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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Official Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Discussion and Spoiler Thread (Page 8)

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Author Topic: The Official Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Discussion and Spoiler Thread
Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by PSI Teleport:
I don't think he would have had to choose whether or not he wanted to "go back" if he hadn't "gone" in the first place.

Actually, I did not get the impression that his choice was to go back or not...I got the impression that it was to go ON or not. In this case, I think it's more than a half full/half empty distinction. He was alive, but in a position to choose to end it all right then or to stay and fight. Or maybe I'm reading it weird. [Smile]
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Amilia
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quote:
Originally posted by beverly

But the more I think of it, the more I like the way she tells the story. His triumph was in becoming the sort of person Dumbledore was hoping, trying for. But Harry chose it, in spite of the many, many times he was tempted and almost chose otherwise. He chose to be truly, and resoundingly GOOD. And in that choice, he dispelled evil, it had no power over him, and that protection even spread to those he loved. Beautiful, just beautiful!

My favorite HP theory is the alchemy theory. I personally can't explain it very well, so I would like to quote a few paragraphs from an essay written just before HBP came out by a HP friend (Elanor on the HP Lexicon forum).

quote:
There is not only one definition of alchemy but several. First, alchemists were searching for the Philosopher’s Stone, a transformational object used to transform base metals into silver and gold and also to provide universal medical cure for illnesses, “the Elixir of Life,” made thanks to the stone. But alchemy didn’t consist of laboratory work alone. It was also a personal quest as the Alchemists’ main aim was the ennoblement of the soul, symbolized by the ennoblement of the matter.

So, the Philosopher’s stone is not only an object but also the symbol of the journey the alchemist made to obtain it. This journey was the true reward because it gave him knowledge (he was supposed to have understood the mysteries of Nature), hence wisdom, and made him a better human being. This is what the alchemists called “the philosophical gold”: their own spiritual transformation was the true gold sought, the real Philosopher’s Stone. The symbol of this alchemical journey can be very rich when applied to Harry’s, and to other characters’, transformation in the books.

This last book was the red book, the gold book, the book where Harry's spiritual transformation was complete.
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Nathan2006
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I've skipped a bunch of posts, and now I have to go to bed (It's way too late as it is), so I'll be lazy.

Did any of you watch Rowling's interviews on the 'Today Show'?

She named the character she 'saved', and the two unexpected deaths.

There's also going to be a big interview on 'Dateline' this coming Sunday night. I'm pretty sure somebody's posted all of this already. But, oh well. I'd rather have it posted twice, than risk not posting it at all.

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Nathan2006:
I've skipped a bunch of posts, and now I have to go to bed (It's way too late as it is), so I'll be lazy.

Did any of you watch Rowling's interviews on the 'Today Show'?

She named the character she 'saved', and the two unexpected deaths.

There's also going to be a big interview on 'Dateline' this coming Sunday night. I'm pretty sure somebody's posted all of this already. But, oh well. I'd rather have it posted twice, than risk not posting it at all.

Yeah, I watched it. I had already figured out who the 2 additional deaths were, although not the one she'd saved because she saved that person in a previous book. After watching the interview, I thought that in all 3 cases she should have stuck to the outline. [Smile]
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pooka
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Heh heh, spacepook is reading it now, and just read that Snape is the new headmaster.

[/Do Not Want!]

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beverly
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Hey now. What's with the lack of info? This is a spoiler thread, after all!

Tell me straight out, who wasn't she gonna kill and who was she gonna kill originally?

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by beverly:
Hey now. What's with the lack of info? This is a spoiler thread, after all!

Tell me straight out, who wasn't she gonna kill and who was she gonna kill originally?

If you don't want to know who Rowling was going to kill/not going to kill, stop reading. [Smile] (Just in case)

...
...
...

She was going to kill Arthur Weasley back in book 5. She wasn't planning to kill Lupin and Tonks. Personally, after reading how Snape died especially, I find it a bit unrealistic that Arthur didn't die in book 5.

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beverly
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Oh wow! The saving was from a previous book!
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Nathan2006
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quote:
Originally posted by beverly:
Hey now. What's with the lack of info? This is a spoiler thread, after all!

Tell me straight out, who wasn't she gonna kill and who was she gonna kill originally?

Hehe.

I just wanted to hear people beg for it. <Evil laugh>

quote:
Originally Posted by Christine:
She was going to kill Arthur Weasley back in book 5. She wasn't planning to kill Lupin and Tonks.

