Mark Terry

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows--Questions

July 29, 2007

Okay. If you have not read this book and plan to, or if you are in the process of reading it, although I'm not exactly going to put spoilers in here, there may, in fact, be spoilers, so don't read it if you don't want anything spoiled. For anybody who has read the book, here are some questions I'm curious to know about.

1. Did Neville use the real sword of Godric Gryffindor or was it one of the fakes?

2. Did the sword Neville used come out of the sorting hat, like it did in The Chamber of Secrets, or did Neville bring it with him?

3. Does anybody really understand what the hell happened during the final, final confrontation between Voldemort and Harry? Can you explain it?

4. Were you surprised Harry returned the Elder Wand to the grave, rather than breaking it?

5. I think the baby in the train station (Harry's party, if you will) was Voldemort if he didn't show remorse after death, but Rowling never follows up with an explanation. Maybe that's for all those Masters' theses to come. Anyone have an opinion?

I'm sure more will come to mind, but those are the ones at the top of my head.


Mark Terry


Blogger spyscribbler said...

Yikes! I think I read the book so quickly, that I missed or forgot a whole lot. Overall, it was hard to tell if I was disappointed that it ended, or disappointed in the ending.

Snape's motivations didn't surprise me at all, but I thought for sure they were suggested at earlier in the series. My best friend says they weren't, but I gotta tell you, I didn't guess those on my own, LOL!

1. I don't know.
2. I don't know.
3. Um, not really.
4. Um, still confused as to whose wand it currently is. If it's Harry's, what if Harry dies an unnatural death? Then the wand won't lose its power, right? Then it'll become the property of whoever defeated Harry? But ... then the story wouldn't be over, and she said it was over. Besides, if he's now an Auror, the chances of him dying an unnatural death are pretty darn high, right?
5. I guessed it was Voldemort, too. But could it be the Voldemort that lived in Harry, the baby Horcrux? It's all a little weird.

Okay, spoilers ahead:
I thought the seventh book was anti-climactic. In book 5, Sirius died. (Although, I hated how he died. I couldn't grieve because I kept thinking, but he just disappeared behind a curtain!)

In book 6, Dumbledore died. I cried and cried. I hated that Dumbledore died, but it fit.

In book 7, the last and supposedly most climactic book of the series ... Fred dies? Fred, who was a flat character who barely appeared in the book at all? While I loved the rage of Mrs. Weasley and I liked Fred well enough, I didn't shed a tear over Fred.

The two deaths I could've shed a tear over, Dobby and Hedwig, were placed early in the book. I couldn't properly cry at those deaths, because I assumed worse would be coming. The big death at the end should've been worse than Dumbledore, Dobby, and Hedwig.

If I cried over Dumbledore in book six, I should've been bawling my eyes out in book seven. If I jerked a tear or two during Dobby's and Hedwig's deaths, then I should've been bawling at the end of book 7.

Things just happened so fast, and emotional connections were not made with those who died at the end. It all felt anti-climactic and a tad confusing to me.

But, I'm going back to Book 1 and reading through the whole series. Maybe it'll be better in a straight read-through. And maybe my disappointment that the series ended is coloring my judgment.

(Sorry to go on so long!) How did you feel about the end?

2:43 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I have mixed feelings about the book and I'm ultimately sorry the series is ending. I've enjoyed the books a lot.

I commented to my son, Ian, when I finished it (he finished it a couple days ahead of me) that one of my biggest problems with Harrows was a problem I had with all the other books. That is, when they finally get to Hogwarts, they're wonderful. But I've never liked the parts in any of the books BEFORE they get to Hogwarts much, except possibly in Phoenix, because Sirius's house was like an inverted, black (no pun intended) Hogwarts. It was wizarding. And even in Goblet the Quidditch Cup is so interesting.

So in this book, they don't get to the wizarding world in any real way for damn near 450 pages and I found that both frustrating and a little depressing. In fact, I found much of their being on the run to be kind of depressing.

What Rowling did so brilliantly, though, was, as Ian kept saying, "Things keep blowing up in their faces."

Every time they had a plan, it went to hell. That's just good fiction and particularly good thrillers. So I found the book quite compelling.

