‘Deathly Hallows’: 10 Years Later

Jul 21, 2017

Posted by: Zack DiGirolamo

Fandom, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling, News

On February 1st, 2007, it was announced that the final Harry Potter book would be released on July 21st of that same year. That day alone was a special occasion; Leaky reported the news and a special episode of PotterCast was released that same day. March 28th gave us our first look at the cover art, along with a tease of the synopsis. Calendars were marked. Book launches were planned. Posters began appearing in bookstores across the world, and the countdown began.

It’s safe to say that July 21st hit Potter fans differently. There was the usual excitement that went along with any new Potter book release, but Deathly Hallows was set apart from the rest. It was the last novel, true, but for many it marked the end of something far greater than Harry’s journey. It was the culmination of our childhood fantasies, our final escape into the wizarding world with no guarantee of a return.

It has been 10 years since that midsummer day in 2007, and who could have imagined what the next 10 years had in store for us? Three delightful Potter films, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a new stage play (and script!), the publication of four novels by J.K. Rowling, multiple theme parks, and the release of a Fantastic Beasts film (written by J.K. Rowling herself) with the promise of four more on the way!

Harry Potter and the wizarding world in general is far from over. We have a lot to celebrate and remember. Here is what’s on the minds of our staff as we commemorate this day, including a special video from LeakyCon!

Melissa Anelli, Webmistress:

“Ten years. Ten years on from the last book and Harry Potter is as much a part of my life as he ever was. What a journey. Happy DH day! If you’d asked me if @leaky, @pottercast, and @LeakyCon would be around 10 years later, I would have been skeptical. They’re all bustling. Passion isn’t always fleeting. Passion can turn into true love and last. Passion can create an amazing company and make awesome things real. I’m so proud of every moment of 17 years as a Harry Potter fan and everything I’ve been able to do since I picked up those books. (LOL @leakycon actually wasn’t even conceived for another two months since DH was published. It wasn’t even a thing yet.)

Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_(US_cover)I’m proud of the people I’ve met and the people I have worked with, of the group of dedicated professionals that have turned their love of Potter into a love of making real-world spaces better for fans, geeks, and nerds. So much came from the @leaky world that has had such huge, wide ranging consequences. Stuff we only set in motion but had very little to do with, friendships that were formed that turned into internationally best-selling stories. Podcasts and podcasters that started after listening to our 2005 prototypes, events that were born after witnessing what it’s really like when fans come together IRL. So much had happened we can’t count it all.

In those early internet days, EVERYTHING we were doing was experimental. Getting comments on a website for instance, was via hacks. It was all led by ‘this is what we want to see so we are going to make it happen.’ @jnoe and I would spend endless hours dreaming it, then figuring out how to make it happen. Remember the ?s and Fiddy Five? A decade before commonplace viral hunt marketing. Remember Helping Haiti Heal? WELL before we could do that sort of thing easily with Kickstarter and Indiegogo. My belaborednpoint is that every bit of it drew from fans getting together and saying ‘how can we make the best thing for the most fans and let’s just have some fun and enjoy ourselves while we do it.’ I’m so proud of the way this period has shaped things and created a roadmap of how to be an involved, compassionate, passionate fan in the world. It’s my life’s work.I’m so proud. Thank you, @jk_rowling.” (Taken from Melissa’s thread on Twitter)

Emma Pocock, Senior News Editor:

“In July 2007, I was 11 years old and about to begin secondary school. I had no idea what to expect from this book, and being a child I had no idea what the words ‘Deathly Hallows’ meant. I remember seeing promotional banners up in book shops and deciding that these words meant that Harry would be trapped in a forest, and with so many camping and forest scenes in the book, I wasn’t wrong, really.

This story wrapped up a monumental series, it confirmed the power of literature for me as I desperately tried to re-read chapters to make sure that Jo didn’t ACTUALLY just kill Hedwig and Fred in one book. In its formidable honesty, its moments of tranquility and its presence as the end of an era, Deathly Hallows – and the unity of Harry Potter fans across the globe – taught us that hope is strongest where people come together, against all odds. That’s a message that will never lose importance.

