I have been a fan of the Harry Potter series since the books first came out, and will freely admit that I was one of the kids who cried on their 11th birthday when an owl from Hogwarts didn’t deliver my letter. I was always (give or take a few months) the same age as the main characters of the books, so growing I was always to understand what Harry, Ron, and Hermione were going through. Yet I almost enjoy the books even more now that I can look at them with a more mature mindset. Children’s books or not, Harry Potter is a series I would recommend to absolutely anyone.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Like I said above, I grew up with this series. While I know that having an emotional connection with a book does not make a book better, it does make it a more enjoyable read. The day every HP book came out I sat down and read it in one sitting. When I reread them now, I remember those long nights and the fact that, in my sleep-deprived state, I ended up crying at the end of most of them. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out the day before my first day with The Boy, and despite the fact that we were meeting early in the morning I stayed up until 4am to finish the book (he did the same thing). Do you have any books that have strong memories attached to them?

*Warning: As much as I try to avoid giving away important plot twists in these book reviews, when writing about the last book of a series it is inevitable. If you have not read the HP series and do not wish to have the ending revealed, please do not read any more of this post.*

At the very core, the HP series is a coming-of-age story…that just happens to include magic, an evil wizard trying to take over the world, and an invisibility cloak. The main characters go from young children just leaving their families for the first time to the saviors of the world, both wizard and muggle. Harry is far from perfect, going through typical teenage bad moods, he procrastinates on his school work, and he has girl problems. Ron is stubborn, selfish, and for many of the books a dedicated sidekick with little emotional depth; by the end he was strong, driven, and incredibly loyal because his friends had earned it, not because Harry was the boy who lived. Hermione, one of my favorite characters, reminded me of myself many times…although not always in a good way. Starting out as a frumpy bookworm who hides her emotions behind her skills when she struggles to fit in with pure-blood wizards and witches, Hermione becomes one of the bravest characters in the book when she ignores her own fear to join Harry in fighting Voldermort.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows begins at the end of Harry’s last summer as a minor. Once his 17th birthday hits the magic protecting him, the gift his mother left him the night his parents were murdered, will end. From the very beginning of this book, there is nonstop danger for Harry and his friends. In their quest to destroy the remaining horcruxes, Harry, Ron, and Hermione must leave their families and friends, an agonizing decision they constantly question as the wizarding world becomes controlled by the Death Eaters. The book alternates between elated scenes where the trio have a plan and a sense of purpose, and painfully slow scenes of bickering and despair. While difficult to read because the chapters have little plot and the characters are at their worst, the times they spend lost in the woods are absolutely essential in building a sense of fear and desperation.

Of course, since this is the last book in a war against evil, there are grand battle scenes. Personal loss, emotional and physical pain mean nothing when Harry, The Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore’s Army face the Death Eaters and Voldermort in the final battle. Armed with new knowledge of his role as The Boy Who Lived and what he must do to finally stop Voldermort,  Harry sacrifices everything to protect those he loves. With an ending that makes me cry every time I read it, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the perfect conclusion to the series. Even the epilogue, which I tried so hard to not read this time because I do not think it helps the storyline at all, confirms all our thoughts about Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione and their complicated teenage romances and is a comfort after the pain of reading that final battle scene.

Wonderful books full of magic, friendship, love and sacrifice, the Harry Potter series are a personal favorite. They may not be the most well-written books ever, but they are among the best books I’ve read at creating emotional connections between characters and readers, and I would trade that connection for perfect writing style every time.