Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is on the near horizon. People have been throwing up ideas and possibilities and predictions about the ending to this great series of books for a long time — no reason I shouldn't toss my sorting hat into the ring as well. I have a few predictions for Deathly Hallows:
1. Mr. Ollivander will make an appearance. If you remember, he disappeared without any sign of struggle in The Half-Blood Prince. Voldemort will want to know as much as he can about how to defeat Harry, and considering what happened at the end of Goblet of Fire, he'll need to know more about Harry's wand. And why not go to the source? Mr. Ollivander, after all, created (or at least sold) both Voldemort's and Harry's wands.
2. Hagrid's brother Grawp will die, most likely trying to save Hagrid (or, perhaps, vice versa). Keeping Grawp around really serves no other purpose that I can see. (If this were Star Trek, he would be listed in the credits as "Away-Mission Giant.") With Rowling's focus on the value of being able to love, it isn't much of a stretch to imagine Hagrid's attempts to "civilize" Grawp leading Grawp to love and want to protect his brother.
3. One of the Dursleys will do something surprisingly brave for Harry. It'll likely be either Dudley or Petunia.
4. At some point in the novel, we will be led to believe that either Ron or Hermione is dead (or both), but that won't really be the case.
5. Viktor Krum will make a return appearance. I don't know what purpose he will serve — likely something to do with Karkaroff — but I think he'll be back, if only to make Ron self-conscious.
6. Neville will shine through. He may even sacrifice himself (or nearly so) to save his grandmother, which will make her completely rethink her disappointment in him. (If Rowling outlines the "happily ever after" that follows Voldemort's death, Neville will go back to teach Herbology at Hogwarts.
Major predictions — how it will end:
Through the first six novels, Harry was always being protected by the ones who loved him — his parents, Sirius Black, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Mr. & Mrs. Weasley. When the sixth novel ended, his protectors — including the spells that protected him while he lived with the Dursleys — were dying away (I sure hope Mrs. Weasley knows how to cast a good Shield spell), leaving Harry to stand alone against Voldemort.
Dumbledore stated outright that Harry's greatest power is his ability to love. He has also shown how Harry has been protected by the love of others. I think these two ideas will come together in the final chapters of The Deathly Hallows like this:
Voldemort wants Harry Potter for himself, as stated by Snape at the end of The Half-Blood Prince. He won't, then, simply want to kill Harry. There will be no Avara Kedavra cast at Harry. No, Voldemort will want to use the Cruciatus curse to torture Harry to death. At some point, Ginny Weasley, whom Harry loves, will come under direct assault by Voldemort. Without even considering his own life (for that is the nature of love, right?), Harry will come between Ginny and Voldemort and take the brunt of the curse. Ginny will be knocked unconscious.
Now, Voldemort unexpectedly has Harry Potter under his wand and helpless. Out comes the Cruciatus curse. The ending will mirror the final Death Star scenes in Return of the Jedi: Harry (Luke Skywalker) writhes on the ground under the effects of Voldemort's (Emperor Palpatine) power. Snape (Darth Vader) will then cast the final blow that kills Voldemort.
That's right — I predict that SNAPE will kill Voldemort. He may die in the process, but not before revealing why he had to kill Dumbledore and telling us that it was all part of Dumbledore's plan to defeat Voldemort.
Other completely different possibilities that I considered:
Grawp learns, if nothing else, love. But then Voldemort (or his lackeys) kills Hagrid. Grawp, in a sad rage, attacks Voldemort or takes out a whole bunch of Death Eaters, evening the odds in Harry's favor.
Snape will use Polyjuice Potion to "impersonate" Voldemort (which will be difficult, considering Voldemort doesn't have any hair to put in the potion) and disrupt Death Eater tactics and Voldemort's ultimate plan.
Comments welcome. Any bits of info I missed?