Monday, August 4, 2014

Reread: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I can't believe we've come to the final book. July was the month to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Because of crazy (but mostly good) life stuff, I didn't get to start it until July 31 (fitting since that's both Harry's and J.K. Rowling's birthday). I finished it on Saturday and I'm still reeling...again.

For more info about this challenge and the idea behind it, visit Just a Lil' Lost's sign up post. Check out Twitter and Instagram if you'd like to follow along with our #HPreread tag. A reminder: if you haven't read this book please beware of spoilers. Since this is the last book I'll be talking about all sorts of ruinable plot points! If you don't want parts of the story or series ruined for you, stay away until you finish the books.

I didn't think I'd be as affected by this novel the second time around. I really didn't. I've read the books before, I've seen the movies, so I was kind of expecting to hold it together a little bit better. There were no tears this time but knowing what was coming didn't lessen the hurt any. I was hit with a major book hangover after finishing it and I really wanted to linger in this world for as long as I could. Did anyone else feel like that when they finished it? Either for the first time or when doing this reread?

Obviously the things that hurt the most are the deaths (again, spoiler alert). There are the big ones: Fred, Lupin, Tonks, Snape, Mad-Eye, Dobby, Hedwig. But there also deaths of characters who played smaller roles: Colin Creevey, Lavender  Brown, hell, even Crabbe. Can you imagine being Harry, at seventeen, realizing that all of these people died because of something you felt you needed to stop on your own?

Finding out more about Snape and why he did everything he did is one of my favourite parts of this book. It's also one of the hardest parts to read. We, like Harry, are not exactly fans of Snape (these feelings range from mild dislike to, as in Harry's case, raw hatred) and have held onto those feelings for the entire series. It is both wonderful and heartbreaking to finally find out what motivated Snape. Wonderful because we realize how much he truly cared for Lily and what that meant for Harry. Snape loved Lily so much that he risked his life to help Dumbledore look after Harry. In turn, it's heartbreaking because we learn everything after he is already dead. Imagine the questions Harry would have had and would have loved to be able to ask Snape. I'm glad Rowling gave Snape the closure he deserved and that we were able to see him as Dumbledore did. And that she had Harry name one of his son's after him!

Speaking of Harry's sons...let's talk about that epilogue. I didn't hate it when I first read it (still don't) but I wondered about the necessity of it. I suppose you could say I do like it because I did want to know that Harry and Ginny were together, as were Ron and Hermione. I liked knowing the names of all of their children and that Neville is teaching at Hogwarts. But what are the rest of the Weasleys up to? Luna? What are they all doing outside of their family lives? Neville is the only one who has a profession named. I know we have a lot of these questions answered now, seven years later, but if there's going to be an epilogue, why not include even more info? What about you? What's your opinion on the "Nineteen years later" epilogue?

Other things worth mentioning:
- the goodbye between Harry and Dudley. "I don't think you're a waste of space." Love.
- I can hardly stand the fact that Fred dies and George has to carry on without his twin. Especially after reading this Buzzfeed article, 29 Times Tumblr Made Harry Potter Fans Cry All Over Again, which focuses a lot on the twins. (It literally will make you cry. Not that I'm speaking from experience...)
- Hermione having to wipe her parents' memories? *sobs*
- Learning more about Dumbledore was really interesting, too. I know I held him on a pedestal just like Harry did and it was hard, but good, to learn that he really was human and discover how he became the great wizard he was.
- When the trio are discussing The Tales of Beedle the Bard:
"Ron, you know full well Harry and I were brought up by Muggles!" said Hermione. "We didn't hear stories like that when we were little, we heard Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Cinderella - "
"What's that, an illness?" asked Ron. (page 114)

- When almost every single Hogwarts student protects Harry after Pansy Parkinson yells to grab him:
"Before Harry could speak, there was a massive movement. The Gryffindors in front of him and stood facing, not Harry, but the Syltherins. Then the Hufflepuffs stood and almost at the same moment, the Ravenclaws, all of them with their backs to Harry, all of them looking towards Pansy instead, and Harry, awestruck and overwhelmed, saw wands emerging everywhere, pulled from beneath cloaks and from under sleeves." (pages 490-1) (I got goosebumps when I read it and when I typed it out!)

There are more quotes and pictures from my reading experience compiled in this Storify story.

So that's it. I still can't quite believe it's over. Rereading these books has been one of, if not the, best reading decisions of 2014. I always talk about how much I love the Harry Potter novels but it was good to get a refresher and confirm that they are my all time favourite books. I proudly say that I am part of the Harry Potter Generation.

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