Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hallows, anyone?

I’m definitely on the outside looking in on this one, but inquiring minds want to know: What is (or are) “hallows.”

Never mind “Deathly Hallows.” (Shouldn’t it – they? – be “Deadly”?)

Obviously I ask because “hallows” is a word much in the minds of a few million readers of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

I’m not a reader of Harry largely because I’m a non-fiction, non-fantasy sort of guy. Moreover, I read slowly, have a lot to do and my demographic is all wrong.

Typewriters, jazz, Quakerism, farmers markets … and Hallows?

Not even close, especially since I can’t find a logical contextual meaning for the word.

In the dictionary what I get isn’t a noun, but a verb.


transitive verb — hal·lowed, hal·low·ing, hal·lows

1. To make or set apart as holy.
2. To respect or honor greatly; revere.

Now certainly one of Harry’s hordes, who by now have read the book, can explain what this is all about.

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Blogger Eamon said...

You're forgetting the roots of "Halloween" Rick. Also known as All Hallows Eve, it's the day before All Saint's Day or Hallowmas. Hallows in this case refer to saints. Relics of saints are also referred to as hallows. Saints' relics in early Christianity (and the earlier pagan rites for their sacred beings) were considered to contain the essence of the saints and thus be "holy" or "hallowed".

8:16 AM  
Blogger Rick Seifert said...

Excellent, Eamon. Could you give us a quote from the book?

It looks as though I need to invest in a better dictionary.


4:08 PM  

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