As promised, today’s post is dedicated to Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, which, along with HP and The Order of The Phoenix, is tied for my favorite of the Harry Potter series (books ONLY- I have yet to see any of the movies).
Deathly Hallows, for me, was so very long-anticipated that I feared it wouldn’t, that it couldn’t possibly live up to my absurdly high hopes for it. But it shattered all expectations I had and far exceeded them. Unlike the books that preceded it, no pages were wasted re-capping what had previously taken place. It was nonstop action- intense, suspense-riddled action. There were times I became so enthralled, I had to make a conscious effort to keep my eyes from darting ahead on the page. Harry and Hermione in Bathilda Bagshot’s house, during which Nagini (Voldemort’s huge, deadly snake) erupts from the old lady’s corpse, Hermione being tortured by Bellatrix in the Malfoy’s living room, Harry, Ron & Hermione robbing the Malfoy’s vault in Gringotts and escaping by riding a DRAGON- it was almost more than I could handle.
Though I love the story itself, and the gripping way its many subplots are interwoven throughout, what impressed me the most was the impeccable character development. This, in my opinion, is Rowling’s greatest talent. The culmination of the slow, natural development of so many of the characters in this final book absolutely blew me away. We always knew Hermione was smart -she studied constantly and aced all her tests- but that hex she instantly threw at Harry when they’d been discovered by some Death Eaters to make his face swell as though he’d had a bad allergic reaction, effectively disguising him against their enemies, was pure genius. And Neville, the boy who could have been The Boy Who Lived, who gradually grew confident in his inferior abilities as a wizard, ended up vital to Voldemort’s defeat when he courageously slayed Nagini. Professor McGonagall’s unwavering loyalty to Harry and Draco’s blatant cowardice, which we’d seen coming since the very beginning, it all came together with perfect timing.
If I had one complaint, it would be simply that Snape deserved a much more dignified end. To be bitten by Voldemort’s snake and left to die alone is a sad, quiet death not befitting to the strong, bold character of Severus Snape. I remember reading the end of the 6th book, HP and the Half-Blood Prince, when Harry chases after Snape upon Dumbledore’s death, eager for a fight, for vengeance. And Snape brushes off Harry’s curses with the flick of his wand, making Harry’s best efforts look like mere child’s play. I thought then that Snape would be a deadly enemy, or a powerful ally, however the chips might fall. Reading his final scene felt so anti-climactic to me after all I’d come to expect of him.
I won’t comment on the epilogue other than to say that for me, it felt unnecessary. I choose to ignore it and pretend the book ends with Harry, Hermione and Ron in the Headmaster’s office. I need nothing else from this beloved story.