Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I finished at 7:30 this morning. My husband was brilliant enough to let me sleep (while he read the book, of course) until 2:30 this afternoon.

All I have to say is: Whoa. Anyone wishing to discuss the book, you may feel free to do so in comments. Be warned: if you have not yet finished the book, you may encounter plot points that you do not wish revealed.


KLee said...

I was very anxious in the lead up to this book. How would it all work out? She wouldn't kill Harry off, would she? I'm very pleased with this book, much more than my reaction to the completion of book six.

I was not expecting to see Fred die, and was holding onto hope that there was some way that he could be brought back.

What about you all?

Emma said...

I think it was my third favourite. Dobby's death hit me hard though.

Would you be interested in a link swap?

KLee said...

Emma: Welcome, and yeah, Dobby's death really surprised me as well. I really hadn't expected him to die, but am not surprised that he died helping Harry. I *am* surprised at Kreacher's conversion to the good side. I would have thought that his ingrained sense of blood superiority would have kept him permanently aloof.

And, sure -- a link swap is fine.

Karyn said...

Okay. I. Loved. This book.

However, my greatest fear (apart from having a whole great big buncha loose ends left hanging around at the conclusion of the thing) was that one of my beloved Weasley Twins would fall. Devastating.

My one steadfast prediction leading up to the conclusion was that Grindelwald would come back into play since we haven't really heard about him since book one.I reckoned the fact that his distinctive sounding name coupled with his defeat in 1945 (hello) smacked of allegory. This theory panned out hugely in HP:ATDH which was gratifying.

As to Snape, I was surprised his final character revelation was left to so far towards the end.

Kreacher's defection to the side of the good guys was a shocker; never saw that coming.

I could never decide whether or not Harry was going to bite the bullet; I love how she handled it. At one point I did wonder whether he would travel to the other side, but I dismissed it as "too out there" for a pretty mainstream set. Shame on me!

Also, Dumbledore... it's good to see he wasn't such a flat character after all, but I did reckon Harry would've heard from him a bit more throughout this final adventure.

I'll stop now. But holy crap, this was a terrific ending to a phenomenal series.

KLee said...

K: You know, I rather enjoyed the book as well, but we seem to be in the minority. Most people that I've talked about it with hated it.

One of the things that I've agreed with was that there was too much wandering in the woods, and too heavy a use of the Pensieve. I wish that in some of that wandering, Harry could have discovered some of that Pensieve backstory on his own. Like the bit with Petunia, Lily, and Snape. Couldn't he have found some of Lily's letters from school, written to Petunia? That would have given us more insight into why Petunia was so rigid, rather than the flat, emotionless delivery that the Pensieve offers.

I also wish we'd seen more of Hogwarts. I would have loved to have seen some of the sedition that the former DADA members were spreading.

Fred's death was a shocker to me, and I was surprised there was so little mention of it. Compared with the pages and pages we get for Dobby's death -- there's nothing, relatively. I know it happened at the height of battle, but come on! Fred deserved more. And, I won't even get into the deaths of Lupin and Tonks.

I did like that Harry was able to see that Dumbledore, like his father, wasn't the saintly image that he'd always regarded him as. That Dumbledore, as great as he was, was subject to the foibles that the rest of us are: greed, envy, ambition.

I ***loved*** that Mrs. Weasley got into the fight, and was a tigress on Ginny's behalf. I was always waiting for her to do more than cook, or pester Bill about his hair.

I was very happy with the fact that Ron was struggling so with his envy for Harry -- as the sixth of seven children, I had always imagined that he'd felt less than stellar, and with his association merely as "Harry Potter's best friend" that he would have a hard time dealing with the privation of being on the run. I'm more relived than I can tell you that he didn't stay gone, and was there to help Harry, even though he had to go through the agony of self-doubt with the locket.

As for the epilogue, I would have loved to have known whether Harry ever became an Auror or not. Even with the defeat of Voldemort, there will *always* be someone who wants to master the forces of darkness, so I'm sure that there would still be a need for Aurors. What about everyone else? We find out that they marry and have kids, but what about the REST of their lives? Does Hermione ever put her brain to use? Who is Minister of Magic? Who is Headmaster of Hogwarts?

And the one thing that I ALWAYS wondered, but to my knowledge was never discussed: are there wizards and witches in America? What is their school of Wizardry? I know it was a British series, but you'd think that we'd get at least a *mention* somewhere in seven books. We heard about other schools in Europe -- why not America? I would have loved to have heard about magic here.

Anyway - it seems like I've done a lot of complaining, but it's all minor, really. I enjoyed the book, and thought it was a good way to end what is supposed to be a platform for young adult literature. I think we adults read way too much into things, and some of our suppositions would have been more crucial to plot devices had they been books aimed at an adult market. Kids aren't nearly as picky about the details as adults are.

ccw said...

I guess I'm one of those who just wasn't thrilled. I was really into this book until the last chunk.

I didn't like the final chapter at all. Just leaving it at the big climax would have been enough for me. It just seemed too little and too tidy after all that had transpired over the 7 year journey.

I also wish that all the info about Snape could have come from more than just the Pensieve.

I know I have much more to say but really I need to digest for a bit because I am torn over this book.

Quinn said...

While I wouldn't have done it exactly the same, I have to admit she had my blood running cold through 750 pages. On the whole, I liked it. Neville was fantastic. Definitely would have wanted to see more of the Resistance at Hogwarts... the setting seemed to trap JKR into abandoning several characters that I desperately wanted to know about.

That said, McGonigel kicks ass.

Jeanne said...

