Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Michael's Take (Spoilers)
#1
I finished reading the book in what I think is record time for me. I need to think about it some more but that won't stop me from sharing my initial thoughts.

I do want to say that I debated whether I should have ordered the book in advance or not. I decided not to.

I debated whether I should stand in line or not. I decided not to.

So yesterday I was out running errands and drove to a Wal-Mart, parked my car, walked in, grabbed a book from the very well-stocked pallet at the store's entrance, walked over to the self-checkout, paid, and was on my way. It took me less than 5 minutes to get the book.

I like hassle-free shopping.

So, anyway, I recently read all six of the books in my possession so that my mind would be fresh with the whole series. It was a fun read and I have come to appreciate, over the years, just how much J.K. Rowling's writing has improved with each book. But that sense of appreciation sets up an expectation for the seventh book. I'm not sure if everyone will be pleased with how she handled the storyline's conclusion.

So, on with my thoughts!

In May 2007 I asked here if a canonical Harry Potter Timeline was possible. I shared some guesswork in that post that I'll review here.

For example, I wrote "I'm not convinced that Sirius' brother is R.A.B." Okay, now I'm convinced. It was a noble death but the characterization was somewhat weak. I think, however, that J.K. Rowling will be forgiven for the same reason that J.R.R. Tolkien is forgiven some of his weak characterizations: this story has so much background information you just cannot tell every little anecdote in great, loving detail. And she does give Regulus the benefit of showing the reader how Harry learns about his death. It's a more sympathetic (if less epic) treatment than Tolkien gave to many of his minor characters who never played a part in main stories.

I also wrote:
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Now Severus was quite offended when Harry kept calling him a coward after killing Dumbledore. It does seem to me that Dumbledore had ordered Severus to ensure that Draco did not commit murder. Was Dumbledore dying from the curse he had endured while breaking the horcrux in Slytherin's ring? Was Severus sparing Dumbledore a worse type of death?

Yes and yes. Not because I guess correctly, but because it was so well written with so little time, I applaud J.K. for giving these motivations to Snape (and I must say that the fact she led me and others to wonder about these things shows that Harry's last glimpse at Snape's motivations is not simply a deus ex machina).

Snape is easily the second most complex character in the series after Dumbledore.

In November 2005, I shared here my take on Severus Snape. In that discussion, I wrote:
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I believe Dumbledore trusted Snape for several reasons, but one of them must be the fact that Snape can produce a Patronus. J.K. indicates on her Web site that the members of the Order of the Phoenix communicate through their Patronuses (and you see this happen in at least The Half-Blood Prince as it is Snape who receives Tonks' Patronus). She notes elsewhere that Dark Wizards do not use Patronus spells -- I think she even says they cannot use them, and that is why the Order of the Phoenix chose to use them in the first place. They are very powerful anti-Dark magic protections.

I didn't realize then what the true significance of Snape's Patronus really was.

I also speculated on the Snape-Lily connection:
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But why would Snape behave the way he does? What could have led him to reject Voldemort in the first place? Is it possible that he was in love with Lily Potter, the only person (in the reader's knowledge) besides Dumbledore and Slugworth who ever showed Snape any kindness or respect? An insane jealousy over Lily's love for James Potter could have pushed Snape into serving Voldemort -- but when he learned that Voldemort had killed Lily, he might have realized (too late) that his feelings for her were too strong to suppress.

Well, close, but not exactly what J.K. gave us. Yes, Severus loved Lily but I did not see (I will say for an appropriate lack of clues) that Severus had known Lily since before childhood. He was her first wizard friend and but for his fascination with the dark arts he might actually have become a romantic friend. She didn't like James Potter even though they were both in Gryffindor. It seems to me that the chief distinction between James and Severus is that James grew up before Severus did.

All that said, I think Severus should have been given more stage time earlier in this story. Rowling could have (and I think should have) shown the reader that Snape was doing something to protect the students at Hogwarts while being his usual mean self. Neville's recap of events at the school is a letdown for me, although other people may be fine with it. This was a case where telling instead of showing weakens the story (which is usually what happens when you tell instead of show).

In 2005 I also wrote:
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Love, after all, is the one emotion Voldemort cannot understand or experience. Just as love protected Harry from Voldemort's killing curse, it could be love that protects Snape from Voldemort's Occlumency. Snape may despise Harry for being the son of James Potter, but he nonetheless could be "trapped" in his desperate love for Lily. And that may be why Dumbledore trusted Snape -- even to teach Harry Occlumency (a choice Dumbledore came to realize was a mistake).

