Thursday, November 10, 2011

Harry Thicky Potter Thicky

Yes, that's right, I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and now I have written you a rambly post about it.

I got through about 300 pages on the first night I picked it up; you can't say it's not engaging. A little breakfast reading and another dedicated evening and I was done.

As I think I mentioned before, I stopped reading the books partway through Order of the Phoenix. I have a vague idea that I might have gone back and finished that one later (I know I own it), but I've still never read Half Blood Prince. I was a little confused in the first couple of chapters of Deathly Hallows, trying to remember who was who (I really did not remember that Tonks was Bellatrix's niece; and it took a while to place Bill) but overall I had remarkably little trouble getting back into the world of the books.

So Harry Potter's kind of a moron, right? That was mostly my feeling through the on-the-run part of the book. Well, ok, through most of the book. I adore Hermione and I felt bad that she was stuck with those two bozos for so long -- I certainly wouldn't want to trust them with my safety. And how is it possible that they still had the whole "We're coming with you argument" multiple times in this book?! I thought we learned the lesson about sticking together in book 1! And book 2! &c... &c... I don't know how Harry expects to get anything done without them, really; especially without Hermione.

If I can't be Hermione, I want to be Emma Watson.
This made me groan aloud:
Harry stepped out from under the Cloak and climbed up onto Ravenclaw's plinth to read them. "Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure." "Which makes you pretty skint, witless," said a cackling voice.
It's always satisfying when a character in the text says what you're thinking, even if the character is eeeevil. I mean, Ron tells Harry that saying "Voldemort" summons the Snatchers: Harry says "Voldemort". Harry "hears" Voldemort thinking about how he won't even be able to set foot in Hogsmede without raising the alarm: so Harry takes Ron and Hermione to Hogsmede without apparently even thinking about the dangers. I mean, he basically presents it to them as "we'll go to Hogsmede and then figure out how to get into the castle," as if Hogsmede is sure to be a safe place. Dur.

All that aside, Harry's confrontation with Voldemort is perfection. The reappearance of Exposition-Dumbledore would have been annoying, but I was thoroughly sold by then. I started tearing up around page 700, namely:
Harry looked at his mother. "Stay close to me," he said quietly.

Once Harry realizes what he has to do -- once he knows how his meeting with Voldemort must end -- what can I even say? It's just perfect: so satisfying.

A few assorted character thoughts: It's interesting how Rowling makes Dumbledore and James Potter rather unlikable by the end. Well, "unlikable" is too strong, but she gives them real, concrete sins. Maybe it's because I haven't read Half-Blood Prince, but Snape never quite sat right with me. His motivation of being soooo in love with Lily from childhood just seemed pathetic rather than sympathetic. I had heard about the Molly Weasley vs Bellatrix Lestrange duel, but found it a little underwhelming in practice; although I liked -- nay, loved -- when the professors (especially McGonagall) got to spring into action and show what they were worth. I always thought McGonagall was a tough nut. I remember finding the earlier house elf plots pretty stupid but I thought it was all justified by the house elf business (both Kreacher and Dobby) in this book. I liked that Voldemort's arrogance would lead him to think he'd discovered a totally new place in Hogwarts, when in fact it wasn't a terribly unknown place at all.

Finally, I heart Neville Longbottom. What. A. Badass. He might have one of the best character arcs over the series, no? He starts out as a total nerd, the sort of kid a hero like Harry would pity if he noticed him at all, but as you go you find out what an awesome dude he is, and that he has a family/ancestry as badass as Harry's or Ron's. And it's not so much because he changes all that much -- it's just that you (and Harry) realize who he is and what he can do. Luna's a great character that way too. They start out as oddballs who are easily dismissed, and they don't get to be part of the Inner Circle, but they turn out to be formidable and indispensable.

Sadly, my roommate doesn't have Half-Blood Prince on her shelf, so I'll have to wait before I'm able to claim that I've finished the series, but I'm so glad I read this.


  1. *looks dubious* I GUESS if you're REALLY careful, you can borrow my copy of HBP.

    Also OMG THIS BOOK. I remember after it came out, there was some article like "Did HP7 Live Up to the Hype" and everyone was like "...uh, that was never a question." Of COURSE it did. Of COURSE it was awesome and amazing and I love eeeeeeeet.

    Let's see...I thought Kreacher's storyline was fantastic. Fred's death killed me. McGonagall leading the desks in a charge, plus Prof Sprout muttering ("Tentacula. Devil's Snare. And Snargaluff pods...yes, I'd like to see the Death Eaters fighting those.") — both of which were SADLY left out of the movie — and the Malfoys. THE MALFOYS. Not totally evil. The movie screwed their storyline over, btw. But Narcissa and Lucius deciding not to side with Voldemort because their highest priority is to their son. Love love love.

    Omg words cannot express. This one is so good.

  2. I also heart Neville Longbottom and will probably marry him one day, once I kill off my real-life husband and figure out a way into FictionLand. Definitely the best story arc of the series as it was written.

    I also heart Snape, albeit mostly Snape from fanfiction, and I think he got screwed over in book 7.

    And I love that she actually made Dumbledore more human in this book and fleshed out his foibles and downfalls, but I also hate the way Dumbledore treated Snape in this book. Ummm...I have a long rant about it in case you're bored and have nothing else to read:

  3. Emily's entry's good and you should read it. ALSO, JKR wrote McGonagall backstory for Pottermore, and it's on the Harry Potter wiki entry. So this is all author-sanctioned and accurate:

  4. I need to be doing dissertation work and not writing/reading/thinking about Harry Potter -- but it is SO HARD so I will be back to this. :)

  5. I so so so started crying at the same point as you! I just couldn't... it was so... it's just traumatic, ok?! Obviously I think you should read the Half Blood Prince BUT I don't think it's necessarily indispensable storywise- I was duped into watching the film a while ago, and it alarmed me how little of overall importance happened. But still, definitely read it!

    Also, yes Neville and Luna! And, as unsatisfying as the epilogue is, I love that Neville's a teacher at Hogwarts! It seems like a thing he should be doing since he's so awesome :)

  6. I didn't know that JKR wrote more McGonagall backstory. Off to check it out now since Pottermore is shut down to those who weren't beta-ing.