These reader reviews of the newest Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, are presented in the order in which The Blade received them by e-mail following the book s release.
SPOILER ALERT: Many of them give away information about the plot and particularly what happens in the end. Read on, Muggles, at your own risk.
In my opinion this is truly one of the best books I have ever read. Even though it took eight hours to read I was never bored with the story. Unfortunately I wanted to stop reading the book because *SPOILER* it was revealed that Harry would have to die to stop Voldemort. I am very glad that I kept reading and found while Harry did die he returned to kill Voldemort for good and married Ginny and had 3 lovely children: James, Lily, and Albus Severus. Hermione and Ron also end up happily married with two kids named Rose and Hugo.
RACHEL ESPOSITO, 13
Might I just say before I begin, J.K. Rowling amazes me. Instead of her old books in which the real action started halfway through, this book was instantaneously in suspense mode. Killing two people before page 70 and more throughout the book, it was more of a horror story than anything. There were so many surprises and so many twists I had to re-read it three times to understand it. What with Harry becoming a Godfather to Remus s child and Ron abandoning them, oh, and all the twists and turns Dumbledore planned, this book is hard to put down. Everything seemed more cunning and dark, important characters gone in a blink of an eye. Plus the ending was PERFECT. JKR pulled so many, what we thought to be, insignificant details from the previous books and made them all matter. Like the bartender from The Hogs Head being Dumbledore s brother. Or Harry not being able to die of the blood Voldemort took in the fourth book. When people ask if Harry dies or lives the simple answer is that he lives, but he actually does both. I was so surprised that he was able to come back when Voldemort killed him. Everything turned out right, as it should have. I loved the epilogue edition, all of Harry s and Ginny s children s names were so predictable but so adorable. I personally liked his younger son s name Albus. I think people will be happy with the way things turned out. Killing off Harry for JKR would be like killing her own child, and who d ask her to do something like that? Harry needed to live.
ANNIE GIBBONS, 14
Everything that I predicted came true, right down to Harry being a Horcrux and Snape s vindication. I m not taking much credit for that though because everybody predicted that. However, I was sort of disappointed that it wasn t nearly as warm or funny as the last six books. There seemed to be a lot of waiting around for things to happen. These sections were punctuated by some action but I felt like some of them got us nowhere except to show how Harry was maturing or beginning to accept his fate ( i.e. when he finally learns he must die in order for Voldemort to be stopped he walks to his death full of fear, but without complaint). So, of COURSE then he doesn t die ... I knew she wouldn t kill him. I m still a little blurry on some plot points but it did all seem to come together in the end in a way that seemed as though she d been planning it for a really long time. It was greatly satisfying to see the big villains finally taken down and for all of Dumbledore s Army (the group of students that Harry trains to fight) to stand up and fight when Harry returns to Hogwarts. That was definitely the best part of the book. The worst part was the continuing bickering relationship between Ron and Hermione (come on, you guys love each other just get it over with) which has been dragged out way too long and the epilogue. I would have been perfectly happy with the ending of Harry defeating Voldemort and walking through the great hall of Hogwarts completely covered by his invisibility cloak to once more gaze upon the faces of his loved ones without being seen. However, she wrote an epilogue (taking place 19 years in the future) that to me just sounds like a really well written piece of fan fiction (not that I ever read fan fiction ... I swear!). Is it too predictable that Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione all get married and have children? Like at the end of a movie when the main characters fall in love, I would rather just imagine in my head their fate because imagining a 38-year-old Harry Potter with three kids was too much for me. He s been a teenager to me for the last 10 years!
KATIE BINGMAN, 30
Old West End
Follow-up note from Katie: Ok, ... I ve been thinking that I was a little too harsh in my previous e-mail. I want to clarify that I loved the book. I really enjoyed the ending and felt it was a satisfying way to end the book. I realize that to effectively end the story it couldn t be warm or fuzzy, or even all that funny as the subject matter was pretty dark. But ultimately I really enjoyed it and am now thoroughly depressed that I have no more books to look forward to!
