LONDON (Reuters) - J.K. Rowling has leaked the ending of the eagerly awaited last book of her Harry Potter series -- to her husband.
Speculation has been rife about who dies in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” since Rowling announced last year that at least two characters would be killed off.
She has given no clue as to who they were, and even Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who plays boy wizard Harry in the Hollywood adaptations of the books, has been kept in the dark ahead of the publication of the seventh installment on July 21.
“None of us get a preview,” Radcliffe told a news conference on Friday to promote “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” the fifth in the film franchise.
“I think only J.K. Rowling’s husband has recently found out what happens. I don’t think anybody else knows.”
The 17-year-old has previously said he hoped Potter would die at the end of the final book, but he was more cautious this time around.
“A couple of years ago I said I would like Harry to die because I think that is a conclusive ending. But I‘m going to steer away from that now because the next day the headlines were ‘Radcliffe Wants Harry Dead’,” he said.
“I do think it would be fitting in a way, because when you consider the prophecy that was made about him and Voldemort, one of them has to go. I think he might, but that’s based on absolutely nothing.”
In the latest movie, Harry discovers he and his evil nemesis Voldemort cannot both survive, raising the possibility that one, or both of them could die in the end.
Publishers have gone to great lengths to protect the contents of the last Harry Potter book until its release, which promises to be one of the biggest events in publishing history.
More than 325 million copies of the first six books have been sold, and the four movies released to date have amassed around $3.5 billion (1.8 billion pounds) in worldwide ticket sales. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” hits cinemas in early July.
Earlier this week, a computer hacker posted what he said were key plot details that he gleaned by breaking into a computer at London-based Bloomsbury Publishing.
The publisher declined to comment on the claims.
Radcliffe said he was aware of the claim, but that he had not read the posting and would only read an original copy.
Emma Watson, who plays Harry’s schoolmate Hermione Granger, said she hoped her character would survive.
“I‘m sort of thinking that she’s going to make it,” she said. “I don’t know why, but I think she’s going to make it. I hope so.”
She, Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley all said they hoped to continue acting once the Potter movie series was over, probably in 2010. But Grint said he had a backup plan if his career on screen and stage failed.
“Recently I got an ice cream van,” he said. “If it doesn’t work out I’ve still got the ice cream van.”