Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: YA fantasy
Continuing with my first ever reading of the Harry Potter books, I’ve just finished the final book. As a reminder, my reviews will likely contain spoilers, as I’m not too worried about avoiding that, with as long as these have been out, and as well known as they are.
This is the hardest review yet, for me. I was so caught up in the book by the last half that I was excited to give it 5 stars. But then I thought back over the entire thing, and looked at the notes I’d written earlier on, and realized that there were some disappointing things that really were worth an entire star detraction. Rather than try to organize my thoughts in a way that flows well, I’m going to do bullet points for this review.
What I liked/loved
- Dudley’s appreciation of Harry, which is touching, yet not overdone or out of character for him
- 7 Harrys
- Luna in general, but esp that she could see through Harry’s disguise at the wedding
- Godric Hollow’s wizards’ monument to the Potters and the graffiti on the sign
- Ron’s chance to save the day
- The fruition of the DA was better than I could have hoped for
- Harry getting to see his parents again, and 3 out of 4 of the Marauders (Sirius was one of my favorites before he died, after all)
- Neville’s triumph
- The final defeat of Voldemort, of course, and the knowledge that these people are finally free from his destruction
- I felt the epilogue was pointless at first, but after a few days to let it rest, I appreciate being able to see how the characters moved on, that Hogwarts was restored, and that Neville was a teacher there
What I disliked
- The middle really dragged with all of the moving around to camp, and a few little things happened that really didn’t advance the plot much, if at all
- The Deathly Hallows seemed so out of place, like a tack-on to another otherwise solid-feeling plot, and ended up barely having any point (despite me liking Harry’s use of the stone, as I mentioned above)
- It’s really hard for me to buy that the invisibility cloak is infallible…except where it needed to not be for the plots of past books (especially since, from my recollections, none of the times I can think of that someone did, or seemed to, see through it were necessary to the plot)
- Lupin’s and Tonks’s deaths should really have been “on-screen.” I know everyone loves Dobby, but I think they were at least as important to the series and should have been given a bigger send-off.
- The Battle of Hogwarts and most of the climaxes and falling action that occurred between them were exciting, except for one thing–there was just so much talking during all of it! After the battle we get pages of exposition about Snape, then an entire chapter of Dumbledore explaining things to Harry (some of which we already know or could easily have deduced from previous information). Then there’s rising action to the final stand-off with Voldemort…during which they talk…a lot. I wish Rowling had figured out a way to include more of this much sooner than during/between the epic battle and final stand-off.
Overall, I did like the book a LOT more than I didn’t, and probably a lot more than it looks like here. But it generally takes more words to explain a problem I had than to share the things I liked. I do think the book was longer than it needed to be, and wonder if that was on purpose–the previous books had gotten so long, Rowling and/or the publishers felt she couldn’t go back at this point. I don’t know. But as this is the final book in the series, I can say now that I do understand why it is so loved. I am already looking forward to starting back at the first book some day and reading through the series again with an understanding of how things play out, to find those things that I missed the first time around.
Find out more about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!