The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Harry Potter and the Final Book

I've finished it at last. What can I say, I'm a slow reader and this has been a busy week.

I'm going to put my spoilerific points in comments, so as not to ruin things for anyone who hasn't finished yet. I'm not going to be like the complete stranger who came up to me in a cafe where I was reading The Deathly Hallows, the day after it came out, and said "oh, yeah, someone dies in the end." Luckily for him those who have been following the Potter books all know that someone would have to die at the end of this one, so it's no spoiler really. But what is with someone who acts like that, thinking they are spoiling things for a person they've never seen before or will again? Maybe it was some kind of bizarre flirting.

Anyhoo I will say in this post that I was disappointed by the final book. It was a lot lot longer than it needed to be, and the attentions of an editor were not evident. There was a lot of clunky writing that irritated me - for the first time reading a Rowling book I found myself skimming passages. I also think that some of the plot options she took were a bit too easy, too obvious, or, conversely, didn't fully make sense. For an example of the latter - there's a lot of Apparating about the place in this book, but I don't recall Harry learning to Apparate in the previous books. (Readers correct me here if I'm wrong).

Ok, time to restrain myself and pour it out in comments. And here are a few other reviews from my regular blog haunts (I haven't read them yet but will once I've finished my initial thoughts in the comment thread here):

- Maia's review at Capitalism Bad

- Mr Stupid's thoughts on where to now, and also the most recent flick

- my last thread on this topic, prior to any reading

- Morthos rips in at Brain Stab
- Amanda Marcotte writes a lengthy and very interesting review at Pandagon. (Added 29th Jul. 2007)
Feel free to add your review links in comments.
(Pic Via)

1 comment:

Span said...

Hookay, here we go.

1. What was with all that faffing around apparating about the place for months? I mean sure, maybe they had to do that for the plot, but did I have to read it in almost real time?

2. Is it just me or is Rowling writing repetitive set pieces - in particular at the end of the book we have Dumbledore, kind-of ressurected in a manner that made no sense, to do the now too familiar long explanatory passage. And to think I was wondering who she would get to do that after killing him off last time. I really should have known that she would simply kill Harry, then have he and Dumbledore have the conversation in the afterlife, then bring Harry back to life. Sheesh.

3. Harry is a horcrux, despite the fact that Voldemort didn't actively set out to create one, although in the previous book Dumbledore told Harry that he believed Voldemort would create his final, seventh, horcrux deliberately when he killed Harry. And of course Harry is the only horcrux that doesn't need to be destroyed in a manner that mangles him all up. Bit too convenient that.

4. The epilogue was a nice idea but badly executed. It was basically just telling us that HG/RW shippers were right, as were those plugging for Harry and Ginny, and they all breed. It didn't need such a confusing passage (lots of children called by names of other previous characters) and it gave you no sense of Harry, Hermione, Ron or Ginny as adults who must surely have evolved somewhat in 19 years.

5. My favourite bit was the stuff around Snape's memories. He is such a good character and it was great to see him develop into it, even if it was a bit pat the way Rowling did it with the Pensieve.

OK, I'm going to stop now and do something else before my disappointment becomes my defining characteristic.