Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. It was published in 2007 by Scholastic. For more information on the world of Harry Potter, check out the Lexicon. For news, check out the #1 Harry Potter fansite, mugglenet.com.
Spoilers for the series.
Genre: Fantasy, Children’s, Realistic
“Harry Potter is preparing to leave the Dursleys and Privet Drive for the last time. But the future that awaits him is full of danger, not only for him, but for anyone close to him — and Harry has already lost so much. Only by destroying Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes can Harry free himself and overcome the Dark Lord’s forces of evil.
In this dramatic conclusion to the Harry Potter series, Harry must leave his most loyal friends behind, and in a final perilous journey find the strength and the will to face his terrifying destiny: a deadly confrontation that is his alone to fight.”
“So does it say how to destroy Horcruxes in the book?”
“Yes,” said Hermione, now turning the fragile pages as if examining rotting entrails, “because it warns Dark wizards how strong they have to make the enchantments on them. From all that I’ve read, what Harry did to Riddle’s diary was one of the few really foolproof ways of destroying a Horcrux.”
“What, stabbing it with a basilisk fang?” asked Harry.
“Oh well, lucky we’ve got such a large supply of basilisk fangs, then,” said Ron. “I was wondering what we were going to do with them.”
“Death’s got an Invisibility Cloak?” Harry interrupted again.
“So he can sneak up on people,” said Ron. “Sometimes he gets bored of running at them, flapping his arms and shrieking…sorry, Hermione.”
“The house-elves, they’ll all be down in the kitchen, won’t they?”
“You mean we ought to get them fighting?” asked Harry.
“No,” said Ron seriously, “I mean we should tell them to get out. We don’t want any more Dobbies, do we? We can’t order them to die for us—”
There was a clatter as the basilisk fangs cascaded out of Hermione’s arms. Running at Ron, she flung them around his neck and kissed him full on the mouth. Ron threw away the fangs and broomstick he was holding and responded with such enthusiasm that he lifted Hermione off her feet.
“Is this the moment?” Harry asked weakly, and when nothing happened except that Ron and Hermione gripped each other still more firmly and swayed on the spot, he raised his voice. “OI! There’s a war going on here!”
Warnings: Violence, death
Recommended Age Range: 10+
What I Liked:
There were so, so many things that I liked that I don’t even know if I can expound on them all. I might just have to list them out.
First of all, Snape! Severus Snape! That moment when you read the chapter “The Prince’s Tale” and realize the depth of character that Snape has! That moment when you (maybe) realize how awesome he is! That moment when Dumbledore says, “My word, Severus, that I shall never reveal the best of you?” and that unforgettable “After all this time?” “Always!” scene! That moment when Dumbledore asks Snape to protect the students, and you realize that he did, in his own way, when he sent Ginny, Neville and Luna to the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid rather than hand them over to the Carrows and the Cruciatus Curse! Need I go on? Snape is a fantastic character, full of depth and nuance and, yes, gray areas. Harry is the Goody-Goody, Dumbledore is the One with the Dark Past, and Snape is the Gray Hero (Antihero?). Rowling included bravery, and heroes, in all shapes and forms in these books, and didn’t just limit it to one particular type.
That being said, let me bring up the opposite view of this. Here is a link to an article written about Snape titled “Severus Snape Does Not Deserve Your Pity.” If you don’t care to read it, basically, the author of the article is saying that sure, Snape is brave, and yes, he was on the good side, but that does not excuse his behavior towards Harry and others. Plus, he was a terrible teacher. And the fact that he held on to his love for Lily for so long just makes him appear more weak than strong (that might not be in the article, but I’ve heard people say this). Okay, sure. I’ll give you all of those (except for maybe the love part). The author of the article is right, in a way. But she doesn’t see what I saw in Snape, way before the seventh book came out: namely, his potential as a character. I don’t pity him, I admire him (mostly). I think this is why I started getting into fanfiction: here was a medium where all aspects of Snape’s character could be explored, and where people could image what would have happened if Snape had gotten past his grudge of James Potter and seen Harry as Harry and not as an extension of James, what would have happened if Snape had become Harry’s mentor/teacher and, yes, guardian. It’s fantastic, the potential Snape has, the “what-ifs” that can be explored in regards to his character. That is why I like Snape. It’s why I like the whole Harry Potter world.
Neville, when did you become so awesome? Character growth, thy name is Longbottom.
