Monday, August 1, 2011
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
We now present the seventh and final installment in the epic tale of Harry Potter.
Thus concludes my epic reread of the Harry Potter series before the final movie comes out on July 15! (I did finish reading it on July 15, though I was out of the country and unable to post, so you'll just have to trust me on that.)
If you haven't read the Harry Potter series yet, WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? Go out and read them immediately. Thank you. For the rest of us, spoilers are ahead, because I will talk about each book with the revelations of the whole series in mind.
You know the book in your hands is going to be awesome when you get a book jacket like the one above. And it is not misleading! I don't care what people say about how the camping drags on--false! It is a much needed (and not all that long) respite in between massive amounts of adventure, action, and the deaths of beloved characters.
That is something that Rowling does extremely well. You really don't know who she is willing to kill off--no one is safe. In the beginning of the book, I was positive that Hagrid would die (and she even psyched us out with that one), but then she blindsided me with Hedwig. The death of Fred Weasley remains one of the most horrible in all literature--every time I read it, I cry. And Lupin and Tonks? Rowling's deaths are all the more gut-wrenching because she doesn't linger on them...they happen quickly, or off-page, and the full weight of them takes a long time to sink in.
Also, Harry's death? Oh my. Before this book was released, I was positive that Harry would die, sacrificing himself to save his friends. I anticipated a Christ-like character, but I did not at all guess that Rowling would make him, well, far more Christ-like, actually dying and rising again. SO MUCH AWESOME.
How did I jump right to the end? My bad.
The hunt for horcruxes was very well done. That task is hugely daunting, and I felt the Trio's frustration. The addition of the hallows could have been overkill, but somehow managed to fit right in. I will admit that the wand ownership final showdown was a little confusing on first read (especially as it was 6:00 a.m.), but as of this third time through, it's much more understandable. And the difference between pursuing the horcruxes or the hallows, and Harry's decision? ALL KINDS OF BRILLIANCE.
That brings us to Harry's poor child, saddled with two of the names most likely to result in bullying: Albus Severus. No, not really, I don't want to talk about him or the epilogue in which everyone still bashes on the Slytherin house (what? how did that not end up being a plot point? only time I'm giving you negative points, Rowling). I want to talk about the men who lent him their names.
Dumbledore. Unlike a lot of fandom, I loved the reveal of his past and its shadier sides. I felt Harry's fear as tidbits were brought to light. But in the end, I'm so glad we know Dumbledore's story. The wise mentor is an archetype that usually foregoes explaining how they got to be wise mentors. And really? Wisdom comes through pain, most times. Of course Dumbledore would have to dabble in the dark to understand why it is so important to fight against it.
Snape. OH SNAPE. I've never been one of those people who loves you romantically. But you broke my heart! The chapter dedicated to your memories is maybe my favorite of the whole book. Undying love! Losing that love because of self-stupidity (first because of rash name-calling, second because of rash ambition)! THE PAIN. And asking to see Harry's eyes (Lily's eyes) with your last breath? Stop it! You are destroying me!
The story of Harry Potter is epic and well-deserved of its extreme popularity and fan loyalty. Even though the final movie has been released, and the only thing we have to look forward to is Pottermore (I still don't really get what that is...), I have a feeling Harry Potter will live on in fanfiction, fan art, and literary essays for decades to come. Actually, I'm pretty positive it will be a classic, and centuries from now, kids will be reading it in high school English classes, analyzing its awesomeness.
Release Date: July 2007
Reading Level: Grade 4+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: YPL ROW