Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 5 Stars
I can’t believe I’m finished. Seven audiobooks in four months! Part of me is happy that I stopped reading the series when the movies came out because I don’t think I would have been a fan of the adaptations .
And so we have Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or, JK Rowling Continues to Kill her Darlings.
Again decade old spoilers for the book and movies.
The WW2/ Nazi dictatorship similarities are strong in this one: muggle-born registries, persecuted people going in to hiding, loyalists to the regime being put into positions of power, a swell of underground resistance, ect.
Snape has earned a place in the Voldemort’s good graces; the new Hogwarts headmaster tells his boss that Harry Potter, a few day shy of turning 17, will be moved from the safety of the Dursley’s to wizarding safe house. This is true; Harry is greeted by the Order of the Phoenix who hatch a plan to have six decoy Harrys, each with a guard, leave the house at the exact same moment as Harry to confuse any waiting Death Eaters. Harry’s trademark leniency with dueling spells gives him away and Voldemort follows him, however Harry’s wand acts on its own accord and Harry makes it to Tonks’s parents’ home. Everyone goes from their first safe house, each decoy had their own, to the agreed upon rendezvous point, the Burrow. The Order loses Mad-Eye and George loses an ear.
Harry, Ron and Hermione receive vague gifts from Dumbledore’s will; Ron a deluminator, Hermione The Tales of Beedle the Bard (reviewed below) and Harry gets his first snitch and the sword of Godric Griffyndor (which Scrimgeow doesn’t give him). The next day Fleur and Bill get married, the ministry has fallen to the Death Eaters and the wedding is attacked. The Trio get away and begin their mission of destroying horcruxes.
“No, Harry, you listen,” said Hermione. “We’re coming with you. That was decided months ago – years, really.”
So our trio lands, after a bumpy encounter with two of Voldemort’s goons, at 12 Grimauld Place. I loved Kreacher’s turn around! After lengthy recon, all glossed over in the movie, the trio go to the Ministry of Magic in search of the horcrux locket Mundungus gave to Umbridge. The plan to sneak into the Ministry goes a bit awry when Ron polyjuices into a man whose wife has been taken into questioning for being Muggle born and Harry gets the brilliant idea to take Mad-Eye Moody’s eyes out of Umbridge’s office. I wished the movie had shown how the trio rescued a whole group of Muggle born wizards, but in the end our heroes get the horcrux. Unfortunately, a Death Eater grabs hold of Hermione which makes Grimauld Place no longer a safe hideout and they go on the run.
There are ups and downs: they can’t figure out how to destroy the locket, Ron abandons the group, Harry and Hermione go to Godrick’s Hollow where they are attacked by Nagini and after Ron rejoins his friends they find the Sword of Gryffindor and destroy the first horcrux. The trio, out of clues to find the next horcrux, make a detour to Luna’s father’s house to learn about the mysterious symbol seen in The Tales of Beedle the Bard and on a grave in Godrick’s Hollow. He tells them about the Deathly Hallows and then the Ministry appears, Luna has been kidnapped because of her father’s support of Harry in the Quibbler. The trio escapes, duh.
So Harry is a bit of an idiot and says Voldemort’s name, even after Ron explains that the name is jinxed, and they get caught. They wind up at Malfoy Manor where Ollivander, Dean Thomas, Luna Lovegood, and the goblin Griphook are being held captive. Bellatrix Lestrange goes apeshit when she sees the sword, believing it to be in her vault, and tortures Hermione for information. Harry makes a last ditch attempt for help by speaking to the mirror Sirius left him and to his surprise Dobby comes to the rescue. The group escapes to Shell Cottage, where Bill and Fleur live, but Dobby dies.
One of the biggest ironies I’ve found is the house elves, who Hermione champions on behalf of their equal right for most of the series, have their storyline condensed to near unimportance in the movie! I was nearly in tears when Dobby was killed; his whole story arc is so minimal in the movie series but he was really a vital part of Harry’s success.
Everything from the first half of the second movie made me so angry. First of all, the ending of the first movie ruins Harry’s big moment of realizing that horcruxes are more important than Hallows. Voldemort finding the wand is a dramatic ending to a film but it diminishes Harry’s choice to talk to Griphook first about the vault over Olivander.
Griphook gets the trio into Bellatrix’s Gringotts vault, again a lot of planning skipped in the movie, in exchange for the sword. It doesn’t go as smoothly as planned, a Death Eater shows up outside the bank and finds it strange that Bella, who so royally screwed up the capture of Harry, is out an about but Harry, under the invisibility cloak, Imperiuses a goblin and the Death Eater.
So now the trio, who escape the bank on a dragon, have the Hufflepuff cup but no sword to destroy it with. Voldemort, who hears about the break in, now knows Harry is hunting horcuxes and everything begins to move very quickly. Harry’s mind connection shows Voldemort thinking about Hogwarts and Ravenclaw, as well as the Gaunt shack and the cave the locket was hidden in, so Harry knows they can’t keep putting off going to the school. Hoping that Voldemort will check on the other horcuxes’ locations before going to the school the trio head to Hogwarts to find the second to last part of Voldemort’s soul.
