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"Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows" by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and
  The Deathly Hallows
JK Rowling
July 2007
607 pages

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 "Harry Potter is dead by my hand, and no man
       alive can threaten me now!"


       And so it concludes. The seventh and last book in JK Rowling's extraordinary
       series brings together the boy wizard, Harry Potter and evil Lord Voldemort
       in a final climactic encounter.

       It begins with Harry's hasty departure from his home with the Dursleys. He is
       given shelter for a while by the Weasley family, but with Voldemort's Death
       Eaters always close on his heels, it is not long before he is once more
       driven on. Thereafter, The Boy Who Lived is cast adrift in to the wider world
       outside of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, with his best friends
       Ron and Hermione in tow. Harry has been given a particular mission by his
       late tutor and mentor, Albus Dumbledore, but deciphering quite what he
       should do, and how he might accomplish it almost proves too much for him.
       Even so, he must get to grips with things quickly, and remain undercover
       all the while, because Voldemort's supporters are never far away, and a
       final battle back at Hogwarts is drawing inexorably nearer...


» The book was released on July 21, 2007, to be precise...

» Inevitably, it became the fastest-selling title ever, selling more than
          eleven million copies within twenty-four hours of publication. The
          previous record of nine million sales had been held by its predecessor,
          "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"


       The Gnome says

       I don't know about you, but this avid reader has reveled in the arrival of
       each and every addition to the Harry Potter story. He's been there, date
       and date with the launch to pick up his copy and share in the pleasure of
       reading these new tales collectively with millions of similarly eager souls
       around the world. Let's face it, it's such a rare and wonderful occurrence,
       one can only admire the author and her publishers alike for having conducted
       such a flawless and magnificent exercise in mass readership. What's more,
       given the media maelstrom that seems to be constantly swirling around the
       Harry Potter phenomenon one has to wonder how on earth we got to this
       point at all. A seven volume story arc, ever-increasing in depth and range
       that's somehow, impossibly, made it to a deft conclusion? It's a mighty feat,

       And that's probably the perfect cue for us to split the rest of this review
       in two. You see, on the one hand, this reader approached "Deathly Hallows"
       just as any other freewheeling fan, so keen to find out Just What Happens that
       further judgment on the storytelling became irrelevant in the face of all
       those longed-for revelations and spellbinding conclusions. But at the same
       time, this reader also realised he had to take a good step back. He needed to
       distance himself from the hullabaloo, catch his breathe and take a more
       critical look at what was on offer in this climactic tale.

       There's no doubt your regular Potter fan will lap this volume up, just as they
       have with the previous six. All the loose ends, relationships and prophecies
       are wrapped up and concluded. Some wind up exactly as you'd expected,
       whilst others continue to wriggle and surprise us. The more casual reader
       may want to reacquaint themselves with those earlier books before proceeding
       because JK reintroduces a number of secondary characters from the series
       and gives them new status and importance in the Harry Potter universe.
       Similarly there are previously encountered objects and artifacts which are
       granted their own greater significance as the story unfolds.

       And then, well, then there are the deaths. Death is everywhere in this book.
       Hardly a chapter goes by without the loss or maiming of a popular character.
       As the body count rises, you're left wondering if anyone will actually survive.
       You turn each page, dreading more tears, still hoping for triumph. There's no
       denying, JK knows how to keep her fans on their toes...

       And yet... She's also equally adept at frustrating them, because the stop-start
       narrative, and restricted flow of information which has haunted the series from 
       the get-go, alas, returns here with even greater vigour. After the opening rush
       of events, Harry, Ron and Hermione are left in a kind of no-man's land. As JK
       arranges the pieces on her magical chess board, so these three bumble - nay,
       grumble - their way towards the next big plot point. "Deathly Hallows"
       is the first Potter novel to move away from the Dursleys-to-Hogwarts formula
       of its predecessors. And with no school for them to go to, our trio are lost in the
       countryside. There's information out there which could drive the plot on,
       but Rowling once more chooses to hold it back. And it's during that
       protracted time in the tent we are reminded how, for far too long, Harry Potter
       himself has been something of an inanimate hero himself. Everything seems
       to happen around him. He's not particularly clever, and often overlooks
       somewhat obvious clues that could help him along far sooner than the
       plotting will allow. And when at last he takes center stage, it's so often
       circumstance that saves the day and not the lad's skill or ability.

       Fortunately, Harry is far more proactive during our endgame. In fact,
       the whole latter half of the story, preceded by a return to Gringott's bank,
       is a nonstop ride, with set piece after set piece coming our way, and Harry
       is at the fore, guiding events at last. As the battling climax draws near,
       Snape has a stunning moment in the spotlight, as does - of all people - Mrs
       Weasley. Hers is encounter that will get folks cheering, although it raises
       a further thought for our consideration. The last few books in this spectacular
       series often feel as if they've been written for the big screen, rather than for
       the readership. JK introduces moments  which will no doubt look terrific
       within the movie adaptations, but they're given somewhat shorter shrift on
       the page, with at times, a most pedestrian and obvious prose. Similarly,
       we have those darned
convoluting prophecies to contend with. The
       precise explanation behind Harry's  connection to Lord Voldemort, and
       the way in which their wands unite just seems to get ever more tangled
       and unnecessary...

       But overshadowing everything else in this book are those deaths. Death really
       is everywhere, right from the start of the story. And many of the fallen are
       given comparatively short thrift by the author as she hurtles us on through
       the adventure. When Sirius Black perished in Book Five, it a was a big deal.
       And Dumbledore's denouement still reverberates from the last outing.
       Yet here, in "Deathly Hallows", far too many are dispatched in the blink
       of an eye, or their death announced with just a single line of dialogue.
       You'd think the author didn't care. Indeed, it feels as if several folks are
       dispatched purely to prevent any future plans the publishers may have had
       to develop the franchise with a new author. And in a similar vein, we are
       eventually presented with an epilogue which adds little to what's gone on
       before. Has it too been tagged on merely to scupper that eighth adventure?

       But, you know, to go on nitpicking at the detail is really rather pointless.
       At the end of the day, this reader - and millions like him - have thoroughly
       enjoyed their trips to JK's extraordinary wizarding world, and "Deathly Hallows"
       is as dark and deadly a denouement as we could have hoped for. Which means
       you can ignore any flaws and keep turning the pages through to its spectacular
       climax. So it's time to take off the Critical Hat now, and to simply applaud.
       Yes, let's celebrate the fact that Harry Potter has made it through seven
       ridiculously popular adventures, and he's made it by hook and by crook
       right to the bitter end, irrespective of anyone else's critique or commentary.
       And that deserves all the praise in the world. So here's to you, Harry,
       JK and Bloomsbury. You made it, Hogwarts and all!...



       Collectors are quite obviously limited. There are standard first editions,
       of course, but given the huge print run these books available en masse,
       and are therefore of little initial value. If one has to choose, 
the special edition
       is the more collectable, given its smaller run...

       As for signed copies, well, we can all dream. The author wisely restricted any
       book signings to her customary midnight reading event, on the eve of the launch
       of the book. However, during a September tour of America, she began signing
       copies a tad more freely, so there are more signed editions available
       than we might have first thought. Even so, they're still like gold dust to
       most of us, and as and when they turn for sale they're still well out of
       many folks' price range - *sigh*

       "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" special edition


      Buy this book

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows
       UK Hardback edition...  

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows
       UK special edition...  


      On the web

       Harry Potter
       The official site, from Warner Bros....

       JK Rowling
       The author's site....

       The publisher's site...

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