Over the past few years, J.K. Rowling has made statements that are TERF, or against the trans community (especially towards male-to-female). These statements are completely against the thoughts and ideas of the creator of this blog. I have been and always will be an ally for any member of the LGBTQIA+ community. You exist, and you are valid. If you are struggling and need to talk to a counselor, there are many resources available at thetrevorproject.org.
Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.
As Harry approaches his 17th birthday, the protection the Dursleys provided is reaching its end. The Dursleys are forced to move away to protect themselves, and Harry is moved by the Order to the Burrow until he loses “the Trace”: how the Ministry can track underage witches and wizards. Once there, Harry learns that both Ron and Hermione have every intention of helping Harry find and destroy the horcruxes. While celebrating his 17th birthday, meaning that he is now of-age, Minister Scrimgeour shows up to dispense with Dumbledore’s will. Hermione received a copy of The Tales of Beedle Bard, Ron received the Deluminator, and Harry received the snitch he caught in his first quidditch match. Harry was also supposed to receive the Sword of Gryffindor, but the Minister said it was not Dumbledore’s to give.
While attending Bill and Fleur’s wedding, the Ministry fell. Harry, Ron, and Hermione (for sake of typing, I am going to be referring to them as HRH) fled to London to try and escape the Death Eaters. They end up meeting a pair, which they were able to attack and obliviate. When those Death Eaters returned to Voldemort without Potter, they were tortured. HRH go and stay in Grimmauld Place with the hope that they are safe since they are secret keepers. There, they discover the identity of RAB, Sirius’ brother. Hoping that the real horcrux would be in the house, they ask Kreacher if he has seen it. Kreacher tells them that Mundungus Fletcher had been through the house and taken things to sell. Fletcher tells them that the necklace horcrux was taken by Dolores Umbridge, giving them a plan for their next steps.
HRH use polyjuice potion to change their appearance to Ministry workers. As they go to the Ministry with the intention of finding Dolores. They find her in the court chambers where she is interrogating Mudbloods, believing that anyone muggle-born is incapable of being a witch or wizard. They recognize that the necklace she is wearing is the horcrux they are looking for, so they attack her. Once they gain control of the necklace, they make a run for it, but a Ministry official was able to grab on. The official apparated with them to Grimmauld Place, so HRH had to give it up as a safehouse. They then choose to trek in the wilderness in order to stay hidden from Voldemort.
As they try to destroy the horcrux, they learn that the horcruxes cannot be destroyed using regular magic. They realize that was why Dumbledore wanted HRH to have the sword. Until they can figure out where the sword is, they trade-off wearing the necklace so it never gets misplaced, but wearing it means that they tend to be angry than usual. Eventually the stagnation and horcrux becomes too much and he leaves Harry and Hermione.
Harry and Hermione decide that they need to go to Godric’s Hollow, thinking that Dumbledore may have hidden the sword in Gryffindor’s birthplace. There they meet Bathilda Bagshot, who is Nagini in disguise. Once she gets Harry alone, she calls for Voldemort, but Harry and Hermione are able to escape seconds before he could arrive. They go back into hiding. While they were in Godric’s Hollow, Hermione was able to pick up an exposé of Dumbledore, where she finds the same weird design in a letter he sent to Grindelwald.
While on watch, Harry spots a doe patronus. When he followed it, he finds the sword of Gryffindor at the bottom of a lake. While trying to get it, the necklace horcrux tries to drown him instead of letting him get the sword. Thankfully, Ron returns in the nick of time and is able to save Harry. Harry lets Ron destroy the horcrux, but sees that Ron’s biggest fear is that Harry and Hermione are together. Harry reassures Ron that he loves Hermione as a sister and that she was very upset when Ron left. When Ron returns to camp to let Hermione know that he is back, she begrudgingly accepts back in their group.
Believing that it is not a coincidence that the weird design has showed up in multiple places, HRH head to Xeno Lovegood to learn about the mark. This mark is the sign of the Deathly Hallows, based on a story from Tales of Beedle Bard. In this story, there is an elder wand, a resurrection stone, and an invisibility cloak that together can make you invincible to death. Believing that he has the invisibility cloak, Harry is sure that he will need the other two hallows for his fight with Dumbledore. As they discuss this, Xeno Lovegood calls for the Death Eaters to come, hoping that he could exchange Harry for his daughter, Luna.
