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Author Topic: SPOILER ALERT--Deathly Hallows Discussion
J
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She Who Must Be Obeyed has started a spoiler-free Deathly-Hallows discussion. This clearly and ostentatiously marked thread is for those who have read the book or don't mind spoilers.

IF YOU MIND SPOILERS, STOP NOW.

I'll have more to say as the discussion progresses, but for now all I want to say is:

Christine--told you so ; )


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Rick Norwood
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I just spent a very pleasant two days reading Deathly Hallows -- few reading experiences can compare: Treasure Island, The Cat who Walked by Himself, The Butterfly that Stamped, Red Planet, Starship Troopers, The Caves of Steal, The Once and Future King.

I was confused by a mention of Griffendorf's sword at the end, but I assume this is a different sword than the one kept by the goblin. Question: Is it just me, or did you get the impression that goblins are modeled on Jews? If so, that would be a shame, in a book whose moral core is inclusiveness.

I assume the baby at the end is Voldemort's soul, which has never outgrown infantile self-centeredness.


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Christine
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Re: J -- "I told you so." -- Yeah, well, I still don't completely buy that part, actually.

Other than the chapter with Snape's far-fetched back-story, I thought the book was FANTASTIC!! What a roller coaster! still haven't quite let it all sink in. I loved Dumbledore's backstory, even though I didn't expect what was there. I knew she was working to make Dumbledore more human and less iconic (and J -- I told YOU that! ) But still -- wow!

The scene where Harry marched to his death was so powerful. I was pretty sure even then that he wouldn't die -- although I was nervous -- but it was still very, very well done.

I am a bit confused about how Voldemort using his blood saved him from that. The explanation didn't make sense in the first read. I'm going to reread it after I get a bit more sleep and see if it makes more sense then, but if anyone wants to help me out in the meantime...

This wasn't a kid's book. Every moment was real, frightening, and deadly. I laughed and cried and cheered and oohed and ahhed.

I do wish the epilogue was a bit fuller -- there really wasn't anything there that I didn't know. I mean, what did Harry Do wiht his life after that climax? How did the wizarding world react, mourn, and heal?

I don't know how they'll squeeze all this into a movie. Almost every page was totally necessary for the story to fill out right.

I was wrong about Neville....but in a way I'm glad. I rather liked him. I called Mad-Eye though. I just had a feeling about him. I didn't expect it to happen by chapter 5. When 2 people and poor Hedwig (what did that owl ever do to Rowling?) died by chapter 5 I was a bit shaken, to be honest.

Killing Fred was mean. It wasn't entirely unexpected -- I knew at least one Weasley ha to go -- but to kill one of the twins...I mean, she as good as killed George too. (Something else I would have liked to have seen. A few more sentences would have made that death more complete. Maybe even George at the celebration, hanging back a bit from the rest.)

Anyway, tomorrow I'm going to get it on audio CD so I can listen to it again.

[This message has been edited by Christine (edited July 22, 2007).]


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Christine
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Rick -- we must have simultaneously posted. I just want to say about the sword -- I understood that, although you have to put together a couple of things. The thing is that the goblin didn't really own the sword, however much he thought he did. That particular sword couldn't exchange hands that way. Remember, in the pensive, Dumbledore's portrait telling Snape that Harry would have to do something courageous to get the sword? To get the sword, you have to prove to be a true Gryffendor -- "Their daring nerve and chivalry set Gryffendors apart." The goblin didn't get the sword like that...he made a deal and then half backed out on it because he thought Harry would double cross him.

I think that somehow the magic of the hat was able to call that sword back when Neville needed it and had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he was in the right house -- however much people doubted in earlier books.


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J
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You know, at first, I thought that the whole Hallows thing was a deus ex machina. But then, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Rowling had been building towards them and referencing them the whole time. Dumbledore repeatedly referred to magic Voldemort didn't understand. Readers all assumed that it was merely "love"--like Voldemort does at the end--but it wasn't. It felt like a deus ex because it came up all of the sudden, but it wasn't really. It just came up all of the sudden from Harry's perspective. The Hallows had been part of the story, since Sorcerer's Stone, it's just that Harry didn't find out about them explicitly until the end.

I too was confused about the sword, but I like Christine's explanation.

There are two other things I didn't catch. I think Rowling said that the cats were important, and that someone would do magic (surprisingly) late in life. I couldn't identify either of those things

I have only one serious nit with the book--Harry, Ron, and Hermione had way too easy a time of it living rough for all those months. I know they were hungry, but they weren't hungry enough for my sense of realism.


I thought Snape's memories were a perfect way to fit the final pieces into the puzzle. I also very much appreciated Rowling's answer to the question "Why would Dumbldedore want Snape to kill him"--because only by being killed by someone who he had ordered to kill him could he deny Voldemort mastery of the Elder Wand. It's simple, but terribly clever.


To paraphrase Phineas Nigellus--say what you want about Rowling's writing, but you've got to admit, she's got style.

[This message has been edited by J (edited July 22, 2007).]


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Christine
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All right...I just reread the passage where Dumbledore explains why Harry lived and I think it makes a little more sense, although it basically meant that Harry couldn't die unless Voldemort did. I think if I would have understood that better, it would have made the next scene a bit less exciting, so maybe it's better that I didn't.

In the end, though, love did turn out to be very powerful. The fact that Harry decided, with purest intent, to die for the sake of his friends was enough to give them some protections against Voldemort. That he didn't end up dying was immaterial -- it was the love that did it. And Lily's love sacrifice protected Harry even to the end, when we realized Voldemort's mistake of taking Harry's blood.

As for Snape -- I'm getting used to it, I guess. I don't know. I'm still not happy that Dumbledore ordered Snape to kill him and I'm trying to decide if the fact that he was going to die anyway made it ok. She plays it off as a mercy killing (a proposal I never saw, despite the many explanations of why killing Dumbledore was all right), which is something that I am personally all right with, although she almost seems to downplay the seriousness of killing that she built up in book 6.

