Tag Archives: the deathly hallows

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, Chapters 24-25: Goodbye To You

I have a confession to make. This is only my second time ever reading this book cover to cover. I was born in the golden year to be an American Harry Potter fan: 1987. When the first book came out, I was eleven years old. I was Harry Potter. Or I could have been, if my stupid letter hadn’t gotten lost in the mail. The first three books came out annually and I waited for them eagerly, I grew up with the Trio, I worshipped Hermione. The thrice-as-long wait for the fourth book nearly killed me, but I gobbled that one right up, too. It was like coming home to old friends. But by the time the fifth book came out, I was older. More importantly, my peers were older. And meaner. Dumbledore’s death was spoiled for me and I wanted no part in it. I decided to let the series live on with only my happy memories. By the time the last book came out, I was in college, and over my stubborn refusal. I vowed to go back and read the whole series, start to finish like it’s meant to be read, but college and grad school and boring Muggle stuff got in the way, and I just never got around to it. I still quoted it and referenced it and loved it with all my heart, I just didn’t know it in its totality. Since I wanted to do it right, I never watched any of the movies past the fourth, not wanting it to spoil the reading experience I was still determined to have. So when my friend invited me to go to the midnight premiere of Deathly Hallows: Part Two, the summer after I finished grad school, I knew the timing was right. I read all of the books and watched all of the movies in less than two months, and made it to the midnight showing with the Deathly Hallows symbol inked (temporarily) on my arm.

But, as I said, this is only my second time reading this book cover to cover. I’ve read snippets here and there. Picked up the book to move it and engulfed a chapter or two on the walk from a shelf to a box. Read quotes and theories and discussions. But never really re-read it. And goodness gracious it is SAD. Sadder than the first time around, because you know their fate, even though they don’t. “When I get married,” said Fred… that’s all it took. My heart shattered. SHATTERED. And it just kept shattering over and over and over.

Anyway, as I believe I mentioned in one of my first posts here, before Harry Potter, I never really understood why people would reread books (there are so many NEW books to read!) but these…these I totally understand. And I can’t wait for next year’s reread.

Enough blabbering. We’ve got things to discuss. Sad things and complicated things and happy things and scary things. The end of one life and the beginning of another.

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The Deathly Hallows, Chapters 22-23: Hallows vs. Horcruxes, Round One

CHAPTER 22: THE DEATHLY HALLOWS

Meanwhile, at the ‘Support Harry Potter’ Party…

Hagrid’s hut stood stoic, with less footprints treading down the path these days. But this night was different. In staggered bursts, students snuck out of their four-post beds and made their way down the path under the cover of darkness. Ginny had suggested the night of the new moon, so there’d be less chance of wandering professors spotting students in the shadows.

Ginny waited in a puffy chair near the entrance to the common room. She was moments away from dozing off, but Neville finally arrived.

“Are you ready to go?” he half-whispered. Neville wasn’t very good at whispering.

“Yes. Shh!” They snuck out the portrait door and quickly made their way to the castle doors. Ginny hadn’t wanted Neville to have to leave by himself. His sneaking skills were about on par with his whispering skills. She didn’t mind, really. Ginny had grown rather grateful for Neville’s friendship over the past few months. Hogwarts was different these days and it was nice to have someone around who understood how she was feeling.

“I wish Luna were here,” said Neville.

“Me, too,” said Ginny.

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The Deathly Hallows, Chapters 10 & 11: It’s Not Like We Can Feel Any Worse

I find that this entry is very hard to write. For most of the Harry Potter series focusing on two chapters at a time feels like celebrating the little things, the individual moments that make up your memory. It felt, for the most part, fun. This isn’t fun. I love the book, but taking time to focus on the individual chapters feels like wallowing instead of celebrating. Keep reading for poetry, though!

CHAPTER 10: KREACHER’S TALE

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Kreacher Kreacher Kreacher can’t you see.
Sometimes your ways just mystify me.

Harry, Ron & Hermione are hiding out at 12 Grimmauld Place. Harry wakes up early and starts rummaging through Sirius’ old bedroom. He finds a letter from his mom about him as a baby (this is, like, the only bright spot in the chapter and it’s about his dead mom, so.) Harry continues to freak out about Dumbledore and whether or not he ever really knew the man. It’s all pretty upsetting.

Ron and Hermione wake up and are pissed at Harry, because they thought he was dead. Again, PRETTY UPSETTING. Then they discover that R.A.B., of fake locket fame, was Regulas Arcturus Black. This is a pretty big reveal, unless you totally saw it coming. Which I think I did? I could totally be making that up though. They realize that Regulus probably had the horcrux locket, at which point Ron remembers finding said locket and totally throwing it out. Whoops! Good thing Kreacher stole a bunch of stuff back from them, before it ended up in a dump and then how would they find it. Seriously, imagine that? Yikes.

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