Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and probably the last of the novels in the Harry Potter series written by J K Rowling. The book is due to be released globally in English speaking countries on the 21st July, 2007 shortly after mid night. In the US it would be released a few hours later due to several time zones. Such is the popularity of the book that just a few hours after the date of its publication was announced on 1st February, 2007, the book reached the top spot on both the Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble’s best seller list. Both the retailers have announced that they have been overwhelmed with the orders which are more than any other book in the history.
The book, in the Fantasy genre is to be published in England by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. The book has been illustrated by Jason Cockcroft, William Webb and Michael Wildsmith, all of the UK and Mary GrandPre of the US.
Scholastic Press, the American publisher of the book, announced the initial print order for the book to be 12 million copies. The British edition of the book is to consist of 608 pages while its American counterpart will run into 784 pages. The sixth book of the Harry Potter series is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
There has been a lot of speculation about the ending of this book. J K Rowling has appealed to the public that anyone with the advance information about the last book should keep it to themselves to avoid the spoiling of the reading experience of the book and keep the suspense for those who do not want to know the ending of the story in advance.
Rowling has also disclosed that two characters would die in the present edition of the series. This announcement has triggered the speculation that one of them would be Harry Potter. Even Daniel Radcliffe who plays the role of Harry Potter in the films is of the opinion that his character would die. But the fans are not deterred they say that in the world of wizardry and magic Harry Potter could be brought back. Bookseller Waterstone’s has launched a Save Harry campaign. The petition on www.waterstones.com/saveharry was launched on Monday the 9th July which reads:
"We the undersigned petition JK Rowling to write more new adventures for Harry Potter and his friends no matter what happens at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows."
Waterstone argued that there is a precedent for resurrecting a literary hero pointing to the case of Sir Arthur Conon Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. There is a petition to save Harry with one million signatories, but wizard Rowling keeps Harry Potter maniacs guessing. The forthcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will cap a series that sold 325 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 64 languages as well as being converted into successful films. The books have made Rowling one billion pounds richer. The first volume appeared in 1997.
The word ‘hallow’ is usually used as a verb which means "to make holy or sacred, to sanctify or consecrate, to venerate”. In the novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, however, the word appears to have been used as a noun like in modern English words "All Hallows' Day" or "All Saints' Day”. Here ‘Hallows’ can refer to saints, or, relics of the saints, relics of gods or shrines in which the relics are preserved. Since these relics contained the essence of gods, the word ‘hallows’ came to refer to the saints or gods themselves rather than their relics or shrines.
J K Rowling was asked to clarify the meaning of the phrase’ Deathly Hallows’ but she refused to oblige on the ground that any clarification of the meaning of ‘Hallows’ would give away too much of the story saying further, “So I’m afraid I’m not answering.”