Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

No matter how desperate you are for Harry to live, some experts in classic literature and mythology say that finishing off the young wizard would make sense ó in a literary kind of way.
“If you look at the tradition of the epic hero … there is this sort of pattern that the hero delivers people to the promised land but does not see it himself,” said Lana Whited, professor of English at Ferrum College in Ferrum, Va., pointing out examples from King Arthur to Moses to Frodo.
But even if he lives, don’t be surprised if it’s a hard-fought victory, she said. Another aspect of the classic hero myth is that even if he wins, it’s not without some loss.
Greek mythology has plenty of examples, like Hercules, who was killed at the height of his strength, said Mary Lefkowitz, a retired classics professor who taught at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.
And don’t be fooled into thinking a happy ending is automatic just because the main characters are young, said Anne Collins Smith, assistant professor of philosophy and classical studies at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.
ó Associated Press

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