Reviewed by Dominic Ball
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J K Rowlings
ISBN : 9780747591054, $49.95aud, Hardcover, 608pages, July 2007
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which is the final, seventh installment in the fabulous Harry Potter series, is the best book I’ve ever read. On July 21st at 9:01am, the shout went up as the boxes containing hundreds of books were finally opened. People were getting the exact same feeling as I got when I read the beautifully written words in J K Rowling’s new book.
In The Deathly Hallows, Harry is now seventeen, and faced with the enormously difficult task of locating Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes. After a narrow escape from death during a surprise attack from the death eaters, Harry and the Order of the Phoenix retreat to The Burrow. But what will Harry do then? How can he fulfill the momentous and seemingly impossible task that Professor Dumbledore has left him?
It might be a cliche, but I found myself literally sitting on the edge of my seat. Dinner, sleeping, homework, socialising and even playing the piano all took a back seat to reading. WIth a swerving plot, including some excellent twists which I never expected to happen (and I did an awful lot of speculating), amazing characters which have become as real to me as people I know, and outstanding vocabulary, this is a terrific book that is better than any I’ve come across. It never panders to or talks down to its audience. In fact, children are generally portrayed (rightly so) as wiser, more thoughtful, and more capable than the adults, a key aspect of its charm.
I also felt that the vocabulary in this book is slightly more difficult than others in the series. It almost felt as if Harry and I were growing older together, which is another reason why the series has become so important to me as a reader.
In many ways, this book is quite different to others in the series, with more complex emotional themes as Harry struggles to deal with things like love and sacrifice, death and being the agent of death (not always easy, even if you’re killing someone evil):
‘Stab,’ said Harry, holding the locket steady on the rock. Ron raised the sword in his shaking hands: the point dangled over the frantically swivelling eyes, and Harry gripped the locket tightly, bracing himself, already imagining the blood poruing from the empty windows.
Then a voice hissed from out of the Horcrux.
‘I have seen your heart, and it is mine.’
‘Don’t listen to it!’ Harry said harshly. ‘Stab it!’
‘I have seen your dreams, Ronald Weasly, and I have seen your fears. All you desire is possible, but all that you dread is also possible…’
‘Stab!’ shouted Harry; his voice echoed off the surrounding trees, the sword point trembled, and Ron gazed down into Riddle’s eyes.
‘Least loved, always, by the mother who craved a daughter, now, by the girl who prefers your friend…second best, always, eternally overshadowed…’
‘Ron, stab it now! Harry bellowed…(305-306)
The way Rowling reveals the secrets is spectacular. Harry, Ron and Hermoine do everything, from breaking into the Ministry of Magic, to raiding Gringotts, the wizarding bank.
I think that the Harry Potter series is already outstanding, but Deathly Hallows will make a deep impression in the world of books, with its stunning prose and surprising ending.
About the reviewer: Dominic Ball is a ten years old book lover, student, pianist, soccer and cricket player, swimmer and astronomer.