I, too, missed the person who was supposed to do magic late in life -- I was even disappointed. I had rather expected it to be Dudley and very early in the book and when that happened just kept waiting but it never happened. I guess that's the problem with reading reported teasers.


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franc li
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Well, she explained, as I got in my last post on the predictions thread, that remorse can heal the tears of killing. Harry died to save his friends. I think (and I can't cite text at the moment) he came back to give Voldemort a chance to experience remorse (which he didn't).

quote:
I know they were hungry, but they weren't hungry enough for my sense of realism.

Huh? Ron left half out of hunger. Dumbledore knew he would leave them.

I loved the Ron and Hermione interactions over all that. Folks have complained about it, but I thought it was great.

I had always been against Snape killing Dumbledore on his orders. The imminent death thing does move it closer toward being okay for me. You have:

(a) Dumbledore's imminent death as a consequence of his hasty attempt to resurrect Ariana

(b) Dumbledore marked for death at Malfoy's hand

(c) Snape bound to back Malfoy up under the Unbreakable vow

(d) Dumbledore does not want Malfoy to become a murderer, whereas he knows Snape would be repentant- Snape had offered to do "Anything" to help protect Potter

It's really very interesting. Someone joked about a "Potter's Shadow" but I think the story of Malfoy struggling against becoming a murderer in 6th year is pretty provoking. Was Snape working with him, trying to bring him back from that?


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J
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You forgot (e):

Dumbledore's death at Snape's hand was neccesary to deny Voldemort the Elder wand according to the original plan. The death was only part mercy killing--it was mostly an intentional sacrifice by Dumbledore to deny Voldemort the only weapon that would have (had Harry not become its master) worked against Harry's wand.


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Robert Nowall
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I can live with any spoilers---if the book is any good at all, I'll probably forget them as the climax is reached.

(I have seen copies---even supermarkets here are carrying it---but I think I can get a better deal (but maybe not the best) at Books-a-Million tomorrow. Besides, I have to buy Books Five and Six as well.)


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franc li
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Oh, I almost forgot. When Snape is appointed headmaster, I realized that might have been a worthy gambit. Double agent? Meh... Draco could have been that. That would be a bishop for a knight Double agent in charge of Hogwarts, now that is worth having.
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Christine
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Well, I've had 24 hours or so to let it sink in. I bought the audio version today and will probably reread it this week. Yeah...yeah...but things moved so quickly in the book it feels like could easily have missed something. Plus, I live Jim Dale's voice -- he is an AWESOME reader. My husband is very sweet to read aloud to me but it's just not quite the same.

Anyway, I think it would have been nice if a few more details were planted in earlier books. The elder wand....part of the deathly hollows...it all popped out of thin air, even though the items were planted long ago. There could have been something...A History of magic perhaps...to mention the elder wand and give us a hint of its importance. I think it would have been nice to learn some of the wand lore a bit sooner too, to give it a chance to digest a bit before we put it into full use.

It really was a good book. I've been nitpicking it for 24 hours but I don't want to lose sight of the fact that it was a thrill ride from start to finish and definitely the best of the bunch.

As to Snape...my biggest gripe about that at the moment has to do with the revelation and how it happened. I mean, why did Harry just take the vial and walk up to the pensive? He did not trust Snape then...had no reason in the world to. Snape always hated Harry, that much is clear. Snape hated a lot of people, really. I think he had more hate in his heart than love -- even if he could see fit to loving Lily Evans. Voldemort may have turned Snape against him by killing the woman he loved (Voldemort seems to have turned the Malfoys against him in a similar way...by threatening their family) but even after the history and the explanation it still feels like Snape was a hate filled man who loved the dark arts. Especially in light of Dumbledore's history, I can understand how there can be shades of gray, but it almost seems as if Snape was working for Dumbledore not out of loyalty to him or his cause but rather because he and his cause were the only real chance to take down Voldemort. Voldemort, meanwhile, was a unique villain. In the end, even Grindewald had more humanity. Of course, Grindewald didn't rip his soul into 8 horcruxes. (Yes, 8, in the end. I'm not sure if anyone else caught that.) Voldemort may have been human at one time but that was long ago and in forgetting what it is to be human and to love he was able to turn even some of the most avid dark supporters against him. Narcissa Malfoy, who examined Harry and played his game of pretense. She, too, helped Harry...but once again I ask was it to hep Dumbledore/Harry and their cause or to spite Voldemort, who would have her son killed? The Malfoys are evil but they are at least human.

I think I got sidetracked with all that. Anyway, Harry took the vial and with no real motivation that I could see, went to see what Snape's dying thoughts for him were. Those memories seemed to have carried an obliviate charm with them, because Harry then went so far as to forget all the loathing Snape felt in his heart for Harry and put him on some kind of pedestal. Yeah, it turned out he was helping Harry all along but a little perspective would be nice. IMHO, it was an insult to Severus that Harry named a son for him. I can just see Snape rolling in his grave for that one.


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HuntGod
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Welp, IMHO the best of the bunch.

Had me from page one and was very difficult to put down late Saturday so I could get some sleep before going to work on Sunday.

Definately not a kids book, but one of the most accurately targeted YA novels I've seen.

I would have liked a little more aftermath in the epilogue as well, but I suspect there will be something from JKR in the not too distant future outlining the shakeout after Voldemort's fall.

I had no problem with the sword coming from the hat for Neville. The hat did the same thing in book 2, I don't see why the sword being back with the goblins is all that different. The hat provided what was needed.

I had no huge nits and teared up many times.

I personally feel Severus would have been pleased to have his name carried by Albus, especially if he had his grandmothers eyes.

I was relieved at the explanations JKR gave for Snapes behaviour. I think he was a very conflicted man, with a marked bent for the Dark Arts. The parralels to a German in the late 30's early 40's, raised to be a good nazi and indoctrinated with there propaganda, suddenly faced with love for a jewish maid. He questions his indoctrination and the ideology he has been raised in and chooses love. Just because he has chosen love doesn't mean that the other side of his life has lost it's attraction, power and influence are strong motivators as well.


