Saturday, July 28, 2007

Deathly Hallows

Amazingly, I managed to secure a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from the Arlington Public Library. I was 69th in the queue when I put my name on the waiting list in February but they ordered enough copies so that I got mine on the first day it was available. I love the public library! I read the book in a rush last weekend and have been going through it more slowly a second time.

Adding to the pile of commentary available on the internet, my random thoughts on the book are after the link below. Beware, SPOILERS ahead!

  • Overall, I thought the Deathly Hallows was an exciting and satisfying finish to the story and an excellent conclusion to the themes and ideas introduced in the first six books. Was it the best of the 7? Eh. I still lean towards Book 3, the first of the grown-up storylines, and Book 5, which I loved the second time after mildly disliking it at first. However, most of my complaints are pretty minor.
  • The middle chapters where Harry, Hermione and Ron are on the run from the Death Eaters were hard to read, but very effective. Rowling really makes you feel their fear and hopelessness. They have no idea what they're doing, Harry won't accept help from Lupin or anyone else, his faith in Dumbledore is severely tested, they bicker amongst themselves because they're stressed out of their minds, and then Ron walks out and they're ambushed by Voldemort. Holy crap, this just might be too scary for younger readers (like me). And then when they bottom out Rowling uncorks that beautiful scene with the silver doe, and Ron returns and you're like, ahhhh, I think it's going to be OK. Nicely done.
  • Snape's death. I loved that sinister Severus Snape turned out to be a heroic spy for the Order motivated by an unrequited love for Harry's mom - indeed, I would have been annoyed if he hadn't. As one character put it: the world isn't divided into nice people and Death Eaters. But, I was a little miffed that he didn't have a larger role in 7 and was offed so perfunctorily by Voldemort. I was hoping his backstory would have been integrated into the plot a little better (like, saving Harry and dying tragically or something), rather than being told in flashback.
  • The entire ending of the book felt a little rushed, like Rowling realized she had dozens of loose ends to tie together and only 200 pages left to do it. At times there was a little too much tell, not enough show. Like when Harry and Dumbledore have their question-and-answer session after Harry gets avada kedavra'd. I mean, it was nice to have Dumbledore's presence back for one last reassuring conversation and the scene works certainly works dramatically, but it still seemed a little ad hoc.
  • I wasn't a fan of the whole complicated Elder Wand genealogy that gave Harry his big advantage over Voldemort; in fact the three Deathly Hallows themselves seemed almost like red herrings for all they mattered in the end. But I did enjoy the exciting mano-a-mano showdown. Talk about closure.
  • Two things that kicked ass: house elves and Mrs. Weasley. It seems like they could have made better use of the house elves throughout.
  • The epilogue was a little lame, I thought. I mean, I was happy to see Harry and Ginny's and Ron and Hermione's families, but it was a little clunky and all the interesting questions were left unanswered (although Rowling does give a little more information in this interview and she is reportedly writing an encyclopedia of Hogwarts, or something, for those of us wanting more details).

So. Did anyone else like it?

1 comment:

LeahC said...

nice wrap up of the book. I really liked book seven, thought it was exciting.

I didn't have a problem with the epilogue. I think that people wanted to know more about what was happening with the adults, and what jobs they had an so on....but the books were never about the adults and what you do when you grow up. It was about Hogwarts and the kids that go there, and I like that she tied into that with the next generation.

Loved the snape line, although there probably could have been more about him. I always knew he was good!