Deathly Hallows Discussion Point #20: Disappointed?

I put up three “sure thing predictions” this time last week at before posting my more speculative guesses using the Five Keys in my Book ( Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader): (1) Deathly Hallows would sell well, (2) We would see spoiler books by the time of release, and (3) a lot of folks were going to be disappointed in how Ms. Rowling ended this series. I got the first two pints right (duh). Are you disappointed with the finale? Scratching your head about which person late in life does magic? Confused (and upset) about the mechanics of Harry becoming a Horcrux (“only living object nearby”?)? What questions do you still have or faults do you see in how it all turned out?


  1. Interesting that the “nearest living object”, Harry, became a horcrux. Nagini was also a living horcrux, but does this tell us that the other horcruxes were also alive? I’m a bit confused on this point.

    (This seventh and final book was an emotional read. I’ll need some time to digest it.)

  2. Travis Prinzi says

    There were definitely a few dropped plot points, no question about it. What was on Draco’s arm? (I think we should assume Dark Mark at this point) What did Lily and James do for a living?

    The plot had a few weak points as well – a few very contrived escapes, a few overly-convenient plot turns. And I don’t buy that Voldemort would have thought he was the only person who ever discovered the RoR, what with there being a few centuries’ worth of hidden items in that room!

    But I can’t be disappointed with this book. The climax and denouement were better than I was even hoping for. So, no, I would not count myself among the disappointed.

    Though, I agree with your prediction: there are going to be a LOT of disappointed people.

  3. Travis Prinzi says

    I’d also add that I’m not disappointed in the Harry-horcrux explanation. It makes sense. Voldemort’s soul was in a terribly unstable state. When he performed that curse, and it backfired and hit him, it makes sense that there would be at least two pieces present, because of his recent murder. But neither piece would “die,” because of his other 5 horcruxes. So where does the torn piece go? The nearest soul works as an explanation for me.

    But even more than that, a vague explanation works for me. As Albus said at King’s Cross, Harry and Voldemort had pushed the boundaries of magic, doing things that had never been done before. There’s no precise explanation, because it was a brand new occurrence in the magical world.

  4. canofworms says

    I am not as disappointed as I thought I would be. Being built up always risks major let downs. I am glad we see that Dumbledore is not the perfect man we are lead to think he is (He is what Voldemort could have been if he–Voldemort–had made better choices), and I am glad to see that Snape is not the completely vicious man that Harry believed he was (he is also with Voldemort tendencies but with different choices–maybe dwelling someplace between the two). Still, I have a question regarding those two characters: why would Dumbledore want Snape to have the Elder Wand if he knew it would mean a death sentence for him? Did he just assume that Snape would give it to Harry to fight Voldemort? I found Snape to be the most interesting character–though now Dumbledore has taken on a new complexity–and was a little bummed to read he is axed, but at the same time, we are never really told what crimes he is still guilty of (ie: what he did as a DE). Maybe there was only one way to right those wrongs? Wow. Now I really want JKR to write the stories of the generation of the first war…

  5. david3565 says

    I’m definitely wondering who preformed magic late in life, but the one real blatant flaw I see is the epilogue. Too short, too spare, and thus leaves the series at an unsatisfying end. Ginny was magnificently under-used as well. What I would’ve like to have seen is (1) what happened to Harry in those nineteen years and (2) where all the other major characters of the books ended up.

  6. Katherine C of Oakland says

    Wrapping-up with King’s Cross segment felt a bit like deus ex machina to allow Harry to carry on beyond prediction. Opens interpretation to epilogue being a dream or heavenly vision as well. Still processing ending which was not fully satisfying other than nod to the sacredness of family & friends. Not as strong a theme as I’d hoped.

  7. The first two were a given, eh? But the last one. No, I was not at all disappointed. I’d actually forgotten about the person who does magic late in life till people brought it up. So, I guess I didn’t really care enough that it mattered that it wasn’t answered. I wonder if it is something that she changed from her original plan?

    I really like this book. And personally, since I never liked the idea that Harry was a Horcrux by all the explanations out there, I was very happy with the explanation that he received a part of Voldemort’s soul in such a random way. That worked for me. It was not too complicated to seem feasible, which is the reason I had problems with all the other possible ways that were put forth.

    I’m re-reading the last chapters at the moment. When I read them, I’d been reading straight though, not looking at chapter titles in the Table of Contents, and not looking ahead at anything. I was tired and had trouble staying focused because I hadn’t had any sleep. But I couldn’t put the book down, so my reaction right now is that I was not disappointed.

    The only thing that worried me was that Snape was going to turn out to be on the side of evil. But I really liked the way she did that chapter and the way that Harry found out. I would have liked it if Snape had known that Harry understood. But honestly, a face to face conversation between the two of them, which is what I thought I wanted wouldn’t have been very true to the characters. So, I think this and the name of Harry’s son was enough and the best way.

    I laughed and cried and was amazed at the book. Did the story play out the way I thought? Yes and no. She got where I thought she was going, but in typical Rowling fashion, not at all in the way I had imagined–which is why she’s a successful author and I’m not. My imaginings are so dull by comparison.

    I’ve finally written down some of my initial reactions on my blog, and not surprisingly, but unintentionally, I started with the Chapter about Severus Snape.


  8. John Madill says

    David: The only person I could think of using magic late was Stan Shunpike under the imperious curse. Wasn’t he a squib when he worked on the night bus.

    I have managed to read the book twice now and my only negative comment is the final chapter. My thinking or put another way the impression I have from reading it a couple of times is that this was written like she said from a long time ago and she wanted to complete the cycle of her books by not altering it from its orginal writing to more suit what ‘Hallows’ turned into from her orginal concept so it was left as it was, some what unsatisfying. We have no idea what Ron & Hermine, Harry & Ginny do for a living or more importantly the state of the Wizard World. Was it changed by Harry’s action and has it lasted 19 years.

  9. As I have been saying over at SoG, I am surprised by how many people loved this book. The overall reactions is very positive, both from the critics and fans. The books does have it’s flaws.

    But one thing I did notice… the questions left open are mainly the ones Jo has commented about in interviews. The rest, all the plot points mentioned in the book itself were in there and answered.

    There were a few minor holes and contived moments but there’s nothing like a good revision of the books in a few years time to iron out the chinks.

    I have a theory with the epilogue. I think Jo had much more to say about it. BUT she loves us, the fandom and wanted to hand over the series to us. So she gave us a small, concrete epilogue that meant people couldn’t go on and write their own versions of her world. The rest, she has left up to us…

    OR after possibly writing a revision, she’ll publish an epilogue, perhaps in the form of short stories, documenting again, a loose background of what happened to Harry, Hogwarts, etc. The proceeds for this could go to a charity and she could still leave enough room for the fandom to link the rest.

