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HP 7 title thoughts - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
HP 7 title thoughts
Woo-hoo, we have a title. I don't exactly know how it's a spoiler, since it's about to be splashed all over everything in existence to promote, but then, people might like to go solve the puzzle at jkrowling.com to get it themselves.


...my first thought is that it's a bit melodramtic, but it's no big. I think it's just a question of getting used to the sound of it, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Like most people I've seen commenting, I'm connecting "Hallows" with "All Hallow's Eve," which is when it all started for Harry.

It also connects with the Horcrux hunt, with "hallows" referring to sacred spaces, which needn't be good... they're sacred spaces to Voldemort, powerful places where the Horcruxes are hidden. That would certainly include the word "deathly."

I need to ask a Brit-pick question: Are "deathly" and "deadly" used as synonyms, or does the first mean "death-like" ("She's deathly ill") and the second, "dangerous" ("It's a deadly poison")? Those could put slightly different spins on what the title means.

It's not the "Hallowed Death," so I don't think we have spoilers about anything in that. That Harry will be dealing directly with death in one form or another is pretty clear from the HBP set-up.

I don't have time for much more (gotta get ready for work, if I'm going to keep the cat in kibbles and litter), but I'll put more thought into it.
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 21st, 2006 04:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
That would make vast amounts of sense. (Sorry, I had a nice long sleep, and am therefore behind the times on checking alternate meanings of the words!)
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rotae From: rotae Date: December 21st, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am just going to copy this from my journal to give you some stuff to think about. LOL. XDD

Hallows = Hallows Eve? Hallowe'en was when James and Lily died...

And Hallows = shrines or relics of saints; the shrines of Heathen Gods in the Oxford English - Founders relics? Deadly for Voldemort?! Deadly for others if not destroyed

My friend *Ellygator over at deviantART explained a lot better than I could ever hope to, so I'm going to quote her:

"Halloween is such an apt reference, as in ancient beliefs on Halloween the barrier between the realms of the living and the dead got so thin a person or ghost could "punch" through and get to the other side. What with the idea of ghosts and the veil and Harry always trying to find a means to get in touch with his parents (and now Sirius and perhaps Dumbledore) I think it's perfect.

It would be the right moment to draw on the strengths of those who have died and to send to death someone as unkillable as Voldemort, so some of the good guys could cross over to help and the bad guys would cross over to die and stay dead... (Now don't get me wrong, I'm not hoping for any real resurrections here, just for the odd helpful manifestation)

On Halloween people used to dress up so vengeful ghosts coming after them will mistake them for someone else, and I believe a lot of people in the last volume will finally show their disguises and reveal themselves either for who they are or as someone else from what we thought them to be, e.g. Draco perhaps with a conscience after all and perhaps even ready to work with Harry, Petunia as more like Lily than we thought, Snape with his true loyalties and motivations"

rotae's post: What with the idea of ghosts and the Veil and Harry always trying to find a means to get in touch with his parents (and now Sirius and perhaps Dumbledore), it's perfect. It would be the right moment to draw on the strengths of those who have died and to send to death someone as unkillable as Voldemort.


rotae's thought: I am going to say one word and you are going to go off - OLLIVANDER.


the_gentleman From: the_gentleman Date: December 21st, 2006 04:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
The 'Hallow' of All Hallow's Eve/All Hallow's Day means 'Holy One' or 'Saints'- the idea of Harry and his army as Deathly Saints suggests the people who believe JKR knows what she's doing about the darker undertones of Harry and Co's behaviour- not deadly, but deathly, as wrapped up in the symbolism of the Death Eaters as Voldemort himself.

It literally means 'to make holy' (hālgian, halwen) in the sense of 'Hallowed be thy Name' which suggests the phoenix imagery of become holy through death- perhaps a hint at redemption for at least one person. Tom Riddle perhaps, finally relinquishing his desperate passion for immortality that makes him inhuman? Or perhaps Pettigrew... or a returned Albus.
matril From: matril Date: December 21st, 2006 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know about the British usage, but I get the feeling that "deathly" instead of "deadly" is a very deliberate choice. To me, deadly pretty much means something that causes death. Deathly is more ambiguous; it's unsettling but not necessarily bad. Very intriguing...
lady_moriel From: lady_moriel Date: December 21st, 2006 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, it's nice to have a more positive point of view on this...I found out from cleolinda, who'd linked to somebody else's post about it (incidentally, attempting to follow the instructions on JKR's site--which I really wanted to do--I couldn't get anywhere; clicking on the door in the mirror didn't do anything in the first place), who linked to a poll on somebody else's site about the new title. Everybody who's responded there pretty much hates it. I can't say I'm in love with it, I guess, but the Halloween angle is an interesting and probably accurate one, anyway. Might possibly be a play on Godric's Hollow, too, since we know Harry's planning to visit.
shimotsuki From: shimotsuki Date: December 21st, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
...my first thought is that it's a bit melodramtic, but it's no big. I think it's just a question of getting used to the sound of it I had the same reaction. But then, I hated the title Half-Blood Prince...until I finished the book. After that, I thought it was a brilliant choice. So I'll trust JKR on this one, for now anyway.
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: December 21st, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I thought it was unnecessarily melodramatic, too.

