While most of the buzz leading up to the July 21 release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is all about the , he’s hardly the only one facing grave danger. Author J.K. Rowling has warned that this, her seventh Potter tome, will be a deadly volume.
At the close of the last installment, “The Half-Blood Prince,” the battle lines were drawn in the ongoing Second Wizarding War. The Death Eaters, Voldemort’s obsessively evil followers, were regrouping to wreak havoc after their attack on Hogwarts and the death of Dumbledore. And Harry, in wake of his mentor’s demise, renewed his quest to bring down the Dark Lord.
But beyond Harry and his inevitable showdown with his archenemy, what’s to become of the others who face the fray? Some are destined to fall. Some have their own missions to complete. And others have yet to show their true loyalties lie.
Last seen: After Harry announced his plans to go solo in his final quest, Hermione assured him that she and Ron would fight at his side no matter what.
Likely fate: It’s doubtful that Hermione will actually duel with You-Know-Who, but she’s bound to play an important part in planning the attack — a role she’s assumed before each big battle. And while she may be spared face-time with the ultimate evil, she’ll still find herself in the path of mortal danger with so many Death Eaters on the loose. Against the odds, count on her survival.
Ron Weasley Last seen: Along with Hermione, Ron offered to leave Hogwarts behind, and pledged to aid Harry in the destruction of the horcruxes, the magical receptacles that hold Voldemort’s soul, and face the big fight together.
Likely fate: Since they first became friends, Ron’s lived in Harry’s shadow. Now it’s time for him to be a hero, too. No doubt plenty of opportunities will arise as the violence escalates. And if it’s Hermione’s life that’s in jeopardy, he’ll be the first to risk all to save her. In the end, Ron’s another one destined to live. It would be unfair to kill off either Ron or Hermione before the almost-romance that’s been brewing between them ever sees the light of day.
Draco Malfoy Last seen: On the orders of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, the bad boy of Slytherin allowed the Death Eaters to enter Hogwarts via the vanishing cabinet and made attempts on Dumbledore’s life. When faced with one final chance to kill his headmaster, he couldn’t do it.
Likely fate: Serious consequences are in store for Malfoy due to his failure to complete Voldemort’s task. But that failure also signals the potential for redemption in the otherwise horrid character. He could possibly find himself on the side of the good guys before it’s over. Lives or dies? It’s a coin toss.
Rubeus Hagrid Last seen: The gentle half-giant was crying his eyes out by the end of book six, in mourning for the man he most admired.
Likely fate: Although Hagrid failed in an earlier attempt to secure an alliance with the giants, he may now, with the help of his half-brother Grawp, be able to convince them to break ties with the baddies. Of course his last encounter with the giants left him worse for the wear. Will Hagrid survive another attempt? Hagrid’s death would devastate Harry and reduce fans to puddles of tears, so it might just happen.
Severus Snape Last seen: When Malfoy dropped his wand, unable to kill Dumbledore, Snape stepped in to finish the job.
Likely fate: The real reason for Snape’s apparent betrayal will be revealed. And don’t think for one moment that he’s really working for the dark side. Dumbledore’s plea to Snape just before his death was surely an effort to push the professor to follow through with the act. It was necessary to satisfy Snape’s Unbreakable Vow, which should allow him to act as a double agent in Voldemort’s midst. Or not. One thing’s for sure, he’s not going to live much longer. Good guy or not, if you kill Dumbledore, you die.
Neville Longbottom Last seen: As a dedicated member of D.A. (Dumbledore’s Army), Neville fought off the advancing Death Eaters as they entered Hogwarts.
Likely fate: Gryffindor’s bumbling Herbology expert will finally get his day. Neville’s parents were tortured and left insane by a band of Death Eaters led by Voldemort’s most faithful follower, Bellatrix Lestrange. Expect Neville to avenge his parents by bringing Lestrange down, even if it costs him his own life.
Last seen: Following Dumbledore’s funeral, Harry broke up with Ginny for fear that You-Know-Who would hurt her to get to him.
Likely fate: Despite Harry’s best intentions, Ginny will still be a target for Voldemort. He already came close to killing her in “The Chamber of Secrets,” and now that she means so much to Harry, her life is sure to be in danger again. Harry might not be able to save her this time.
Peter Pettigrew Last seen: Hiding out in Snape’s home, Pettigrew skulked for clues to deliver to his master.
Likely fate: Though loyal to Voldemort, Pettigrew has the unique situation of also owing Harry a life-debt. And as Dumbledore told Harry, “the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew's life.” What better time to cash in that debt than the final confrontation? It could be the key to Harry’s success. But no matter how valuable old Wormtail proves to be, he won’t live. He’s nearly as bad as the big-V himself — he ratted out the Potters’ safe house, killed loads of muggles and left Sirius to do the time for it, plus he murdered Cedric Diggory. Dead man walking.
Ree Hines is a writer in Tampa