This one may have spoilers. I’m going to try to hide them, but it may not work. Read with caution.
The problem with reading HP7 quickly in the wee hours of the morning and then immediately blogging about it with a pulsing headache is that it is so easy to miss what should have been blindingly clear. Settling down for a much-needed lunch hour nap, it came to me like the voice of a smug lit professor who can’t believe he has to spell this out to sophomores. I’ve been discussing (elsewhere) the epilogue, and whether it was extraneous, too tidy, satisfying. I realize now that the romantic angle is incidental. The epilogue is ESSENTIAL, because it sets the stage for _____’s closing conversation with _____ about the Hogwarts Houses.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) is the lynchpin in a brilliant, ingeniously-crafted, long-resonating message about choice.
This isn’t a fantasy series. Its not even a kids book, in the common sense of the phrase. This is a non-author’s daring stand against a bleakening future, against apathy and selfishness. And it’s BEAUTIFUL. Millions of children will internalize the Harry Potter myth, will latch onto one character or another as a small part of their psyche, and by that will come to unconsciously understand that we have CHOICES.
We have the choice to be good or evil, to do harm or good, to be brave or craven. More importantly, we can choose to CHANGE. We can choose to turn the darkness in ourselves into light.
We’re all human. We are all of us going to hurt one another, cheat, fail, turn tail and run, betray, wound, disappoint, misplace (dis)trust, fall from grace. But we can choose to get back on the broom, return to our friends, beg forgiveness, devote our lives to rebalancing the equation.
I am thinking, and I can’t come up with a SINGLE CHARACTER of any note in the HP saga who isn’t given at least one moment of choice, an opportunity to turn around. Not all of them make worthy choices, not all of them make unpredictable ones. But every single one of them chooses: whom to love, to trust, to join, to leave. They change the road they are on. ___ returns to the front lines and rejoins his estranged friends. _____, against all odds, turns his back on his livelihood and joins his family for the final battle. _____ chooses his child over one last adventure. The students of Hogwarts choose to take a stand rather than give in to enormous power and pressure. It’s every single character. It’s the entire story.
And even when a choice doesn’t turn out the way we hope, we’re told in the epilogue, it is still within our power to take THAT and make it work for good.
The Sorting Hat represents destiny, and seems an inevitable thing – but it listened to an eleven-year-old boy who preferred Gryffindor over Slytherin. It bowed to free will.
Harry Potter is a seven-volume saga about “Invictus.”
Brilliant. I was appreciative before, but now I’d really like to shake Rowling’s hand. What a masterpiece. I know there are lots of you out there who are kind of indifferent about the books… but you might give them a shot. There’s something more to these books than the hype and the movies and the merchandising. These books just might accomplish something.
Update: If you liked this review, consider clicking here and giving it a “thumb’s up” by clicking on the little symbol in the lower lefthand corner. I submitted it for the LibraryThing Harry Potter 7 review contest, even though I don’t strictly think it’s a true review – it’s more formal than most on there, though, so why not?