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Students try to conjure up future of Harry Potter tales
By MOLLY McCARTHY
HORSEHEADS -- A spirited debate recently erupted among the members of Horseheads High School's Harry Potter Book Club about what the title character in J.K. Rowling's fantasy series will do after he graduates from the mythical Hogwarts Academy.
Some thought the young wizard would become the headmaster of the school, while others speculated that Harry would become a professional quidditch player.
(For you Muggles, aka nonmagic people, quidditch is a game Harry and his friends play while flying around on brooms.)
There was one point on which the teenagers definitely did agree -- they can't wait to read the next book in the series.
"I just enjoy the fantasy of there being an alternate reality of wizards," said junior Jeffrey Mathews, 17.
Sean Conor Anderson, a vocal music teacher at Horseheads and a Harry Potter fan, started the club last March so that anyone in the school who enjoyed the series would have a place to discuss it. They meet most Thursdays after school in the chorus room.
When the sixth book in the series will be released also generated discussion among the club members, with speculation ranging from spring 2005 to spring 2006. The author's official Web site, www.jkrowling.com, reports that "book six is well under way."
Until then, the students will have to hypothesize about Harry's future.
"We're forced to do all kinds of bizarre predicting," said senior Jackie Spicer, 17, smiling.
There are rumors about the series that circulate on the Web for the students to track down, too.
For instance, one rumor says Rowling is thinking of publishing a book after the Harry Potter series is complete with items that did not make it into those books. Her official Web site confirms Rowling is considering that.
In addition to asking the question "What next?" the students also delve into the books from a literary perspective.
During a recent discussion about the fourth book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," students talked about foreshadowing and made comparisons to "The Tempest" by William Shakespeare.
They're eager to share what they know about Harry Potter, too.
Recently about a dozen book club members gathered in a circle around junior Roxanne Hodge, 16, as she read questions from a Harry Potter trivia game.
"Ron!" they shouted in unison to the question, "Who teaches Harry Potter to play wizard chess?"
"It's really good because you can talk about the books and you can debate them," Hodge said of the club.
One thing the students are careful not to do is to spoil the books for anyone who has not yet read them. For instance, they did not want to give away the name of the character who died in book five.
"We don't want to ruin it for anyone," Spicer said.
Published December 17, 2004