    I actually like that. And note that most of the questions DO arise with the epilogue. But Jo I feel wants US to craple with that. She knows that not everyone will have loved her deffinative epilogue so she’s giving us the divine privilege to make up our own set of answers.

    Now in regards to the DoM. I think it’s absence really speaks more for it’s importance that if Harry went there. She knew it was important and harry even went so very close to the DoM in this book. So why didn’t Jo take him there? Because it’s the DEPARTMENT OF MYSTERIES! I think this is another reference to her Christian faith. The mystery of death (the veil) of time, of space, etc are all part of the mysteries of God’s creation. She’s telling us that not even magic can unlock these precious and wonderful elements. Looking back now, I feel that had Harry gone there and found about about the veil… the outcome could have been taky. So yeah that’s another nod to her Christian faith… what do you guys think of that?

  10. Oh and in regards to who performed magic later in life… that person I feel was Merope. Her role was vital in Voldemort’s back story so thus it was vital to book six.

    John so do YOU like/love or loath DH?

  11. Overall I liked the book. My biggest disapointment came with the fact that Non Verbal magic did not exist. This was a point that was made by Snape to Harry in HBP that he needed to use nonverbal magic against Voldemort. Then it appears that he does not need it after all

  12. No, not yet anyway! As we begin to meet and talk together, once again there is the story on top of the surface and wealth of stuff underneath the surface. Like the opening feast at the start of term at Hogwarts, I don’t even know where to begin!


  13. Disappointed? Not hardly. I was enthralled and enthused by the whole thing.

    As for the epilogue, I thought it was brilliant precisely because it didn’t answer many questions. There is the sense from the last chapter proper that the balance is restored and that the world will go on. The epilogue establishes that it has: the train is a normal event, and normalcy is what’s happening offstage. (Besides, it’s the real reinforcement of the Jane Austen influence: not only are there pairings, they persist.)

    And I will re-read the “Albus Severus” paragraph many, many times. What an exquisite finish.

  14. sibelius says

    I loved it. My biggest complaint is always the prose, which I find a bit cliched and laden with horrible adverbs. But what’s interesting is how little anyone – including me – notices that with a story this good. As Robert McKee has made a profession of pointing out, story triumphs over all else.

  15. merlin111 says

    Not disappointed at all.

    Redemption, new twists, tragedy — this was her best work yet.

    The only areas that I would find disappointing are all some of the outstanding questions that are left unanswered. (e.g., draught of living death, draco’s arm, person who performed magic).

    But that probably reflects the overall harry potter phenomenon and unrealistic expectations for a writer. Whose to say that JKR has a responsibility to answer all of those questions that have emerged from a network of people scrutinizing her work? Isn’t that part of the fun to be able to continue to speculate?

  16. I was very, very happy when I had finished the book some hours after church on Sunday. My wife saw me clean tears from my face and try to control my emotions at several points during the later chapters.

    I cried out with jubilation already early Saturday when I passed the first time Harry said «Great God», making Lev Grossman of Time wrong.

    I jumped in my chair and strolled several rounds around the room when I had read about Harry’s baptism to his death in that frozen pond after he had seen the silver cross (!) of the sword of Gryffindor. To be baptized is (according to the Bible) to die and then to rise again. (And the silvery doe that lead him there, reminded me instantly about the little white horse of The Little White Horse).

    When I read Harry’s conversation with his father and mother (and Sirius and Lupin) just before he was going to die a death of his own choice, I realized that that meeting was the real meaning of the Deathly Hallows. The Elder Wand, plus the Ring, plus the Cloack worked together to give him access to the hallows of All Hallow’s Eve, to receive strength from them to die, and to learn the truth about dying as a holy person from them. And my thoughts went to Hebrews 12:1f: «Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith ..». That cloud of witnesses was the real meaning of the title of the book, and the answer to the question of how close to death a living soul may come (as JK just said).

    When I finnaly saw the title of Chapter 35, «King’s Cross», I removed my tears once more (Harry had just died, remember?) and shouted to myself: «John was right! John was right! She really meant the name «King’s Cross» to be taken literally!» When Harry died at the end of chapter 34, he finally gave up his old self. And when he rose again after meeting the King on the Cross, he was a new being. He had experienced the meaning of the words of the Lord: «He who wishes to save his life, shall lose it. But he who loses it, shall win it.»

    That is also telling me that Harry is not primarily a Christ figure. He is still a model figure of a child of the Heavenly Potter (Jer 18:1). But he has now been hallowed and formed into the image of the Savior. And in that sense he is a Christ figure, yes.

    And this is only a few of the reasons why I am not at all disappointed. Not at all!

    Odd (Sverre Hove)

  17. pamgalloway says

    Of all the emotions I experienced while reading the book, dissappointment would not be one of them. I loved the maturing of our beloved trio. I wept when Dobby died; yet I am thankful to Jo for forever establishing him as a hero.

    I, like others of you, am not clear about who the late in life magic maker is? Perhaps it is Merope or Stan. And I agree with David 3565 and others
    about the events of those 19 years. Jo has said she may later release a
    a publication of the back stories of the peripheral characters. But that doesn’t sound like a source for discovering the follow up to Luna, George, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Teddy, Prof. McGonagal, Grawp, Bill and Fleur,
    Kreacher…the list goes on and on. By the way, do you think Ginny and Harry live in 12 Grimmauld Place? Do you think Hermione will ever teache at Hogwarts?

    I’m thrilled that Severus was the troubled and wounded genius, so loyal to
    Dumbledore and Lily. Thank you, Jo, for finishing it with his proclamation of love. And I, like Eeyore, would have relished a scene proving that he knew that Harry understood. But one thing that Jo has consistently held before us is that war is painful and bloody. Throughout the series, I have been almost shocked by how often “our kids” are injured and bleeding.

    I like what Mpolly offers about the Veil. I agree. Even in the wonderful world of Harry Potter, there are finites. Beyond the Veil, all is forever changed. Yet, not forever separated. Harry is, in his most troubled times, encompassed about by a great cloud of witnesses who love him.

    Again, as I commented yestereday, I loved the thing with the socks. Socks lead to freedom! Would it be a stretch to say we all must bow to put on socks…the least shall be greatest, and Dobby was! And if Dumbledore had chosen to serve rather than persue his own agenda…

    Lastly, I agree with John Madill’s comment above…I think Jo tied it up and connected it to a finale planned years ago. As I read, occasionally I got the feeling that she must have felt tired…ready to “put this to bed”. Perhaps her genius as a story weaver eclipsed that early ending.

  18. Canofworms–
    Dumbledore was not arranging for Snape to have the wand. The plan was that, since Snape killed him by prearrangement, Dumbledore would die unconquered and the wand could never pass to another owner. That didn’t work, because Draco had already disarmed him.

