The Daily Bongo

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

After what seems like years of anticipation, all followers of the exploits of Harry Potter finally know how the story ends. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released on July 21, 2007. I was among the hoards of fans that queued up to get a copy at the stroke of midnight on July 21. I started reading the story as soon as I got home. Unfortunately, being a slower reader, I wasn't able to finish the book for a few days. However, they were days of wonder and anxiety, tears and cheers, as I immersed myself in the story.

This book opens in what would have been late summer before Harry's seventh year at Hogwarts. We knew before the book was released that Harry would not be returning to school. The action comes thick and fast with a plan for the Order of the Phoenix to get Harry out of the Dursleys' house before he turns 17. At that time, the protective spell holding the Death Eaters from the house will end. Since Harry can't use magic before he turns 17 (because all magical acts by those under the age of 17 are tracked by the Ministry of Magic), the plan is to remove Harry from the house with the use of duplicate Harrys. With seven groups of two and the help of Polyjuice Potion, seven Harry Potters leave the Dursleys. Unfortunately, the word seems to have leaked to the Death Eaters, and a large group, including Voldemort, is lying in wait. What a start! Spells fly, and the first of the deaths occur. From there, we have the build-up to the final challenge. Harry, Hermione, and Ron plot their search for the Horcruxes, which hold bits of Voldemort's soul. When the trio finds out that they have been mentioned in Dumbledore's will, they find themselves wondering why they were left the items. This starts the second search for the meaning of the Deathly Hallows. We learn that the Deathly Hallows are three items of questionable existence that were given by Death to three brothers: the Resurrection Stone (which brings the dead back to life), the Elder Wand (the most powerful wand), and the Cloak of Invisibility. Harry has the Cloak of Invisibility. We all know, though, that in the end, it comes down to a face-to-face meeting between Harry and Voldemort.

So what did I think of the book? I loved it. If you have not read the book yet, some spoilers will follow--so stop reading now. Some have complained that a large portion of the middle portion drags. It is true that the middle section doesn't really give alot of plot development. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are on the run, looking for Horcruxes, and trying to determine what to do next. During this time, we learn more about the relationship between the three and that Harry is able to see what Voldemort is doing. The connection between the two strengthens and Harry uses the connection to try to figure out what Voldemort is planning. He does learn that Voldemort is looking for the Elder Wand because Voldemort feels that with that wand, he can kill Harry Potter. Harry and company managed to remove all but two of the Horcruxes, with Nagini, Voldemort's snake, and Harry remaining. Harry learns that when Voldemort killed his parents and attempted to kill him, a bit of Voldemort's soul found its way into Harry. That explains the ability to speak parsletongue and to know Voldemort's thoughts. Harry realizes that to really kill Voldemort, Harry must die. As the second battle of Hogwarts rages, Fred, Lupin, and Tonks are killed. Harry tracks Voldemort to the Shaking Shack and while in hiding, sees Voldemort kill Snape. Before he dies, Snape gives Harry his thoughts, and learns that Snape was always on the side of Dumbledore and Harry. Snape was in love with Lilly, Harry's mother, from the time she was a child. His love for her continued, and we find that after Dumbledore's death, Snape was helping the Order of the Phoenix and Harry. We also find that Snape didn't "kill" Dumbledore. Dumbledore's hand was cursed when he put on the ring that was also a Horcrux. Dumbledore had only a year to live, and decided to control of the time and form of his death. Back to the Battle of Hogwarts, and Voldemort calls off the Death Eaters, stopping the battle for an hour, saying that if Harry gives himself up to Voldemort, he will let the others live. Harry goes into the forest where he knows Voldemort is, and is "killed" by Voldemort. Only Harry really isn't dead. Because he gave his life willing for others, without a fight, only the part of Voldemort in him is killed. Harry returns to life, but Draco Malfoy's mother assures Voldemort that Harry is dead. While checking him, Narcissa asks whether her son is okay. Harry whispers that he is (after being saved twice by Harry during the Battle). As everyone at Hogwarts thinks Harry is dead, he rises from the dead to wage the final battle against Voldemort. This time Harry wins. In the epilogue, 19 years later, we find Harry and Ginny married with three children, and Ron and Hermione married with two children. All's well that ends well.

I cried during parts of the book: when Dobby dies, during the Battle as deaths pile up, and when Harry himself dies. However, in the end I was satisfied because all the loose ends are tied, and we find that love and goodness win out in the end. Our faith in Snape is restored, and our view of Dumbledore is slightly tarnished. Harry comes out the best of them all. His bravery and commitment to his friends never wavers. There is much more to the story than I have covered here. Read the book to enjoy every single word.

I would recommend the whole series to all readers, young and old. The characters and story are wonderful, and I am only sorry that it has now ended. My plan for the summer is to return to book one, and read straight though to the end. After reading the last book, I'm sure that I will see things in the earlier books that I missed or glossed over before.

July 28, 2007