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21 July 2007 @ 09:46 pm
Deathly Hallows  
Picked it up this morning, and managed to finish by 4 with the kind understanding of hubby who removed himself and the Rugrat from the house to visit with his mother. YAY for uninterrupted reading time.

(and to everyone tired of it, sorry, you can move right along...)



Yes, I did read this with a mental checklist of my own predictions. Because I'm pathetic that way. And I am vastly amused that I was SO SURE the tiara in the ROR had to be a red herring because it was so freakin' obvious. But when the tiara was mentioned at the Lovegoods, I knew I was wrong, wrong,wrong. *snicker* So I was right in all the main stuff (or, really, the HP meta hivemind was right and I agreed with them) and completely and utterly wrong in the details. So, I appreciate that I was surprised.

Well, besides being stuffed with expositionitis at certain places (and the way the books are constructed, that was really pretty inevitable-- there had to be a "Hercule Poirot explains ALL" chapter or two moment), and an epilogue that might well as have been "and they lived happily ever after", overall I thought it was a good read and well-paced. It more than fulfilled my expectations - I'm a fan, but I'm more fannish about the meta than I am about the source, actually. I've never ficced in HP or even re-read the books (I always mean to, but I'm such a meta 'ho, I never bother, because I usually have all the details in mind anyway, by virtue of all the essays and stuff that I've read). So I don't have any particular shipping axe to grind or anything like that.

In general, I haven't been all that much about the Trio, but this one, is Stuffed full of Trio goodness. This is THEIR book, they become adults, and for the first time the (more interesting) adults don't overshadow them.

- Hermione PWNS ALL. She's SO amazingly smart and level-headed. and occasionally ruthless (modifying her own parents so they didn't even remember her? OMG) And the escape from the Lovegoods? *flail* And her thinkiness, and holding back Harry and sticking by him, and... really, I *heart* Hermione so much in this book I can't even tell you.

- Harry, despite being the titular hero has never really held my interest until this book when, to me, he finally stepped up and started asking questions and taking control of his life. And telling off Remus made me sit up and take notice.

- and Ron... oh Ron, I was half-expecting him to bite it the whole book. And it came as a great relief to me that he didn't. Which was surprising, because I didn't think I'd care, really. But when he went crazy when Hermione was tortured, he won me over.

- Snape. I WAS RIGHT. But OMG, childhood friends of Lily? *flail* Perfect. utterly and beyond perfect. Consummate spy right to the end. I was a bit worried at the beginning that I was wrong after all, but when the doe patronus appeared, I was greatly relieved, because then I knew I was right. Killed like Cedric, because he was in the way. Not exactly the heroic end I thought might happen, but more ...fitting. Sadly. *sniff*

- Draco and the Slytherins. Disappointing that he didn't have a change of heart and that Slytherin remained the "bad" house. I wish at least a few of the students would've stayed. But the sorting and the rivalries remained, according to the epilogue. Too bad that when Voldemort tried to kill Neville with the Sorting Hat, that didn't end the sorting practice.

- Neville didn't get to kill Bellatrix, but he was awesome anyway. I will spit nails if they cut Neville's scenes down from the movie of DH. (and this may be because I am still high on the awesomeness of Neville in OOTP, but still.)

- Moody and Fred and Remus and Tonks. offscreen! i had to read it again just to make sure it really was Remus and Tonks (and her dad too). but the one that broke me the most was Dobby. A damn house-elf. And Redeemed!Kreacher was possibly one of the biggest surprises of all.

- Trio on the LAM! loved it, how they were totally on their own.

- I'm kind of in love with the whole Dumbledore/Grindelwald thing (I'm fairly sure there's a comm already). Seeing any backstory at all was excellent and that was just icing on the cake. Slashy? OMG, yes. And Saint!Dumbledore characterizations can now go to the dustbin where they belong, thx. I am intensely curious from a meta standpoint about when JKR made Grindelwald more than just a name on DUmbledore's chocolate frog card though.

- OMG nobody died at the wedding! It was crashed, as I figured, but nobody died. I was so sure someone would get it then. But then, I thought the book would open with the wedding, not Harry's escape from the Dursley's - so I was right about the timing, not the location.

- Speaking of Dursleys, Dudley grows ... a heart. Or something. I'm not quite sure what. But still, nice to see a change in him.

- weren't we supposed to get someone using magic previosuly thought not to have any? Theories were abouding about the various Squibs, and the Dursleys... I guess JKR meant Ariana, but that was a very strange thing to tease when we knew nothing about her anyway. I guess this one has to get filed under the "important and classified spouse", secret patronuses, and various other "clues" that didn't pan out to anything in the end. (though, thinking about it -- was Grindelwald originally meant to be female (or male) and Dumbledore's SPOUSE? *boggles* *then reaches for pen to write slash!fic*)

- the Return of Umbridge, even more loathesome. Curious to think in hindsight about what was HER (because we know she's an evil hag anyway), and how much was the locket, since that also must have affected her.

- and just how many times were the Trio caught or almost caught? Jeez.

- Final tally of Horcruxes:
The dude had eight pieces, or am I tired?
1.the diary
2. the ring
3. Hufflepuff cup
4. the locket
5. tiara
6 Nagini
7 Harry
8. Voldemort himself
(or should we consider the last two really only one? The one Voldemort kept for himself then got transferred to Harry at GH, and they were sharing it after that? I'm so confused.)


