Jason's Reviews > Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
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's review
Oct 16, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: harry-potter, dead-tree-edition, for-kindle, reviewed, thrill-me-chill-me-fulfill-me

This is just a pithy review on the Harry Potter series as a whole. It is not an in-depth analysis of the work in general, nor is it a review on any one particular installment.

Harry Potter is a work of art. I got made fun of once¹ when I was out to dinner with some friends, because while we were discussing these books I made the mistake of referring to them as “literature.” I felt like I had to defend that assertion because, although the definition of literature is pretty broad, it seems like it should really only apply to works with some definable qualitative value or literary merit. In this case, my friends were wrong—Rowling explores themes and concepts in this series that I think are valuable to children and young adults who look to her characters for qualities they seek to emulate, and I believe her works will have lasting impact on this and future generations.

I’ve heard it said before that everything you need to know you’ve learned in kindergarten. Well, that might be somewhat of an oversimplification, but I do think children or young adults who grow into this series, seeing Harry and his friends mature as they themselves mature, can glean some pretty important life lessons from it. They are impressionable human beings who are learning about themselves and are starting to make the choices that reflect the kinds of people they want to be.

So what does Harry Potter teach them? Well, here is a bullet list of what it has taught me. And if you’re good, I’ll think about turning this into a PowerPoint presentation. Or maybe not.
• The quality of your character is not a reflection of where you come from or who your parents are; rather, it is a reflection of the choices you make, so make them wisely.

• The way you treat other people, especially those less fortunate than you, reveals your true colors more quickly and more completely than almost anything else you do.

• It is a good thing to have dreams and ambitions, but that alone is not enough. You cannot expect success without effort.

• It is far less important what your abilities are than what you actually do with them. Your abilities alone do not define you.

• Nobody likes to fail, but to refuse an attempt at success on the grounds that you’re afraid to fail is failure in itself.
Growing up is about figuring out who you are and coming to terms with your strengths and weaknesses, and it is about deciding how to utilize the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses in order to become a better person. It’s a lifelong struggle, but it starts early, and I think Harry Potter offers the tools to help achieve that. It can help young people find their way, and maybe that’s an oversimplification for a seven-volume series of novels, but that’s what I got out of it, and that’s why I will recommend this to my kids as they start to become ready for some life lessons of their own.

¹This is misleading; I’ve been made fun of countless, countless times.
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Comments (showing 1-48 of 48) (48 new)

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message 1: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim One interesting thing about the Harry Potter books: I find, several years after having read them all, that they all run together in my mind. The fact that all of them take place in more or less the same locale makes it diabolically different to separate one from the other after the fact.

message 2: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus My biggest life-lesson was to avoid people named Dolores. That Umbridge woman scared me witless, and Imelda Staunton still makes me flinch after seeing the movie.

Nataliya Great review!

message 4: by Steve (new)

Steve Your take-away points from the HP series are further justification for the rapid climb your name has taken on my list of potential life coaches. Good stuff, my friend.

Jason Ugh, Dolores and her evil pink cardigan—she is one of the worst villains ever! Thanks, guys. :)

message 6: by David (new)

David Jason, I'm sorry that you wrote this good review and this is the thing I end up responding to, but humor me:

How the heck did you do that superscript 1??

message 7: by David (last edited Jun 22, 2012 07:05AM) (new)

David Oh, and to respond to the beginning of your review itself:

I think that all written works—without regard to quality or 'merit'—are literature, in the same way the word 'art' isn't a qualitative judgment of the work in question. I hate when people look at abstract or highly conceptual art and ask, 'But is it art?' Or they make a snide comment that it doesn't deserve to belong under the same rubric as the great 'masters' of the Renaissance, and so on. I don't like when people use terms like art and literature as 'rewards' for creative products that they deem worthy. These are neutral terms. At work, for instance, we have 'marketing literature'—brochures and fliers, essentially—but this doesn't imply they should be included in a Norton anthology.

