FINALLY! I can’t believe it took me so long to finally finish this reread of Harry Potter, but I did it! And it was such a great conclusion to the series.
I will admit, I thought the first half of the book was pretty slow. I mean, it took more than 100 pages for Harry to finally leave the Dursleys, and then maybe another hundred pages for him to finally start hunting down Horcruxes. And let’s just say the people who joke that it should be called Harry Potter and the Great Camping Trip aren’t entirely wrong!
That said, it’s still Harry Potter. How could I not get swept up in Harry’s quest to finally defeat Voldemort?
This book was so heartbreaking. It started off pretty rough with Hedwig’s death—you’re not supposed to kill the animals! And then Dobby…I mentioned in my recap of Chamber of Secrets that I don’t love him as much as other people do, but he was such a hero in Deathly Hallows! And for him to die after saving Harry and everyone else…it was just too much.
Although now that I look back at it, I’m actually really surprised at how many people Rowling killed off. I can’t determine which is the most unforgivable, but I was so upset that George died. But Lupin and Tonks’ deaths were awful, too. And of course, Hedwig and Dobby. I appreciate that there were stakes for most of these characters even though I always kind of new the trio would make it out alive, but dang, she killed off so many favorites.
Anyways, backing up a bit. I was so irritated with Ron for ditching Harry and Hermione in the hunt for the horcruxes. I know a lot of people are fans of his, but I’m really just not. I’m definitely still bitter that Hermione ended up with him; I think she could have done so much better!
Also, I can’t believe this is the first time that Harry’s finally gone to Godric’s Hollow and seen his parents’ graves. It just seems like something he should have done much earlier, though I suppose it’s not like the Dursleys were going to take him, and I’m not sure exactly when he would have gone once he learned he was a wizard. But it still seems like something he should have done when he was younger.
On a completely separate note, I enjoyed Rowling’s attempt to introduce rules for magic in Deathly Hallows. I’ve been complaining about that during almost my entire reread. There’s a scene in the forest where Hermione is very specifically educating Ron about why she can’t just conjure up food, and I’m like, I was wondering where the world building was! It was definitely too little, too late and read very much like Rowling responding directly to similar criticism that I’m sure others have leveled before me, but it made me chuckle that it finally showed up.
Jumping again to a completely different point, word of advice: DO NOT read the Forbidden Forest scene in a public place! I got to that part on my subway ride home, and I had to put the book away so I wouldn’t start bawling on the subway. It’s so heartbreaking to see Harry talking to all the people he’s loved and lost and preparing to sacrifice himself for everyone else.
I think it was this scene and Harry’s talk with Dumbledore at King’s Cross Station that gave me a new appreciation for Harry, though. Olivia at Purely Olivia had a great post about why Harry is her favorite character in the series, and it really encapsulates a lot of what makes Harry so special. He’s a unique, brave, selfless person, and those scenes really illustrated that and showed what a long journey he’s been on to get to the point where he can defeat Voldemort. And it’s interesting that he so rarely is people’s favorite character. I myself have to admit that the Weasley twins hold that position, though Hermione is also up there.
I have to add that I have so much appreciation for how much planning and plotting Rowling did with this series. I’ve been loving seeing the different elements slowly start to come together, and those efforts reached a whole new level in Deathly Hallows.
Speaking of things coming together, I know a lot of people hate the epilogue, but I kind of like it. I like knowing what Harry was like as an adult and that he was able to marry Ginny and be happy with her (not thrilled about Ron and Hermione, though, sorry!). The kids’ names were a bit gratuitous, but what else do you expect? And I thought it was a sweet scene with Albus Severus (I’m sorry, but what awful names for a kid) and Harry telling him that he can choose his house.
I do wish, though, that Rowling had just left it at that. I’m debating writing a rant about The Cursed Child and all of the extra things she keeps dropping on Twitter and Pottermore. It’s great that she thinks Dumbledore is gay, but like, couldn’t she have written it into the books and actually made it canon? If it’s not in the books, it’s not part of the series! (And I want it to be, for the record.) I’m sure I’ll put my thoughts together in a post at some point, but probably not until after the new year.
Anyways, it wasn’t a perfect book by any means, but it was perfectly enjoyable. I can’t say I’m as obsessed with this series as I was when I was growing up (and frankly, I’m not entirely sure I understand the obsession that’s still surrounding Harry Potter all these years laters, but again, that’s another post for another day), but I did really enjoy this reread and I’m glad I undertook it. The next time I get around to a reread, I want to give the audiobooks a shot! Maybe I can listen to them as I follow along with the illustrated editions…