Friday, July 27, 2007

Harry Potter 7 (some spoilers may appear)

So, it's all over.

You read it?

You read all seven books?

You read book 7 (The Deathly Hallows)?

Okay, get on with it.

What did I think?

Well, I would have to say I am something of a moderately interested reader of the Potter books. Neither wildly addicted nor dismissive. Maybe that helps. Like my previous post on drugs, I reiterate that I'm not particularly in favour of any excecssive behaviour. Yes, we can all be occasionally excessive but, like dining out all the time, if it's your everyday habit then it does lose its flavour and appeal over time because it is no longer a gleeful pleasure, a rare delight.*

I digress.

The point is that I am not a standing-outside-Borders person for each new book. Hell, I wasn't even a order-it-as-soon-as-the-release-date-announced person. I came to the HP party late (I first joined in around book three, and perhaps for that reason it remains one of my favourites and perhaps the best of the films so far), and proceeded to recap with two and then one. I read four VERY late indeed, having seen a friend become traumatised at Rowling killing off a character which caused them to stop reading for quite some time. But when I got to it, I enjoyed that one very much indeed (as I did the rather messy and unwieldy film version which nevertheless still charmed me and ultimately is now something of a favourite. Yes, I know I have bad reasons at heart...). Book five I think I bought - and gave away soon after. There was a lot I liked about it - the large amount of Sirius probably helped - but somehow it was really losing its way. Six was, kinda, better, but really did feel like it was getting to the end of the saga.

And so to seven.

Well, I liked it. No really, I REALLY liked it. After two (slightly) 'meh' volumes - even if I did still enjoy galloping through the prose - I was gripped from the start. I remembered that I did actually care about these characters - good and bad (though obviously more the good than bad) - and I felt rather like Spike at the end of Buffy: "I want to see how it ends".

And I cried. I did. I cried for all the deaths - those both sudden and those more predictable. I cried for the tension and the violence, for the heroism, for the survival. And for Dumbledore (all over again). Heck, I couldn't help myself, I cried for Snape: poor, flawed Snape.

And then there was that epilogue.


Sorry. JKR you should really have thrown away your finale from all those years ago. What came before it showed how far you had come with this narrative; what let it down was that epilogue. Yes, it gave resolution but I bet right now there are a thousand fan-fics and more doing an alternative job of your conclusion, if indeed it needed one at all.

Still, thanks for the ride.

Now can all you hyper-positive HP fans and hyper-negative HP haters all please find something else to do. I'm going to miss the fun of the books but really, just keep on reading (something). It's surely what JKR would want - that the reading does not begin or end with Harry.

* Exceptions can always be made, but even I temper my imbibing of Scottish acting, fan-fiction, sci-fi, wonderful music, great films etc etc. All day, every day: even I would begin to take such delights for granted.


Rosby said...

A very loud "WORD!" to all that you've said, especially the bit about the epilogue; it was too twee to really be taken seriously.

And Albus Severus, come on! That boy is going to get so much stick when he starts school!

(Although, frankly, the presence of the epilogue is worth it for the sheer amount of obsessive fandom wank it's generated. Ha!)

AnnaWaits said...

Question: Is it worth hours upon hours of life to start the books from very beginning?

James Diggs said...

lol, like a Doctor Who post you did a while back this is the second post I am commenting on with out reading it to avoid spoilers. I haven’t read book 6 yet either, so my plan is to pick both 6 and 7 up and cruise through them before someone spills all the magic beans.

Thanks for your spoiler warning.

Oh, and Anna, personally I started reading the books after the third movie; reading 4 and 5 so far. I did at some point go back and listen to the unabridged audio book of book one, but I didn’t feel I had to go back and read the first three to enjoy the rest of the books after I saw the movies (even though the movies do condense a lot of the story).

This might depend on what kind of reader you are. The books themselves are extremely well written and if you enjoy reading for the sake of a good book alone then I say read them and you will love it. As for me after seeing the movies I just wanted to find out what would happen next and starting from the beginning seemed to make finding that out take a lot longer.


AnnaWaits said...

Cool, I've had the same advice from a few people - thanks James.

Stuart said...

Rosby, I think the kid's going to the only school where he wouldn't have a problem being called Albus Severus!

Matt_c said...

Gonna have to disagree about the ending.
The ending works because it's about Snape - that Snape was a good man and Harry knew the truth. No other reason - aside from a slide back to the beginning. Snape.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Hi folks. Just to clarify, I liked pretty much everything apart from those epilogue pages.

And hiya James! Hope these comments haven't had too much spoilerage in them!

Emma said...

If I think about it, I've probably shed more tears over the Harry Potter series than I have for any film. I think the first set of tears came at the fourth book (the best, in my opinion). But I cried a lot in this one too.

Agreed that the epilogue could have been better had a fan done it. It really felt like a fanfic itself, and Rowling could at least have adjusted some of the dialogue from ages ago, to suit her "more mature" audience! I was happy for Harry, as I do think he deserved a family and everything, but honestly...

Kara said...

Hi Lisa-

I just finished it last night, and, like you, I had issues with the epilogue - what about their careers? What about Luna? Ginny & Harry? Ron & Hermione? All married with kids? I dunno. Seems a bit much. Also, what's with all the patriarchal family values crap - "The Potters - all five of them..." Ugh. Why are all the kids named after Harry's family. Ugh, again.

But, I admit, I love this series, and I was satisfied with the ending, overall. The hardest chapter for me was the one about Snape - I cried so much for him, it was ridiculous. And then for Harry, and again for Neville and his heroic act (I loved that he and Luna became revolutionaries!)

I hope that Rowling writes - like she's hinted she will - an encyclopedia of the wizarding world - maybe that will give us a more satisfying epilogue.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Howdy Kara,
Yes, those were pretty much the issues I had - and the reactions. God, I did snivel over the deaths and heroism. I was talking with my friend Lisette this week and she said that Alan Rickman must have been rubbing his hands with glee and cheering at what happens with Snape.

As I said, poor, flawed Snape.

Rob said...

My daughter (who is an HP obsessive) tells me that on MuggleNet (I don't know, go and find it yourself!) there is a Q&A with Joanne Rowling concerning the sdetail of how the characters turn out (e.g. what does Hermione do for a living?).

Just so you know. She's told me most of what's on it, and if you're a fan it's quite interesting.