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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Well I have finally completed re-reading Harry’s adventures, and I must admit, I thought the ending this time was decent.  However, I still like the sixth book the best, because it was the most character-driven, but the seventh is a fitting and thrilling conclusion to an utterly remarkable story about kids who can do magic.  I would like to warn anyone reading this that this review is SPOILER heavy, so if you have yet to read The Deathly Hallows, stop reading this review now.

So on to it.  The first time I read the seventh book, I was very disappointed in the ending, because I felt, and still do feel (to some extent), that Harry should have died.  Rowling had set up the final confrontation to where both Harry and Voldemort were going to die, and Harry coming back seemed like a bit of a cop out. 

I would find it hard to believe that Rowling didn’t consider it: after all, a dead Harry means a definitive end to the series, no possibility of writing more, and a fitting conclusion in which Harry finally re-unites with his parents and all of his deceased loved ones.  But alas, Rowling chose the happy ending, and I’m okay with it.  It made sense within the context of the larger story arc, and Harry’s transformation from hotheaded, reluctant hero to bonafide leader made the ending quite believable.

On that note, I will just say the book is spectacular.  It’s a perfect blend of character, drama, and action, and the reader goes through plenty of emotions while reading: happiness, sadness, excitement, worry, elation, surprise, to name a few.  So many things happen in the book that I won’t be able to touch on them all.  But here goes:

First, Severus Snape may be Rowling’s best character.  The scowling head of Slytherin House had been Harry’s major nemesis aside from Voldemort, but there was always a hint of goodwill from Snape towards Harry, however subtle.  But in the sixth book, Snape kills Dumbledore, and it is unclear where his loyalties truly lie.  We find out in The Deathly Hallows, as Snape meets a gruesome end, but gives Harry the key to defeating Voldemort before he dies.  Snape’s character arc is brilliant; a phenomenal tale of pride and redemption.

Second, Harry deals with a lot of death.  In this sense, I think it’s good that he survives, because in his seventeen years, he loses his parents, godfather, guardian (Dumbledore), his loyal owl, Dobby the House Elf, Fred Weasley, Mad-Eye Moody, Lupin, and Tonks.  That is potentially overkill (no pun intended).  But each death makes Harry stronger as a person and each one serves its purpose in allowing Harry to become a man.

Third, the loose ends are all tied up superbly, even if the pacing is slightly screwy.  Any mystery surrounding horcruxes and deathly hallows is all explained in due course  and explained without confusion.  The problem I have is the pacing of the novel. Not only is it mentioned that they could be searching for Horcruxes for years, only for them to finish off Voldemort near the end of the school year (as an astute friend of mine pointed out to me), but it takes them more than half the book to destroy one horcrux, and the rest to destroy the remaining three.  I do feel the first half of the book is slightly slow, but that’s a minor gripe.

Overall, The Deathly Hallows is a fine conclusion to a brilliant overall work (though I could have done without the cliche, happily ever after Epilogue).  The Harry Potter series is magnificent, and makes for great reading at any point.  I still think The Half-Blood Prince is the best of the bunch, but The Deathly Hallows is close behind.