Thursday, 20 November 2008

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This book suffered from the old "cleaning up" syndrome that series often have - clean up loose ends, and you can feel that, somewhat to the detriment to the story.

For one thing, there's a whole lot of carnage. OK, they are fighting Lord Voldemort here; on the other hand Harry has fought Lord Voldemort in six previous books. In the first three books, he escaped without a single death, in the next three, one death at a time. Suddenly they are dying in spades in this one, almost like Rowling is cleaning characters out for springtime. One might argue that Voldemort has suddenly got really really strong but it just seems rather over the top, and gratuitous and unrealistic when compared to the lack of carnage in the other books.

Poor Hedwig! For some reason I felt more sorry about the loss of Hedwig than the others!

I LIKE owls!

I won't say too much about the plot, it's not too bad but it's not unusual either. As could be predicted, a magic mission which is completed, by Harry, with the aid of good friends. He finally learns of the allegiances of some of the greater characters in the series, defeats Voldemort and heaps of people get killed along the way.

This one didn't really grip me but I did want to find out what happened and it didn't bore me, which I can say is in it's favour. It wasn't one that could make me smile a lot or think "Oh, that was fun or imaginative" and that's what I rather like in children's fantasy.

But you end up having all the ends tied up for you, and for those who like plenty of action and want to know "what happened to whom" then this is good.

Note: There are notes on Wikipedia which say things about what happens to which main characters which include details that are not all in The Deathly Hallows, or not that I noted on my reading (maybe I didn't look closely enough). I suspect some of these details may have been released in J.K. Rowling's subsequent notes/interviews etc. For instance, details of the full names of people and their offspring and what they do with their lives after Hogwarts.


TimT said...

Do you remember those Lloyd Alexander 'Chronicles of Prydain'? There's a rare example of a series that actually got *better* as they went along. No cleaning up syndrome happening there. Book four was probably the best, I reckon.

TimT said...

The nice thing about the Chronicles of Narnia of course is that the books can be arranged in any way whatsoever, and 'The Last Battle' doesn't so much tie up loose plot points as cut them off, for almost no discernible reason.

Maria said...

There are some book series that get better as they go along, but I think compared to those that suffer from a "churn 'em out and squeeze it" syndrome, they're in the minority.

I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe first, bore that I am. I can't remember the order I read the others in, except I've read a lot of blogslater arguing passionately about whether you should read Lion, Witch, Wardrobe first or Magician's Nephew.

Read Last Battle first and be done with it, I say! Kick the squabblers in the teeth!

I bought the 7 Lemony Snickets on the weekend bound up in a rubber band. I'm not sure if they were in order. maybe I'll shuffle them around blindfolded and then whatever order they fall in, I'll read them in that order. That sounds like a good idea!

Maria said...

By the way, I also got into reading a series called "Ranger's Apprentice" by John Flanagan recently. The first book, by my standards, was fun but a little boring and predictable, using predictable fantasy elements. In my opinion the books are getting better though - I'm up to number 3 at the moment. Probably less of the formulaic stuff and you are getting to know the characters better. Book 1 is essential for set up though, but regular fantasy readers may find themselves reading it going "I know, I know" and nodding through it guessing what's happening next. I found myself thinking I knew what's going to happen next and this is fairly predictable - the whole orphan set up - and I don't think of myself as a major fantasy buff.