    I’m pleased that Rowling uses those “horrible adverbs.” Adverbs may be out of fashion now, but they make for better writing. You don’t have to agree with me; I’m sure the writing style you prefer is one I would dislike. Chacun a son gout.

    I don’t see the epilogue as being flawed; a tie-up-every-loose-end-everyone-ever-thought-of ending probably would be. I see it more as Harry’s tribute to the courage of a man he once despised, and an assurance that the legacy of Snape and Dumbledore–both childless-would live on in Harry’s younger son.

    I admit that this is not the book I expected Rowling to write, but it is absolutely the book she should have written. I am very impressed with it indeed.

  19. TonksnLupin says

    Also, and John has of course pointed out Rowling’s indebtedness to Tolkien, among others, it is interesting how the actions of the locket (the effects it has on its wearers) resembles the actions and effects of the One Ring on Frodo.

    The advantage in Deathly Hallows, and one of its greatest achievements, in my opinion, is that Harry doesn’t have to bear this alone: He, Hermione and Ron all take turns bearing the burden.


  20. canofworms says

    that is what i thought at first, but when i read the king’s cross chapter, on page 721, Harry asks if Dumbledore meant Snape to end up with the wand, DD replies “I admit that was my intention.” So I still don’t know why he would want Snape to have the wand, unless they agreed that it would be a major risk that would probably get him (Snape) killed. I just don’t want to think that DD set up Snape to get axed without telling Snape what the danger was. I think that would take Dumbledore from being a conflicted leader to a user.

  21. Well – I am disappointed. The book, to me, was initially gripping as a story but then became meandering and heavy-handed at times. There were things I loved and things I hated, but I have to admit that my chief disappointment, as a Snape fan, was with the way Rowling treated my favorite character. Of course he was Dumbledore’s man; that was no surprise at all to me. And of course I’m grieving because he is dead. But I knew there was a better than 50/50 chance he would die, and I actually surmised Voldemort would make Nagini bite him. So why am I disappointed?

    I think a very big part of it was that there was no opportunity to grieve within the story itself. Harry’s in the middle of a battle and completing a quest when Snape dies; he grabs the memories and runs, and that’s that. No eulogy, no medal, no official redemption, no funeral, even – as my livejournal friend CMWinters says, they all just leave him in the Shrieking Shack to rot. The Shrieking shack! The place of his worst nightmares. As she says, that is incredibly disrespectful to the man.

    And, although I was expecting the unrequited love for Lily, it disturbed me that it was Snape’s only motivation for his actions, because Rowling apparently tried to make a creepy pseudo-Heathcliff thing out of it (Heathcliff is not my favorite character by any means, and I love Snape.) The little boy could not be presented as a socially awkward outcast with a crush on a pretty, talented little girl – which, honestly, if you simply looked at the kids’ actions and dialogue, was the way he came across. No, she had to throw in adjectives emphasizing little Sev as greedy, sneaky, – already obsessed at the age of nine. This, even though it is *absolutely normal* for children of 9 or 10 to have crushes, and though Severus did *not* come across as a nasty little boy. But Rowling had to throw in those adjectives. It also bothered me that, though these were his memories, we never got inside his head to learn what the sorting hat said to him, for example. Heck, we don’t even know who loved him! It was certainly not Dumbledore, as I had guessed, and Lily didn’t ever seem even like a close friend – he was crazy about her, not the other way around.

    So what we are presented with is a young man who is pretty clearly ambitious, socially awkward and suffering from low self-esteem who joins a terrorist group – and then discovers that they are trying to murder the girl he loves. He is desperate to save her, gives himself up and confesses his crimes and begs for help – and is treated with contempt. He then promises to guard the child of his dead love, and he does guard him, faithfully, with his life. For at least three years he walks the razor’s edge, doing an incredibly difficult and dangerous job as a double agent. What I’m trying to say is that my essays were *right*. Severus is obedient; he is faithful; he keeps his promises to the best of his ability, and his last act is an act of obedience to Dumbledore, help to Harry, and love for Lily all at once. However flawed and petty his motivation may seem, he is GOOD. And Rowing will not even give him a funeral, or the slightest public recognition? If there is a Christ figure in these books, it is Severus just as much as Harry. He obeys unto death, and pours himself out like a libation – and I am crying, finally, as I type this. I didn’t cry at all when I read the book. It just felt so flat and bleak and pointless and empty. I think Rowling was very disrespectful of Snape’s many fans. He, and they, deserved more.

    That was my main emotional problem with the book. My main intellectual problem – nothing is resolved, really. Yes, Voldemort’s dead, but the house-elves are still slaves; the sorting still goes on, the Gryffindors still hate the Slytherins, There is, as far as I can remember, no resolution to the Dementor problem – and on it goes. I so wanted to see some house unity! and I hated it that not one Slytherin child fought on the side of right. I can’t tell you how I hated that.

    Things I loved, though – I actually did like the scenes with Snape’s patronus. I really liked Dumbledore’s backstory (though where he got off having contempt for 20-year-old Snape when he was at least as bad, if not worse, at the same age, really galled me.) And I loved Regulus’s heroism, and Kreacher’s, and Luna’s and Neville’s. Oh, and the dragon was cool.

    Was bugged by all the poor editing and continuity errors. Was bugged by all the things we didn’t find out, especially those Rowling had said she would clear up (what actually happened in the Shrieking Shack, for example?) Oh, and if she was aiming for the greatest reversal in the history of literature, she certainly failed. Many of us knew that Snape loved Lily; that was no surprise at all, and it wasn’t at all surprising to an attentive reader that he was Dumbledore’s man, either. For me, OOTP clinched that, and I was even more certain of his loyalties at the end of HBP. In DH, though one might waver at the beginning, I never really did, and the thing that absolutely clinched it for me in this book was his slicing off the twin’s ear. I thought at once of St. Peter. Seriously – I did!

    So, there was no reversal at all for me. Unless she meant Dumbledore? Now, that was surprising. And, as I said, I liked it.

    These are first impressions. I’m pretty upset. Might revise them a bit later; my sister doesn’t agree with me, but I am certainly not inclined to reread the book, and I don’t think I’ll want to hold any Harry Potter parties any time soon.

  22. TonksnLupin says

    The things that many people have said were unclear are only unclear because some of us are going on little sleep and need to reread it again to be able to understand it fully. Not everything is laid out in front of you! You have to dig! This is what I believe:

    #1: What’s on Draco’s arm?

    It’s the dark mark! He was made a death eater and we have sufficient proof of this in the fifth book.

    #2: And I don’t buy that Voldemort would have thought he was the only person who ever discovered the RoR, what with there being a few centuries’ worth of hidden items in that room!
    -Posted by Travis Prinzi

    Actually, Voldemort wasn’t Voldemort at that time. He was Tom Riddle and seeing Tom Riddle was one who would be like “I must have found this first!” even if he did have sufficient proof that that wasn’t true would have said so anyways because of his lofty nature. But still, good question.

