Harry Potter braces for his final battle with evil Lord Voldemort, knowing that only one of them will survive.
My biggest criticism of Harry Potter has always been his passivity. In the first few books especially, he spends most of his time being rescued or protected, simply because he’s “The Boy Who Lived.” And for awhile, it seemed as though JK Rowling wasn’t paying attention–was creating a hero who didn’t deserve to bear that name.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Rowling finally brings Harry to a reckoning: with his past, his destiny, and with his responsibility for the human cost that’s been paid to protect him. Finally, Harry wakes up to the body count, and it’s for that reason that the climax had the power to move me to tears.
Even more exciting is the way that Rowling humanizes all her characters. She brings an unanticipated depth to paternal, heroic Dumbledore, proving that she knows that there’s more complexity to goodness than just adulation bestowed by naive children. She also settles the Snape question in a most thrilling and satisfying way, delivering much, much more than a simple, black and white answer to a plot question that’s haunted the series.
And as for black and white questions… well, I promised no spoilers, and I keep my promises. All I will say is this: I harbored a secret hope that JK Rowling knew a better answer to “Does Harry Live?” than just “yes” or “no.”
Thank you for a fantastic ride. Please create another world for us.