Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
|Author||J. K. Rowling|
Jason Cockcroft (UK)|
Mary GrandPré (US)
|7th in series|
|21 July 2007|
|Preceded by||Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince|
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and final novel of the Harry Potter series, written by British author J. K. Rowling. The book was released on 21 July 2007 by Bloomsbury Publishing in the United Kingdom, in the United States by Scholastic, and in Canada by Raincoast Books, ending the series that began in 1997 with the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The novel chronicles the events directly following Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005), and the final confrontation between the wizards Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort, as well as revealing the previously concealed back story of several main characters. The title of the book refers to three mythical objects featured in the story, collectively known as the "Deathly Hallows"—an unbeatable wand, a stone to bring the dead to life, and a cloak of invisibility.
Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in January 2007. Before its release, Bloomsbury reportedly spent £10 million to keep the book's contents safe before its release date. American publisher Arthur Levine refused any copies of the novel to be released in advance for press review, although two reviews were submitted early. Shortly before release, photos of all 759 pages of the U.S. edition were leaked and transcribed, leading Scholastic to look for the source that had leaked it.
Released globally in 93 countries, Deathly Hallows broke sales records as the fastest-selling book ever, a record it still held in 2012. It sold 15 million copies in the first 24 hours following its release, including more than 11 million in the U.S. and UK alone. The previous record, 9 million in its first day, had been held by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The novel has also been translated into over 120 languages. The title proved difficult to translate and was often rendered closer to "Harry Potter and the Relics of Death" in other languages.
Major themes in the novel are death and living in a corrupted society, and critics have compared them to Christian allegories. Generally well-received, the book won the 2008 Colorado Blue Spruce Book Award, and the American Library Association named it a "Best Book for Young Adults". A two-part film adaptation began showing in November 2010 when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 was released; Part 2 was released on 15 July 2011.
Throughout the six previous novels in the series, the titular character Harry Potter has struggled with the difficulties of adolescence along with being famous as the only wizard to survive the Killing Curse. The curse was cast by the evil Tom Riddle, better known as Lord Voldemort, a powerful evil wizard, who had murdered Harry's parents and attempted to kill Harry as a baby, in the belief this would frustrate a prophecy that Harry would become his equal. As an orphan, Harry was placed in the care of his Muggle (non-magical) relatives Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon.
In Philosopher's Stone, Harry re-enters the wizarding world at age 11 and enrols in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He makes friends with fellow students Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and is mentored by the school's headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. He also meets Professor Severus Snape, who intensely dislikes and bullies him. Harry fights Voldemort several times while at school, as the wizard tries to regain a physical form. In Goblet of Fire, Harry is mysteriously entered in a dangerous magical competition called the Triwizard Tournament, which he discovers is a trap designed to allow the return of Lord Voldemort to full strength. During Order of the Phoenix, Harry and several of his friends face off against Voldemort's Death Eaters, a group of Dark witches and wizards, and narrowly defeat them. In Half-Blood Prince, Harry learns that Voldemort has divided his soul into several parts, creating "horcruxes" from various unknown objects to contain them; in this way he has ensured his immortality as long as at least one of the horcruxes still exists. Two of these had already been destroyed, one a diary destroyed by Harry in the events of Chamber of Secrets and one a ring destroyed by Dumbledore shortly before the events of Half-Blood Prince. Dumbledore takes Harry along in the attempt to destroy a third horcrux contained in a locket. However, the horcrux had been taken by an unknown wizard, and upon their return Dumbledore is ambushed and disarmed by Draco Malfoy who cannot bring himself to kill him. Dumbledore is subsequently killed by Snape, who finishes what Malfoy started.
Following Dumbledore's death, Voldemort consolidates his support and power, including covert control of the Ministry of Magic, while Harry is about to turn seventeen, losing the protection of his home. The Order of the Phoenix move Harry to a new location before his birthday, but are attacked upon departure. In the ensuing battle, Mad-Eye is killed and George Weasley wounded; Voldemort himself arrives to kill Harry, but Harry's wand fends him off of its own accord.
