Saturday, August 25, 2007

Recapping Harry

Now that all the hype and hysteria are over, now that THE BOOK has been devoured by the hordes, now that we all know what happens with Harry and the gang...

Let's dish. I want to hear what everyone thinks.

Did the book live up to the hype? Did J.K. Rowling do right by her readers? Was it worth the wait? Can we shut the door on the Hogwarts crew with the majority of our questions answered? Are we happy now?

In my opinion - yes. To all of the above. With a few small quibbles I think she delivered the total package. When I shut that book after an all day marathon I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps on my arms. The only regret I had was that there was no "next book" to look forward to. Given what I had just read I could live with that.

As far as the storyline, I was right with some of my predictions and not so right with others. I'm grateful that I was right on the important ones. When I realized that Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny all survived I really did cry. You have no idea how hard it is to make me cry. Trust me. For a while there it looked like Harry wasn't going to come out alive and it was all I could do to not turn to the end of the book and peek. When I saw that Arthur and Molly Weasley made it through I cried harder. Molly Weasley is my favorite of the non-kid characters and always has been. And in my opinion the very best line of the entire book was on page 736...


screamed in parental rage and anguish before Molly, the overlooked mother figure who folded laundry and waved her wand over the dinner table - Molly, who we had never really gotten to see in action, Molly...

kicked Bellatrix Lestrange's butt in front of the entire school and Voldemort. Single-handedly cursed her into oblivion. If I hadn't known Rowling was a mom before I sure would've known it then. It was brilliant. And I never saw it coming. I was so sure Neville would be the one to take down Bellatrix.

Then there's Snape. He didn't die the way I imagined, but he did turn out to be a good guy. A foul tempered, complicated good guy, but still. It wasn't until I had read his death scene a few times that I understood the significance of him asking Harry to look in his eyes as he died. [insert sobbing sounds here]. I liked the arc with the Malfoys and how, even though they were a "dark" wizarding family, the love his parents had for Draco changed their allegiance and ultimately their actions. I liked the epilogue and the way it tied everything up, although I don't understand the significance of it being nineteen years later. Why nineteen? I'm enough of a softy to be glad that the happy couples ended up together. [insert sobbing sounds yet again].

I didn't like it when Fred died. I really didn't like it when Lupin died. I don't understand why Tonks had to die, except for the symbolism of their orphaned son and his godfather Harry. There were times where you felt like you were reading for quite a while with no action and then there was a lot of stuff happening all at once. As Sasquatch said there were long stretches where the main action was the characters whining about how uncomfortable they were while they were searching for the Horcruxes. I thought Neville would have a much larger role. I thought Ginny would be more active as well. I was positive she had one really well timed bat bogey hex in her.
I wished we had found out what happened with some of the other characters in the future. But then I saw this and got over it. It was enough.

It isn't a perfect book. It didn't have to be. But it's awfully close.


Akelamalu said...

I so enjoyed the book, I wanted to see Harry and Ginny get engaged or something.Like you though I'm upset that there won't be another one, but all the main characters are still there so there's no reason why there shouldn't be. Perhaps a petition to Ms Rowling???

Jo Beaufoix said...

We're off out as the sun is shining so I'm going to comment properly later but thank you so much for that link to J K Rowling. It as so nice to read more. it felt like an email from familiar old friends.

I'll be back after we've had some fun in the sun.

Jen said...

I'm going to type fast because my internet connection keeps choking on me.

Snape's death scene: I wish in a way, we could have learned all of this along the way in little dribbles instead of a torrent. But I'd had my suspicions about his feelings for Lily before. There was much sobbing.

I agree that there were stretches where it seemd like everyone was "marking time", sort of to get through the year. Stephen King had a good review of this in Entertainment Weekly.

But I loved it. It was like watching all of those loose threads weave themselves together into a marvelous, magical tapestry.

And Rowling was right it was a bloodbath. With every death (DOBBY!!!!!), I went through another box of tissues. Is it weird that Dobby's death bothered me the most? Good, solid, dependable Dobby. He had to die in order for Kreacher to come to the fore, I suppose. And most of Harry's support had to go. But that didn't make it any less painful for me or for Harry.

Harry finally got to be a grown-up.

