What a ride it was, reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! Rowling has done an enormous job here. The book was such a page turner.
It has been a lovely experience to be part of the “Potter mania” (as it is called). I’ve never done something like this before: rushing to the bookstore on the day of the release, and opening Chapter 1 right after I paid for it, closing my ears when some people at mentioned the word “Harry Potter”, reading it at 2:30 am, etc. After all the wait, there was a definite treat!
Here are some of my initial thoughts. Plenty of spoilers here, so if you haven’t read Deathly Hallows yet, you may not want to read this (yet).
The book opens with Snape speaking to a Death Eater outside the above of Voldemort. I was surprized to read that: something told me since book 5 that he might really be on the good side. I liked the chapter where Harry leaves Privet Drive; the little exchange with Dudley was added a emotional surprize. I would have liked to see a little bit more conversation between Harry and Petunia Dursley, his aunt, but sadly that was not to be.
Action filled chapters followed with Bill and Fleur’s wedding, until I reached the middle when the trio deciede where to go looking for the horcruxes; Tonks and Lupin’s wedding was a sweet surprize.
It was very nice to read the part about Dumbledore: he comes off now as a rounded charecter, with his own flaws, which make him more real. I liked the fact that Ron leaves the Harry and Hermione and returns a little later, although I felt he returned a little too early. Harry and Hermione’s visit to Godric’s Hollow was a spine-tingling chapter; Bathilda Bagshot was Nagini! No wonder she refused to speak in front of Herminone; no wonder there were constant references to foul smell.
It was heart-wrenching to see Harry’s wand break! The wand that made the Patronuses, the wand that saved him from Voldemort, irrepairably broken. Harry’s internal debate about the Horcruxes vs. the Deathly hallows, his guesses on his ancestry were an emotional roller coaster. I liked how Wormtail’s life debt to Harry was repaid, but it seemed a little hurried. I think there could have been a little more dialogue there; just one sentence and Wormtail yields; it was still sad to see him die.
Moving on the last ten or so chapters were the most heart-wrenching; there were many emotional moments: Dobby’s death, Harry digging his grave, and many more.
Severus Snape: what a admirably complex character! Cold and despicable on one side, but pitiably sad on the other. I loved the little tidbits about Snape and Lily; Lily could have redeemed him from Death-Eaterhood if it weren’t for James. I loved how Harry sees in the Pensieve that Snape had started to care for him (another very emotional moment). I also loved how JKR showed this to us through the Pensieve; having Snape say that to Harry in person would have been too cheesy, unnatural, out-of-charecter and have taken the magic out of that moment. I also admired how JKR established how Harry came to know that he himself is a Horcrux: not from Snape, not from Dubledore, but through their conversation from the past. I wish Snape had lived!
It was the pinnacle of sadness to see Harry walk towards his own death, a very heart-wrenching chapter describes his thoughts and feeling at this horrible hour; he wants to see his friends, he wants to talk to Ginny, but he knows that that would only make it harder; he fears it, yet he is ready to face it, for the greater good, to accomplish what Dumbledore asked of him. How brave of him to return from death (if you choose to interpret it that way), when he had the choice to stay away from the mad life that he has had. In an awe-inspiring “resurrection” chapter, Harry chooses to return to the worldly realm, parallelling Gandalf’s return in Lord of the Rings. Another beautiful emotional touch (and surprize) is added when Narcissa Malfoy declares dead, a very alive Potter after hearing from him that Draco is alive and in the castle! Lovely indeed, JKR!
The chapter about the flaw in Voldemort’s plot with the Elder wand was just Rowling’s most genius chapter! I couldn’t stop saying “wow!”. Harry was the true master of the Elder wand: yet he uses it only to mend his own broken wand and then chooses to return it to where it belongs, where it can do no more harm: in Dumbledore’s grave.
Some things I would have liked to know/to have seen:
– What happens to the Dursleys?
– Did Petunia think Harry was Snape’s son? (she refers to ‘that awful boy’ back in the series)
– what had Dumbledore written in his letters to Petunia
– Why was Teddy Lupin not living with his godfather?
– Who was headmaster at Hogwards after Voldemort’s fall?
– Did happened to Luna and Neville?
– More dialogue between Harry and Hermione
– Snape one last minute with Harry, where he says something to him
I think the most beautiful moment for me, in the book is when Harry has named one of his sons, who inherited Lily’s green eyes, Albus Severus Potter; when the little boy expresses his worry over the possibility of his being placed in Slytherin he says (something to the effect of) “…you have been named after two Hogward’s headmasters, and one of them was the bravest men I have ever seen (referring to Snape) and he was Slytherin. ….If you are placed in there, then Slytherin has gained a good student!”. Way to go Harry!
Albus Severus Potter – that sums it all up for me!