The final installment of the Harry Potter series was very well planned out and tied up almost all loose ends. J.K. Rowling took no time in diving right back into the story, so that by the time you are reading chapter three, it is already full of action. Many parts of the book, to me, were shocking, especially the characters throughout the book who died, but because of the darkness of the book, it was to be expected. This book was not going to be as lighthearted as the first book by any means. I enjoyed that she chose to bring back characters from past books, even if only for a small part, into the final installment, because then I knew that they hadn t just dropped out of everything as soon as they were finished with school. For the epilogue in which J.K. Rowling explains what happens to the remaining main characters 19 years after the final battle, I wish that she could have mentioned what happened to more of the characters so that I could see how more people s lives were affected by the outcome of the final chapters. Overall, though, it was an excellent book. It is disappointing that this was always meant to be the last Harry Potter book, and that this epic battle is now over, but it was a great finale to a wonderful series.
KALINA HILLARD, 17
Grand Rapids, Ohio
I got the final Harry Potter book at Books-a-Million on Friday night. I came home and immediately started reading it. I was so excited to finish it, yet devastated that it was going to be over. I sat in my room and read the entire thing. I have to say that I have never cried so much in my life. I started to cry when Harry left the Dursleys and Dudley was finally nice to him. Then I went through the book and so was intrigued by all of their adventures and how every chapter they would be found by the Death Eaters and then barely escape. Then when Dobby died, I was so sad. It was really interesting to learn so much about Dumbledore s life and to learn that he was a human with flaws, too. And then the part with the final battle began. It made me so happy to see everyone from Harry s Hogwarts past come back (members of the DA and his first Quidditch team). I also thought that it was so nice of Harry to save Draco s life after everything horrible Draco had ever done to him. Then when Harry went out and they saw Fred die, I was so sad. I knew the deaths would continue. Then I saw Tonks and Lupin dead and it got worse. Then, as soon as I saw Snape dying, I knew he was good. I really loved how J.K. showed how Snape and Lily met and how she was the only person who was ever nice to him. Then I saw the conversation between Dumbledore and Snape (about how Harry was a Horcrux) and became so scared that Harry was going to die. When he went into the forest to face his death I was so proud of Harry. And then I was so happy that Narcissa finally did something nice and told Voldemort that Harry was dead. And then it was so sad when Hagrid had to carry Harry s body out and show everyone. I thought Neville acted so brave when he spoke out and killed Nagini. Then it was so exciting when Harry finally fought Voldemort and called him Tom Riddle like Dumbledore used to. And then I thought that the epilogue was great. J.K. ended it perfectly with the children going of to Hogwarts.
Overall, I think that this was the best Harry Potter book ever. It had the perfect happy and sad ending.
ELIZABETH MUNGER, 17
As it was revealed at the end of book six, Harry, Ron, and Hermione will not be returning to Hogwarts for their final year of school, but instead set off on their own to attempt to destroy Lord Voldemort. While much of the action follows the three of them, Ms. Rowling does take time, in flashbacks or found newspaper clippings, to tell the reader what is happening with their other favorite characters. Especially interesting in this book is discovering more about the mysterious pasts of Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape. By the end of the book a surprising number of important characters have died. Some are given pages devoted to mourning their loss, but an awful lot of them are simply mentioned in passing. Fortunately, along with the loss of some great characters, the readers also have all their questions answered. Ms. Rowling makes a great deal of effort to ensure that at the end of this book, there are no lingering doubts about what will happen next.
Right from the beginning of this installment of the Harry Potter series, the tone of the book is far more tense and dire than that of its predecessors. Harry, and just about everyone else, is in constant danger throughout the book. Like the other books, there is ample humor sprinkled in between the close calls and puzzling mysteries and, also like some of the others in the series, it tends to drag on a little in the middle portions. Unlike the other books in the series, it seems to be intended for more mature audiences. The overall feel of the book is much darker. One of the major themes in the book is the finality of death and the lengths people will go to hide from it. The Harry Potter series has certainly grown up since the first book. This is not a children s book. With all that said, I loved this book. It was by far my favorite of the series.
