In the past, JKR has said that she can't tell us what Snape's Boggart or his Patronus are because it would "give too much away". Well, I think I know what his Boggart is -- it's himself killing Dumbledore. But his Patronus? Something "unique and distinctive" to him, so that nobody could possibly mistake it for anyone else's Patronus? I'm stumped.
Oh, also, I thought of another thing today while doing the dishes. What is it about domestic chores that causes me to think of wacky new HP theories? But anyway: raise your hand if you think Dumbledore's going to come back from the ashes, as it were, just when Harry has lost all hope. I mean, d'oh, JKR is a massive Narnia fan, and she said a long time ago that if she talks too much about her beliefs as a member of the Church of Scotland then "the intelligent reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess what's coming in the books". If it's on a level that a ten-year-old could guess, it obviously doesn't have to do with anything theologically esoteric. So my money's on the death-and-resurrection motif, common to Narnia and Tolkien as well as (of course) the New Testament.
And if Snape is the one to kill Dumbledore, it's kind of like if Aslan had taken a long walk with Edmund instead of the White Witch prior to the Stone Table, and told Edmund that he would have to kill him. Excuse me while I go and get my handkerchief. *blows nose loudly* In any case, I expect that Harry and the Trio, along with possibly Snape himself (who may or may not be fully aware of what Dumbledore has in mind) will have to go through Susan and Lucy's long dark night before they see Dumbledore again.
Of course, Dumbledore is not Aslan, because he manifestly screws up at times, and says so at the end of OotP. I'm quite sure JKR doesn't mean Dumbledore to be God or Christ in any allegorical sense, only a sort of God or Christ-figure in certain respects. But the ideas of immortality, and of love conquering death, and of loyalty and faith in Dumbledore being rewarded in the end even against all hope, have been cropping up regularly in the earlier books and I'll be very surprised if they don't pay off soon.
I have read the back jacket copy from the US edition that was posted yesterday, but deliberately avoided reading the first chapter excerpts floating around my f-list, because I know that if I start reading any part of the book I won't be able to resist the temptation to open it as soon as I get it and then I'll be up for the rest of the night finishing the thing off, which is just not feasible when you have two preschoolers. I shall start it as soon as I wake up on Saturday morning, which will probably be early, because my brain is doing the giddy kid-at-Christmas thing already...