Quick Deathly Hallows Thoughts

August 6, 2007

Okay, I’m not going to totally recap the book.  I’ve read it once, and plan on listening to the audio book (which we own cause I can’t say no to Suzanne… *sigh*).

As of now, I enjoyed it but was severely disappointed with much of it:

(there are minor spoilers, but I’m not doing a ‘big reveal’ or anything)

– Not having an actual confrontation between Harry and Snape was a complete cop-out.  This should have been written where Harry forgives Snape or realizes while Snape is alive that he was helping him all along.  Something.  The use of the Pensieve was what I was expecting tho.

– 3 months of Harry, Ron and Hermione hanging out in a tent, planning, wondering, running, hiding? This felt like the wheels were just spinning in this book, as if Rowling had to make sure the final battle was in the spring. Very weak.

– The aimlessness of the journey was kindof a let down. I mean Ron and Hermione mention in the book that they expected Harry to know more, so I guess that makes the author aware of the problem, but didn’t make it a great read.

– The temptation of Ron by the Horcrux was well done, and was the moment in which the book turned for the better.  Ron’s return, another mystery of the Silver White Doe Patronus. It took too long to get there, but once I read this chapter and the one that followed, things got much better.

– I turned to my wife who had just fallen asleep and said, on Page 650 (I think that’s what I said) Ron and Hermione finally kiss. I still think that it should have been earlier in the book and maybe the series, but the moment was WONDERFUL.  Best moment in the book and top 10 in the whole series. 

– The Truth of why “love” is the greatest weapon, and how “love” is something that Voldemort doesn’t understand, showed itself well. The two themes of the series are “love is a greater power than anything” and “it is our choices that define us.” Decent enough theme, and decent enough display of it, in terms of Snape.

– Killing Remus and Nymphadora was purely a ‘raising the body count’ action (and to a lesser degree Fred Weasley, tho that makes sense that someone from the list of ‘students’ that we know and care about dies). I mean now all of the ‘adult’ members of the Order of the Phoenix that we know are dead except for Mr & Mrs Weasley,  and Hagrid (and Shaklebolt kindof).

– I kindof predicted that Neville would kindof shackup with Luna, but that didn’t seem to happen. But that Neville took charge in Book 7 was really nice. Two ways of looking at it: That hanging around Harry and the gang helped Neville become a confident wizard; OR! That if Harry hadn’t gone to Hogwarts that Neville would have been the ‘Harry Potter’ of the school (without the prophecy part). I mean one who could lead people and make things happen.

– Introducing the Deathly Hallows in the last book, when we already had enough to fill the pages of the book, seemed kindof pointless. I know it made sense to the author, and probably made it more interesting to write, rather than to just tie up loose ends, but seemed superfluous.

– Waaaaaaaaay too much Deus Ex Machina.  Wow, they happen to Aparate to the forest where the sword is hidden. Wow, they happen to overhear a goblin say the sword in Gringots is fake. Wow, Goyle casts Fiendfyre which happens to be a spell that can destroy Horcruxes.   

– Expelliarmus versus Avada Kedavra? Really?  That’s all it’s going to take?

– Overall, it felt rushed. Like she just wanted to be done with it. While as a writer (even if only a technical writer) I appreciate just ‘getting it done’, but as a reader it disappoints me

That’s all for now.  Some good, some bad.  Currently my least favorite book of the series, and not worth the wait.  But maybe just a victim of its own success (6 out of 10)


The Dilemna of the Deathly Hallows

July 18, 2007

The arrival of the latest Harry Potter book on Friday causes a real issue here.  How to read the book.  Should I devour it, or should I savor it?

Anyone who has read a highly anticipated book understands this issue.  However, when you are dealing with a limited series, it is even greater, especially when you come to the end of that series.

I mean it’s the last book.  The last time that you will hang out with these characters.  The last time you will have any insights into their personality. 

However, the Harry Potter series has an even bigger wrinkle…  And that is spoilage. I mean think of the biggest ‘highly anticipated’ novel other than Harry Potter that has recurring characters.  The best example I can think of is when the book Hannibal, the sequel to Silence of the Lambs was released.  I mean some spoilers did take place with this book… but they really took place when the movie came out and there were to be differences.

The difference is that millions of people will be reading this book in the next few weeks, and even more significant, millions of parents and news outlets will be reading the book. 

So, there’s the true spoilage of the book, and this can be avoided with some care, but fairly easily… These are things like:

  • Is Snape good or evil?
  • Does Dumbledore help Harry from beyond the grave?
  • Who is R.A.B.?
  • What are the Deathly Hallows?
  • Who wins the final battle/war?
  • Does Hogwarts reopen at the beginning of the book?  At the end of the book?

But then there’s the front page spoilage of the book.  These things are few and far between, but include:

  • Harry dies at the end of the book.
  • Hermione dies at the end of the book.
  • Ron dies at the end of the book.
  • Snape dies at the end of the book.
  • Hagrid/Neville/Ginny/Lupin/Tonks/Luna/McGonagall/Draco dies at the end of the book.
  • Who kills Voldemort.

