Geeks With Blogs
Chris Breisch   .NET Data Practices
Search this Blog!

I have predicted previously that I expected dead bodies to mount up in this book like the final act in a Shakespearean tragedy. I was not disappointed. As a matter of fact, the first death occurs on page 12.  Sort of a record.  In Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone we find out about Harry's parents deaths on the same page, but we don't actually witness them. Ditto Tom Riddle's family in Goblet of Fire (page 2). But nowhere else in the series, not even Goblet of Fire, does the action pick up quite so quickly as in Deathly Hallows.

For some writers, that would be a problem, particularly in a 759 page book. It's impossible to maintain that level of action throughout. And that's true in any book, not just a Harry Potter book with all its side plots and back stories. But Rowling does a masterful job of keeping the tension high. There's only one point in the middle section of the book where the reader begins to get anxious for a little more forward momentum, but there's a reason for that too.

I'll do this like my review of Half-Blood Prince and I'll save the spoilers until the end, so you can read on. Suffice it to say that I was dead on on some things and totally missed the mark on others. Ms. Rowling has stated that two characters died in this book that she wasn't expecting.  I think the identity of at least one of those characters will be obvious to you (the only one where I actually shouted "NO!" as I read it), and I'm pretty sure of the identity of the second as well.  I was sad to see both of those die, but I think she made good choices.

I've said earlier that I ranked HBP about 4th in the series. I think it bears up well upon further readings and I've moved it up to 3rd (3, 4, 6, 2, 1, 5).  So, where would I put book 7?  Read on and find out.

I have a couple of minor nits, both based on unfulfilled expectations. I expected both Draco and Ginny to play much bigger parts than they did. It's not like they were absent, but I had expectations for their roles that were not met.  In Draco's case, I think that detracts from the story, and doesn't seem to fit what we saw in HBP, but Rowling obviously wasn't thinking along the same lines as me. In Ginny's case, it doesn't detract from the storyline, but possibly detracts from emotional content.  However, this book doesn't lack in emotional content at all, perhaps she thought adding a little more would make it unbearable. Or perhaps in both cases, her mind just didn't work like mine, and it's my expectations that were wrong, and not the book. Since she's the billionaire here, you should probably trust her judgment over mine.

For other characters, I was excited to see their growth. One of the themes of this book is that of revealing hidden strengths. That theme applies to so many characters, I don't even know where to begin.

Here's a quote from my review of HBP that I bring up for consistency:

So, what’s in the book?  The usual, Quidditch, The Daily Prophet, disagreements between Dumbledore and the Ministry of Magic, a quick stop at the Burrow and Diagon Alley, and, of course, Harry missing the Sorting Hat (I think Rowling must not like writing those scenes.  She keeps finding ways to have Harry miss them). 

So, what's in the new book?  Some of the usual (no Quidditch), The Daily Prophet, disagreements between Harry and the MInistry of Magic, a quick stop at the Burrow and Diagon Alley, and, of course, Harry missing the Sorting Hat.

That statement is factually accurate, but to imply that this book is at all like the other 6 is disingenuous to the extreme. There's a new headmaster at Hogwarts, a new professor for Defense Against the Dark Arts (of course), now renamed to just Dark Arts, and a new professor for Muggle Studies, now a required class. While the book is still a 3rd person's account of Harry's point-of-view, Hermione and Ron have even bigger parts to play than in any of the earlier books. At least one of them, and usually both, appear in nearly every single scene. There's far more travel by the main characters in this book than the other 6 books combined.

So, obviously Hogwarts re-opens.  As for whether or not Harry attends, you'll have to read yourself and find out.

Rowling has said that this was a very emotional book, and it certainly is, and of every kind. Dolores Umbridge reprises her role from Order of the Phoenix and in some ways is even more hateful than then. But there are joyful scenes, tearful scenes, and everywhere scenes with various types of tension. The book practically crackles with pent up energy.

Just like the last two, this book is full of back story, this time mostly centered around Albus Dumbledore. In general, I don't like it when the concluding book of a series introduces a lot of back story. I feel like it should've been introduced sooner. However, very little of it would've fit anywhere except OotP, and that book at 896 pages was full enough, so I can't really complain too much about it here. We get to find out quite a bit about Dumbledore's past, and even eventually meet his brother Aberforth. The newfound knowledge about Professor Dumbledore will make future re-reads of the first six books more interesting, I'm sure.

