Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of J.K. Rowling

Rowling's father was an aircraft mechanic and her mother was a science technician. She was the first of two children and has said that she was a very unhappy teen: her mother suffered from multiple sclerosis and her relationship with her father was strained. She graduated from the University of Exeter in 1986 and then worked as a researcher and a secretary in London. She conceived of the first Harry Potter book in 1990 and began to write immediately. Rowling's mother died in December of that year, and Rowling channeled much of her grief into the novel. Over the next few years, Rowling married, had her first daughter, divorced, and signed up for welfare benefits. She finished Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 1995 and, after its publication in 1997, Rowling began her rise to fame. The proceeds from the U.S. auction for the publishing rights allowed Rowling to buy a flat in Edinburgh and, over the next ten years, Rowling wrote and published the next six books in the series. She also remarried in 2001 and had two more children. In 2004, she became the first billionaire to make her fortune writing books, though her donations to charity mean that she's since lost her billionaire status. She published several crime novels under the pen name Robert Galbraith and has written the screenplays for the films in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
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Historical Context of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Though a work of fantasy, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows closely reflects the time period in which Rowling was writing. Though the fall of the Ministry and the fear and paranoia represent an extreme, the general tenor of fear and the sense that it's impossible to trust the government reflect the anxieties that bloomed in the post-9/11 world in both the US and the UK. Voldemort and the Death Eaters can more generally be linked to the rise of the Nazis and Hitler in pre-World War Two Germany (specifically, the Muggle-born registry and taking wands from those who are judged to be not real wizards draws on specific actions the Nazis took to target Jews), though it's also possible to read Voldemort and his desire for a monolithic, pureblooded society as a more contemporary metaphor for the rise of Islamophobia, bigotry, and increasing nationalism that skyrocketed after 9/11.

Other Books Related to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Following the completion of the Harry Potter series, Rowling published The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which joined the already-published companion texts such as Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The Harry Potter series has been a major cultural phenomenon since the first one was published; to this end, a number of novels, especially those concerning young characters, mention the series. These include My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman, as well as On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. The series falls into a specific trope known as the "chosen one" trope, in which a character is marked for greatness and has no choice but to follow that destiny. Another book with this trope is Girl of Flower and Thorns by Rae Carson. However, several authors have started to pick apart and question this trope, most notably in Rainbow Rowell's novel Carry On, which asks questions about what it's like to be an untalented “chosen one,” and Patrick Ness's The Rest of Us Just Live Here.
Key Facts about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • Full Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • When Written: 2005-2006
  • Where Written: England
  • When Published: 2007
  • Literary Period: Contemporary
  • Genre: Fantasy, bildungsroman
  • Setting: England
  • Climax: Harry defeats Voldemort
  • Antagonist: Lord Voldemort
  • Point of View: Third-person limited

Extra Credit for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Books vs. Movies. While all of the books in the Harry Potter series have won awards, none of the corresponding film adaptations have—though collectively, the films were nominated for twelve Academy Awards. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 was, however, the highest-grossing film of 2011, as well as the highest-grossing film of the series.

Planning for Death. In addition to meticulously planning out the plots of all of her novels, Rowling wrote how the series was going to end (specifically that Hagrid was going to carry Harry's body out of the forest) very early on in the process. This made Hagrid one of the few characters who was safe from being killed off, unlike Arthur Weasley and even Ron, whom Rowling considered killing at several points while writing.