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Rowling discusses Harry Potter' fate

Less than a week after the release of the final Harry Potter book, author J.K. Rowling is giving hints about its conclusion.

Before publication, Rowling pleaded for secrecy about the ending of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." But in an interview broadcast Thursday on NBC's "Today" show and in one published Thursday in USA Today, she discussed Harry's fate.

THOSE WHO DO NOT WANT TO KNOW HOW IT ALL TURNS OUT FOR THE BOY WIZARD SHOULD STOP READING HERE.

"I'm very proud of the fact that as we went into this book, many, many readers believed it was a real possibility that Harry would die. That's what I was aiming for," she said on NBC.

In the book, Voldemort meets his end and Harry lives. But Rowling said Harry's survival was not always a certainty.

"In the early days, everything was up for grabs," she told USA Today. "But early on I knew I wanted Harry to believe he was walking toward his death, but would survive."

The last volume of Rowling's fantasy series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," was released Saturday to international fanfare as millions read to find out whether Harry lived or died. More than 10 million copies sold over the weekend.

In a prerelease interview with The Associated Press, Rowling acknowledged that she had no control over discussions about the book once it went on sale. But she said that she hoped readers would finish the book to find out what happens, rather than to peak at the ending.

"It's like someone coming to dinner, just opening the fridge and eating pudding, while you're standing there still working on the starter. It's not on," she said.

She also told the AP that after finishing the last book, she "felt terrible for a week."

"It was like a bereavement, even though I was pleased with the book. And then after a week that cloud lifted and I felt quite lighthearted, quite liberated," she said.

"It was this amazing cathartic moment - the end of 17 years' work," she told NBC.

When asked if she felt like she had to say goodbye to Harry, she said, "Yes and no. He'll always be a presence in my life, really."

She acknowledged that the final Potter installment leaves some loose ends.

"It would have been humanly impossible to answer every single question that comes up," she told NBC. "Because, I'm dealing with a level of obsession in some of my fans that will not rest until they know the middle names of Harry's great, great grandparents."

Rowling, whose seven Potter books have sold more than 335 million copies worldwide, said she plans to take time off to be with her family and will continue writing. She told USA Today she has two writing projects - one for children and one for adults.

But whether she will write about her young wizard again, she said: "I think I've kind of done the wizarding world. ... I have done my Harry Potter."

Russia's Ministry for Foreign Affairs is seriously concerned about the state of health of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Sergei Skrypal's niece, Victoria Skripal, said that her uncle had already died.

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The Basmanny Court of Moscow arrested Michael Calvey, the founder of Baring Vostok investment fund, on allegations of embezzling 2.5 billion rubles from Vostochny Bank. Calvey will be held in custody until April 13

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