I'm pretty happy at the moment ... because only a couple of days ago I heard the title of the - probably - last "Harry Potter"-novel. This is an important stage in waiting for the new book to come out. It's what I call "The Gossip Stage", the time when virtually everything is possible.
"The Gossip Stage" starts with the first announcement of the new book (or movie or CD, enter the media of your choice here) and goes on until the very beautiful moment of the first selling date. You know that there's a new one coming up and it will be done soon enough (summer of 2007, as current gossip has it), but you still don't know what's going to happen - that you only can find out once the book is on sale. So gossip about the contents blooms.
Who's going to die in this novel? Ms. Rowling has announced that two people will die - and logic dictates one of them should be Voldemort, as this is supposed to be the last novel and he's the arch villain. I've heard two other names thrown in already: Severus Snape and Ron Weasley. I personally could also imagine her killing two birds with one stone (as the saying goes) and have Harry and the Dark Lord kill each other, but that's probably just my cynical way of thinking. Most others in the forum I read about it think Harry should live and be able to enjoy his life after seven years of danger and death - which I would really allow him to do, but it's not how real tragic stories work. Instead half of the people in the forum favour Severus Snape who could sacrifice himself in order to make up for killing Albus Dumbledore in the last book; the other half favours Ron Weasley, because this way he would once be in the centre of attention (talk about me being cynical...) and step out of his role of the sidekick.
I've got other questions I'd like to get answered. What happened to Draco Malfoy after the end of the last novel? Can he still be on Voldemort's side after a year of trying to live up to the expectations of a man like him? He surely must have realized himself he can't kill in cold blood. And what use is a Death Eater who can't kill in cold blood? Are the Dursleys going to realize how hard their 'freakish' relative's life really is? Not likely, if you ask me. How can Voldemort be killed for good? And what is really going to become of Harry after his enemy is dead? It wouldn't be the first time a hero goes over to the dark side after killing his enemy.
You see, in my mind the question of who's going to die isn't very important. I'm going to see that once I've got the book in my hands - which will be right after it came out in English, you can bet on that. Sooner or later the gossip will reach those questions as well.
But why do I think that "The Gossip Stage" is so important? Because it shows a lot of people care about what's going to happen. The books still have a lot of readers. For somebody who usually is not reading much mainstream, this is a thrilling feeling. I will enjoy every word of gossip written about the new novel ... knowing pretty well that probably most to all of us (people have, for example, prophesied Ron's death since the first gossip about a person dying in novel four, but last time I checked, he was still alive) will be wrong about what's going to happen. That's a good thing, because what use would it otherwise be to read the book?
About half a year until we can read the truth about it ... oh, glorious gossip.