Deathly Hallows Discussion Point #28: Opening and Closing Chapters

Every Harry Potter adventure from Stone to Prince opened in such a way that the ending was heavily foreshadowed in the beginning, a classical “joining-of-the-circle” formula. Go back and count the references to telescopes in Prince‘s first chapters and how Harry leaning on the window resembles Dumbledore at the base of the Astronomy Tower if you think I’m making this up.

We’ve started discussion about how Deathly Hallows is the completion and vibrant echo of events and themes in Philosopher’s Stone. Let’s talk here about the first three chapters of Hallows and how they prepare us for Harry’s struggles throughout the year and his eventual triumph.

Deathly Hallows Discussion Point #29: Arthuriana

Philosopher’s Stone was laden with references to the legends of King Arthur, from Harry’s life in secret as a Muggle, unaware of his heritage and the protection of a Merlin-esque wizard to specific plot points (remember the King and his crown on McGonagall’s chess board?). As we reached the story’s conclusion, Ms. Rowling seemed to reach deeper into Arthur lore for Harry’s heroic quest — corny word? nah –with Harry falling in love with Ginevra and the Graille elements of Harry’s Horcrux search and fascination with the three Deathly Hallows.

Travis Prinzi, as usual, is right on this over at Sword of Gryffindor; what are your thoughts on the Arthuriana in Deathly Hallows and the series as a whole? Ms. Rowling uses the alchemy to advance both her traditional and postmodern themes and concerns; how do the Arthurian backdrops and set-pieces, not to mention the names and story points reinforce what she has to say about love’s victory over death? Prejudice? Choice?

Deathly Hallows Discussion Point #30: Best Links

This is the last Deathly Hallows HogPro Discussion Point I’ll be posting before Prophecy 2007, so, lest HogPro All-Pros go spare looking for the latest and greatest commentary on these books, please send in links to sites not on my BlogRoll that HogPro readers may have missed. I know I am not alone in wanting to read A. S. Byatt’s, Lev Grossman’s, Harold Bloom’s, and Michael O’Brien’s take on the series finale; after Mr. Abanes’ fitting retirement from the field (I’m not reading the book — couldn’t be less interested…) and Ms. Mallory’s departure from litigation, can Brjit Kjos be far behind?

More seriously, I am eager to read the Red Hen’s thoughts and Professor Mum’s and Linda McCabe’s and Janet Batchler’s. Did I mention Travis Prinzi? So even though these Potter mavens are on my BlogRoll, I hope folks will send in anything they add to their sites. HogPro can act as something like the Floo Network, then, for better reading and discussion of Deathly Hallows this way, at least for a little while.

Thank you again for all your wonderful contributions to the site! I have a hard time believing how many other sites reference this one (and I only know of the ones that actually link to HogPro) as the source of their material and thinking about Deathly Hallows.

Deathly Hallows Twenty Discussion Points: Round Two (with Five New Questions!)

The discussion here this past week has been nothing short of spectacular! Though I have been pre-occupied with family business (we’re moving!), a new job, and taking notes for my two Prophecy 2007 talks next week, I have tried to check in to HogPro five or six times a day to put up all your insightful posts and send back the two or three that had to be re-written to take off an unnecessary edge. I hope you agree with me that HogPro threads have been the One-Stop site for challenging exchanges about the literary background and the meaning of Deathly Hallows (if I have checked in at Sword of Gryffindor every day to keep up with Mr. Prinzi’s reflections, too). As the site moderator and too-infrequent contributor since P-Day, I can only say “thank you very much” for all you have shared at HogPro.

In thanks and to spur further discussion while I’m packing the moving van today, I have come up with five new Deathly Hallows Discussion Points for your comments and consideration. Enjoy!

21. Philosopher Stone Echoes
22. Comparative Battle Scenes
23. Smuggling the Gospel Fallout
24. Three Controversial Points
25. John Granger at Prophecy 2007 and in Deathly Hallows?!

The First Set:

1. The Covers
2. The Opening Quotations from Aeschylus and Penn
3. The Christian Ending
4. Stoppered Death
5. Narrative Misdirection
6. The Hero’s Journey
7. The Rubedo
8. Postmodern Themes
9. Traditional Symbolism
10. Beheadings
11. Unrequited Love
12. Horcrux Hunting
13. Ron’s Departure and Return
14. Transformations
15. Nazi Echoes
16. The Name Taboo
17. Phallic Phantasy?
18. Fairy Tales
19. The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore
20. Disappointed?

Again, “Point, click, wax loquacious!”

Deathly Hallows Discussion Point #21: Philosopher’s Stone Echoes

There was no little discussion on this board and others about the structure of the seven book series. Two very well argued positions were that Deathly Hallows had to be a re-telling of Philosopher’s Stone or of Prisoner of Azkaban. I think the Philosopher’s Stone crowd have to be considered the victors here. From the Hagrid echoes (carrying Harry’s body after Voldemort’s attack, his second trip to safety with Harry on Sirius’ motorbike, the pay-back to the Norbert-protectors from the dragon in Gringott’s, etc.) to the Third Day Resurrection in the Hospital Wing and Neville’s part in the defeat of Slytherin, Deathly Hallows seems to be the completion of the circle Ms. Rowling started to draw in Philosopher’s Stone.

This would be the place to post your thoughts on how the septology books worked together (or didn’t) as well as the echoes you heard from Philosopher’s Stone and the other books. I’m especially curious (1) to see if anyone else thought the trials of Deathly Hallows that the Trio endured were similar to the tests they had to pass miles beneath Hogwarts in Stone as eleven year olds and (2) if the surprise endings of the first six books were foreshadowings of the ending in Hallows.