At the Burrow, Harry, Ron and Hermione make preparations to abandon Hogwarts and hunt down Voldemort's four remaining Horcruxes, but have few clues to work with on their identities and locations. One is a locket once owned by Hogwarts' co-founder Salazar Slytherin which was stolen by the mysterious "R.A.B.", one is possibly a cup originally belonging to co-founder Helga Hufflepuff, a third might be connected to co-founder Rowena Ravenclaw, and the fourth might be Nagini, Voldemort's snake familiar. They also receive apparently meaningless bequests from among Dumbledore's possessions—a Golden Snitch for Harry, a Deluminator for Ron, and a book of fairy tales for Hermione.
Before leaving, they attend Ron's brother Bill's wedding, but during the reception the Ministry of Magic finally falls to Voldemort and the wedding is attacked. They flee to 12 Grimmauld Place in London, the family home of Sirius Black that Harry had inherited a year before. They identify R.A.B. as Sirius' brother Regulus Black, and learn from the house-elf Kreacher that Slytherin's locket was stolen from the house and then seized by Dolores Umbridge of the Ministry of Magic. They infiltrate the Ministry of Magic using Polyjuice Potion and take back the locket, but have no way to destroy it. With the Ministry now after them, the trio goes on the run across the countryside. Under the object's evil influence and the strain of constant vigilance, they argue and Ron leaves.
Harry and Hermione continue the quest, discovering more about Dumbledore's past, including the death of Dumbledore's younger sister and his connection to the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. They travel to Godric's Hollow, Harry's birthplace and the place where his parents died, and meet the elderly magical historian Bathilda Bagshot, but she turns out to be Nagini in disguise, awaiting their arrival. The snake attacks Harry and again they barely escape, but Harry's wand is destroyed. Their luck finally appears to turn in the Forest of Dean. A mysterious silver doe Patronus appears and guides Harry to an icy pond containing the Sword of Hogwarts co-founder Godric Gryffindor, one of the few objects able to destroy Horcruxes. During Harry's attempt to recover the sword, the Horcrux attempts to kill him. He is saved by Ron, who was guided back by the Deluminator, and they realise Dumbledore's gifts may be meaningful. Ron obtains the sword, and uses it to destroy the locket.
Hermione identifies in Dumbledore's book a strange symbol also worn at the wedding by Xenophilius Lovegood. They visit him and are told the symbol represents the mythical Deathly Hallows, three objects from an old fairy tale titled The Tale of the Three Brothers: the Elder Wand, an unbeatable wand; the Resurrection Stone, able to summon the dead; and an infallible Invisibility Cloak. Harry realises that Voldemort is seeking (and later successfully obtains) the Elder Wand, won by Dumbledore after Grindelwald's defeat, believing it will allow him to overpower the connection between his own wand and Harry's. Harry also recognises the Resurrection Stone as that found by Dumbledore which later become the second Horcrux, and believes it to be hidden inside the Snitch Dumbledore left for him, but can't open it. The description of the third Hallow also matches that of his own inherited Invisibility Cloak.
The trio are captured by Snatchers and taken to Malfoy Manor, where Bellatrix Lestrange tortures Hermione to learn how the three acquired the sword, which she had believed was in her vault at Gringotts. With the help of Dobby the house-elf they escape along with fellow prisoners Luna Lovegood, Ollivander, Dean Thomas, and the goblin Griphook. During the escape Harry steals Draco Malfoy's wand and Dobby dies. Bellatrix' terror in interrogating Hermione suggests to Harry that some exceptional object is in her vault, and when questioned, Griphook confirms that a gold cup is indeed in her vault. With Griphook's help, they break into the vault at Gringotts, retrieve the cup, and escape on a dragon, but in the chaos they lose the Sword of Gryffindor. Harry has a vision of Voldemort and sees that he now understands their plan, and intends to make his remaining horcruxes even safer. The vision also confirms that the unidentified horcrux is at Hogwarts.
