Monday, July 23, 2007

'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' by J.K. Rowling

ISBN: 0545010225
Format: Hardcover, 759pp
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.

Having just finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows I am to a certain extent at a loss for words. Relief flooded me when I turned the last page and the future of some of my favorite characters had been decided.

I can sum up this book in one word and that word is: WOW.

I had not expected the high body count, when in all reality I should have. Thinking only of J.K. Rowling’s warning that two of her main characters would die I gave no thought to the supporting characters that I had come to love or loathe as well. Looking back now I realize how foolish that was. But when all is said and done I love the book still and the Harry Potter series will be one I read time and again.

With this final chapter I believe that J.K. Rowling has cemented her books as modern classics. These books will sit on shelves for years to come and be recommended by people the world over. I can imagine future generations asking each other ‘Have you read Harry Potter? You haven’t? But you HAVE to!’ Just as I have asked my friends if they had read the Oz series, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings.

Within the first few chapters you are hit, and hit hard, by the almost constant action. Harry is finally leaving the Dursley’s home for the last time; with his seventeenth birthday looming the protection given to an underage wizard is about to be broken. Voldemort is ready in the wings to take advantage of this fact along with his bloodthirsty Death Eaters whose ranks have swollen.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione spend the majority of the book together and secluded from their friends and family. The skills that they had sharpened in the previous six books come into play as each character is forced to use their strengths to keep the weaknesses of the others from destroying them.

With many twists along the way these three search desperately for the horcruxes that will be Voldemort’s downfall. Along the way they learn about the Deathly Hallows, mysterious objects that soon Harry is obsessed with. Stopped or hindered at almost every turn the three survive grievous blows as loyalties are decided.

There are cameo appearances that surprised and delighted me. Lee Jordan, for example, pops up as an underground radio host and I could not help but smile as I remembered the Qudditch games that seemed so dire at the time but looking back seem so lighthearted. And who could forget Professor Umbridge? Well, she gets hers and I don’t think I have ever been so pleased.

In these final pages there is great happiness and great sorrow. Emotions run high as you turn pages and travel from the Ministry of Magic to Gringotts and finally to Hogwarts. It is fitting that it would end where it all started so many years before with the orphan Tom Riddle. Along the way, I can promise, you will need tissue.

For those of you still wondering - yes, there is closure here. Most of the characters' futures were defined or hinted at. But there are a handful that get left to your imagination. While they survived the book I still find myself wondering what happened to them after the final battle. But maybe it is better this way. Maybe this gives us the opportunity as fans to sit together in the future discussing the finer details just as we have discussed who would live and who would die. I’m looking forward to those discussions.


T.C. said...

Agreed on everything. It was so moving, and with all the rumors swirling that doom was to befall Harry and all sorts of things, it was a relief to read the true ending for myself. So many things were left unanswered, and probably for good reason.

But one tiny thing out of that brilliant book bugged me: Who in their right mind would name their kid Scorpius? (Hopefully there are no spoilers present in this brief comment. If so, they are not intended.)

Katie said...

It was a relief to read the real ending for me too. Aftering hearing all talk and the spoilers before it came out. Just crazy! And yeah I think Scorpius is kind of a weird name too.