emmaloui.se

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. - Jane Austen

Review: J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows

Posted on

20140117-192700.jpgIt’s over! I actually can’t believe there’s no more left. I’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions over the last week, with way more lows than highs, but the final high being the best one of all. Be warned that this review contains many, many spoilers, so if you’ve not read the book, I advise you click away!

The books begins with Harry saying farewell to his ‘family’, the Dursley’s. His aunt and uncle don’t express much emotion at the thought that they’ll never see him again, but there’s a lovely moment between Dudley and Harry when, although he’s goaded and bullied him all his life, Dudley tells Harry that he doesn’t think he’s a waste of space.

There’s an awful moment as Harry is being moved from his ‘home’ to The Burrow when we think that George has died, but it turns out that he’s had his ear sliced off by a death eater, later found out to be Snape. He hasn’t forgotten his sense of humour though, although Fred is disappointed:


“Pathetic! With the whole wide world of ear-related humour before you, you go for holy?”

The majority of the book leaves you feeling very doubtful about Dumbledore, and his intentions towards asking Harry to carry out this monumental task, without giving him any real help, only mysterious clues which do not prove to be easy to figure out!

In the film, I’ve always found it an emotional moment when Hermione obliviates her parents to remove her memory so that the death eaters can’t use them to find where she is. But in the book, we find out that the first time that Hermione uses the obliviate spell is when they meet death eaters in Tottenham Court Road, and that she only cast a charm on her parents, which she plans to undo if they are successful in their plans. Which makes me much happier that Hermione won’t be left alone, and that she can get her parents back to share her life and that of her kids.

I’m not going to talk too much about the finding of the horcruxes and the uncovering of the story around the deathly hallows, apart from to say that the action kept me hooked and desperate to remember what happened next, since it’s been so long since the last time I read this book.

But the last 100-150 pages of the book had me more gripped than any book I’ve read in recent times. The fighting scenes were so well written, fast paced and full of action, but also interspersed with human moments and acts of bravery and mercy which made it much more realistic and full of emotional connection rather than just killing and maiming all over the place.

The shocker for me was Percy coming back to fight along side his family against the regime which he supported so earnestly that he disowned his entire family and all his friends. At first I wasn’t sure if they were going to accept him back, but that’s not what true family does, and the Weasley’s are the truest family you can get.

And in and among the horrific moments of the final fight, we finally see Ron and Hermione share their first kiss, prompted by the unusual moment of Ron sticking up for the house elves, and declaring that they can’t ask them to fight, ‘we don’t want any more Dobby’s’, referring to the fact that Dobby died to save them from Malfoy Manor and certain capture by Voldemort, a moment which definitely made me shed a tear.

But not as big a tear as when we find out that Fred Weasley has died, along with about fifty other people in the battle to keep Voldemort away from the castle long enough for Harry to find the final Horcrux, Ravenclaw’s lost diadem, which bears the phrase ‘Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure’.

At the very end of the book, we find the shocking truth about Snape, that contrary to popular belief, he wasn’t a death eater hell bent on making Harry’s life miserable until such a time as he could deliver him to Voldemort, he actually risked his life to keep Harry safe in memory of his mother, Lily, with whom Snape had been in love for nearly all his life. Snape’s patrons is a silver doe, the same as Lily’s was before she was killed by Voldemort. When Dumbledore asks Snape if he still loves her after all this time, Snape utters one word, possibly the most powerful word in the entire set of seven books: Always.

Towards the end of the book, two characters really come into their own. Firstly, Molly Weasley. After seeing Hermione, Luna and Ginny and duelling with Bellatrix Lestrange, she shouts ‘NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH’, and forces the other’s aside while she duels solo with Bellatrix until she strikes the fatal blow, thereby killing Voldemort’s most faithful servant, and the death eater who tortured Neville’s parents and killed Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black.

Speaking of Harry, he’s almost certainly the character who undergoes the biggest change in this year. Up until now, he’s been portrayed as lovely young man, but not exactly the best at magic, his spells often ending in amusing failures. But he comes into his own while Harry, Ron and Hermione are away from school, leading Dumbledore’s Army, despite the punishments received from the teachers who are now mostly composed of death eaters. We already know from the prophecy that it could have referred to either Harry or Neville, but Voldemort himself assured that it would be Harry when he decided that he would go after Harry to prevent the prophecy from coming true.