    #3: way2sirius Says:
    July 22nd, 2007 at 7:17 pm
    Interesting that the “nearest living object”, Harry, became a horcrux. Nagini was also a living horcrux, but does this tell us that the other horcruxes were also alive? I’m a bit confused on this point.

    The only reason Harry became a horcrux was because of something the wizarding world cannot explain. This in no way tells us that the other ones were real. Of course, one might argue that the locket strangling Harry would say that it was “real” but it is only “real” in that sense because Voldemort put a part of his soul into it. Have you ever heard of a locket being alive?

    #4: why would Dumbledore want Snape to have the Elder Wand if he knew it would mean a death sentence for him? Did he just assume that Snape would give it to Harry to fight Voldemort?

    Both of them didn’t know that Snape would be killed because of it. There is no proof that Albus knew so there should be no question about that or else they didn’t know Voldemort would understand it before hand. Also, if you have read the book carefully, Albus didn’t ever want Harry to have the Elder Wand. That’s why he never explained to Harry about the Deathly Hallows.

    #5: I, like others of you, am not clear about who the late in life magic maker is?
    It is in my opinion that Molly is the late in life magic maker because she wasn’t even able to make a boggart disappear but she ended up killing Bellatrix in the end? How can she do that and not be able to make a boggart go away? Hmm…..

    This is what I believe and I understand why many people would be confused because it isn’t laid out in front of you and I also believe that if we didn’t look with an adult eye but with a child’s eye we will be able to fully appreciate the book. As a child who would completely immerse ones self instead of looking for faults as many adults try and do.


  23. I agree with Mary – I was gripped for most of it, but the ending rang hollow and contrived with me (I actually thought “well, there’s the Hollywood ending” and “so, it’s just a kid’s story afterall”). Then, I thought it seemed so incredibly close to Aslan in Narnia that I shook my head.

    I don’t believe the epilogue offered much that couldn’t have been more credibly added to the story. I was forcibly reminded of an interview I heard with the creator of the Matrix trilogy who remarked that his characters didn’t ‘go on’ because they were allegorical figures, not real ‘people’. He said “what are they supposed to do, get married and have little cliches?” (I have not seen or read the Matrix trilogy.) This epilogue struck me as exactly that. I did enjoy ‘seeing’ little Teddy snogging Victoire! (and am wondering if that will be the next story – the new orphan’s tale???)

    I also did not at all like how Professor Snape was dispatched, seemingly summarily. I was crying throughout the scene(s), but at his pain and misunderstood existence. I must admit that I felt vindicated since I was firmly in the “Snape is good” camp and also figured that his extreme contempt for Harry had to come from the fact that every time he looked at Harry he was looking at the physical proof that his schoolyard nemesis got “his girl”. The “look . . . at . . .me” was so moving for me. Wow.

    I loved that Ron started to ‘get it’ (he still has a long way to go!) and that all of them finally understood that creatures (human and others) respond in kind to their treatment. Kreacher is not the only example of that – Severus is, too. So is Aberforth, to a certain extent.

    I also liked the demonstration of the consequences of choosing the “horcruxes” (Harry’s choice) versus choosing the “hallows” (Albus’s choice). That is why Albus was not ultimately able to defeat Voldemort – power alone would not defeat power.

    It seemed that the overall theme apparent to me in the first six books – sacrificial love – was very diluted by the end of this book. I was left wondering if the overall theme was indeed sacrificial love, or was it the strength of family, or was it power versus love, or what exactly were we to come away with? Then, again, I was wondering if we were just to accept this as ‘kid lit’ – and then I was disappointed again by the ending!

    I was frustrated and disappointed, but will reread and listen to the discussion avidly!

  24. Linnapaw says

    Disappointed is a strong word…

    It’s hard to say… I was completely engrossed in DH. I bought the book in the Munich Airport, and read just about the entire time overseas from Munich to Chicago, and when I got off the plane I had about 70 pages left.

    I really, really liked the book. That being said, I got a little bit of the impression that perhaps Ms. Rowling really, really wanted to finish this book without it getting to 1000+ pages and without another gap of three years or more. I just feel like there were so many things which were built up along in the series which didn’t play a big enough role to make sense of why they were there in the first place. For instance, a whole lot of book four was devoted to the point of the importance of international wizarding cooperation, but in the finale, this played a very small role. Yes, we see a return of Viktor Krum – but only for the wedding, and to give us a small piece of information. Secondly, there were themes about traitors, given what happened to the original order (and the DA and all), and I was expecting to see that in somebody a little more prominent than Xeno Lovegood. So much of book five was focused on trying to figure out where other magical creatures stood in their allegiances, but in the end, it didn’t really play a big part. Then there was all the speculation about somebody whom was thought to be dead only being in hiding (maybe Regulus) given the conversation with Draco in the end of book six (more explicitly given in the American version – the British version doesn’t have the couple lines about that, and now I just wonder if it was due to a better editing job!) And after all the buildup about how main characters were going to die, and about how Ms. Rowling cried mascera tears finishing this book, I was just bracing myself for at least one of the core six kids to die irrevocably, and it didn’t happen. It makes me wonder if she really shrank away from killing off one of them at the end as well…

    When I finished HBP, the first thing I wanted to do was to re-read it. As books are written, I’d say that one was probably the best written of the series. Even though we are one book away from the finale, it left me with a triumphant feeling, and though I cried for a couple of points in DH, it didn’t have quite the impact at the end that I expected. I really like, though, how she handled Dumbledore and Snape, and killing off Harry and not at the same time. I will have to read it again, but hopefully sometime when I’m a little less jet-lagged.

    (I’d also be interested to know if there any differences in the British and American versions!)

  25. Mary, I too am a Snape fan. I too knew he loved Lily and served Dumbledore faithfully, and was Harry’s protector for the sake of his mother. I too saw his death as pointless – Voldemort miscalculated the business about the wands. But that sort of thing happens when you dance with the devil.

    But I wouldn’t say that he had no honours. Harry named his second born son after him. He called him “probably the bravest man I ever knew.”

    There are many meanings to this. It refers back to the end of book 6, where Harry calls Snape a coward, and Snape screams back at him:


    It’s an apology. It’s also an allusion to the second to last paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities:

    “I see that child who lay upon her bosom and who bore my name, a man winning his way up in that path of life which once was mine. I see him winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious there by the light of his. I see the blots I threw upon it, faded away. I see him, foremost of just judges and honored men, bringing a boy of my name, with a forehead that I know and golden hair, to this place – then fair to look upon, with not a trace of this day’s disfigurement – and I hear him tell the child my story, with a tender and a faltering voice.”

    Not a bad epitaph, I think, speaking as someone who also loved Sydney Carton.

