NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.
But also YES.
Because for me this is a pretty important part of the final battle. A lot of folks accused JKR of just wanting to kill people off, and Lupin and Tonks were one of the major “sins” in that category. But for me, one of the major themes of her books is vicious cycle of violence, and another is the ways ordinary people can break that cycle. It’s important that we know that Harry doesn’t stop all the pain, that he’s not the last war orphan. Just like the first War, parents and adults have to make choices, choices with consequences.
Like James and Lily, Lupin and Tonks didn’t risk their lives to defeat Voldemort. They gave their lives for each other, because no one person should bear the weight of the sacrifice. They gave their lives for their son, who deserved a better world. They gave their lives for love, not for victory.
I think it’s important to see the ways Voldemort’s evil creates these cycles, children taken from their parents and parents taken from their children, again and again. I think it’s an important sobering note in the victory—yes, this time Voldemort is really dead, but there’s another baby this time, another infant who will never know his beautiful, wonderful parents because of Voldemort and his message of hate and violence. Another child who will grow up wondering where he came from, what his parents were like, what would be different if they were alive.
But it’s also beautiful that Teddy will have such a different experience. And his experience will not be different because Voldemort is “really gone.” His experience will be different because his grandmother will tell him about his brilliant mom. Because Harry will tell him about his wonderful dad. Because Harry will help him deal with his pain and loss, be a sympathetic ear who understands what it’s like to grow up without your parents. Because the Weasleys will welcome him as another grandchild, and he’ll grow up with Victoire to throw dirt at, and James as a little brother. His experience won’t be different because Harry won a war, it will be different because of love.
That’s the whole story of Harry Potter. Sometimes we have to fight for what’s right, but what really makes life worth living and what really changes the world isn’t magic or power or moral superiority. It’s love.