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Monday, July 11, 2011

Muggle Monday (14): Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

It's time for Muggle Monday, in which I post a quote, a video, or a significant piece of news from the Harry Potter franchise. This is somewhat inspired by the Mundane Monday posts by The Mundie Moms.

But let's be real as to why I made up this meme: I just want the opportunity to post something about Harry Potter.

This week, I'm posted my completely unbiased review of the final book in the Harry Potter Series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling.

WARNING: I usually try my best to avoid spoilers in my reviews however, for this review, I made no such attempt. You should not read this review unless you've read every book in the Harry Potter Series (and if you haven't, then why the heck not?)!

Publisher: Raincoast Books
Published: July 21, 2007
Pages: 607
Source: Bought
Rating: 7 STARS

Harry is waiting in Privet Drive. The Order of the Phoenix is coming to escort him safely away without Voldemort and his supporters knowing if they can. But what will Harry do then? How can he fulfil the momentous and seemingly impossible task that Professor Dumbledore has left him with. In this final, seventh installment of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling unveils in spectactular fashion the answers to the many questions that have been so eagerly awaited. The spellbinding, richly woven narrative, which plunges, twists and turns at a breathtaking pace, confirms the author as a mistress of storytelling, whose books will be read, reread and read again.

I've been staring at the keyboard, wondering what to type for this review, for a very long time now. You see, even though I am a self-confessed Harry Potter Addict and built my blog around that theme, I never actually planned to write reviews of the Harry Potter books themselves. I never thought it was doable and I'm still not sure if I can complete this review. How do I review a book series that has meant the world to me? I simply can't. I could not possibly be able to put into words, put into even the most gushing praise, how I feel about this series and about this final installment. I can't do the books justice. But I will give it a go, I think.

As any self-respecting Potter Super Fan, I lined up to buy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at one minute past midnight on July 21, 2007 and proceeded to devour it as soon as I received it. This is one heavy action book. It both starts and ends with intense and epic action sequences, perfectly put together by J.K. Rowling to induce heart-pumping fear for the lives of our favourite characters. Jo had previously stated that book seven was going to be a bloodbath and thus, I spent the entirety of the book more tense and prone to random bursts of crying than I've ever been when reading a book. My copy of this book still has stains from my tears from when Hedwig, Dobby, and Snape died. Though at no time was I more of a sobbing mess than when Harry is walking to his death in the most horribly and beautifully poignant scene in the series.

There were no really big surprises in this book for me. Again, like any self-respecting Potter Super Fan, there wasn't a day that passed from 2005 (when Half-Blood Prince was released) to 2007 when I wasn't pondering about what was going to go down in the final book. I correctly predicted that R.A.B. was Sirius' brother, that Slytherin's locket was the same one they found when cleaning Grimmauld Place in Order of the Phoenix, that Snape was ultimately Dumbledore's man and the two of them had planned Dumbledore's death together, that Snape was in love with Harry's mother, that Harry was a Horcrux that would need to be destroyed, and that ultimately, Harry would make it through the battle to marry Ginny, and Ron would marry Hermione.

But I admit I was taken by surprise by the reveal of Dumbledore's past. Of course I should have known better. J.K. Rowling excels at writing complex characters that do not fall under the too easy "good guy" and "bad guy" categories. I had been fooled once before into thinking James Potter was an all around good guy only to have been rudely awakened to the reality in Order of the Phoenix, so I feel dim that it didn't once occur to me that Dumbledore could be anything but the complete anti-Voldemort. But if anything, the realization that he is susceptible to the draw of power, and therefore not perfect, makes me love the character oh-so-much-more. With the inclusion of his flaws, he ironically becomes the perfect character in my view.

There are some amazing character moments in this final installment. Not only do we get to see the return of many characters that we hadn't seen for awhile, but our most beloved characters of the series receive shining moments to showcase their audacity and nerve one last time, one last hurrah, for the last book. Neville really comes into his own, becomes a badass, really, and leads the cause against the Death Eaters that have taken over Hogwarts. We see for the first time a man who could have been The Chosen One, as he truly might have been had Voldemort chose him as his equal instead of Harry. Molly Weasley also has one of the most brilliant showcases of badassery in her showdown with Bellatrix Lestrange. "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!" will forever be one of my favourite lines of the series.

Jeez, I just looked up and realized how long-winded this review is. Sorry guys. I guess that's why it's good to plan out what you want to talk about in a review first before just writing willy-nilly all of your thoughts. I think I'll stop here even though I could probably go on for several more paragraphs. If you're interested, I wrote a guest post for The Book Addicted Girl talking about my Top 10 favourite moments from the second half of Deathly Hallows.

I guess I'll just say that in summary, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling is the perfect ending to the perfect series. But I think you all probably could have guessed that I would say as much.


  1. Writing reviews for my very favorite books is always the hardest, I always find it just impossible to do them justice:) I think you did a beautiful job with your review Aylee, your love for HP shines through and makes me want to read the whole series again:)

  2. Remember those "Snape is good" or "Snape is evil" stickers that came with the preorder of Deathly Hallows? I totally picked "Snape is good". Yay for predicting correctly!
    Fabulous review, Aylee. Like Jenny said, it's hard to write a review for a book you loved THIS much, but you pulled it off effortlessly! :)

  3. I was so like you! I made my dad drive me to the bookstore to buy it - though he didn't think there will be many people at all, so he waited till, like 11:30 to take me there, but of course there were already over 200 people there and we had to stand in line until 3 AM!

