Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is proof, more than any other entry in the series, that J.K. Rowling is not only a phenomenal writer capable of constructing and destructing a world, but also a writer bubbling with humanity and compassion. She brings her world-shattering story to a thunderous and triumphant end, both breaking hearts and soothing them at the same time.
Often stories like Harry Potter are written by a narcissistic and self-aware writer. A writer that is both clued in to the clamouring of their rabid fan base but also unappreciative of them. J.K. Rowling, and make no mistake about this, is abundantly aware of her fan base and the millions aching for Harry Potter’s story to end with catharsis rather than morbid pathos. She takes the route that she needed to take all along with this story: one that balances and respects the scale.
The Deathly Hallows, whilst ultimately triumphant, is a sombre affair but also a thunderous and loud one. It is a crescendo when it requires the characters to scream into the heavens but also a quiet and almost weightless affair when all hope appears lost.
It is, above all else, about character, once again. The best fantastical stories, such as this, use their genre and immersive world to tell their story. For instance, The Martian whilst set on an entirely different planet is about humanity and relationships across political borders. The Lord of the Rings whilst operating in a world tangential to ours is about solidarity despite division and greed. Game of Thrones may flout dragons and stone men and White Walkers but it is an engulfing political thriller. Harry Potter may stroll onto the scene sporting a gaudy robe, brandishing a long scraggily wand and sporting a lightning bolt shaped scar, but it is about sacrifice, selflessness and friendship – and the Deathly Hallows is no different.
But applause must be given to Rowling for doing something that she could very easily and cruelly refused to do: give the readers what they want. Six books have built and built to this one and it could have collapsed in on itself. Neville Longbottom could have wasted away as a fleeting face in the background. Molly Weasley could have remained an apprehensive mother. Percy could have remained the snivelling brat he’s always been. Characters could have lived, characters could have died and some need not even speak from the dead at all. But Rowling makes all the right decisions.
The greatest testament to this finale and the series in general is the feeling one harbours when the book is closed. It is the same feeling one feels after an appetising meal or, pardon the French, a relieving deuce or, significantly less childish, a good night’s sleep: contentment.