Deathly Hallows Discussion Point #22: Comparative Battle Scenes

Something I haven’t read in the many wonderful post at HogPro this past week is discussion of the battle scenes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, specifically, the Battle of Hogwarts and the Last Battle consequent to Harry’s death that ends in the wizard duels in the Great Hall. Ms. Rowling has said that her writing comes from the compost heap of all the all the things she has read. Her battle scenes seem a remarkable mix of Biblical, historical, and Inkling literature, which seems to support her point. Without neglecting the artistry with which she put together these stories, I thought I saw glimpses or reflections of the battles in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and That Hideous Strength, among others.

We all loved the Frodo wearing the ring hat-tip in the trio wearing the Locket; did anyone else see the Mouth of Sauron and Frodo’s mithril coat when Voldemort showed Harry’s body to his friends? When Voldemort attacked Harry’s body after Narcissa said he was dead, were you thinking of Hektor’s body being dragged around Priam’s towers? When Buckbeak soared into the final fray did you look up to the sky and say, “The Eagles!”?

Please post your thoughts here on the battle scenes in Deathly Hallows and any Biblical, Historical, and Literary references you think Ms. Rowling was making and why she would make these story parallels.


  1. Neville’s destruction of Nagini really reminded me of the Destruction of the Witch King in Return of the King, and I was reminded of the Battle of Five Armies when the Centaurs and House Elves joined the fight.

  2. tnorthodox says

    All through the chapter, The Battle for Hogwarts I couldn’t stop thinking of the Ware of the Ring in which Gandalf, Aragorn, and Elrond contrive a war as a diversion so that Frodo can destroy the One Ring. This point also raises the issues you raise in another post about the good guys killing and whatnot. Throughout the series, I saw DD as more in tune with Elder Zossima than with Gandalf. Now, I see a much more Gandalfian figure than Elder Zossima, which is fine since I love Gandalf as well.

    And when the elves came streaming out, and Buckbeak, my wife and I both were hooping and hollering as we remembered the Narnia battle.

    And is it me, or did the forest scene seem like Aslan’s walk and Frodo’s final walk? Amazing. Simply amazing stuff.

    Dn Kevin

  3. Well we did not have a Judith beheading Holfernes, but we did have Neville beheading a snake, like in The Silver Chair. I loved it. And yes, so mant LOTR scenes as well.

  4. Hagrid yelling at the centaurs as he carried Harry’s body reminded me of Merry and Pippen showing the Ents the destruction of the trees at Isengard. Both were creatures that did not concern themselves with the wars of men, until they realized that their very selves were at stake.

  5. Please forgive the digression, but if we are referring to the books, the yelling took place in HP but not in L.O.T.R. I do see the connection you make if you are referencing Peter Jackson’s retelling of the original, but that is one of my least favorite moments his films. He turns the very courteous hobbit Merry into something loud abrasive angry. The hobbits yelling at Treebeard just didn’t take place in the book.

    Treebeard and the ents are like the centaurs in that they normally avoid the troubles of elves and men. Treebeard is finally moved to action, not by seeing the distruction of Isengard, he already knows of the orcs marauding distruction on the borders of his land, but rather by hearing the story of the young hobbits, and finally coming to realise the greater significance of the tidbits he already knows.

    Unlike the centaurs, Treebeard and the ents act in time to make a significant difference in the war…they stop Saruman and save the day at Helm’s Deep.

    If we care about the Christian heart of literature, I think it is important to keep to the original works. I believe that the remakes of L.O.T.R remakes missed out on so much of Tolkien’s portrayal of virtue in his version.

    PS. If this is too off topic, please feel free not to post my comment. I won’t be offended. This may be my own personal crusade, and others might not be interested.

  6. Sorry about the typos in that last post. I’m holding my little two month old daughter. I should have paid more attention. : )

  7. I also see the echos of L.O.T.R. and Narnia. All through Deathly Hallows I kept thinking back to the Left Behind series. While not exactly literary classics, they are filled with secrecy and espionage, understanding prophecy, and fighting the ultimate end-of-times battle against the antichrist. Since I’m not a scholar of Biblical prophecy, it makes me wonder how many similarities there are that I miss at face value?

  8. Yes, I can see a little similarity, between Deathly Hallows and Left Behind. At least in terms of a small band of heros (and heroines as I’m sure Hermione would insist.) fighting against the massive governing body, while trying not to be discovered.

    Although Voldemort makes a much more convincing bad guy then the Left Behind one does. (In my opinion.)

  9. I found the centaurs’ participation in the battle to be forced and unconvincing. Rowling did such a good job of portraying them as aloof, uncaring racists willing to consign the entire human population to oblivion, it just didn’t seem likely that they’d suddenly jump in and fight, no matter what.

  10. I did not find the centaurs participation forced or unconvincing myself. I thought the whole purpose of having Hagrid, who had truly attempted to befriend the centaurs, upbraiding Bane for his lack of involvement very telling. The defective understanding of the centaurs is corrected by Harry’s sacrifice for them as well as the whole wizarding world. Whatever understanding of the future and the wars of wizards they had held to prior to this signal event, they had to reassess their understanding and status in a world in which Voldemort was the apparent victor. I found their “conversion” very moving as they demonstrated by deed rather than word their change of heart. And I was moved to remember Roonwit’s words in THE LAST BATTLE about no one is too poor to buy a noble death, as well, by those deeds. The message I heard was that even the most aloof and uncaring may have their entire lives changed by sacrificial love which breaks down artificial barriers!

  11. I have to disagree. I didn’t think they’d be moved by Harry’s (perceived) death, considering what they were intending to do to him in OotP.

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