I’ve thought a lot about how I’m going to talk about this book, imagined a million different ways I could express my thoughts, but the fact of the matter remains that no matter what I say here will ever be able to truly capture how much this books (and this series) means to me. Yes, of course Deathly Hallows has flaws. I could rant about how certain characters (Remus Lupin, for starters) deserved better. I could complain that certain romances were unnecessary and hurt relationships. I could write a ten thousand word essay about why “Nineteen Years Later” does a great disservice to both its readers and its characters. But that is for another time.
Instead, today I’m just going to tell you a story about a girl named MAK, a story that is not so different from the stories of many of girls and boys. Ten years ago, on July 21st, MAK forced her parents to take her to a Barnes and Noble and buy her a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The book had just come out that day, and she had to get her hands on a copy. MAK’s father saw the price and observed that the book would be cheaper at another store. But MAK was impatient. She could not wait any longer. She insisted that the book be bought right then and there. MAK’s father gave in, and finally, finally the book was hers, and MAK grasped it and began reading it greedily on the way home. That was all she did the entire day. Her cousin was visiting at the time, but MAK couldn’t care less- in fact, she hardly cared about anything going on in the world around her- she had to know how Harry’s story ended. I don’t remember much about that day, nor what I thought as I read the final chapter for the first time. But I do remember that I was in love.
It has been years and years since I last read Deathly Hallows, but before that I would read it almost regularly. Still, as I read once more during this past week, there were certain passages and scenes, certain moments that I remembered almost verbatim. Others were completely gone from my memory, allowing me to rediscover them, as if it were the first time. And the tears … they were expected beforehand, but as they actually fell in the moments, they were a complete surprise. Did I expect to sob over and over as Severus Snape died and his love for Lily was revealed? Did I know my eyes would well up and I’d be wiping away tears when Harry saw his mother once more and asked her to “stay close”? I expected to cry and be sad because this was the final book after all, but I didn’t expect to be as emotionally affected as I was.
So while there are things that still bother me about this book, I have come to realize, they don’t matter as much, because despite its flaws, no other book or series will or can ever have an impact on me like this has had. And so, even as I fumed over the epilogue, the fact that I was reading about something that was happening in the present- “Nineteen Years Later”, was (is) today … makes everything feel all the more real. Today, Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione all went to Kings Cross Station to see their children off. Harry’s story is no longer in the past. It’s just as open and uncharted as mine, and in a way, that’s comforting, knowing that once again we’ll be navigating the unknown together.
And with that, welcome back to another year at Hogwarts! I’ll be reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child soon (some time this month), so I won’t be leaving Hogwarts just yet. Thanks for reading!