“The Deathly Hallows? What on earth is Rowling on about?” was roughly the first thought through my head when I heard of the last Potter book’s title. The second was how massive this book would be given how large the previous one had been. Rowling is many things, but concise is not one of them.
Indeed, even having read the books, I don’t get why it’s “The Deathly Hallows”. All credit to Rowling though, she’s good with coming up with names and the like.
However, she’s also good with coming up with plot tangents, and this book definitely doesn’t feel like it truly wants to wrap up right until the final few chapters, when things suddenly come together all in a rush. And that’s precisely the problem lies – right to the end, Rowling introduces new characters and revisions of plot that aren’t “ah ha! that earlier passage makes sense now,” so much as “what? but that… ok ok let’s move on before we get too tied down.” It’s as though she went back over all the previous books to find any gaps that would allow the completely new convolutions of the final plot to fit.
Characters are for the most part black and white, and even the few grey ones fall to one side or the other when it’s all told – there’s no room for moral ambiguity here. Deus ex machina raises its ugly head many a time to resolve sticky situations.
All said though, it does wrap the series good and proper – the final climatic battle truly does shape as a final fight of the desperate – it is tightly focused, and Rowling isn’t pulling punches, with favourite characters readily dying, and while the final twist remains a bit of an unexplained cop-out, it’s not too bad all considered. This will make for a spectacular movie finale (as long as they leave out the “19 Years Later”).