The Deathly Hallows

The last time we met our favorite young wizard, he was left all alone after the death of Dumbledore with no one but two other 17-year olds with the impossible task of seeking out Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes, destroying them and then seeking out The Dark Lord himself and finishing him and hopefully making out of it alive. As if that wasn’t enough, Dumbledore was killed by none other than Snape in whom he trusted and Rowling unimaginably made Severus Snape the most important character in the Deathly Hallows after probably the trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione and Voldemort. So, Rowling has numerous questions to answer and to finish off the series in a fitting way so as to leave all its fans satisfied. So, does she? In my opinion, The Deathly Hallows is possibly my favorite in the series as a whole and yes, the conclusion is superb and Rowling leaves absolutely no stone unturned.

The book begins before Harry’s 17th birthday when we know his protection against Voldemort given by his mother breaks and the Order of the Phoenix realizing this are trying to move Harry to a safer place. Saying absolutely what happens anymore in the book would be spoiling it for fans but suffice it to say the story twists and turns until the climax.

Ron and Hermione of course accompany Harry on the journey to secure the remaining Horcruxes and destroy them. There are numerous verbal fights, emotional sequences and then reunions as Rowling spins one heck of a magical yarn. She leads us on a nostalgic trip where everything from the Snitch Harry first caught to Dumbledore’s light-snatcher to Sirius’s mirror make a return and it almost seems as if she does not want to forget many of these amazing characters and sequences herself and in turn we do not want to forget this series that has captivated our hearts for many years.

However, after reading about a third of the book I found myself utterly confused. Here, she was with a plate full of questions to answer yet Rowling seemed to be happy to posing more and more questions and I must accept I was slightly nervous that the ending might not tie up all the loose ends or might be unsatisfying. But all my fears were washed away in the amazing last third of the book in which there are numerous goosebump sequences, sequences and dialogues where you will sit tight in your chair and every hair on your body will be pointing skywards. Rowling yet again has proven that she is truly a mistress of story-telling and while some of these sequences may seem too convenient as things fall firmly into place, there is no doubt about the emotions we feel when we read them.

So, in the end everything about The Deathly Hallows will leave you satisfied from its amazing action set-pieces to the complexity of the emotions underneath all the action and of course a finale that is befitting to the series as a whole. In the opening tribute, Rowling thanks all her fans for sticking with Harry till the end. And that is what exactly every fan has done, their love for Harry and his friends has only grown warmer and stronger with each of his adventures and in this final adventure Rowling makes sure that even as we – along with her – say one final wet-eyed (in my case) and heart-warming goodbye to the series, it will remain etched in our hearts and minds for all eternity and there in lies the true magic of Harry Potter and Rowling’s writing and not in the spells and enchantments that appear inside the book.

Harry Potter - A Tribute (Part II)

PS: Minor spoilers regarding the Harry Potter books. So, stay clear if you haven't read any of the books from the series.

The Goblet of Fire marked a change in tone for the series as a whole, one which has not changed since. The opening sequences really set it up, a very tired Voldemort instantly killing an eavesdropper or a number of death-eaters casually tossing muggles up and down and we instantly realized that much of the humor from the previous books may never show up again; this was most evident when Dumbledore who had been shown as having a benign smile and caring face was first shown in all his fury as he attacks the fake Alastor Moody and then casually turns his face with his feet to check whether he is knocked out. It also marked Voldemort’s return to complete power and Harry’s first face-to-face meeting with a full strength Voldemort which he faced with all the bravery that was expected of him. When Dumbledore spoke the words “Any time you have a choice between good and evil, remember what happened to Cedric Diggory”, we were one of the many people mourning the loss of this fictional character and we realized that even though the tone had changed from humor to darkness, much of the love and underlying warmth were still intact.

Then The Order of the Phoenix came about and Harry was shown as being left fully alone by his friends and we got the first glimpse of Harry’s anger at being The Chosen One. We also realized that no matter what happens Ron and Hermione would be firmly by his sides. And the story fully opened up with the Prophecy being revealed and Harry being shown as the person to overthrow Voldemort and his evil. Of course, Harry’s burden was further increased with the death of his only remaining family of sorts in Sirius Black. OOTP also featured the best duel to so far grace Harry Potter with the amazing confrontation between Dumbledore and Voldemort during the climax. And we realized that the true weapon Harry has over Voldemort in spite of clearly being the lesser in terms of wizardry is his heart; the only question remaining being how it plays a part in book 7.

