Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” –Albus Dumbledore

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is an amazing literary experience. On its own it is perhaps great; as the culmination of an epic saga it is amazing. By this point the reader has invested so much in the story and the lives of the characters, and Rowling does not fail to use that to her advantage. The book doesn’t so much have a climax, as it is the climax. Event after event has so much meaning to the over all story.

Moments that stand out are many:

The Dursley’s farewell is surprisingly touching. Who would have thought that about Dudley? And we are teased once more with Petunia’s secret.

The escape from the Dursley’s has an intensity up until now reserved for the books’ climaxes.

The things Ron and Hermione have done to prepare to help Harry this year show that they may have weighed the cost even better than Harry has.

The moment the ministry falls to the Death Eaters should be very cinematic. Let’s hope they keep it.

Kreacher’s back-story and change of attitude is one of those eye-opening moments that Rowling is so good at. Understanding people and showing others love generally pays off.

One of the scariest scenes ever written (not just in this series, but in English in general) occurs after Ron leaves and Harry and Hermione go to Godric's Hollow. If they don’t keep that for the next film it will be criminal. The first time you read it and don’t know how it is headed but can see it slowly being revealed… it is truly terrifying!

Dumbledore gets the same treatment from Rowling as all of Harry’s idols—having his youth exposed humanizes him. It seems that all people are idiots or at least misguided in their youth. It makes Dumbledore that much of a greater man when we realize why he himself turned down power whenever it was presented to him.

When Ron comes back and destroys the Horcrux, it is one of those moments Rowling does so well… using her great imagination to reveal deep character qualities in a novel way. In those same scenes the doe patronus is a tantalizing clue of the greatest reveal to come.

When Harry is captured, we get the first of many intense moments where we ask ourselves how they are possibly going to get out of this situation. Dobby’s appearance is a huge cheering moment, but it is oh so short. The grief Harry (and the reader) experience here is probably the single greatest turning point of the series. From this point on, Harry has set his course in confidence; there are no more doubts the rest of the way. Harry seems to know he can do no wrong after the pivotal choice: Hallows or Horcruxes?

When the action gets back to Hogwarts, we are reminded that Harry and Ron and Hermione are not the only people standing up for what is right. The DA and the teachers of Hogwarts have been quietly doing their part and when the moment is right, they are ready to die for what is right. We have always known that these teachers were just waiting to show all they were capable of. It is exciting to see them act.

It is through the Weasley family that we ordinary people get to see the action through ordinary people’s eyes. This family has seen some of the worst of things in this epic, and at the climax it is no different. When Percy shows up to fight, it is so unexpected and such a moving moment… I think it affects me every time I read it more than the deaths to come. At least as much anyway.

More on themes and the most tantalizing character to come…


  1. How about Molly Weasley putting the hurt on Bellatrix? Or Hermione's continued brilliance - esp. at the Lovegood's? I loved this book...

  2. Yeah, I had too many moments in this book. My 300 word rule has been broken a lot over the past 6 weeks, but 1500 words was way too much. That is why I cut a lot and divided my thoughts into three posts today, tomorrow, and Thursday.

  3. You are so right! Just remembering the moments that you listed brought tears to my eyes! The first read was so adrenaline pumping, wondering which way she was going to take things. I loved the part with Dudley and then Bam! Hedwig!! Oh, that hurt! And everything else you mentioned.


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