British journalist and author Greg Palast has posted an interesting article on his official website this week that claims to reveal the alternate ending that author J.K. Rowling wrote for the final Harry Potter novel The Deathly Hallows. According to Palast, he and Rowling are friendly enough that she revealed to him in confidence the other ending she came up with for the final book. He claims that she divulged this other ending to him after he expressed to her his disappointment with the ending that was published in the book (he felt the published ending was too influenced by the eventual movie to follow). While Palast confesses he never saw the typed, hardcopy of this other ending, he claims that he remembers almost precisely what she told him … and now shares it with the world all these years later. Curious about this supposed other ending? Click below to read it in full.
To the Forbidden Forest
Harry marched toward the field where Voldemort waited with his pack of Dementors. Harry’s scar burned brutally, saving him the pain of thinking too deeply about his decision, likely to bring him nothing but death.
What special evil, what deadly and devious spell had the Dark Lord prepared for Harry’s destruction? Voldemort had hunted after Harry for more than a decade; doubtless Voldemort would arm himself with a special curse far more powerful and final than the Avada Kedavra which had failed to kill Harry as a child.
Harry was terribly right. The Dark Lord, in his clearing in the Forbidden Forest, was preparing a charm as devastating as Harry feared, and far more horrific. As Harry marched to this fated meeting, Voldemort passed his wand among the icy Dementors, commanding each to lay their Kiss upon it.
Voldemort, in those pained, lonely nights of his exile and recovery, had conceived of a way to hurl a Dementor’s kiss from his wand, the kiss that would take away the soul of its victim forever. And now he would blast Harry with hundreds of them. Voldemort’s reward would be greater than watching Harry’s burial. He would have Harry frozen in place, Harry’s living being encased for eternity at the moment of Harry’s ultimate humiliation and defeat, a terrifying monument to Voldemort’s victory for all to see for all time. Voldemort’s joy rose with every Dementor’s kiss to his wand.
Harry could feel their grave-like cold as he approached and the pull of their despair. It was hopeless, and he was helpless in the face of it. And he knew it.
But then, Harry felt the presence of a young man and woman, though he could not see them. These two ghosts lovingly held his body up and raised his spirit. It was, he was certain, the last remaining life-force of his parents, making one last sacrifice by joining him on his final journey. He allowed himself a moment of peaceful happiness, feeling them so close.
Then he stopped. Harry shivered with a deep chill of recognition. They were not his parents. They were Voldemort’s: the young Tom Riddle and his bride who, for this occasion, had taken back her beautiful maid’s countenance. They said, using no words, “Our dearest son, we will not allow you to be harmed.”
Were their words for him? Or for Voldemort? Somehow, it didn’t seem to matter – they seemed so kind when he needed nothing more at this moment than a parent’s love.
Harry, and the two warm spirits becoming more visible, approached the edge of the swirling crowd of Voldemort’s followers, who parted, preparing to give the victim an easy corridor to his doom.
Voldemort’s wand had returned to his white, skeletal hand. The Dark Lord pointed it confidently to where Harry would surely emerge from the crowd, not yet to destroy Potter but to hold him while he prepared to give Harry an oration on the eternal punishment about to strike him.
Voldemort laughed when Harry stumbled through. But when the Dark Lord saw the specters of his parents, he howled as if cut in half. With his furious heart in flames, Voldemort immediately unleashed the deadly Kisses, bellowing, “Oppugno Mortimbessios!” And all the vile terrors of the Dementors, in an unstoppable flash from his wand, rushed toward Harry and the spirits at his side.
It was only a hundredth of a second for Voldemort’s curse to reach Harry. But somehow the world seemed to slow down, the Earth ceased to rotate; all on the planet held still, though Harry was aware he was free to move. Harry had planned every shield charm for his defense, but all now were clearly useless. Harry found himself unable to do more than calmly bend to one knee and bow his head, preparing to accept the force of the blow and his death and end.
As he kneeled, in that quiet moment outside time, the two shadows flew from him toward Voldemort. And Voldemort changed. The Dementors’ chill wind, and Time, moved backward; and there was Voldemort, growing to his younger, more potent, frightening self.
The curse struck Harry’s scar, obliterating it, then, in a loud roar, he felt the crushing pain of his skull opening, and then the shrieking curse rushing from his head – back toward the wand that sent it.
As the curse turned back toward him, Voldemort continued to grow younger still, until he was a little child again with his mother and father at his side. When they realized the full force of Voldemort’s own spell was about to strike him, his parents put their reassuring arms around their son to protect him from this ultimate blow.
And then it struck. And now the three entwined souls, Tom Riddle, his wife and young child, would remain forever entombed in that one moment, never able to leave.
And never wanting to.
Hogwarts AD 2130
The headmaster, his stringy white beard uncombed and his wrinkled, bald head topped by a drooping wizard’s cap, looked with wistful gratitude at the empty picture frame he’d convinced the Ministry to put up, despite their reluctance. He knew he’d soon be residing in that little square etched with the name, “Harry Potter,” separated from Albus Dumbledore’s only by the portraits of Headmistresses McGonagall and Chang.
The old wizard could hear below the school abuzz with preparations for his 150th birthday. He shifted Ginny, a bird of paradise, to a perch nearer his desk. His wife, rather than grow old, had turned herself into this beautiful bird, but still insisted on giving un-birdlike advice. “Harry, dearest, you can’t miss your own birthday party. And it’s so lovely outside.”
Indeed, the summer day had brought out scores of picnickers who had come to set their baskets and blankets out near the warm light cast by the living statue of the happy family with the little child. No one but the old headmaster knew who was encased in that glowing sphere. When the Dementors were released from the spell of Voldemort, they, and indeed every wizard excepting Harry and the shade of Albus, were cleansed of all memory of the Dark Lord. Now, after more than a century, curiosity about the family in the statue had long ago ceased. Harry had simply ordered a plaque placed there. It said only, “Riddles.”
“I will go,” he told his feathered wife, “but I have to keep an eye on the boy for a bit.” Harry’s great, great grandson, not yet able to walk, silently played on the rug with his chocolate frog. Then suddenly, in inexplicable anger, little Tom crushed the candy animal. Harry watched this, and knew the whole world would soon darken again for generations to come.
Keep in mind, this other ending presented by Greg Palast was written by him from memory of what he claims Rowling told him. Naturally it won’t read exactly as Rowling may have written it (if, indeed, she did compose this other ending) but I suppose it sounds plausible enough. I sincerely doubt we will ever know for sure if this other ending is a genuine creation of Rowling‘s imagination (and I suspect Rowling may not be as friendly with Palast from here on out) but it is a curious read. What do y’all think? Does this other ending story ring true to you? What do you think of this other Harry Potter ending?