The themes and messages that permeate this book are fabulous. Here’s just a few of the more prominent ones:
Mercy. Harry’s reluctance to kill anyone he doesn’t need to, as seen in his aversion to Stunning the Imperiused Stan Shunpike. “I won’t blast people out of the way just because they’re there, that’s Voldemort’s job” and “Stan was Imperiused, if I Stunned him he could have fallen hundreds of feet.” Also, his (eventual) forgiveness of Dumbledore for Dumbledore’s mistakes in the past, which also falls into the category of “Realizing That Your Idols Are Not As Perfect As You Think.”
The Woes of Power/The Corruptive Nature of Power. Best illustrated in Dumbledore’s past. Dumbledore admits that he did not seek to be Minister of Magic because he was afraid that the power would get to him, as it had once before. “Power was my weakness and my temptation.” He also falls for power once again when he finds the Resurrection Stone.
Overcoming Temptation. Harry is obsessed with finding the Hallows and becoming unbeatable, the master of Death. He resists it eventually, after he realizes that the Horcruxes are more important. This leads, ironically, to Harry becoming the “master of death” anyway, but his intentions were different; he was not seeking it himself. “It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.”
The Importance of Intentions and Actions to Achieve a Goal. “Master of death, Harry, master of Death! Was I better, ultimately, than Voldemort?”
“Of course you were,” said Harry. “Of course—how can you ask that? You never killed if you could avoid it!”
“True, true,” said Dumbledore, and he was like a child seeking reassurance. “Yet I too sought a way to conquer death, Harry.”
“Not the way he did,” said Harry. After all his anger at Dumbledore, how odd it was to sit here, beneath the high, vaulted ceiling, and defend Dumbledore from himself. “Hallows, not Horcruxes.”
Self-Sacrifice. Harry was willing to die to save his friends, which results in his friends being protected from Voldemort through Harry’s love. “His job was to walk calmly into Death’s welcoming arms.” “Dumbledore knew, as Voldemort knew, that Harry would not let anyone else die for him now that he had discovered it was in his power to stop it.” “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” “You are the true master of death, because the true master does not seek to run away from Death. He accepts that he must die, and understands that there are far, far worse things in the living world than dying.”
Selflessness. Harry saved Draco and Goyle even though they had just tried to kill him. “…sometimes you’ve got to think about more than your own safety! Sometimes you’ve got to think about the greater good!”
Truth. Harry’s emphasis that he wanted to know the truth about Dumbledore’s past, no matter what it was.
The infiltration of the Ministry is one of my favorite parts of the whole series. Also, all the awesome things that the D.A. gets to do at the Battle of Hogwarts, and Harry’s defeat of Voldemort. The movie version portrays it quite differently, but it’s still fantastic in its own right. Also, I’ve heard some people complain about Harry snapping the Elder Wand at the end of the movie as opposed to the book, where he just puts it back into Dumbledore’s tomb (because it doesn’t follow the book, gasp!). However, I think that the snapping of the wand is much more symbolic and powerful in regards to Harry’s character, and I liked that change a lot. I thought they did a fabulous job with both the HBP movie and the DH ones.
Finally, I loved Hermione’s “Are you a wizard or aren’t you?” to Ron. Call-back to Sorcerer’s Stone!
What I Didn’t Like:
The middle is very slow in regards to pacing. It’s the notorious “camping” section of the book that so many people despise. It’s a lot of wandering around, not much gets accomplished, and nothing seems to be moving forward at all. And this is where Harry has his obsession with the Hallows, which makes you want to shake him.
Two mistakes are made in the book that are pretty big ones, in my opinion. The first of it is Hermione saying that she modified her parents’ memory and then, about 30 pages later, saying that she’s never done a Memory Charm. Perhaps she did something other than Obliviate on her parents…? The second mistake is that Colin Creevey died at the Battle of Hogwarts, but Colin Creevey is a Muggleborn and should never have been there in the first place. Maybe he snuck in when Neville called the DA…?
A lot of people say that the Hallows came out of nowhere, and I partially agree. The only one that Rowling really foreshadowed far in advance was the Cloak in the first book, and even that could have been just a useful plot device to get Harry the Cloak, and then Rowling realized she could use it later (sort of like how she used the Hand of Glory in HPB).
The Deathly Hallows is slow in the middle and some of the plot devices Rowling uses are questionable, but the book is chock-full of fantastic messages that make this the best book in regards to theme and the showing of that theme through the characters’ actions and experiences. Snape’s story is finally told; everything is explained; and Harry is perhaps one of the best heroes/protagonists of any series ever due to his character. This wonderful tale of Good vs. Evil is one that I will recommend to anyone and everyone.
Coming Up Next: I am going to try and post the Wrap-Up tomorrow; however, it’s the end of the semester for me and I have papers due, so it might not happen. Expect it in the next couple of days.