Friday, July 30, 2010

Book Review - J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Published by: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: July 21st, 2007
Format: Hardcover, 784 Pages
Challenge: Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★
To Buy
Dumbledore is dead. Harry will not return to Hogwarts. With Ron and Hermione by his side he must destroy the final Horcruxes so that when Voldemort dies he truly dies. Problem is... what are the other Horcruxes? Dumbledore is dead and left them very strange parting gifts, from a Golden Snitch, to a Deluminator, to The Tales of Beedle the Bard in the original runes. With the trio unable to tell or rely on outside help they are cut off and at a loss as to what needs to be done. The casualties are heavy, during their first escape, Mad Eye and Hedwig are dead. Soon after the ministry falls and Harry becomes the number one target. So of course, when they realize that one of the Horcruxes is in the ministry, they blatantly, but with much planning, break into the ministry. With two previous Horcruxes destroyed during Harry's time at Hogwarts, they now have a third... but how to destroy it and how to find the rest? Stealthily moving about the country they have close calls and infighting. But as time presses on, there is hope. In a race to the finish, anyone could win, but hopefully it will be Harry.

Everyone I know has read Harry Potter, so recapping a plot that is so much a part of literary history seems trite. So instead, I'll do more of the talking and less of the summarizing. Firstly, I find it interesting, that Rowling so broke from the mold of her previous books. Each book was set up around the school year with the holiday breaks and such. But here, there is no school, there is no routine that we have grown to know and love. There is one encounter, one Horcrux after the other. Each section almost radically different that the previous. We have the happy homemakers and Grimmauld Place planning what amounts to Potter's Three (you know, like Ocean's Eleven). Then we have them hiding in the woods. Then there's the Dickensian "Ghosts of Christmas Past." Each section different but so fabulous in it's own way that you don't want it to end. But what I find fascinating is the whole dissection of the life of Albus Dumbledore. His continual barrage by the media makes Harry question everything he knew about the man, even the mission he set him on. I wonder, if J.K. Rowling hadn't become famous if she would have been able to successfully show the effect the media has on someone. Since day one Harry was set up as a celebrity and a hero, someone who the newspapers craved to hear and read about. But it was these books that made Rowling famous in a way similar to what Harry experienced in his world. If this had not happened would it have been as convincing? I'm not saying that these experiences necessarily changed her plotting of the book or what she intended to do. But perhaps it was the viciousness of attacks and this omnipresence in her life that lead her to see how easily your opinion of someone can change just by what's being said true or false. Harry's doubt of Dumbledore is a big theme, in fact perhaps the biggest, in Deathly Hallows. One I think born of a truth that J.K. Rowling learned the hard way. It doesn't matter what you were, it's what people say about you once you're gone. While this isn't how it really is, it's the love that came before, it's hard to remember that love sometimes. And that's what it comes down to in the end. Love. Voldemort, like the deceitful press, just tears down everything and everyone, but if you can remember that love, you have the most powerful magic of all.


I need to read the Harry Potter books. I have tried. I will try again. For you, now.

If I can convert 1 person to Harry Potter with this blog, my work is done :P

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