Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by

21 July 2007

Genre: ,
Rated :

ISBN: 9780747591054
Book Seven in the Harry Potter series.
See also: Heather Anne (spoilers) ; Andrea’s Atrium (Spoiler LADEN) ; Klondar Industries (contains spoilers) ; Things Mean A Lot(some spoilers) ; Answer the call (spoiler Free)

The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane.

The problem with reviewing the final book in a series is that you are never sure exactly what you can and can’t say. You don’t want to spoil the earlier books. But at the same time how can you discuss a novel without reference to at least a little of the plot. And so reveal plot details of earlier books? I’m going to try, but I am allowing spoilers in the comment section. For previous books, and for this one, I’ll try and hide them with the spoiler tag, but one or two might slip through, so be warned.

I probably should have read the Half Blood Prince again before opening this one. I’ve only read the last few books the once, and often speed reading and almost skimming in places, so I know I’ve missed out on plenty of the detail. But at some stage I’ll go back and reread them all. And going to see the film version of Order of the Phoenix really helped remind me about the more important plot points from that book.

Like all the Harry Potter books the writing isn’t outstanding. But it does its job perfectly. It is gripping and once you’ve started you just want to keep reading. I think I’ve read the last three in a single sitting. Her plot, more than anything else, pulls you along and you just don’t want to put the book down. I’m not sure if I can put my finger on exactly what it is that make these so readable, I know it isn’t the prose, and I don’t think it is the characters. They aren’t really well developed or fleshed out, but they are recognisably different from one another, and I suppose the almost thumbnail sketches allows us readers to paint in our own detail. We fill in all the missing bits with our own imagination. And for a children’s book I think this is a great thing. I’m not saying that they are one dimensional, because they aren’t, they do have shadings and nuances, but they just don’t have the depth… but maybe that is the point. Maybe that is what makes them so interesting to us; we can paint our own shadings on to them.

As for the ending of this? Well it final and, in my view, fitting. There is a lot of death, I’m not going to say who, but there is a lot of it. And not just at the very end, but sprinkled throughout the novel. Overall I thought it a very satisfying finale to the series of books. Now I just have to wait to see those final battles scenes up on the big screen, if they are half as good as the ones in OotP then they’ll be something to behold.

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17 Responses

  1. Evan Klondar says:

    Thanks for linking me.

    This book is going to be exceptionally interesting to analyze…I'm anxious to see how the general fandom reacts.

  2. Fence says:

    Okay, my spoilerific thoughts:

    <spoiler>I totally knew that Snape wasn't a baddie. Sorry Heather Anne ;) And the doe, awww. He loved Lily all that time. And Dumbledore's past; nicely done I thought to show that there really is "light and dark in everyone". Final battle was well cool. Centaurs, house elves and everything.

    But poor Fred! And Tonks and Lupin! awww. But the epilogue, and Harry and Ginny calling their kid Albus Severus. Awww.

    I also really liked Ron's reaction to having the horocrux (sp?), and the thoughts it made surface in him, about his mammy loving Harry more. And maybe Hermione loving him more too. And Neville keeping DA going all that time. </spoiler>

    Thumbs up all around.

  3. Fence says:

    Hi Evan, sorry bout the delay in approving your comment. But better late than never :)

    I'm not a huge ginormous Potter fan, so I'm missing out on a lot of the debate, but there is LOADS there to talk about. Interesting is bang on.

  4. Evan Klondar says:

    Snape<spoiler> "turned into a bat-like creature" or something like that when he escaped from the Headmaster's office…and they said that it appeared as if Voldy 'taught him a few tricks.'

    But yeah, his Patronus was a doe.</spoiler>

  5. Ann says:

    Good review, especially the point about the writing. (Although I think #7 was the best in that department – a lot less -ly words than in the past few books.) there's a big difference between being a good writer and being a good storyteller. J.K. is an astounding storyteller and has been able to create a compelling and imaginitve world, which is part of what people have responded to.

    The other thing about the characters is that they are immensely likeable – the goodies are the sort of people you'd want to have as friends and some of the baddies (like Delores Umbridge) are just over-the-top love-to-hate-em types. I enjoyed the series, loved the last book, and found the ending very satisfying. Endings are a tough feat to pull off, so I'm well-impressed on this one.

  6. Nymeth says:

    I completely agree with you about the writing not being outstanding, but doing its job perfectly. It's not good in a "wow, she has such a way with words" sort of way, but it's also not so bad that it calls attention to itself. It's invisible – you forget you're reading a book. And I agree that she is a master when it comes to plot. I've always thought that was her greatest strength.

    Expectations for this book were high, and she still managed to finish the series in a very satisfying manner. I'm impressed.

  7. Fence says:

    Ann I think that is what I was trying to say, she may not write great literature, but she tells damn fine stories :)

    Me too Nymeth. I really must get around to rereading the whole series though. Haven't reread any of the last few and I know there is loads I probably would have picked up on had I not speed read.

