For this final project I have decided to venture away from my original book for my reading blog which was “Game Of Thrones” and move on to a more familiar series in the eyes of the masses, the Harry Potter series. As a child, I was always intrigued by the concept of magic, witchcraft, and wizardry. Harry Potter puts this concept in 7 richly detailed books. To be honest all 7 of the books were extremely interesting and in my opinion was one of the most influential novels of fiction in the 21st century, but for the sake of this final project I’m limited only to choosing a book in which one of my classmates shared and this comes in the form of the last book of the Harry Potter series which is entitled “The Deathly Hallows”. Now I’m here to dissect the book piece by piece for better understanding, so hopefully you guys can keep up.
PART I: Historical biographical aspect
To start things off I’m gonna give a background of the author not just of The Deathly Hallows but of the entire Harry Potter series as well: J.K Rowling. Now we all know how popular the Harry Potter series is, but like all success stories you gotta start somewhere. My source in Wikipedia.org stated that Rowling finished her manuscript on the first book of the series, “the Philosophers stone” on an old manual typewriter, unfortunately she was rejected by 12 publishers as she submitted her manuscript. Obviously I couldn’t speak for how hard that must’ve been for her because I’m not an author, but considering how successful the Harry Potter series ended up being I find it extremely hard to believe that not one but 12 publishers rejected the manuscript. Eventually though, persistence won out. ” The Philosophers stone” eventually was accepted and published by editor Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury publishing house in London. With all this said, I could say that the rest is history.
PART II: A study of the elements.
If you were a follower of either the books or the movie series you would all know where the Deathly Hallows was set. It was a time of turmoil for the Order of the Phoenix, as I have said for those of you who are familiar with the series you would instantly know who, rather what the Order of the Phoenix is. But to make the explanation of the setting easier I think it’s best that I explain what the Order is all about. The Order of the Phoenix is basically the resistance composed primarily of Hogwarts students and teachers against Lord Voldemort’s Death Eaters, and the book is set in the waning days of their conflict. The climatic battle is set in Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry which is the primary setting of the six books prior. In my opinion, it’s best to finish it where it everything started, in the confines of Hogwarts castle. The castle was heavily fortified by the Order of the Phoenix in preparation for the assault to be conducted by Lord Voldemort’s death eaters. You would think that because of their familiarity with their school, the students and teachers would have a genuine advantage over their adversaries. This wasn’t entirely true as both sides suffered a fairly equal amount of casualties during the battle.
As I have said in the start in the setting, you’d have to be following the 6 books prior to know what the Deathly Hallows is all about. Harry Potter’s journey through Hogwarts has been a road filled with twists and turns and so many hazards in between. Harry has dealt with a lot at this point, for starters we all know the Death of his Parents have scarred him for life (both literally and figuratively in case you were wondering). To add to that, all the trials of being a student, relationships with his friends, performing well in his subjects. And don’t even get me started on Harry having to go through every summer living with his muggle (this is slang in the book for people who don’t believe in magic) aunt and uncle. However even with all this said, nothing can possibly prepare Harry for the conflict that will be presented in the Deathly Hallows. The story starts off in the aftermath of the death of Albus Dumbledore, who was the headmaster of Hogwarts before his untimely death. Dumbledore was regarded as one of the most powerful and wisest wizards in the Harry Potter universe and he was the only real match against the power of Lord Voldemort. His death was a major blow to the Order of the Phoenix and was a reason Harry and the other members of the Order of the Phoenix were in hiding. Despite all their disadvantages in the story the Order of the Phoenix did have 2 elements in the story that ultimately led to the demise of Voldemort and the Death Eaters. The Elder Wand and the element of deception respectively. I’m not here to spoil the story however, the climax and end of the story is for you figure out on your own. So for now, I leave you here.
