Posted by: Nathan | July 28, 2007

Done with Deathly Hallows!

It took J and me a little longer to read than all y’all, I suppose, but it was great! Of course I’m going into a ton of spoilers here, so do yourself a favor and read Rowling before reading me.

DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED HP and the Deathly Hallows!

This was vintage Rowling style, wasn’t it? Fun, exciting, and pretty well arranged with a breathless ending. Let the discussion commence! The following thoughts are arranged randomly…

1. Did anyone else notice a real Harry/Jesus connection at the end of this one? The whole “master of death” being the person who is not afraid to die for others? And Harry comes back to life to defeat Voldemort. Seems like a lot of these fantasy stories are telling The Story in their own way.

2. It is pretty cheesy when Harry spent that chapter with Dumbledore in King’s Cross. I’m sorry, it just is. I sure enjoyed hearing Dumbledore again. He’s always so great.

3. So Snape was indeed deep undercover! Who’d have thought? Well, I suppose lots of you did, but I didn’t. I’m glad that a Slytherin finally brought something to the table; I was beginning to wonder why that house exists at all. I didn’t find the explanation too contrived either, which is pretty impressive on Rowling’s part.

4. The real feat of book seven is the way Rowling ties all the other books into the final story. There are aspects of every other book that make their way into Deathly Hallows, and many of them are finally explained completely. Say what you will about how well or poorly the books are composed (sure, her style’s not spectacular), but Rowling really organized, arranged, and set out her books extraordinarily well.

5. The battle at Hogwarts was great. It didn’t seem quite right that Harry hadn’t been at Hogwarts the whole book until that point, although it was a nice change in some ways. I loved the way all of Harry’s friends were there to fight for him; it was fun to see McGonagall and Mrs. Weasley dueling Death Eaters. It certainly was sad when Fred died, though.

6. I had heard that some “main characters” were going to die in this one, and I can tell you I was going to be ticked if Hermione, Ron or Harry went down. I guess Harry died, but not really. I had a feeling something like that would happen with him.

7. In the 19 years later section, did anyone else notice that Ginny doesn’t seem to have had any say in the naming of their children? Maybe she just knows how much it means to Harry to have a James, Albus, and Lilly in their family.

8. Jason was right about there being drawn-out sections in this one. The plot drags in places, especially when Ron leaves. Rowling seems to enjoy trying to make a situation as bleak as possible before mitigating it. While that increases excitement, I suppose, I did get weary of pushing onward in hopes of something likeable on the next page. All’s well that ends well, I suppose.

9. Now that all the books are completed, which was your favorite? I guess I still liked The Goblet of Fire best, then this one, then book 6. And are you bumming about there being no more Potter to come? I am a little, but this seems like a good way to end the series.

Your thoughts, comments, disappointments, and praises are welcome!

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Responses

  1. The chapter with Dumbledore in King’s Cross was cheesy. I honestly didn’t expect Snape to be good. I was fully prepared for indisputable proof that he was evil; I was happily surprised though (much better this way).

    Back in Hogwarts, I enjoyed seeing Nevil all in charge and taking care of business. I hope they keep that in the movie. I had read some spoilers before the book was released, and one said that Ron died. I fully expected that to happen until Fred died. Another pleasant surprise (although Fred’s death was said).

    When I talked about the drawn-out sections in this one, I was especially thinking about when Ron leaves. That and the wedding.

    Great observations. Thanks!

  2. Good observations. M and I just finished at 4:00am last night.

    I can’t say I was terribly surprised by the ultimate outcome (ie, the big picture). The way in which the ultimate outcome was accomplished was surprising (in a very good way), but this story had to follow the traditional structure of legend/myth–Harry had to win.

    I think it’s CS Lewis who talks about the story of Christ as the central myth of all history, the essential (what he calls) eucatastrophe. The parallels between the story of Christ and the great literary (and cinematic) myths of recent memory are, indeed, striking.

    I was okay with the King’s Cross chapter–it was, as you say, nice to see Dumbledore back. It was wierd, though, to feel the dynamic between Dumbledore and Harry shift slightly.

    I honestly thought Snape was bad. Boy, was I wrong.

    I thought the epilogue was fairly cheesy. I felt a style shift in the epilogue; she seemed to have a difficult time writing for characters she didn’t know as well as she knew the younger Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, etc.

    I’m right there with you on the drawn out sections. I felt like all the prose given over to explaining how the three amigos disapparated and stayed in a charm-covered tent could have been drastically condensed.

    I’m still not sure I’m entirely clear how all the loose ends tied up (eg, how the elder wand came under Harry’s control). After a while, I’ll probably go back and try to fill in the holes.

    The walk to the forbidden forest with James, Lilly, Lupin, and Sirius was a tearjerker.

    Of all the books, I think ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ and ‘Goblet of Fire’ are tied for my favorite.

    It’s a bittersweet feeling to be done with the book–I’m glad to have the story tied up, but I’ve grown quite fond of the world Harry and the rest inhabit.

  3. Lots of people that I talk to about the book wonder how the elder wand came under Harry’s control. Remember the big showdown on the tower at the end of The Half Blood Prince? Just before Draco comes through the door, Dumbledore freezes Harry. This of course meant that he didn’t have time to do anything to Draco, and Draco then DISARMS Dumbledore by yelling “expelliaramus” as he enters the scene. The Elder Wand didn’t work for Voldemort because it belonged to Draco. And after Harry disarmed Draco at the Malfoys’ house, HE was the owner of the Elder Wand.

    What confused me at first was how Neville pulled the sword of Gryffindor out of the sorting hat to kill Nagini when it should have still been under Griphook’s possession. JL pointed me to some discussions on-line that reminded me that when Harry first pulled the sword out of the hat, it probably hadn’t been stored it there at the time either. The hat provides the sword to whoever truly needs it at the time, removing it from whatever less important place it may be.

    And yeah, the walk to the forbidden forest was the one part where I cracked. Good stuff.

  4. Thanks for the Elder Wand explanation, fellas. I too wondered how Neville drew the sword to finish Nagini.

    Okay, that makes three of us who cried when Harry’s folks accompanied him into the forest. I felt silly, but there’s a real power in having those you loved most but never knew beside you during the most important moment of your life.

    I don’t think any of us were surprised by the over-arching outcome; if Harry had died and Voldemort reigned supreme over wizard-kind, who in their right minds would go back and read the earlier books later? Now we can re-read the first ones with pleasure, assured of the happy ending.

  5. I was thoroughly satisfied with the way she wrapped things up in this book. Like Nathan mentioned, she did a great job of pulling elements and people from previous stories and bringing them back. I also enjoyed the up and down nature of the book – there were lots more exciting parts scattered throughout, not just at the end.

    I was totally shocked by the whole Snape thing, but in the end it didn’t make all that much difference to me. No matter what happened in the past, he still shouldn’t have treated Harry like he did in the earlier books.

    I cried a few times – when Fred died, definitely when he was walking to his doom with his parents, and a couple times as he talked to Dumbledore. I agree that it was sort of cheesy to have the chat in purgatory with Dumbledore, but I enjoyed so much that I didn’t care.

    The very end, with all the quick reversals, was a little too complicated for me…it’s like she wrote herself in a corner or something. And if I had trouble with it, I can’t imagine a little kid getting it.

    So now, we just have to hope that JK will keep writing, because I will read whatever she writes. It would be really cool to see her use the magical world she has created in a new way, following a new set of characters.


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