Finally I can say I have read the Harry Potter series! – This is an achievement that after having achieved, feels much more like a loss.
I think I am not alone when I say that reading Harry Potter is a commitment. We all love Hogwarts and Dumbledore but we also, as bookworms, love to read a variety of books. Whilst I was reading HP I did sometimes wish I could just throw it aside and pick up something standalone, a world I could read and then say goodbye to. But now, after having said goodbye to Harry, I’ve ended up feeling a bit of book shame – how could I have ever wanted this to not last forever?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was something entirely different and yet at the same time the familiar story we had all been reading for six books already. The wizarding world, in a way in which it had not previously, seemed to swell and grow so that Rowling left us with a fuller picture of what it meant to be a wizard who had left Hogwarts in England.
Meanwhile, the authoress comfortably stitches together past characters like Dobby with more unfamiliar ones like Bellatrix and in doing so creates confrontations that feel shockingly fresh but also inevitable. In Order of the Phoenix Rowling showed us that she was not afraid of axing important characters but in the Deathly Hallows she is a woman on a mission, slashing lives with her pen left right and centre. The thing is, these deaths felt like they were always going to happen; as though people we loved had to die in order for their to be a happy heroical ending. This is true within the narrative literally but also I feel it is a comment that can be understood in our own lives. What Rowling is suggesting through Deathly Hallows is that sacrifice is essential if we want to cultivate a better life. This is why I do not resent Rowling for the deaths of characters in her novel. The later books are meant to be mature and death is as much a part of life as love, friendship and magic are.
I think in taking the task of defeating Voldemort up to a more mystical level through the Hallows and the Horcruxes Rowling stayed true to her whimsical and refined magical theory. She did not give in to a simple life for life spell which would easily have made sense and would have still brought in the tears. She made things difficult, she made things really difficult and although the deus ex machina might have felt vaguely random (you’re telling me a horcrux was conveniently in the room of requirement this whole time?) this challenge made this final instalment all the better for it.
Reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was like hugging an old friend, like stepping onto the train home at the end of the night and waving goodbye through the glass. Of course almost everyone reading this has already read and then reread and then reread this series – I am aware that I am abysmally late to the party – but I will still, for the sake of this review, recommend this book to all of you.
Keep on reading!
And thanks again Beth.