Newsweek Names “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” Best Book of the Year

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Dec 16, 2007

Posted by SueTLC
Uncategorized

The end of the year list mania continues as Newsweek magazine has selected “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” as their Best Book of 2007. In an article titled “Wizards, Warmongers and the West Coast,” the magazine lists their 15 best books, with the final installment of the Harry Potter series at the number one spot. They write:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. J. K. Rowling.
You could call it the most satisfying ending to a guessing game since the casting of Scarlett O’Hara. The seventh and final installment of the Potter series went in no radical directions [spoiler omitted here], but Rowling made it look effortless when she niftily tied off one plot line after another. The kids who grew up on these novels–and therefore can’t help but take them somewhat for granted–have no idea how lucky they are.

Also, earlier Time magazine posted 50 top ten year end lists, and ranked “Deathly Hallows” at number eight on their list of “Best Fiction Books” of the year. The magazine states of the novel by J.K. Rowling:

There’s no point in trying to finesse the importance of Harry Potter. In seven books Rowling proved that books can still be a true global mass medium, and that significant chunks of the known world can still embrace a single story. Deathly Hallows finds Rowling is in fine form, pulling all the stops she’d been saving up. She gives us wartime gloom, the crackling three-sided chemistry of Harry and Ron and Hermione, and an epic, cataclysmic finale, among many other minor treats. This isn’t the most elegant of the Potter volumes, but it feels like an ending, the final iteration of Rowling’s abiding thematic concern: the overwhelming importance of continuing to love in the face of death.

Thanks to all who emailed!





40 Responses to Newsweek Names “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” Best Book of the Year

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way to go jo!

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it is the best book of he century not the yr only

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Newsweek pwnz Time Magzine here. ;)

Still mad at Time for that asinine article on the Dumbledore situation. Honestly.

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very very good book wish there was another book coming out soon very sad that fred dies very sad that alot of people die like snape etc. wish there was another book

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HP6 WAS best of 2005 with all its merits.

HP7 is so far to be the best of July.

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WOW! A lot of awards for DH. The posting of reviews of the Tales of Beedle the Bard and the release of the OotP DVD. That’s a lot HP to be getting on with, considering that at this time last year we didn’t even know the title of the 7th book yet!

What a year it’s been!

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i want to know, and i’m sure everyone else wants to know it too…WHO IS BEEDLE THE BARD??...i hope J.K tells us more of him, cuz if he wrote the book he’s the one who knew about the deathly hallows and the deathly hallows arent a legend, they’re real…so could he be the founder of the deathly hallows??Am i making any sense??Plz tell me what do you think od my conclusion…

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I disagree. To be honest. It was a HUGEseller. Which does not make a book the best of a year. Not literary terms. In many ways the book was not really as brilliant as the sales figures want to make us believe. But nowadays commercial superlatives rule what is good and what is bad. No benchmark for me though.

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Well, it was not my favorite book of the series, but without any doubt, it was the book of the year! So congrats Jo!

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these books are amazing! i’ve read so many times i quote them in everyday life.

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(the books are way better than the movies)

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Ugh…I’d have to disagree

“but Rowling made it look effortless when she niftily tied off one plot line after another”

I don’t think so…too many contrivances in that area. Oh, there aren’t such things as REAL invisibility cloaks? Ok… If The Tales of Beetle the Bard are so famous, why haven’t we heard of at least their name?

“but it feels like an ending”

No, it feels like any other Harry Potter book with the last five or six chapters of the ending slapped on.

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@Aaron,

not to me. Tastes are different, of course. But this book was an ethics letdown.

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concrtz Jo u rock

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i love Daniel redcliffe

eu amo harry potter

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I always liked newsweek…

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Newsweek FTW.

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I whole-heartedly agree with this article. In my opinion, probably no one will ever again achieve what Rowling has with the Harry Potter series; a book doesn’t have to be Shakespeare to be considered literary genius!

Congrats Jo, you rocked 2007!!

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Actually, Shakespeare was considered very low-brow back in his day! A lot of little things in his works show this. “I bite my thumb at you” is bsically the medieval version of the finger. So who knows, in a century, Harry Potter may be heralded as a literary classic.

