So, what did everyone here think of the final book?
Honestly, I was captivated for the majority of the book, but unfortunately, about five hundred pages in, ironically near the climax, I found myself losing interest, and, once the climax finally did occur, I could only think “Wow, that’s predictable.”
And I could have done without the epilogue in its entirety.
In terms of literary merit, J.K. Rowling is trying too hard to appeal to adults. The book, rife with what I hate to describe (but only can) as ‘purple prose’. carries almost laughable attempts to get the reader to “connect” with Harry’s mind. As usual, however, she redeems herself by her uncanny ability to leave the reader wanting more, dropping clues throughout the entire novel. Whenever you hear of an old relic mentioned in passing, you can almost bet that it will play a larger significance later on.
I could rant all day, and will extrapolate if I am called to, but to give you the short gist of it, I give the book a solid “B” rating. It was good, it did what it was supposed to do; nothing more, nothing less. Ho hum. Pass the butter.
Excellent beginning and end (except for the epilogue, like you mentioned, but she has given explanations for her reasons for doing so and has actually provided a much more detailed explanation of the fate of the characters), but I hated the second act (and now we’re camping! and we’re camping some more!)
But you are right in that her biggest strength is her ability to weave a cohesive world, rather than build the characters. I do really enjoy the characters themselves (Gran, Neville, and Mrs. Weasely ftw!), but the depth of the world is amazing. And she really did create a perfect setting for this sort of book. It provides trappings that many kids can relate to (school, division between kids and adults, etc), but allows for anything to happen (via magic). And I don’t think she was trying too hard to get the adults, but rather, she was simply aging up her books as she went, as she knew her primary audience was also growing up as she wrote.
All in all, I think it’s one of the best fantasy series out there and I will likely read through it several more times, and will probably read it with my children (when I have them). But, it’s not high literature by any means. It’s a great adventure that feels cohesive as a whole, but not much more.
I enjoyed the Harry Potter series, but this latest book is my least favourite in the series.
It started out well enough, but went downhill as soon as Harry, Ron, and Hermione started their quest for the horcruxes. As Abadd said, there was too much camping.
The Deathly Hallows themselves hardly added anything to the story, they felt - for the most part - like plot filler.
I disliked the ending, partially because I saw most of the events at the end of the story coming from a mile away, but also because it seemed a bit convenient when Harry “came back to life”. I almost stopped caring after that scene, when I realised that this character had become an invincible fantasy hero, and it made the final battle lose all its suspense. Also, any characters that died in this book were either villains, or secondary characters. None of the death scenes really shocked me.
Overall the series is well thought out and keeps things interesting, however, and I’d recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read the books (or seen the movies), but I hope it doesn’t get remembered alongside books like The Lord of the Rings in years to come - there are far better fantasy stories than this IMO.
I had less issue with the resurrection scene than a lot of people, I think. It wasn’t drawn out, once it happened, there were no false pretenses, and I liked that she didn’t reveal this until the very end, otherwise all tension would have been stripped out of the series.
The issue that I did have was the exposition. Dumbledore just neatly wrapped up all the key plot points in Harry’s head, then voila - he’s back. I wish she had taken the time to let those plot points unfold (instead of wasting the time camping… if she was going to do that, then let’s see some more character interaction!) rather than simply explain them.
I just read it again. Well, read the ending again anyway. The “Camping camping 8D” was boring enough when I was skimming. Apart from the bit in Godric’s Hollow where Harry visits his parents grave. That made me feel sad.
I do admit that I had to slog through the pretentious prose in order to recognise the emotional impact of the story. King’s Cross, for instance, was lovely once you got past the silly wording of the sentences. It isn’t a problem exclusive to Harry Potter though. Lots and lots of books share this trait though, (including many quite famous one) so I can see where she might have decided “Oh I know! I’ll word the sentences in a way that’ll make sure no eight year old will ever be able to understand! The critics will love me! 8D”.
But why did she decide to kill off all those extra people? I can see where Lupin might have to die (to be a ghost for Harry to see in the forest) and where Fred might have to (to incite Mrs Weasley to attack Crazy Bella) but I can’t see any justification for any of the other deaths. Especially not Dobby’s. Bitch, why you got to do that?
And this may be an unpopular point of view but…I don’t think Mrs Weasley should have killed Bella. Since Bella was Voldemort’s deputy shouldn’t Ron and Hermione have done it seeing as they were Harry’s? Besides, it would give them something to do apart from sitting around being mentioned in passing.
I thought the epilogue was…nice. It was good to see that Harry is able to put the terror of the war behind him and become what appears to be a well-adjusted person with a wife and family. Although I thought he’d have done better with Luna than Ginny. Because, you know, she actually appeared in the story more than twice, but whatever.
Could have done without those names though. Bloody Hell. James, Lily then “Albus Severus”?
Ah, cheer up emo kid. It’s a kid’s book. The heroes are invincible for the most part. Did you really expect with fifty pages to go, she’d kill off the main character? Besides, it was pretty obvious from the get go that Voldemort would die.
