There are only two days to go to the release of the latest and last Harry Potter book, and speculation on the contents is still a’brewing. The problem with all the feverish Harry Potter predictions is that the fans are too close to the material. They’ve studied the books, scoured the movies, memorized the characters’ names and generally gotten all crunked over the series. I do not have this problem. I’ve read maybe a page or two from one of the books. I’ve seen the movies but refused to remember anything of what I saw, except for the fact that Ralph Fiennes is made up to look like a big penis. In short, I have no emotional connection to any of the delightful characters at Hog-something academy, which leaves me free to get at the beating, throbbing heart of Harry Potter and the Something-something.
1. It was all a dream.
Harry wakes up in his bed, having dreamed the entire septology after a heated night with a Horcrux. He discovers his wallet has been stolen by the Horcrux and goes to the police station to report the theft. The policeman at the desk asks him to take a seat. Harry gets a Snickers bar from the vending machine and waits around for a while, but after an hour of waiting he gives up and goes in to the office. He doesn’t do much work and ends up thinking about the incredibly involved dream he had the night before. Then he buys some golf clubs online.
This may surprise some readers, but Rowling has cunningly laid a number of clues in the previous books, the chief one being that magic does not exist in the real world.
2. It was all a crazy dream.
Harry wakes up in an insane asylum. The reader finds out that the death of his parents caused a psychotic break from reality, and Harry’s been spending the last seven years calling the psych nurse Dumbledore, screaming in Latin and waving a stick he found in the yard at the orderlies. After a daring attempt to escape from Hogwarts Mental Hospital, he undergoes shock treatment and a lobotomy. Ron smothers him with a pillow, breaks a window and runs away.
3. Harry Potter is Voldemort.
I gather that Harry’s nemesis is some fellow named Voldemort. Time for Boffo Storytelling Rule #5: whenever a protagonist has a mysterious antagonist, they are the same person. At the end of the seventh book, Harry will lead Hermione, Ron and whoever else is important into a dungeon somewhere. Then he will remove his nose and say, “Ah hah! I’m Voldemort after all! Mwahahaha!” Readers are going to love it.
4. Voldemort is the hero.
Boffo Storytelling Rule #7: The antagonist is really the good guy. After Harry tracks down all the Horcruxes and is set to destroy Voldemort, the villain suddenly says, “You don’t understand a thing, do you?” Then he retells the entire story in terms that reverse all the relationships and turn the entire story inside-out. As Harry comes to grips with the realization that he’s been the evil one all along, Dumbledore shows up and starts kicking the crap out of Harry. Hermione and Ron and Draco and the others join in. Then they party with the Death Eaters. They all eat some Death Crepes, some Death Hors d'Oeuvres and big heaping plates of Death Cake a la mode. Those Death Eaters, they know how to put out a spread.
5. Harry goes to the dark side.
Harry has a vision of Ginny or somebody dying in childbirth. Voldemort appears and tells Harry that he can prevent it if he learns the dark side of magic. Based on that brief vision and some hazy promises from a man who murdered his family, Harry becomes a disciple of evil. When Voldemort unleashes his Death Eaters in a coordinated attack on the Ministry of Magic, Harry slaughters the entire student body. In a final battle between Harry and Ron, Harry is horribly burned but ends up starring in a series of inspirational TV movies.
UPDATE: I started reading the latest HP novel and am now up to page 250 or so. So far, all of my predictions have come true. Also, JK Rowling appears to have built in a secret code that, when deciphered, reveals that the entire Harry Potter corpus is a love letter addressed to me. JK, you minx - I'm a happily married man.