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Rick Norwood
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Nobody has anything to say about the baby at the end.


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J
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It was Voldemort's soul--or a piece of it anyway. Cleverly done.
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wrenbird
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I just finished the book this afternoon. I was all alone in my house. But as I set the book down I jumped for joy and found myself giving Rowling a round of applause. Literally. I mean I actually, physically did those things. No, I'm not a nut, I just loved this book. A truly satisfying ending after almost 10 years of fanhood.
I agree with HuntGod, the best of the bunch.
Personally, I thought Rowling did a BRILLIANT job of tying in at the end every aspect that made the series great. She even managed to give a tiny nod to Quidditch.
When I saw the cover of the book, I thought the Epic Final Battle (which we knew had to come) would be somewhere new. But I was so glad that it was at Hogwarts. I mean, really, where else?
I loved it. LOVED IT.
I can tell you, I am not a big cryer but there were three points where I couldn't help it.
-Snapes death
-When Harry uses the Ressurection Stone
-When Neville kills Nagini
-When Ron and Hermione FINALLY kiss
-The whole last chapter, especially when you find out that they gave Albus the middle name of Severus.
Okay, that's more than three, but I couldn't help it.
Sorry for the gushing post, but I am still in the afterglow. No criticisms as of yet.

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Lord Darkstorm
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quote:
Those memories seemed to have carried an obliviate charm with them, because Harry then went so far as to forget all the loathing Snape felt in his heart for Harry and put him on some kind of pedestal. Yeah, it turned out he was helping Harry all along but a little perspective would be nice. IMHO, it was an insult to Severus that Harry named a son for him. I can just see Snape rolling in his grave for that one.

I think the revelation of snape's motivations made perfect sense. Snape loved Lilly, even if that love would never be returned (due to his own failings). Dumbledore used that love, and the resulting hatred, to bind Snape to his cause. I agree, Snape treated Harry like dirt, but I understand why. If you love someone and all of the sudden you are faced with their child fathered by your rival. A constant reminder of what he lost, what he would never have. So yes, I can see how it was easy for Snape to mistreat Harry, while at the same time do almost anything to save him. I think Snape was a more tortured soul than anyone would have believed.

I think it is one of the rationales Dumbledore understood to back up his claim that love was more powerful than the darkest magic. It can motivate people to do things far beyond rational thought, inspire bravery and self sacrifice.

I'm still trying to let it all sink in before I read it again, the next time at a much slower pace.


Ok, it still didn't upset me when he died...even after I knew the truth...


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HuntGod
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Yup, thought it was obvious the baby was the piece of Voldemort that had been trapped in Harry.

And I bawled when Harry said "Albus Severus" at the end, choked me up right proper :-)

I love the Snape character, but honestly alot of that is due to the brilliant portrayal of Snape by Alan Rickman, if I wasn't seeing Rickman and hearing his voice when I read the Snape portions of the book I don't know that I would feel as strongly.

Same goes for Richard Harris as the original Dumbledore, though I like the new guy too.


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Christine
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I think you missed what I was trying to say...I don't understand what motivated Harry to look at them in the first place. I did understand Snape's motivations after I read the chapter and I'm sure Harry did too. Even after seeing all that, though, it still seemed perfectly clear to me that Snape hated Harry and I don't think Harry should have named a kid after him. It was just a bit too much for me.
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kings_falcon
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I seem to be a minority of one in the "toss the book across the room" camp.

There were too many times Rowling was clearly pulling the strings.


Harry looked at Snape's memories solely because Rowling needed him to. I'll acknowledge the other arguement that given how much Snape dispised Harry and Snape's betrayal by Voldemort, Harry could fairly assume that whatever Snape wanted to pass on would be important. But it doesn't ring true. Snape would only give Harry all of those memories in an attempt at redemption. I don't think that is consistent with Snape. Would he have passed on what Dumbledore wanted HArry to know? Yes. Would he have laid his soul bare unless Rowling wanted to redeem him in the readers' eyes? NO.


As I said in another thread, I would have preferred she shifted the POV and let us see this "action" (and some of the other scenes) from a POV that experienced them rather than relying on the contrived actions of the memory sharing and "King's Crossing."

With the exception of Hedwig's and Dobbie's deaths none of them created an emotional connection for me.

Even with her killing characters left and right, she "cheated" to keep from killing Hagrid. There is no plausible reason for the death eaters and Voldemort keeping him alive and captive in the forest. Nor did Rowling try to justify why that happened.

I would have been much happier without the Epilogue. Again, I think she wrote it solely to forestall another Harry adventure.

I gagged when the kid was "Albus Severus." Please. I agree with Christine, it was too much to name the kid after Snape. I could see Harry telling his son that one of the bravest people he knew was a Slytherin but I can't see him forgiving Snape enough to name the child after him.

I'll admit that part of my love for Snape is Alan Rickman's portrayal.

I did like Narcissa Malfoy's betrayal of Voldemort and assistance of Harry's ruse as a way to protect her own son. That was very consistent with who she was at the start of HBP and the mother's love theme throught the story.

Oh - on that note - Way to go Molly Weasley!!!!!! I would never have guessed that Molly was the one to do in Bellatrix!!!


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J
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I buy Snape giving up the memories. He was dying; he didn't have enough time left to tell Harry the things he needed to know. Giving up his last shred of dignity (from his perspective) was nothing compared to the sacrifices he had already made to bring Voldemort down; it was his only choice.

Having said that, King's Cross was the weakest part of the whole book. It would have been much better had Harry died for real. Rowling could have either continued the story from someone else's perspective, or continued it on from Harry's, softening the blow of his death by emphasizing his continued existence in the afterlife.

[This message has been edited by J (edited July 24, 2007).]