JERRY FLOWERS, 26
We asked at first, very politely. Then we insisted, rather strongly. Finally, we kicked and screamed and begged and shelled out $25.00 months in advance. To say that Harry Potter fans were a bit impatient for the release of Deathly Hallows falls into the same category as saying the Grand Canyon is just a ditch. Since the U.S. release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer s Stone, about ten years have passed and in that time, millions have, at increasingly loud volumes, clamored for more. More movies, more books, more information. At midnight, July 21st, we got what we had been asking for and now a hush will fall while the information is processed, dissected, reread, and processed again.
We are forced to say good-bye to beloved characters. Each death brings tears and an ache for the passing of characters we had grown to love and moves us one step closer on Harry s journey to locate the Horcruxes that keep Voldemort immortal. One by one Harry, Ron, and Hermione locate and destroy the Horcruxes and pick up an extra quest along the way in the form of locating the Deathly Hallows. Armed with one of the Hallows, Harry s invisibility cloak, they discover the second Hallow, the Resurrection Stone hidden inside a golden snitch that was willed to Harry by Albus Dumbledore. Harry learns that the final Hallow resides with Voldemort who has taken the Elder Wand to replace his own wand which in the past has proven unreliable against Harry.
Driven back to Hogwarts to locate the final Horcrux, they find the previously disbanded Army of Dumbledore waiting to lead the charge against Voldemort and the Death Eaters. The battle on the grounds of Hogwarts brings more deaths, more losses for our heroes and a flood of tears to readers.
We find ourselves checking off a list in our minds of the loose ends waiting to be tied up. Why did Snape kill Dumbledore? Is he good, is he bad, is Harry going to live, die, does a piece of Voldemort s soul reside inside of him? Will Hermoine and Ron survive, will they fall in love? Will Harry and Ginny get back together? Will The Order defeat the Death Eaters once and for all? Will Neville get his revenge on Belletrix LeStrange?
Rowling s magic has never had a better vessel than in The Deathly Hallows. She delivers to us all what we have been asking for, the final battle between good and evil. Her characters have become like family and friends to the readers. We feel as though we have made this journey with them. Now that that journey is over, the fans of this series will continue to pass along our passion for these characters and their story to a whole new generation of fans through the books and movies, ensuring that even the friends we have lost, will live on in their hearts as well.
KATINA FORWERCK, 31
Unlike the final episode of the The Sopranos, the final book of the Harry Potter series was very satisfying. Ms. Rowling expertly ties facts from the first book to the last book to make everything come together in a neat package. The author s descriptions of locations and action are long enough to allow the reader to see the place or the action in their mind s eye but not so long that the reader wants to skip ahead of a boring excerpt. In this book, Harry Potter is the complete hero, possessing all the great qualities a true hero should have. Only two things seemed to detract from the enjoyment of the story. The first is that the story tends to lag when Harry, Hermione, and Ron search for the Horcruxes that contain parts of Voldemort s soul. While Rowling uses this part of the book to develop the heroic natures of Potter and companions, it does tend to ramble on with very little action for about one hundred pages. The second point may only bother female readers. The problem was that Hermione thought to pack in her magical bag everything including the kitchen sink and yet she didn t think to pack a supply of food. These magical characters were foraging for food in the forest instead of generating it out of thin air.
While this book will be very difficult to present as a movie, it is a most enjoyable finale to the series.
MARGARET HASTINGS, 60
For several years I ve had the joy of reading the Harry Potter series over and over and over again and making my speculations of how it all ends. After reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows I now say that J.K. Rowling is the best author to ever walk this earth. She has a way of making the characters no longer appear as characters. They seem more like friends you could call on the telephone and have a nice chat with. When she kills off one of them, then it feels like you just lost your best friend.