They enter the school through an undiscovered secret entrance. Harry alerts the teachers that Voldemort is planning an assault on the school, and they drive out Snape and summon the Order of the Phoenix to help defend the school to win time for Harry to locate the horcrux. Voldemort had set a guard in the Ravenclaw tower, corroborating Harry's belief that the horcrux is Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem, lost centuries ago. The Ravenclaw ghost's story further confirms this belief, and Harry remembers an old diadem in the Room of Requirement. Ron and Hermione destroy the cup with basilisk fangs from the Chamber of Secrets as Voldemort and his army besiege the castle. They find the diadem but are ambushed by Draco Malfoy and his friends Crabbe and Goyle. Crabbe tries to kill them using Fiendfyre, a cursed fire, but is unable to control it; the fire destroys the diadem and himself while Harry and his friends save Malfoy and Goyle. Meanwhile several major characters are killed in the Battle of Hogwarts, including Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, and Fred Weasley.
In his encampment, Voldemort feels that the Elder Wand is not performing as he expected. According to legend, its allegiance must be won by killing the previous owner, and Voldemort concludes—incorrectly—that as Snape killed Dumbledore, he will not be able to fully wield the wand's power until he kills Snape, which he does. Harry arrives as Snape is dying, and Snape passes him memories to view in a pensieve. They reveal that Snape had a lifelong love for Harry's mother and felt haunted by causing her death, and despite hating Harry's father he agreed at Dumbledore's request to watch over Harry and act as a double agent against Voldemort. The doe Patronus that led Harry to the Sword was summoned by Snape, who was watching over them the whole time. It is revealed that Dumbledore's death was planned in advance to prove Snape's allegiance to Voldemort. The memories also explain that Harry must die at Voldemort's hand if Voldemort is to be killed. Harry accepts his death and goes to the Forbidden Forest to allow Voldemort to kill him. On the way he mentions to Neville Longbottom that Voldemort's snake Nagini must be killed to make Voldemort vulnerable. He finally manages to open the Snitch and uses the Resurrection Stone within to seek comfort and courage from his dead loved ones—his parents, Sirius and Lupin—dropping the Stone in the forest before reaching Voldemort's camp. Voldemort uses the Killing Curse and Harry does not defend himself.
Harry awakens in a dreamlike location resembling Kings Cross Station and is greeted by Dumbledore, who explains that Voldemort's original Killing Curse left a fragment of Voldemort's soul in Harry which caused the connection they had felt, making Harry an unintended Horcrux; this fragment has just been destroyed by Voldemort himself. When Voldemort used Harry's blood to regain his full strength, this further protected Harry from Voldemort, allowing Harry to return to life if he chooses, or to "go on." Harry chooses to return and feigns death. Voldemort displays Harry's body and offers a truce if the defenders surrender, but Neville kills Nagini with the Sword of Gryffindor, leaving Voldemort unprotected, and Harry escapes under his cloak as the battle resumes.
In a final onslaught, Bellatrix is killed and Harry reveals to Voldemort that he is alive. He explains to Voldemort that the Elder Wand's loyalty transfers upon the defeat, not necessarily the killing, of its previous master. Although Voldemort believes he has won the wand's allegiance by killing Snape, who killed Dumbledore, in fact Draco Malfoy had earned the Wand's loyalty by disarming Dumbledore just before his death. Therefore, the outcome of their duel will depend upon whether the Elder Wand knows that Harry had disarmed Malfoy weeks prior, leaving Harry as its true master, even though neither Draco nor Harry ever physically held it. Voldemort attempts one final Killing Curse on Harry, but the Elder Wand refuses to act against Harry and the spell rebounds, killing Voldemort at last.
After Voldemort's death, Harry uses the Elder Wand to repair his original broken wand, saying that he will return it to Dumbledore's tomb, where its power may vanish if Harry dies undefeated and where it may drop out of history. The wizarding world returns to peace once more.