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wrenbird
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I think it is proven that Harry is ultimately forgiving of nearly everyone. While Snape was a jerk to him sometimes, he did help him out, especially in book 7 (the silver doe, etc).
Also, once he realized how deeply loyal to Dumbledore Snape had been I think that made it easier to forgive him.
Not to mention that, with Harry having such a strong longing for and love for his parents, I think it would warm his heart to find out the depth of love that Snape had for his mother.
All of these reasons made the naming of Albus Severus very appropriate (and very touching) for me.
HuntGod, I agree with you about Alan Rickman's Snape. LOVE HIM!And I too heard his voice/saw him when I read.

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Christine
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Actually, it's only Harry's willing acceptance of looking at the memories that I have a problem with. The truth is, however much Snape didn't want Harry to know all that for years, after his murder of Dumbledore there was no other way to convince Harry that his message was real. He had to show it all -- or none.

I also thought King's Cross was a weak chapter, but not because Harry didn't die. She planted a seed for why Harry didn't die way back in book 4. I struggled with that at first, but the more I think about it the more I realize that it is very consistent with the theme of the power of love and Voldemort misunderstanding of it and disregard for it. I also knew when Harry walked into that forest that he would live -- although I still thought his walking willingly to his own death was powerful and I didn't know how he would live. Harry had to live. That was one thing I was reasonably sure about. (I mean, there was always a chance...Rowling showed her capability to kill good people in book 4.) But still, it would have been disappointing if Harry had just walked into the woods, died, and then someone else had thrown the death blow.

I dunno...maybe I'm just so willing to forgive it because I thought the entire last battle and final duel were just so exciting to read.

Definitely could have cut the epilogue, though.


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HuntGod
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There are some selfish reasons for Snape to reveal the memories to Harry as well, if for no other reason than to set the story straight, remember NOONE thinks they are the villain and most don't appreciate being characterized that way.

Also Snape would have gotten some smug satisfaction in revealing to Potter that he was wrong and why.

There were also several points throughout the books where the normally cool and non-plussed Snape become incensed and very emotional when he is thought of or accused of being a coward.

I don't think it's an unreasonable stretch for him to reveal those thoughts to Harry, though he may have forseen a different and more selfish reaction from Harry. I don't think Snapes intent was to generate acceptance from Harry.

That said Harry needed to know what was in those memories, I suspect he was expecting something different. But it was Snapes dying declaration and Harry had to know what they contained.


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wrenbird
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Harry knew that Snape had been working as a spy for Dumbledore (Right?) Anyway, he knew that Dumbledore trusted Snape and knew something about Snape that Harry didn't.
Isn't it possible that when Snape unexpectedly spewed a memory with his dying energy, Harry realized that it was probably important to at least look at?
I think so.
Even if he thought that Snape killing Dumbledore proved that Snape was evil, wouldn't he at least have a twinge of "could I have been wrong?" when Snape gave him the memory? And this would make him feel curiosity to look at it?
I know if I had been Harry I honestly would have looked at the memory too.
Harry knew there was alot he didn't know. Alot of puzzle pieces that Dumbledore left for him. He was still piecing things together at the very end. So if Snape could possibly be bringing vital information, Harry would have felt that he had better check just in case.
If Harry had chucked the memory without having ever looked at it because he was still angry with Snape, I would have chucked the book.

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HuntGod
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Also in fairness it's not like he thought he could look at it later...it was now or never.

On an unrelated note, there was a character that was going to be left out of the Order of the Phoenix movie and JKR said that they needed to add the character back in or aspects of the later books would not make sense.

Who do you think the character was? My guess would be Luna or Kreature, maybe Grawp. Given the very cursory appearance of Kreature I think it was probably him.

Also did anyone notice who the character was that did magic later in life? I kept expecting it to be Dudley or Petunia and then when they didn't do it, I figured probably Filch, but I'm afraid I missed it now.

[This message has been edited by HuntGod (edited July 24, 2007).]


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Christine
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It was Kreecher. She said so weeks ago.
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Snorri Sturluson
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The character who was cut from the movies then added back was Kreature. If they didn't introduce him, it would seem a bit contrived if they brought him into movie 6 or 7. I absolutely loved him in book 7, but I think that in all truth, the 7th movie could cut him and still be perfectly fine (as well as if it cut the entire ministry bit, the senseless wandering in the woods, Doby, much of the wedding, Luna's father, Griphook, etc).

To my knowledge, no one came to magic late in life. Either Rowling forgot to add that scene (I was hoping for Uncle Vernon, I think that would have been hilarious), or she was giving general information and not something specific to the books.

As for Snape's memory; even assuming Snape was evil, Voldemort had just turned on him. I, at least, can imagine even an evil Snape wanted to give Harry a weapon against Voldemort and I think Harry would have seen it in a similar light.

I do wish the Veil had played a role in the book. It was set up in book 5 as an important object but... alas.


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Christine
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For those who are interested, Rowlng gave an interview recently and says that the character she was planning to kill but didn't was Mr. Weasley...I had an inkling. She didn't say who the two additional deaths were.

Anyway, here's the full article:

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/19935372/


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RMatthewWare
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I would have liked more interaction at the end. I want Harry to talk to more people, and maybe have a touching scene with Ginny.

I also wanted a better epilogue. Sure, the one we got was cool enough, but I kind of wanted a character by character look into how everyone turned out.

Rowling has said she plans on doing a Potter encyclopedia so we can see some of the stuff that didn't make it into the books. She said that Dean, for instance, had much more of a story than we saw in the books.

I hope she doesn't turn into Tolkien, who only really did stuff in Middle-earth. I'd like to see what else Rowling can write. Even though she makes the mistakes in writing she does, she can sure tell a story. I'd like to see a new, unique story with new characters that I can fall in love with.

By the way, I'm still getting over my Potter-withdraw. I went to Barnes and Nobles and just thought, there's nothing else. Nothing will be as good as this again. Everything else is a pale imitation. Which is completely untrue, of course. It's just sad to let that part of my life go.


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Zero
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I felt that the early part of the book (after the escape from the Dursleys) was a bit stagnant. Camping around with a lot to do and not much of a plan, it felt dry. But the story improved and built up for the climax I was most excited to see. Despite several "rabbit-out-of-the-hat" moments, (like Ron appearing out of nowhere because of the delluminator.)

