Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Name:
Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!

24.7.07

What I've been reading

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. 759 pages, 2007, Arthur A. Levine Books (an imprint of Scholastic).

Well, duh. Usually I don't get too caught up in the Pottermania, preferring to read the books in my own sweet time, but when it arrived on Saturday, I wasn't really reading anything, so I decided to plow through it. Krys buys them, but she decided to re-read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince just to get caught up, so I had free rein.

I should point out here that I'm going to try not to SPOIL anything, but I'll be discussing a few things about the book that you might not want to know if you haven't read it yet. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!!!! No, I'm not going to reveal the ending. I'm not evil, after all.

This final book in the series does a nice job, I think, tying up loose ends. Rowling obviously has had a good outline for the book for a while, and everything fits pretty well (from what I remember, and I'm kind of stupid that way, so take it with a grain of salt). Krys asked me if it was any good, and I told her that if she liked the first six books, she'll like this one. If anything in the past twenty years is review-proof, this book is. I liked it quite a bit, but a few things bugged me about it:

The fate of the Dursleys. I realize that it's completely insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but I would have liked to see them again at the end, or at least have an idea of what happened to them. We finally get to see them as human beings in this book, and then they're gone. It's a shame.

The fate, really, of Harry himself. I won't say too much if you haven't read it, but although Rowling wraps it up so that it seems like there won't be any more adventures, the rather ambiguous epilogue makes me wonder if she has more stories planned. I hope not, because then it becomes a story-creating machine, and I'd rather it have an ending. The very end (I mean the epilogue) seemed kind of weak. It didn't really give us too much new information, just what we could have inferred on our own (except, perhaps, for the fate of Draco Malfoy).

The dating of the book. This is kind of strange, because fantasy novels tend to take place in a mystical "always-present-day" and don't want to tie themselves to a specific date, unless they're specifically set in the distant past. The fact that this book takes place in 1997 is kind of off-putting. It adds an unnecessary dose of realism to the entire story. We know it takes place in England, and there's a Prime Minister, and we get Tottenham Court Road in this book, so there's no need, really, to ground it at a certain time. It's odd.

The Severus Snape arc. Again, I won't get too into it, but Rowling pretty much ignored Snape for a lot of the book, and that was disappointing. Snape was always one of the most interesting characters in the saga, after all, and for him to be relegated to the background for a good deal of the book was a bit of a misstep. Especially when you consider what happens with him.

The book felt off in a few places, as well. I certainly didn't want it to be longer, but I think Rowling could have dropped some stuff and added different stuff and the book would have been much better. Rowling's strengths as a writer do not really lie in long descriptive passages, so the parts of the book where not a lot happens (which, I admit, isn't very often) tended to drag. I grew a bit bored, I'll admit, by the traipsing around the country by Harry, Hermione, and Ron. It wasn't awful, but I would have liked a bit less of that and a bit more with the other characters. That way, when we reach the final act, we'll be a bit more invested in things.

So, did any of my vast readership (I mean, come on, I have to be at 8 or even 9 readers!) read the confounded thing? And what did you think?

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6 Comments:

Blogger Nik said...

I blogged the other day a bit on it, but generally quite liked it. I rather liked the middle "exile" part of the book as it felt like Harry was being tested, his character forged during that time. I agree Snape's arc didn't get the page time it deserved but when it did it worked very well, explaining a lot about his character. I think in general my biggest problem with Rowling is she overdoes the exposition (the book stopped dead in the middle of the final battle when she has Harry do his dialogue with Dumbledore). But I'm looking forward to reading the entire series again some time and judging it as a whole.

24/7/07 11:09 PM  
Blogger Ellen R Ashard said...

I really did like the book. As you mentioned, Rowling managed to explain alot and tie up many loose ends. The only complaint I have would be the epilogue which, as you said, added nothing any average reader wouldn't have known anyway. It insulted my intelligence as a reader. (I especially disliked the kids' names thing. It bordered on being corny)

Now, where does it say the book is set in 1997? I can't remember for the heck of it.

25/7/07 11:22 AM  
Blogger Ellen R Ashard said...

Alright, it took me about a minute of actual thinking. (also re-thinks her "intelligent reader" comment.... I got now why the plot must be set in 1997. The Godric's Hollow chapter should reveal that one. ... I will now go and try not to be too embarrassed. :)

25/7/07 11:28 AM  
Blogger Tom the Dog said...

I'm still reading the book, so I skipped the post -- I just wanted to see if you still want to try meeting up at Comic Con on Friday. I can't find your email address, and I don't want to just publish my cell phone number on the interwebs, so email me if you want it. See you there.

25/7/07 2:20 PM  
Anonymous beta ray steve said...

I thought that one of the two digressions at the end, about Dumbledore and Snape might have been better off in the front of the book. If the Snape revelation had come first, Harry could have beaten himself up on the road trip for hating Snape for so long, it would have turned his world upside down and made him really grow up. The (false) Dumbledore revelation, that he had planned for Harry to die, would have also made good fodder for the road trip.
The 19 year later epilogue was blah, and withheld so much information it was useless.

25/7/07 3:34 PM  
Blogger Roxy said...

Saw this today - talks a little more about the Epilogue.

The headline is: Exclusive: J.K. Rowling on final 'Potter'
Click this link:
http://video.msn.com/v/us/msnbc.htm?g=3f4a5a9d-2c56-459e-b2b0-d9b0ef1aeec2&f=00&fg=


Loved the book, thought it fell off in some places as well. Would have loved to see more Snape. Have to say, in typical chick fashion, I wanted that ending.

The English teacher part of me would be devastated to know I'm so girly.

26/7/07 5:47 PM  

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