Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Why did I pick it up?
Final book to finish off the Harry Potter series. I finished it on March 12 which means I took a little less than two months from start to finish.
Funny story: right after I finished reading it and moved onto the trilogy I'm reading now I saw someone at work had started reading this one. Same cover and everything. It was fun.

The Review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling:
Know how I've been complaining about the same pattern for the last six books? Well it's broken! Sort of. We do start out with a  scene of Voldemort torturing some poor soul who we later find out is Hogwart's Muggle Studies teacher.

Harry spends some time cleaning out his room at the Dursley's house and examining the paper which has Dumbledore's eulogy and an article with an interview with Rita Skeeter about her new book that apparently reveals the truth about Dumbledore. Harry's obviously upset over the paper but begins to pack his bags to leave.

The Dursleys are leaving too as the moment Harry turns 17 the protection on the house will be gone and the Dursleys could be in trouble. It was nice to see Dudley giving Harry a nice good bye. I was disappointed nothing further was taken with the Dursleys here. They could have been mentioned in the end but this is the last we see or even hear of them.

Harry is to be brought to the Burrow for safe keeping and a group of witches and wizards will be pairing off to make fake Harry's and hopefully distract from the real one. This is where the deaths begin. Harry and the group leave but are attacked because Snape knows when Harry's supposed to leave and obviously told Voldemort. Hedwig is killed in the ensuing battle but Harry does manage to escape after meeting Tonk's parents. He gets to the Burrow to find out Mad Eye Moody was also killed and George Weasley lost an ear.

The Minister of Magic comes to deliver the gifts Harry, Ron, and Hermione received from Dumbledore: the first Snich Harry caught, the Deluminator, and a book of fairy tails in that order. Harry was also supposed to get the Sword of Gryffindor but the Minister wouldn't hand it over. Yes all of these are important. ;)

The preparations for Bill and Fleur's wedding take place as normal and Harry is disguised. He does run into Krum who is peeved at Luna's father for wearing some kind of evil symbol. The wedding is broken up by the Death Eaters who have taken over the ministry. Harry, Hermione, and Ron escape to Sirus' old place (which he inherited) and camp out there for a while. Thanks to Hermione's quick thinking (and a convenience plot hole) she managed to bring all their things with them in a bottomless purse.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione live in the musty old house until figuring out Kreacher helped Regulus (Sirus' brother) destroy the original locket/Horcrux Dumbledore had died for. Harry starts being nice to Kreacher and Kreacher is kind in return. He brings them the dude who stole the locket and they realize they need Gryffindor's sword to break it. The trio leave the house but are caught on the way back and have to begin backpacking through England as they can no longer stay in one spot.

On their travels Ron ends up leaving the group because he had hoped Harry had a better plan in looking for the Horcruxes. Hermione and Harry continue on their travels and Harry's wand ends up breaking when the duo fall into a trap. Harry is lead to a pool where Gryffindor's sword is by a patroneous doe (important point) and almost dies but Ron saves him. They figure out what the Deathly Hallows are: the Elder Wand, Harry's invisibility cloak, and the resurrection stone. Harry knows Voldermort is going after the Elder Wand so he can beat Harry once and for all.

They end up getting captured by Death Eaters but Hermione disguises Harry and Dobby comes to save the group. Harry and Ron go to save Hermione who was separated from them (fun plot point so you can see for yourself) and in their escape they manage to steal two wands. Dobby is killed on their way out.
More happens here but Voldermort does end up possessing the Elder Wand. We also see Snape was the one who sent the doe patroneous to lead Harry to the sword. And Snape gives Harry the memories of what transpired in all of Snape's life after Voldemort gets his snake to kill Snape. Harry finds out the truth about everything. Oh, did I mentioned they've made it all the way to Hogwarts now and the school is where the final battle takes place?

It makes sense in a way. Everything began there and what better battle ground. Voldemort's death was anti-climatic. His killing curse bounced back on him and that was that. There is a bit of a death count: Lupin, Tonks (who were married and just had a kid), and Fred. Neville saved part of the day by beheading Voldemort's snake with Gryffindor's sword so that was pretty cool.

Then we hit the epilogue. We find out Ron and Hermione are married with kids, Harry and Ginny are married with three kids, and Hell, even Draco got married. Despite everything, the Malfoys are still a-okay to be out and about. Now, I do see why they weren't killed before (plot devices anyone?) but still. This family has shown a willingness to go to the dark side and they're walking around like nothing happened. Like they didn't help kill so many people and side with the bad guy. It's annoying. I mean, they didn't even get a slap on the wrist.

Again, no mention of the Dursleys. No mention on how George is doing without Fred or if he continued the joke shop. No mention of Hagrid, who the headmaster is for Hogwarts, nothing. After all the focus on the school over 7 books all we know is Neville is a teacher there. Also: Harry's worked up to be this decent wizard, said he was going to be a Auror (job's kind of mote without Death eaters anyway) and has a talent for Quiddich but do we know what he does for work? Nope. We don't know anything about the three except they got married and are sending their kids off to Hogwarts.

Even just one more paragraph would have answered all those questions. Yeah, great to know "all was well" but how well? Did George ever get married? How are the rest of the Weasleys? What about Luna and the other Gryffindors? The Dursleys? Kreacher and the House Elves?

The Negatives:

Besides those mentioned above, for a book pegged at young adults there is a lot of death in here. I find this holds true for Hunger Games and a few other popular series for young adults. I mean, I get the world can't be all peachy but Harry Potter is originally pegged for kids under 10. Yeah, they would've grown up by the seventh book but still.

Also: the neat little bow wasn't so neat. There are still points left uncovered after the epilogue which I guess is okay. Do we need to know who runs the school or what the trio is doing? I guess not but after seven books I would've liked to know something besides marriage and children. Hell, we don't even know what happens to Hagrid and his giant half-brother.

Were all the deaths needed? Not really. Hedwig, Mad Eye, Dobby, and Snape: yes. Fred, Lupin, and Tonks? Nope. Yeah people die in war but did we really need to make another orphaned kid right after Lupin finally becomes happy? Did we really need to rip apart the twins like that to show the horrors of this war? Not really. We knew the horrors. We saw the bodies in the Great Hall. We saw Lavender and Colin. Crabbe (though technically a bad guy) a bunch of death eaters, goblins, and the 50 dead Hogwarts students were all enough.

The other thing that bugs me is the way Harry treats the Deathly Hallows. He leaves the resurrection stone somewhere in the forest where anyone with enough balls can find it. He reburies the Elder Wand with no protection and he likely still has the cloak but we're never told. These are objects of immense power and he leaves them lying around. COME ON. Who's to say someone's NOT going to go grab the Elder Wand, come kill you with it, then take over the world?

That sucker should have been broken. The rock should've been tossed in the middle of the freaking ocean. And the cloak? Yeah, that's not as dangerous unless someone with the wrong ideas grabs it. I mean really. Most powerful objects in the world and just left around like nothing.

The book itself was quite dark and comparing this last one to the first one is like moon and sun. You'd never think book 1 could have developed into this theme-wise. I mean yeah, Voldemort would have eventually had to die and Harry would have had to suffer loss but not to this proportion, not in a book for kids.

Final Review: 3/5 for adults, 2/5 for the intended audience.

Until next time thoughts, comments, rages, rants, questions, and out-right insults can be directed to the comments section.

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