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35) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling

Well, it was a fiver from the local ASDA; so although I tried to think of something else, I bought it and read it.

I liked it more than I expected to. I thought that, with the exception of the very last expository section of What Snape Was Really Up To, Rowling kept up the narrative pace very well. With the first significant death so early in the book (never mind Mad-Eye Moody, I am referring to poor Hedwig), it becomes clear that we are playing for keeps, and that the body count is going to soar; as indeed it does. If you have managed to avoid the spoilers, there is a real suspense about who is going to live and who will die. We know this is the last book; how final will the ending be?

While this is not Great Literature, it would be churlish not to acknowledge that the characters have matured and deepened as the books have gone on. The Harry/Ron/Hermione dynamic is particularly attractive; but we also have a fair amount of parenting going on - the Weasleys, the Malfoys, Lupin and Tonks - of course, much less of this book was set in Hogwarts than the previous volumes, so there is more scope for it.

aramuin claims that many of the plot elements had been done before and better in fanfiction. Perhaps I should read more fanfiction. This will, of coutrse, remain the canonical version.
< Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone | Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire | Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix | Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince | Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows | The Tales of Beedle the Bard >

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
secritcrush
Jul. 22nd, 2007 11:23 am (UTC)
I really thought that Snape recapitulation could have been done in about a page. I could have also done without the chater in Kings Cross where everything gets laid out for us.
smellingbottle
Jul. 22nd, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
Although I've always thought the strength of the series was the combination of Potions homework humdrum schoolishness and danger -- so I've deplored the increasing lack of Potions homework as the series has continued -- I thought it was a perfectly appropriate finale. Unlike, it seems, the on-line HP fan community, which is screaming in mass outrage and feeling betrayed and sickened and beating its ineffectual little fists on the chest of anyone who'll stay still long enough. I'm not quite sure why - the deaths of favourite characters, the marriage of favourite characters to hated characters, the birth of children with names of which the HP fans do not approve. I had remained blissfully unaware of the carpet book controversy.
nwhyte
Jul. 23rd, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
Sorry, just catching up here: the "carpet book controversy"???
smellingbottle
Jul. 23rd, 2007 06:08 pm (UTC)
It's the term that began to be used as net shorthand for the copy of the book leaked online before the official launch date, which caused so much fannish screaming about whether or not it was a fake. Whoever procured the book photographed it, page by page, lying on a rather nasty multi-coloured carpet - hence the title.
nickbarnes
Jul. 22nd, 2007 11:01 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed it too, and thought it was considerably better written than any of the last three. They were distinctly pedestrian, and quite a slog in parts, whereas this keeps on moving along and drawing me with it (notwithstanding the occasional "some weeks passed" moment - were these only necessary to fit Rowling's one-school-year-per-book timetable?).
Having said that, the info-dumping in the last 100 pages was somewhat too much. Snape's story and motivations have been pretty clear to any reader paying attention, with loose ends which could probably have been disposed of in three or four pages (possibly in the confrontation at the end of the preceding chapter). The King's Cross scene reminded me of nothing so much as the terrible info-dump in 'The Matrix'. Couldn't this stuff have been revealed to us a little at a time, instead of interrupting the action at such length?
Satisfyingly bloody, although maybe she could have disposed of one or two more of the more irritating characters.
I can sum up my view by saying:
- Not half as bad as I feared;
- Thank God I don't have to read any more of these;
- except when I go back to re-read them.
nickbarnes
Jul. 22nd, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC)
PS: she also killed one of my favourite minor characters, seemingly in order to provide an echo of the start of the series. I'm not sure whether to be cross about that.
torquemadman
Jul. 23rd, 2007 10:59 am (UTC)
It was a wee too many deuses-ex-machina and way too much sentimentality in there for my tastes, but otherwise quite engaging although sometimes predictable.

And I don't think you should read more fanfiction, unless you really care to read about numerous characters humping each other in numerous combinations, because that's what makes 95% of fanfiction.
nwhyte
Jul. 23rd, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
Humping! Humping!

Er.

Yes, you're probably right.
captainlucy
Jul. 23rd, 2007 12:52 pm (UTC)
I did think that the 100 or so pages after the attack on Charlie & Fleur's wedding were a huge come-down, as it seemed to be "appareate - nothing happens - apparate - argue - nothing happens - apparate - argue - nothing happens". They were on the run for at least 4 monhts (September to at least after Christmas) and didn't get even nearly caught once, even with all the Death Eaters and the Ministry looking for them. Even a couple of near-misses would have helped immensely.

But that was just the calm before the storm, and like I said in my own LJ post on the matter, I do hope they're putting the pennies away now to pay for the special effects budget that the movie is going to need! Could probably have been better, but it also could have been much, much worse. And the fact that she had killed off so many major/minor characters already made me really wonder, was Harry actually going to die? Which is a neat trick to pull off in any book.
manjushra
Jul. 23rd, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC)
movie
no movie. or 3 movies. there's too much in the book to get into 120mins. so movie will be disappointing to anyone who liked the book.
btw i liked the months wandering around britain with not a clue as to what is going on. they are after all, spotty teenagers just out of school. that's how it is in real life: no-one just dumps the answers on your plate.
(did I just compare HP to real life? sorry...)
as I said in _my_ LJ post, I wish hazza had stayed dead - after all Lily didn't get the Kings Cross option.
captainlucy
Jul. 23rd, 2007 04:52 pm (UTC)
Re: movie
Unless they do a "Return of the King" and make it a 220-minute epic. :)

Yeah, the wandering around without a clue as to what's going on I could get; it was the utter lack of them being chased that rankled a bit.

One bit I did really like, though, was Hermione implanting false memories in her parents and sending them off to Australia! I read that bit and I just thought "When did she get her hands on a Chameleon Arch?"
watervole
Jul. 26th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
Re: movie
Oh Lord, I just looked at your icon. That's hysterical!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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