I grew reading these books, and attribute my ability to empathise, my ability to think critically, my passion for literature and my desire to spread messages of hope throughout the world to J.K. Rowling, and to Deathly Hallows for bringing Harry’s story to an end so beautifully. It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed, but here we are, and all is still well.”

Kim McChesney, Leaky News Editor:

“Today is the 10th anniversary of the release of my favorite book in my favorite series by my favorite author. Let me preface this anecdote with some self-identifying facts: I am a 50-year-old wife, mother, voracious reader, casual writer, and Harry Potter junkie, patronus: osprey. Our familial fandom didn’t kick in until 2004, when I finally took Grandma’s gift of books 1-5 off the shelf and opened up The Sorcerer’s Stone with my first grader. He was one of those kids we’ve all heard about, who wasn’t the least bit interested in reading until he began visiting this magical microcosm at bedtime. It was our mommy/son bonding ritual, so little sister was banished to the hallway, where she would camp outside his door each night with her blanket, while I read aloud.

After a dozen years of reading and re-reading, numerous car trip audio recording sessions listening to the dulcet tones of Jim Dale’s narrative, midnight book and movie releases, theater and television marathons and one glorious butterbeer-filled trip to The Wizarding World, I still ask myself what it is that drew me in back then and continues to grab my heart about this tale today?

I’ve often heard ‘Walking Dead’ fans say, ‘It’s not about the zombies—it’s the characters.’ I would be speaking a half-truth, if I said that my love for Harry Potter is not about the magic and the entire fictional cosmos, but the relationships alone.
Though I do hold dear, the bonds, as well as the antagonism between the players, there’s something about the series that satisfies the totality of my brain. The four houses and their tidy, color-coordinated packaging of alliances and adversaries appeal to my left-brained, control-freak leanings, reminiscent of sorting Halloween candy into their OCD appropriate categories. While my right hemisphere can wrap itself around the Big Stuff, –love, loyalty, victory vs defeat, good vs. evil, hallows vs. horcruxes, Stupefy vs. Expelliarmus, Great Aunt Tessie or Auntie Muriel, etc, etc.

So approximately 11:00pm on July 20, 2007 that reluctant little reader, who was now ten years old and I left the house for the closest Borders Bookstore where we had picked up our line number the day before. That midnight experience with 500 of our closest Harry Potter devotees is one that has bonded the two of us for life. Even though he rarely picks up a Potter book and we certainly don’t read together anymore, the passion for the wizarding saga is cemented as part of the foundation of our relationship. We read only the first chapter that night before we fell asleep, but kept it with us wherever we went the remainder of the next few days until I finished reading aloud as we always had.

As it was for most, Book Seven was a culmination of the heartfelt connections as well as adamant disdain for J.K. Rowlings characters and we were both more immersed than ever in her world. I can say without a doubt that “A Prince’s Tale”, the journey into Snape’s memories touched both of us beyond words and still does so to this day. Not even because of what they meant for Harry but because Severus Snape proved to be, in my opinion, the most tragic character in all of literature. His story validated for me that we can sometimes act out of hurt and anger and still recognize that beneath our self made armor is a loving heart, the heart of a true hero. I still get a heaviness in my chest thinking of that chapter. Certainly that is a mark of a masterful author. Happy 10th Anniversary Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  and thank you J. K. Rowling for the lessons you’ve taught through this story and the magic you’ve brought to my life.”

Dawn Johnson, Leaky News Writer:

“I was also thinking this morning how perfectly the Deathly Hallows themselves symbolize the relationship between the trio. According to legend, the wizard in possession of all three would be the master of death (and so they were). Each element was powerful in it’s own right, but they were most effective when combined. In the same way, each hallow seems to represent one of the trio. Hermione, like the cloak of invisibility, brings the technical skill to keep them undetected, to protect them. Through her knowledge and mastery of spells, she enables them to do what needs to be done as safely and smoothly as possible at every step along the way. Ron, like the resurrection stone, is the heart of the trio. He possesses passion–for his family, for his friends, for their mission. He loves them so much that he leaves when it feels hopeless, rather than see them turn away from him, or worse, fail. But, then, he wants them back, he would give anything to be with them again, even if that costs him everything. He is the glue that holds them together. Harry, like the elder wand, possesses strength, leadership, innate ability and power. He is formidable on his own but is imbued with all that is necessary for success by joining with the others. Rowling set up a dynamic not usually seen in literature, which more often celebrates the lone hero. She shows us what can be achieved by teamwork and, furthermore, the deep power and bond of friendship.