So, how exactly do I feel about it and where would I rank it?  Well, I still feel that I missed seeing more of Draco and Ginny, so I don't think I can put it at the top. I'm not sure whether I'd put it right above GoF, or right below it. But I think it's in that general vicinity.  So, second or third.  In other words, I loved it.  Read it.

UPDATE: Fixed a typo.  Thanks, JW.

UPDATE: I noticed quite a few people on the net are upset with the epilogue. While I agree that the epilogue shows signs of being rather hastily written, I think they're upset because they wanted the epilogue to be something it was never intended to be. I think many people wanted the epilogue to tell us what happened to these characters later in life.  That was never Rowling's intention.  That's left to your imagination.  Rowling's intention was to show us what didn't happen later in life. You see, they went on to have normal lives, without adventure.

Finally, I noticed that the political WWII-ish overtones are even stronger in this one than in any other.  Muggle-born witches and wizards are treated like Jews in Nazi Germany. It's a very disturbing part of the book, frankly. And, as in other books, the main stream media (The Daily Prophet) prefers to ignore the important news going on right under its nose, or worse, supports it.  Our side is left to depend on alternate media to get the real news of the day.

 

And another quote from my HBP review:

 

Okay, enough of that.  I’m going to talk about a few spoilers now.  I’m just going to use initials for the most part, as I don’t want the text of this page to appear in a Google search, but it shouldn’t be too hard to decode who/what I’m talking about.

 

 

 

***SPOILER*** ***SPOILER*** ***SPOILER*** ***SPOILER***

 

 

 

 

I’ll start slow, just in case that didn’t scare enough people away.

 

  • RW finally gets a clue about girls. It's refreshing to see him and HG on the same page most of the time and not at each other's throats. There are couple of serious snogging scenes.
  • RAB?  Well, most people guessed right.
  • And from Scholastic's 7 questions:
    • Will Hogwarts re-open? (got this one right)
      • Yeppers.
      • And I was correct about HP's attendance.
    • Who Winds Up With Whom? (got this one right)
      • HP and GW
      • HG and RW
      • RL and NT, but... well, it's fitting that HP is godfather to their son.
    • Where are the Horcruxes? (totally wrong on this one)
      • Diagon Alley. Gringott's actually.
      • Hogwarts. We've seen one previously, actually.
      • Ministry of Magic. DU has one.
    • Will LV be defeated? (got this one right)
      • Yeppers
    • When will we find out what the Dealthy Hallows are?
      • Ok, I thought it was a place.  Hallows, like "hallowed ground"? Okay, I was soo wrong on this one.
    • Snape: Good or Evil? If you're still wanting to avoid major spoilers, turn back now.




      • Good (got this one right)


