Unless you just returned from the space station or crawled from up under a rock, you no doubt know that the biggest story of the year is the release of the new book by J.K Rowling, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows; The final chapter in the Harry Potter series.
In book six, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” Dumbledore begins tutoring Harry using his Pensive to view collected memories about Voldemort’s past. Dumbledore speculates that Voldemort has split his soul into seven fragments, storing six of them into Horcruxes; a receptacle that when the creator is killed, he can recreate himself, albeit, with a little less humanity. So far two Horcruxes have been destroyed; Tom Riddles Diary by Harry, and Marvolo Gaunt’s ring by Dumbledore. Dumbledore dies before the end of the book.
When we get to Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, we find that Dumbledore has left each of them — Harry, Ron, and Hermione — items in his will, but the items make no sense and all seem pretty worthless on the face of it. We also know that Harry has been left a task by Dumbledore and he is only allowed to let Ron and Hermione know what it is. During Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour’s wedding reception we learn that the ministry has fallen and the Death Eaters are coming. Harry, Ron, and Hermione escape to begin the task that Dumbledore has assigned to them.
While with any book that is over seven hundred pages there are bound to be a little time where the back-story gets a little long in the tooth, it doesn’t seem to happen in this one. The book flows fast and furious with twists and turns throughout. Harry faces more dangers in this book than any previous book in the series. He also finds himself questioning his actions as well as the actions of Dumbledore for the last six years.
In my opinion, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, lives up to my expectations of what the final book should be. There is plenty of action from the beginning. There are duels, fights, daring escapes as well as a few twists of luck. If I had one complaint about this book, it is that there is very little of the humor that populated the earlier books. The overall tone is darker and the focus is more on the three friends and their ability to work together.
The audio version, as read by Jim Dale, it is as spectacular of a rendition of a book as I have heard from any narrator. There are those who are good at recreating an audio book and there are those who are great. Jim Dale is of the latter. I have listened to several hundred audio books over the last seven years (400+) by a lot of narrators, and there are less then ten that I would put into this group; Jim Dale is one. He has narrated all of the Harry Potter series and has been nominated for many awards, winning the Grammy in 2000, several Audie awards, and in 2006, the Harry Potter audiobook series was inducted into the Audiobook Hall of Fame.
While a large part of me wants to bemoan the fact that this is the purported last volume to be written about Harry Potter, I do look forward to the tradition I have when a series comes to completion. After some time to rest, I will start with the first book and listen to each successive one until the end to experience the whole tale as it was meant to be.
If you have never experienced a Harry Potter book in audio form, give yourself a treat and listen to Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows as told by Jim Dale. He makes the characters come alive. His ability to shift between Haggred, Harry, Hermione, Ron, and all of the other character will simply amaze you.