Although Deathly Hallows does not elaborate much on the point, I think my conclusion was correct. Harry makes the ultimate sacrifice for everyone and in that one defining moment renders Voldemort completely incapable of hurting anyone ever again. I think the scene dragged out a little too much, but then, I also think it needed to be dragged out. Voldemort had to fully believe that Harry was dead. The self-discipline that Harry exercised prevented Voldemort from seeing Harry's true intentions and from realizing what he had done to himself once he cursed Harry.

My last point in 2005 was:
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Therefore, knowing he was probably going to die soon, Dumbledore may have devised a final plan to help ensure Snape's credibility with Voldemort. Snape may end up giving Harry some totally unexpected help before it's all over. Who knows? Maybe Voldemort will kill Snape for his treachery, depriving Harry of his revenge for Dumbledore's death. Maybe Harry will end up avenging Snape along with his parents and so many others.

Well, I was right about one thing. Harry did change the way he felt about Severus Snape. And one must say that he has to include Severus Snape in the people whom Harry avenged. But one lingering question remains: How should Harry have felt about the fact that Severus was willing to sacrifice him. Dumbledore had a plan, of sorts, but he didn't tell Severus everything.

In May I wrote:
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But what I've never understood is why Dumbledore went to great lengths to protect the Sorceror's Stone in the first place. The book doesn't explain what led Dumbledore to be concerned about it. Was it the fact that Harry was finally leaving the safety of the Dursleys' home? Did he sense a change in Quirrel?

It's almost like J.K. Rowling read my post and decided to answer the question. In a way it really has nothing to do with the story, and yet it has a great deal to do with the story. The Sorceror's Stone (Philosopher's Stone) represents Dumbledore's own serious flaw: his desire to cheat death. Dumbledore didn't simply want to continue on as a ghost the way so many other wizards had. He wanted to remain active in the living world. Nicholas Flamel had achieved at least that much more than either Dumbledore, Grindelwald, or Voldemort.

I think Dumbledore wanted to protect the stone for himself as much as to prevent Voldemort from acquiring it. Dumbledore continued to struggle with his inner temptations right down to the last year of his life, when he put on the Peverell ring. He wanted to conquer death, not so much for himself, but for "the greater good" of others. When Dumbledore told Harry there was no spell that could bring back the dead, he was sharing his deepest grief with Harry.

One of my wildly wrong guesses was that Hermione would figure out everything in the end. Curiously, Harry does a great job of putting together the clues he is handed. Hermione continues to provide Harry with great assistance (and Ron, despite his one failing in the seventh book, is just absolutely brilliant -- he does a good job of keeping his wits about him). But Hermione is not the key to Harry's success. He really does have a lot more going for him than most people give him credit for.

Harry illustrates for the reader that great wizards don't necessarily have to have great power. Grindelwald thought he was a great wizard. Dumbledore thought Grindelwald was a great wizard. Riddle thought he was a great wizard. Dumbledore thought Riddle was a great wizard. But the truth is that great wizards are those who succeed with their own capabilities.

Grindelwald, Dumbledore, and Riddle all tried to cheat their way to greater power by relying on external sources of power. Dumbledore did his best to ensure that Harry Potter would not make the same mistake. I think that Dumbledore saw in Harry an opportunity to produce the kind of great wizard that he, Grindelwald, and Riddle should have become. But ultimately that greatness is derived from the choices one makes. Dumbledore forced Harry to make a lot of difficult choices on his own, without benefit of clear advice, so that by the time Harry had to make the most important choice of all Harry would be ready to make the right choice.

Dumbledore could not force Harry to make the right choice, but he gave Harry enough insight into the bad choices many other wizards had made so that Harry could weigh the consequences better than anyone before him. In a way Dumbledore stacked the scales against Harry's becoming a dark wizard. In a way Dumbledore was seeking to restore a natural balance that he (and other wizards who had pursued their curiosity too far) had disrupted.

Nicholas Flamel was probably the last of the truly great wizards, the ones who made the legendary devices. When Flamel died the wizarding world began the transition into a new age, probably one dominated by the thought that death is not to be feared. The old wizards didn't understand death. They continued to hang around as ghosts, paintings, and shadows of their former selves because they wanted to remain rooted in the living world.

Dumbledore was no different from his peers and predecessors in that respect, but I think he came to realize that things had to change. Tom Riddle had pushed the fear of death farther than any wizard before him and in doing so had almost brought the wizarding and muggle worlds into direct, total conflict with each other. And though the wizards seem to be very powerful throughout these stories, history teaches us that there is no benevolence in boundaries.

