The final book of the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. A few days before his 17th birthday, Harry waits for his ride to move away from Privet Drive altogether. Once he comes of age, he can do magic without being traced. And in these hard times when Voldemort is taking over most of the magical world, this is a good thing. Harry knows what he has to do this year: complete the task left to him by the late Albus Dumbledore. Harry has to find the remaining Horcruxes and destroy them and eventually destroy Voldemort. As a result, Harry knows he won’t be returning to Hogwarts this year. Ron and Hermione both intend on going with him on this journey. Harry has broken up with Ginny due to fears that Voldemort may use her as bait; a decision that he continues to regret due his strong feelings for her. Voldemort and his Death Eaters take over the Ministry and Hogwarts with Severus Snape being appointed Headmaster. Harry still has immense hatred towards Snape for what he did to Dumbledore and continues to think Dumbledore was a fool to trust Snape. As Harry, Ron and Hermione search for the Horcruxes, they are faced with obstacles including wondering just how much they knew Dumbledore given that they find out he had a Squib for a sister who was apparently locked away; meet Death Eaters and Voldemort himself more than once; deal with goblins and Umbridge; and of course, the Horcuxes themselves. They also have decipher why Dumbledore left them a few things in his will: a snitch for Harry, a book of wizarding fairy tales for Hermione and a deluminator for Ron. Through their travels, they also discover the story behind the Deathly Hallows and figure out what Voldemort is eventually looking for — something that will fight Harry and his wand once and for all.
Being the final book of the series, this one is obviously action-packed. There are more tears and fewer laughs compared to the previous books. It is fast-paced and the adventures are brilliant. Ron and Hermione’s relationship and their feelings for one another have never been more apparent. The final battle scene between the Voldemort and his Death Eaters and Harry and his friends and the Order of the Phoenix is one to behold! You find yourself literally holding your breath and wanting to know more.
The book has several themes with one of the most prominent ones being death. The fear of death versus the acceptance of this fact of life is explored through the book of fairy tales as well as through Voldemort and Harry’s characters. It was Voldemort’s fear of death that led him to want to be immortal and therefore create the horcruxes. Another theme is how power can be blinding. Voldemort has always thought of wizards (particularly pure-bloods) as all-powerful but under-estimates the magic of house-elves, centaurs and other magical creatures. This is a weakness given the important roles house-elves end up playing in his own downfall. The book also looks at the importance of second chances. We finally learn why Dumbledore trusted Snape all along and gave him a second chance to redeem himself. Given that no one is perfect, you can see why it is important to sometimes give a person a second chance. Love, which is a theme talked about right from the first book, is once again prominent here along with sacrifice. The power of love and how protective it can be. Lily’s love for Harry created a protective charm around him. In a similar way, Harry’s love for his friends and his willingness to sacrifice his own life for the greater good creates a similar protective charm for them. Several people Harry loves too end up sacrificing their lives fighting Voldemort or standing up for Harry.
It is a fitting finale to an enthralling series. Yes, it is quite sad with the deaths of loved characters. I was in tears several times through the book. But if there is anything to learn from this book it is that death is not necessarily final. And the dead shall always live with us in our memories. The last chapter though which goes ‘nineteen years later’ is a bit of a cheesy ending but I think J. K. Rowling did that to ensure that she ended the book and the lives of her heroes on her terms. All in all, another brilliant book and truly deserving of a rating of 5.
Until next time,