Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: J.K. Rowing, July 13—26, 2016
My rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
Right. This is it. The final book in what is probably one of the greatest series ever written. Rowling, you’ve got your work cut out – and boy does she deliver.
Harry is on his mission from the late (sniff!) Dumbledore to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes so that Voldemort can be offed, by the Boy Who Lived no less. Voldemort is on a similarly urgent mission to change Harry’s title to something quite different.
Much less action takes place at Hogwarts than that to which we are accustomed, but the Potter-on-tour approach gives us ample opportunity to revisit key places, seen and unseen, from Godric’s Hollow to Gingotts Bank and Diagon Alley. There’s plenty of hats tipped to the series, from Ollivander to Krum and back again, with cameos galore. Anyone who’s stuck with the series will be rewarded.
While there are many strong and exciting scenes, for me the Battle of Hogwarts will go down as one of the best sequences of the whole series. Beginning with a showdown between McGonnagal and Snape and ending with a full on fight with the Death Eaters, it’s jaw-dropping.
Dumbledore and Snape are both given a reputational battering. Dumbledore was, until now, a surrogate father to Harry and beyond reproach, but how well did Harry know him? How much of what Dumbledore did was simply using the boy wizard? Meanwhile, the eternally ambiguous Snape has to pin his flag to somebody’s mast, but whose side has he really been on?
As backstories are told, secrets revealed and questions answered, this is an immensely satisfying instalment. Far from random, it’s plain to see the clues that have been dropped throughout the seven books once they’re so neatly and perfectly drawn together. Expect to be emotionally assaulted.
And on that subject, Rowling is brutal. Utterly brutal. A slurp of whatever George R.R. Martin has for breakfast was ingested because the Grim Reaper has his work cut out. The deaths are thick and fast and bloody difficult to handle.
The Deathly Hallows is the most beautifully written, carefully planned and perfectly executed series finale I’ve ever read. This world is our home and these people are our friends; Rowling does them proud.