In an epilogue set in King's Cross station 19 years later, Harry and Ginny Weasley are a couple with three children: James Sirius, Albus Severus, and Lily Luna. Ron and Hermione also have two children, Rose and Hugo; Harry's godson Teddy Lupin, is found kissing Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour's daughter Victoire; Neville Longbottom is now a Hogwarts professor; and Draco Malfoy and his wife are also at the station to send off their son, Scorpius. Albus is departing for his first year at Hogwarts, and is worried he will be placed into Slytherin House. Harry reassures him, telling his son that he is named for two Hogwarts headmasters, and one of them (Snape) was a Slytherin and "the bravest man he had ever met", but that the Sorting Hat could take account of personal preferences, as it did for Harry. The book ends with the words: "The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well."
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published by Bloomsbury, the publisher of all Harry Potter books in the United Kingdom, on 30 June 1997. It was released in the United States on 1 September 1998 by Scholastic—the American publisher of the books—as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, after Rowling had received US$105,000 for the American rights—an unprecedented amount for a children's book by a then-unknown author.
The second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was originally published in the UK on 2 July 1998, and in the US on 2 June 1999. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was then published a year later in the UK on 8 July 1999, and in the US on 8 September 1999. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was published on 8 July 2000 at the same time by Bloomsbury and Scholastic. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the longest book in the series at 766 pages in the UK version and 870 pages in the US version. It was published worldwide in English on 21 June 2003. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was published on 16 July 2005, and it sold 9 million copies in the first 24 hours of its worldwide release.
Choice of title
Shortly before releasing the title, J. K. Rowling announced that she had considered three titles for the book. The final title, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, named after the mythical Deathly Hallows in the novel, was released to the public on 21 December 2006, via a special Christmas-themed hangman puzzle on Rowling's website, confirmed shortly afterwards by the book's publishers. When asked during a live chat about the other titles she had been considering, Rowling mentioned Harry Potter and the Elder Wand and Harry Potter and the Peverell Quest.
Rowling on finishing the book
Rowling completed the book while staying at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh in January 2007, and left a signed statement on a marble bust of Hermes in her room which read: "J. K. Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (552) on 11 January 2007". In a statement on her website, she said, "I've never felt such a mixture of extreme emotions in my life, never dreamed I could feel simultaneously heartbroken and euphoric." She compared her mixed feelings to those expressed by Charles Dickens in the preface of the 1850 edition of David Copperfield, "a two-years' imaginative task". "To which," she added, "I can only sigh, try seventeen years, Charles". She ended her message by saying "Deathly Hallows is my favourite, and that is the most wonderful way to finish the series".
When asked before publication about the forthcoming book, Rowling stated that she could not change the ending even if she wanted. "These books have been plotted for such a long time, and for six books now, that they're all leading a certain direction. So, I really can't". She also commented that the final volume related closely to the previous book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, "almost as though they are two-halves of the same novel". She has said that the last chapter of the book was written "in something like 1990", as part of her earliest work on the series. Rowling also revealed she originally wrote the last words to be "something like: 'Only those who he loved could see his lightning scar'". Rowling changed this because she did not want people to think Voldemort would rise again and to say that Harry's mission was over.
In a 2006 interview, J. K. Rowling said that the main theme of the series is Harry dealing with death, which was influenced by her mother's death in 1990, from multiple sclerosis. Lev Grossman of Time stated that the main theme of the series was the overwhelming importance of continuing to love in the face of death.
Living in a corrupted society
Academics and journalists have developed many other interpretations of themes in the books, some more complex than others, and some including political subtexts. Themes such as normality, oppression, survival, and overcoming imposing odds have all been considered as prevalent throughout the series. Similarly, the theme of making one's way through adolescence and "going over one's most harrowing ordeals—and thus coming to terms with them" has also been considered. Rowling has stated that the books comprise "a prolonged argument for tolerance, a prolonged plea for an end to bigotry" and that also pass on a message to "question authority and ... not assume that the establishment or the press tells you all of the truth".
Some political commentators have seen J. K. Rowling's portrayal of the bureaucratised Ministry of Magic and the oppressive measures taken by the Ministry in the later books (like making attendance at Hogwarts School compulsory and the "registration of Mudbloods" with the Ministry) as an allegory of criticising the state.