The battle of Hogwarts was almost everything I wanted it to be, and better than I'd expected. But I was thoroughly disappointed by a few things.

1. Snape---I knew Snape was good and I knew that was largely because he liked Lily Evans. I knew that, I thought it was obvious since book 5. But what I wanted was for Snape to be more involved in the resolution of the story, I wanted him to play a nobler and more complex role. I believed he would die and I was certain he was going to play a clear and instrumental role in the fall of Voldemort, and that his death would forever clarify his loyalty. I liked the venture into his past, which I didn't fin unbelievable at all, since it matched (almost exactly) how I'd imagined his early years. But I was still disappointed at his (almost) irrelevant role in Book 7.

2. I wanted Harry to stay dead. Harry's march to his own death was dark, it was moving, and it was powerful. It was the crowning moment of the series, to me. And as I saw it Harry's palce was to join those who'd gone before. His parents, Dumbledore, Sirius, and now even Lupin and Tonks. I thought it was a dark but powerful ending and I loved it.

Until she cheated. By she I mean JK Rowling. I guess if it's a magical world then anything goes. Kill the main character then make the death irrelevant, sure that's fine. I think she originally planned on Harry's death (from the beginning) and got so attached to him as a character, and sensitive to her young audience, that she held "true" to her original ending (according to my theory) but then magicked Harry back to life to "get the best of both." But that robbed something from the integrity of the work (as I wanted to see it.) Harry's death march was emotional, and now it's empty. (To me.)

The end duel with Voldemort and Harry... wasn't what I wanted it to be. I liked that Voldemort killed himself with his own spell, as repelled by Harry's. But I otherwise hated that duel. The dialog was corny, and I just couldn't take the scene very seriously. Especially after Harry pulled a Neo and re-entered the matrix....

The Epilogue was interesting but I think I was still bitter about the book's resolution, so I didn't really care for it. I liked Harry's advice to his son about Slytherin and Severus Snape as "the bravest person he'd ever known," or whatever.

Otherwise I liked the book quite a bit.


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Christine
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Zero -- you and I seem to have seen opposite "obvious" things in the previous books. I, for one, was pretty sure Harry would live even as he marched to his death (and for that, it was no more powerful a moment). I figured it all had to do with Voldemort using his blood to come back -- something set up wayyy back in book 4. I don't see any reason to think Rowling had always set out to kill him and took it back. I think she had given him the tools to survive long ago and it all fell out more or less as I imagined it would.

On the other hand, I didn't find Snape's allegiances to be obvious (his infatuation with Lily was). I actually thought Rowling went back a bit on the seriousness of murder that she had previously set up...although this murder was different from any we had seen or that anyone suggested. No one thought of or considered a mercy killing for someone who was going to die anyway. Maybe that makes it different. I don't know...just didn't really see it coming.

I'm quite glad Harry lived. I thought it was great when he threw off his cloak in the great hall and everyone saw him still alive. The monologue didn't even bother me as much as those kinds of things usually do. I guess it just seemed to me that Harry and Voldemort needed to talk a few things out before it was all over. I don't even have trouble believing that Voldemort would have stopped and listened. After all, he'd hit Harry squarely with 2 "unblockable" killing curses to date and neither one had accomplished their goals!


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HuntGod
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The death and rebirth was typical for a messianic figure. The story of Jesus, for instance, is not less compelling because he came back, it does not diminish the suffering or the intent of his sacrifice. Character wise, Harry did not know he would survive (obviously JKR did) and so the intent of his sacrifice is not diminished. Additionally he is tempted with being able to leave the struggle behind and move on to his reward, instead he chooses to return and complete what he started, including the loss and pain he'd amassed.

If anything the scene shows a succumbing to fatalism and exposes some genuine human weakness, though it manifests in a very angst teenage way.


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Lord Darkstorm
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Come on, am I the only one who noticed it? What happened when Harry was dead? The Dumbledore scene. She's had it in every book so far, and she found a way to slip one in this book when it shouldn't have been possible. Since I always liked the Dumbledore scenes, I didn't mind at all.


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RMatthewWare
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From the Today show interview of JK Rowling:

Finished ‘Potter’? Rowling tells what happens next
Exclusive: Author gives details on events after the book’s final epilogue

Exclusive: J.K. Rowling on final 'Potter'
July 26: J.K. Rowling talks to TODAY's Meredith Vieira about the final "Harry Potter" book and the aftermath of certain characters.

TODAY exclusive
AP

In her only television interview after the highly anticipated release of the seventh and final installment in the Harry Potter series, author J.K. Rowling will sit down with NBC's Meredith Vieira in Edinburgh, Scotland, to discuss the conclusion of her series for the first time.

Spoiler alert: This story reveals some key plot points in the final Harry Potter book. So if you've haven't finished the book, J.K. Rowling asks that you not read this story.

If you found the epilogue of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” rather vague, then J.K Rowling achieved her goal.

The author was shooting for “nebulous,” something “poetic.” She wanted the readers to feel as if they were looking at Platform 9¾ through the mist, unable to make out exactly who was there and who was not.

“I do, of course, have that information for you, should you require it,” she told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira rather coyly in her first interview since fans got their hands on the final book.
Ummm … yes, please!

Rowling said her original epilogue was “a lot more detailed,” including the name of every child born to the Weasley clan in the past 19 years. (Victoire, who was snogging Teddy — Lupin and Tonks’ son — is Bill and Fleur’s eldest.)

“But it didn’t work very well as a piece of writing,” Rowling said. “It felt very much that I had crowbarred in every bit of information I could … In a novel you have to resist the urge to tell everything.”

But now that the seventh and final novel is in the hands of her adoring public, Rowling no longer has to hold back any information about Harry Potter from her fans. And when 14 fans crowded around her in Edinburgh Castle in Scotland earlier this week as part of TODAY’s interview, Rowling was more than willing to share her thoughts about what Harry and his friends are up to now.

