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My Review of Deathly Hallows

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  • Bill
    My Review of Deathly Hallows Deathly Hallows is a magnificent book, a fitting conclusion to the Harry Potter series. Dramatic and absorbing, it is also a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 21, 2007
      My Review of Deathly Hallows

      Deathly Hallows is a magnificent book, a fitting conclusion to the
      Harry Potter series. Dramatic and absorbing, it is also a profoundly
      spiritual book about death and how we deal with it -- both the deaths
      of loved ones and our own death.

      The action starts as soon as Harry leaves Privet Drive, in an
      exciting extended chase scene. This sets the tone for the rest of the
      book, with repeated episodes involving the Trio getting into scrapes
      and barely escaping. Along the way, we learn a great deal of
      backstory on Albus Dumbledore (this is in some ways a book about his
      life, told in retrospect) and at the end, about Severus Snape.
      Unfortunately, due to the nature of the plotline, we see little of
      Ginny, although it is clear that Harry deeply loves her (for example,
      he regularly spends hours yearningly staring at her dot on the Map).
      Since the story is in Harry's PoV, the only times we see her are at
      the Burrow and at the end, when Harry finally arrives at Hogwarts.

      But the real story inside the book is spiritual. JKR has stated that
      the series is really about death, and how we deal with it. The story
      of Harry Potter is in the end much more profound than the
      typical 'Harry defeats Voldemort through superior magical strength
      and skill' fanfiction. Harry is victorious though accepting his
      mortality, and through his own self-sacrifice, allowing Voldemort to
      defeat himself. In the end, he does not need to have any great
      magical abilities; Voldemort is defeated by Harry's willingness to
      put the lives of others over his own, and accept -- indeed embrace --
      his own death to do so. Voldemort, being the ultimate narcissist,
      could never do this, and so in the end his defeat was inevitable.
      Harry's journey is one that everyone must take. The story of Harry
      Potter is not the story of Superman; it is the story of Everyman.

      One thing that gave me satisfaction while reading this was
      recognising many references to earlier books. It turns out that many
      of the lines in earlier volumes had more than one meaning, with the
      more profound meaning hidden until this book. For example, Olivander
      tells Harry when he buys his wand that "the wand chooses the wizard".
      We think for six books that this only means that the wand-user must
      pick a wand that is compatible with his or her magic, and that other
      wands work less well for them. This is certainly true, but those
      words also mean something else entirely, something that is critical
      to Harry's victory over Voldemort -- and which in fact explains
      Dumbledore's actions at the end of HBP. Another example is the line
      from the Gringotts poem warning thieves about 'finding more than you
      seek'. This is proven true in a suprisingly literal but very clever
      way, that I was not expecting at all. Deathly Hallows is full of such
      revisits to lines from previous books, with their true meanings
      finally revealed.

      This is not a book about shipping. Romance does play a part, but the
      book is not about the attainment of pleasures, it's about giving up
      such pleasures in order to help others. Harry must give up being with
      Ginny, whom he desperately wants to be with, for the duration of his
      journey, and must be willing to give up his potential lifetime with
      her (and it is her he would miss most -- when he faces his own death
      at the climax of the book, he thinks only of Ginny), in order to do
      what he alone can do, defeat Voldemort. Self-sacrifice is not only
      about directly offering up your own life, but also about giving up
      the things you crave the most -- in Harry's case, that would be a
      life with Ginny. In the nature of this story, Harry cannot be with
      Ginny throughout, or his struggle would not be as significant as it

      This book concludes the Harry Potter series with a bang. In my
      opinion, it is easily the best and most satisfying of the seven
      books, bringing the Harry Potter epic to an uplifting conclusion.

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