Let the speculation begin.
Harry Potter may perish in the final installment of the boy wizard series in which two main characters die, author J.K. Rowling hinted in a television interview.
Speaking on Monday evening, Joanne Kathleen Rowling, 40, said she was well on the way to finishing the eagerly-awaited seventh Potter book.
"I wrote the final chapter in something like 1990, so I've known exactly how the series is going to end," she told a chat show on Channel 4 television.
"The final chapter is hidden away although it's now changed very slightly. One character got a reprieve. But I have to say two die that I didn't intend to die," Rowling said.
"A price has to be paid, we are dealing with pure evil here. They don't target extras, do they? They go for the main characters -- well, I do."
Asked whether one of the casualties would be Potter himself, Rowling said she had never been tempted to kill off the magician before the finale.
At the same time, she added: "I can completely understand, however, the mentality of an author who thinks, 'Well I'm gonna kill them off because that means there can be no non-author written sequels. So it will end with me and after I'm dead and gone they won't be able to bring back the character'."
The author said she did not want to commit herself either way on Potter's fate, telling interviewers Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan: "I don't want the hate mail, apart from anything else."
Speaking of her life as a famous writer, Rowling admitted to having been in denial during the unprecedented success of her first three books on the adventures of Potter and his friends at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
"That's where my reputation for being po-faced comes from. I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights," she said.
Rowling, who shot to fame from humble roots, also revealed that she still writes in cafes and based the character of Potter's good friend Hermione on a combination of herself and her sister when they were young.
As for the future after Potter, Rowling said: "I don't think I'm ever going to have anything like Harry again. You just get one like Harry."
The first six books in the series have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide and been translated into 63 languages.
The first four have also been made into blockbuster movies.
The seventh novel is reportedly due to be published next year at the earliest.