Table of contents

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, part 2

Stories about magic

This is the latter half of the final Harry Potter story. Magic means replacing objects by their images, apparently. Someone always fights & dies for this most popular democratic boy. He does not let anyone die whose life he can spare, whoever’s life he has to risk. Harry Potter has replaced deeds by speeches, but not speeches of his own deeds: Boasting, after all, is common… Perhaps they are all promises. Perhaps that is both what people recognize & what they nevertheless believe.

Now we are told a story about Dumbledore & Snape, which apparently explains why Harry Potter matters, why he must die, & how evil is all to the good, whoever’s. So is this story contrived to explain the truth about Harry Potter. The monster’s right hand suddenly defends Harry, whose mother he loved, whom Harry resembles overmuch. The paragon of good, wisdom, & self-sacrifice seems to have premeditated Harry’s death. Perhaps the good never planned the war because even the evil would have thought them evil & calculating. Harry’s evil traits do not make him less endearing, apparently, because he did not choose them, but was born with them.

The evil organize as an army whose ruler is tyrant, who unusually sacrifices whoever he thinks useful to sacrifice. Therefore, he misjudges characters & circumstances: Putting together his opinion & urgency – fear of death writ large, in a man apparently immortal – blinds him to the problem of power, because it separates wisdom from necessity. The good are disorganized, at best. They are benevolent & seem to come together spontaneously. They lack both the incentives & the inclination for great effort or struggle. We would be excused for ignoring this, or taking it for granted – were not the fate of their world at stake. Yet the good show nobility: Their lack of self-regard is dim wit, but their sacrifice is serious: They love life, but love something else more. Honor perhaps appears thus to children, who know not excellence.

Harry learns his sacrifice was always already necessary. He does not wonder whether knowing this does not make all the difference. But the story contrived in the end to explain his beginning really explains how things always are for the human beings: Sacrifice seems necessary or inevitable in times of crisis; but it is freely chosen when the cause for which sacrifice is made is chosen. Man seems to act out his destiny, in understanding popular expectations; then man seems to achieve the impossible. It seems the promise of the good conceals the truth about the good. Instead, man is awarded a beautiful death.

The end

Go Here to Read the Review of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part One.