Harry Potter: The Meaning of "Hallows"?

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Written on 1:33 PM by Sarthak K

When asked "What does 'Deathly Hallows' mean?" J.K. Rowling responded, "Any clarification of the meaning of 'Hallows' would give away too much of the story - well, it would, wouldn't it? Being the title and all. So I'm afraid I'm not answering.". She also declined to say what her two other shortlisted titles had been, at least until after publication.

Hallow is a word usually used as a verb, meaning "to make holy or sacred, to sanctify or consecrate, to venerate". However, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the word hallows appears as a noun. In modern English, the word is used as a noun in "All Hallows' Day" or "All Saints' Day," which is the day after Halloween or "All Hallows' Eve".

Hallows can refer to saints, the relics of saints, the relics of gods, or shrines in which the relics are kept. Since the essence of these saints or gods were often considered present at their shrines and in their relics, hallows came to refer to the saints or gods themselves, rather than just their relics or shrines. So, the hallow (relic) of a hallow (saint) is hidden in a hallow (shrine). Hallow is not to be confused with hollow, such as in Godric's Hollow.

An example of a story where hallows play a crucial role is in Arthurian legend, where the Fisher King is the guardian of the four hallows, which include the Grail itself, the serving dish, the sword or dagger, and the spear.

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous |

    I normally always liked the US cover over the UK ones in the Harry Potter series. But the 6th book, and now this 7th one - have great covers for the UK editions too! I think the UK cover scores over the US one this time - but both covers give equally vital hints about what happens inside the book. The US cover actually has Voldemort on it!! Dying to get my hands on the 7th Harry Potter!

     

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