  26. pamgalloway says

    Since we’re discussing elements and scenes we expected, this one was interesting to me…Ron and Neville bringing down Fenrir. Wouldn’t that have been a great place for a Slytherin to be victorious for the good guys? With their colors being green and silver, and silver being what you use to kill a werewolf?

    Also, do any of you remember Jo’s comment about the scene in the PoA film where Buckbeak fights Lupin? Something about the screenwriter being very close to another scene yet to come; and I think it was John Granger who speculated that we might see Fleur, in full Veela rage, battle Fenrir.

    And I thought this was sweet. Harry’s younger son, Albus Severus, seemed to be a bit timid and unsure, but this little Severus would clearly have an abundance of love and encouragement, in addition to 3 honorable names.

  27. John Madill says

    In reading some of the comments I would just like to offer this. Excepting Snape, Harry for once was right just about everything this time, that was interesting don’t you think?

  28. Reyhan, I understand what you’re saying with the “Tale of Two Cities” analogy, but Rowling is no Dickens. Carton died *in someone else’s place* and thereby made the birth of that child possible. Rowling gave Severus no such importance, though many of us who loved and trusted him were hoping that she might. As I said, she didn’t even give him a funeral; as far as we know, he doesn’t have a grave. Nor did she give him an afterlife. I really, really wanted Severus to survive (although as a Muggle in the Muggle world) and find some peace and balance in his life that he had never had. But, if he had to die – even a meaningless and senseless death such as she gave him – I would have liked at least to see some happiness for him in the next world. She couldn’t be bothered to give us even that. That poor young fellow had so little to work with, and yet he was so faithful, and as true to his best nature as he knew how to be – and, as far as Rowling is concerned, it doesn’t matter. Harry gets to see all his other protectors in the afterlife, but not Severus.

    I think Rowling doesn’t really understand what she’s done with Snape. I think she actually does not know that she has shown us a saint, just as I suspected she . I think she wants us to find him a creepy lost soul who doesn’t deserve our regard, and I think she wants us to admire Harry for forgiving him, even though she, the author, wouldn’t have. Two of her comments that I find particularly galling right now:

    “Dumbledore is the epitome of goodness.”
    “Why do you love Snape? Who would ever want Snape in love with them?”

    Yuck! As I said above, she is no Dickens.

  29. hadrianwall says

    I thought it read like a bad fanfic.

    I agree with all the points Mary made.

    I honestly wanted something more than Snape loving Lily, a twist or something, I just feel she just went with what the majority of fans wanted and at this point, she has enough money to never write another book, so give them what they want.

    And yes, his death- being left in that loathsome shack- I find it disturbing.

    But as I just wrote on another board, at least precious Harry and Ginny had sex and babies, I am sure that is quite comforting after reading about a total of I think 14 deaths including a likeable houself and poor Colin Creevy, I’m sure the kiddies will have great dreams knowing Harry and Ginny have copulated.

    Honestly, I was glad Harry referred to Severus as brave it just came a little too late.

    Regarding other storylines, she left out so much and she even created a whole new set of questions- its mind boggling and I’m too p-offed to even care anymore.

  30. mary, I personally think she said that said that as she was startled by how many people thought Snape to be good. She hoped that by saying that, people would assume he was evil. That’s how I see it.

    And I’d cut her some serious slack. This is her first series of books. Her first major story. She has done brilliantly. I have loved every book thus far.

  31. MaWeasley says

    Who performed magic late in life? It’s Dudley, of course! The “magic” that he displays is love toward the cousin he had always abused and felt disdain for. While Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia didn’t get there, Dudley took the first step in his own transformation by actually caring about what would happen to Harry and acknowledging that Harry had saved him. Just my thoughts…

  32. EmmaReader says

    I agree with Mary. I hated how Snape died. I really wanted him to go out in a blaze of glory. I wanted some acknowledgement between him and Harry before Snape died to show him that Harry understood. I wanted him to do something glorious for the good guys before he was cut down. Instead, he gets killed in the filthy Shrieking Shack, and if Harry hadn’t been there (or Hermione, for that matter, to be the quick thinker to create the jar), he would never have known all that Snape had done to help him. Snape had such a lonely life, and then to die in such a lonely way. All my emotional investment in him as a ‘white hat’ over the course of the other 6 novels just did not get the emotional payoff I wanted. Also, he didn’t even get to fight back. I think the author would have portrayed any other hero in the book as fighting back, so I didn’t like the decision on the author’s part that Snape didn’t get to. Snape was faithful and true from the moment he made his deal with Dumbledore and even after he knew that Dumbledore was not the ‘epitomy of goodness’ that Rowling seems to think he is but that we can clearly see he is not. (Thanks for the quote, Mary.) I wanted some time for Harry to take all this in and realize his misjudgment of Snape before Snape died. Thank goodness this took place later, but it didn’t have the impact it needed for my way of thinking. My disappointment about what the author did to Snape is even bigger than my disappointment that Dumbledore could send Harry to the slaughter with no remorse or hesitation.

  33. Here’s what I was really afraid of–that JKR would really be a malicious person who was out to jerk our chains. She’d lead us down the Christian symbolist path and then land us in postmodern nihilism. That didn’t happen. Whew. She can’t blame me for my fears, though. It was she who taught me that some people who seem to be good turn out to be evil at the end of the book. I’m glad she’s not a Gilderoy Lockhart.

    I was not disappointed, but I admit I was feeling the tedium of setting up camp, being hungry, taking down camp, not knowing what to do, setting up camp, bickering, taking down camp… I’ve been camping, and it didn’t sound fun at all. But I know that’s the point. We experience what Harry experiences, and the weeks and weeks of frustrated wandering were supposed to wear on the readers as well. I suppose this could be a symbol of the Israelites’ wandering in the wilderness, or Christ’s 40 days of hunger in the wilderness. My friend James was reminded of Sam and Frodo’s suffering and wandering through Mordor.

    I was reading fast and furious, as we all were, but I tried to notice the adverbs, since that’s a point of contention with so many. I don’t know about you, but I think she definitely cut back on the adverbs, especially the ones that describe “said.” I was kind of sad about that–feeling that JKR was pressured into changing her style by the prose experts. I suppose, however, this could indicate that she has the humility to listen to critics and “improve” her writing. I certainly don’t have the expertise or the ear to notice the lack of elegance in prose. I kind of liked the adverbs. And, for what it’s worth, I laugh every time I notice that a character does something more or faster or angrier than he/she ever did before.