Gee thanks, Christine. Thunder stealer!
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Uprooted
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First of all, thank you Hatrack for allowing me to finish reading the book spoiler free!

I've finally read through this whole thread. I don't want to duplicate a lot of previous discussion--you have already covered most of my thoughts.

However, many of you early on said the long scenes in the woods were too long. I thought precisely the opposite. I loved that they were just stumped and didn't know what to do to fulfill the mission they'd committed themselves to. That is so like life: confusing, frustrating, often boring and uncomfortable. I was an LDS missionary, and I sure had plenty of "I know I'm supposed to be doing something really important but I just am not sure how" moments.

I loved that the Horcrux that was torturing Ron contained his doubts in the form of Harry and Hermione. Self-doubt is one of the hugest of obstacles to overcome. I loved that they were getting on each others' nerves. Sure, it was hard to read, but it was real to me. (At one point I sent a HARRY IS SUCH AN IDIOT! email to a friend of mine when I couldn't stand his obsession to go after the hallows when Ron and Hermione were obviously right.)

Oh, and JKR wrote "sycophantically" again (as in "Ron said, sycophantically"). I can't remember if it was GoF or OotP, but she used that adverb once before and it leaped off the page and made me roll my eyes the first time. When I saw it again in this book, I just thought, "oh, please, no." /nitpick

Overall, I thought it was a great end to a great series.

[ July 29, 2007, 08:55 AM: Message edited by: Uprooted ]

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mr_porteiro_head
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What's wrong with the word 'sycophantically'?
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pooka
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If you have to ask, I can't explain it to you.
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mr_porteiro_head
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If you don't explain it to me, I have to ask.
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Uprooted
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quote:
"Good, good," said Umbridge, watching Ginny's struggles. "Well, it looks as though Hogwarts will shortly be a Weasley-free zone, doesn't it?"
Malfoy laughed loudly and sycophantically.

Hmm, how do I explain how bad that sounds to me? It's like it just leaps off the page and yells "I am a silly, made up adverb!" Part of it is that it's a violation of the "show, don't tell" school of writing--if you want to get across that Malfoy is acting like a sycophant, then work on describing the behavior to the reader, don't name it. The use of the word totally distracted me both times I read it.

Like I said, it's a nitpick. I can't tell a story nearly as well as JKR does.

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Uprooted
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I guess I really am a nitpicker, because I expected to google the word "sycophantically" and find a ton of hits making fun of her use of the word. I didn't. When I narrowed the search terms to sycophantically and Rowling, I was surprised that the two major types of comments that I found were: "Hooray for Rowling's refusal to dumb down her vocabulary for children!" or "You shouldn't use big words like 'sycophantically' in a book for children!" (I would definitely fall into the former camp if vocabulary alone were the issue here.)

Anyway, I did find a couple of reviews that included comments explaining more or less what I was trying to say:

quote:
The action scenes make "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" a page-turner, but the expository dialogue makes it a doorstop. Rowling's gotten better at writing action scenes, but her habit of using unnecessary adverbs is almost terminal. In a 30-page stretch, people say something earnestly, sycophantically, dogmatically, pedantically and cautiously. Screaming "Just say it!" won't work. Rowling loves adverbs as much as she loves ellipses and dashes and italics, and almost as much as she loves having two characters face off and fill each other in on the plot.
link
(I must to confess to some of the the same addictions--case in point, it's practically impossible for me to write w/o dashes, ellipses, and italics. Oh, and parentheses. And fragments.)

quote:
Ravenous fans and higher-than-ever stakes aside, the book has its flaws. Rowling still discounts the ability of her audience to read between the lines and leaves no subtlety to the imagination (to a righteously angry Hermione, “‘Yeah,’ said Ron sycophantically”);
link

Anyway, I'm not sure why that particular adverb rubbed me the wrong way above all the others. But it did.

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Christine
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Rowling does overuse adverbs. It is her greatest stylistic weakness and at times has made me cringe. She doesn't have enough confidence in her own dialogue and feels the need to qualify the manner of the speaking. Well-written dialogue speaks for itself most of the time and adverbs become redundant.
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TomDavidson
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That said, I don't mind most excessive adverb use. It's not like it makes the book appreciably longer to read or anything. *shrug*
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steven
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It never bugged me until OSC and later Stephen King complained about it. Now I notice it.
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Uprooted
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If it's a good story, and if the writing is decent, I generally won't notice most writing tics like that on a first read. I'm reading for story, and the words don't get in the way unless they get in the way. [Wink]

I don't remember whether I started being bugged by JKR's adverb overuse because I noticed them on my own, or, like steven, I read a review or comment on a forum that pointed it out.

