Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Author: J. K. Rowling
Page Count/Review Word Count: 610
This is the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series, and it focusses on the exploits of Harry, Ron and Hermione as they attempt to locate and destroy horcruxes, which are basically artefacts that include fragments of Lord Voldemort’s soul. Whilst his essence is scattered across different artefacts, he can’t be defeated – the horcruxes must be destroyed first, and only then can there be a final showdown.
This happens at Hogwarts towards the end of the book, when all of the characters converge for a massive face off between good and evil. There are casualties on both sides, but I won’t say who survives and who doesn’t – that’s down for you to find out, when you read it.
What I will say is that this is easily Rowling’s most ‘adult‘ book – it comes at the end of the series, and the series seemed to mature over time. This is great news if, like me, you grew up with the Harry Potter series – it meant that as the series grew darker over time, you were able to appreciate that darkness.
I don’t know whether this necessarily works as a standalone – I think you could probably just about follow what was happening, but I also don’t see why you’d want to. After all, the great thing about reading a series is that you pick up on the subtle nuances that occur over time, which you don’t really get with standalones.
As always, Rowling’s characterisation is in top form here, and the interpersonal relationships between characters in particular are highlighted here to their fullest extent. In fact, we get to see them taken to their logical conclusion – in the epilogue at the end, we see how things turned out for all of the characters that we grew to know and love. Except for the ones that are dead by the end of the book.
One of the interesting things in Deathly Hallows is that very little of the action takes place at Hogwarts – Harry himself is on the run, because the country has effectively been taken over by He Who Must Not Be Named and his Death Eaters. Despite being a ‘good guy‘, Harry is living as an outlaw, because the law happens to be enforced by the bad guys.
Things are bleak, and Rowling paints an incredible picture of a world that’s headed towards ruin. Just when it seems like there’s no hope, something happens to pull us back up again, but only temporarily – it’s a fantastic storytelling technique, which helps to keep the reader interested throughout.
After all, it’s a relatively long read, like most of the later Harry Potter books, but it’s well worth it, especially if you’ve read the rest of the series in order. This book does a great job of wrapping things up – is it a problem that Rowling was in no real rush to do so?
In fact, the main problem with Deathly Hallows is that it ended – when it came out, I read it in a day, and then felt a sense of crushing disappointment. It had nothing to do with the story or the quality of the writing – I was just hit with the realisation that that was it, and that there would be no more Harry Potter books for me to look forward to.
Still, Rowling has a great talent for writing, and she hasn’t stayed idle – I’ve read her subsequent work, and it’s pretty good – she seems to excel in every genre.