Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows - J. K. Rowling

I'm not really sure what there is to say about this book. If you've read the first six books, you're definitely going to read this and you're not going to want to hear much about it until you do. If you haven't started the Harry Potter series, then there's not much point in reading a review of the final book. In short, whatever I say in this review is probably not going to make one bit of difference in whether or not you read this book.

Also, I don't really want to give away too much plot here, just in case you're ever planning to read the series and haven't already heard the ending. (Though you'd probably have to try pretty hard to avoid it.) So, why am I writing a review at all? Partly just so it's on my blog as something I've read, but also partly so I can put down a few impressions and reflections about the book while it's fresh in my mind.

After Book 6 came out, there was all sorts of speculation about how things would end, with little bits and pieces of rumors from Rowling herself. Is Snape good or evil? (Whole books have been written about this.) Will Harry live or die? What's up with this mysterious connection between Harry and Lord Voldemort, anyway?

Just for the record, my predictions had been: I thought Snape would turn out to be good in the end because Rowling had spent so much time making him seem bad but with some odd hints about things. I thought, well, he'll probably turn out to be good but we'll have to have some hitherto unknown rules about magic explained to us before we get it.

I also had thought that I wouldn't be surprised if Harry died at the end of the series. Tragic, yes, but heroic. The classic hero saga involves losing all your support, all your friends, and then finally dying for the sake of a greater cause. I did have a few suspicions about whether Rowling would actually kill Harry off; after all, this is (or was) a kids' book series.

So, as it was, I think there were a few things that I thought Rowling might do, a few twists she might use regarding the Horcruxes, Harry, and Voldemort, but which I'd be a little disappointed with. I think I ended up being right on most of those counts. I was still disappointed, as I was with Book 4, in the amount of dialogue-as-explanation. Oh, here's a character who's going to give a long monologue explaining things in a nice neat package. Oh, and here's another one who will fill in all the gaps that the first one missed.

Also, the epilogue could have been a little richer, I think. There are several characters who just sort of vanish, and it would have been nice to find out what they were up to later on. As a friend of mine pointed out, you can tell Rowling was just getting tired by the end of it and just wanted to finish the book.

Overall, though, it was a mostly satisfying and fitting ending to a wonderful series, and it's hard to imagine anything else captivating so many readers for so long. It's a series in which the readers have grown up as the characters have, and the stories and themes mature over the course of seven books. Quite a feat for Rowling, and quite a treat for us.

Fed to jonathan's brain | August 02, 2007 | Comments (0)


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