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Well this Mary Ann loved the last Book of the Harry Potter Phenomenon. “This book was an ethics letdown” – you can’t know what you are talking about! I’m well over 40, have read truckloads of books (of all genres, by different authors in three different languages) and I have NEVER been this excited about any series of books EVER in my life. I’m not usually someone who is easily bowled over by commercial success – on the contrary – I was very reluctant to read the first one for that very same reason – I didn’t want to be driven by any commercial hype. But my life would have been so much poorer if I hadn’t finally picked up Philosopher’s Stone. I was hooked from the first page and read Bks 2,3,&4 one after another!

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tanya, that’s so true. in fact, lots of works that are now considered “literary classics” were looked down upon by the snobs of their time. there’s little doubt in my mind that the harry potter books will be considered literary classics in about 100 years time.

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Amazing and extremely well deserved.

But Newsweek writer, just a fyi, I grew up with the series and I by no means take it for granted neither do most of the die hard fans. And I know that I along with many other are so lucky to have grown up with Harry. :-)

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@ Mary Ann

You sound like me! I was reluctant to read them also because of the commercial success, but I finally gave in to my friend’s begging and was hooked by the first page!

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What Marianne, a poster on the first page fails to understand that what makes a book great is more then just how the author strings the words together, but the impact it makes on the literary world. there are many good books that are poetic and lyrical in their writing, but ultimately when the reader closes the covers of the books having finished it, it didnt leave a imprint. harry potter is written predominatly for a younger readership, but is loved by all ages, which is a achivement writers like shakespere likely couldnt expect. you dont see 9 year olds reading romeo and juliet and spending hours in forums and chatrooms discussing it. with harry potter, you see generational gaps disappearing and people of all ages enjoying the same thing. that is only one of the profound impacts these books have had.

what makes a book the best book of the year is its impact, not its subject matter or wordcount or how many books it sells. its the profound impact the books have on the world of books, and no book in history has had such a impact on the world of reading like harry potter. in ten years, harry potter has surprased such fantasy juggernauts like lotr’s and narnia.

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The best childrens book ever. Its loved by both young and old it deserves all the awards its getting. pity there is no more at present being written. Will JK write another despite what she says we will have to wait and see. I wonder if ‘THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD ’ will be published. All her books have such a following that it may happen in the not too distant future.

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Must have been a slow year for books.

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I don’t think this was a very good book.. although it belongs to a very good series. I LOVED the first 6 books… but I was highly dissapointed in the 7th book. Most of the story was simply “We’re hiding”. The way the stroy was told seemed as though J.K Rowling had lost interest in writting by the 7th book.. It didn’t capture me nearly as well as the other 6 books (Despite how long I looked forward to the last book coming out). And not to mention the anti-climatical ending. I thought the battle between Harry and Voldemort wouldn’t be so lacking. It looks like the book was mostly meant as nothing more than a quick finish to the series. Kill off a lot of characters and end the stories of the survivors. Ta-da.. happy life. I was truely dissapointed.

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CONGRATULATIONS to Jo yet again!

DH is also my favorite of the series. It was SO EXCITING.

This must have been a very easy choice for Newsweek’s editors!

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Newsweek and Entertainment Weekly’s reviews of DH are great. TIME has been rather, how should we say, Death Eater-ish to the beloved Hallows. They also derogatorily ridiculed our beloved gay headmaster. If JKR is’nt TIME’s person of the year, I will never read TIME Magazine ever, ever, again. My rant is over. My fanfiction, anyone? http://community.livejournal.com/as_pof_fic

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Take that Eclipse!

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aaron…i don’t think that harry potter 7 was disappointing…and they weren’t hiding they were looking for the horcruxes…

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While I would agree with NotTheHBP and others (impact definitely matters), I find it really strange that there still seem to be people who think the Harry Potter series are weak, with respect to their literary value. This is absolute nonsense. The language of Rowling is not only well chosen, precise, and beautiful; she is obviously familiar with narrative theory, literary history, mythology, character formation, and certainly knows how to develop a plot.

