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

Ulitmate Kudos: An exciting ending to a classic series

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is an excellent end to an extraordinary series. Picking up with the search for the Horcruxes that Voldemort locked split pieces of himself in, the book ties together most of the remaining loose ends in satisfying fashion. Harry, Ron and Hermione do not return for their last year at Hogwarts, choosing instead to take on the task that Dumbledore assigned to Harry. Along the way, much of the backstory is revealed about Harry’s relatives, Dumbledore’s relationships, Voldemort and more. The giants, house elves, goblins and other magical creatures all play a part, as do Luna, Neville, the Weasley and Mallfoy families.

A character does die in the first chapter (in the flow of the story) and others in the end (some needlessly; though a cost for the final battle must be shown, some dying off screen as it were aren’t in the flow of the story)

As an author, I admire how Ms. Rowling combined several different themes in this book and throughout the series:
– Harry’s constant coming of age; some critics say that Harry was always “too good”, but, having watched my son grow up while Harry was growing up, I see how Ms. Rowling added in the angst and oftimes anger that teenagers feel and express, especially when they feel they are not getting to make their own choices, or when they are made to feel powerless either by their situation or by the people around them who decide they are “not ready”. In Deathly Hallows, Harry takes it upon himself many times to decide that he is ready for a particular challenge;
– the theme of prejudice is well played in this novel, with the Muggles and Mud-bloods getting overwhelmed by Voldemort and his “pure-blood” regime; reminds one of a Hitler-esque regiem;
– obviously, good vs. evil, both in all of their purity, Harry vs. Voldemort;
– the struggles of Snape, who throughout the series and this book seems to switch sides like a chameleon;
– Harry’s view of his parents, from his own view of worship and from Snape’s perspective;

As a parent, I appreciate this book and series as one I can read with and discuss with my kids; a book that you wouldn’t classify as young adult that satisfies kids and adults alike, with adventure, humor and teen angst. My article on reading this series with my son is here.

And, as a long-time reader of fantasy and science fiction, part of me thinks that this is actually a true story, that there really is a parallel world of magic next to our own. Because who among us doesn’t really want there to be wizards and giants and dragons? Perhaps we really are just muggles, muggling along until Ms. Rowling enlightens us.

It was a great broomstick ride.

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4 Responses

  1. deb says:

    how about the theme of motherhood. i don’t want to give anything away so i will not say anymore.

  2. larry says:

    deb, that is an excellent point, and it’s not just Harry’s relationship with his mother, but Mrs. Weasley turns into a much more complex character in this last book with her relationships with her natural children and somewhat foster relationship with Harry; and even Mrs. Malfoy shows the power of motherhood over everything else.

    And the fatherhood relationship gets a little perspective, as Harry gets more interesting glimpses into his father as a student (saying no more as to not give away spoilers to those who have not read).

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