Here we have the most vital aspect of any form of literature, the character is the driving force of any story long or short. They serve as the vessels of the authors creativity and sometimes the thorough analyzer can even reveal that sometimes these characters reflect the personalities of their own creators. The same principles apply to the Harry Potter series, the series may revolve around Harry but it thoroughly interacts with the characters he meets along the way. Whether it may be a character vital to the formation of the stories climax or a minor character that Harry simply runs into for just one chapter, all characters played a part vital to the authenticity of the entire series. Below are a list of characters encountered throughout the Deathly Hallows’ story arc. (I referred to: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/potter7/characters.html for some of the descriptions of the characters)
Harry Potter- “The boy who lived” Survived an attack by the Dark Lord Voldemort during his infancy. All that was left was a scar on his forehead as a souvenir of the attack, that is all in the past however as Harry is supposedly entering his final year at Hogwarts (it takes 7 years before you graduate) but decides to abstain and continue supporting the Order of the Phoenix. He is confident and courageous but shows flashes of doubt in times of trouble. He is the main character of not just the story, but the entire series.
Ron Weasley- Harry’s best friend since the first book. Despite all the rough times they’re going through Ron has always remained loyal to Harry. He stood by his side in all the conflicts Harry has witnessed throughout the series. He along with Hermione Granger remain Harry’s most trusted allies throughout the deathly hallows.
Hermione Granger- One of Harry’s best friends and Ron Weasley’s girlfriend. She is the brains of the 3 and usually gets the highest in her classes. Like Ron she stuck by Harry’s side throughout the entire series, she is fiercely caring of her friends and has a no-nonsense approach, particularly on her studies.
Albus Dumbledore- Former headmaster of Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry and is widely regarded as one of the most powerful wizards in history before his untimely murder at the hands of Severus Snape. During Harry Potter’s earlier years at Hogwarts, Dumbledore served as a mentor to Harry but the twos relationship has been strained however, following the beginning of the war against Lord Voldemort.
Lord Voldemort- The primary antagonist of the series, Voldemort failed an attempt to kill Harry Potter during his infancy although he manged to kill Harry’s parents. When he went for the killing curse it somehow rebounded to him and left him half-dead thus sparing the infant Harry Potter. Since then he has slowly but surely been regaining and strength and gathering followers. He returns once more with one goal in mind, to kill Harry Potter and his allies and prove once and for all that he is the most powerful wizard of all time.
Severus Snape- A potions professor at Hogwarts. Snape was allegedly a double agent for the Order of the Phoenix, feigning allegiance to Voldemort’s death eaters until he subsequently “murdered” Albus Dumbledore at the climax of the prior book “The Half-Blood Prince”. Snape was apparently in love with Harry’s mother Lily throughout his years as a student at Hogwarts. Although, Lily eventually ended up with Harry’s Dad James, Snape’s love for Lily never really disappeared and the thought of her death at the hands of Lord Voldemort is something that continues to pain him.
To be honest, the Deathly Hallows has a host of characters that played a huge part in the formation of the story, but those I have revealed and detailed above are those who indeed influenced the flow of the story, in other words the story basically revolved around these specified characters. Below are some of the secondary characters that have played vital support to the main characters.
-ORDER OF THE PHOENIX-
Remus Lupin- Former defense against the dark arts teacher at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry and member of the order of the Phoenix. He is friends with Harry, Ron, and Hermione because he was their teacher during their 3rd year at Hogwarts. Lupin is a laid back wizard who holds a dark secret, he is in fact a werewolf. That secret was a big reason why he only lasted one year in hogwarts in his former stint.
Rubeus Hagrid- Harry Potter’s first friend as he was introduced to the world of wizardry. Hagrid sprung him out from the confines of his Aunt and Uncle and revealed to Harry that he was in fact a wizard. At this point in the book, he is trying to recruit giants to join the ranks of the Order of the Phoenix. A task that has unfortunately proved difficult for Hagrid to accomplish.