The wizarding world separated itself from the muggle world for a reason, and that reason had to be for the sake of self-preservation. The muggles would have won out in the end, despite whatever the cost might be to them. I think that Dumbledore did come to understand that benevolent dictatorships are still dictatorships and not everyone wants to live that way. His youthful quest for power resulted in a great loss to his family.

So, I could talk about all the deaths (2 major characters? PUH-lease!) but I'll leave that for others. The ending is not quite satisfying, which is the way it should be, I think. You cannot have a great drama where everyone survives. I'm not sure of who all the fallen truly are. For example, Cho Chang comes back in the book but we don't know if she lives or dies. I think she may have been hurt, but I'm not sure.

Who is the girl whom Ginny comforts?

Well, there is time enough for those questions later.

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#2
I thought the ending wasn't bad. i perfered Harry just dying tho. Freds Death was done too quickly in my opinion. I didn't care for hedwig at all. Dobby dying was pretty ridiculous but i can see how people might've found it sad. Killing Lupin AND Tonks was just harsh though. they had just had a kid.

Snapes back story was interesting. I like it better when JK rowling gives us complete clues that lead up to the end. We never knew that Snape was friends with Lily since childhood so it kind of was a suprise.

After reading The seventh book i realized how good fans are at guessing whats going to happen next. Almost everything that happend had been predicted perfectly.
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#3
I thought we did know that Snape was friends with Lily since childhood, we definately knew they were friends from school anyway (or so I think, the last books are a bit blurred in my mind)

Killing Lupin and Tonks off was always going to happen after Tonks rushed in, and I didn't mind the mannor in which Fred died either. I think that the book was perfect, and has to be my favourite. AJ did you like the book at all??

I finished it literally this minute. After going to Tesco's at 11pm to shop for birthday presents I bought the book and read it in 2 days!!! Thats the quickest I've ever read a book that thick (I'm a very slow reader)
Shorey for England!
Reading fans


RoCk On SnOw PaTrOl

- Kwik Silva 44
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#4
I loved the book. But I'm still feeling sleep deprived.

As spoilers are OK in this thread.... Can someone else check my Math?

Wasn't Ted Lupin just born when his parents died? So "Nineteen years later" how would Teddie be snoggin anyone on the Hogwarts express? Wouldn't he have been past the age for Hogwarts? Perhaps I need to get more sleep and figure out exactly where Ted was when he was doing this snogging (with a member of the Weasly family). Maybe he was on the platform?

I was pleased so see that, prior to reading the 7th book, some fans noticed things that I had not. Some of my guesses proved true. Some of my guesses were off.

As for who lived, and who died. In a battle, I've heard that you don't know what is going on just the other side of the room/field/hill.

We also didn't have a list of who stayed to enter the battle, so Cho Chang could have left. My impression was that many of the D.A. group stayed.

As for the hints, and the "red herrings" (clues that can be, or are ignored), well there were plenty of them. Things that seemed to be just trivial bits of color thrown in to describe what is in a cabinet, or hung on a wall. Throughout the 7 books, we got Harry's view of the world. Things that an 11 year old wouldn't understand, weren't explained...... A child ignoring things done or said by adults, or mis-interpreting those things, is quite understandable now. Living in the moment of when Harry is a child. We were viewing the world as an 11, 12,13,14,15,16 and now finally a 17 year old.

Well done J.K. Well done.

I'm sure that this isn't a contest in speed reading, else I would own all of the prizes. But I suffer today.
Irene
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#5
I thought the last chapter was a bit too short and sweet, but the book was brilliant. I think the deaths, yes being harsh, made the sheer size of the problem of voldermort so much more real, and made the relief after he was dead, much more realistic.
Very well done! Smile
Confusedo: Are slugs just homeless snails, or are snails gypsy slugs?Confusedo:
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#6
So, where was the predicted "person doing magic late in life?" I must have missed it. Unless we take it to be Dinkydudderdum, who seemed to change his personality?
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#7
Irene Wrote:As spoilers are OK in this thread.... Can someone else check my Math?

Wasn't Ted Lupin just born when his parents died? So "Nineteen years later" how would Teddie be snoggin anyone on the Hogwarts express? Wouldn't he have been past the age for Hogwarts? Perhaps I need to get more sleep and figure out exactly where Ted was when he was doing this snogging (with a member of the Weasly family). Maybe he was on the platform?
Indeed he would be too old. He wasn't necessarily on the train though. James says that "Teddy's back there" and points over his shoulder into the steam, and tells the grownups that he (Teddy) said that he'd come to see her (Victoire) off.
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#8
I'm glad that someone is awake today. Thank you for pointing out where Teddy was. seems that if he'd come to "see her off" then he probably wasn't on the train.

