Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book 22 of '11 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowlin

Dust Jacket Description:

"Harry has been burdened with a dark, dangerous and seemingly impossible task: that of locating and destroying Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes. Never has Harry felt so alone or faced a future so full of shadows. But Harry must somehow find within himself the strength to complete the task he has been given. He must leave the warmth, safety and companionship of The Burrow and follow without fear or hesitation the inexorable path laid out for him..."


SPOILERS FOR DEATHLY HALLOWS. But it's been four years. Get over it. This is probably an unnecessary warning anyways, as I'm sure I was the only person who hadn't read the seventh book yet.

Characters:
Even as someone who grew up with Series of Unfortunate Events and Trixie Belden instead of the HP series, it's difficult not to love the Golden Trio. Harry's completely raw emotional state - which was excruciatingly annoying in the fifth book - is something I've come to appreciate and relate to heavily. Hermione's intelligence and empathy has always made me love her. While I still have a hard time determining what Ron's actual point of existence is, beyond being a writing tool, he certainly is the comic relief of the series. And he was bloody fantastic in Philosopher's Stone.

But I have to say I enjoyed them all in this book more than ever before. Maybe I'm just a sucker for angsty, all or nothing style plots, but you really see the strength of their friendship here. I loved watching them find bits and pieces of humor in such dire circumstances. And that kiss between Ron and Hermione? I'm not even a real supporter of HR/R and yet I squeed because of how Hermione that interaction was.

Not to mention that aha! Dumbledore really gains complexity in Deathly Hallows. I was more than a little in love with reading about his faults and flaws. Rowling does an exceptional job of showing him as a brilliant, flawed wizard and I had such a wonderful experience trying to figure out Dumbledore along with Harry.

If you bring up Harry Potter to me at ALL, I will not shut up about the amazing, gorgeous, brilliant relationship between Harry and Voldemort. I think it's Rowling's best accomplishment with this world. Seeing the parallels between their pasts and personalities, as well as the contrasts has been without a doubt my absolute favourite part of the series. Like the prophecy? I think I've talked about a million people's ears off with how spectacular I find that concept. Seeing Harry really access that relationship and use it to the best of his abilities made both the reader and the inner critic inside of me very happy. Harry's reasoning behind each and every one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, falling into Voldemort's mind and the dynamic in their last encounter fully realized why I love this layer of the HP series most of all - the relationship between the two adversaries shows readers that while we cannot control the majority of what happens to us, ultimately, we do control how we live and who we decide to be. Seeing Voldemort's fears and emotional downfalls with love is so encapsulating to a reader after learning to be fearful of him from the wizarding world.

Speaking of powerful lessons the HP series brings to the table : the emotional power that Snape's evolution as a character brings to Deathly Hallows is heartbreaking and beautiful. His progression confirmed why I found him to be one of the most compelling characters. It's very obvious why he is one of the best loved characters in the fandom.

And I don't mean to forget the side characters either. I loved seeing Neville pop onto the scene, Fred and George were heartbreakingly hilarious, and I couldn't help but grin when Ginny defends Harry from other female attention in the very thicket of the war.

I think the character arches in Deathly Hallows have been my favourite out of the entire series. 4 and a half flowers.

Writing:
Jo's writing tends to be very simplistic, but it does have the habit of being beautiful. I prefer descriptive styles though, so while it isn't my taste, I do think it fits the story well. 4 flowers.

Plot:
Plot is by far the aspect of Harry's story that JK Rowling succeeds the most at. I adored the amount of intelligence and complexity that could be found in DH. The twists and turns surprised me - even after thinking I had all the important parts spoiled for me much earlier on. The pacing may be a little ragged, with a lot of angsty camping trip and little climatic action, but I begun to notice that I like a lot of build up and a great climax in my fantasy reading. Absolutely brilliant. 5 flowers.

End:
I know there has been huge controversy surrounding the epilogue, but it did give me the warm fuzzies. And I must not be the only person who saw that Rowling gave herself a very obvious plot beginning to go to if she wanted to create another story in the wizarding universe. The epilogue was way too simplistic, and I would have preferred seeing a brief overview of Harry going through the trials and tribulations of helping piece back the wizarding world again, but I would be lying if I said reading about Harry and Ginny's, Ron and Hermione's children hadn't been satisfying. 3 and half flowers.

Dust Jacket Description:
I think the writers of the description have done the best job of evading giving the readers any important information, that I have ever seen. But it's the last book in the HP series, so I suppose they did their job. 3 and half flowers.

Cover:
While I love the concept for this cover, I despise the actual illustrations of the Golden Trio. They look nothing like the Harry, Hermione and Ron in my head. 3 flowers.

Overall:
Besides the epilogue, a stunningly amazing end to a wonderful, intelligent series. Harry Potter will never be the character who changed my life and shaped my world view, but his story is enough to give any wannabe writer hope that this kind of story exists, and despair that they'll never be able to create this kind of world ever again. I thank Rowling for making one the most intelligent, intriguing and gorgeous stories in the history of literature.

Now I am going to dress up as an anonymous Death Eater, let my friend secure an owl to my shoulder, watch the first part of the movie and then go out to the midnight showing. Please excuse me while I go experience the most powerful fandom known to the world. I hope you will too. 4 and half flowers.


1 comment:

  1. Ah, see, I never read Series of Unfortunate Events and Trixie Belden growing up. I plan on picking them both up eventually (especially SoUE because Lemony Snicket is brilliant), but Harry Potter will definitely always hold the specialest of the special places in my heart. Like, I-stood-in-line-for this book at midnight kind of specialest place.

    Funnily enough considering our different approaches, I totally agree with all of your criticisms, though. I love her characters and plotting, and I think the writing works for the story, but it's not perfect. Brilliant review!

    I'm still totally heartbroken I'm not seeing this movie at midnight, however. *sadface*

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