Monday, November 29, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J. K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Author: J. K. Rowling
Pages: 759
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction
Source: My bookshelf
What you'll love: A beautiful end to a fantastic story.
What will bug you: Nothing.

My usual disclaimer - as the previous books in the Harry Potter series, I will not hold back on the spoilers. You've been warned!


I'm truly amazed by this story. Reading the entire series in a row like this really makes it obvious what a gifted writer Rowling is. I'll be honest and tell you that this is my favorite in the series. Hands down.

We have much to talk about...

The opening of the story give the reader little doubt about where Snape stands with Voldemort. The image of them all sitting at a long table with an unconscious person suspended in mid-air in the middle of the table is pretty eerie. It's interesting to see how the status of the Malfoys has changed - and you get the impression through Draco's body language that he is feeling a little over his head.

The cordial departure of Dudley shows a lot. It feels final - they have made peace. The first of many other signs that this really is the end.

The flight of the seven Harry Potters is pretty spectacular. I love having action right at the beginning. I remember reading this the first time and being surprised about losing Mad-Eye. I'm still a little shocked by it - out of all the characters in the order, he is certainly the most equipped to stand up to the Death Eaters. Losing him creates a hopeless feeling - although I'm sure that was part of the plan. It becomes obvious fairly quickly that the destruction of Voldemort will rest on Harry's shoulders. His death felt unceremonious. When Sirius and Dumbledore went down it felt very climactic - they went down fighting (or in Dumbledore's case having just waged his own fight against their quest). I believe the quick way Mad-Eye was taken out of the equation shows the grave danger the wizarding world really is.

I love the inevitable build-up of Ron and Hermione. It's very cute, actually. They're both obviously crazy about each other - and when Hermione finally does go for it and kiss Ron, you've got to love that it was because he was looking out for the house-elves.

Isn't it so Dumbledore that he leaves them three seemingly useless items in his will? OK - with the exception of the sword, of course - but that doesn't really count because they don't get their hands on it. I think I like Ron's item the best - the Deluminator. I think both Ron and Harry really had Dumbledore's number on this one. Dumbledore knew that Ron would leave. But he also knew that he's come back.

Can we speak for a moment about the Ministry of Magic and their changes? Didn't you know that cutie-pie Dolores would be at the heart of it all? How can she not be? The whole concept of rooting out the Muggle-borns was very scary. It shows you that things can snowball when you get a group of people - with power - who believe that they have been born with something that makes them more worth... more entitled... more human.

I am so pleased that Kreacher redeemed himself. Harry finally figured him out, and the results are beautiful. I'll admit that I felt a little misty at the end when Kreacher leads the house-elves against the Death Eaters in the Great Hall. I was so proud.

The scene at Godric's Hollow was pretty intense. As soon as they saw Bathilda I began talking to my book. Have you ever watched a scary movie and found yourself talking to the screen? "Um. No. Don't go in the basement. Are you crazy??? Don't go in the basement!!!!" I felt a little like that. "Harry. No. She's not right."

I loved the story of the Three Brothers. It makes sense that Voldemort is seeking the Deathly Hallows - he has found a way to make himself what he believes to be immortal, and adding a way to make himself invincible falls right in line with that. After the explanation from Ollivander about wands, and wand allegiances Rowling creates the perfect "Aha!" moment at the end of the story. When Harry and Voldemort are circling each other and Harry is explaining how the elder wand is actually his, the conversation with Ollivander comes back. Great writing.

The battle of Hogwarts is glorious. I'll admit, once again, that I found myself a little misty. I felt so proud of everyone - how the teachers kept their cool and got the underage students to safety with the knowledge that this may be the end, but they're going to put up a hell of a fight. Neville is outstanding. The fight at Hogwarts is one of my favorite scenes in the series. The final standoff between Harry an Voldemort was perfect. Harry was able to explain what was going on, and to clear Snape's name. I like how Harry was able to kill Voldemort without actually killing him - if that makes sense. Their final spells - Voldemort: Avada Kedavra, Harry: Expelliarmus. Having Voldemort's spell backfires perfect - and it makes it so that neither Harry, Ron, or Hermione have ever killed.

Snape. His story breaks my heart. I am so glad that Harry is able to finally find out - and eventually let the world find out - how brave this man was. The knowledge that he had been acting in accordance with Dumbledore's orders this whole time - and all because of his love for Lily is such a wonderful twist in the story. Snape had been painted as evil for so long, Rowling shows her talent as a writer in the way she can take a seemingly sinister character and change him forever to the reader - all in a couple of pages.

I'm so glad to have revisited this series. Thank you for coming along! I have a date tonight to see the movie!

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