What a ride this has been.
One person can’t feel all that at once, they’d explode. – Ron Weasley, OOTP
Deathly Hallows explodes with emotions (yours, the characters) faster than a box of fireworks from the Weasley twins straight from the beginning. What makes a book good to me is the way it makes you feel – and this book does that. It doesn’t matter if you’re giggling at an intentional (or not) innuendo or bawling your head off at a well timed death, Deathly Hallows was an absolute rollercoaster ride of emotions – it made the reader feel, and often. Deathly Hallows was creepy, brutal, and bloodthirsty. It was also sweet, funny, and charming. It’s a great way to end this series.
This is the spoiler review of Deathly Hallows.
The beginning was perfect. Kudos to JK Rowling for reading all of Chapter One in the webcast (which you can listen to here). I can’t think of a cooler place to start. It also fit the pattern of things being a little disconnected and third person, then we flip over to Harry, then we flip to the Order, then bam, we’re off on an adventure.
Except we’re not really on much of an adventure, we’re in a tent most of the time. And we don’t know where we’re going – but we keep going anyway. Come to think about it, that really sums up the series, doesn’t it.
Time to talk specifics, though, isn’t it?
First of all, I get sniffy at the weirdest stuff, but I didn’t cry. I’m really sure that’s not gonna hold when the movie comes out.
For example: Hedwig. Christmas in Godric’s Hallow. Dobby. Snape’s memories. These are the things that got me.
Honestly, Snape dying didn’t bother me half as much as Your Average Snape Fangirl (admit it ladies, Alan Rickman is the reason, that’s all there is to it). He had it coming. There was no possible way he could live after all the things he had done in this series. Snape’s death served purpose – he was vindicated. Snape spends all his time teaching Harry how to block memories, and then giving him the most precious of his memories. I mean, awwwww! Hands down, the “Prince’s Tale” chapter was everything we needed to know about Snape. While “Snape Loves Lily” was called by so many, not many people figured out how far it went back. I felt kinda sorry for Snape and Petunia. Petunia writing the headmaster to get into Hogwarts? Ouch. More little Lily, more Tuney! Best flashbacks ever, right?
Fred dying. That was pretty intense, but well handled. For once we saw the twins getting truly divergent personalities. We also heard shockingly little about George after his ear was removed, unfortunately.
Dobby dying was surprisingly tragic – see, I didn’t like Dobby! In fact, I didn’t like the elves much in general. They were always presented as bad, evil creatures (hi Kreacher) or as comedic helpers (Dobby, Winky). But when Dobby shows up to rescue Harry and company – I went from “oh heck no” to “aw yeah”, and was actually saddened at the way he died for his favorite Harry Potter. But how come Dobby got more grief time than Sirius?
I totally called Lupin and Tonks dying! I just didn’t think it’d be that quick, quiet, or leave a kid behind. I was mildly annoyed that Tonks wasn’t given more to do than “get married and leave behind a wartime baby”.
Hagrid most likely got the reprieve, which is annoying but fine.
Hermione and S.P.E.W. were totally, totally vindicated in Kreacher’s redemption – if you treat the house elves with respect, they’ll totally cook you dinner and be happy doing so! Also, the elves at the end battle was hilarious and well visualized.
Hedwig dying was totally necessary and that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I also found a couple flaws in the “seven Harry plan”.
1. Hedwig should have flown free towards the Burrow. If she had to die right then, the same thing would have been accomplished had Harry seen her flying nearby and fall, or if somehow she blocked a spell meant for Harry and died in the process.
2. Hedwig being with the real Harry was probably how they knew they had the real one… not the fact he cast his “signature spell”.
Yes, Hedwig dying and Harry losing his broom had great symbolic impact. Still!
The Hallows. Add three items to the seven horcruxes, and now you’ve got ten things to keep track of. Fortunately Harry’s got home court advantage with one of the items and the other two are definitely up for grabs. I really think this weakened the horcrux hunt just a little bit.
The horcrux hunt itself was oddly handled – they held on to the locket for far too long, and visited Godric’s Hallow much later than they should have. On the other hand, Christmas is a pretty dramatic time, and for maximum emotional “oof” – it worked.
The motherly love in this series is strong, but nowhere is it more keenly felt than in Deathly Hallows. Lily, Molly – and even Narcissa all demonstrated just how powerful a mother’s love can be. Molly Weasley redeemed herself from annoying mom to power mom in one line, and that was all it took. This was a woman willing to kill – she didn’t belong in the Order because the boys needed dinner, no. She is a truly capable witch in her own right. Cissy surprised me something amazing – not many people like the Malfoys, but she did the right thing at the right time, and it made all the difference. Kudos.
