My holiday readathon of Harry Potter lasted a little longer than anticipated, so Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows became the first book I read in the New Year. This review will be short because I haven’t had much time to write and reflect with the post-holiday funk I’m feeling and work and all of life’s other unpredictable obstacles. Stay tuned for info about my next series readathon!
It was bittersweet to finish this incredible series. It was bitter because I so enjoy this universe that Rowling has built, the characters she’s crafted, and the escapism that these stories provide, that I’m reluctant to put them back on the shelf for who knows how long. I have plenty of series to read, but none seem to have the strength and power of those novels. It was sweet because it ended so well, it felt so good, and I had accomplished my goal of reading them all again in a short amount of time.
There were a lot of things in this novel that felt really right: Harry’s mental and emotional growth, the intrigue about Dumbledore’s past (made more timely by the new Fantastic Beasts films), the character growth which began earlier and reached new heights as our heroes faced down the most dangerous adversaries yet. The friendship between Ron, Harry, and Hermione reached new heights, as their bonds were tested by fear, enemies, and time. It was beautiful to see the progression of these relationships, even when times were tough. Harry and Ron’s argument, which ended in their separation, was entirely vital to the strengthening of their relationship later. Hermione’s reaction to Ron’s return, compared to Harry’s reaction, was one of my favorite parts of the novel. Ron and Hermione’s refusal to let Harry complete the Horcrux task alone, the Hogwarts student’s reaction to Harry’s return, Harry’s acceptance of their help and affection, and so much more, worked to strengthen that emotional cord that Rowling has been building throughout the series. Reluctant as Harry has been this far to accept the help and love of those around him for fear of losing them, he finally let go of his fears and allowed people in. This made his final sacrifice that much more poignant.
This novel moved quite quickly. There was a lot of big plot moments and a lot of high stakes action. We had plots to infiltrate Wizarding institutions, violent duels, cross country travel, a lot of near death experiences and plenty of close calls. There seemed a times to be almost too much going on at once. Not only were we juggling all the information about Voldemort, but we also had to juggle new and conflicting information about Dumbledore; on top of that, we had information about Horcruxes and Hallows. There was so much back and forth that sometimes it became hard to keep everything in check, but this also worked really well to emulate the kinds of feelings and information overload that our heroes were facing.
Overall, this was a great way to end the series, but it also left a lot of doors open for new adventures. I think we’re done with Harry and his story, but there is a lot more to be said about Dumbledore, Harry’s children, and the generation that preceded Harry. Rowling opened it up in a new way through the Fantastic Beasts franchise, as a way to explore earlier generations of the Wizarding world, which I’m really excited about. I’m going to pick up a copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child from the library, and read the Hogwarts text books which my sister gave me for Christmas. I might be finished reading the series, but I’m far from being finished with the Wizarding world.