Who to Die?
by Kate Dixon


November 29, 1999

< >Ever since Ms. J.K. Rowlings announced that in the fourth Harry Potter book, someone will die, there have been many discussions and predictions of who it might be. Some people say Hagrid; some say Ron. Some people have mentioned Dumbledore as a possible candidate for death, and this theory is the one that I support. I believe that it is to be expected that Dumbledore will die. No, let me put it more strongly; I believe that there are strong reasons why Albus Dumbledore must die.

< >Not that I dislike him; he is one of my favorite characters. However, I believe that his death will be ultimately beneficial. Why? Well, because the Harry Potter stories fit a certain type of tale. I am not saying that they are not original; I believe that they are works of genius. However, they follow a certain, well laid out type of story. Two of the best know of this type of story are Star Wars and the legend of King Arthur. There are many other examples of less known tales of this nature; however, I will not go into them here. The two aforementioned stories are examples enough of this. By taking examples from these stories, I believe I can prove my point.

< >First, though, I want to prove that drawing parallels between these stories is a valid method. Although the stories themselves are very distinct, there are certain similar elements. Take the protagonist in each story, for example. He's a young orphan, raised by people who don't understand him. With the help of two or three loyal friends, he achieves his goal. Along the way, greatness is thrust upon him. Each must face a powerful enemy. And each has a wise mentor to guide him.

< >The mentor. That's the part I want to focus on. Arthur has the wise Merlin. Luke Skywalker has the mystical Obi - Wan Kenobi. And Harry has the curious figure of Albus Dumbledore behind him. These three men do very similar things in their stories.

< >First, there is the act that each does of taking the infant hero to be raised anonymously. [We do not know for sure that Obi - Wan did this; however, in all likelihood he did.] Then later they take the young hero under their wing, teaching him the things he will need later. Each, significantly, pass on to the hero a possession of his father. Arthur pulls his father's sword from a stone and receives the kingdom that Merlin has preserved for him. Luke is given his father's lightsaber, and with it, the ability to become a Jedi. Harry is given his father's Invisibility Cloak, which enables him to do most of his later adventures.

< >The third role each mentor plays is that of protector. Merlin keeps Arthur safe from the lords who would kill him. Obi - Wan protects Luke from the Empire. And Dumbledore steps in on several occasions to save Harry.

< >That is why he must die. As long as Dumbledore remains alive, Harry will be unable to grow beyond what he is. Dumbledore functions as a type of safety net for Harry. Harry believes that whatever happens, Dumbledore will manage to save the day for him. And this faith is justified, for Dumbledore often comes in like the deus ex machina of ancient literature, just in time to save the day. Harry cannot do what he must, as we know he someday must, if he believes that Dumbledore will be able to save him.

< >This, too, is demonstrated in the other stories, for neither hero can stand alone until his protector is gone. This is obvious by any read or view of the tales; I'll not go into details here and bore you. But these stories reveal, not just that Dumbledore must die, but how he must die.

< >It must be in battle with Voldemort, who he himself helped train. Just as Obi - Wan was killed fighting his former student, just as Merlin's magic was used against him by whichever enemy got rid of him [some versions say Morgan le Fay, some a girl named Nimue, who is often connected to Morgan, the great evil of the Arthurian legend.], so must the magic Dumbledore taught the young Tom Riddle will kill him. And this will have another good effect on Harry, besides making him stand on his own two feet; it will show him that the Dark arts are not for him, in a way that, perhaps, the long-ago death of his parents could not.

< >/font>So again, I say, Dumbledore must die. But who knows? Maybe Ms. Rowlings looks at it a different way and need not kill Albus Dumbledore. I would be the first to rejoice that I am wrong, for I do not want Dumbledore to die. But, alas, I fear that it is destined to be.

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