Let’s talk about the Malfoys for a second. Anyone else get the feeling they really didn’t have their heart in any of the Death Eater stuff? I reckon Azkaban will take the energy out of anyone, but it was like, they just didn’t believe anymore. Protip: This is what happens when you side with evil that goes too far.
How far it too far? Anyone else get a completely over the top Nazi vibe out of this one?
A short list then, of the good and the bad.
Ron running off made me want to hit him, hard. I think that was JKR’s intention, so it worked.
Hermione cried way too much during the whole book! Buck up, girlfriend. Also, I imagine the lightly glazed over mention of her modifying her parents memories and sending them off hit her pretty hard, but it didn’t seem like it took much to set Hermione off anyway.
Hurray for that totally inappropriate moment for some R/H action and for Harry snapping them back to reality.
The tent scenes, while taking an enormous amount of time underscored the helpless feeling the trio felt, and the frustration. It could have been trimmed a bit.
Dolores Umbridge still didn’t get her due. Tsk! No good deed goes unpunished, but apparently a lot of bad ones do.
Why does it take articles from Rita Skeeter, of all people, to get Harry to doubt Dumbledore? You would think that would just encourage him more to be “Dumbledore’s man, through and through”. Learning about Dumbledore not being so perfect was great and well needed.
Luna and Neville were top notch. Luna’s father was just as wacko as I thought. Neville’s gran really came around and I’m pleased at that.
One has to wonder if JK Rowling truly meant for that much innuendo sprinkled through the book. If you didn’t pick up on it, I can’t help you.
Too much reliance on the Polyjuice potion and Invisiblity Cloak came off as lazy writing.
Hermione’s bottomless purse was just insane. Clever and handy, but insane. Harry Potter and the Bottomless Handbag, anyone?
Harry not knowing anything about first aid spells in the beginning. Harry, what were you doing all summer, exactly?
Dudley being nice was a mite out of character – but maybe he just grew up and started thinking beyond being a thug.
Petunia should have said something when they left to Harry. Anything.
The tacked on body count and pointless Colin Creevy reference. Name some more names, don’t just give us numbers.
I wonder if the Elder Wand could have fixed Neville’s parents?
That epilogue was awful. Yeah I know it was written more of the style of the earlier books, or some would say, “I could write better fanfic than that”. Actually I could write better fanfic than that, and I don’t write fanfic. I know it was written for the fans. I personally was hoping for a differently styled epilogue so we could get the “oops this is the ending” “no wait this is the end” “scene here! it’s the end!” chain that we had in Return of the King. If she really did write it ages ago as I have heard, why didn’t she revisit it now that her style has obviously grown and improved a bit? The kids names were trite, contrived, but in some places appropriate and in others way out of left field. More summarily put, “Hugo? What?”
Anyone who didn’t predict Neville teaching Herbology should just not admit this to anyone.
Harry wanting to just curl up and have a well earned sandwich and get some sleep was a perfect ending. I think we all deserve that right now.
Speaking of the inevitable movie, it will truly take an epic length film to do this justice, many have said – but will it really? There are plenty of opportunities to trim things down, but to try to sandwich Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows into tidy bite sized two hour and fifteen minute chunks would be disastrous and deplorable. Any producer who attempts to trim these novels down to anything less than two and a half hours (and even that would be cutting things badly) should be clearly run out of town and laughed at for even suggesting such a thing. Three hours would be the ideal length. That doesn’t seem so epic when you realize how many thousands of pages JK Rowling’s most delighted fans have read just to get through the series itself.
Start to finish (minus the epilogue), the book was action packed, likable, with an appropriate amount of humor sprinkled inside what could have been JK Rowling’s most depressing and bleak tale yet. A true companion piece to Half-Blood Prince, I liked it. It wrapped things up, and it did it’s job admirably.
Was it worth the hype? Every minute. Do I want JK Rowling to write more? Not really.
I would make an exception only if it were Hogwarts, A History. I don’t see why she’d need to write an encyclopedia – many sites exist to fill that need, painstakingly charting everything people eat, the gifts they give – anything you can think of, someone has probably referenced it (we’ve done quite a bit of cataloging ourselves). It would probably be filled with all sorts of minutiae, but do we really need it in book form?
Why not just publish the notebooks, the scratches in the margins, the things that didn’t make it in online? Her site does an admirable job of this already and is a perfect venue to keep interest in the place healthy.
Actually, it is not really necessary that we see more books about this world. The fans shouldn’t force her into doing so just because they know our hero does in fact, make it after all. I do know she could definitely not write another thing ever and that would be fine by me too – JK Rowling has given us a fantastic finale, and a great graduation present to everyone who has grown up with Harry.
It’s not good bye, really. We all have two movies to go! All really is well.