Review: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling

There is no doubt that the last volume in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has excited a lot of positive and negative criticism over its content.  The fact is that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows contends with the remaining six volumes in the series due to its more mature language and the author’s more mature command of its themes.  True, the themes of mortality, immortality, good, evil, love, and hatred are imprinted throughout every Harry Potter novel, but the seventh volume seems to be the ultimate apex of everything, despite that it is the obvious culmination of the series.

The essence of fear is contemplated very frequently, as is trust.  Moreover, there are more possibilities in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, more comparisons and unexpected opposites.  The most impossible experiences, actions, and choices are likely to happen in this story than before.  For example, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley’s friendship was one of the strongest bonds, but even Ron turns away from Harry at one point in the novel, rejecting Harry’s friendship out of jealousy and questioning his decisions.  Hermione also has doubts about her friend, and the relationship between her and Ron is more strained as they mutually vie to understand their growing feelings for each other.  Harry’s high opinion of Dumbledore starts to deteriorate as secrets and lies posthumously creep from Dumbledore’s past.

One of Rowling’s goals appears to be finalizing her “humanization” of all her characters by revealing their deepest faults and asking the reader to accept them anyway, sins and all.  The infamous Severus Snape, so hated after the ending of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, becomes acquitted of his supposed betrayal and murder of Dumbledore in the deeply moving and effective Chapter 33, where unsolved truths are completely explained and the author reminds the audience to not judge.  No matter what any critic says, this volume has more complex action and drama than the rest of the series put together.  Since Harry, Ron, and Hermione are no longer at Hogwarts, the settings are diverse while no new characters make their appearance; instead, mysterious disappearances are unraveled and Rowling puts many familiar (and favorite) characters to rest, a sad part of the plot.

Furthermore, the continued hunt for Horcruxes and the introduction of the mystical Deathly Hallows adds more excitement and suspense than ever as the storyline meanders slowly and yet quickly down a climatic path of adventure and tragedy.  The Tales of Beedle the Bard is fundamental, as The Tale of the Three Brothers suddenly makes perfect sense in relation to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  The story here is a puzzle, and in the end the pieces all fit together, although Rowling’s many pivotal concepts and last-minute twists get confusing.  However, there are many scenes and moments throughout that are remarkable, e.g. Kreacher’s reunion and devotion to Harry, Dobby’s rescue mission in Malfoy Manor, the break-in at Gringotts, and the individual destruction of the Horcruxes.  Romance is kept to a minimum with the exception of several key episodes pertaining to the main characters.

Another factor that heightens the greatness of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is how Rowling can blend in humor during grim times.  While some may scoff at how the Deathly Hallows fulfilled the “power that the Dark Lord knows not,” the novel resonates strongly with the author’s portrayal of projecting emotions that override any questionable solutions to the unforgettable prophecy.  Of course, the conflicts and duels between Harry and Voldemort are striking and concentrated on necessary, satisfactory elimination, where reality and fantasy as well as life and death penetrate every chapter.  Love is face-to-face with hatred, and good must vanquish evil.  Idealistic as the ending may be, Harry is now a man, a mature character who has courage even when confronted with death itself.  Hermione and Ron also have reached adulthood through their constant trials and errors.  Therefore, idealism unites with realism, in spite of this being a fantasy novel.

A captivating and well interlinked odyssey, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows certainly has its share of tragedies and comic relief.  Regardless of the ups and downs in the Harry Potter series, Rowling has outdone herself in her presentation of a poignant series finale that is not a masterpiece, but a crucial tour de force.

Original review: Part 1: Rowling’s series finale is a tragedy and a comedyPart 2: Rowling’s series finale is a tragedy and a comedy,


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