Him walking to death with his parents and Sirius and Lupin left me weak. Both from grief, but also from watching a true transition from child to adult in a most awesome way.

la bellina mammina said...

i haven't read the book! Boo hoo! It's sold out now in Singapore...

The Rotten Correspondent said...

akelamalu - I'd sign that petition!

jo - have a great day in the sun and we'll see you later.

jen - I agree that it would have been nice to get Snape's story in pieces instead of all at once. I would have liked the chance to feel sympathetic toward him while he was alive. And the scene you're talking about where he walks toward death...floored me. Dobby...ouch. Big ouch. But I think you're right - it cleared the way for Kreacher.I'll have to read that Stephen King review.

Have you slapped your internet yet??

la bellina mammina - We could send you one. :) Seriously.

laurie said...

i'm so left out of this conversation! i only read one potter book; it involved snakes coming up out of a toilet or something like that. ick.

but what it must feel like to write a book that leavs people laughing, cry ing, with goosebumps, and wanting more.


The Rotten Correspondent said...

laurie - You should read them. Seriously. They may be marketed as "kids" books, but they are absolutely amazing to read even as an adult. Her imagination is staggering. I would give a lot to have reading them afresh all over again to look forward to. (that is one funky sentence, but hopefully you get what I mean!)

I would also love to write something that makes people so passionate about what I've created. Can you think of much that would be better?

15 year old girl said...

I loved the book. I liked how Harry was actually nice to Kreacher. It was neat seeing how Snape's story fit in with all the other books. I liked that his story came all at once because you didn't trust Snape until the very end of the series. I was really sad when I thought Harry was going to die without saying goodbye to anyone. i was glad Neville got Gryffindor's sword because he lived up to Gran's expectations by showing he was a true Gryffindor. I hated when Fred died; I always liked him more than George. I was really sad when the book(and series) was over becasue I've been reading HP since I was 7 and it's been a part of me for over half my life. I hope JK Rowling writes that HP encyclopedia!

my two cents said...

Of course I loved the book--you can't come this far in the series and not love it. I've only read the book once, and I feel I'll need a second read through before I fully understand it all. I didn't cry during this book, and was not happy in the end when Fred, Lupin and Tonks, and even Colin Creevey did not survive. Nothing in the series could have been sadder for me than Dumbledore's death, even though I now see it was necessary for Harry, and other students, to become adults, so to speak.

I know eveyone thinks Snape is good now, but I still think he is a mean person. We understand him, but saw him treat people cruelly even as a child. I don't think he treated Harry badly all those years because he was trying to build his character!

I think it had to be long and drawn out so that we felt how frustrating it was for them to find the horcruxes, which seems to mostly happen by luck. I, too think it was good to see another side of the Malfoys and see that people can change, and you can live side by side with people you don't like without having to always be enemies, or friends. I also LOVE how Hermione literally pulled things out of her bag!!

Fred's death was especially hard for me as a mother of twins. I felt that he seemed expendable, since there is always George, and I really wanted to know how this affected George, later in the epilogue. In fact, I wish the epilogue had been longer and discussed more characters, though you do get an idea of the general tenor of the wizarding world which I liked.

Of course I am glad Molly Weasley survived, and was a hero in battle. She is my alter ego, after all, but I truly don't think she would ever stoop to name calling, she is far too clever and could have out battled Bellatrix without using a bad word.

I wish Harry had been more instrumental in bringing up Lupin and Tonk's child since this is what he would have hoped would have been his fate-to be brought up by his godfather, rather than relatives. On the other hand, his grandmother has lost her husband and daughter, so I guess Teddy was all she had left.

I really liked the person Harry was becoming by realizing on an adult level how to treat people, even from the beginning of the book, with not caring about saying good bye to Dudley to the end when he realized that Mrs. Malfoy just needed to know that Draco was ok. It is a big step from despising someone to empathy, and I love that he got there. Also his interactions with Kreature, Dobby, Ron, Hermione, goblins, and even himself.

Yes, I'll miss that there isn't another book to get excited about in a few years. One of the favorite things for our family has been getting the books on CD and listening to them in the car, or in front of the fire in the winter, or while doing puzzles during summer vacation. Jim Dale reads the American version, perhaps the English version as well, and they are truly wonderful.