Harry, Ron and Hermione
We know that Harry marries Ginny and has three kids, essentially, as Rowling explains, creating the family and the peace and calm he never had as a child.

As for his occupation, Harry, along with Ron, is working at the Auror Department at the Ministry of Magic. After all these years, Harry is now the department head.

“Harry and Ron utterly revolutionized the Auror Department,” Rowling said. “They are now the experts. It doesn’t matter how old they are or what else they’ve done.”

Meanwhile, Hermione, Ron’s wife, is “pretty high up” in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, despite laughing at the idea of becoming a lawyer in “Deathly Hallows.”

“I would imagine that her brainpower and her knowledge of how the Dark Arts operate would really give her a sound grounding,” Rowling said.

Harry, Ron and Hermione don’t join the same Ministry of Magic they had been at odds with for years; they revolutionize it and the ministry evolves into a “really good place to be.”

“They made a new world,” Rowling said.

The wizarding naturalist
Luna Lovegood, the eccentric Ravenclaw who was fascinated with Crumple-Horned Snorkacks and Umgubular Slashkilters, continues to march to the beat of her own drum.

“I think that Luna is now traveling the world looking for various mad creatures,” Rowling said. “She’s a naturalist, whatever the wizarding equivalent of that is.”

Luna comes to see the truth about her father, eventually acknowledging there are some creatures that don’t exist.

“But I do think that she’s so open-minded and just an incredible person that she probably would be uncovering things that no one’s ever seen before,” Rowling said.

Luna and Neville Longbottom?
It’s possible Luna has also found love with another member of the D.A.

When she was first asked about the possibility of Luna hooking up with Neville Longbottom several years ago, Rowling’s response was “Definitely not.” But as time passed and she watched her characters mature, Rowling started to “feel a bit of a pull” between the unlikely pair.

Ultimately, Rowling left the question of their relationship open at the end of the book because doing otherwise “felt too neat.”

Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom: “The damage is done.”

There is no chance, however, that Neville’s parents, who were tortured into madness by Bellatrix Lestrange, ever left St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies.

“I know people really wanted some hope for that, and I can quite see why because, in a way, what happens to Neville’s parents is even worse than what happened to Harry’s parents,” Rowling said. “The damage that is done, in some cases with very dark magic, is done permanently.”

Rowling said Neville finds happiness in his grandmother’s acceptance of him as a gifted wizard and as the new herbology professor at Hogwarts.

The fate of Hogwarts
Nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, the school for witchcraft and wizardry is led by an entirely new headmaster (“McGonagall was really getting on a bit”) as well as a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. That position is now as safe as the other teaching posts at Hogwarts, since Voldemort’s death broke the jinx that kept a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor from remaining for more than a year.

While Rowling didn’t clarify whether Harry, Ron and Hermione ever return to school to finish their seventh year, she did say she could see Harry popping up every now and again to give the “odd talk” on Defense Against the Dark Arts.

More details to come?
Rowling said she may eventually reveal more details in a Harry Potter encyclopedia, but even then, it will never be enough to satisfy the most ardent of her fans.

“I’m dealing with a level of obsession in some of my fans that will not rest until they know the middle names of Harry’s great-great-grandparents,” she said. Not that she’s discouraging the Potter devotion!

“I love it,” she said. “I’m all for that.”


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Christine
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Somehow, I really didn't think Harry would be all that well suited to being an Auror...especially after he got a wand that really needed to die a natural death with him. Ah well....it makes for better follow-up adventures, doesn't it?
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Christine
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Ha! I feel so much better after watching the on-line video of the interview with Rowling. She says exactly what I was hoping she would say about Snape. I think some fans have gone a bit overboard with the whole "Snape is a hero" thing and her view is what I finally came to after I read the last book.

Here's what I can mange typing as I'm listening of the interview:

Question: Was Snape always intended to be a hero?

Answer: Is he a hero? You see I don't see him really as a hero.
He's spiteful. He's a bully. All these things are still true of Snape, even at the end of this book. But was he brave? Yes, immensely.


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Zero
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Yeah Christine that's an interesting point. What defines heroism? It seems to always demand some level of extraordinary courage, always, but there must also be other qualities. I see Snape as a hero, in the sense that he is imperfect and has a difficult life, so in that sense he wasn't "given much," but did a lot with what he had, given the circumstances. I see him as a redeemed character, and in the world of Harry Potter that seems to be pretty heroic, to me.

Heroes aren't perfect people, I think, but people who are forced into difficult circumstances and do the best they can with them.

I thought of another thing I really wanted to see in book 7, I wanted a redemption of the Malfoys. Given the bad treatment they'd received and Draco's unwillingness (I thought) to reveal their prisoner was, in fact, Harry Potter, I was hoping that they would play a critical role in the fall of the Dark Lord's organization also. I wanted more Snape and more Malfoy involvement.


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RMatthewWare
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Was Snape a hero? Nah, not really. Brave, sure. His last act was to help Harry. But he did it for Lilly. He did it because he still selfishly loved her, and therefore didn't want her son to die. But in the end, Snape really did for Snape, rather than anyone else.

As for Draco, I'm glad they all survived. The curt nod he gives Harry in the epilogue says a lot to me. They don't like each other, but there is a sentiment there, possibly grudging respect. Draco knows Harry saved him. He might not like it, but he acknowledges it. While Draco may never be a good guy, I think he realizes he can never be what Voldemort became. At least, I hope not.


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Christine
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Yeah, I considered, after I posted it, that we could get deep into the "What makes a hero" discussion. It's one of those questions without concrete answers, I suppose. But I tend to think that in the end, Snape did what he did for himself. I felt that what he did wasn't so much because he loved Dumbledore or his cause, but because he hated Voldemort and what he ha done to the woman he loved. It's kind of a "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" thing. Was he ultimate evil? Of course not...that's almost never true. I imagine even Tom Riddle wasn't, until he started ripping his soul to shreds. (another thing I appreciated...a good rationale for ultimate evil) Anyway, IMHO, a hero needs more than a single redeeming feature (ie the ability to love one girl to the point that he would do anything for her). Guess I'm just picky.

