Sunday, July 4, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Well I've done it. It was more of a month as opposed to a week but I am glad for it. I think I did it properly. WARNING. An extreme amount of SPOILERS follow.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This is the final book. The culmination. The point where we get all the answers, live through all the tragedies, go on the final adventure and relish in triumph. I don't think I have ever cared about the outcome of a piece of literature as much as I cared about this one. When I say that I love something, I can honestly say I love Harry Potter, not just as a work of fiction but as a piece of my life. I grew up with Harry Potter. I had to wait patiently as J. K. Rowling developed the next installment, sometimes over years. I have never anticipated any book as anxiously as I did this one. And honestly, my excitement with this book has not faded in the least.

There are many things I can talk about in regard to the Hallows. I mean, everything goes down in that last book. Everything. I'll try to be brief.

1. Death. J. K. did not hold back. She let us have it. She started with Hedwig and kept right on going to poor, poor Fred. Let's discuss that for a moment. I feel like Fred's death was the most unfair of all of them. Remus, Tonks, Mad-Eye I sort of saw coming. They almost seemed right. Remus was doomed because he was on of the Marauders. The other two were aurors. Occupational hazard. But Fred? He had just made up with Percy. It was cruel. Very cruel Jo. But, I suppose it had to happen. Representative of sacrifice or some noble metaphor. It doesn't mean I have to like it.

Hedwig was the most shocking because it was the first one. I didn't really expect her to start killing everyone off so rapidly. Dobby was pretty awful. But, I think he died valiantly. A free elf.

2. Magic is Might. The whole regime of Voldemort and his remodeling of the Ministry provides a lot of food for thought. He persecutes Muggle borns and those who ally themselves with Harry and the Order of the Phoenix. Voldemort is blind in the way every power hungry dictator is. He can't see that people who are different can be powerful. Voldemort never saw Muggle borns as equals though many could rival him. Hermione is a Muggle born and yet she can do extraordinary magic. It is the same sort of blind persecution that has cropped up throughout history. People fear those who are different. Voldemort doesn't understand that love and friendship are useful and necessary. He is narrow minded, closed.

3. Ron and Hermione. This is one of my favorite parts in the book. It is a long journey to this point. Ron does a lot of growing up and Hermione learns a lot of tolerance. Ron feared Hermione didn't care, that she loved Harry. That bit with the horcrux locket is incredibly eerie. Ron's worst fear was that she didn't want him. But of course, they are made for each other. Their kiss should go down as one of the best kisses in literary history. Romance under the cover of fire, surrounded by basilisk fangs. Bloody brilliant. Let's hear it for house elves!

4. Dumbledore. His past, murky. He, brilliant. I loved learning more about the man whom I so admired as a character. Dumbledore was everything you wanted in a wizard and a teacher - wise, incredibly gifted, compassionate and seemingly omnipresent. I mean, he freaking knew EVERYTHING. But he made mistakes, rash decisions, befriended a seriously dark wizard. These flaws just worked to make him more human and more admirable. He made bad choices just like any other person. Even Dumbledore is not infallible. I just love him even more at the end. He cares so much about Harry. He had such faith in him. He left a lot to chance, but he knew in the end Harry would do the right thing and make the decisions he himself never could.

5. Harry's Death. I sobbed. I sobbed the first time and I did again now. Which is ridiculous since I knew he wasn't really dying. It was more the mood, the dramatic quality of the prose. He believed he was walking to his death. He was so noble and brave. I couldn't help being upset. The thought of losing Harry for a moment is just too much for me. I am clearly way to attached but I like it that way. Rowling is a fantastic writer. She just made me believe it. All of it.

6. The Deathly Hallows. The whole bit with the Elder Wand was awesome. Of COURSE Harry would be the true wielder. C'mon he is Harry Potter. But it does work out brilliantly. Draco disarmed Dumbledore. Harry overtook Draco. Voila Elder Wand! Voldemort's shock is lovely. Even in the end, Voldemort underestimates Harry and the love he has for the people he cares about. He dies for them for God's sake. Their duel, while short, is amazing. I particularly liked the bits where Harry talked and explained things. Voldemort can be really thick for an evil dark wizard. Really, really thick.

7. Severus Snape. Brilliant. This is possibly the most magnificent part of these seven books and I never even saw it coming. He loved her. He loved Lily Evans. But of course he did. Why else would he do all the things he did, sacrifice and risk so much? Love, yet again triumphs in ways Voldemort could not see. Snape's life is so incredibly sad. The only woman he ever loved and she rebuked him. And essentially, he delivered the information that resulted in her death. Plus he had to watch her son run about Hogwarts bearing the striking resemblance to his worst enemy, the individual that stole the woman he cared about most. That's pretty rough. No wonder he was so cranky all the time. He earned it. I daresay I feel a lot of sympathy for Snape at this point. I mean, he could have cut Harry some slack but he did do his best to keep the boy who lived alive so, I guess in the circumstances that's all we can really ask for. The saddest part, I think, is the scene when he dies, where he asks Harry to look at him so he can see Lily's eyes one last time.

And so it ends. Harry having "had enough trouble for a lifetime." So true. Trouble always seemed to find him but that was just his m.o. I'd also like to mention I seriously enjoyed the part where Molly Weasley screamed "NOT MY DAUGHTER YOUR BITCH" at that evil son of a b Bellatrix Lestrange. Also, I had no problems with the Epilogue and don't begrudge any name choices. I thought it was really sweet.

I'm glad I did this. By seriously immersing myself in HP I've had a lot to think about. Harry Potter was never just a book series for me. I remember thinking when I was twelve and thirteen would I still like Harry Potter when I was nineteen or twenty? Well, twenty is fast approaching and I don't see my love of Harry Potter diminishing any time soon. I don't think it ever will. Harry Potter is a way of life, no matter how cliched that sounds. There's a whole world surrounding it and I am fiercely dedicated to keeping that world alive. The books may be over and the movies may be coming to a close but Harry Potter will never die. The magic will never end.

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