RC, maybe a new project would be reading these in Brithish version? We have the first book, picked it up in Cambridge two summers ago. You never know, maybe some people we know will read them in Spanish, or Mandarin Chinese before long!

Great topic, thanks for opening up some discussion.

Jo Beaufoix said...

I agree with so much of what has been said.

I was sad Dumbledore had truly gone.
When we started hearing suspicious stuff about his past I got my hopes up a little that he had a horcrux out there somewhere, and I'm glad Snape turned out good, if very damaged.

I was gutted when Fred died and sobbed when Harry seemed to have gone too.

I also found Dobby's death heart wrenching, but was so happy at the changes for the better in Kreacher, the Malfoys and Dudley.

When Ron left Harry and Hermione I was worried that we were going to have a Judas moment, and I got confused as to which kids belonged to who in the epilogue, but I loved it.

Loved it, loved it, loved it.

I need to read it again to take it all in, but the whole Harry potter experience has been breathtaking.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

15 year old girl - I think you have a really good point about not trusting Snape until the end. I guess if his story had come out earlier some of the suspense would have gone.I was glad about Neville and the sword too. I've always had a soft spot for Neville. I have my fingers crossed for that encyclopedia too.

my two cents - I agree that no matter how you slice it Snape is still a creep. Not a nice person at all. And I just loved Hermione and that bag! I too wanted to know how George fared. I do think though that Molly Weasley had been pushed to the absolute edge of her limits. She knew Fred was dead, she thought Harry was dead, her family had been threatened for so long. I think it was more in character when she said, right before she killed Bellatrix - "You will never touch our children again" - but I think it was a heat of the moment throw down the gauntlet moment. Oh god, I love Molly Weasley.Even in Mandarin.

jo - you know, I worried a bit when Ron left too. I thought uh-oh, what has she got up her sleeve now? I guess part of me really didn't think she'd actually let all three of them live, and I think Ron's death (or desertion) would have hurt Harry more than if Hermione died or turned on him. I have loved these books so much. Breathtaking is a perfect word!

Diana said...

inxuxmnThank you, thank you, thank you for the Rowling interview link. That helps.

I consider the series the best I've ever read. I also found that I enjoyed the last three better with each successive reading as I had more of a framework to hang the details on.

I loved what she did with Snape but wasn't a fan of Molly's line to Bellatrix. I did love that she was responsible for Bellatrix's demise. The slight redemption of the Malfoy family was also good.

Fred's death pissed me off royally. Lupin's and Tonk's death saddened me and I'd wished she'd had spent a bit more time on them so we could have said 'goodbye' a bit. They went off to fight and then they were lying among the dead in the hall.

I really do hope she publishes the explanitory dictionary and hope it's not too long before she writes another work. She is truly brilliant.

Absolutely Bananas said...

hmmm... I just finished writing a post about this which I'll put up next week. I have to admit (don't hate me) that I was disappointed. Maybe my expectations were too high BUT.. it seemed rather long. Not as well written. And I didn't like the ending with them all married etc. Seemed too trite. But Maybe it's just me.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

diana - I found that interview to be enlightening and I was glad to have stumbled over it. I agree with you about Tonks and Lupin. There was no chance for closure. I was pretty sure Lupin wasn't going to survive, but still. I guess I'm alone in loving Molly's potty mouthed line, but there's just something in it that rings so true to me. If someone were pointing a wand at one of my kids I'm pretty sure something much like that would pop out of my mouth! Maybe I need to fine myself a quarter every time I cuss? Horrors!

absolutely bananas - thanks for stopping by and joining in our discussion! Why in the world would we hate you for being disappointed in the book? They were some pretty big shoes to fill and the expectations all around were huge. I'm looking forward to reading your post about it. I really did love it. But I'm just one person!

la bellina mammina said...

Could you? Do you have a spare copy to sell?

The Rotten Correspondent said...

la bellina mammina - do you also go by bella? I feel like I keep typing out your "formal" name like I'm calling you Mrs. So and So!

I do have an extra copy and you're welcome to it. It would be crazy to pay me for it since you can get them relatively cheap on ebay and why would you pay me when it's just sitting here? We had to buy two copies to avoid World War 3, but once it got read no one seems to care.

I'm happy to ship it off. Just let me know!