Re-reading Harry Potter #7 The Deathly Hallows

So, it's Christmas tomorrow (!!!) and I've finally come to the end of my Harry Potter re-read. I'm a month off target but better late than never! And I'm glad I took the time to re-read the series. It's been a while and it was nice to properly immerse myself in Harry's world again. I'd forgotten just how rich and exciting the stories are, and how much I love the characters. Out of all the books, Deathly Hallows was possibly the biggest surprise of all. When I usually think of the final book it conjures up nostalgic memories of queuing at midnight, of my mum crying her eyes out reading Dobby's death aloud in a back bedroom on holiday in Ireland (we only brought one copy as a family and no-one wanted to wait to read it), it brings back anger over particular deaths (She could have at least given Lupin and Tonks a death scene!) and irritation over that cheesy epilogue and the odd heaven-ish chapter at King's Cross Station. But as a novel in itself, I think Deathly Hallows is one of my favourites. It's pretty much non-stop action from beginning to end, each chapter is like it's own little adventure, and there's enough crammed in that I can understand the need for two films - even if it seemed indulgent at the time. Deathly Hallows was a fitting end to the series, and even the epilogue was better this time around...I found myself comparing it favourably to Cursed Child - but that's for another post.

New thoughts this time:

Harry is so great. Like with Order of the Phoenix, I found myself much more on his side this time. The discovery of what a heartless user Dumbledore is - and how little he deigned to trust both Harry and Snape, never telling them enough of the truth to feel secure - felt like a huge betrayal to me, so I can see why Harry is so angry early on. Dumbledore left him so little to go on, and the thought that it was all for 'the greater good' and that things worked out ok in the end, doesn't make Dumbledore a better person. I just can't get over how cold he was.

"You have used me."
"I have spied for you, I have lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to keep Lily Potter's son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter -
"But this is touching, Severus. " said Dumbledore seriously. "Have you grown to care for the boy after all?"
"For him?" Shouted Snape. "Expecto Patronum!"
From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe: she landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
"After all this time?"
"Always." said Snape.

- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I love though, that with Dumbledore out of the way, this is the first book where Harry actually really embraces his authority and his status as 'the chosen one' or 'the boy who lived', whatever you want to call it. He seems like an equal with the adults now, he's acting as a leader, making important decisions, making discoveries for himself and surviving on more than his bravery and (to paraphrase Voldemort) a combination of luck and more talented friends. Basically, he's grown up. I always kind of thought that Harry should have been a teacher when he left Hogwarts, but in Deathly Hallows we get a glimpse of what Harry the auror might have looked like. Not that he doesn't have his idiotic moments - breaking the taboo and needlessly bringing the snatchers down on himself, Ron and Hermione is up there in the stupidity stakes with the time he decided six teenagers could take on Voldemort and the Death Eaters alone (Order of the Phoenix) or the time he used Sectusempra on Malfoy without first checking what it did (Half-Blood Prince.)

Re-reading this time, I also realised this book feels much more adult than the rest. The story of Dumbledore's childhood is pretty dark, the Ariana stuff especially (and having watched Fantastic Beasts, it made me wonder if she became an Obscurus - she was attacked for using magic and then refused to use it so that it turned inwards and burst out of her at odd moments where she couldn't control it?) The new Ministry order and the persecution of Mudbloods is very Nazi-esque. Then there's the Malfoy Manor scene and the sheer amount of deaths... it's acknowledged that the books get darker, but when you compare this book to the first one, there really is a big difference. The books really grew up with their audience.

Favourite forgotten moments:

I love how, after Harry, Ron and Hermione get Kreacher on side, he makes Grimauld Place all homely for them. It's so sad when they have to leave him behind. And I got a bit teary at a scene where Hagrid comforts Harry after Hedwig is killed - Harry doesn't want to show he's upset, because it seems trivial next to the death of Mad-eye, but Hagrid recognises his loss and acknowledges it, without making a fuss.

Favourite bits:

There's so many. I like the bit when they finally get the radio tuned to Potterwatch. I love the Gringotts break-in, Ron and Hermione's kiss, Mrs.Weasley killing Bellatrix, Percy's return, the moment Dudley says he doesn't think Harry is a waste of space, the return to Hogwarts and the lead up to the battle. There's sadder moments too, that I still think are great writing - when Harry gets angry at Lupin for abandoning his son, when they bury Dobby, when we discover Snape's secrets (although my Mum guessed Snape and Lily round about book four, so it came as less as a surprise to me!) although his death is much too sad. I wanted Snape to die heroically in a blaze of glory, not alone in the Shrieking Shack, believing that even in the best case scenario, Lily's son would have to die. (Dumbledore has a lot to answer for.) I also like the drama of the scene where Ron leaves, and I love the moment when he comes back.

Favourite Quotes:

Dudley gently released himself from his mother's clutches and walked towards Harry, who had to repress an urge to threaten him with magic. Then Dudley held out his large, pink hand.
"Blimey, Dudley" said Harry, over Aunt Petunia's renewed sobs, "did the dementors blow a different personality into you?"
"Dunno," muttered Dudley. "See you Harry."
"Yeah..." said Harry, taking Dudley's hand and shaking it. "Maybe. Take care, Big D."

Ron had had a fit of gallantry and insisted that Hermione sleep on the cushions from the sofa, so that her silhouette was raised above his. Her arm curved down to the floor, her fingers inches from Ron's. Harry wondered whether they had fallen asleep holding hands. The idea made him feel strangely lonely.

He knew that Hermione could have done it more neatly, and probably more quickly, but he had wanted to mark the spot as he had wanted to dig the grave. When Harry stood up again, the stone read: 'Here lies Dobby, A Free Elf.'

"I was a fool!" Percy roared, so loudly that Lupin nearly dropped his photograph. "I was an idiot,  I was a pompous prat, I was a - a-"
"Ministry-loving, family-disowning, power-hungry moron," said Fred.
Percy swallowed. "Yes, I was!"
Well you can't say fairer than that." said Fred, holding out his hand to Percy.

"I'll join you when Hell freezes over," said Neville. "Dumbledore's Army!" he shouted, and there was an answering cheer from the crowd, which Voldemort's silencing charms seemed unable to hold.

"Do not pity the dead Harry. Pity the living, and above all, those that live without love."

What's your favourite part of Deathly Hallows? Did you think it was a fitting end to the series?


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