I feel pretty sure that most readers - of all ages - are well prepared for anything that might happen in book 7. The good folk at The Leaky Cauldron took it all in their stride. They're even running a poll on which characters are most likely to die. I imagine you can place bets on it in London by now. (My money's on Hagrid and Ron, and I think Snape has to go too. Voldemort doesn't count. But I'll just pretend to be a grown-up and act like I can deal with the suspense.)
But all hell's broken loose in the papers and the(adult) blogosphere.
Chasing Ray makes an impassioned plea for Harry to live on:
When did the good guys winning become something that a young adult author needed to avoid?
The Guardian thinks a bit of grief is good for youngsters:
The rumours alone of Potter's demise, whether or not exaggerated, will be enough to bring the issue of mortality firmly on to the breakfast table where it will further loom over many a school run in the coming weeks and hype-filled months.
Those of us who still haven't recovered from Beth's demise in Little Women might not agree, although our therapists may.
But they're not pulling any punches over at Bookninja:
I hope he dies while listening to bad prose, or better, by eating his creator's words.
Bitch-slapped by Bookninja. Nasty.
No wonder she's a recluse.
Anyway, the most interesting thing, besides the frenzy, is that in the same interview Rowling admitted she'd boxed herself in on a couple of issues early in the series and now has to write her way out of them. The most astounding thing for me, when I read Rowling now, is how incredibly foresightful she has been, and how she lays the groundwork for characters and events early on - even minor things - and how complex the plotting is. Now I know what it's like to write a series I am awe-struck at the prescience. It's remarkable, if you ask me, that she's only boxed herself in a couple of times.
There must be literally hundreds of characters and dozens of strands by now, including red herrings and insignificant details, and I can't imagine how she keeps it all in her head. She can't go back and change anything. She's stuck with words she imagined last decade, when she was a different person and had no idea who her readership would be. Remarkable.