In the beginning, there were 64 wizards, witches, elves and ghosts. Each one had been thrown into a cutthroat online tournament, decided by the public and subject to the passions and prejudices of die-hard fans, all to come up with the definitive answer to the question: Who is the greatest "Harry Potter" character of all time?
Now that fantastical conundrum is down to just two people: potions master Severus Snape and Gryffindor great Ron Weasley. As of this writing, the two wizards are locked in the heated final match of MTV News' "Harry Potter" World Cup. Voting is still going on, and the winner will be announced on Monday evening (July 11) during our live stream of the New York red-carpet premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2," which begins at 4:30 p.m. ET.
It's a remarkable feat that both men are left standing, considering that over 7 million votes have been cast throughout the four weeks of the tournament. Who would have guessed that Harry Potter himself would get chucked from the tournament in the Elite Eight, a victim of Snape's fanbase and his remarkable character arc? Big bad Lord Voldemort didn't even make it that far, losing in the third round to onetime Azkaban prisoner Sirius Black! And Cedric Diggory, hardly a first-tier character, was nonetheless thought to be a potential Cinderella story (given that Robert Pattison portrayed him onscreen). Yet "Potter" fans appeared to unite and overwhelm the "Twilight" set, sending Cedric to a third-round ouster.
After upsets, crushing defeats and overwhelming victories, the Final Four fell into place late last week: Snape vs. Hogwarts witch Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley vs. Black. Hermione may have been the smartest witch of her age and Ron's cherished gal pal, but none of that was enough to vanquish Snape — the man who killed Dumbledore but is ultimately redeemed by the series' end. Snape ended up with 62.7 percent of the vote, compared to Hermione's 37.3 percent. The competition between Ron and Black was much closer. One wizard is Harry's best friend; the other was Harry's dad's best friend. And in the end, barely one percentage point separated the two characters, with Ron ultimately surging forward for the win.
So where does that leave us in the final matchup? Snape obviously has the momentum, given his commanding victory over Hermione. Ron has got to be looked at as weakened, considering how he barely survived his Final Four matchup. But he's the last of the Big Three still alive, and fans of Hermione could well shift their allegiances to Ron. Anything can happen, though Rupert Grint, who plays Ron, isn't holding out much hope. When we caught up with the actor on Sunday, before the finals had been solidified, he expressed skepticism that Ron could ever defeat Snape.
"I don't think I could do that — I mean, Snape is a great character," he laughed.
We're streaming live from the red carpet at the New York premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" on Monday (July 11) at 4:30 p.m. ET. Visit MTV.com to watch interviews with the stars and see the winner of the "Harry Potter" World Cup announced live. Tweet your questions for the cast @MTVNews using the hashtag #AskPotter.
Check out everything we've got on "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2."