The Harry Potter series has been criticised for supposedly supporting witchcraft and the occult. Before publication of Deathly Hallows, Rowling refused to speak out about her religion, stating, "If I talk too freely, every reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess what's coming in the books". However, many have noted Christian allegories apparent in Deathly Hallows. For example, Harry dies and then comes back to life to save mankind, like Christ. The location where this occurs is King's Cross. Harry also urges Voldemort to show remorse, to restore his shattered soul. Rowling also stated that "my belief and my struggling with religious belief ... I think is quite apparent in this book", which is shown as Harry struggles with his faith in Dumbledore.
Deathly Hallows begins with a pair of epigraphs, one by Quaker leader William Penn and one from Aeschylus' The Libation Bearers. Of this, Rowling said "I really enjoyed choosing those two quotations because one is pagan, of course, and one is from a Christian tradition. I'd known it was going to be those two passages since Chamber was published. I always knew [that] if I could use them at the beginning of book seven then I'd cued up the ending perfectly. If they were relevant, then I went where I needed to go. They just say it all to me, they really do".
When Harry visits his parents' grave, the biblical reference "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1 Corinthians 15:26) is inscribed on the grave. The Dumbledores' family tomb also holds a biblical quote: "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also", which is from Matthew 6:21. Rowling states, "They're very British books, so on a very practical note Harry was going to find biblical quotations on tombstones ... [but] I think those two particular quotations he finds on the tombstones at Godric's Hollow, they sum up – they almost epitomise the whole series".
Harry Potter pundit John Granger additionally noted that one of the reasons the Harry Potter books were so popular is their use of literary alchemy (similar to Romeo and Juliet, C. S. Lewis's Perelandra and Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities) and vision symbolism. In this model, authors weave allegorical tales along the alchemical magnum opus. Since the medieval period, alchemical allegory has mirrored the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. While the entire series utilises symbols common in alchemy, the Deathly Hallows completes this cycle, tying themes of death, rebirth, and the Resurrection Stone to the principal motif of alchemical allegory, and topics presented in the first book of the series.
Marketing and promotion
The launch was celebrated by an all-night book signing and reading at the Natural History Museum in London, which Rowling attended along with 1,700 guests chosen by ballot. Rowling toured the US in October 2007, where another event was held at Carnegie Hall in New York City with tickets allocated by sweepstake.
Scholastic, the American publisher of the Harry Potter series, launched a multimillion-dollar "There will soon be 7" marketing campaign with a "Knight Bus" travelling to 40 libraries across the United States, online fan discussions and competitions, collectible bookmarks, tattoos, and the staged release of seven Deathly Hallows questions most debated by fans. In the build-up to the book's release, Scholastic released seven questions that fans would find answered in the final book:
- Who will live? Who will die?
- Is Snape good or evil?
- Will Hogwarts reopen?
- Who ends up with whom?
- Where are the Horcruxes?
- Will Voldemort be defeated?
- What are the Deathly Hallows?
J. K. Rowling arranged with her publishers for a poster bearing the face of the missing British child Madeleine McCann to be made available to book sellers when Deathly Hallows was launched on 21 July 2007, and said that she hoped that the posters would be displayed prominently in shops all over the world.
After it was told that the novel would be released on 21 July 2007, Warner Bros. shortly thereafter said that the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix would be released shortly before the novel would be released, on 13 July 2007, making many people proclaim that July 2007, was the month of Harry Potter.
Bloomsbury invested £10 million in an attempt to keep the book's contents secure until 21 July, the release date. Arthur Levine, U.S. editor of the Harry Potter series, denied distributing any copies of Deathly Hallows in advance for press review, but two U.S. papers published early reviews anyway. There was speculation that some shops would break the embargo and distribute copies of the book early, as the penalty imposed for previous instalments—that the distributor would not be supplied with any further copies of the series—would no longer be a deterrent.