I was all right with the Malfoys. I had hoped that Draco would turn out to be a bit more "good" in the end, especially after not revealing Harry's identity at the manor, but in the end I think the Malfoys were a lot like Snape. They could love...one another. Voldemort turned them away, too, in his inability to understand love. I kind of hope Lucius went back to Azkaban for a while to finish his sentence but other than that, I think the family is what it is...likely to join the next dark lord who comes around but unlikely to lead.


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RMatthewWare
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It's what I love about Rowling's writing. No one is completely good or evil. Every good guy (Dumbledore included) has major flaws. Every bad guy (even Voldemort-see book 6) didn't start out completely evil. In fact, other than Voldemort, it seems the major bad characters had a lot of gray to them.
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KayTi
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The place that REALLY choked me up - more than any other:

When Lily is walking with Harry and the other ghosts in the forest and tells Harry he's been so brave. I could just HEAR a mother's voice, telling her very tired, scared, but adult (or almost) son this in a way that isn't patronizing, doesn't talk down to him, but gives him that bit of strength he needs to finish what he needs to do. Wow. JKR really gets the power of motherhood, in a fascinating way.

One thing I was ... is surprised the right word? Not sure if it is, but one thing I took note of was the scene with James and Sirius where they levicorpus Snape, and he calls Lily a mudblood. In the first telling of that scene (book 5?) and ever since, I have carried the impression that Snape was so angry with Harry for seeing that scene because he was humiliated by Harry's father. I see now that it's because he, in a moment of humiliation, said a horrible, horrible thing, and (maybe?) that horrible thing caused him to lose Lily's love (or that she cared for him.) I thought that JKR glossed over that detail in the retelling, and that while it stood out brightly to me, I don't know that all that many other readers (kids in particular) would pick up on that. To me, that's what made all of Snape's memories genuine, is the fact that he laid bare the moment of his greatest remorse/regret, and seeing it with the other scenes w/Lily put it into a much deeper context, so learning later that Snape's patronus was a doe wasn't much of a surprise at all. (Has anyone else run to check I think beginning of book 6 to see if you can see the form of Snape's patronus when he meets Harry at the gates of Hogwarts after Harry's been beaten up by Malfoy on the train? I am pretty sure Tonks sends her patronus, Snape comes to greet them, and then Snape sends another one up to the castle, though I might be remembering that wrong. I don't have a copy of 6...now that 7 is out i need to go buy my own copies of 1-6, LOL)

Totally agree on Alan Rickman's portrayal of Snape.

Also felt a little disappointed with the epilogue. What does harry DO now? Where do he, Ron, Hermione and Ginny work? What happened with Ted, his godson? I fully expected the epilogue to include Harry seeing TED off for his first year at Hogwarts, but the timing didn't work since Ted would be 19 if it's 19 years later....

I found some of the elder wand/master of the wand/who gained the upper hand in which duel and therefore was the master of the want/knowing Snape's patronus shape stuff a bit too convenient. But, you know, it's a 750 page book. No more convenient than the stuff they needed for their trip fitting into Hermione's tiny handbag. Master stroke having the name Voldemort carry a taboo so that the bad guys can find them easily. That was a surprise!

I also felt like the camping scenes just went on and on, was that only me? I think it's because I read them in snippets throughout a busy day, whereas most of the rest of the book I read in 2 or 3 hr chunks before bed. But it did help move time along, and it's helpful to NOT have the main characters in peril constantly. This book had a LOT of action, so those tent scenes were necessary for pacing purposes if nothing else. There's something for me to learn there...

Ah, I agree w/you Zero, about snape and wanting something grander for him. His death, I predicted, LOL, and was sure of - however, I wanted something bigger for him too. And how exactly did he "protect the students at Hogwarts" when they all got so beat up?

Agree, Christine, Snape wasn't a hero. But, he did OK with where the place he ended up. The place he ended up was largely because of the choices he made, so he made SOME better choices (and some not too great - though I loved a previous poster's explanation of the animosity between Snape and Harry - imagine your ex-lover's child...having ALL of the ex's NEW love's characteristics, but the ex-lover's eyes. Oh, dagger right to the heart!) Anyway - he's not a hero. Brave? I suppose. I saw him as more of a surviver. Eh, well, til the end. He survived the situation as best he could, doing mostly what he felt necessary for his own good. Nothing inherently good or evil in that.



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Christine
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I can't speak for anyone else, but I definitely caught that Snape had been angry in book 5 about Harry seeing a moment of weakness, when he had lost the love of his life. I'm not sure how clear to say it was. Rowling doesn't come out and explain everything which can be a strength and a weakness. I like that she lets us figure out a lot of meaning for ourselves and expects that level of sophistication. On the other hand, It only recently finally occurred to me why, back in book 4, the port key had to be the tri-wizard cup instead of a quill or just about anything else Mad Eye handed Harry in private. I thought that could have used some additional explanation.

I can't say I was thrilled with the elder wand but it worked.

You're not the only one to think it was slow in parts, notably the camping parts, but I'm going to have to disagree with all of you. It was only slow by comparison to the extreme pace of the rest of the book. I found scarcely a moment that could have been cut and I'm wondering how this will fit into less than a 4 hours movie. Actually, I'd rather sit through a 4 hour movie, if they do this well, than see any of this cut. I don't often say that I haven't said that about any of the previous books...books need to be translated to the big screen and portrayed rather than shown exactly...but this last book is special. The action scenes will make good cinema without much translation and the rest is essential to tell a good story.

You can't stay on top of a roller coaster throughout an entire book.

In any case, I rather expected something like the camping scenes before I read the book. Honestly, I didn't expect Harry to be quite so isolated and on the run -- I didn't expect Voldemort to take the ministry but of course, that's what had to happen. But I did expect there to be quite a bit of time thinking, planning, and scheming, waiting for direction. I thought Rowling summarized these parts well so that they took as much time as they needed and not too much time.


