“The Hallows” – Not So Hallowed

By Alex

Abstract: The Deathly Hallows: are they really that powerful? What happens when they are all together? The writer makes the argument that they are powerful, but imperfect objects. Each object has flaws, but you can become “master of death”. Some people can become master of death without help from the Hallows, but some cannot. My essay describes the imperfections of the Hallows and what I believe happens when they are all together. I have attached the essay to this e-mail, and also have copied and pasted it below. If you get a chance, please let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy it!

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Despite the fact that the Harry Potter series has come and gone, many mysteries and unanswered questions still remain. I think one of the greatest mysteries surrounds the Deathly Hallows. It is said that if someone is to possess all three, then they will become “master of death”. However, no one has ever had all three at once (Harry came close, but he left the Resurrection Stone in the Forest). So, this leads the reader to wonder what actually does happen if you are to possess all three. Does it really make you immortal? And, truly how powerful are these three objects? I firmly believe that all of them have weakness, and only someone with a mind like Dumbledore, or Harry for that matter, would be able to understand what happens when all three are together, and what “mastering death” really means.

First of all, all three Hallows have their weaknesses. The main one being that they were not fashioned by Death, himself. I agree with Dumbledore when he says, on page 714 of Deathly Hallows, that most likely the Peverell’s were very gifted wizards and created the objects themselves. This shows the true weakness of the Hallows because they were created by humans. Humans, in nature, are imperfect. There is not one human on the planet, or one object a human created, that is perfect. Everything and everyone has some imperfection, and the Hallows are no exception.

However, there are individual weaknesses that each one of the Hallows possesses. The most obvious flaw lies with the Resurrection Stone. Clearly, this is not perfect because it does not truly bring someone back from the dead. What it does is create a ghostly image of the person that is not of this world. Whatever state of life this being is in, it knows that it does not belong in our world and it cannot stay. Those who seek this Hallow for the purpose of bringing a loved one back from the grave will most likely be driven to madness like the second brother in the tale.

The Elder Wand also possesses a clear flaw, which is that it can be, and has many times been, beaten. Throughout wizarding history, an “unbeatable wand” has been said to have been owned by many men, all of whom proceeded to be either killed or beaten in a duel by someone else. More recently, Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald and the Elder Wand. So what does it mean when you say that an “unbeatable” wand can be beaten? It means that this wand is extraordinarily powerful, but not invincible. I believe that the Elder Wand is the ultimate example of a wand choosing the wizard. All throughout history, the Elder Wand chose its master. It always knew who should be its master at that point in time. I think the wand itself is more good than evil, even though it can be used for both means. When you look at Grindelwald, it is clear that he was the true master of the Elder Wand for the time that he owned it. He was supposed to create havoc and raise a dark army. But, the wand eventually knew that he had to be stopped because he was getting too strong. Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald because he was a more talented wizard, but it was also because the Elder Wand knew that, at that moment, Dumbledore was its true master. Once again, the wand chooses the wizard, and the wand is always right.

Last, but not least, the weaknesses of the Invisibility Cloak need to be addressed. It is mentioned throughout the series that invisibility cloaks, although rare, exist. However, unlike Harry’s, they tear or fade after a while. Harry’s cloak is always described as perfect and never fading. Once it is revealed to be the last Hallow, it makes sense because of how it has withstood the test of time. However, it does have its weaknesses because of the fact that numerous people can see through it. In Goblet of Fire, Moody is able to see Harry under his cloak using his magic eye. On page 264 of Chamber of Secrets, it is hinted that Dumbledore can see through it with just his naked eye. Even more interesting is the fact that it is also hinted throughout the series (particularly on page 274 of Sorcerer’s Stone) that Filtch’s cat, Mrs. Norris, can see through it. While it is never known if Mrs. Norris, or other animals, can see through the cloak, it seems very likely that she can. So, once again, it is proven that another Hallow, while extremely powerful, does have distinct flaws.

What does it mean to be “master of death”? What happens when all three Hallows are together? Despite my wish that something spectacular would happen, my theory is very anticlimactic. I believe nothing happens. I believe that the person holding the objects will see nothing happening, let out a cry of disgust, drop to their knees, and realize that even these three very powerful objects cannot stop death. Once this realization happens, acceptance follows, and only after accepting death, can you ever truly master it. That is the point of the Deathly Hallows. It is a spiritual journey of someone who is afraid of death becoming someone who has accepted it. Only those who do not fear death and know that there is nothing they can do to stop it, can ever call themselves “Masters of Death”. These are the people who, like the third brother in the tale, will one day greet Death as an old friend and go with him gladly, as equals, into the next life.