Online leaks and early delivery
In the week before its release, a number of texts purporting to be genuine leaks appeared in various forms. On 16 July, a set of photographs representing all 759 pages of the U.S. edition was leaked and was fully transcribed prior to the official release date. The photographs later appeared on websites and peer-to-peer networks, leading Scholastic to seek a subpoena in order to identify one source. This represented the most serious security breach in the Harry Potter series' history. Rowling and her lawyer confirmed that there were genuine online leaks. Reviews published in both The Baltimore Sun and The New York Times on 18 July 2007, corroborated many of the plot elements from this leak, and about one day prior to release, The New York Times confirmed that the main circulating leak was real.
Scholastic announced that approximately one-ten-thousandth (0.0001) of the U.S. supply had been shipped early — interpreted to mean about 1,200 copies. One reader in Maryland received a copy of the book in the mail from DeepDiscount.com four days before it was launched, which evoked incredulous responses from both Scholastic and DeepDiscount. Scholastic initially reported that they were satisfied it had been a "human error" and would not discuss possible penalties; however, the following day Scholastic announced that it would be launching legal action against DeepDiscount.com and its distributor, Levy Home Entertainment. Scholastic filed for damages in Chicago's Circuit Court of Cook County, claiming that DeepDiscount engaged in a "complete and flagrant violation of the agreements that they knew were part of the carefully constructed release of this eagerly awaited book." Some of the early release books soon appeared on eBay, in one case being sold to Publishers Weekly for US$250 from an initial price of US$18.
Price wars and other controversies
Asda, along with several other UK supermarkets, having already taken pre-orders for the book at a heavily discounted price, sparked a price war two days before the book's launch by announcing they would sell it for just £5 a copy. Other retail chains then also offered the book at discounted prices. At these prices the book became a loss leader. This caused uproar from traditional UK booksellers who argued they had no hope of competing in those conditions. Independent shops protested loudest, but even Waterstone's, the UK's largest dedicated chain bookstore, could not compete with the supermarket price. Some small bookstores hit back by buying their stock from the supermarkets rather than their wholesalers. Asda attempted to counter this by imposing a limit of two copies per customer to prevent bulk purchases. Philip Wicks, a spokesman for the UK Booksellers Association, said, "It is a war we can't even participate in. We think it's a crying shame that the supermarkets have decided to treat it as a loss-leader, like a can of baked beans." Michael Norris, an analyst at Simba Information, said: "You are not only lowering the price of the book. At this point, you are lowering the value of reading."
In Malaysia, a similar price war caused controversy regarding sales of the book. Four of the biggest bookstore chains in Malaysia, MPH Bookstores, Popular Bookstores, Times and Harris, decided to pull Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows off their shelves as a protest against Tesco and Carrefour hypermarkets. The retail price of the book in Malaysia is MYR 109.90, while the hypermarkets Tesco and Carrefour sold the book at MYR 69.90. The move by the bookstores was seen as an attempt to pressure the distributor Penguin Books to remove the books from the hypermarkets. However, as of 24 July 2007, the price war has ended, with the four bookstores involved resuming selling the books in their stores with discount. Penguin Books has also confirmed that Tesco and Carrefour are selling the book at a loss, urging them to practice good business sense and fair trade.
The book's early Saturday morning release in Israel was criticised for violating Shabbat. Trade and Industry Minister Eli Yishai commented "It is forbidden, according to Jewish values and Jewish culture, that a thing like this should take place at 2 am on Saturday. Let them do it on another day." Yishai indicated that he would issue indictments and fines based on the Hours of Work and Rest Law.
Publication and reception
The Baltimore Sun's critic, Mary Carole McCauley, noted that the book was more serious than the previous novels in the series and had more straightforward prose. Furthermore, reviewer Alice Fordham from The Times wrote that "Rowling's genius is not just her total realisation of a fantasy world, but the quieter skill of creating characters that bounce off the page, real and flawed and brave and lovable". Fordham concluded, "We have been a long way together, and neither Rowling nor Harry let us down in the end". The New York Times writer Michiko Kakutani agreed, praising Rowling's ability to make Harry both a hero and a character that can be related to.
