Pottermore’s latest revamp reminded us of an important question that has been unanswered since 2007: Is Lavender Brown dead or alive?
Lavender Brown’s death has been a hot question amongst the fandom for years. The book never explicitly stated whether she died or not during the Battle of Hogwarts. And while the movie does suggest she dies, Pottermore once wrote that she was “presumed” dead.
So which is it? Below, you’ll find our most recent coverage of Lavender Brown’s death.
Update 2 (February 2018): Pottermore has published a new article on their website in which they remind us that they still don’t know if Lavender is dead or alive. The writer of the article appears to throw a little shade at Rowling, noting that it was a “disservice” to the character to never reveal her fate in Deathly Hallows:
That’s right: despite everything, Lavender fought for her ex-boyfriend, who frankly treated her appallingly, not to mention his mates. And she might have even lost her life! Another disservice to Lavender was that, even though we’d known her since she became the first-ever Gryffindor from Harry’s year, we never even found out if she recovered from Fenrir Greyback’s attack
Yep, even Rowling’s own website is wondering why the author didn’t answer the important question!
With Pottermore recently suffering a loss of staff, and Rowling still not answering the question via her website or Twitter, it seems unlikely that we’re going to learn about the character’s fate anytime soon.
Update: After we wrote this story, Pottermore removed the Death and “presumed dead” areas from Lavender Brown’s section of Pottermore. The plot thickens…
Original story: The character joined Hogwarts the same year as Harry and was sorted into Gryffindor. She became more and more prominent as the series progressed, joining Dumbledore’s Army in Order of the Phoenix and dating Ron Weasley in Half-Blood Prince. In the final book, Lavender joined the new Dumbledore’s Army and fought in the Battle of Hogwarts.
During the battle, Lavender was attacked by Fenrir and suffered serious injuries, but it was never stated whether or not she died.
So why are we bringing this up now? When Pottermore relaunched yesterday, Hypable reader FullFlamelAlchemist noticed that the profile for Lavender Brown lists her as “presumed dead.” This is what the site has in their “fact file” for the character:
For Pottermore to call her “presumed dead” seems to be a big oversight. This is J.K. Rowling’s website, the place where the author can present all of the “facts” — why can’t someone in the Pottermore office shoot J.K. Rowling a note and ask if she’s dead or alive?
By the way, a Google search of Pottermore.com finds that Lavender is the only character the site lists as “presumed dead”.
The case for Lavender being alive
Let’s analyze Lavender’s supposed death scene in the book:
“Two bodies fell from the balcony overhead. As they reached the ground a grey blur that Harry took for an animal sped four-legged across the hall to sink its teeth into one of the fallen. “NO!” shrieked Hermione, and with a deafening blast from her wand, Fenrir Greyback was thrown backward from the feebly stirring body of Lavender Brown.”
The passage says that she is “feebly stirring,” an action that could certainly suggest the character eventually recovered. What’s more, Jo’s description says Fenrir ran “across the hall to sink its teeth into” Lavender, not that he actually managed to bite her. Plus, Hermione was able to push Fenrir away, further suggesting he didn’t get to deliver a final blow to Lavender.
What’s more, Reddit user MaimedPhoenix points out that Harry later named several of the characters who died, but did not mention Lavender: “Fred, Lupin, Tonks, Colin Creevey and fifty others,” he says. Wouldn’t Harry mention Lavender before Colin?
The case for Lavender being dead
The Deathly Hallows movie was a little more clear about Lavender’s fate: She died.
But there’s one problem: The movies aren’t canon.
Conclusion: Someone get Jo to answer!
Pottermore should pick up the phone and ask. Isn’t that the point of Pottermore?
In the mean time, I’ll bother Jo about it on Twitter.
@jk_rowling is Lavender Brown dead? According to the new Pottermore she is “presumed dead”
— Andrew Sims (@sims) September 22, 2015