Harry is waiting in Privet Drive. The Order of the Phoenix is coming to escort him safely away without Voldemort and his supporters knowing – if they can. But what will Harry do then? How can he fulfil the momentous and seemingly impossible task that Professor Dumbledore has left him?
Well we’ve reached the end of this wonderful series. There’ve been tears of joy and tears of sorrow. We’ve been there with Harry through it all, from the moment he found out he is a wizard, his triumphs on and off the Quidditch pitch, and in his moments of greatest despair when all hope seemed lost. But before the curtain call Rowling gives us a fitting conclusion in which we will feel all these things once more.
I remember reading this for the first time. Like fans all over I qued up to get a copy at midnight and then spent the rest of the night reading. This final installement is quite different to those that came before. Harry and Co have left Hogwarts and our out in the world on their own. Their are no teachers, parents or adults to protect them. This time it is down solely to them. While not the longest of the Potter books, (that honour rests with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) it is one of the most drawn out. A good 50% of the book is spent with Harry, Hermonie and Ron wandering around trying to come up with ideas of where they will find the Horcruxes. There is very little action in this section of the book. However from the half way point it is go, go, go. When I first read it this pacing bothered me as I was eager to find out how it all played out. I suspect younger readers may also struggle with this aspect of the book.
Alright I’m issuing a spoiler alert at this point. I can’t write this review without mentioning two of the most heart wrenching elements of the book, though to be fair the entire Battle of Hogwarts section had tears running down my face. If you haven’t read the book or seen the film, turn away now.
There are a lot of deaths in this series, and the increase in frequency towards the end. Undoubtedly two of the saddest are Dobby and Snape. Dobby is one of the purest characters in the entire series. He wants nothing more to help his friends. He is impossible not to love. His death therefore at the hands of Bellatrix, in service of his friends, is heart wrenching.
Snape on the other hand is one of the most complex characters in the entire series. I doubt you could find a single person who hand on their heart can claim they knew Snape was a good guy all along. He was always the character we viewed with suspion. Like Harry we were torn between the fact Dumbledore tells us to trust him and Snape’s actions. In the final moments he reveals himself to be better than everyone, the true hero who seeks no adoration but works in the shadows, and one of literatures greatest romantic leads. Romeo and Juliet have nothing on Snape when it comes to unrequited love.
It can be tough to finish a series right, but Rowling hits all the right notes. It is an ending which undoubtedly feels right. The final battle ends as it should….just Harry and Voldemort….just as it began.