I refuse to release any spoilers about the book out of respect for those who haven t read it. All I m gonna say is that it s a book that will make you laugh and cry; it ll make you wish that you could do something to help. It ll make you want to read more and more... It is the perfect ending to the Harry Potter series.
KAYLA ZALESKI, 15
At exactly 12:01 AM on Saturday morning, I bought the Deathly Hallows book. After reading the book, I admit that I was thoroughly impressed by the seventh book of the series. In my opinion, the best part about the book was the way it wrapped up the missing plot and had a great storyline. Also, there was a HUGE revelation in the book that made the book complete. A few things that were questionable with the book included the many deaths in the book (no one that I will mention) and, at some points, the book was a little confusing. Overall, I loved the book and am sad that the greatest book series has come to an end.
BRIAN TIMM, 14
I started reading Saturday morning and finished 1:30 am Monday morning.
It definitely lived up to the hype. I think what makes me love these books so much is J.K. Rowling really could make me believe that this world was real and the characters were real. You felt the anger, despair, and confusion this young man was feeling. That he had so much pressure on him to defeat the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters. That he loved his friends and his now extended family so much that he didn t want to bring them pain. But the people around him believed in the cause and what he was trying to do, they rallied around him and fought; Dumbledore s Army, The Order of the Phoenix, and Hogwarts School itself. Unfortunately, there were lives lost in this book. She warned us, but I wasn t expecting there to be so many and my being so emotional about it.
In the end, she was able to answer all my questions I had about his past and how it was going to end.
I actually am going to read all seven again to make sure I picked up everything she was trying to convey to us.
It was a great ending to an awesome ride! Thanks to Joanne K. Rowling for bringing me along!
MELISSA BRITT, 37
I began reading Harry Potter starting around fourth grade. My librarian had told me about how great the books were, and using my parents money, I bought the first three. Immediately I was a fan. The original three books traveled to every class, even gym, where I would hold it under the desk so whoever class I happened to be in at the time wouldn t notice. What struck me about those books was the complete mystery everything was shrouded in. Normally, I find suspense nothing more than a filler, a way to take up space and increase volume. But for once I was enjoying it in Rowling s work. The final book, has plenty of suspense, I am happy to say. The book clips along at a steady pace, rarely ever slowing down to try and get a dramatized emotional scene, better left to a medium such as film. Emotion is in the actions of the characters and the dialogues. The facial expressions, shifts in attitude, and eye winks are all deciphered by Rowling. More importantly, all the questions are finally answered, fates decided, and relationships developed. This is no Soprano s ending, there is nothing left to the imagination. That much alone should get you to read the book. The question is, did Rowling create a stellar novel in the process of answering all our questions about Harry? The answer is not so clear. As I review this book I realize that my opinion is horribly biased for one enormous reason, I guessed right. Not on one account, but on many, and most of the theories and ideas I had going into the book were not my own. So, I can only give one word of advice, let her surprise you. Don t come up with plot twists and turns in your mind trying to beat her to the conclusion. I can tell you that I did, and instead of a yelp of joy that I was right, I realized that I had missed the point of why I enjoyed reading Harry Potter in the first place, to be enchanted like a fourth grader. It s the final book, enjoy it while it lasts.
ZAK KRONE, 17
I was quite surprised about what happened in the seventh Harry Potter book. I didn t expect Harry to live. I thought he was a goner for sure. I also thought Ron and Hermione might die. I was quite happy that they, too, survived.
I was quite frustrated when Ron left Harry and Hermione during their search for the Horcruxes. I had a good feeling that he would come back though, and he did. I was also quite frustrated that Ron and Hermione didn t get together earlier in the book. I was quite happy when Hermione kissed Ron though full on the mouth. It was definitely my favorite part of the book. I was and still am a true Ron and Hermione shipper.
I m upset that Fred, Tonks, Lupin, Hedwig, and Dobby died. I m thrilled, however, that good triumphed over evil.
I m very pleased that Harry and Ginny ended up getting married and that Ron and Hermione end up getting married.
It was a very good book.
EMILY HOLLKAMP, 16