It’s not the best in the series and for the first time I actually felt this book was a step backwards. After blowing the wad of mysteries in the previous book Rowling seemed to have trouble tying everything up and concluding things in this final book frustration seems to be reflected in the characters themselves whom also spend a large portion of the book hanging around in their tent not knowing what the frick to do
How Rowling writes herself out of these situations is also less than impressive, bordering on the author claiming the power of deus ex machina and dropping her characters in large pots of luck and fortune such as happening to overhear a conversation from fellow wizards and goblins outside their tent despite the fact that they regularly moved around the country and tried to find quiet hiding places, yet they are stumbled upon unknowingly by characters who let drop key pieces of information.
This kind of logic is again used when Harry hears noise outside the tent, goes to explore and finds sword of gryffindor(the precise item he needs to destroy a horcrux) lying under ice in the forest. While the latter of these is explained towards the end there is still a feeling that these kind of instances are unimaginative ways of writing one out of a tight corner. One might hope for something a little more after the brilliance of ideas that JK Rowling has demonstrated in the past.
Anyway once these plot points are brushed over things finally get moving and it does become the satisfying conclusion you want it to be as it becomes a race against Voldemort to get the last Horcruxes.
Poor Dumbledore gets dragged through the mud in this book and again it’s the same theme as the other books where Harry thinks Dumbledore has betrayed him in some way, kept him in the dark until Dumbledore himself explains everything to him and it’s like “why did I make a big deal of that in my mind to begin with?” kind of thing for Harry. Here though it does seem like Dumbledore is an imperfect person for the first time, as adults we rarely understand what’s going on in kids minds and as kids we don’t understand adults until we get closer to been an adult ourselves. Dumbledore pretty much admits all his faults and reminds harry that “shit happens and we sometimes screw up” even if you’re a great Wizard.
As for the mysteries behind Harry’s powers, survival and magic there is a ton of exposition towards the end in the chapter King’s Cross Station. So much so that it boggles the mind and the actual truth is far more complex and difficult to discern than it really needed to be.
So after 6 years of reading these books I’m ahead of schedule on how I planned to read them which was one per year. I don’t regret picking them up and it has been fun to see what all the fuss was about after being something of a massive skeptic as to how good books about a boy wizard could be. While they aren’t the greatest thing since slice bread they are very entertaining and represent a large chunk of the reading culture of today. I think I still prefer the ‘Lord of the Rings’ to this in terms of fantasy fiction. There were times where I just wanted the story to move a bit faster.
The only bad thing about reading the Harry Potter books is that they’ll ruin the movies for you. You’ll never look at the movies in the same way again. To me it feels like the movies are just on fast forward now and I’m left unsatisfied and wondering why they didn’t try to be more different and do there own thing. As for comparisons to the Deathly Hallows book I remember that it was with those Deathly Hallow movies that made me decide to jump into the books. There’s a lot of stuff that I was confused about with the movies, where did the mirror come from, what was the deal with the wand at the end, the Horcruxes. Well the books explain it all and now I’m on the other side of the door wondering what the big deal is and all these things are simple to understand. Dumbledore’s past is completely ignored in the movie though which is also another reason why I wanted to read the books. His relationship with Grindelwald, a dark wizard who was as deadly as Voldemort and the events surrounding Dumbledore’s sister. There could be a whole other book series if these characters were explored more.
While I don’t want to compare a book to it’s movie I do get the feeling the film makers oneuped Rowling this time by working around the holes she wrote herself into and seeing the end game as a destination rather than a journey. Being a 2 parter film it makes for more digestible viewing yet can still seem somewhat confusing to those who aren’t au fait with the books.
So that’s that book series done. But as I write this a new book of the Play ‘Harry Potter and The Cursed Child’ has come out and ‘Fantastic Beasts’ will be in cinema’s later in the year. It seems my journey in the wizarding world continues.
How I’d rank the books.
The Deathly Hallows
Favorite Quote: “That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children’s tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped. ” Dumbledore