Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

It's a terrible thing having to lie to your own daughter about a book:
According to Molly we're reading the whole thing together. But it's a difficult book to just read a couple of chapters per night and it's very, very easy to just sit and read chapter after chapter. Which I did.
Hence the lying. "No darling, of course I'm not reading ahead. Absolutely not."
Bad me.
Finished it in the early hours of Monday morning.
Bad, bad me.

It's practically the perfect ending to the whole series; but obviously I'm not going to tell you why, that would just be spoiling it after all.

However, there are some spoilers in the bit that follows, including the complete end to the previous book, so just skip it completely if you don't want to know.

This Potter, inevitably and justifiably so, is the darkest book of the series. It had to be; after all, at the end of the Half Blood Prince the magical world was in chaos, Voldemort was nearly triumphant and the Order of the Phoenix was in ruins, desperate and surrounded by their dead. Dumbledore was dead, Snape had betrayed them and Harry had realised that his final school year would be spent hunting down the Horcruxes he needed to destroy Voldemort.

A desperate and dark time. And Rowling starts Deathly Hallows as she ended half Blood Prince. It's a grim, depressing and very dark storyline.
Harry and his friends are isolated and on the run with very little hope in their lives for a large part of the book. Rowling's certainly not been afraid to take her world into a very dark place. Death is everywhere, starting in the first chapter and ever present after that. Such is the strength of Rowling's writing that the sense of dread foreboding is everpresent and it's obvious that no-one is safe here.

Possibly because she had so much to do, so much plot to cover and so many questions to be answered, Deathly Hallows is a much more linear and directed book than the previous volumes. Or perhaps she just took some advice from a good editor this time.
Either way, the end result is a long book with an incredibly fast pace, linear flow to the storytelling and a thankful lack of those annoyingly distracting subplots Rowling seemed to throw in at will in previous books.
By the end of the book pretty much every question has been answered, every dangling plot thread resolved.

I know you could throw the criticism that every plot thread is resolved so comfortably and nicely, with a whole heap of redemption and love seeming to fill every character's lives, but that's because you're too cynical about these things.

I thought the ending was a treat. It will horrify some, annoy others. But I loved it. And although I'll have to tread very carefully with the content and the high mortality rate when I'm reading it to Molly, I reckon she's going to love it as well.
I closed the book, soppy, sentimental tears in my eyes and then smiled long and wide. A great ending.

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