Thursday, December 16, 2010

Canon Book Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Today is the conclusion of the reviews of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter saga, with the review of the seventh book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The 768 page book was later the basis for two separate movies, one that was released a few weeks ago, while the second movie is to be released in July, 2011. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry, along with his friends Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger, decide to forgo their seventh year of Hogwarts in order to look for Horcruxes which contain parts of Lord Voldemort's soul and destroy them before Voldemort can finally succeed in his mission to kill Harry Potter and become the most powerful wizard on the planet. Meanwhile, Voldemort and his followers, the Death Eaters, seem to have the world by it's tail, leaving behind a trail of fear and despair as they take over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts itself. Along the way, Harry, Ron, and Hermoine learn of three sacred objects that together are called the Deathly Hallows. Eventually, Harry and Voldemort have their faceoff, and everybody dies except for Seamus Finnegan and Professor Sprout. Well, not really. A few thoughts about this book, and yes there are SPOILERS, so you have been warned.

- You know, for a book series that was originally meant for kids, a lot of characters die in this book. Even from the beginning, many characters that have become well known in the series are bumped off rather unceremoniously. Actually, the whole book takes a more mature turn, as in this book there are characters cursing and numerous kidnappings and all sorts of stuff like that. I didn't have a problem with this too much, especially when you consider that the readers who grew up with the series were more mature by the release of Deathly Hallows and could accept this change in tone, but still, it is somewhat jarring to see how this story evolved from its beginnings.

- Since Harry and his cohorts are away from Hogwarts for most of the year, and out on their own, the story narrows its focus dramatically. Also, since there are a lot of times where the three are just out in the woods waiting for their next move, there's a lot of down time in this book where nothing happens other than some bickering among the three of them or they take forever to argue about their next move before finally coming to a decision. One of the things I liked most about this series was the wide array of characters that would either be introduced or greatly evolve throughout the series, but in the Deathly Hallows, there are very few characters being introduced, and we really only learn more about Dumbledore and Snape. Oh, and I guess the goblins. Everybody else either makes a token appearance or two or changes for the worse (i.e. Lupin). Except for Neville, as he finally stepped out of Harry's shadow to become a key part of the story, even though his role was rather short.

- After reading the seven Harry Potter books, I must say that I'm not impressed with Ron Weasley's performance. Or Ron in general, to be honest. Actually, he wasn't so bad in the first three books, but starting with the Goblet of Fire, Ron just gets more and more annoying. In this book, Ron really turns it up a notch, as he spends a lot of the book pining over Hermoine to the point where he becomes a lovesick mess who lost whatever charm he had possessed throughout the series. What really ticked me off is when he decided to leave his two friends, the only people who had put up with his constant bursts of immaturity and insensitivity, to fend for themselves. One, it really seemed kind of forced, as someone with the perpetrated bravery of Ron wouldn't just cut and run like that, and two, I understand that he was under some sort of negative force due to the locket, which of course raises the issue of why the three decided it would be a good idea to wear a cursed object like that around their necks in the first place. I guess at the end of the day I just have a hard time finding what it is Ron brings to the table. He's not particularly smart and tends to turn his back on his friends without warning. Harry's the chosen one, Hermoine supplies the ideas and logic, so what does Ron do, keep the drinks on ice?

- It was once observed by Professor Snape that "[Harry Potter] has fought his way out of a number of tight corners by a simple combination of sheer luck and more talented friends." Well, after the events of the Deathly Hallows, it's kind of hard to disagree with Snape about Potter's remarkable luck. Heck, he escapes time and time again from certain doom through an improbable series of events, and is only able to complete his task of destroying Horcruxes with the assistance of Neville and others. Then again, this is not anything new, as Harry once pulled a giant sword out of a hat and also was able to go back in time to save, well, himself. But in those other books, at least Harry had to show off some semblance of skill to accomplish his goal. In the Deathly Hallows, it seems like Harry became way too reliant on luck and other people's mistakes more than any skills he possessed, or maybe it's just me.

- Voldemort may be an all-powerful wizard and all, but he needs a new team of accomplices, as the Death Eaters usually suck. Even when they accomplish something, they usually screw things up so badly that things are worse than they were before. Yes, Bellatrix may be some sort of dark arts genius and the rest of the Death Eaters are fearful in their own way, but they seem to be so interested in serving Voldemort that all logic escapes their brains, so they do stupid things like leaving a bunch of wizards unattended in a prison cell. Actually, Voldemort seems to have a few brain farts himself throughout the book, as his arrogance seems to work against him in many ways throughout the series. I wonder if Voldemort is really that good, or the rest of the wizardy world (the ministry, Dumbledore, etc.) is really just not very good at their tasks.

Overall, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows had a few problems. There were a few plotholes, some things went unacknowledged or under acknowledged, and there's a lot of time in this book where nothing happens. However, as a whole. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows isn't too bad of a book, although not quite up to the level of the first four books. Overall, I'd give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a 6.43 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any comments about this or previous posts, or ideas for future reviews or posts, than share them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

1 comment:

  1. I love Snape. From beginning to end, he was and always will be my favorite. YAY!