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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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This reminds me of when I first read Book 6. The first time it said "surreptitiously," I had to look it up. Then I found the word being used several more times throughout the book, which startled me as I hadn't really known this obsession with that particular adverb to be in any previous books. When I read the book through the second time, my bookmark was a Post-It note that I tallied every time I saw the word "surreptitiously." I counted five.

In Book 7, there was only one time that adverb was used.

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Synesthesia
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I don't really care, but she says "indeed" a lot.
This could be because she's British.

I like the word surreptitiously.
Then there is osentatious to consider and various word from high school like assuage and commisserate and also enervate that are spiffy too.
Some of them are mispelled, but it's too early in the morning to spell correctly.

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steven
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It's never to earley to spel correctly.
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Christine
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"Breathlessly" is my least favorite word in the series. They all tend to lose their breath a lot....especially Hermione. [Smile]

I noticed the adverb usage before anyone pointed it out to me, although it annoyed me *more* after people started talking about it. The truth is that a good story can overcome so-so writing and Harry Potter is the most positive proof of that I've ever seen. The writing isn't bad -- bad writing will get in the way of a story -- but it's not good, either. In this case, better writing wouldn't have improved the story but I do think it would have improved the reader's experience reading the story. There are a number of times when I'm reading the books that I only experience events in my head rather than my heart. Good writing strikes an emotional chord when, for example, a boy's godfather and father figure dies. I never felt that death. I never felt we got enough of Harry's internal reactions to the things that happened to him. I often think this is why book 5 didn't work for people, because we saw his external reactions (anger) without enough of what was going on inside. Even though I like that book, it took a second read and my own head filling in a lot of the internal struggle in order for me to really get it.

She also didn't do a good job in the romance department. The "monster inside Harry's chest" thing in book 6 made me cringe to read. But that's what I mean about not really getting inside him to show us what's going on -- she used a childish metaphor to keep us at arm's length.

Edited to ad: On the other hand, there are times when she does a terrific job with the emotion and the experience of it all -- such as Harry marching to his death. That was her best bit of writing ever, IMHO.

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Christine
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oops double post
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Tatiana
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I never really noticed the use of adverbs. I guess it wasn't obvious enough for me to see it without having it pointed out. I get engrossed in the story when I'm reading, and only read each book once.

But I do feel the presence of the author in all the stories. We never forget that she is behind the scenes pulling all the strings, giving us hints sometimes, and teasing us with red herrings other times. I think that's my one complaint about the writing in the series. The very best books usually cause me to forget all about the author and just be totally lost in the story itself, which seems to exist outside the bounds of anyone's imagination, in some eternally true form. [Smile] I never could do this with the HP books.

That's why reading the history of middle earth disturbed me, I think. It showed the earlier (quite bad) versions of the LotR story and put the whole thing back into context in the author's imagination. While to me, it's realer than that, or something. [Smile]

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rollainm
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"I never felt that death. I never felt we got enough of Harry's internal reactions to the things that happened to him."

I'm not sure I could have tolerated any more of Harry's angst.

"Wizard Angst"

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calaban
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jk answers some questions
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Synesthesia
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I liked the monster in the chest thing and didn't think it was childish at all.
It seems like an accurate description to me.

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pooka
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The monster worked okay for me. I only notice the adverbs in the book on tape. I think when the adverb has been expressed in the reading, he should have artistic license to skip it.
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Blayne Bradley
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anyone notice or was it my copy only that was riddled with spelling mistakes?
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Nathan2006
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I never noticed; honestly, I skim over them most of the time. Just like said, exclaimed, screamed, yelled, whispered, asked, and answered.
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steven
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I think I actually noticed one spelling error. It was something like substituting "too" for "to", although that wasn't it exactly.
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by rollainm:
"I never felt that death. I never felt we got enough of Harry's internal reactions to the things that happened to him."

I'm not sure I could have tolerated any more of Harry's angst.

