At 33 years old, I had never read Harry Potter. In a world full of Muggles and Witches and Wizards, and tens of thousands of memes dedicated to all things Potter, I was unknowing. Oh, I followed Voldemort on Twitter and giggled at some of the things he said….but I didn’t get it. You don’t truly get it until you’ve read the books, even in a world saturated with Potterisms. I didn’t know about dragons, or three-headed dogs that could be sung to sleep, or potions and spells, or Quidditch and the Snitch, or Gryffindor, or invisible cloaks, or Platform 9 ¾. I didn’t know the Hogwarts school song, and I hadn’t met the Weasley Twins yet…or Professor Snape and Dumbledore. I may just have been one of the last people on Earth to begin waiting on my own letter (which, I suspect my postman may have stolen…). Yes, at 33, I was a Harry Potter Virgin. These are my confessions of a Harry Potter virgin.Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #7
Published by Scholastic Press on 7/21/2007
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Harry Potter is preparing to leave the Dursleys and Privet Drive for the last time. But the future that awaits him is full of danger, not only for him, but for anyone close to him — and Harry has already lost so much. Only by destroying Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes can Harry free himself and overcome the Dark Lord's forces of evil.
In this dramatic conclusion to the Harry Potter series, Harry must leave his most loyal friends behind, and in a final perilous journey find the strength and the will to face his terrifying destiny: a deadly confrontation that is his alone to fight.
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS! Do not read these reviews if you have not read the books!
Confession time: I’m actually writing this review BEFORE the Half-Blood Prince because I need to get out all my feels before I can focus on writing anything coherent.
I’ve reached the end of the series. Dumbledore is gone, so how much worse can it get?
While reading the Deathly Hallows, which I read in less than 48 hours thankyouverymuch, I often sent text messages across space and time (Australia) to Saz101 owner, Sarah, crying out in pain:
7:46PMET I AM SO UPSET THAT HEDWIG DIED. WHY DID THE OWL HAVE TO DIE.
9:56PMET: DOBBY DIES TOO?!?!?!?!?!
11:44PMET: Sometimes the death eaters crack me up. They are kinda stupid. “I saw a stag!” “That was a goat, you idiot!” “Maybe you’re right…”
9:07AMET: FRED DIES TOO?!
8:32AMET: I knew Snape wasn’t bad!!!
8:35AMET: “Albus Severus”
By the time Lupin’s and Tonks’ bodies were discovered in the Great Hall, I was a broken mess. I’ll never forgive Jo Rowling for making and breaking my heart. And I’d do it all over again.
Here’s the thing: yeah, this book is the darkest of them all because Voldemort wants Harry BAD, and he will trample (read: kill) anyone to get to him. But Rowling injects this kind of brevity into the book with characters like Fred (sob) and George, who continue to make me laugh and laugh and laugh. I was shocked that Dudley came right out and admitted that he didn’t think Harry was a waste of space…in front of his parents, no less! That entire scene, even though it is the set-up for the first of many deaths, made me smile, because it was like Harry was finally getting a little bit of closure from the Dursleys before he left his childhood home for good. Whatever happened to them anyway?
Voldemort gets a lot more page time in this one, as he gathers his Death Eaters and to take over the Ministry from the inside out. Nobody can really be trusted anymore, unless you’re part of the Order. Fudge has been deposed as Minister after the death of Dumbledore and Scrimgeour has taken his place, a man very keen on creating a marketing ploy using Harry to assure the wizarding community that all is right. Harry rightly wants none of it and refuses to be the Ministry’s puppet.
We finally meet Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth. There have been questions around the kind of person Aberforth is, but all is laid to rest when he helps with the fight against the Death Eaters and Voldy, by having something like his own underground railroad for the school. It’s also interesting that despite the Dumbledore brothers’ differences over the years that come to light, they kept so close to each other, geographically.
I KNEW Malfoy wasn’t a bad cat, just a misguided cat. Didn’t I always say that?! He wanted to be elite and a fighter, but when he realized the magnitude of what he had gotten himself into, and what that was going to cost him… I’m glad Harry made the decision to save him.
Let’s Talk About Harry, Snape & Dumbledore (and Lily Evans Potter, Too)
The last book left off with Dumbledore kicking it, and I was devastated. I spent 6 books thinking there is no way Snape could be a bad guy, that he was playing both teams so he could ultimately help the winning team. I thought there was something in Order of the Phoenix, when Harry is in the pensieve at Snape’s memories, in the memory of Sirius, James, Snape and Lily by the tree where Lily defends Snape, but I didn’t quite know what that something was.
All those torturous hours that Harry spent in Potions with Snape, I didn’t feel like Snape was a bad guy. And then he promised Draco’s mother he would take care of him and I started to panic. What does it really mean? Is he lying? When he killed Dumbledore, everything I thought I knew was dashed aside, because how was Rowling going to bring Snape back from this? I was devastated.
I should mention here that even though I’ve not seen the movies yet, I have a totally weird crush on Alan Rickman, so I really wanted Snape to be GOOD AND NOT EVIL!
Yes, I’m aware that Alan Rickman is probably old enough to be my father and no, I don’t care.
One of Harry’s main jobs in Deathly Hallows is to find Voldemort’s Horcruxes. All of them, because Voldy is crazy and made himself something like seven of these things. But Dumbledore didn’t leave Harry with much to go on, so…he ends up back at Hogwarts for a final showdown. When Snape died during this, it kinda sorta broke my heart, because all this time, he wasn’t playing for the wrong team at all. He was the bravest person on Harry’s side, and if he was a bit of a horse’s ass to Harry, maybe it was because every time he looked at Harry, he saw Lily Evans’ eyes, the girl he’s been in love with since he was a small child.
If you can spend you entire life loving someone who has died, protecting her child by pretending to fight for the dark side (okay so he wasn’t pretending the whole time), kill a man whom you probably love and respect (RIP Dumbledore), and lay down your life to protect the child of that woman at the end, well then I say you’re the bravest man of all. “Always.”
RIP Severus Snape. A true Gryffindor.
So much has torn me up about this series, but it’s the losses that stick with me the most. It’s caused me a grief I’ve never felt before in any book, and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same. As Sarah told me, some of my best friends died in this book. But what I truly enjoyed, and what seems to be unmatched in all but the greatest authors, is that Rowling didn’t compromise the ending to Harry’s story by giving him a happy ever after. War is bittersweet and they were truly at war with a dark and nefarious force. People WILL die during war, and die they did. It’s a reminder to not take the ones we love for granted because we are always moments away from losing them without even knowing it.
I now understand why everyone has told me they wish they could unread it to experience it for the first time all over again. I am no longer a Harry Potter Virgin. I am an addict.
Now seriously, where’s my letter?