Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J.K. Rowling

The first bit doesn't have spoilers, but I don't know how to talk about this book without spoilers, so if you haven't read it, be warned.

I read the final Harry Potter within 24 hours of it's release. We were traveling, so I just spent the entire time at the airport and on the airplane completely ignoring my husband and reading the book. Then I spent a week begging my husband to finish it so we could talk about it. Then we talked about it for a few weeks. I wanted to re-read it, but I needed to give myself time to process the things we learned (particularly about Dumbledore) before I re-read it. Then, the furor wore off and I got distracted with other things. A few weeks ago, I saw that our library had it on tape and decided to give it a listen.

If you haven't listened to Jim Dale's audio versions of Harry Potter, you really are missing out. Previously I had listened to 1-5 on tape, and thoroughly enjoyed them. He's amazing and he even won a Grammy for book 7.

So, I know all of this Harry Potter stuff is old news, but I thought I would post some of my thoughts from the last book, which I enjoyed a lot more the second time. I would love to hear other's thoughts...

There are some SPOILERS from here on out. So, stop now if you don't want to know!

First of all, I am still not convinced that Snape was a good guy. Before it came out my in-laws and I pow-wowed (we were at a family reunion when it came out) and made a bunch of predictions. I said that I thought Snape was mostly out for himself. He wasn't good or bad per say, he was simply doing what was best for Snape. Even after the dramatic chapter near the end (which is one of my favorite chapters in the series), I still am not convinced that Snape helped Harry and the Order out of the goodness of his heart. I think he did it to relieve his guilt and in an effort to prove his love. Harry forgave him and blah blah blah, but it all still seemed really self-serving to me.

I thought that Hedwig's death was the saddest of all. I more or less guessed everyone else who would die (not Dobby because I didn't even think of him, but it made sense), but Hedwig was a complete surprise. I know Hedwig was "just" an owl, but she really did represent the wizarding world, and the beginning of Harry's new life, and lots of good. I didn't see it coming at all and it broke my heart. I also thought Tonks, Lupin and Fred's deaths were unnecessary. I figured if Tonks or Lupin died the other would too, but it seemed cruel to leave a baby behind.

I was afraid that Arthur Weasely was the spy in the Order. Right after the death eaters surprise the Order by appearing at the relocation, the members begin questioning each other to make sure they aren't impostors. Arthur wouldn't let Kingsley ask him because he wanted to check on George (understandably), but no one ever did check on him later (at least that we saw). I was SO relieved when he wasn't the impostor.

Did Kreacher's transformation bother anyone else? I can see him being nicer and happier after getting his secret off his chest and Harry being nicer to him. But to go from barely functioning to a shiny house and cooking large meals every day seemed a bit extreme. However, I was glad that he was redeemed. I always kind of felt bad for him - he seemed to have a particularly hard life.

Maybe because I was listening to it (I can usually ignore it when I read), but it seamed like there was more swearing in this book. I especially didn't appreciated Ron's use of "effin." Not technically a bad word, but still. I also hated that Mrs. Weasely swore at the end. I know it Bella had it coming, and I know that in real life people curse, but I don't like swearing, and I had really appreciated that throughout the books people didn't swear.

Finally, to end on a lighter note, this is how my brother-in-law found out that Harry lived. His nanny came down to breakfast and relayed a phone conversation she had with a friend. "So and so asked, is it bad that I thank Heavenly Father every night that Harry Potter lived?"

4 out of 5 stars (but a necessary read for fans of the series!)


Chain Reader said...

I'm going to have to reread this someday, because my memory is so hazy. Jim Dale is awesome! I think he also reads Peter and the Starcatchers. I have always had a soft spot for Snape, but he's certainly not perfect--always into dark things. But I think his love for Lily was true, and that's what prompted him to help Harry. But I honestly can't remember the details of that whole part. I just remember when Snape wanted to look into Harry's eyes right before he died because they were Lily's eyes, and I was very moved by that.

KT said...

I was surprised by how much more I liked this one the second time. I enjoyed it the first time, but I think I was reading more for the sake of getting it over (and seeing who dies!) than to enjoy it.

It actually took me a while to figure out why Snape wanted to look in Harry's eyes, but when I did I thought it was sweet. He was always such a twit though.