My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The fall always makes me want to re-read this book, and after the fourth time I'm still amazed at how ridiculously, emotionally attached I am to this series. This final installment is certainly the one I've read the most, because it's quite simply the most fulfilling ending that I could possibly imagine. By now, most people should realize that, although Harry's adventures are certainly kid-friendly, they're just as much for adults, and nowhere is that point made perfectly clear than in this, the darkest of all of the books; and yet, that blazing white light at the end of the tunnel is difficult to ignore.
For me, although the ultimate showdown is the inevitable one between Harry and, of course, Lord Voldemort, it's not really about them. We've had six books to work out where we stand on those two. Heck, by the end of the first book, we all knew who to root for. No, this book is, for me, as much about Ron and Hermione, and all of those who have supported Harry throughout the books, as it is about our main hero. Everything that has been simmering beneath the surface, pushed to the back burner in response to the need to focus on the larger picture, suddenly boils over in chapter after chapter with each character finally reaching their full potential. It's a rare thing indeed for a series of seven books to maintain not only a devoted fan base, but a growing fan base, a feat that would not be possible without such deep character development and there are plenty of payoffs here.
And why do we connect with the characters so much? Because they reflect a bit of ourselves back to us, the way any truly satisfying literature does. Jo Rowling (hopefully it's not too presumptuous to call her by her first name) has created a complete world that is so accessible to an audience because it is as similar as it is different. And while the differences are fascinating and intriguing, the similarities are even more important, because they are, in reality and in analogy, the heart of the matter. It's the emotions that have driven this series, and it's those emotions that compel us through those final chapters when it seems like, perhaps, all hope is lost. I'm amazed at how often I tear up, at the same parts, time after time, but honestly, that's why I keep coming back. If I didn't wipe my eyes during the scene where Ron is desperately crying out for Hermione as she's being tortured by Bellatrix, if I didn't hold my breath as Harry falls through the Pensieve to find out about Snape's true intentions, if I didn't grab five kleenex as Harry's parents, Lily and James, and Sirius and Lupin appear to Harry in that moment he needs them before he accepts his destiny, well without those feelings, I'd be empty and Rowling makes it pretty clear what happens to those who are empty, yeah, I'm talking to you Riddle. This is a series full of adventures and mysteries, battles and secrets and yet, more powerful than all of those, is love. I read this book to not only remind myself just how enthralling this series is, but to regain a little bit of hope when the real world sometimes seems to be a bit scant.
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