Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows – Spoiler Free Review!!!

Just finished the book. I have been waiting for this moment, when I would finally finish the book, what is the last anyone will read of Harry’s world.

One precaution to be taken before starting the book would be to throw away all your notions, theories, ideas and just get along with the story as it is. If you don’t, if you expect to see things unfold in a certain way, then you will be dissapointed. The extreme hype around the book has definitely not helped in this respect.

The tale begins on predictable lines – Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort making plans… and Harry at the Dursleys… the Order coming in just like they did in Order of The Phoenix, but we have more people this time. And off goes Harry, who, as indicated in Half Blood Prince, has no intention of going back to Hogwarts. The story does drag a bit in the first few chapters. But JKR more than makes up for it in the end.

Just like in the other books, Harry keeps thinking to himself that it has to be him – him alone – that goes on this great quest to defeat the Dark Lord. And again, he is reminded that he doesn’t have to do it alone. There are people who love Harry, who are ready to die for him, to aid him in his quest. And travelling so far ahead on luck and friends, Harry manages to wade through most of the challenges leading up to the final confrontation. And he accepts it, so much that in a few places, he actually yearns for his friends to be with him. He does manage a good deal of trouble for himself in his wish to go alone. This time however, as he realizes slowly that people out there are fighting for him and risking their lives, he does not repeat his “I must go alone” lines too much. He accepts it, and allows the thought to give him the strength to fight with more determination.

Many things that were predicted by fans come true. Such shockingly obvious things may actually dissapoint some people, who may have expected JKR to prove everything wrong. But if you accept that this is a story that was written as the author wanted it to be, and the fact that simply because some things were guessed beforehand does not degrade the events as such, things will not seem so bad.

What about the questions? So many, many questions we had, and the wild predictions they triggered… Well, JKR manages to answer a good deal of them here. Horcruxes, Wands, Godric’s Hollow, Dumbledore’s past.. a lot of such things which were hidden from us for a long long time finally see light. And it is these extra bits of information scattered around the book, but somehow strung together, that makes the whole book so much more interesting.

Harry’s amazing sense of maturity at places where we would have expected him to yield in to the pressures of his mind comes as a welcome relief. We see Harry not as a boy who is confused and unclear of his actions and thoughts. But we see him, especially in the later chapters, as one with a sense of clarity about what he needs, and doesn’t need, to do. We even see him becoming more and more able to close his mind from seeing into that of Voldemort’s, and bring himself back to reality. But, let us not underestimate his visions. They aid every bit in helping him know what the Dark Lord wants, and that in turn helps a great deal in his moving forward.

Dumbledore’s death left many questions, not only for the fans, but for the Wizarding World too. Harry initially feels some resentment towards his old Headmaster for not telling him many things… he had so much to ask… and yet so little answers. A few people crop up wishing to defame Dumbledore by raising questions on his past. Harry then realises he knew nothing – absolutely nothing – of Dumbledore’s earlier days. “Why did he not tell me?” he asks himself, and even thinks that Dumbledore did not trust him enough to do so. But such little thoughts drift away as Harry slowly faces the enormity of the task before him.

The final battle spreads across 7 chapters. As expected, everybody pitches in. Some perish, some truimph. It gets really creepy at a few points. There are two events we see between the battle, what I would say are “Chapters of Truth”, where we learn the answers to many questions. Questions that have plagued us before this book, and some during the course of the book. It is obvious that the events were there to make Harry know everything – the whole picture – before his final confrontation with Voldemort. But reading it late into the night, I have strong reasons to believe that the two chapters were meant more as relaxation points to save readers from going into panic overdrive.

And now for the final showdown, where it all ends.

A great battle erupts between Voldemort/Death Eaters and the brave section of the magical population who are ready to fight them.

And the beginning of the final confrontation is wonderfully blended with a good old-fashioned hero-villain talk. Even here JKR makes a difference. Instead of choosing to bore us with too many details from either side of what happened and how it happened, she presents it such that everything has a meaning, a purpose, toward what happens in the end. After all the spectacular duelling, some may see the end to be something like an anti-climax. As I said in the beginning, if you expect, you won’t be happy reading this. Forget magic. True to her style, JKR has ended it the way it should. It is not just a tale of magic. It has never been. It has been about human thoughts and emotions – even Voldy manages to show some, even if it is for a fraction of a second. If you can remember this simple thing, you will see unfolding before you a very very interesting sequence of events leading to the climax.

The epilogue presents what we all might have imagined. The absence of some characters in there, however, leaves us wondering what happened to them. But that does not matter really. Such a wonderful tale woven around a wondeful world… so much like ours… that which has given us hours and days of reading pleasure… has showed through it’s windows so many truths about life itself – deserves not to be scanned, scrutinised or found fault with.

Forget all your expectations. Just keep your mind open and read the story, feel it as it unfolds. I promise you won’t be dissappointed.

How we are destroying The Taj

By the time you read this post, the world would have seen it’s New 7 Wonders. I wanted to write this earlier, but thanks to an expired net connection and an unresponsive ISP call centre, here I am posting this on the D-Day šŸ™‚ .

No doubt that all Indians would be hoping to see the Taj Mahal listed the final 7, but it really annoys me to see the extent to which the people and the media have collectively damaged the meaning of a monument, and what it means. Thousands of people may be voting for it, but in the process we are destroying the monument without our knowledge.

It is a well known fact that Indians generally realize the value of some things only after they receive international recognition. That’s all okay… but to pull in the Taj Mahal, which has been ourĀ pride for centuries, into this mess is not a very good sign.

Most of you would have been exposed to the campaign that has been happening. There is nothing wrong with requesting people to vote for the monument of love. I voted for it too. But to put it in a way that says if you don’t vote for Taj it somehow loses it beauty, charm and it’s fameĀ amounts to an insult of the monument.

Shah Jahan did notĀ have theĀ World Wonders in mind when he built it. He did not build it for the sake of competing with a few other architectures in the world for a ‘place’ in the list. He simply built it for love. And it is going to stay that, a symbol of love that is admired by the world. It is going to take much more than a competition or an SMSĀ poll to change that fact.

If the Taj makes it to the final 7… let’s all rejoice šŸ™‚ . If it doesn’t, let usĀ not feel bad that we have lost our pride – because it is not going anywhere.