    • Who Will Live and Who Will Die?
      • From their list, I had two wrong, both of whom lived: RH and DM.
  • And from my previous questions:
    • 1.3 How in the world did Ollivander know that Harry's wand was the twin to LV's?
      • Unfortunately, this question remains unanswered.
    • 1.4 LV says to HP at the end, "your mother needn't have died".  What exactly does he mean there?  That he was coming to kill JP and HP only?  Why would he leave LP alive?
      • I was correct on the answer to this. As I suspected, it all had to do with SS.
    • 3.4 Both AD and RL appear to use the Patronus Charm in this book, but the book is vague about the shape of the patronus in each case.  What are the shapes of their patronuses?
      • AD's is a phoenix, unsurprisingly.  I think we still don't know the answer to the other.
    • 3.5 How did Sirius talk to Crookshanks?  Is there an ability like Harry's parselmouth ability that lets one talk to cats?  Does it somehow come naturally out of being an animagus?
    • 5.1 At Order headquarters, what's in the "heavy locket that none of them could open"?
      • The obvious answer was correct.  It was, indeed, a horcrux.
    • 5.2 Why is the barman at the Hog's Head familiar to Harry?
      • My original answer here is interesting: I wonder if I've missed something here and if this question has already been answered?  It seems a very minor thing, and I have no clue what the answer is, but every other time that Harry or someone has thought someone looked familiar there was a reason.
      • Well, I was right that this was an unanswered question, but wrong about its significance. We finally meet AD's brother.
      • UPDATE: Apparently, this question was answered by JKR some time ago.
    • 6.1 What happened to Ollivander? Why is his shop closed?
      • Guessed totally wrong on this one, but Rowling's answer is better, and in fact, more likely.
    • 6.3 What happened to the Hufflepuff cup that LV stole?
      • Yep. It's a horcrux.
    • 6.4 Who is R.A.B.?
      • Covered already
    • 6.5 How did R.A.B. get the horcrux?  Was he alone? Did he find some way of getting it without drinking the potion?  If not, did the potion refill later? Or, did R.A.B. put the potion there so that Voldemort would have to drink it?
      • I really was glad to see the answer to this, and really enjoyed that part of the book. Actually, I liked the whole Grimmauld Place segment.
    • 6.6 Did R.A.B. destroy the horcrux that he acquired, or does that still need to be done?
      • I was wrong on this one.  Should've stuck with my initial guess.
    • 6.7 Is R.A.B still alive?
      • My good friend was right. I was wrong. R.A.B. died right there in that cave. A sad ending to his tale.
    • 6.8 Will Hogwarts remain open?
      • Yeppers
    • 6.9 Will HP attend Hogwarts in year 7?
      • Correct on this one.  Nope. However, I was incorrect about others not attending, most notably DM.
    • 0.1 Whose side is SS on, anyway?
      • Completely nailed this.  Had the reason right, as well.  Rowling wrote this part very well. I think it will satisfy my friend who thought that reasoning would've been weak. This means I was correct in my answers to 0.2, 0.3, and 0.4 as well.
    • 0.2 Is the fact that HP has "his mother's eyes (green)" significant? How?
      • Yep, because...
    • 0.3 Why did AD feel that he had an ironclad reason for trusting SS?
      • Dead on here.  A hitherto unknown connection between LP and SS.
    • 0.5 What do we know about JP's family? What happened to HP's paternal grandparents?
      • Still don't know, but we do know that JP (and hence, HP) was descended from Ignotus Peverell.
    • 0.6 Who is going to die?
      • I said:
        • LV - Check
        • SS - Check
        • DM - Nope. As I said earlier, I was disappointed with DM's role. I was expecting him to fail in attacking HP, or to rescue HP at some point, or possibly sacrifice himself for HP. It was clear in both HBP and DH that he really didn't want to be a Death Eater after all.
        • RAB (if he's not already dead) - Hmm...he was already dead. So, I can give myself a check here.
        • At least one of the W family, but not RW. I said one of the twins, most likely GW. It turned out to be the other twin, FW, which I gathered after the incident with SS earlier in the book. I was pretty close here.
        • At least one of the OotP. I said that RL and RH seemed most likely.  Well, RH survived, but we lost AM, RL and NT. I think AM falls into the "died unexpectedly" category, but I'm not certain.
        • And I said at least one other character. D the house-elf. This one was shocking to me. I don't know why, but it was. This was the one I shouted "NO!" when I read. And I think this is the other one from the "died unexpectedly" category.
        • UPDATE: Actually, according to JKR, it was RL and NT that fell into the "unexpected" category.  And it was AW that got the reprieve. He was supposed to die in OotP.
    • 0.10 Will RW and HG finally get together?
      • Yep. As I said, neither appears likely to be happy without the other.
    • 0.11 What will happen between HP and GW? Is it over?
      • I expected more here. We've been led to believe that GW is a very powerful witch for her age. Why didn't she show more of that in the climax? It almost seemed as if Rowling didn't know what to do with her. But they did end up together as the Epilogue showed, so I got this one right.
    • 0.12 Is HP a horcrux?
      • I'll quote my original answer since it was so completely wrong:
        • Oh, God, no. I don't know how this one got started.  What, you think LV accidentally made HP a horcrux? It had to be accidental, if it happened, because LV was too weak after attempting the Killing Curse to have done it then.  And if accidental, that means there's still likely 4 horcruxes in addition to HP, and furthermore, it means HP has to die before LV can be killed. Sorry, don't see that happening. Would you like a copy of our home game?
        • Hmm.  Ok, LV did accidentally make HP a horcrux. Which meant that HP did have to die before LV could be killed.  Rowling wrote her way out of this one nicely.  She has far more imagination than I do. Thumbs up for this from me since it was so totally unexpected.

There were other questions on my earlier page.  Most of them either weren't answered, or weren't significant. I have to say again that I really liked this book. It wasn't stunning for me like the last 100 pages of HBP, but it was well-written and engaging. Most of the things that I had put serious time into thinking about, I was correct.  But I was way wrong on HP being a horcrux and wrong on the significance of the bar man at the Hog's Head. I like it when things come out neatly, and this tale was wrapped up very neatly with no significant loose ends.

