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July 29, 2007

Farewell Harry Potter

by Dan

Cheryl and I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a few nights ago and really liked it. This book differs from the others by jumping right into an action sequence before slowing down dramatically. Like Ron, we got a bit impatient for the story to keep moving (which may have been Rowling’s point, I suppose), but the story picks up quickly.

By the end, Rowling has resolved all the loose ends and explained the secrets of the world she created including Snape’s history, Dumbledore’s past and family, how a wand “chooses the wizard,” and much more. I left the world of Harry Potter feeling a bit sad but very satisfied with how things ended.

Predictions

About a week before the book was released, I made some predictions about what would happen. It’s time to see how I did. There are spoilers in this section, so beware.

1) Voldemort was defeated. I can’t imagine anyone having predicted anything else, but I got this one right too. I loved Harry calling Voldemort by his real name, Tom Riddle, in the last battle between them. It was reminiscent of Dumbledore’s conversations with Voldemort.

2) Dumbledore does return, but not until the end of the book. However, the story of Dumbledore’s past plays a big role in this book even in the absence of the man himself.

3) Snape dies, but Neville doesn’t. Both do help with destroying a Horcrux: Neville by killing Nagini (joining Harry as one of the few “true Gryffindors” who have pulled the sword of Gryffindor from the Sorting Hat) and Snape by giving Harry information on another. However, Fred dies instead of Neville. Since George had already lost an ear in an early attack, I don’t think Fred’s death had as much of an effect as if it had been someone else. But Draco and Harry do end up without any antagonism between them. So, maybe I get half-credit on this one.

4) Harry lives. But he also dies. Well, sort of. In the end though, he lives. And Harry doesn’t kill Voldemort, who ends up killing himself, due to his understanding of how wands choose their wizards. After all, the prophecy merely says that “neither can live while the other survives.”

More Christianity

Now that I was looking for it, there is quite a bit of Christian sentiment and teachings throughout the story. Rowling even goes as far as sticking in a direct quote from Matthew 6:21 (or Luke 12:34 if you prefer), “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

But the most clear reference to Christianity was Harry’s discovery that by dying at Voldemort’s hand willingly he could protect all those for whom he died from Voldemort’s powers. This was the same sacrifice Harry’s mother made for him, and it is the same sacrifice Christ made for those who believe: that through His death, believers may be saved or protected from the powers of the devil.

Cheryl and I both enjoyed the Harry Potter series immensely and look forward to Rowling’s next book.

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