Friday, May 28, 2010

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Nine years and seven books later, I have finally (!!) finished with the Harry Potter series. The first couple books hooked me, and there was enough good stuff in the rest of the books to keep me interested, so I kept plugging along. Here, at the top of the Harry Potter summit, looking back, it was a good trip, but I'm damn glad it is over.

This one took me by how terribly boring a huge portion of it was. It seemed to me that Harry and company had a clear mission ahead of them by the end of The Half Blood Prince, but it took ages, nearly half the book for anything to happen in this one. Fun, look how weird the Dursleys are! Wow, a wizard wedding! (Which seemed very Christian). Then, finally, yippee! A very standard quest, complete with a power-sword, and evil talismans. At one point, when I was tallying up how many more horcruxes were left to destroy, and how many more pages I had to read, I was unsure I would be able to get through this book.

Luckily, things do eventually pick, up, but the first 300 pages of this book could have benefited from massive editing. When the ball does get rolling, the book is quite good. I was annoyed at how Harry, Ron and Hermoine were always on the run, so when they finally started being more proactive, I was relieved. This book had some great, memorable moments. The battle of Hogwarts was great, and I thought Snape's pensieve memory was quite interesting and put a good cap on one of my favorite characters in the series. As far as series ending books go, I thought Rowling did a good,not great, job putting this one to bed. It was satisfying.

I will point out a few gripes I had though. So, WARNING! SEVERE SPOILERS AHEAD!!

First off, when Harry "dies" and meets Dumbledore in Kings Cross, it really killed the flow for me. The book had been cracking along so nicely for a good stretch, then Rowling slowed everything down with a chapter that is essentially one long info-dump, where she ties up all the loose ends in the series...All the while Voldemort is still alive, and the fate of the wizarding world hangs in the balance. I hated this disruption of flow and it sullied my enjoyment of the final scenes.

My other big gripe is the "19 Years Later" epilogue. It was completely unnecessary. I'd much rather wonder what happend to Harry and his pals then have it be laid right out in front of me. This chapter felt way too nice. Harry marries Ginny, Ron marries Hermoine, and they name their little wizard kids this and that...CUTE! Really? For real? That is such an incredibly boring ending. I just wish Rowling had left things where they were and let the reader contemplate what happened next. Instead: "And they all lived happily ever after!" is what you get.

I'm sure there are a lot of super fans out there who are sad this series is over, but I'm kinda glad. It was fun while it lasted, but it feels good to have this in the rear-view mirror. Despite some golden moments, this book suffered from a lack of editing, which caused it to drag for long periods of time. Of course if you've made it this far and only have the seventh book to read, power through it. You wont be too disappointed.

Grade: C

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