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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Book 7    by J. K. Rowling order for
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J. K. Rowling
Order:  USA  Can
Raincoast, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

Who will die? What will happen to Hogwarts? Is Snape good or bad? Will Voldemort finally be defeated? And is it possible Harry might die? Many people around the world have been waiting two years for the final installment of the Harry Potter series. As I write this, people of all ages are furiously reading; many have already finished. This is it folks, the last one, with no more planned; and the results are in: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, weighing in at 759 pages, concludes the fantasy series in spectacular, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring fashion, solidly placing it up there with Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and Stephen King's The Dark Tower, as one of the best fantasy series of all time. This seven-book series, which will be published as a complete set in a beautifully designed trunk-like box with handles and its own lock, will be one for the ages, to be read for many generations to come.

The Death Eaters are slowly but surely taking over, as we've always known they eventually would, increasing their numbers and employing an army of Dementors, under the control and guidance of Lord Voldemort. Rowling puts her three main characters Harry, Hermione, and Ron to the ultimate test here. In the last six books, Harry has gotten by with help from friends and teachers, always seemingly getting that necessary and crucial aid at the last second; but now each of the trio is seventeen, no longer considered underage, and able to perform magic wherever and however they please. Rowling doesn't hold back, leaving them to fend for themselves, solve their own problems, and get out of each and every situation as best they can. Deathly Hallows is nonstop action, one death defying scene of conflict leading to the next, as the three seek out the Horcruxes. Going on the vague and barely informative words of wisdom from the late Albus Dumbledore, they piece it together, using all their magical and educational knowledge (not just Hermione's!) with the goal of defeating Voldemort once and for all. And while Harry has expressed in the past that it's up to him, he's the Chosen One, and needs to go it alone, he isn't given the opportunity here.

People are dying, mainly Muggles, but also Mudbloods, and any whose bloodline is tainted with that of the non-magical, leading to a world that harkens back to the time of the Third Reich in Nazi Germany, as well as echoing the doom and hopelessness of 1984. With Voldemort's rule seemingly solid, Harry gets help he doesn't want from the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army, leading up to a great final battle, where the castle known as Hogwarts lives up to its name as a defensible fortress.

This is the last book, folks: who will live and who will die, who will triumph and who will fall is at the mercy of the turning page and the next sentence. But with the size of this book, you can be sure you'll be on the ride of your life from the beginning to end. And you will feel a sadness and longing at the realization that the long journey in the life of Harry Potter is finally over. Yet Rowling has done such an incredible job with Deathly Hallows, weaving in elements from all previous six books, that you are left with a strong sense of nostalgia. And what's the only cure for this feeling? Why to begin the series all over again, when Harry Potter first looked upon Number Four, Privet Drive.

2nd Review by Hilary Williamson:

School's finally out for Harry, Hermione and Ron as they face overwhelming odds together, attempting to carry out the wishes of their beloved mentor, Professor Dumbledore. Voldemort's Death Eaters have taken over the Ministry of Magic and all the good guys are on the run in a magical world that's suddenly become very dangerous to those who did not support You-Know-Who. Even Hagrid is in hiding. Harry and his friends live as fugitives, a small Resistance movement, coping with a steady stream of magical confrontations, violence and death - as well as worry for the survival of friends and family. Not only are Muggles and Mudbloods targeted, but also their relatives, leading to a mass exodus.

Dumbledore's will leaves them only puzzles - a means of illumination for Ron, a book of magical folktales for Hermione, and a Snitch (the one he caught in his first Hogwarts Quidditch match) for Harry. In between dodging the Death Eaters, the trio seek out the Horcruxes, though they also persist in their habit of arguing at every step - and make dangerous mistakes. Adding to their uncertainty and confusion, Rita Skeeter continues to print her calumny of Harry, but even more so of Dumbledore, casting doubt in Harry's mind about the old wizard's past history and intentions. There's a marvelous bank robbery and the grand finale is, as it should be, at Hogwarts, where Dumbledore's Army and the teaching staff end up holding the fort (at times it seems like the Alamo), refusing to be left out of the last act. Though all seems hopeless and Voldemort invincible, Harry discovers that there is something that he - and only he - can do, and he barely hesitates.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J. K. Rowling has given us a fitting and highly satisfying ending to a stupendous series. Harry truly grows up when he recognizes and forgives the fallibility of loved adults. There are hints of redemption, starting with tiny seeds of empathy in Dudley, but they're not carried to extremes that might stretch credibility. And the story touches more than once on the issue of whether or not the end justifies the means, with Harry coming down firmly on the right (IMHO) side of that question, one that's of great concern in today's world. Along with a multitude of Harry Potter fans, I'll be waiting with bated breath to see what J. K. Rowling tackles next.

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