Eleanor's Reviews > Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
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Jul 30, 07

Recommended for: those who like epics, fantasy, magic, school
Read in July, 2007

(shamelessly cross-posted from my livejournal entry) Spoilers below!

I remember picking up Harry Potter around the time that book 3 had come out. There had been buzz about the books in the post with a picture of JK standing by railroad tracks and some inside joke about "muggles." I probably wouldn't have read them had I not babysat for my nextdoor neighbor's kids who were 7 and 10 at the time, and asked me to read it to them as a bedtime story. What is so compelling about these children's books? The well-woven archetypes, the mystery, the imaginative combination of fantasy and fancy? As another blogger put it, the books are overflowing with story. Never once are they a method for JK to assuage her vanity as a writer, because the writing itself isn't deep, their success is a result of Rowling being an increadibly steady storyteller whose approach has more than a few similarities to classic storytelling. Her main three characters account for the three things Aristotle named as the only necessary ingredients in successful rhetoric - Ethos (Harry) Pathos (Ron) and Logos (Hermione). She extends this to all aspects of the Harry Potter world, to houses in Hogwarts, their respective teachers, as well as borrowing latin for names of spells and words from other languages as names for characters-- Malfoy (quoting wikipedia) is derived from Old French "mal foi" or "mal foy," which means "bad faith" or "bad trust". The Old French mal foy itself is derived from Latin mala fide, which as a judicial term means intentional mischief, ill will or evil intentions.(/quoting wikipedia) Grimmauld place is also a pun on "grim old place." As far as the pacing, it takes into realistic account the rest and hunger the characters go through with no detail spared as to when and what the characters eat. For some reason this makes a story more effective to me, call me weird, I like reading about people eating. Though while I read the Odyssey this made me put the book down more than a few times because it made me hungry. Anyhow, the constant thread through these books was the final showdown that had to happen between Harry and Voldemort, though I think I would have read them anyway for her generously detailed fantastic world...

I was surprised Harry didn't die. I really thought it was going to happen and was a little disappointed with the end, mostly because the meeting with Dumbledore in the train station purgatory was a bit much of a deus ex machina for me. I know she had to vindicate Dumbledore and I thought that was fine but something about it was too clean and easy without her usual foreshadowing. I knew Snape would be vindicated in the end! I loved how she rounded out his story, all that was perfect. I was a huge fan of the way in which Rowling discredited the phrase "for the greater good" probably much to the confusion of most of her younger readers. Was a little taken aback at the vague comparison of that to the holocaust, how she wrote something like "for the greater good" was on the gates of a place where Grindewald killed people but it drove the point home. The Elder Wand ownership thing was...it was like she painted herself into a corner and had to get it resolved before she could finish the book, made the final duel a bit too, er, complex. But my favorite moment in all of these books came at the end of chapter 35 right before Harry regains consciousness for the final battle. It was the most elegant way to finish out this series that has made millions of children into avid readers:

"Tell me one last thing," said Harry. "Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?"
Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry's ears even though the bright mist was descending again obscuring his figure.
"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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jacky I at first thought the ownership of the Elder's Wand was a little complex, too. But I realized I was caught up in the action and was taking it to literally. I even had paused reading and went back to see if Draco had taken D's wand. But, once I thought about it, I realized that it was really about the wand choosing the wizard, which Voldermort never respected and thus had overlooked. I don't think she had painted herself in a corner with that, but rather that she built up that idea through this book, which had been mentioned early in book 1, as well as having built up our knowledge of Voldermort's other misunderstandings of magic.

Eleanor no perhaps she didn't paint her self into a corner per se but it made the battle scene with voldemort a bit more of a scooby doo ending than a riveting action sequence but hey, it's a children's book.

message 3: by Erica (last edited Aug 04, 2007 06:50AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erica Yes, that moment when Dumbledore talks about things being in his head really affected me more than any other part of the story.

Donna I liked your comment about Ethos, Pathos, Logos and the cute stuff about the details like eating. JK Rowling was great on the details, reminding me of James Fenimore Cooper. Maybe the books were long, but we read them. We could spend more time with our FRIENDS-yes, they felt like our friends--- Harry Ron and Hermione and be right there in full detail without a video...awesome. And what's more the way she tied up so many details in the end was very thoughtful of the readers and their hopes. I am appalled at the number of currently popular authors who write in one dependable style for years and then "change personalities" and jerk the rug out from under the reader. I invested a lot of time in these people and I was cheering for their success. I would have hated any other ending.

=)As Professor Dumbledore said to Harry in the first book, "It is our choices, Harry that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

message 5: by CJ (last edited Dec 15, 2010 07:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

CJ I don't know about Dumbledore. The first time I read this series, I would have agreed with you - I did not like Dumbledore very much at all close to the ending. But after reading the first four 7+ times and finally managing to finish the last book, I like that Dumbledore is not infallible...Kids will see that it's not all black and white, good against evil. There are plenty of grey areas in life - James had his share of arrogance, Snape was actually able to care for someone, Dumbledore made his mistakes, Malfoy wasn't so horrible as to actually go through with murdering someone...it lets us down as readers somewhat, as no one really likes to acknowledge that people are flawed, or that someone they hate doesn't necessarily make them evil. What did bug me a bit however, is that Dumbledore had a bit too much of a hand in orchestrating everything. He can't be that all-knowing!

Susan I think that review raps my feelings of the book nicely, it shows the good bad and the confusing

message 7: by None (new)

None Of Guys listen theres something wrong with Eleanor's eye. I think we should urge her to see an eye docter and guys please no jokes.

Sosen I thought the ending was pretty freakin' terrible. Scooby-Doo ending is a good way to describe it.

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