And it’s over. Fini. Finale. Voldemort’s dead, Harry’s alive. Sadly some of the best characters didn’t make it (Did you really have to kill a Wesley twin?). The fast pace from the previous six works was ramped up in this volume, and it made perfect sense why they split this particular volume into two movies: A lot of shit happens. Our intrepid group of protagonists seem to traverse the globe as they chase down the Horcruxes.
A big win for Rowling as a writer I have to point out, as I’ve been rather critical of her spacing and execution of large scale action sequences, is the final scene, the battle for Hogwarts, with the brief pause in the middle and the climax, which I shall call Volde-Mort (get it?). It feels like she took more time to get the movement and flow of her description right. It is quite possibly the most important scene in the series, outside of the Snape reveal, and I must applaud the execution. The action was easy to follow, all from Harry’s third person point-of-view, and dramatic enough to feel grave yet frantic enough to be believable. And I also felt what we didn’t see, like the deaths of The Order members, gave a ring of realism to the events. In pitched conflict, you probably don’t see your friends fall, being too concerned with keeping yourself alive, as Harry was. It’s the aftermath, of finding them gone when the fighting’s finished, that stings the most. Magic-infused and fantastic as it was, the real raw emotion bled out in the description, and for that I must tip my cap to Madam Rowling.
The one weak point is the Hermione-Ron moment, where they finally declare their love for each other (about bloody time) after Ron expresses sympathy for House-Elves. Nice moment, should probably not have happened with the world falling down around them. Except Harry’s hurry up already commentary were priceless. Maybe I’d have done it that way just for the comedy.
The Deathly Hallows were an interesting addition that I think Rowling ran out of time to fully flesh-out. The Master of Death idea was intriguing, but in the end the whole thing kind of fell flat. Perhaps it didn’t need the full treatment of detail, not so much in the history but maybe in the functioning of the three pieces together, but if you name the book after them I feel like maybe you should delve in a bit more. I thought Harry would have to use all three in concert (In both the movie and the books) to beat the Dark Lord, but not really. Wasn’t my cup of tea. Sue me.
Some of the bits with the Hallows were neat-o, however. The idea that the Elder wand serves only the person who claimed it from the previous owner was a nice touch. Revealing Harry’s Cloak as special also helped answer some of issues with the idea of Invisibility Cloaks. He and his cohorts seemed to get away with a lot in that thing, and now I know why. The Resurrection stone…was blah. Convenient plot device for the ghosties to come visit Harry one last time. That’s not much of a resurrection. I could’ve done without it.
The angsty traipsing through the forests, the falling out, the falling back in, the brief conflict at the Malfoy Estate, and the death of Dobby (I loved that over-dressed elf) all moved very quickly and fluidly to the four big key moments we were all waiting for: The Snape Reveal, The Dumbleodre explanation, The Battle for Hogwarts, and the Volde-Mort. All four were well worth the build-up, the three meta-plot pieces in particular did not disappoint. Of course the one I enjoyed most was the Snape (Always…even I got a little misty for that one), but I found myself even more looking forward to the Dumbledore moments. His was a much fuller story in the books, and because I hadn’t seen it in the movies I didn’t know what was coming. The guilt over his sister, the Grindelwald angle, it all made me like him so much more as a literary figure, and dislike his portrayal in the movies.
And now…the Snape. I knew it was coming and still this gave me shivers. Throughout the entirety of the ~4000 page of prose that makes up the Harry Potter Heptalogy (Holy Greek Aliteration Batman!), the meta-plot arch and development of Severrus Snape’s character is her greatest lliterary triumph. As a big, big fan of licensed fiction (Star Wars, Warhammer, you name it) I’ve seen my share of character development through a long series, and I must say I’ve never seen it done better than Snape. And that includes Game of Thrones, to put it in a more contemporary light. To make a reader, especially one with prior knowledge (like me) thanks to the theatrical adaptation, still so invested in every twist and turn of the journey, the details left out and revealed later, or never revealed at all, was nothing short of masterful. He lapped Sirius for title of My favorite Character a few volumes ago (Sirius, incidentally, was whinier and bitchier in the books, and also less Gary Oldman, while Snape was 100% Alan Rickman) and must hold a special place in the hearts of every man, woman, and child that reads these books.
My overall reaction to the whole Harry Potter series is a positive one. While far from perfect, I’m glad I got over my youthful hard-headedness that made me think I was above these books. They’re good, fun little reads that ate up some serious time on metro rides to and from work. Even before I read them, when I was still very Anti-Potter, I had to admit these books had a real magic even a non-believer couldn’t deny. They had the magical gift of making people want to read like nothing I’ve ever seen. I was amazed at the enthralled masses desire to consume this book, filled with tawdry, somewhat childish prose (at least in the opening volumes) and I couldn’t imagine the appeal. I knew then I’d read better books, and I definitely have read better. But the real glory of what Rowling did, besides make herself a pile of money, is make people want to read that might not have ever picked up a book otherwise. That was the real magic in these books, not the Expelliarmus, or the Accio, or any charms Hermione could master. These books had people reading in droves, and as an aspiring author, I have to admire, and on some level thank JK Rowling for this glorious creation. Especially considering the current literary fads involve Vampires (the not-fun kind, with glitter and emotions) and BDSM. All in all, I’ll take Harry Potter any day.