tr.v. hal·lowed, hal·low·ing, hal·lows
1. To make or set apart as holy.
2. To respect or honor greatly; revere.
[Middle English halwen, from Old English hlgian; see kailo- in Indo-European roots.]
Harry, of course, is able to battle supernatural evil with supernatural forces of his own, and Rowling is quite clear that she doesn’t personally believe in that kind of magic — ‘not at all.’ Is she a Christian?
‘Yes, I am,’ she says. ‘Which seems to offend the religious right far worse than if I said I thought there was no God. Every time I’ve been asked if I believe in God, I’ve said yes, because I do, but no one ever really has gone any more deeply into it than that, and I have to say that does suit me, because if I talk too freely about that I think the intelligent reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess what’s coming in the books.’
this quote had always stuck in my mind and when i heard the title of ‘..the deathly hallows’ even more so. however i was convinced it would come into play along the lines of the arthurian legends and the holy grail. certainly there are shades of it, most notably ron doing the business with the sword of gryffindor, but the final chapter of the harry potter story is an alltogether larger beast than that.
“am i meant to know, but not to seek? did you know hard i’d find that?” page 391 uk ed.
this was the moment i begun to click.
the moment of doubt.
in this section of the book (at shell cottage) grief-stricken and sick to death of half truths harry comes to question not only dumbledore but the path that has been given to him, it would seem, by others. more than anything he is tired of trusting blindly – he wants to know why.
Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me; yet, not my will but yours be done (Mk.14:36, Mt.26:39-44, Lk.22:42)
as the story goes on harry realises that he must complete his journey. that it is for ‘the greater good’
and walks eventually, resigned and calmly, to his death.
by this point i had allready guessed what would happen next.
there are so many things about ‘deathly hallows’ that i should dislike. the passion? the ressurection? and a few rather sacherine touches towards the ending that would usually have me spitting with annoyance.
the thing about this book is that it is so well executed and it makes perfect sense as the completion of harry’s journey. the boy who lived.
in rough plot points DH sounds overblown and cliched but it is injected with jo’s wit, originality and stark grasp of human nature at every turn. if she is an author who believes in love, loyalty and friendship above all else then she is also a cruel god herself. unafraid not only to kill off beloved characters but often to do so in an offhand and callous manner. much of this book is grim and cold. the section where harry and hermione move from campsite to ever more hidden campsite felt as long, wearing and bone-chilling miserable as the journey itself. by the time i got to the sugary bits i damn well needed them (like remus lupin’s ever-present chocolate)
it’s been said often but whilst there is nothing offensive in these books they are no longer gentle little children’s fables. unless in the strewelpeter/grimm’s sense. prejudice, genocide, war and resistance are all themes that have woven through the series growing darker with each book. here we see the rise of every historical dictator – through the promise of power and the threat of fear – reflected in ‘the dark lord rising’.
if there is a secondry theme to this series it is that we are, all of us, flawed. no character in these books is black or white, not even harry or voldemort themselves.
“Yes, but the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters,” said Sirius with a wry smile. (OP14)
and in deathly hallows this is expanded on even further. we see most of our heroes and villains cast equally in the unflinching glare of humanity and falability. this is particularly explored in relation to the temptations of the hallows themselves and the lure of power.
aside from these grand and overarching themes DH is also, as you would hope and expect, a tight and rigorously plotted novel with many great twists and turns. there are some wonderful comic moments – though fewer than any previous book – and some hugely touching moments. both happy and sad.
and some kick ass fighting.
and a great big blind dragon.
and no quidditch. 😉
and a boy who loved, and lost, and fought