The ending of DH is an anti-climax only for those who really saw Voldemort as the superior wizard – in short, for those who failed to understand the moral message of the book. Voldemort was never more than Tom Riddle (and, in death, small and brittle again – just read her carefully chosen phrases!!!!). To quote Harry: “There are no more Horcruxes”.

Besides, why do some people keep reassuring themselves (and us), that they were reading HP despite its popularity? Is this, in any way, relevant? Don’t want to be a killjoy, folks, but WE ARE popular culture! Either you like a book/film/record/painting, or you don’t. It’s as easy as that. If you’re permanently trying to avoid those cultural products that other people like as well, you’ll end up being dominated by mainstream much more than you’d ever have expected.

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when will harry potter and the half blood prince be out in the movies

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I suppose “Book of the Year” wouldn’t be too far off the mark, from a publishing standpoint, but best book of the year - whatever their criteria - misses the target by a mile. In no sense was HP7 a literary masterpiece. Whether JKR “niftily” or “contrivedly” tied off “one plot line after another” I guess lies in the eye of the beholder. Of course, this assumes one is willing to overlook the many dropped plot lines—SPEW anyone? And after spending an entire book (HBP) setting up the horcrux plotline, she just shoves it aside in DH for a Deathly Hallows plotline that ends up on a fast train to nowhere. If JKR had simply focused on the horcrux plotline she started in book six, DH would have been tigher, more focused and better paced.

And yes, Mary Ann, the book WAS an “ethics letdown”—from Harry’s use of Unforgivable Curses to euthanasia to institutionalized bigotry and racism (house elves remain slaves, goblins remain second-class citizens, Slytherin remains the house of bigots and racial purists), every “anti” JKR claimed the story was supposed to be about remained unchallenged and unchanged (with our intrepid hero apparently assimilating nicely into his role as slave master at the end).

Best publishing phenom of the year—without a doubt. Best literary work of the year? Probably not in the top 50.

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plus there’s a possiblty JK could earn another big honor as right now she leads the online voting for time’s person of the year

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@ NCJE Culver

While S.P.E.W wasn’t taken up again (wonder why, when the wizarding world had been transformed into a dictatorship) the issue of house elves’ enslavement and the second-class status of e.g. Goblins were discussed repeatedly. Kreacher’s pathetic dependence on kindness and respect, Dobby’s sacrifice, the discussions with Griphook – all of these topics are there, but aren’t solved at the end of the book. But why should they? Has anyone in our real world found an answer to the fact why people who grew up in totalitarian states often do not want to exchange them for a democracy? Have you ever wondered why there aren’t uprisings in North Korea every day? Because it’s not as easy as that. Not everybody appreciates the chance to lead a totally independent, free-self-determined life. The house elves are, as Dumbledore stated, what wizards made of them. The fact that, eventually, Ron (as somebody who had always embodied the established habits and beliefs of the magical realm) begins to understand why Hermione cares about their status so much, is a strong indication that elf rights will become an issue in the wizarding world. Just read properly.

The Deathly Hallows establish the Horcurx idea, but on a higher, more metaphysical level. They take up the concept of immortality, and tempt Harry to pursue power. Remember after Dobby’s funeral? Harry wonders whom to interview first. He decides to talk to Griphook, because he felt that destroying the Horcruxes (= defeating Voldemort) is more important than achieving power for himself (= getting the elder wand). This is essential, because it’s this basic difference which ultimately distinguishes Harry from Voldemort.

Rowling has only demonstrated in literature what it means to grow up. Life is becoming more complex, we can’t solve each and every issue until the end of the chapter, or the end of the book. That’s not how it’s supposed to work. But we still have to try.

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simply exceeds my expectations

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“He decides to talk to Griphook, because he felt that destroying the Horcruxes (= defeating Voldemort) is more important than achieving power for himself (= getting the elder wand). This is essential, because it’s this basic difference which ultimately distinguishes Harry from Voldemort.”

Well said.

Avatar Image says: all the harry potter books and movies are very nice .Avatar Image says: m6d6dzqd0rdplw8j

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