Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Arthur A. Irvine Books, 2007
Fantasy (YA); 759 pgs

Completed: 07/22/2007
Rating: * (Very Good)

First Sentence: The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane.

Comments: After going back and forth for days about whether to attend the midnight release, Anjin and I decided to go. Events like this do not happen very often, and this being the last of the Harry Potter books, who knows when a book will garner such treatment again. And so, after a dinner out on the town, we stopped in at the local Barnes and Noble and picked up a wristband. Already people were arriving, some in costume. With about four hours to kill, we went home and returned around 11:30 p.m. to a store that was packed full with people. It was impossible to move without elbowing someone or having to step over someone sitting on the floor in the aisles. There were people of all ages and from all walks of life. I saw several Hogwarts’ students dressed in school uniforms, a couple of Tonks, fans of Ron's proudly wearing their "I love Ron" T-shirts, and several other random characters scattered here and there. Had we arrived earlier, I imagine there would have been activities set up for the children as the ads had promised. Upon on arrival though, all we could find was a photo station where people could have their photo taken with a life-size Voldemort doll.

Just after midnight, the first book was sold. It was held up by its new owner at the request of the crowds waiting their turn. Applause broke out amongst the masses. The time had come. Staff at the store should be commended for how well organized they were at getting the books out come midnight. Anjin and I were in the 5th group 50, and we had our book in hand by 12:30 a.m.

We saw a couple of sleeping children, one using books as his pillow, another lying against the front windows, waiting for their parents or older siblings. People were already reading the book as we walked out, some sitting outside by themselves with the book propped open on their knees or they were sitting in their car sneaking a peek before driving home.

Other than looking inside at the cover flap, my book remained unread until the next day. I desperately needed sleep and knew that if I tried to read Harry Potter in bed, I would not make it far. And so, Saturday was devoted to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I set up camp on the couch and lost myself in Harry's world.

Without giving too much away, J.K. Rowling’s latest novel was the perfect ending to a great series. While tears welled up in my eyes for fallen friends, there were many more tears shed for the happy moments, of which there were plenty.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows continues with the story of Harry's quest to find and destroy Voldemort's horcruxes, a task Dumbledore had set him out on during the previous book. Harry is joined by his two friend Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, who have stood by his side throughout the entire series. Their mission tests the boundaries of their friendship and their will, causing them doubt themselves and each other, while at the same time making them stronger. Readers are given a window into Dumbledore's past, which seemed very fitting for this final book. I like that J.K. Rowling humanizes even the greatest of her characters, reminding readers that no one is without flaws or having made wrong choices.

I have many thoughts swirling around in my head about the book and would love to hear the thoughts of others who have read it. At this moment, I am anxiously awaiting my husband's completion of the book now so he and I can discuss it at length, and hopefully some of my online yahoo groups will be discussing it more fully as well. There's so much to talk about! Please be advised that the comment section may include spoilers. Proceed with caution.

While I am sad to see the series come to an end, I do think it is time. J.K. Rowling has come a long way from when she first began writing the series. She never could have imagined the direction the books would take her life. I wish her all of the best in her future endeavors.

Read what Jeane had to say about this book:
Dog Ear Diary

20 comments:

  1. I love how you described the atmosphere at the midnight sale. It made me get a glimpse of what being there must have been like - such enthusiasm in the air, people sharing their love of this special thing, a book. I was very sad that no such events were taking place in my city. Thank you for allowing me to feel what it was like, though.

    I agree that it was a perfect ending. I shed many tears - out of sadness, out of happiness, and mostly out of sense of loss. But the series had to come to an end some day.

    Like you, I loved how she made Dumbledore more ambiguous in this book, and thus more human. I loved how the trio's friendship was tested, and still survived. And I loved how even though this was the darkest book in the series, there were still happy, heart-warming and humorous moments.

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  2. I too, was saying 'perfect' as the book neared its end, and many tears where shed, especially during the pensieve.
    We has a guaranteed delivery for Saturday, and it arrived around 8:30 am, which was very civilized. However, it took me, on and off, until 2:30 am to finish it. Not so civilized.
    I thought it was excellent and a good end to the series, especially the happily part. I know what you mean about wanting to talk to others. Rowling did it perfectly, after setting you up for a different ending.