  8. gloria says:

    I don't get it. Having finished the book in one sitting I was left feeling so very cheated. I've read review after review since, and they all come up with 'satisfying ending' or some such pap.

    <spoiler>It's NOT! Harry, the boy who lived, the only one who could save them all, the one who had to relinquish his own life to save the others….grows up, gets married and has kids.

    Shame on Jo. Not enough to plagiarise the ideas of Tolkien and the words of Dickens…she now gives us a nice, tidy, Warner Brothers movie ending.</spoiler>

    I'm devastated. And thank god it's over.

  9. Fence says:

    Hi Gloria,

    I'll have to disagree with you regarding Rowling plagiarising Tolkien and/or Dickens. HP is very different in many ways to those, although there are similarities.

    But it is a children's series, and while that doesn't mean that everything has to end happily ever after, it does mean that the readers deserve some closure, which is what they got. Not that it was happy ever after, what with all the deaths. As for the <spoiler>marriage. Well, what is wrong with that? This was the boy who grew up without a normal life and a normal family, don't you think it fitting that after all he has been through he is rewarded with that.</spoiler>

  10. Nymeth says:

    I agree with you, Fence – <spoiler> I don't think the end was at all too sugar-coated. After all, people died. People Harry cared about died. The war had real costs. But at the same time, Harry and his two best friends managed to survive and built themselves normal, calm lives. I think that's the reward they would want to have, and I think it was very fitting.</spoiler>

  11. Fence says:

    Yup Nymeth every <spoiler>Hero deserves a reward, and Harry deserved his bit of happiness. Plus it was only really happy ever after for those readers who want to believe that. The kids aren't that old, plenty of time for more evilness to appear :) </spoiler>

  12. jean pierre says:

    i'm glad you liked it. in the light that i have only read the first two that seems a strange comment – but i like the idea of the series and i'm glad that rowling has rewarded the loyalty her readers showed her.

  13. weenie says:

    After surviving on 4 hours sleep over the last two nights, I have just finished the book – I really didn't want it to end!


    Sure, the ending was a bit twee but it was an ending and whilst not of the 'wow' variety, is the normal ending befitting our heroes/heroine who had less than normal-childhoods.

    I knew Snape was a good guy but as I got towards the end of the book and good-guy-Snape still hadn't appeared, I started to have doubts!

    At some point, I think I will re-read the whole series!


  14. Fence says:

    I think the ending, by which I <spoiler>mean the epilogue could be seen as twee, and immature in relation to the rest, because 1)it is all happy ever after and, 2) I heard that she wrote that ages and ages ago, so might not have wanted to change it all that much.</spoiler>

  15. Harlequin says:

    Book arrived in the post yesterday at lunchtime. I vaguely considered calling in sick and staying home to read it ;-) but I was good and waited til the end of the day. Should have waited for it to be Friday – was up til two in the morning finishing it!! Could have stopped at one point, but once I passed that point, there was no stopping me! I agree that the <spoiler>happy ending for Harry was well-deserved. He lost his parents, his beloved godfather, Dumbledore and all the other friends and helpers who died along the way, endured a decade of childhood abuse, risked his life and happiness time and again and finally was willing to go to his death to save the world. He deserved a normal life and he got it – friends, a wife, children. It wasn't all happy-clappy by any stretch of the imagination – having seen the repercussions of Voldemort's previous rampage echoing down through the years for so many of the characters in the books, it's easy to imagine the difficulties of the previous nineteen years. Most obviously, poor Teddy Lupin who lost both parents and grandfather before he ever had a chance to know them but also the family and friends of anyone who died. And because we saw that the evil that rose wasn't just Voldemort, but all the people who went along with him, so it doesn't mean there aren't fights to come. It's never over and just because people marry and have children and raise them and send them off to Hogwarts doesn't mean that nothing evil will ever rise again. So I didn't see it as a happy ending because of that.</spoiler>

    I enjoyed this book far more than any of her others apart perhaps from Goblet of Fire. It dragged a bit for the first half but that wonderful feeling of discomfort that's been there since Order of the Phoenix (anyone might die! Aieee!) kept me turning the pages. It was exciting, well (if not tightly) plotted and lots of satisfying ends tied up. <spoiler>Even Oliver Wood turned up, however briefly!</spoiler>

    The deaths that made me sad were <spoiler>Hedwig *sniff*, Fred (felt so bad for poor one-eared George left behind without his other half) and of course Lupin and Tonks. And since I believed Snape was a good guy all along, I was saddened by his death – not that he was dead, but because I didn't know if people would believe he was actually a Big Damn Hero. But then in the end they did, so not so bad.</spoiler>

    God, I hope these spoiler tags work!!

  16. Fence says:

    And they do. They being spoiler tags, and do being work :)

  17. Harlequin says:

    Well, you know I've utterly shite luck with spoiler tags. :-) And it'd be pretty big spoilage if they didn't work! Since I remained ENTIRELY unspoiled despite the whole 6 days between the book coming out and me getting my copy, I would hate to do it to anyone else.