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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 4

Your Favorite Book in Your Favorite Series

Well, I have to say that it’s always necessary to save the best for last. So, my favorite book of the Harry Potter series is Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. How can you not say that the 7th is the best? I just don’t see any way to get around it. The last HP book is the entire culmination of the series and the height of J.K. Rowling’s writing talent. When I begin reading the series all over again, I am struck immediately by the quality of writing that seems to be deficient when compared to what I remember from the series. Then, as I read along in the series, each book grows stronger in word choice and narrative momentum and especially characterization.

Rowling seems to get closer and closer to high literature as she progresses.  This is evident as we see the epigraph at the beginning of the seventh book: one from Aeschylus and one from William Penn. None of the other six books had epigraphs, so it seems to me that with the last book Rowling seems to be making a conscious effort to put herself out there as a serious artist or one with real thematic thrust, which I respect more than I could ever express. I love to see Rowling coming into the prime of her writing with the last book and it only seems right that she does it. With the characterization, she uses the tools that were already set in motion by her in the previous books (pensieve, deluminator, two-way mirror, previous plot happenings, significant quotes, significant tropes) to flesh out the characters of Dumbledore, Snape, Harry’s parents and Harry (among others).

Those are primarily objective analyses of the book, so I should probably now say why I loved the book as a subjective person. First of all, I love how this is the book that changed my  views on a number of characters. The fight between Harry and Ron was probably the biggest happening of the whole book for me, in that it changed my view of Ron completely as a character. After the fight between Harry and Ron and Ron’s desertion, I realized how little I really liked Ron as a person. As Luna Lovegood said in a previous book, “Ron’s not very nice, is he?” I completely agree and I think it was this moment of desertion that made me realize how much I disliked Ron. He’s a whiny bitch, completely hungry for power and fame, and consumed by jealousy toward Harry–not to mention, he’s just a dick. And the interesting thing is that this realization about Ron led me to at least three more revelations about the characters in the book. After Ron’s desertion, I realized how much I like Harry because I was able to see him contrasted with Ron thoroughly. Harry–though he’s famous–is modest, considerate, unfailingly kind (as Dumbledore has pointed out), and capable of great acts of compassion and sacrifice. Though Ron is capable of compassion and sacrifice as well, we see little wavering on Harry’s part. The other two realizations are about Snape and Hermione. Both of these characters at the end of the book leapfrogged over Ron in my book as the best characters in the book besides Harry and (my personal favorite) Sirius.

Second, I love how Rowling makes the characters lose their innocence and become adults not simply by what happens to them. Any author could do that. The great thing is how Rowling makes them become adults because of the decisions they make and the actions they take. Harry by the end of the book breaks into Gringotts, breaks into the Ministry of Magic, uses the Imperius and Cruciatus curse, and kills Voldemort. Though I think the book would have been made even stronger by Harry’s actual use of Avada Kedavra rather than the slight cop-out of Voldemort’s rebounding killing curse, Rowling makes Harry completely multi-dimensional and mature by the actions he takes that thrust him from the realm of black and white to the realm of varying grey shades.

I think I’ve gone on long enough about this book, so suffice it to say that the seventh book of the series is the best, but you have to read the first six before you can get to the best!

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