Summary from Goodreads:
Harry is waiting in Privet Drive. The Order of the Phoenix is coming to escort him safely away without Voldemort and his supporters knowing - if they can. But what will Harry do then? How can he fulfill the momentous and seemingly impossible task that Professor Dumbledore has left him?
First off, I need to mention that I tried to time my re-read of this to be in July. And it’s not just because Harry’s birthday is at the end of the month. I wanted to contribute something to:
Harry Potter Month
Harry Potter Month is a yearly event taking place throughout the month of July, to coincide with Harry Potter's birthday. Hosted by Faith @ GeekyZooGirl and myself here at Lunar Rainbows Reviews, the aim is to fill the month with all things Potter. There will be themed posts, discussions, art and fans rereading the books and rewatching the movies, all of which will earn the participants House-Points towards the House Cup at the end of the month. For more information or to sign up, click here.
So, to add to the cup for Gryffindor, and to contribute to a wonderful month, I’m sharing my re-read review.
Please don’t read the rest of this post, if you don’t want book 7 spoilers. I’m assuming in this review that people have read all the books already.
I’ve slowly been re-reading this series this year as part of re-read challenge I setup for myself. The thing though is, it was not a challenge at all. Re-reading these books is like meeting up with friends you haven’t seen in a while. There’s nothing in the world I’d rather do. This book in particular was a real treat to re-read. It’s only my third time reading it. I first read it at midnight. And then I read it so quickly –to find out how it would all end. Then, I read it again a few years ago. But, this time, it was nice because I had recently re-read the ones before, so my brain was ready for it.
I was able to put all the pieces together that Rowling so smartly had in place since book one. Also, if it’s possible, I felt a lot more emotionally connected to characters in this go-around. I cried for Dobby and Fred, and I don’t even think I did that the first time.
I remember thinking certain scenes were too cheesy for my tastes before (like the chapter called “King’s Cross” and the whole epilogue), but now I can’t imagine this story not having those things. I’d be upset not knowing where everyone was 19 years later. I needed that closure. I needed to know that Hogwarts would be okay.
I also took my time reading this time. I savored each word, knowing it would be a while until I returned to them again. I forgot how much of this book was about Dumbledore. I forgot how much of the important stuff was figured out by Harry in this book. I keep letting the movies block my memories of the words and I shouldn’t do that. I also forgot how much of this book was about wands.
I loved all the small details that came full-circle here. Harry and Griphook talk about Harry’s first experience at Gringotts. Harry and Ollivander talk about the wand choosing the wizard. Old characters return like Lee Jordan and Krum. Everything from Rita Skeeter’s book to Snape’s memories were just so thought out and I still can’t even believe how it all fit so nicely together. Rowling is a master of storytelling.
Of course nothing was a surprise any more. And there were moments I wanted to yell at the characters before they did something dumb like say Voldemort’s name and then get kidnapped and taken to the Malfoys. But, I also remember when all the things were a surprise. And it’s so easy to get wrapped up in this story and pretend it is my first time reading it.
There are some things the movie leaves out, like Hermione being tortured (and not just cut with a knife) or Dumbledore once believing that wizards were better than muggles. I also feel like certain scenes were way more manageable in book form than in movie form. All the moments camped in the woods flew by quicker in the book than they seemed to in the movie. Granted, the movie did “need” to be in two parts. I also like how Harry handles having the elder wand better in the book. I almost can’t believe how many details like that I forgot about with all my movie viewings.
I know I’m in the minority in saying this, but I always shipped Hermione and Ron, and I loved watching their relationship grow in this book. I also loved watching the threesome’s friendship grow to a new height. There is so much darkness in this book, so much that has to be accomplished, found, and beaten, that’s it hard to imagine there’s room for anything like laughter, but there is.
There is also so much heart. There’s the winning over of Kreacher and there’s Neville becoming a rebel. Luna is still always saying the right thing (even helping Harry escape everyone at the very end). There’s clues left behind by the best professor out there. And there’s the constant fight for what is right. The added story of the Hallows is also amazing. I loved how hard the decision was for Harry between going to Gringotts for another horocrux or going to Hogwarts for the elder wand. I’m not sure I could have made that same decision. And I’m definitively not sure I could have let that wand go.
This book, along with the rest, is a book I can read over and over again. So much happens in it. There’s so much darkness and death, but there’s also humor, love, closure and such a great ending. Reading this again really felt like connecting with old friends. I know there will be many more re-readings in the future for me. This book has to get a 10/10. There’s not much out there that compares or that I’d even consider reading more than 3 times (let alone the 20 or so times I’ve read most of the books in this series).