"Wizard Angst"

I think you completely missed my point. The angst was present because we didn't get enough of what was really going inside Harry's head. Oh, she told us all about how angry he was feeling -- that's the angst -- but she never filled in the picture properly. Giving us more of what was really going on inside Harry's head would have, ironically, created less angst because we would have felt the anger FOR HIM rather than watching him shoot off at the mouth.

But I desist. [Smile]

There have been a ton of spelling errors in the last few books. I think they went to press to quickly and without a proper copy edit.

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steven
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You'd kind of think that, with the best-selling book in the WORLD....but whatever.

I get so sick of seeing misspellings on TV commercials and on permanent 50-foot-high signs, never mind in multi-million-selling novels.

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rollainm
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"You'd kind of think that, with the best-selling book in the WORLD....but whatever."

I thought that was the Bible.

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rollainm
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Christine,

Good point.

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steven
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You mean HP books 1-7 ISN'T the Bible? [Angst]
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Blayne Bradley
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Ive noticed not only spelling errors, but grammar errors, and also sentences that had been repeated.
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rollainm
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"and also sentences that had been repeated."

Where?

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Blayne Bradley
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various pages, im wanna give it a week though before rereading to find it.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Writing style is something I almost never consciously notice, for good nor ill. I am an uncultured swine.

------

quote:
Part of it is that it's a violation of the "show, don't tell" school of writing
Here's an interesting quote of OSC's about that school (he said something about it again recently, IIRC, but I can't find it. This is from his Uncle Orson's Writing Class):

quote:
Motivation is unshowable. It must be told. (In fact, most things must be told.) The advice "show don't tell" is applicable in only a few situations -- most times, most things, you tell-don't-show. I get so impatient with this idiotic advice that has been plaguing writers for generations.

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Uprooted
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Well, you got me there, Porter. I think he has a point when it comes to motivation. I certainly am not willing to take on OSC on how to be a good writer of fiction, having made only the lamest attempts myself!

But Draco laughing loudly at Umbridge's joke already illustrates sycophantic behavior. We know Draco well enough to know that he's kissing up to her, and we know Ron well enough to know that he's trying to get back in Hermione's good graces. I don't think the adverb was needed, at all, in either case.

This will give me some food for thought on "show, don't tell." I still think it has its uses, but I can't say I have a lot of experience to back that up. From what I recall of OSC's use of dialogue, he lets the conversation itself do the work, without getting in the way with a lot of extra descriptive words.

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TomDavidson
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That said, I think there are places where it would have benefited OSC's novels to show instead of choosing to tell. Then again, I like not always explicitly knowing the motivations of the characters, even given a first- or close third-person narrator.
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steven
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"I like not always explicitly knowing the motivations of the characters..."

Yeah. I figured I was secretly evil for feeling this way.

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Christine
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The more I write and the more I read, the more I have to disagree with oSC -- "show don't tell" is applicable very often. I agree to a point, because some take the advice overboard (some take any rule of thumb overboard), but when dealing with human emotions in particular the advice is apt. Showing rather than telling is a very good way of getting us to feel with the character rather than just knowing what the character feels.

And of course, what Rowling often does with her adverbs is show and then tell us what we already knew because she just showed it to us. (as Uprooted demonstrated)

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Valentine014
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I am going to stop reading this thread now. I accidentally gave away a major plot point to Xavier (Moody's death), who has not read it yet. I got so excited and forgot that it was in this book, not the last, that he died. I wanted to discuss a post from this thread and it really slipped my mind.

I just finished it last night at the end of a business trip and I am so excited to talk about it that I have found I can barely contain myself.

[Cry] I'm so ashamed.

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akhockey
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Has anybody seen the Dateline interview tonight? She tells what happens with Harry/Ron/Hermy/Luna/Neville that wasn't in the epilogue? Also found here:

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/19959323/

I don't recall anybody having posted the link yet, so I figured I might as well. Sorry if it's already been included!

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Christine
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I watched it last night with my husband.

At one point, she talks about the death of Fred and her choice of him over George. She says that she picked Fred because he was the ringleader and George was the meeker twin. My husband and I just kind of looked at one another and at the same time both said variations on, "She didn't put that in the books!" Did anyone else feel that there was any distinction at all between Fred and George? I always thought they were the same character?

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Scott R
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Which was the twin that actually went after the French girls at the wedding?
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TomDavidson
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Actually, Fred usually was the twin who'd say something, and George was usually the twin who'd agree.
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