Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling: A

From the inside flap:
We now present the seventh and final intstallment in the epic tale of Harry Potter.

Spoilers beyond the cut.

“I’m going to keep going until I succeed—or I die. Don’t think I don’t know how this might end. I’ve known it for years.”

Overall, I liked Deathly Hallows a lot, though there was one thing that seriously threatened my enjoyment of the book. Why, oh why, is Voldemort allowing Harry access to his thoughts and deeds?! He was smart enough to block this connection in the last book! Now he’s musing openly about his horcruxes and their locations. This seems purely like a plot convenience and is very annoying.

That and a couple of other things (like no mention of the fact that Mundungus had been sent to Azkaban in the spring of the previous year and is apparently out by July and the Ministry’s apparent inability to track unlicensed Apparition) had this book slated for a lower grade until the amazing sequence where Snape’s memories are revealed, which was my favorite part in the entire book.

Now on to the many things I liked!

* Harry, surprisingly! He’s so grown up now. I particularly liked the quote above as well as a line where he was remembering his childhood self as “a younger brother whom he had lost.” And he’s sweet—I would’ve been ticked if he hadn’t mourned for Hedwig.
* The villains don’t come off as incompetent, for the most part. The threat level is immediate and constant. It’s probably the most flat-out exciting book I’ve ever read.
* Even though some were spoilery, the chapter illustrations were really cute, especially for chapter 10.
* Lots of Lupin. Though I am very meh about the marriage stuff, it was nice to see him exuberantly happy. I totally knew that Harry would be godfather to his kid, though I reckoned on it being named Sirius.
* Seeing a bunch of patronuses and the specifics of how that communication spell works.
* That the RAB/locket stuff was tackled first. Lots of fans had figured that one out, so it would’ve been lame if that was supposed to be the big end-of-the-book reveal.
* Ron actually leaving the group for a bit. I liked the dynamic when it was just Harry and Hermione (who’s also a bit livelier this time, if still occasionally in broken record mode). And, of course, his timely return and the fact that I totally thought there was going to be a smooch and there was just pummelling instead. I love the bit where he’s standing there all hopefully, dripping on the carpet.
* Aberforth, the truth about Dumbledore’s background, and his criticisms of his brother’s methods and fondness for secrecy.
* When Harry shows up at Hogwarts, everyone assumes he’s there to liberate them.
* McGonagall being awesome, including the too-short duel with Snape.
* As mentioned, Snape’s memories and all of their revelations. Also, Harry’s reaction to what he learns and the whole bit in the forest. Side note: Snape and Lily are totally like Heathcliff and Cathy.
* An explanation for Dumbledore’s gleam of ‘something like triumph’ from Goblet of Fire! I’d forgotten about that.
* Molly versus Bellatrix! This actually made me cackle with glee.
* Harry wanting a sandwich.
* The very cute Epilogue, especially James. I hope his middle name is Sirius.

Some bits were predictable, and the final confrontation was rather anticlimactic. I didn’t cry once, because many of the deaths just happened too quickly to process. But still… all in all, I’m satisfied.

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  1. I thought this review was very insightful and I had a different thought on your #1 compaint, “Why, oh why, is Voldemort allowing Harry access to his thoughts and deeds?!”
    It came across to me that Voldemort had become sloppy in his desperation to kill Harry and maybe his loss of self-control and concentration reflected Harry’s ability to see what was happening. It seemed the more desperate Voldemort got the easier Harry could tap in to his thoughts. Just a thought.

  2. That’s likely what Rowling intended. When Lucius’ wand failed, he was so miffed he forgot to practice occlumency. It’s just.. I would’ve liked this definitively clarified. There’ve been a few online chats with JKR about further details, but so far nobody’s asked about this.

    Side note: Yay for a comment from Rindy-sama!

  3. OMG, it’s Rindy-sama! Ya, great review. I’m glad you liked the Epilogue, I thought that was the awesomeness. We don’t know what Harry’s career is, we just know he’s still sorta famous. Perfect reconciliation with Malfoy too: they’re not friends, but they understand one another.

  4. Rowling said later in interviews/online chats that both Harry and Ron became Aurors. Ron is also a partner in the joke shop with George.

    Here’s one transcript:

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