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Extract of New Work by J.K. Rowling on the Forest Scene of "Deathly Hallows" for Prince Charles Birthday Book

J.K. Rowling
Posted by: sue
November 13, 2008, 03:36 PM

Several months ago, we told you that author J.K Rowling would be contributing to a new book honoring the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles for his 60th birthday. This book will benefit the Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts charity. Today, the Guardian has an extract of the piece written by Jo, where she writes about the dramatic forest scene near the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In the article, which also contains a new illustration of the scene by artist Quentin Blake, J.K. Rowling writes:

I admit that, at first glance, the extract I've chosen for The Birthday Book might not seem particularly celebratory, given that it has for its subject my hero walking to what he believes will be certain death. But when Harry takes his last, long walk into the heart of the Dark Forest, he is choosing to accept a burden that fell on him when still a tiny child, in spite of the fact that he never sought the role for which he has been cast, never wanted the scar with which he has been marked. As his mentor, Albus Dumbledore, has tried to make clear to Harry, he could have refused to follow the path marked out for him. In spite of the weight of opinion and expectation that singles him out as the "Chosen One", it is Harry's own will that takes him into the Forest to meet Voldemort, prepared to suffer the fate that he escaped sixteen years before.

The destinies of wizards and princes might seem more certain than those carved out for the rest of us, yet we all have to choose the manner in which we meet life: whether to live up (or down) to the expectations placed upon us; whether to act selfishly, or for the common good; whether to steer the course of our lives ourselves, or to allow ourselves to be buffeted around by chance and circumstance. Birthdays are often moments for reflection, moments when we pause, look around, and take stock of where we are; children gleefully contemplate how far they have come, whereas adults look forwards into the trees, wondering how much further they have to go. This extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is my favourite part of the seventh book; it might even be my favourite part of the entire series, and in it, Harry demonstrates his truly heroic nature, because he overcomes his own terror to protect the people he loves from death, and the whole of his society from tyranny.


Also, the Prince of Wales Foundation is holding a contest to win a copy of this book signed by the artist Quentin Blake; more details here.

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47 Comments

courtneyyy

ahhh… so eloquent!! that really is one of my favorite excerpts as well… i would go into everything i like, but it would get wayy to long. :D
i agree with what others said… if they mess this up in the movie i will be extreeemely unhappy. >:(

Posted by courtneyyy on November 13, 2008, 06:53 PM report to moderator
courtneyyy

& i must concur, the illustration is fabulous… i think i might’ve liked it a little darker, as to better convey the mood of the scene, but it is wonderful nonetheless. :)

Posted by courtneyyy on November 13, 2008, 06:55 PM report to moderator
Sorry, but he does

In the illustration, Harry looks like a homeless guy who’s about to flash somebody…

Posted by Sorry, but he does on November 13, 2008, 07:01 PM report to moderator
Mrs Dobby

I like the illustration. It’s quite dark compared with Quentin Blake’s usual comical or light drawings in Roald Dahl, etc. @ ‘Sorry, but he does’ – your comment made me chuckle. I can sort of see your point.

Posted by Mrs Dobby on November 13, 2008, 07:42 PM report to moderator
Professor Potter

LOL, I wish you didn’t say that now because now that’s all I see too. Come to think of, its not a very well thought out illustration bearing in mind that is supposed to be an invisibility cloak. If the artist was bold enough, he could have also drawn the 4 people brought back to life in a slightly transparent view.

Posted by Professor Potter on November 13, 2008, 07:49 PM report to moderator
Selina

Jo Rowling is a genius. This passage is amazing: “The destinies of wizards and princes might seem more certain than those carved out for the rest of us, yet we all have to choose the manner in which we meet life: whether to live up (or down) to the expectations placed upon us; whether to act selfishly, or for the common good; whether to steer the course of our lives ourselves, or to allow ourselves to be buffeted around by chance and circumstance.”

Posted by Selina on November 13, 2008, 07:54 PM report to moderator
hptwilighter

I loved that part too!!! It made me cry more than anything else in DH.

Posted by hptwilighter on November 13, 2008, 09:28 PM report to moderator
Steve K

Very cool! But I must admit when I saw “New Work by J.K. Rowling” I thought of something a little different. My heart skipped a beat for a minute until I read a little further.

Posted by Steve K on November 13, 2008, 09:38 PM report to moderator
christy

oh my gosh- almost brings me to tears! she is so eloquent and poignant in what she says. it is so simple and yet so true that it brings you, like i said, to the verge of tears!

Posted by christy on November 13, 2008, 09:51 PM report to moderator
Arithmancer

The Forest Again is my favorite chapter in the entire series. (It’s also the only one I truly sobbed through.) When I read it, thanks to the quality of the writing, I could practically feel Harry’s heart pounding and his limbs shaking. I could feel his desire to cling to each second, and his childlike wish for his mother to stay close to him, and his sense of a weird disconnect between his mind and body. I could also feel the sublime transcendence at the heart of his decision to embrace death rather than running from it. ("He pressed the golden metal to his lips and said, “I am about to die.”) The whole chapter puts the reader into Harry’s mind and heart and gut as he walks willfully to his own death. It’s the culmination of everything that came before, and it’s amazing.

Posted by Arithmancer on November 13, 2008, 10:40 PM report to moderator
Anonymousme

While I didn’t think Deathly Hallows was the best of the books overall, I do agree that the passage with Harry walking through the forest is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, moments in the whole series.

Posted by Anonymousme on November 14, 2008, 12:02 AM report to moderator
Zivlok

Wow, that was great. All I really can say.

Posted by Zivlok on November 14, 2008, 12:09 AM report to moderator
Laura

“The Forest Again” is by far my favorite chapter from the entire series. The emotion that griped me surpassed anything I have felt from literature. The metatations on the scene that JKR has written are so heartfelt, poignant, and reflective of my own, I am again overcome. I’m SO glad she chose this passage to reflect upon so I/we can get a sense of her own reaction on and emotional response to this scene.

Posted by Laura on November 14, 2008, 12:37 AM report to moderator
j

wow..
JKRs like my old geography teacher.. he was so passionate about geography he actually made me love it too! just the way he talked about things made them sound so amazing like how things were formed etc.. (shame he left.. now i hate it again :@ ).. JKR had a headstart though.. i already love HP..

this passage is just.. wow.

Posted by j on November 14, 2008, 03:58 AM report to moderator
Martha

“In the illustration, Harry looks like a homeless guy who’s about to flash somebody”

I have to agree, lol!

Posted by Martha on November 14, 2008, 04:25 AM report to moderator
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