SPOILERS if you haven't read Books 1-6 and you want to!!! Stop reading now!
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London, England: J.K. Rowling has announced that the delay in writing the concluding book of her "Harry Potter" series has to do with her recent and previously unannounced conversion to Catholicism. "I had to rethink the ending quite a bit. I didn't want to leak this, but I think it is for the best, so that fans won't be shocked," said a radiant Rowling. So without further ado, her provided synopsis, as well as an editor's critical analysis.
Harry, having chastely and virtuously turned away his girlfriend Ginny in order to protect her from the evil of Satan (aka Voldemort, aka Tom Riddle), breaks his wand in half and throws himself about the mercy of Jesus Christ, who, despite references to Christmas and Easter holidays, has not been mentioned in the narratives. He develops a devotion to St. Michael the Archangel and chants St. Patrick's Breastplate prayer on a regular basis. Satan is frustrated by this ultimate denial of his importance and whines annoyingly in the background, doing damage but ultimately coming to nothing.
Harry spends much of the book debating, in Hamlet-like fashion, whether the people who have selflessly and lovingly died for him died outside of God's grace or not. The mid-section of the book is an extended internal debate between the Council of Florence's "Outside the Church, No Salvation," Karl Rahner's "anonymous Christianity," and C.S. Lewis' "Emeth, the good Calormene" in The Last Battle. This extended reflection, holding these people in his heart--Dumbledore, Sirius Black, and his mom and dad--lends Harry insight into the everlasting nature of the soul as well as the radical need to trust in God's justice and mercy. Harry ends the book making first vows with the Franciscans.
In supporting character development:
- Ron and Hermione, who have decided to stop acting like teenage idiots, are now engaged and making an engaged encounter retreat. They are learning NFP, in which Hermione's prodigious talent at Arithmancy is coming in handy. Ron is afraid he will lose the thermometer.
- The Weasley Brothers change their magic pranks shop in Diagon alley into a religious goods store, specializing in sacramentals.
- Percy, in a scene directly out of the prodigal son parable, returns to his parents claiming "I am not worthy to be your son." Mom and Dad Weasley kill the fatted garden gnome and celebrate, to the initial annoyance of Ron.
- In the most dramatic part of the book, Harry explains his new worldview to Snape, culminating in an apology for how he has treated Snape as sub-human scum. Snape then confronts the Death Eaters, stating that Jesus Christ died for wounded, flawed, untouchable people like him, and he was willing to choose Jesus rather than the any supposed "benefits" the Death Eaters have ever offered him, completing a journey from darkness to light that has taken his entire life. He is promptly martyred.
Since Jesus Christ has already redeemed the world through his death and resurrection, the plot is somewhat less hyper-inflated than in years past. Readers appreciating character development will enjoy the new twist. The book has no plot other than the lead characters' growth in holiness (of which the Augustinian-tinged conversion scene of Draco Malfoy is admittedly a nice touch). --Publishers Weekly.
Rowling has pledged to give 90% of all profits to Catholic Relief Services, which is planning to single-handedly end world poverty with the windfall.