I just went back and read Sipper's post, "Harry Potter Must Die" from October of last year. I must admit at the time I skipped that post entirely, and any comment about Harry Potter as I had not yet read any of the books or seen the movies (though I did read comments about other subjects.
I now want to comment on that post, plus add a few of my own speculations to the pile. Obviously I have now read all six available books and I watched the Order of the Phoenix last night.
Harry Potter shall not die. Sipper speculates (and I'll not comment on the fact that this speculation was coming from a man who had not yet read the books and could have only seen the first four films at that time) that Harry will, and in fact must, die by the end of the last books. His main points are that Rowling is writing in the tradition of Tolkein and Lewis and that they both knew, and therefore Rowling must also know that the only way to end a great fantasy is to allow their characters to die or go to heaven.
Now I have not actually read any of the Narnia books all the way through, and I am only familiar with the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, so I cannot comment too much on him, but I have read the Lord of the Rings series.
However I must immediately differ in opinions with Mr. Sipper. In the famous Lewis book, it is true that the main character, the lion king Aslan dies. However, like Jesus he comes back to life to save the day by books end. I think it is safe to say that Harry won't be resurrected in these books as he is not the Jesus figure. Perhaps I am missing something from the other books, and feel free to argue that out with me.
In LOTR though, almost everyone lives. In fact there is a long prologue discussing the long lives they all live after Mordor is destroyed. I suspect the argument is that the elves and Gandalf, etc all go away into some mystical land that is really heaven. Good arguments can be made for that allusion, and I don't want to argue them, but I don't see this as a real death finishing off the characters, but a way for them to move on and have a happy ending. There is a lot more too that, but I'll leave it vague for now.
Mainly though I don't think Rowling is in the same league as Tolkein and Lewis. She simply isn't as good a writer. Tolkein was writing very serious literature in the vein of a fantasy novel. Lewis was writing religious allegory. Rowling is writing pop fantasy. It is good pop fantasy, but I wouldn't really elevate it to great literature status.
She writes for the reader, and her readers will revolt if Harry dies. And even though her readers now include millions of adults, her books have always been essentially for children. Death of Harry is a very big blow to the kids. Having him die in battle will bring no real victory for him, and though she makes mentions of ghosts and a vague afterlife, there has been no strong foretelling of a heaven like place as in LOTR.
The prophecy also essentially says that Harry and Voldemort must battle and that only one will live. That's a crummy prophecy if both of them wind up dying. No, I think Harry will live to see the end of the book. I will say he might wind up living a difficult, sorrowful life after much like Frodo. But I kind of doubt that too.
But this long diatribe isn't just about Harry, but some of his gang too.
Dumbeldore shall rise again. Rowling has stated she is a fan of Lewis and partially modeled on the Narnia books. Dumbledore is the obvious leader and is a God-like character so he is a good choice to rise from the dead. Although I've never seen any official acknowledgment, he has always reminded me of Gandalf, whom as we know also came back from a grave, of sorts.
Then there is the phoenix, Dumbeldore's pet bird. It constantly dies and is reborn in a bit of fire. Remember then Dumbeldore's funeral where a great big fire arose out of his grave and the bird also flew over. Seems like a good allusion to Dumbeldore coming back.
He was also very interested in learning all he could about Voldemort, and especially his ability to be reborn so to speak. I think Dumbeldore has learned that magic and will come back from the grave just as Harry most needs him.
Snape is totally a good guy. His killing of Dumbledore was not only intentional, but demanded by Dumbeldore himself. When you read the end of the sixth book it read as though Dumbeldore was surprised by Snape and was overpowered by him. But if you read it in the context of Dumbeldore wanting to die, then the conversation reads more like Dumbeldore demanding Snape kill him while Snape tries to get out of it.
Sirius, I think is dead for sure, but I suspect he will come back in some form. Maybe as a ghost who helps Harry out in some way, like giving information. Though he might be more like Yoda in Star Wars.
I'm also going to state for the record that Ginny is going to bite it. We need another main character death, but we've come to love the rest of the Weasleys too much. Ron and Hermione have to fall in love so they are out. But Harry and Ginny will become much closer, she will fight bravely but will get smited. That way we have another good death, Harry suffers even more, and the fans can still take it.
Well, that was long, and it was written in two sessions, so my apologies if it seems disjointed. Mainly I wanted to get some HP discussion going.