Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Okay, here we go.
Fred Weasley- Killed while defending Hogwarts
Dobby- Killed while helping Harry Potter escape Malfoy Manor
Albus Dumbledore- Killed by Snape, who was acting on his orders
And let us not forget James and Lily Potter, who died to protect their son, which sacrifice allowed him to become The Boy Who Lived and the man who would defeat Voldemort.
So now here's my review:
What a way to end the most engaging book series since The Lord of the Rings! Each book got better and better, and this one was easily the best. It should be, since it's the bookend on the whole Harry Potter world.
I loved the beginning- the first few chapters, right through the wedding, are so dark and foreboding- we hear about plans to overthrow the Ministry of Magic, then hear that it's happened not long after that. We lose both Moody and Hedwig, and Hagrid has a close call.
The middle of the book moves well, even though it doesn't really hit you just how much time is passing until there's a reference to a date or season. It's really highlighted by the flashes harry gets of Voldemort's mind (the scene where Voldemort recalls the night he killed Lily and James is chilling), as well as the revelation about the Deathly Hallows.
The climax is gripping, exciting, moving, emotional and poignant, as we watch Harry figure out the Ravenclaw Horcrux, go to Voldemort, learn the truth behind Snape, and accept his impending death.
It's spotted by moments of shock and grief- Fred's death, Harry seeing Lupin's and Tonks' bodies, Crabbe destroying himself in a reckless accident.
Harry's march towards fate is powerful, and makes me wonder what I would think or feel if I knew that death was imminent. And I love chapters where everything is illuminated, like "The Prince's Tale" and "King's Cross," where learn who Snape and Dumbledore really were and why they did what they did. The explanation chapters (usually at the end of the books) have always been among my favorite- not because I didn't understand what happened- I had the pieces organized for the most part; these chapters were just the glue to seal the pieces together.
My favorite scene of the entire thing, predictably, is the climactic confrontation between Harry and Voldemort. It's powerful watching Harry confront the monster that claimed so many of his friends and caused so much fear, made more powerful by the fact that because Harry has faced death and overcome, he has nothing to fear. He is immune to Voldemort's primary weapon- fear- and turns it back on the Dark Lord himself. Harry has nothing to lose, because he's already displayed complete willingness to give everything up "for the greater good." And so he's triumphant and lives to find a full and happy life that, seven years previous, he'd never have imagined.
So, now to address where I was right in my predictions, and where I was wrong.
RIGHT: Harry lives. WRONG: He dies too. I also firmly believed he wasn't a Horcrux. But I was slightly right since Harry wasn't an intentional Horcrux- I'd had the thought that maybe he WAS an accidental Horcrux long before I read Book 7, but wrote it off thinking that such a powerful bit of Dark Magic couldn't really happen by accident.
RIGHT: I knew Snape wasn't the evil villain Harry felt him to be, I always believed he was acting as Dumbledore wanted. I predicted he would die. WRONG: I didn't think his death would redeem him totally, but after reading about his past, while some things he's done are cruel and vicious, he turned out to be an honorable man.
RIGHT: Snape died. WRONG: Hagrid didn't. I predicted Hagrid and Snape would be "The Two," the main characters to die. Hey- .500 is a great batting average.
WRONG: Malfoy would help the good guys. He isn't the monster that Voldemort is, and isn't as bad as his father. But he's still a slimey git.
WRONG: Lupin would kill Greyback, and Neville would kill Bellatrix. I counted on the classic revenge/rivalry factor, and missed the mark. I'm not sure if Greyback died, but I love the way Bellatrix met her end. Molly Weasley owns.
RIGHT: Dumbledore would come back in his painting. WRONG: He didn't help Harry through the painting, as I thought he would. But I knew we'd see him and hear from him somehow.
RIGHT: R.A.B. was Regulus Black. WRONG: Nothing. I hit it dead on the nail (of course, so did pretty much everyone else).
So there you have it. My thoughts and feelings about Book 7. More thoughts will come and they will be better organized as I read it again and again, which I am absolutely sure I will do.
To Harry Potter, the Chosen One and the Boy Who Lives!