(Contains spoilers for the plot)
Well, after 7 books which spanned a good part of my life until now, Harry Potter has come to an end. I first got into this series, like I’ve mentioned before, on the recommendation of my elementary school teacher (Thanks Ms. Page) and I’ve been a fan of it ever since. Sure, reading Harry Potter now isn’t the same as when I was eleven, but I still like the characters and the universe. And now, the last book has arrived and I read it over the course of the next two days. By this point, I don’t think that JKR will be remembered in the same way that Tolkien will be remembered for his series. However, her series will still be popular because it is a very accessible series (I started reading at eleven, after all), but it also isn’t patronizing. There’s enough in the book to keep it from being strictly for children.
The previous book, Half-Blood Prince was not my favourite in the series. In fact, it was probably my least favourite, for a number of reasons. After reading Order of the Phoenix, I had imagined that the wizarding world, after finally accepting Harry and Dumbledore’s claims about Voldemort, would be in a state of constant alert and danger. And to some extent it was, but I also felt that all the regular Quidditch matches, the fighting over romance and going on dates was a bit out of place. I don’t really know what I expected, but it felt weird to have the school year go on almost like any other when they were in such danger. The romance in the book was a bit stiff and out of place. All the jealous fighting and shooting birds at people just made me think, “Isn’t there a war going on?”. However, the storyline of the book, the look into Tom Riddle’s past, and the scenes with Dumbledore made up for all the rest.
I think that Deathly Hallows is a tremendous improvement over HBP. The romance is thankfully not as in-your-face as HBP, which is in the back seat, and displayed in a subtle manner. The story moves quickly but that makes sense considering that the trio are on the run. Unlike what a lot of people predicted, the trio did not return to Hogwarts for their seventh year. I never assumed they would, because finding all those Horcruxes required a bit of time searching and spending the book at Hogwarts would not have given them that time (unless their was some sort of deus ex machina ending). But halfway through the book, I was wondering how they would find the remaining Horcruxes plus the newly introduced Deathly Hallows in the remaining portion of the book, but I have to hand it to JKR. Her writing never seemed rushed and for the most part, it flowed naturally. Even though she actually introduced a pretty big idea into the final book (which were the three items of the Deathly Hallows), the book still managed to feel natural until the end.
I do have some complaints though. For one thing, I thought the Epilogue could have been more than it was. I know that it was supposed to show Harry finally getting what he wants, which was a family, but I also think there is so much ideas about the wizarding world, about the four-house system at Hogwarts, about treatment of Muggle-borns, etc, that didn’t get explored. Even after all that talk about Sorting too soon, and whether the four-house system is a benefit or a curse, it doesn’t seem like anything changed. We also only learned about the fate of one character, Neville Longbottom, who became a professor. The Epilogue didn’t really tell us about anything else except that the trio now have families, and Harry named his kid Albus Severus (which a lot of people hate, I don’t really mind it). Also, the climax of the book, though it was exciting to read at first, was kind of a let-down when I think about it. There had been so many wild predictions about the locked room at the Department of Mysteries, or about the connection with Lily and Harry, etc., that turned out to be wrong, basically because Harry won on a technicality about an object we had never discussed prior to this book (The Elder Wand). It just felt like the interaction between Voldemort and Harry was too brief considering the entire series has led up to it.
But without being repetitive, I think that the Deathly Hallows is a suitable final book in the series. It’s easy to look at it and say that it could have been better and point out various scenes as examples. On the whole, however, JKR succeeding in writing a compelling finish to the Harry Potter story, and I can’t wait for that encyclopedia that she is promising.
So now that the series is over, Prisoner of Azkaban is still my favourite book in the series and Half-Blood Prince is still my least favourite. The rest, however, are all good books, and since I like many others, have practically grown up with the series, I predict that I won’t forget about it for a long while.
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