With each book that progressed the storyline forward, we felt each of Harry’s losses and understood, intuitively, that J.K. Rowling was preparing him for a precise moment, a moment when he would decide to fulfill the prophecy and confront Voldemort. I think we knew that was going to involve more sacrifice, though in what form, we couldn’t be sure. When I came to Snape’s death and subsequent revelations in the penseive, it seemed as if everything was at once coming together and also unraveling. I can’t describe how deeply I felt Harry’s shock and grief when he withdrew from the penseive and laid down on the floor of Dumbledore’s office. (How I wish that was included in the movie!) He was reeling, and I was reeling. I’m not sure any moment in any other book has hit me quite so hard. But it was the shocking nature of the truth that gave weight to Harry’s decision to accept his fate, to choose that walk into the forest. Had we not felt the gravity of it so strongly, the triumph of King’s Cross and his choice to return and finish things once and for all would have been lessened. It is an incredible book, filled with models of bravery and fortitude and humility. It was a fitting end, one at which we were happy to read the words, ‘All is well.’ It is no surprise at all that ten years have passed like the blink of an eye, and Harry Potter remains a friend to us all.”

Ashley Kurtz, Leaky News Writer:

“Deathly Hallows is an ending to years and years of these books that we’ve loved for so long. That’s what makes it such a joyous, and simultaneously a painful read. I, quite literally grew up with Harry, and I think that also made the ending of the series such an emotional time for me- it was effectively the ending of my childhood. As typical as that sounds, Harry, Hermione and Ron were my friends. They were (and still are) there for me in the hard times and to watch them go through relationship ups and downs, and cry over each other really resonated with me. It’s only normal that as we grow up, we gain and lose friends, and those that are truly important are the ones that stay. I learned that from them; that the people who truly count are the ones that come and go, but somehow are able to love you just the same.”

Lainey Ruffner, Leaky News Editor:

“Deathly Hallows was the culmination of a story that I’d spent my entire childhood growing up reading. I’d been anxiously awaiting for the day to come when I would finally learn Harry’s fate and have all my burning questions answered for me. By the time the 7th book was released the series was so popular that I’d manage to find a ton of other Harry Potter obssessed fans to befriend. Waiting in line at midnight alongside some of my closest friends to finally read the conclusion of our favorite book series and discover the fate of characters we’d grown to love almost as much as our own friends and family was such a significant event in our lives I’ll remember it for years to come. We’d grown up, matured and learned alongside Harry, Ron and Hermione and we understood as the books shifted from the light hearted adventures of 11 year olds to a full blown war where the characters were willing to sacrifice their lives for a good cause and indeed suffered many losses. We felt the losses strongly as well as some of our favorite characters lost their lives. Yet as much as it hurt we knew Rowling had her reasons. The Wizarding World couldn’t possibly partake in a battle so ferocious and not come out with losses on both sides. This book was the ultimate test for Harry and lead to the ultimate sacrifice that he was willing to make to defeat Voldemort for the general good. We learned so much about Harry and the Wizarding World that it was so sad to see the series come to a close, like a part of us was saying goodbye forever. Rowling left us with an ending, however, that meant we could leave Harry with the peace of knowing he could now lead a life without the constant threat of Voldemort looming over him and his loved ones. So we had to say goodbye to our favorite books, but we knew it wasn’t really goodbye after all and even 10 years later we still haven’t been able to let Harry go.”

Through her writing alone, J.K. Rowling has given us a priceless gift, one that is difficult to put into words. From all of us here at Leaky, we’d like to thank her and our fellow Potterheads for all they’ve given us. Happy Deathly Hallows Day!

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.