Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: parting is such sweet sorrow

It's been a few hours since I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the 7th and final book in the Harry Potter series, and it still feels like several frisky Snitches are fluttering around my insides. I am happy, heartbroken, angry, awed, and frustrated... although the latter is mainly because I can't fully vent my feelings yet, seeing as how I don't know anyone else who's done reading the book (hurry up people!), and I don't want to risk giving away anything.

That being said, this review will not contain any spoilers, because I certainly wouldn't dream of ruining the reading experience for anyone. Book 7 is easily the most gripping of the series, not just because events spiral dizzyingly towards the inevitable final showdown between The Boy Who Lived and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, but also because readers-- who already expect some key characters to kick the bucket-- are kept on the edge of their seats by the mortal peril present in almost each chapter. Mercifully, J.K. Rowling doesn't waste as many pages with seemingly irrelevant details as she did with Book 5 (still the most dismal of the lot), and she manages to pack plenty of action, drama, and pertinent dialogue in this ultimate installment. I'm still not a fan of her somewhat unrefined writing style (particularly her penchant for using annoying ALL CAPS), but that she succeeded in getting my heart racing and making me laugh AND cry more than once throughout the book is proof of how much I liked Deathly Hallows.

But I have to get this off my chest: I was upset (in the case of one, enraged) with Rowling's choice of characters who get killed, and the way their deaths are depicted. I felt more detail is called for, especially owing to how cruelly abrupt their fictional lives are snuffed out, and after the significant roles they played in the series. I can't recall getting this worked up over any literary character's demise before-- I suppose I'm just really emotionally attached to Rowling's lovable, larger-than-life creations... and I'm sure I'm not alone in my sentiments (to hell with critics who dismiss the HP phenomenon as cultural infantilization-- that it can turn even the most jaded adult into a wide-eyed kid is a joyous achievement, not something to be derided).

Unlike the disappointing 13th volume in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Deathly Hallows provides closure and brings the seven-year saga of Harry Potter to a graceful and satisfying conclusion. While it is hard to say goodbye to the wizarding world of Harry Potter, a world that has captured the imaginations and hearts of millions of Muggles across the globe, there is a sense of serenity with which I accept that this is the end. It's difficult to explain (especially with these Snitches playing pinball inside me), so allow me to borrow some words from fellow Potter fan Stephen King, who put it beautifully:

" guess is that large numbers of readers will not be satisfied even if Harry survives (I'm betting he will) and Lord Voldemort is vanquished (I'm betting on this, too, although evil is never vanquished for long).... There is that sadness, that inevitable parting from characters who have been loved deeply by many. The Internet blog sites will be full of this was bad and that was wrong, but it's going to boil down to something that many will feel and few will come right out and state: No ending can be right, because it shouldn't be over at all. The magic is not supposed to go away.

"But there's comfort. There are always more good stories, and now and then there are great stories. They come along if you wait for them. And here's something I believe in my heart: No story can be great without closure. There must be closure, because it's the human condition."

I will miss Hogwarts, I will miss the Burrow, I will miss Quidditch,
I will miss Harry and his friends, and I will miss the magic they brought into my life. But I'm glad their story got the closure it so greatly deserves.


At Monday, July 23, 2007, Blogger Jen said...

I'm done, I'm done! Let's talk about it later over ym! I need to debrief the book with someone soon otherwise I'll explode :)


Post a Comment

<< Home