While they are running away, Harry accidentally says Voldemort’s name which is being tracked by the Ministry. This calls the Snatchers to HRH believing that only members of the Order would be willing to say Voldemort’s name. Hermione disfigures Harry’s face so they cannot tell it is him, but the Snatchers still believe that it is him. They take HRH (and Dean Thomas who was previously captured by the Snatchers) to Malfoy Manor, but as they are about to call the Dark Lord, Bellatrix catches her eye on the sword of Gryffindor. Since it is supposed to be in her vault at Gringotts, she decides to torture Hermione to see if she took anything else. Harry and Ron are taken into the cellar where they find Mr. Ollivander, Luna, and Griphook, a Gringotts goblin. Realizing that they are going to need help getting out of there, Harry uses the mirror Sirius gave him to ask for help. In return, the person behind the mirror gave them Dobby. Dobby is able to help them escape, but he ends up dying from Bellatrix’s knife. They go to Bill and Fleur’s cottage and bury Dobby there.
Since Bellatrix responded so badly to her vault being broken into, Harry is sure that there is a horcrux inside. With that gut feeling, HRH make a deal with Griphook that if he can get them into the vault, they will give him the sword. They go in using polyjuice potion, but do not plan for the waterfall that exposes any magical enchantments. Once they get to the vault, Harry recognizes Hufflepuff’s Cup, believing it is a horcrux. As they enter the vault, they learn that there is an enchantment that causes anything you touch to multiply as a form of anti-theft. They are able to get the cup, but just, losing the sword to Griphook in the process. He leaves them to figure out how to get out of the bank by themselves, so they take the dragon that is guarding the lower vaults and fly him out of the bank. They land in a lake as the dragon takes a drink.
When Voldemort finds out that the cup was stolen, Harry was able to access his mind and learn where the other horcruxes are. He learned that the final two horcruxes are Ravenclaw’s diadem, which is at Hogwarts, and the snake, Nagini. Knowing they would not be able to apparate into Hogwarts, they apparate into the neighboring village of Hogsmeade. There they meet Dumbledore’s brother who is willing to help them into the castle. Once in the castle, Harry goes off to find the diadem while Ron and Hermione go to the Chamber of Secrets to obtain a basilisk fang. Once the two horcruxes are destroyed, Harry heads to the Shrieking Shack where he believes Voldemort is. There they see Snape killed by Nagini. When Harry goes too him, Snape cries memories for Harry to use in the Pensieve. After using the Pensieve, Harry learns what he must do next in order to end this once and for all.
Oof… I think I essentially wrote another novel. I tried to read this before, probably around 2009, but I gave up around the Gringotts scene. It always felt like so much happened while at the same time nothing. Unfortunately, now that I have read it, I gave up right when the action was starting to happen. For a very long time in the novel, it felt a lot like “I have no idea what I am doing but you have to just stick around”, which makes the book more believable, but less entertaining. I think the reason why I was so willing to keep reading this time is 1) for the blog, but 2) because I had seen the movies. I had an idea of what was going to happen which drove me forward. It should not be like that, but that is where we are.
I think part of the reason it is hard to read is because we have read A LOT of pages to get to this point. Even to get to Gringotts, you have to read over 500 pages in this book alone. Though there is only 200 pages left after that, it is hard to keep pushing to finish. For that reason, I think I am going to give this book a 2.75 out of 5 stars.
Compared to the Movie
This book is the only one to receive 2 movies. The first movie tracks until Dobby’s death, while the second movie really focuses on the Battle at Hogwarts. There is little that is not included in the movies, although some things are changed or moved around. Actually, I think the first movie especially has add-ins to try and emphasize the emotions when they were hidden in the woods. I personally like the adaptations, although there were clearly moments that were added for comedic or dramatic effect. More or less, they are pretty spot on.
If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!