Book 35: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows

Book Title: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows
Author: JK Rowling
Published: 2007
Pages: 607
Category: fiction: fantasy

 

“Catch you on the flip side.” – A friend to me, the day before the release of Deathly Hallows.

It took me a long time to sit down and write about Deathly Hallows – it’s been how many weeks since my last post? But I still feel too close to it.

For me the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was not just a book, it was the closing of a chapter of my life. As I wore my Hogwarts Uniform to work that day, and then sat outside Bolen Books for 8 hours, waiting in line for a book we had been waiting for for ten years, everything was connected. The books I read, the friends I met, the trips I took. JK Rowling didn’t just give me a book series, she gave me friendships and experiences that will always be with me.

Opening Deathly Hallows, and reading the seven part dedication, the last part of which was us, if we “had stuck with Harry until the very end”, was emotional. We read, chapter by chapter, in my front room (turned into a pillow fort), stopping for cake, and tea, and emerging in the morning for coffee, retreating again for our vigil-like reading session. Deathly Hallows brought me to tears on several occasions, made me laugh, made me angry, and at last brought some sort of peace to the journey of Harry Potter.

Its the one book of the seven that I’ve re-read the least, it’s still too painful in parts. I often start reading, and have to put Deathly Hallows down just before Hedwig dies.

I often get too sad and have to take a break before the Battle of Hogwarts. And Chapter 34 reduces me to tears whenever I get that far.

But maybe this review is a bit too sappy. There are a lot of good things about Deathly Hallows, besides the sadness.Wonderful parts, happy parts, incredible parts.

I remember clearly the chills that ran down my spine as I read for the first time, quotes placed before the start of the first chapter – a technique that JK Rowling had never used before. Intense images of pain and war, and death. It made me wonder at what the pages would contain, and increased my worry for my favourite characters – people I felt I had come to know over the past decade.

There is the urgency of a war, the joy of people coming together, and the strength that Harry, Ron and Hermione all find. Intense emotion and intense action. I’m all wrapped up in memories surrounding the book itself.

I was at a Harry Potter Conference 2 weeks after the release of Deathly Hallows, when the book was still new to us, many of us only having read it once through. We had a party in the room that had been set up for informal mingling – and were repeatedly told to quieten down. Finally, at 2 am, one of the more well-known fans burst into the room and said simply; “The Ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming.” (133). We knew at once that we were blown, and we scattered throughout the lobby to our rooms as hotel staff walked purposely towards us. They weren’t quite Death Eaters, but at that moment, so close to the emotions of the release of the book, we ran from them, sure that we were the trio and we had to escape.

While I cannot say I’ve been in war, or fought for something as important as what JKR’s characters are fighting for in the book, she includes moments that we can all identify with. There’s this passage,

“Harry found himself taking it out simply to star at Ginny’s name in the girls’ dormitory, wondering whether the intensity with which he gazed at it might break into her sleep, that she would somehow know he was thinking about her, hoping she was all right.” (256)

That I find particularly poignant. I’ve done this, we all have. There’s a saying I always remember, that at any given moment someone is thinking of us, and we don’t even know it. Friends I’ve grown apart from never truly leave my heart, and I think of them in passing, wishing them well. Friend’s who have had illnesses I often wish well whenever they come to mind, which is surely more often that they realize. The power and potential of thoughts and memories. Something to ponder on.

My absolute favourite passage from Deathly Hallows if after Ron returns, and they finally find the radio broadcast ‘Potterwatch’. This section includes some of the essential themes of the book, laid out for us in clear and illustrated terms.

“And what would you say, Royal, to those listeners who reply that in these dangerous times it should be “wizards first”?

“I’d say that it’s one short step from ‘wizards first’ to ‘pure-bloods first’ and then to ‘Death Eaters’…We’re all human aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”

…”Keep each other safe: keep faith.” (357-360)

Life is about keeping each other safe, and living by our beliefs, standing up against evil and protecting each other. JK Rowling helped me learn that.

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