LONDON Thousands of Harry Potter fans have signed a petition urging J.K. Rowling to keep writing novels about the boy wizard after she admitted she could "never say never" to more books.
The "Save Harry!" petition calls on Rowling to reverse her decision to end the bestselling series with the seventh and final installment, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows".
"Millions, perhaps billions of us, love reading his adventures and we never want them to end," says the online petition, launched on Monday at www.saveharrypotter.co.uk.
After spending 17 years writing the books, Rowling said she was both "euphoric" and "devastated" that it's finally over.
But in a television interview, she left fans with the tantalizing, if remote, possibility that she may one day return to the magical world of Hogwarts.
"I think that Harry's story comes to quite a clear end in book seven," she told the BBC at the weekend. "But I have always said that I wouldn't say never.
"I can't say I will never write another book about that world, just because I think: 'What do I know, in 10 years' time I might want to return to it'. But I think it is unlikely."
Even if she does write another book, it is unclear whether some of the main characters, including Harry, would play a part.
Rowling said some characters will die in the last book, but wouldn't say if the boy wizard is among them: "It's not a bloodbath, but it's more than two," she said.
Book retailer Waterstone's, which set up the petition, said Rowling could still write more Harry Potter books even if the title character is killed.
"Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famously killed off Sherlock Holmes, yet brought him back after years of demand from his fans and publishers," said Waterstone's Wayne Winstone. "Couldn't the same happen for Harry Potter?"
Rowling's publicist could not be reached for comment.
More than 325 million copies of the first six books have been sold worldwide, helping to make Rowling the first dollar-billionaire author. The final book is out on July 21.