[Spoiler Warning: This article contains plot/ending. Reader discretion highly recommended.]
The world works in mysterious ways. If you still believe in coincidences, I hate to break it to you, but there are no such thing. Everything is related to everything else. For instance, why does the Harry Potter series end up in 7 books? Well, according to numerology, 7 'is the most mysterious and uncanny of the numbers and one of the most important in magic.'1 There is no better number to complete the series with, other than this number. Harry Potter is our main magus figure. He is what would be called a 'white magician', as opposed to Voldemort and the deatheaters being the 'black magicians'. J.K. Rowling sketches a perfect antithesis of the two sides of the art by creating a child, protected by love and steeped with innocence and goodness, against a non-living evil magician desparately attempting to return to the world and gain total control.
Magician figures are replete throughout the history of English literature. From Merlin in Arthurian legends, all the way to Prospero in Shakespeare's 'The Tempest', John Faustus in Marlowe's 'Doctor Faustus', and even Gandalf and Saruman in J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings'. Since the middle ages, we have been fascinated by the mystical world of magic. It has provided an excellent way of creating theatrical spetacles because the wonders of this occult art is beyond the understanding of the average human being.
Historical magicians such as Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Pico della Mirandola, Giordano Bruno, Simon Magus, and John Dee, have all contributed a tremendous amount of knowldge in this realm. Probably most familiar to the average audience and reader, would be John Dee, the philosopher, astrologer, and magician, but also a chief consultant of Queen Elizabeth I. He was considered a crucial figure during her reign, but when James I succeeded the throne, he was deemed as a heretic. Interestingly, Jacobean theatre created a fair share of plays concerning magicians. In today's fiction and theatrical world, it maintains to be the perfect means through which the writer conveys certain ideas in the disguise of fantasy and science fiction. This disguise is, unfortunately dimissed by the majority as insignificant and time wasting. However, by using a plot that seems impossible, the authors' intended ideas are paradoxically enlarged tenfold.
The battle between good and evil is ultimately the problem that many stories set out to portray. In the case of Harry Potter, we have a young and inexperienced magician fighting against an evil whose power far exceeds his own. The audience is drawn into the plot line because Harry Potter is our typical everyman figure. He starts out as a powerless, innocent young person, who gains more experience as the plot progresses. The storyline of the series also develops along with its protagonist. As the boy gets older and more mature, the plot becomes darker and the antagonist becomes even more powerful, and more difficult to diminish.
Harry Potter's white magic is justified by his cause. He intends to rid evil and restore order to the wizardry world, but also the muggle world. On the contrary, Voldemort's magic is sinister, and considered black magic, because we now see that since he became aware of his power as Tom Riddler, he is unable to control it. The key word here is 'control'. Magic is powerful. A powerful magician learns to control his powers. Voldemort is quite the contrary. His power far exceeds his ability to constrain it, therefore he is consumed by his own powers.
The magician plays a significant role in literature and the stage, and in this case films as well. Symbolically, the magician's role is 'a man whose horizon were both limitless and limited, a self-contained paradox'. 2Harry Potter's power may become dangerous to others if he does not learn to control it. Hogwarts provides a means through which all those with these innate magical powers can learn to control them. Of course, there are also those who are born wizards and witches who have no innate talent but have entered Hogwarts to obtain knowledge in the occult art simply because they are expected to be the same as their parents. This provides a perfect backdrop which magnifies the powers of both Harry Potter and Voldemort.
All battles against evil contain certain sacrifice of innocent figures. In the Goblet of Fire, Cedric was the sacrifice. This pure and innocent character who has absolutely no ill intention is killed in order to enrage our protagonist's desire to restore order to the world. In the Order of the Phoenix, Sirius Black was the sacrifice to futher intensify that feeling. The ultimate sacrifice, however, is the death of Dumbledore. These three figures will not die for no reason. Although Harry is deemed to be the one to restore order, he will be accompanied by two others who will undoubtedly serve as crucial figures in the ultimate fight against evil.
One may wonder how I could be so sure that the good will win the final battle, since I have never read any of the books. I would like to end this article by providing an answer to this. As mentioned earlier, the series is written in 7 books, with 3 main protagonists. In numerology, both 3 and 7 are powerful numbers.3 The number 7 'holds the key to the underlying rhythms of life'4while the number 3 'stands for everything that is best, most perfect and most holy' 5in the Christian belief. The number 3 is also the number of completeness, thus as there is no such thing as coincidences, I do believe that the good will, as of always, prevail over the evil.
1. Cavendish, Richard, The Black Arts (New York, NY: Penguine, 1972) p. 67
2. Triaster, Barbara Howard, Heavenly Necromancers: The Magician in English Renaissance Drama (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1984) p.1
3. Cavendish, p. 29
4. Ibid, 69
5. Ibid, 71