Life After Deathly Hollows
|Title:||Life After Deathly Hollows|
|Date(s):||August 18, 2007|
|Medium:||online transcript, podcast|
|External Links:||transcript online here; WebCite|
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The end of canon is always a bittersweet experience. The ending of the story, the tying up of the loose ends, the answering of the questions, causes us to go back and reevaluate the series as a whole. With each new chapter of the Harry Potter series, our expectations were raised. The more we became involved in fandom, whether through fic, art, or discussions, the more invested we became in certain characters, certain story lines or themes. "Deathly Hallows" ends our speculation and is a somewhat cruel reminder that we are not JK Rowling. It's her story, not ours, and she gets to tell it the way she wants. Yet the books are ours, too. Now that Ms. Rowling has finished writing, she has bequeathed her beloved books to us, the readers, and we are now truly free to do with it whatever we will. She no longer gets to tell us what happens or what it all means. We get to have our way with the books, and quite frankly, she doesn't have any say in the matter!
But in the middle of all the excitement and melodrama, as I read the book I kept thinking, "This is Rowling's gift to the fans." She as good as handed fandom to us on a silver platter. Of course some plot threads were inevitably tied up, but she left so much open for us to explore. There were storylines that we only caught glimpses of: like the student rebellion at Hogwarts, Lee Jordan's illegal radio program, the takeover of the Ministry of Magic, and the underground resistance. Other storylines raised more questions than answers, like that whole Lupin/Tonks thing. And what was going on in Draco's mind throughout the book? As for shippers, as far as I'm concerned, Ms. Rowling provided plenty of wind for any ship to keep sailing, whether it was Harry/Hermione or Harry/Draco. Snape and Lupin or Snape and Harry. Luna and...well, everyone. As for the many deaths, well, they for the most part happened so quickly that any one of them could be easily reversed. After all, Ms. Rowling herself left that resurrection stone just lying around in the Forest. It's as if she wants us fans to go out there and find it.
In this final book of the Harry Potter series, Ms. Rowling is the master manipulator like Dumbledore. She gets to tell the story her way. But like Dumbledore mentoring Harry, she left a host of obscure clues for us to decipher, and scant instructions for figuring out how it's all supposed to fit together. It's up to us to work it all out for ourselves, and what we do with her books now will say more about us than it does about her. This is her gift to us. She's handing the legacy over to her fans. Each of us is now the Headmaster of Hogwarts. I look forward to seeing what happens next!