    I do admit I didn’t enjoy the epilogue. I thought it sounded like someone else had written it. It was so happy, it was too happy, it was sappy! My 11-year-old even noticed it. She said it was a shame that nothing exciting had happened to Harry in 19 years. I reminded her that Harry “had enough trouble for a lifetime,” and she just rolled her eyes. I suppose things won’t really be quiet, though, as long as little Scorpius is around. And about the Hollywood feel to it–I definitely got a cinematic image when Neville cut off Nagini’s head and it went flying through the air. It will have to be in slow motion, won’t it? There. That’s my prediction for the film DH, that when Neville cuts off Nagini’s head, it will be in slow motion.

    I enjoyed Potterwatch. Was it a nod to the fandom podcasts? Was she tempted to spell it PotterWatch? I noticed in Potterwatch that Lee Jordan’s pseudonym was River, as in Jordan River.

    As far as the treatment of Snape, though, I was not disappointed. It is definitely a shame that he died in such a place and under such conditions. However, there are many many real world heroes that have died with even less honor. I think Snape’s death, as unsatisfying as it is to Snape fans, honors unnamed and unknown martyrs and heroes far more than it would have if Snape had received recognition or reward in this world or the next. (We can assume he receives recognition and reward in the next world, though, even if JKR didn’t lay it out for us explicitly. That’s her style, isn’t it–not to lay it all out explicitly.) In addition, Snape’s death without recognition of his heroism elevates his moral character even higher. If the true test of moral character is what a person does that no one knows about, Snape meets the highest standard. My opinion is that Snape’s death is just right.

    Someone (Sorry–I don’t recall who) mentioned that the absence of the Dept. of Mysteries reminded him/her that the mysteries are just that–mysteries, and not going there was on purpose. He/she mentioned time, love, and death as some of those mysteries. I would add that the room that holds the prophecies could address the mystery of God’s foreknowledge and human free will. I wonder if one of the rooms in the department addresses the problem of evil? That would be something.

    I think some of our disappointments can be chalked up to the many months we’ve been contemplating this last book. We’ve invented and toyed with all kinds of extremely complicated rules about magic, symbolic systems, hidden truths, and clues so much that when it turns out that, for example, no one really knows why Harry became a horcrux at Godric’s Hollow, we are left just shaking our heads. It’s just a lot simpler than we thought it would be. Maybe that’s a good point–that there isn’t always going to be a tight technical explanation for important things, that the important things are simple enough for a young child to experience. In addition, we’ve become attached to particular characters. I, for one, am much more interested in what the adults do than what the kids do, because I can realte to the adults in my egocentric point of view more than I can relate to the kids. (I was tickled to find out that I was born after Lilly and before James.) However, it’s not Remus Lupin and the Deathly Hallows, or Severus Snape and the Deathly Hallows, or even Albus Dumbledore and the Deathly Hallows–it is, as Dumbledore reminds us in King’s Cross, Harry’s party.

  34. Billy the Kid says

    I don’t understand why so many people are going on and on about this “mysterious person ” doing magic late in life. My impression is that it was a throw away comment from a much earlier interview. For some reason people latched on to that as something really important. So what? It wasn’t the least bit importatn to the story. I don’t think it was Ted Tonks. Hew was muggleborn not a muggle wasn’t he? So give it a rest.
    I would also hazard a guess that most of those dissapointed in the epilogue have never read a A Tale of Two Cities. And while I’m at it let me clear up a couple of other things.
    What did Lily and James do for a living? – Didn’t need money, so they worked for the Order of the Phoenix (probably recruited at Hogwarts since they would have graduated in the middle of the Voldy war I)
    What was on Dracos Arm? – Dark Mark
    Who got the repreive? – Hagrid
    Who got axed? – Hedwig (can’t have the owl flying around giving their location away so she decides to kill him off early) and this one is a guess but I would say Dobby – Can’t have him blabbing about Albrecht that early in the book so better kill him off too. (I cried more there than any other place)
    Voldemort thinking only he new about the “Room of Requirement” – It just shows that there is a BIG difference between intelligence and wisdom. Voldy shows all along that he doesn’t have a lick of common sense.

    Harry’s job afterward – NOT an Auror. He pretty much declares that at the end. He doesn’t want to go anywhere near a dark wizard again. I think he probably went back to what he did best. Quiddich. Every team would have wanted him to play for them! Can you imagine the ticket sales if Harry Potter plays for you! I’m buying one! He would also make a pretty good coach when he got to old to play.

  35. I was angry about harry not spending time to reflect on his judgements of snape. but then to give his kid snape’s last name shows that he did overcome his prejudice after all.

    Perhaps if snape died in a different way, harry wouldn’t have been that close in proximity to him, and the chance for him to pick up the memory would have been lost.

    I think also (even if it’s annoying) that JKR made Harry too preoccupied with his upcoming Voldemort bout to contemplate all this stuff. It’s more amazing to us that those who thought snape was DDs man were right. I was like, “I knew it!” But Harry has a date with death.

    Now, I think of all the priorities of the tasks or what have you that DD gave harry, reconciling with snape was not highest on the list…which perhaps he knew that harry would truly understand in the end.

  36. In no way was I disappointed with this book! I was almost afraid to read it since the of Dumbledore had been so difficult for me to read and accept in HBP and I knew there would be more s in this book. It was an emotional read for me and the s were difficult, but the way everything was pulled together especially in the Prince’s story and King’s Cross chapters was wonderful for me. When I finished the book, I was at peace with the outcomes. I really enjoyed this book!
    As for Severus Snape, I was vindicated in my belief that Snape was a good guy. His was tragic but it totally underscored the evil of Voldemort. I saw Harry’s proclamation of Snape’s service to Dumbledore during the final showdown with Voldemort in front of everyone as a very definite tribute to Severus’ faithful service. Harry had been the one to finger Snape as the one who killed Dumbledore, now Harry was setting the record straight and declaring Snape as an unsung hero to all present there and essentially, to the world. To me, that was huge. There were too many s for there to be funerals or other tributes…I don’t think that Dumbledore’s understanding of what needed to happen between Harry and Voldemort was in any way sending Harry to the slaughter with no remorse or hesitation. In OOP final conversation between Harry and Dumbledore, Dumbledore talks about how he has erred because he wanted to protect Harry from more pain…, Dumbledore knows that is not the end of life and there are worse things than dying and that point is made several times. I could say much more, but I’ve got to catch up on the laundry and other stuff that didn’t get done while I was reading DH!

  37. in my previous comment, my computer filtered out the word beginning with “d” that means “cessation of life” so if it seems there’s a missing word, it is probably that word….sorry.

  38. CanofWorms–

    Yes, I saw that, too. What I should have said is that Snape was meant to be the caretaker of the wand, not its owner. As Harry told Voldemort, Dumbledore really did mean to die undefeated.

    I don’t believe for a minute that Rowling was denying Snape an afterlife, far from it. Harry did not call up all his protectors. Tonks, Moody, and–perhaps significantly–Dumbledore were not among them. He called the ones who would give him most comfort at that particular moment. Do you really think Snape would have been one of them? He may respect Snape now, but that’s going a bit far.
    I don’t see Snape’s death as meaningless. In fact, I find it more heroic than a death in heated battle would have been. Snape’s was a lonely journey indeed.

