“I was afraid of death,” said Nick. “I chose to remain behind. I sometimes wonder whether I oughtn't to have . . . Well, that is neither here nor there . . . . In fact, I am neither here nor there . . . .”
But Jo confirmed last summer that Dumbledore is in fact dead. He's not coming back as a ghost like Nick. So he's really dead. Or is he?
Apparently "it's more complex" than that (scroll down almost to the end of the article where Jo visits the set of OoP and lets something slip to Dan). Of course, it may not be true. Dan somehow thought the DH was going to be published on 7/07 and that wasn't right, so who knows about this. But here's my train of thought:
Gandalf wasn't really dead. I never totally understood how he stopped being Gandalf the Grey and became Gandalf the White and what exactly that meant, but I also never thought Dumbledore would do something similar. But I also didn't think we'd heard the end of him. He kept making a point to promise Harry he'd tell him what happened to his hand. And he didn't. When he died, that was almost my first thought -- "but we never heard the story about his hand!" So, I think we will, in DH. Will it be in a memory? Memories survive after the death of those who remembered them, we know that because some of the memories Dumbledore showed Harry in HBP were from people who had since passed on. And there's also the portrait. Probably more than one portrait. I wonder where his other portrait might be and if that could be useful to Harry in his quest in DH. I wouldn't be surprised. Or there could be a completely different way we'll see Dumbledore. I mean, it's Dumbledore, after all, he's probably still got a few surprises up his sleeve. And hopefully Jo has, too.
Which brings me to Harry. Will Harry die? I think he will and he won't, in the opposite way from the way Dumbledore did. Dumbledore is dead, but not dead. We'll still see him in DH but he's really dead. Harry will die in DH, but not really die. We'll think he's dead, he'll think he's dead, we may even go on thinking that for a few pages. But he won't really be dead, he'll go on to live a long life and get married and have children and be successful at whatever career Jo chooses for him. But he'll have to come to the point that he's ready to die in order to vanquish Voldemort, and it will probably appear that he does so, at least for a short time. As to how this will come about, I couldn't begin to guess.
Harry dies in all of the books. Or at least goes to a very dark place.
After Quirrell touched him in Book 1, he was in a coma for several days. Dumbledore was quite worried. Also it's worth mentioning that the event that sent him into unconsciousness occurred deep underground. That's another recurring theme.
CoS again finds Harry deep underground and facing death from the Basilisk's poison. Saved by Fawkes, he is able to save Ginny as well as the rest of the students and the school, which could have closed but for him.
PoA -- well, he goes underground to get to the Shrieking Shack. And he almost has his soul sucked out of him by the Dementors.
GoF -- he visits a graveyard and almost is killed by Voldemort. Then, just for good measure, he's almost killed by Voldemort's most loyal servant after he gets back to Hogwarts.
OoP -- he's underground again, the Ministry is underground, with the Dept. of Mysteries at its deepest level if I read it correctly. And then he's sure he's dead from the pain of being possessed by Voldemort. Go back and read it if you don't believe me.
HBP -- underground lake. Immobilization curse. Dead Dumbledore. Harry doesn't care anymore, he takes risks in order to avenge Dumbledore's death. Snape saves him from the Death Eater who intends to kill him. Oh, and I almost forgot, Harry was pretty sure he was a goner when the Inferi grabbed him. Dumbledore saved him or he would have been dead.
So what will happen in DH? Harry will interact with Dumbledore again in some way. Then he'll go underground -- I'm thinking Gringotts is a good possibility, but it could just as likely be a place we haven't heard of before. Or it may be some new underground part of Hogwarts he hasn't yet explored. After all, there are seven secret passageways known to the Marauders. The one behind the 4th floor mirror is now blocked, and Harry knows where two others go, that still leaves 4 more, and also the possibility that there are others the Marauders never found. I'm still betting there's one you can enter from the Restricted Section of the library, but I could be wrong.
Harry's friends will help, but at some point he'll be left alone -- either separated from the rest because the battle occurs in two places simultaneously as in HBP, or because the rest are killed or incapacitated, or because Harry runs off on his own like in OoP. It's likely that at the moment of separation Harry won't be sure of the fate of the others. He'll face Voldemort alone, I think we've always known that. I hope he doesn't have to resort to using an Unforgivable Curse to do him in, I really do. I've been disturbed that Harry's even attempted them in previous books, and I think Snape's right, no Unforgivable Curses for Harry. I think there are other ways to bring down the Dark Lord.
I am toying with whether or not Tom Riddle will really die. I think he'll definitely cease to be Lord Voldemort, the Dark Lord. But will he die or will he turn away from the dark side like Anakin Skywalker did in the end? I know, Anakin still ended up dying. I can't see Voldemort being noble enough to die killing the evil emperor, but since Voldemort is the biggest evil in the Harry Potter universe, he won't get the chance anyway. That might be Snape's job. Maybe Snape will have a hand in killing the Dark Lord. Though he won't be able to do it without Harry.