Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mr Potter, I presume?

It's been over a year now, so maybe I should *finally* get around to reviewing

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

Because I'm sure I have something new to add to the discussion. However, I can't review this without some spoilers. I just can't, and it's my blog, so I don't have to. SUCKERS. Normally, I put my spoil-y bits on my spoiler blog but that is not the case today. You have been warned: see--

After reading it, I posted my initial thoughts here. And they still stay the same.

It was interesting, after reading Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince, I immediately picked up Sorcerer's Stone and worked my way back through the series, ending by rereading the most recent one. That was my plan for Book 7, but when I put it down shortly after dawn that Saturday morning, I was shattered. And I never reread this final book. Last week, I checked out the audio and last night I finished listening to it, but it's taken me this long before I could revisit it. I don't know why. There's something about Harry, and about this series, that grabbed me, and many readers, in a way other books haven't, and let's face it, I'm a total book dork, so I think it messed with my brain.

I'm still unsure of what to say about this book. I'm still struck by how funny it is. Even when I was crying, I was laughing. Always the tone of surprise...

Luckily, the Weekly Geeks provided many questions for me to answer about the book, so I don't have to craft my own review. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Alessandra asks: How did you like it? Was it very far from what you expected? And what did you think about the epilogue?

1. I loved it.
2. Yes and no.

Some things were exactly what I expected--Ron and Hermione would finally hook up, characters I loved would die, they would find all the Horcruxes, Harry himself was a Horcrux (even though I really, really, really wanted to be wrong on that one), Percy would come back, Snape really was good, RAB was Regulus, Voldemort would be defeated.

Some things weren't--the humor, I was surprised at some of the people she killed off (I mean really, HEDWIG?!), the whole Hallows thing, all the camping camping camping...

3. The Epilogue was... interesting. That really wasn't what I was expecting, I mean, there wasn't anything in it that surprised me, but I was thinking more of an Animal House type thing where it was be something along the lines of:

Harry Potter married Ginny and they had 3 kids with overly predictable and boring names. He became an auror and never returned to finish his last year of school.

Neville Longbottom became Professor of Herbology and married Hannah Abbot.

Luna Lovegood disappeared into the jungle and proved the existence of everything Hermione said wasn't real.

Draco Malfoy suffers from male pattern baldness.

I did want more information-- what jobs people had, what about everyone who didn't have kids, etc.

Jackie M asks: What were your thoughts on the revelations Snape revealed to Harry right before the last battle? What did you think of the "Deathly Hallows"?

I always knew Snape was good. (Seriously, before the book came out, I wore my Trust Snape shirt all the time.) I liked the revelations-- I mean, the After all this time? Always. Totally got me. Also, I think they explained things well as to his actions and motivations.

Now, I long suspected, but hoped against hope that Harry was a horcrux. As it became obvious during that part that he was, I just kept going "no! no! no!" I couldn't believe it! Luckily, it all worked out in the end.

The whole Deathly Hallows thing? I have to say, kinda lame. I'm not entirely sure they were necessary. But I do like when Harry finally makes that decision between Hallows and Horcruxes and turns his back on the hallows, which is something I didn't really grasp when I read it, but struck me more on the listen.

Bart's Bookshelf asks: How did the various character deaths affect your reading of the book?

I think only 1 death affected my reading, and that was Hedwig's. Don't get me wrong, everyone else affected me but Hedwig was the only that changed my reading. For those who aren't into Potter, Hedwig was Harry's owl, since the beginning, and she was mad at Harry for being cooped up in her cage and then caught a killing curse meant for him. All this happened within the first 15 minutes of my reading.

The quick death of such a long-standing, yet admittedly minor character, but one loved by Harry, set the tone for the rest of the book. I knew at that moment that this was going to be nothing short of a blood bath. I hadn't recovered yet when we found out that MadEye was gone. Due to the overwhelming emotions this brought out in me, I didn't cry much for the body count racked up "off screen." Where I felt sad for MadEye, Lupin, Tonks, etc, I didn't really cry for them. Colin, however got me. He was tiny even in death... man.

My one main unresolved question from the series though, my one burning question I never see addressed, is a character death question, and here it is:


Last we saw, she was chucked off a balcony into the foyer and is "twitching feebly". Greyback goes to eat her, but Hermione curses him away and then Trelawney chucks crystal balls at his head. Then the whole place is overrun by giant, man-eating spiders and we never see, nor hear anything about Lavender again. WAS SHE EATEN BY GIANT SPIDERS?

Because really, for Ron's ex-girlfriend to be eaten by spiders?

Bookchronicle asks: I am a long time Harry Potter disliker though I am attempting to amend that. Why do you find the series and particularly the final book appealing? W1.as it what you expected? Are you disappointed that it's the end of the Potter world?

If you don't like Potter, you don't like Potter. And you know what? THAT'S OK. I am a total fan girl geek, but if you have the boy wizard a fair shot and it wasn't your thing, THAT'S OK. Now, if you never even tried it, but are anti-Potter, I have no time for you, but if you tried it and don't like it? THAT'S OK. Not every book is for every reader, Potter included.

Now, the questions:

1. I don't know. I read the first book in one sitting. My boss told me to read it and loaned me her copy (this is back when I was working ILL for my college library, way before I became a children's librarian). I sat down to read a bit of it. Eventually, I had to go to the bathroom, but wanted to finish my chapter but then, I couldn't leave it there! I had to keep reading. I'm surprised my bladder didn't explode, because I held it for half the book. It's not the best writing, but the story is good, and Rowling makes you care about the characters, maybe not all of them, but some of them.

Anyway, I've read lots of articles on the appeal of Potter-- partly the Cinderella escapism, the blending of a school story with an apprenticeship story. It's oddly funny. I also think the characters had a lot to do with it, and not necessarily the main characters, but there is a whole slew of really great secondary characters. My favorites are Ginny and McGonagall. We don't see a lot of them, but when we do (especially Ginny in the later books when she gets a personality) there's something really there. Or the twins are fantastic. The scene where they drop out of school is priceless.

When follow dorks and I would play that "who's going to die" guessing game, my strongest feelings were for the minor characters.

3. I wouldn't say disappointed, she ended a story arc that was 7 books long. While I would welcome more, I'm not expecting it. I am however, sad. Just as sad as I was when I finished Narnia in 6th grade. Luckily, I'm a librarian, so I had other things to read to keep me going. And we still have movies to look forward to and the whole Potter-mania thing that won't die for quite some time yet.

And that's it for Harry. Let me know if you have more questions though-- I love to talk Potter.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Great analysis, Jennie! As a fellow fan, I agree with almost everything you wrote. (Love the male patterned balding too!)