Time magazine's Lev Grossman named it one of the Top 10 Fiction Books of 2007, ranking it at No. 8, and praised Rowling for proving that books can still be a global mass medium. Novelist Elizabeth Hand criticised that "... the spectacularly complex interplay of narrative and character often reads as though an entire trilogy's worth of summing-up has been crammed into one volume." In a starred review from Kirkus Reviews, the reviewer said, "Rowling has shown uncommon skill in playing them with and against each other, and also woven them into a darn good bildungsroman, populated by memorable characters and infused with a saving, irrepressible sense of fun". They also praised the second half of the novel, but criticised the epilogue, calling it "provocatively sketchy". In another review from The Times, reviewer Amanda Craig said that while Rowling was "not an original, high-concept author", she was "right up there with other greats of children's fiction". Craig went on to say that the novel was "beautifully judged, and a triumphant return to form", and that Rowling's imagination changed the perception of an entire generation, which "is more than all but a handful of living authors, in any genre, have achieved in the past half-century".
In contrast, Jenny Sawyer of The Christian Science Monitor said that, "There is much to love about the Harry Potter series, from its brilliantly realised magical world to its multilayered narrative", however, "A story is about someone who changes. And, puberty aside, Harry doesn't change much. As envisioned by Rowling, he walks the path of good so unwaveringly that his final victory over Voldemort feels, not just inevitable, but hollow". In The New York Times, Christopher Hitchens compared the series to World War Two-era English boarding school stories, and while he wrote that "Rowling has won imperishable renown" for the series as a whole, he also stated that he disliked Rowling's use of deus ex machina, that the mid-book camping chapters are "abysmally long", and Voldemort "becomes more tiresome than an Ian Fleming villain". Catherine Bennett of The Guardian praised Rowling for putting small details from the previous books and making them large in Deathly Hallows, such as Grindelwald being mentioned on a Chocolate Frog Card in the first book. While she points out "as her critics say, Rowling is no Dickens", she says that Rowling "has willed into a fictional being, in every book, legions of new characters, places, spells, rules and scores of unimagined twists and subplots".
Stephen King criticised the reactions of some reviewers to the books, including McCauley, for jumping too quickly to surface conclusions of the work. He felt this was inevitable, because of the extreme secrecy before launch which did not allow reviewers time to read and consider the book, but meant that many early reviews lacked depth. Rather than finding the writing style disappointing, he felt it had matured and improved. He acknowledged that the subject matter of the books had become more adult, and that Rowling had clearly been writing with the adult audience firmly in mind since the middle of the series. He compared the works in this respect to Huckleberry Finn and Alice in Wonderland which achieved success and have become established classics, in part by appealing to the adult audience as well as children.
Sales, awards and honours
Sales for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were record setting. The initial U.S. print run for Deathly Hallows was 12 million copies, and more than a million were pre-ordered through Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, 500 percent higher than pre-sales had been for Half-Blood Prince. On 12 April 2007, Barnes & Noble declared that Deathly Hallows had broken its pre-order record, with more than 500,000 copies pre-ordered through its site. On opening day, a record 8.3 million copies were sold in the United States (over 96 per second), and 2.65 million copies in the United Kingdom. It holds the Guinness World record for fastest selling book of fiction in 24 hours for U.S. sales. At WH Smith, sales reportedly reached a rate of 15 books sold per second. By June 2008, nearly a year after it was published, worldwide sales were reportedly around 44 million.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has won several awards. In 2007, the book was named one of The New York Times 100 Notable Books, and one of its Notable Children's Books. The novel was named the best book of 2007, by Newsweek's critic Malcolm Jones. Publishers Weekly also listed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows among their Best Books of 2007. In 2008, the American Library Association named the novel one of its Best Books for Young Adults, and also listed it as a Notable Children's Book. Furthermore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows received the 2008 Colorado Blue Spruce Book Award.
