Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and final book in this modern witchcraft series. It relates the story of Harry Potter’s final duel against the evil Lord Voldemort. However, this confrontation actually takes place toward the end of the story. A lot of things happen before Harry and his friends are ready for the battle of their lives.
Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?
From the outset, events move at a breakneck speed. J.K. Rowling scrambles to tie up the loose ends left dangling from the previous six books. In the process, she puts forth a final novel with a dark mood and a somewhat convoluted storyline.
In every book of the series, Rowling has presented a multitude of new characters, places, spells, rules and scores of unimaginable twists and subplots. This one is altogether a towering fictional edifice whose vividness is enough to make up for any serious deficiencies in its design.
The biggest takeaway from the Deathly Hallows is that Rowling continues to capitalize on the things she has done well in the previous installments. An excellent character development leaves little doubt as to the value of nobility and morality. Cruelty becomes the defining trait of those evil in nature and life is assigned value, even when it comes to the most unlovely beings. In fact, when a house-elf lays down his life to save Harry’s, the latter digs the grave himself. He does not use his wizardly skills to do so, believing that this would honor the elf’s sacrifice in a much deeper way.
Themes of true friendship and self-sacrifice have been exquisitely drawn up. The changing relationship of Harry, Ron and Hermione bears testimony to their approaching adulthood. Harry finds his two friends determined to assist him in his face-off with Voldemort. Ron and Hermione’s romantic relationship blossoms into genuine love, without any inappropriate sexuality. The book waxes and wanes throughout, with some parts more gripping and even chilling than others.
Throughout the Harry Potter series, pride and hunger for power go hand in hand and almost always accompany evil, even in the noblest of characters. The imagery of peacocks on the walls of Voldemort’s hideout reflects his misplaced belief in his being the most powerful and wisest wizard. Harry, carrying a Horcrux close to his heart for safekeeping, absorbs some of this arrogance. His resulting obsession with finding the Hallows costs him dearly, and provides him a valuable life lesson. Perhaps the most poignant elements of the Deathly Hallows revolve around the quest for a pure-blood wizardly society. Well-read readers cannot help but relate this to the ghastly events that occurred in Nazi Germany.
Rowling has always maintained that she had plotted the entire Potter series before she started working on it. This truly reflects in the way the protagonists, the principal families and their allegiances, the design of the Hogwarts, and the grand plan for a final confrontation between the good and the bad all fall into place in the series finale.
The story does feel weak in some places. It feels like Rowling cheated herself out of what could have been a much more powerful and dramatic ending.
Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows merits 4.1 stars out of 5 for its wonderful depiction of a place where the mundane and the marvelous, the ordinary and the surreal coexist. It portrays a place where death and the catastrophes of daily life are inevitable. Its characters’ lives are defined by love, loss and hope – they same way ours are in the mortal world.
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