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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

I'm not one of those folks that waited in line at night for the last 5 books to come out. I'm also not one of those that started out in the beginning, or latched on to the popularity as the movies came flying onto the big screen. Ironically enough, it wasn't the story that drove me to Harry Potter originally, nor anything to do with Pottermania or the first film. It all started at Barnes & Noble, many years ago now. The first Harry Potter movie was coming out in theaters and my sister was a fanatic. I wasn't much into the books, and didn't really care. In fact, I think I was rather adamant about how 'stupid and ridiculous' they were. Then I saw something in B&N: the soundtrack to HP composed by none other than John Williams. I about took a dive at the counter because, well, I love John Williams. He is, by far, one of the greatest modern composers of our day, and possibly of all time. So I bought the soundtrack, on impulse, knowing full well that it was going to be completely amazing, as all his work is. And, it was, as I had hoped. In fact, it was better than completely amazing. His compositions were spawning a new foundation of greatness for Williams. I thought to myself, I have to see this stuff in action. I went with my Sister, Aunt, and Grandpa--who had actually been reading the books before Pottermania even started. And I was stunned! It was an amazing film and story!
Then started my ascent into greatness. I picked up the book soon after and I was hooked. I read the first three one after another and waited anxiously for my sister to finish off the fourth. I read that and then the fifth and sixth as they came out. I saw all the movies too and became one of those that said, "They're alright, but not as good as the book", which is entirely true. Then I pre-ordered the seventh, anticipating desperately to read it, praying and hoping that it would be a great end to a great series.
And, it is!
To say that J. K. Rowling has managed to captivate the minds of children almost everywhere would be like saying the Bible has influenced people. She has managed to pull together this fantastic final volume to the HP sequence with flare and amazing tenacity.
The story takes off some short time after book six, towards the end of the summer before what would be Harry's seventh year at Hogwarts. But he, Ron, and Hermoine are not going back, as we already know. However, things are heating up. Voldemort and asserting his power, using the Imperius Curse and various other manipulations to control people within the Ministry. His army of Death Eaters is growing by the day and Harry must get to safety before the Fidelius Charm on his house fails and Voldemort can attack him.
Then, it's to the plan: hunting down the remaining Horcruxes, wherever they may be.
I'm not willing to spoil this novel for those that have not read it, because that would be rude and mean. But that's the basic plan. Voldemort is taking over; Harry has a mission.
The story starts off quick, diving right into the action, giving you a perfect view of things going on. We meet again with familiar faces, and then there is death.
Rowling is really pulling your heartstrings here. Granted, it's not like Dumbledore being killed, which literally tore my heart in two and nearly left me in sobbing fits, but she is doing her best to show you just how dark and horrible Harry's world is becoming. Of course, we all know how evil Voldemort is, having read the earlier books. Right? If you haven't read them, do so, or else I might be forced to use the Cruciatus Curse on you. CRUCIO!
Now, this novel is huge, clocking in at just a mere 759 pages. And there is plenty of fantastic stuff going around. You get a true sense of just how dire Harry's situation is becoming, and how close he is to not only losing everything, and just how far away and hard it will be to succeed on his mission.
This is a tantalizing end to the series. While I have to admit I was left with so many questions, I find that many of them don't really matter, because the most important questions have been answered: Is Snape really bad? Is Dumbledore really dead? How will Harry beat Voldemort, and can he? I was curious to know what happened to the Dursley's or Hermoine's parents, but not enough to ignore just has gripping the story was. This is Rowling pulling together a decades worth of writing and you get the impression that there could be more. I hope there is more. I really do. She leaves it in a position where she could very well write more novels, perhaps not from the perspective of Harry, but perhaps another character.
If you are weary of this last volume, don't be. It will really pull some twists on you. You'll be surprised by many things, I assure you.
And, so, as things come to a close, I find myself suddenly saddened. The novel was fantastic, amazing on so many levels, but I find that now I have nothing to look forward to. Will there ever be a series that could capture the worlds' attention in such a manner as this? Will there be a novel that people line up at bookstores for hours before release? I don't know. I pray there will be. This is the end to one of the greatest literary achievements of all time. May the literary world take this moment to shine.

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3 comments:

  1. *Sob*

    Great review. :D

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  2. The music in the films is pretty good. I can't remember when or why I started reading the books. It was such a long time ago.

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  3. I agree. Except for the new one! God I hated the music in that one. They hired a third guy to compose the music and he hardly used any of the material provided in the 3 film scores Williams wrote and the stuff provided in the fourth film. He just rewrote everything and killed it. Electric guitar does not belong in freaking Harry Potter.

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