Somewhere it must be written that with every new Harry Potter book release, the population must rush out and buy said tome (queuing up for bonus points, of course) and then attempt to read all six hundred and something pages in about twenty minutes.
Being the independently minded, well-balanced individual that I am, I bought my copy on the Saturday morning (in fairness, I didn’t queue) and proceeded to read it. But because I’m a big boy with grown up responsibilities, I finished reading The Deathly Hallows on Monday evening.
I should’ve probably read The Half-Blood Prince before kicking straight into this new book. I mean, did you know Dumbledore was dead? I must’ve forgot.
Anyway, we start out at 4 Privet Drive. The Dursleys house. Except the Dursleys are being shipped out for their own protection. The Order Of The Phoenix are moving Harry to a safer location, except it all goes awry. Despite the awesome secrecy involved, and several decoy Polyjuice Potters, Voldemort-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named gets wind of the plan and sets out to capture Potter.
Harry and his bestest fwiends Hermione and Ron decide to go into exile to seek out Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes. What’s a Horcrux, you ask? Well, if you’re a demented evil wizard who’s hell-bent on becoming immortal, you embed little pieces of your soul in inanimate objects and hide them away. Chips away at your already fragile sanity, but that’s the price of long life…
Anyway, the gang spends an inordinate amount of time hanging out in various forests around the place with their TARDIS-tent. Time loses all meaning for the reader. Stuff happens, but it’s not terribly interesting. I gave myself bonus points for recognizing Griplock, the goblin from Gringotts bank in the first book. Ron had a strop and buggered off for a while, and I had a nasty urge to see Harry and Hermione get it on, but he kept it in his pants. Loser.
Anyway, when they stopped farting about in forests, they visited Harry’s parents house, got attacked by Voldemort’s snake disguised as an elderly witch, and finally rounded up most of the remaining Horcruxes. Yay!
Basically, you get the feeling Rowling’s padding things out a bit. I don’t know why – is it to fill out a few more pages so that it sits well alongside The Half-Blood Prince? This is the final Harry Potter book, for chrissakes! Just get to the point!
And finally we get to the point. Dumbledore is revealed to have kept quite a few things to himself over the years. Snape (as we knew) had a creepy obsession with Lily Potter, harbored even after she got married and had her soon-to-be-scarred offspring. Snape had become a henchman in Voldemort’s Death Eaters, but He-Who-Yawn-Yawn-Yawn crossed the line when he killed Lily. Snape threw himself upon Dumbledore’s mercy and has basically been working against Voldemort all along.
We discover that Snape killing Dumbledore is prearranged, after Dumbledore managed to curse his hand trying on Voldemort’s Horcrux ring. Apparently he only had a month to live anyway.
Anyway, Voldemort eventually kills Snape, which Harry witnesses and afterward retreats to Dumbledore’s office to see Snape’s memories in the Pensieve. Amazingly, Snape is redeemed as the hidden good guy. Did it take you seven books to work it out? How slow are you?
The problem is, Harry also discovers that he is an unwitting Horcrux. Yes, a part of Voldemort is inside Harry and Voldemort cannot be defeated while Potter lives. Boo! But plucky Harry decides to face an almost certain death, as Voldemort fires a well aimed Avada Kedava at him…
Needless to say, Voldemort’s death blast fails to finish Potter. Quelle Surprise! Cue massive good versus evil showdown, imaginatively staged in the Hogwarts grounds. Crikey, I’d never have guessed it would all end there…
Needless to say, Voldemort’s reign of terror is put to an end. But the worst bit is the goddamned epilogue. Not content with tying up all the loose ends and leaving the hero completely intact with only the scar he arrived with, Joanne Rowling insulted our intelligence by providing a sugary sweet ending which – 18 years later – sees Ron and Hermoine happily married and Harry settled down with Ginny Weasley.
Seriously? This guy saves the entire wizarding world and they marry him off to a ginger bird? His best friend’s sister? Bill should have stood aside and offered him Fleur Delacour. It’s only right. Damn you, Rowling.
I’d heard that JK Rowling was going to be ruthless with the characters and much loved wizarding types would be put to death in the interests of a grand finale.
So who gets chopped first? Hedwig. A bloody great big owl. My tears stained the next five pages. Then who? Mad-Eye Moody. I couldn’t contain my horror. How could she?
She might as well have stuck a knife in my heart with the next death. Dobby, the house elf. Seriously? Dobby was the Jar Jar Binks of the Harry Potter series. Every time I saw him I wanted to rip his ears off. So I was actually glad that Bellatrix Lestrange managed to pick him off. By the way, did you know Bellatrix Lestrange is an anagram of JK Rowling? Well, it’s not.
The most unsettling death was that of Fred Weasley. It actually took balls to a) kill off a Weasley, and b) break the symmetry of the twins.
The significance of killing Lupin and Tonks, leaving their child an orphan actually hit me quite hard, especially as they’d asked Harry to be Godfather. No, not an Itallian mobster.
All joking aside, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows was a fantastic ending to a legendary series. While there was a lot of dead weight in the ‘forest section’, there were some fabulous set pieces that will look great when this eventually makes it to the big screen.
My only complaint would be that the ends eventually tied up much too neatly. It would have been nice to discover Dumbledore had expected Harry to die from the offset, but he managed to come back and exonerate himself in a bizarre post-Avada Kedava dream sequence. Snape’s redemption was wonderful, and had been hinted at all along.
I still think the epilogue could have been handled much better. Let’s wait and see if Rowling releases a ‘directors cut’ version of the book that tidies the end up…