I know perfectly well that everyone else has already posted about this, but how can I resist? You're reading the words of one very-much-in-love fan.
Anyway, Chris Knight broke the news to me this morning: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (not the Deathly Hollows, as MSN had accidentally posted today) has been confirmed by J.K. Rowling and her publishing company. So if you were one of the three remaining Americans who didn't know that: now you do know.
Ahhh... now for the speculations. I need much more time to process this. The word "Hallows" intrigues me, though, as it refers to things sacred. And in America--I can't answer for England--"Hallow" is generally used as a verb or adjective, not a noun, so "the... hallows" interests me grammatically as well.
My first question: What in the Harry Potter books is held sacred? The traces of religious practice associated with 'magic'--traces which range in origin from alchemy to Zoroastrianism--have been stripped out of the books, far too cleanly to suggest that Ms. Rowling had any desire to do less. No, I doubt we'll find sacred items or rituals in the seventh book. If I may venture my opinion, those things which the great characters of Harry's story do venerate are principles: hope, friendship and loyalty, compassion, trust and honor; and, as is revealed clearly to Harry at the end of book 5--amid shattered silver instruments in Dumbledore's office, and in the agony of loss--love.
Make of that what you will.
Needless to say, I'm fascinated, and like children everywhere, am hanging on J.K.R.'s words. I've noticed that if I say on this blog that I'm going to post something, it'll never happen (still haven't reviewed Ender's Game, or Clay Aiken's latest CD, or that Over the Rhine concert) so I won't make too much of a comment about having a whole list of predictions to post the day before the release of book 7, or about my intention of putting aside my introverted tendencies and attending the nearest Midnight Madness to get one of the first copies out of the boxes.