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  3. I was taking care of my husband who just had surgery for lung cancer. Needless to say, I was exhausted from helping to take care of him and torn between reading the book and telling him "just a minute, let me finish this chapter!". So I didn't finish the book until this afternoon (Sunday). I made it a point to NOT skip to the last chapter and I'm glad I didn't. It made the journey much more meaningful to "not know" and I think it would have lost much of its impact and meaning unless you took it in the order it was meant to be read. I was so proud of the characters we have all grown to love and care about and so glad that even Mrs. Weasley got a bit of revenge. I've always identified with her as a mother. My children are equally Fred/George/Ginny/Ron/Percy/Bill/Charlie, just mixed up in 3 kids, not 6.
    Bravo to J.K. Rowling. If I had a million dollars to give her I'd gladly give it to her for this series.

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  4. Hey Wendy! That sounds very exciting, and how I wish I was able to attend one myself. I received a phone call last Friday evening from a bookstore, telling me I could collect my copy the following day. Because it falls on a Saturday (I reserved it from a bookstore that's near to my office but farther away from my house), and I'll collect it later today. And on top of that, I bought the whole series and have read the 1st book, and I'm enjoying reading it so much! I can't believe I missed it earlier!!!

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  5. Like you, I enjoyed how she delved into Dumbledore's past, showing that even he was prone to making mistakes. The ending was pretty much as I expected although I would've liked to know a bit more about what happened to the other minor characters. Like how did George take it? But all in all while I'll certainly miss the characters, it was a good ending to the series, I think.

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  6. Nymeth - It was quite a night! I was glad that Rowling let us glimpse into Dumbledore's past. I was always curious about him. I got frustrated with Harry in the fact that he was so quick to turn against Dumbledore--or at least in thought. I'm not talking about closer to the end, but when he first hears about Dumbledore's past. I am glad Hermione at least had enough reason to help him through that.

    Elizabeth - I am so glad you were able to get the book so early! I know a few people who had to wait until closer to the end of Saturday.

    I agree that Rowling did a good job of setting the story up in such a way as to suggest a different outcome. And then it naturally ended just the way it should. :-)

    Anonymous - I was thrilled for Mrs. Weasley in that final moment. It turned out even better than having Neville bring down the woman who took his parents from him. :-)

    Melody - Oh good! I am glad you are finally diving into the series. :-)

    Tanabata - Yes, I really can't say there were too many surprises in the end. I suspected Harry was a horcrux and knew that he would survive. I also suspected Ron and Hermione would, although I wasn't sure. It was a given Snape would go. I was most sad about Hedwig and Dobby though. I never really felt all that close to George and Fred and so even though I was saddened at Fred's death, it didn't have a huge impact on me.

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  7. I also thought it was the perfect ending and couldn't have been any other way. On the note about Snape, it was interesting to find out about his love for Harry's mother, which totally explained his behavior toward Harry, who looked so much like James. I couldn't remember, though: Did we ever know Lily's Patronus was a doe?

    I was most sad about Dobby, and I did think at the end that it was fitting to have Teddy Lupin a boy orphan, since the books have centered upon boy orphans.

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  8. Karen - I had to go into another room when I read about Dobby so that my husband would not catch me with tears in my eyes. I was very careful not to give anything away to him for fear of spoiling anything. It's been very difficult not to talk about the book with him. He's over half way through now so hopefully I won't have to wait too much longer.

    You make a good point about Teddy Lupin's orphan status in the end. I hadn't quite thought that far, but it does make sense and seems even more fitting now that you mention it.

    I don't remember knowing Lily's Patronus was a doe and keep wondering if it was one of the many details I was supposed to remember by forgot. I suspected Snape had feelings for her, but I had no idea that the two had been so close. It does explain a lot.

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  9. I've got to get my own review up soon, but I have to say I was very satisfied overall and didn't feel like there were any major loose ends.

    We didn't do the midnight-bookstore thing; I had 2 copies pre-ordered from Amazon, and when they arrived just after lunch on Saturday, my husband and I both sat down in the living room and started reading. We finished within about an hour of each other last night, so it's a safe topic around our house now.

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  10. I am also finished and am satified with how Rowling brought it all together. The last 100 pages were so intense for me, I just kept going over every word and wanting to understand and make all the connections.

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  11. I was very happy with the ending - I too wept buckets for the elf and the owl - but there are always innocent victims in a war.