I found all the wand lore that was supposed to make up all of the backstory to the grand climax to be sort of disappointing--and, as my questions probaby suggest, confusing.

You know, the Elder Wand can't be defeated (but didn't Dumbledore defeat Grimwald or whatever his name was and win the wand?), but it depends on who "owns" the wand, and Dumbledore (or his ghost) claims that it's actually Draco Malfoy who "owns" the wand (WHY? Because he was the one who engineered his death, but it was actually Snape who committed the act, but Snape wasn't actually committing murder--even though Jack Kervorkian might have want to have a lengthy discussion with JK Rowling re. that subject) and then Harry was protected by his mother's love/magic, which now Voldemort has in him because he reconstituted himself using Harry's blood...? Gee, I still don't get all that. I'd have to draw a diagram or something.

So, yes, I enjoyed it. In some ways I was disappointed. In order, here are my favorite books, which might change once I re-read them (some time much later, I think):

The Prisoner of Azkaban

The Order of the Phoenix

The Goblet of Fire

The Sorceror's Stone

The Half-Blood Prince

The Deathly Hallows

The Chamber of Secrets

I guess. So that doesn't really put Hallows all that high on my list. On the other hand, my favorite Star Wars movie is still "The Empire Strikes Back," so maybe I just like the inner stories in series.

6:45 PM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

I so agree with the Hogwarts thing! In the first few books, it felt like Rowling was absolutely delighted with the world she'd created, but then she was a bit too delighted with the World Cup Quidditch Match, and then the delight sort of faded.

You're right about being on the run: it was a little boring, and I didn't see much of a point to the whole Ron-disappearing thing. They just wandered around, depressed. And then he finally came back.

My favorites (I think) are: 6, 3, 4, 2, 1, 5, 7.

I've just started book 1 again. It's so cool, because already in the first chapter, I'm seeing how it ties to the end. Very fun!

I'm also hoping that the reason why we had the Deathly Hallows thrown in there at the last minute of the series will become clear on the re-read. I guess we'll see!

Yeah, the whole pacing/plans-going-to-hell thing was pretty awesome in this book. If only I hadn't gotten tripped up by confusion, LOL!

7:42 AM  
Blogger Ink Slinger said...

Good questions. Where the heck did the sword come from?! I was wondering that myself. I thought to myself, I must have missed a page whilst reading at 5AM. But then again, Albus did say that it shows it's self to true Gryffindors.

3. Wands have alliances with there wizard. If a wand is used against it's wizard it will backfire on the attacker... Apparently, Harry was the rightful owner of the Elder Wand as he defeated Malfoy. Now, this part is sketchy... Severus didn't count as the owner of the wand because he had planned to Albus before hand. Malfoy was his opponent at the time of his death... so he was the owner. All this leads to Harry being the owner and Voldy not being able to use the wand against it's true master. Thus, he kills himself as the wand turned on him.... yeah.

4. Not really... Harry's not the bright one--Hermione is. Also, the Hallows maybe impervious to physical/magical destruction--the invisibility cloak does not show any tear and is not effected by magical attack.

5. Tell you the truth... I was rather disturbed with the baby. I'd say it would be part of Voldy's soul that related to Harry as a baby, you know that whole equal but opposite thing.

Yeah, so that's my two cents :)

11:34 PM  
Blogger Toine said...

I have spent a bit of time obsessing over the last novel, and thought it wrapped things up quite well. Most of the novel seems to deal with the concept of possession, who "owns" what and their ability to hang onto what they have in their hands.

Here are my ideas to answer your questions.

1. Neville used the real sword of Gryffindor to kill Nagini. As Rowling explained only very powerful objects such as the sword of Gryffindor, Basilisk fangs, or Fiendfyre could destroy a Horcrux (which is what the snake became).

2. Neville pulled the sword of Gryffindor from the sorting Hat a la Chamber of secrets. How the hat obtained the sword is something of a mystery, it is worth noting that The sword was given to the Hat by Gryffindor himself, it is likely that it would always be able to be summoned by the brave in dire need of the object (even though the goblin Griphook had it at the time). Also how can it be a book about magic without pulling the biggest trick out of a hat :)

3. Another theme of Rowling's books, is that it is not the evil aggressors who will ultimately win the war, but those kind good people acting only to defend themselves. As Voldemort tried to kill him with the Elder Wand, a feat impossible to accomplish as the wand could never kill its rightful owner, Potter's use of Expelliarmus was enough to rebound te Avada Kedavra curse back onto Voldemort. As all of the Horcruxes were destroyed, Voldemort was then completely killed.

