Hey! So, funny enough, I actually ended up flying through this one, even though I thought I was going to struggle with the whole Draco obsession thing. Turned out there was a fair bit of this that I didn’t remember super well and it kept my interest.
This is officially the edge of my Harry Potter knowledge. Like, I knew what happened in this book and DH, but this is where I lose a lot of the specifics. I remember the big events, not the little ones. So that in and of itself has been an experience.
First of all, I enjoyed this because of the love failures. I think an important part of any teenage experience is A) failing at love and B) unrequited love. So the fact that this has both is perfection. Both of them teach you so much about who you are and what you want in a significant other. And the fact that we see it from so many different angles (Ron and Lavendar, Hermione and Cormac, Ginny and Dean, Ginny and Harry, Remus and Tonks) means that it sticks a little better. We can actually see how it impacts so many different people and how they all react differently.
The major theme of this novel, indisputably, is that love is stronger than anything else. All throughout the novel, we see it coming back. Not just in these relationships I mentioned (and let’s not forget Bill and Fleur), but also in smaller ways. Dumbledore keeps mentioning over and over again that what makes Harry different from Voldemort is that he has a huge capacity to love. Harry will not rest until Voldemort is destroyed out of love for the people around him.
This is also the novel where we really see Harry’s ability to feel compassion for even the most unlikely people. Voldemort. Malfoy. Sna–well, no, not that one. Not yet.
It’s kind of striking as an adult to read about Harry’s extraordinary ability to be compassionate toward his enemies. He doesn’t forgive them and he doesn’t forget, but he does pity them for the situations they were thrown into. When Malfoy can’t bring himself to kill Dumbledore and is shaking and saying Voldemort will kill his family, Harry feels a stab of pity for Malfoy. The same Malfoy he’s been stalking all year long and has claimed repeatedly (and correctly) that he’s up to something horrible. And seeing the memories of Voldemort’s youth, Harry understands how difficult it must have been for Riddle growing up.
In this day and age, where simply having different political views as someone else is enough to stop talking to someone entirely, Harry can find it within himself to feel compassion for the man who killed his parents and is responsible for hundreds of other deaths. If only there were more people like Harry in our world. We could all be a little more understanding.
This was also my first time reading this book knowing what we all know now at the end of the series about Snape. It was interesting to pick up on a few of the clues along the way that things weren’t exactly what Harry thought they were. They’re very subtle. And it made Dumbledore’s death less cruel, knowing the truth. But it didn’t make his funeral any less heartbreaking.
Perhaps the most astounding thing about this book is the growth of the Weasley family. Bill doesn’t play a large role in the story, but he does have a vital role. So does Fleur. It helps to show the growth of Mrs. Weasley as the story goes along. But what impresses me the most is Fred and George’s growth. They’ve now started their business and make a killing at it. Their business acumen is astounding, but they also understand the severity of the world at this time and the responsibility that rests on their shoulders. They could easily say that they want nothing to do with the Order now that they have a business to run, but they still show up and shoulder their portions. It’s so important to show that because they aren’t just the jokesters they’re made out to be.
I won’t say that this was my favorite book. It’s not. But there’s a lot I came to appreciate about it that I thought I was simply going to be rolling my eyes at when I started this.