It’s a children’s book. And as with most other children’s books, everything is predictable. You don’t expect Sheltie the Shetland pony to suddenly throw Emma, his rider, and break her neck do you? They’re the on-rail shooters of the book world. The key is to not complain when things you expected to happen happen and just enjoy the way they happen, to sit back and enjoy the ride.
With the other Harry Potter stories, there was a certain amount of suspense during and towards the end of each book - this was missing in this final book. For example, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we were shown a number of hints and clues about Sirius Black and Wormtail throughout the book, and at the end it was finally revealed that Sirius Black was not the enemy. Chamber of Secrets (my personal favorite in the series) also has a lot of this mystery, as did most of the other books, but mystery and suspense seemed mostly to be missing from Death Hallows, and replaced by a treasure-hunt style story, traveling from one place to the next and encountering enemies along the way.
It seemed that the fatalities in this book were due to some grand lottery in the background, whereas there was usually a reason when a character was killed in the previous books. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing - in some ways it made the story more realistic, but it also made those deaths seem less important, almost as if they happened just to show how evil Voldemort was. In the previous two books when major characters were killed off it had a significant narrative impact. Yet here, Lupin and Tonks were killed “off screen”, and their deaths only mentioned briefly in passing. Fred and George never really had separate enough personalities for the reader that become emotionally attached to one over the other, and Hedwig didn’t have much personality to begin with.
[quote=“Daz”]Ah, cheer up emo kid. It’s a kid’s book. The heroes are invincible for the most part. Did you really expect with fifty pages to go, she’d kill off the main character? Besides, it was pretty obvious from the get go that Voldemort would die.
It’s a children’s book. And as with most other children’s books, everything is predictable. You don’t expect Sheltie the Shetland pony to suddenly throw Emma, his rider, and break her neck do you? They’re the on-rail shooters of the book world. The key is to not complain when things you expected to happen happen and just enjoy the way they happen, to sit back and enjoy the ride. [/quote]
I honestly didn’t expect Harry Potter to die, but I hoped that his mortality would be shown at some point in the story. The fact that Harry was in no danger made the great Voldemort seem quite a laughable adversary towards the end. Children’s story or not, I found it very hard to relate to an ‘all powerful’ hero such as this. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by stories where its possible to be generally concerned about the character(s) safety, and was hoping for more out of Harry Potter than what it is.
But anyway… back to listening to that song about how the world hates me as I wallow in self pity.
I think you’re right - the suspense was missing. But because it didn’t need to be there. In the other books the Death Eaters had to work while disguising their true intentions, so of course there’d be some suspense as Harry cleverly followed the red herrings into a horribly dangerous situation. In this book, they didn’t have to work under cover so the book was allowed to break free from its previous formula.
But about hints and clues - look on through the previous books, then read Deathly Hallows again. There are subtle clues about characters hidden throughout the series. Like Dumbledore sitting in front of the mirror of erised in The Philosopher’s Stone. /geek.
Sorry about that Solo. It’s just that I’ve seen a lot of the critics of the series attacking it because they believe that it has to be comparable to huge fantasy classics. And that’s just like comparing the Spice Girls to something on the scale of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Harry Potter is so popular because it’s so easy to get into, which is something that a lot of fantasy books can’t claim.
True - I just wish J K Rowling had a replaced the suspense found in the first six books by something even more compelling. As this was the last book in the series, don’t you feel the ending should have at least have been as suspenseful as the end of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince?
Could you elaborate on this? All I remember from that scene was Dumbledore looking into the mirror and claiming to see a pair of socks. Does it say somewhere else in the story that Dumbledore saw something else in the mirror and how does this relate to Deathly Hallows?
No worries. Just to make myself clear, I did thoroughly enjoy this series, and indeed many parts of Deathly Hallows, I just found it to be the most “lacking” of the stories in many ways (but it was still a worthwhile read). You are spot on when it comes to comparing to some other big fantasy stories - it’s not supposed to be as serious or on the same scale, even if it does do a grand job of creating a highly imaginative world.
Could you elaborate on this? All I remember from that scene was Dumbledore looking into the mirror and claiming to see a pair of socks. Does it say somewhere else in the story that Dumbledore saw something else in the mirror and how does this relate to Deathly Hallows?[/quote]
Dumbledore has been sitting invisible in the room where the mirror stands. He’s been sitting in the room invisible, watching Harry look into it for three nights in a row (and after re-reading the scene and reading DH, I’m convinced that he was there longer) and when Harry asks him what he sees in there, Dumbledore says (roughly) “I see myself, holding a pair of socks. Nobody gives me any socks for Christmas. Another year has gone by and all I got were books.”
Dumbledore tells Harry to leave, and as Harry leaves, he gets the feeling that Dumbledore might have been lying. I think it’s mentioned again in DH.
Then we move on to DH, and you see how desperate Dumbledore is to know that he didn’t kill his sister, to have his parents back. All of those things that he wanted the resurrection stone for.