I understand that in the everyday, conversational sense, these words have taken on a qualitative (and even haughty) connotation, but I still don't like it, and this is why: When someone denies a book like Harry Potter the label 'literature' from the outset, he or she is already marginalizing it or demeaning it before any actual discussion of its merit has been embarked upon. This ends up begging the question, so to speak. Harry Potter has been discounted or dismissed in some way a priori before it has even been properly dealt with. (And ergo, since it has been initially denied the label 'literature,' there is the suggestion that it doesn't even deserve thoughtful criticism.) I think it's better to speak of 'good literature' and 'bad literature' than objecting as a premise that a book is deserving of the label itself. It is literature. And so is this post. And so is this review.

message 8: by Jason (last edited Jun 22, 2012 07:16AM) (new)

Jason I have learned all of these things, too! But from Jersey Shore¹.

¹This is not true. I've never learned anything.

message 9: by Jason (last edited Jun 22, 2012 07:00AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason Kowalski, that was awesome. I love every sentence of that last paragraph. Part of my reason for writing this review is that I wanted to, in part, explain why HP qualifies as literature, but you're right—it shouldn't require explanation. It should be about discussing whether or not something is good literature, not that it is literature in the first place.

Of course, you said it way better.

Jason Haha, the HTML. I looove HTML. It's this:


Jason What you should be most impressed with, though, is that I was able to type ¹ without it being rendered. Dig that??!

message 12: by David (new)

David Jason wrote: "What you should be most impressed with, though, is that I was able to type ¹ without it being rendered. Dig that??!"

You are the html master! Show me how!

message 13: by David (new)

David Jason wrote: "Kowalski, that was awesome. I love every sentence of that last paragraph. Part of my reason for writing this review is that I wanted to, in part, explain why HP qualifies as literature, but you're ..."

Thanks, Morais! The 'literature'/'art' issue is one of my pet peeves, so that's why I spouted off at length. I'm not usually this spouty. (Who am I kidding? Yes, I am.)

message 14: by Jason (last edited Jul 11, 2012 05:51AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason well the & symbol has its own HTML code, which is & so I just typed ¹ to render &sup1.

Which of course means that to type ¹ I actually had to type ¹ and so on... (this could literally go on forever).

It's similar to how I can tell people to use <spoiler> and </spoiler> tags without them actually rendering as such. The symbol < has its own HTML code, which is &lt;

Here's a whole list of super fun ones, including pretty hearts and stars and musical notes:

(view spoiler)

(I did not just type that out...I copied & pasted from a cheat sheet list I have). I actually use en-dash and em-dash a lot in my writing, but that is mostly because I have a Mac and those symbols are as easy to type out as áccênts and õther diäcritiçal marks.

message 15: by Jason (new)

Jason HTML god. *clap*

*clap clap*

*clap clap clap clap clap*

*thunderous applause, tears of admiration*

Jason Mike ♥ Laurie Anderson!

Jason David wrote: "...so that's why I spouted off at length..."

And this is why we're friends, Kowalski.

message 18: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Great review. This makes some great points, and I think you accurately defend that these books should be set apart from the standard fantasy/YA/etc books and more to a realm of literature. I quite enjoyed that, and now I have a lot to ponder.

message 19: by David (new)

David Thanks, Jason! I am going to go around impressing all the hot chicks with my html studliness now.

message 20: by Michelle (last edited Jun 22, 2012 08:28AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michelle So cool!¹

P.S. I liked your review, too, Jason.

message 21: by David (new)

David Michelle wrote: "So cool!¹

P.S. I liked your review, too, Jason."

You weren't supposed to see that, Michelle! You were one of the hot chicks I was intending to impress!

message 22: by Michelle (last edited Jun 22, 2012 08:37AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michelle Damn! Let's pretend I haven't seen it yet.

(But we'll always have trademark™, registered®, re-sizing photos, copyright ©, and typing empty space. You impressed me with all of those.)

Nataliya Jason, that HTML tutorial was really cool! ¹

¹ I am very impressed.²
² Thanks!

Jason No problem, Nataliya. It comes in handy!

Desiree Omg, I'm in geek heaven with that HTML tutorial.