Neville Longbottom- A student of Hogwarts and a member of the Gryffindor house. (The house where Harry, Ron, and Hermoine are in as well). He is a friend of the trio and a member of the order of the phoenix, whom he joins primarily to avenge the death of his parents who was tortured and murdered at the hands of one of Voldemort’s followers, Bellatrix LeStrange.
Fred and George Weasley- The twin brothers of Ron, Fred and George have been known to be the “pranksters” of Hogwarts and both have a talent for creating mischief and mayhem. They are trusted allies of Ron, Harry, and Hermione, and continue to aid the Order of the Phoenix.
Arthur and Molly Weasley- The parents of Ron. Aside from watching out for Ron’s interests, Ron’s parents have been a father and mother figure to Harry and at times Hermione. They have been sheltering Harry from Lord Voldemort’s followers and will do their best to defend him, Ron, and Hermione from the dark lord.
“Mad eye” Moody- Former defense against the Dark arts professor at Hogwarts. (He succeeded Remus Lupin) He is called “mad eye” because one of his eyes is mechanical. He is an experienced combatant of dark wizards (clearly observed through his facial scars and his missing eye that was replaced by the mechanical one) and is a valuable ally of the Order of the Phoenix.
Sirius Black- Harry Potter’s godfather. Black was originally the best man of James and Lily Potter’s (Harry’s parents) wedding. He was their most trusted ally until of course their untimely demise at the hands of Lord Voldemort. Black was wrongfully accused of betraying James and Lily and was locked up in the wizard prison of Azkaban. He escaped by Harry’s third year at Hogwarts and after introducing himself to Harry, formed a very strong relationship with him. Unfortunately he met his demise towards the climax of the 5th novel of the series “Order of the Phoenix” ironically at the hands of his cousin, Bellatrix LeStange.
Bellatrix LeSrange- Voldemort’s apparent “second in command” and for good reason too. Bellatrix is a ruthless witch who has caused the murders of countless of innocent witches and wizards including Neville Longbottom’s parents and Harry Potter’s godfather Sirius Black. She has a short-fuse and a desire to kill, which makes her one of the deadliest adversaries of the Order of the Phoenix.
Draco Malfoy- Harry’s rival and one of Hogwarts’ well known students. Draco is a member of the Slytherin house and has long since clashed horns with Harry since their 1st year at Hogwarts. He is as arrogant as he is cocky and is apparently jealous of all the attention Harry receives which led to his hatred of him.
Lucius Malfoy- The father of Draco Malfoy. Lucius is one of Voldemort’s most trusted allies primarily because of his loyalty to Voldemort and the Slytherin house.
If I were to reveal every sort of conflict in the entire series, I simply would not have enough time to do so because of the time restrictions this final project poses. But yes, the deathly hallows has a gold-mine of conflicts that I can choose from. This is all thanks to the rich assortment of characters the novel provides. For the sake of clarity however and so that there is no confusion I’ll only point out the conflicts that I have observed, and if there are some notable conflicts that I have missed and did not point out, I apologize.
Man versus man
To me this is the most typical and basic form of conflict that stories represent. The classic “hero versus villain” theme has always caught the eye of audiences and Harry Potter is no different. Obviously the first thing that comes to mind when we think of the man versus man conflict in the Harry Potter series is his conflict with Voldemort. The fact that Voldemort killed Harry’s parents and wants him dead as well instantly sparks a conflict between the two. And this conflict serves as the foundation of the Harry Potter series and has paved the way for the success of the book. Throughout the Deathly Hallows, Harry is forced to make difficult decisions because of the pressure lord Voldemort applies to him each passing day. He plays numerous “mind games” with Harry in the hope to rattle him into submission. All this however, is just to set up an explosive climax that is just bound to amaze readers and is definitely worth the wait.
