David's Reviews > Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
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's review
Jul 06, 2011

really liked it
Read from June 20 to July 03, 2011

** spoiler alert ** Rowling hits the right emotional beats for a finale: the culmination of romantic relationships, the test of friendships, the revelation of series-long secret back stories, the requisite deaths of beloved characters, and of course the triumph and growth of our lightning-scarred hero. She also does a great job with nostalgic callbacks to places and moments we've enjoyed over the course of the series.

By staying out of Hogwarts for most of the book, Rowling gives herself more room to play with, and allows herself to get away from the formulaic school tropes that she structured for herself. Unfortunately, Harry and company also spend a whole lot of time fretting about where to go next that some of the beginning and middle sections of the book tend to drag.

Sprinkled here and there during Harry's final quest are moments of inventiveness (like the Underground Radio Station, I loved that) and excitement (the run-in with Snatchers), but it was the time we spent in Harry's angst-filled head that plagued Order of the Phoenix which really bogged down the first half of the book. There are times he annoyed me so much I groaned out loud at the book. Rowling also played the uncertain hero card for so long throughout the series, that it started becoming old hat by Year 7. It was no help to have an incredible can-do-little-wrong-knows-almost-everything friend in Hermione to contrast him with. I found myself wondering at times if Harry was really meant to be the hero of the book.

Finally, a hero emerges
But Harry pulls a complete 180 about 3 quarters of the way through the book. He finally grows some balls, takes an active role as savior, and moves with purpose as he begins his march to war. I only wished that he did this about a book and a half ago. I have to admit that - though it took much too long to happen - it was satisfying to see Harry fulfill his role as hero. He also showed a lot of selflessness in those final scenes, which is also a turnaround from some of the crap he was pulling earlier.

The Final Battle
The final battle was almost everything I had hoped for. There were big set scenes filled with giants, magical summons, and last minute escapes. There is sacrifice, there is heroism, and there are deaths that you think are coming but never do. But the one big problem that I had with the final battle is the problem I've had with all of the Harry Potter books: Rowling spends the end of all of her books with long exposition explaining the secrets of book's plot, and in this case some major backstories spanning the entire series. (view spoiler) That is a pretty lame plot device, if you ask me. She also does a mini explanation during the final showdown! It wouldn't be so bad, if that explanation wasn't so long and convoluted. And, yet, when it was all over, I was satisfied emotionally and felt it ended where it needed to end. I even enjoyed the little epilogue. Despite my gripes with the book, I felt a big rush completing the series and was glad that I stuck it through.

Below are some quick highs and lows (Very Spoilery): (view spoiler)

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