Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Author: J.K. Rowling

Publisher: Raincoast Books; 1st edition
Release Date: Jul 21 2007
ISBN-10: 1551929767
ISBN-13: 978-1551929767

No one needs to be reminded at how firmly the Harry Potter phenomenon has gripped the globe. The first six novels have sold millions upon millions of copies and have created new readers out of young and old alike. So it must have been daunting indeed for author J.K. Rowling when she sat down and first put her fingers to her keyboard to begin work on the seventh, and final, installment of her mega-successful series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. How does an author, with so much pressure on her shoulders, begin to draw together the strings previously laid down through thousands of pages? In Rowling’s case: you plan.

And it sure shows.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was a promise to millions of readers all over the globe, a promise to answer the questions that have been posed throughout the entirety of the series and Rowling, who claims to have had the series outlined since she began her first novel, succeeds in answering these questions in powerful, satisfying ways that are sure to leave looks of surprise, grief and joy on the faces of those who have invested so much of their time into the Harry Potter phenomenon.

The novel starts off with a Bang, throwing Harry into harrowing situations right of the start and drawing the reader directly into the novel, which picks up near where the sixth novel, Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, left off. Over the course of the six novels readers have grown to know and love many of the large assortment of characters that occupy Harry’s world and Rowling plays with the reader’s emotions as the forces of Good (Harry and his companions) fight for righteousness. Rowling, shortly after the release of Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, mentioned that the final book was going to be a bloodbath… and she wasn’t lying. Throughout the entire novel I was on the edge of my seat as I quickly realized that no character was safe.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is undoubtedly Rowling’s darkest and most serious novel yet. Missing from the novel is the levity that worked so effectively in the earlier volumes. Harry’s story, up until now, has always included various school-related subplots that I always enjoyed a great deal. They broke up the overarching storyline of Harry vs. Voldemort (which could only move forward so much with each book) and really helped flesh out the characters in the novel and add tremendous depth to the world that Rowling created. I will admit that I missed these moments while reading the final novel, but will also admit that there really was no room in the novel for them. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows forgoes all unnecessary plotlines and focuses solely on the single thread that leads to the final confrontation of “Good” and “Evil”.

My only other criticism with the novel is that I felt it dragged ever so slightly during the middle portion of the novel. I think part of the reason for this is that I had very strong preconceived ideas of the route the novel would/should take and Rowling ended up surprising me by taking another route entirely. While I read the novel I felt that the deviations she had taken were only slowing the novel down, but having finished the novel and reflected up on it, I feel that perhaps Rowling did take the correct course. Now that the pieces have all fallen into place, and the has dust settled, I find myself thinking that perhaps these deviations are, in fact, essential to the mythos and story of Harry Potter.

The thing that has always impressed me the most about Rowling’s novels is the way she has such a firm grip over the world and characters she has created. She is always in control of her novels, and that is no less true for the seventh and final novel. It is amazing to look back at the series and see the little things she set up as early as the first and second novels (which at the time seemed inconsequential) in preparation for the seventh and final book. The way she weaves the plot points together through the seven novels, dropping certain threads for books at a time (just long enough for the reader to dismiss them as nothing special) and then picking them back up with full force, is nothing short of amazing.

I wasn’t sure if Rowling would be able to successfully tie up the story of Harry Potter. Indeed, any story that evolves over the course of seven novels is in a lot of danger of being overwhelmed by it’s own weight. Rowling, however, has managed to craft a successful culmination to her mega-successful series. Rowling has earned her success, crafting a timeless series of seven novels full of charm, wit, depth and intelligence that will surely be read for many generations to come. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a fittingly grand end to a tremendous series.

It is with great sorrow that I bid farewell to Harry, Ron, Hermione and all of their friends. No longer will I be able to look forward to future adventures with them… but my memories of the perils survived, the friendships forged and the obstacles overcome will always be there, and those are one thing that no one shall ever take them from me.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
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Warning: I can’t control what goes on in the Comments section! If you wish to avoid spoilers, I would suggest not reading them!

  • Bookie Monster July 29, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    One thing that disappointed me, apart from the “trough” in the middle when the book slowed, was the “off-screen” deaths. Rowling promised a blood-bath, but a lot of the characters who bite the dust do so in such a way that we don’t know what happened.
    I think a lot of excitement could have been created if we’d actually had the scenes when said characters met their end.

  • aidan July 29, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    I think, though, in the end the novel is still aimed at young adults and children. I’m not sure how many parents want to be reading out graphic death scenes to their young children. Harry Potter has never been overly gruesome and so I think if that were to be the case in this novel it would turn off a lot of fans and disappoint a lot of parents who have trusted Rowling in the past.

    Also, the Harry Potter novels are almost exclusively told from Harry’s point of view and, well, he can’t be everywhere at once. Off-screen deaths are pretty much inevitable (and probably more true to life).

  • Graeme July 30, 2007 at 12:41 am

    I got the impression that Rowling killed off a load of the supporting cast in order to avoid having to kill a main character (apart from the obvious!). Although it was a good read , I felt she missed an opportunity to really go out with a bang and do something that people would be talking about for a long time afterwards…

  • The Book Swede July 30, 2007 at 5:51 am

    A good review, Aidan. I also miss the world that got me into reading in the first place. From the HP books I have gone onto many new and different areas (hell, i even have my own fantasy/SF blog!) but I’ll also love the Harry Potter series.

    I was not at all fond of the prologue, though. I think she should have scratched that and finished it were it finished.

  • aidan July 30, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    Re: Graeme
    I’d say you’re probably right about the reason she happened to kill off so many supporting characters. I don’t want to go into spoiler territory, but I will say that I feel that Rowling made the correct choice when it came to who died and who lived.

    RE: The Book Swede
    A lot of people seem really divisive about the prologue and it’s need in the story. I’m rather impartial about it, though, and don’t really see what all the fuss was about. It wasn’t particularly needed… but I didn’t think it really got in the way of the story, either.

    I get the feeling that you are talking about the epilogue, though, which comes after the last chapter. That I will say that I am wholly in favour of for reason that I won’t name here in fear of spoilers!

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