I’ve been re-reading the Harry Potter series and I’ve finally and unfortunately, just finished the series. If you missed my previous installments, here are my reviews for books one, two, three, four, five, and six, respectively. Spoilers abound, obviously there and going forth here.
Ugh, it’s over. 4,224 pages in a month’s time and my re-read of my favorite series is complete once more. Such a vacancy here now. I’m sitting here at 9:19 a.m. EST and I’m thinking to myself, “I have to get ready for class at noon, but normally I’d be using the the time before that to slip in a few more HP chapters.” And now I can’t. Alas.
Book Seven is interesting because it’s such a departure from the previous installments. For one, the gang — Harry, Hermione and Ron — don’t go to Hogwarts. Instead, they are on the run from the Ministry and Lord Voldemort. It’s a road trip story in a lot of ways except they’re Apparating instead of driving. There’s also some real issues fleshed out, like Ron finally exploding at Harry and leaving the group. He’s disappointed that Harry didn’t have a better plan for getting Voldemort’s Horocruxes.
Finally, perhaps the most interesting part is the information we get on Dumbledore. Harry Potter in the series clearly represents goodness, unbelievably pure goodness. And Lord Voldemort clearly represents evilness, unbelievably pure evilness. Well, within that spectrum lies the clearly represented grey character — Dumbledore. Dumbledore is a complex character, wherein he sought some of the same power that Lord Voldemort did — rule over Muggles and magic is might and the Deathly Hallows for immortality — but he wrapped it up in better “ends” at least. And he eventually had an awareness that he wasn’t worthy of power. Hence why he never took up the position of Minister of Magic, despite always being offered.
There’s just a lot of great emotion in this, too. The people that are supporting Harry Potter even though it could literally get them killed…
Gah, it gives me chills just reading that again. You have to understand: people are living under the most dark wizard that has ever existed and nobody knows how to end him except Harry Potter, Ron, and Hermione (and Dumbledore, but he’s dead). But it has to be Harry Potter. In these bleakest of times, Harry remains a beacon of hope and inspiration.
Which also brings us to one of my favorite minor characters: Neville’s grandmother. She’s a total bad-ass.
But of course, there’s a lot of emotion, too, because there’s a lot of death. Like Fred, Lupin, Tonks, Snape (who redeems himself), Hedwig (the beautiful owl that was always loyal to Harry) and perhaps the saddest one to me, Dobby:
Another good house elf moment was the redemption of Kreacher, the former house elf of Sirius Black. He was basically like a Death Eater house elf, but turns things around for his former master (Black’s brother) and then leads the house elves of Hogwarts into battle in a great moment.
Which is another thing: there’s a lot of great action in this book. From the scene at Godric’s Hollow to the scene inside of the Malfoy’s manor to Ron saving Harry to redeem himself (a lot of redemption going on), and then this bad-ass scene with Harry:
But my absolute favorite moment is when Harry realizes he must die — he must sacrifice himself to Voldemort in order to destroy Voldemort. It’s a powerful moment because he’s willing to do this. So, he goes to the Forbidden Forrest where Voldemort awaits him, but then he finds the Resurrection Stone within the Snitch Dumbledore had given him in his last will and testament. As such, his parents, Sirius and Lupin all follow him (as like, spirits) into the Forrest, giving him comfort.
Then Voldemort is saying he thought Harry would show up and that’s when Harry takes the cloak off and reveals himself. Ah, god. All the while, Hagrid, perhaps the one true father-type figure in the series, if you ask me, for Harry, is chained to a tree watching this. Hagrid, who rescued Harry as a baby from the wreckage of his parents’ home, who told Harry he was a wizard at 11, who was there for Harry through six years at Hogwarts and who got him out of trouble at the beginning of the book, had to witness what he thought was Harry’s death. It gets me emotional just thinking about it.
On top of that, when he thinks Harry is dead, he has to be the one to carry Harry’s dead body back to Hogwarts to present it to the people opposing Voldemort. But Harry’s not dead and the battle continues.
And that’s when Harry finally kills Voldemort, which had to happen of course. In total bad-ass mode, Harry calls him Tom, too. It’s great.
Overall, you could find some plot inconsistencies in the series and make your fan-fiction changes and all of that, but taken as a whole, it’s a magical story about a boy that learns he’s a wizard, but more than that, he learns about this awful, awful burden he has to rescue the magical world from the clutches of pure, persistent evil and along the way, he becomes a man, falls in love, makes beautiful friendships (where would Harry be without Ron and Hermione?), and intertwined through all of that is some nice commentary on government, media, race, the treatment of creatures, and so on.
Seriously, though, Hermione is brilliant. What a great character. So resourceful and witty and courageous.
Anyhow, I’ll be following up this series review with more lists and tidbits (like the obvious, my favorite characters list).
Until then. All is well.