Home > Literature, Reviews > Review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling

Review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling

So that’s over and done with, then.

Harry, Ron and Hermione go on the run, trying to find and destroy the artefacts that give Voldemort his immortality. This is the last book in the series so there shouldn’t be any prizes for guessing that they succeed. The real questions that this book can answer are: Is their success total or in some way ambiguous? and What losses do they suffer along the way?

I enjoyed most of the novel, but towards the end – right where things should really be getting exciting – my enjoyment began to wane. I have two (or more) potential explanations for this. One is that I was trying too hard to finish the book; if I’d left Harry’s final (two) confrontation(s) with Lord Vol-au-vent till the following day my pleasure circuitry might have been better up to the job. The other is that maybe the journey is always going to be more interesting than the destination.

Perhaps a further explanation is that The Deathly Hallows contains all the same ingredients as the preceeding books: a falling out of the three protagonists, Harry becoming disillusioned with Dumbledore – and the disappearance of this disillusionment when Dumbledore explains everything that’s happened (the headmaster’s death doesn’t get in the way of this part of the formula) – and a slightly tedious middle section as the school year passes (even though Harry and co don’t attend Hogwarts this time).

Yet another possible fly in the butter is that my theory about Sirius’s non-death didn’t pan out. He does show up briefly, but he’s defintely dead. I Wendy, I Wanda, I wonder whether J K Rowling was deliberately confounding (or should that be ‘Confunding’?) expectations by ignoring the convention tha, in fiction, if there is no body, then there is no death (I think Iain M Banks did a similar thing with Uncle Rory in The Crow Road).

In the end, I’m not entirely sure what to think of this concluding voume. There are a couple of things that confused me – like how they got hold of Gryffindor’s Sword a second time and just how Lord Baltimore was vanquished if he and Harry both make the other invincible – although I may have missed things in my rush to finish the book. The denouement is also rather too pat; I tend to prefer the more ambiguous ‘dramatic’ ending. Having said that, there is the merest hint of a suggestion that the big V may come back (although I may be inferring where no implication was intended).

Maybe I’ll enjoy it more on a second reading – by which time I’ll hopefully have acquired British versions of the books (so I don’t have to put up with capital letters following colons and the occasional Americanism).

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Categories: Literature, Reviews
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