The first time I read this book, someone (not mentioning any names) spoilt the end for me before I’d even started, which annoyed me so much. You’ll know why if you’ve read this, but just in case I’ll try not to spoil it for you. I’ve only actually read this book once before, although I’ve seen the film many many times, so I was a little hazy about what actually happened in the middle, although with a familiar sense of foreboding about the end.
I liked that at the start of this book we see the new minister for magic visiting the muggle prime minister. We don’t see this in the films, and I quite liked that we see the effect of the newly outbroken wizarding war on the muggle population. There were quite a lot of other changes from the book to the film, for example when Harry is discovered on the train just before it leaves the school, he’s discovered by Tonks, and not Luna. I did quite like the film version though, Luna may be loony, but she’s one of my favourite characters. I think the actress picked to play her in the films was perfect, and probably the reason why I like the character so much.
The whole Ron & Hermione saga carries on again, with Ron and Hermione not speaking to each other for over 3 months of the book, but all is changed when Ron is poisoned and almost dies. I think Hermione realises then how strong her feelings for him are and sets aside the petty squabbles to stay by his side. However, they’ve still not admitted it to each other yet, even if Ron’s proclamation that he loves Hermione for helping fix his Defence against the Dark Arts homework does make Hermione a bit pink in the cheeks.
Unlike Harry and Ginny, who finally get together in this book after much daydreaming on Harry’s part, even if it looks like it may have to reluctantly come to an end at the end of the book. I loved the Ginny character in the books, but I couldn’t stand her in the films, I think I just disliked the choice of actress. So although in the films I don’t like the fact that Harry and Ginny end up together, I love it in the book.
Harry spends a good portion of this book getting closer to Dumbledore, who is almost like a father figure to Harry. Dumbledore also finally opens up to Harry and tells him the truth of what he knows about Voldemort, and the whole truth this time, not just the ‘need to know’ part. I also think that maybe Dumbledore knew what was coming, and that there may have been a reason why he felt the need to impart all his knowledge on Harry, just in case he was left alone to fulfil his task.
[POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT]
I’m not ashamed to admit that I teared up at the end. Even though I knew what was coming, and even though I’d been preparing for it over the last 575 pages, I wasn’t ready for it. I know that it had to happen, but I couldn’t help but feel Harry’s emotion coming up from the page. I think the latter portion of this book is the best written part of the entire series, every single part just grips you entirely.
I have two favourite quotes from this book, both from after ‘it’ happened.
“Dumbledore will only be gone from the school when none here are loyal to him”
“I’m Dumbledore’s man through and through. That’s right”
Both proving just how much influence Dumbledore had on Harry and his friends (e.g. the aptly named Dumbledore’s Army). And who knows how Dumbledore’s legacy might help Harry discover the final Horcruxes to defeat Voldemort once and for all…