Book Review: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows
It's been a week since the seventh Harry Potter book came out, so I figure most people who are really interested (other than ninme, who's waiting for the Brit version with her "favourite" ways of spelling words) have finished the book by now. All five people here in my house finished it by yesterday, but for those who haven't finished yet, you shouldn't click on the "Read more" link below if you don't want to see spoilers.
Warning! Spoilers Below!
For those who aren't planning on reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but still want to be able to join in the water cooler discussions, there's a good synopsis at this Wikipedia article.
The Potter books have been a touchstone for my family for the last 8 years; my children grew up with them (we discovered them right after the 3rd book came out) and it gave the whole family something to talk about. For that reason, and because the books are entertaining even for adults, I've been following them quite closely, and got quite attached to the mythical world that J. K. Rowling created. In this last book, Rowling wrapped up the series in an eminently satisfying way that makes the hours spent reading the books all worthwhile.
As I've said all along, it was clear that Snape was "good" throughout it all -- Dumbledore just couldn't have been wrong about something so important. While I had stated that Neville had to be the one to get rid of Bellatrix LaStrange, Rowling ended up giving Neville the equally important role of destroying the last Horcrux -- and having Mrs. Weasley do the deed was just as satisfying. The best part about the conclusion is that Harry finally beats Voldemort not by luck, but because he actually comes to understand something that the Dark Lord doesn't, and uses it to his advantage. For those who "grew up" with Harry, it's fitting to see him finally take some responsibility for his fate at the end.
My youngest didn't like the epilogue at all, and I can see where he's coming from -- it ties things up way too neatly (even given the understanding that it is a children's book). The worst part is the names of Harry's kids -- didn't Ginny get any say in what their names were going to be? (I'm hoping that name of the oldest kid at least honored Uncle Fred in his middle name.) For those who want more information about what happened to the characters after Voldemort died, Rowling gave out some information in a recent interview, including the fact that both Harry and Ron became Aurors.
So what happens next for fans of Harry Potter? Well, there are still two more movies to see, and Rowling is talking about putting out an encyclopedia of Potter information. I could also see her writing a "Hogwarts Year 8" book (with proceeds going to charity) -- giving the main characters a chance to actually go through their last year of school.
Overall, this last book is clearly the best book of the entire series -- I'm glad I stuck with the story all the way to the end.