Category Archives: The Deathly Hallows

Final Thoughts

New Harry Potter

Note from Ashley: My post about the Epilogue is still to come next week, which is why I’ve abstained from writing final notes, myself. I get an entire post to wax poetic about the end of this series and the end of this project, so it’s only fair everyone else gets a space, too.

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JENNIE

I’ve had so much fun with this, not only writing my own posts, but getting to read what everyone else thinks about Harry Potter (SPOILER ALERT: you all love it). I’ve enjoyed all the insights everyone has had that I’ve never, ever had in all of my rereads, and the discussions that followed, but my very most favorite thing was getting to see new GIFs I’d never seen before. You guys are good at GIFs, is what I’m saying.

Also, I can’t believe it’s over. Again. Sads. Don’t mind me, I’m just going to be over here in the corner, rereading all the books and pretending Harry Potter is never going to end ever ever. Continue reading

The Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36: The Flaw in the Plan

Wow.  The last chapter of the last book.  Exactly how did I end up with this one?  There’s a lot here to unpack and I’m afraid I won’t really do it justice, but I’m pretty sure Ashley’s not going to accept that as an excuse so here goes things.

CHAPTER 36: THE FLAW IN THE PLAN

Harry awakens on the Forbidden Forest floor and shows a whole lot more physical self control than I’d ever be able to muster myself.  I mean, I’m right now just sitting in my comfortable desk chair in my comfortable office and I CAN’T STOP FIDGETING.  But Harry? He has a quiet word with Narcissa Malfoy, gets Cruciatus-ed like a flipping piñata, hauled off by a sobbing half-giant, and displayed on the Hogwarts lawn in front of the people he loves, all while convincing everyone around him that he’s dead.  Is this one of those new skills you pick up from dying?  Because if it is, I think I just solved David Blaine.

So then Voldemort basically just stands around being a dick until this happens:

Neville Longbottom

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The Deathly Hallows, Chapters 34-35: Valar Morghulis

So I’m just straight up going to tell you that when I went to start my post for these chapters — almost two weeks ago — I panicked. Utterly.

It seemed like such a great idea six months ago to assign myself two of my favorite chapters in the entire series, the chapters that probably mean the most to me personally, and the chapters that cemented my love for this series not just because they represent the beginning of the end of something that I love, but because they hit me in a place I normally hide even from myself. And they hit me there hard.

I also questioned my decision to put these chapters together (a decision I made more than six months ago), but when I remembered that I had done so because both are pretty short, it made sense. Unfortunately for Present Ashley, Past Ashley wasn’t thinking through the emotional implications, and Present Ashley is having to deal with the fallout.

All that is to say: bear with me if I start blathering.

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dh.c34--the-forest-againCHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR: THE FOREST AGAIN

In many ways, the internet is a wonderful place. But it’s also a very large place. When I went looking for a couple of interviews I’d read or seen with JK Rowling in order to properly write this post, I couldn’t find them. Not even evidence that they ever really existed anywhere except my head. So I guess you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you these things (and as Dumbledore says in the next chapter, just because it’s in my head, why on earth should that mean it’s not real?).

When I first started reading Harry Potter back in 1999, I was drawn to it against my will, and once I was in — sucked into that very special imaginary place only really great books can bring you, where you actually and truly forget that what you’re reading is not real, forget that you’re even reading in the first place — I never really questioned the experience. It was only years later when I was called upon to put into words just exactly WHY I had taken this story so far inside of myself that I’d essentially spliced it into my DNA that I realized I didn’t actually know why it was that this story about an orphaned boy who discovers he’s a wizard was so important to me. I’m the kind of person who takes stories way more seriously than most people to begin with, but my feelings for this story a kindhearted and sassy British woman thousands of miles away pulled out of her mind are seriously beyond the pale. And it’s really a hard thing to express to someone, that kind of love that is so strong it turns the thing being loved into something else, something that can’t really be expressed, but begs you to try anyway.

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The Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33: The Half-Good Prince

I pre-ordered my copy of Deathly Hallows, thinking I was being smart because it would be delivered a bit early and I’d get the jump on everyone. I was already planning on staying away from the internet until I’d finished it, for fear of spoilers, and this was six years ago. Can you imagine the spoilers you’d have to avoid if it came out now? Impossible. I can’t even watch a TV show with any sort of delay without being spoiled while innocently scrolling through Facebook.

Because I am me, I somehow missed the delivery, even though I’d been home all morning, practically glued to the window in anticipation. I found a “sorry I missed you” note on the front door from the mailman, stating that he’d left my package in the apartment complex office. I sprinted to the office, but, alas…just as I got there, I saw the leasing agent driving away on a golf cart. My Harry Potter dreams were dashed before my eyes.

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The Deathly Hallows, Chapter 32: That Which Lies At The End of the Path

Goodness. This is my last post. That’s sad. And exciting. Because it means the archive is coming and the archive will persist. It’s not the end, though (it’s never the end!) because we still have that wrapup post coming OOPS SPOILERS.

Today, again, I only get to discuss one chapter, though. So let’s see if we can pull it all together and make something that’s truly magical. I shall miss everyone’s many and varied thoughts that are many and varied. It’s been a real wonder to go back and look at this series again and see how well it holds up, because it does hold up and hold up well. And stuff like that. Also critical brain being critical still loves this series. Possibly more.

To start this, I should mention, I suppose, how I read this book, because it was most peculiar.

I started around two in the morning because Borders was a total madhouse. Got home, started reading. Read for maybe three hours and passed out around five (as I am wont to do). It was only going to be a nap. I had plans to wake up at seven in the morning so I could finish in time for a work/errand thing I had to do at 5:30 later that day. The plan was to be done by the work/errand so I could worry about work.

Surprise surprise, I overslept (probably woke up around nine), realized that I wouldn’t have had time to finish before the work/errand, and spent the rest of the day not speeding through it, but taking my time. I didn’t STOP reading, of course. But I took my time. I even got a text message at seven thirty in the morning from my best friend saying she’d finished and she didn’t cry (fascist).

I read all day. And when I had to stop to go to work, I looked at how long the next chapter was (it was pretty long) and closed the book. Went to the work/errand (thinking about where I had stopped) and hurried back soon as I was done with the work/errand so I could finish. Which, for the record, was me alone in my childhood home, crying, sobbing, and screaming at the events that unfolded in the very next chapter. It was, to my recollection, the hardest I have ever cried at anything and is still the hardest I have ever cried at anything.

And the chapter that I ended on? When I closed the book for the first time that day and went off to go do my work/errand? The hour or so long break I had between chapters?

Guess what that chapter was. Continue reading

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