Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

I managed to unearth some of my earlier Harry Potter posts from my now defunct Friendster blog and this was one of the reviews I did immediately after I read the last Harry Potter book in the series. (I didn’t know then that there was going to be a release of The Tales of Beedle the Bard). So try to enjoy my earlier musings about the final battle. Some spoilers ahead.

Reposted from http://ghiedakyut.blog.friendster.com/
Wed, 25 Jul 2007

So this is it. The Final Battle. The Last Adventure, or however you would want to call it. Harry returns to Hogwarts after a long journey to destroy the remaining Horcruxes, magical objects used to keep a fragment of the spirit of the evil wizard Voldemort — his insurance policy that a part of him will always continue with his mission to become the most powerful wizard in all of history.

After tearing his soul from his body more times than a wizard has ever attempted, these fragments lie safely in hiding places Voldemort himself has secured to protect his legacy of evil. After a harrowing quest to abide by Dumbledore’s final task for Harry Potter and his two closest friends, Ron Weasley and Muggle born Hermione Granger, the trio manage to find and destroy the third Horcrux (Merope Gaunt’s locket), and steal the fourth Horcrux (the goblet of Hufflepuff) from Gringott’s (no mean feat) even as Harry gets sidetracked with his fascination for the Deathly Hallows, magical objects that will grant the bearer with mastery of death. But the problem remains, the three friends still haven’t managed to destoy the goblet and are clueless where in Hogwarts the young Voldemort stowed the remaining Horcrux, the diadem of Ravenclaw.

As the stage is set for the final battle, students and teachers of Hogwarts get ready to help Harry fulfill the secret mission Dumbledore has given him, and strive to protect the school and their ideals from the twisted plans of the Dark Lord. Comrades fall rapidly, and Harry, struggling and confused is forced to grow up and make decisions for the greater good in a short span of time. Amid all these, Harry makes a startling discovery about his most hated teacher Snape which turns his world upside down. As he comes into terms with his destiny, and tries to understand the enormity of his impact to the outcome of the war, Harry engages in a final duel with Voldemort to protect his friends and all that he knows and edges out the Dark Lord with the things he never bothered learning because of his pride — bravery, friendship, love and sacrifice.

JK truly outdid herself in the final chapter of the Potter series. Although not as detailed as the Goblet of Fire or the first three books in the saga, the pacing was very smart. Towards the middle, there was a slight lull when Harry and his friends lose hope in accomplishing the mission, but that in itself was genius as she was preparing for the most fast paced action sequences throughout the seven part series. There were plots and subplots, all intertwined and resolved in the ending for the culmination of the final stand at Hogwarts, where everything came full circle. This was where it started and this was the place it will end. The novel also tackled different dimensions to the characters we have come to love. We meet members of Dumbledore’s family, even Luna’s father, Xenophilius Lovegood, who managed to enlighten Harry on some of the clues left by Dumbledore on the Deathly Hallows. And even our resident villains get a chance to redeem themselves by showing their softer side, even for a bit. Dudley by admitting to Harry that he did not hate him as much as Harry thought, Draco Malfoy who refused to confirm Harry’s identity to the Death Eaters when they were captured, Kreacher who made a complete turnaround from his grumpy Mudblood hater self, and Snape, whom I’ve always nurtured a soft spot for despite his palpalable dislike for Harry (I was totally psyched when my hunch proved correct about this angle).

Even the pompus Percy found his way back to the right path before the battle, lending to the drama of the brewing war against the forces of Voldemort. Several characters also evolved with the times, the clumsy Neville Longbottom, who, together with Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood, continued to lead the resistance against Voldemort’s takeover of Hogwarts, proving time and again, his blind faith in Harry and all that is good.

Ron and Hermione, were also given their share of the glory as they temper Harry’s impulsiveness and destroy one Horcrux each, refusing to abort their quest even if all hopes seemed bleak. All in all, JK has managed to create a more mature story this time but still infuse her own magic to the novel that is always present in the HP books. Although I am sad that this is truly the end to the journey, I know I will always to continue to visit the Harry through the pages of Rowling’s books again and again. I will always thank the lucky stars that led me to read the first two HP books before Potter mania erupted, as it helped me become part of a literary experience unlike no other. Goodbye Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville, Luna, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Sirius, Lupin and all the others who have brightened my life simply by being….