As for our guesses about someone doing magic late in life..... Well we were wrong. I still held out for Aunt P, but it just seemed that she had wanted to go to Hogwarts (I really must get some sleep). It was nice that Dudley seemed to have grown up some & thanked Harry. . . . But you know, through all of the early pages, with the discussions of Albus Dumbledore's family, I was still guessing that his squib sister was Mrs. Figg. I did figure his brother for running the seedy bar in Hogsmead.

Maybe after a long nights sleep, or several long nights sleep, I'll re-read books 5-7 again.
Irene
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#9
Well, I had lots of guesses right.

When I saw Harry pick up the Tiara to mark the bust of the wizard on top of the cabinet where he hid The Half-Blood Prince's potions book, I thought, "A Horcrux item, something of Ravenclaw's, hidden at Hogwarts".

I thought that the barman at the Boar's Head was Alberforth and that he would aid Harry and The Cause.

I thought that Snape and Wormtail would aid Harry at crucial points, redeeming themselves, and both would die. I also thought that Draco would be somewhat redeemed, and probably live.

I thought a Weasley would die, but was more betting on Percy.

I was pretty sure "that awful boy" who Petunia overheard was Snape, rather than James; and that almost had to be so, if the "Snape loved Lily" theory {which I heartily disliked} were true.

I thought the issues of what happened the night the Potters were killed would matter, but they really didn't. It remains unresolved, who reported the entire affair; though we have more to go on for information now. Godric's Hollow was home to several Wizarding families, so, there may well have been many magical folk about when the fireworks went off, to send a message to Dumbledore; we don't need to know who, though Bathilda Bagshot comes to mind. And is her name reminiscant of "Bagshot Row" where Bilbo lived, or is it just me? And when Harry and Hermionie met up with her - she'd been dead awhile, perhaps months, by then - was she an Inferi, then?

Does anyone besides me note that Harry and Tom Riddle were related, then? You see, Tom Riddle was a descendant of Slythern; but also of one of the brothers who were the origional owners of "The Deathly Hallows". Marvalo's ring held the stone, upon which was etched the symbol of the Hallows; though he didn't know what it was, and called it the Peverell "coat of arms" {which it wasn't}. But the stone, that was handed down in his family; as the Cloak was handed down in Harry's family, from another of the brothers.

Of course, Gaunt was also related to Slythern, and that was the connection which Tom Riddle {Jr} valued.

I had guessed we'd learn about Harry's family past, which we did. My guess was some connection to Griffendor, which did not prove to be so; but of course, we had no information whatever on the Hallows or the Peverell family {other than the one mention by Marvalo Gaunt} until this book, so we had no way to guess Harry's relation to that family.

I still missed the "someone doing magic late in life" thing. I thought JKR had said we'd see an example of that in the last book, and I must have missed it.

I am puzzled over Neville getting the sword out of the Sorting Hat. Yes, the had had belonged to Griffendor, and "any true Griffendore" could pull it out, at great need; but didn't the goblin Griphook get the sword, as they left the vault in Gringotts? How did it come to be in the hat, again? O.K., "it's magic", right, but, is Griphook going to be mad at "Wizarding trechery"?

Does Kreacher remind anyone of Gollum, or just me? Especially the muttering to himself?
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#10
Michael Wrote:So, I could talk about all the deaths (2 major characters? PUH-lease!)
Um... What she said was "One character got a reprieve, but I have to say that two die that I didn't intend to die." That didn't necessarily mean that only 2 would die. In fact, it sounded like more than 2 to me since "one character got a reprieve".

A copy of the article is here.


[url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13558242/][/url]
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#11
Darq Ali Wrote:And when Harry and Hermionie met up with her - she'd been dead awhile, perhaps months, by then - was she an Inferi, then?
No, she was a snake pretending to be Bathilda.
Darq Ali Wrote:Does anyone besides me note that Harry and Tom Riddle were related, then?
Actually, yes. I made that observation to someone this morning as a matter of fact. But then, as I believe a number of people have observed in the books (Ron and Sirius for at least two), all of the pure blood wizarding families are related - it's a rather small pool of people to marry from.
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#12
[quote=Kwik silver 44] AJ did you like the book at all?? [quote]

i really liked the book Smile. I didn't know you still posted.
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#13
Besides wondering about the late in life magic user, I also can't figure out an incident in the final batttle, and I hope someone will help.

