Sunday, September 8, 2013

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
Goodreads Summary: 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.
Goodreads / Barnes and Noble

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 759
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Purchased physical copy

First Line: "The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane."

Favorite Quote: "He can run faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo."


Warning: This review contains spoilers 

I kind of wanted to put off reading this book for as long as possible because it was the last one, but sadly I ended up starting it almost immediately after finishing the sixth installment - but really, can you blame me? It amazes me how quickly I blew through this whole series; there's usually a big gap in between books, especially when there's seven altogether. I made an exception for Harry Potter, though - after all, everyone else in the world has read them, and after waiting so long for a resolution to the whole Voldemort problem, I was eager to see how it all went down. I had extremely high expectations for this, and I'm happy to say that J.K. Rowling did not let me down.

It was odd to spend the majority of the story away from Hogwarts, though of course the main characters had perfectly good reasons for not going to what was supposed to be their final year. I was very happy with the pacing, though I expected not to be, because honestly Harry had no idea where most of the remaining Horcruxes were, and therefore it was obvious that he'd be lying low with his friends and just thinking things through for a bit. I was definitely surprised by the doubt cast on Dumbledore in the beginning, and I have to say that after reading the stories about him - his family, in particular - I did begin to wonder about his character. I never doubted that he was a good person, but it was frustrating how little information he left Harry with before dying. Ron obviously thought so, too, because he left Harry and Hermione briefly a few weeks into their Horcux hunt, and I was beyond angry with him at first. I couldn't believe he would just get up and go, but then I starting thinking that he just got overly jealous of Harry spending a lot of time with Hermione. I was a little irritated at how long it took Harry to tell Ron that he felt like Hermione was his sister, and that there were no romantic feelings between them. I feel like a lot of heartache could have been avoided that way. When Ron and Hermione finally kiss towards the end of the book, I felt like cheering because I'd seen it coming for such a long time.

Since there's a big wizarding war going on, I expected people to die. Quite a few ended up that way, and my heart hurt for each one of them. You will be missed, Mad-Eye, Remus Lupin, Tonks and definitely Fred. He was the one I felt the most terrible about. However, I was happy that Percy finally came to his senses and rejoined his family on the right side. It's kind of funny, because before I read Harry Potter, I always assumed that the Deathly Hallows was a place, not objects. So I was surprised to find that they were actually a wand, a stone and a cloak. The author incorporated this new plot twist very well, as I expected. I was very curious about the symbol that represented them as the story moved along since it kept popping up so much; obviously it had to mean something important. I was absolutely livid when I read about Snape becoming the new headmaster of Hogwarts; by that point, I despised everything about him. However, towards the end when Harry goes into his memories, it is revealed that Snape was always loyal to Dumbledore, that they planned his death together, and that Snape has always been in love with Harry's mother, Lily (which, honestly, explains why he disliked Harry so much). Though I still cannot say that Severus Snape is my favorite character, I no longer hate him. In fact, I kind of like him . . . and I felt regret when he died.

The climatic battle scene at the end of the book that takes place in Hogwarts was definitely the best part. My heart was pounding the whole time. I wanted Voldemort, the cause of all this destruction and pain, to go down. As far as villains go, I can appreciate his character; he's not one I'm likely to forget any time soon. I thought it was interesting how at one point it was pointed out that making Horcruxes can make you very unstable (and, of course, Tom Riddle was already nuts), so I was not surprised in the least bit when - in his final showdown with Harry - he was unable to feel even the tiniest hint of remorse when Harry asked him to. Voldemort's death was kind of ironic, considering he lost all his powers with a killing curse rebounding on him after firing it at Harry, and then met his end doing the exact same thing. There's no doubt that he was clever, and he was similar to Harry in quite a few ways. Of course, the difference is that Harry was a good person, with the ability to feel love.

Finishing these books will probably make me feel very sad for a while, because they were all so good and I want more of them. I also wish I had gotten around to reading them when the novels or at least the movies were still coming out because I could have had that fandom experience I enjoyed with Twilight. However, I have no doubt the the Harry Potter series will always be popular and it definitely has a place in my heart. My expectations for it overall were monumental (after all, the hype is overwhelming), and somehow I ended up satisfied despite that. I can see myself returning years into the future to read the whole thing again, to revisit the amazing detailed world I came to love, and the characters that had such development and personality.

5 stars 

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