think the whole thing is uber-hype or really as good as the hype would have you believe, you can’t ignore the Harry Potter phenomenon. J K Rowling’s success as an author and merchandiser are beyond doubt. Whether you think she’s any good or not, selling three hundred and fifty million books is success by anyone’s standards.

J K Rowling
Joanne Kathleen Rowling, Potter-meister

And so we enter the month of July and the countdown begins. The seventh and final Harry Potter installment is released in three weeks. Little children (and grown adults for that matter) are dusting off their wands and wizard robes once more, preparing to stand in line for their copy of, arguably, the most anticipated book of this century so far.

The internet abounds with theories of what will happen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Rowling has already said that two major characters will die in this last book, but she’s being cagey about who those two are. Of course, Harry dying is foremost in many people’s minds and, given the nature of the story so far and the mythical hero archetype that Harry Potter is, this would be a likely outcome. But will she dare? Will the great Harry Potter Merchandising Machine grind to an ignominious halt if Harry carks? Or will he rise to an even greater, almost divine status and rule forever as the Half-Muggle Merchandise Messiah?

Only time will tell. A very interesting article in this weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald by Sophie Gee is well worth a look. Sophie Gee is assistant professor of English at Princeton University. She presents some thought-provoking hypotheses and even admits her position on the biggest question on everyone’s mind – is Severus Snape a good guy or a bad guy? Or what, exactly? Does even he know?

On the greater theme throughout the books, Gee suggests:

The battle between Harry and Voldemort pits the power of love against the fear of death. Which will prove the stronger? If, as we hope, Harry is the victor and the fear of death is vanquished, what will be left to keep Harry alive?

You can read the whole article here.