The wand flew up and went to its rightful owner, I thought that it would go to Draco, but it went to Harry. But why would Harry be its rightful owner?
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#14
Arcadia Wrote:The wand flew up and went to its rightful owner, I thought that it would go to Draco, but it went to Harry. But why would Harry be its rightful owner?
Because Harry had defeated Draco in the Manor - which was after Draco had "won" the wand.
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#15
Thanks. Now I understand.
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#16
Arcadia Wrote:Besides wondering about the late in life magic user, I also can't figure out an incident in the final batttle, and I hope someone will help.

The wand flew up and went to its rightful owner, I thought that it would go to Draco, but it went to Harry. But why would Harry be its rightful owner?
\

Well the second question was answered, I have a question about it, 'Harry defeated Draco and took his wand', but but you all 'missed' the first.

Neville's Gran'- that's you I figure it was. From the earlier books it didn't look like she'd been 'active' as a witch for quite a while, but when Neville was in 'trouble' with Youknowwho, 'she went right to it'.

Now to my question, Yes, Harry defeated Draco, and took his 'other' wand, but once you 'defeat someone' does THAT mean you get ALL their wands?? SO, no wand, you the defeated person, 'own' belongs to YOU anymore?

Or was JR referrring to the SIXTH book, where Harry defeats Draco, AFTER Snape's returned the wand to Dumbledore. (Since Snape didn't 'defeat' Draco, the 'ELDER wand' would still be Draco's legal property.) So Harry COULD be it's legal master, from that point forward and the wand still wouldn't 'work' for TOm RIDDLE, when he acquired it.
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#17
mary Pribble Wrote:Now to my question, Yes, Harry defeated Draco, and took his 'other' wand, but once you 'defeat someone' does THAT mean you get ALL their wands?? SO, no wand, you the defeated person, 'own' belongs to YOU anymore?
No clue about ownership. The stress is on the allegiance of the wand not the owner. The Elder Wand was passed by one wizard defeating another.
mary Pribble Wrote:Or was JR referrring to the SIXTH book, where Harry defeats Draco, AFTER Snape's returned the wand to Dumbledore. (Since Snape didn't 'defeat' Draco, the 'ELDER wand' would still be Draco's legal property.) So Harry COULD be it's legal master, from that point forward and the wand still wouldn't 'work' for TOm RIDDLE, when he acquired it.
Again, the allegiance of the wand is what apparently counts, no matter who owns it. Other than that, I was going by what Harry said. "I overpowered Draco weeks ago. I took this wand from him." I didn't dig any deeper than that though I probably should have.
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#18
Dixie Wrote:The Elder Wand was passed by one wizard defeating another.
Ooops! I should have said that the Elder Wand's allegiance was passed by one wizard defeating another. Sorry.
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#19
Just amazed at how well everyone's theories panned out, especially the Snape/Lilly connection which I had rejected as preposterous - and all guessed from one little line of text where a name wasn't mentioned! Most of my guesses were only half right - I thought a Wesley would die but that it would be Ginny, that there could be hope for Dudley but Malfoy would do more to be on Harry's side (really, how many times do you have to save that kid to get a little gratitude?) and that Snape would turn out to be good but would also do more to assist Harry. However, I did have a flash of inspiration last week where I thought Harry could be a horcrux, but I rejected it as ridiculous - I think because I couldn't figure out when it would have happened or how Harry wouldn't know about it (duh, the attack on his parents!) :roll:

Speaking of issues mathematical (and I hadn't noticed Teddy was just a little too old), is anyone else perplexed by the dates on Harry's parents' gravestone? 1981 giving Harry's date of birth as July 1980. I think it's the first time that a solid date has been given for the events of Harry's life but it seems a bit perplexing. Since the first book came out in 1997 I would expect his birthdate to be 1986, or else 1990 to make him 17 on the debut of the last book in the series. This means Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone is set in 1991, Deathly Hallows in 1998. The only reason I can think of for this is some significance for JKR in the creation of Harry - was 1991 the year he strolled into her head on a train trip?
Dogs come when they're called
Cats take a message and get back to you
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#20
I wonder which character got a reprieve. And who were the two main characters who died? Fred? Mad-eye?

I had read the idea that Harry might be a Horcrux, but I turned it down since V was trying to kill him. So that was wrong. But did V not realize Harry was a Horcrux? Do we assume the suffering creature during the conversation with DD was the soul piece?
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