I thought this was an outstanding book. I'm sure everything Irving did with it was intentional. However, what I find confusing about the ending is that Owen's presence alone is what put those children in jeopardy; it's not like he was there to stop something that would have happened anyway. I've only just finished the book, but I think what this might mean is that God's purpose with Owen had to do with affecting John. It could also mean that Owen was self-fulfilling prophecy and it was Irving's commentary on religion. It would help to know Irving's personal religious beliefs.