The things that can be dropped as a joke in a comedian’s monologue.  The details that can be referenced in articles.  I mean can’t you see it in one of the newspapers:

“Last night the New York Yankees lost their fifth game in a row, leaving them 20 games behind the Boston Red Sox.  Like Harry Potter, the 2007 season is dead”

or…

“Another one of Senator McCain’s advisor’s has resigned, I haven’t seen death and destruction like this since I read the latest Harry Potter book”

You get the idea. 

Although, I don’t imagine we’ll see “Harry Lives” spraypainted on the New York City Subway or on the bumper stickers of VW Bugs.


Finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

August 9, 2005

I was going to post this in the normal journal, but… in case there’s anyone who might be reading it who might be reading the Harry Potter series, I’ll refrain from putting it in the main journal.

I’m not sure this is for anyone but myself anyway.

Anyway… I finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Basic Plot: Dumbledore tries to teach Harry about the history of Lord Voldemort, while Harry attends school.

I mean, that’s the plot. Think about that for a moment. Yes, there’s a plot line with the Half-Blood Prince, but it really could have been left out of the story. Yes, there’s a romance love triangle thingy. Yes, there’s a Quiditch issue. But that’s the plot.

Dumbledore tries to teach Harry about what he knows about Lord Voldemort, before (and I do believe that Dumbledore knows it’s coming) his untimely demise.

Okay, for comparison’s sake, let’s boil down the plot of Goblet of Fire:

Following the events of the Quiditch World Cup, the Wizarding Tournament is being held at Hogwarts with the three major wizarding schools submitting their champions. Someone has found a way to put Harry Potter’s name into the competition, while danger lurks all about.

My basic feeling, and I think to a degree this is proven by the direction hinted at by the end of the 6th book is that J.K. Rowling is sick of writing about school. It interferes with the story she wants to write about which is Harry Potter versus Lord Voldemort. However, she put the books up to the British school system, which is a seven year program. So, she kindof had to go through with it.

Other thoughts.

I really think that Rowling is disappointed that these books are depicted as ‘children’s books’…. because there is definate real SEXUAL tension in these books. I mean sexually, these characters act like they are 12 and 13, rather than 16 and 17. The characters are so enfatuated with kissing and snogging. Like that’s the end. Like that’s the bees knees for 17 year olds?

However, she gets much kudos for leaving the word snogging in the book, knowing that much much MUCH more Americans (in sheer numbers, not in percentages) read the books than Brits. And snog really isn’t in our vocabulary. I’m decently read and I love British slang… But if I hadn’t read High Fidelity or watched Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I’m not sure I would know the word ‘snog’ means. And will have millions of people looking up in the dictionary or wherever to find out what snog means. Plus, the difference between kissing and snogging is similar to the difference between naked and nekkid.

Kissing is the act of pressing lips together between two people.

Snogging are at the least much deeper, open mouthed kisses. They are not the kisses of 12 year olds on a date for the first time. There is something sexual about snogging.

Next thought. I liked the new professor. First off, it is nice to see someone from Slytherin who isn’t evil, just is ambitious. There should be more of this in her books. And he was decently fun.

Let’s move on to Snape. If there is one thing I hate in works of fiction, it’s to have a character who seems to be the red herring villain, actually turn out to be the villain.

Snape hated Harry for what his father did to him, and he decided to take it out on Harry. That’s fine. He was supposed to hate Harry, but actually be loyal to Dumbledore. But this, he pretended to be redeemed just so he could kill Dumbledore for Voldemort is stupid. All of Snape’s actions prior to this book that had nothing to do with Harry, always were on the side of good and not evil. To suddenly turn him, reveal him to be the villain all along, means that the young boy Harry was more perceptive, more intelligent than Dumbledore.

I have no problem believing that Harry will be stronger than Dumbledore. But a better judge of character at 12 than a wizened old wizard. Yes, there still is a chance to redeem Snape. There could be another purpose. But, this made little sense. She was rewriting things to make Snape the villain. And I just cannot believe that it would be Snape who would kill Dumbledore. Doesn’t fit.

Snape being the Half-Blood Prince… That was fine. No problems there. I find it hard to believe that he would let one of his old books remain in the classroom, but still, that revelation was no big deal.

Obviously, Dumbledore was sacrificing himself for Harry. And there is a new ally for Harry, the one who put the false WhasisCrux in the cave. But to not have Dumbledore as an ally in the final book where the fight with Voldemort is supposed to take place, makes little sense.

Predicitons for the final book:

* Snape redeems himself in some small way.

* Draco turns away from Voldemort.

* Dumbledore provides help to Harry, if only in a Obi Wan Kenobi role.

* Ron and Hermione fall DEEPLY in love.

* Harry becomes a teacher at Hogwarts.

A satisfying book. I just like the idea of Hogwarts the School, and not just Harry’s quest to defeat Voldemort. The universe she created is loads of fun, and by concentrating only on the Harry plot, it diminishes it a bit.

Same issue with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the series dropped a bit when she stopped being normal, and only was a Vampire Slayer.

Anyway, that’s it from me.

Cheers,