Oh, the seventh and final Harry Potter book. This post will probably contain spoilers for a number of previous books, and likely spoilers for this one as well. Sorry. Can’t help it. Don’t know how to talk about Harry Potter without spoilers. Harry and Ron and Hermione have left school now because they are questing for Horcruxes! They spend all sorts of time running around the countryside trying to find the damn things, and getting into all sorts of scrapes, and at last, you will be pleased to hear, Voldemort gets defeated and everyone is happy. Except the ten thousand people who die including Lupin that I specifically said not to die, but JK Rowling did try to soften the blow by making him into a complete jerk in this book.
I remember feeling faintly cheated in this book, because all these things were revealed that we could never have suspected before getting the book. I slightly wish that J.K. Rowling had mentioned Beedle the Bard, or legends of a wand that always won, or just you know, given more clues about what was going to happen. That way, when we got to this book, the massive shit-tons of exposition would have felt less like exposition, and more like an expansion on things we already knew. Like that time in the fifth book where Dumbledore told Harry all about the prophecy and that business – we had heard a lot of it before, so it felt fair. Some of the stuff in this book didn’t feel fair.
That said, I have a hard time feeling critical of this book, because I went all through high school and college with these characters, and now they’re all grown up and fighting evil! Particularly when it’s characters I didn’t care for much at first, and grew to love – Luna, Neville, Ginny, Dobby – I don’t know, I just feel pleased with them for being amazing. (Except Ginny, who the only thing she gets to do in this book is make out with Harry on his birthday, “kissing him as she’d never kissed him before”, which can I just say, I DO NOT KNOW WHAT THAT CAN POSSIBLY MEAN. Whatever, Ginny. Fight some damn evil. I liked you so much in the sixth book.) Neville defeating the snake is one of my favorite moments in the seventh book.
…I really wish the seventh book weren’t already published. I am sad with no new Harry Potter books coming out ever. Wasn’t it fun, waiting for the next book to come out? And having lots of speculation and sometimes proving to be absolutely spot-on perfectly correct, like I was about Snape and Lily LIKE A GENIUS?
- For the first quarter of this book, I was writing down my reactions because I couldn’t shriek them at my sisters. Here’s what I wrote when I got to Rita Skeeter’s mean article about Dumbledore: “Rita Skeeter, I hope you drown in a river and don’t you shatter my illusions about Dumbledore or I WILL CUT YOU. He was the BEST MAN EVER.”
- Harry refusing to give an inch to Scrimgeour even when Scrimgeour’s being super duper intimidating. I can never have too much of this. When Scrimgeour was all “It’s time you learned some respect!” and Harry was all “It’s time you earned it,” I had a fantastically hard time not shrieking “Harry FTW!” at my sisters, who were reading it at the same time but maybe didn’t want to be disturbed by my shrieking. Not quite as good as the “Dumbledore’s man through and through” bit – oh dear, getting teary – but pretty good. Aw, Harry.
- Sirius’s posters of Muggle girls in bikinis. Oh that made me love him so much. I wish Sirius were still around. I love Sirius. Also, when Harry found that letter from his mum, that was the first time I cried in this book.
- Ron rescuing Harry from the Horcrux. Excellent, excellent scene; and no, Ron, you don’t deserve to get forgiven straight away. I was all, This is it, this is it, and apparently so was Ron, but props to Hermione for not wanting to be BFFs again straight away.
- The first time I read this, I didn’t shed a tear for Dobby. I don’t know why. That whole thing is incredibly sad, digging the grave, and Luna thanking him. When I reread it, I cried and cried and cried. I think that first time, I was just all keyed up from the past scene and expecting someone major to die, and I was just so relieved that it wasn’t Ron. J.K. Rowling spent this whole book screwing around with me, pretending Hagrid was going to die, and I did not appreciate it
- I also didn’t appreciate Harry using the Cruciatus Curse. That’s great, Harry. You’ve spent this whole being all like, blah blah blah don’t kill anybody blah, and you decide to go with it now just because someone spits at Professor McGonagall? Apart from the fact that you have spent the last four books talking about how Unforgivable this Curse is (and the Imperius one – Harry, get a grip, please), I feel like you weren’t really close enough with McGonagall to give a crap if someone disrespects her. Plus, if you are using Unforgivable Curses, how are you any better than the Death Eaters?
- Snape’s memories of Lily. I WAS SO RIGHT IN EVERY WAY. I even brought up to my sister at one point the possibility that the chapter in the fifth book about “Snape’s worst memory” was actually Snape’s worst memory. As in, the moment when his relationship with Lily became impossible; but whichever sister it was pooh-poohed my notion. I WAS RIGHT ABOUT THAT TOO. I love being right.
- Dumbledore & Grindelwald. Love it. I loved that we got to see Dumbledore one last time at the end of this book, because I miss Dumbledore, being all comforting and wise and explaining everything. It sort of crushed me when Dumbledore and Harry were talking about Grindelwald, and how he lied to Voldemort about the Wand, and Dumbledore was all, So I guess he didn’t want Voldemort to get it, and Harry was all, Or maybe he wanted to stop him breaking into your tomb, and Dumbledore was all teary. Oh Dumbledore, honey.
- Plus, “It may be happening in your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it isn’t real?” Word.
- Harry’s parents walking him to his death. And then Hagrid carrying Harry’s body. I am always such a mess at this point in the book. Doesn’t help (crying-wise – obviously it helps plotwise) that:
- Neville defeats the snake! Like he said to Harry that he would! Neville is such my hero. Darling brave Neville, you have grown up so much since the days of losing your toad.
- Mrs. Weasley, way to use a naughty word and then kill Bellatrix dead like a badass. Obviously we should have gotten Mrs. Weasley angry a few books ago. Like, that other time Bellatrix was trying to kill her children, in the Department of Mysteries, BEFORE BELLATRIX KILLED SIRIUS.
- I would have liked to see some mention of George Weasley in the epilogue. I feel like J.K. Rowling could have achieved a better effect by having Percy die, rather than Fred – that works, you know, as far as the senselessness of death, because he had only just come back, and it would still have been terribly sad. Whereas when it was Fred, it was like, J.K. Rowling is just screwing with us (esp. because George lost an ear earlier and we were all like, well, grand, the Weasley twin misfortune has come and is now over – she did that on purpose! On purpose! Meanie-face!). But anyway, if she had to kill Fred Weasley (she killed three of the four people I asked her not to kill, though of all of them I think I most needed Hagrid to survive, just for Harry’s sake), she should have mentioned George in the epilogue.