Fans Debate Harry Potter’s Fate in Final BookI wouldn’t classify myself as a “Harry Potter Fan” but I have been reading the novels ever since I was in the 4th grade when I was introduced to “Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone.” Hey, stop making that face! I ain’t the only black person that reads Harry Potter! Anyhow, back to the subject at hand … as you all may, or may not know, J.K. Rowling’s last, and final installment of the 7-book Harry Potter series will be released this summer – July 21 to be exact – and fans are already debating on what’s going to happen in this novel – since it is, of course, the last one!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows won’t be on sale until July 21, but fans are busier than the Sorting Hat on the first day of a new term at Hogwarts. They’re discussing, dissecting and dishing on what has happened so far in the series and what will happen in the seventh and final book. And There’s plenty to talk about. Scholastic, the U.S. publisher of the Potter series, is turning up the heat on the pre-publication debate today by releasing the first of its “7 Questions of Harry Potter,” which it hopes will provoke lots of chatter over the next few months. Questions will be posted every two weeks at scholastic.com/harrypotter and select retail websites. Visitors to the Scholastic site will be linked to Discussion Chamber message boards, where they can chat with other fans. Scholastic is distributing to stores 5.5 million bookmarks with the seven questions. Question No. 1, “Who Will Live? Who Will Die?” is already the hottest topic of discussion.

“Who dies is the No. 1 thing on people’s minds,” says Emerson Spartz, 20, who at 12 founded mugglenet.com, one of the biggest Potter fan sites in the universe. The site gets about 20 million hits a month. Spartz and fellow mugglenet.com editors are the authors of Mugglenet.com’s What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Falls in Love and How Will the Adventure Finally End? (Ulysses Press, $13.95). There are plenty of other places to talk about Harry. Barnes & Noble is hosting discussions about all the books in its online Waiting for Harry Book Club (bn.com/bookclubs). The chain just announced that pre-sales of the book — 500,000 — have surpassed pre-sales for any book in the company’s history. They predict pre-sales will top 1 million. (Amazon reports it has pre-sales of more than 500,000.)

Meanwhile, fans are turning to a growing number of unauthorized guides as they ratchet up their Potter trivia intelligence quotient, including:

• The End of Harry Potter? An Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries That Remain by David Langford (Tor, $12.95).

• Borders is the exclusive seller of The Unauthorized Harry Potter: Everything You Wanted to Know About the Harry Potter Series by Adam-Troy Castro ($14.95).

Die-hard fans are looking for the answers to more abstruse questions as well. “I’m most excited to find out how Harry gets Slytherin’s locket, because we see in the Deathly Hallows cover that Harry is wearing it around his neck,” says Grace Lane, 15, of Shoreham, Vt.

Oh, by the way .. author J.K. Rowling is saying that 2 people will die in this book. Who? No one but her knows (I’m assuming) so I guess everyone else has to wait until July 21 to find out!!