Deathly Hallows

Upon completion of The Host, I grabbed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from my bookshelves, deciding to read it again. I had only had one go at this book, when it appeared four years ago. Reading it again at a more leisurely pace means paying more attention to style and not only to the story per se. Beside the coherent construct of the Potter universe, the last book in the series is certainly the most achieved and the most profound of the seven books, (The fact that many questions raised in the previous six books find an answer there obviously help!)

As with the first reading, I enjoyed the early chapters with their fast pace and abundance of details, especially the wedding preparation and the wedding itself. The way Ron’s mother as a perfect harridan the days before the wedding is depicted in those chapters is both hilarious and convincing. The part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow I dislike as much as during the first reading is the lengthy and boooring camping trip of the trio. It goes for pages and pages as it lasts for days and days (and days)… Of course, this is supposed to translate the fact that Harry does not where to start looking for horcruxes but the reader should not get bored to death in the process. A better trick should have been found by Rowling for dumping the relevant information on the reader, like involving more nasty aunties like Muriel during the weeding ceremony or something. In particular, while the scene where Harry recovers the Griffindor sword (and is recovered by Ron) is fairly well-done, the reason for the appearance of the patronum and of the sword there are incomprehensible. At the time. Even though it brings major information about the Deathly Hallows, the visit to Luna’s father is streched beyond limits and the absence of Luna is far too suspicious from the begining for the trio to miss it. During this second reading, I noticed two great quotes I had missed earlier, namely “nutty as squirrel poo” and “faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo“, which are truly terrific. (The plot also shows some weaknesses, for instance the shallow pretext for persecuting Mudbloods or the fact that Umbridge is part of the persecution as the previous books do not show her as a Death Eater or yet the unclear reasons for the fake Bathilda waiting for the unpredictable visit of Harry…) The end of the camping trip thus comes as a relief in the story (even though I do not understand why the trio could not Disapparate when surrounded) and the reader then dearly hopes this is the last time one hears of this magical tent which, while a great finding, has clearly been over-exploited since its first apparition in The Goblet of Fire. (This is a general feature of the last books that hey got deeper and more psychological, but also less inventive in terms of magical items.)

However, the second half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows remains stunning with a breathtaking pace and a stagering sequence of events and of explanations. Within twenty four hours (and 200 pages), the trio breaks into Gringotts, flies on a dragon, meets Dumbledore’s brother, enters Hogwarts, is reunited with Dumbledore’s army, destroys five Horcruxes, launches the Battle of Hogwarts, sees Voldemort kill Snape and learns the truth about Snape’s role as double agent, and at last and not that surprisingly causes Voldemort to kill himself. The discussion in Chapter 35 between Dumbledore and Harry is somehow weird, taking place in a clinical King’s Cross with a baby Voldemort whimpering in the background and somewhat reminiscent of a scene in 2001 – A Space Odyssey, but it brings an answer to many questions that came during Harry and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows about the plans of Dumbledore and the shadows of his youth. I only wish the book would stop before the last chapter “Nineteen years later“. (This is a completely unnecessary and regressive chapter that seems to cater to a completely different audience, reverting to the audience of the first books…) But this set aside, this is a superb ending to the series.

One Response to “Deathly Hallows”

  1. […] were getting near enough to slightly relax, my daughter asked me to take her to see the latest Harry Potter movie. I was anyway interested in how the first part of the book would appear. (I first wrote would […]

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