Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last installation in the 7-part series, was scheduled for worldwide release on July 21, 2007. Bookstores all over the Philippines were to open at precisely 7:01 am for this, so my friends Caloy, Zenie and I decided to line up outside Powerbooks Greenbelt’s doors at 6am.
We realized what a hype this was when we noted the long lines formed well before opening time as well as the press coverage. Later on, at least three different people would tell me that they had seen me on GMA news due to this.
When 7 o’clock finally struck we quickly grabbed a book each and made our way to the cashier, where we were handed coupons for a free magazine, donut and coffee each. Then Zenie and I parked ourselves at a table in Java Man, the coffee shop within the bookstore.
At exactly 10:52 am (according to my company-given Adidas wristwatch), I had finished the book.
Okay, okay, sounds like an amazing feat for someone other than Superman to read 37 chapters in under four hours. Let’s just say not only Hogwartians have magical tricks up their sleeves.
Actually, last Tuesday someone had apparently leaked a copy of the book over the internet. What makes it more believable than the other leaked versions going around (I’ve personally seen a couple other versions) is that the file is a photograph of each page of the book.
Then someone else transcribed what was seen on that file into PDF, and my teammate gave me this copy, which I read on Friday night before the release. I had read up to the 24th chapter then, so that I already had a head start the following morning. I don’t really encourage piracy, but since I still bought a copy of the book anyway, I’m not guilty.
Anyway, the book is superb.
After all this time? Always.
JK Rowling tied up most loose threads from the previous books and I was in awe, as always, of how tidbits which seemed unimportant in previous books turned out to be essential in explaining the plot.
There were moments that made me laugh, weep (yes, I cried in public at the cafe), and curse out loud. It was an exciting book that I’d read again.
***WARNING! SPOILERS!***WARNING! SPOILERS!***WARNING! SPOILERS!***
Four chapters had me bursting into tears…chapters 24, 32, 33 and 34. They were also my favorite chapters. I was so touched by the following scenes:
“I want to do it properly,” were the first words of which Harry was fully conscious of speaking. “Not by magic. Have you got a spade?” And shortly afterward he had set to work, alone, digging the grave in the place that Bill had shown him at the end of the garden, between bushes. He dug with a kind of fury, relishing the manual work, glorying in the non-magic of it, for every drop of his sweat and every blister felt like a gift to the elf who had saved their lives.
Slowly, under his murmured instruction, deep cuts appeared upon the rock’s surface. He knew that Hermione could have done it more neatly, and probably more quickly, but he wanted to mark the spot as he had wanted to dig the grave. When Harry stood up again, the stone read: HERE LIES DOBBY, A FREE ELF.
“No – no – no!” someone was shouting. “No! Fred! No!”
And Percy was shaking his brother, and Ron was kneeling beside them, and
Fred’s eyes stared without seeing, the ghost of his last laugh still etched upon
“Get down!” Harry shouted, as more curses flew through the night: He and Ron had both grabbed Hermione and pulled her to the floor, but Percy lay across Fred’s body, shielding it from further harm, and when Harry shouted “Percy, come on, we’ve got to move!” he shook his head. “Percy!” Harry saw tear tracks streaking the grime coating Ron’s face as he seized his elder brother’s shoulders and pulled, but Percy would not budge. “Percy, you can’t do anything for him! We’re going to–”
“But this is touching, Severus,” said Dumbledore seriously. “Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?”
“For him?” shouted Snape. “Expecto Patronum!”
From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe. She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.
And next, Snape was kneeling in Sirius’s old bedroom. Tears were dripping from the end of his hooked nose as he read the old letter from Lily. The second page carried only a few words: “could ever have been friends with Gellert Grindelwald. I think her mind’s going, personally! Lots of love, Lily.”
Snape took the page bearing Lily’s signature, and her love, and tucked it inside his robes. Then he ripped in two the photograph he was also holding, so that he kept the part from which Lily laughed, throwing the portion showing James and Harry back onto the floor, under the chest of drawers…
When the flask was full to the brim, and Snape looked as though there was no blood left in him, his grip on Harry’s robes slackened.
“Look…at….me…” he whispered. The green eyes found the black, but after a second, something in the depths of the dark pair seemed to vanish, leaving them fixed, blank, and empty. The hand holding Harry thudded to the floor, and Snape moved no more.
If he could only have died on that summer’s night when he had left number four, Privet Drive, for the last time, when the noble phoenix feather wand had saved him! If he could only have died like Hedwig, so quickly he would not have known it had happened! Or if he could have launched himself in front of a wand to save someone he loved . . . He envied even his parents’ deaths now. This cold-blooded walk to his own destruction would require a different kind of bravery. He felt his fingers trembling slightly and made an effort to control them, although no one could see him; the portraits on the walls were all empty.
Slowly, very slowly, he sat up, and as he did so he felt more alive and more aware of his own living body than ever before. Why had he never appreciated what a miracle he was, brain and nerve and bounding heart? It would all be gone . . . or at least, he would be gone from it. His breath came slow and deep, and his mouth and throat were completely dry, but so were his eyes.