Posted on Monday, July 23, 2007 6:46 PM Harry Potter | Back to top


Comments on this post: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Review

# Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Review
Requesting Gravatar...
I have visited your site ' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ' this content is very interesting. lam one of the book warm so i saw a website on Book reviews. It is very useful to you and your website viewers. U can see that information at Harry potter book review
Left by Raju on Jul 27, 2007 6:01 AM

# re: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Review
Requesting Gravatar...
I still don't understand how does the griffindor sword appears to Nevilles if the ex-gringott's dwarf stole it from HP?

Also, how does Nagini saw HP and HG when they were at HP's parents house, does the snake has any special powers like AM mad eye?

Does HP stop talking with GW after he promised it to RW?

I was specting more story between them after the great hall battle, at least one more chapter explaining how they got together, a funeral for all the ones who died....

I also expected NL to kill BL as a revenge for his parents, after all as JKR said on an interview, what happened to NL is worst than what happened to HP's parents.

Left by Esteban Pardo on Oct 06, 2007 2:08 PM

# Extended Epilogue
Requesting Gravatar...
Here is an extended epilogue that JKR explained after a MSNBC interview:

HP, RW and HG
We know that Harry marries Ginny and has three kids, essentially, as Rowling explains, creating the family and the peace and calm he never had as a child.

As for his occupation, Harry, along with Ron, is working at the Auror Department at the Ministry of Magic. After all these years, Harry is now the department head.

“Harry and Ron utterly revolutionized the Auror Department,” Rowling said. “They are now the experts. It doesn’t matter how old they are or what else they’ve done.”

Meanwhile, Hermione, Ron’s wife, is “pretty high up” in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, despite laughing at the idea of becoming a lawyer in “Deathly Hallows.”

“I would imagine that her brainpower and her knowledge of how the Dark Arts operate would really give her a sound grounding,” Rowling said.

Harry, Ron and Hermione don’t join the same Ministry of Magic they had been at odds with for years; they revolutionize it and the ministry evolves into a “really good place to be.”

“They made a new world,” Rowling said.

The wizarding naturalist
Luna Lovegood, the eccentric Ravenclaw who was fascinated with Crumple-Horned Snorkacks and Umgubular Slashkilters, continues to march to the beat of her own drum.

“I think that Luna is now traveling the world looking for various mad creatures,” Rowling said. “She’s a naturalist, whatever the wizarding equivalent of that is.”

Luna comes to see the truth about her father, eventually acknowledging there are some creatures that don’t exist.

“But I do think that she’s so open-minded and just an incredible person that she probably would be uncovering things that no one’s ever seen before,” Rowling said.

Luna and Neville Longbottom?
It’s possible Luna has also found love with another member of the D.A.

When she was first asked about the possibility of Luna hooking up with Neville Longbottom several years ago, Rowling’s response was “Definitely not.” But as time passed and she watched her characters mature, Rowling started to “feel a bit of a pull” between the unlikely pair.

Ultimately, Rowling left the question of their relationship open at the end of the book because doing otherwise “felt too neat.”

Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom: “The damage is done.”

There is no chance, however, that Neville’s parents, who were tortured into madness by Bellatrix Lestrange, ever left St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies.

“I know people really wanted some hope for that, and I can quite see why because, in a way, what happens to Neville’s parents is even worse than what happened to Harry’s parents,” Rowling said. “The damage that is done, in some cases with very dark magic, is done permanently.”
Photos by Andrew Kandel for TODAYshow.com

Rowling said Neville finds happiness in his grandmother’s acceptance of him as a gifted wizard and as the new herbology professor at Hogwarts.

The fate of Hogwarts
Nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, the school for witchcraft and wizardry is led by an entirely new headmaster (“McGonagall was really getting on a bit”) as well as a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. That position is now as safe as the other teaching posts at Hogwarts, since Voldemort’s death broke the jinx that kept a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor from remaining for more than a year.

While Rowling didn’t clarify whether Harry, Ron and Hermione ever return to school to finish their seventh year, she did say she could see Harry popping up every now and again to give the “odd talk” on Defense Against the Dark Arts.
Left by Esteban Pardo on Oct 06, 2007 2:11 PM

Your comment:
 (will show your gravatar)


Copyright © Chris J. Breisch | Powered by: GeeksWithBlogs.net