Review: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows

If you’d asked me a few years ago if I thought I’d be reading a children’s book about wizards and witches at a magical boarding school, I’d probably have laughed at you. (Although The Worst Witch was great, back in the day.) It’s been a few days since I finished reading Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, and I’m still not completely sure how I feel about it. Out of respect of those who haven’t finished reading it, I’ll try not to give away any major plot points.

Overall, I’d say Deathly Hallows was a good book, although there were a few things I didn’t care for. For starters, the pacing and intensity. There seem to be only two levels of intensity, either mundane or OMG!DeathEaters!, with little segue between the two. While I have no problem with the dramatic, intense moments, you can’t have the entire book run at fever pitch, because then the readers get burned out.

A second point is the way some character’s deaths were handled. Now, I’m not talking about character death in general; I knew and fully expected loads of character death, since this is the big magical showdown between good and evil. But when a fairly central character dies, I was expecting a little more than just a passing “oh, so-and-so died.”

Predictability was also an issue. I realize this is supposed to be a children’s series, and so maybe Rowling didn’t want to confuse young readers with all sorts of dramatic plot twists, but I felt the ending was fairly predictable. Who would win, who would live, who would die, who would end up together; maybe there was a little meandering on the way, but I saw the final outcome a mile away. And while I was right about certain character’s allegiances, the only somewhat surprising thing for me was the REASON behind those allegiances.

And finally, one of the biggest beefs for me, was how contrived the plot was in places. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it deus ex machina, but it was close. Like when one of the horcruxes is destroyed, and Hermione explains the heretofore unmentioned magical phenomenon that can ALSO destroy horcruxes. Wow! Lucky thing that, eh? And the existence and behavior of the Deathly Hallows themselves.

All things considered, I would say Deathly Hallows is a decent finale to the Harry Potter series. It ends the series neatly, gives us a peak into the future, but leaves room for more. Whether or not Rowling will give us more is debatable, but there is certainly room for more history and interludes, should she choose to write them.

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