But Neville proves himself a true Gryffindor, brave and loyal, when he stands up to Voldemort on his own after it looks like Harry has been killed and all hope has been lost. Voldemort sticks the sorting hat on his head and sets it on fire, but the sorting hat delivers something that it could only deliver to someone who truly deserved it, the sword of Godric Gryffindor, which Neville then uses to destroy the final Horcrux, the snake Nagini, thus setting about the final battle that Hogwarts will see.

Well I think I’ve gone on for long enough now, so I’ll finish with just a little more. Firstly, I’ll say that since the first time I read this book, I’ve changed my opinion on the final chapter of the book ‘Nineteen years later’. I initially didn’t like it, thinking that it felt rushed and tacked on. But now I can see that it closed the book very nicely, letting you know that your beloved characters have grown up happily and peacefully, and that the memory of those that were lost lives on in the next generation.

If you’ve got this far and somehow you haven’t read this book, go out and read it, read the entire series and absorb the magicality of the world that Rowling created. And if you’ve already read it, read it again. You won’t regret it.

5/5

Review: J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix

Posted on

20140107-134857.jpgWhen I updated my Goodreads status to say I was reading this book, there were a lot of reviews saying that this book was their least favourite of the HP series, but I disagree whole-heartedly. There’s A LOT that goes on in this book (and not just because it’s 766 pages long).

The Ministry doesn’t believe that Voldemort has returned, and the most popular wizarding newspaper (The Daily Prophet), is doing everything it can to discredit Harry and Dumbledore. The book starts off with Harry fighting off a dementor attack in the Dursley’s muggle neighbourhood, and the pace doesn’t really stop from there.

For me, this book is the one with the most character development so far, everyone seems to grow up a lot in this book. For a start, there’s the forming of Dumbledore’s Army, the secret Defence Against the Dark Arts club formed in the wake of the draconian measures imposed by Professor Umbridge, sent to the school by the ministry and taking over bit by bit. Even though Harry tries to convince everyone that he’s no good at fighting off the dark arts, he still manages to teach his fellow classmates some pretty advanced magic, even Neville, who everyone thinks is useless.

The tension between Ron and Hermione continues to build throughout this book, with Hermione accusing Ron of having ‘the emotional range of a teaspoon’, and Ron exceedingly jealous when he finds out that Hermione is still in contact with Viktor Krum.

I have to say my favourite part of this book is Fred and George leaving the school in a blaze of glory. At first, they’re just causing a distraction so that Harry can use the fire in Umbridge’s office to speak to Sirius, but they kick it up a notch, giving it everything they’ve got before flying away from the school on their broomstick to wild applause.

We also find out why Harry is forced to spend summer after miserable summer stuck with the Dursley’s. The bond of love that protected Harry when Voldemort tried to kill him as a baby is also what keeps him safe, as long as he still lives with his Mother’s blood (i.e. her sister, his aunt Petunia). And although Harry hates to return to the Dursley’s now that the whole wizarding world finally believes that Voldemort has returned, at least he can now understand the reason why.

Although the book was so long and took much longer than the others to read, I enjoyed every single minute of it, and can’t wait to start the Half Blood Prince now. I’ve seen the film very recently, so I can’t wait to remember how it matches up to the book.

5/5

Review: J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire

Posted on

20140104-221443.jpgTo me, this book is where it all starts getting exciting, and it definitely takes a turn for the darker!

This book is where I started to be suspicious of Snape’s allegiance when I first read the series, and reading it again, I get the same feelings. We know that Dumbledore trusts him implicitly, but I get the feeling he’s hiding something.

We’re also introduced more to the house-elves, with Hermione starting SPEW to try and protect them, even though most of them don’t want to be helped and are perfectly happy how they are. Although we also find out that not all house-elves are the same, Barty Crouch’s house elf Winky is definitely nothing like Dobby, loyal to Crouch even after he releases her from his service, desperate to be taken back and ashamed of Dobby for taking pay from Dumbledore.

This book also ramps up the tumultuous relationship between Ron and Hermione, with Ron’s jealousy at Hermione going to the ball with Krum exceedingly evident. And Hermione’s feelings are not exactly hidden either, ‘Just because it’s taken you three years to notice, Ron, doesn’t mean no one else has spotted I’m a girl!

My favourite quote from this book was from Sirius:

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals”

At more than 600 pages, this book was a beast, and the next one is more than 700! Could take me a while…

5/5