I loved the review too :)

Elizabeth(The Book Whisperer) I love finding someone who loves Harry as much as much as I do. I have them in soft back, my kindle, audio tape, and a fancy hard back collection that has never been opened! (its just to stare at lovingly!) I have figures and kitchen magnets. harry makes me cry! I love your review, it was wonderful!

Kristen wow :-)

Cecily A great review, in part because it comes at the books from a fresh angle.

Ahmed Labib How do you rate the whole series out of 10?

BookWrm88 Well said! I will share with those who oppose Harry Potter although they will probably be too closed minded to listen.

Adi Narayan Mandalemula An excellent review.

message 32: by Mnkmak (new) - added it

Mnkmak Y'all haters out there better actually read the book before you just start commenting

Jason Mnkmak wrote: "Y'all haters out there better actually read the book before you just start commenting"


Michelle Maybe he meant to comment on your Stephen King review.

Jason Well at least that would have made more sense.

message 36: by Ally (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ally This review is amazing and couldn't be more true.

Jason Thanks, Ally.

Caitlin great review. I am thirteen and read the series when i was ten and still reread the books.

Kirsten Habegger I am a Literature major and have a professor who has a Doctorates in British Literature specializing in Renaissance era, and HE considers Harry Potter as a major modern literature piece, as do many of my other lit profs. I'm in a 500 level Shakespeare class and there has not been a day we haven't correlated themes in Shakespearean plays that are found within Harry Potter. Tell the people who make fun of you to shut up, Harry Potter is literature through and through

Andrea I agree to FULL EXTENT on what you're saying about Harry: that's the HIGHEST praise on a HP interview (I can quote from the book)

Jacqueline Thank you for writing this review!!! I frequently get made fun of for reading (all kinds of books) and almost stopped reading at school. I thought I was the only one!!!! Once again, thank you.

Jason Glad you liked it!

message 43: by Lynn (new) - added it

Lynn Bull Loved the HTML code...thank you Jason. You learn something new every day!

Hannah I have never met a man who loves the Harry Potter Series like you do. Will you marry me ?

message 45: by Anna (new)

Anna Hovey The books are all so amazing. Especially the last one. I was BAWLING at certain parts. Like when Harry was on his way to be killed by Voldemort. I was disappointed when I had seen the movie because they had changed a bit of the story. The book definitely makes more sense for me. I agree that the Harry Potter books are real literature. It's a truly amazing series. I've learned much from the books and I've had a real blast reading them. I reread them all the time because I love them so much actually.

Kalkedan Bezabih I completely agree with you! There is plenty of evidence in the book to support your conclusions. I agree with the first bullet point; Hermione was judged because her parents were "muggles" (or non-magical people). People called her a "mudblood," one of the most offensive terms someone can be called in the wizard world. People thought she would amount to nothing, but she ended up being the brightest witch of her age (or even generation), as so many people in the books say. Every bad assumption people made of her was proven wrong. She is a very skilled, brave, and loyal witch.
I agree with your second bullet point, because of how Draco Malfoy treated Ron and Hermione when he first met Harry. He looked down on them because Ron's family was poor and Hermione's parents were non-magical, and he showed no restraint in letting people know that. When he first offered his hand to Harry, he declined, because of how rude he was. This proves your point that "the way you treat other people, especially those less fortunate than you, reveals your true colors more quickly and more completely than almost anything else you do."
I also agree with your fourth bullet point. This is proven by Albus Dumbledore. When Dumbledore says that Voldemort possesses powers that he will never have, Professor McGonagall's response was: "Only because you're too... well... noble to use them." Dumbledore and Voldemort both posses great power, but the difference is that Dumbledore uses his power for good, while Voldemort uses his for evil. They both have great abilities, but as you said, that does not define them. Voldemort and Dumbledore are two completely different people. One is respected and admired, while the other is hated and feared.

Janaki I have been laughed for the same reason. But I totally agree with you. Harry Potter is one of the greatest literary works of the century.

Colin Foster The best of the best = the worst of the best. Harry Potter; Game changer...

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