The Bookmakers Have Spoken: Harry Potter Will Die in Book 7

Don’t shoot the messenger.

Caught this post today on Paul Kedrosky’s blog and on Marginal Revolution. It included this quote from a Bloomberg piece on a bookmaker has stopped taking bets on Harry Potter dying. Apparently, all the money was going towards him dying – no one would take the other side of the bet.

William Hill Plc, a London-based bookmaker, is so sure of Harry’s demise that it stopped accepting wagers and shifted betting to the possible killers. Lord Voldemort, who murdered Potter’s parents, is the most likely villain, at 2-1 odds, followed by Professor Snape, one of his teachers, at 5-2.

“Every penny was on Harry dying, and it became untenable,” said Rupert Adams, a William Hill spokesman. “People are obsessed about this book.”

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” from Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, goes on sale July 21 with a retail price of 17.99 pounds ($35.50). It’s published in the U.S. by Scholastic Corp. for $34.99. Advance orders put the book at the top of online bookseller Inc.’s U.K. best-seller list eight hours after Rowling announced the title Dec. 21.

Rowling, 41, caused a stir among Potter fans when she said two characters will die in the new book. The six earlier novels about Harry’s adventures at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry have sold more than 300 million copies, earning Rowling a 545 million-pound fortune and making her wealthier than Queen Elizabeth II, according to the U.K.’s Sunday Times Rich List. “

This is a pretty typical PR piece, but interesting nonetheless. I am a huge fan of betting & futures markets as excellent barometers and predictors based on the “wisdom of crowds”, to the limits of that wisdom, of course.

You have to wonder… assuming that JK Rowling has know the fate of Harry since Book 1, then it might be fair to assume that despite her best intentions, she has leaked very minor, subtle clues subconsciously into what she has and hasn’t written into the first six books.  It’s possible that, when exposed to millions of human minds, those subtle clues would lead to a consensus view on the matter that might be accurate.

Or, the perverse type of person who would bet on Harry Potter just happens to have a bias towards a gory end for the boy wizard.

You decide.  🙂

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