Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (some spoilers)

I made some predictions on my other blog about how I thought the 7th Harry Potter book should go to wrap things up, and so here I am to discuss how close or far from the mark my predictions hit.

The one that I felt I hit spot on was Snape. I knew it had to go this way, but I have to give Rowling a whole lot of credit for keeping the suspense going as long as she could on this question. It was, in my estimation, the best handled of the 3 things I'd made predictions on. The whole ending to the Snape thread of the story was very, very well done. I had not thought of the use of the Patronus or the Pensieve, but they were both perfect touches. I liked the name of the 2nd son too. Nice.

I was a little off the mark with the does-Harry-die question, but also sort of on the mark too. I said he had to die (and he did), but also that I didn't think and author would quite dare to depart from the Hollywood ending these days (and she didn't). For me, this was a bit disappointing. I liked it all the way up to the 19 years later. I mean, for all that I liked the name of the 2nd son, I'd rather not have seen the whole tidy, suburban family ending. Though I suspect I know a couple of boys who are going to find great satisfaction in this ending when they are old enough to read the story themselves. I think I will let that be the thing that makes the ending satisfying for me. Otherwise, it was an anticlimax and, in that sense, disappointing.

Where Rowling never disappoints is that she makes you care about the characters. She just has a knack for that, and is an incredible story teller. You even have a bit of a soft spot for the Malfoys, at last, don't you? I would still, though, liked to have seen my version of the ending. I thought that Draco might get to play a part in destroying the diadem, thus uniting the houses. I still think incorporating him in the saving the day would've helped to make for a less polarized world, which I thought was part of the goal all along. But this seemed to be overlooked in the writing altogether, and is probably the point that disappointed me most. I would've liked that to be a part of it.

But, when all is said and done, I have enjoyed the series immensely. Watching the unfolding of the story has been great fun. I don't know when I have ever looked forward to a book's release with quite the same sort of innocent anticipation as I have with this one. And, even though I've used the word "disappointed" above, I really wasn't. It's been a fun read.

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Sun Singer said...

You and I talked about these possibilities before. Both of us thought Harry should die. In a way he did; more than that, he boldly intended to do it when he saw that as the only way out.

Quite possibly, had Rowling's series been more obscure, she would have written the ending differenly.

I, too, like the handling of Snape. My only problem with that, and a few other things, is that Rowling kept stopping the action for (as some reviewers put it) great chunks of backstory.

Like you, I enjoyed the series.


hifidel said...

I think you are spot on with the thoughts about Harry dying. He did... sort of. But it was the intention he had (to die) that made the difference and made it still "work." I loved Dumbledore saying, "You wonderful boy. You brave, brave man." The story has been fun for watching that transition take place, even if for nothing else. (I happen to think there was a lot that made it fun.)

I do think the ending was changed by the books' popularity. I've actually been commenting about that to some friends. I know that about 5 years ago, Rowling said she'd written the last chapter and locked it away. The last word of the last chapter, she said, was "scar." That isn't the last word of the last chapter in this book, nor in the epilogue. So, I wonder how much else she changed.

I do think the end would have been better if it were left with Harry wishing for a sandwich (instead of adding the epilogue). It would have been more understated and fitting an end to the series, I think. But, well, I'm not the one out there writing novels that are selling millions of copies, so I probably don't have much advice that would be well-heeded by a J K Rowling.