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here be spoilers

What I liked and disliked about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


The epilogue. Good God, the epilogue. It literally read like fanfic. It didn't even tell us anything interesting about the characters, apart from the fact that they all get married at an early age to their teenage sweethearts. Which is really more depressing than interesting. I did find myself getting surprisingly moved when it was revealed that Harry (middle)named mini-Albus after Snape and telling the kid that he was named after the bravest man Harry ever knew. But everything else was preposterous.

The fact that my long-cherished theory (well, cherished ever since Dumbledore revealed that Neville was born at the same time as Harry) that Neville would turn out to be the real hero, Voldemort's real nemesis, turned out not to be true. Presumably the only point of that revelation was to say that prophecies only mean what we decide they mean blah blah blah. But it seems like an unfair red herring.

Tonks and Lupin getting married, both continuing their annoying moping from the previous book, Lupin being a bit of a wanker, both of them getting killed. Everything to do with the pair of them, basically. Although their baby sounded rather cute. Actually, as I said to daegaer last week, I was really expecting to discover that Lupin/Sirius was canon. Considering JKR is known to be pretty liberal, I'm surprised at how utterly conservative the gender/sexual politics of the books is.

The poor plotting. Seriously, all that Hallows/Horcrux stuff was totally unnecessarily convoluted. As was Dumbledore's slightly dodgy explanation of the Voldemort/Harry dynamic in that ridiculous heaven scene, which also sucked, by the way.


Neville! I've always loved Neville, the eternal underdog, and as I said above I really hoped he'd turn out to be the real hero. I remember reading the big Ministry battle scene at the end of Order of the Phoenix, in which the previously rather hapless Neville displays great bravery, and thinking "if you kill Neville, JK Rowling, I won't read another word". And he did come into his own in this book. I loved that he was leading the Hogwarts rebellion, that he was defiant right to the end, and I got all tearful when he produced the deus ex machina sword from the Sorting Hat and chopped off Nagini's head. Hurrah for Neville! He deserved to end up as Minister rather than a Hogwarts herbology teacher.

The death of Hedwig! It totally took me by surprise and was really sad. Maybe it's just because Hedwig reminds me of Ju Ju, but the image of Hedwig lying "like a toy" on the bottom of her cage made me tear up.

Dudley's farewell to Harry. Also, the later revelation that Petunia wanted to go to Hogwarts too, which was rather sad.

The return of Percy, and his final scene with Fred.

The death of Dobby. Like, it seems, a lot of others, I was surprised by how moved I was by his death, because I always found him really annoying. But there you go. I cried. I also really liked the rehabilitation of Kreacher, also vaguely to my own surprise.

Draco not being able to bring himself to give away our heroes identities. He probably thought if he ever had Harry and Co at his mercy, he'd revel in it, but when it came down to it, he couldn't do it.

The Malfoy parents turning out to care more about their son than about power and evil.

The scenes in the Ministry. Genuinely thrilling.

The death of poor little Colin Creevey. Sniff.

Snape's memories. I knew he'd turn out to be good, but the revelations were quite well done, and I did feel awfully sorry for Snape. And his outrage at the realisation that Dumbledore (who really is a bit of a prick, isn't he? As is James Potter, but we've known that for a while) was using Harry was great. Poor old Snape.

The final battle - Rowling seems to have finally learned how to write action scenes, because the ones in this book, unlike the earlier ones, were genuinely exciting and skillfully done.

All in all, I would have liked it much more if it had ended before that godawful epilogue. And it was a bit messy. Perhaps I'm surprised that after all this, having been reading the books since the publication of Chamber of Secrets, I feel quite "oh well" about the whole saga drawing to a close. When Buffy ended I remember feeling genuinely quite bereft, realising that this was it (or so we thought at the time), now we know how it ends, and we'll never find out what happens next to the characters. But I feel much more apathetic about Harry and his chums.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 23rd, 2007 10:45 am (UTC)
My one abiding wish for this book was that Neville would survive. I had a pretty good idea that Snape wouldn't, but I was so pleased about Neville, who is adorable.

Jul. 23rd, 2007 10:48 am (UTC)
I cried when I read the obituary for Dumbledore - the tone just read so right. Hedwig and Dobby also made me terribly sad, as did the revelation that Snape loved Lily out of long, long friendship rather than thwarted teenage desire (honestly, do all the wizarding world imprint on someone in their teens? It was rather refreshing to find two people that actually simply liked each other as people).
Jul. 23rd, 2007 04:43 pm (UTC)
Love Neville! Also love Luna! Hate the epilogue! Went to pieces when Hedwig died, trapped in her cage. If they only would have let her fly, she might have survived. *cries* And poor Dobby! And poor Colin, who, for some reason, I put in the same category as Hedwig and Dobby! And poor Fred, but moreover, poor George, with no Fred! *criesmore*

Jul. 23rd, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
Dumbledore is a massive prick, dude. Him and his fucking ideals, and then Harry was supposed to absolve him at the end. I would have told him to sit and spin.
Jul. 23rd, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC)
I think Hedwig's death moved me more because in essence the two were 'fighting' before she died, and he didn't get a chance to make up with her.

Also everyone loves Neville, including me. That's character development I'm interested in.
And Luna too, so wonderfully dotty.

Poor Fred & George. Though really the two were so interchangeable that I wasn't surprised she killed one off.

I found the whole Hallows/Horcrux dichotomy overly convoluted and just...badly done. Though I quite liked getting Dumbledore's pre-history. It wasn't perfect, but it fleshed him out as a character.

And poor. poor Snape! He's the one I feel the most sorry for.
Jul. 24th, 2007 01:27 am (UTC)
I thought the action scenes were better too - some people have said she wrote them with the film in mind, but if that's what it takes to make them better then that's fine with me! I think that it would be very educational to see an action scene on film based on one you wrote, especially if you weren't confident of writing action in the first place.
Jul. 25th, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC)
Neville for Minister? I was sooo disappointed that Hermione wasn't Minister in the epilogue (which was, as you said, completely crap). It would have been nice to know what jobs the others were doing too - Neville clearly would be some kind of herbology genius, but Ron? And Harry used to want to be an Auror, which seems to be the magical equivalent of joining the police/SAS - wonder how that turned out.

I find it entertaining the extent to which adult life in HP books is dominated by civil servants. Nearly everyone works for the Ministry. There are a few other career options - shopkeeping, wand-making, bar-keeping, teacher, bus-driver, bank employee, professional sportsperson - but most of the important adults either work for the Ministry or are full-time Evillers (I don't remember Lucius or Narcissa Malfoy having a job). Or am I forgetting some very obvious ones?
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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