On the first anniversary of the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” I feel I have to get some things off my mind.
Let me preface this by saying that I am the biggest Harry Potter fan that I know. I suppose it is silly to say so, because if you are reading this you probably know me already and you would know that.
Driving home from Cape Cod two weeks ago, Kate (my beautiful, wonderful sister and reader of Terry Gilmore’s Head) was with me and we listened to book 7 on CD, which was amazing.
Sometime during the book, I think around the Chapters that take place at Xeno Lovegood’s, that it dawned on me, and Kate can attest to this moment of staggering genius, the story of the Three Brothers is an allegory of the Harry Potter series as a whole.
I know, genius right, let me explain.
In the story that Hermione reads to Harry, Ron and Xeno, there were once three brothers (one of whom Harry is the last descendant of) who cheat death, then meet Death who awards each of them a gift. The first brother chooses an unbeatable wand, which he uses, brags about, and gets murdered in his sleep.
The second brother wants to bring a dead lover back from the afterlife, so Death gives him a stone to return her. He goes mad and kills himself.
The third brother asks for an invisibility cloak, so that Death cannot follow him. He lives a long life and meets Death as an equal.
It is in essence a morality tale. In the universe of Harry Potter, it is rumored that when these three objects, or Hallows, are combined they will make the user immortal.
Harry comes to learn that he is in possession of two of these Hallows. and SPOILER ALERT!!!! He is the rightful owner of the third.
The giant brainstorm that hit me while listening to Hermione tell this story is that Harry, Dumbledore, and Voldemort are allusions to the Three Brother’s from Beedle’s tale.
During the chapter, “Kings Cross” (which is tied for the best chapter in the series with “The Forest Again”, the imagery, the word usage, the change in perspective as Dumbledore is scared, sad, and begging for forgiveness as Harry questions him with a calm, cool, collectedness that demonstrates just how much he grew as a person walking back into that forest), Dumbledore explains to Harry that Voldemort only ever knew about the Elder Wand, never any of the other Hallows.
The first brother wanted an unbeatable wand which he believed would make him invincible. Similarly, upon being beaten by Harry, a seemingly helpless child, Voldemort seeks out the Elder Wand. Unknowingly Voldemort takes the wand from someone who is not the rightful owner, he is never able to make the wand work for him and is defeated by his own hubris, just as the first brother was.
Dumbledore goes on to explain in “Kings Cross” that he discovered the “Resurrection Stone” in the ruins of Marvolo Gaunt’s home, where Voldemort hid it after making it into one of his Horcruxes. Dumbledore explains to Harry with tears in his eyes, that upon finding the stone, he attempted to use the stone to bring back his deceased family. Dumbledore, who should have known better, wanted so much to see his loved ones again that he attempted to use the stone which had a curse placed on it, the curse that would ultimately lead to his planned death.
Like the second brother, Dumbledore was overcome by his desire to be reunited with the people that he loved that he was willing to sacrifice his own life to do so.
Finally there is Harry, who never desired to gain invincibility through possession of the Elder Wand, a decision he made when choosing to speak with Griphook prior to speaking with Mr. Ollivander while at Shell Cottage. Harry was faced with the prospect of being reunited with his parents when gazing into the Mirror of Erised in “Philosopher’s Stone”. At that time Harry took professor Dumbledore’s advice when he told Harry, “It does not do to dwell on dreams, and forget to live”. Harry, who desired above all else to see his parents again, used the stone, not to bring them back from the dead, but to help him join them. He used the Cloak, to become invisible and meet Death as an equal.
It was because of this act of self sacrifice (wait, I thought Christians hated “Harry Potter”) that Harry is able to ensure the safety of those that he loves, as well as sow the seeds of Voldemortss demise.
I have a ton more to say about this series, I enjoyed writing this so much, expect to see more of it.