HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS – BOOK REVIEW

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the creation of J.K (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling, a British author who shot to fame due to her Harry Potter series. The idea of this story, she claims, struck her on a train journey from Manchester to London. Rowling, in her very first foray into the world of writing created a highly imaginative work of fiction, binding her readers in a magical spell for seven long years in the wizarding world where the story of Harry Potter unfolds. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows(HPDH) is the seventh and the last book of the series and in my opinion the most befitting end to what was one of the best fictional tales of the century.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is, as mentioned above, the last of a series of Harry Potter books. The book is a work of fiction that transports readers to an altogether different world of magic full of mythical creatures, fantastical objects and spells and hexes and witches and wizards. Combining all the worldly superstitions and myths with one heck of an imagination, Rowling has tempted people in believing that her wild fantasies are for real which invariably, is the most appealing feature of the book.

In order to examine HPDH, there is a need to understand the background of the novel along with a brief description of the earlier parts in the series.

Harry Potter-story up till the seventh book

Harry Potter is a wizard and is part of a greater wizarding world that exists along with non magical population (termed as muggles in the book). At the age of one, a series of events make Harry a celebrity among the magical community. Unfortunately this very event causes the death of Harry’s parents who died trying to protect him from the most evil wizard of all time, Voldemort- the dark lord (people are even scared of pronouncing his name).That night though, Voldemort meets his downfall when the killing curse aimed at Harry bounces back reducing the dark lord to a fragment of soul, with Harry escaping death with a mere scar on his forehead.

Eleven years later, Harry who was, since that night living with his non magical relatives discovers to his utter amazement that he is a wizard and is supposed to attend a school of magic named Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Ronald Weasely and Hermione Granger, fellow hogwartians, are his two best friends that stick with him till the very end. Dumbledore the principal of the school is an eminent personality and is ranked as one of the greatest wizards of his time. The wise old man however, knows and fears much to be insecure of Harry’s future and of the wizarding world in general.

The subsequent books talk about the various attempts of Voldemort to return to power and Harry’s repeated thwarting of his plans. Meanwhile, Dumbledore reveals to Harry the secret connection between him and the dark lord and how he is the chosen one, the only one who could destroy Voldemort. In the fourth part the dark lord finally returns, much more powerful than before. Dumbledore prepares Harry for this deadly quest that he must undertake to bring an end to the dark regime. In the sixth book Dumbledore dies leaving Harry as the sole hope for the entire world.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The last part takes the adventure meter a notch higher. In the sixth part Dumbledore dies leaving Harry with clear instructions to find all the horcruxes (objects that tether Voldemort to life making him immortal) and destroy them. The seventh part opens with the establishment of the dark lord’s regime with Voldemort taking over the ministry of magic as well as the administration of Hogwarts.

Harry is all set to venture into the hitherto unknown world of dark magic to bring dark lord’s downfall. Hermione and Ron  come with him to help him in his quest. However, the journey isn’t all that easygoing and motivating as it seemed in the beginning. With the death eaters (Dark lord’s malicious servants) and even the ministry after them, they have to find new locations in remote areas frequently to camp. Utter isolation from the rest of the world and lack of food brings irritation to their spirits. Apart from keeping themselves alive they also have to worry about the destruction of horcruxes. Harry is also fighting an internal war arising from Dumbledore’s biography by Rita Skeeter (a notorious journalist and writer), which talks about Dumbledore’s murky past and his experiments with dark magic, shaking

Harry’s trust in him.

Meanwhile, Harry’s connection with the dark lord enables him to enter his mind and get updated knowledge of all his activities and plans. The story takes a turn when by some fateful occurrence Harry finds the Gryffindor’s sword, the one that can destroy the horcruxes. The miraculous appearance of the sword near their place of hiding suggests an outside help but whose? With the possession of sword were they at last able to destroy every single horcrux? Was Voldemort once again, a mortal when the time came for Harry to fight with him one on one? For this and much more there is a need to check out the book. Rowling declaring the finality of the tale has also given a peek into the future of Harry Potter in the epilogue.

Things to watch out for

Further, the concept of deathly hallows is introduced in the book. The deathly Hallows are the three objects that make the possessor a master of death, a very effective aid while fighting you know who. Are they the real reply to Voldemort’s immortality? Also much debate and mystery surrounds the character of Severus Snape, who is actually a death eater who spied on Voldemort on Dumbledore’s orders but he kills Dumbledore in the sixth part. Why did Dumbledore trust him, was Dumbledore mistaken? Harry is already nursing doubts against Dumbledore; there are so many things he hid from Harry. Snape’s true allegiance and Dumbledore’s betrayal together contribute to an exciting and surprising climax.

Reviewing the book

HPDH contrary to general perception is not really a predictable book; on the other hand there are surprises that are thrown at the reader at different points in the story making the tale more gripping and interesting. The fact that Harry must eventually win is kind of obvious in keeping with the universal theory of victory of good over evil but how this victory comes about and what all must be sacrificed, including Harry himself, for the greater good is something that the book illustrates with great penchant.

It is very well framed novel with full justice done to every character. Rowling has also emphasised on the characters of the lesser creatures like house elves and goblins and their role in the resistance against the dark lord’s regime. One can say that Hagrid’s role has reduced quite a bit but the ending makes up for it all. The book also marks the coming of age of the three core characters Harry, Ron and Hermione. This has been beautifully portrayed. The character of Voldemort has been discussed in great detail, following from the sixth part where Dumbledore gives an idea of the teenaged Voldemort. In this part Voldemort’s fickle pride and insecurities are brought into focus which eventually leads to his downfall. Also, as mentioned before Dumbledore has been discussed a great deal, one might say that it doesn’t do a lot for the plot of the book however discussion of his life brings forth the glaring contrast between his and Harry’s nature and the reason as to why Harry could succeed where he failed.

The remarkable ease with which the book has been connected to the earlier parts and the way in which all the mysteries are systematically revealed and the loose ends tied is very commendable. Another very exciting feature of the book is that it is highly visual creating a strong imagery. One can almost imagine the landscapes and the seasons described. The adventures almost appear to be real.

The most fulfilling and exciting part of the book is its climax. The twists introduced and the revelations that come into picture and the ingenious way in which they have been incorporated as well as the participation of numerous characters and their role as a unified resistance against evil makes for a very contented read. This is also the time when Ron and Hermione’s relationship takes a decisive turn after much anticipation. Also, the dialogue that takes place between Harry and Voldemort when they finally duel face to face is remarkable.
One of the drawbacks of the book is that it cannot be enjoyed much as an individual read. It is completely connected to the earlier parts and there should at least be a certain degree of knowledge regarding the world of Harry Potter before one understands HPDH. Rowling’s magical theories and philosophies make things a bit complex at the end however; it is not really a big deal.

The book definitely sends out a strong message to the readers. It is not only about evil dying and goodness triumphing but majorly concerns itself with the power of love and virtues of courage and selflessness. Harry Potter is an epitome of all this. The climax of the book very beautifully brings out these messages. Rowling emphasises on the fact that the reason Harry was special wasn’t because of any hidden magical power (there was none as it turns out) but because of the love and sacrifice of his mother who died protecting him. This is precisely what he does when he sets out to fight the dark lord for the sake of others. The power of love and friendship plus the courage and will to fight against wrong is something that book talks about in great detail. All this makes the book very special and is a must read for all.

Kanika Aggarwal

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