Ah! So very satisfying!!!
I’d forgotten quite a bit of this one, even though I’ve seen the films several times. I remembered all the major plot points, but there were a good many nuances and crucial explanations I got to rediscover, which made this read-through feel fresher to me than any of the preceding six. But I’ll first mention the things I didn’t care for so much.
For maybe the first third of the book, Harry, Ron and Hermione had no leads and were just going on random excursions and hoping they’d stumble upon horcruxes. I had to admit, I was with Harry when he wondered why Dumbledore didn’t give him more go on (especially since it turned out that he knew he’d die within the year.) This was never truly explained to my satisfaction–unless Dumbledore was actually God, pulling the strings from beyond the grave. He was a wise guy, but he left an awful lot to chance. It just happened to all work out exactly the way he wanted it to.
That said (***spoiler alert from basically here on out***), I used to think it was awfully convenient that Harry “dies” but comes back anyway at the end, just because Dumbledore happened to meet him on The Other Side and told him he could go on or go back if he wanted to. But I’d forgotten that there was an explanation for this: Lily Potter’s blood sacrifice protected Harry from death when he was a baby, and Voldemort took some of Harry’s blood into his body when he returned in Book 4. That meant Harry was still tied to life while Voldemort lived. It was a little convoluted, but in the logic of Rowling’s world, it’s consistent. I’m satisfied.
Also, the first time I read “Deathly Hallows”, I thought the explanation for Snape’s behavior throughout the series was pretty weak. He hated Harry, and he really had been a Death Eater once, yet Dumbledore trusted him for some rock-solid reason he never shared with anybody. Then he killed Dumbledore, which seemed to imply Dumbledore had been wrong about him. But he wasn’t wrong… it turned out his reason was because Snape had been in love with Lily, Harry’s mother, all his life. He hated Harry’s father out of jealousy, and of course Harry looks and acts just like James. But the part I’d forgotten, the part that makes this far more believable, is that Snape was also inadvertently responsible for their deaths, because he told Voldemort the prophecy that caused him to seek out and try to kill Harry. His remorse over being the cause of Lily’s death gives Dumbledore the opening to say he can make up for it by making sure she did not die in vain–and she died to save Harry. So Snape, too, must keep Harry alive, for Lily’s sake. This only works because of Snape’s guilt, I think: that is the all-important piece. But this time through, I thought that extra detail made all the difference.
Finally– geez, the body count was high in this one! I don’t consider it tragic only because the three main characters survive, and Voldemort gets it in the end. And *how* he gets it is just. So. Awesome. I love how everyone pulled together in the Battle of Hogwarts at the end. I love that Molly Weasley gets Bellatrix! And I love Harry’s last showdown with Voldemort. Voldemort attempts to taunt him, and Harry gets the last word, proving him wrong on every point. And then, Harry doesn’t even cast the killing curse: Voldemort’s own killing curse rebounds on him. It’s one of those final scenes that makes you cheer out loud.
Man, I wish there were more series out there like this one!
My rating: *****!!!!!