Sunday, August 05, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

If you haven’t read it yet, go away. Sorry. SPOILERS AHEAD.

If you are still reading this, I’m assuming you’ve already finished the book. Did you like it? I think it’s good, and I’m happy with it, but a little bit confused. The whole wand ownership/allegiance transference thing baffles me. How did the Elder wand end up in Dumbledore’s tomb if Draco took it when Dumbledore died? Is that answered in Half-Blood Prince? I went looking for it, but couldn’t find anything. How could Harry have gained the allegiance of the Elder wand by capturing a DIFFERENT wand from Draco? Is that supposed to be what happened?

I couldn’t figure out how Neville got the Sword of Godric Gryffindor. After I finished reading, in Google, I searched “Neville sword gryffindor” and found an explanation on Yahoo Ask!, which said that the sword will always come out of the Sorting Hat for a true Gryffindor who has fought bravely and who needs the sword. This fact, which is from Chamber of Secrets, was just put forth too long ago for me to remember.

I also saw the Order of the Phoenix movie on Saturday. I know some people who read the book didn’t like it much, but I liked it. I like seeing everyone grow up, and seeing Tonks, who is one of my favorite characters, but who was unfortunately under-utilized in the film. It was fun to see the movie while reading the book – I kept the actors voices and faces in my head as I read. Again, I know that some people object to this, but it doesn’t bother me. One thing I think the films have done well is to choose actors who embody the characters very accurately. I never have the experience of feeling like the film character was nothing like the book character, though I know some people think differently about this.

This book was really worth the wait, and not at all a let-down. I was afraid it might be, so I’m glad to not be disappointed. I even enjoyed the sort-of-cheesy epilogue. I admire Rowling for her unflinching portrait of evil and its effects. She treats her readers with respect and doesn’t soft-pedal. I think she killed off characters judiciously, choosing characters whom we love, to make us feel sad, but not killing Harry, Ron, or Hermione, which would have felt exploitative to me. I’ve thought since Goblet of Fire, when she had Cedric die, that she was a brave writer. I cried a lot when Cedric died, then again for Dumbledore. I started crying in Deathly Hallows on about page 600, and didn’t really stop much until I was done the book.

(Book 34, 2007)


Pedro Morgado said...
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Anonymous said...

Hmm. I really enjoyed the book -- even the '19 years later' stuff, which some people thought cheesy -- but I do agree with you about the Elder Wand. I think Rowling may have gotten hung up on too many quests: First the horcruxes, then the deadly hallows.

Technically speaking, didn't Snape kill Dumbledore and ensure that the Elder Wand wound up in his tomb? I remember something about the way the wand did not revert to Snape because Dumbledore actually wanted to be killed by him, so it wasn't his. And Draco couldn't wield it, for he did not kill Dumbledore either.

Oh, I don't know! I, too, thought the recent movie pretty good, probably because I had just finished the last two books when it came out.

Hey, aren't you supposed to be in Iceland about now, Becky?

Becky Holmes said...

I'm glad to hear that you are confused also. I've asked several people about the wand, and while some people aren't bothered by the inconsistencies, no one can give me a coherent explanation.

We leave for Iceland toward the end of the month.

Unknown said...

Snape killed Dumbledore, but he did not defeat him - it was not a conflict, rather, a plan. Dumbledore's plan was to die never having been defeated by any person, so that the Elder Wand would remain loyal to him in death - it's power broken - never to be passed on.

The flaw in Dumbledore's plan was that he was defeated. Draco disarmed him at the top of the Astronomy Tower. Dumbledore did not forsee or plan on that. But Draco did not take his wand - no one knew it's value. I was not hidden or scurried away - simply found and buried with Dumbledore. Even Snape didn't know it's true nature.

The key is the defeat of the wizard. Harry disarmed Draco - he was defenseless before him and did nothing to redeem himself. His wand chose to work for Harry.

And in the end, so had the Elder Wand.

Becky Holmes said...

Chris, thank you, that's the clearest explanation I've had yet.

Susan said...

I'm glad someone else was curious about how Neville ended up with the sword of Gryffindor, since Griphook took off with it after the Gringotts bank robbery. Your explanation from Chamber explains it, but I certainly didn't remember reading that bit so long ago! Thanks for the review. You can read mine at

Anonymous said...

I agree with Becky that Chris's explanation is the clearest I have come across. But what I am still wondering is WHEN Harry realized that the Elder Wand was actually loyal to Draco and then to Harry after defeating Draco? Harry throws that out to Voldemort in their duel, but did he just figure it out then or sometime before that? There's no indication in the story of when he comes to that realization?

Anonymous said...

Dumbledore’s plan was to die and pass the Elder wand on Snape (page 578 Deathly Hallows UK edition). However, when Malfoy disarmed him in the Half blood prince he became the owner of the Elder wand. When Harry overpowered Malfoy in the Malfoy’s Manor he became the owner of both Malfoy’s wands.
Harry realizes that when he meets Dumbledore in Kings Cross.

Harry becomes the one to unite the Hallows and he becomes the master of death because he accepts that he must die and uses the stone not to bring back the dead but to join them (that’s why he is given the choice in King’s Cross to return or to “board a train” that would take him on).

As far as Neville is concerned I think it’s what Dumbledore said in the Chamber of Secrets “Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it”.
Neville like Harry proved to be a true Gryffindor and made the sword come out of the hut when he truly needed help.

I wonder why Voldemort die though.
Did he die because Harry was the owner of the Elder wand or because of Love? Did the Avada Kedavra backfired on him because the wand wouldn’t attack his owner or because of love which protected Harry?

There is an article in Wikipedia at this link'_Guide_to_Harry_Potter/Books/Deathly_Hallows/Analysis

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