Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Author: JK Rowling
Genre: YA fantasy
Length: 749 pages (I didn’t read the epilogue, this time around)
Source: personal collection
Challenges/Resolutions: Harry Potter Reading Marathon
Reason for Reading: I’m participating in Shannon’s Harry Potter Reading Marathon, and the book for December is Deathly Hallows.
Summary (from Goodreads):
As the novel begins, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are on the run from Lord Voldemort, whose minions of Death Eaters have not only taken control of the Minister of Magic but have begun to systematically – and forcibly – change the entire culture of the magic community: Muggle-born wizards, for example, are being rounded up and questioned, and all “blood traitors” are being imprisoned. But as Voldemort and his followers ruthlessly pursue the fugitive with the lightning bolt scar on his forehead, Potter finally uncovers the jaw-dropping truth of his existence.
My Thoughts: How weird is it that the last time I read this book, I listened to it on audiobook and finished it just a couple weeks earlier in December of 2010.
I don’t believe I have ever noticed how serious this book feels from the very beginning. The story (concerning Harry) starts, as usual, in the Dursley household. But the mood is immediately depressing and ominous. That being said, there isn’t really all that much in the book to be happy about. I guess it’s good that Bill and Fleur get married, even if the wedding turns into a nightmare. And it’s good that Lupin and Tonks have a baby, but then they die. The happy parts seem much happier the first time around–as a reread, the fact that practically every good thing has an equally bad thing that follows.
But rereading does shed light on other parts. For instance:
“I shall attend to the boy in person. There have been too many mistakes where Harry Potter is concerned. Some of them have been my own. That Potter lives is due more to my errors than to his triumphs.” (Voldemort, p6)
I did not realize how important Voldemort admitting he is fallible is in the story. Clearly he does not think Harry is better than himself–he admits that all three times he directly tried to kill him, he “accidentally” managed to live. I must not have really realized Voldemort said this the first two times I read/listened to the story. That is a big deal, for Voldemort to say he is not perfect. It must be hard to be the most powerful wizard in the world and not be perfect.
Oh, and then there’s Draco. It becomes pretty apparent in this final installment that he’s pretty much all talk and no action. Being associated with very powerful people, he boasted a big game when Voldemort returned. But then he told the Death Eaters that a-disguised-Harry wasn’t really Harry–why? And he couldn’t kill Dumbledore–why? Part of it is, I’m sure, that he can be very cowardly. But when he and his own family suffered at the hands of Voldemort and the Death Eaters, I guess he came to realize that dark power is good in theory, but dark magic in reality is not good.
Here are a few other things I found interesting:
- Hermione explains the enchantment she placed upon her parents (p96-7), but she says she has never performed a Memory Charm later (p167). So what did she do to her parents? I guess they never really explained how many different kinds of Memory Charms there are, but Obliviate is the only one mentioned previously. Also, I find the scene in the movie when she wipes herself from her parents’ memories much more heartbreaking than her explanation of it in the book.
- Ginny’s name is Ginevra (p141). Never caught that before. This was particularly interesting because I had been thinking, “What is Ginny short for?” the day before I got to that part of the book.
- Hermione was getting on my nerves a little this time around. But she was seriously a broken record about Harry’s occlumency.
- Harry, at some point in the woods, said that (essentially) he missed being fed, bedded, and having others in charge and telling him what to do. And, my first thought was, “Welcome to the real/adult world!”
- The Muggle-born Register screams Jewish rosters in Nazi Europe. You know, all that “dirty blood” (totally being sarcastic there!)
As I mentioned, I didn’t read the epilogue this time around. Not just because I don’t like it–which is true, but it doesn’t ruin the book for me anymore (like the first time). But I just didn’t feel like reading it. I already know what it says and it’s not important to the story. The book ends just as well without the epilogue–a good, solid closure.