    Such a great experience!!
    I loved that we finally got why Harry's eyes were important (remember that was a running thing, one of the things we were going to find out?)

    I applaud you, I don't think I could ever review these books.

  4. Aw, thanks guys. This is far from my best review ever but I'm happy that I was at least able to write something because it is probably the toughest review I've had to write so far.

    Alex: I loved The Prince's Tale chapter so, so much. Like I said, it wasn't anything that I didn't already suspect (I correctly predicted what was so special about Harry's eyes) but it was just so... for lack of a better word, eye-opening to read about Snape's past. Just fascinating.

  5. Eeeek, this week is going to be an emotional wreck for me...your review alone already made me tear up, haha. I am so unprepared for what's to come!

  6. I am pretty sure I'm going to be sobbing throughout the entire movie, yes. So sad. Still, it's not like I'll ever forget about the books. And I'm almost positive I will never replace them with a new favourite. But there are other great books to follow and enjoy and I think I'm ready to move on.

  7. 7 stars! Awesome. I don't even know how you wrote this (and it's great!) I can't even come up with words to describe the epicness that is the Harry Potter series, it's like beyond words. I can't believe it's coming to a close D:

  8. I really don't mind spoilers, in fact, back in my Buffy craze days, I used to search for them. Yummy!

    Would it have been cool if you had constructed your blog around the "Not my daughter, you bitch" line? It could have been, Not my book, you bitch!

    Am I dorkasaurs or what?!

    But alas, the convo in your header is great, too!

    Love the 7 star rating. ;)

  9. The 7 Star rating: I just needed some way to indicate that I love this series so much more than any other book that I've ever read, even ones that receive 5 Stars. As if you guys couldn't figure that out already.

    "Not my book, you bitch!" LOL X) Actually, my original idea was to have a rotating banner in which different conversations would show up each time you refreshed my blog. But then I became too lazy. I still might get around to it someday.

    I just don't understand people who actively seek out spoilers. I abhor them!

  10. This is such a great review, Aylee. Your love for the series really shines through. You're making me want to re-read this!

    PS - I love your nine star rating for this one. :)

  11. I mean 7 star. I can count, really, I promise.

  12. Nine stars? Hmm, possibly actually. I'm just trying to compare my obsessive love for this series compared to books that I just regularly love :)

  13. I applaude you. I've shied away from writing reviews on these books because I KNOW I could never coherently put into words how amazing they are. But this review is so beautifully written and truly gives this incredible book justice! Well done!!!

    I too guessed R.A.B and Snape/Dumbledore somehow planning the death before the book came out, but it never crossed my mind that Snape was in love with Lily. I'd heard mentions of it in fandom and knew there was Snape/Lily fanfiction, but I scoffed it off. Stupid girl!

    Deathly Hallows was my favourite in the series. It's just so full of EPIC moments. It tore my heart in so many different directions and still does every single time I reread. I'm going to see the movie in less than 24 hours and I am SO freaking EXCITED!!!!! *squeals*

  14. There is actually a reason I've never written a review past the first HP, and it's because I don't think I could adequately state my true love and adoration of the series in mere words. I'd forget something. That said, you did a phenomenal job, Aylee...fantastic review :)

  15. Brodie: Snape/Lily was pretty common in fanfiction but I guess what truly convinced me was Snape's Worst Memory in Order of the Phoenix. You are so right about the epic moments; it was just one right after the other. And gah! I'm so jealous that you get to see the movie so soon. I forgot that Australia, NZ, and the UK all get the movie earlier than Canada and the US.

    Melissa: Not only did I forget things in my review, I'm sure, but I also just chose to stop writing right there or else I could have go on and on... Thanks :)

  16. I always figured Snape was a good guy, but I don't remember whether I speculated exactly why. I still sob every time I read the walking through the forest. It's the only part of the book that I really cry over. Well, maybe not quite. I also cried at the Harry/Dumbledore scene and when Harry told Albus that he was named after the two bravest men he knew.

  17. That was so sweet when Harry told his son that. I'm pretty worried about the nineteen years later scene in the movie. I hope they do it justice.

  18. 7 stars! *grins* I would have to give it the same, if I had the guts to review this book. It's very difficult for me to review books which mean a lot to me, as well. I just finished rereading this book, too, and it was pretty emotional this time around, I guess just because of the end of the movies looming so near.

    Hope you have a blast seeing Part 2, by the way!

  19. First off, you deserve applause for actually reviewing the 7th book in the series with such grace.


    Secondly, it's my favorite book of the series and you did it justice. :)

  20. Kat: It was very emotional rereading the book this time around in a different way than it's ever been (because I get always get emotional when reading this book), I agree. I just don't want it to end. It's been a significant part of my childhood and teenagerhood.

    BookGeek: Thanks so much :)

  21. This really was the perfect ending to a perfect series. I hope Rowling gets back to writing more amazing books. I'm looking forward to the Deathly Hallows Part 2 :)

  22. She has been writing a few new projects. I will forever be a lifelong fan of course. I would read a dictionary if she wrote one.

  23. I always struggle with writing reviews for books I loved. I couldn't even fathom the idea of tackling a review for any HP books, but especially this one. Points to you for not only writing a review, but writing a beautiful review. This book was such a perfect conclusion. You're making me all misty-eyed! :)

  24. Aw, thank you so, so much. That means a lot to me!