“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” was unlike any of the previous novels in the series. Harry, Ron and Hermione didn't return to Hogwarts (for school, anyway). There was no nagging little mystery to solve throughout the school year. No quidditch, school dances, fireside chats in the Gryffindor common room, no potions essays or any of the other stuff that we've become so familiar with. If anything, it seemed as though all of the previous books were just one giant set-up for this final installment. Everything that we had come to know and love about the characters and the story played a part in this explosive conclusion.
So many amazing things happened throughout this book that it was difficult to narrow them down. Here are the things we loved most about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
1. Harry Walks Calmly Into Death's Welcoming Arms
There were so many amazing moments in Deathly Hallows but the chapter that stands out most to me is "The Forest Again." This is the chapter in which Harry, having just learned that he must die in order to defeat Voldemort, accepts his fate and heads off to the forest. Rowling did a beautiful job with this chapter, filling each page with Harry's thought processes. Wondering what it would feel like to die. Wishing he could see Ron and Hermione again. Wishing for Ginny to see him and stop him from doing what he must do.
After making it through the school, stopping only to tell Neville to kill Nagini, he walked out onto the grounds towards the forest. He used the stone in the ring to reawaken the dead and see Lily, James, Sirius and Lupin once more. This scene served many purposes. He got to say a proper farewell to Lupin, who had died only an hour or so ago. He got to see Sirius and Lupin looking younger and healthier than he'd ever seen them when they were alive. But the most heartbreaking moment during this conversation was when he asked if it hurt to die. Sirius told him it was easier than falling asleep, which I'm sure made him feel only slightly relieved.
Once he was in the presence of his departed family, Harry seemed to detach himself from the world he was about to leave behind. His parents, Sirius and Lupin were there to accompany him as he took those final steps towards death. As relieving as it was that Harry did inevitably survive yet another killing curse, I must say the fact that he was able to make this death-walk without turning and running the other way just shows what a true hero he is. It was an added bonus that for the first time he was able to speak with his parents. I never expected that when I considered what might happen in the last book but it was easily one of the best moments in the entire series.
2. Snape's Memories
Ok, many of us were hoping Snape would turn out to be on Dumbledore’s side and some of us even speculated on his feelings for Lily but I have to say, Rowling orchestrated this whole plot beautifully. What better way to reveal to Harry the truth behind Snape’s allegiance to Dumbledore than through the pensieve. Learning about his undying love for Lily, which continued on long after she died (as was proven by his doe patronus) was one of the best moments in the book.
I think the last person Snape probably would've wanted knowing about his love for Lily would've been Harry but in the end, he managed to fulfill his mission, giving up his inner most secrets to a boy he despised in order to redeem himself. Everything Snape did for Dumbledore, he did for Lily. The most heartbreaking part was looking back at Snape’s death scene after learning the truth about him and realizing that the reason he told Harry to look at him just before he died was because he wanted to get one last look at Harry’s eyes – the eyes that everyone said were just like his mother’s. Rest in peace, Severus.
3. Neville Steps Up
Neville was the man in this book! Not only did he lead Dumbledore's Army and the resistance at Hogwarts, he also mastered the Room of Requirement, took quite a few beatings, gave people hope and rallied the troops when it was finally time to take action. All of these accomplishments paled in comparison to what he did at the end of the book. He was willing to risk his own life to stand up to Voldemort and inspire everyone else not to surrender. What's more, he destroyed the last horcrux without fear or hesistation. The mental picture of the once round-faced forgetful boy breaking through the Body-Binding curse, pulling the sword out of the burning hat and cutting off the head of Nagini was glorious. “Dumbledore’s Army!!!”
4. Dobby Dies
I don’t know how anyone could’ve made it through Dobby’s death scene with dry eyes. Dobby knew the dangers of the Malfoy house, having once been enslaved to it yet he still came to Harry’s aid without hesitation. He saved the lives of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, Dean, Ollivander and Griphook. Without his rescue, not only would they not have gotten out of there alive but Harry wouldn’t have dewanded Malfoy nor would he have been able to work with Griphook to get the cup-horcrux. In a sense, Dobby indirectly helped to defeat Voldemort. He was a brave elf and he died a hero.
5. Ron Destroys The Locket
For some reason, the locket-horcrux had a stronger emotional connection to Ron than it did with Hermione and Harry. He felt the power within it the moment he first held the thing and though they were all irritable on that leg of the journey, the horcrux seemed to wear him down much more than it did the other two. It seemed only fitting that Ron should be the one to face off with it. When it came time to destroy it, it teased Ron and attempted to play with his mind, preying on his insecurities. Ron fought it though. He wouldn't allow the horcrux to take over him and in doing this, not only was he able to destroy the horcrux but he also managed to overcome his inner demons.
