Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the conclusion in the Harry Potter series and signifies the end in the struggle between good and evil that’s been going on since the first book. By the way, did you know that only Hermione Granger went back to Hogwarts to complete her seventh year (Harry Potter and Ron Weasley never returned)?

On her website, Rowling says this about the book: “While each of the previous Potter books has strong claims on my affections, Deathly Hallows is my favourite, and that is the most wonderful way to finish the series.”

The book was released on July 21st 2007 and immediately beat the other books in becoming the fastest selling book in the UK and USA (8.3 million in first 24 hours and 11.5 million in the first ten days).

What makes this book stand out? Well, firstly the most obvious: it’s the last book in the series and it’s the climax of the story that’s been building since the first book. Secondly, this book has the most named casualties of all the books, both deaths and injuries. This is also the first book without Quidditch matches (probably since the main characters don’t spend any time at school). The last thing that makes this book stand out is the fact that it was turned into two movies.

So, what did I think of the book? Well … that’s quite a loaded question, I think. I believe it to be the most important of the series, because, well, it’s the ending. I absolutely loved the epilogue! Especially since I am a sucker for happy endings ;-).

There was another big frustration for me, however (yes, I know, I profess to love the series, yet a lot of things frustrate me… well, that’s a sign of a really good book, I think!). I was very upset with Harry (yet again) for his behaviour. I mean, he becomes completely obsessed with the Deathly Hallows after he hears the story from Luna Lovegood’s father. It isn’t until Dobby’s death (after breaking into Gringotts) that he gives up on it. I mean, for a big chunk of the book, our hero is focused on something completely besides the point… He was given a quest by Dumbledore to find the Horcruxes and destroy them in order to rid the world of Voldemort’s evil for once and for all. But he gets completely sidetracked by these mythical weapons he think will make him all-powerful. I think that this shows Harry is like Dumbledore in a lot of ways since they both were obsessed with power and the Hallows (which was probably Rowling’s intention). Anyway, this really annoyed me and I just wanted to grab hold of him, shake him and tell him that the fate of the world was resting in his hands and upon him destroying the Horcruxes.

My overall opinion? I liked the book very much. I loved the way Rowling tied up all loose ends and every single story line. Everything that had been happening since book one, really came together in one enormous climax. I absolutely loved the ending! Yes it’s sad that so many people had to die, but that is only realistic. It also shows the progression of the books from a true children’s story to a series that can be (and is) enjoyed by everyone.

The book starts with Harry Potter in Privet Drive once again, waiting for the Order of the Phoenix to come and pick him up and get him away without Voldemort interfering. This is only partly successful: the seven different Harry Potters (transformed through magic) are attacked by Voldemort and his followers but they all make it out quasi-unscathed except for Mad Eye Moody who was killed.

At the end of the summer, Bill and Fleur’s wedding takes place. The wedding is crashed by Voldemort’s followers and this forces Harry, Ron and Hermione to leave earlier than planned. They don’t return to school and start their search for the remaining horcruxes.

The first horcrux is owned by Dolores Umbridge (yes, that evil teacher from the previous book) and the three friends need to sneak into the ministry to get it back. They stake it out for weeks and eventually manage to get the horcrux back. The next few weeks, tensions rise and they get very frustrated because they did get one horcrux, but have no way of destroying it. On top of that, they have no idea where the other horcruxes might be. This leads to a big fight between Harry and Ron and when Hermione backs up Harry, Ron leaves in anger saying Hermione chose Harry over himself.

Harry and Hermione are distraught and angry, but try to go on with the quest. They end up visiting the town where Harry was born (and also where his parents died) and are lured into a trap by Voldemort. They only barely escape: Harry is hurt pretty badly and his wand is ruined. One night, shortly after they’ve escaped, Harry is keeping watch, he sees a Patronus (shaped like a silver doe) and he decides to follow it. He jumps into a pool to retrieve Gryffindor’s Sword lying at the bottom, but it almost goes wrong. Fortunately, Ron is there to save him and together they make it back to Hermione and manage to destroy the horcrux.

After this, they learn about the Deathly Hallows (which the title refers to): mythical objects which can be used to cheat death, that Harry wants to find but Ron and Hermione don’t really believe in (this spins into an entire story line with Harry too busy obsessing about the Hallows and finding them to care about the horcruxes and killing Voldemort). A little while later, the three of them are captured by followers of Voldemort and brought to the Malfoy house. They manage to get away again, along with a group of Malfoy’s prisoners. They form an alliance with the goblin Griphook to break into Gringotts to get another horcrux. They manage to get it and get away (after fighting Death Eaters and a dragon) but aren’t able to destroy it because Griphook steals the sword. At that point, Voldemort realises what they’ve been up to, stealing and destroying horcruxes and flies into a rage. Because of their shared mental link, Harry is then able to determine the location of the final 2 horcruxes.

They find out the next horcrux is at Hogwarts, so they perceive a plan to break in there and get it. There they also find the means to destroy the previous horcrux. The Horcrux they find at Hogwarts is unintentionally incinerated by magical fire. At this point, the battle for Hogwarts (and the magical world itself) has really started with Voldemort and his followers attacking the school since they found out Harry is there and Voldemort is enraged by Harry destroying his horcruxes.

While students, teachers, staff and the members of the Order of the Phoenix fight for their lives, Harry commissions his friends to destroy Nagini, Voldemort’s snake, the 6th and penultimate horcrux. In the meantime, he plans to go to Voldemort and surrender himself since he himself is the 7th and final horcrux (which Voldemort does not realise). After that, Hermione and Ron will be able to kill Voldemort once and for all. So Harry dies at the hand of Voldemort around the same time that Nevil kills Nagini which means that Voldemort can now truly be killed.

But Harry isn’t dead, he goes to some kind of limbo where he meets up with Dumbledore. They talk for a while and Dumbledore helps Harry fully realise everything about the Voldemort situation. He then says that Harry has the choice between going back or dying. Harry, of course, comes alive again, but is thought to believed dead by everyone. When Voldemort cries victory and walks into Hogwarts for their surrender, Harry reveals he isn’t dead at all and a battle of epic proportions ensues between the two of them. Harry is eventually able to kill Voldemort, and upon seeing that, all the Death Eaters flee.

The epilogue plays out nineteen years into the future. Harry and Ginny have married with three children and are at Platform 9 3/4 for their second son’s first year at Hogwarts. Ron and Hermione have also married and their firstborn is also starting her first year at Hogwarts. Both couples have a younger child that is complaining about having to wait another two years before they can go. Draco Malfoy is also there with his wife, sending their son of to school. The story closes with the words: “All was well”.

So what did you think of the final instalment? Pretty heavy, right?! Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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