My sister wasn't able to get to a computer when I called to tell her to check Jo's website, so I played Hangman with her to make her guess the title. Fun! and more interestingly, I noticed that both words "deathly" and "hallows" are 7 letters each! That cannot be a coincidence.

redlily From: redlily Date: December 21st, 2006 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
This makes me want to envision the cover art (American, natch). I have a friend who has long since maintained that given the progression of the color schemes so far, the last book should be done in black and red; if we've got a Halloween connection, that might not be far from wrong.
katiemorris From: katiemorris Date: December 21st, 2006 11:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
did you mean envisage?
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 21st, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
In Irish mythology it’s said that a group of ancient magical people, known as the Tuatha de Danaan, came to Ireland from Greece and drove the old tribes out.  Now, the Tuatha de Danaan were eventually conquered themselves, at which point they became known as the Sidhe or Danaan Sidhe (some of my favorite myths/legends).  They were the original Irish Fairies.  But, in any case,  the Tuatha de Danaan, when they travelled originally to Ireland brought with them four sacred treasures.  

What were they called, you ask?  The Hallows of Ireland, of course.

Hallows are the objects of quests.  Arthurian legends also use this term.  Grail legends, you know?

Anyway, the Tuatha had four and what exactly they were changed over the years slightly, but they are generally agreed to have been a sword, a cauldron, a stone and a spear (or Pole).   Eventually these symbols  became known as the sword, cup, pentacle and wand (or the suits of the tarot deck.)  The actual names of the four treasures are kind of potterish in themselves:

The Pole of Combat
The Sword of Light
The Cauldron of Cure
The Stone of Destiny

-beth-(too lazy to sign into lj)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 21st, 2006 10:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Interesting. And I would be so delighted to see an Arthurianism in there. :)
nomadicwriter From: nomadicwriter Date: December 21st, 2006 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
'Deathly' is definitely not synonymous with 'deadly' in British usage. My dictionary gives: "adj. suggestive of death (deathly silence) adv. in a deathly way (deathly pale)".

'Deathly Hallows' is an odd construction to my ears, so first instinct was to assume it's a proper name. (Which fits the pattern of the titles in previous books: object, place, person, object, society, person.) I was thinking place name first of all, but after the other comments on hallows as quest objects, I definitely think it's an alternate name for the Horcruxes.
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: December 21st, 2006 10:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
First cut response is that it simply refers to either the Horcruxes or the places where they're stored, and is a title with a nice simple guessable meaning like OotP rather than a somewhat unexpected one like HBP. :)

Possibly it's a term for such places -- one thing I just noticed is that when you Google "deathly hallows", you don't currently get any results except news results.)

"Deathly" would be used in a phrase like "deathly silence" (as in "silent as the grave" sort of thing? My dictionary just notes it as meaning "like death" which is pretty standard. Webster's Online defined it as "1. Fatal, or 2. of, relating to, or suggestive of death " which seems about right.
eir_de_scania From: eir_de_scania Date: December 21st, 2006 10:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
My Swedish accent makes me pronounce "deathly" rather like "deffly". Have to practice... Or not, I never *speak* English, I just write it. And I can *spell* "deathly".

*makes sure to spell check before posting*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 21st, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm, let's see. You might practice starting with "deatly," then just slowly slide the tongue up toward the teeth ("th" has the tongue pressed flat against the bottom of the upper teeth) to get to "deathly". Or you could just practice the "th," like an imitation of a snake with a lisp... "Thhhhhhh...." ;p

So, how would you say it in Swedish?
hylarn From: hylarn Date: December 21st, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
All of the titles so far have been things that make since after you've read the book, so I doubt it's a fancy way of saying horcrux, or anything like that.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 21st, 2006 11:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not entirely sure what I think of the title myself, as far as liking it or not. I initially thought it was pretty cheesy, but then that's what I thought of "Half-Blood Prince" once, too.

As far as what it actually *means* - I agree that it probably refers to the objects-of-a-quest and/or the "sacred" concepts (and how much fun would it be to have some Arthurian references thrown in! Doubt it, but).
kisthenightwind From: kisthenightwind Date: December 22nd, 2006 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
My 1st thought of "Hallows" was locations.
Godrics Hollow being one....
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