The Harry Potter series has been a major part of my life since I was nine.
I was not a bandwagon fan enjoying the popularity of the series after book four was released. I saw “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in a bookstore in 1999. It was the kind of that was just begging to be read, so, like a true bibliophile, I bought it and dug in.
The release of Deathly Hallows, July 21, 2007, was like someone telling me I was going to have to say goodbye to a dear friend. Eight years of my life were taken over by spells and owls and Death Eaters.
Simply opening the book I purchased at midnight was bittersweet.
I read for 12 hours straight, pausing only to eat a sandwich and close the book. Five minutes later, I reopened it, beginning the word-by-word analysis of a book whose secrets I’m still discovering today.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is not, in my opinion, the best book in the series. That title goes to the Prisoner of Azkaban for me. It is, however, a spectacular ending to what I consider the best series of all time.
Unlike in the movies, Jo (J.K Rowling to non-fans), did an amazing job of characterizing every major player in the series. Minor characters as well were given due reverence. The level of characterization makes everyone’s struggles feel real. From the opening scene with Charity Burbage, to the threat of Snatchers, there is a sense of real danger that was missed in the recent film.
The danger of course comes from the constant threat of Tom Marvolo Riddle, better known as Voldemort. He is evil, vile, cold and brilliant, and he is a very real face in the story. Riddle is not some detached entity driving the plot. His actions influence events typically more than Harry’s, as everything the Boy Who Lived does is done to stop the main villain.
Gringotts, Malfoy Manor, the Hog’s Head and Hogwarts itself are all featured and given appropriately exciting scenes.
The larger pieces in the story or somewhat offset by the trio’s frequent “camping trips.” In between finding out a major plot point or doing battle with some dragon or villain, the trio takes refuge in different remote areas. The scenes tend to drag somewhat, as they are the parts of the book where hopelessness (for both the reader and the characters) sets in.
The two major plot devices moving the plot forward are the Deathly Hallows and Voldemort’s Horcruxes.
Horcruxes are Voldemort’s method of staying immortal and the Hallows are a secret. There are 10 of them combined. The plot devices are a bit of a double-edged sword though. Ten pieces of magically important stuff, two of which have already been destroyed, and the first half of the book focused primarily on finding and destroying one of them.
The others are either found or destroyed so fast it was almost hard to keep up. The Deathly Hallows dragged in some ways and moved a little too quickly in others but 90 percent of the book is done so well it’s hard to fault it.
The epilogue will probably be disputed for years to come, but I felt it was an appropriate ending for characters I had come to love over the years.