KLee - about the American school(s). She covers that briefly in book 4. I'm currently rereading the books (after plowing through book 7 and loving it!). At the World Cup they are going to get water at the campsite and they pass a "group of middle-aged American witches...gossiping happily beneath a spangled banner stretched between their tents that read: THE SALEM WITCHES' INSTITUTE." LOL Gotta love the historical reference on that one!!!

I have so much I could say but one other thing I wanted to speak to was the thought you had of Harry perhaps finding letters written by Lily to Petunia as a way of learning more about Petunia. I really think that JKR really made it clear that Petunia was soooo pissed off about not getting to go to Hogwarts - remember the scene at the train station where she first calls her sister a FREAK? - that I don't think she and Lily continued at that point to have much in the way of a relationship. So, letters from Lily would not have been welcomed...and I think it would have been out of character to expect Petunia to keep the letters. She feared any association with the wizarding world. Also being "in the woods" is a HUGE thematic element in many fairy tales, so it does seem fitting in some respects.

I, too, think Fred got shafted with how little she dealt with his death (and let's not even go into Lupin and Tonks). And I wanted more in the Epilogue about the characters in that chapter (what do they do for a living) AND about more of the characters (what happened to Luna?).

I could go on and on.............

Oh, and I'm still a bit lost on why the wand chose Draco! I hate DRACO! Why, oh why? I need to go finish books 5 and 6 for some enlightenment...I hope!

KLee said...

Jeanne -- You're right about the American witches at the World Cup. I had forgotten that part, and my husband reminded me of it last night. My complaint was mainly that we didn't get to see enough of the Wizarding world -- though we hear an awful lot about Europe comparatively. And it's not a huge complaint; I just would have liked to know more. You know?

Your take on the Petunia/Lily situation has merit -- I do agree that your feeling that Petunia felt so left out and angry over the fact that she was willing to even deny the existence of magic would fit directly into Petunia's character. My "suggestion" of how we could have seen some more of the backstory that Harry discovers in the Pensieve was a wild stab in the dark -- I was just trying to illustrate a way (ANY way) that we could have seen Harry discover some of that on his own. Without the help of the Pensieve. I agree that the "being in the woods" element was necessary, but it was clear that JKR wanted Harry to take this journey not only as an actual search for these items, but also as a way to learn some inherent truths about himself, and make the journey one about self-discovery as well. I wish that in her pages and pages of the "lost in the woods" motif, we could have seen more scenes where Harry picks up some of the pieces of the puzzle on his own. For instance -- overhearing the conversation with Ted Tonks and Dean Thomas. Harry picked up information that way, so why couldn't he have gotten more pieces to the puzzle in a manner such as this.

My point was that, instead of relying so heavily on the Pensieve, I wished that there had been a way that we could have seen some of that resolved by personal interaction. As Harry discovers on this journey, he doesn't like *everything* he discovers, but he has a chance to discover it for himself, instead of always being given the answer; having it dropped in his lap.

I totally agree with the statement about the Epilogue -- if she could tell us about their children, isn't there time to say what their livelihoods are? I mean, Harry has to have some sort of job to support a wife and three or four kids, right? Even though he has a large account at Gringotts, I would still think he'd want to be busy doing something.

Marni said...

I, too, said "HUH" when it was revealed that the wand was Draco's. I don't remember how that came to be!

Loved the book, but I wanted more Hogwarts, too. I have grown to feel the school is a home and is where Harry really needed to be -- not running around the woods for months.

JK could have given us more insite to the fates of the other characters. If she had done that, though, the book probably would have stretched on for another 200 pages! (OK by me!)

As for Dobby. That broke. my. heart. I loved that little guy and he loved Harry soooo much. What a sweet, gently soul. But he died defending his beloved Harry... fitting way for him to go.

I don't want to talk about Tonks and Lupin. Who was taking care of the baby? I don't recall it saying where the kid grew up -- only that he came to Harry's house for dinner a couple of nights a week. He is the godfather... shouldn't he be living with Harry?

That's all I got for now.

Karyn said...

I wish Fred had more ballyhooing over his death... but the scene where George is at his head, Molly is covering his chest, and he is surrounded by his family - was so poignant to me - I felt it strongly enough that I decided it would suffice. (Like JK would have changed her mind if I thought differently. Ha.)

Dr J said...

Like most of you, I’ve read the “Hallow’s” as well. Our interests seem to be similarly intense, even if they have taken a somewhat different path - see how I’ve been spening MY time: SCARPnotes

Many years ago I was asked so often about my opinion of JKRs books for my patients - I decided that I had better read at least one so that I could actually HAVE an opinion. The rest, as they say, is history. I struggled with writing my latest review - from a pediatric literature perspective - Pediatric House Calls: "Hallows" . On this, our seventh adventure together, the “read” was an interesting, if not difficult and exausting journey.

Thanks for your efforts.

Gord said...

THe Nineteen Years LAter wawas too long and quite unnecessary. YEah the moving from camp to camp was a little long and things took a little long to develop in places.

I kneww Neville would have a part to play.

Now then, the story was that 2 main characters would die. Who counts as a main character? MOre to the point who doesn't?

Anonymous said...

I'm curious how all of this is going to end up on film? It seems to me to be an impossible task to put a coherent screenplay together, given all the disparate elements and the book's pacing problems (interrupting the Big Battle Scenes for, not one, but two, long expositional sequences?

Plus, I'm trying to imagine the incentive for Gary Oldman to come back as Sirius for just a couple of spoken lines (although that was one of the more moving sequences for me.) Yes, I cried when Harry's parents, Sirius, and Lupin walked with Harry to face death. I'm a sap like that.

La Binsk