They arrive in Hogsmeade where Aberforth Dumbledore shelters them and takes them to the secret passage between his bar and the Room of Requirement. Neville Longbottom has been leading the resistance and Dumbledore’s Army has been waiting for Harry’s return to lead them in to battle. Luna takes Harry in to the Ravenclaw common room where they are attacked by the Carrows, they narrowly escape but Voldemort is aware of the looming battle. Harry is given one hour to turn himself in which he uses to find the last horcrux, the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw. It was interesting to hear the Grey Lady’s back story, which also shined light on Voldemort’s reasoning for fleeing to Albania.
Crabbe, Goyle and Malfoy attack Harry in the Room of Requirement, which has taken its form of the Room of Lost Objects, as he hunts for the tiara. Harry saves Malfoy’s life and the fire Crabbe sets destroys the horcrux.
The battle commences in earnest and Tonks, Lupin, Collin Queevy and Fred are killed.
Controversial opinion, especially since JK Rowling just apologized for killing him, but Snape needed to die. Harry was not going to trust Snape’s story without the penseive and he wasn’t going to get close enough to Snape to be convinced to watch his memories until Harry could see he had nothing else to lose. Can you imagine Snape who, in Harry’s mind, murdered Dumbledore at Voldemort’s orders saying “What you need to do is let Voldemort murder you, I promise it’s what Albus wanted!” Sure, he could have shown his doe patronus but it’s a bit of a stretch. Also, movie Snape is pretty white washed, the pensieve shows he really believed in the Death Eater ideals and that when he approached Dumbledore for help it was for Lily, not baby Harry. Snape’s contempt for Harry wasn’t acting a part; he did hate him, hated him for being James’s son and for being why Lily was dead he just was so angry about Lily’s death he was motivated to defy Voldemort’s plans! /end controversial opinion
So after Harry views Snape’s memories he tells Neville about Nagini needing to die to truly end Voldemort and then goes to his death in the Forbidden Forest. He finally figures out how to get the Resurrection Stone out of the snitch and is walked to Voldemort’s camp by his parents, Sirius and Lupin. After Harry is cursed he wakes up in King’s Cross Station and is greeted by Dumbledore where there is so much explaining( that the movie ignores) about Harry’s connection to Voldemort, Dumbledore’s search for the Hallows and his sister. While I may never agree with all the secrets Dumbledore kept from Harry you can’t deny that Dumbledore, and JK Rowling, had a plan and stuck to it, anticipating Harry being able to figure out what he would need to do and when.
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
Harry goes back to his body and Draco’s mother lies when asked if he is dead so she can return to the school to find her son. This shows a bit of redemption, or at least humanity, in the Malfoy family. Narscissa values her son’s life over the success of Voldemort’s plan.
So, the second half of the Battle of Hogwarts is very different than Rowling’s description. First of all House Elves! I love Kreacher and his locket. Neville has his big moment; the sorting hat is placed on his head and set on fire, he manages to draw the Sword of Gryffindor out of the hat and kill the snake! I’m glad that Neville, who could have been the main character if Voldemort had been chosen him instead of Harry, was able to shine and play a pivotal role in Volemort’s demise.
“Severus Snape wasn’t yours,” said Harry. “Snape was Dumbledore’s, Dumbledore’s from the moment you started hunting down my mother…”
Harry’s final moments with Voldemort are all off in the movie! I loved how the novel describes the events following Harry waking up from his faux-death. Voldemort is angry, yes, and they duel but there is a lot more conversation, explanations and “Tom Riddle” calling. Voldemort is so full of himself- so sure of his infallibility! Voldemort’s biggest downfalls were his inability to accept any magic he didn’t have a use for including turning the Resurrection Stone into a horcrux and using Harry’s love protected blood to return to a body.
The ending in the book is much better, giving Harry a chance to talk to Dumbledore again through his Headmaster’s portrait and choosing to keep the wand (instead of snapping it) but never using it. The whole novel ultimately has a better sense of closure than the movie adaptation.
The epilogue was fine; a bit unnecessary and Harry can’t name kids for shit but it’s always nice to know everything gets wrapped up. Plus, I just found Harry Potter and the Cursed Sale 50% off at Barnes and Noble, although I plan a bit of a Harry Potter detox before starting it.
“The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.”
The Tales of Beedle the Bard 3 Stars
So JK Rowling, for charity, wrote the stories appearing in the book Dumbledore gave Hermione, including the Three Brothers, with Dumbledore’s thoughts after each fairy tale.
Each story features a witch or wizard who uses magic to get themselves out of a sticky situation.
The Three Brothers is by far the best story, of course anyone reading this has probably read or seen The Deathly Hallows and knows the story already. Babbity Rabbity is probably second best with the rest being pretty forgettable. Literally, I read this a week ago and am totally blanking on my thoughts.