I have personally said to myself many times that instead of being called Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, it should have been called HP and Severus Snape because that is what the book exactly is. THBP firmly establishes Snape as the most important character in book 7 after Voldemort and Harry himself. A large part of book 7 is dependant on whether Snape is double agent working for the good side or evil side. And of course all THBP does is set up for the conclusion. We get to know more about Voldemort’s past, his true inherent cruelty in the way he kills his father’s family and of course his Horcruxes which are the source of his immortality. The whole story finally falls into place with Harry and Ginny (and in a way Ron and Hermione) unmasking their feelings for each other and with Dumbledore’s death which meant Harry’s last protector was gone and he was left all alone (Again!). It also featured some of my favorite lines from all the books like when Dumbledore says, “I am not worried Harry! I am with you” and when Ron and Hermione firmly say they will accompany Harry wherever he goes.

Phew! It has been quite a ride even though it took me less than a month to finish all 6 books and in reality I have been waiting only for about 5 months now whereas some of you have been drooling for years together for book 7. But it feels like I have been part of this world for a longer time than I really have. I know I have forgotten many important characters/events in the above tribute. Hagrid is a wonderful character as is Draco as are most of the people in the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore’s army like Luna, Neville, The Weasleys and more and to start mentioning everyone is something I don’t intend to do.

I don’t want to start speculating about The Deathly Hallows but am definitely going to say that it is going to be the best book of the lot. Of course, the humor will not be there and the book will be all dark as Harry first goes after the remaining horcruxes and then after Voldemort himself. It is still unclear whether Ron and Hermione will accompany Harry which I hope they will. And of course unfinished plot points like the life debt owed by Wormtail, Ron, Ginny and Mr. Weasley will definitely rear their head. And Rowling must give a strong explanation as to why she killed Sirius and Dumbledore and also round off Snape’s character.

I am completely going to shut myself away for the next few days from anything related to Harry Potter – news, forum topics etc. – no leaked press news is going to spoil it for me and I am sure The Deathly Hallows will be the finale everyone expects it to be and hopefully it will be just that.

Harry Potter - A Tribute (Part I)

PS: Minor spoilers regarding the Harry Potter books. So, stay clear if you haven't read any of the books from the series.

On July 21st, the magical world of Harry Potter created by J.K. Rowling comes to an end. And while I am glad that it is finally getting over and we can get to read what happens to our favorite boy wizard and his friends, I am depressed that we will not be getting to read any more about Harry’s adventures as he attempts to conquer Voldemort. Here, I am going to share how Harry Potter has engulfed me right from the moment I started reading The Sorcerer’s Stone.

A long time ago, I was completely adamant I will not fall into the Harry Potter hype. I had taken a silent vow that I will not read any of the books or watch any of the movies no matter how hyped to death they were. But on Jan 19th, 2007, Harry Potter joined another great world (namely, Star Wars) to have captured my imagination after I had loathed it at some point of time. I was well informed about Harry Potter around the time of the release of The Half-Blood Prince but even then I never got on the bandwagon, something just kept me away from it. But with all the hype The Deathly Hallows (which I knew was going to be a fitting finale), I decided to give it a go to see what there is and boy am I glad I decided to do it.

The first impression I got when I read The Sorcerer’s Stone was the world created by Rowling is possibly the best fictional world ever invented with the possible exception of Star Wars. And while there are many parallels that can be draw between both Harry Potter and Star Wars – like a young boy relatively inexperienced in their worlds being forced to take on people who have mastered the arts (namely, Luke and Harry forced to take on Vader and Voldemort) and the eternal battle of good vs evil – both worlds are the results of wonderful imagination on the part of their respective authors. I realized Hogwarts was a fun place filled with lots of magic, booby traps and wonderful monsters that were captured beautifully by Rowling’s bewitching writing and funny dialogues. The Sorcerer’s Stone really set the base for all of the main characters – like portraying Dumbledore’s warmth for Harry, the beautiful friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione and Snape’s hatred for Harry and Harry’s rivalry with Draco – as well as proving that Rowling can come up with some amazing twists in the plot.

The Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban really had more of the same funny dialogues, character building, Hogwarts’ exploration and more twists to satisfy fans. Chamber of Secrets was also an important book to the series as a whole because it was in that book that we first got a glimpse of Voldemort’s past and the genius he was capable of at a young age as well as showing similarities shared by Voldemort and Harry. The Prisoner of Azkaban was the book in which we got to know more about Harry’s past, his father’s school life as well as his friends and getting warmth from the fact that Harry had a family of sorts in the form of his Godfather, Sirius Black. But the first 3 books never really opened up the story in any real form. The writing was at its best in the first 3 books to tell the truth, it combined all emotions into one, fun, sorrow, happiness and when Harry rode the Firebolt or when he realized the Firebolt had been given by Sirius, it was not only he who felt the warmth and happiness, rather as readers we shared every emotion he perceived.

In the next part, I look at the next 3 books in the series and also somewhat into The Deathly Hallows.