The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.

Did J.K. Rowling ever explain the meaning behind that sentence?

On one hand, it sounds like "... but then... in a sequel designed to make me even MORE money"...

But I seem to recall that JKR has explicitly ruled out writing any sequels aside from encyclopedia? If so, then why such a cliffhangerish sounding phrase?

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    The epilogue is set 19 years after the series. That's it, really.
    – Izkata
    Dec 14, 2012 at 5:47
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    @Izkata - doesn't that sentence strike you as completely out of place in the narrative?
    – Silver Fox
    Dec 14, 2012 at 6:09
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    Aside from the fact that the books were about Harry's strife growing up, what is so out of place to say, "and they've lived happily for the past 19 years"?
    – phantom42
    Dec 14, 2012 at 6:54
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    What strikes me odd about the whole epilogue is that it's talking about the future. I expect tons of fans visiting the King's Cross station in Longon in the summer of 2017, trying to witness the scene described in the epilogue, or at least meet Harry if they can't pass the barrier.
    – b_jonas
    Dec 14, 2012 at 8:59

2 Answers 2


For years and years the word was -- and JKR confirmed this herself -- that the last word of the last book (Deathly Hallows) was going to be 'scar'.

ES: Is the last word of Book 7 still 'scar'?

JKR: At the moment. I wonder if it will remain that way.

MA: Have you fiddled with it?

JKR: I haven't actually physically fiddled with it. There are definitely a couple of things that will need changing. They're not big deals but I always knew I would have to rewrite it.

MA: But it's definitely still on that track?

JKR: Oh definitely. Yeah, yeah.


So this is a bit of a mixed message: Yes, the last word is going to be 'scar', except that I know I'm going to have to rewrite it, but it's definitely still on [the track of the last word of the last book being 'scar']. WUT?

JKR has never definitely ruled out writing sequels to the Potter books. My guess is that it's not on her plate right now, what with The Casual Vacancy and the publicity associated with that new novel. However, she has talked a lot about something called The Scottish Book, which is a code name for what would be her comprehensive Harry Potter encyclopedia (and what she went to court against The Harry Potter Lexicon for, to try and get an injunction against the Lexicon publishing their own Harry Potter encyclopedia. The court ruled against JKR and the Lexicon published what is basically a book version of their website.

I personally can't recall reading an explanation for the last two sentences in the epilogue. You can read some explanations about various characters and what she tried to convey about them in the epilogue in the transcript from her appearance at Carnegie Hall on 10.20.07 -- Teddy Lupin; Snape; Harry; Draco; to name a few.

The fact that the last word was supposed to be 'scar' for so many years, and then the last sentences were rearranged, suggests to me that she wanted to convey contentment and closure instead of focusing on a bit of flair that may not have fit the sentiment she was trying to get across. I don't see a "but then ... in a sequel to make me even more money ... muahahaha!" I think if she did do a sequel to the Potter series it would be because she felt compelled to tell a story, not make more money. She has so much money -- do you truly believe her motive for writing is financial? I can't quite go there myself.

¹Regarding Draco, this bit from the Carnegie Hall interview made me laugh: I think the very worst burden Harry could have put Malfoy under was this one, that Malfoy has to feel any kind of gratitude. So I tried to show that slightly in the epilogue when they look slightly at each other and there's a, "Hi. It's so embarrassing, you saved my life. No one will ever let me forget it."

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    Thanks! I truly don't believe that the Lexicon case was about money; I think it was about intellectual property (is that the right term?). As for the publisher and Warner Bros ... I don't feel I know enough about business or publishing to make a knowledgeable comment, but I suppose that could certainly be true. Would I personally try and milk that cash cow by all means necessary? No, I wouldn't. But you know I'm freak about things like that. :) Dec 14, 2012 at 13:55
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    the entire legal AND ethical system underlying intellectual property is about money :) Also, you are not acting as a fiduciary for your dependents legally. A publisher acts as a fiduciary for their shareholders and therefore can and will be sued for gross negligence if they do something completely incompetent losing shareholders money. Dec 14, 2012 at 14:00
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    Also, if JKR is NOT all about extra money, she would allow free and non-DRMed unlimited distribution of HP ebooks, and provided full searchable text of Pottermore. And gave me $10,000 for all the HP posts here. Dec 14, 2012 at 14:02
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    @DVK If you spent over a decade on one project, started working on an encyclopedia for that project, and then learn that someone else is going to publish an encyclopedia under that project's name without your consent... wouldn't you want to stop them as well?
    – Izkata
    Dec 14, 2012 at 17:20
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    @DVK - Seeing as the Lexicon people haven't touched the Lexicon since 2008, I highly doubt they give a **** anymore :)) Dec 14, 2012 at 20:27

The sentence was actually changed from something that was even more ambigous.

Meredith Vieira: The end of the book: I had read that the last word was supposed to be "scar." But the last--

J.K. Rowling: And it was for a long, long time. For a long time the last line was something like: "Only those who he loved could see the lightning scar." And that was in reference to the fact that as they were on the platform, people were milling around. And that Harry was kind of flanked by, you know, his loved ones. So they were the only ones who were really near enough to see it, even though peo-- other people were looking. And it also had a kind of ambiguity. So it was-- is the scar still really there? But I changed it because I wanted a more-- when I came to write it, I wanted a very concrete statement that Harry won. And that the scar, although it's still there, it's now just a scar. And I wanted to say it's over. It's done. And maybe a tiny bit of that was to say to people, "No, Voldemort's not rising again. We're not going to have Part Two. Harry's job is done." So that's why I changed it.

Meredith Vieira: To "all is well." And you knew when you came up with that line, that was it.

J.K. Rowling: It just felt ... I felt a kind of (SIGH). And that's-- that felt right. And I really wanted Harry to have some (peace).

"Harry Potter: The Final Chapter - NBC Dateline, July 29, 2007

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