Paul has been saying that it would be a bad move for J.K. Rowling to kill Harry Potter in the last book. While it could make for an exciting and depressing ending, the publisher would lose out on potential sales as future readers won’t want to bother reading a whole series knowing the main character dies.
My 12-year-old has lost interest in reading the series, but Paul is currently reading the seventh book to my 7-year-old who is into it and even tries to read it though it’s above his level. It wouldn’t surprise me if he decides to read them again when he is ready to read at that level — but his (my three-year-old, too, I hope) and future generations won’t want to bother reading the series knowing Harry dies at the end (like no one is going to find this out before picking up the series).
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1) (Harry Potter)Paul believes that’s why the The Chronicles of Narnia series didn’t catch on as much as it could have. Few people read beyond The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe because of what happens at the end of the series plus a couple of the books weren’t as good. A Wrinkle in Time also had this problem — the books that followed weren’t as good.
Rowling has done an superb job with the flow and making each book an exciting read. Sure, some books aren’t as strong as others, but they’ve withstood the challenge of hanging on to the reader because she planned them as a series from the start just like The Lord of the Rings.
To ensure a series of books survives for years after they’re completed not when they’re released, authors must:
* Write an ending that won’t turn away future readers
* Make each book strong
* Look at the whole series before writing the first book
Consider Six Feet Under. The main character died in the last season (not the last episode, however). I had been watching the show on DVD and knowing this fact lowered my interest. I’m still watching the series — but I believe the show won’t have as many people renting / buying the series as it would have had the character lived.
We know Rowling is killing a couple of characters, but if her publisher wants the books to become a classic like The Lord of the Rings, then Harry must live.