Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Revised Ending: Take 1

Final Battle Harry by Laura McCandles

I rather enjoy the Harry Potter books, enough so that the books are a frequent topic of conversation. I laud the series as a whole, Book 6 in particular, and above all the series' devotion to friendship and love. So when Deathly Hallows ends in Voldemort's defeat by a wand technicality, with only slight nods to love and friendship playing their part, I was upset. Rowling disposes of her central and powerful theme and gives her readers and the story short shrift. So keeping in mind that I have never written anything of note, never been published, and I whole-heartedly respect and praise Rowling, I offer an alternate ending plot outline to the Deathly Hallows that appeals to the storyteller in me.

When Harry goes into the Death Eaters camp everything follows up to this point as it has, and Harry dies by the Killing Curse. But Harry returns from the dead having lost his magical powers. He is now, for all intents and purposes, a Muggle. The return to Hogwarts happens as written: Harry's body is shown to Dumbledore's Army, Neville kills Nagini (destroying the last Horcrux), Grawp attacks, chaos ensues. The battle moves into the castle, and Dumbledore's Army regroups inside while Harry, using the cloak on Invisibility slips in with Neville.

Here, different from the novel, Dumbledore's Army is able to hold the Death Eater's at bay for a spell. The siege resumes, Harry reveals himself and Neville. Neville is given a proper moment of glory. Everyone is elated Harry is alive but mourn the loss of his powers. Sure, Voldemort is now vulnerable, the last Horcrux having been destroyed, but who will be their champion? Voldemort is still deathly powerful, made more terrible by the Elder Wand.

The walls are breached, and all urge Harry to stay behind, as he has no powers to protect himself or fight against the magic. But with the Marauder's Map and intimate knowledge of the Death Eater's resources, he is able to direct the battle, proving himself an able general. The others take up the attack while Ginny stays by Harry's side, using Shield Charms to protect him. Neville leaves Gryffindor's sword as it cannot match his wand for defense.

Harry is forced to watch more and more names disappear from the map, as they die: students, professors, families and shopkeepers--all men and women we've met in the series. Harry is distressed, and the heart of the battle, Voldemort, moves closer and close to the Great Hall. There is a great explosion of magical energy, and the doors to the Great Hall are blown in and several of Dumbledore's Army come flying through, including Ron and Hermione. Here we have Bellatrix and Molly's battle as written ("NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!" one of the best lines in the whole book), and Harry reveals himself when Voldemort threatens Molly.

MUCH LESS MONOLOGUING--Voldemort is shocked by Harry's appearance, but generally undeterred ("What does it take to kill you?!"). He throws blasts at Harry, but Ginny protects him. Voldemort is confused: why doesn't Harry protect himself? Understanding, he laughs maniacally, gloating at the now Muggle Harry. Voldemort begins using the Elder Wand to siphon the magic of present Dumbledore's Army, which, as an integral part of who they are, weakens them in general; in fact, it is killing them. But Harry has no magical power, he is unaffected, yet forced to watch as all his living friends and family are dying that Voldemort may deliver the final crushing blow by killing him once and for all.

Though without magic, Harry's courage makes him a true Gryffindor; Harry grabs Gryffindor's Sword and races toward Voldemort--Harry notices his fallen family are there with him again--everyone that Harry ever loved, or loved Harry is present, and he is suffused with love. Death Eaters attack him as he charges, but their spells simply vanish. Voldemort can't afford to wait any longer and casts his spell at Harry. Harry uses the sword, itself glowing with love's flame, to simply swat the spell harmlessly aside.

Voldemort thinks this power is magic and praises Harry's cunning in pretending to be a Muggle and therefor powerless. Using the Elder Wand, Voldemort tries to absorb this power as he did the others'. He does so (though this does not weaken Harry), and at first is drunk with more power than he's ever known. He declares his intent to kill all Dumbledore's Army in one blow and raises the Elder Wand to begin casting a Massacre Curse. But love cannot abide this hatred, and the "spell" begins to conquer the evil, tearing Voldemort and the Elder Wand apart. Harry deals a final blow with the Sword, and Voldemort is defeated.

Defeated by love (fulfilling Rowling's six and a half book insistence that such will defeat Voldemort); defeated by a "Muggle" (who Voldemort considers less than useless making for grand poetic justice); NO WAND TECHNICALITY. All in all, a much more satisfying ending to my mind.

Whether Harry's magical powers are restored is to me irrelevant, though I can see the general public being more satisfied if they are. However, I rather like the idea of Harry living the rest of his life without powers of his own, happily married to Ginny with some magical children and some muggle. Thus, the story is ultimately not about having magical powers, the story is what it means to be human, to be able to love.

This doesn't address all the issues I have with Deathly Hallows--namely that Rowling dropped the ball on the resolution of the magical creatures' oppression, that the story would be more powerful if greater numbers of other houses joined the Death Eaters, that the Dursley's could have played a greater part in the plot (Harry's uncle could have been tempted by an offer of wealth from Voldemort; Harry's aunt then takes Vernon to task for threatening Lily's son, and siding with the creature that killed her sister), and that Quidditch, or rather Harry's skills related to Quidditch, seem strangely absent from the Battle of Hogwarts--but one major plot rewrite at a time!

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