    The things Rowling said about Snape and Dumbledore seem to me to be a rather sly bit of misdirection on her part. She didn’t want to give the game away before the final inning.

  39. Beejag3441 says

    I would like to say that even though there were several plot holes, one of which I will cover in a moment which I believe demands some sort of clear up by Mrs. J.K., I was completely thrilled with the final chapter in the Harry Potter series and find it a fitting end to one of the greatest literary stories of our generation.

    However, shortly after finishing HPDH, I found there to be a major problem, during the final battle between the forces of evil and good, it is mentioned that the death eaters are overun by sheer weight of numbers. it is not
    mentioned what happened to the thousands of Dementors that were
    previously swarming the skies, and at least in my oppinion it seems that had
    they intervened into the battle, the good side would have been easily

    Your thoughts?

  40. Snape’s passing and the manner in which Rowling dealt with it didn’t disappoint me at all; in fact, I thought it was quite well done. The first thing to remember is that Snape’s death and memories serve in the story to spur Harry to his confrontation with Voldemort. So for those wanting a big confrontation with Snape, there are some major questions to think through. How do you get Snape to convince Harry of his sincerity, especially when the vital information he has to convey is that Harry has to let Voldemort kill him? Then how would Snape die so that Voldemort still doesn’t suspect anything? And how would you then convey to the reader that mastery of the Elder Wand isn’t the same as possession of it? Rowling’s version answers these issues very neatly and sets up the resolution quite well.

    In addition, at this stage the focus is on Harry. He’s finally become the quintessence, and he’s on his way to becoming the great thump-you-over-the-head Christ figure symbol. So how do you put together that great “I was so wrong about Snape” moment without diluting the “I’m walking to my death” Gethsamene scene? Do you put it after the death of Voldemort as part of the post-mortem stroll that Harry takes with Hermione and Ron (which, come to think of it, is an ascension of sorts)?

    I don’t think so, because the focus is still on Harry as he closes out his story. The appropriate time is after that chapter, which is where it shows up (and is in fact the last, most powerful “wow!” moment in the books.) If there had been one more chapter before the epilogue that cleaned up the immediate aftermath, that would be a place to put it–but then there are the Fred and Lupin and Tonks tributes to consider, plus a heck of a lot of cleanup people would demand (who gets to be the next Headmaster, for example), and I think that leads somewhere Rowling just didn’t want to go. (Rumor now has it she might write an encyclopedia telling some of that; good place, it seems to me.)

    So to get that confrontation some good-Snape fans were invested in, it seems the conclusion requires an entire rewrite, and I think the ending is pretty powerful the way it is. I also think the revelation works pretty well to convince the bad-Snape folks of the reality of good-Snape; further recognition might kinda be rubbing their noses in it. Perhaps the less said the better.

  41. pamgalloway says

    In re-reading some passages today, I think I discovered an error. Chapter 34, on page 697 (of the Scholastic edition), 5th paragraph down, the last six words…didn’t Harry and Hermione save Buckbeak? Wasn’t it Dumbledore who had Norbert sent to Romania?

  42. Pam, you are, it seems, correct. Harry & Hermione’s adventure at Hagrid’s Hut was all about Buckbeak – and it was just the two of them, as Ron was recovering with his broken ankle. (From what I can recall, Norbert’s send-off happened very quickly – maybe even “off camera”?)


  43. Christinathelibrarian says

    In a way, Hermione and Harry did save Norbert because they took him to the top of a tower for Charlie Weasley’s friends to transport him to Romania. Ron couldn’t help because he was in the hospital wing recovering from a dragon bite. Maybe that is what JKR meant?

  44. EmmaReader says

    dewyn: Those are all great questions and points which I’m sure JKR could have answered if she had wanted to make Snape’s exit different. She is good at figuring out complicated plots, after all. But, this is the way she wanted to finish off that character, and it’s her character, so I just have to accept that she can do what she likes regardless of whether little old me thinks it’s emotionally satisfying. I did feel a little better about his demise after I read the following post on another site:

    “Severus Snape had to die the way he died, and in the Shrieking Shack. It’s one of the most beautiful deaths in the series, if you can say death is beautiful. It happens in the Shrieking Shack, a symbolic place. It’s said to be haunted, it’s destroyed from inside and it’s used to hide a tremendous suffering. Snape is like the Shack. He is haunted by his lost love, remorse and memories; he’s destroyed from inside, and he hides an unbearable suffering. Snape dies in a cage, because he lived in a cage since his childhood. A snake kills him. It’s a terrible scene, but I couldn’t help thinking of the Little Prince. The Little Prince died in order to come back to his planet, where a rose was waiting for him. Our Prince died and probably, a lily was waiting for him. I just love the way he dies, asking Harry to look at him, because the last thing he wants to remember are Lily’s eyes. It’s not only a hero’s death, because it is tragic, like in an antique tale, it is also incredibly romantic (literary and sentimentally speaking). Oh yes, it’s a beautiful death. And consider what he gives to Harry while he is losing his life: he gives him his love for Lily; he tells him that they share the same loss and love. He could have chosen to give him only what was necessary in order to help him defeat Voldemort, and to keep his secret. But he gave it to Harry. We know the importance of secret and love in the story. In Harry’s case, they are vital. When Snape offers Harry his secret and his love, he offers the boy his only treasure. Snape has always been secretive, and he wasn’t the kind of man who accepted to show his weaknesses. And he didn’t like Harry too much. But now, there’s no more room for secret, for appearance; it’s a moment of truth. And he shows Harry what he always hid. He gives him his heart, in a way. It’s also a moment of faith, because Snape trusts Harry. They finally share the same essence: love and faith. Snape is like a fallen version of Harry, and Harry is there to redeem him. Isn’t that much more beautiful and heroic than any other “banging” option? It shows that Snape was really a prince. A lost prince, a prince in exile; just like Harry at the beginning of the series. And that’s why the chapter following his death is called “The Prince’s Tale”.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if besides Harry, Snape was actually JK Rowling’s favourite character. May as it be, he’s a great achievement. From a literary and a human point of view, he deserves our admiration and sympathy.” (from Iris at the Harry Potter for Seekers website)

  45. Christinathelibrarian says

    As I began reading Deathly Hallows on Saturday, I didn’t have the usual feeling of joy that I had when reading the other books for the first time. Instead I felt an overwhelming sense of dread, like I have never felt when reading a fiction book before. I was so worried about the fate of my favorite characters.