OMG, this is SOOOO long and I haven't even mentioned all the little details I enjoyed so much, like the return of the mirrors, motorbike, and the hilariously anticlimactic repayment of Wormtail's debt to Harry. So many people thought he was going to make some grand gesture, and instead it was a teeny gesture at the right time (and then... bye! ha!)

It's funny, because I totally agree with many who say that JKR isn't a world-builder, in the sense that Tolkien was. I don't think her world is much more than a satire reflection of our own, really. And yet, she DOES build a world in her characters and in the small details. It doesn't have depth to the world, there's little history to it and the edges don't quite match (but looking as a historian at Middle-Earth some of his world-building bugs the crap out of me too), but it's a beautifully detailed miniature model of a world, full of miniature people. Which is the appeal, I think - it certainly is for me.

In sum, it's a fun place to visit, but, man, I wouldn't want to live there.

 
 
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crowdaughtercrowdaughter on July 22nd, 2007 12:24 pm (UTC)
weren't we supposed to get someone using magic previosuly thought not to have any? Theories were abouding about the various Squibs, and the Dursleys...

I might have read too fast at that point in the story, but did not get Petunia Evans a letter from Hogwarts inviting her into the school, which she refused to follow? That would mean she was really a (potential) witch, who blocked her talent well and good and chose to live as a Muggle. But I am not sure if I read that correctly. Have to go back and read it again.

- the Return of Umbridge, even more loathesome. Curious to think in hindsight about what was HER (because we know she's an evil hag anyway), and how much was the locket, since that also must have affected her.

We cannot be sure on that, because I have to check OotP again, but I think she does not wear the Locket there; and the way she gained it from Mundungus also shows she has not a tiny bit better character *before* she got it. So I think it was mostly her, acting the way she was best at, all along.

Umbridge is a character I truly loathe, but who's portrait is absolutely perfect to the point. I hopoe she is spending the remainder of her days in Askaban, but people like that are going to lie their way out of any judgment, afterwards, anyway.

One think that had me thinking was Rita Seeker. She knew ahead of time that Herminoe would not be any danger to her when she wrote that Dumbledore Biography. So, how did she know? I do not believe she was a Death Eater, herself, but somebody must have set her on it.
selmak on July 22nd, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC)
petunia wrote a letter asking to be accepted in hogwarts. She was turned down by Dumbledore.

I think the person that did magic that you didn't expect to do magic was actually Molly Weasley who turned all Xena!Warrior!princess at the end. She's always been the Martha!Stewart!Witch (Ok, maybe more Rachael!Rae) but she did redeem herself in a big way.

I'm very upset about many of the dead characters. Very upset. Remus deserved better and tonks? Lord. I barely even knew you, girl.
lizardbeth: DHlizardbeth_j on July 22nd, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC)
oh, *hugs*. I'll say I was surprised that they died off-screen and were just kind of there... but by that point I didn't know what was up with Remus anyway so it didn't hit me very hard. This one and HBP have felt like the Remus-Tonks thing was part of a bigger subplot that then got hacked to death in editing, so we had these weird remnants that didn't fit together anymore. But yeah, they deserved better. That's another one where I'd love to see her notes and try to understand what was supposed to happen. (except to end with poor wee orphan Teddy, that part I get, but I hope there's more to it).

That totally makes sense about Molly -- although she was always a witch, she certainly never showed any dueling/fighting/advanced magical skill. Not to the level of being able to take Bellatrix, certainly. Thank goodness it was Molly, and not Ginny, who dueled Bella though (and I think Ginny's okay, I just hate to think of fandom's reaction).
selmak on July 23rd, 2007 02:51 pm (UTC)
oh, I think I misunderstood the letter to Dumbledore from Petunia bit. We've been discussing it at work today and everyone else disagrees with my assumption. I have to admit that I was getting a little tired by then as I wanted to read the book straight through :)
lizardbeth: Snape and Lilylizardbeth_j on July 23rd, 2007 08:03 pm (UTC)
huh, I still think you're right. I read it your way: Petunia wrote a letter to Dumbledore asking to be admitted, and then Dumbledore wrote back, very kindly, to tell her she had no place there. And THEN she decided, as people do, that if she couldn't have it, she didn't want it anyway. Otherwise, I don't see why she would've been ashamed and angry if Lily saw the letter, unless it was to tell her she wasn't a witch.

But then I read it knowing that JKR said several months ago that Petunia has no magic, when she was debunking some rumors about the "unexpected magic user". I guess the text is more ambiguous.
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on July 22nd, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
oh no, she definitely didn't have the locket in OOTP and, like I said, we know she was bad then. But her appearance in DH does seem to be a step beyond what she was doing at the school - which can be both natural corruption from power but I think also a bit of the locket working its influence. No way to know, of course, but it struck me when the Trio figured out that it was affecting them, that it must have affected her too.

Re: Rita. I'll guess that she was sitting on that book about Dumbledore for a little while (trying to dig up dirt on him, say, post GOF), but didn't dare publish it while he was alive, but after his death, he was fair game. And who knows, by that point maybe Rita had got herself on the list of animagi so Hermione's threat to expose her was hollow. or if you're right and Rita had a backer at the Ministry (maybe Umbridge), then Hermione was of no consequence anyway because Rita would be protected.