Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows…Posted: July 24, 2007
Apologies for being a bit of an absentee landlord for the last week (give or take) but stress, work, Potter and an fugue that just does not seem to want to go away has distracted me.
I’m sure most of the (few) regulars/staff here having be expecting this since release day. So here we go.
I finished this book on Sunday morning around 1:30 or so. And I loved it. Of course, being that this is the newest Potter book I have yet to be able to pour over the book by listening/reading it 6 to 10 times… but my reaction after I finished it and still today is one of nearly unabashed love.
From this point on. There will be spoilers. Big ones.
Of course, I am going to be one of those people, in the years and months to come, who will be ‘manning the trenches’ of fandom (so to speak) to defend this book. Endings of sagas tend to divide fans horribly filled with bitter recriminations about “how things should have ended”. If there has been one lesson learned from my life spent as Star Wars fan, down that path lies madness.
Did the events of this book meet my platonic ideal of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? Not entirely. But on the whole everything added up (more or less), Rowling managed to surprise me, and the finale emotionally satisfied me.
I think what love most about this book was the small character moments; when Ginny takes Harry up to her room and we see it for the first time and how its furnishings sum up her character so wonderfully (was I the only one who felt that Ginny was offering to loose her virginity to Harry in that scene?), the amazingfirstly cute kiss between Ron and Hermione, when Harry goes up to Luna’s room and see how much his friendship meant to her, Harry’s “final” thoughts about Ginny, Ron’s return and rescue of Harry, Lupin making Harry his son’s godfather, Ron giving Harry the book about how to charm witches… I could go on but I think my point is made. The small moments, often asides, made up much of the charm of Deathly Hallows for me.
I was surprised as to how much of the plot of this book was fresh to Deathly Hallows itself. Oh sure, much of the novel was (well) built on what came before but it was filled out with tons of new information and concepts. Namely, of course, the Deathly Hallows but also Dumbledore’s tragic backstory.
I really liked Dumbledore’s back-story, which surprised me a great deal. It added layers upon layers to what had seemed before to be a nigh-flawless character. Additionally, I felt the new back-story fit more or less with what we’d know about Dumbledore from before (especially from OotP and HBP).
The books biggest weakness I feel were pacing problems. There were times, I think, when Rowling didn’t quite know how to get from point A to point B without the familiar plot structure of a year at Hogwarts. Yet (and of course) despite Dumbledore being dead and the book lacking the typical structure of the previous 6, Rowling still had a chapter where Dumbledore and Harry sit down and the headmaster explains everything.
I was amazed at the shear power of emotion this book envoked for me. Four scenes, the death of Fred, the reveal of the bodies of Lupin (one of my favorites) and Tonks, and the death of Dobbie, and when Harry sees his parents, Sirius and Lupin again… they all managed to bring me close to tears. There were better emotions evoked too; who could not smile when Ron and Hermione finally make out? How could the epilogue not bring a bit of a smile to your face?
Ah, yes, the epilogue. I get the feeling that those last few pages will prove to be the most argued over in the years to come. I liked the epilouge (how could I not… Harry and Ginny got together, so did Ron and Hermione) but I would not be honest if I didn’t say it was a bit disappointing. I was hoping for more. What happened to Luna? What careers did the trio take up? Etc.
But, in the end, I think the epilogue worked. It think its fundamental point was to show and the end of the conflict with Voldemort Harry was whole. He was able, with Ginny and their children, to have what Voldemort had taken from him… a family. He was able to be the sort of godfather to Ted Lupin that Sirius wasn’t able to be to him. He was healed from the damage that Voldemort had caused him, he was happy, and life moved on to a new generation free of that evil.
Surprise of surprise, it was an honest to fucking god happy ending! Honestly, I was very surprised I expected one of the trio to die.
Was the epilogue everything it could have been or everything I wanted to be? No (again no Luna!)!! But it worked as a coda to the whole book, to the whole series.
If I was forced, today, to pick where I would place this book in the overall ‘Potter experience’ I rank the book second; behind my beloved Order of the Phoenix but before the others. This rating is bound to change as I continue to read and listen over and over again to the Potter books and continue to mull over them the great journey that JK Rowling has taken me on.