    After a few chapters had gone by, I began to relax and actually enjoy the story. I was not disappointed with the book overall, in fact I think I will like it even more after rereading it. Even though I had prepared myself ahead of time for the deaths I knew would come, some of it hit me really hard. I think this book has such a different feel than the others because it is not set mainly at Hogwarts and has so much darker material. Very suspenseful and fast paced.

    I am not disappointed that all my questions weren’t answered. I read on The Leaky Cauldron today that JKR confirmed she wants to write an encyclopedia featuring what happened to the other characters and what their occupations are, etc. (She also gives away the identity of the person she decided not to kill off and it is not who we might expect!)

    What I am actually disappointed about is that so many of the theories I read about were true such as Harry as a horcrux, Snape’s love for Lily, and the Ravenclaw horcrux being the tarnished tiara. I wanted it to be something so totally unexpected and awe-inspiring. All those who didn’t read the fan theories may have a more enjoyable read since it will all come as a surprise.

    This book has some very beautiful moments. I nearly cried when Hermione talked about modifying her parents’ memories so they wouldn’t know they had a daughter if she never came back. I also felt really moved by the way Harry handles the news that he has to die. I did cry at that point even though I knew deep down that there were more chapters and it would be weird to kill the hero off so early.

    As with any really good book I read, it will be a long time before I can pick up another book without finding it lacking in comparison.

  46. mary41401 says

    I have to say that overall I thought the book was very good and I was not disappointed in it. But I was disappointed in the way Snape died. He was by far the character I was most interested in, and though I felt it very likely that he would die, I expected a death that was perhaps a sacrifice for Harry, or at least noble, and redemptive. Instead, it all seemed in vain. A mistake. Oops! He had no chance to act, hardly to even react. If Harry had not been there by “accident” he would have died alone and his memories lost. All those who survived would have believed that he died loyal to Voldemort. His character deserved better treatment. There are good arguments above for why he died as he did and where he did, but it still disappoints me. Thank goodness for the following chapter, which was the best part of the book.

  47. Billy the Kid says

    Emma makes a key point that I think some may be forgetting. Snape loved Lily. He didn’t like Harry. I’ll stop short of saying he hated him and reserve that for his feelings about Sirius. Harry may have understood what Snape had done for him and and learned to respect that, But I have no doubt that Harry also understood that inspite of all that, Sanpe still didn’t like him very much.

  48. Manning67 says

    A few disappointments:

    * The cheesy epilogue. I devoured it ravenously…and like eating a bunch of cookies too fast, immediately afterwards felt gross. It was just too sweet, too many forced details. Hermione and Ginny are there as one-dimensional “Moms” despite the fact that both are brilliant. Is Hermione the Minister of Magic these days?

    * Harry named his first son James? Ugh. Most of the impressions I got of James was that he was an obnoxious, smug brat. If Hogwarts had butterbeer drinking games, he would have been the master, crushing empty butterbeer cans with his head.

    How could Harry name his firstborn after that empty character? I would have preferred his first son be named “Fred.” Or “Remus.” Or Albus…and his second son, Serevus.

    * The death of Snape. Ah, that was handled so quickly…so oddly. I never believed he was evil…but after being such a substantial character for so long, I was disappointed to see him dispatched so quickly. Ah well, they were in the middle of a war.

    * Molly Weasley killing Bellatrix. That should have been Neville. But even as I type this, I have to realize that one of the themes of the entire series is that “revenge never ends well.” Harry was discouraged from taking ‘revenge’ multiple times, so if Neville had killed her from revenge, I imagine there would be consequences for him.

    Having said these things, they’re really quite minor.

    I LOVED THIS BOOK. A few things I loved:

    “Kill the snake?” (asks Neville.)
    “Kill the snake.” Harry repeated.
    “All right, Harry…”

    * I love how Neville – I have great affection for this guy – is as big a hero as Harry: running Dumbledore’s Army, being the first to go after Voldy on Hogwart’s lawn and destroying the last Horcrux. My eyes were swimming in tears.

    * Percy is reunited with his family.

    * Snape’s duality: sworn to protect the child of the woman he still loves and yet he hates him. Perfect.

    * Snape’s response to Dumbledore’s question about using the doe as a patronus – Lily’s doe: “Always.”

    * Everything Luna says.

    * The ongoing theme that you never have to do your life’s mission alone. You’re only as alone as you choose to be.

    Oh – and as a final note to the poster here who said he was disappointed because he read all the discussion board predictions about guesses for Book 7 and they turned out to be true. Yeah, you probably shouldn’t have been reading *guesses* if you wanted to be surprised.

    I didn’t read any pre-discussion of Book 7 and was delighted several times by the plot twists.

  49. Not disappointed…just wanted to know more. Glad to hear JKR will write another book that ellaborates on eveyone’s “Happily Ever After” or “Got What They Had Coming.”

    Performing magic late in life as JKR revealed: I really thought that Dudley, who’d tipped his hand to give Harry his proppers, would come back in the end some how. Perhaps Voldemort would, against the odds, find the Dursleys, and either Aunt Petunia or Dudley would perform an unexpected but amazing bit of magic to protect Harry and prove they actually cared for him. I thought the late-in-life magic ended up being Hargrid in the escape from Privet Drive, although he’d used the umbrella before.

    Loved the Molly vs Bellatrix duel to the end. (I can see the audience standing up and cheering at this point in the movie.) The girls were a bit left out of this one…but then, as Aslan says, war is a terrible thing, and even more terrible when women enter in. Not sexist…just a statement of the nature of creative women.

    I at least hoped that we would hear what happened at Hogwarts a bit more, though we know it continued as a school. Thought after seeing Snape drug further down by his placement in Slytheryn and the company he kept with members of his house, we might see the four houses combined, but when Voldemort suggested it in the end…that killed that prediction. And true…our differences are what make us stronger.

    Also was sure that Harry would become Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, thus lifting the “curse” on the position. He was, so naturally, a teacher, as evidenced by his incredible work with Dumbledore’s Army. Hogwarts had always been home to him. Thought he’d return home, but fitting that he could make a home with his family, without constant reminders of the battles fought and the loved-ones lost. He’d already done his fair share. Also figured we’d find Ron went on to become a Quidditch star and lead his beloved Chuddley Cannons to 10 undefeated years or glory. Either that, or he’d become Minister of Magic later. Thought perhaps Hermione would go on to St. Mungo’s to be a healer, teach McGonagal’s class at Hogwarts when she retired, or become a wand-maker. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  50. guynameddave says

    Loved it. Simply loved it!

    If there is perhaps one disappointment it is that Ginny was foiled to the end in actually fighting. Haven’t thought about it long enough, though. Perhaps Rowling has a point in this.

    The Epilogue is perhaps the best. Yes, I did say that. Cheryl Klein at seems to have nailed the interpretation.

    While there is a lot to the whole series, I think – nutters as it sounds – that if you wanted to sum up what it is all about, Matthew 6:19-24 says it all.

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