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RMatthewWare
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I agree, movie 7 is going to have to be long. And with all the action packed into it, it'll be fast-paced. You have to cut stuff, or it will be a sixteen hour movie. But I could see a Return of the King length movie. Reward the hardcore fans for waiting through six movies.
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Zero
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Yeah I kept thinking that the whole time I was reading the book, "I don't envy the screenwriter who has to adapt this to film."
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dee_boncci
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Okay, just finished and read through this thread last night.

Overall, a very thrilling end to a great series. Towards the end my head was spinning and I still don't understand everything that happened. I also see I wasn't the only one.

I cant think of a comparable reading experience since I read LOTR for the first time. Some may have been due to the buildup and anticipation, but mostly it was the story. I reread book 6 and finished the day the new one came out, which really worked out well.

Those two scenes where Harry figures out he has to die then marches off to make his sacrifice were among the more memorable I have ever read. No wonder KDW started that thread about Messiah figures.

I'll offer some criticisms. It seems rather brazen to do so, all things considered.

I *heart* McGonagall (sp?)

I too would have liked to have seen Snape have a more integral role in the plot. He was one of my favorite characters.

I would have preferred to see the language stay G-rated. I understand the concept of the series growing with the characters, but it may clip off part of her readership. Kids won't be reading the series over as many as 10 years anymore. Some of what showed up in this last book could be pushing it for parents of 10-12 year-olds. I don't think the "effings" and "hells" added to the experience.

I don't know what to say about the Harry dying temporarily and coming back, so I won't say much other than it pushed my liberal ability to suspend disbelief. It might take some time to understand. Ditto for some of the wand stuff.

Part of me would have liked to have seen Harry actually kill Riddle rather than having Riddle screw up and kill himself because of some somewhat convoluted wand rules.

I agree that the wind-down could have been more satisfying. I think a mourning scene in the immediate aftermath could have been powerful, something to emphasize the enormity of the victory's cost.

All small things, in perspective. And I fully admit I read the book as a mesmerized fan on the edge of the seat, and may have missed some of the details that would have me retract the thoughts above.

Thanks, JKR. What a ride!



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autumnmuse
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I'd like to talk about some of the secondary characters.

I'm pretty frustrated with her portrayel of Lupin. I mean, leaving his pregnant wife? UGH. I've honestly never really bonded to Tonks, but I did like Lupin. However, when he made that decision, my empathy went away. Even after he went back to her, I never was truly satisfied that he now loved and cherished his role as husband and father.

In fact, Rowling doesn't seem to handle father characters particularly well. Substitute father figures, sure, but the real ones are mostly disappointing. Mr. Weasley is the best of the lot, but even he is a much more minor character than his wife, and his actions don't seem to have nearly as much impact as hers on the lives of their children. Maybe it's because at the time Rowling came up with the idea for the series, she was a single mom?

And why oh why oh why kill Fred???? (Okay, I know why, but talk about gut-wrenching.) The Weasley twins have always been just about my favorite characters. I felt a bit robbed that we didn't get to experience George's grief more than tangentially, or find out what happened to him now that his brother was gone.

Maybe Fred's death means so much to me because my brother had an identical twin who died as a baby, and I've always had a longing for identical twin sons. But I also liked their attitude in the face of adversity. Even when all around them was dark, they were lights in the darkness, in more than one sense. Not only good, but fun and funny. No other character in the books keeps that sense of wonder and ability to joke about even the darkest subject matter.

Poor Hedwig. I didn't see that coming, and her death hurt more than Mad-Eye Moody's by far.


Okay, the camping-and-wandering-aimlessly-for-months part of the book dragged for me. When none of the characters knew what to do, I felt JKR should have skimmed a bit more, instead of such a repetitive blow-by-blow of nothing happening.

I felt Harry's death/not-death to be appropriate and telegraphed, and it fit for me. Maybe because I have a tendency to think along similar lines in my current novel. Which means I'm sure to face all kinds of criticism when/if mine ever gets published. I wonder if anyone will believe some of the parallels in my story are just that and nothing more? It's not identical to what happens to Harry, but there's a definite similarity. Oh well, I'm not changing my plot.


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autumnmuse
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Oh, and my very favorite Kleenex moment: "Will you stay with me?" "Yes, to the very end." Harry and the ghosts in the forest, respectively.

Though, why wasn't Fred in their number? Lupin was!


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Christine
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I wasn't thrilled with Lupin trying to walk out on his pregnant wife, either. I have to say, though, that I wasn't thrilled with the two of them dying. It wasn't hard to figure out that they were the add-on deaths because that's how they felt. But more than that, why did Tonks go to that battle? I'm not trying to be chauvinistic or apply gender role stereotypes here. For all I care, Lupin could have been the one to stay. The thing is, they had a newborn at home and BOTH of them went into battle. I haven't heard anyone else complain about this bit so maybe I'm completely alone in thinking it was wrong of them, but I do not think their deaths were at all like Harry's parents. They didn't go looking for death; death came looking for them.

I'll say again that I thought the camping was very appropriate. There were a couple of times that I found myself wondering when they are going to go someplace Harry's parents home/grave but for the most part it just seemed like what I would expect to happen when fugitives are on the run, trying to fulfill a mission with limited knowledge of how to carry it out. I would even say that I expected times like that in the book before I read it and was pleased that they didn't take up too much time.


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wrenbird
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autumnmuse, I totally agree about killing off Fred. SO sad, and almost cruel. It felt like Rowling was trying to make the reader really hurt.
I have an identical twin sister, and I can say with complete assurance that there is no closer bond between two human beings. If my twin sister died tragically, or young. . . I honestly can't even begin to imagine how much it would kill me.
So, yeah, I was VERY upset that Rowling killed Fred.

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wrenbird
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Oh, and Christine, you are not alone in thinking that Tonks had a duty to stay alive to raise her son. I was a bit surprised because Rowling makes the love of a mother for her child such a huge theme in her stories. So why did she have Tonks run right into the center of a life threatening situation?
I agree that it felt like add-on "lets make this hurt" deaths. Just like Fred's death.

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