“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J. K. Rowling (Scholastic, 2007)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallowsstarstarstarstar

Who will die?  What will happen to Hogwarts?  Is Snape good or bad?  Will Voldemort finally die?  And is it possible Harry might die?  Many people around the world have been waiting two years for the final installment of the Harry Potter series.  As I write this, people of all ages are furiously reading; many have already finished.  This is it folks, the last one, with no more planned; and the results are in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, weighing in at 759 pages, concludes the series in spectacular, jaw-dropping, and awe-inspiring fashion, solidly placing the fantasy series up there with Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and Stephen King’s The Dark Tower; possibly as one of the best fantasy series of all time.  This seven-book series, which will be published as a complete set on September 18 in a beautifully designed trunk-like box with handles and your very own lock, will be one for the ages, to be read by children for many generations to come.

The Death Eaters are slowly but surely taking over, as we’ve always known they eventually would, increasing their numbers and employing the army of Dementors, under the control and guidance of Lord Voldemort.  Rowling puts her three main characters – Harry, Hermione, and Ron – to the ultimate test here.  In the last six books Harry has gotten by with help from friends and teachers, always seemingly getting that necessary and crucial help at the last second; but now the trio are seventeen, no longer considered underage, and able to perform magic wherever and however they so please.  Rowling doesn’t hold back, leaving them to fend for themselves, solve their own problems, and get out of each and every situation on their own.  Deathly Hallows is nonstop action, one scene of fighting and almost death leading onto the next, as the three seek out the Horcruxes.  Going on the vague and barely informative words of wisdom from the late Albus Dumbledore, they piece it together, using their magical and educational knowledge – not just Hermione’s! – with the goal of finally defeating Voldemort once and for all.  And while Harry has expressed in the past that it’s up to him, he’s the Chosen One, and needs to go it alone, he isn’t given the opportunity here.

People are dying, mainly Muggles, but also Mudbloods, and any whose bloodline is tainted with that of the non-magical, leading to a growing world that hearkens back to the time of the Third Reich in Nazi Germany, as well as echoing the doom and hopelessness of 1984.  With Voldemort’s rule seemingly solid and complete, Harry gets help he doesn’t want from the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore’s Army, leading up to a great final battle where the castle known as Hogwarts lives up to its name as a defensible fortress.

This is the last book folks: who will live and who will die, who will triumph and who will fall is at the mercy of the turning of the page and the next sentence.  But with the size of this book, you can be sure you’ll be on the ride of your life from the first page until the last.  And you will feel a sadness and longing at the realization that the long journey in the life of Harry Potter is finally over.  Yet Rowling has done such an incredible job with Deathly Hallows, weaving in details and points from all previous six books, that you are left with a strong sense of nostalgia.  And what’s the only cure for this feeling?  Why to begin the books all over again with the first when Harry Potter first looked upon Number Four, Privet Drive.

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Originally written on July 22nd 2007 ©Alex C. Telander.