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Potter site plans for VII

Emma Driscoll | Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Like millions of Harry Potter fans all over the world, Notre Dame sophomore Emerson Spartz, the founder of mugglenet.com, has mixed feelings about the July release of the latest and last installment in the series – “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

“On one hand, I don’t know whether to be excited about it because I really want to read it, but on the other hand, it is the end of an era almost, and there really won’t be much to look forward to after that,” Spartz said. “Part of me wishes it would take longer.”

For Spartz, the years that he and other Potter fans spend waiting for a new book between installments is part of the excitement of the series.

“The time between books – the anticipating and the speculating – is almost more special than just the actual reading of the book,” he said.

After the release of book six, Spartz co-authored Mugglenet.com’s “What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7.” The book – with 290,000 copies in print – is currently No. 3 on the New York Times Children’s Book Paperback Best Seller list, Spartz said.

Spartz said the “What Will Happen” authors have two main predictions for book seven.

“We’re pretty sure that neither Harry, Ron nor Hermione will die,” he said. “We think Snape is working for the Order of the Phoenix. Those are our two biggest predictions for the book.”

Trying to consider the book from author J.K. Rowling’s perspective, Spartz said he does not think she will have Harry, Ron or Hermione die. Since he believes Rowling got the idea to write a series about a boy with a difficult life, he doesn’t think she would let him die at the end of it.

Another reason Spartz is still optimistic about Harry, Ron and Hermione’s survival comes right from the author’s mouth. At a book signing in Chicago, the bookstore manager told Spartz that he had asked Rowling “if Harry, Ron, and Hermione will live through the end of the series, and she said yes,” Spartz said.

“She could have changed her mind since then, but she’s had it planned out from the beginning,” he said.

Spartz said he has not had access to book seven, since it is in the editing phase and “kept under lock and key.”

As the series approaches its end, Spartz said his Mugglenet site – founded in the fall of 1999 – has been doing “better than ever.” He said the Web site gets more than 40 million hits a month from “literally every country on the planet.”

When Harry Potter books or movies are released, Spartz said the amount of visitors to mugglenet.com “spikes big time,” and he expects the same to happen this summer.

But even after the last book is released, Spartz predicted mugglenet.com will remain relevant for Potter fans.

While Spartz said that “there probably won’t be as much news going around” after the final book is released, there are still more Harry Potter movies left to be made. Also, he said new Potter fans will continue to be interested in the site.

“There’s always going to be new people getting exposed to the series for the first time,” Spartz said.

Spartz also said Rowling has written a lot of back story to the series that has not yet been published in any of the books. There “is always the possibility,” he said, that she publishes a collection of it.