Friday, 27 July 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

(apologies to my friends who have no interest in Harry Potter, I promise to post some more non-HP stuff in the next couple of days)

If you have not read book 7 and don't want anything to be spoiled before you read this, do not read any further. Don't be tempted to click on the link or scroll past the empty space because there are spoilers here. Once you know, there are no memory charms available to make you forget, so don't say I didn't warn you.

OK, this review has been a long time coming, I know. I've been writing, re-writing, deleting, trying to work out how to say what I want to. My original first paragraph was this:

I want to talk about book 7, but I'm finding it hard - I think I'm still processing, still grieving in a way, not any one particular character death so much as the end of something that has been going on for so long. I feel like I need to do this, to say the things I want to say, before I dive back into the internet and start seeing what other people are saying. I want to say my own thing, un-influenced by what I read or hear from others.

…but I've taken so long in writing that I have seen some things that others have said and so part of my mind is now occupied with rebutting those people who said bad things, not because they don't have a right to dislike the book, but because so much of what people are saying seems so off-base to me. I was talking to my sister though and we kind of agreed that it's not so bad if some people didn't like the last book as much. It kind of makes me feel a little more justified in saying things like this because it shows that some of the people who claimed to be massive fans maybe didn't really "get" what was going on in the books and where they were headed.

For example, Jo makes it quite clear, even in earlier books, that killing rips the soul apart and is the most evil act that a human can perform. Why then, did people want Harry (or any of the other 'innocent' characters) to kill anyone? It would have been devastating if Harry had killed Snape and then found out the truth about him. I thought the way in which Voldemort was destroyed was fantastic - he remained arrogant to the end and as Harry continued to adopt his Dumbledore-esque method of reasoning and communication, he essentially forced Tom Riddle to destroy himself. Oh and I loved that he stopped calling him Voldemort.

I was in the "I hope Neville gets Bellatrix" camp as well, but she got what she deserved and Neville was still a hero, so does it really matter that he didn't kill her. Speaking of Bellatrix's death - I thought it was frickin' awesome that Mrs Weasley took her down and that she called her a bitch in the process. Let's face it, if any woman deserves to be called a bitch, Bellatrix does. And in the grand scheme of things, I don't think the use of that one word is going to scar the kids who might read it. C'mon people.

My last major rebuttal is about the epilogue and the complaining I have seen that it doesn't give enough detail or something. I loved the epilogue. I loved how their kids echoed so many of the things we'd seen in the trio's first trip on the Hogwarts Express. I thought it was great that it just jumped in and didn't explain too much, so you just made the assumption that Victoire was Bill and Fleur's daughter, that the cousins got along really well, that they all still hung out on a regular basis. I loved the conversation about sending love to a professor and Harry's reassurances to his second son. You don't need to know everything in the epilogue - Jo has already started revealing more specific details about what jobs she sees them doing and things like that if you really want them - you just need to know that it's been a long time in which nothing horrible has happened and Harry has ended up with a family that's ten times better than he probably ever imagined.

And now that's out of my system, here are the other things I feel I should say:

I loved Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I understand completely why JK Rowling called it her favourite of the series, although I haven't made that same decision myself just yet. Obviously, the fact that it answers all the questions, resolves all the plot lines and sees the final downfall of Voldemort means that it is bound to rank highly in its enjoyment.

The story just didn't slow down. In the 14 hours I took to read it, I only felt even a little sleepy a couple of times, but it never hit me bad enough that it won over the inability to put the book down. And before you say anything, I know I took a long time to read it, but it was a pretty thorough first read I think, judging by the amount of info I retained that others didn't seem to.

Anyway, after feeling sorry for Draco, renewing disgust for Rita, then wanting to hug Dudley, I couldn't stop laughing when everyone turned up to transport Harry and began morphing into him. And then suddenly, they're being attacked and its all moving so fast that you're not sure that you're catching/understanding everything, but your eyes won't slow down because you have to know what happens and who gets out alive. And all that in the first 50 pages. I'm not going to give a blow-by-blow, because if you've read it, you know, and if you haven't (what are you still doing reading this?) I don't want to ruin everything. Suffice it to say that I doubted that she'd really be able to sum everything up in 600 pages, but the continual movement of the plot and the rate at which information is thrown at you means I wasn't left with too many questions at the end.

All the goodies' deaths were sad. And she always makes it so sudden, like "Bam, they're dead" and it takes you a few pages or more to really believe it just happened. I actually thought the good side got off quite well though - I expected much more tragedy for the Order and the Dumbledore's Army kids. I think the hardest to accept are Lupin and Tonks, because you don't even see them participating in the final battle, you just see them dead in the hall. But, like Lupin said, he died trying to make the world a better place for his son and I find it hard to believe that Tonks would've been happy living on without him. Plus, it's somewhat poetic that the whole Marauders generation are together in the afterlife. That said, I think it was Dobby's death that made me cry the most, probably because the funeral and everything made it so much more drawn out.

OK, a random list of some of the other things I thought were great (I'm getting sick of trying to form proper sentences and paragraphs and stuff):
- Kreacher becoming friendly and helpful and THEN leading the house elves charge into the battle.
- Neville being all champion and continuing Dumbledore's Army "still recruiting" and his Gran showing up to help him fight
- Hermione's 'Mary Poppins' bag (I really was struggling with how she thought she was going to bring that big pile of books) and her amazing preparedness for the task ahead
- Harry using the super wand to mend his Fawkes one
- Ron faking Parseltongue
- Harry saying he loves Hermione, as a sister, because that's always how I saw their relationship too (and I could just imagine all the crying people who wanted them to end up together :D)
- Harry's reaction to Ron and Hermione's kiss while the battle was raging
- Hagrid NOT dying (I was pretty sure he was a goner and then she managed to make me think he'd been killed not once, but twice)
- Being right about Snape
- Correctly predicting more stuff as the story went on, like how Harry needed to go into the fight thinking he would die, but he wouldn't really
- The trio saving a bunch of people (and Moody's eye) from the Ministry while they were there
- The combined effort that was involved to destroy the horcruxes and therefore Voldemort

Alright, I'm sure I could go on and on, but I think I'm out of things to say for now and it's about time I put this out there for you all to read. I might be back when I've done a re-read, or even as I do it, but for now, feel free to use the comments to discuss...


  1. So glad you have posted. Couldnt decide if I wanted to know or not.
    Started to read and then about 2 sentences in I decided I didn't want to know any more - nothing spoilt. Am glad you like the book because you seem to have similar taste to mine in books so will enjoy it when I eventually read it and that will be enough for me for now!

  2. I agree completely that it's better for the good characters not to seek to kill the baddies, for the reasons you give. But what about the lesser crimes? I'm a little worried about Harry's blasé use of the cruciatus and imperius curses. Aren't they also unforgivable?