Man versus self
In my opinion the Man versus self concept is a given in almost every form of literary work that has conflict present in it. Human emotion is something that is very complicated, and it is something that can empower us to do great or horrible things. We all know the phrase “mind over matter” and to me that exactly is what man versus self is all about. The mind is a very powerful influence in everything that we do and the events that transpire in the Deathly Hallows is no different. I have pointed out in my prior paragraph that Voldemort has subjected Harry to numerous mind games in order to break his will, and to add to that whenever Harry experiences some self-doubt or discouragement whenever he has to get things done, this is usually not in Harry’s character because he is usually collected and confident in everything he does. That fact points out how powerful the human mind is in influencing us, and presents the cases of man versus self conflict throughout the story.
5.) Point of view
The Harry Potter series as I have pointed out numerous times, has a vast lineup of characters. Some of these characters have more of a significant impact to the story as others, but because of this abundance in numbers, the Harry Potter series it told primarily from a third-person perspective. To be specific a third–person omniscient perspective, primarily because it is not only told from Harry’s point of view but sometimes delves into the thought and emotion of other characters. This to me is what makes the Harry Potter series one of the more authentic novels of fiction because it also gives light on other supporting characters outside the main circle.
6.) Theme and Symbolism
For all the marketing that comes with it, I believe that the general theme and morals that the Harry Potter series represents is often overlooked because of the glitz and glamor that the initial story represents. For starters I think that the main theme of the entire series (not just the deathly hallows) is how society rejects the “outsider” and goes with the norm. In the case of Harry Potter, he is the outsider because of the events that transpired throughout his infancy (namely the murder of his parents at the hands of Lord Voldemort) and he is often ridiculed by other students such as Draco Malfoy. Speaking of Malfoy, another issue is present in terms of his personality. The Malfoy family in the Harry Potter universe is well, rich and their blood line is “pure”. The definition of “pure blood” in the Harry Potter universe is that each generation of the family is a wizard and none a muggle. Hermione was called a “mud-blood” by Malfoy in a prior novel because of her non magical parents. This fact clearly represents both modern day issues of both class ism and racism although many may not seem to notice.
PART III: The Definition of Literature
To be honest throughout my life my experiences on literature have been limited if you’re talking about the written context. I primarily enjoy visuals rather than reading materials and while I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon. However, going through one course of HUMALIT thought me that sometimes something that is written can open up your imagination more than something that you just watch on a movie or tv screen. My case in point is the book entitled “World War Z” (I have included this in my bookshares). We all know that WWZ was released in theaters as well, but I have read the book approximately 2 years before that ( I bought WWZ in 2011, WWZ the movie showed 2013) and in all honesty it was the best book I have ever read in my lifetime. With all this, obviously I had high hopes for the movie as well but after watching the movie I can say that I was extremely disappointed. The movie was decent yes, but considering how detailed the novel was, how flawlessly it incorporated the zombie genre in modern day society, I can never forgive the movies developers for making it look 2nd-rate while the novel was entirely top-class. What I’m trying to say is, this course expounded my definition of literature more than anything else and gave me a greater appreciation of written work. It has also thought me to look a things from different viewpoints, because it is asked of us whenever we are analyzing literary works. This has also proved vital for me in my other subjects, not just HUMALIT. So if I were to define what literature is I would say that literature is “varied”, primarily because it comes in many forms and it can be interpreted and appreciated in so many ways.
And finally yes, I consider Harry Potter not just an ordinary form of literature, but an IDEAL form of literature, especially for today’s youth. The book promotes the value of friendship through Harry, Ron, and Hermione and obviously the entertainment value is unparalleled. My classmate who recommended this book described J.K Rowling’s imagination as “beyond limit” and I wholeheartedly agree. Rowling has influenced a generation of readers into developing an interest in the world of fantasy. Quite honestly, I was never a fan of the fantasy genre of any form of literature, Harry Potter is my only exception, and I could dare say that for readers looking to invest on a series of novels that provides the BEST the fantasy genre can offer, Harry Potter is the ideal choice.
Thank you for reading! I hope you all enjoyed it!