4. I was not surprised to see Harry return the wand, as it is not in Potter's nature to want to be unbeatable. Throughout the entire series, Potter is cast in a spotlight he does not want. His most cherished possession is an invisibility cloak. The only time he is out-spoken in his "accomplishments" is when someone is questioning his character (he is very quick tempered when someone calls him a liar). He is the true master of the Hallows, and as such like Ignotus Peverell, would never want to hold onto any of the Hallows, aside from the true cloak of invisibility.

5. The crying deformed baby, is a stunted piece of Voldemorts soul. In every one of the "verbal" horcruxes there is a part of Voldemort's soul.

The piece of his soul that was able to charm Hepzibah Smith into showing him the cup of Helga Hufflepuff was seen in the diary of Tom Riddle. It charmed Ginny Weasley, and to a certain extent Potter himself.

The piece of his soul that was cunning and shrewd, but always thinking that those closest to him were also against him (Voldemort is nothing if not paranoid to an extreme) was seen in Slytherin's locket. It spoke to Ron the most, as Rowling went to great lengths to subtley (and not so subtley) portray Ron's innermost feelings of inadequacy.

The part of Voldemort that desired power over death was inside of the Ressurection Stone/Gaunt's ring. This affected Dumbledore greatly, leading ultimately to the archetypical wizard's death.

The Parseltongue in Voldemort, that prized snakes above all, went of course into Nagini.

Finally the small child in Voldemort, the baby born, unwanted into an orphanage, the baby whose cries were often ignored, who was afraid of life, but more of death, was ironically stored in the boy who lived.

I hope this answers your questions!

Feel dree to write to me at if there is anything else you would like to discuss

12:25 PM  
Blogger ablarson said...

I have just reread Books 6 and 7 as if they were college textbooks--I've underlined, scribbled notes in the margins, and recorded the development of the Horcruxes and Hallows themes in a notebook. I admit I feel a little foolish going to such lengths to understand "children's" fiction, but my husband, who did the rereads before me, insisted that Rowling did a poor job at the end, especially with the Elder Wand.

Here are the two biggest problems, flaws, whatever you want to call them, with the whole Hallows story line as far as we're concerned:

1. If the master of the Elder Wand is invincible, how did Dumbledore win it from Grindelwald in a duel? Grindelwald had the "Deathstick"--not Dumbledore--so he should have won the duel.

2. Draco disarmed Dumbledore at the top of the tower in Book 6, although he had no idea that Dumbledore's wand was the Elder Wand, nor did he take it with him when he fled Hogwarts after Snape killed Dumbledore. The E.W. must have been left behind because it was placed in Dumbledore's tomb. (Apparently, no one suspected that this was a special wand.) Eventually, Voldemort realized where it was, so he stole it from the tomb, but was disappointed that it wasn't working well for him. He assumed the wand was ineffective in his hands because he did not acquire it properly by disarming its master, hence his murder of Snape, who Voldemort incorrectly thought was the Wand's true master. Harry knows Draco is the true master because he saw him disarm Dumbledore as soon as he got to the top of the tower.

Now, here's where things get very muddy. Harry disarmed Draco at his parents' estate, took his wand, and continued to use it since his own wand had been broken accidentally by Hermione. But, he was using the wand that Ollivander sold to Draco before his first year at Hogwarts; he was not using the Elder Wand--Voldemort was. In the climax of Book 7 as Harry and Voldemort are circling each other in the Great Hall, Harry tells V. that he, not V., is the master of the E.W. because he was the one who disarmed Draco. How can he be the master of the E.W. when the wand he won from Draco was not the E.W? If Rowling thinks readers will be okay with this kind of stretch, she's wrong. If she wants us to believe that a person could win the E.W. merely by disarming its master of any old wand, then she should have laid that groundwork earlier in the story. As far as we can tell, she didn't do this.

4:36 PM  
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