Due to its worldwide fame, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been translated into many languages. The first translation to be released was the Ukrainian translation, on 25 September 2007 (as Гаррі Поттер і смертельні реліквії – Harry Potter i smertel'ni relikviji). The Swedish title of the book was revealed by Rowling as Harry Potter and the Relics of Death (Harry Potter och Dödsrelikerna), following a pre-release question from the Swedish publisher about the difficulty of translating the two words "Deathly Hallows" without having read the book. This is also the title used for the French translation (Harry Potter et les reliques de la mort), the Spanish translation (Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte), the Dutch translation (Harry Potter en de Relieken van de Dood) and the Brazilian Portuguese translation (Harry Potter e as Relíquias da Morte). The first Polish translation was released with a new title: Harry Potter i Insygnia Śmierci – Harry Potter and the Insignia of Death. The Hindi translation Harry Potter aur Maut ke Tohfe (हैरी पॉटर और मौत के तोहफे), which means "Harry Potter and the Gifts of Death", was released by Manjul Publication in India on 27 June 2008. The Romanian version was released on the 1st of December 2007 using the title (Harry Potter și Talismanele Morții).
Deathly Hallows was released in hardcover on 21 July 2007 and in paperback in the United Kingdom on 10 July 2008 and the United States on 7 July 2009. In SoHo, New York, there was a release party for the American paperback edition, with many games and activities. An "Adult Edition" with a different cover illustration was released by Bloomsbury on 21 July 2007. To be released simultaneously with the original U.S. hardcover on 21 July with only 100,000 copies was a Scholastic deluxe edition, highlighting a new cover illustration by Mary GrandPré. In October 2010, Bloomsbury released a "Celebratory" paperback edition, which featured a foiled and starred cover. Lastly, on 1 November 2010, a "Signature" edition of the novel was released in paperback by Bloomsbury.
A two-part film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is directed by David Yates, written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman, David Barron and J. K. Rowling. Part 1 was released on 19 November 2010, and Part 2 on 15 July 2011. Filming began in February 2009, and ended on 12 June 2010. However, the cast confirmed they would reshoot the epilogue scene as they only had two days to shoot the original. Reshoots officially ended around December 2010. Part 1 ended at Chapter 24 of the book, when Voldemort regained the Elder Wand. However, there were a few omissions, such as the appearances of Dean Thomas and Viktor Krum, and Peter Pettigrew's death. James Bernadelli of Reelviews said that the script stuck closest to the text since Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, yet this was met with negativity from some audiences as the film inherited "the book's own problems".
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released simultaneously on 21 July 2007, in both the UK and the United States. The UK edition features the voice of Stephen Fry and runs about 24 hours while the U.S. edition features the voice of Jim Dale and runs about 21 hours. Both Fry and Dale recorded 146 different and distinguishable character voices, and was the most recorded by an individual on an audiobook at the time.
For his work on Deathly Hallows, Dale won the 2008 Grammy Award for the Best Spoken Word Album for Children. He also was awarded an Earphone Award by AudioFile, who claimed, "Dale has raised the bar on audiobook interpretation so high it's hard to imagine any narrator vaulting over it."
The Tales of Beedle the Bard
On 4 December 2008, Rowling released The Tales of Beedle the Bard both in the UK and US. The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a spin-off of Deathly Hallows and contains fairy tales that are told to children in the "Wizarding World". The book includes five short stories, including "The Tale of the Three Brothers" which is the story of the Deathly Hallows.
Amazon.com released an exclusive collector's edition of the book which is a replica of the book that Amazon.com purchased at auction in December 2007. Seven copies were auctioned off in London by Sotheby's. Each was illustrated and handwritten by Rowling and is 157 pages. It was bound in brown Moroccan leather and embellished with five hand-chased hallmarked sterling silver ornaments and mounted moonstones.
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- Harry Potter at Bloomsbury.com web site UK publisher book information
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- Harry Potter at Allen & Unwin web site at WebCite (archived 28 July 2007) Australia-New Zealand publisher book information