I've been far more absent from TNTM than I've planned lately, but wanted to get this up tonight.
And Harry remembered his first nightmarish trip into the forest, the first time he had ever encountered the thing that was Voldemort, and how he had faced him, and how he and Dumbledore had discussed fighting a losing battle not long thereafter. It was important, Dumbledore said, to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then could evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated. . . .
And Harry saw very clearly as he sat there under the hot sun how people who cared about him had stood in front of him one by one, his mother, his father, his godfather, and finally Dumbledore, all determined to protect him; but now that was over. He could not let anybody else stand [for him ...] There was no waking from his nightmare, no comforting whisper in the dark that he was safe really, that it was all in his imagination; the last and greatest of his protectors had died[.]
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, p.644-45 (US hardback first printing). Slightly over two years ago, I read those words, and something quite specific came to mind. I posted about it then, without explicitly making the connection clear, lest it be considered spoiler-ish. Now, on the eve of Deathly Hallows, I feel no such compunction.
What would you do / if you were asked to give up your dreams for freedom?
What would you do / if asked to make the ultimate sacrifice?
Would you think about all them people / who gave up everything they had?
Would you think about all them war vets / and would you start to feel bad?
Freedom isn't free / it costs folks like you and me
And if you don't all chip in / we'll never pay that bill
'Cause the only reason you're here / is 'cause folks died for you in the past
So maybe now it's your turn / to die kicking some ass
R.A.B. is Regulus Alphard Black.
The remaining Horcruxes are (1) Voldemort's remaining soul, (2) the locket, (3) the cup, (4) Nagini, and (5) the Marauder's Map.
We will return to the Room of Requirement. Snape's old Potions book is in there. So is a Horcrux, likely the brain of the Marauder's Map, which has some connection to Rowena Ravenclaw.
Voldemort will die.
Harry will "go on to the next great adventure" (i.e., die).
Snape will betray Harry to Voldemort, and Voldemort to Harry. While I'd like to see Harry kill him, Voldemort will.
Arthur Weasley will become Minister of Magic, though possibly not until the epilogue/last chapter.
Which is a good thing, because Mrs. Weasley will die. So will at least 2 Weasley children.
If Harry dies, Ron and Hermione will live. If I'm wrong and Harry lives, either Ron or Hermione will die.
Madam Sprout will die, likely in a battle at Hogwarts. This way Neville can be Herbology professor.
Peter Pettigrew will fail to deliver up Harry to Voldemort, and will die for it.
The Hepzibah Smith who owned the cup and the locket will prove to be kin to Zacharias Smith and his haughty father mentioned in HBP.
Really out on a limb: Regulus Black is still alive, and was the huge blond death eater who kept missing all the non-death eaters with jinxes in the battle at the end of HBP.
Aberforth Dumbledore is the bartender at the Hog's Head. Aside from JKR's wink and a nudge w/r/t RAB = Regulus Black in the LeakyMug interview when HBP came out, this is the common projection in which I place the most faith.
I think John Granger is probably right when he posted that Hagrid was the one character JKR planned to kill, then decided to save.
See also here for some of my predictions (name "tojgow"). I particularly stand by Malfoy gets to live because he's an idiot.
Ollivander will show up. The theory that he's been helping house elves get wands, and we'll see the house elves of Hogwarts defend the school is an interesting one, but not one I personally subscribe to.
Harry is NOT the Heir of Gryffindor. I can't remember if JKR has officially debunked this or not, but it certainly doesn't seem as popular as it did a few years ago.
Something will happen w/r/t the Dursleys, but I haven't figured out what exactly, nor do I know what Dudley is most scared of.
In all probability, I have overestimated the number of people to die.
Finally, a sure bet: after only sleeping from about 2:15 to 6:35 last night, I will be very tired when I finally go to bed tonight after finishing the book. I will likely write up spoilerrific material, but WILL NOT post them on here. I'll grab some webspace elsewhere, put them up there, and post a link here.