Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and final novel of the Harry Potter series, written by British author J. K. Rowling. The book was released on 21 July 2007 by Bloomsbury Publishing in the United Kingdom, in the United States by Scholastic, and in Canada by Raincoast Books, ending the series that began in 1997 with the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The novel chronicles the events directly following Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005), and the final confrontation between the wizards Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort, as well as revealing the previously concealed back story of several main characters. The title of the book refers to three mythical objects featured in the story, collectively known as the “Deathly Hallows” – an unbeatable wand, a stone to bring the dead to life, and a cloak of invisibility.
Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in January 2007. Before its release, Bloomsbury reportedly spent £10 million to keep the book’s contents safe before its release date. American publisher Arthur Levine refused any copies of the novel to be released in advance for press review, although two reviews were submitted early. Shortly before release, photos of all 759 pages of the U.S. edition were leaked and transcribed, leading Scholastic to look for the source that had leaked it.
Released globally in 93 countries, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows broke sales records as the fastest-selling book ever, a record it still held in 2012. It sold 15 million copies in the first 24 hours following its release, including more than 11 million in the U.S. and UK alone. The previous record, 9 million in its first day, had been held by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The novel has also been translated into over 120 languages. The title proved difficult to translate and was often rendered closer to “Harry Potter and the Relics of Death” in other languages.
Major themes in the novel are death and living in a corrupted society, and critics have compared them to Christian allegories. Generally well-received, the book won the 2008 Colorado Blue Spruce Book Award, and the American Library Association named it a “Best Book for Young Adults”. A two-part film adaptation began showing in November 2010 when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 was released; Part 2 was released on 15 July 2011.
Readers beware. The brilliant, breathtaking conclusion to J.K. Rowling’s spellbinding series is not for the faint of heart–such revelations, battles, and betrayals await in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that no fan will make it to the end unscathed. Luckily, Rowling has prepped loyal readers for the end of her series by doling out increasingly dark and dangerous tales of magic and mystery, shot through with lessons about honor and contempt, love and loss, and right and wrong. Fear not, you will find no spoilers in our review–to tell the plot would ruin the journey, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is an odyssey the likes of which Rowling’s fans have not yet seen, and are not likely to forget. But we would be remiss if we did not offer one small suggestion before you embark on your final adventure with Harry–bring plenty of tissues.
The heart of Book 7 is a hero’s mission–not just in Harry’s quest for the Horcruxes, but in his journey from boy to man–and Harry faces more danger than that found in all six books combined, from the direct threat of the Death Eaters and you-know-who, to the subtle perils of losing faith in himself. Attentive readers would do well to remember Dumbledore’s warning about making the choice between “what is right and what is easy,” and know that Rowling applies the same difficult principle to the conclusion of her series. While fans will find the answers to hotly speculated questions about Dumbledore, Snape, and you-know-who, it is a testament to Rowling’s skill as a storyteller that even the most astute and careful reader will be taken by surprise.
A spectacular finish to a phenomenal series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a bittersweet read for fans. The journey is hard, filled with events both tragic and triumphant, the battlefield littered with the bodies of the dearest and despised, but the final chapter is as brilliant and blinding as a phoenix’s flame, and fans and skeptics alike will emerge from the confines of the story with full but heavy hearts, giddy and grateful for the experience. –Daphne Durham