Fleur Du Mal
How can there be a tragedy if there's no one left to live it?
Well said, Jadugarr.
But as has been stated a few times already in this thread, the justification of killing how many an which characters depends on the story. Are there any absolute truths in how to tell a story?
And there will be the readers to live it. Maybe to be aggravated by it.
For example, some one might eventually write a story heavily based on the Air France plane crash. It would be totally up to the author to decide whether to include the relatives of those who perished. Then, we would, for example read a story of two young people, spending their first time together without others away from home, recovered from some serious work-stress (or maybe a wedding stress?), worked up their issues, boarded the plane happy and kissing. And vanished from the radar.
The frailty of life. Without an apocalypse.
In fact, there's nothing that would prevent the writer finishing in a collection of news about missing plane. And then about found pieces. The news will narrate the epilogue. If the author wants to leave the reader hanging, it's his choice, it may be cruel, some (or most?) of the readers probably won't like it, but that would work as a further method for impact.
*glances at the title of this thread*
Umm, seriously, I wouldn't be that worried about spoiling any books, since that title should give a pretty good warning that here's to be discussed about story endings and probably examples of generally known literature will be used.
So, I'm totally fine, HP being spoiled here (and Twilight in the other thread =P). And I hope I don't sound offensive here, but, seriously, is this the best way to formulate it:
And yes, we're totally spoiling HP, but then, anyone who hasn't read it by now probably deserves it.
Seriously, people tend to prioritize the books they read based on different decisions and background. I really don't think anyone /deserves/ to have a book spoiled for them if they have not read it within a certain timeframe.