And so it ends – the series that has gripped children and adults alike for ten years now has come to a close. I read it overnight, after having to put it aside for several hours and leave the house (actually, I took it with me, but there was no opportunity to read). I was expecting to either love it or hate it. Instead, while there are a few elements I would change, if I could, I left the book feeling satisfied.
As I discussed with a friend, the Harry Potter books are not high art, but that’s okay, because we need mind candy. We need to sometimes read things just for the pleasure of falling into the story. These books are great for that, because whether it’s Hermione, the ultimate geek girl, Harry, the orphan who overcomes his upbringing, Ron the perfectly normal kid, or even Tonks, who hates her “normal” image, or silky, snarky Severus Snape, we find someone to identify with. For me, it was a blend, for others it’s one character, but the identification is there.
With this book, there is no more tossing it off as kiddie lit, though. This book is bloody, and violent. Our heros are fighting a war, and while they may use wands and magic instead of guns and bombs, people are still getting hurt and killed.
I’m glad Rowling kept Dumbledore dead. Having him pull a Gandalf would have destroyed the integrity of this last volume. Besides, this series has always been Harry’s hero quest. The mentor has to die. The hero has to grow up.
The loss of Fred Weasley, and the further losses of Lupin and Tonks, and later little Colin Creevey, seemed unneccessary, and yet, war is brutal, and this was a war story, more than any other, and in war senseless deaths happen. I’m sorry Remus and Tonks never got to stabilize their relationship – never got to watch their sun grow up.
Snape, again, had to die. Yes, he was redeemed, but there was nothing left for him. He’d devoted his life to loving a memory. I will admit I gasped when I learned what his patronus was, and I cried at his memories, given to Harry as he breathed his last breath.
Likewise, Voldemort had to be conquered in order for there to be true closure.
Neville Longbottom and Molly Weasley are my new heroes.
And as for the epilogue, it is fitting, I think, that Harry was gifted with the one thing he always wanted. A normal, happy family.