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Into the Deathly Hallows

by David Haber

J.K. Rowling finally announced on that the title of Book 7 will be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The definition of "Hallow" is something that has been "made holy, sanctified, consecrated". What consecrated place in the Harry Potter stories could this refer to? Could it be the Hallowed Halls of Hogwarts? Or perhaps, does this refer to Godric's Hollow, the place where it all started?

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Reader Comments: (Page 5)

A part of a soul is sacred and should not be divided. The parts of Voldemort's are ly because they are protected by powerful magic.

Posted by Linda from Netherlands on December 22, 2006 2:06 PM

I think we can't draw any conclusion from the translations of the title. No translation of the official website have been updated with the title yet. I think the media translated it by themselves in order to be able to tell the news. I really don't think they have more information than us about it. In French, I've seen it translated: Harry Potter et les Saints mortuaires (mortuary saints!).

Posted by Roxanne from Quebec, Quebec on December 22, 2006 2:28 PM

I think the earlier comment that we often cannot expect to have understood a title until reading the book is well said and probably end up being true on this book, too. But why let that stop us, eh?

I really like some of the thoughts above (esp. many of those from Janis which I could not possibly hope to expand upon with competence).

To step back a bit, I find both words in the title difficult. "ly" is not a very commonly used adjective. I must admit when I first read it, I thought, "What does that mean?" And only on reflection came up with standard uses like "ly silent" or "ly calm", that we are certainly familiar with but which are not used everyday. I think too many of us are immediately interpreting it as "ly" since they are almost homonyms. But since ly is in fact a perfectly good adjective, it must mean that whatever Hallows refers to has some quality of making ly an appropriate adjective, not that it is ly/fatal. I suppose ly could be a way of saying objects (or persons) are animated but (like spirits? souls? ghosts?). It could also refer to places that are silent, dark, etc.

Then we have the problem of what "Hallows" means. I like the celtic and Arthurian musings above and those sound very plausible as uses Jo would make. I suppose Hallows could be a more or less made up use based upon hallowed ground and referring to a place name, but I rather doubt it. Most likely it seem to me it refers to either objects (like the Arthurian objects) or people, i.e., saints (to include Harry's parents, Sirius Dumbledore, etc.). This seems the simplest possibility since they would seem ly in their current form and given their moral standings within the storyline, a legitimate claim to sainthood or something akin to it.

One thought that occurs to me is that although Hallows is not a gerund ("Hallowings") nor is it seemingly used as a verb in the title, it could nonetheless be a reference to the action of the verb and multiple instances of things being hallowed. That is, Hallows could refer to more than one act of Hallowing, such as Harry running around sancitfying things, places, people, etc. Personally doubt that, but maybe someone else can make something of it?

Posted by Wm. from Herndon, VA, USA on December 22, 2006 3:43 PM

I spent hours figuring out the title. It could be two things.
To create a horcrux, one must someone to divide his or her soul (ly - suggesting or fatal). Since hallow means to make holy or consecrate, it means that these consecrations had a involved. These are Voldemort's horcruxes. It is the same thing as saying Harry Potter and the Horcruxes. However, as Wm. said earlier, it could mean that Harry and co. must make something holy, or sanctifying Voldemort's horcruxes, but these horcruxes could be ly, or ly (and may come at a price).

Posted by Steve Joe from PA on December 22, 2006 6:23 PM

Thanks Dave Haber for another juicy article bursting with comments. Has any other group of books been deconstructed so intensely?

In thinking about the possible meanings of the book 7 title, I looked back at past titles and have this comment.

It seems that most of the past titles have 2 meanings; the first meaning that you learn pretty early on, then the second meaning that comes with the twist at the end of the book.
For instance in COS we learned about an Heir of Slytherin and the monster within. The twist was the connection to L.V.
In POA we learn of the escaped voldy supporter, betrayer of harry's parents, bent on ing harry. The twist was he was framed by the person we thought was the victim.
I won't continue with HBP. You all get the idea.

So it occured to me that "ly hallows" could have two meanings. The first meaning we find out early on and keep learning about. Then the twist at the end where the title takes on a whole new [and opposite] meaning.

There are many incredibly well thought out possibilities posted here. I have to admit though when I first heard the title of book 6, I would have bet quite a few galleons that Hagrid was the half blood prince and that the prince was a good one, there to help Harry. I wouldn't even have considered Snape.

So lets not be too disheartened if it appears that the book 7 title has an ominous tone to it.

Posted by Mikey from New Jersey on December 22, 2006 8:58 PM

It has maybe something to do with Halloween, or "All Hallows eve". It then probably refers to hallows or saints or something like that, which again can be connected to ghosts which are , and do things in a ly way. Still, as ly does not refer directly to something thats - but like in "ly silent", as said earlier - It can be that the saints behave in a ly way, or maybe it is that they bring ?

My English is not that good, so my connections are probably wrong at some points, but I Think there is something into it.

Posted by Arnstein from Aalesund, Norway on December 23, 2006 05:00 AM

I looked up the word Hallow which means holy person or saint so i think the ly hallow refers to a person either a ly saint or a saint that comes back from the who knows. To me ly hallows is not a place i think, because Jo's previous book titles are either a person or an object (ootp refers to a group of people) so ly hallows can't be an object (can it?) so it's person, maybe it be Sirius Black returned from the or maybe his parents. But can also refer to Harry himself being a saint but why call the book Harry Potter AND The ly Hallows.

Posted by justin on December 23, 2006 06:38 AM

ly hallows couldd also mean the same veiled archway through which sirius black had fallen and d. maybe its possible that voldemort can not be given a natural and so to him he has to be pushed thru the same archway and given an 'unnatural' . and so the 'DEATHLY' hallows (hallows meaning deep pit)

Posted by rohit from india on December 23, 2006 07:05 AM

Except, "Hallow" doesn't mean that. I think you're thinking of "Hollow".

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on December 23, 2006 07:26 AM

hey just a whym but perhaps, hallows is sacred and god is like the most sacred fing ever, and what was sirius to harry is his *GOD*father and ly, perhaps ly means he be the of voldermort. i dont know maybe someone can elaborate

Posted by joe from my house on December 23, 2006 07:32 AM

i mean there could be a battle behind the veil? and harry heard the veil talking to him when he was in mortal peril because the eaters where about to get him, then perhaps he was close to and the closer you're to the thinner the wall of the veil is so you can communicate. on the other hand it could be like the veela's song supposed to entrance you into , and that place in the ministry that dumbledore talks about being greater than , perhaps thats just love, and thats all the titles about because love is sacred (hallowed?) so thats what the last book is about how harry finally understand how much like his parents he is and wants to destroy voldermort, not for revenge but for love for the people he has ed and that is the power the dark lord knows not, not love as an outward emotion but love as equilibrium that run through harry's body till he is so embraced and powerfull he be able to destroy Lord Voldemort

Posted by joe from my house on December 23, 2006 07:39 AM

I think that the ly hallows are either some place or they refer to a sub-plot of book 7 about which we find out only after reading the book. I mean, nobody really knew wat the goblet of fire or the order of the phoenix were until they read the book, did they?
They could also refer to the horcruxes but i dont think it likely that JKR would stick in something that obvious in the title.

Posted by Saumya from New Delhi, India on December 23, 2006 07:54 AM

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