August 07, 2007

August's Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

C'mon, no intro needed!

What did you think? What did you like? Or hate? Or disagree with? Spoilers welcome.

And don't tell me you've been too busy reading Eclipse to comment...


Marie said...

I don't think I can participate this month. I'm three books behind (the last one I read was Goblet) and you know what a slow reader I am. However, I will use this as my nudge to start book Five. Maybe once I'm done with Five I can post my old-news comments on it and y'all can pat me on the head.

Of course, if you're going to be posting spoilers on Book Seven, I just won't read the comments at all. I can't believe I've survived this long without someone giving away the ending.

wynne said...

I can't believe it's over.

Is anyone wanting to talk about it, or is it just me?


Please? said...

To me the tipping point of the entire Book series what when Dobby died. Not only was I shocked but you can "see" Harry grasp his role as he physically buried the house elf.

That was his "kill Laban moment" - where he went from a boy to a man. I have heard many people complain about how it bothered them that the big three just wandered around without direction. I think that the author did this to show the transformation that Harry went through when Dobby died.

Thoughts? Feelings?

wynne said...

First--Marie, there are things you can still discuss without knowing how it all ends:


And I'll put this in when I'm about to ruin something for you:


wynne said...


It was a great read. And the last...oh, 200? 300? pages were so freakin' intense as far as tension and action was a wonderful end to the series.

I was so worried that the ending wouldn't live up to expectation--she's been building this up for years and years, how can she possibly make the ending as good as we're all hoping for?--but she does! Hooray!

wynne said...


Thom--Hmm. I didn’t really see Dobby's death as the crux of the whole series, but it’s definitely where Harry figured out that the horcruxes are more important than the Hallows…(duh, Harry). And that was the point where he finally was able to shut out Voldemort, too.

I think Harry's rite of passage from boy to man was more gradual than a single moment—-I mean, it does take time to grow up, doesn’t it?—-but you are right about it being a pivotal moment, yes! by the end, he had certainly has come into his own. Finally. (No more whining and snottily trying to use unforgiveable curses on passerby or overflowing with bitterness...)

People complained about them wandering around with no direction? Where were they supposed to get direction from? They were doing the best that they could do—and I think it was perfect: how else was Rowling supposed to emphasize their helplessness and the enormity of what they were trying to do? Silly people. Also, it made the action so much stronger when things did start to happen.

I have some (very minor) complaints:
1. The bit of wandlore about being able to claim another wizard's wand by disarming him? WHY did this not come up earlier in the series?
2.Voldy re-opening the connection between himself and the end of Book 5, didn't he close it because he realized it was a liability? So, how did it re-open? Did he just forget about it?
3. Neville pulling the sword out of the hat. While this was a great moment, and I LOVE that Neville got a share of the glory, how did the sword...uh, get back there?

But they are minor complaints, and things I will easily forget about, because I really liked it, overall! (And how can you write for 17 years and not make a wee mistake here and there?)

ThomCarter said...

I don't have a problem with the wand lore stuff coming up this late in the series. I think that we needed a little of magic history in every book and this is a good piece.

I think it is important to note that Voldy continues to ask the wrong questions. We need to know why he is asking the wrong questions and what is going on with him.

I am also a fan of them wandering around. It shows their lack of direction and their frustration on not knowing where to go or what to do. All along HJP needed the help and it took something so tramatic as Dobby's death for him to decide that he had the answers himself.

I do have some questions about the "unforgivable curses". If they are so unforgivable how does HJP get away with doing them in this book? Also, clearly Molly uses one against Belitrix (unless there is another way to kill someone). Where is the accountability for this. Doesn't the author make it a point throughout the other books to show how bad it is to use these and how no one should EVER do this.

I also didn't like the use of "profanity" by Molly. I understand that she was clearly upset, but it seemed a little over the top with her language.

All in all ThomCarter is a happy boy.

How come wynne and I are the only one commenting on this book?

Who decides the next book?

wynne said...

Well, Thom, that's just how it is, and how it has been, you see. Sad, isn't it?

And yeah, Molly's...uh, exclamation there at the end...well, it made me laugh. For the wrong reasons. A bit over the top, yes, and unintended comic relief?

And about the wandlore not coming up earlier...wasn't it in book 2 there was a dueling club? It seems that gaining possession of another wand just by using a disarming spell really should have come up in that book, don't you think?

And I've been wondering about the accountability for Unforgiveable Curses since Harry first tried to use one in Book 5!

But, really, I'm so glad I read them all, and I will read them all again. And again. Thanks, Rowling, for 17 years' worth of writing!

And YOU can pick next month's book if you want, Thom.

ThomCarter said...

What about "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith

Marie said...

I finally finished book seven over Thanksgiving, and it was a fun ride! Not that anyone cares at this point. I'm sooo sloooow.

But I have to say I WAS RIGHT! on two points. One, I KNEW that Snape wasn't truly evil, though I was wrong about the story behind killing Dumbledore. I thought it must be an Imperius Curse or something like that. I really liked Snape all through the books because he represented someone who has been to the darkest of places and decided to come back to the light -- he was an important symbol, I thought, and I felt Rowling wasn't so cynical that she would throw away that unique symbol in favor of the perhaps more realistic "people tend to relapse" or "you shouldn't trust people" model. And I loved Snape even more after my beloved Alan Rickman started playing him in the movies. I get tired of Alan always having to play the bad guy, so I decided that I was going to will him to be good. Looks like it worked. :)

Two, I knew that Harry was one of the Horcruxes. I mean, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. But I certainly didn't anticipate that he was going to have to kill himself to eradicate it. While I'm on that topic, I really liked how Rowling approached the topic of death in her books. Very Christian -- death is sad but not tragic, and those who die are still there, standing just behind the "veil." And that fleeing death at all costs makes you evil because death is natural and good, especially when it is required in order to accomplish something for the greater good. It was really daring to go this route with such a broad audience, many of whom are secular and/or don't believe in an afterlife.

I really disliked the very very ending -- I thought it was cheesy and in the process of tying up some ends left out many others that I was equally interested in. I had no doubt that Voldemort was truly vanquished and no doubt that Ron & Hermione would end up together if at all possible and likewise for Harry and Ginny. My imagination would have been much better than that ending.

But overall I loved it. I loved the reinvented Neville, leading the student resistance at Hogwarts in spite of the physical pain inflicted on him by Voldemort's followers. I liked how she treated that whole prophecy concept -- that there's more to destiny than just some magical predestination, and in the end both Neville and Harry were Voldemort's downfall. Cool. And the theme of people being able to really change in dramatic ways over time, which you don't see much in these young adult hero novels. Snape, Harry's dad, Dumbledore, Neville,...and even giving Voldemort a sympathetic back story to explain in part how he began his path to evil. The books were about a fantasy world, but the personalities behind the archtypes were much more real in the end than I ever expected they would be.

As for the inconsistencies in the rules of the magical world, they've been there all along and increased a lot in the last couple books like you guys said. It really can't be avoided in a book about magic -- magic is about breaking rules as we know them, and so the minute you make one magical "rule," you're going to have to break it the minute you introduce a more powerful magician and things just get so complicated that the author loses control of them. I think she did a great job considering that when she wrote the first books she was a single mom down on her luck and had no idea that the magical world in her books would one day be scrutinized by millions of rabid readers. (For the record, the inconsistency that bugged me the most was "Why can some pictures, such as the Fat Lady and the portraits of the Headmasters, talk with living people and discuss the real world, while others are mute and trapped in the past?")

Okay, this is quite long enough for a comment that no one's going to read. Over and out.