How Harry Potter ends

Harry sits with his friends in a diner. Ominous customers cast enigmatic glances. Are they rival wizards? As one of them moves closer, the narrative abruptly stops, mid-sentence. Fans initally wonder if the last page is missing from their books.

Longtime readers are divided: is it a brilliant act of literary bravado which disregards both audience expectations and the traditional dramatic arc, or simply a pretentious, unsatisfying copout on the part of a creator who couldn’t figure out how to end a long-running series?

J.K. Rowling emerges from seclusion long enough to note defensively that “Real life doesn’t have neat, tidy endings!”