Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on Jun. 2007
Hello witches, wizards, and warlocks! I am the laziest blogger ever and am just getting around to writing up the last Harry Potter book, even though I finished my Great Harry Potter Re-Read before Thanksgiving. Oh well, it happens.
As a reminder, the plot of the book goes something like this (spoiler spoiler spoiler):
Most of the story is about searching for horcruxes. There’s a dangerous mission to the Ministry, where Harry, Ron, and Hermione snatch the locket from the throat of Umbridge, a horrible scene where Ron abandons Harry and Hermione, a trip to Godric’s Hollow that ends in a narrow escape from Voldemort, and a daring theft from Gringotts. Along the way, they learn about the Deathly Hallows, three mythical objects that, if brought together, will make their owner the Master of Death. At a critical moment, Harry must choose whether to pursue the hallows, which would hopefully make him invincible against Voldemort, or the horcruxes, which, if destroyed, would make Voldemort mortal again.
Noble Harry, of course, chooses horcruxes. The trio races to Hogwarts in search of the last horcrux, Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem, and their presence in the castle leads to a battle the likes of which Hogwarts has never seen. Voldemort and the Death Eaters descend upon the grounds in a murderous rage, intent on killing Harry no matter how many students and teachers stand in their way.
Eventually, Harry chooses to sacrifice himself. However, when Voldemort unleashes his Killing Curse, Harry finds himself in a place resembling King’s Cross Station, where he meets Dumbledore. The old man tells him all the secrets he should have told Harry years ago, revealing the most important information of all: that Harry himself is a horcrux, and in sacrificing himself, he made it possible for the piece of Voldemort’s soul inside him to be killed. But because Voldemort took Harry’s blood when he regenerated, Harry’s mother’s protection is still tied to life, and Harry is able to choose to continue living. (It sounds way fuzzy when I try to explain it in as few words as possible, but it does make sense in the book!)
Harry returns to life, the battle resumes, and Harry kills Voldy. Ta da! There’s a cheesy epilogue, and all is well.
I remember how excited I was when this book came out. I pre-ordered a copy at Borders and picked the Snape is a Very Bad Man bookmark (I had so little faith, but he killed Dumbledore!), and I gleefully went to the midnight release party with my best friend (who I don’t think had even read all of the books)! Anyway, I stayed up all night reading and eating m&ms, and I felt… a little disappointed. On my first read, I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. I thought it dragged a lot in the middle, when the trio are just on the move, being miserable because they don’t have any food and the locket is bringing them down.
This was my third time reading the final installment of this series, and I liked it a lot better this time. The pacing didn’t seem so slow for some reason — maybe because I knew what was coming? I do still have some problems with this book, though. Mainly, I feel like JKR added or changed a lot of established rules (or made up new ones out of the blue) about the wizarding world for the sake of convenience. Things like:
- The Trace. Until this book, a magic-detecting spell placed on under-age wizards is never mentioned. Harry got in trouble for Dobby’s spell in the second book because the Ministry knew magic had been performed, but they couldn’t tell who performed it. JKR had said in interviews that in wizarding families, it’s kind of up to the parents to enforce the rules. But now there’s suddenly a Trace that can tell the Ministry who has performed magic?
- Wand allegiances. We learn, in this book, a bit about wandlore. Particularly, that wands like powerful wizards, and if a wizard is defeated by another wizard, it will change its allegiance and work best for the wizard who won. This happens a lot in this book. Dumbledore won the Elder wand from Grindelwald, Malfoy disarms Dumbledore, and then Harry defeats Malfoy, so the wand becomes his. There are also a few cases where a wand wasn’t properly “won” so it doesn’t work as well. But here’s the thing: we’ve had six years of kids getting into duels and pranking each other, and no one’s lost their wand’s allegiance, but now it’s happening every 10 seconds? Seems like something that was made up on the spot to help the story, and it drives me crazy.
And another thing that bothers me: Voldemort hides the diadem in the Room of Requirement because he believes he is the only one to have plumbed the deepest secrets of the castle and found the room.Why does he think he is the only one to have discovered it? When Harry needs to hide his potions book, he finds a room FULL of things students have hidden for centuries. Did it escape Voldy’s notice, when he hid the diadem there, that the room was not empty? How could he have seen the room full of hidden things and think no one else had discovered it?
Also, the epilogue is SUPER cheesy. Oh god, the NAMES. I’m just going to leave it at that because I CAN’T EVEN.
Wow, it sounds like I really hate this book. I just wish JKR had taken more time to write it; I thought there were a lot of continuity issues that could have probably been avoided if she hadn’t been so rushed to get the last book out. However, there are things I love about this book!
- When the trio is at Grimauld Place and Ron and Hermione fall asleep holding hands. How sweet is that?
- Kreacher’s transformation from surly, hateful house elf to like the most helpful awesome house elf EVER. ALL HE NEEDED WAS A LITTLE LOVE.
- Seeing the tributes to Harry at Godric’s Hollow. My eyes welled up a little bit.
- The Potterwatch radio program! It made my heart warm to hear news from the resistance from Harry’s friends.
- Meeting Aberforth!
- The entire scene when Harry is dead/not dead, talking to Dumbledore. (Do you guys remember how, before the book was released, people were betting on whether Harry would die or not, and then after reading the book, no one could agree who won?)
- When Harry asks Dumbledore if their meeting is all in his head, or if it’s real, and Dumbledore replies, “Of course, it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it’s not real?” It’s one of my favorite lines ever.
- When Neville kills the snake! You rock, Neville. I love that JKR created a character like this. He’s such an underdog at the beginning of the series– nervous, forgetful, blundering — but he’s basically the bravest, most loyal of them all.
- How Harry finally kills Voldemort with Expelliarmus. Staying true to style 😛
Holy cats, this post has gotten long! The TL;DNR version; I liked Deathly Hallows more than the first time I read it, but there are super nerdy reasons that I have problems with it.
There will be one last post about this re-read, just wrapping up my thoughts on the whole experience, coming soon!