6. Mrs. Weasley Throws Down With Bellatrix
Most of us assumed it would be Neville to finally finish off that crazy bitch. She did after all, torture his parents to madness but Neville was busy killing Nagini. We’ve never seen Molly in a battle situation before. Her role in these books has always been that of the nurturing wife and mother. Like a bear protecting her cubs, if there was one thing that would've brought out her scary side it would’ve been someone threatening one of her kids. Bellatrix made a huge mistake trying to kill Ginny and I think she had the chance to realize it just before Molly zapped her in the heart with some unknown spell. Rock on, Molly!
7. The Malfoys
After book 6 we all wondered whether Draco would turn out to be good or evil after failing to kill Dumbledore. The answer turned out to be a lovely shade of gray. Narcissa, Lucius and Draco all seemed to slip very far down on Voldemort's list of trusted supporters. Sure, the Dark Lord took over their house and forced them to do his bidding but none of them seemed nearly as eager as they once were to be on his side. In the end, Narcissa and Lucius seemed to have abandoned all loyalty towards their former master. Draco did try to get the horcrux in the Room of Requirement but I suspect he only cared about giving Voldemort what he wanted so that he and his family could get out of there alive. Narcissa lied to Voldemort when she was ordered to check to see if Harry was alive. She was concerned only with getting to her son. The last we saw of Draco Malfoy was on the train platform in the Epilogue. The grown Draco gave Harry a curt little nod, which to me, implied that while they will probably never be friends, they have long since put behind them the rivalry they once shared.
8. The Taboo
How brilliant was this?! Since the first book people have been afraid to even speak Voldemort’s name. So what better way for Lord Thingy to track Order members than to jinx his own name? After all, only those brave enough to openly defy Voldemort would speak his name aloud. Voldemort might’ve failed at a lot of things but this idea was a stroke of evil genius. Kudos to you, you-know-who!
Harry calls Voldemort, Tom Riddle during the final showdown! Of all the things I saw coming, this was not one of them and I have to say, the effect was glorious! What better way to stand up to Voldemort than to remind him of his own mortality by calling him by his given name? For the first time it seemed Harry was completely unafraid of him. Before then, only Dumbledore ever called Voldemort, Tom Riddle.
Many had speculated that R.A.B. was Regulus Black and that Kreacher was the one to accompany him to the cave to steal the locket. The surprise was that Voldemort used Kreacher to plant the locket there in the first place then left him to die. On top of that, Kreacher had to return to that horrible place and was forced to watch his beloved Regulus drink the potion then get pulled under the water by the Inferi. Poor Kreacher! But who would’ve thought he could turn out to be such a great ally? Hitting Mundungus over the head with a sauce pan, tidying himself and the Black house up and of course, leading the charge of houseelves out of the kitchens and into the battle, carving knife in hand.
Dudley shaking Harry's hand and treating him like a human being.
George joking about losing his ear so soon after it happened. "'Ear, 'ear!"
Hagrid jumping off the flying motorbike onto the Death Eater.
Harry telling Lupin off for being a coward (and it being effective).
Potterwatch - Nice job, Lee!
Ginny giving Harry the birthday kiss.
Harry breaking cover and cursing the Death Eater for spitting on McGonnigal.
Hagrid calling out the centaurs.
House elves slashing the ankles of Death Eaters with kitchen knives.
Hermione kissing Ron (finally!).
Ron calling Malfoy a two-faced bastard.
Mrs. Weasley calling Bellatrix a bitch.
Percy finally admitting he was wrong and joining in the fight.
Fred's very sudden death. Though I have to say, as sad as it was fitting that he died while laughing and teasing Percy.
One minor complaint:
The Epilogue - Ok, I think most of us are in agreement that the epilogue was fairly cheesy. I attribute a lot of that to the fact that it contrasted drastically with the final chapter of the book. When you think about it, it was no different than the first time Harry stood on that platform except this time, instead of just watching the Weasleys say their farewells, he had his own family. What I did like about the epilogue was the obvious confirmation that Harry and Ginny finally got to be together (and made a bunch of babies) as did Ron and Hermione. Rowling told ‘The Today Show’ that she had considered doing a more detailed epilogue but decided against it. During the interview she revealed that Harry, Ron and Hermione all took jobs at the Ministry of Magic and that they were revolutionizing the place; Harry and Ron as Aurors and Hermione working in a high position in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. There is a new Headmaster of Hogwarts but she didn’t specify who and hinted that this could be something she might add to the Encyclopedia-type book she may do some time in the future.