Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (#7)
NO!!! I don’t want this series to be over…AGAIN!!! One would think that since I’ve already read the series, watched the movies, and participated in Pottermore that I wouldn’t be reeling from emotions (again) that the books are over. But no…apparently not, apparently…I am still in huge denial that the book series is over and I need to wait to read it again. Whew…all of my feelings!!!
So – controversially, I didn’t like the ending of this book when I read it the first time around. I was part of the very small camp that felt that Harry AND Voldemort both should’ve died. I also could not stand the Epilogue the first time around. I am not always a huge fan of “such and such amount of years later” epilogues, as I think they can come off super cheesy and a bit cliche. However, this second time around, I was completely captivated the whole way through! I think it’s because I could pick up on some of the nuances that I missed out on the first time around, helping me to understand how the story ended the way it did. This book (the whole series really) is definitely one that you need to read multiple times to catch all the little details. Now, about to get into major spoilers and another warning, this is going to be a wee bit longer than normal 🙂
First, I want to start by sharing that both parts of the seventh Harry Potter movie were definitely my favorite of the film adaptations. I thought they followed the source material the closest and it complimented the book very well. These movies definitely know how to bring the feelings out of you, and I think did a great job bringing to life some of the details of the book that were harder to glean when reading. There were also moments in the movies that weren’t in the books, which I thought were great additions!
In line with books #5 & #6, this book followed pace with the dark ambience. J.K. Rowling does a great job creating a dark and somber mood, with hints of light and hope. The first time that I read this, I didn’t feel as many feelings as I felt this time around and I think that was from the sheer anticipation of how it was all going to end. This time, I could just read and feel all of the feelings that this book made me feel. And believe me, I felt plenty of feelings…just bucket loads of them, over and over again. This book is dark, beautiful, and so hopeful all at the same time which makes J.K. Rowling just the queen of all authors.
To me, this book was really split into 4 main parts: A) the beginning with the escape to the Burrow and the wedding, B) the journey to find the Horcruxes, C) the final war on Hogwarts and duel between Harry and Voldemort, and D) the ending. To make sure this blog post isn’t the longest thing that I write, I’m going to write some of my favorite highlights from each section and what changed for me from the first time I read this to now.
What better place to start, than the beginning, right? To me, the beginning really was two parts:
1. The escape to the Burrow with the deployment of the 7 Potters versus the Death Eaters. I will say, this was one of the biggest contrasts between book and movie. The movie version of this scene did not feel nearly as urgent and life-threatening as it did in the book. This was the perfect way to set the dark and scary ambience of the rest of the book.
2. Now the exact contrast, the other part of the beginning: the wedding of Bill and Fleur. The other reason why I love J.K. Rowling – while she can create a dark sense of urgency, she also knows how to create hope. This wedding does just that, it signifies hope amidst the fear of the war.
The second main part of this book; the trios’ journey to find the Horcruxes in order to destroy them. When I first read this portion of the book, I remember feeling so bored and underwhelmed. It’s silly, I know…but, I believe it was because I was highly anticipating something to happen and when that something didn’t happen, I felt weirdly let down. Again, I know it’s silly…because in my re-read, I absolutely loved this portion of the book. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time, by breaking people apart in order to build them up to be even stronger. The bonds between the trio were tested and pushed to the edge, before the bonds were strengthened before everyone moved into the war. This was absolutely necessary to make Harry ready for his final duel with Voldemort – definite foreshadowing for the end. My favorite part of this journey was when Harry and Hermione ventured to Godric’s Hollow. Oh goodness, the feels…I sobbed when I re-read this section. It was the reminder of where Harry came from, of what Harry has lost, and what Harry could still gain. Plus, Nagini inhabiting Bathilda and then attacking Harry and Hermione was chilling, creepy, and altogether masterfully written.
We start to move into the war on Hogwarts and the final duel between Harry and Voldemort. This was my biggest shift from my first read to this re-read, but I’ll get into that in a moment. Now, Harry getting back to Hogwarts was a bittersweet read for me, as I was happy that he was working to reclaim the only place he has called home but he was also potentially heading to his death. This whole scene was my favorite part of the movie, with the incredible score and how it was shot. The movie helped to amplify the feelings that I got while reading the book, which felt a bit rushed as we were following Harry to find the Horcrux that was inside Hogwarts. The most heartbreaking part of the way on Hogwarts, obviously, was Snapes’ death and Harrys’ final look in the Pensieve. Oh…my feelings!! It was a definite ugly cry when I read through Snapes’ death, though I was glad that the movie gave this scene the worthy tribute that it deserved.
Then, the final duel between Harry and Voldemort… This is where the controversial piece comes in for me between my first read and this re-read. I remember when I first read this, it broke my heart to watch Harry head to Voldemort acknowledging that he would be dying. When he walked into his final duel with the ghosts of his dearly loved ones, I remember crying the ugliest of cries, which I did again in this re-read…by the way. Anyways, when Harry died it broke my heart, but I understood it. Or at least, I thought I did…I must now admit, that I was part of the very small camp that Harry should have died in this final book, along with Voldemort. I didn’t fully understand the sacrifice of what Harry did when he met Voldemort in the woods and how that ultimately broke the bond between Harry and Voldemort. I also didn’t fully understand the bond of protection that Harrys’ sacrifice gave to everyone else, which made Harrys’ final show down with Voldemort that much more meaningful. My feels!!!
Lastly, the ending…or should I say, endings? The first ending just gave me all of the feelings!! I loved the books’ ending more than the movies’ ending. I found the ending in Dumbledores’ office to be the perfect closing of the loop that was the entirety of this series. To be able to talk to Dumbledore again was heartbreaking and validating of everything that Harry had to go through to get to this end. And of course, when Harry was able to use the Elder Wand to mend his original wand was the most perfect ending to this story. Moving onto the Epilogue…this is where my other controversial feelings came into play. The first time that I read the Epilogue, I definitely hated it. I found it cliche and I thought it took away from the absolutely perfect ending that was the scene in Dumbledores’ office. Now re-reading this, the Epilogue made me cry even harder knowing that everything came to a happy close for Harry despite how difficult his life had been and the sacrifices that he had to make. I loved it!! Loved it!!
Whew! Got to the ending of this post…sorry that it was more rambly and probably not the most put together blog post. But, this book has me feeling everything, which I was shocked by. Having read this series through already, I had no idea that re-reading it in its entirety would make me feel this way again. What that does, though, is assure me of just how much this series means to me and how I will cherish this series for many years to come.
What did you all think of this final installment the first go-around? Any changes in that in your re-read? 🙂