Half-Blood Prince I promised that I would give a true spoiler warning at the beginning of this post. The reason that I would warn of spoilers on this book and not the previous installments? Well, the others have all had movies made of them. If you didn't know that Dumbledore died at the end of book 6 or that Snape was really the Half-Blood Prince, shame on you for not reading the books or even hitting a Redbox now and then.
Deathly Hallows, however, has several key plot points that won't be revealed in film until next summer. So if you don't want the climax of the entire Harry Potter series to come crashing down around you before you've had a chance to read this final book or see the two-part movie, then you should probably go read something else.
Anyone still here? Good, then we can begin...
I knew what was going to happen. I had that vague recollection of all the events that would unfold over the course of these 759 pages. But as with books 5 and 6 before it, I devoured this book the first time I read it. I was so intent upon reaching the end and discovering how it would all turn out that I skipped over the details.
Honestly, I don't truly believe I missed that much. To say that makes it sound like my reading comprehension is nearly non-existent. But reading this book again, taking my time this time around, I've definitely prepared myself for the coming of the major motion pictures that are based on this novel.
It's the story of the end of Harry Potter's long journey of self-discovery and the culmination of seven years of adventures that have led him to finally come face-to-face with his mortal enemy for the last time. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are given a secret and difficult task, the dying wish of the great Albus Dumbledore. The trio is to seek out and destroy all of Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes, the objects which keep his soul anchored to this world, making him impossible to truly kill.
Along the way, they discover the legend of the Deathly Hallows, three objects that will, when united, give the owner a mastery of Death. Once again, we find that it is Harry's choices that shape him into the man that he has grown to be. At one point, Harry realizes that he has two quests that have been lain upon him: the Horcruxes and the Hallows. He must decide which of those quests is the more important. In the end, his decisions and self-sacrifice lead to his ultimate victory over his arch-nemesis.
I'm keeping a lot out in my description of what happened in the book. And I know I said there was a spoiler alert, but I really don't want to give anything away. Partly, because anyone who hasn't had a chance to read it or is waiting for the movies should go into it with no real knowledge of what will happen. Another part of my lack of detail is because there's just so much.
J.K. Rowling packs so much information into this one book that it's very easy to become confused. It's really no longer than any of the previous three novels in the series, but somehow she's able to put her characters through so much more in that same span of pages. Harry Potter is taken on this hero's journey in which he discovers things about himself, about his enemy, and about his mentor that he doesn't always like, but these are the things that help him to make those all-important decisions that cause him to achieve the victory that you know the hero just has to achieve.
Re-watching the movies after reading the books, it's so easy to see just how much information is left out due to the need to make a movie end at roughly two and a half hours. But I really hope that isn't the case for Deathly Hallows. They've split the movie into two parts. That tells me that they may just have five full hours to play with. My hope is that they really will not leave anything out, because so much of the detail in this final book is so important to the larger story.
It's a very good book and an excellent end to a very good series. Characters that you love and hate have some surprising twists in them before the end. It's good to see surprises like that in an author after reading her six other books. So do yourself a favor and read the book. I know I haven't seen the movies yet, but I can almost guarantee the book'll be better. But the trailer does look pretty freakin' sweet...