    In view of the recent comments by Rowling "...Never say never..." when she was asked about writing another book - I found the ending to be food for thought - all those little witches and wizards going off to school. Maybe for their very own adventure?

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  12. A deeply satisfying ending to a truly wonderful series. Like you and other posters mentioned, I fought back the tears for both the joys and the sorrows of these characters we have grown to love. I was so glad the epilogue showed us a glimpse of Harry's future life. As he himself said, he's had enough trouble for one lifetime. I am thrilled that, in the end, things worked out for Harry as this Potter fan has always wished.

    It was with a sense of deep satisfaction that I closed my book at 3:30am on Sunday morning feeling as though I had just turned the last page on the life of a dear, dear friend.

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  13. Very well said. I finished the book today and couldn't be more pleased with the way Rowling wrapped things up. What an adventure the series has been. I'm sorry to see it go, but I think it was done with class and integrity from beginning to end.

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  14. She truly did an excellent job, didn't she?

    No real 'party' at my little bookstore but there were over 80 people there. (Think small store in a small town). I arrived a little after midnight and was back home with my book by 12:40.

    I hated HP's losing Hedwig but it made sense. More sense than his carting the bird around. I'm also surprised by how upset I was by Dobby's fate. I didn't even like Dobby that much!

    And I will admit that I cried when Harry went to meet his fate so bravely. I actually took several minutes before I continued to give myself the chance to grieve properly.

    I wonder what she's going to do next. I'll be looking for whatever it is, HP connected or not.

    cjh

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  15. Florinda - I tried to talk my husband into getting two copies, but he wouldn't hear it. He finished it today though and finally we can talk about it! Whew! It's been hard for me to keep my mouth shut. LOL

    Tara - Yes, those last 100 or so pages were very intense. My husband was reading between calls at work this afternoon and said it was very hard to remember he had a job to do. LOL

    Sally - I was also thinking that she's left it open for more Hogwart's stories, either with the children of our favorite characters or else new ones altogether. We can dream, can't we?

    Jennyellen - I was also glad that Harry is left to lead a rather uneventful life after all he had been through. He and all of his friends went through much. They deserve some peace and happiness.

    Andi - I agree. Rowling did a marvelous job with the entire series. I am looking forward to re-reading it someday.

    CJ - I think I might have preferred a smaller bookstore.:-) While it was great to be a part of something big, it was still a bit too crowded for my tastes.

    Now that you mention it, I didn't really care for Dobby either until this book and yet it was one of the bigger losses I felt. I wonder if that in part had to do with the fact that I was given time to mourn for him whereas the others happened so fast . . .

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  16. the midnight opening I went to wasn't so exciting. Everyone had to wait outside the shop (luckily it was indoors in a shopping centre) and very few really dressed up. It was fun though and we did a count down and cheered etc.

    I am in two minds about Dumbledore. I know he did the right thing by Harry, but I am still not sure about how he treated Snape. I was sad at the death of my favourite character and some of the others were glossed over very quickly. Very dark, just how i like it!

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  17. Rhinoa - Yes, I tend to lean towards the dark too. LOL

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  18. Thanks for stopping by my (fairly) new blog this morning. I like that you described the atmosphere at your local B&N. I now have an empty nest so I chose to get my copy at WallyWorld as I didn't think I could handle my emotions (see my 'empty nestology' tag for more on that weeping scenario). I frequent the www.BN.com Harry Potter group site. It's a fun place!

    I also noticed that you're reading "Stardust." I really enjoyed that one. Hope you do too!

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  19. Great review. I enjoyed this book immensely but wish I had read No 6 more recently. I just couldn't remember everything and so got a little confused. My biggest upsets were the loss of Hedwig and Fred. But I always suspected Snape was playing a part and had a thing for Harry's mom. All in all, a very satisfying ending.

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  20. Tasses - I will have to stop in on the BN.com Harry Potter group site. I'm not sure I would go to another midnight release again, but I am glad I did at least this once. It was quite an experience.

    I am really enjoying Stardust. I have only read one other Neil Gaiman book so far (American Gods), but hope to read more of his books in the future.

    Framed - I know what you mean. I wish I had hoped to reread the books just so that they would be fresh in my mind when I started the final book, but it didn't work out that way.

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